Monday, August 25, 2014

Just Thinkin'

I am going to apologize now for the long post.  I have had a lot on my mind lately...thought it would be good to get it out there.  Maybe it will comfort or help someone else who is struggling.

Amidst all the craziness here while having a family friend visit for two weeks, getting ready both for my oldest starting preschool here at home in a week & my youngest's 2nd birthday adventure at Day Out With Thomas...I haven't had much time to myself or to think about blogging.  Not to mention other things on our minds that have needed processing & decisions.

The biggest decision is what to do as we watched our 3 1/2 yr old boy develop a disrespectful attitude towards us.  It seemed to start right after being in the toddler's kids church & then I would try to "work" on this attitude with discipline & daddy with some traditional southern values...wink.  We would start getting somewhere & then it was Wednesday--time to go to mid-week services at our church.  Guess what, our usually well-mannered child would come home, once again, with this amazingly bad & disrespectful attitude towards us.  I am talking "SIGH, whatever MOM..."  or him rolling his eyes when I ask him to do something.  Sometimes he was outright refusing to do what I told him then folding his arms & glaring at me?!?!  This is not the son I remember!  What happened?  I hadn't changed anything, he isn't in daycare or school....then we saw the pattern.  It had to be dealt with immediately.  

So we discovered a more than acceptable amount of kids in the class who were not told "no" at home or appropriately disciplined, which caused trouble for the teachers including some of the young adults who I know in the classroom.  They had no way to control these kids--they would not listen no matter what and some of the other well-behaved kids were mimicking this attitude.

We had to make a decision after leaving him one more week & seeing it get worse.  This cannot go on if I desire to teach my child anything in preschool in a week or so.  SO, we first decided to pull him out of kid's church & stay in the service with us.  This came with amazing results.  He behaved, loved the music & was quiet during the sermon.  No attitude at home or disrespect.  He was great today; listening & doing what is told without rolling of eyes or sighs of displeasure.  I can't believe the difference but it is there as obvious evidence to what we thought was going on:  he was picking up bad habits & attitudes from other children.

This was the last straw in our tough decision as of late.  We have been mulling for months over seeking out another congregation of believers that mix better with where our lives are headed.  This sound bad, but hear me out.  We are in a congregation where much of the leadership stands by our public schools & sends their kids to them.  I could see the effects of the public school system before all this new initiative. The public school system has left many Christian kids spiritually broken, lonely, & confused.  Who wants this for your kid?  I won't get on my soapbox here (maybe another blog later) Any mom or dad worth their salt, both conservatives & liberals alike, have seen how bad Common Core is to the intellect of our children....if not let me send you to this video to help you out.  Please watch & then have a comment:

Brilliant anti-Common Core Speech by Dr. Duke Pesta  

Onwards to more....with this swarm of "culture norm" Christians as I call them, came the looks, the coughs & silence once they found out that I was "one of those 'homeschooling' people".  All my friendships have been fading except for a few people who either:  1) work as a private school teacher to afford to keep there kids in that school 2) Are home school advocates themselves or  3) Are newly married & are seeing the problems now & look to make the same decisions we have.  That leaves us with only a few people but still most of them are all so activity-busy they don't have time to spend with actual people. 

Making matters worse, I went to the older kids church where my son will be when he is 5 yrs old.  I talked to the director, who knows me (but not my education plans for my kids), and I saw they split kids up by school!  So, no intermingling with other kids from other areas or anything....So I then ask, "what group do you put the homeschooled kids in?"  He promptly answered, "Oh, we put them in ____ color group with these other kids.....they don't really matter so we don't worry about them."  WHAT!!!!!  I had already asked the small handful of jr. high kids about what its like to be a homeschooled kid in this church.  They mentioned the almost anti-homeschool attitude of the kids church workers; not allowing them to answer questions because they can articulate them well for other who don't know or they have actual, not watered-down Biblically-based beliefs that can cause too many discussions.  They felt like pariahs when many parents in our town have been pulling kids out of school.  SO much so, that they can't even fill the pre-school this year & are recruiting 3 year olds that normally are too young to attend.  This is unacceptable behavior I believe.
Children growing up in a church should not be segregated by school & some shoved off because they don't fit this "cultural" norm (aren't we supposed to be different?)

There are a few other reasons that factor into our decision, but we have decided to seek a more "homeschool" friendly church.  We see this as something that God called us to do to be different from the world:  to actually be involved & in charge of our childrens' education.  I want to be around other parents that either don't judge, don't care or agree/are doing the same.  We are praying about what to do & where to go.  Its hard, but we have learned never to stay just for the "preacher" because that is not what makes a church.  The people & the leadership make a church what it is, no matter what the pastor thinks.  If we are made to feel like outcasts, we need to weigh our options here.  Especially when your personal Bible study, prayer & taking a stand against the evil that is going on in our culture, nation & world makes you unpopular.  It signals to me the start of a foundation problem that will lead to bigger things later. 

 I see the signs here at our current church & my kids mental & spiritual health will no be sacrificed to stay & try to help fix it.  Its always hard but God first calls you to train up your kids.  They can't be trained well if you never see them, they are constantly barraged with opposite messages, or are mocked for their belief.  This is not the environment to grow in intellect or true Christian charity (I should know, I barely escaped public school in the 90's with my faith strong; its taken me a decade to repair from all that emotionally & spiritually).  This is what leads to broken, arm cutting, spiritually broken people who do nothing for anyone.

So why do we keep doing the same things our culture does?  Just get up, send them to school for almost the whole day with someone you really don't know.  Go to work to buy all the materialistic things our culture says we MUST have to be happy, go home, eat processed crap instead of real food we have to cook, get our kids to try to behave before we shove them off to bed (barely knowing what they did, learned or felt that day) and try to entertain ourselves to avoid actually taking time to think about what we are doing because blissful, deliberate ignorance is better than stopping, looking at the truth & making a change.  Then we go to church to "feel better" about ourselves instead of reading the Bible for ourselves, praying (really praying like to have a two-way conversation not just spout off our needs/wants/desires to our big daddy in the sky) & looking for ways to make ourselves more caring to those hurting around us. challenging to those Christians living in their "boxed" thinking & showing our kids the REAL way to live for Christ. 

We keep doing these "things" we are told to do without seeing anything but negative results.  WHY?  Please tell me why we still do this & not try to change things up?

SO here is my challenge for myself & for you:  Take some time this week to really sit & THINK....mull over what I said.  Look up chapters in the Bible & READ THEM....pray, seek God about the answers.  Ask yourself if what you are doing is leading you & your family closer to what the rest of our culture is headed towards: destruction & spiritual death or are you headed towards truth, love & life in Christ?  Its not about beating yourself up, its about meeting yourself where you are & admitting it....getting past all the masks & stuff you stifle the very things you know are dragging you down.  Take the time to see what's really going on with your kids.  Get to know them & find out what is really being taught to them...then ask:  is this going to grow my kids faith.  If not, look into better education options.  IF they are past basics (reading, grammar, basic math, etc)  They can really learn for themselves with some small assistance from you here & there.  If you want something bad enough, you will do what it takes in your life to achieve it....maybe you need a goal reset.  

It might make all the difference for you starting now.  I know it has for our family.  I will never go back to the way I used to see things or my old ways....The more I seek God, the more of the truth I understand.  The more I love others where they are too...I want to help them up to see past all the smoke & mirrors. 

Will you let me pull you up & see the life you are missing out on?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

What is LOVE?

So I have been thinking about this lately...then I found this blog I never posted back from 2011.  So here it is:

Love is more than always feeling passionate & warm n' fuzzy.  Its about choosing to love even when you are upset and are not happy with how others are acting.  So, here's to getting over disappointment and mending the hurts by continuing on and mending it with TLC..

I am about to put some tips down for marriage..ones we need to start using.  I will put up the links for the whole article. Mostly due to the large entries on some of the 7 tips (mostly tips  1&2) please, check out the full article--its super helpful!!

7 Marriage Tips to Stay Lucky in Love


Marriage Tip No. 1: Purge the "D'" word.

With the taste of wedding cake barely off their lips, divorce is the last thought -- or word -- on newlyweds' minds. But as the honeymoon period wanes, and day-to-day difficulties crop up, the word can come up frequently during arguments for some couples, say relationship counselors.
"Just don't go there," suggests Steve Brody, PhD, a psychologist in Cambria, Calif., who counsels couples. "Some people pull that out much too early, and much too often in a relationship. It raises a whole level ofanxiety [in the person hearing it]."

Marriage Tip No. 2: Replace the 7 deadly habits in a marriage with the 7 caring habits.

Learning the seven bad habits and the seven good ones is the easy part, admit William Glasser, MD, a Los Angeles psychiatrist, and his wife, Carleen Glasser, MA, who co-authored Eight Lessons for a Happier Marriage and include this idea in their book and counseling sessions. Putting them into practice takes effort, of course.
The seven deadly habits are criticizing, blaming, complaining, nagging, threatening, punishing, and bribing.
The seven caring habits include supporting, encouraging, listening, accepting, trusting, respecting, and negotiating your differences.

Marriage Tip No. 3: Take care of yourself.

This marriage tip is short and sweet: "Take care of yourself physically and spiritually," Brody tells couples.
That way, your stress will be down and your tolerance will be up. You'll be less likely to get on each other's nerves -- and to squabble. You're more likely to have a happy marriage.

Marriage Tip No. 4: Discuss outside friendships.

While some married couples consider activities such as workplace friendships with members of the opposite sex acceptable, some relationship experts disagree.
"I'm not big on cross-gender friendships for married people," Brody says. "It's playing with fire." One exception, in his book: If a wife has a friendship with a gay man or a husband has a friendship with a gay woman, he's fine with that, since the romance potential is nonexistent.
Otherwise, he says, the line is too easy and tempting to cross.

Marriage Tip No. 5: Stop trying to control your partner.

It's another one of those easier-said-than done marriage tips, of course. But trying to control each other -- using a technique psychologists call "external control" -- is the main source of marital unhappiness, according to the Glassers. In a happy marriage, partners know they cannot control each other.
You have practiced this "external control" if you have ever told your partner they need to behave the way you want them to or that you know what is right.
Learning not to control a partner can be a long process, but the Glassers offer some tips on educating yourself. "Think first," Carleen Glasser says. Ask yourself: "If I can only control my own behavior, what can I do to help the marriage?" Then think of what you can change to make the problem better, she suggests.

Marriage Tip No. 6: Honor and respect your partner.

"Be honoring all the time," says Thomas Merrill. That means no "my old lady" stories, he says. And it also means a wife shouldn't be flirting with male co-workers or other men.
Respect was also a marriage tip that came up often from the marriage masters, Boggs says. "The No. 1 principle that almost everyone talked about is respect," he says. "You can have respect without love, but you cannot have love without respect."
Respect, say those with a happy marriage, means not undermining your partner in front of the children. "And don't go outside the marriage when you are having a problem," Boggs says they advised. "Discuss it with your partner."
Respect also means not criticizing your mate in front of others, Miller and Boggs were often told by the marriage masters. To make this marriage tip easier to practice, consider the input of one marriage master on the topic, Boggs says. "One man told me, 'Let's say someone is walking by when you are criticizing your mate. That is the only opinion they have of you.'"

Marriage Tip No. 7: If you're the wife, lower your expectations. If you're the husband, step up to the plate.

When Steve Brody and his wife, Cathy Brody, MFT, a marriage and family counselor, toured the country to promote their book, Renew Your Marriage at Midlife, they asked audiences what they wanted from marriage.
"Women expected to be loved, cherished, listened to, cared for, and courted," Steve Brody says. They had a long list of wants and expectations, he recalls. The men joked that their expectations were more basic: Their typical answers, Brody says: "Bring food and show up naked."
While the men were half joking, the gaps in expectations are a good lesson. To close the gap, Brody says, women need to lower their expectations -- to not expect 24/7 romance, for instance, especially if their mate has just worked an unbelievably long week.
Men need to do some of the things the woman wants, such as prioritize their relationship and listen more, he says. In a nutshell, Brody says, "Men need to do the same things at home that they do at work." He tells the husbands he counsels to think of it this way: "Your wife is the million-dollar client. If she walks out the door, the business is closed."

 And here's 8 more tips I found that are also important to keeping a marriage strong:


Private matters like your sexual relationships, finances and anything else you deem private should be kept between you and your mate, only.

Whatever happens within the marriage should stay there and not be blabbed about at the workplace or bar. If your mate couldn't climax the night before don’t make fun about it in public. That should remain between the two of you only.

Problems often arise if the wife earns more than the husband. He doesn't want people to think the wife is keeping him or that he married her for her money, so it’s best to keep financial matters as private as possible.


Set up a budget and then try to stay within your budget. Put so much aside into a savings account, each month, even if it seems a measly amount. This gets you into the habit of saving and watching areas where you could economize even more.

Plan ahead for those necessary expenditures and emergencies. Review your strategy month by month along with your long term goals.

Figure out ways of economizing on the small details, because those pennies really do add up.


Draw up a contract just like a business arrangement where you list all the jobs that have to be done and when they have to be completed. That way everything gets done on a routine basis. This leaves no room for arguments about who should do what.

Set aside one hour a night when you both work at your routines set for that day. You work together, you finish together and then you have time for each other. It’s amazing what can be accomplished within one hour especially if you are both working at it and not feeling slighted because you’re the only one, doing all the work while your partner just sits and watches TV.


No one wants a yes man or woman. Both men and women are different and therefore should retain their own likes and dislikes. Just because the husband likes football, doesn’t mean that the wife has to enjoy it and the reverse is true for the wife and her enjoyments which the husband can’t stand, like perhaps sewing. But, show respect for your mate’s interests and the time set for your mate to spend with friends.

Always respect each other’s belief systems. No two people think the exact same way.


If you have discussed a problem with one of the children and come to a decision then stick to it and don’t undermine your mate making him/her to look like a monster. The child needs to know that if one parent says no then the other one agrees. Children become confused and start playing one parent against the other.

This will eventually cause a rift between the parents and can lead to an unhappy household. No parent enjoys hearing a child say well daddy/mommy said I could after you have just told the child no.


If something happens, tell your mate outright and then try to work through the problem. There is nothing worse than hearing it second hand from a friend rather than from your mate directly.

Take time for each other and the family, instead of attending too many committee meetings out of the house.

If you like to drink, why not drink at home instead of down at the bar. It’s cheaper and your mate will be happier knowing where you are. Perhaps bring your buddies home once in a while. Again both mates should check with the other to be sure there aren't other plans for that night.


Let your mate know if you are planning to bring friends home and not just walk in with them. The same thing for your children. Tell them to plan ahead and perhaps set one night a week preferably not the same night the bridge or drinking party is taking place so they can start organizing their lives as well.

When your mate is sick, try to be considerate. That means keeping the house quiet and helping with the clean meals and clean-up. Remember, when someone is sick, they are at their weakest moment and need positive energy to get well.

Take turns deciding what the entertainment will be like the movie or TV program.


Surprise your mate with a special evening once in a while. Arrange with a friend to take the kids for a sleep over but do make sure you reciprocate the favor at a later time.

Make sure the house is super clean if you’re planning a love nest time at home and have his favorite meal prepared. Set a romantic tone with candles, his favorite scent, wine and music. Remember this is his special night.

Then sometime let him reciprocate by taking you out to your favorite restaurant. It’s special, little surprises and treats like this, that spark a marriage and keep the romance alive. But remember, it doesn't have to be expensive, for it’s the love and mutual respect that spark the marriage into a life commitment of fulfillment.

If you follow these simple marriage tips more than likely you will keep your marriage well tuned until ‘death does you part’. May the blessings of love be truly with you.

Hope this little advice helps someone today.  I know its always good to have a reminder!  We've made it through 8 years of marriage so far (some years great others tough, like this last one).  If you follow these tips above, I know they will help tremendously towards keeping your marriage strong!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Crazy & Lazy Days

With having two little toddler boys, I feel like I have a lot of roller coaster days & weeks that go all over the place.  One day all is well, the kids do mostly what they are told & I get more done that I expected --because you plan to do all these things but really know you are only going to get maybe 2-3 of them done.  Those are good days.  Great days are when you get 4, maybe 5 things on your "list"'s mommy nirvana!  I can sit & do something I want after the kids go to bed--those are the days.

I love & yearn for those days that come less often as I have two toddler boys in the house that are 18 months apart.  Yes, its full on crazy most days trying to keep up with their messes or staying with them outside to let them wreak havoc out there rather than in my home.  There is the daily "lock you in your playroom like its a detention center for toddlers."  Love that.  I either get to finish a chore my oldest can't help me with or finish my meal & coffee fill up.  I am lucky to get the kids clothed, fed twice (with a snack or two thrown in when they are "growing", like everyday), taught something do chores, to a nap (I do chores, they nap) & playing again.  Me time, I try to make myself get it during kids' nap time. Sometimes it happens & sometimes I don't get any "me" time until a hour after the kids fall asleep, not go to bed, fall asleep (sometimes that comes a bit after the "get back into bed/stop talking or yelling/no more banging or you're gonna regret it" line a couple times with appropriate discipline usually instilled).  So, yes, most days are crazy days with some great things that bring joy & others that bring frustration, maybe some anger from time to time.   

Then there are these days that come like a light at the end of the tunnel of endless crazy days.  The lazy day.  Now, this isn't always the weekend days.  No, those days usually get more crazy for mommy with another "male" in the house.  Don't get me wrong, the hubby does help out & he always takes poopy diaper duty on the weekends (THANK YOU!).    Lazy days are days when all is right with the "world" you live in here.  The chores are done, the house looks like normal people live in it not "noise with dirt on it" running around spreading mess everywhere they are able.  All the stars align & you have a chance to take a step back to breathe & enjoy life--to really see where you are at, maybe thank God for what you have.  Those days I need more than I receive right now, but as I learn to maintain my house better they are coming more frequently.  I am learning to maintain & do the work before I try to take a needed day for myself.   It becomes a true lazy day.

When I do what I can do, even when I feel not my best, I can step back & notice I don't have much to accomplish.  My days are free from worry when I need to take a breather.  I can truly relax.  So what I thought were lazy days used to be really "ignore the mountain of work & chores I have to do because I need to have some fun before I go crazy."  Those are rejuvenating because you know that you have to make the house clean tomorrow.  You can't relax, really relax, knowing the ton of work that greets you the next day.  With the idea of maintaining, I know I have a little to do everyday to keep things the way I want, so if I miss a day, its not the end of the world.  That is, as long as I do extra chores spread out the rest of the week.

So, are you being able to relax or are you just stopping the madness because you have to take time for yourself before you go crazy.  One of these is not ideal.  It just took me years to figure it out--hello to epiphany!  I was sick yesterday but I did everything in my ability & then prayed that God do the rest, so I could get some chores done.  By mid/late morning I was on my feet & ready to go, praise God, feeling much better.  I got just what I needed to get done.  I managed to have some "hubby & me time" doing an online MMO RPG we play together when we actually have free time.  So nice to not feel that nagging & reminders of all I have to do still while doing that game because it was all done for that day.  Anything else was what I was supposed to do tomorrow.

So, I guess this is a challenge....try to see how you can maintain rather than constantly run behind trying to catch up.  Maybe that's getting your kids & spouse involved more.  Maybe its working hard for a week or two & getting ahead, then starting daily chores & weekly chores.  Maybe that is starting a mommy cleaning club (group of moms take one week each month & rotate each week with who's house they help get cleaner) or hiring some help.  Whatever you need to do, try to find a way on top of the mess.  Its so much better up here!