Sep 05

The Missing Boot

When I was around Tegan’s age, I had a little Strawberry Shortcake doll.  She was one of my all-time favorite toys.  That was back when Strawberry Shortcake looked like this:strawberry-shortcake-doll

Instead of like this:

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I loved that doll!

One day I realized that one of her shoes had gone missing.  Total devastation.  And the worst part was that I had no idea when I’d lost it.  Was it at church?  In the car?  In the house? In the backyard?  At the neighbor’s? I mourned.  I mourned for a shoe.

A couple weeks later, after having given up all hope, I was walking across the street to meet a friend to play.  And there it was, lying in the middle of the street.  It was dirty, and had clearly been run over more than once.  BUT IT WAS MY STRAWBERRY’S SHOE.

I immediately picked up the shoe (I probably squealed while doing so) and turned around and started running back for home, not wanting to wait a single second to return it to where it rightfully belonged.    My friend stood in the middle of the road yelling after me, “Hey, what is that?  What’d you find?  Where are you going??”  In my excitement, all I could answer was, “I’ll tell you later!!” over my shoulder as I ran away.  Interestingly, I don’t remember anything that happened immediately after that, but I do remember feeling badly for leaving my friend standing in the lurch in the middle of the road.   Funny the things we remember with 35 years of hindsight.

I was thinking about this yesterday, because Tegan has been desperately looking for a missing Barbie boot. She has about a million Barbies (maybe not that many.  But a lot.  More than 20), but she has some definite favorites. This one had come in a set with a horse and saddle and everything, and had been a gift from mom and dad a couple birthdays ago.  And she was missing a boot.  And my girl was sad.  We’ve been having random search parties, and making a valiant effort, but, well… as I mentioned yesterday, our house has been a little bit disorganized lately, and it truly could have been everywhere.

Well, yesterday I was picking up and getting some things organized, and the boot magically appeared (in a place that had already been checked multiple times, no less)  My heart leapt.  I called Tegan, hid the boot behind my back, and said, “I found something that’s going to make you happy!!”  Said in the voice of Rachel from Friends, when she finds Chandler’s missing Best Buds bracelet from Joey, because I can’t seem to say it in any other way.  Anyway.   Tegan definitely DID squeal, and hugged me so hard she knocked the wind out of me.  She played the rest of the day with her happy Barbie and her two matching boots.

This to me is one of the absolute best parts of parenting, and also the worst.

The best because I don’t just remember what it was like, I feel what it was like.  I’m connected with her in that moment.  I’m Tegan… and I’m me… and I’m the 6 year old me finding my Strawberry Shortcake shoe in the street. I know,  I truly know what she’s feeling, and I know how big and important even the “little” things can be.

And the worst because sometimes you DON’T find the shoe.  I don’t just remember what it was like, I feel what it was like.  I’m connected with her in that moment.  I’m Tegan… and I’m me… and I’m the 6 year old me missing my Strawberry Shortcake shoe. I know,  I truly know what she’s feeling, and I know how big and important even the “little” things can be.

My hope and prayer is that I never forget.  That I never lose sight of the childhood me, and that I never lose that commiseration and connection with my own kids.

Six-year-old me is one of my greatest parental teachers.


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Sep 04

Ruminations Over Coffee

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My to-do list is lengthy.  For every three things we cross off the conference list (shirts, programs, attendee bags all went to print this week), another dozen new details are added. With 21 days to go, we are down to the wire.

There are four over-flowing baskets of clean, unfolded clothes in my bedroom.  It’s been too long since I’ve really cleaned… anything… around here, and it shows.  We’ve been running around like crazy people lately, and the house is clearly bearing the brunt of the collateral damage.

I miss my blog (if a blogger writes, but no one can read it, did she really write?  Obviously, I also need more sleep), and am in an actual state of mourning.  It has become such an important, personal part of me, and it is frustrating to realize that no matter what I do, it won’t go away.   Stepping away did not make me happy….I so loved the community!   But the daily stress and negativity did not make me happy either.

I came across this quote today, and it called out to me:

“If one dream should fall and break into a thousand pieces, never be afraid to pick one of those pieces up and begin again.”

 ~ Flavia Weedn

This website is currently that broken dream.  I don’t know what its future holds anymore, and that makes me so unbelievably sad.  But I’ll eventually pick up a piece or two and move on.  Is there ever any other option?

I will figure it out.  But I don’t have to do it this second, or today, or even this week.

For now,  I’ll just drink my coffee.  Drink my coffee, make cinnamon rolls with my girl, and trust that no matter what happens, every little thing’s gonna be alright.  If Bob Marley said it, it has to be true, right?

(Seriously, I need more sleep.)


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Sep 03

Things I Am Not Saying

(Note, mostly to myself, so I’ll remember later:  This is the first day my blog has been offline in many many years.  At the moment, I’m writing this not knowing if or when I’ll make it public again.  I’m essentially writing for an audience of one.  If that doesn’t make for more honest writing, I don’t know what does)

I hate back-to-school season.  I really do.  I mean, on the one hand, it doesn’t even affect me.Our life doesn’t follow a school schedule, so it really doesn’t make any difference to me what time of year it is.   And then there’s positives of back-to-school time, like the fact that the parks, zoos, museums, etc are all quiet again.

But there’s a whole host of things I observe this time of year that just stress. me. the. heck. out.  Which means I piss more people off this time of year than any other.  And it doesn’t matter how I temper my words, doesn’t matter how diplomatically I try to speak, doesn’t matter how good my intentions.  People are on edge and defensive and deduce that it’s all my fault for having an opinion.  Or voicing it.  Or existing.

And the thing is, I’m cool with respectful disagreements.  I’m cool with discussions.  I’m cool with passive aggressive, I-disagree-with-you-but-don’t-want-to-get-into-it comments like, “Hm. Interesting.”  The thing I will never be cool with (and in fact the thing that ultimately pushed me over the edge into believing a good long break was my only option) is the people taking me to task for THINGS I NEVER SAID.

And I get it, I do.  Emotions are high, we all have our own crap to deal with, and we’re defensive.  We read something that creates cognitive dissonance for us, and we react. Doesn’t matter at the moment whether or not what we’ve just read actually does say what we’ve projected onto it.  We’re pissed off and we’re gonna let people know it.  The problem – for me – is that you then spew at me and you feel better and go about your day.  But I deal with not just your anger, but the anger from the 50 other people who felt the same way.  And the next day, when the 51 of you have all moved on, there’s a new batch of people angry, or hurt, or crying about the fact that they’re disappointed in me.    It never stops.  It literally never stops.  My own blog has become a veritable source of “Let me tell you why you suck.”  I can’t apologize to the world every day.  And I WON’T apologize for being me.

What I can do is provide you with the following handy little chart.  The next time you read something I write and are about to hit “send” on your little diatribe telling me what a horrible person I am, you can double-check the chart and see if I REALLY said what you’re so sure I said.  If I didn’t… well, say what you want, but it’s a reflection of you, not me.

Unless I expressly say these words (hint: it hasn’t happened yet) the things I write DO NOT MEAN any of the following:

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You’re a terrible parent who hates her kids.  It seems ridiculous to even have to expressly write it, but my sharing an opinion on something related to parenting is not exactly the same thing as calling someone a terrible parent.  Or accusing her of hating her kids.  It is the grossest of leaps to make, and yet it’s something I see, verbatim, over and over and over.  I’m not calling anyone a terrible parent.

I’m a better parent than you.  The other day I went to the store with the two little ones.   It was four in the afternoon.  Tegan says to me as we pull into the grocery store.  ”I’m starving.  I haven’t eaten anything all day!”  A few minutes after that, as we walked into the store, I gave Everett a verbal list of about 5 things to remember.  I’d forgotten the (relatively short) list at home, and didn’t have anything to jot it down on.  He looked at me with a deadpan expression that could have come from his 14 year old brother and said, “Geez. Forgetting to feed us, now making us remember the grocery list.  You’re the worst mother in the world.” They keep me humble.  It should go without saying, but the truth is, I’m as perfectly imperfect as the next parent, and would never pretend otherwise.

Homeschooling is the only answer.  Of course homeschooling isn’t the only answer. Obviously, we’ve found it the best and right choice for us, otherwise we wouldn’t be doing it. Everyone should be confident in their own choices!  But happiness with my own choices is not the same thing as condemnation for your choices.  And I don’t care where your kids go to school.  Really.

People who send their kids to school don’t love them.  Some of the best, most loving parents I know send their kids to school.   Wonderful and loving parents do all KINDS of things that I’ve chosen to do differently with my own family.  These differences are what make life interesting.  They do NOT make me, or them, any more or less loving than the next family.  It’s ludicrous to suggest that someone who does something differently than you doesn’t love their children…. and equally ludicrous to accuse me of the same.

Wanting a break/getting tired/having struggles makes you a bad parent.  Want to know a secret?  Every time I go to the bathroom, I take at least an extra minute longer than it actually takes to use the toilet and wash my hands.  An extra minute to breathe.  An extra minute to pray.  An extra minute to put on some lotion/smell some essential oils/refresh my lip gloss.  An extra minute to just BE.  Parenting is hard, and we all have our struggles. I get that.  I GET THAT.  It would get a little redundant (and obnoxious) if I prefaced everything I wrote with, “I understand that parenting is hard….” so let me just state for the record, once, that I DO understand that parenting is hard, and I AM aware that we all – all of us – have our struggles.

I AM JUDGING YOU.  Oh sweet baby Jesus, the JUDGING comments.  If I had a nickel for every time I’ve been called judgmental, I would be writing this in an upscale cafe in Tuscany… NOT on my old and stained couch in my sweatpants and holey t-shirt in my middle middle class neighborhood in Phoenix.  First, a definition of “judgement:”

an opinion or decision that is based on careful thought. : the act or process of forming an opinion or making a decision after careful thought

We all judge, every day.  When you’re pointing your finger at me, and crying about how judgmental I am, you too are engaging in the “act or process of forming and opinion or making a decision.”   Thanks for the nice dialogue, pot. I’m the kettle.

Beyond that though, is this pernicious idea that I’m always filtering everything through a veil of Homeschooling is best / I’m an awesome parent / You’re a terrible parent / You must hate your kids.  Guess what?  I’m not.  I get that it makes you feel better to think that about me when I tick you off, but that doesn’t make it any more true.  And of course the great irony here is that your little snips to me about my needing to have more grace for others, more understanding, more support, and yes, less judgment, should go in both directions.  But they never do.

Yesterday I got a big speech about judging someone for not homeschooling….. on a post that had literally NOTHING to do with homeschooling.  Homeschooling wasn’t even in the back of my mind.  I think that was the point that tipped me over into the realm of, “I give up.”  Truly.  I cannot currently handle even one more comment judging me for  - ironically enough – judging something I’m not even judging.

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If this had been a “real” emergency blog post, I would painstakingly craft a suitable ending that would tie it all up in a neat little bow.  But I just realized (with a sudden blinding burst of wonderful freedom) that I’m no longer writing for anyone but myself.  So I’m just gonna stop writing.

Let the healing begin.

 


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Sep 02

Naked Pictures and Private Lives

Every Tuesday, I’ve been answering questions I’ve gotten about unschooling and gentle parenting.  I’ll return to that next week, but today I needed to write something else.  

I’ve been sharing about my life here on my blog for over 9 years now.   I’ve always sort of prided myself on the fact that I’ve been fairly transparent, and have not portrayed something that I’m not.  I’m the same person on my blog as I am in my day-to-day life as I am on Facebook as I am when I’m teaching yoga as I am when I’m at church.  I’m simply me, and I have no desire to be anything or anyone else.  It feels disingenuous to me to filter parts of myself based on who happens to be reading.

Some people don’t like social media, and/or would never have a public blog (which is of course their choice to make) in part because they value their privacy.  But that’s truly never felt like an issue for me, because I’m always in control of what I’m sharing.  I share a lot at times, but I don’t share everything.  I still have my goofy, inside jokes with my family and friends.  I still have quiet conversations with the people I trust.  I still have sacred experiences, and photos, and writings that have never left this house, virtually or otherwise.

I still have a private life.

This past week, there was some kind of breach, and a bunch of personal, nude photos of certain celebrities were accessed from personal phones/storage/accounts and shared around the internet.  There is a resulting big, global conversation going on right now…. but much of it is the wrong conversation.  I’m seeing comment after comment disparaging these girls (girls who were victimized and VIOLATED, just to be clear.)

People are allowed to have a private life.  Let me just start there.  Someone who’s famous can indeed expect to give up their anonymity.  They can expect that people are going to be interested in their lives. They can expect to be stopped at Starbucks by their fans.  I even think it’s reasonable to expect that they should be gracious and respectful with their fans, provided said fans are gracious and respectful towards them.

They should not have to expect to give up their private life.  Private lives are just that. Private.  These photos that are out there are PRIVATE PHOTOS.  There’s nothing wrong with taking private photos.  There’s nothing wrong with sharing something private with your spouse or partner.  There’s nothing wrong with being sexual. There’s nothing wrong with expecting that your own private photos, on your own private devices will remain…. private.

But there’s a hell of a lot wrong with stealing, distributing, sharing, and gawking at those photos, and then blaming the person who shot them!!

What’s happening right now is disgusting, and the people who are to blame (the ONLY people who are to blame) are the ones who committed  - and continue to commit – these acts of violation.

I don’t have any naked pictures of myself on my phone.  This is about as naked as you get:

But if I did?  If my phone was full of intimate pictures intended for myself and husband, and those pictures got stolen (please understand what has happened here… those pictures that are out there are stolen) and shared and distributed again and again?  The fault would lie not in me for taking them, but in the people who did the stealing. The people who did the sharing. The people who did the looking.

To say otherwise is to – once again – blame the victim.  Shame on anyone who is still contributing to that cycle of abuse.


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Aug 29

A (Sort Of) Weekend Getaway

I’ve always wanted to go to Seattle.  We’ve lived in Arizona for going on nine years now, and it somehow seemed more likely that I’d finally get to go.  Arizona’s on the same side of the country at least.  But nope.  We’ve driven back across to the east coast twice now.  Gone to Florida.  Gone to Chicago.  Went to the San Francisco area once, San Diego a handful of times.

But no Seattle.

Well, because life is funny and ironic (and/or because God has a sense of humor), the husband and I are going on a last-minute trip to Seattle tomorrow, in the midst of a million other things that we have going on …. and we’re going to be there exactly long enough to sign all the paper work and pick up a car we just bought, and get in said car to begin the 20+ hour drive home.  No more, no less.  My first instinct was to have it shipped, because it wasn’t a super great time for a road trip  - even from someplace fun like Seattle – but it turns out that having it shipped would cost a good $500 more than flying up and driving it home ourselves.

So, yay?

My new ride.  Tegan has already named it Cinnamon.

My new ride. Tegan has already named it Cinnamon.

It’ll be a little adventure, and adventures are always a good thing.  And I DO get to see Seattle, however briefly. Mostly though, I’m happy that once we get the new car home we can put this particular stress to rest, and get on with our lives.  Ever since the accident, and all the accompanying…. stuff… to take care of, I have felt completely tapped out. The final little placement on the house of cards that made the whole thing crumble.

Now though, I’ll be able to cross something big off that ever-present cosmic to-do list, and move on to the next: In this case, tying up the 345 loose ends for the conference that is coming in less than four weeks, whether we’re ready or not; and getting my surgery scheduled for October so I can start praying that the second time is the charm.

And so it goes.

I came across this quote this morning, and found it rather perfect:

 

Nobody trips over mountains. It is the small pebble that causes you to stumble. Pass all the pebbles in your path, and you will find you have crossed the mountain.  ~ Author unknown

 


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Aug 28

Fourteen Years

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This guy turns 14 today.

Since I’ve written about the kids on their birthdays every year for awhile now, I know so much of it’s already been said:  the horrific pregnancy; the perfect birth story; the non-stop screaming for the first 3 years of his life; the level-headed calm (which came later) that is so, so beyond his years; the wonderfully sarcastic smart-ass sense of humor.

Today though, I’m thinking of 14 year old me, and 14 year old Paxton.  They don’t compare.

I was lost at 14.  Scared of everything.  I had no self-confidence, making me too susceptible to peer pressure, and I had no earthly idea who I was or what I stood for.  Those were things I didn’t reconcile until I was in my 30′s.

Not Paxton.

He KNOWS who he is.  At 14!  He is one of the most authentic people I know, hands down.

He is kind, and loyal, and steady, and true to himself and true to his friends.

In two weeks he’s getting on an airplane all by himself (making him the first of all four kids to fly), and headed to Michigan for a couple weeks to visit a good friend.   In typical Paxton fashion, he’s honest about the fact that he’s a bit nervous at the prospect of traveling alone … but also very, very excited.  I’m thrilled for him that he’s getting to do this, and have no doubt that he is going to handle it beautifully.

He’s 14 going on 30:   One foot still firmly in teen-hood, and another in a place of maturity and self-awareness that I didn’t even know existed when I was 14.

I admire him, not just because he’s my son…. but also for the boy that he is, and the man that he is becoming.

Happy, happy birthday Paxton.  Once again, I’m so glad I get to be your mom.  Your cupcakes will be ready by the time you get up.

 

 


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Aug 27

Book Review: 100 Days of Real Food, by Lisa Leake

100 Days of Real Food cookbook

I have been so looking forward to receiving and reviewing this book.*  I’ve reviewed many different things on my blog, but this may well be my favorite to date.  It’s a book, and it’s about FOOD!  Two of my favorite things.

The first thing that you need to know is that this is just a really lovely book.  Visually stunning.  It is big and heavy (I love that!) and filled with gorgeous pictures.  Particularly in this day and age of e-books and digital recipes, I truly appreciate a bound, paper book that I can hold in my hands as I flip through the pages.  I may have even smelled it in order to inhale that “new book” smell.  The layout is clear and organized, the pictures of the recipes are mouthwatering, and the pictures scattered throughout of Lisa Leake’s family and children provided a really nice, personal touch.

Leake family at farmers market

As for the content itself:

The first third of the book is an introduction to get you started on your journey to ditching the processed stuff, and eating and cooking with real, whole foods.  What is real food, you ask? She covers that, as well as outlining the changes you can start making to improve your diet. She even includes 14 weeks of challenges for a step-by-step approach to making slow and gradual dietary changes.  Week 1′s challenge is to include two fruits or vegetables with every meal.  Pretty doable, right?  She also gives detailed tips and information on shopping, meal planning, budgeting, and getting the whole family on board.   This section is invaluable, especially for those who are just starting out.

Following the introduction are the 150+ pages of recipes and their accompanying beautiful photos.  They are organized by type of recipe – breakfast, lunch (including a whole section for lunch box ideas), snacks, dinner, desserts (desserts!!), and homemade staples such as salad dressings and sauces – so it’s easy to quickly flip to and find the section that you want.  The recipes themselves are simple, clear-cut, and easy to follow.  They don’t call for any crazy or hard-to-find ingredients, and they don’t ask you to do anything that’s intimidating for someone who’s new to cooking from scratch.  The recipes use food as their ingredients, and give you an easy step-by-step plan for preparing it, no matter who you are or how experienced (or inexperienced) you may be in the kitchen.

Cinnamon Raisen Quick Bread2

Homemade Cinnamon Raisin Quick Bread with cream cheese. I love these lunch box ideas!

Another nice touch is the inclusion of the list of recipes organized by dietary need in the back of the book.  You can quickly and easily find all the recipes that are, for example, gluten-free, vegetarian, or dairy free, without having to search through the entire book.  Leake truly thought of everything, and as such has succeeded in making one of the most user-friendly cookbooks I’ve ever read.

If you’re someone who is wanting to get back to basics and start eating good whole foods with simple ingredients,  get this book.  I promise you will not be disappointed.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to see if I have everything I need to make the mini chocolate truffles….

*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  I was not required to leave a positive review, and all opinions are my own.*


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Aug 26

Q & A: Let’s Talk About STRESS

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Every Tuesday, I’ll choose a handful of questions to answer here on my blog, as long as the questions last. Want to ask me about unschooling or parenting or anything else I write about (which is, uh, pretty much everything)? Send them here, or post on my Facebook page.  

I’ve gotten quite a few questions in this realm:

 

How do you handle stress? What happens when you’re feeling overwhelmed and need a break but you’ve got three kids demanding your attention and you’re the only adult home? (The ‘advice’ I am frequently given, unasked for, is to send my children to school… I’d love to hear a better suggestion.)

 

I have four kids, not three;  but other than that one detail I could (and certainly have) ask that same exact question myself.   Parenting in general is a 24/7 job, no matter who you are.  Add to that the fact that as a stay-at-home, homeschooling parent, you are ON All. The. Time.  No breaks.  No time outs.  No time to yourself.   If you’re someone like me who is easily prone to overwhelm, you definitely have to take proactive steps to avoid burnout.

As you’ve already noticed, the world will tell you that the solution is simple:  Get away from your kids.  Moms are told over and over not only that it’s okay, but that it’s GOOD to get away from your kids.  You need a break to be a better mother, they’ll tell you.  So send ‘em off to preschool!  Make them sleep in the other room!   Leave them with a sitter while you go off on a kid-less vacation!

I think there’s a better way.  I think that the solution to stress and overwhelm and burnout is not to get away from your kids, but to design your lifestyle so that you won’t feel the need to get away.  So that you can be there, especially in those important early years, when they need you, and so you can actually ENJOY it.   Which means recognizing and heading off the stress before it sends you screaming for the hills.

Which means taking care of you.

It always makes me sort of…. grumpy when people suggest things like basic self care when things are stressful.  You don’t get it!  This can’t be fixed by eating right and exercising!  And you know what?  Maybe it can’t. But it does make the stressful stuff a whole lot easier to deal with.  A pattern I’ve recognized in myself when I’m not mindful of avoiding it is that when I get super stressed, I just stop taking care of myself.  I just stop.  Stop eating right.  Stop making sleep a priority.  Stop exercising.  Start self-medicating with sweets, caffeine and/or alcohol. Which of course makes me MORE stressed, which makes me less likely to take care of myself, which makes me more stressed, which makes me less likely….. well, you get the idea.  It’s an ugly and vicious circle.

So it starts there.  Like the proverbial airplane oxygen mask:  You have to put your own on first before you can take care of your kids.  Eating well, getting enough sleep, getting enough exercise, paying attention to your own physical, spiritual, and emotional needs goes a LONG way in helping you to more patiently and lovingly meet the needs of the people around you.

At this point, you’re likely thinking, “Well, that’s all nice and everything, but it doesn’t HELP me. What do I do in that moment when the baby is screaming because she’s teething and the naked two year old just dumped a bag of flour on the kitchen floor and the 8 year old is crying because the 5 year old just threw a remote control at his head and all the excitement made the dog pee on the carpet?!”

Here’s what you do:

  1. BREATHE.  I know, that sounds like a worn old cliche too, but I cannot emphasize enough how important it is!       You have to start with breathing.  Good deep breaths, and a count to ten.  Or a hundred.  Or six thousand.  It  oxygenates your body, slows your heart rate, and literally calms you from the inside out.
  2. DELIBERATELY LOWER YOUR VOICE.  This has been a huge one for me.  When I open my mouth and find that something… loud.. is about to come out, I take a breath, and lower my voice.  To a whisper if I have to.  It both calms me down, and doesn’t further escalate the situation with the kids.
  3. FIND A WAY TO TAKE A BREAK TOGETHER.  This is the one that takes the trial and error.  Once the immediate crisis is past (ie:  no one’s bleeding anymore) find a way to regroup that works for your family. The flour can stay on the kitchen floor for a little while. Watch a movie together.  Go outside so the kids can run and you can sit. Blow some bubbles.  Get out the coloring books.  Play with water.  When my now six year old was around three, there were some days that the only thing that relieved the stress – both hers and mine – were baths. I’d fix her a bath with all her favorite toys, I’d make myself a cup of coffee, and I’d sit and gather my bearings on the bathroom flour while she splashed and played, for hours sometimes.
  4. REACH OUT TO SOMEONE.  A friend (or a parent or a sibling or a cousin or a spouse) that you can text and vent to… someone who you can just tell, without judgement, “Wow, what a crappy day I had”  is invaluable.
  5. LEAVE THE PAST IN THE PAST.  One of the best pieces of parenting advice I ever heard was this:  When you have a stressful moment, or an inpatient moment, or a moment that you wished you’d handled differently as a parent… learn from it and move the heck on. It’s over.  Make the NEXT moment a good one.  Don’t think about the past, and don’t worry about what’s going to come after the next moment.    Focus on one moment at a time.  And finally,
  6. FIND YOUR DE-STRESSERS AND PRACTICE THEM, REGULARLY.   This really goes under the very first point of taking care of yourself, but it’s important in the immediate sense too.  Whether it’s a bath, or a glass of wine, or time in meditation or prayer or Bible study, or yoga, or running, or dance, or creative pursuits like writing, or drawing, or painting, or making things with your hands….. whatever it is for you, find the time to make it happen, whether it means getting up a little earlier, staying up a little later, or taking a few minutes while the kids play with Dad.  It’s so easy to say, “I don’t have time to do that,” but the fact is, you can’t afford not to do that.

I’ll admit that stress gets the better of me sometimes (um, I may have just posted about that fact just a few days ago)  but it doesn’t have to, and I know that.

I LOVE staying home with my kids, and the very good days so absolutely make up for the not-so-good days.  My hope and prayer when it comes to stress and parenting and my kids is that they learn that yes, you can’t always avoid stress…. but that you never have to let it win.


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Aug 25

Out and About On The Interwebs

And another Monday… after a busy weekend tying up loose conference ends, running errands, and taking an evening out to join some other Rattlers fans at a local sports pub to watch the Arena Bowl  (Yay Rattlers for a blowout game leading to a Championship three-peat!).

This morning is a lazy morning:  drinking coffee, watching a movie with the girl, and getting caught up on all my reading.

Here are a few things that have caught my attention:

~  Several of you have tagged me and/or sent me this video of a dad running over his teenage son’s video games with his lawn tractor.  I feel like it’d be really redundant of me to even voice my opinion.  You all know what it is.  Connect with your kids;  COMMUNICATE with your kids.   Don’t destroy any hope you ever had of a meaningful relationship with your kids.

~ This is just…. I don’t know what to do with this.  I grew up in a very very different time (which sounds weird, because I’m 40, not 80)  Should it really be this different now?  You can’t even write a story?  About a DINOSAUR?  Things are crazy out there.

~ This photographer took a bunch of nude (and innocent) pictures of his toddler daughter, and the internet exploded.  I don’t know that I would have shared them, but there is NOTHING wrong with the pictures themselves.  My kids are generally naked for at least the first five years of their lives.  At six, Tegan is still in various stages of undress for a vast majority of the day.

~ I didn’t do the ALS ice bucket challenge.  Yes, awareness is important.  Yes, giving to causes that you believe in is important (and I do, frequently).  I wasn’t a super fan of this one though, for a few different reasons, but mainly because I was disappointed in how very very many people who posted videos of themselves doing the challenge didn’t give a link, or even mention why they were doing it.  It turns into something else at that point.  I eventually stopped watching the videos, but I did like this.

~ And finally, I just really liked this blog post.  It’s a conversation that needs to continue:  ”However, the words most commonly associated with Christians – even by other Christians! – were ‘judgmental’ and ‘hypocrites.’  If we’re to be the body of Christ in the world, and in so much as Jesus is the embodiment of the God of our understanding, then we have some work to do.”

Happy Monday, friends!

 


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Aug 22

Unschooling and Working: Can You Have Both?

I got this question a couple of days ago, and woke up this morning thinking about it:

I would LOVE to be able to unschool, I think this would also be the best option for my son. But I have to work, even though I’m only in a low paid job. Do some unschoolers work from home to earn money? And if so, just wondering what types of jobs they do?

For the first part of the question… yes, absolutely. I know unschoolers who have a stay-at-home parent while one parent works, others that have two working parents, others that run a family business together, still others that are single working parents. Unschoolers are nothing if not creative, out-of-the-box thinkers when it comes to making their chosen lifestyle work!

From personal experience, I want to say first that it’s been hugely beneficial, both on a personal and practical level, to pursue my own goals when it comes to yoga and nutrition. Yes, there’s obviously a monetary cost to getting training and certifications, but it’s allowed me to be able to do something that I LOVE while contributing to my family in a financial way. I am fortunate; I don’t currently have to work to help support my family. However, I take great solace in the fact that should the need arise, I have both both marketable training and skills to put to use… and that I’m continuing my education in that area.

So that’s one thought: Find something you’re passionate about, and go for it! Good for you, AND good for your children, in so many ways.

Some other specific ideas, all of which are real examples from real unschooling families:

~ Using a creative skill, and selling on websites such as Etsy. Sewing, needle-work, handmade signs, artwork, writing, etc.

~ Being a distributor for a multi-level-marketing company. Back in the day it was Avon and Mary Kay (actually, I still know people who sell those too!), and today it’s companies like Beachbody, Scentsy, Doterra, and Norwex.

~ Online work. Blogging, websites, social media, YouTube accounts. I’ve never made a significant amount of money online (mainly because I haven’t had the time/inclination to put in the necessary hours) but people do make it work.

Do you have any other suggestions that you’ve seen work for you, or work for others? Share in the comments!


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