That’s It

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I just got back from the doctors.

Everything is fine. No worries there, praise God.

But something still doesn’t feel right.

Despite my best efforts, I still don’t feel myself.

I talked with my best friend today.  She gave me permission to chill.

I needed someone to do it.  My husband gave me permission but I thought he was just being nice 🙂 When my best friend did it, I actually heard what she was saying.

After Baby Grace was born, I was rarely home. I stayed gone for reasons I’ve already extensively written about. I was always on the move. I literally could not sit still. In order for me to be in a good head space, I had to be gone. Now that we’ve moved, it is just the opposite.  I am happiest when I’m still. I am calm and at peace when I am home taking care of husband, children, and hearth. I felt bad about that. I thought I should remain active for my Jazmine’s sake. I asked jazmine if she wanted to go strawberry picking or go to the playground.  Her answer?  “No. I don’t want to go.” So there is no pressure there. She loves the pool and that is really easy and convenient to get to.  As soon as its hot enough, we can certainly get there.

Since we’ve moved and gotten settled, I’ve been trying too hard to “get back.” Get back to my regular exercise.  Get back to being active. Get back to going out with friends. Get back to going on field trips with Jazmine. Getback to my healthy eating. Get bak to life and what I was before Baby Grace was born but with her in tow.  I am still ob the road to “get back” but I am taking a different method.  I am taking a break from that thinking. I am resting through July. No purposeful exercise. No making daily step goals. No diets or dietary restrictions. No filling up the family calendar. No making plans to fill up the day. No ‘I gotta’ phrases because truly, there is rarely anything that absolutely has to get done.  None of it.

The ONLY thing I am going to do is stretch and drink more water.  That’s it.

Let the (true) healing begin.

(Originally penned August 2016)

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Luke 1:36

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I have looked at moms who had children spaced out in age and wondered what it was that made them want to do it again. What was it that made that momma have a baby when she had a seventh grader and third grader already? Now, I fit the bill.  I have a Kindergartener and want a baby. That is an entire six year difference! That means that if I were to conceive today, in six years, I would have a sixth grader and a Kindergartener! Who does that?

Luke 1:36 says this

36 Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren.

This verse comes after the angel Gabriel spoke to Mary to tell her she would conceive and give birth to Jesus. Our Pastor preached from this verse today. He said, God assured Mary that the impossible was possible for her from what He had already did for her cousin Elizabeth. Elizabeth was already sixth months pregnant when Gabriel appeared to Mary.

That stopped me cold. I have heard and seen the testimony of other mothers who conceived after being told they never would.  Who had children, lost several to miscarriages, then gave birth to twins.  Who after being told she would never conceive, adopted and then conceived twins. Who after being diagnosed with PCOS had four children. Who after trying for years to conceive again after her first child without success, had a baby boy 10 years later.

God has already assured me that the impossible is possible for me from what He has done for others around me. I have no choice but to believe God.

(Originally penned 2013) 

In The Midst Of Life

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As I ride down to church with my family this morning, I began to read a devotional.  This morning, I fell into daydreaming and fantasy as a mental escape instead of opening up God’s word first. Once I came too, we were significantly behind in schedule and needed to hustle to leave the house, which is why my quiet time happened in the car this morning.

I read the scripture passage and began to read the devotional part. I must have started, stopped, and reread the same paragraph what felt like 20 times before I was able to finish! I kept being interrupted! Hubby wanted to talk. Jazmine had things to say. It was a tag-team effort 😄.

I would have lashed out. I would have fussed. I would have done something or said something to show my displeasure at their behavior while I was reading. But God! I recognized their need for me. I poured out the patience God pours into me. I listened. I asked questions. When they had exhausted their verbal reserves, I finished that paragraph of my devotional.

I am so glad God sees me, knows me, and keeps me in the midst of life. He will do the same for you.

Not The Mommy I Thought I’d Be

I wish I can remember the exact date when I wrote this. I believe it was sometime winter 2016 or early 2017.  Last year was a hard school year. New baby. New home. New routine. A lot of growth I had to do as a wifommy. This was something I wrote when in the thick of things. 

download-1I am not the mother I want to be. I am not the mother I thought I would be. wifommyhood is harder than I thought it would be. The dishes, the laundry, the education, and that is just the daily grind. Not to mention everything else! I yell more than what is effective.  My patience often comes after the fact.  I still suck at making lunch. And dinner? My husband no longer eats white (bread, rice, flour etc) which makes thrown-together-meals just about non-existent. I am increasingly behind in grocery shopping which seems ridiculous with only having a four person household. By 4 o’clock, I’m done! I’ve had it for the day. I want to do NOTHING! I don’t want to listen to anymore 8yr old thoughts. I don’t want to train a 14 month old on the importance of “listening to Mommy” and “don’t hit sister!” My husband comes home and I try not to be a shell of a woman for him but he has his own needs and I will often see him as someone else who needs something from me. I am thoroughly stumped with my life right now. I’d like to hope that this getaway I have coming up will help but I am not so sure.

Homeschoolers left and right showing accomplishment after accomplishment talking about “the magic of homeschool”. Bah! Can I get some of that? Feels like I’m slouching in at least two subjects with her (Jazmine) while our peers are taking field trips, completing projects and what not.

Next year, I will be the outsourcing Momma. Yes, she will have five subjects taught via tutorial or a co-op. Yes, she will be in “only” two extra curricular activities and not 3 or more. Yes, I will “only” be teaching 3 subjects at home. Yes, I will be looking into house cleaning help sometime this summer. Yes, I will leave the house to come home and expect it to be clean. No, I will not be ashamed. Why? Because I am going to remember this time in my life right now and know why we are doing what we are doing.

Update: I am outsourcing 5 subjects. She “only” has two extracurricular activities. I did have someone clean my house after we moved it. I have learned that others decisions for their household is not a judgement against mine. Amen!

Always Learning

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Me, ready to teach Zumba

God is amazing!

Previously, I had expressed my concerns over my personality. I shared how, for most of my life, I have been chided on my flaws. This past week, oh this past week, God has freed me from a bondage I deemed righteous.

God does not condemn me. He gave me this dust I am an and, as long as I cooperate, will use it for His glory! I don’t need to be all smiles. I don’t need to try to worm myself into meaningful relationships. I don’t have to strive for what once was. God sees me and knows me where I am and loves me where I am. That is so FREEING!

I used to teach an online Zumba class.  It was hard finding a job once I got certified so, teaching online became a way I could express myself and keep building my skill set. Eventually, I landed two substitute instructor positions. I was more than happy to sub for someone. Within seven months of this whole process, I became pregnant with Baby Grace.  I had always seen myself as a fit mom and I decided I was going to be a fit pregnant woman too just like other woman I had seen. Welp, Baby Grace decided differently. Shortly thereafter, and after many cancelled or shortened classes, I stopped my online class and the paying gig I landed because I just couldn’t do it.  I felt like a failure.  Ever since then, I was looking for ways to claw my way back to my previous fitness level.

Once Baby Grace was 11 months, I decided enough was enough. I was going to get back in shape and teach again. I did just that. I began taking classes again, spending time on the elliptical, and putting fitness back into my every day.  I started subbing again and landed a summer long position. All of that came to a grinding halt in July. The gym where I was teaching no longer offered child care. I could not continue working there because it no longer fit my family.  I continued to sub at another location but needed to stop.  My available time to hone my craft (learn new choreography or come up with my own) changed. I did not have the time to devote to Zumba like I used to.  I couldn’t even take the same amount of classes that I used to.

Despite all of this, I felt I had to get back to where I was.  Finally, I submitted to the Lord my thoughts and feelings about this and asked Him what I was to do.  There are times when, once you are headed in a particular direction, we tend to mark out where we are going and expect no changes to that plan.  That is what I did with Zumba.  I expected that once I was an instructor, I would always be an instructor. That wasn’t God’s plan. Just last week, I quite my ZIN membership (Zumba Instructor Network) and, by the time this blog post is published, I will no longer be a licensed Zumba instructor.  I thought I would feel some kind of way but all I feel is relived. That season, regardless of how much I enjoyed it, is over. I trust God to usher me into a new season. I could not go into a new season if I stayed stuck in the former.

When God Chooses to Walk You Through Rather Then Remove the Obstacle

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Need You Now by Plumb

Have you ever asked the Lord to change you? I have. I’ve asked him to remove things that were so innate in me; things that were at the very essence of me but caused problems in my relationships. It was a very hard time.

I have recently had to take another spin on that Merry-go-Round. Yet another aspect of what makes me, me was presented to me as fecal matter on a plate. I went to the Lord, fully submissive, begging him to remove it from me and make me different.  Although I was submissive, I wasn’t necessarily asking to be in His will. I was asking Him to make the difficult easier for me by changing me.  Although I thought the change I was submitting for was God pleasing, it was not.  Yes, I was seeking to me more like Christ. My plea was to be more loving and compassionate because my strong, sinewy love was not desirable. My compassion lined with a plan of action to help solve a presented problem was frowned upon. Because no one else valued what makes me, me, it must be against God’s word right? Wrong.

I thought because trustworthy people, whom I love, told me my personality make-up was poor was equivalent to the Lord saying “XARA! Pay attention to this!” but it wasn’t.  When he said no to changing me, that is when I could hear His words. My personality wasn’t the problem.  He did not make a mistake in assigning me my intricacies. He knew those same intracacies would cause conflict with others.  He has used, and still uses, those conflicts to foster my growth in Him. That is not to say that this particular DNA of dust that I am does not require refining or that it is not subject to God’s design. (For example, when I don’t want to submit to my husband, I still MUST submit to my husband). But it does mean that I am not ill fashioned and do not need to long for a changing in me of things innately me for the ease of life with others. I can and will trust that God will walk me through each conflict my personality may cause. I can and will trust that He will use it for His glory.  I totally submit to His leading. I can and will trust that He will convict me in any sin or offense I make.

This is not an easy road by any means. I have become accustomed to hearing verbal jabs at who I am. That is not to say that it is any less tiresome. They say to walk a mile in someones shoes is a valuable life lesson. This process of asking God to take something away from me and not having him do it (not unlike Paul) caused me to have a more meaningful understanding and genuine empathy for Christians who have homosexual attractions. There is truly a war within our members.

Who Do I Follow?

images-1I like math.  Specifically, I like Algebra. I like its absolutes. I like its formulas. I like its predictability. I know if I follow a particular formula, I will get the correct answer (as long as the formula I am using is the correct one). Once I understood algebra, all of its rules became comforting to me. It was fool-proof.  I couldn’t go wrong as long as I followed the formula.

I tried to apply a formula to God once.  Needless to say, it failed miserably.  I had to learn to really walk by faith and not by formula sight. Praise be to God I have steadily learned how to do that in my married years. However, I still find myself wanting to emulate someone. I would like a pattern to follow.  I would like to see someone who does it well, whom I can follow, and get the same results: a husband who has no complaints and spiritually obedient and successful children.

Because I am prone to attaching myself to something successful and riding it like a rocket, I am often distracted by the success of others. I used to drop everything I was doing, well and poorly alike, and totally change to be just like the newest superstar in my book. That behavior became a serious detriment to my household.

I have since learned to glean. Glean the good that I see emulated and put into practice any truths that person possesses.  I don’t necessarily have to put those truths into practice the same exact way but the kernel of truth that supports their practice is what I am after. For example, I’ve struggled with being consistent with outdoor physical activities with my girls.  The basic truth that I’ve heard over and over is that I need to incorporate my children in my physical activities. When I go for a walk, I use that walk as alone time instead of making my girls go with me. I need to incorporate my girls with me for more things. I need to make more statements about what we are going to do for physical exercise instead of asking and hoping I hear the response I am looking for.

I have learned to glean from others while fully leaning on the Lord.  No one person is going to meet all the areas I’d like to see emulated. No one person gets it all right, even on their best days. The only wifommy in my specific family dynamic is me. I am the right person for the job because God said so. He wouldn’t have put me here otherwise.

So who do I follow? I follow Christ first, and I follow others as they follow Christ. 

I’m Back!

Dear readers,

I have written before on how much I hate coming across abandoned blogs.  I’ve come across a few blogs that I enjoyed only to find out that the most recent post was from two years ago!  I have a better understanding of why this occurs now. Life. Life gets in the way.  The very fodder for the blog is the very reason why carving out time to sit down and type thoughts to screen is muy dificil!

As my life settles down into yet another new rhythm, I am beginning to find the time again. Well, not find, carve.  I have found pockets of time that, instead of playing Candy Crush for a few uninterrupted moments, I can form cohesive thoughts. Even if I don’t finish the post, I can at the very least, have a rough draft.

Along with carving out time, I am getting back to jotting down thoughts and main ideas for blog posts. Once those thoughts string together, I can edit and publish them. Maintaining a blog is a labor of love and I look forward to embracing it yet again.

Thank you for keeping your subscriptions.  It has been an encouragement to me. In the meantime, hop on over to Vine Life Faith and check out what Vanessa is talking about 🙂

The Melancholy Homeschooling Mom

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Myers-Briggs Type Indicator INTJ = Littauer’s Melancholy Choleric

Years ago, I took the Personality Plus test by Florence Littauer. In it, I found a name for my personality. I am a Melancholy Choleric. What is that?  Read below:

They are systematic, precise thinkers and follow procedures in both their business and personal life. They are attentive to detail and push to have things done correctly, according to their own predetermined standards. They are sensitive and conscientious. They normally behave in a diplomatic manner except when it comes to deviating from standards they have accepted. They can then be very forceful in insisting the right way be followed. They are not socially active, preferring work and privacy to people. They tend to have difficulty in relationships because they are not flexible and they can be abrasive when communicating with others. They make decisions slowly because of collecting and analyzing information until they are sure of the best course of action. To be highly motivated they need a structured environment with clear rules and procedures, time to organize, collect information, think and the freedom to develop a plan.

Ouch.

I used to take so much pride in my personality type; not understanding why others weren’t more like me and my way of thinking. Because I analyzed everything and came to the “best” possible conclusions, I found it absurd for anyone to disagree.  I lost, killed actually, many relationships in my younger years because of this. No grace. No love. Not that I didn’t love. I did. I loved hard. My tone? My demeanor? Too hard. Too tough.

Fast forward to the present.  I am a homeschooling mom to two girls.  My 8-year-old has only had me as a teacher. Me. The “attentive to detail and push to have things done correctly, according to their own predetermined standards” me as a mom. (sad emoji)

I am not excluding Baby Grace although I am speaking exclusively of Jazmine.

How in the world can I mom, let alone be a homeschooling mom, with traits like these! “Does not like redundancy”, which is true, but come on! How can you teach a child and avoid redundnacy? “Lack of emotion”, which is true, but again, I am a mom! You can’t not have emotions and be a decent mom! I love my girl. I want only the best for her. I want her to be the best she she can be. I see her potential.  I want to it drawn out of her. I want her to shine. But I don’t know how to do that.  Not well anyway.  I am in the process of learning how though.

I am listening to a book called Teaching From Rest by Sarah Mackenzie. It was recommended to me by a mother of five.  I figured if this book helped her and she has smart kids, this should be able to help me. It’s helped me alright but not in the way I thought.

In chapter 20, Sarah speaks of her strengths and weaknesses.  We are so different.  It is hard for me to find familiarity when I already feel that someone is “better” in the ways I think you need to be in order to get smart kids from a homeschooled environment. Don’t get me wrong.  This book is FILLED with gems of wisdom that I have already begun to apply and I have several suggestions to be implemented when our official school year begins in September. However, it is at times hard to hear. I do not doubt her having the purist intentions, but I receive it as just another jab at what I’m not good at.

Until today.

Something struck me today.  As I was jotting down other things to implement (slow down math, group remaining math lessons accordingly, pick and choose pages in workbooks to complete), I realized a good hunk of my problem is that I am a slave to worksheets.

I like worksheets.  They are quantifiable work that I can show to a reviewer to prove I do educate my child. They are a defined body of work. There is no guess-work with worksheets.  You do what it says. (This may have something to do with liking “clear rules and procedures”)

I like them! But I am also a melancholy choleric which means worksheets are a task to be completed. Finished. Checked as done. Having things left unfinished is unnerving for me.

Before I fell deeper into the ‘I’m not good enough, what is wrong with me, I can’t possibly be the best teacher for my child, I’ve ruined her for life’ destructive thought process that has gotten more plays in my mind then you would think possible, I went to Jesus.

I admitted that I am a slave to worksheets, tasks, schedules, and my own standards.  I am easily swayed when a person I admire mentions something they do that is successful in their family. So swayed am I that I get home and talk about how we are going to start doing the same thing. I am ALWAYS comparing what Jazmine is demonstrating that she’s learned to what her peers are showing that they’ve learned to see how our homeschooling measures up. Am I not doing enough? Am I doing too much? Am I doing the right thing?  That is a very tiring existence.

As I’ve said, I have gotten better. MUCH MUCH better but I have not arrived at a place where my melancholy choleric does not show up in a way that I don’t think is beneficial for our home education. So, like I said, I went to Jesus.  He knows my personality type. He gave it to me.  He told me to homeschool. So He can tell me how to use what He gave me to do what He called me to do.

I have no fear. God will show me how to be the best melancholy choleric homeschooling Mom I can be for my Jazmine.  He will remove the shackles tethering me to all-things-quantifiable (worksheets). He will show me how to make substitutions and be comfortable with it. He will guide me in my authority as Mother and not a slave to whatever resource material (curriculum) we’ve chosen. He will show me how to live life without school hanging over my head like Joe Btfsplk in Li’l Abner.

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Joe Btfsplk

I need to be free.  I am seeking Jesus for my freedom.

I will keep you posted on our progress.

My Husbands Words Hurt

imagesHe said I always push him away.

That. Those five words have caused marriages to crumble. That small phrase is a seed that, when full-grown, causes a chasm in a marriage. When he said those words to me, it was as if I had been doused with ice-cold water.

To me, that phrase was a warning light.  Not a yellow light but a flashing red light. “Fix this now!”, it screamed.  I prayed and I cried.

I asked God not to let me be that person.  The person who wants all the affection and love my husband has to offer me but refuses touches and stolen moments when those touches and moments stop me from the task I am in the middle of. The person who is always ready to fulfill my wifely duties but bats away all other affectionate offerings. I did not know that my husband received that as refusals.  Until then, I did not classify my actions as refusals.  To me, he was trying to get me to slow down and hinder me from completing my task to which, his linear minded wife, would get intensely upset about.  I didn’t know that he received my look of ‘dude, why are you slowing me down?! You see I’m in the middle of something!’ as refusal of his affections.

How could I have been so dumb!

I had already been praying and asking God to help me with Jazmine.  She is so in need of physical touch. A hug, a tickle, a kiss, rest my head on hers, hand hold, all of that numerous times a day.  That is not my love language but it is hers and I struggled with filling her cup everyday. After hearing my husbands words on top of what I was already aware of with Jazmine, I wilted.

Something had to change.  I had to change but I was at a loss on how.  How to change into something that was so innately foreign to me and how to sustain it.  My strength would fail at the second perceived interruption to my task and the third time I heard, “Mommy you never kiss me!”, when I know I kissed that girl at least twice in the past hour. I needed God to do something permanent in me. I didn’t want to lose my family.  I didn’t want seeds of infidelity to begin to grow in my husband because he was looking for his affections to be reciprocated. I didn’t want my daughter to have to look past me for a mother figure who filled her need for physical touch. I knew what I didn’t want but I didn’t know how to prevent it from happening.

God speaks. God speaks, but I will tell you, rarely is it when I am unmoving. I was putting something away in my daughters’ room when God answered my specific prayer about responding to those cries of affection from my family.  It is hard to pen what He said but the gist of it was ‘to remember this is important too’.  When my husband or daughter seek me for affection, I need to remember that this meaning them and their need, is important too.  Their need takes precedent over my current task.  Their need is just as important as what I am trying to do for the house.  Their need does mean that I stop what I am doing to give them that touch, smile, hug, or moment they need to continue their day. Their need does not make my task unimportant, but, the task can wait a few moments. Fullfilling their need does not take any significant amount to time but it is of great significance to them.

I needed God to give me this mental shift. I could not have decided on and executed it lovingly with any type of sustainability without Him.