Tag Archives: Family

Don’t Talk With Your Mouth Full and Other Table Manners Applicable to Life

 

 

Wow!  That title, all by itself, was a mouthful.  But it is all too relevant to me. Right now.  I have bitten off more than I can chew, and I must speak at the same time.  I don’t have a choice.  I have committed myself.  Again.  I have got to finish.

This is my state of mind at the present.  But it seems to be a prevailing, recurring theme in my life.  In fact, it seems, for some strange reason, that I work better under pressure.  I think this may be an underlying factor in my terrible habit of procrastination.  If I don’t have a ridiculous amount of stress, I don’t perform as well.  Procrastinating manufactures that. 

The bad thing is (or worse thing,) I have to exhibit the mandatory emotional meltdown before I can get on with whatever I need to do.  It’s illogical.  I don’t understand myself.  Yet, I continue to do it.  Isn’t that the definition of insanity?  I guess because I’ve managed to get good results most of the time there is a reward for the behavior.  I unwittingly reinforce my procrastination by succeeding, or at the least, satisfactorily completing whatever it is I said I would do.  (Excuse me while I wipe my mouth.)

Although I feel like a head case after divulging all  of that, my guess is that I’m not the only one.  Whether you’re the harried homemaker, or have-it-all career mom, or even if you’re a dad and you fall in one of these categories, you’re most likely stressed to the point of being one mini-crisis away from being a heaping puddle right where you stand.  This isn’t a new problem.

 

So how do we deal with it?  I don’t have the answers.  I have suggestions that may or may not work for you.  Sometimes they don’t work for me, but here goes.

 

1)    God.  Go to him.  Pour out your heart. Ask for help. Read his word.  Meditate on it.  Keep him first.  Remember the whole, “Seek ye first” commandment.  It’s reassuring.

 

2)    Take assessment of what’s going on in your life.  Re-prioritize.  Pick your battles. Say “no” and don’t feel guilty. Someone told me one time to concentrate on what is important instead of what was urgent.  That tends to be my way.

 

3)    Make a list.  Start with the easiest thing and work your way up.  You may be delaying the inevitable worst one until the end, but you may just be so encouraged from completing everything else it won’t seem like such a difficult thing to do.

 

4)    Make a daily list.  Okay, this one seems like a repeat, but I have to share this trick that pretty much got me through college. I cannot take credit for this.  It was a suggestion to a roomful of RAs by the VP of our university who also taught classes, ran businesses, was a church leader, and the mayor of the city all at the same time.  He took an index card everyday and listed everything he needed to do that day (he recommended a calendar with special events and assignments to reference).  At the end of the day everything on the list was either completed, discarded from the list, or carried to the next day.

 

5)    Make a daily list of 10 things for which you are thankful to God. Sometimes we need to take stock of all of our blessings to get us out of the mire of pity and guilt that can worry and delay us.

 

6)    Just do it.  Sometimes you need to just pick a starting point and march forward.

 

7)    Go have a meltdown.  Yes, give yourself permission to have a weak moment and pity yourself.  But limit it to just a few minutes.  Then give yourself a pep talk and go to it again.

 

8)    Delegate and seek help from others.  Then either let them do it or take the help and suggestions graciously.  Have you ever asked for help and didn’t like the answer? Let go!!!! A very good piece of parenting advice that I follow came from a blog.  Texashomesteader.com to be exact.  The blogger was talking about chores around their homestead and with her homeschooled children.  She followed the advice of another who said, “Teach your children to do something well.  Then get out of their way and let them do it.”  I don’t think this means they have to do it perfectly, but you should allow them to do the task without constant criticism.  It’s okay to correct mistakes, just don’t be a dictator, perfectionist, control-freak about it.  How ever much was completed is less you’ll have to do, even if you have to finish the job to perfection, later, out of view, for your own peace of mind.

 

9)    Do something fun.  Sometimes you need to act spontaneously and get your mind off of things.  Denial is usually one of those things that can be destructive personally, but every once in a while it is a tool that can prevent an obsession.

 

10) Eat right and exercise.  That just hurt, really bad.  I don’t know why this is so hard to do, but it is.  It tends to be the thing on my daily list that gets discarded or moved to the next day the most.  It is one of my biggest personal struggles to be motivated to do this.  I’m still working on it, not very well, but I am.

Like I said, some of these don’t work for me right now.  Some of them do.  Some I hit sporadically.  All in all, it is occasionally uplifting to recall this wisdom that I’ve learned from others and realize that if things get really rough, I do have the ability to handle it.  As my mother says, “This too shall pass.”

            Oh! Wait a minute! Wasn’t I supposed to continue the analogy of table manners and life…. Oh well, it will have to go on tomorrow’s index card.

 

 

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FINALLY!!!!! A Homeschooling Post!!!!

It’s finally here. A post about one of my favorite subjects —- homeschooling. Since I hope to post about this subject often, I’ve struggled with where to start. So, why not start at the beginning. The very beginning.

Sometime toward the end of my oldest daughter’s Kindergarten year in a small private church school, I realized I was going to have to start thinking seriously about the next step. The school was a preschool which included a Kindergarten but went no further. Our other options were the local public school of course, and two other private schools — one private school which would have required being wait-listed and the other too far out of budget . The public school had become a scary thought to me. I would have never guessed this prior to having children. However, watching the experiences of my co-workers with their children deal with the school system made me nervous.

{I take this time to pause and say this. I admire teachers. I admire the dedication they have. I admire those who are passionate about helping their students learn. I come from a long line of teachers and have plenty of teachers in my family. We need teachers, good teachers. My choice to homeschool is not an indictment of the teaching profession. It’s an indictment of a bureaucracy that has gotten so large and out of control, so cookie-cutter (e.g., Common Core), that teachers have no time to help the struggling kid that does not fit the mold, or move the advanced child along so they’re not bored. We’ve taken an important individual privilege (education), historically, and mandated and regulated it so heavily at the federal level that true learning, discovery, creativity and individual personal achievement are getting harder and harder to attain. If you don’t believe me, read the Little House series for yourself from the perspective of the historical significance of public education. In many ways, we have devolved, not evolved.}

Ok…back to the story. It was a blessing that over the years we had become close with a couple of homeschooling families in our community. They had older children, so the possibility of combining forces to tackle it together was not realistic. Instead they offered me encouragement, wisdom, and a book. The book was So You’re Thinking About Homeschooling? by Lisa Whelchel. I recommend this book to anyone who has even the slightest urge to venture into home education. It’s a compilation of stories of other homeschoolers and their methods of homeschooling for many different situations. It’s an easy read, but BEWARE….it will make you feel empowered. I was convinced after reading it that I could do it. My husband agreed and the rest is history.

I have called it the grand experiment. When we first started, we reassessed the situation each school year to make sure it was a good fit for the family. Every year we make adjustments, but we no longer question if we will be doing it or not. It has become a lifestyle for us. And as my husband told someone over the phone a while back, it is the best parenting decision we ever made besides teaching our children about God.

After all these years, I still doubt my abilities, I still pray that I’m adequate. But with prayer and the grace of God, we continue to make progress. I am thankful every day that I’m afforded this opportunity. I’m thankful that I have been able to watch my kids learn and grow up close and personal. I’m in awe of the wonderful young women they are becoming. I’m also aware that education and educating is a privilege not to be taken for granted. And the ultimate responsibility for developing my children’s intellect and creativity is mine irrespective of if I choose to do it myself or enlist a public or private school.

And that’s my two cents. But stick around. I have more pennies. Feel free to leave comments, even ones of disagreement as long as they are respectful and there is no profanity.

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What’s your sign?

I love Pinterest. In fact, it is one of my great stress relievers to spend an hour by myself “pinning”. I have to make a set time and time limit; otherwise it would easily, and has at times, become an unhealthy obsession and time-stealer. In some instances, the ideas shared there have been a great help to me in one way or another.

One of my favorite ideas are the wonderful quotes, funny quips, etc. that end up on signs to be hung about the home. It occurred to me how the selection of one of these signs could reveal so much about the occupants of the home. And how much time I take thinking if something really applies to our clan or not.

I love the signs that tell about the family personality. You know the ones that start, “In this family we…” fill in the blanks. Maybe these things are aspirations rather than hard fast habits by all the members, but I’ve yet to find one that really describes my family. In some ways, writing a description that is both accurate and mostly positive seems untruthful. So, I won’t. I refuse. As heart-warming as the signs are, providing only the positive without the negative describe only one half of the family’s personality. So what if I wrote a truthful sign, regardless of what perceived negative attributes come spewing forth? Could it at least make people smile (or probably laugh) even if it didn’t cause that lovely mushy feeling that most do? Hmm….let’s see. Here is my attempt.

In this family we:

Have too much estrogen for four walls
Encourage Dad to go fishing to preserve his manhood and sanity
Share the chores, but still leave dinner dishes often until the next day
Photobomb
Laugh, and laugh, and laugh
Cry
Talk about God
Talk to God
SING together in the car and solo in the shower
Opine loudly and zealously to the guests on Fox News
Argue/Bicker with each other
Learn
Love
Have tickle fights and horseplay
Get mad
Make up
Enjoy Food (too much)
Dream for the future
Encourage service to others
Try to be real
Laugh at flatulence
Pick on each other mercilessly, at times
Love NASCAR
Exercise our 2nd amendment right
Converse with the dogs as if they are people
Attempt patience and forgiveness
Need to exercise more
Read, paint, draw and do crafts
Pluck each other’s eyebrows and chin/ear hairs
Give fashion advice
Are mostly unorganized
Hate Algebra (all of us)
Stick together

So that’s our family, what about yours?

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“I Hate Man Colds!”

(Written late at night a few days ago.)

Someone tweeted this the other day (see title) , and I had to laugh. It had to be wife. How do I know? Because I too hate them….along with “man”opause , “man”struation, and masculine itching. I intimately identify with the tongue in cheek idiom, “sick as a man”. I’ve been there. At the moment, I am there. I have to laugh (alone in the laundry room) or I may just cry.

As I write this, my husband snores blissfully following his dose of Nyquil. Not a care in the world. The first time in days, he’s not experiencing the certainty of imminent demise from a nasty super-cold, that has thumbed its nose at steroids AND antibiotics. I giggle… the cabin fever, combined with my ardent wishing that he’ll feel better enough in the morning to get out of my hair and go back to work, has finally gotten to me.

On a serious note, you need to know that I love my husband with every sinew of my heart. I have loved him from the minute he flashed his baby-blues and dimpled smile at me. Be still my heart…I still smile involuntarily when I think about that memory. I have believed whole-heartedly in my vows for nearly twenty years now, and tried earnestly to love (as an action, not just an emotion) during this time.

If I really let my mind go to a darker place in the future, I know one day one of us will deal with the loss of the other. That has become a painful reality this summer as we grieved with at least four different families dear to us who lost a loved one… three husbands passing and one wife. And I can say I have true empathy for them. It really is heartbreaking. Regardless of the bitter sting of separation caused by death, I am grateful for the existence of marriage, created by a loving God who didn’t want his children to be lonely.

So, today I’m taking the opportunity the Lord has granted me to exercise my vows and my patience muscle. I have to say, tonight it’s a little weak . Sleep deprivation caused by his loud coughing, phlegm clearing (a skill I have never adequately mastered myself) and my own bout with the same bug has left me light-headed and laughing. So, methinks sleep is probably the best solution. I’ll worry about tomorrow when it gets here and be thankful for the partner I’ve been blessed with — man cold and all.

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