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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Let’s Talk Comfort Zones

So today I had to do some MAJOR “adulting”. To boot, my hubby was out of town/wasn’t able to get to his phone–> so I had no extra help or direction from him. I did “it” on my own. And to be honest, I kicked some adulting butt. (Really I did.)

I was *totally* out of my comfort zone. But I did it anyway.

Was it easy? No.

Did it feel good? No.

Was I scared? Yes.

“It” wasn’t expected. I wasn’t prepared for “it”. What I *thought* was going to be a simple thing turned into a “you lost your afternoon fussing with ‘this’.”

But because I’ve been working on myself and actively dealing with my insecurities, I really handled it with genuine ease. I didn’t get flustered/confused. I didn’t fumble over my words. I was able to be straightforward & honest.

In a word, it felt very “freeing” today. Not in the moment, but afterward. Something that would normally be crippling was handled “matter-of-factly”. I cannot adequately explain how proud I am at my ability to handle this hard situation.

Perhaps my “hard” is another one’s “simple”. IDK. We’re not comparing experiences here.  That’s dangerous ground (that is, comparison). It seemed hard to me, and I conquered it. Yay!

Feeling strong. Feeling accomplished.

But it all started with stepping outside my comfort zone.

It’d be “comfortable” to have someone else deal with this issue.

It’d be “comfortable” if it wasn’t my problem to fuss with.

It’d be “comfortable” if I could wash my hands of this.

But I stepped out and did something scared.

Honestly, I’m on Cloud 9.

Like I said, in the moment, it didn’t “feel good”. It was uncomfortable. I wished someone else could handle it for me. I thought of my escape routes for sure.

But I stuck with it. Did it scared. Prayed. Believed that God was in control over all things.

If there’s something you’re struggling with today, may I encourage you to take just (1) step forward and do “the thing” scared. I’m right there with ya. I did a scary thing today, too. You can do it as well. From one scaredy-cat to another… we can do this!

#formerscaredycat    #nowbebrave    #takethatfirststep    #doitscared    #trustGod    #youarenotalone    #stepoutofyourcomfortzone    #liveawakened   #livefullyalive    #beencouraged    #loveyourlife

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Weekend Smiles

1) Early AM quiet time with the Lord. There’s just nothing like it.

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2) This gorgeous car was parked outside my house today while it’s owners went to get some ice cream at the nearby ice cream shop. I hope they don’t mind I was ogling/drooling over it.

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3) Salted caramels. Be still my heart.

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4) When my kids make hot breakfast’s for everyone.

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5) Please pardon the language in the title of this Podcast, but golly, this lady’s got some really good stuff in her podcasts concerning boundaries (and no, they are *not* filled with colorful language- she’s actually a very professional counselor. ). Listened to this gem today. So so good.

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 https://beyondbitchy.com/podcast/8-celebrate-the-no/

6) Also listened to this podcast as well. Really hope they post the other sessions!

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https://chipjudd.com/2018/02/02/boundries-ch-1-audio-recording/

7) Fires with my family!

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8) Bright colored clothing. Can’t it just ALWAYS be summer?!

 

Live awakened. Live fully alive.

Things Making Me Smile Today

1) Flowers & chocolates from my husband, surprise delivery in honor of our 16th anniversary today! He is just the sweetest!!!

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2) Happy 16 years with my hunny. Here’s some pics from our wedding (August 3, 2001). We were 22 years old!

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3) Playing in the pool with my kids, soaking in the summer sun!

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4) I freakin’ love the song “Delicate” by Taylor Swift. Do NOT ask me why, for I have no answer. It just makes me happy.

5) The most hilarious anniversary card, from my sister & her hubby. It’s the best. They get me.

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6) A good German beer on this hot day.

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7) Google Duo, so I can video chat with my husband when he’s away.

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8) A new doormat: watermelon!!!

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9) The car of my dreams. Either this, or a ’59 Bel Air. But regardless: THIS COLOR or similar! Forget jewelry. My husband & I already have an understanding that what I really want is a fun car. He takes me to all the local car shows so I can drool.

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10) Humor like this. Or puns. I just LOVE them!!!

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Live awakened. Live fully alive.

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

Your Love Awakens Me

This past January, my family and I began attending a new church in our community. One of the very first songs we learned was “Your Love Awakens Me” by Phil Wickam. You can listen to it here:

With as many times as I’ve heard and sung this song, I still love it. In fact, this past Sunday they sang it again and the church totally rocked it.

I think I’ll always love it.

One line from this song really stands out to me: Your love awakens me.

When we can begin to really grasp the width and breadth and depth of LOVE God has for us… when we finally realize that He is FOR us (and always have been)… when we can finally see He’s our biggest fan and wants the absolute best for us (He’s got plans to prosper us… to give us a hope and a future)… and when we can finally wrap our minds around the truth that any and all condemnation that was once on us because of sin was completely taken away at the moment of salvation…

… in a very real sense, we have been awakened

Walls between us and God are broken.
We’re no longer bound by the chains of sin.
We’re covered in grace and LOVE.
We’re brought out of the darkness and into the light.
We’re fully alive (abundantly… eternally).
Death has been conquered for us.

In a word, we are free.

So as believers in Christ, let’s live FREE and FULLY ALIVE!

Live Awakened.  Live fully alive.

#Yourloveawakens   #liveawakened   #Godsloveforus   #nomorecondemnation   #livefullyalive    #freedom   #livefree

These are a few on my favorite things!

1- Game nights with friends!

We’re always looking for fun & simple games we can 1) play with the kids or 2) doesn’t require a whole lot of thinking so we can freely talk and joke and hang with our company. There’s most definitely a time and a place for strategy/thinking games. But oftentimes a light/fun/quick game is just the thing.

Here are a couple of our favorites: Zombie Dice and Pass the Pig.

 

 

 

2. The local ice cream shop opening near us. A sure sign of Spring!

This, my friends, is a Puppy Chow Hurricane. It’s frozen awesomeness in a cup!

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3. My latest Goodwill find. Love those 50% off Saturdays!

I have a slight obsession with pretty dishes, specifically ones with gold on them. We’ve slowly been adding mismatched China plates from Goodwill to our cupboard. It’s just so fun to eat off pretty plates, isn’t it? (As opposed to the “boring” nondescript off-white Corelle we have.) My hubby insists on using the boring plates. I insist on using fun plates. We compromise and have both in our cupboards. LOL 🙂

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4. Also found this at Goodwill today.

I’ve been slacking on my French studies. (Eeeeek.) Seeing this in the book section today rekindled that passion I have for language learning. Bought it. And hello again DuoLingo.

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5. Daily dose of TRUTH.

“Be better today than you were yesterday” has become my mantra. It’s not about comparing yourself to other people. It’s about comparing yourself to who you were yesterday, and striving to be better. It’s not about perfection. It’s about process. There is no end goal or date in mind. It’s a lifestyle.

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