Dear New Homeschooling Mom

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Dear new homeschooling Mom,

I’m so excited that you have taken the big leap!  Not because I hate public school or think private school is overrated, but because I know it takes a special kind of bravery to take hold of  your child’s education and put that burden on yourself.  It’s a huge responsibility, and definitely not a step you can take and be a wimp about it.

kidsI pray your husband and you chose this path because you love your children, and you want to redeem your time with them.  Because you envision something different for your children than what the rest of the world does.  I certainly pray it wasn’t under traumatic circumstances like bullying, an abusive teacher, or a learning disability that can’t be worked through.  These are problems you can only run from for so long.  Look instead at all you gain!  Fear is not the best motivator when times get rough.

I love seeing pictures of your new homeschool area!  I’m sure you were stoked to get those cute little desks from IKEA. I love the alphabet and math facts on the wall.  I frequently see all your efforts and questions to create a learning environment.  But can I interject?  Your homeschool area is… your home!  The rigidity of sitting in a desk 8 hours a day is one of the biggest downfalls of the school system.  Don’t be disappointed if that school desk collects a lot of dust while all the kid’s work is on the kitchen counter, the sofa, or his bed.  That’s a good thing!  Comfort is a perk of being home.

petsI also see all your questions about curriculum.  I have a few suggestions on that, but the shocking truth is: It’s not necessary.  There are hundreds of way to homeschool for free.  Between online sites like mathgames.com (completely free), a library card, and a child’s interest you would be surprised how much learning can take place.  I don’t want to discourage you from picking a curriculum, I just don’t want you to put all your hopes and dreams on it.  It will be great – for a season.  Then it will get difficult, and then you’ll love it again.  These rhythms of learning are normal.  So instead of beating your head into the wall when it fails, just set it aside; borrow a book on the subject, read it together, and try again later.  I promise you it will still be ok.tri

Please stop asking for permission to do what is right for your child.  If the question is, “Is it ok if we…?” The answer is, “You’re the mom.  You know best.”  Every child is different and what is good for Billy may not be good for Susy – and these two might be siblings!  Grab a cup of coffee, a good book (I recommend the Bible) and relax!  No matter how a schooling day goes, the household enjoys it more if YOU are enjoying it too.

The only thing I ask of you is that you take this amazing opportunity and become friends with your kids.  You can’t demand good character out of a hollow relationship.  They will be with you now for a long time, so prepare yourself to have little shadows in the ebbs of your life.  They will watch how you treat others, how you care for the home, and how you love your spouse (and vice versa!).  It’s waist deep in this lifestyle where children can really learn to be honest – the way mommy is honest – and patient, and kind… While they can re-learn math or reading at any point in their lives, growing up with integrity is kind of a one-shot deal!  They’ll Anakinonly be children once, and in the blink of an eye they’ll be off to college… And you’ll miss them terribly.

I am just now on week two of the school year.  We live in a one-bedroom apartment that is like a Little House in the Big Woods type of experience – only we are surrounded by a concrete forest in the middle of the city.  We eat, learn, play games, laugh, discipline, pray and cry in the same area.  And yet, it’s working!  Witnessing the growth is such a reward.  If it is working for me in these crazy circumstances I’ve been in, I’m sure it will work for you too.

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A 5,000 Mile Miracle

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God is amazing! I don’t know that I have enough time to write all the ways He has been faithful to my family since my last blog post. I’m settled in Alaska, having flown to Florida and then to West Virginia before heading back; the provision of God to be able to see both my parents on the same trip is still beyond me. I was also able to see all my in-laws and have my husband join us for two weeks. I could not have asked for more, but He provided.
Miami BeachI would not have made it to Florida on my own at all.  We were scraping money for tickets and I just felt like we would never get there on time! Until members of my church stepped up to help.  One, an extraordinary man and veteran, helped me with a very generous check to get the tickets we needed to Florida.  Then I was handed an anonymous donation with the cash to purchase the tickets BACK to Alaska before I had even left.  I can’t even thank anyone other than God – who must’ve known I had to go.
When I arrived in Florida my mom was very, VERY sick. She has such an aggressive form of cancer that she opted to do 6 rounds of two different chemo medications + antibodies + steroids before surgery and radiation. She spends all day in the hospital getting these medications via a port she had installed in her chest.
good byeShe had just completed her first round of chemo. Aside from the expected side effects, she had an allergic reaction that had some extreme symptoms; inflammation in her bone marrow, nose bleeds that lasted for 20 minutes, and ridiculously low blood pressure.
She did not feel well enough to stand, let alone go back to work. But the situation was dire; my mom pays all the bills. She had treatment and MRIs delayed because she couldn’t afford them out of pocket and rent was due in two weeks! Well if the chemo didn’t kill her, the financial stress alone would finish her off.
All of July I was cleaning and cooking. Any out of pocket cash I spent this whole trip was in over the counter medicine, groceries and gas. Keeping my kids from getting sick so my mom wouldn’t get sicker. My sister was able to pick up enough part time shifts to earn a full time paycheck. By God’s provision rent was paid August 1st.
FROSTIt wasn’t until the weekend before round 2 that my mom was eating and “alive” by any counts. Around that time she had already lost all her hair, and my husband joined me.
This round of chemo went smoother considering she took antihistamines before treatment and we got her pretty hydrated. She had 5 really sick days but only vomited once! (This is a miracle!!).  After these five days Mom was completely fine without any side effects. Paul and I really enjoyed spending time with her those two weeks, it was such a blessing.
I feel like an infomercial for Jesus is coming along: BUT WAIT! There’s more!
In between all this, my husband and I were gifted with professional salsa dance classes, 10 free tickets to the FROST museum (best in Miami), 3 tickets to Universal Studios Orlando, a Mission’s trip for my oldest kid, beaches, pools, church and good food. And my mom’s health was good enough for us to enjoy these things as we could!
When she wasn’t feeling good, we had friends come over and keep my sister and me company with card games or dominos for long nights.
VAGod also provided tremendously for my mom. Because her cancer has not spread anywhere else, it was downgraded from the original diagnosis of 4C to a 3B! She had a secondary insurance company send her a check for every hospital day and every day at home, plus some of her co-pays. That check equaled what she currently owed in medical bills and then some. And she was able to work full time for about a week just before we left to the Virginias to do a little American History touring and spend some time with my Dad.
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MiamiAs I write this blog update, my mom and family in Miami have no power or cell service.  They were hit with some serious winds and flooding with Hurricane Irma, and I could not get a hold of them for 48 hours straight!  My mom had a rougher time recovering from round 3 of chemo and had been hospitalized just the week before.  But praise be to God, they are alive and well! Not only them, but all my in-laws and friends in Florida.  And what I learned from all this is what my kids and I have been reading about during our Bible Time in Matthew 14:22-33:
The power of Jesus is not evident in the absence of storms, but in such a fierce love that He would walk on water and meet us in the midst of it to calm our fears.
From Miami

These Boys Can

I make the mistakes sometimes of underestimating my boys.

I spend most of the time reminding myself that my 11 year old and my 8 year old have Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder.  If I didn’t, I’d flip a lid SO MANY TIMES I’d die of a heart attack before they make it to puberty.  I don’t intend to belittle them; I’m facing every single disciplinary issue with this in the forefront of my mind so I don’t tear them apart with shame and failure!

And if you think Parenting comes with a lot of disciplinary issues, you have never been in the heat of correcting your child for knocking over the lady on a walker on the way out of Wal-mart and mid sentence your kid runs after a bird and nearly gets hit by a car.  This is my life. I’m on top of my boys all the time to 1) keep them alive and 2) teach them to be decent human beings in the process.

But then the ADHD label on them becomes engraved on them like branding or a dog tag. Because I’ll bring down their ability to match their self-control and I catch myself assuming, “They won’t really succeed with that…”

The way I thought my 7 year old would not do good at a spelling bee. He hates to write.  In the process of picking my battles I gave him the list of suggested words and told him with only one week in advance that he was participating in a spelling bee. I didn’t do anything else to help him memorize the words, but to my surprise… he placed second for his age group and only misspelled one word.

I’ve never seen self control like that day from this kid.  Sitting still and silent at his chair waiting for 20 other kids to finish spelling their words before it was his turn again.

I also didn’t know that he could learn to ride his bike AND successfully complete a triathlon without training wheels in a month… but he did.

I didn’t think my 11 year old would ever make true, lasting friends.  I didn’t think he’d get invited to parties or to play sports because he’s either arguing with everyone or blowing everyone off.  And yet he has; he’s had friends invite him out to play all summer long.  And he’s made a few “let’s stick together, I’ll go if you go” kind of friends too.  And held meaningful conversations with adults.

Because it turns out that all my attempts at teaching my son to NOT be a jerk were not in vain, and teaching him to be the kid that is a friend to everyone and does not tolerate bullying – building him to be a young man with Godly character – takes precedence in the sport over his actual athletic skill.

Now I’m learning to stop myself from assuming, “No I don’t think they’ll pull through that.” Instead I say, “It may be a little more challenging for them, but these boys can…”

Pressing In

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Confession: I have not been able to read my Bible since the beginning of this year.

I can do short verses at church on my phone.  Opening my book Bible and reading through it makes me nauseous.  The words swirl on the pages.  But it’s not just the Bible.  I walk around with this headache and blurry vision that makes reading mac and cheese boxes difficult for me.

This is a side effect of all that is going on in my physical brain. I am serotonin-negative, which is also known as clinically depressed.  I also have ADHD, which can cause random episodes of dyslexia and trouble focusing the eyes.

worshipIt is not, however, a reflection of my faith.  I could not stand firmer on God then I do at this moment.  Let me tell you, we serve a beautiful and personal God.  He is faithful to reach out to me, to captivate my attention when little else in this world does right now. He breaks through the walls caused by my physical symptoms like the kool-aid man!

When I have a difficulty seeing, I tune my ears (spiritually and physically) to listen for Him.

There was one Sunday a while ago (when we still thought we would buy a house this summer) when I was on the worship team at church, singing “Always“.  The Spirit of God showed up that day and in a way I can not explain, He brought me down to my knees in a quiet sob.

I think to most people it would’ve looked like I was distraught.  I wasn’t.  All of me was fully overwhelmed by His love and in worship.  But His Spirit was working in me to express a prayer I didn’t yet know I would need.  It came from the pit of my stomach, this brokenness, this cry for comfort and strength I wasn’t originally asking for when we first started to sing.

prayingSee, I didn’t know my mom had breast cancer, and we would be denied the pre-approval for a mortgage, or that a chiropractor had sued me and was going to levy our entire bank account clean.  I don’t think I could’ve mentally prepared for all this to happen in one week had I been warned anyways.  But when I was standing there completely dumbstruck by all this, that feeling in the pit of my stomach came back and I realized: God in His mercy had interceded for me, calling down the comfort and strength I would need while – in His providence – not revealing to me the very immediate future.

This is just one example of how God is working in my life even though the chemical imbalances in my brain make it difficult to read the instructions on a box of mac and cheese, let alone my Bible.

But I’m not excused from my responsibility to press in to the Lord.  Anxiety still starts building walls around me that suffocate me at times.  My friend Lo Tanner wrote about her experience with anxiety on her blog a while back, and God brought her very post to mind when I was having a rough time with this issue just last week.

So how do I press in?

  1. I listen to my Bible.  I listen to guided meditations based on verses.  And AFTER this I listen to worship music.  I listen to my kids studying their Bibles.  I listen to people who are praying for me and the things God laid in their heart over me. And when I have messages from God through out the day, I try to listen to them too.
  2. I pray.  There’s a whole lot of talking on my part through out the day.  It feels a lot more conversational.  I’m now “that neighbor” who stays in her car, “talking to herself” while sipping a cup of coffee at around 9am.writing
  3. I take notes.  I can’t explain why writing is easier to me than reading except it must be a different process in the brain; I’m regurgitating information and not receiving it.  But I have a journal where I write any thought that is worthy and I try to let go of thoughts that aren’t.  I also write affirmations to declare out loud daily so my brain can hear me in charge and not the other way around.  And I write this blog.

If you look around this blog, you will quickly realize that I’m not an uber-spiritual person.  I’ve talked about parenting, frustrations, weight loss, and other things too.  But if God impresses upon my heart to share a spiritual word, I have to be obedient.  It may be that as a friend you are in a season to receive the instruction to press in and perceive what God is doing in your life right now, and that may have a higher priority than other things in your life right now too.

PS. As a disclaimer I should let you know that the links which lead away from my site are not affiliate links.  I am not paid to advertise for any of these services or music, and I will not receive a dime in commission if you click on the link.  I’m just an honest Christian mom, giving credit where credit is due, and sharing the resources that are helping me in this season of my life.

When Refuge Feels Like Disaster

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Confession: While I believe in all of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, I’m not one to proclaim that I am prophetic, nor do I dwell a lot on the supernatural realm around us.  I’m very much a here and now kind of believer with a healthy fear for what the Spirit is doing.

It’s no secret that I’m under a lot of stress.  My mom is starting chemo and I’m heading to see her with my kids, flying across four time zones with two ADHD boys and a girl and my medications for RA.

I say all this because *usually* seasons of stress cause me to have random, vivid dreams.  I seldom remember details – I just wake up with uneasy feelings that I digest with a cup of coffee as I listen to my Bible app.

Which is why, when I have one of those dreams that I not only remember three days later, but that I also hear confirmation, I stop and take notice.  When I woke up from this particular dream, I felt almost instantly a call to share it.  That’s not something I do without giving it a few days first.

refugeI was in a forest of sorts, and there were people living there like persecuted refugees.  I saw people with really dark skin and assumed they were the refugees, but I also saw Caucasian people alongside them.  When I spoke to some of them, a few white men shared that they had been cast out from their communities as a result of standing up for the black people.  While we were all in the jungle trying to get away from the city, I felt like this had taken the world by a storm – overwhelmed in the night, like it’s a global disaster.  I also noticed a feline creature, kind of unrecognizable but as big as a tiger, stalking the perimeter of this refugee camp.

I was so overwhelmed by fear that I looked straight up into a starless sky and said, “Oh Jesus come soon!”  And was dumbstruck by how star-less the sky actually looked.  That’s when I was approached by a white, elderly gentleman, in a suit, very pastor-like.  He tells me, in a very calm and matter of fact manner that “a third of the stars fell with the enemy down to earth.

I ask him, “What’s happening here?  What’s with all these people?!”

He responds with a voice that almost brings the catastrophe around me to a low hum:

black and white“These are the people who have chosen to stand for God’s Word.  Don’t be confused; this is not a catastrophe due to racism or political issues.  These are the people who are standing on the word of God, who have chosen to see it as black and white, so to speak.  This is the bride, facing the consequences of their actions in a fallen world, where the devil prowls around looking for someone to devour..”

I responded with, “Oh Jesus, help us to be ready for You!  We need to prepare!”  And he put a hand on my shoulder to calm me down and said, “Maria, they are ready.  They are precisely where God wants them to be in this hour.  Your mistake is the assumption that the Bride gets it all together and then Jesus returns.  But it is God Himself who makes her holy and blameless for His coming, that’s not something you accomplish out of your own merit.  None of this is a surprise to Him who brought all these people here together, and this is exactly what He has provided for their refuge.  These circumstances out in the world are merely a winnowing fork.  Their hope in God’s Word brought them where God wants them.”

worshipI took the scene in one more time and said, “This is the refuge that God has provided for them.  This is for their good.”  And he said, “Yes! And now is when you will be able to see God’s glory.  This is the place where God provides miraculously and shows His power to save.  Even now don’t you feel it?  Haven’t you experienced God anticipating your every need?  Taking care of leveling your path before your foot hits the floor?”

And as I realized that He has, I woke up.

I believe this is an overall message of encouragement to everyone.  And that it will speak to those who are ready to hear it without any further interpretation.

The Power of Friendship

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I think sometimes friendship is under-rated.  Maybe it’s because we have cheapened it, the way we did marriage and parenting, to where it’s a watered down version of the fellowship God designed…

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… Much like the Fellowship in Lord of The Rings, it was originally written out to be a powerful group of different individuals working together and holding each other up.  Friends are supposed to help you the way Sam helped Frodo even when Frodo was too weak to help himself.  It’s the stuff legends are written out of, like the friendship between C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien which led Tolkien to Christ and to write about friendships that mirrored his own.  It’s the appeal in movies like Guardians of the Galaxy, and The Avengers, and The Justice League – a truth we seek out today more than romance because we don’t want someone to take us to bed as much as we crave for someone to take us for a drink and listen to us for a while…

Now it’s a place of gossip and platitudes, of putting on a fake smile and a fake appearance like our make up and just doing everything to be as put together as the person next to you so you won’t be humiliated.

I’m so blessed that God has shown me what true friends are.

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It’s a church, but it’s not a denomination or an address.  It’s a family but we’re not related by blood. It’s sisterhood not because we have the same earthly parents, but because we have been adopted by the same Heavenly Father.

My friends attend different churches across the Anchorage area… and the Midwest of the USA… And the East Coast.  Some of us have many children and some of us have pets instead.  Some are married and some have been divorced, and still some are somewhere in between.

My closer friends held me up when I didn’t have the strength to walk, much like when Moses was held up by both arms in the battle where the scorching sun never seemed to set.

They brought our family dinner when I had no appetite to eat.  They gave our family opportunities to create wonderful memories when I didn’t feel a reason to get out of bed.  They stocked my cupboards with groceries when I had no money to buy food.  They provide a place for us to live when we were homeless and completely lost in what to do next.sealife

I’m not even referring to the span of my lifetime.  I’m talking about the past year.  Even more specifically the past two weeks!

Don’t ever underestimate the power you have to lift someone up.  Don’t ever think that you couldn’t be that one voice that says, “You’re going to make it!”  Don’t think for one moment that a hot plate or even a hot cup of coffee with a hug and a smile won’t make a difference in someone else’s life because I’m alive today to tell you that it does.

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The Cha-Cha of Life

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If it ever felt like we take one step forward and two steps back, it’s now!

We did not get pre-approved for a home loan.  We ended up moving into a small apartment just to be on our own again.

I’m not even trying to get into a home loan. I’m trying to get to Florida to see my mom and my sister.  And then get back.

whynottri1My mom was diagnosed with Breast Cancer.  That blind-sided me.

A chiropractor is out to get me and levied my entire bank account.  The only medical place I have not been able to pay decided to help themselves to my husband’s entire paycheck and all we had in savings.

We did a triathlon as a family!  Then I injured my foot and haven’t been able to walk pain-free since June 9th.

I joined itWorks!  I can’t wait to get my starter kit.  Looking forward to making money for using products I would buy at GNC and start losing the weight I gained.

My dog Momo had a major seizure…

life groupOne step forward, two step backs.  It’s a cha-cha. The Salsa lover in me should find this beautiful… Except I feel violently shaken and disoriented right now!  Part of the reason I haven’t been able to blog, other than depression (and I’m seeing a therapist and a doctor for that) is I’m kinda’ stunned speechless! Yet I’ve been very well taken care of by my tribe of believing homeschooling moms and that has made all the difference.

I guess I forget I’m dancing with the Lord as my partner and He takes the lead! Not an original idea, but I heard Amena Brown, a spoken word poet and she NAILED IT, it’s so good I’m sharing with you the lyrics. Not quite as good as hearing her recite it, but it’s the best I got today:

Dance with Him
He puts His hand on the small of my back
Two fingers pressed into the center of my palm
He pulls me close
Steps with His left, my right
I focus on His eyes and try to ignore my feet as they clumsily count one – two – three
I’m trying to trust Him
He knows this dance better than me
I’m still a novice and it’s obvious
I have yet to lean in and let Him control the turns
He takes His time and even when I miss a step
It’s fine
He knows I’m learning
He wants me to put my hand in His
Close my eyes and trust Him
With my life
My heart
With worry
And “I’m so scared”
With hurt
lifeWorth and unworthy
Loving and unlovable
And my heart has been hurt before
I have been burned before
Loved
And endured loss before
I am in no mood for a dance
No mood to be romanced
I have become a grace cynic
And love’s worst critic
He sends me invitations every day
And even though I have yet to RSVP
He doesn’t mind me
He keeps pursuing
Taking steps in spite of me
He is a songwriter
Composing the notes that hold together eternity
And He wants to teach my limbs to sing
He’s been waiting to watch me let go of woe
And worry…until my soul
Sings in that beautiful voice He gave me
That I have someone come to think
Is not so beautiful
To dance with Him
I must give in
And give up
Plus
The trust it takes to really love
And I want to love Him unbridled
Believe in Him with a faith that is unshakeable
Like tree roots centuries deep
Until I learn to follow His time
Take deep breaths
Rest my head on His chest
And my cares at His feet
But I never fare well
As long as I depend on mewhynottri2
Take His hand
Take a chance
Fingertips in the palm of the One who holds galaxies
In His hand
Hand on His shoulder
Heart in His hand
We dance
To a down beat
That keeps time with His heartbeat
Sometimes
It feels like He’s letting me go
When He’s only letting me turn
And sometimes
It feels like He’s letting me fall
When He’s only letting me learn
His is the song that never ends
His love
Sinners become friends
He wants to dance with you
Until the only Song you hear
Is Him

When I have nothing to encourage you with personally, it’s ok.  That will get better.  But I’m never without encouragement from the Lord, without His peace, or His provision.  As a Christian blogger, the best I can do is share the encouragement I’ve received with you.  I pray it lifts you up today.

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Hard Times

I’m having such a hard time right now. 

It’s no secret that I fell off the blogging world. The truth is that I feel completely voiceless. This wasn’t meant to be a place to vent, and I have run out of things to say. 

Confession: I battle with depression and anxiety sometimes, and my present living arrangements doesn’t make it any easier. 

I had book reviews to do (which are still good books) and updates to give (my youngest was also diagnosed with ADHD but with medication and prayer he finished the school year quite victoriously) and I was swimming, running, and biking my little heart off. 

It started with news from Venezuela. 

My family was struggling. And protesting. And sharing videos… My news feed was video after video of people being shot at, run over, and beat by militarized police. Somewhere between the tear gassing of an elementary school (and my 18 month old cousin in the vicinity) and the assasination of a Boy Scout trying to “do a good dead” at only 14 years of age, it felt like I got punched in the gut and all the air knocked out of me. 

I was there. I was tear gassed. I have not been able to return since, and I never wanted to leave in the first place. 

Maybe this is PTSD?

About 60 days later it’s still just as bad. Men have been stripped naked and beat for begging them in the name of God’s Word to stop. Old ladies have stood up to military Rhino Humvees and been tear gassed and arrested.  Medical students doing Emergency responder work (clearly identified by a green cross on their helmets) have been run over dead. Instruments dashed from musicians between the ages of 14-18 simply for playing the national anthem…

I’m not even allowed to look at the images any more. 

So with this hollowed out feeling in my soul, I tried to keep moving forward. Take care of my kids and finish the school year. I’m trying to get us into our own home. Everything I try falls apart in my hands. 

No matter what I do I just can’t seem to convince the mortgage company to preapprove us for a home loan. 

So while I wait on that I try to do other things too, to pass time. Except I’m in physical pain all day, getting steroid injections in my joints, upping my chemo meds to fight my immune system which seems to have altogether given up on me and has decided to feed on my joints until I crumble. 

60 days of not being good enough no matter what I do. Of hoping for good news, and thinking maybe we finally get good news, only to hear that we don’t really deserve good news yet, we’re not good enough. 

While going onto a year of living in someone else’s spare space. Making dinner after the family who actually belongs here makes dinner. Keeping my dogs and my kids out of the way. Cleaning up when I’d rather be resting so our hosts don’t complain. Apologetically putting our food, our stuff, and our lives in the spare corners – boxed up and stacked up and on hold until we get our own house. 

God only knows when. 

Having a near suicidal break down on the recliner downstairs and being reminded that someone in our family is somewhere or did something they aren’t supposed to and instead of  giving myself the time to cry a few tears, catch my breath, and address it when I feel good and sane enough to (like I normally would), I have to spring to action and fix it RIGHT NOW. Never mind all the other fiery hoops I’ve jumped through TODAY to keep this boat afloat, RIGHT NOW there’s a problem and it can’t wait. 

I’m pretty sure this is what depression looks like. 

I still get dressed, put on a smile, and take the kids out. To parks or play dates. To church. I get asked 15 times a day “How are you doing?” And my answer is still “I’m alright”, because I’m not but I just don’t want to get into it right now. 

And everyone tells me to just wait and trust in God’s timing. There must be some truth to that cliche but it sounds like nails on a chalkboard by now. 

And what can I do while I wait? I have lost all desire for the things that made me happy to be alive. Writing and blogging seem hollow and insincere. Running and biking is painful. I don’t even enjoy music anymore. The sunshine doesn’t invite me the way it used to because it comes with the price of waking up early to keep the vehicle and I already do that on doctor days to manage chronic pain so I’m too exhausted to go out and play. 

All I want is a nap. 

So what’s the take away here?

Maybe that sometimes even Christians who read their Bibles and pray every day have really bad seasons. Maybe that it would be fantastic if mental health issues didn’t carry such a stigma in the faith community. Maybe that it would be so much easier if adults could get help with mental health services quickly and effectively. 

But definitely that if you are feeling the same way, you are not alone. And it’s not wrong to ask for help. And please, I’m begging you not to give up because I’m not giving up.

Females and Faux Fitness

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Even though it was crazy busy last week between so many activities AND Easter, I still managed to get out and exercise quite a bit!  The Lazy Ironman challenge has really inspired me!

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We took this picture after our run… and my kids smoked me by half a mile!

Not to pat myself on the back, but I swam about a quarter of a mile, and ran or hiked 9.5 miles mostly with my kids. And when I look at these numbers on the wall I feel pretty darn accomplished – specially knowing that I ran and hiked with my family so my children are reaping these fitness benefits too.

Can I be completely honest? I didn’t feel that accomplished when I got dressed for service Easter Sunday.  Do I really look THIS big? I can’t believe I weigh 211 lbs at the doctor’s office!  Ugh I’m not making any progress at all.  I think if we’re both honest, you could probably point out some season in your life when you are less than thrilled with your appearance or the number of the scale.

But why?

My husband is happy.  My kids are happy.  So what is it about the bathroom mirror that tears me down?

http://instagram.com/confessions1rst

I will share with you a lie I accidentally bought into: if I was truly fit, I would look fit.

But to understand how this is a lie, we first have to answer: What does it mean to look fit?

The reality is that we are so bombarded with images of thin women on social media, that our brains can’t help but play the comparison game.  I mean, I see this girl run 5 miles and look like she has just a sun-kissed glow of perfection – and all before breakfast… meanwhile I fall behind my children, barely running a mile and a half, bending over looking like a fish out of water, my face blotchy, my hair looking like a lollypop for a llama… and it’s definitely not #selfie worthy.

runfie

What exactly does it mean to look fit? Is it a size number? A distinct shape of the waist line?

And this is where – in the name of sanity I yell at myself and all of you who get caught in this trap – STOP!

What was your goal to begin with?

If your goal is to look like a sportswear model, then you need to eat and work out and be photoshopped like one. And there are very fit women who are NOT photoshopped, but I guarantee you they eat very strictly and train for hours (that’s right… more than 60 minutes!) every day.  Some of these women have made this lifestyle their job and their mission.  I’m not saying it’s not admirable, I’m asking: Is looking like a sportswear model your job and your mission?

If yes, disregard this blog post and move on.

But if not – because maybe like me, we’ve devoted our lives to something other than exercise and mason jar salads… then it shouldn’t matter whether we look like we sell sportswear or not, right?

Hear me out here: I have devoted my life to raising and homeschooling my children.  So while my husband goes to work and devotes to his vocation in the medical field, I spend an equal 8 hours at home educating, grading, planning, problem solving, cleaning and feeding three children (how I got here is a whole ‘nother story – check out my recent guest post!).  If you are a mom or a business woman or in ministry, nod your head if you can agree with me when I say, “I don’t have hours to devote myself to looking like a stranger on my screen.”

And maybe we can even go a little Spirit-filled and declare:

13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Psalm 139:13-15

This isn’t a call to give up on being fit, but rather to trash our preconceived and erroneous notions of what that means!

alaskan hike

Getting my kids to these kinds of views is how I know I’m fit!

Give God some glory and thank Him for how wonderfully made you are! Use fitness and eating healthy as a way to glorify the Lord for making you a temple where He chooses to reside.  Remember that “in Him we live, and move, and have our being”!  What you need in order to exercise for 30 minutes (or more!) today He has already given you, and He didn’t short-change you when he put you together.

Do you need to do a little mental spring cleaning when it comes to your body image?  What are some lies you need to renounce today before you lace up your shoes?

Lifelines While On The Go

Confession: I don’t have a lot of time to blog this week. It’s been super busy!

Between doctors appointments and school activities, American Heritage Girls and homeschool cooperatives, I’m mentally and physically maxed out. But the climax of this week that has my undivided attention is Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday!


Easter for our family has never had anything to do with bunnies or eggs. We don’t even give kids baskets or gifts to celebrate the day. But oh do we celebrate!  My children understand that through Jesus’ death and victory over the grave, we are now invited to the greatest party in the universe!

“When the hour came, He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him. Then He said to them, “I have fervently desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” Then He took a cup, and after giving thanks, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves. For I tell you, from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.””

‭‭Luke‬ ‭22:14-18‬ ‭HCSB‬‬

I think some people see believers who turn to the Lord as lemmings who have signed up to a list of dos and donts. Certainly Jesus described those who would make excuses not to come. But entering a relationship with the most Holy God is not a bore! It’s a feast!

The Parable of the Great Banquet

When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.”

Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17 At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’

But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’
Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’

Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’
The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’

Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’

Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full. I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’”

Luke 14:15-24

It’s an access with the King of Kings we did not have before that veil in the Temple was torn, one where we can delight in the presence of God and His fullness of joy. It’s being satisfied unlike anything in this world can do in us. 

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭23:5‬ ‭HCSB‬‬


So there is a lot of singing, a lot of worshipping, a lot of fellowship, some good food, and definitely some family time in the sunshine in store for us. 

But even with all these things going on, I still need to train for a triathlon (and my family too)! And spend time in prayer and personal Bible study. And time with the kids. And time with the husband. The blogs with the book reviews, lessons learned, and fitness encouragement will have to wait until next week. 

I’d like to leave you with some lifelines I use to help me stay centered on the go:

  1. Perspective: journal on my phone. It helps me keep track of my priorities and rate the day based on how I centered I was to things that are important to me. This ADHD brain needs tools like this so I don’t get lost between vet appointments and frog dissections.
  2. Bible In One Year Audio Bible: I honestly don’t have time to read my Bible and I hate being so hectic. But I value this resource so much! I listen to the Bible and the commentary and it’s very edifying. It turns something mundane like making breakfast or folding laundry into a holy moment; while my hands are busy, my heart and my mind are engaged in God’s Word. 
  3. Nike Fitness Club: I’ve been able to enter what weights I could use and what supplies I have, and how often I can exercise this week. It builds customized workouts no more than thirty minutes and within my abilities. 
  4. Audio CDs: our van is old school and comes with a CD player. When we spend so much time in the van, we listen to stories as a family. It gives us something to look forward to and something to discuss as a family. It definitely beats everyone to their own electronic devices and the disconnect that can happen when you’re just running from one thing to the next. But if you have Bluetooth capabilities in your car, Audible is a great resource! Or check out Overdrive and see if your local library is on the app to borrow audio books directly to your phone, from your house!


These are all resources I use for free. If you choose to upgrade to a paid version I will not be compensated in any way. The only apps I found worth paying for are:

  • Fitstar Yoga: I desperately need to stretch my achy joints. I paid the fee to have workouts built for me as I improve. And I can play any music I want in the background, which usually is my worship play list so I can relax and release tension. 
  • Abide: This is a Christian meditation guide. It’s prayers based on scripture that you can hear in the mornings or at night. With background music and based on topics. It’s an active prayer and scripture meditation app in that you are prompted to think and pray about specific things in your life, and meditate on the significance of the Bible verses in your own life. 

Both these apps have free versions too, and if you choose to pay for their subscriptions I won’t be compensated in any way. This isn’t an affiliate post, it’s an honest mom blog post. 

It will be a wonderful week! Be blessed!

What are you doing this weekend?