One of the things not part of my challenge that I’ve always wanted to do is to take pictures every day for a month. I don’t know if I’ll make it everyday, but I’m really going to try. By goal is to post something for which I’m thankful each day. Today, we had the most awesome looking storm come through. It didn’t do any damage, I’m not even sure that it did more than sprinkle, but I love seeing the beauty and splendor of the Lord especially in the sky. The first picture is a view of our backyard (and neighbor’s barn- oh, how I love their old barn!) and the next one is from our front yard, where we witnessed the dancing sun through the clouds. It is always uplifting.


May Challenge

After last post’s depression settled in, things got worse. 🙂 Well, they did for me, anyway. Eric is going out of town for a month! He is going to be traveling and installing internet in the homes in Montana, Wyoming, and Washington, which means that yours truly will become a single mom, albeit temporarily, in 32 hours. The feelings of being trapped, the depression I’ve been battling (or allowing to flood over me), the lack of control, the stress of our home life are all going to dramatically change when that timer goes off. So, I’m trying to be proactive. In the past, when Eric left (in his Army days, this was a frequent thing), I would shop myself silly since you get paid well to be separated from your loved ones for a period of time. Even more if that soldier is in a combat zone. Sure, you’re being paid to deal with the extra stress that those situations entail, but nobody ever joined the military without knowing that it was a fighting thing. Anyway, ramble over. Going crazy with a credit card is just not an option this time. And sinking into the mire isn’t either.

What I’m trying to say is that I have a new desire for change. I’m already being thrust into singleness for now, I think it should make me stronger. So, some goals I’m setting for myself for the month of May:

1. Eat Paleo (ish): I have been wanting to go Paleo for a long time now (over 6 months from my first attempt) but the thing is, my self-control is supremely weak. I’ve come up with a way that might bolster my courage and self control for the month of May. One of the problems I have with Paleo is all of those foreign foods. Realistically, I’d be replacing 90-95% of my current diet. That kind of exchange is just going to make me crazy! My plan is to start with a Paleo foundation (meat, vegetable, vegetable, fat- I made that up), but after consuming even a small portion of my prescribed Paleo plan, I’m giving myself the liberty to consume whatever standard fare I’m coming up with for my arrows. I’m hoping to combat the feeling of deprivation you get instantly from telling yourself you “can’t” have something. Because I can have whatever I want. But I don’t want to have whatever I can have. I have to find that inner drive that tells me I’m better than the tootsie roll on the counter or the ice cream in the freezer. I’m hoping this works for a couple of weeks and then I can begin a true Whole30 within a few months, having built up a arsenal of yummy foods.

2. Exercise daily- The most movement I get these days is to walk to the mailbox. I bought P90X last year and successfully used 3 days of the program (Whoopee), but I was so terribly sore that I just couldn’t bear to do another minute. This time around, I’m not planning on doing the full workout, for starters- they are just too long for a newbie. I’m going to schedule 45 minutes into my morning for exercise and get done what I can. I’m also not going to be using weights or resistance bands. I’m pretty sure I can get an effective workout with my own body weight. Maybe after 30 days, I’ll break out the resistance bands I bought just for this program, but probably not- the weights were easier to use.

3. Blog/Journal nightly- I love writing, I love blogging. I don’t think I really have anything super interesting to say, so I doubt I’ll ever get any followers, but eh, that’s okay. I’m doing this for me anyway. I’m going to need to process down from my day anyway. I expect that requiring myself to sit at the computer will be all this takes. I do enjoy writing after all.

4. Clean!- A major stressor in our house is the lack of cleanliness on my part and on the part of the kids. It leads to a lot of frustration and angry voices around here. And, even if I were permanently single, I’d need to get this done. However, without Eric imposing any of his standards on me, I’d like to see if I can make some successful progress in this area. Related specific goals are to do dishes nightly (perhaps right before I blog!), participate in FlyLady’s zone rotation (I’ll just be decluttering/cleaning whatever I can for 15 MINUTES ONLY), and the kids and I will continue to work on establishing our morning and evening routines. They truly are sanity savers…and I’m going to need all the spare sanity that I can get!

5. Homeschool according to the plan- Another big challenge already on my plate is the homeschooling that we are struggling to “get done” every day. I know that it’s not always about just doing the lessons, sometimes there is more organic learning going on, but at my house, creating fictional things in Minecraft is about the extent of our “unschooling” time. I have great goals in this area of my life, but first, I need one last attempt to stay on task. If I can’t make reasonable progress in my homeschool this month (90% success or better) then we need to seriously consider sending the kids to public school next year (and every year after that, because I can’t do this every other year nonsense) This is a high-stakes month for me.

6. Tech-time limits- I think this might become the integral part that allows me to keep the homeschooling ball rolling. I will allow my children 60 minutes of “tech-time” to spend as they choose, so long as they do their schoolwork efficiently and without whining. I won’t spank or yell, I will withdraw 10 minutes of tech-time for each infraction after their first warning. I expect it to be very difficult those first few days. The biggest concern I have is what I’m going to do with Andrew, whose life seems to revolve around Team Umizoomi most mornings. I don’t have enough toddler activities to entertain him without that electronic babysitter. I’m googling preschool activities like crazy. Most of them require too much work.

There are more, I also want to get outside (a necessary thing if I want a vegetable garden to grow), and I want to create something regularly. I’ve got plans to start on my quilt and I’m dreaming of a summer wardrobe. But I’ll save that for another post. I think this month is my last ditch effort to improve my life without the aid of pharmaceuticals. I need to fight this depression, but it just latches on so tightly that cutting it out can be painful at times. It’s not cancer. I keep reminding myself that it could be worse. I could have just lost my daughter to a horrifically speedy growth that couldn’t be cut out. And I remember to play with my children, smile like I mean it, and know that today is the only day I’ve been given. Lord, grant me the strength…


I got online this evening to blog about the new diet that I’m going to try, only to realize that all I’ve ever posted was (insert new diet here) day 1. Ugh. I wish that surprised me, but it doesn’t. I’m a horrible dieter. In fact, the only area of success I’ve ever had was in gaining weight- which is pretty counter-productive at this point. I’m topping the scale higher than I’ve ever been (pregnancy included) and I’ve gotten to the point where my failures greet me every morning in the form of back fat, trouble standing, and low energy. There are so many diets that help you lose weight that it can just be confusing. One low-fat, one high-fat/low-starch. Glycemic-Index, Paleo, Atkins, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, etc. My head is swimming from the blur of dieting and all their insisting that theirs is THE way. I’m so tired of their ways. I’m so stuck in the rut of promising to diet and then not dieting. I’ve made lists and goal sheets, I’ve planned meals and read recipes, I’ve even had my sister clean out my kitchen from all “forbidden foods.”

Many days, I entertain the idea of weight-loss surgery, except that I know it wouldn’t work. I’d get into the office and the doctor would say, “okay, prove you can stick to a diet: lose 10 pounds.” I’ll walk out of that office determined to do the right thing and I will end up losing nothing. What’s the missing link? Am I just trapped in this unhealthy cycle forever, like Sleeping Beauty having already pricked her finger or Snow White after the apple or Rapunzel in her tower- incapable of actually getting out, getting free? Am I waiting (unconscious) for Prince Charming to show up? That my diets have all failed because they weren’t the right prince. It wasn’t true love? I love these fairy tales, I’m not really one of those people who blames fairy tales for all of women’s woes today (quite the reverse, I assure you). Perhaps it is the mystical and mysterious depression that has settled into my body. Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Maybe it’s just my insatiable desire for fast food and sweet stuff.

No matter what the problem, I want to deal with it intelligently and strongly. I want to stand, victorious, at the top of Mount Everest and look back at what I’ve done. Mostly, I just want to feel normal, moderately active, figure “flaws” that can actually be camouflaged by clothing instead of exacerbated by it. I want to feel pretty in a dress and sexy with nothing on at all. And don’t give me that crap about society’s standards being unhealthy. I’m not 120 trying to lose 5 pounds with D-sized breasts and hollow cheeks. I’m 240 pounds with DD sized breasts and a stomach that passed them up. My libido (what libido) [let’s not even go there]. So, what’s going to work? What’s the magic pill that makes this all go away?

Did I mention that I homeschool? That my children are mired in my misery for every waking hour of their lives? Shouldn’t that motivate me? Shouldn’t the desire to stand victorious at the end be motivation enough? Why isn’t it enough? How do I fix this? I keep thinking about it and contemplating it and planning around it. But never doing it. Because doing it is hard. I’ve never done anything hard. Ever. The hardest thing I’ve ever done was finish delivering my (first) daughter naturally after 4 hours of pushing. The doctor was prepping the operating room for my c-section. I knew that was undesirable and somehow the determination and drive came over me. If I thought I had an extra 2 hours, I probably would have quit. As it was, I thought I could deliver her and I did. And though I’ve had three other (natural) deliveries since hers, I can’t really call them hard because I’ve only had to push less than 10 times for all three. Combined. It’s been a miracle, but not my miracle. Maybe it is just the feelings of being overwhelmed. I’m not good when I look at mountains from their base- in any area of my life, I just quit. If that’s the dishes, the laundry, the homeschooling, finances, or diet.

I wish I had a nice, fuzzy, upbeat ending, but I don’t. I’ve got nothing. And I feel helpless. And trapped.

Independence Day

Happy Independence Day!!!

Today, I am thankful to be living in the greatest country on earth. And, though I know it didn’t come about until the War of 1812, and wasn’t even officially our national anthem until 1931, I would like to post our national anthem. All of it.

Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
‘Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!


And now for some history (what is left of history- it seems these days that everything has been revised, taking out all reference to God, honor, nobility of character, so on and so forth). The history of the Star Spangled Banner (both the song and the flag).

What I’ve Missed

The saying always goes that you don’t know what good you have until it’s gone. That’s all too true.

Jordyn starts school tomorrow. Yes, she is starting kindergarten well behind the time that most kids start. The thing is, I’ve been homeschooling her for the past year and a half, but doing a poor job of it. The time has come to put her into “the system” and let her begin to make her way in the world. I have plans to go back to school and I am comfortable with this decision, though it is a huge reversal for me. Now all I have to get through is the fear and regret.

Yes, regret. I have had my daughter for six very precious years. She has been mine to hold and comfort and she has been mine, alone. I was anticipating having her home for a long time to come, teaching her to be a Godly woman, training her to run a household, and guiding her education. That has suddenly changed. What I realized tonight (as I watched George C. Scott’s version of A Christmas Carol) is that I’ve not been taking advantage of the time I had. Suddenly, I think of baking Christmas cookies during the day with regret. My time management with a hole in it where I was scheduled to school my daughter. With making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (herself) as an opportunity that will be missed from now on.

Why didn’t I realize how valuable my time with her was going to be? Perhaps this is the lesson that the Lord is teaching me. That my children are truly an inheritance, not just to watch grow up, but to nurture and to train. To invest time in. I’m not saying that you can’t do that if your children are in school, I intend to do just that. But think of all the hours I’ve wasted in my own selfish pursuits, watching a TV program with my dinner while my children sit at the table, requiring them to play in their rooms instead of reading a book together on the couch, having endless hours of “play quietly in your room” time because Mommy’s too busy for you. What waste!!!

For the longest time I’ve looked to elite gymnasts for their ability to schedule so much time in their day and here I’ve had all day, every day, and I’ve done nothing with it! Perhaps this change is a good one for me, for it will force me to realize what I’ve been missing and it will force me to make better use of the time I’ve squandered. Maybe I can redeem the time yet.

They’re Here!!!

Yeah, those wonderful books all got here today. Amazon even pulled through and delivered the books EARLY!!! So now I am really in deep with the planning work. I’m excited too. Next step is deciding how much of this material I need to take over to Office Max to make copies of. Wishing I had a commercial copier right about now. Sorry about the Facebook-length entry, but I’m busy…

A Schooling Update

I have finally ordered my school supplies!!!

I got everything on my list and then some so we are all set. I don’t even think I will need to buy anything mid-year, with the only possibly exception being the next Spelling Workout book if Jordyn goes quickly enough through this one. The goal is to complete 8 books in 6-7 years, but the easiest book is the first one, so getting a head start is a good thing. I think I have to wait a little bit for her reading level to improve, it is currently her weakest subject.

After reading quite a bit on the Simply Charlotte Mason website, I found a lot of helpful information. See, Charlotte Mason is very similar to classical education in many ways, so they combine nicely together. Despite the fact that a classical education would like me to tie my literature/reading selections to my history timeline, I am thinking that there are a lot of really good books out there that I would much rather read to Jordyn than children’s versions of myth and folklore. Those will eventually be read, when her logic and comprehension levels are much more stable. So here is Jordyn’s first grade reading list (these books will be read TO her, not by her):

The Lion Storyteller Bedtime Book (selections)

Stories From Around the World (selections)

Summer with the Moodys

Autumn with the Moodys

Winter with the Moodys

Spring with the Moodys

Summer Days with the Moodys

Charlotte’s Web

Stuart Little

Mr. Popper’s Penguins

The Trumpet of the Swan

The Complete Collection of Winnie-the-Pooh

Peter Pan and

The Milly-Molly-Mandy Storybook

I will let her select which one she wants to read next, except the seasonal Moody books. We probably won’t make it all the way through this list, but that is okay. I will also (likely) be reading more than one book at a time for variety, maybe not…we’ll see.

I did manage to find some beginning readers that I think I’ll like, also recommendations from the SCM website. They are the Phonics Pathways Readers and they can be purchased through Rainbow Resource Center. I got the first three, which all look to be above her current reading level, which is fine. She is progressing nicely through her reading primer, BUT, lately, she has developed a complete aversion to reading off the page. The only way that we can make it through her reading lesson is for me to write the words on our white board for her to read. Suddenly, all her reading problems go away…it’s like magic!

I am into scheduling out our school year in earnest now, waiting impatiently for my books to come in the mail. I’m starting with history, since I already have the history book. It’s going to be good!!!