Sunday, October 22, 2017

Day 22: If Money Were No Object...

Day 22 of the 31 day challenge.

If money were no object, what would you spend your time doing?

Right now? Breaking this headache of 1+ week (that's thankfully waxing and waning so it's not been completely me hidden in a dark, quiet spot for the duration).

In dreams? I'd cook when I wanted and hire someone to do it for the rest of the time.

I'd travel more.

I'd take morning walks with my husband.

This is a hard question for me. As the bread winner, my husband would probably have more to say with this prompt than I do. I'm used to being home, and I can do much more that I want than my husband can. My day-to-day is less limited by money than by family duty.

Don't forget to check out these other blogs:

~~Ana Maria at Bottled Ponderings~~

~~Christine at Epiphanies of Beauty~~

~~Barb at Praying for Grace~~

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Day 21: Your Dream Job

Day 21 of the 31 day challenge.

My Dream Job

I am beyond thankful that my husband has a job that allows me to stay at home with the kids. That's more than enough of a "job" for me! That said, my husband occasionally asks me what I would like to do once the kids are grown (as if I still won't be busy!). However, that does start me to thinking about what I would do if I could do anything - all money, kids, family, health aside.

Own an Allergen-Free Restaurant - though we are only gluten-free, to have a place void of the top allergens full of fresh food and treats would be awesome. I know how it feels to want to go out now and then and often it seems as if we're taking a gamble when we do. Finding a safe spot would be awesome so I want to make others in the same boat feel the same way. My restaurant would have seasonal items, changing menus, and be fresh and family friendly. Note to Readers: you may have such a place in your town (please share!), but alas, in my rural part of the world, we have much less to choose from.

Write a Book - pretty self-explanatory. My vision of writing a book is much neater and prettier in my head than I expect the reality to be. I would most likely write a kid book - teen/pre-teen.

Book Store / Coffee Shop / Soup & Sandwich - this dream is kind of a mash-up. In my head, I envision a safe spot for kids after school, but the work lunch crowd for soup and sandwich (gluten-free/allergen free options naturally). It's small, cozy, and welcoming. This kind of place has to exist somewhere with overall colder weather as I always think of the fall when I dream this dream.

Artsy-Fartsy DIY Studio - I'd like to fiddle more with this on my own, but also create a fun place for kids and adults to explore art, especially for those who think they can't do it. I imagine color, late mornings, groups, and parties for this dream.

Do you have a dream job?

Don't forget to check out these other blogs:

~~Ana Maria at Bottled Ponderings~~

~~Christine at Epiphanies of Beauty~~

~~Barb at Praying for Grace~~

Friday, October 20, 2017

Day 20: Five '+' Changes Right Now

Day 20 of the 31 day challenge. How is October moving along so fast? The days are way too short. My "off" week is nearly over, but today will be fun: lunch play date at the park, a physical for one boy who wants to play basketball, and then pizza and a movie at home this evening.

But's let move on to the prompt:

Five Positive Changes You Could Make in Your Life Right Now

Naturally, as soon as I read the topic for today all I could think of was changing the negative parts of me. Why do we do this to ourselves?

Changes I would make (am trying to make):

Praying More - and not just official prayer at set times with set prayers, but carrying that conversation with God through everything; to be present in the moment with Jesus. Life is so incredibly busy and my mind buzzing with everything that I have to fight to keep God in there, ever-present.

Stop Yelling - I hate yelling, but it comes out when I'm frustrated. Yelling serves no purpose other than to shut the other person out. I'm trying the soft kindergarten voice, but it's not working for me. What's your trick?

Fast - I'm not talking about a major fast, but small, intermittent fasts. It would be good for both body and soul.

Set Sleep Schedule - I had an autoimmune flare at the end of summer, and it's really messed with my sleep habits. It is better than it was, but having that set schedule again would be welcome and incredibly helpful (feeling rested, easier mornings, not falling asleep at some point every day, not needing more than one cup of coffee...).

Sitting in the Sun - or forcing myself outside more. With such busy days indoors (cooking, cleaning, schooling, falling asleep apparently), I often lose track of time and then it is evening. I'm like a plant - I need the sun. I know this about myself. I need to feel the wind on my face, and see the seasonal changes up close and personal. I need to prioritize this. Without it, I lose a piece of myself, I feel further from God, and a restlessness fills me.

So what changes would you make? Looking back at what I wrote I see many are physical changes. How much our physical world dominates us.

Don't forget to check out these other blogs:

~~Ana Maria at Bottled Ponderings~~

~~Christine at Epiphanies of Beauty~~

~~Barb at Praying for Grace~~

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Day 19: How You Try to Make the World a Better Place

Day 19 of the 31 day challenge. Thank goodness it's our "off" week from school. I'm on day 5 of this wonderful headache. It's more of a tension headache now, but if I'm not careful another migraine might come of it.

I really did not feel like writing this morning, but here I am trying to stick to my 31 day goal.


How do I try to make the world a better place?

I am no one.

In all this world, to most people, I am no one. It can feel as if I make no difference, and surely the devil uses those feelings to discourage. If I cannot "go big" then I most definitely should just go home for I am nothing. What difference can I make?

Yet, I am a child of God. I know that if only I existed, Jesus would have died for me. Just me. One "person" making a difference for one other person.

It is too easy to become discouraged if I think that I should be doing more. Often, God calls me to do less. What is it to the world if I do x, y, z, but at home my children are starved for affection and love?What is it to the world if I teach others the faith, but ignore my family's learning? What is it to the world if I feed the hungry, but leave my family to fend for themselves?

I may be little. I may be nothing in the eyes of the world, but here, at home, I am someone. I am mom. I am wife, daughter, sister, friend, teacher. Reaching out and showing God's love to those around me is the best way I can try to make the world a better place. That is where I am at right now.

Naturally, sharing God's love with others first starts with me. I have to better myself in God's ways or what good am I?

(I'm glad I did write this post. I feel a tad uplifted.)

Don't forget to check out these other blogs:

~~Ana Maria at Bottled Ponderings~~

~~Christine at Epiphanies of Beauty~~

~~Barb at Praying for Grace~~

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Day 18: Ten Things I Like About Myself

Day 18 of the 31 day challenge. As an aside, I googled the song I posted yesterday because I couldn't sleep and found this article with a bit of an interview of the singer/songwriter of the band. I'll definitely have to listen to the full album, called Hope. The gist of the song is this:

"Basically the song is about fighting your inner demons. Trying to change and become a better person in life. I write songs to reflect where I’m at in life, and this song is me saying to the world that I’m doing my absolute best right now to be a good person."

Now, today's topic:

Ten Things I Like About Myself

I might have groaned out loud when I read today's prompt yesterday. Mostly, it left me in a funk (darn headache doesn't help). In frank honesty, at this juncture, I'm not liking myself too much. When I was younger, there were a few women I was lucky enough to know for a time, and I thought to myself, "I want to be like her when I grow old." Like her meaning oozing a certain grace and peace to those around you.

I'm anything but grace and peace. I fight an inner anger and impatience. The battle feels so constant, especially as it worsens with stress (bodily or mentally). Oh, how I laugh whenever I think of how "patient" I was when I only had my first child.

Growing older also meant physical changes, and I wanted to be ok with that. But I'm not. I feel robbed of my youth fighting this fatigue and other issues since I was 19. I feel like I am old already, and that scares me. Plus, gaining all this weight with my thyroid has thrown me into a world of doubt and insecurity that I never could have imagined, and all I can think is, "How can a young girl struggle with this weight?"

Sob, sob. That's enough.

I suppose the first thing I will say I like about myself has everything to do with God, not me, because it is the fact that though I am beaten down, I get back up and try again - not on my own, but with God's grace.

I'm an organizer. I love to plan. I don't always follow through, but I do love planning and I think I'm pretty good at it. Organizing goes along with being efficient too, I think. My mind is always jumping to the best path to take.

My mind may be a fog at times, and my memory shot, but I am good at puzzles, especially spatial puzzles like Tetris or rearranging blocks to form pictures or whatever.

I can read fast. That used to be a good thing when I retained all that I read! Now it's a good lesson in slowing down and savoring the words.

I like to be creative. I like that about myself. I'm no Michelangelo, but I do ok for me.

Let's see, that makes 5 things so far. This is hard!

I can cook. Occasionally I try a recipe for something new, but I think I'm pretty good at throwing in this and that and coming up with yummy food to eat.

Read alouds. I do all the voices. Or try to. :)

I can finally stand in front of a group and talk to people without completely making a fool of myself.

I suppose I can teach. Kind of. Sort of. I'm doing it, right?

I still try new things. I don't always like it, but I force myself. After all, I can't grow too old and stodgy in mind as well as body, can I?

What about you? What do you like about you?

Don't forget to check out these other blogs:

~~Ana Maria at Bottled Ponderings~~

~~Christine at Epiphanies of Beauty~~

~~Barb at Praying for Grace~~

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

P.S. Feeling Alive

On the way to the doctor's yesterday, the radio was on in the car. Living in a rural area and heading to the "big city" meant a lot of channel scanning over clouds of static. I stopped on what sounded like a catchy tune, something I would like - upbeat, felt fun, and well, happy. Then I started to listen to the words. I'm still not sure what I think of them. 
Today's 31 Day prompt made me remember this song immediately. Is this guy crying out for help, or is he sending a message that despite this... mess in his head, he's fighting to live - and for a purpose (waiting for his day, not wanting to be alone). I don't know, but this song is stuck in my head now.
What do you think? Check out the lyrics:
Spirits by The Strumbellas
I got guns in my head and they won't go
Spirits in my head and they won't go
I got guns in my head and they won't go
Spirits in my head and they won't
I been looking at the stars tonight
And I think oh, how I miss that bright sun
I'll be a dreamer 'til the day I die
But they say oh, how the good die young
But we're all strange
And maybe we don't wanna change
I got guns in my head and they won't go
Spirits in my head and they won't go
I got guns in my head and they won't go
Spirits in my head and they won't go
But the gun still rattles
The gun still rattles, oh
I got guns in my head and they won't go
Spirits in my head and they won't go
I spent a lot of nights on the run
And I think oh, like I'm lost and can't be found
I'm just waiting for my day to come
And I think oh, I don't wanna let you down
'Cause something inside has changed
And maybe we don't wanna stay the same
I got guns in my head and they won't go
Spirits in my head and they won't go
I got guns in my head and they won't go
Spirits in my head and they won't go
But the gun still rattles
The gun still rattles, oh
But the gun still rattles
The gun still rattles, oh
And I don't want a never ending life
I just want to be alive while I'm here
And I don't want a never ending life
I just want to be alive while I'm here
And I don't want to see another night
Lost inside a lonely life while I'm here
I got guns in my head and they won't go
Spirits in my head and they won't go
I got guns in my head and they won't go
Spirits in my head and they won't go
But the gun still rattles
The gun still rattles, oh
But the gun still rattles
The gun still rattles, oh
Written by Jeremy Drury, Jonathan Hembrey, Darryl James, Isabel Ritchie, David Ritter, Simon Alexander Ward • Copyright © BMG Rights Management US, LLC

Day 17: What Makes You Feel Alive

Day 17 of the 31 day challenge.

What Makes You Feel Alive

Ironic title considering I feel half-alive this morning despite a good night's sleep. Migraines will do that to a person. It's still there - a dull throbbing - and a fatigue that lies on me. At least it's manageable, liveable, and I can carry on with today's plans: a theatre show with the kids (Young Abe), out to lunch with my in-laws, and then energy-burning at a skate rink after with other homeschoolers. It's nice to have a week off.

So what makes me feel alive? I feel the need for a list today.

...the brisk autumn wind on my face.

...a cold winter's night looking up at the stars.

...dashing through the rain.

...seeing something beautiful.

...jolted awake at 3 am to check my son's blood sugar.

...jolted awake at any time in a panic, heart racing.

...jumping into the pool.

...reading a good book.

...watching an emotional movie.

...alone in the church with Jesus in the Tabernacle.

...after Confession!

...after writing.

...doing the dishes (usually).

...standing at the ocean's edge.

...waking up and realizing today you feel good.

What about you?

Don't forget to check out these other blogs:

~~Ana Maria at Bottled Ponderings~~

~~Christine at Epiphanies of Beauty~~

~~Barb at Praying for Grace~~

Monday, October 16, 2017

Day 16: A Fear You Would Overcome Given the Opportunity

Day 16 of the 31 day challenge. Over half-way! The headache lingers though duller. I was up most of the night, and I have a long morning ahead of me taking my son to the endocrinologist (long drive, long appointment).

A Fear I Would Overcome...

When I read this prompt the first thing that popped into my mind was fear itself. I would be rid of fear itself. A fear of fear leads to other fears, circles like a never-ending ferris wheel (not a favorite of mine). It heightens anxiety, throws everything out of proportion. It turns everything known into unknowns. I may have individual fears, but allowing fear itself to rule over me when anxiety hits... That I could do without.

What about you?

Don't forget to check out these other blogs:

~~Ana Maria at Bottled Ponderings~~

~~Christine at Epiphanies of Beauty~~

~~Barb at Praying for Grace~~

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Day 15: The Advice You Would Give Your Younger Self

Day 15 of the 31 day challenge. I have a killer headache today. The weather is changing and the wind is blustery so today will be short, sweet, and hopefully readable.

Advice I would give my younger self...

Would you go back in time to give yourself advice? Would you have listened? I hope I would have, but more than likely I would have thought I was crazy. And really, by changing the past, would that have changed your future for the better? I don't know.

...Skip college. Go for adventure and travel.

...Do more with art.

...Don't forget about God.

...Marry younger instead of waiting to graduate college.

...Forgive sooner.

...Persistently seek out doctor's help to feel better instead of giving up and just dealing with it.

...Fight for friendships and relationships.

I'm sure there is more, but my brain is throbbing. Enjoy your Sunday.

Don't forget to check out these other blogs:

~~Ana Maria at Bottled Ponderings~~

~~Christine at Epiphanies of Beauty~~

~~Barb at Praying for Grace~~

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Day 14: A Person You Admire

Day 14 of the 31 day challenge. Nearly half-way! I must admit that though some mornings I feel rushed to write, I do like writing, and am glad I accepted the challenge (thanks Ana Maria!).

A Person You Admire

When I was a kid, maybe 14, my brother played baseball. There was this high school boy who amazed me. He was the umpire for most of the games. He was smart - top of his class, well-mannered, super nice, good-looking but not too good-looking, a talented athlete, a weather nut (he had equipment he built on and in his car), and pretty much good at whatever he put his mind to, seemingly without effort. I'm sure you have met similar people - the world seems to fall in their laps and everything appears easy for them. I have no idea what this boy went on to do. I don't even remember his name. I only remember that he seemed to conquer everything he did, easily and with charm. While I was lucky with the easy part, I certainly did not (do not) have the charm. I have come a long way from that girl, but looking back at that memory, I think what most sticks out now was how this boy made me feel (and I think my dad too) - that anything was possible, that I could do anything, that when he talked to us, we were all that mattered. That is a pretty special thing.

That boy was really unknown to me so my admiration is based on memory and perhaps wishful thinking so I also want to share what I love about people in my life.

...My husband - his humor and ability to make me laugh.

...Mr. A - his sweetness and blushing sarcasm.

...Mr. D - his silliness and cuddles.

...Miss L - her creativity and (sigh) her stubbornness.

...Miss Z - her mind, memory, and how sociable she is (exhausting for me, but I admire it).

...My mom's iron willpower.

...My dad's work ethic.

...My brother's work ethic. (Seriously, I worried about him when we were younger.)

...My sister-in-law's ability to know exactly what I need help with. Maybe that's why she's a good nurse!

...My mother-in-law's love for her family.

...A friend's easygoing and sociable attitude that makes it so easy to talk to her. Again, another nurse.

...Another friend's wisdom.

...A different friend's depth of faith (this could apply to quite a few people I know).

The list could go on and on.

Do you believe that?

Don't forget to check out these other blogs:

~~Ana Maria at Bottled Ponderings~~

~~Christine at Epiphanies of Beauty~~

~~Barb at Praying for Grace~~

Friday, October 13, 2017

Day 13: Life Interrupts

Day 13 of the 31 day challenge. Yes, I missed yesterday. Again. A homeschooling mom scored an amazing deal at a nearby waterpark for our group so we spent all day yesterday there, and I am utterly exhausted this morning. Thank goodness my husband was able to join us because I could not keep up! It was fun, but I'm reminded once again that I'm not getting any younger.

Today's writing prompt was "A hard-to-forgive person/situation and how it shaped you." I have no brain power - or time - for that reflection so I thought I would write a bit on our life interruptions of late.

My homeschooling plan through the holidays is teaching four weeks on, one week off. I need that week to enjoy my kids, and to build up energy for another session of school. Naturally our first session and break were interrupted, and for a sad reason. My grandfather passed away. It was a long decline, and not totally unexpected. However, this man had been at death's door so many times, it felt like he couldn't die. But he did, and the end of our fourth week of school was spent at the funeral home.

Headaches... This fall has been no fun with headaches for me. They haven't been awful migraines for the most part at least, but they are frequent and tiring.

Knee Pain... This one goes to Mr. A. I had to take him in for increasing knee and leg pain disproportionate to his activity. I felt sure it had to do with growing, but since he was complaining so much and in obvious pain (barely able to walk one night), I took him to the doctor which led him to tests and a follow-up. Thankfully, all is clear. It most likely is due to growing (he's grown six inches this past year!), and he is to ice, rest, and take ibuprofen as needed. The area affected is his patellar tendons if anyone is familiar.

Dark mornings... It is so hard to wake up. It's affecting our school day start. That's something to work on for our next session since next week is our scheduled break.

Highs and Lows... This one goes to Mr. A again. Since his type 1 diabetes diagnosis, his school work has improved greatly. On a day with an extreme high or low, though, and it feels like he's barely there.

Saying Goodbye... We enjoyed most of the summer and September with my parents staying right next door so it was sad to see them head off into the wide unknown on their RV adventure to visit my brother in California. Part of me wanted to pick and go too. This time of year always makes me feel so restless.

Life interrupts, doesn't it? All the time, in big and little ways. It's always teaching a lesson on when to hold on to plans and when it's ok to just let go. These aren't easy lessons at times, are they, especially for a planner.

Don't forget to check out these other blogs:

~~Ana Maria at Bottled Ponderings~~

~~Christine at Epiphanies of Beauty~~

~~Barb at Praying for Grace~~

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Day 11: Imperfect Relationships That Helped You Become a Better Person

Day 11 of the 31 day challenge. I missed yesterday. The topic was too much for my small window of writing time and lack of coffee. The mornings are dark. All I want to do is sleep. After, the day was incredibly busy. It takes so much work to fit in schooling for four kids.

Today's writing prompt isn't exactly light either, but I'll do with it what I can.

Imperfect Relationships That Helped You Become a Better Person

Aren't all relationships imperfect?

My husband and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary last week (20 years together from our first date in high school!). If any imperfect relationship has helped (is helping) me to become a better person, it is as his wife and friend.

For one, I tend to be reserved. He draws me out, and makes me laugh. He makes me mad. Through him, I learn lessons of forgiveness, of trust, and of letting go. He thinks I'm beautiful even on days I feel old and ugly. He reminds me of who I am, and who I want to be.

His lack of faith challenges mine. It is utterly exhausting, but I pray it helps us both in the end. I hope I make him a better person too - in as many ways.

That's all I have. I need coffee now. God bless your day.

Don't forget to check out these other blogs:

~~Ana Maria at Bottled Ponderings~~

~~Christine at Epiphanies of Beauty~~

~~Barb at Praying for Grace~~

Monday, October 9, 2017

Day 9: Your Favorite Friendship Memory

Day 9 of the 31 day challenge. I missed yesterday. It was a big topic on a day I was not feeling well. Maybe I will tack it on to the end of the challenge. No promises, only a maybe.

Today's topic:

Your Favorite Friendship Memory

I bet I have a bunch of awesome memories buried somewhere in my brain, but I have to go with what I remember. My BFF of later elementary through high school ranks high in most of my memories. For awhile, we were joined at the hip, doing everything we could together. We both loved to read, and we even wrote an almost-complete book together. We both loved being outside, and a picnic table became a boat sailing to far-away lands. We would bike the couple of country miles between our houses to visit or stay the night. We explored uncharted territories (the quarry and woods behind both our homes and an abandoned house).

One of my favorite memories of her was a camping trip she was allowed to come with us on. This was one of the last moments of innocent friendship, though I didn't know it then. We were 14 - "on the cusp" - so we weren't entirely oblivious to the whole girl-boy thing, but we were more blushing, giggling fools than anything else at that time.

More importantly, my dad had found two black lab sibling pups the year before, and boy, were they a handful. We had to help walk (run!) the dogs on the camping trip so we did just that. We were somewhere in Amish country, and a wagon of teenage Amish boys drove past. I think all of us giggled a bit at that brief interchange before we veered off to check out some woods and lake.

I do believe it was my idea to let the dogs loose, and they certainly ran. We chased after them, through a huge patch of poison ivy. My friend was mad at me, but I suggested dumping the dogs in the lake so we could rinse them and us off of any potential poison ivy. What did I know? All I can say is by the end we were laughing, splashing, and all four of us thoroughly wet, and we never did get poison ivy.

Don't forget to check out these other blogs:

~~Ana Maria at Bottled Ponderings~~

~~Christine at Epiphanies of Beauty~~

~~Barb at Praying for Grace~~

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Day 7: Fave Subject in School & How It Shaped Me

Day 7 of the 31 day challenge:

Your Favorite Subject in School & How That Shaped Who You are Today...

Overall, I enjoyed school. I loved to learn, it was usually easy for me, and at times in my life, school was an escape. On my own, I liked many topics. In school, it was not so much the subjects as it was the teachers who influenced whether I liked a particular subject or not. For instance, I took AP Calculus and I certainly would not consider that a favorite class, but the teacher was extremely nice to me and the way she taught meshed well with my learning style. On the other hand, the year I took the English class the teacher accused me of cheating in, I did not enjoy the subject and I loved to read and think about the hows and whys a book is written.

If I must choose, I would choose art. The teacher annoyed me a bit (just a personality thing, she was a good teacher), but the class was a creative space. I was able to go down during study halls to hang out and work on my pieces. I don't think I realized at the time how important that creative outlet was for me. At home, I would draw and paint as well as write stories and poems. Looking back, that process helped me deal with emotions of past "stuff" and all the changes that comes from simply being a teenager.

Having that creative outlet was calming. Without it, would I have become depressed again or bitter even? I don't know. I do know today that it still helps calm and relax me, and fill some need inside me, and without it - when life is crazy busy - all that something builds inside me until I feel like exploding.

So, I sketch some with the kids (quick sketches - they rush me!):

Or I use creativity (with the awesome help of my mom) to turn a baseball pinata into this gorgeous "flower" pinata for our end-of-year Little Flowers party. And yes, it was busted into pieces.

I suppose, like exercise, I should put "creative time" into my calendar? Sure, like that's how the creative process works, right?

Don't forget to check out these other blogs:

~~Ana Maria at Bottled Ponderings~~

~~Christine at Epiphanies of Beauty~~

~~Barb at Praying for Grace~~

Friday, October 6, 2017

Day 6: A Mistake That Taught Me an Important Lesson

Day 6 of the 31 day challenge, and today's topic makes me want to hit close and delete because who likes to bring up past mistakes on purpose and for everyone to see. Not me. I suspect not you. In the spirit of honesty of the 31 days that I promised myself, I will painfully share a choice I made that will always stay with me.

Do unto others as you would have done unto you.

"A soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse one breaks the spirit." - Proverbs 15:4

A sin I continue to fight (whether you believe me or not) is opening my mouth too quickly and with little thought as to what words come out of it. Words can build another up, they can soothe and comfort, and they can hurt those we love. Learning patience, prudence, and when to keep my mouth shut has been - and will continue to be - a life-long lesson.

When I was ten, my family had come home from a family vacation, and our world was torn apart. I was hurting. Girls at that time were mostly friendly, but group favorites were forming. I was friendly with everyone, and more friendly with one particular girl. Let's call her Wilma. Wilma and I were sitting with other girls at lunch having a good time. Words were said. To this day, I cannot remember what those words were, but I do know whatever came out of my mouth caused Wilma to look at me with such hurt in her eyes. We were never friends after that, and that look, that cowardly feeling because I did not take back words or try to fix our friendship, is a reminder to me today of how one's words, actions, and inaction affect others.


Don't forget to check out these other blogs:

~~Ana Maria at Bottled Ponderings~~

~~Christine at Epiphanies of Beauty~~

~~Barb at Praying for Grace~~

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Day 5: A Life-Changing Event

Day 5 of the 31 day challenge.

I must admit, thinking of the past is stirring up emotions that I have not felt in a long time, and ones I had thought I had dealt with. I suppose some never really go away, and it is a choice of letting go and forgiveness again and again, as often as needed - for yourself and toward others.

It does not help that the week itself has been a little rough with schooling, the kids, and an extra dose of fatigue thrown in. It must be the full moon coming on, right?


A Life-Changing Event:

Similar to a memorable event, there is not one single event that comes to the forefront, but many that altered the course of my life:

...Asking a boy to homecoming for a "fun night" because I knew he would at least make me laugh and talk to me. I certainly was not thinking of the future, of a boyfriend, of a husband when I did.

...Becoming a mom - memorable and life-changing. I was never one of those girls who daydreamed of the mom life and making a house into a home. I never dissed that life either, but at one point, I did not see that life for me.

...Our family vacation when I was in 5th grade.

...A choice I made that gave me my childhood best friend, but hurt another.

All these, and no doubt more, but I can't leave without mentioning my choice to study the Catholic faith through the RCIA program. That choice led to my baptism into the Catholic Church. It has not been a smooth ride (is it ever?), but it certainly has altered and changed the direction of my life.

Don't forget to check out these other blogs:

~~Ana Maria at Bottled Ponderings~~

~~Christine at Epiphanies of Beauty~~

~~Barb at Praying for Grace~~

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Day 4: Your Earliest Memory

Day 4 of the 31 day challenge, and I am feeling rushed this morning so the post will be brief but not very sweet.

My earliest memory...

Part of this 31 days of reflection for me is to not only jump back into the habit of daily writing, but also to be honest with myself - as much as I feel comfortable sharing online anyway.

My earliest memory is strange. For a long time I thought I was imagining it. When I asked my mom about the physical aspects of the memory, she confirmed it was a previous place we had all lived for a brief time.

I remember sitting in one of those door jumper baby toys so I was at most two years old. I faced a large room, but I remember nothing else about that room. What I can picture is a dark, shadowy hall behind me. I kept turning my head to look backward, and while I might have expected a sense of joy from jumping and playing, all I feel when I remember that moment is fear. I wonder why?

Don't forget to check out these other blogs:

~~Ana Maria at Bottled Ponderings~~

~~Barb at Praying for Grace~~

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Day 3: Your Favorite Family Tradition

Day 3 of the 31 day challenge, and I think this is a tough question to only pick one favorite tradition so I won't.

When I was younger, New Year's Eve was a favorite. The TV was on, quietly showing Times Square, the grown-ups played cards, and us kids (cousins) ran in and out of the house, even on cold, snowy New Year's Eves. Inside, we would play board games. Outside, we played whatever caught our fancy - like the one year we thought it would be fun to "skate" across the frozen field. My favorite thing of that night, however, was the popcorn balls a family friend brought. I was allowed to eat one and take one home. My mom was not big on sweets so that popcorn ball was a big deal.

Today, I still really enjoy New Year's Eve. My husband and I have hosted the night since we were married, and everyone seems to relax finally after the holiday bustle. The kids love running a bit wild and staying up late. The adults play an annual game of Pictionary, and the women have fun deciding a fun drink for the night. Usually we all bring a variety of appetizers to share. A year here or there we have to hold it on a different night than December 31st since we have a nurse and nurse aide and hospitals and nursing homes don't stop because of the holidays.

With the kids, I have a handful of favorites:

  • "Tea" with our guardian angels on the Feast of the Guardian Angels
  • Our November thankful tree
  • The Advent wreath
Finally, a new tradition we are trying to start: a family camp out in August during the Perseid meteor showers. One year, I will see shooting stars. Again, it is a night everyone seems to relax more than usual and kids behave well.

Family Tradition = Family + Relaxation + Food (On Occasion)

Don't forget to check out these other blogs:

~~Ana Maria at Bottled Ponderings~~

~~Christine at Epiphanies of Beauty~~

~~Barb at Praying for Grace~~

Monday, October 2, 2017

Day 2: What were you like as a child?

Day 2 of the 31 day challenge. I'm on a roll.

I have a brief window before our school day begins. It's a full day with school work, a visit to a local apple orchard, and a birthday dinner out for one of the grandmas. The day promises to be a gorgeous one - a chilly start to a sunny, warm day with clear skies.

But first,

What were you like as a child?

My memories come in waves. Much of it is fuzzy, and feelings dominate over colored picture clarity.

Physically, I was a preemie who grew to a sturdy, thin, average to tall girl for most of my childhood. My hair went from straight, thick Indian-baby black to waves and curls with a reddish brown tint. (Now it's back to black, crazy hair with lots of white coming in.) I loved my long eyelashes and my toes - so weird.

I wasn't an athlete, though I tried in later years, but I could hold my own - mostly out of a pure stubborn, competitive streak that occasionally raises its head. My mom says I was sick a lot as a baby and young child, but that passed. Unfortunately, once sick, I was sick - much like today.

That stubborn streak? It's almost a mean streak. For instance, I loved making my brother so mad when I was the only one who could hit his fast ball, and I can't play baseball, at all. But, to see him steam, a part of me loved that as a kid.

I loved being outside. Nature pulled me in. It was almost painful to watch a beautiful sunset or see the stars on a clear winter night. I felt so close to something (ahem, God, right?) at that moment. Thankfully, my parents loved being outside too. There wasn't much inside to do anyway as my parents were poor enough to not have too much other than a small home (that they built themselves), furniture (much of what they built), and food. We never lacked for food thankfully because boy, could my brother and I eat, and we always had cousins and friends over.

We camped and canoed as often as my dad could get away. If we couldn't, he would take us to the river to go creeking while my mom fished. I never learned to love fishing, but I do love to eat it. Once, I got my brother and I lost in a huge forest. Ok, it seemed huge at the time. I'm not very good with directions. Obviously, we're alive and none the worse for wear.

I was a serious kid with so many BIG questions. Thankfully God paired me with a dad who liked to think big questions too, and wasn't afraid to talk about them.

I was quiet and shy. People confided in me. I was a good student. School actually was very easy for me - mostly. I do remember many tears over percentages and fractions. I still talk to my calculator annoyingly when figuring percentages. I try to avoid all but the simplest fractions.

In high school a teacher accused me of cheating on an English assignment. I had taken the assignment, and written it in an older style language. That part was my dad's idea, but I did the work. The teacher did not believe I actually wrote the paper. I guess that still irritates me.

Somewhere in there I taught myself to play piano, to draw and create art (though others certainly helped me along with this), and I loved to read books and write stories and poems. I had a dream once to write a book.

Other dreams I had as a kid was to own a jeep, live in Montana, and work with wolves.

In the summertime, I thought of all sorts of ways to make money. My parents worked us, but we did some jobs for pennies and nickels - like picking up bucketfuls of walnuts and buckeyes in the fall. I was the first out doing the job. I was both a people pleaser and a me pleaser so give me a job like this, and I would get it done!

I was a naturally reserved child - emotionally, physically, and even in responding to others. My friend cut her finger on a can once, and I froze. She's now a nurse. I'm not. If someone said something disagreeable, I was a deer in headlights, but later a response would come to me. I hated talking in front of people. I hated being pointed out in a crowd. Some of these I've learned to overcome if necessary, but it definitely goes against my nature.

Well, time to leave memory lane, and focus on the here and now. But first, here are a few snapshots of me as a kid:

Have a beautiful day.

Don't forget to check out these other blogs:

~~Ana Maria at Bottled Ponderings~~

~~Barb at Praying for Grace~~

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Day 1: Your Most Memorable Moment

A friend (and blogger) reminded me of this 31 day challenge, and encouraged a number of us to participate. Unlike three years ago (3!), when I wrote 31 days on a topic - 31 Days of Faith - this year I plan to follow the daily writing prompts, just to get me going and my tired brain in writing form again. Plus, in the busyness that is my life, a quiet moment of reflection is more necessary than optional.

So look for 31 days from me as I look to the past, present, and future me in reflection.

Day 1: Your Most Memorable Moment

...The day I learned I could both love and hate a parent.

...The day I was crowned Honor Star.

...The day I first (wrongly) sipped bad wine.

...The day I heard my best friend from childhood had crashed into a tree.

...The day I first made love to my husband.

...The day I was baptized into the Catholic Faith.

Wow. Choosing just one most memorable moment is tough!

I think, though, I would have to go with becoming a mom on this one. No event in my life has had such an impact of my life as becoming a mom. It changed my body, my heart, and my soul. I have been stretched and pulled as I never would have on my own. I have found love to be painful, sacrificial, exhausting, and amazing. While I could imagine a life without my children, I don't want to.

From this:

To this:

A heartbeat in time.

Thanks Ana Maria for the kick in the pants, and always encouraging me to not give up blogging!

Don't forget to check out these other blogs:

~~Ana Maria at Bottled Ponderings~~

~~Barb at Praying for Grace~~

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Saturday Morning Reflection (28): Back at It

I keep coming back to the blog. It does relax me to write up a post. It's freeing. I wonder if anyone is still reading and visiting? (Please say hi just once in the comments.)

Outside My Window... It's a light gray day outside with a nip of fall in the air. Early leaves are falling off the walnut trees, and the cat's fur is starting to thicken.


School Time... We are three weeks into a new school year - a new academic year, though somehow I feel leaps academically mid-year (i.e., from 2nd to 3rd). That's one great thing about homeschooling. You simply pick up where you left off. Grade levels aren't important (usually), mastery and understanding is.

So three weeks in with a 6/7, 5, 2/3, and K'er this year. The day is FULL. We have a good rhythm I think. It definitely helps that I have more energy and can keep on top of them!

I'll make it a goal this week to write up the kids' curriculum on here.



...for my brother and his family - in the military and always a struggle to miss home and dealing with health issues himself.

...for my grandpa, who is nearing death's door (he is not Catholic, and he's made no indication that he believes in God).

...for all the kids - mine included -, parents, and teachers as we all go back to the school grind.


Health News... That awful flu of the spring is over, over, over. It went into bronchitis. In addition, it threw me into a hashi's autoimmune flare. I also had an atypical strep infection that affected my kidneys. It was NO fun. It took me until mid-June to feel back to normal.

My kind of normal anyway. Actually, most of the summer has been really great. I have felt the best I have felt in a long, long time. That's all despite some kidney stones and issues that come with them. Bleh. Still dealing with that situation.

At the start of July, though, I paired up with my sister-in-law to try jazzercise. I love it. It's hard. I sweat. Sometimes it feels like I can't finish a song set. But I do, and I feel great - sore, tired, but a good sore and tired. I try to go 2x/week and if it's a bad day, I don't go (don't push myself). Losing weight with hashi's is a small miracle. After 2 months, I can say I have lost 3 pounds (!), but more importantly my clothes feel looser or more comfortable depending on the piece, I was sleeping better (darn hash's flare again), and I have more energy. Win-win. At $30/month, it's worth every penny. It'll be tough getting it in with fall activities beginning, but I'm not quitting.

Mr. A has been dealing with stuff between diabetes and maybe a GI issue. It's always something, but a little prayer for him would be appreciated as he just "feels weird." (his words)


Today... I am relaxing a bit as I feel a little worn this morning. I want to work on my first few weeks of CCD plans (5th grade, all about the sacraments and prayer). I may start moving our sleeping area around and odds and ends cleaning.

This Week... Another week of school (but then off for a week since we're doing 4 weeks on, 1 off), a homeschool moms' night, an orthodontist appointment for Mr. A, and piano starting for the girls. I want to clean up our "patio" area as well since I started the project but have yet to finish it. So much to do, so little time, right? #1 though, confession.

A Final Thought...

God bless.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Saturday Morning Reflection (27): The Flu

This week was a blur of illness, the flu to be more accurate. More on that below.

Outside My Window... Though the clouds are breaking to reveal a blue sky, the sun remains hidden and the air is cold at 22 degrees. The wind seems calm for once, and the birds quiet.


School Time... Due to the flu we had an unexpected week break, one I would rather have taken in a few weeks and enjoyed it! It will mean figuring out a school schedule for holy week so we can still take off the week after Easter. Originally, I had both weeks off. We are, of course, behind in history and science. I'm trying how to fit that in better next year and still have a summer break.

We did, however, start a new co-op this week before I knew we had the flu. The families are mostly young, but the kids seemed to enjoy themselves. I volunteered to teach a Magic School Bus science class and a Legos one.



...for continued improvement in health from this flu.

...that my husband doesn't get the flu.

...that we can get our home ready and up for sale within the next month.

...for a financial situation of someone close to me.


Health News... The flu: 3-4 days of fever, body pain, and sleeping for days. The only one spared so far is my husband. Mr. D came down with it first. From the time it took to leave co-op and arrive home (30 minutes) he was shaking and starting on a fever. He had been absolutely fine all morning. Of all of them, he worried me the most with the amount of pain he was in, the intense headache, the vomiting (not keeping liquids down), and high fever. Thankfully, he is back to his sweet, sometimes funny, sometimes annoying ten year old self. The one I thought I would be most worried about did absolutely fine. While the kids are starting to bounce back and be themselves, I am definitely still fatigued by it, and I expect that'll be the case for a bit yet.


Today... I really need to get to a store. We have one roll of toilet paper left, one box of kleenex, and less than a day's worth of cat food. That's where I'll be, using up my energy, and trying not to spread germs. I'm also washing bedding, blankets, towels, etc. to start clearing out the germs.

This Week... Get back on track with my Nineveh 90 challenge. The flu threw that out the window. We have another co-op class and the regular weekly commitments. Otherwise, a fairly free week to recuperate and get back on track.

A Final Thought...

No thought this week. Too much TV. Too much sleeping. My brain is mush.

God bless.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

A Mom's Nineveh 90: Week 3 Reflection

Today ends the third week of A Mom's Nineveh 90. I'm not even sure why I'm reflecting on the week. It was a big FAIL as far as the checklist of goals. Wait, it was just a big fail. I won't lie. It was a difficult week.

Goals vs. Reality

  • Monthly Confession - Yeah, I didn't get in before Lent started. How is that kids get a day of "I don't feel good" but they can still play and jump around while I'm on the couch for four days as if I have the flu when it's only a "simple" virus? Anyhow, I spent the second half of the week knowing I should go but finding all kinds of excuses not to. Today, I am happy to say I went after Mass. Isn't that Sacrament just amazing? How easy it is to forget how much God loves you and wants to forgive you.
  • Accountability Partner & Group (my facebook group) - This could have been better. I was having a pity party this week and didn't utilize the group as I should have. 
  • Food (no fasting because I'm sticking to the AIP diet - no cheating!) - I didn't change a darn thing, just ate what I wanted (when I was able - I was sick after all for half the week). I obviously cannot eat what I want and certainly not whenever I want. I definitely need a big push with this. I know I can't handle full AIP as much I want so I really just have to bite the bullet and get the big ones out of my diet (dairy - I'm sobbing, legumes - eh, I don't much care but it means greater vigilance for all the hidden soy, and eggs which again, isn't a big deal but more pre-thought for some gluten-free items).
  • Music - Eh, I played some Godly music and I played some dancing music. The kids and I have fun dancing around the living room. Any suggestions for Godly dancing music?
  • TV - I watched TV. I did. I was sick. Reading was tiring. So was lying there. So I watched.
  • The Computer - So easy when sick. Still, the phone game. I have this one game I just play when I need something to do but my mind is a mess. I play too much. What's that say about my mind?
  • Sleep... All over the place with being sick. Have felt wired the past few nights leading to sleepy days. Feels like this is never going to be a steady or easy thing to fix.
  • Exercise - Bleh. Granted, I was sick and so very tired for most of the week. But even the thought of it caused ugly feelings to arise. (It really was a rough week - physically, mentally, and spiritually.)
  • Prayer/Reflection - I'm a broken record. Failed it. Know when you get behind and quitting seems more appealing than going on? That's how I felt about prayer this week. As if I could just simply stop praying. Ridiculous. More on prayer below. I also put aside The Screwtape Letters for my Lenten reading: Divine Mercy for Moms: Sharing the Lessons of St. Faustina by Michele Faehnle and Emily Jaminet and also picked back up The Diary of St. Faustina. I read this in snippets until something just screams at me. Sometimes I can read a few passages until this happens but it's usually only ever a few sentences. It takes me a LONG time to get through this book.

Yep, the week was not better than last. In fact, it was worse. Thankfully, one can only pity oneself for so long before disgust sets in. I'm so glad I went to confession. If I hadn't... This coming week might have been as ugly. I need to pray for an increase in the virtue of obedience.

A Thought from the Week...

In Confession, the priest suggested something so simple to me: just be with Jesus every day. Life is busy, and even our prayers can add to that busyness. He said to just sit and be in His presence, to just listen, that some days I may not get to pray or do as I like, but it isn't about us, is it? I should just sit with Him and go to Mass, no matter how I feel.

This suggestion isn't anything new. Why then is it so easy to forget, so easy to not do some days?

That's one reason why I created this group instead of following the original Nineveh 90. I wanted it to be about the journey, not necessarily a list of to-dos. Not that a list can't help us with discipline and obedience. But sometimes you have to chuck the list and just listen to what He's calling you to do.

"Make known to me your ways, O Lord;
teach me your paths.

"Guide me by your fidelity and teach me,
for you are God my savior,
for you I wait all the day long.

"Remember your compassion and your mercy, O Lord, 
for they are ages old.

"Remember no more the sins of my youth;
remember me according to your mercy,
because of your goodness, Lord."

Psalms 25:4-7

Sunday, February 26, 2017

A Mom's Nineveh 90: Week 2 Reflection

Today ends the second week of A Mom's Nineveh 90. This past week really went downhill in pattern I am coming to know only too well.

Goals vs. Reality

  • Monthly Confession - I still need to get my February confession in. It never fails. I plan confession and something always happens to stop me from going. Always. Monday morning found one of my children sick and it just snowballed from there. Now I am sick. I want to get here before Lent starts. (Lent starts this Wednesday!!!)
  • Accountability Partner & Group (my facebook group) - This is still good. With moving, the extra activity, and going to bed early most nights, I didn't check in as I should have each night. 
  • Food (no fasting because I'm sticking to the AIP diet - no cheating!) - Oh boy. A big F-A-I-L. The week started off ok. Actually, I was so nauseous that it wasn't difficult. But the feeling wouldn't go away and my stomach was bothering me so I had a small bowl of gluten-free pasta (an AIP no-no). It helped so much. I suppose that would have been ok if I hadn't then allowed myself to have pizza. Sigh. I so want a balance in this. I don't want to be so ill that I never feel well but I also don't want to obsess about it. Two things I know: the AIP diet is good for a lot of things so obviously something in my usual diet is a problem and I do know a few of those items. I think that I'm going to compromise by taking out the known offenders and a possible offender for a week and try testing it on Sunday. Repeat with other possibilities through the weeks. Hopefully this works, doesn't screw my stomach up too much, and it's doable.
  • Music - My kids have taken over the music. With the small space most times I feel a need for silence. Maybe it was just my mood of last week.
  • TV - Haven't brought any hobbies to light yet. I did watch TV with the family and found myself starting up a movie to watch with them. Yeah, I'm actually surprised by the pull of the TV. I really hadn't thought it was that strong prior to this challenge.
  • The Computer - Putting the computer in the school room has actually found me on it less, which is a good thing! I still get on at my check-in points of the day and a touch for school work but I haven't spent much time on it overall this past week. My phone, however... too easy to lose time on that.
  • Sleep... Thankfully my sleep is changing to a better schedule. I would like to go to bed earlier to wake earlier if I can, but even so, our schedule worked out just fine this past week.
  • Exercise - I dropped it the second part of the week. With submitting to the pizza, I had a little pity party. But then I just hurt and have been tired. Part food, part virus coming on, I'm sure. What I've learned about NOT exercising... I feel more tired. I don't always get my prayers done (on time or at all). I feel frumpy and moody.
  • Prayer/Reflection - Despite the bumpy week, I did mostly ok with this. Yesterday was nonexistent. I do have some novena prayers to catch up on. I didn't always pray my written AM/PM prayers but I free-prayed them. I'm still rereading The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis.

So yeah, not the best week. Not the worst week either. Next week has to be better. It will be better.

A Thought from the Week...

Starting. Falling. Starting again. Failing. Picking up the cross. Again and again and again. Picking it up out of obedience, out of faith, out of love when you feel no love, and out of hope. How many times must I do this? I wonder. Time and again, I answer. This I know. And I fight to make my path God's path for me. Again and again, day after day, minute after minute.

"Have mercy on me, God, in accord with your merciful love;
in your abundant compassion blot out my transgressions.

"Thoroughly wash away my guilt;
and from my sin cleanse me.

"For I know my transgressions;
my sin is always before me.

"Turn away your face from my sins;
blot out all my iniquities.

"A clean heart create for me, God;
renew within me a steadfast spirit.

"Do not drive me from before your face,
nor take from me your holy spirit.

"Restore to me the gladness of your salvation;
uphold me with a willing spirit."

Psalm 51: 3-5, 11-14