Finding Joy

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This week in my homeschool co-op, among the mom’s we talked about just this!!!

Apparently nearly all of us struggle with finding joy amid all the busyness and doing and being of life. There’s just SO MUCH ON OUR PLATES. It doesn’t seem to matter what your lot in life is: homeschool vs. public/private schooling, stay-at-home vs. working mom, no kids vs. 1-3 kids vs. 4+ kids/large family, etc.

Nearly all of us feel it. We’re all so busy living… but how much of us are really enJOYing?

I am so right there with ya. I’m feeling it, too:

I’m a wife.
I’m a mom of (7) children ages 15yr-2yr.
I’m a homemaker.
I homeschool.
I help my husband with some secretarial work for his business.
I’m a blogger/writer.
I’m involved in my church & community & 4H.
I volunteer.
I’m on (2) local Boards.
I have friendships & family relationships.
My husband & children have full lives as well that I must work around.
I have (2) high schooler’s at home that are quite busy with their schooling & sports & choir (soon to be driver’s ed. & getting jobs).

I’m not even going to include here doctor’s appointments, homeschool co-op mtgs/activities, meal planning/shopping & the actual making (& cleaning up) of meals, exercise, recreational activities, alone time, Bible study time, house/yard projects, paying bills, all the time I spend in the car driving everyone everywhere… etc.

Our house is hopping from morning till night.

To boot, I’m an introvert/HSP. And if you’re into the whole Myers-Briggs thing, I’m an INFJ. I require a ridiculous amount of alone time to process life & chill. I often struggle with anxiety & overwhelm.

In all this crazy living, it’s honestly really hard for me to stop & smell the roses.
Shoot, sometimes I miss the roses altogether. LOL

But if I had to guess, you’re pretty darn busy, too. Your “busy” looks considerably different than mine (for sure), but it’s there nonetheless. It’s real. You’re running & going almost non-stop. You’re trying to complete a seemingly endless list of to-do’s. You’ve got a slew of people that need you on the daily. You’re responsible for an incredible list of responsibilities.

Can I encourage you to: Slow Down

Breathe.

Just be.

Look around you.

Take stock.

Though we live in a fallen world, there is pure beauty and bliss all around us.
Look for it. Seek it. Think on it. Meditate on it. Get lost in it.

I don’t think JOY is just something that happens to us– it’s something we have to actively cultivate and nurture.
I don’t think it comes from any outside source or person or circumstance– it’s a practice we must regularly be involved in.
I think it’s like a muscle: if you don’t use it, you lose it.
It’s not something handed to us on a silver platter– we ourselves have to hunt and search for.

Even amid the busy, JOY can be ours. It’s looking at our everything… and giving thanks:

“Thank You, God, for all these special relationships, all these activities on my calendar, all these opportunities to serve, all these growing experiences, and yes, even the trials and struggles– they are making me more like Your Son, Jesus.”

Joy comes from opening our eyes and seeing the wonderful that’s all around us… it also comes from a heart of gratitude.

So what’s bringing *you* joy today? What’s putting a smile on *your* face?

Let’s cultivate this together! Let’s practice this JOY. Let’s give thanks in all things.

#liveawakened   #livefullyalive   #JOY   #findingjoy   #encouragement   #stopandsmelltheroses   #practicejoy   #happinesscomesfromwithin   #gratitude   #lifeisbeautiful

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Back To School

I don’t know about you, but I’m really feeling the pressure and urgency of the whole back to school thing.

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We homeschool our children, but our oldest two kids (ages 15 & almost 14) take one class at the local public school. Our son is taking a class so he can play tennis. Our daughter is taking choir because she LOVES music & singing.

So (1) class each and (1) sport for my son. That’s it. And I’m SHOCKED at all the stuff that needs to get done prior to starting classes. My head starts hurting when I think of what parents of full-time public schoolers must have to deal with. I truly feel for you! The process is no joke.

Hair cuts, school registration (hallelujah, it’s all online this year! An introverts dream come true!), tennis registration (online, too, for the win!), sports physical, homeschool transcripts made, Freshman orientation, talking with the guidance counselors, getting lockers/combos, getting their tablets, eye exams, clothes shopping, school supply shopping, etc.

I’ve kinda been swimming in school stuff lately.
How are you other parents doing?
Hanging in there?

Shout out to our local school district, though! They have been absolutely phenomenal to work with. What a blessing! Being a homeschooling family, I was a little nervous about interacting with the school corporation. But they have been SO welcoming, SO helpful, SO caring. I’ve asked a bazillion questions and they’ve been so patient to answer each and every one of them. Even with our schooling situation being unique, they’ve been SO accommodating. I honestly cannot say enough positive things about our local school district. They’ve been just fantastic!

This post is rambling, but I suppose I’m in a rambling mood. Working on school stuff now and so I wanted to write about it. Ha, maybe a needed distraction I suppose.

So hang in there mom’s and dad’s! Try to enjoy these last few days of summer with your kiddos before they head back to school. And I hope it’s not too stressful for you as you prepare.

Live awakened. Live fully alive.

#backtoschool   #highschool   #homeschooling   #publicschooling   #hanginthere   #enjoyyourkids   #lastdaysofsummer

How Introverts “Bond”

So this evening, my hubby took (6) of our little ducklings out of town for some Christmas shopping, leaving my eldest son and I alone at home. This is a rarity.

Not sure how many of you, my readers, are Myers-Brigg’s nuts, but I am an INFJ and my son is an INTJ. We are so similar… we either are two peas in a pod cuz we “get” each other, or we drive each other crazy cuz we’re too similar (thankfully, usually the former). 🙂

We seem to be the oddballs out of the rest of our gang. Most everyone else here is extroverted and/or strong-willed and/or assertive and/or loud. My son and I are the quiet ones that need a crap-ton of alone time to rejuvenate, are moody, take a long time to chill, and are totally cool with zoning out from the world with our laptops.

Being in a large family can be a bit trying for us, for sure, sometimes.

But this evening has been a glorious break from the hum-drum of normal life. I surprised my son by picking him up after basketball practice (he was expecting to walk home), I treated him to Subway for dinner (he freakin’ LOVES sandwiches), watched Zack King for our dinner entertainment (a digital/filming genius), and now, we’re both in the kitchen, on our own laptops, in our own little worlds (mine: school prep & blogging… my son: playing diep.io.), completely content & happy. We’re bonding. And it’s great fun. Our love tanks are being filled by each quiet moment that passes. And tomorrow, we will feel extremely close to one another and we’ll forever remember this evening as a beautiful night together.

It’s SO fun having a kid that totally understands me, and I him.

Here are a few humorous cartoons describing the inner world of an introvert. LOL

 

Any other introverts out there that are TOTALLY cool with an evening at home alone?!!!

Brief Miscellan-ey

Not too shabby for my 11 year old & 7 year old sons!
They can def make a mean salad.

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This summer, my children have taken it upon themselves to keep praying mantises as pets. Not sure how it’s been elsewhere in the US, but where we live, there has been a crazy number of them in our yard! They’re actually kinda cute… for a bug.

We had a male, Camo, but he recently died for unknown causes. Our female, Maple, however is thriving and just recently laid her egg sac! We knew she was “with child” when we saw her eating her partner. Very gruesome.

Anyways, we now have an egg sac. We took it outside so it can winter safely and perhaps we can watch it hatch in the spring. Kids are wanting very much to have future mantis pets.

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And finally, I have picked up yoga this summer/fall. I am *really* liking it as it is extremely calming and healing. Since I struggle with anxiety, it has been wonderful getting introduced to yoga.

Any other yogi’s out there?

I’m Alive

Catching my breath here… we’ve been **so busy** these past couple of weeks. But I wanted to let you know I’m still alive & well and desperately wanting life to SLOW DOWN. I’ve got lots of blog ideas to write about and I can’t WAIT to get started!!!

So our busy: my husband was gone one weekend for a bachelor party (his little bro is getting married). The following weekend *I* was gone for a bachelorette party. And this week specifically, the older 4 kids have tennis lessons in the AM (thankfully they can walk to the courts– but this is an all summer Y program), kid 2 & 4 have basketball camp in the afternoons at the High School (I have to actually drive to that… but it’s only 1 week), and pre-judging for 4H was/is today, tomorrow & next Mon/Tues. Fair week is all next week. I will be doing a HAPPY DANCE of celebration when 4H is done. I love love love the program, but it is def a lot a work.

This year our kids were/are involved in: Recycled Articles, Aquatic Science, Consumer Clothing/Fashion Review, Aerospace (rockets), Collections (tractors & farm equipment), Gardening (Green Peppers), and our little Mini 4H-er is doing Models.

At this time, we do not allow our kids to do more projects than the year they are in 4H. So if this is their 3rd year in regular 4H, then they get to do 3 projects. At their age, their projects still require a significant amount of help and guidance from the hubby and I. This project amount rule will change as they mature and can do more and more on their own. We figure by they time they hit 15-16 they can choose as many projects as they think they can handle. By then they should be able to do much of their projects independently.

There are SO many ways to get involved in 4H. I had NO idea when I first got started. There’s 4H band & choir, summer camps, public speaking contests, talent shows, International Nights, workshops you can attend, trips and tours to Washington D.C., International Exchange Programs, state & national level conferences, etc. There’s also several awards and scholarships that the kids can be rewarded with. And stuff for the adults too like Open Class (where adults submit projects to be judged), Homemaking Clubs, clogging, etc. And there’s always stuff that can be helped with at the extension office or with grounds keeping & maintenance, fair prep, running clubs, concessions/kitchen help, project check-ins, etc. I know I’m missing many things here, for sure. There’s really no limit to how and where to get involved.

I really hope to do more with 4H as our kids mature. It’s such an amazing program ran by such amazing people. At least it is in our county. I hope the same for yours.

Do any of *you* have kids in 4H? What projects are they doing this year? How early do you start your projects? How many projects each do you allow your children to do? Do you count 4H prep as part of their homeschool curriculum (if you homeschool)? As an adult, are *you* involved in 4H? How?

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