Friday, January 19, 2018

Our Family is Growing

Well, no more babies but we're now at the phase of adding sons and daughters in law.  It's been a busy year and forgive me for not blogging.  But things are well and God has been faithful.  This past September our older daughter was wed in Tennessee.  We now have a son-in-law who loves our daughter more than life.  And then this past Christmas my oldest son became engaged to the woman of his dreams and they are planning a wedding for this coming September! Here are some pictures:

Anna and Dany

Will and Cassidy 

Such a special time in our family's life.  I always kind of looked towards this phase with a little sadness, knowing that it wouldn't always just be our "10" but it really is not that way at all.  I can't believe how amazing it is to really get more sons and daughters and see how happy they are.  It will be a phase that will last many years since we have a bunch and I know there will be hills and valleys along the way.  We have prayed for our children's spouses since before they were born and trust the Lord with their choices.  Our children grow-up, they become our friends and they make their own decisions.  We have to let go and let them fly! 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Life is a Novel, with Chapters Always Ending and Starting

It seems that with children and a family, things are always changing.  No stage lasts for long.  Many times I have grieved this, however the other day I realized that one way to look at change, is the closing of a chapter and the starting of a new one.  Life is really like a novel.  I love to read, especially historical fiction.  Looking at my life as a novel, with God being the author has helped me move into the next phase or chapter.  We've had quite a few chapters ending this past year.  My 4th son graduated from high school and started college.  My oldest daughter graduated from college and started working in Tenneesee.  Our precious dog of 12 years passed away.  It's easy as a mom to grieve these times.  To see them as seasons gone forever, but really it's the end of a chapter that God has brilliantly summed-up and the start of a new one.  I'm learning to look with hope to the next chapter, and actually finding it quite exciting.  God's novel for our lives is the ultimate page turner, with plot twists and switch-backs that we would have never planned.  At times, his plans seem awkward, painful and even wrong.  Yet, he weaves his story and we yield to his orchestrations, the purpose for which, we may not understand this side of heaven. Now that my little guy is 5, I've had a lot more time to do things I enjoy, like playing tennis.  I've also been taking an RN refresher course which has been really fun. I'm hoping to be able participate in more medical mission trips in the future.  I know God has great things for all of us.  He is the articulate novelist weaving our stories for His glory.  

Sunday, October 30, 2016

So Much To Do, But So Little Time

Sometimes to get more done, we just camp out in the car....

Whether you have lots of littles, lots of big kids, are pregnant or nursing, trying to mother and hold down a job, homeschooling or whatever stage of mothering you are in, I'm sure you feel this way.  "I have so much to do!  So many things on my lists but so few hours in the day!"  Well, I know how you feel and really it doesn't matter how old or young you are or how far you on in your mothering journey, we all feel this way.  I love summer because as a homeschool mom I have more time do to things around the house, relax at the pool, catch up on scrapbooking and play more tennis.  But even with "free time" I seem to fill up the calendar and start getting stressed out all over again. 
Anyway, it seems like so many moms I talk to feel the same way.  Like they just can't catch their breath.  Now this isn't going to be a post about slowing down and smelling the roses (I think I did a post on that already) but a post to share some ways/tips I have learned over the years to get it all done(well, just about all) and yet still be sane. 

1.  Don't waste time.  I mean on the internet or too much Netflix.  We all do it and we get distracted but the best thing to do, I think, is set times that you're going to return emails, shop or research online and then stick to it.  

2.  Tithe the first part of your day to the Lord.  Pray and read the word each morning and watch God multiply your time!  Really, it works.

3. much as possible.  Return phone calls on long rides in the car, for example.

4. Cut down the errands.  Use amazon prime or instead of going to 4 different stores, go to one that may just about have everything you Target or TJ Maxx.  (my favorite : )

5.  As far as cleaning and laundry, do a little each day.  When you time things like sweeping, or folding a load of clothes it only takes about 5 minutes but if you leave it all to one day and are cleaning the whole house or folding mounds of clothes, it's going to take much longer and seem daunting.  You can even fold or sweep while helping a child with homework. 

6.  Don't try to be supermom.  This means saying "no" to things you're asked to do, even things your children ask.  You can't do it all so don't pretend you can or even try.  Remember "no" is a holy word ( what my husband always tells me.)

7.  Find meals that are fairly simple with minimal ingredients.  I know we all want to be "french chefs" or "healthy moms" but really the healthiest, easiest and most kid friendly meals are the ones with the least number of ingredients and the fewest steps.

8. Simplify your morning routine.  Don't wash your hair everyday, tone down the make-up and try to do 2 or 3 things at once in this a facial mask, deep condition your hair, and shave your legs all at the same time.

9. Don't spend hours exercising, unless this is a hobby your really enjoy.  20 minutes of intense exercise gets better and faster results than an hour of low intensity. 

10. And don't be afraid to ask other moms to help.  We all can lend a hand, like carpooling places for example.  Or even swapping out child care or tutoring.  We are in this time frazzled world together!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

4 Down and 6 to Go

Well, last month we had yet another one of our children graduate from high school.
It's always a surreal moment and one that doesn't get any easier no matter how many children you have.  They are each so unique and it really is a bittersweet time.  
The Christian high school that our children have attended has a wonderful way to celebrate these precious young men and women.  There is a baccalaureate service for awards and such, including a slide show of the graduates, and then the graduation service that evening.  Each student has a table of pictures and memorabilia to celebrate their accomplishments and personalities.  The teachers and students who speak are awesome and this year the main speaker was NC Supreme Court Justice.
All that to say, my little guy grew up.  He became a strong, fun, personable, lovable man of God and I know God has great things for him ahead.  We all love him so much and I think he was also a little sad at graduation.  He made so many special friends as well as being a role model to younger students.  Teachers kept coming up to me and saying how much they will miss him, his smile and friendly demeanor.  I'm so thankful that I was able to homeschool him for 9 years and then have him attend such an awesome high school.  
He will be staying local and attending NC State, so I'm super glad about that!  Here are some pictures from that evening.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Difficult Times

We all go through hard times.  We all go through seasons.  I'm thankful for the change in seasons and how God keeps things interesting.  But why am I not thankful for hard times?  They draw me closer to the Lord.  They bring me to my knees.  They humble me and sober me but why do I just want to get through them?  To just be on the other side.  To have all my prayers answered the way I want them answered.  To be through the pain.  I guess we all rush it, we all don't want difficult times, because they hurt.  Not only that, they shake our faith.  They make us wonder what we did to deserve this, where is God, why didn't we see this coming, and a host of other doubts.  

As a mother, I've been through hard times before but these past months have truly been some of the hardest.  Though I can't get into the details, God has been faithful.  God is using this to draw me closer to Him and to get rid of any idols in my life.  I've learned to just let Him have it all, to just give it to Him and walk away.  As a mother, when it comes to our children, this is very hard.  No matter how old they may be, they are still our babies and really a part of us. But as they age, we have to slowly let go and this means letting them make mistakes.  We can't control them anymore.  We can only trust God with them.  He loves them even more than we do. 

I wanted to write this post not only to explain why I have not blogged lately, but to encourage anyone going through difficult times as well.  You are not alone.  We all smile and many times pretend everything is fine, but we need to be more transparent with each other.  We need to ask for help, ask for prayer and not be afraid of being judged.  I also wanted to encourage all of us moms to "let go and let God."  I know that sounds cliche but really it's true.  Our children are not our own.  They are the Lord's and we have been given them for a time as stewards.  We may be able to control them when they are little but not forever.  The sooner we learn to let go, to trust them to the Lord, really the better it will be....not only in our own heart but in theirs as well.  

Job 2:10 "Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?"

Thursday, February 18, 2016

MakeTime for Your Man

My husband and I just went on our yearly Carribean vacation sans kids.  

Yes, it's kind of pricey but we budget all year so we can go. 
 Yes, it's hard to leave the kids but it's actually good for them and great for us as a couple. 
 Yes, it takes planning, finding the best sitter, preparing meals ahead of time and making lists and more lists.  But let me tell you, it is so worth it!  

Like I've said in previous blog posts, your kids will grow-up and leave home but your spouse will be there with you for a a life time.  Also, a great analogy is a living cell.  If the nucleus of a cell is not healthy, the whole cell is unhealthy.  Our marriage relationship is the nucleus of our family cell. It seems like so many moms now-a-days put so much time, energy and mental energy into keeping their children happy and healthy (physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually healthy) but very little time into keeping their marriage relationship happy and healthy.  I'll get off my soap box now, but I like how my husband put it in an instagram post he did, "Sabbatical, rest, recovery.  Our marital soul is in desperate need of these like a car needs a tune-up.  Between kids, jobs, bills and disappointments our hearts cry out for a soul connection to God's greatest gift to us-our life covenant partner." 
So, even if you have to take your nursing baby with you (notice I said baby not toddler..haha) and can't go very far, just do it.  Go away with your hubby and give him the undivided attention he deserves. 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

Like a bad attitude in the grocery store and not so healthy items in the grocery cart.

Many times I have younger moms tell me, "gee, you're so chill about everything."  Now those who know me better know this is not always the case.  I certainly have my moments but I think it's funny how moms I meet in our homeschool group, at church or just around our neighborhood think I'm so relaxed.  One mom told me recently, "You just seem not to get frazzled by small things."  Well, I hope that is true and I think after years of parenting so many children, I've learned to not sweat the small stuff.  By small stuff, I don't mean essentials (see previous post) or things that will have a lasting effect on my life or one of my children's lives.  But here are some things I see moms "sweating over" that just really don't matter in the long run. 

-My child made a B so they won't get in a good college.
-My child didn't make the right soccer team.
-My child didn't get the right part in the play.
-My child doesn't say "please" and "thank you" every single time.
-Or younger moms, "I had to wean my baby before 12 months."
-My child has been so grumpy lately (they're teenagers, it's normal)
- My child ate a non-organic fruit or worse, fast food!
-My child watched a mindless TV show.
-My child wants to wear the same outfit everyday.
-My child says they don't like church...gasp!

Well, you get the picture. 

Sometimes I just want to tell these moms, "Chill out!  You're letting these minor things steal your joy and rob you of this precious, fleeting time with your young children!"
So, let's all take a deep breath and try to see things from God's eternal perspective and not sweat it.