Friday, August 4, 2017

I Am The Prince Caspian of Homeschool Moms

Welcome, Prince," said Aslan. "Do you feel yourself sufficient to take up the Kingship of Narnia?" 
"I- I don't think so, Sir," said Caspian. "I'm only a kid." 
"Good," said Aslan. "If you had felt yourself sufficient, it would have been a proof that you were not." ~Prince Caspian, The Chronicles of Narnia

This is me and all my feelings at the beginning of every homeschool year. C.S.Lewis is INSIDE MY BRAIN. Again. He does that a lot. 

 I feel like I should clear the air a little. I am not some especially blessed, insanely patient Christian freak Mom who possesses some untold Mystery of The Universe that bestows upon me some magical qualifications that "enable" me to  homeschool. I mean, I wish there were some magical beans I could consume that would equip me to be some kind of SuperHomeschoolMom but thats just not realistic. Waaaaait- I just described coffee. So scratch that. 

Starting over: Just because we've decided to homeschool doesn't mean I somehow have it all together or that I've got the patience of Job or that I'm somehow superiorly qualified to teach my kids. I do have a degree in education, but let's be real: I haven't referenced a single portfolio case study or childhood psychology textbook or classroom management technique from any of my college classes in my homeschool career so far. Whew. Those binders are still tucked into my attic melting their lives away through every Florida summer. I've you've read any of my previous posts, you'll totally get my current humble state. I'm just a wife and a mom. I'm the most unremarkable woman you'd ever meet. (Secret: I WEAR SHOES THAT ARE ALMOST 15 YEARS OLD and I love them so much. Birkenstock Bostons- you will forever have my unwavering affection.) I use dry shampoo more than I'll ever admit. SO DON'T ASK. 

And while I am painfully ordinary, my Savior isn't. So what it does mean is that, despite the fact that home educating is long and hard and loud and draining and messy and overstimulating and early mornings and late nights and cry sessions behind a locked bathroom door and more coffee than any one human should ever consume- God has used it to make me better. It has broken me down and reshaped me in the best way life ever possibly could. I have had to stop and throw away the broken pieces of my pride and selfishness and inflated ego so often through this homeschooling journey and He has used those moments to refine me. 

Another year will start on Monday and I've been waking up in a panic with a mental To Do List scrolling through my brain at 4:45 every morning this week. There is so much to do. To plan. TO CLEAN. Every year I feel the same feeling: I don't think I can do it. AND I KNOW I CAN NOT DO IT- not without His sustaining care.

 I read Psalm 55 this morning and verse 8 is just my favorite: "Cast your burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain you..." Bless it, y'all- I need that verse so much in my life right now. I just love that promise. Sustainment. From Him! A continuous filling for the next 10 months is ready and waiting for me to ask for it. And I will. And I already did, actually! Wednesday night I made that long walk up the center aisle and asked our local church family to pray for me as we enter this new school year. I'm not sufficient enough to do this homeschooling thing, but I'm fortunate enough to know Someone who is. 

Here's to everyone beginning a new school year soon- He can help us do it! 

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

A Pep Talk For Myself

Sweet merciful heavens, y'all- I AM SO TIRED. 

This morning's current situation is brought to you by a nightmare, one set of leg cramps and TWO nosebleeds. I JUST WANNA CRAWL BACK IN MY BED.

We've got a slammed day (and all week, really) of end-of-the-summer stuff to do and when my alarm went off at 5:01am I SO MUCH wanted to throw my phone in the commode and go back to bed. But I didn't- I rolled outta bed, turned on the washer and dryer, poured a cup of coffee and curled up in my chair with my favorite ugly sweater to study The Word and talk about all my feelings with Him while the world was still dark and quiet. I'll post this, then I'll fix Matt's lunch and breakfast, then I'll head into my dining room to dig further into planning our school year. I'm busy and it's not even 6:00am. 

My point is this: would an extra 45 minutes of sleep this morning been awesome? YESSSS. But will I feel better after having spent time at His feet and preparing myself to serve my family today instead? ABSOLUTELY. It's so worth it. (I tell myself this as I smear Sunday's mascara all over my face on a Tuesday morning as I rub my tired eyes. Don't judge- I'm working on implementing a better skin care routine. BABY STEPS, Ok?)  

We can do it, Mommas! WE CAN DO THE HARD THINGS. The payoff will be worth the extra cups of coffee we'll need to combat the combination nights of interrupted sleep and early mornings. WE REALLY CAN!! So get up, get in The Word with some coffee and get ready to conquer today for Him! What hard things are you currently conquering? Can I pray for you about them? 

 ::pep talk completed:: 

Thanks for stopping by! ~Katie. 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Turning Over A New Leaf. (Pun intended.)

Ok, BUT FOR REAL- there are absolutely zero oak shoots/renegade liriope/dollar weed to be found in my front yard's flowerbeds, y'all. That hasn't happened since the summer before Luke was born. (Yikes. I KNOW.) 

Having all the babies and subsequent toddlers and then inquisitive preschoolers (and a truckload of neglect, let's be honest) has kept me out of my flowerbeds for over six years. Have you ever tried to weed things while your youngest kid cries in his exersaucer, your middle toddles just well enough to smash her face on the sidewalk every 7 seconds and scream like she's lost a limb and your oldest tries to cut his fingers off with the pruning sheers?? Mercy sakes alive. IT WAS NOT HAPPENING.

 But now that I can trust all the kids not to eat fertilizer or impale themselves with garden spades or wander into the street- I'M BACK, BABY. I started clearing out some of my front flowerbeds a few weeks ago and I haven't been able to stop. My Mom came last weekend and we were able to get into even more of my poor, neglected beds (and get soaked to the bone during a morning working through 1" of rain BECAUSE WE ARE STUBBORN LIKE THAT) and once this week got underway I've powered through the last two areas I needed to clean out by myself. (With more of the three kid's "help" OF COURSE.)

We've discovered a garden snake's nest complete with 8 unhatched eggs that we can't wait to watch hatch, pulled up enough dollar weed to fill up 614 trash cans, disturbed approximately 17,482 earthworms and spiders, accidentally chopped one other poor garden snake in half, pulled our fingernails back opening 21 bags of mulch (It never goes as far as you'd think it should. 2 cubic feet is tiny!) and ripped out the knee of my very favorite pair of old jeans. I'm currently Pinteresting DIY patches. 

I haven't worked outside this much in YEARS. (Don't judge.) My Mom loves her yard and toils endlessly in her beds to keep them looking like the cover of a Southern Living magazine.FOR REAL. They are beautiful and amazing and so perfect people drive out to my parent's house to have their pictures taken around them. She puts me to shame. I'm not there by a long shot, but I will say it feels good to look outside and see the results of my hard work.

 I love you, sweet Summer Time! 

Friday, June 2, 2017

::throws her hands in the air::

When my oldest was a toddler, all his dresser drawers were labeled. He had separate places for socks and shorts and shirts and pants and jammies. I PRINTED PICTURES OF THE ITEMS AND TAPED THEM TO HIS DRAWER FRONTS. Putting laundry away was like an episode of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood. I may have sung songs about it. It was insane. I was insane. It was my OCD/Type A Mother's dream. 

Fast forward six years and two more kids later and I've thrown up my hands on it all. As long as the clean clothes are in the dresser, the drawers can still relatively shut and the dirties (AND ONLY THE DIRTIES. Washing a shirt that's still folded makes me want to call down fire from heaven.) end up in the hamper, I'm like LIVE AND LET LIVE. Hakuna matata, perfectly folded pajamas. I'm just trying to keep everyone alive until bedtime. INCLUDING MYSELF. 

"Oh, you need clean undies?? You better get to diggin'. Check the back of your bottom drawer 'cause I'm pretty sure you've shoved a pair back there at some point. God gives us all trials and refining fires. THAT is your needle and THAT is your haystack. May the odds be ever in your favor and may God guide you on your journey." 

One day, they might care more about specific drawers for specific items but TODAY IS NOT THAT DAY. Until then, I'll just drink more coffee to suppress the panicky feelings I get when I see the amalgamations they call their dresser drawers. I'm currently only up to 7 cups a day. Bless it. 

Thanks for stopping by, y'all! ~Katie 

Sunday, May 28, 2017

It's Not A "Plan", It's A Habit.

I finished another Chronological Reading Plan this morning. Allegedly you can read through the entire Bible in a year, BUT I HAVE NEVER MADE THAT WINDOW. 

It usually takes me 14-16 months (Okay. One time 18!) to get through cover to cover, but that's because LIFE HAPPENS. You have a baby or your kids get sick or you get sick and you won't always have 30 minutes to sit down and study every morning. (Or night- if you're a night owl, bless your heart.) 

Once I got passed that mental block of "I have to check off this tiny box of specific chapters everyday to stay on schedule" I began seeing it as an opportunity to grow a habit instead of meeting a goal. 

My hope is that by posting this I can encourage just one person to get rid of the "schedule pressure" and simply use a printout as a tool to help build within them the habit of daily Bible study. 

If you're hesitant about the insurmountable idea of reading through the Bible (YOU CAN DO IT!), or finding time to read your Bible every day (I PROMISE IT DOESN'T TAKE LONG!)- let me know and I would love to be able to encourage you! (I was a cheerleader in the 8th grade, by the way so that basically qualifies me as a professional, you know.) 

Thanks for stopping by! ~ Katie

Friday, May 5, 2017

A List for This Mother's Day

Mercy sakes alive. It's Friday afternoon and we've survived another week so GO US. 

It's been a good week, but a long one all the same because HOW MANY MORE WEEKS OF SCHOOL DO WE HAVE?? In an effort to preserve a smidgelet of what my life is like in this current season we're in, I'm compiling (an incomplete!) list of things I've had to ground the kids from or take away from them recently. It is below. 

board games
church pew pencils
garden spades
leather furniture
water hoses
outfit changes 
construction paper
teeth flosser picks
drinking straws
forts of any kind
piggy banks 
night lights 
Rhino, our hamster
salt and pepper shakers
light switch priveledges
hair elastics
crayon peeling priveledges 
song books 

That should cover through about Thursday of this week. Parenting is fun, and kids are an amazing blessing, but it is mind numbing and a refining fire at the same time. So to all the Moms out there who can compile a list similar to mine- Happy Mother's Day, friend! You're doing a fantastic job and your kids are amazing and YOU are amazing. 

I'm so proud of you!! Lots of hugs and lots of coffee, ~Katie 

Monday, May 1, 2017

An a-MAY-zingly Fresh Start

Can you feel it? 

The blank slate of another new week AND another new month is upon us. Bless it. 

I love Monday's because I feel like it's a fresh and unspoiled package of days that are waiting for me. Because I'm a huge nerd, I love to flip the pages of my planner over early on Monday mornings and survey the week's activities. We have baseball games and Story Time and co-op and play dates and errands and Bible Classes. My meals are jotted down and I've got a (lofty) cleaning list laid out. Like I said, I KNOW I AM A NERD. 

Our weeks fill up surprisingly quickly and by Thursday's I'm usually feeling run down and depleted. I've gotten behind in more than one way and I've lost my temper and probably the mates to at least three pairs of shoes. (HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN SO EASILY?? They're shoes!) However, on Monday's- everything is fresh. I really enjoy that early morning, quiet house, third cup of coffee kinda feeling I get around 6:30 when I can look over my planner, make lists of things and pray over things. And that's exactly what I just did. 

I'm nearing the end of my chronological Bible study and I'm knee deep in a bunch of Paul's  letters. (Romans always gives me brain cramps. It is so much good stuff BUT IT IS SO MUCH GOOD STUFF. Bless it, y'all.) I'm currently in Colossians and a few of his admonitions stood out to me this morning as I read them with my "fresh week, fresh month" attitude. 

"Whatever you do, do your work heartily (from the soul), as for the Lord rather than for men; knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. IT IS THE LORD CHRIST THAT YOU SERVE." -Paul, Colossians 2:23-24, emphasis mine

That encouraged me with ALL the encouragement, y'all. All my little lists and notes and activities I'm planning- I'm doing it all FOR HIM. I'm going to iron my husband's work clothes and purge closets and wash shower curtains this week. FOR HIM. I'm going to teach Phonics and handwriting and addition with regrouping. FOR HIM. I'm going to take us to the library and grocery store and church and maybe even the beach and the whole time, every day, every hour- I'm going to be serving Him. 

So when I want to lose my temper and freak out over the dog hair in my carpet and the kinetic sand under my dining room table and the congealed oatmeal on the kitchen counter and the fourth skirmish over a plastic light up pirate sword, I'll be able to stop, exhale and remember that this is not only a fresh start to a new week, I've been given a fresh start to a whole new MONTH. And I can work to let Him guide me and hold me and strengthen my resolve to make May the best month of 2017 we've had so far. And I believe it will be. I really do! 

And I hope y'all have an amazing week, as well. Here's to a fresh start of a new month of more Bible studies and prayer times and peacefulness and coffee. 

And thanks for stopping by! ~Katie.