Category Archives: Uncategorized

twaddle

There’s a word that gets thrown around in a lot of homeschool circles that’s always kind of bugged me. “TWADDLE”

In this context, it usually means a piece of literature that isn’t “quality”. The idea is that you want to spend your energy (and your children’s energy) on consuming quality material. You want to fill your mind with what is true and beautiful and good.

And I get it. I really do.twaddle.jpg

I think it always rubs me the wrong way because it’s a word that tends to get used by people who present themselves as experts in what is quality and what is twaddle. Since I have a natural tendency to question someone who tells me they know everything (a blog post for another day), I immediately bristle. It irritates me most because I immediately wonder, “Who are you to decide what is twaddle and what isn’t? There’s not a list anywhere handed down from God, is there?” Though, let’s be honest, there is some seriously pitiful stuff out there.

Today, though, as I sat in a multitude of workshops designed to aid and guide the homeschool teacher, I found myself thinking about the word again. There were a couple of sessions that half way through I thought, “This is a waste of my time. Why am I here? Maybe I should just leave.” And then I looked around the room and wondered if everyone else felt the same as I did. Surely they must! Clearly this is twaddle!!

And then, without fail, at the end of the workshop, someone from the audience would go up to the speaker and ask questions. Thank them for having shared. Tell them how something they said made such a difference. And then it hit me.

What is twaddle to me, is clearly not twaddle to everyone. What I find to be good and true and beautiful, may not be beautiful to someone else.

And THAT’S OKAY.

That’s the way God designed us to be. We are each and every one beautifully and perfectly created in his image. And if you find something beautiful, then it must be beautiful! Whether I think so or not.

And that’s the case for most everything in this world. Books. Music. Artwork. Even homeschool convention workshops.

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diet starts with “die”

Can I vent for just a minute?

It’s March. That means that for the 50% of the population who made a New Year’s Resolution to get healthy and lose weight, a large majority already consider themselves failing. How many of us swore off sugar, carbs, or fat on the first of January and now find ourselves mired in cake and cookies? Or have been “donating” money to the local gym for 2 months.

How about those who started the whole 30 diet, and managed for a few weeks, but then switched to Adkins, then sugar detox, then bootcamp…

Can I postulate something? Perhaps there is a physiological reason as to why it is so hard for us to stick with these food plans and fitness regimens. Perhaps, just perhaps, our body has become trained to fail. Its very chemistry has become altered from its original healthy design to one that no longer functions well and thus craves, needs the very things that harm it.

Stick with me for a minute. I’m not a doctor. I don’t even play one on tv. But I’ve done a significant amount of research, and I’ve picked up a few things. (Google is an amazing tool!) Sugar is addictive. The more we ingest, the more we want. The more we want, the more we ingest. It’s a vicious cycle. And like any other chemical addiction, the more we take in, the more damage is done and the harder it is to break the habit.

So while it is possible to stop cold turkey, and some people are very successful with that technique, a lot of us need help.

I was one of those people. I would try and fail and try and fail to break my sugar/carb addiction. I could go for a short while, would feel so much better, and then all it took was one bite to go spiraling back down in to the pit. Every time.

When I finally figured out that my very body chemistry had been altered, it made sense to try to alter it back.

You know, God is so good at always providing a way to succeed. For every thing that is “broken”, He has provided a way to fix it. And our bodies are no exception.

Years ago, I scoffed at people who would suggest that plants and herbs and supplements could be the solution. It seemed hokey to me. It wasn’t hard enough. Surely, the only way to create change is through misery and despair. Right?

Maybe not. 

After a couple of years for diligently replenishing my body with the minerals and vitamins it had been missing, I’m healthier than I’ve been in years. I have control over what I eat and when. I eat what I enjoy and enjoy what I eat. And I have energy to be physically active (though the drive is still a work in progress). I’ve lost weight, lost inches. My tummy issues (TMI!) are pretty much gone. My sleep (or lack thereof) is improved. I could go on and on and on. And while I’ve been doing this for a while, I had actually begun seeing improvements in just a few weeks!!

And truly, it’s the easiest thing I’ve ever done.  

Sometimes improvement is hard and complicated. And sometimes, it just takes a small adjustment. 

Just my 2 cents…

looking up

This is actually a repost from my old blog… I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately.

“But I don’t want to do it,” she whispers just before her shoulders start to shake and her lips start to quiver.  In a heartbeat my carefree, silly baby girl is sobbing and broken before my eyes.  Her frustration at being different, at having to work harder to do what others do so easily, at having to spend time doing activities that don’t make sense to her and seem ridiculous and just aren’t fun overwhelms her.

So I hold her and her daddy tickles her and we laugh and I try to explain the why.  Why does she have to spend time doing “eye exercises”. Why does it matter that her eyes and brain don’t work together properly.  Why does she even need to read and write and calculate.

Then, in the dark, after she’s gone to bed, where she can’t see, I find myself whispering the same things to God.  Why my girl? Why is this so hard for her?  “Thank you, Lord, for putting the right people in our path to help us find and fix the problem, but where are we going to get the money to pay for this?” What if it doesn’t work? What if I push too hard or not hard enough? Why didn’t I see this before? How will she function in small groups and classroom settings if she can’t read or write?  Where is the “good” in this situation? What are we supposed to be learning here, and why didn’t being out of work for 5 years count for whatever lesson this is? Surely we’re due for a break…

But, knowing myself as I do, I know I have to step out of the situation and simply look at the facts.  If I don’t, if I allow myself to stay where I am, I’ll drown.

 

i-life-my-eyes-to-the-hills

So, what are the facts? Our precious eight year old girl has a visual processing disorder.  I have a ten page document next to my bed that lists out the seven medical diagnoses explaining why she hasn’t been able to learn to read and why she forgets things and why she’s clumsy.  In a nutshell, her eyes and her brain do not work in concert together.  Her brain considers controlling her eyes as a separate process to complete rather than a natural exercise like breathing or moving.  The result is that when she does anything that requires use of her eyes, her brain doesn’t want to do anything else, like remember things or take pictures or process information.  It’s basically a wiring issue.  Fortunately, God’s creation is so amazing that we have the ability to rewire our brains.  Like teaching a stroke victim to walk and talk again, it becomes a matter of remapping and rewriting the connections.

Unfortunately, that takes time and work and dedication and way more experience and training than I have.  Thankfully, we’ve been led to an incredible optometrist who specializes in these problems and he has an amazing team of therapists who love kids and are brilliant at what they do.  Unfortunately, we live in a culture that does not recognize visual therapy as a “medical necessity” and thus insurance companies don’t believe in paying for it. Which brings me back down into the pit.  How can we possibly afford the $9,000 it will take to get her treatment? Where is this money going to come from? Do we go further into debt? Do we live like hermits cutting ourselves off from the rest of the world to save money? There’s no downsizing to be done since we’ve never been able to “upsize”.

But back again to facts – Jesus himself tells us not to worry, not to be afraid.  He will provide all our needs like the lilies of the field and the birds of the air.

Psalm 121:1-8
I will lift up my eyes to the hills—From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel Shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper; The Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,Nor the moon by night.
The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul.
The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore.

Maybe the lesson for me here, as it always seems to be, is to simply trust and believe.  But like the distraught father whose child Jesus healed in Mark 9, I find myself constantly crying out “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”

Oh how grateful I am that God is full of mercy…..

no internet for you

It seems like half of my friends have put themselves in a social media timeout lately.  Everyday I log on to Facebook, I see another “fyi, I’m taking a much needed break from social media.”

My first reaction when I see this is “ugh, I run my business online! Now how will they see my amazingness?” 😉

My second reaction, though, is “why do they need a break from social media so much? What about Facebook or Twitter or Instagram is causing so much stress in their lives that they need to shut it down? What am I missing?”

Sometimes I see comments along the lines of “there’s too much drama” or “I’m not spending enough time in the real world.” Which I guess are valid reasons, but there are solutions that don’t involve deleting an entire portion of your life. At least, in my mind.

So for whatever it’s worth, here are my thoughts on the matter.

  1. If I ever post that I am taking a break from social media, or I am deleting my profiles . . . send help. I’ve clearly been kidnapped and am trying to send a message. LOL Seriously, though. The internet can be an introvert’s best friend. I love that I’ve met some of my closest friends online. And yes, that is possible. It is entirely possible to love someone you’ve never met in person. To create an honest, authentic relationship to someone you’ve only spoken to online or on the phone. In fact, I think that some of my online friends know me better than my IRL friends. Truly.
  2. Just like drama in real life, you can walk away from the drama online. There’s a joke comment that you’ll see floating around the internet pretty regularly. “Don’t feed the trolls.” And it’s 100% true in real life and online. Negative people feed on negativity. And, for good or bad, online people often feel that they have the right to say whatever they’re thinking. Whether or not they would say it to someone’s face is irrelevant. But it’s handled the same way online as it is IRL. Walk away. That’s it. That’s all you have to do. Walk away. Or scroll away, as the case may be. Just like IRL you don’t have to attend every argument you’re invited to, the same goes for the internet. Just because someone posts something you don’t like, or you’re offended by, or makes you mad, you don’t have to respond. The recent elections are a perfect example. I have a number of friends whose political beliefs are in direct contrast to mine. That’s okay. We all have the right to our beliefs. Rather than take personal offense every time someone I know said something I disagreed with, I simply walked away. I kept scrolling. In some instances, I stopped following the person so that their posts would temporarily stop showing up in my newsfeed. Because, just like in real life, someone disagreeing with me is not worth cutting them out of my life altogether. And once things finally die down (hopefully in the next couple of weeks), I’ll start following some of them again.
  3. Don’t start drama and you won’t have drama. Period. That’s pretty self-explanatory, I think. Personally, I avoid the same topics online that I would avoid in person. Politics and religious beliefs. Everyone knows that I follow Christ and believe in Him fully. If you’d like to know how I personally do that, check out my blog. I sometimes talk about it here. Or you can ask. I’m not going to post things like “the only way to really worship is to ….” Likewise, I’m not going to talk politics.
  4. It is possible to be active on social media and still be active in the lives of the people around you. At least, I think. Let me private message my kids and ask what they think. Ha! Just kidding. This one is pretty easy, in my opinion. Just like everything else in life, moderation and focus is the key. Give yourself limits. Since my business is mostly online, I’m online a lot. I always have my phone and am pretty accessible. Except when I’m working with my kids, or on a date with my husband, or having coffee with a friend, or playing with my family. Then, my phone goes down. Well, except to take occasional pictures because I’m a stalker paparazzi. According to my 10 year old, anyway. I hope that my family doesn’t feel like I ignore them in favor of the internet. And they all know that they have every right to call me on it if I’m not giving them the attention they deserve or need. Said 10 year old is really good at that.

I’m sure there are other valid reasons to take a social media break. Sometimes, if I’m honest, I wonder if the person who posts “I’m taking a break from Facebook” is really just looking for attention. That’s my cynical nature, I’m sure. But there’s really no judgment, I promise. You do you. But don’t judge me for loving my online life. Deal?

get in focus

I am the queen of failed New Year’s resolutions. Seriously. I’m pretty sure that I’m the inspiration behind the joke that my resolution for the new year is to make no resolutions. 😉  Every year I would make the same resolutions. And every year they would be out the window within a week. It’s not that I don’t have drive or dedication. The problem is that I’m a perfectionist. So the second that I bobbled on perfection of completing my resolution, I was done. Forget it. No need to continue. I was a failure, yet again.

So then I started making “goals”. You know. I will read more and I will study more and I will exercise more. That didn’t work either. Nothing like being totally vague to get the motivation going. Said no one ever.

Finally, a couple of years ago, I came across the idea of a “word for the year.” I honestly have no idea where I heard it or saw it. It turns out that there’s a book and a movement… who knew!? For me, it’s perfect.

One word. Just one word.

The first time or two, I’m sure I was still pretty generic. I must have chosen words like “joy” or “faith”. I surely don’t remember what I chose. But last year, I really prayed about it and focused. I came up with the word “trust”. Trust. Trust God. Trust the process. Trust myself. Trust the people that care about me. Little did I know how many opportunities I would have to practice trusting! Especially when I suddenly found myself immobile for almost 4 months!

So this year, I’ve chosen the word “focus“. get-in-focus

According to dictionary.com, focus means:

1. a central point, as of attraction, attention, or activity:
2. Physics. a point at which rays of light, heat, or other radiation meet after being refracted or reflected.
3.  Optics – the clear and sharply defined condition of an image.

So, what does that look like in a person’s life? Truthfully, I tend to be a little ADD. It’s easy for me to have 3 or 4 different things going on at one time. And then I rarely finish any of them, unless someone else is holding me accountable. So this year, for me, my goal is to be focused on whatever the “task” is in front of me.

I want to focus clearly on Jesus. On what He is showing me, and where He is leading me. I want to focus on our homeschool. Determine what we are doing well, and where we need to grow, and then focus on getting it done. I want to focus on my business. Spend dedicated time strictly to growing and developing my business, my team and myself. And finally, focus on my family. Be present when I am with them. Pay attention to the little things. Listen. Really listen when my kids are talking to me. Not allowing myself to get distracted by my phone, or my book, or my thoughts. (when I can help it.)

And the beauty of having one word, is that it’s vague enough for my perfectionism to not panic, but specific enough that I have something I can really hold on to.

So, I ask you. What’s your “one word”? The one thing that you really feel God calling you to hone in on this year? If you don’t know yet, there’s no deadline. Think about it. Pray about it. The Bible app has a couple of good, short studies designed to help you get your focus (see what I did there!?). And then share with me what your one word it. I’d love to celebrate with you. Maybe we can keep each other accountable? Deal?

Until next time!

T

no regerts

Have you seen the slideshow that shows that tattoos with the mistakes in them? The misspelled words and whatnot? Tattoos that people, presumably, wish they had not gotten?

This time of year I see a lot of wistful posts. People expressing their thoughts about how things had gone over the past year or years. As people start thinking about what they want to do differently in the coming year, they begin considering all the things that have gone wrong in the past, the mistakes they’ve made, the regrets they have…I read one today titled “women’s biggest labor regrets”.

Here’s the thing. I have no regrets. I’d love to say that my life has been filled with sunshine and roses. That the past 41 years have been nothing but unicorns and love and joy and happiness and smiles. But that would be bullcrap.

Life is hard. My life has been hard. Without going in to too much detail here (because frankly there’s not enough time or space) there’s been pain and sadness and struggle and hurt and anger. I’ve made bad choices. I’ve had bad choices forced upon me. I’ve been hurt. I’ve hurt other people.

I’ve also made good choices. And I’ve also had good things happen to me. And every one of those things come together to make me in to the person that I am, good and bad, beautiful and ugly.

I cannot be one without the other. So I cannot regret the bad without appreciating the good. Does that make any sense? If it were not for the bad, I would not be able to appreciate the good. I can choose to be angry for the bad things that have happened, or upset for the bad choices that I have made, or I can move on and embrace them into the person I am now.

Life is too short to focus on the past. No regerts!!

wholly alone

The image that introversion often brings to mind is a lone person. Just one. Alone. With her own thoughts. And it’s true. Being an introvert means that I am generally very comfortable with just myself. I rarely feel the need to surround myself with people (by rarely, I mean never.) I keep my own counsel, often living in my own thoughts. But there are times when even an introvert needs people. When even the most private of beings longs for someone to listen to them, to hear them, to understand and help process their emotions and thoughts and dreams.


I’ve found myself in that position recently. What happens when you find yourself at odds with the one person you usually confer with? When the relationship with that person is the reason for your thoughts and emotions? Where do you go then?

As an INFJ, I really dislike sharing my struggles with other people. Not because I want to hide them. On the contrary, I am pretty transparent. Masks and smoke don’t serve a purpose to me. What keeps me from speaking is the fear that whomever I would be speaking to would feel that I am complaining. That I only focus on the negative and never the positive. But it’s the negative that I struggle to process. To understand. To handle.

It’s during these times that I find myself spending more time in prayer. Sharing those thoughts with the person with whom I know I can say anything and not be shrugged off or sneered at. Scripture tells us time and again to run to God, to “cast our cares upon Him”, to find rest in the shelter of His arms.

So that is where I will find my hope. He is where I will hide my face and ask for comfort. From whom I will seek counsel and encouragement.

I love that we are told that God is holding tightly to our right hand. That He will not allow us to fall. I just long for the day when I will physically feel His grip on mine. When I can physically bury my head in His arm. For now, I simply imagine how comforting that will be.

an abundant life

I love Timehop. It’s an app that pulls from all your social media accounts to give you an “on this day in your history…” It’s fun to see pictures of my babies.
Not as much fun to see pictures of myself sometimes.

Today it reminded me of a field trip I had taken with my kids 3 years ago. As I looked at the pictures, I didn’t really remember what we had done that day or the joy that my kids had found. I remembered how tired I felt. How I put on a decent face for my kids, but in reality all I wanted to do was sit down and rest. And I remember wishing that I liked drinking coffee because maybe if I did I could feel more awake and involved. And I remember feeling like this was just the way things were going to be. Tired. No energy. Always hungry. Living from nap to nap.

Unfortunately, I think a lot of us have subscribed or resigned ourselves to the idea that we will always just feel badly. It’s like we’ve just given up on feeling the way that God really did intend for us to feel.

Strong. Healthy. Invigorated. Joyful.an-abundant-life

And honestly, I thought that. I just assumed that my chronic pain and overweightness and exhaustion and stomach issues and overwhelming emotional swings were just who I was. But the thing is, that is not how God designed us.

 

The Scripture tells us that God has given us life and abundantly.

We can’t live an abundant life if we’re always dragging. If we’re always feeling sorry for ourselves. If we are always telling ourselves that it’s a sacrifice to eat well and to take care of our bodies. But it shouldn’t be that way. Taking care of ourselves should not be a sacrifice; it should be what everyone expects. If you’re telling yourself (and others) that you’re proud of yourself for making good food choices because it’s hard to make good food choices, then something is not right. If you’re telling yourself that it’s hard to be active and present and so you deserve special props for doing those things, something is not right.

Our bodies are designed miraculously by God. Will there be struggles? Yes. We live in a fallen and broken world. But on the whole, we should be living abundant life. We should enjoy eating the things that God created for us for nutrition and sustenance. We shouldn’t be tied down to those things that God did not design for us to ingest. We should be enjoying God’s creation and enjoying being with the people that God has given us. We should not be thinking of that time a struggle or a hardship or a challenge.

At what point do we say, “That’s it. I’m done with the thief. I want to do things God’s way.” For me, it happened two years ago next month. Now, when I look back on those pictures I’m sad that I had allowed myself to believe the lies. I never want to go back to being that mom and that wife and that friend.

Jesus himself said, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (‭‭John‬ ‭10:10‬)

the time is now

I have always been enamored by the biblical story of Esther. If you aren’t familiar with it, here are the cliffnotes:

A young Hebrew girl loses her parents and is raised by her politically active male family member (uncle perhaps?). Meanwhile the reigning queen angers the king and becomes exiled. The king decides to find another wife from within his kingdom, and after some deliberation from him and beauty treatments for her, he settles on young Esther. Enter the evil Haman who works closely with the king. There is no love lost between Haman and Esther’s uncle. As soon as he has the chance, Haman arranges to murder Uncle Mordecai (and all the other Jews because, why not?) Mordecai speaks to his niece and entreats her to go to the king and intercede on behalf of their people. When she hesitates, Mordecai tells her, “If you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

I don’t want to totally give away the story for you. But I do want to ask you this. What is God asking you to do right now? Whose name is God whiscrown-1049927_1920.jpgpering in your ear? What is it that is going on in the world around you that is tugging at your heart strings?

We don’t have to have all the answers. Esther surely didn’t. We don’t even have to know what to do first. We just have to take a step in that direction and begin.

Make no mistake. God’s purpose will be done regardless of what you and I do. But just imagine with me for a moment how amazing it will be to play a part in God’s plan? Perhaps you too have come in to the kingdom for such a time as this.

Sweet friend. Lift up your head.
Take a deep breath. Straighten your crown.
And walk boldly into the life to which God has called you.