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.


The Man Crew said...

Excellent! Love how you are processing. Keep at it, day after day, Courtney. The Lord will keep giving you the strength for each day : )

Christabelle said...

Hey! If you decide to homeschool for a bit and want someone to chat with, I'd be happy to do so! My kids are younger so I can relate to some of the triumphs and struggles of taking care of things. I pray God continues to reveal to you what He wants and strengthens your resolve in it. My heart to you!