Philippians 4:12

Faith in life through good and hard times

Head Above Water

As implied by the title, that is what I am doing. Keeping my head above water. Everyday stress, financial burdens, extended family issues, pet problems, household repairs, and a significant decrease in business income have made a significant number of gray hairs appear in the henna enhanced red on my head.

I know that without God, I would have already drowned. I have faith that He will bring us out of this rut. My problem is, and always has been, my inability to ask for help. Even in my prayers, I seem to lack the ability to ask directly for my own needs.

God wants us to be specific in our requests, and when it is a need for someone else, that is not a problem. My “issue” is the nagging voice in the back of my head that tells me that I am being selfish. Asking God to provide A is my own laziness of not seeking out a way to get it for myself.

It does not help that I have a stubborn streak. Much like an unruly horse, I will walk where I want, when I want. If it happens to be in your direction, great! But if you try to make me go in a direction I am unsure of, or simply do not want to go, good luck dragging me there. This is where I seem to be in my walk right now. I see a path that I know God is leading me, but I do not want to do it.

So, I pray for guidance. I pray for understanding. I pray for the softening of my heart to His will for me and my family.

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Trying to do the Right thing

It is very hard to understand the mind and heart of others. What may seem like good intentions on their part, feel more like a lack of responsibility on ours. Harder still, is having the patience on to handle someone whose mind is altered, either by mental instability, medications, substance abuse, or all of the above.
Recently we had a family member come and stay with us. He has a heart of gold and a love for all things small. Having recently lost his home, we felt that being around an active household with a lot positive emotions would help him out of his funk. Unfortunately we did not understand the depths of his mental disabilities, nor the battles he fought with alcoholism and medication management.
After a month of binge drinking and hiding out in the bedroom, he was given the choice of seeking help through a hospital or leaving. As we have three children, having an alcoholic with paranoid delusions and a history of taking his medication wrong, it was better to keep them from seeing him that way. Quite possibly even safer.
It took a month and a half to get him out of our home. This was due to the fact that at one moment he said he would go to the hospital, then decide he “couldn’t.” Or he had to wait for his money to be able to leave. One time it was “I’ll just fly home,” next “I have to drive.”
When he did leave, it was quick with minimal emotional breakdown except by our younger two children. He was supposed to call us and let us know when he arrived somewhere. That was two weeks ago. I have resigned myself to the fact we may never hear from him again. Which is sad. For him and for my children.
Upon speaking to family members, it became apparent that this is a continuing behavior and nothing that we did or could have done would have changed that situation.
Cleaning up the room, we found loose prescription medications in drawers and under the dresser. Thank God that we do not have toddlers or that our dogs did not find them first.

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Why Do We Have Marriages That Fail?

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Why do I think that we have so many marriages that end within the first ten years?

We have no foundation. For so many of us, we either grew up with parents who didn’t get a divorce because that was just something you didn’t do, or you we had parents that were divorced. And let’s be honest, not many divorces end with the couple getting along. No peaceful resolution. No friendship developing to provide some stability for us children.

So what is our problem today? We are. We are raising a generation of quitters. I remember my mother making us try foods. No matter how disgusting it looked or smelled, we had to at least try it. Sometimes we liked it. Sometimes we didn’t. But, we tried it and could honestly say we didn’t like it. If we signed up for a sport, we had to finish the season. Didn’t matter if we had NO talent, afraid of the ball, just didn’t really like it, we finished. Every child is different and we don’t know where their talents lie unless we let them try new things, but the beginning of any new thing is the most difficult.

Now on to dating. I was 16 when I went on my first real date. Actually I was 16 before I had a “boyfriend”. Not that there were not boys that I liked, but I had other interests and the only time I had free time was in the summer. Was I looking at the long term? Heck no. Why not? I wasn’t taught that was what dating was for. It was for having fun. When I was no longer having fun, or it didnt go in the direction that the guy wanted it to, we broke up. Was I upset? No. There were no emotional connections. Until…when I was 17 and “fell in love” with a boy my age. We “dated” and a few months later, he bought me a ring. Were we too young? Yes. Did anyone seriously tell us that? No.
A few months into our “engagement” I got sick. We didn’t know what was wrong. I was on medication that made me tired and put on some pounds. Well, I was dual enrolled and did not see him every day. He went on a school trip and…..I lost my fiancĂ© and a really good friend of mine. Would we have gotten married otherwise? Probably not. Neither one of us knew what that really looked like.

Most adults will know this saying: You can’t just have only had chocolate cake! What if you like strawberry cake better? You have to try them all to know what you like before you are stuck with one flavor for the rest of your lives.

Why is that?
If all I’ve ever had was chocolate cake, and I love chocolate cake, I don’t need to try coconut cake to see if I like it better. I have what I love and I am happy with that. There may be times when it gets over baked. Sometimes, you may accidentally forget an ingredient. Maybe there was a piece of egg shell in it that hurt when you took that bite. Maybe your spouse didn’t pick up the right kind of cocoa at the grocery store. It may be different on different days, but it’s your cake. Your recipe. You and your spouse wrote it!

How do we teach our children to wait for the right recipe? To wait for the oven to preheat. To take time to make sure all of the ingredients are there and properly measured, before they put it in the oven and you can’t add or take away from it once it’s there.

Enough about cake! I’m getting hungry. ;)

I am trying diligently to teach my children that dating is not something to take lightly. My sons and my daughter get the same speech from me. There is no point in dating until you are ready to make a commitment to that person for the rest of your life. You can be friends. That is so important. Know each other on a friendship level and if things blossom from there, it can only make a marriage stronger. Do I think they need to wait until they graduate from college to get married? No, but my sons need to have a job/career that can and will support their entire family. My boys love that I am at home with them. They both want a wife that will be proud of her role as a wife, mother, and partner. Am I teaching my daughter that she cannot go to college to become a doctor? No, on the contrary, if God has called her to be a healer, she should pursue that. But she also understands that she has a role as a wife and mother. When the time comes and she finds the husband that is meant for her, she can put aside her career and cherish her new roles. She can put her talents to use in serving her family and community.
Now, husbands/fathers may be saying that’s fine for my daughter, but for my son…Well, that girl your son is dating, she is someone else’s daughter. Don’t teach your sons anything that you would not want the boy that dates your daughter to think/know.

There would be far fewer books/classes/seminars and studies on how to repair marriages, if we as parents took the time to teach our children the importance of it to begin with. For if we fail them, they will build their marriage on the foundation of man: sand, loose and easily worn away. If we teach them the importance of marriage and the relationship they have with their spouse and their Heavenly Father, they will build their marriage on stone. It may face storms. It may have things attacking it from the inside. However, if the foundation is strong, it is easier to make repairs. Loose foundations can be rebuilt, but they will never have the stability and security of the other home.

Our marriage was not build on stone. It was more like Georgia clay. Hard in good weather and slick when it rains. We are working on our concrete footers, making stone with the help of God.

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I am an iPhone, SAHM, with a Life and Great Kids Part 2

I see posts on FB about how awful we must be for playing/texting/posting on our phones instead of watching our children as they grow. I have three beautiful children. They are amazing! I have the honor, privilege and responsibility to raise my children. I missed out on my oldest son’s first year because I worked. I missed out on my daughter’s second year, because I worked. We did some budgeting and number crunching and have been blessed to have not missed a moment of my youngest son’s life.

Ok, here is where mothers of multiple children will get me. When you have multiple children, you become the queen of multitasking. Bake a cake, practice handwriting, plan meals for the week, all while watching the news. You go to a large park and know where each of your children are and what they are doing, all while reading a book.

I do not hover over my children. They learn to be independent. They learn that a little scratch is not the end of the world. They get up, brush off the dirt and get back at it. They do not know that I am watching when they help each other out; when my oldest son plays with his younger brother. While I am folding clothes, watching television, I hear and listen to my daughter as she sings praise and worship songs in her bedroom, while she writes in her notebook.

My son and I discuss strategy and building plans in a game we both play on our phones. Little man comes to show me the new monster he won on his game. DD sets a reminder on her iPod to play stack the states because she wants to earn the whole map!

So, please, don’t tell me that I am neglecting my children for being on my phone. Don’t tell me that I have “all the time in the world” to spend with my children while you are at your job. I have a job. Actually I have three. I am a daughter of Christ. I am a wife. I am a mother. I take these jobs very seriously. I love what I do. It is when I feel like that is not enough that my world falls apart. Time goes by so quickly and when you have active children, it feels like you never have enough.

My house is not spotless. My dogs are not groomed. My children may have on worn out shoes. I may hardly ever wear makeup or do my hair. But I am loved and I love my family. My husband and my children have no doubt about that.

My children know that if/when they need me, I am and always will be available for them. My life is not perfect, but it’s perfect for me ;)

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I am an iPhone, SAHM, With a Life, and Great Children! Part 1

Let me start by saying:
Hi, my name is Cara. It’s been 5 minutes since I have been on Facebook! Or Hobbit: Kingdoms of MiddleEarth.

I am a stay at home mom(SAHM) of three children. I homeschool them. I cook dinner. I can sew. I wash and dry laundry, don’t expect folding or ironing. My children are old enough to unload and load the dishwasher. I will, sometimes, hand wash the dishes(I did not purchased them) that cannot be washed in the dishwasher. Now, my children are 14, 11(almost), and 8. They have not always been homeschooled. I have not always been a SAHM.

Before I was married, the thought of staying home after having children, if I had children, was ridiculous. I was not about to be one of those “barefoot and pregnant” women that had no life outside of her children. Now fast forward: married and having first child. Yep, looking for an in-home daycare so I can return to work as soon as my post-partum period was over. Not that I was a lawyer, doctor, or other professional making thousands of dollars a week. I was a receptionist.

Baby came. 8 weeks later, I went back to work. No regrets! Yet. Loved being around my coworkers all day. Occasionally even going out after work to do something or celebrate something with my friends or coworkers. Days started 40 minutes earlier because I had to get me and baby ready to go. Days ended later because I had to pick up baby from childcare, get home, cook dinner, start a load of laundry and spend the 30-45 minutes I had with him before it was his bed time. I had no problem with this.
Then we moved to an area where it was not financially responsible for me to pay for childcare and work. Pay scales were not as high and I would be working for the sole purpose of paying for childcare. I hated it! I didn’t know many people. I had no family or friends close enough to go visit for the day. Only thing I did like was that I had an open schedule. Our family could get up and go whenever and I didn’t have to put in for the days off.
We ended up moving back and I put my son back in daycare and I went back to work. I went in early, worked late, and even did some work in the evenings or on weekends. Someone else was raising my child. At least that was how I began to feel as the hormones started surging with baby number 2. I talked with my husband and we decided that I would stay at home with our children for our daughter’s first year.
It was a wonderful year. I was able to successfully breastfeed her. My son loved his little sister and enjoyed having me there to watch him do this or do that. I am not a domestic diva. Cleaning is a chore, literally and figuratively. I would have moments of boredom. Days where I needed more interaction with adults that did not have diaper bags and spit cloths. As her first birthday was approaching, I contacted friends that had offered me a job when I was ready to come back. We had a start date and I began looking for a daycare for both of my children.
And the days began an hour earlier, getting two children ready, dropping off at daycare, driving to work. Working 8 hours and having an hour lunch, driving and picking up my children from daycare, throwing clothes in the wash, starting dinner, absently listening to my son tell me about his day. Feeding the children, getting them bathed and off to bed. Switching clothes over and starting another load. Sitting down to watch 30 minutes of television, before exhaustion won the battle and I would go to bed.
And then there were three. Right after finding out I was pregnant with my second son, my husband was given the opportunity to move and start his own company. We discussed it for months, finally deciding it was the best thing for our family. Upon moving to a new town in a new state, we decided that I would stay home with our three children and I would help with the business as needed. It was a struggle at first, but we fell into a rhythm. I was getting the hang of it. When I needed me time, there was my good ole PS2 when the children were napping and my oldest was in kindergarten.

Enough for today. I have domestic chores and school to start. Not to mention people to FB stalk and a kingdom to build ;)

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Why We do what We do

About this time last year there was a lot of drama at my oldest son’s public middle school. A group of children acting inappropriately as a “gang”. I had been thinking and praying on the idea of homeschooling. I have friends that have done it, do it, wish they could do it. During this time, I had been discussing things with my personal trainer(no I’m not rich, it’s called the barter system!) and he and his wife homeschool their children. His wife invited me to their home to look over the curriculum that they use. A wonderful Christian curriculum with a strong foundation on history. My Father’s World for our children we would be using Exploring Countries and Cultures.

A little over halfway through the year, I could not be happier with our decision. My children are learning in a relaxed environment without the pressure of passing standardized testing. They go at their own pace, often times doing more lessons than assigned. Classroom interruptions are a norm, but that’s alright because it is encouraging them to interact with each other. Making their relationship as siblings stronger. My oldest son helps his younger siblings when they are stuck on difficult problems. Teaching him patience and giving the other children direction in a way they understand better.

As this is our first year, we are still adjusting, but it has been an incredible journey. My suggestions for other parents on their first year

1. Go to a convention! Most homeschool conventions will give a discount if not free admittance for parents that are contemplating homeschool. Look at the curriculum books. Ask other homeschooling families that are there what they recommend.

2. Join your local homeschool association. They often times have end of year curriculum sales as well as an abundant amount of personal experience with different curriculum.

3. Pay attention to your child’s learning style. There is a curriculum out there for everyone.

4. Don’t be afraid to use something different than what is on the suggested list. Children are not always on the “normal” grade level for their age. That is the wonderful thing about homeschool curriculum. Levels don’t necessarily indicate grade level. Your 8th grader might be in 10th “grade” math, but 6th “grade” science. If it says earth science, but your student loves animals, go with zoology.

5. Homeschool blogs! Bookmark them. Subscribe to them. Like them on Facebook. So many have links to sales, free downloads, free printables, and free websites to get free curriculum. Below will be a list of links as well as a few listed on my links page.

You are the only person who knows your children and truly cares about whether they retain any of the information they are taught. It doesn’t make a difference if they don’t learn this by that date. You homeschool. You have an entire year!

I have been truly blessed and encouraged by many homeschool bloggers and I hope that you can benefit from it as well.

How To Homeschool My Child
Holy Spirit Led Homeschooling
Free Homeschool Deals
So You Call Yourself a Homeschooler

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Digging for Change

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I mean this both literally and figuratively.

We are in a season of financial drought. Our family business is making enough money to just pay bills with little to no margin. We have had to “loan” the company some of our savings to pay contractors and bills. Our pockets are shriveling.

Our oldest son is quite gifted. My husband wants him to go to high school next year, not be homeschooled. I do not want him to go to public school. So, we have been looking at a college prep school. We cannot afford it as the tuition payments are more than our mortgage payments. I have applied for financial aid and we are working hard to get scholarships.

We donate money to a listener sponsored radio station, not much, but it’s still money I’m not sure we have. My children have decided to sponsor a child through World Vision. This would be their allowance, but, I can put off allowance, I can’t put off an automatic withdrawal.

Our marriage is still raw and in recovery. Change is easier for me than it is for him. He is struggling with the same issues that put us in a not so great place last year.

I lift my eyes unto The Lord; He is where my help comes from

I hear these lyrics play over and over in my head. I pray. I sing. I worship. Lord, I need help!

Thank you. That is all. ;)

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Fulfilling Your Vows

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Fulfilling Your Vows 14 days contest and blog series

This is going to be a wonderful website with encouraging and supporting information and stories to strengthen your marriage. I have the honor of being a part-time contributor and look forward to any questions, comments, and suggestions. Each month, beginning in March, there will be a different topic that we will all write about.

As a kickoff and introduction, there is a giveaway for those that visit the blog site.

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Field Trips, Art, & Music

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Last week, I introduced my children to the world of horses and cowboys. They watched, in awe, as men and women on horseback herded and cut cattle. The sounds of “yip yip” and moos filling the arena. Men and women walking around the complex in Resistol hats, chaps, and spurs. Our field trip sponsor explained to all of the homeschool children, and moms, the history behind Futurity. Now, I have 2 boys that want property, horses, and a small herd of cattle so they can become cutting horse champions. My daughter, she would be content in just having a horse to ride lazily along a trail.

All this takes me back to my days in the country. Where I had horses and went on trail rides with friends. I had my own black Resistol hat, Wrangler jeans, and Justin ropers. I didn’t wear spurs because I didn’t need them for my Reina. She was a beautiful buckskin quarter horse mare. A wonderful companion for a teenage girl.

This week, we will be going to Artsy Me. A do it yourself art studio. They are offering a homeschool art class where my children will be able to make owl plates(pictures to be posted next week). They will custom mold clay into the shapes to make a body, beak, and wings. Use tools to design feather patterns and shape eyes.

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My daughter plays the piano and sings. She is in her third year of lessons. On the way home from her lessons one day, she said “I know what I want to do!” So after getting more details as to what she meant by do, she explained to me that God gives us all special gifts and she wants to use her gift of music to help people. Her goal, to become a Christian music artist and raise money to help others.
This morning, as I listened to her practice, she is playing a wonderful melody. I ask her what song she is practicing and she said “I am writing my own”. Such joy and worship in such a tiny body.

God is so good!

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Offense vs. Defense

So, in the wake of all the tragedy and violence in our world, in general, I feel the need to express myself on a few subjects that have come under attack.

Murder:The unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another.

Now here is where some debates begin. What/who’s law is the end all final say? As a Christian, I believe that it is God’s law that should take precedence.

Thou shalt not kill

So I start with abortion. According to the definition, and according to my beliefs, my opinion is that abortion is murder. I do not picket clinics. I do not force my opinion on anyone. Your choice is that, your choice. But do not tell me you are a Christian and believe that abortion is right.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

Psalm 139:13

We are human from the moment of conception. A creation of God; therefore the killing(ending of a life even before it has been lived) of a baby is murder. Know your health before conceiving a child. If you have premarital sex, use birth control. If you are on the pill and are taking medication, use a back up! Or don’t have sex!

Gun control:
I own guns. I have a concealed weapons license. I hunt. My family hunts. My children are taught gun safety. We have a gun safe. Not a cabinet. A 700lb(empty) fireproof, combination and key locked gun safe. I think that owning a gun is my right. Every gun in our house has been purchased from licensed gun dealers where we had to fill out paperwork for federal/state approval prior to those purchases. I signed paperwork for a complete background check and submitted my fingerprints to obtain my concealed license. Are people like me the problem in this country? NO! The people that break the law are the ones that don’t care about the laws. People who carry out home invasions. There was one locally about two weeks ago. I guarantee that I would protect my family from gun wielding criminals with my legally obtained and brandished weapon. Now, my eyesight is not that great, so I might aim for their shoulder and shoot them in the face.

Violence in today’s media:
Video games, movies, cartoons, music, and the news show ever increasing violence. I am, and have been since the Atari, a gamer. I threw barrels at Donkey Kong. I shot down enemy fighter jets in Space Invaders. I have taken out demonically possessed armies with my dragon in a game by a very popular game company that specializes in fantasy RPGs. I have been a spy and taken out foreign cartels with any weapon that my character can get his hands on. I have shot fireballs at man eating plants, stomped on mushrooms bent on killing me, and thrown flying turtles down into the game abyss. Does that make me a violent person? Not unless you are my enemy in my game. Would I shoot a building full of innocent people? Run down people on the sidewalk for points? Beat a person with a bat because they stole my treasure box? Um, no.
They want to blame video games for the violence that some youth demonstrate. My boys play video games. They aren’t violent. I don’t let them play all day. They don’t get to play all video games. There is a series that glorifies beating innocent people, running from and over the police, and committing crimes. They are not allowed to play those. Military ops games, sure. Fantasy, no way that it could ever happen games, absolutely.
We watch Tom and Jerry, Looney Tunes, and numerous other cartoons that have violence in them. But the likelihood that one of my children would place a rake around a corner so someone could step on it, or rig an anvil to fall on their head when they opened a door, are nil.

The real problem is parenting and entitlement. So many people today have no work ethic or moral values. As evident in today’s justice system. Why work or parent when the government will do it for you? Shouldn’t the government be responsible for everything? They give us a place to live, give us our ration of utilities, food, and clothing and we just sit around and do nothing. Hmm, didn’t work so well in some countries. In fact, it led to more civil unrest and violence.

I love my God. I love my country. But I love the country that the Constitution of the United States intended it to be. I love people. I don’t have to like every one and every action, just like you don’t have to like me and my opinion. But God, Allah, Buddha, whomever is your omnipotent god, places an importance on loving all of His creation. If you don’t believe in a god, I’m sorry. I hope you find an inner peace in whatever it is you worship.

****Please reserve any negative comments or comebacks for your own blog. While I do invite educated discussion and debate, any attacks on this post or other’s comments will be delete and/or denied approval.

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