Articles to mull over

Here are a few links to articles that I have found interesting and have been mulling over in my mind these last few weeks.  Hopefully you will enjoy them too.

*There are a few affiliate links in this post.

On Health

I have become fascinated with magnesium and the role that it plays in bodily processes. This article highlights some of the hormonal symptoms that result in magnesium deficiencies are outlined in this post.  As I have researched magnesium I have found it linked to ADHD, cholesterol issues, fibromyalgia, migraines, restless legs syndrome, irritability, insomnia, to name a few off the top of my head.  To help get our magnesium in we eat leafy greens, take a magnesium supplement, take our baths with epsom salt, spray magnesium oil on body, and on stressful days will drink Natural Calm.  

I was fascinated with this article about how the acne on your face is a road map to what systems are struggling internally.   Interestingly enough, the areas that my face keeps breaking out in does correspond to health issues that I am currently aware of and working on trying to find a remedy.

The impression that I got in my education was that the human race is so much smarter now than they were thousands of years ago.  I found myself questioning that as a kid, but as I asked questions the answers received always confirmed that thought process, because my teachers were all coming from an evolution based mindset.  But as I started teaching my children from a creation based perspective, I was amazed at all the resources that pointed out this line of thought obviously was not the case.  I have become even more fascinated with this concept as I have started studying more aspects of natural remedies, health foods, and traditional diets.  I am amazed as more and more studies are going back and finding out some of these natural remedies do in fact work.  This article was thrilling to me, as I read about how they are finding evidence that an onion and garlic remedy that is at least 1,000 years ago is proving to have great potential in fighting the MRSA.

On Education

In homeschooling, conversation is a vital part of your children’s education.  I talk to my kids all the time, but I need to amp up the quality, non-rushed conversations that happen in the home between my children and me.

Thought provoking article on how we educate our children at home from a veteran homeschool mom.  Have homeschoolers slipped too far back into the model of what public schools are doing because we are struggling under someone else’s idea of what a “proper” education is? 

On Parenting

As of late, a frequent discussion among some of my friends has been along the lines of doing things that will mess our children up or cause them to walk from the faith.  This was a great post about the most important thing that one family did in encouraging their children to continue to walk with the Lord into adulthood.

On purpose

I loved this article about how to find your “thing.” 

My Best Parenting Advice

The three littles are outside playing.  The older three are strung out on the floor listening to Shakespeare flowing fort from my mouth as I read to them excerpts of his poetry.  My phone rings.  Instinctively, I look down, to my phone and see my friend’s name come up on the screen.  My first response is that I will just let voicemail pick it up, but reconsider that knowing that she doesn’t call for nothing, and I need to pick up the phone.  I apologize to the kids for interrupting their lesson, but tell them I really need to answer this.

I say hello, and hear the crack in her voice as she answers back with, “Hey, do you have a minute.  If you don’t its okay.”

And I know that at this moment my ministry needs to be to my friend.  The kids are happy for a break anyhow. They move on to books of their liking, block building, and bouncing on an inflatable house.

She asks me questions about how to parent in different situations. Hard places. She tells me of the struggles that her and kids are walking through.  What is the best way to train? What is the best way to discipline?  What is the best way to teach them in this place?  And how do you teach them when the sin that they are struggling with is the one that seems to entangle the parent so often?

I share that I understand the plight.  We’ve seen some of the same things in our home.  I share ideas of what worked with some of my kids.  I tell her it could be so many things.  There could be so many answers.

And then I share my best parenting advice.

Pray.  You need to pray. Only through the Holy Spirit will you have the insight needed.  He can show you if the heart of the issue is the child’s sin, a health issue, a diet issue, bad influences the kid has come in contact with, or even if it is an issue with your parenting.  He can show you the root and the solution.

My next piece of advice for parents would be, have faithful friends you can call.  Friends who know what it is like to be in the trenches of parenting life and are not afraid to share openly their own struggles.  Find friends who will pray for you and with you.

Parenting Lessons in the Potty Room

Downsizing in bathrooms, I decided we had to get creative in creating privacy while still making our home as functional as possible.  We installed a curtain in front of our toilet, to allow for the toilet to be used, while someone else has access to the master closet, shower, or the bathroom sinks.

pottyroom.JPG

I was behind the curtain finishing up my business, when the curtain flies up, and a sweet curly head emerges, and grabs my neck to engulf me in a hug.  I was in mid-wipe position, and could tell my balance would quickly be lost.  “Stop.  Wait till I’m done to hug me. ” Dewberry crumbles to the floor and dissolves into tears.  These are not fit tears, or disobedient tears, but crushing hurt tears. I try explaining to her that I love her so much and I appreciate her hugs, but it is inappropriate to come up and hug and kiss someone while they are using the potty.

But ohh…I stop.  

Oops.  

Momma misstepped.

I realized what I did.

Somewhere along the road of parenting a larger than average family, I picked up this piece of advice.  I’m not sure if it came from Michelle Duggar or Kelly Crawford of Generation Cedar.  Perhaps it was another large family momma, but somewhere I read to carve out special time with the kids in the routine, including bathroom and diaper time.  This mom made the point that you have to change the little’s diapers or wipe their bottoms anyways. So while doing these things, speak truth and love into their little hearts.  Tell them that you love them.  Let them know reasons you find they are special.  Express gratefulness that they are a part of your family.

I took this to heart and for the last several years, I have tried to make a point to speak kind uplifting words to them, especially in those times that I have most not wanted to be wiping a bottom.  Often times when I finish wiping their bottoms and get their panties pulled back up, I will give them a big hug and a kiss on their face.

Dewberry was offended because she felt rejected.  She was just offering up to her momma the same kind of affection that she’s been getting from her momma.  But Momma was less than pleased.  And she didn’t understand.

Momma had to apologize to her.

This incidence was a reminder to me: our children are watching us and learning how life works, even when we are unaware.

What are some of the unusual times that you look to speak love into your kids’ hearts?

Blog Intentions

On the outset of me starting this blog, I intended for it to be two-fold.  First, I wanted to be able to encourage other moms.  Second, I planned on recording things that happened in our family life as a means of collecting memories (since I am terrible at any other type of memory collecting).

As of late, I can rarely find the time to blog, so I am using that short time to record bits and pieces of our family life.  I know that I will probably remember very little of this stage which is just a natural result of how crazy it is with life demands from all these littles and so little sleep.  It saddens me that I will remember so little of it (there is so much about my older three that I have completely forgotten about until a picture conjures of some slight recollect of the event).  On the other hand, there are parts of this stage that I do not want to remember, which are all largely a result of the hormonal imbalances that make me feel so crazy.

So please bear with me as I repeatedly post about my kids and their accomplishments and silly antics.  I do intend at some point to post things that others may find helpful, encouraging, or relevant to their lives.  But for the time being, I am trying to record bits and pieces of who my kids are at this time in their lives so that I can give an account to them when they ask me to tell them stories about their past in a few short years.

Really???

Strawberry turned 15 months.  Yesterday.  Just yesterday.  Today she learned how to crawl out of her crib.  And might I add, that she is quite proud of herself.

I find myself wanting to cry.   In my mind she shouldn’t be big enough to do that.   I needed a few more months before she learns that trick.

I guess I should not be too surprised.  Grape learned how to climb out of her bed around 15 months too.

So to keep her safe for tonight she is in the pack-n-play, but it is only a matter of time before she learns how to crawl out of that too.  I’ve seen her try, and she gets pretty close to pulling herself out of it.

I am not sure what we are going to do.

I can say that life is going to be pretty crazy around here for awhile.   Grape does not stay in her bed well (and gets up multiple times at nap and bed time to go potty).  Strawberry can now get out of her bed.  And I have a newborn to nurse.   Plus Hubby is going to get back to his regular work schedule next week.  I am pretty certain that my opportunities to take naps have come to an end for some time.

The Lord is giving me more opportunities to learn to draw my strength from Him alone.

Sunday Madness

This is a topic that I’ve thought many times about posting or even discussing with others, and yet have avoided for fear of sounding heathen like.   But recently, I was talking with another mother of young children, and she expressed the same sentiment that I too have, which left me wondering, how many other mothers feel alienated because they feel as if they are the only one with these feelings (and my I even say at a times a disdain) for Sunday’s.

Sunday is the hardest, craziest, most stressful day of the week.

I find myself longing for a  Sabbath, but let’s be honest…after years of trying to find that on Sunday, it is not happening.  To get everyone up, feed them breakfast to fill their tummies (and hold them over till way past lunch time), fix everyone’s hair, have them dressed nicely, have shoes on all feet (or at least have shoes on all kids over a year old or have the shoes in the van to put on along the way), have diaper bags in the car, make sure everyone potties before getting in the van, and to grab anything else we may need for that day is anything but relaxing and restful.  In fact, it is downright stressful, exhausting, and tension filled.   We are always late (okay – if we do good we might make it to church on time 2x a year).  In fact, the days we are latest are generally the days we do the best about making Sundays a Sabbath days.  Those are the days that we spend more time focusing on the relationships rather than the clock – the days that we manage to get out of the house without losing our tempers with one another.

We attend a church that is family integrated and we love that fact about our church.  But it is no picnic with young children.  Especially when they are so close together. That fact was hit home today for us.  We have Grape who is in the process of being potty trained.  So, if she says she needs to potty, we take her (within reason…..not when we can see that she is trying to use pottying as an excuse to get up and go do something other than sitting still and listening to the service).    Strawberry is in the training stage of learning to sit still in one of our laps, be quiet, and submit to our authority – which is a process.  We practice with her some at home, but she is also having to be trained at church.  Obviously, when she is refusing to sit still and be quiet in church one of us has to take her out of the service where we will try to get her to calm down and then we bring her back in.  But sometimes, she is just unwilling to submit, so Hubby or I will take her and either stand outside while we make her lay her head on our shoulders or we will go to the fellowship hall and sit down while holding her until she decides she is willing to sit in our lap (most of the time that is after she has fallen asleep – exhausted from the struggle).  Today, Strawberry had to be taken out to practice sitting in her Daddy’s lap because she was refusing to in the service.  At the same time, Grape had to go potty.  Hubby and I got up at almost exactly the same time to take the two littlest out and tend to their needs, while we left the oldest three sitting in the pew listening to the service.   While tending to Grape pottying, I found myself thinking about how this was only about to get a lot harder and trickier when we add the new baby in to the scenario.   Our last time around of having a one year old and a two-year old, we were in a church with a nursery.  We’ve never been in a place of having a 2-year-old, 1-year-old, and newborn all at the same time.  Much less having them in a church service where we are training them to sit quietly through the service.

I will make note to say that the time of training them to sit quietly through a church service does pay off.  Our oldest three can do an absolute wonderful job of sitting still and  being quiet (even when we step out), while engaging their minds into the service at church.  But it is work to get there.

The craziness of Sunday’s continue on the way home.  Everyone is hungry and whinny.  Most often before we can get to a restaurant or home to eat, at least one if not several of our children have fallen asleep.  Once most of our kids have fallen asleep and gotten a cat nap in, that is it for the day.  Trying to get them to sleep again is just a battle.   So the schedule for our day is thrown out the window.

By the end of the day, everyone is just ready to call it a day.  And yet no one is ready for the week to begin.  We are exhausted and in need of a day of rest.

I find myself wishing that as a culture we could have a permanent three-day weekend.  There needs to be a day to get things done around the house and handle all the social obligations, a day for church and fellowship, and then a Sabbath day (oh a day to just rest and really have a chance to sneak away and have some quiet time outside and be with the Lord would be so wonderful).

But that is not to be…..not in this season.

So, for you mammas and daddies who feel like you are fighting in the trenches, more than you are actually getting a chance to worship and rest on Sundays, I want to let you know, we do understand and you are not the only ones in that place.  We know the work entailed,  and too know how absolutely exhausting just getting to church can be.  But as I have had several moms say to me; this season is so hard  – yet it pays off in the end.  We are starting to see glimpses of that with our older children.

 

There is so much I want to learn from you

Few things strike fear in me like someone making a comment such as “There is so much I want to learn from you.”  My instant reaction within myself is “Oh no, they are going to be so disappointed!”

I know that the Lord has brought me further down the road in this journey in life than He has others (just by the pure fact that I am older and have had different life experiences). I think that is why that when it is a college student or someone who is yet to be married, the amount of fear is not so much.  Sure, there are things that I’ve learned in the past nearly 10 years of marriage that I could share.  And there are things that I have learned along the way with having babies and little ones running around.  Nonetheless, a certain amount of fear and anxiety arises in me when someone, especially one whom I consider my peer, makes a comment of that sort.

The reason for this is that I feel like if people really spent time with me they would see a picture of my reality.  They would realize that I am a women that struggles on a day-to-day basis with being overwhelmed.  That I lose my patience far too often.  That when I should have a kind grace filled word, instead a harsh cutting word is what those in my home hear. It would become evident how completely discouraged I am by the piles of laundry, the crumbs and dirt on the floor, the growing mound of dishes, and all the work that keeps stacking up that I can never seem to get to.   One would quickly see, that far more than I would like to admit I loose perspective on what is most important (doing all things for the glory of the Lord) and instead seek within my flesh to put those things first that shouldn’t be first.  Such as instead of disciplining the child who needs to be reminded on how to speak in love to a sister, I find myself pretending that I do not hear the harsh tones in the next room because I want to buy the time of not dealing with that matter and get something accomplished that I can see immediate results with, like starting a load of laundry.

It scares me so because I am afraid by some of the comments that people say to me at times, that I have left them with some false illusion of who I am.  A false assumption that I somehow have it together.   I can not help but laugh when people say to me that I must be so organized to have so many kids and to homeschool them all.  In fact, when I hear that comment, I internally chuckle and think to myself how much more smoothly my life might run if I could only get the chance to get organized and then have the time to stay organized.  But organized……that’s not me.

Let’s be quite honest here.  I am a wife and a mother who seems to make a mess of so many things.   I daily see my weaknesses and my need for someone who can hold life together.  I see my weakness and my need for the strength that can come from only the Lord. I don’t always take Him up on that offer for Him to be strong in my weakness because far too often I am to prideful to do so.  And then, I struggle to walk in the grace that the Lord has poured out to me.

When Motherhood Feels Too Hard

I love reading, Kelly Crawford’s blog,  Generation Cedar.  I find her stuff to be encouraging and challenging.  So, I was very excited to see that she was writing a book, When Motherhood Feels Too Hard.  

I was even more excited when I received an email today informing me of the opportunity to purchase her book for $1 for today only.

Yep, that’s right.  If you could use some encouragement in your motherhood, you can obtain some godly encouragement from her book in the form of an e-book, for the small fee of $1 for today only.   I am not sure what the cost will be after that, but the $1 offer ends on Tuesday, February 21st at 8:00 AM, CST.

I hope you get it and enjoy the time of encouragement.  I know I am looking forward to getting to read this book.

Being Intentional and Taking the Time

I feel like the Lord keeps showing me over and over my great need for taking more time with the kids and being more intentional with the time I have with them now.

I just have to figure out what gets cut in my days.  I feel so busy…..all the time.  But at the same time, I know that I can do laundry, cook meals, and all the have to’s from now till I die…but that in itself will not give me their hearts.

“Oh Lord, give me wisdom as to how to do what must be done and still have time to treasure them and bond with them.

Thoughts of having to slow down have been flooding my heart and mind.  I had a friend speak into my life again and tell me just how important it is to stay home and be busy at home tending to the little hearts.  Then I read this poem, penned by Kelly Crawford of Generation Cedar.

Mother, Take The Time

I used to race, I used to hurry, I used to fret and frown and worry.

My children thought they had new names–”Hurry Up” and “We’re Gonna Be Late”!

Even when we were at home–laundry, cleaning, answer the phone…

I never had the extra time to sit and cherish these children of mine.   Read the rest here.

 

Recognizing Growth

A sweet friend gave me Loving The Little Years:  Motherhood in the Trenches by Rachel Jankovic for Christmas (Thank you friend!!!).  This little book is packed full of some great nuggets, but one thin that really stuck out to me was where she talked about not recognizing progress in our children because most often one sin replaces another.

Oftentimes we don’t even notice that they aren’t doing it, because something else has replaced it, and we are now too busy nagging them about (next sin)……….Try to notice these little mile markers on the path of sanctification.  If the sins have changed, it can be a sign of  growth.

If you have more than one child, it is especially easy to forget about their progress, because no sooner does one outgrow something than the next takes it up – like the Olympic torch.

As I read this, I was convicted that often times I see all the progress still to be made without noticing the ground that has been covered.   Therefore, I am always pushing the kids to grow more in this area or in that one, but seldom stop and praise them in places where they have been victorious.   I am sure that instead of being a source of encouragement to them, I’ve been a great source discouragement.

I do not wish for me to be such, so I have made a point in the last week to intentionally look for places where I see growth in each of them.  I’ve noticed that Blueberry has been taking  initiative to damp mop the bathroom on most mornings, in addition to her other chores.  Plum has been looking for opportunities to serve whether that be by making my bed in the morning or making me coffee or cleaning up Strawberry after eating.   Sweet Potato in the last week has grown leaps and bounds in the area of accepting the discipline in which we set out for him when he has done something that requires him to be disciplined.   Grape is learning bits of self-control and compassion towards her little sister.   Strawberry is learning a lot too but we are really just beginning this adventure with her.

As I’ve noticed these areas of growth with them, I’ve tried really hard to stop and communicate with them throughout the day the things I see them doing well.   They seem happier and I am much more relaxed.  A win-win situation for all of us.

This house is not meant to be quiet.

It’s ironic how when there is continual doors slamming, kids chattering, upstairs floors creaking, music playing, silly songs being sang, toys falling to the ground, feet pitter pattering, laughing, requests being made, kids fighting, tears flowing – I long for just a little bit of peace and quiet.

But then the quiet comes and for some reason it seems deafening, it’s so loud.  The quietness is so loud of emptiness.

When the four oldest of my five children are gone for several nights even the noise that Hubby, Strawberry, and I make is so quiet.

And this house is just not meant for quietness.

They’ve only been gone for a few hours and I am ready to have my family back together and back to our normal routines.