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I saw this photo on my instagram a few days ago, and this morning when I woke up tired I remembered what I had read:

joyprouty: 3:30am. stopped working to go to sleep and at that same moment the baby woke up to feed. i’ve learned a lot in the last three months of living on the road. the biggest perhaps is that the thing that creates the most bitterness in my heart is my feelings of entitlement towards things… such as a full night’s rest, or a bed/room/space/time of my own. somewhere in the back of my mind I harbor bitterness for the lack of sleep/neediness of children/the daily grind but it is just because I somewhere along the line decided I was entitled to the nature of my life as it was previously and then I grow bitter because the two lives don’t match up. trying to learn to be more grateful these days. choosing continually to let the expectations go. even if it means I don’t sleep. because that just means I have a baby in my arms healthy enough to cry to express her needs. I trust God will give me the strength to serve my family tomorrow because he trusted me enough to make me a mother. I choose to see His gifts instead of my useless bitterness. that is all for my wee morning hours deep thoughts. ;). hugs to the night mamas out there in the dark illuminated by the glow of their iPhones alongside me. 😉

Usually, when I don’t get the sleep I needed and it’s out of my control, even without being resentful of anyone, I get imbued w this great sense that some sort of compensation is expected, required, that I be given extra time to rest, without kids and to let myself slack off a bit around the house etc, because I’m so tired. Then of course when reality and my ideal don’t line up,
I get even more frustrated and angry.
It’s the tired days that almost always leave me frustrated and further from God because then it’s all about me.

Just because I’m tired from being up in the night, doesn’t give me any right to special treatment… ( during that day)

This has been my single biggest hang up that makes for what feels like a bad day. Joy, thank you so much for articulating this so clearly, so I can recognize it and start to change my ways!

There are many days when I start to feel so frazzled from the constant barrage of kid requests and complaints, and I hear it in my voice, that I am not being so patient or kind anymore, and I know I NEED a break, but still I don’t always get it- and yes that leads to more frustration and anger as well.

So, today, any day, maybe God will grant me rest or maybe not, not today, maybe He’ll provide in other ways. Either way, I will give thanks.

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Life is beautiful! Childhood is a wonder, growing up is awesome, marriage is wonderful, children are an amazing incredible gift!!!! There are seasons, but it seems it just keeps getting better and better!

After a long hard week, this morning I find myself just in awe of God’s faithfulness!!!

Faithfulness, about a kids birthday party! But, in Him everything comes together beautifully 🙂

Faithfulness, in both big and small, from getting fingers unstuck and taking care of my son when he got something stuck in his nose which was actually pretty serious, to providing cotton candy in the exact 3 colors I needed and leading me to the little chocolate teddy cookies at the bulk store when Teddy Grahams had discontinued that flavor, to carrying ME through all the ups and downs this week held for us. Thurs night as I said my bedtime prayers in the kitchen I could see the ants crawling everywhere… and I just thought: we’re about to have a party here, and have someone come look at our house now too and it’s this great disaster- and DH is still at the children’s hospital with my oldest, the guest of honor at this party! – I feel like there was this immense crushing mountain just above me, about to fall on me, falling even, but it can’t crush me because Jesus is holding it up. It’s right there, I can see it, but with Him I am safe…’

And faithfulness to my prayers, as just in the last 2 days, I am actively seeing the beginning fruits of 2 more of my prayers for DH!!!!

This has been a hard week, I don’t even know why, but it has! And still, You are STRONGER!!

(I have a new iPhone now so I have Jesus Calling back!!)

June 7 JC

I am all around you, like a cocoon of Light. My Presence with you is a promise, independent of your awareness of Me. Many things can block this awareness, but the major culprit is worry. My children tend to accept worry as an inescapable fact of life. However, worry is a form of unbelief; it is anathema to Me.

Who is in charge of your life? If it is you, then you have good reason to worry. But if it is I, then worry is both unnecessary and counterproductive. When you start to feel anxious about something, relinquish the situation to Me. Back off a bit, redirecting your focus to Me. I will either take care of the problem Myself or show you how to handle it. In this world you will have problems, but you need not lose sight of Me.

Amen.

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Fri May 17
Quiet and being much more on schedule! (Baby sleep)

Scissor tree
Cut and paste lesson, and getting through 2 pages of the workbook!

Cd tray drink holder

Baby’s little worship hands

-New Grace to change-Consoling P 309 ‘sinners have taken everything from me, but that is all right; I have given everything away for their sake that they might know that You are good and merciful.’
-A deep stir, a moving and a shaking, these words I’m reflecting on are earth-shaking huge for our marriage and my role in God’s plan for him… (Sum, 3days, be ready, listen for His voice)

-straw bracelet
a phone call with a friend, at last

Sat May 18
Ty for bringing this community together (moving…)
Cold baby feet come to snuggle
A bed full of laughter/giggles
My appetite finally returning
A fancy weekend family breakfast

Our First real family rosary meditations

Middle son struggling to open the door for daddy because his hands were covered in lotion

Watching Baby push a chair over to the kitchen counter and then proudly climb up on it

Kids singing hosanna

Wind
Hearts to represent the spirit of God’s love
Fire Tongue in the back, that hovers over a head bowed in prayer
How the paper flame shine so bright when the light hit just right (+metaphor)

-Pretty -sprout flower
-mummy’s littlest helper (on a chair) in the kitchen

Hope clouds
Christ the King praie and worship sign on the car parked next to ours

Sun May 19 – Pentecost
-New Pentecost in the back yard
-my little crucifix on my windowsill, the Easter ribbon completely undone; mercy overflowing, spilling grace

– croissant empty tomb
-praying our trusty agent into the prayer jar

– 2 boys in the car for church w Pentecost hats

The altar and sacristy covered (overshadowed) in deep red fire of God’s love

A sea of red among the congregation for Pentecost

Asian sesame stir fry
Spinach salad with creamy dill dressing

Little boys using chopsticks
An red onion ring bracelet

-Singing my love for The Lord while He sings all around, hand in hand
-New boldness to continue singing praises to Him when the neighbours were out
-baby’s head laying in my lap for comfort, a pillow pure white as he got changed

Mon May 20
Superman wresting showdown on the bed
Spider baby- again

My oldest putting a sticker on his chart

Working on the computer, with God’s blessing, and how much I was able to get caught up!
2 old posts, complete with pictures!

-Middle son, sound asleep in the back seat in Jammie’s and boots.
-Driving through the rain into light and hope
– my best friend’s house at last
-great big pictures of art
-Fresh herbs on the window sill
– mushroom soup from a can bursting w flavour (she’s a great cook)
-chicken and basil pesto panini
– a supper my 3 year old ate up
-Her baby covered in cereal
-dessert bowls of fruit with whipped cream and chocolate
-middle son, grinning from war to ear w his dessert

– jungle bedroom, sea bathroom sunny yellow kitchen, she decorates just like me! But she’s really good at it!
-the first house that really looked a possibility, and it had detail after detail of what I wanted…
Sharing Baby girl’s first step together
Watching baby cling to mummy as she vacuumed
-seeing how my best friend and her man have made a lovely home, together
-and how she is just flourishing

– a walk in the garden
-tulips showered with raindrops
-the paper she thrust in my hand, directions for an 8 min prayer walk she felt compelled to give me
-the rainbow glow of the store signs and the reflection
-twilight
-new buds and leaves lit by streetlights
– google’s confusing directions, leading to the church
-a little prayer garden across the st
-Streetlights through the mist
-A great tree completely lit from behind in the mist
-being snuggled close on the chilly walk back
-Store lights reflected in wet pavement

-The happiest little boy, snuggled in blankets on the computer chair surrounded by transformers and watching the show on the laptop

-chatting with her at her kitchen table over late night coffee
– baby with the butterfly

-new shoes
– my best friend and her little girl, waving in the light of the doorway

-Driving through Patch after patch of heavy mist and headlights
Laughter crinkle in Jesus’ eyes

Tues May 21
Insight from the focus parenting magazine, and from a friend

Frustration, that is moving me to action, to seek out a solution

Wed May 22
-Kids reading books in a row in chairs on the couch

-Forgiven beloved art

-The song for my heart – Carry me

Baby tickling brother’s bare tummy
Daddy and baby’s slap high 5 game

-Fellowship, community and love in a circle of women
-A new and deeper unity, all of us holding hands in prayer

-Being Called hon and sweetheart at store and hearing these words of love from God Himself

Thurs May 23
JC: It’s a treasure hunt, look for God!!
Little robin hopping along on the grass

Story time lessons on God’s ways and rules and purity and challenging ourselves all to do better
Our paper hands all together

Singing praise music karaoke with the neighbour

Boys in the peekaboo window

The neighbour joining in, all of us dancing to rise rise up

-Gold mine- a broadcast on specific parenting techniques for the strong willed child

-A peaceful evening (no power struggles!)

-Indian pancakes

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Josh Wilson – Carry Me

I try to catch my breath
It hasn’t happened yet
I’m wide awake in the middle of the night scared to death
So I prayed God, would You make this stop
Father please hold on to me, You’re all I’ve got

Carry me, carry me, carry me now
From my sinking sand to Your solid ground
The only way I’m ever gonna make it out
Is if You carry me, carry me, carry me now
God carry me, carry me, carry me now

Jesus calm my heart
Come near me please
Lord don’t let these worries get the best of me
Oh I believe, that You’re still here with me
Cause You meant what You said when You said You’d never leave

Carry me, carry me, carry me now
From my sinking sand to Your solid ground
The only way I’m ever gonna make it out
Is if You carry me, carry me, carry me now
God carry me, carry me, carry me now

Carry me
God carry me
Carry me
God carry me

I’m at the end of myself
I know I’ve got nothing left
Feels like I’m stuck in the valley of the shadow of death
And I’ve been down here so long
I just can’t find my way out
Oh God I don’t stand a chance
Unless You carry me now
God carry me now

Carry me, carry me, carry me now
From my sinking sand to Your solid ground
The only way I’m ever gonna make it out
Is if You carry me, carry me, carry me now
God carry me, carry me, carry me now

Carry me now
Carry me now
Carry me now
Carry me now

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1. The routine has continued to be largely a success- when I stick to it. If I get drawn into the computer when I’m checking something quick, or if I’m tired and the house is a mess, these things can get me off track, but we’ve usually done alright to get caught up again.

My mom also gave me an excellent book for my birthday. She had it set aside for herself but decided I could probably benefit from it more than she could, so she passed it on to me. It’s a book about organization, but it’s not just schedules, it aims to help you organize your entire life, especially around what is truly important. It is such a treasure, and what a Godsend! It covers WAY more than just organization, and addresses just about everything I’ve been struggling with or working on for the past 6 months or more!
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It is helping me to see everything in a new light – and to prioritize rightly – I made it easier to discern whether I really need time alone for x or whether I just want it – but am being called to do something else that would use my time better.

2. I have to remember to KNEEL for my times of THANKS!!! I don’t even know Why I stopped doing that. When I kneel I make the moment a hard stop, and it becomes a ceremony, a celebration of thanks.

Humility – Jesus = the way to God — why is He the only way? BECAUSE God is pure and holy, He is the purest love. And most all of us can admit that we are not.


God’s mercies are new every morning — not as an obligation to you, but as an affirmation of you. It right there in there in the sky every morning: Every sunrise proves the burn of His passionate heart.

The car can fail today and the kids and the dog and the fire detector and the dishwasher and the doctor and the whole free democratic world and it’s entire economic system but the mercies of God cannot and will not fail and His faithfulness is not merely great– it is unwavering.

Nothing is too much to handle when I think about the so much from His hand.

And the way out of the pressing “too-much” — is to whisper thank you for the providential “so-much”.

Levi breathes. He breathes pneumonia hard. And this world is hard as nails and Christ knew it and that’s why He came.
http://www.aholyexperience.com/2012/09/when-its-all-pressing-too-much-youd-like-answers/

3. I did it! I took all 3 kids to mass on Wednesday, by myself. And actually, it wasn’t quite as bad as I’d thought. Phew!

Here’s what it looked like…

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4. I had my first really frustrating time with trying to teach my kids this week. It was only the second day we worked on writing skills, and I was trying to help my oldest draw squares. Somehow I ended up wrestling with him for 2 hours. He’d do a pretty good one so I’d ask him to do jsut one more, to show me that he was really getting the concept, and he always stalled and complained at having to do jsut one more that by the time he went and tried again he’d forgotten and I had to teach him all over again. This went on for a while. I didn’t want to force him, but I didn’t want to let him off the hook either, so I jsut kept asking him again and again. He knew he was being really stubborn and difficult, and I couldn’t let that slide. So in the end, the time hopefully strengthened his will to obey; it certainly strengthened my patience!

5. Since DH transfered downtown he has been telling me of all the neat things he sees from his 6th floor waterfront office and snapping pictures of ships and such with his iPhone. Last week we finally got to have a quick tour of Daddy’s work – just before his team all got moved down to the ground floor in the middle of the building.

This is what they had to give up:
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The kids and I sure enjoyed ourselves.

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6. On Saturday we went to get professional pictures taken. One of DH’s coworkers had had us in for a session free of charge and I really liked some of the poses and things, but was really not happy with the end result, so I was still looking to get a proper family photo to put up over the couch etc (except that above the couch is a window). As someone so in love with photography, it kind of bothers me that we don’t have very many nice photos up, especially when I go to non-photography enthusiasts homes and see the put-together professional photos of their whole family. A month or so back someone came to our door offering a discount on a photo-shoot and an 11×14 photo and I snapped it up. Then I had to figure out what clothes I wanted us to wear, but in the end I settled on bright colors, a different one for each of us. I love fun colors and bright photos.

I don’t think I will be disappointed this time. This guy is a professional with a fabulous studio and fabulous portfolio. I get to see the raw takes on Saturday. He is letting me look at all of them, rather than narrowing them down by making his own decision as to what I would like. I really appreciate this, and respect him for operating this way; since they are to be my photos, I would like to be the one to choose the best.

I also stumbled on an article to make your own macro lens for your iPhone. I think it’s pretty neat. Check out these macros, they’re way better than my camera lens could take!
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7. We finally had another movie night. DH and I saw this one way back in theatres, before I think any of the kids were even though of. The kids had picked it out at the library, and both DH and I were interested in watching it again, so I googled around a bit and put together a simple dinner to go along with it. (simple in theory, DH had to step in to help because things weren’t going well in the kitchen!)
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Aah! My quick takes are getting seriously backed up. The first is waiting on an unfinished post, and most of them relate to it, but then since most of them build on each other as well, they are all just waiting for that first post to get things moving… And then of course, since they’re so late anyway, I feel like I want to put the pictures in too, before I put them up, which makes it take even longer…

On a slightly related note, I realized I never wrote up a SINGLE quick takes this time last year, so I would love to put one or two of those up as well.

1. This week I have 3 Routine/Organizational things to share:

First off, one afternoon this week all 3 of my kids went to sleep so I finally got to tackle my kids activity/craft cupboard.

Ta daa!
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I don’t have a before photo but suffice it to say that it looked nothing like this.

Secondly, After taking with the local Mom of 6 who is sort of my homeschooling mentor, I learned a number of tips to better organize our things and our life. A big one with the routine has been mornings; my old routine had us eating breakfast about 9, but it made all the hours before hand very unstructured and a lot of time got lost as a result. She told me they have meals at 7:30, 12:30 and 5:30. I was already doing the second 2 mealtimes, so I decided to plan breakfast earlier and when I restructured the routine with this in mind, it made a world of difference! I couldn’t believe how much I was able to accomplish before 10 o’clock. 😀 Who would have thought that having a clean kitchen every night would actually help me get the laundry put away!

And lastly, this week I also started a new habit that when I keep it should solve the bulk of my routine problems on days when I’m tired. After a good weekend away I came back wanting to jump back into our routine, but was hit hard the next morning with tiredness, an surrounded by complete disorganization, as the house and especially the kitchen were in complete chaos. When I walk into my kitchen half-awake to see the sink and counters covered in dishes and no clear space to prepare breakfast, let alone begin to shuffle the dirty dishes around, I freeze, sigh defeated and unless there is something grab and go that I/we can eat out of the fridge, I walk back out of the kitchen still hungry. When I’m tired, I find it almost impossible to think through the steps involved to tackle a mess like that. I know I want to follow the routine and have to work on the self-discipline for that, but how do I handle it, when the house/kitchen is a disaster and I’m so tired that it’s completely overwhelming?

It was the kind of morning that could throw off my best laid routine if I was homeschooling. From time to time as I’ve walked along this path towards hopefully homeschooling the thought of one of these mornings will cross my mind now and then: would I be able to stay on track enough to get through the housework and lessons, or would everything just fall to pieces? Of course I could have a day like that once maybe twice, but it certainly wouldn’t work with that happening 2-3 times a month.

I knew that if I’m going to continue to pursue this plan God has for us, that I’ve got to solve this problem. And the only solution to this kind of problem, is to never have it in the first place! Because on a tired day, I need my kitchen to be clean and ready to go for breakfast, not piled up with dishes till there’s no counter space!

The solution then is ALWAYS do it the night before, because I can’t predict when I will be tired! So even after a tired day, I found the energy that evening to clear all the counters, run the dishwasher, plan my meals and set out a few breakfast things ready for morning. Who is this new me?!

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[This kitchen counter is one of the areas I have yet to declutter :P]

2. I’m also learning more about what stops me from keeping my heart open to love God and others. Looking back to even the day before I can see so many opportunities, so many things I should have done, if I was truly following God’s lead. There are so many little moments, when the kids or DH have asked something of me, and I, focused on something else have plainly said ‘no’. The key to keeping my heart open to my loved ones and to God is to not reject them in these little things, but to say yes, even when it’s not what I want.

Lord, I pray for the grace to keep my heart open even when it hurts, so I can stay in the Spirit, ready to follow where Your every lead.

-Lately I’ve been finding it harder and harder to fit in my rosary each morning. I’ve already been splitting the decades up as I have a free moment, but lately it seems the kids would never leave me alone long enough to even get through the opening and one decade! I have been realizing that of course, one decade prayed from the heart is far better than five prayed while very distracted, but I get something different from each of the mysteries, so it seems a shame to only ever get to one or two of them.

And it’s gotten even harder because now I’m offering it for 4 people instead of just 2 – I used to use the first 5 decades to focus on the mystery and then the other 5 to offer prayers for others but now the decades are all taken, leaving me inclined to try to focus on the mystery, the virtue AND the person all at the same time. I know it’s common to offer each decade for a different person, but again, the mysteries and virtues are all different, I don’t want to exclude anyone from any of them. Hmm, MAYBE I could assign a decade to each person based on the virtue they need MOST???

Also – I seem to be able to get in at least 1 decade every time I nurse Noah if I go off by myself with him, so maybe I’ll try to do that more often.

-The other thing that has bothering me lately is trying to fit in the special prayers for my husband, and anyone else I offer them for. I always feel I need to do the rosary first and then when I haven’t finished that I feel I should do the rest before trying the other prayers. But I realized that was just an old construct, and there is nothing that prevents me from praying those prayers while working in the kitchen, as they require a little less focus that the rosary, so I’m going to adjust the routine accordingly 🙂

-Something to try and remember: Whatever DH does, just love on him, and let God deal with him.

3. This past weekend I had a second weekend of walking in God’s will, I tried to control as little as possible trusting that whatever happened was God’s will and abandoning myself to it – only I ended up doing it for God, but not WITH God. I guess I was so focused on not controlling anything that most of the time I forgot about the relationship, I forgot about Him. 😦 I guess I also forgot to slow down and appreciate the moment.

However, the time was definitely fruitful. I know God was close, I just didn’t feel His presence much, but I sure saw Him working. My only goal for the weekend was to find an opportunity to share something that God had put on my heart. Because my top focus was on others, and I was waiting so much on God and His timing, I spent a lot of time with my in-laws, and especially making a point to help out my MIL whenever I could. It certainly made for a very peaceful and happy weekend.

It was so nice going down to the country. We’d already spent a 2 nights with DH’ parents, so Dh and I let the kids make the call on whether we were going to go join them there since DH was undecided and I was trying not to control things. I am sure that it was the right choice and God definitely blessed our time there: we got to go for a family trip in a family friend’s boat, we had a great conversation sitting out around the fire, and I finally did get the opportunity to share what God had put on my heart.

Spending the weekend with the in-laws was nice for all of us, the kids loved it, I loved that we got past all the other pleasantries etc, and into some serious discussion, mostly surrounding homeschooling. We were all sitting around the fire when DH brought it up. Turns out they already knew. But even more than that, DMIL is fine with it!!!! She actually understands why I wouldn’t want the kids in public school! DH still seems pretty set in his ways, but her support can only help God’s cause!

4. Recent discussions have made it clear that DH’s biggest objection to the homeschooling is not the faith-based content but the socialization of the kids. He says he wants them to be part of society and when you’re in grade school, society happens at grade school. He also said the nice thing about school is they can see 5+ friends every day and where else could they get that?

As a result, I’m not sure if it would be a good idea or if there really is any point to getting the pre-kindergarten curriculum to run with the kids this year anymore. It seems like I wouldn’t really be proving anything new to him. As a result it seems unwise to go ahead and spend the money on something he doesn’t agree on, if it won’t make much difference anyway. It may be that it would be better to continue with my little homespun ‘curriculum’ and school day schedule, so that when the time comes I can just change up the work that we do? It will let the kids get used to having a routine, which I’m learning is very important for them. I’m still trying to discern this one, because I know I would benefit from working with an actual curriculum, but it probably isn’t really necessary.

5. Great news relating to my kids and media influences: the CARS cars have now become the auto-cars- the characters from the Auto-B-Good show that emphasizes Christian values and biblical character and condemns anger and violence etc. 🙂 It all started this week because professor Z’s monocle broke off, and I heard my son call him ‘professor’.

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Not a bad resemblance eh?
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I was only too happy to help them choose the right car for each of the other characters in the show.

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Landslide
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Maria’s Press Conference
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6. I’m learning more about what a difference changing just the focal point can make for a picture. Take these two photos, I checked the settings and the only thing that is different is the focus point, but the 2nd one looks so much better.

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I find this especially interesting, because the focus point in the better one is the fence, and the people in the photo are actually out of focus. I always try to make sure the people in my photos are in focus and it usually bothers me if they aren’t. Recently though, I am realizing that photos can look very good even if the main subject is out of focus. I guess I need to play with this a bit more when I’m taking photos. It seems that having people out of focus can be good – as long as they are further away and not too close.

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In this photo I was aiming at the Lego, but I found I liked the picture better when the focus was on the kids heads. I found I was able to capture the abundance of Lego just as well when it was a little out of focus. I guess the goal is not to always have the main subject in focus, but if it is going to be out of focus, especially if it’s a person, then it will only look right if the person is further away. I find that my photos of people who are out of focus because they are too close usually look pretty sloppy.

-On a related note I have to remember that every time I back up to take the same photo a bit further away, even if I’m not changing the zoom, that I still need to adjust the shutter a little higher to make up the difference in the lighting.

7. My birthday is on Saturday! It’s kind of snuck up on me this year, I knew it was coming, but it was always so much closer than I thought, every time I thought about it. The thing is, I really don’t even know what I want this year. Last year it was easy; I really wanted a shelf under my kitchen window. This was low on DH’s list of priorities and I knew I’d be waiting a long time otherwise, so I asked for that for my birthday. And I love it.

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But the only other semi-major project on my honey-do list was the back yard steps, and DH and DFIL put them in back in the spring 🙂 So I’m at a bit of a loss! There is a part of me that wants a new memory card, as this one is over full and I keep having to go through and clear recent photos to make space for a few more – but another part of me doesn’t, because it feels like even one more card would be too many to keep track of, to keep the photos in order and be able to find the hard copies of the particular photos I was working on etc.

There is also a part of me that wants a long stretch of time uninterrupted to work on blog posts or photos, especially the ones from my brother’s wedding because it would free up a lot of space – but I don’t want to spend that much of the day away from my family either!

I’ve asked God to let me know what He wants me to have, but short of asking for something homeschool related, I’ve got nothing!

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jul 27

1. Routine: I can’t seem to find something that works for us… There are days when I get up early and can plan a good breakfast etc, I can devote all kinds of time to the kids, but then later when I try to do anything else I can’t; I’m peppered with questions and requests, I give them a toy they want and they want another 5 minutes late etc.. . I know praying and especially the rosary are important, and the earlier in the day the better, but I’m having a hard time finding a time when they will leave me alone enough. And I can’t involve them yet because they don’t have the attention span. I don’t know what works well…. not really – save having things planned ahead, but when I try to plan, bam kids want me then too.

A good plan would be chores and school activities in the morning, and walk and rest in afternoon. Then have supper ready, and daddy take the kids would guarantee some of that quiet down time i crave….
This will only work once the temperatures go back down a bit, right now I find it’s too hot to be out in the sun past about 10 or 11 o’clock.

A key to success, might be to involve the kids in everything I’m doing etc.. chores, my blog, my photos? – Well, I tried it. I liked the idea of living holistically, invovling my kids in what is important to me, and then vice versa. But even my 4 year old got bored of looking through pictures pretty quickly 😦

2. No. The key to success, I think – is to purposefully stay off the computer as much as possible, ideally all daytime hours, but at least all morning and have 40 min or so very productive, after DH is home and I’ve done a bit of cleaning. THEN I can engage the kids more and fill their needs? THEN I can have supper already cooking when DH gets home.

Something else that might help, if I need them to leave me alone to read or write, would be to give them puzzles. Puzzles really seem to hold their attention and keep them occupied.

3. On Saturday night God turned my world upside down when He showed me His plans for the future.

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DH and I went to a homeschool seminar at our local church. As with the Theology of the Body session in the fall, this was something I wanted him to hear from somebody else and not just from me. The idea had cropped up and intrigued me in the past, but I figured given my organization and procrastination difficulties that I was not cut out for it, and I would be happy to submit to my husband and send our kids to public school, if that was what God wanted. But that night God turned my world upside down when he showed He had other ideas.

The couple that was giving the talk began explaining what they do etc and within minutes I was already considering trying out a kindergarten program with the kids this year as a first step. It was just like with Montreal, by the end of their talk God had completely changed my heart. So much of what they said resonated with me. They explained the how homeschooling helped them to be more organized, and they specifically mentioned that it’s important to declutter your home. Their reasons for homeschooling were the same as mine but there were even other benefits I hadn’t considered as well. The also explained how homeschooling was just an extension of what they already did each day, and suddenly I could see how easily it could fit into our life too.

God has been calling me to be obedient. He’s been calling me to true biblical submission as a wife. That means: deferring the authority etc for final decision making to my husband, even though he doesn’t share my faith, EXCEPT in cases where it would go against God’s law etc. THIS is not a morality issue and IN LIGHT OF SUBMISSION I was perfectly happy to let the kids go to public school, if that was what God wanted from me – BUT God has made it completely clear that this is not an area of compromise.

Overall DH was less than thrilled, but that said, the decluttering thing was not lost on him. I was not at all surprised when he brought up that point that evening. I already knew this was going to be the deciding factor: if He had to submit to this homeschooling stuff then I definitely had to take seriously his wish for a less cluttered home. And I am, we’re already talking about ways we can start to tackle this problem. The promise of a tidier home is the way to make this idea appeal to him. And quite frankly, I’m sick of living in such clutter, I find it makes it so hard to get anything done.

4. Faith Notes

-3 things to remember: slow down, take time to give thanks and keep your heart open to God and others.

-Let suffering make your valleys into sheltered places to light a match and see the face of God…. –Ann Voskamp – A Holy Experience

-Thank you for giving me a cold while on vacation, when I have extra hands – it’s better than if I was stuck at home with the kids!

-Actually, this cold, this suffering, could be birthing the new graces needed to make this big change : live simple, walk in spirit, declutter, change my focus and then educate my children!

5. On Saturday afternoon my best friend brought the baby out to my mom’s house so she could meet her. It was an interesting girl’s afternoon, as my 7 month old was the only male present, and we discussed labor stories, mostly hers. We also took a couple pictures no the deck to finish the photo story and I had DH bring the kids at the end, so they could meet the new baby too.

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6. It seems God is quite involved in the July photo project. I’ve found over and over that if I wait and follow God’s lead on the project, each day He helps me to get the perfect photograph. When I am patient and just wait on His timing He gives me the perfect inspiration, the 20 or 30 minute time-slot I need, He lines up all the perfect circumstances and even sometimes provides the perfect subjects as well.
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Also as I’ve been doing this project, I’m finding I have to take less and less pictures to get my shot each day. The photo for EYES was a major exception, but only because I had never taken a direct self-portrait with my new cameras, ever. I don’t know why, it is so much simpler than trying to take a decent photo in the mirror… Point and shoots were always too close but SLRs give anyone the necessary distance to get in both head and shoulders easily, just by holding the camera out in front of them.
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7. On Monday night we made it down to see the tall ships. It was just a nice night out with the family, but we ended up sitting for about an hour waiting for the fireworks, so I had the opportunity to play with some nighttime shots. We all enjoyed looking at the boats, the fireworks were pretty spectacular and I have the cutest photo of my little guy, dressed of course in a nautical outfit for the occasion 🙂

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