Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Difficulty of Submission

Sorry that I haven't been around in a while.  I've been going through a lot these days, as I've mentioned many times.  It's been difficult to decide if I should share things or not.  But, after being told many times by people (friends and strangers) that sharing has been encouraging for them, I've decided there's no reason not to.  Now, there are certain things that I can't share right now for different reasons, but my feelings about things I CAN share.  So, I will do that :).  I miss writing.

Some things I'm learning:
1) That submission to my husband is VERY difficult, but VERY necessary because God designed it that way.  The more I submit, the more I realize that he truly knows what's best.  He truly waits on the Lord, and I am impatient and try to control everything.  I'm having to learn to let go!  It's really hard because I am emotionally attached to certain things.........
2) My husband continues to tell me that I need to teach.  He hears the passion and excitement in my voice when I talk about it, and he sees the depression and anxiety that comes with me staying home (this has happened every time I've tried to stay home).  I love my kids, but I get into an awful rut when I'm here all the time.  I am trying to ignore the voices telling me that I MUST stay home... My husband reminds me that I'm different than everyone else for a reason!  I'm trying to process this and decide if I should look for a job for this year, or wait until next year.  It's tough.  He told me the other day (when I called him crying again), that maybe I should teach this year even if all I do is pay for childcare with my check.  Hmmm......  I mostly struggle with putting my baby in childcare.  The older two, I feel, would benefit from it.  I think they would enjoy it a lot.  And with teaching, that means that I wouldn't be picking them up real late, so that's a plus.
3) This huge house, while beautiful, has been bringing more stress and frustration than enjoyment.  It really has taught me a lot about all that I thought I desired.  Not only is it more to take care of, it brings stress for the kids.  They don't sleep well (in their gigantic rooms), therefore, they throw more fits and are just uneasy the majority of the time.  So those of you who live in a small house, just know that a big house isn't necessarily better!  A small house is cozy and more manageable!  Of course, as long as we live here, I will try to take advantage of the positive things about living here :).
4)  I miss natural living :).  I enjoy the freedom that I have been experiencing lately, but I truly want to learn a balance and still do things more naturally... I have kind of gone the opposite direction lately out of convenience.  I know that living naturally is really best for our bodies and our minds.  There's a reason why I have had a passion for it!  Now if I can just learn to balance that passion!
5)  I have been learning to just let the kids play!  They are outside the majority of the time, and they LOVE it.  And, it helps me :).  The benefit of having more than one child is having a built in play mate!
6)  I have also been letting the house go more (which is good and bad).  This is another area that I really need to learn balance.  Letting it go completely isn't good (as I have found recently), and being obsessed with it isn't good either.  Balance is key to all things in life!  (well, except for having a "crazy love" for God and the things of him!)
7)  I'm just "weeding through" a lot of things in my heart and life, learning to let some things go, and learning to give up emotional attachments.  It's VERY difficult, but necessary.  I've come to the point many times recently in which I couldn't do it anymore... and all I could do was let go.  And I'm sure that will continue for a while because I still have control issues.  I have a lot to learn.
8)  Life is hard no matter how things may look on the outside.  I realize that it probably appears as though I have it all: a wonderful family, an amazing home, all of our needs taken care of, etc, but I can assure you that having "the perfect life" isn't possible.  Life is hard no matter what.  Sin is in the world, therefore, we have a daily battle before us.  I LOVE my family with all of my heart, and that's all that really matters to me anymore... my relationship with God, and my family and friends.  All the other things are trivial.  Money, a house, things, really don't matter!  The more money we have, the more we spend, and the more complicated things get.  The bigger the house, the more to clean.  Now, I'm not saying that I'm not thankful for all that the Lord has provided, I'm just saying that it doesn't make life perfect as much as I thought it would.  I still have to daily rely upon the Lord for strength and power to get through the day just like I did before.

I hope all of this makes sense....... I'm still processing through most of these things.  I don't want to come across ungrateful... because that's not the case.  I just know a lot more now after experiencing things than I would have ever imagined.  And it has been eye opening and difficult.
My daily prayer is that He would be glorified through me, daily.  I hope that you see Him in my life and heart as I write...

Friday, May 14, 2010

I spent some time last night in prayer, all alone, in the dark, on our wonderful porch. It was an awesome, peaceful time. God reminded me to use this time that I have to enjoy the blessings that he has placed in my life. He wants me to enjoy my little ones right now instead of trying to make decisions for them for their education (which we don't need to decide on til a year from now).
Robert is pretty clear about how he feels about what he thinks I can handle this coming year, so I need to just follow his lead and stop trying to make decisions based on emotions. He's usually right :).
I'm so thankful for such an amazing, wise husband :).

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Waiting on God's Promises

"When we're waiting on God, we have to trust that His timing is perfect!"

Another quote from my devotional... On the page after the quote from yesterday :).

One Step at a Time

Well, just when I thought we had a good idea of how things would work out, some other things have popped up. I guess I'm just going to have to stop planning, be patient, and allow God to make things clear One. Step. At. A. Time.

Two things happened today:

One, someone was telling me that she took her granddaughter to Faith Academy today to show her around (to possibly go next year), and it made me really miss it. I feel so connected there still. It's hard to explain this connection. Maybe I'm not ready to move on. Maybe I'm just underestimating God's provision for things to work out. I'm quick to say it can't work because of certain details, but God can work things out better than I can imagine.

Two, I was talking to a lady here that taught pre-k for a long time about my going to get my masters, and she told me that it may be more difficult to get a job because the district would have to pay me more. I hadn't thought about that, but it makes sense. And I think I've heard about that being a problem. She said that it usually works out better to have a job, then get your masters. Of course, one of my reasons for taking classes was to keep up with my certification, so maybe I can start to get enough hours for my cert, then finish while I'm teaching.

Ugh. There's so many things to consider. I'm just going to back off for a little while. I feel like I'm thinking too much today :).

Does anyone else have days like that?? Or am I just crazy?? :)

Little Things Thursdays

A friend of mine does a post (I think weekly) titled "It's the Little Things."  I've decided I'm going to begin doing this as a weekly series: Little Things Thursdays.

Some "little things" that I truly enjoy are:
~ Coffee... GOOD coffee, with a little bit of half and half and raw sugar.  YUM.
~ Dr. Pepper.  Yes, I drink soda sometimes.  And, I enjoy it.  I try to limit it (we don't keep it in the house), but I enjoy one here and there when we're out and about!
~ Journals... I love writing to Jesus and writing out my thoughts.
~ The fact that my favorite brand of formula, diapers, wipes, and kids' clothes are Target brand.  Not only are they my favorite, but they are the cheapest I can find.  A box of diapers is $13.  A large package of wipes is close to $4.  A 40 oz can of formula is $17.  Shorts, pants, and t-shirts (Circo or Cherokee brand) are $3-6... not to mention their clearances!  I LOVE Target!!
~ I enjoy menu planning, making a grocery list, and grocery shopping now that we have simplified this process.  I enjoy going to just one or two stores.  And I still get to go by myself or just with Levi because my wonderful mother helps me with the kids once a week!  In fact, she's coming over tomorrow :).
~ I love Costco!  I can get a good portion of my groceries there, and for good prices!  I love that they sell locally made bread, and tortillas with just a few ingredients.  It makes my life easier :).
~ The hours of entertainment that a sandbox brings the kids makes me happy :).  I am trying to get over the mess that it makes :).
~ Letting the kids go outside first thing in the morning... they eat breakfast, then play.  They are almost always outside these days! :)
~ Our covered porch and wonderful view.  I just love to be outside!
~ The summer missions team is about to be here for the summer... I love game nights and just hanging out with them!  I make them koolaid and buy them junk food.  I make them dinner sometimes.  I absolutely love the opportunities to love on college students through the summers here!  I hope I have more opportunities this summer than in the past (last summer being in early pregnancy and the summer before having Ethan in the middle).
~ I love that the older I get, the more confident I become in the person that God made me to be.  I have a long way to go, but I'm much different today than yesterday.

I could probably go on and on... God is showing me all the little blessings that I have in my life.  He is to be glorified and praised through the blessings and toils in this life!

God is Slowly Revealing HIS Plan

Robert and I spent a long time talking last night about the pros and cons of me teaching in the fall.

Some pros are:
1) That it would give me something to do that I enjoy.  By being away, I am realizing that I enjoy teaching a lot!
2) It would be a way for me to get out of the house!
3) It would allow Karis to be in preschool.  She really wants to go to school!
4) It would give me some more experience as a teacher.
5) I love the school, the teachers, and the administration.  It is truly an awesome place.

But, unfortunately, the cons most likely outweigh the pros at this point in time.
1) I would have to put off getting my master's degree.  I may not be able to get it at all.  I just don't know that I could juggle all of that, realistically.
2) It would be a lot of work, and Robert thinks it's too soon because Levi will only be 6 months old in August, and Ethan will only be 2.
3) If I teach there this coming year, I will want to stay.  I don't want to just teach for a year and then leave again.  If I stay, we would put the kids in school there because the public school district that they would have to go to is the other direction.  Unfortunately, putting the kids in school there is not really going to work out because of the fact that it's part time and on staggered days.  With having three kids, all of our schedules will be staggered.  If we lived 10 minutes away, it wouldn't be a big deal... but living 40 minutes away, it's just not realistic.  If Karis goes to Kinder there, she would be in school T, W, Th afternoons, and if I teach, it will be T, Th or M, W, F mornings (just based on the subjects that I feel confident to teach- English and Math).  Once Karis gets into 6th grade, she would be there M, W, F, and the other two would be there T, Th or T, W, Th.
4) Cost for putting the kids in is unrealistic (if it was just one or two it would be doable... but three is NOT).  Robert's salary will never change much, so I would eventually have to work full time to put all three in, which doesn't work with the way their schedule would be.  Again, it wouldn't be a big deal if we lived close.
5) Robert is worried that I'll eventually regret going back so soon and especially teaching upper elementary because that's all that's available next year.  I really enjoy developing curriculum for all ages, but I'm not as passionate about teaching elementary as I was about teaching junior high.  He doesn't want me to get a few months into the year and wish that I was staying home.  I won't have a choice once I start again.
6) We are really thinking that we are called to be in the public school system... there are many reasons for this, but we're really feeling that public school is where God wants us.  We're still praying through this.  We might get into it and realize this isn't the case, but for now, this is where we're headed.  It's tough for me because I LOVE Faith Academy, but God doesn't always call us to be where we're comfortable.  In fact, much of the time, He is against comfort :).

Now... where do we go from here?  A few things I do know: 1) I need to do something that I enjoy outside of here for my mental/emotional health, 2) Karis needs some outside interaction, 3) I want to do something that has to do with education.

Robert and I discussed what we can do this coming year to fulfill those needs/desires.  One thing that he really thinks is that I definitely need to go ahead and pursue my master's degree.  I have wanted to do this for years and I think I can handle one night a week this coming fall.  It will help fulfill my desire to be back into education, it will be something that is outside of the home, and it will be something that I enjoy.
The only dilemma is what to do for Karis to have some outside interaction. My only thought is to find play groups or go to the library regularly, or something like that.  I think it would be just enough to give her the time with other kids that she craves, but it won't cost me anything (besides the gas to get there).  I might start going to MOPS in the fall (at our local church).  In fact, they are doing some play dates this summer, every other week.  I have many options, so I don't think we'll have a lack of interaction for Karis.  It won't be in a school setting, but it'll be good enough for now.  She'll be in school soon enough.

I'm still open for whatever God wants... even if that means doing something that doesn't make logical sense :).  He does that sometimes!  But, this is where we are based on our praying and discussing things (over the course of the past several weeks-month). Robert wants me to do something that I enjoy outside of our home, but he doesn't want me to "bite off more than I can chew."  He wants me to be realistic.

I'm so thankful for such a wise husband!  And I'm thankful that he is willing to share his opinion with me :).  The more I get to know myself, and the closer he and I grow together, the more I see that he knows me very well and usually knows what's best.

One other long term goal/option is to get my master's degree, get the kids in school (at least 2 of the 3), then get Robert back into school.  He thought that because he just turned 30 (and because we have 3 kids), that his dreams were just not going to happen.  This isn't necessarily the case!  We found out several days ago that one of the schools that he used to go to (Lubbock Christian University) now offers his "dream degree": Outdoor Adventure and Resource Management.  He is currently the Maintenance Director here (he used to do Rec), and he is good at it, but it's not where his passion is.  When we talk about what his passion is, he could go on and on for hours :).  I want to give him the opportunity to do what he's passionate about!!  My belief is that there is a reason he has the passions that he does.  Just like I believe God gave me my passions and desires for His purpose, I believe the same for Robert.  I do believe, though, that God has us where we are for a purpose as well.  We'll just wait on His timing for the rest!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

"Put Down Your Plans"

This morning, in my devotional, I read this quote: "Put down your plans and let God surprise you with His."
This is the quote of my life right now.  I am amazed at what He is showing me lately... and I'm finding that the plans that I had laid out for myself are much different than what He wants me to do.  I thought that they were His plans, but I'm finding that what I thought were His plans, were really just me trying to control everything... and doing what I thought was expected of me.  

I didn't realize just how much of a "dark cloud" I was living in until these past few weeks.  Being able to see more clearly has really changed things for me.  I'm able to hear from the Lord better because I don't have my anxiety screaming in my ear 24/7 (which was Satan!).  I don't know if that makes sense.  But I don't feel foggy like I have for so long.  I guess I'm just meant to take meds... I'm okay with that :).  If they make a huge difference (even at such a low dose), why not?  It makes me a better wife, mother, friend, etc.  I'm not so focused on all these things that I can't let go of... and expectations were the hardest to let go of... the expectations that I thought others had for me... and the high expectations that I had for myself.  It's amazing how much of a weight has been lifted!  
I'm able to create routine now, I'm able to do things that I enjoy without feeling guilty, and I'm able to take better care of my family because I'm not frustrated and angry all the time.   

One BIG thing that I'm realizing lately is that I think Robert was right about me needing to work a little bit.  I had decided to stay home next year because I thought I couldn't handle all of the expectations that I had put on myself as a mom AND teach.  I wanted to begin to make EVERYTHING from scratch, homeschool, have goats and chickens, a large garden, cloth diaper, have more kids, etc... which is a LOT of work even for a stay at home mom, let alone someone working (even very part time).  I thought I wanted all of those things, but I'm realizing more and more that those are things that work best for OTHER people, but not for me.  The more kids I have, the more I realize what's important and what's not :).  I'm not saying that making some things from scratch and trying to do things naturally and healthy is bad, but not to the extreme that I was envisioning.  

I have an opportunity to go back to Faith Academy next year.  I talked to my supervisor (who I love and miss!) for a long time yesterday about everything, and she said that she would love it if I came back!  She told me of several definite openings and some possible openings.  I would probably teach two mornings a week (T, Th).  I wouldn't really work to make money, though it won't hurt :).  I could put Karis in preschool two days a week (if they have any openings), I would pay a person to watch the other two one morning a week (and my mom would watch them one morning a week), and the rest would pay for some of our groceries.  So, it would help.  I wouldn't have to put Karis in preschool, but she has been asking me almost everyday if she can go to school.  She wants to go so bad, and I think it would be beneficial for her as well.   

I am going to spend some time today making a pros and cons list, and I'm going to pray, pray, pray!  I don't want to make a decision out of emotion or even out of the fact that things seem to be working out.  I have a lot of things to take into consideration.  I don't want to get half way through the year and regret my decision.  I don't want to get into teaching and begin to get really anxious again.  I only want to do this if it's the Lord's will, even if it seems like a good decision.  Only He knows what's best for me (and I think He lets Robert in on it too :).  

I will still want to work on my Master's degree, and I need to in order to keep my certification current.  But, it will actually help me in the future if I'm getting experience while I'm taking classes (in fact, before I graduate, I will be required to have more experience).  I will probably wait until the Fall of 2011 if I end up teaching.  I want to give myself some time to get used to teaching and having three kiddos.  

And, I don't know what will happen with the kids and school, or what I will do while they are in school.  There are so many things to pray through!  I could teach more classes so we can afford to put them into Faith Academy.  I can stop teaching at Faith the next year and put them into public school (I couldn't do both because they are different directions!).  We'll see what happens!  

It's just cool to see that there are SO many options that I never would have considered (at least not this past year or so).  I'm amazed at how God seems to be showing me that if I truly submit to His will instead of just planning everything on my own and trying to control everything, He shows me that His plans are so much better!  

Monday, May 10, 2010

Update on Nursing

Well, after two days of not taking the herbs and just lessening the feedings a bit, my milk supply is next to nothing already.  It's amazing how much the herbs helped... which makes me realize even more that my body just can't breastfeed (at least much).  I still feel a bit sad because Levi enjoys nursing, but it's just way too stressful!  I just wish that my body was normal and produced enough so that I don't even have to make this decision :(.  I pretty much knew this would happen after the first week of him not getting enough (because it happened every time).  Everyone tells me to not be hard on myself because I tried really hard, but I will probably always wonder if I tried hard enough.  Of course, there wasn't much more I could have done.  So, that makes me feel better.  I might try to nurse at night before bed or something; that will be nice for both of us.  We'll see how that goes.  The main benefit of that is closeness... it doesn't really give him much nourishment, but it will continue the breastfeeding relationship even if it's not all the time.  This way it will NOT be frustrating, it will just be nice :).

Saturday, May 8, 2010

It's Time

Well, after three long months of struggling through breastfeeding, I have made the decision to wean Levi.  I just feel it's time.  Even though I've still been taking herbal tinctures 3-4 times a day, nursing every 2-3 hours (except at night), drinking lots of water, etc, my supply is dwindling.  This past week I have been giving him 2-4 ounces of formula after every feeding.  Levi has been getting frustrated after just a few minutes of nursing.  I'll feel the let down, then a few minutes later (like 2-3 minutes), there's no more.  He's also been getting frustrated at the bottle because I use slow flow nipples (as to not get him frustrated at the breast... even though it's not working)... he's hungry!
I am sad, but I feel at peace with this decision.  I talked to my midwife and received the closure that I needed.  She told me that I have gone longer than any of her moms that have had major supply issues.  I should be proud of the progress that I made and all the work that I put in.  I had a feeling this time would come.  From the beginning, when I didn't have enough for him, I prepared myself for this.  At least I know that it wasn't something that I did wrong with the last two... it is just my body.  I have tried everything and still struggled with major supply issues... So, I can feel good that I did the best that I could.  It's time to move on now.  I'm excited and at peace.

Birth Control
We are almost 100% sure that we are finished having babies.  Between my having postpartum depression/anxiety after the birth of my babies (and it progressively getting worse each time), and just feeling like our family is complete, we're looking into possibly using a permanent method now.  I've done a little more research on the IUD and I'm not real sure that I feel comfortable with it.  Part of me is just ready to make the commitment so we can move on.  Part of me is a little hesitant just because we're pretty young and I don't want to do anything out of emotion and just because I'm tired.  So, we're going to continue praying about it for a little while.  But, we both feel content with our family the size that it is.  

I'm so excited about what's to come.  Praise God for just opening my eyes to so many things and helping me to see clearly.  

I will be writing soon about a lot more of what he's been teaching me.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Seeing Clearly!

First, I just want to say a few things about my post from yesterday.  I don't feel "stuck" being home right now.  I know that I'm supposed to be home while my little ones are little :).  I enjoy it (most days) and know that this is where God has called me.  I was just saying that as I am learning about myself, I am learning that maybe being home for the rest of my life is not what I am supposed to do.  Maybe God is equipping me for something else when they get a little older.  I'm praying through so many options!

Second, I am amazed at how clearly I can see.  I'm not talking physically (because I really need to go to the eye doctor haha), but I'm talking about mentally/emotionally.  I guess I didn't realize just how much my anxiety made my mind and emotions so muddy.  I didn't realize how much my anxiety made me focus in on things that didn't need to be focused on.  I didn't realize how much my anxiety made me live life to please others and to do what I thought was expected of me.  For the first time, I am able to ask God and ignore others' opinions.  For the first time I'm realizing that I don't fit into the mold that I was trying to stuff myself into.  For the first time I'm realizing that the only image I need to fit myself into is that of Christ... however that needs to look in my life.

And do you know what this feels like??  FREEDOM.  Praise God for bringing me to this place.  Praise God for putting people in my life to make me see that I needed to make a change.  I know that He allows everything for a reason and a purpose.  I am now at a point in which I can move forward and enjoy the family and life that He has given me.

Another thing that I am able to do now is focus more on others and how I can be used by God.  I don't feel so stuck in my struggles that I'm unable to focus on anyone but myself.

I still have a ways to go, but I am doing so much better today than a few days ago.  I'm praying that God will continue bringing me to a place of even more freedom in Him so that I can be free to love, serve, and focus on Him and others.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

What is best anyway?

Yesterday, Robert and I had the opportunity to spend several hours alone.  It was really good.

One thing that I'm learning through all that I have been going through is that I have spent the last several years (or maybe my whole life) doing things that I feel are expected of me.  I do things that seem to work for most moms in my "circle" (ie moms who live a more natural lifestyle) thinking that if I don't do it all, then I shouldn't do any of it.  Robert was saying that because he likes the outdoors so much, he used to want to do things that fit the "outdoor lifestyle" all of the time- backpacking, climbing, camping, hiking, kayaking, even wearing Chaco sandles, carrying around a Nalgene water bottle, and eating Clif Bars because all of those things fit together.  He eventually began to realize that in his life right now, ALL of those things aren't possible or necessary, and that it's okay to just do the things that he can or enjoys the most.  He doesn't have to fit the profile of a person with an "outdoor lifestyle."  

So, because of trying to fit the profile of a "natural mama," I thought I had to do it all- homebirth (which I will never change :), breastfeeding, babywearing, co-sleeping, cloth diapering, using ALL natural products and cleaners, not using any medication, making everything homemade with organic and grass fed foods, having chickens and goats, having a large garden, staying home, homeschooling... you get the picture.  As I've stopped reading other people's opinions through blogs and "online communities," I've realized that I can pick and choose.  God made each one of us different for a reason.  It's not necessary to do anything the way others do them just because it seems to be best (which, what is best anyway?).  I've learned that everyone thinks what they are doing is best... and it is... best for them.  But, best for me and my family may be different.  

I've also thought that it was completely wrong to think about sending our kids to school, or to even think about pursuing something that I know I would enjoy.  For years I have talked to Robert about getting my Master's degree.  I need to take some classes in order to keep my teaching certification current, and I LOVE higher education and learning and know that I would enjoy even just being in school again (even if it's just one or two classes at at time).  Also, having a higher education opens the doors to many possibilities.  Through talking to Robert yesterday, he reminded me that it's okay to pursue something that I would enjoy and that would benefit me (because it would benefit my family as well). In fact, he wants me to.  He always envisioned me staying home while our kids were too young for school, then going back to work when they all got into school.  He must know me better than I know myself.  When we started talking about that yesterday, I literally starting feeling a weight lifted.  To be given permission to do something that I love made me realize that I'm not "stuck" doing what everyone else expects of me (of course, I'm sure that I just assume those expectations are there and they're not).  I'm not stuck staying home for the rest of my life.  I have something to look forward to as the kids grow up.  With my anxiety, the thought of always being home is very difficult to swallow.  I knew that being home for a while was necessary, and I thought that I needed to be home forever because isn't that the good Christian mom and wife thing to do??  NO.  It's not for everyone!  It's not selfish of me to want to pursue something that I enjoy.  If I am pursuing something that I enjoy, then I will be a much more content mama, and the kids and my husband will benefit from it.  If I feel "stuck," then I will always be anxious and depressed, and my life will always be frustrating to me.  

As I've been processing all of these things, I've begun to realize even more that I truly need to ask God what He wants me to pursue... not what I've thought was best for me and our family this whole time.  Maybe He gave me the gifts and desires that He did for a purpose?  Of course He did. :)  Now, I just need to ask Him what those gifts and desires are exactly, and how I need to pursue them.

Robert asked me if some of my anxiety came from feeling "stuck" being home for the rest of my life... and I think some of it is from that.  But I think there was something bigger beneath that... the thought that I had to do everything a certain way because of what seemed to fit the mold.  

I am breaking free from that "mold" or the profile of a "natural mama," and I'm deciding that I am different than everyone else.  It's okay to do something that I enjoy, even if that something is beyond caring for my family and children (as long as I'm still taking care of them!).  I'm deciding today that God made me different, gave me different desires, and will give me a clear idea of where to go from here.  I am asking Him what He wants, and not what I think is expected of me.  

I don't have a choice in whether or not I stay home right now (because I can't afford childcare for three kids!), and I think it's good for them if I'm home while they're babies and toddlers.  But I am most likely going to pursue higher education.  Robert really wants me to, I want to, I have found a school in Austin (Concordia University) that has a program that I really like (Advanced Literacy Instruction to be a Reading Specialist), and the classes are one evening a week!  So, I don't have to have childcare... Robert can just stay home with the kids (or I can send them to Granny's for the night if I need to!).  I will take it slow... maybe one or two classes a semester (because we will most likely try to pay as I go, using our income tax refunds).  It will be best to take it slow, especially with the kids :).  I will most likely try to start in the Spring or Fall of 2011.  I wouldn't try to take that on in the Fall of this year :).  I need the kids to get a little older first.  

I'm excited about what is to come.  I'm spending daily time in prayer about all of this, and I am beginning to feel a weight lifted and peace about everything.

If this isn't the avenue that God wants me to pursue, I will allow HIM to tell me that, and not blogs or other people :).  Again, I'm just taking it one day at a time.  

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Starting Over with ONLY What I Need


By not reading other blogs, through talking with Robert, and by praying through some things, I’m learning to just have what is necessary “on my plate.”  I’m realizing what it is that I can handle right now, and what is necessary for our family.  I’ve still been struggling (with yesterday being a real rough day), but there are things that we have decided on (and decided to just wait and pray) that give me some peace.  I am definitely learning to let some things go… and I’m definitely finding that it doesn’t matter how others do things, what other people think (or what I think they think), and what works best for others.  I’m learning that what works for one family doesn’t work for another… and I’m beginning to be fine with that.  It’s nice to not read blogs because I’m figuring out what I really and truly want to pursue in this season of life (and what Robert desires as well). 


We are still torn on this, and will be praying until we both feel at peace with a decision.  Robert wants to put them in school, but he’s torn about it because of a few things:

  • distance- it’s 25 minutes away one way… he thinks this may be reason enough to homeschool
  • the school district that they would be in- I haven’t heard anything good about it really…
  • his schedule here at camp- he rarely has a weekend off, and with his schedule being so sporadic, it works better to homeschool

I’ve thought about looking into some co-ops in the area and see if I can visit some to find one that I might want to be involved in… that way they still have the opportunity to make friends and be with other kids… and it will give me the opportunity to be involved with other homeschooling mamas.  I personally would rather find one that has non-Christians as well as Christians… but I don’t know if that’s possible.  They tend to separate themselves :(. 

Some days I’m all for public school, other days I’m all for homeschool.  So, I know at this point we can just keep praying and looking into things… and just wait to make a decision. 

Another thing that I’ve decided is that we don’t have to make a decision and always do that.  We can decide to homeschool for a few years, then put them in school… or vice versa.  We have the freedom to take it one year at a time.  I hadn’t thought about it that way until I talked to a friend of mine about it.

Other Smaller Decisions

Most of the “little things” that I’ve talked about don’t have a black and white answer in God’s word, so it’s up to us as to what we decide.  We have decided on several things for this season of life… some things may always stay the same, some things may eventually change… but for now, these are the decisions we have made:

  • Cloth diapers vs. disposable- Robert prefers cloth, but he also realizes that it creates a lot of extra laundry (because of having two in diapers)… so we have decided that disposable is the way to go for right now.  This is actually a huge weight off of my shoulders.  Disposables are so much easier right now.  We buy the Target brand, so they are only about $13 a box.  It would be nice to save that $13 a box, but for right now, it’s worth the expense.
  • Natural products/cleaners vs. conventional- We are pretty set on what we use in laundry and dish detergent (natural), cleaners (a mix), and personal care products (natural if we can afford it, conventional if we can’t).  We’ve decided that this works for us.  So, we’ll just keep doing what we’re doing.  Limiting toxins even a little bit is better than not at all.
  • ALL homemade foods vs. some processed- We are doing a mixture… focusing still on healthy and the least processed that we can find… Central Market brand organic  and Kashi brand crackers, cereals, etc.  I will probably buy some Ezekiel brand through Azure (very inexpensive). We’ve been buying the “homemade” bread at Costco (it’s made in Austin with fresh ground flour), and tortillas from Costco (that only have 3 ingredients).  For now, this works.  I will probably try to make some of these things homemade again in the fall.  We’ll see.  I’m taking it one day at a time.
  • Eating in the dining hall... how much?- Robert prefers to eat at home most of the time, and some days I need to get out… so, we’re just going to take it one day at a time (and one meal at a time).  We’ll plan 3-4 dinners and always have lunch options at home, but know that it’s okay if we end up eating in the dining hall if things are rough that day. 
  • Grocery shopping- Robert and I both feel that the Farmer’s Market will be for fun, and Azure will be maybe every other month, and I will mostly do shopping at HEB and Costco.  I actually feel a lot of freedom about this decision.  I’ve also decided that I will only shop for the week for now because I enjoy going grocery shopping… and if I spend our entire grocery budget at once, I don’t have the option to go every week.  Costco will probably only be a once a month thing.
  • Letting our kids eat "unhealthy" stuff in moderation vs. not allowing it at all- Robert’s opinion is that the kids should eat what we eat… and we should be a good model.  But, we will still eat “unhealthy” stuff in moderation… trying to remember that we still have to live life.  Right now we’re doing a “No C’s- cookies, cake, chocolate, candy, ice cream” diet for the month of May.  A friend of mine told me that she and several others were doing it and asked if we wanted to join.  I thought that was the perfect way to learn to live without all those sweets :).
  • Only having local channels vs. getting Dish Network again- Robert REALLY doesn’t want to get Dish Network and is pretty set on this.  He feels it has been very good for our family to not have much to watch.  He knows himself and knows that if he has things to watch, he will.  So, I have decided to submit to my husband’s leadership in this area.  We’ve discussed using Netflix to “rent” Disney channel and Nick Jr. cartoons (Mickey Mouse, Backyardigans, etc).  I can also rent some TLC shows (I like the older ones anyway). 
  • Breastfeeding– I’m taking this one day at a time.  I am not going to commit to anything because I’m still struggling quite a bit, but I also enjoy it.  So, I don’t know how I feel from day to day :). 
  • Are chickens, goats, and a large garden realistic for our family?- Chickens aren’t difficult… so we’ll probably pursue that for the fall.  Goats are too much work for right now, and a large garden is not realistic.  We are probably going to wait until next Spring to do a garden, and we’ll do a smaller, more manageable one.  By then, Karis will be 5, Ethan will be almost 3, and Levi will be 1.  It will be much easier. 
  • Homeschool vs. Public school- I’ve already discussed this :).
  • Whether or not I will go back to teaching if we put the kids in school.- We definitely have plenty of time to wait to decide on this.  It will depend on whether or not we decide to put the kids in school. 
  • Church- Most likely we’ll stay with our church… this will only change if we put the kids in school.
  • Immunizations- We’ve decided to continue with the alternative schedule that we’re using (I’ll post this eventually).
  • Discipline- Robert and I don’t do well with specific methods.  We’ll just continue what we’re doing for now.
  • Vitamins/supplements/etc?- We’ll continue buying what we’ve been buying.  Robert and I both feel that it’s important that we and the kids get vitamins (whole foods source) and fish oil.  And Karis has to take extra fiber because of what she’s lacking in her picky diet.
  • What to give and where to give it- We tithe every check.  We’ve started giving to my friend that’s a missionary in Argentina (again), and we’re going to commit to sponsoring a child through World Vision.  We’ll also give as the Lord places on our hearts.
  • Trying to have a specific schedule of doing everything, or just going with the flow?- I have some things lined out, but I have decided to just do what I can do, when I can do it.  I need something to go by or else I’ll just be lazy, but I can’t commit to following something 100% because then I’ll just feel defeated.  Robert is not a fan of schedules by any means, so I’m just going to try to go with the flow. 
  • Planning meals- how should I do this?- Continue doing what we’ve been doing… but only buy food for one week (except for some items in which it’s much cheaper to buy in bulk).  We plan 4 or so meals a week plus some staple items for breakfasts, lunches, and snacks.
  • Should I get someone to clean my house once a month?- We can’t afford this :).  So, I’ll just keep going the way I have been.
  • Should I try to plan lessons for the kids?  Or should I just let them lead their learning at this time... and learn through play and life experiences?- For the fall, I will begin planning a few activities, but for the most part, just have them learn through play and life experiences (which is best anyway). 
  • Finances (this wasn’t on the original blog)- The fact that I’m no longer making money has become very real to me lately.  We have little left over after tithe, bills, savings, and other giving.  So, because this is causing anxiety, I’m handing it over to Robert.  He will pay everything and tell me how much we have left for me to spend on gas and groceries.  He will be the one to make decisions on where we spend our money and how much.  That takes a lot of pressure off of me!  I used to be worried about him doing it because he was too busy, but now we don’t have a whole lot to keep up with, so it’s not as big of a deal.

Letting Go

My biggest goal right now is to try to learn to let things go.  If I feel like I’ve failed in one area one day, then I’ll just try again the next day.  If I feel like I can’t handle something, then I’ll let go for the moment.  If I need a break, then I’ll take it :).  I’m letting go of how that will appear to others.  I have to take care of my mental health so that I can take care of my family.  If I’m struggling mentally/emotionally, then I’m no good to my husband and kids.

I do best when I spend time with Jesus before I do anything else, so my goal is to always do this.  The kids have been getting up earlier lately, so it’s difficult, but I make a point to try to make it work.  Giving it over to Jesus daily is all I can do.  I’m also going to start some counseling with a Christian counselor.  I’m actually looking forward to this. 

Sorry for the length of this post :).  It really helps me to process through everything… the little and the big.  I’m still working through a lot of things and feelings that I struggle with on a moment by moment basis.  But, all I can do is take everything one day at a time.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Light Peaking Through the Dark Clouds

I've been having a rough time with energy lately... most days I feel emotionally okay, but the lack of energy and desire to sleep all the time (and not be able to) has made things tough.  I saw my doctor today for a follow up, and she reminded me that if I can get some energy back, I won't feel like a pile of bricks is on top of me (and that is exactly how I feel most days).  She suggested that I take my medicine in the mornings instead of at night.  The problem right now is that I take it in the evening, then I have a hard time sleeping, then I'm exhausted all day.  Also, the medicine wears off mid-day right now.  So hopefully by making that change, I will be able to sleep better, and then I will feel better through the day.  And, the medicine shouldn't wear off until the evening/nighttime.  She also checked my iron and thyroid to make sure I don't have low iron or that my thyroid levels are off.  I should find out with in the next couple of days.  She also told me that I need to make sure to take my vitamins.  That will help with energy as well. 

But, for the most part, I feel like a little light is peaking through the dark clouds (most days).  I went through a tough week last week (again), but things are picking back up.  I'm going to have good days and bad days... that's part of life... especially with all that has been going on in my life lately.  I just have to deal with each day as it comes.

One thing that I do know for sure... I am blessed.  Despite the things that I struggle through, I have a very understanding family.  Robert does anything he can to help me.  He doesn't worry about the house looking a certain way.  When he can, he does laundry or dishes.  He helps me make meals when I'm struggling to get it done (usually about the time it's time to make dinner, the kids start throwing fits and Levi wants to be held).  He lets me get away one evening a week... to gather my thoughts... to be away from screaming kids for a few hours.
The kids have been great lately... just playing and going along like normal.  They are doing well most days.  Levi sleeps through the night now (usually about 8:00 or 9:00 pm until about 6:00 am).  He also takes two long naps most days.  He's only 2 1/2 months old!  God definitely knew what I needed.  If I had another baby like Ethan, I think I would really be losing my mind.  Levi just goes with the flow most of the time.  He's very laid back and sweet.  He smiles and coos a lot.  :)
My mom, most weeks, comes to the house to help with the kids for the day, or she'll take the older kids to her house for the night.  She is  BIG help.
I also have wonderful friends that are always there when I need them :).

I'm still just learning to take one day at a time!