Coming to Terms With Big Changes

Hi there!

I haven’t posted for awhile because life happened and it’s taken me awhile to process it. Basically, my husband and I sat down with our family budget and realized that we couldn’t wait any longer for my books, blog, etc. to generate income. So, to do the responsible thing, we would have to sacrifice Homeschooling so that I could go back to work.

I can’t express how much this decision has pained me, but I still have faith that the Lord has a plan for us. Thankfully, my kids have wonderful teachers who care deeply about their education.

This site may end up back on the free WordPress site, but that decision won’t need to come until January. Until I am able to focus on this blog and my books again, you are welcome to follow my activity on Pinterest, where I am still actively pinning.

Thank you for reading this and Blessings!
Sarah

I Can Learn From the Trees – How to Bend, How to Sway

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There’s an old song by Ani DiFranco that runs through my head when I think about my parent’s mistakes. My parents separated when I was 4, and we stayed with my mom. My mom and dad were very bitter toward each other, and my sister and brother and I often felt that we had to pick sides in the war. I was the oldest, so I felt responsible for my younger siblings and my mom. I sided with her on everything and sadly grew up hating my dad. So here are the lyrics that repeat in my head:

growing up it was just me and my mom against the world
and all my sympathies were with her when I was a little girl
now I’ve seen both my parents play out the hands that they were dealt
as each year goes by I wonder how my father must’ve felt
and I just want you to understand
that I know what all the fighting was for
and I just want you to understand
that I’m not angry anymore
no I’m not angry anymore

every time we fight a cold wind blows our way,
but we learn like the trees
how to bend, how to sway and say
I, I think I understand
what all this fighting is for
And I just want you to understand
that I’m not angry anymore
no I’m not angry anymore

This song has taught me over the years to recognize the valuable lessons that both of my parents had for me. And I’m happy to say that in seeking to understand my father better, we have developed a very strong relationship. I love both my parents dearly and am so grateful for the attributes and lessons I have learned from them through the years.

Now as I sing this song, I hope that my oldest son, who lives with his father, can forgive me for my mistakes as a mother and noncustodial parent. I hope one day that he can see me as the strong tree, who did not fall when the rains and snows came, who did not break when the winds of the hurricane howled around me. Though I did have to bend nearly to the ground, and I had to sway and give up much. But I hope that he can see that I worked constantly to stay rooted in his life, to show him my love; to shade him, when he was near, from the heat of the world on his little shoulders.

One day I hope that he can be like the tree, as I imagine Our Savior to be, standing firmly rooted in what is right, and when necessary, turning the other cheek.

Do you struggle to remain Christlike in the storms of life? What have you found that works for you?

Blessings,
Sarah

Venturing Outside

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Something that can be hard to remember for a book-loving introvert, is to go outside, everyday (and walking between your car and house, work, store, church, does NOT count). I do remember to send my kids outside every day. I’m a big believer in the many valuable effects of playing outside. And living in the Mountain West, we get plenty of days of sunshine, so I can send them out all but 1 or 2 days a month.

But while my kids are joyfully playing in the sunshine, I’m usually seizing the moment to clean or prep something, or to write, budget, email, anything I need to do to get caught up. I have a few precious moments not being taken by the kids, so I usually keep them to myself.

But not today. Today I tackled a mountain of weeds in my garden that were taller than my kids, and I conquered them. I ventured out into the sun and the heat (it’s not bad today, only 83 degrees, with a nice breeze) with my sunhat and my pink gloves, and I waged war with that mountain. And I won! The best part? I got them before most of them went to seed, Yay!

I’m feeling good, and maybe I’ll have some autumn vegetables planted in a few weeks. I should really go outside more often.

Now back to my desk and that blog…

Blessings,
Sarah

How I Survive the Summer with Kids

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Hi there!

One thing I really like about summer, is that my house is cleaner than any other time of year; not because I clean more (I am Not the best housewife), but because my kids clean more. (Woohoo!!)

A few years ago I ran into a great post on Pinterest on how one mom kept her kids from driving her nuts during the summer. She started her own summer camp. I loved the idea and ran with it, researching a few different methods and finally coming up with my own.

I have 7 categories of task that each kid can accomplish. Depending on their ages, they have to do 3, 5, or all 7 of the tasks. Each task is made more difficult as each kid grows older. I give them a checklist that they can check off the tasks as they complete them.

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If they want anything beyond the necessities from me, they have to complete their daily number of required tasks. So when they come asking to play Wii (or any other computer/video game), I ask, “Have you finished your checklist?” The same goes for when they want to do any activity that requires making a mess or adult supervision.

The 7 categories are as follow:

  1. TIDY UP YOUR ROOM: Make your bed, dirty clothes in hamper, clean clothes in drawers, stuff put away
  2. READING: Pick a book from the library books or from the bookshelves
  3. WRITING: Write a page in your journal, write a story, write about what happened yesterday
  4. EXERCISE: Go Outside! Do a physical activity, run a race, or play a sport in the backyard, bounce on the trampoline
  5. BRAIN WORK: Exercise your brain by doing a page or worksheet in math, science, history, another language, etc.
  6. GOSPEL STUDY: Study a gospel topic or read your scriptures for a set amount of time
  7. HELP THE HOME: Do a chore to help out – sweep the kitchen, vacuum a room, clean the bathroom mirrors and sinks, load or unload the dishwasher

This system has helped me to have a little less chaos during the restless summer months, especially as kids of all ages (from our first marriages) rotate in and out of the house. Regardless of age, when the kids have something to do, they spend MUCH less time creating trouble. And this helps them learn good habits. AND my house gets much cleaner! Hehehe.

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Thanks for reading my post. I hope you picked up something you can use. Please feel free to comment with ideas that help you through the summers.

Blessings,
Sarah

 

Some Days Are Better Than Others…

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There’s a country and western song for that… “Some days you’re the windshield, some days you’re the bug.”

Today I feel like I’m the bug. I used to struggle with depression daily, for years. So I have a familiar rut I crawl into when I get overwhelmed. And I did that this morning, after getting out of bed, getting dressed, and starting the day, — the despair hit. I tried looking at the budget again to see how we’re going to make it work. I was trying to find that silver lining, that bright spot in a sea of dark. But all I found was more reasons to lose hope. I feel like we’re drowning.

So I shut down.

I went back to my room and crawled back into bed. I didn’t feel like I had the strength to hold myself up anymore. My whole body felt like it was being dragged to the ground. So I lied down and hid under my husband’s pillow.

And then I heard my stepson get up. I hoped that he would feed my little ones breakfast so that I wouldn’t have to get up and move. He didn’t. He told my 2 year old to wait for mama. And then, in answer to the little ones request, he opened the back door so he could go play outside. So, here then I have a teenager eating breakfast alone, 2 kids playing a game upstairs in their room, and the youngest outside in his pj’s with the rains from the night still on the ground.

I HAD to get up. It was time to be mommy.

But I couldn’t. My arms and legs still wouldn’t move. I tried to tell myself he would be ok, after all, it’s July, it’s 75 degrees outside. I can lie here for a few more minutes. …

Then the argument in my head began. First the mommy voice, then the despair, then the mommy, then the despair, then the voice that was upset about the battle inside my own head. And for the first time in at least a decade, I had voices in my head fighting with each other.

I started sobbing. I couldn’t take it, I was overwhelmed.

I started talking to God. I told Him that I knew He was there. I asked Him for help, — and told Him I didn’t want it. I told Him I knew He could get me through it, — and I told Him I didn’t care. Basically, I brought Him into my internal battle.

Then He gave me the answer. “The very fact that you are here is the proof that you will get through this.” Oh!

In other words, you are being dragged down into the darkness because you are on the edge of the dawn. You are drowning because the dam is about to break. It’s going to work out, and you know it will, because you are being attacked by your demons!

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TADA!!

That was the epiphany the I needed.
I recovered my strength.
I got up.
I dressed my youngest and fed my kids breakfast.

And Now, I am Mommy again!

I don’t have any idea how we are going to fix our budget woes, but I know the answer is right around the corner. Why else would the adversary be using so much effort to hold me back? Something great is on it’s way. And I can have faith and know that All is Well.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read through all of this! If you have had similar experiences, feel free to let me know in the comments.

Gratefully,
Sarah

 

Drowning Photo by Kristopher Roller on Unsplash
Sunrise Photo by Blake Richard Verdoorn on Unsplash

Parenting and Tempers Don’t Mix Well

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So I’ve been researching how to parent better for over a decade now (see my previous post, I Have Difficult Children), it’s an ongoing thing. Anyway yesterday I was reading a great article about keeping calm when doling out consequences (The Distracted Mom) and remembering the advice received in the parenting class I had to take after my dear boy, Aagh was diagnosed with O.D.D. (Oppositional Defiant Disorder). I took the class back in February, so I had practiced the methods that The Distracted Mom described. And I have seen them work.

However, I am not good at keeping my cool on a day-to-day basis. More often than I’d like to admit, I am frustrated with myself for hollering at the kids, again. So, I’m working on it. But I’m still human, last I checked.

Feel free to comment with your commiserations and/or techniques for keeping cool.

Thanks again!

Sarah

I Have Difficult Children

 

So I’m the mother of a blended family. Yup, I failed my first marriage, utterly, pretty ugly. Anyway, I had one son from my first husband, a very bright, energetic boy (some of you already know where this is going), who used every tool in his arsenal to test my newly-developed mothering skills. As payback for us getting divorced at 2, he learned to hold his stools, creating a years long dance with toilet training and constipation. Yay! …

Once we got through that (just have patience with yourself, it WILL end eventually… right? 😉 ), my amazing boy, who we’re going to nickname AAGH!, had to enter kindergarten. — Actually, we weren’t all the way through the potty training when kindergarten started, imagine calls from the principal that he needed to go home early because he smelled… Such fun! — Anyway, my dear Aagh retained his bright, energetic nature and landed himself in so many suspensions that I honestly thought he was going to be expelled… from KINDERGARTEN!

We’re going to let that one sit for a minute. Wow.

This, by the way, is when I seriously started considering homeschooling.

Yeah… so anyway, and anyway, and anyway (as my dear Aagh used to say at the long-gone adorable age of 3), we have somehow all managed to survive elementary school with the lovely new diagnoses of ODD, ADHD, and Major Depressive Disorder, all my son’s. And surprisingly, other than more wrinkles than I should have at my age, I can honestly say I’m a better mom and person in general than when we started this journey.

Granted I still lose my cool more often than I’d like. But in general I’m a better person. I have to say I couldn’t have survived without my Savior. I leaned on Him when exhausted, cried to Him when in deepest despair, and prayed constantly when lost for ideas. Nothing He has asked me to do has been easy , but it has all brought me more peace, joy, love, and a greater understanding and liking of myself.

Up next… Middle School!! AAAHHHH!