Homeschooling Here We Come!

As if the past two weeks haven’t been eventful enough between being under the weather and sending the kids back to school, we prayerfully & thoughtfully came to the conclusion that starting next week, Peyton will be embarking on a homeschooling adventure. Who am I kidding? I WILL be embarking upon a new homeschooling adventure and Peyton just gets to come along for the ride. After all, I’m the one clamoring to get all of our new curriculum ordered and to rearrange an area of our home to serve as our classroom! He just gets to show up. …LUCKY!

082214 PCS Homeschooling

Thankfully, this isn’t a new thought for us, so I already had a much-researched game-plan shelved on the bookcase in my brain in the event that this day came. Parker is happily tucked away in a 2/3 combined classroom at our local public school wherein she is THRIVING. And while Peyton loves school and being social, we ALL {yep, Peyton too} felt like it was time to pull him back into a home classroom and give him some individualized instruction. Learning HOW to learn and be an independent thinker is every bit as important as retaining the knowledge that is taught– and unfortunately the average teacher in the average classroom in America simply doesn’t have the luxury of doing that anymore. Their hands are tied as they have an enormous amount of material that they MUST present to their children every day leaving little time for them to cater to differing learning types within the classroom. My heart goes out to them because that’s one HARD job when you have 29 kids in a cramped room and a mount of material to conquer.  I adore teachers and I have absolutely been forever thankful for the ones that have been a part of our family.

The next few weeks are going to take some adjusting, I’m positive. I am slightly mourning the loss of my “mom-time” but at the same time feeling extra thankful to have one of my favorite people in the world to hang out with each day. This weekend will be spent “nesting” for the big arrival of Monday morning. I have shut down the Etsy shop for the immediate future. I wisely learned some time ago that you can never add something to an already full plate without first removing something. Once my current orders are finished and shipped, I am stashing away my sewing machine until at least October.

I am guessing that I will end up having more time to blog as I will spend a huge amount of time each day at the school table with Peyton– so why not blog while I’m sitting there between read-alouds and math instruction?

Well, that’s our big news. If I haven’t had a chance to tell you in person, I’m sorry. It’s been a whirlwind and I’ve had oodles of details to attend to over the past few days. Pray for us as we adjust. I’ll keep you all posted!


Human Again

Hey hey all! I’m back to the land of the living. Seriously feeling like I’m walking around in a haze for 11 days is no fun. My heart just breaks for people battling ongoing illness. Prayer is where it’s at.

So now that I’m officially a human again, I’m trying to tackle my piled up inbox and think ahead through the remainder of the month. I need to set some goals and get my act together. Thankfully, I put together a monthly menu right before I started feeling punky and that has been a HUGE help this month in keeping me organized. Up tonight is Frito Pie… admittedly not the healthiest of options out there, but I have one little one who adores it.

I’m also LOVING the new Starbucks Bacon, Egg and Gouda Breakfast Sandwich~~ so tonight I’m going to try to make my own to throw in the freezer for a quick breakfast. Here’s to hoping that it works! Mmm.

Sunbathing Miss Molly

And just because she’s so doggone cute {pun completely intended}, here’s a pic of Miss Molly acting like a teeny tiny lap-dog and lounging on the back of our couch this afternoon. Nevermind that she’s a big fluffy Labradoodle. She doesn’t care and she obviously believes that she fits, so this time I’ll just let sleeping dogs lie. {I seriously couldn’t help myself folks!}  ;)



you know how you get sick every.single.year the first week of school?

Oh yea. That. Not “you” rather, ME.  It’s back.

Every  single  year for the past three years I pick up some icky virus right as school is about to start. The year that the kids went into kindergarten and 2nd grade I’m fairly certain that I had Whooping Cough. It lasted FOREVER and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. Last year {and now} it is just a common cold. But for-Pete’s-sake… I’m tired of it!

I have work to do. I have ideas to put into practice. I have life to live! Only by the time I take a shower and manage to get dressed for the day it’s almost 1pm and by then I’m feeling wiped out again. This is sort of a pity-party post and I know it. Thankfully the blog isn’t usually too busy on the weekend, so I’m just using this as my venting space. Honestly, I just want to feel well {and wide awake} without a fuzzy brain.

This is nothing compared to the summer that my mom has endured. She picked up a miserable case of Shingles LAST DECEMBER– which led to a corneal ulcer this summer resulting in her eye being sewn shut for three weeks. Thankfully, healing came and she is better, but goodness gracious.

I’m just tired of being tired. I am well aware that my life and goals get thrown WAY off the radar when I’m feeling icky– and I  just don’t like that feeling of setbacks. It’s like someone else pushing the “pause” button on my life. If everything else in the world paused too then it wouldn’t be a problem. But they don’t, so there’s the problem.

Alright, enough venting. I’m going to sit here and make myself be minimally productive– and then I’m going to lie down on the couch and read all evening long.

Back to School 2014

Yesterday was a big ole ball of interesting. Despite floating around in a giant haze of exhaustion, I managed to eke out this post on my experience with depression. After that, I was spent. I wonder what the Lord was doing there? Keeping me awake all night as if with labor pains– only to birth something authentic and genuine the following morning. Being all tuckered out aside, I still got the kids home from school, went over homework and whipped up homemade chicken & noodles for dinner (and no, I did not make my own noodles). That was a win, because despite wanting to feed my kids healthy organic meals, the reality is that we eat an awful lot fast food. I could let that oppress and depress me, or I could just be grateful for the fact that I’m sticking to this month’s menu like a champ. {pre-planning is KEY for me here folks!}

What I DIDN’T manage to do was post the obligatory “First Day of School” photos. For posterity sake– here you go world. Parker is my spunk-a-licious 2nd grader whose favorite things include the color blue, math, being social and getting messy. Peyton is my loquacious 4th grader. He loves anything Minecraft, Lego and daydreams about his future career at the helm of the Disney Corporation {dream big, little one}– this is where I remind him that he has to WORK hard to get there too.

Parker First Day 2nd Grade 2014

Peyton First Day of School 4th Grade 2014

 Wasn’t it just yesterday that they were both headed out for their first day of Kindergarten? And this is where I stop and dry my eyes a bit! Sniffle, sniffle. {Sorry for the blur in Peyton’s Kindergarten piccy} 2014-08-13 15.43.52 Peyton First Day of Kindergarten

And here are the outtakes:

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A Personal Response on Depression

Sleep eluded me last night. At the tail end of an icky virus and on the eve of “back-to-school,” one would think that rest would’ve washed over me quickly. My last flip over to check my cell phone for the time alerted me that 4:21am arrived with little fanfare. I clicked my phone back to black as it left only a dreadful reminder that the 6:15 wake-up call was creeping near.

Too much filled my mind. My brothers and sisters in northern Iraq are plagued by horrific atrocity while I wrestle with the knowing and gnawing that I’m too comfortable here in my cozy home to do anything more than pray and give. Not that those aren’t important things to do, because they are. But it feels almost…empty. My tears stream prayers that my brain can’t quite articulate.  I can’t help but remember studying the Holocaust while I was growing up and I recall the side conversations about how people in the United States turned a blind eye because they didn’t really know the extent of what was going on. Surely they weren’t heartless, but rather, misinformed. If that is true, then what is my excuse here– and now– to the people of Syria and Iraq?  I know. I see. I care. –and I do almost nothing. THAT is a heavy burden.

And then I fast forward to the death of Robin Williams. He was a brilliant actor with a jolly-sad twinkle in his eye, who laid joy on the altar of sorrow as a sacrifice to fill a pit of despair that he just could not escape. It took but 2.3 seconds before people weighed in with their opinions of his demise. I read one in particular that made me ashamed at how often people pontificate on a subject without attempting to put themselves in the contrary position. I simmer and then come to a rolling boil when I see people speak so carelessly and callously– without grace or understanding or LOVE– toward others who have been on the other side. Why do you do it? Why within all of creation, when you have a platform to speak to hundreds of thousands of people, would you choose to be so short-sighted? Out of ignorance? Out of personal hurt? Out of frustration? Out of pride in order to make a point? I have no idea. But I ached for anyone who read that post and suffers under the weight of mental illness.

Depression (or Bi-Polar or any mental illness) isn’t some opportunistic disease that you pick up and put on when it suits your disposition as common perception discretely infers. Depression is a thief in the night. It slinks its way into your mind via a tiny crack underneath a back door still locked tight. I know, because it’s covered me in its tentacles before.

In the fall of 2011, we had just moved back from Texas where we had trudged with perseverance and determination through nothing short of hell on earth for 18 months. We saw ugly and evil and brokenness within the body of Christ– and somehow despite many nights of tears, we had held up remarkably well. But when we finally made it back home we were battered, bruised and much like a soldier returning from war, we were desolate. Homeless, jobless and even purpose-less, I didn’t know what came next. I felt relief and gratitude for being out of the fire, but I was spent and drained that everything wasn’t perfectly settled once we were pulled from the fire.

In that moment, depression gripped my heart like the blackest night. I couldn’t understand how I could feel relief at being free from where we were, yet feel so hopeless in the place where we stood now. So many dreams had shattered. The thing about feeling hopeless is that you don’t even know what to hope for or how to hope again. Hope is a game of Russian Roulette– a risky gamble in a fragile state.

Psalm 305

For me, depression looked a lot like nothingness. Oh, I was clinging to my Bible verses– and I believed them wholly. Only the waiting on hope was unbearable. Job became my BFF, my life-raft in the Word. Seriously. I loved opening up and pouring over Job because God didn’t MAKE those things happen to Job, He simply didn’t stop them from happening because that would have stolen free will– and that my friends, is a gift to treasure.  Moreover, he still loved– really REALLY LOVED Job. And Job stood firm that he was blameless and never turned his back on the Lord.  So did I. Proverbs 13:12 in The Message says, “Unrelenting disappointment {also “hope deferred” in other versions} leaves you heartsick, but a sudden good break can turn life around.” How very true!

Also true was that I couldn’t stand to be around groups of people. It just required too much of me. I wasn’t trying to hide, but I couldn’t feign joy nor mope in despair. Isolation was my only solace. Sleep was a treasured friend.

As we drove home from the grocery store one day in probably October of 2011, I remember looking at a spot on the ground and wanting to just get out of the car and lie there– on the ground– next to the busy road– and just…be. It was a scary moment. I actually sobbed in the passenger seat, “I’m so scared. I just so scared.” {God bless my amazing husband who was helpless to do anything but love me and pray for me} Later that same month I spent an evening ugly crying at a table {out in public mind you} with Jeremy and I laid it out there: I didn’t want to die, but I didn’t want to live in that moment anymore either. I just wanted someone to pause my life and wake me back up when that season was over. I didn’t have the will to fight. I was just so tired. So very very very tired.

I knew that I was in the midst of a deep depression. I wasn’t blind to it, I just couldn’t FIX it. I was willing to seek help, but the other truism was that while my “weeping may endure for the night; joy {often came} in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5) Never mind that we didn’t have insurance to pay for meds {are you seeing the 360 view that surrounds EVERY persons issue here?} and each night I clung to promise of a brand new day. Thankfully and gratefully, piece by piece, the depression lifted and so many things were restored to our family. By the end of that year, the blackness was a dim memory to me. Only that isn’t how it is for everyone, and that grieves me. The thought of carrying that with me always– I just can’t imagine.

Every winter I battle seasonal depression, but its tame compared to that fall of 2011. You see, depression is a scary thing. I didn’t invite it, it just sneaked in. I prayed. I believed. I fought the battle to the very VERY best of my abilities. Ultimately, I just had to abide with it and trust that what the Lord said in His word was true enough to rescue me from the pit even when I couldn’t see hope. If I had never made it back from the edge of the pit– if I had fallen right in, it wouldn’t have changed how much the Lord loved me. I beg you to remember that many people NEVER see hope. They may see Jesus. They may see joy. But hope is enigmatic.

Love someone right where they are and let them be desperate by your side. Sunshine and rainbows may never appear, but your kindness might be a life-preserver. You don’t have to know it all, you don’t have to have an opinion on it all– you just need to have grace for us all.

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