Monday, August 31, 2009

my daughter's blog

Evidently, blogging runs in the family. My daughter has had her own blog for quite some time. Now she has two! She recently started up a blog called "There and Back Again" in honor of the Lord of the Rings series. She is currently reading Fellowship of the Ring and so her blog is based on that book as well as the movie. I'm very pleased that she is reading this book and hope that she continues with the others in the series. Reading is a passion of mine, and I hope that Haley finds as much joy as I do from reading. I find that it's a great escape; who doesn't need to escape every once in a while? I hope you follow the link and leave her a nice comment or two. ;0) There's nothing like a little link love, you know?

Monday, August 24, 2009

warning to male readers - you might not want to proceed

I'm at a yucky place again. I'm not quite down in the pit, but I feel my feet starting to stick in the miry clay that surrounds the gigantic, dark black hole. This is when I start to do a spiritual & physical inventory of sorts.

  1. How's my prayer life? Check - I'm praying regularly.
  2. Am I reading the Bible? Check - I'm reading almost daily.
  3. Am I in fellowship with other believers? Check - I attend regular fellowships and meet with friends who hold me accountable.
  4. Am I in God's will? Check - as far as I know, anyway.
  5. Am I sleeping enough? Check - at least for the last 2-3 nights it's been good (except that I've had to take OTC meds)
  6. Am I eating the right things? No check - I've had too much junk/fast food in the last few days.
  7. Am I remembering to take my supplements? Check - except for the Kava Kava for sleep (I haven't restocked).
OK, so could eating junk food and fast food, OTC sleep meds be enough to start pushing me toward the pit? I don't know, really. It doesn't help, I'm sure. For the most part I think I've just got a rotten attitude. But then I have to wonder, "How can I have a bad attitude if I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing - reading the Bible, praying, fellowship with believers, etc.?" Then I ask, OK, (sorry about this, guys. I did warn you) is it that time of the month? I think it's coming up soon, but WHY and HOW can that make me feel so sad and angry? And how can I explain/teach my daughter to control her emotions when she begins this wonderful journey called womanhood? (grrrrr!) I get really tired of struggling with this month after month. I know that I need to control myself, but there are times when I feel completely OUT of control. It's almost as if another person takes over and I'm out-of-body hovering around watching this lunatic go around using my body, ranting and raving about stupid things and I'm helpless to stop it! Part of my mind knows this is insane - but that's the part that has been hijacked. It really is like Jekyll and Hide (except I didn't voluntarily ingest something to bring on this transformation). I have no hope for the future, either. From what I hear menopause is not pretty, either. Why do women have to deal with this mess?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

dreading the night

The title of my blog should be an indication that I have sleep issues. I've struggled with getting a good night's sleep since my teen years. I've tried many different things: warm baths, reading, aroma therapy, soft music, sounds of nature, exercising, medications, herbal teas, etc. Several of these things have worked, but only for a short time. I lie in bed and a plethora of thoughts will run around in a tizzy, much like ants do when their hills are disrupted. No matter how physically tired I am, most nights I toss and turn, envious of the sounds of slumber my husband and kids are making. I hear street noise, crickets and the wind - other sounds made only in my imagination. I picture family members living and passed. I worry if I'm doing enough for my kids, my husband, and my God. I think of what needs to be accomplished tomorrow. I recount my short comings and berate myself for my weaknesses. I try to sing myself to sleep. I try to pray but then my mind wanders and I feel guilty because I can't concentrate long enough to talk to my heavenly Father. I stress out that time is passing and I'm still awake at midnight, 1:30 a.m., 2:45 a.m., and so on. I hate that my mind won't cooperate but insists on rebelling against the moon and stars that indicate it's time for rest. I regret that I'm not a morning person like my husband, and that I don't get to see him when he's rested. I long to be different - normal.

So, even after a long day, I dread the night. But when I think of it, it's the morning I dread. That's when all the expectations begin again and I have no energy or drive to live up to them.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Monday, August 10, 2009

1st Day Back to School - take two

Technically we started school back in June; we just didn't continue it throughout the summer like I had planned. I had great intentions of schooling my kids year-round so that their brains wouldn't get all mushy and emptied of math concepts, etc. However, I just did not have the motivation to pursue that lofty goal, so here we are facing our first full-fledged day of education for the '09-'10 school year - AGAIN. I got off to a rocky start (no surprise there). There was this thing I kept doing with the alarm clock - you know, engaging the snooze button multiple times. After finally getting out of the bed, I started the coffee and while that was brewing I prayed. I told God that I just wasn't ready for this school thing. But He reassured me that He has prepared me to do what He has called me to do, so I prayed a few verses of Scripture and then I went to wake up the kids. I cooked them breakfast hoping that would get them off to a good start. They were very appreciative since breakfast around here usually consists of cereal. After breakfast, chores, getting dressed and brushing teeth, we began our lessons. First off - Bible. The lesson, which is the continuation of Revelation, went well. Then we tackled math. That's where it always falls apart. Math is the dreaded subject for my son (Haley's not crazy about it, but she deals with it). It would be amusing if it wasn't so frustrating. You see, as soon as Dawson cracks open the math book, his mind seems to go into a hibernating mode. He gets this glazed look in his eyes and his head starts to bobble back and forth, side to side. All of a sudden he reverts back to his pre-kindergarten days because he no longer remembers how to add or subtract, much less multiply, divide and convert measurements. My daughter experiences the typical after summer amnesia concerning fractions, so while my son is yelling, "MOM! I need your help!", she is also patiently waiting after yelling, "Um, Mom?! Can you help me, please?!" So I've got two different students in two different rooms yelling simultaneously for me to come wave my magic pencil over their heads in hopes that the numbers will start to once again move in choreographed precision. Thankfully I didn't lose my cool today. I just went to Dawson, reminded him that "Yes, you do know what 6x9 is, if you'll just try a little harder to remember. Oh, and keep your numbers IN LINE so that you'll know where everything goes". Then I went to Haley and remembered how much I hated working with fractions, but managed to help her with a few problems; I took a deep breath, and then silently said a prayer of self-motivation, "I can do this". One hour passes. Dawson is on problem, oh I don't know, TWO, and Haley is struggling as well, but has mercifully gotten farther along than her younger brother. However, Haley is doing two lessons a day compared to Dawson's one, so she will have more time to commit. Dawson still isn't near being done after an hour, so I tell him to stop for now, and finish it later, we have several other subjects to do. Reading, spelling, grammar, writing, history, P.E. *sigh* Day one - near completion, and it's only 3:20 p.m. But, that's what happens when you don't get started until nine o'clock in the morning.

I hope I don't sound as if I'm disappointed in my kids, because that's not it at all. I'm very proud of them and thankful for them. It's just that being the sole responsible person for their education is daunting at times and I wonder why God has entrusted such a task to me. This homeschooling thing is indeed a calling. It can't possibly be done without the direction of God Almighty, at least not in my case, and when I have days like today (which is typical) it's all I can do to hold it together. Not because my kids are bad, or at fault, or anything on their part, but because of me and my insecurities and well, my selfish desires, if I'm to be perfectly honest. On the other hand, when I see their faces light up with understanding, I realize what an honor being their teacher is.

Monday, August 3, 2009

God told me to be quiet

Where do I start?

OK, about a week or so ago I was praying about a person who I think tends to ramble on and on and on. I was asking God to help this person realize what he was doing and to encourage him to, well - stop! While I was praying for this person, I also prayed for myself on this matter because I don't want to be guilty of doing the same thing. Well, during my prayer I felt that God was telling ME to "Be quiet". I asked God if He meant this literally, and He said, "Yes. Be quiet until further notice" or something like that. So, I took that to mean that He wanted me to take a vow of silence. I told my husband, my kids and two of my closest friends, so that they could pray for me and also so they would know why I wasn't talking. I had braced myself for this vow to last for an undetermined amount of time. All the rest of that day I refrained from talking. Instead, I prayed silently, read of a lot of Scripture and meditated on it. During this time I realized how much I ramble. I talk just to talk - a lot! Also, most everyone around me does the same thing. Are we afraid of silence or something? Are we afraid we won't be noticed if we're not making noise? I don't know. I had decided that I wasn't going to take the easy way out by isolating myself, so I went on to church that night and then to choir practice. It was challenging, but I managed to keep my mouth shut! During choir practice instead of singing, I sat in the back of the room and prayed for everyone who was there while also searching the Bible. It was an awesome time with God even though I was surrounded by people!

Now, I will also share with you that my family was not happy with my taking this "Be quiet" thing literally and seriously. For some reason they felt that I was deserting them or something. I'm still not quite sure why they felt this way, but it was a mutual feeling they all had. Maybe my silence made them aware of their non-silence? I don't know.

As I mentioned, I had braced myself for a long haul on this quiet thing, but the next morning the Lord gave me a peace about once again talking, much to my family's relief. My daughter asked me if I had learned anything. I told her that "Yes, I did." She asked me what it was, and I told her, "I talk too much, and so does everyone else!"

Well, the day after that, I was involved with a freedom appointment as a prayer partner. This is something from the Freedom in Christ ministries and I HIGHLY recommend it. During our lunch break we were chatting, and I started rambling again! I heard God's voice say, "Do you want Me to tell you to be quiet again?". So, I tried to be more mindful of speaking only when it was necessary. Let me tell you, this isn't an easy thing for me to do. I mean, after all these years of talk, talk, talk, it really takes effort to cut it out! One of the verses that I meditated on during all of this is Proverbs 17:27-28

A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered. Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.

I'm really trying my best to remember this and not talk so much. Have you ever struggled with this in your life?

Now onto the vacation... we were fortunate enough to be able to go on a five day/four night vacation to Gulf Shores, AL. We have dear friends who live near there and so we were also able to visit with them. We hooked up our camper and took off for the beach. It was a blast! My husband and kids absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the water, so going to beach was very exciting to them. I was satisfied just to watch them have fun in the surf (I don't like swimming with critters and such). Although, the sea is better than the lake since you can actually see what's in the water. Unfortunately there were a lot of jelly fish in the water, probably due to some stormy weather off and on. My son got stung several times, but it didn't keep him from going in again and again! I enjoyed watching the waves and taking pictures. I took way too many to share on this blog (over 300!), but I'll try and choose some of the best ones:

Beautiful shot (if I do say so myself) of seagulls in flight.

I was disappointed that the water wasn't the blue/green that I've seen in everyone else's summer shots this year. I think maybe it was due to the weather.


Dawson showing me how big the jellyfish was that he saw (one of many).

Close up of a jelly - yuck!

Dawson going back into the water despite the jelly threat.

The only shot of me (or part of me, anyway).

I just like this profile shot of Haley.

Some pretty flowers we saw on the way back to the car.

My husband being silly.

A prettier shot of the water.

Good friends, good times.