Spring Blessings

1) I have taken a big step of maturity these past couple of weeks– I finally reached out and asked for help regarding my anxiety/panic issues— and I’ve started seeing a therapist. Regardless of the fact that I myself graduated from college with a BS is Psychology and Addictions Counseling… it’s nearly impossible to diagnose and treat oneself– as I am “too close to the patient”. I have fussed with it now for six years. And though I have made some headway, it’s still there.

There’s just seems to be such a cultural stigma with mental health issues. It’s like people think you’re weak or something. It seems especially difficult if you’re a Christian: maybe you just don’t know/love/*trust* Jesus enough. That’s not helpful at all.

I’ve been to my therapist three times now and… it has just been an incredible experience. He listens and asks just the right questions. He points things out I’ve never noticed. He’s been able to put into words the chaotic feelings I’ve not been able to make sense of. His perspective is unique. He’s shared breathing exercises that I can do (even in front of people & they’d never know) to bring calm to my nervous system. He’s challenged me. He’s given me big things to ponder & wrestle with.

WHY ON EARTH DID I WAIT SO LONG TO GET HELP?!

I am NOT weak. In fact, it’s actually a pretty bold and powerful thing to actually admit you’re not Wonder Woman (or Superman) and to get help/perspective.

By no means have I got it all figured out yet– and I’ll prob be seeing him for awhile– but I can actually rest and relax now knowing that I’m not crazy or weak or forever stuck with anxiety. He’s pretty certain we can nip it in the bud. Praise God. Very much filled with hope right now.

If ANY of you are wrestling with anxiety or depression or whatever, please do NOT hesitate to talk to a therapist!!! You are not weak!!! You’re actually a super strong person to reach out and ask for help!!! I’m telling you, it will make a world of difference in your life!!!

2) I have decided to include along with my mental health therapy: running. Today, with three of my children, we laced up and hit the pavement. Dude, we are SO out of shape. (LOL) What a laugh we all had when the torture was over. But guess what, we’re still alive and we’re gonna do it all again tomorrow… for both our physical and *mental* health. It was slow-going but we put in 2 run-walk miles:

3) I am SUPER duper thankful for the ability to homeschool. I truly freakin’ love teaching my kids and providing learning environments for them. My older kids are mostly self-learners at this point and so the majority of my time is spent teaching my Little Ones. It’s just something I thoroughly enjoy doing. LOVE being with them and sharing life with them.

4) I was joking around today with someone about what our “spirit animals” would be. Now, I don’t really believe in spirit animals– it was just a silly convo we were having. But if spirit animals were a real thing, I would totally choose Pikachu. Such a cute little fun creature, seemingly harmless… but don’t ever cross him. (LOL) I am wearing this t-shirt today & it makes me so happy:

5) It is in the high 60F’s today!!! I AM LOVING IT!!! I LOVE having the windows open, feeling the breeze, smelling the outdoors, hearing the birds sing… I can’t explain it– but it makes my heart sing.

6) Loving/awesome neighbors that bring treats for my fam… just because. I could not have asked for more kind/better neighbors.

Gratitude Du Jour

I am really-truly-absolutely-fully loving this winter and all the icy cold blasts & falling snow & days off & a MUCH slower pace to life.
A long, sweet season to breathe, relax, enjoy, get cozy, grow, heal, think, plan, dream.
Peace. Tranquility. Quiet. Stillness.
My newly snow-covered blue spruce, home to a beautiful family of cardinals, collected snow on its limbs, slightly blowing in the cold, biting breeze.
I’m a sucker for holiday window clings. Valentine’s is just around the corner. *LOVE*
Hot cocoa and marshmallows to warm you from the inside out.
Perfect after playing in the snow.
A sweet treat that brings big smiles to my loves.
“Hearts of Love” I write to each of my children from Feb 1 to Valentine’s Day.
Every day I write out just one thing I absolute ADORE about each child & leave them on the counter to greet them in the morning. Individualized. Personalized. Never a repeated note.
You can bet when they see them come February, the sleep from their eyes instantly vanishes.
They just LOVE getting love notes from their momma.
(And momma loves writing them, too.)
My kids end the morning with both full bellies & full hearts.  
Though all of my children are homeschooled, my two eldest kids take choir at the local public school. (Tra la la) We, too, celebrate all the days off from public school due to weather. Our days at home have been seamless, uninterrupted days of flow (much like holidays & summer vacation). It’s been a lovely break from the norm.
Surprise lunch dates with my honey. When he pops out of his office and on the fly asks if I can go out to lunch with him. Can’t believe we’re finally to the stage in parenting where this is even a possibility. He still takes my breath away.

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

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