Year in Review — 2015

1. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before? Became an advancements chair in Cub Scouts.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I did not make resolutions.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Yes, a friend from church gave birth to the most precious little boy. My sister had a baby girl. My good friend also had a baby girl. It’s been a baby bonanza over here 🙂
4. Did anyone close to you die? Aunt Marilyn.
5. What countries did you visit? None.
6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015? Serenity.
7. What date from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? December 6. When Ben finished his part of the Townes Super Nova award.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Going to AHG camp with Katie. I’m not good at camp settings and up until the time we left I was thinking of reasons not to go.
9. What was your biggest failure? Not managing to take Ben camping once before he belonged to the dance studio again.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury? I broke my toe when we came back from camp. It was a long recovery. Also the usual colds and asthma related issues.
11. What was the best thing you bought? A 64-gig iPad mini. Space is awesome.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration? I’m proud of Katie and Ben. Katie switched AHG troops and has taken to the change like a duck to water. Nothing phases her. Ben didn’t make the easy choice for Boy Scout troops and it takes tons of character to buck a trend.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Most politicians (with a few notable exception).
14. Where did most of your money go? Judy’s Dance Academy and Amazon. I think they are dead even.
15. What did you get really excited about? I’m not sure I got really excited about anything this year. It’s been a weird year.
16. What song(s) will always remind you of 2015? “Day One” — Matthew West; “He Moves, You Move” — Audio Adrenaline; “Not Right Now” — Jason Gray; “The Unmaking” — Nichole Nordemann; “Safe” — Westlife; “You Got Me” — Gavin DeGraw; “Grace Wins” — Matthew West; “Exhale” — Plumb
17. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder? I think I’m a bit happier. We have a lot of tension and struggles right now, but hopefully we can get more sanity and grace this year.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Just be with the kids instead of trying to orchestrate our time together.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Time on Facebook.
20. How did you spend Christmas? With family. It was a crazy, fun day.
21. Did you fall in love in 2015? With my phone.
22. Think of something important to mention. It is not impossible to love more than one dog.
23. How many one-night stands? None.
24. What was your favorite TV program? CSI: Cyber; Scorpion. Netflix: Gilmore Girls (how did I not watch this show years ago????)
25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? I don’t hate anyone. I dislike a number of people, but I don’t hate anyone.
26. What was the best book you read? Blueprint Homeschooling
27. What was your greatest musical discovery? I Am They.
28. What did you want and get? A new iPad with way more memory and Ticket to Ride.
29. What did you want and not get? I don’t think there’s anything I wanted that I didn’t get this year.
30. What was your favorite film of this year? Inside Out
31. What did you do on your birthday? I think I was at the dance studio with the kids.
32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? A family vision.
33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015? Capri pants/jeans and t-shirts. I’m pretty steady that way.
34. What kept you sane? Music and Netflix.
35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? George Clooney (though he is no longer “available” so I may need to rethink this now).
36. What political issue stirred you the most? Tamir Rice.
37. Who do you miss? Michelle O.
38. Who was the best new person you met? Karen P.
39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015. Never Underestimate the power of prayer.
40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

 

And all those things I didn’t say

Are wrecking balls inside my brain

I will scream them loud tonight

can you hear my voice:

This is my fight song

Take back my life song

Prove I’m all right song

My power’s turned on

Starting right now

I’ll be strong

I’ll play my fight song

And I don’t really care if nobody else believes

’cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me.

“Fight Song” Rachel Platton

A notable change

Since the beginning of the year, I have been doing two things consistently every morning. I read the daily office and the Forward Movement’s Forward Day by Day meditation (they have an app for that so I’m not constantly hunting for the little book) and I read the Bible in one year reading plan at She Reads Truth. During Lent, I’ve added a couple of different devotionals: Lent is Not Rocket Science; Holy Habits: For the Holy Season of Lent, and 40 Things to Give up for Lent and Beyond. I mostly manage to read these all before or during breakfast and it works for me. I didn’t realize the total change it was making in me, though, until today.

You see, today was hectic. We had our bi-weekly service project that we do with the Men’s Ministry at our church. Last spring, I asked if there were jobs that the kids could do and I was told that they could try, now they are a significant part of the team. But to do this, we have to leave the house rather early and given certain people’s ability to sleep in (mine), especially when I spent a good portion of the night with Katie sleeping on me, it wasn’t possible to read before we left. When we got there, we realized that the job we were doing was going to be quite a bit larger than usual and we were there for a lot longer than planned.

When we got home, after a stop at Steak and Shake because the kids worked super hard and because the thought of trying to make lunch actually terrified me in that moment, we were in a whirlwind of homeschool stuff and then blessed quiet time. Except that during quiet time I was trying to deal with things that need to be dealt with before we go on a field trip tomorrow followed by me teaching a children’s lesson during our Wednesday night program at church. So, no the reading didn’t get done then either.

After P came home, it was dinner: biscuits, brisket, and broccoli — one of Ben’s favorite meals (partially the alliteration, partially all his favorite foods on one plate). And then it was on to working on a paper for my paying job. It took longer than planned (they always do) and then it was bedtime and story time.

Once my little people were tucked into bed, then it was time to crank out the stuff for the church newsletter. This involves editing, hunting down photos and other such fun tasks, so I can hand it all off to the person who doesn’t use a Mac and who does all this spiffy stuff in Microsoft Publisher. So, again, no reading for me.

Once I finished all of that I realized that my edges seemed sharper today. I was more emotional and more easily upset. I sat down a bit ago and did the reading that I hadn’t done this morning and I noted a significant change in attitude just from reading. I feel calmer. I feel more at peace and more connected with the world and more forgiving.

I hesitate to call it intentional time with the Lord because, well, I feel like I’m making more of what I do than it is, but on the other hand, that’s my time to seek to understand and to pray and to make requests. I pray at other times, too, but I think the daily action has spawned something I didn’t anticipate.

Year in Review — 2014

1. What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before? Became a squad leader for American Heritage Girls.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I did not make resolutions.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Yes, a friend from church gave birth to the most precious little girl, and another friend gave birth YESTERDAY to another beautiful little girl.
4. Did anyone close to you die? Sam
5. What countries did you visit? None.
6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014? Peace. I would like very much for my life to be more peaceful
7. What date from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? January 10. The day we lost the bravest, most stubborn dog in the world.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Surviving the almost overwhelming waves of grief.
9. What was your biggest failure? Being afraid of making waves and speaking up when things aren’t going right.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Usual assortment of colds and lung issues.
11. What was the best thing you bought? A Midori Traveler’s Notebook. Thanks to it I have finally achieved planner peace.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration? I’m not sure how to answer this. We were all grieving and we all handled it differently — some more productively than others.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Kids who have apparently been taught that different means bad. It’s like reliving my childhood.
14. Where did most of your money go? Judy’s Dance Academy (and I will gladly give her even more; the kids are thriving there).
15. What did you get really excited about? Zac Brown Concert.
16. What song(s) will always remind you of 2014? “Drink a Beer” — Luke Bryan; “Compass” — Lady Antebellum; “Overcomer” — Mandisa; “Thrive” — Casting Crowns; “Keep Me in Your Heart” — Warren Zevon; “Remember Me” — Mark Schultz; “Shine” — Newsboys; “Keeping Score” — Francesca Battistelli; “I’m Not Going to Miss You” — Glenn Campbell
17. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder? Very sad. Trying to build a new normal without Sam has been one of the biggest challenges I have ever faced. And so very hard.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Expressing grief in front of the kids so they’d know how to do it.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Listen to other people tell me that she was just a dog. Caring about others’ opinions about anything.
20. How did you spend Christmas? With family. I went to Christmas day service again. So glad we’ve started doing that 🙂
21. Did you fall in love in 2014? With Spirit FM. It’s radio I can actually have on in my car and not worry about what the kids are hearing.
22. Think of something important to mention. Choosing a word for the year can be simultaneously the most exciting and most difficult things you can do to yourself.
23. How many one-night stands? None.
24. What was your favorite TV program? Criminal Minds (although I’m watching on Netflix and not current). Also loved Gracepoint.
25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? I don’t hate anyone. I dislike a number of people, but I don’t hate anyone.
26. What was the best book you read? The Goldfinch Donna Tartt
27. What was your greatest musical discovery? Francesca Battistelli
28. What did you want and get? A new phone with more memory than even I can use.
29. What did you want and not get? More time with Sam.
30. What was your favorite film of this year? Mom’s Night Out
31. What did you do on your birthday? I don’t remember.
32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? A family vision.
33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014? Capri pants and t-shirts. I’m pretty steady that way.
34. What kept you sane? Friends who understand me.
35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? George Clooney (though he is no longer “available” so I may need to rethink this now).
36. What political issue stirred you the most? Balancing gun rights with the right to not fear being out in public.
37. Who do you miss? Sam.
38. Who was the best new person you met? Rowena.
39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014. Unexpressed grief leads to anger which leads to much larger messes than just admitting you’re grieving and letting that happen.
40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

I am a mess; I am a wrecking ball

I must confess that I still don’t get it all

Lord I believe that all your words are true

It doesn’t matter where I’m going if I’m going with you.

I press on. I press on. I press on. When I still don’t get it. I press on.

“Press On” Building 429

Year in Review — 2013

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before? Rode the Gator Falls flume ride at Lowry Park Zoo and got involved in Cub Scouts.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I did not make resolutions.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Yes, a friend from church gave birth to the most precious little girl.
4. Did anyone close to you die? My Uncle Brother died in February and my Uncle Delbert died in July.
5. What countries did you visit? None.
6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013? Peace. I would like very much for my life to be more peaceful
7. What date from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? January 29, the day that Katie managed to ask Dr. T all the questions on her list and get permission to do almost all the things that she wanted. June 25, the day that Sam was given six to eight weeks to live. November 30, the Iron bowl that none of us thought Sam would live to see. Surprise!
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Accepting that I am not able to do regular classroom teaching at this time.
9. What was your biggest failure? Not doing a better job of defending Ben when needed. Not stepping in fast enough.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Usual assortment of colds and lung issues.
11. What was the best thing you bought? Time with Sam via medication. Pain pills are her best friend and mine.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Katie’s. She is definitely developing into an independent young lady (at 5).
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? People who can’t see beyond politics and policies to people.
14. Where did most of your money go? Judy’s Dance Academy (and I will gladly give her even more; the kids are thriving there).
15. What did you get really excited about? The kids’ first real recital and going to see the Nutcracker (and having Ben express interest in being IN the Nutcracker rather than watching it).
16. What song(s) will always remind you of 2013? “10,000 Reasons” — Matthew Redman; “I Will Be Here” Stephen Curtis Chapman; “Tunnel” — Third Day; “Don’t Try So Hard” — Amy Grant; “Live Like That” — Sidewalk Prophets; and, “Let it Go” from Frozen (movie version, not single version).
17. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder? I am working toward happier. I have a handle on where the issues are and I plan to make a complete revolution of 2014.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Taking care of myself and my marriage.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Running around for other people.
20. How did you spend Christmas? With family. Although I went to Christmas Day service at my church and it was fantastic.
21. Did you fall in love in 2013? Perdue’s Simply Smart Gluten-Free Chicken Strips.
22. Think of something important to mention. Cherish every moment you get because you don’t know what will be your last.
23. How many one-night stands? None.
24. What was your favorite TV program? Top Chef and Undercover Boss.
25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? I don’t hate anyone. I dislike a number of people, but I don’t hate anyone.
26. What was the best book you read? A Million Little Ways
27. What was your greatest musical discovery? Sara Barielles.
28. What did you want and get? A planner that is more my size and more my style.
29. What did you want and not get? A pocket point and shoot camera that would take some burden off my iPhone.
30. What was your favorite film of this year? Frozen. Although, 42 was also excellent. Oh, and I finally understood Meet the Robinsons and it has now become a total theme for our homeschool. Especially, “Keep Moving Forward”
31. What did you do on your birthday? I spent the day with my best friends: Mel, Sam, and P.
32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Having a clearer sense of purpose and structure for our family.
33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011? Capri pants and t-shirts. I’m pretty steady that way.
34. What kept you sane? Having a doctor who loves his dogs as much as I love mine.
35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Sticking with George Clooney. At this point, I think he’s getting to be a habit with me (name that singer).
36. What political issue stirred you the most? Healthcare. Seriously. Healthcare.
37. Who do you miss? My uncles. Seeing my extended family more regularly.
38. Who was the best new person you met? Andrea.
39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013. I have to make my own choices and live with them.
40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

Let it go, let it roll right off your shoulder
Don’t you know the hardest part is over?
Let it in, let your clarity define you
In the end we will only just remember how it feels

Rob Thomas – Little Wonders

Homeschool Mother’s Journal — 2/9/13

 

  • In my life this week… It’s been tough. My Uncle Brother died Wednesday night. We were at church attending Wednesday gathering and I got a Facebook message from one of his sons. I raced out of the hall to make sure someone had called my mother (her brother). One of my friends stumbled across me in the breezeway crying. And then our closing song was Sidewalk Prophets’ “Live Like That. I would suggest listening to it except that I can barely do it without sobbing hysterically, so take that advice as you will. Katie had a devastatingly bad swimming lesson and we came home to discover that Peyton was lame. Our vet suggested taking her to the back up for the initial check because of the traffic, so she is being vetted by committee. We then got bad news about another friends’ dog and yet another dear friend had to make that final decision for her beloved cat. A friend said to me that I really need a calendar that doesn’t have February in it. I’m beginning to agree.
  • In our homeschool this week… it was all science fair all the time. And some math thrown in for diversity. We are a little over a week out and we are not ready. The experiment is done but the write up is going dreadfully. His science teacher has suggested that we might want to get him tested because he’s exhibiting a LOT of the signs of dysgraphia, and after a week where we barely have a sentence of the background paper written, I am inclined to agree. He’s dictated the whole thing to me with sources and everything, but even with the transcript in front of him he can’t write the words. He freezes.
  • Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share… When you have the evidence in front of your eyes that something isn’t right, it’s time to take on the pediatrician and convince him that testing is necessary.
  • I am inspired by… Peyton. Even hopping along as she is, she is still ready to mix it up and get into anything she can.
  • Places we’re going and people we’re seeing… Katie made her first appearance in Sunday school since Dr. T said she could go. I think it went well, and she is looking forward to going back tomorrow. This week was zoo school. Ben learned about the colors of the rainforest. I knew we were in trouble when she wanted him to color a picture. He prefers to draw his own pictures now. This is a huge leap for him. I’ve been to Body Flow twice and man did I hurt after the second class. Katie went to a swimming lesson that was about as much of a disaster as it is possible for something to be.
  • My favorite thing this week was… Having Ben say, “no Mom, see it’s right here on this page in this book” when I was questioning something he wanted to put in his background paper.
  • What’s working/not working for us… Working: the iPad apps for Katie’s preK3 stuff. Not working: trying to wrap up this project. Ben loves the action but not the concluding. He’s going to be amazing if he can just relax and not freak out.
  • Questions/thoughts I have… One thing I learned during the last few days — shoeboxes are not acceptable storage for photos. I spent HOURS searching through them for a picture of my Uncle Brother with his sisters that I KNEW I had. I knew it.

     photo 2013-02-09193141_zps73b01917.jpg

  • Things I’m working on… Still trying to figure out how to find time to cross-stitch the frames for the project I am working on I have the February stitch pattern, and I’m not done with the frames. I’m not panicking (yes, I am).
  • I’m readingHelp, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers by Anne Lamott
  • I’m cooking… Nothing. The Stevens in me is apparently taking a holiday. Maybe I’ll feel more like it tomorrow.
  • I’m grateful for… having known Uncle Brother for the first 43 years of my life. He left a legacy that will not soon be forgotten. Peyton is not seriously injured. My mind went to horrible things when I saw her hop out of her kennel.
  • I’m praying for my family as we gather to say goodbye to one of the elders of the family. My friends who are losing beloved animal companions. …
  • A photo, video, link, or quote to share
  •  photo 2013-02-09105604_zps6991d3b5.jpg

This is part of the Homeschool Mother’s Journal blog hop. Go here if you want to see how others’ weeks went.

*As a caveat, the links are Amazon associate links. I finally figured out how to get into my Amazon associate account again.

Mission Statement

One of my 3in30 goals for this month was to write a personal mission statement. I’ve felt, for a while, that having a touchstone of sorts that I can look to would help me better prioritize my days, my work, and my life. I used Mission Statements for Moms to help guide my process. I found her questions very logical and it helped me to get the ideas shaped up. Granted, this is a draft and it will likely change, but I came up with this as my mission statement:

I am a mother who creates a healthy, nurturing, fun environment for my children. I help them become their best selves and achieve their dreams.

I am a woman who strives to strengthen my relationship, who shares freely with others, and who works consistently to achieve my dreams and goals.

I am a wife who helps, encourages, and loves my husband. I remember our perspectives and experiences are different and appreciate those differences. I show love and affection for him daily.

I am a teacher who empowers my students to take charge of their own learning. I encourage students to do their best work and help them to succeed.

So, what do you think? Constructive feedback, observations, etc., are welcome. If you’re going to call me an idiot for doing this, just move along please.

Seasons of a Mother’s Heart: Chapter 3

Synchronicity seems to be the name of the game for this chapter. I was on a trip this week for work and I took a long a different book The Not So Big Life by Sarah Susanka for reading on the plane. I know, I know, a real, paper book, but they don’t let you read e-readers during take off and touch down and that’s when I need to read the most. Anyway, this book touched on a number of topics including that people have a deep need for both belonging and significance. It also identifies the fact that people need time or space to be on their own for a bit to restore their deepest intuition/soul/being, whatever you choose to call it.

In the parenting course that P and I are taking Positive Parenting Solutions the absolute core principle of the course is that every person needs a sense of belonging and significance. Failure to provide those two things are what result in most of what we view as misbehavior. Since she talked about this part in the free seminar I attended, I don’t think I’m giving anything away here, but believe me when I say there is a lot more to the program and we’re really learning about ourselves and our parenting by doing this. You can also read her book, If I Have to Tell You One More Time… if you’d rather. The book is a condensed version of the course — a sort of desktop reference, if you will, but if that’s all you have time for I cannot recommend it highly enough.

The other thing that both Susanka and McCready talk about is the importance of time. McCready is focused on time with the child, but seems also to suggest that parents need some time to themselves as well. So imagine surprise when Clarkson also suggested that an important component of her life is her “alone” time. I found this somewhat surprising in the light of the last chapter where she was discussing the submission of will and the idea that she sacrifices for her family. It almost seems contradictory to me, but then I realized that it’s truly not.

We do make significant sacrifices in order to homeschool our children and to bring them up in the way that we want them to go, and to some degree or another one of those sacrifices is our ambition or some of our personal/professional goals. But it doesn’t mean a total sacrifice of self. As she pointed out in this chapter, even Jesus took a break from the multitudes once in a while.

When I think about that I realize that it’s okay that sometimes I need that break. I need that refreshment of spirit in order to be more available to my family and more able to demonstrate and embody the values that I want them to learn/absorb/practice. I need to learn to not feel guilty about being away from them and to focus on the refreshment and engagement with God that I seek as I take that time.

Books mentioned in this post:

To see how others are responding to this book check out Home with the Boys and the link-up at the bottom.

As always, links are amazon affiliate links and can make me a small amount of money if you decide to click on one of these links and purchase.