I’ve Homeschooled Too! Complain To Me!

I have noticed recently that some of my fellow homeschooling moms will take their tough days to their husbands and sometimes don’t get the support they are looking for.  They might even get a, “Why don’t you just put the kids in school?”  This is so deflating and not what the homeschooling mom needs.

I compare this to trying to explain depression to someone who has never experienced depression and receiving the old, “Have you tried just feeling happier?”  Or someone with a migraine trying to explain why they are taking the day off and getting, “Why don’t you just take a Tylenol?”  Sometimes it takes someone who’s been there to really get where you are coming from (There are some people who are brilliant at getting it no matter what, but I think it’s rare).  I think finding the right kind of support takes someone with similar experiences.

So my latest advice for homeschooling moms is this:  Find a friend who is also homeschooling. Share your crying moments, your difficult days, your “I almost called the school” experiences, your “I don’t know if Johnny is ever going to read” frustrations…When you share with someone who understands, you can decompress and find friendly commiseration.  You don’t get solutions thrown at you because, like you, they know that tomorrow will be the laughing moments, aha days, your “I love reading on the couch with my kids” experiences, and “Johnny is getting an A in science” successes.

I learned early on that when I went to my hubby with my bad days, I would go after I had processed with a friend.  I went to him with a complete story of my dealing with my day.  “Honey, the kids were driving me crazy today.  I couldn’t get them to sit still and just do the work.  I called my friend and we talked it out.  I think tomorrow will be 100 times better.”

I hope this helps.  Happy Homeschooling.

The Ultimate Scare Incident of 1980

Steph History (24)When I was a kid my brother and I made it our main ambition to scare the crud out of each other. We were constantly hiding and popping out. (As a quick aside, I still have to check behind shower curtains if I’m using any bathroom where the shower curtain is closed and not see-through.) When I was 10 I was presented with the ultimate opportunity. This is a thing of beauty.

We were in a restaurant (possibly in Vermont somewhere). As we were seated, both my brother and I had to go off to the restroom at the same time (probably from some long drive we had just finished). When I came back out, I saw that my brother wasn’t at our table yet, which offered me an incredible opportunity. I found a great hiding spot, one of those fake potted trees perfectly situated beside the hallway that led to the bathrooms.

I stood in wait. I was hiding there like a jungle cat ready to pounce. It was going to be my masterpiece. Time started to tick by (probably 5 seconds, but you know at 10, time feels like eternity, especially if you have an awesome scare saved up), but I waited and was rewarded.

The men’s room door opened and I jumped out, BOO!!! There stood a very frightened man. A stranger. I think he was a trucker and I think he was over 6 feet tall. I was mortified. My face was at the height of his belly and suddenly I was filled with terror that I had scared a giant. I stammered a, “Sorry sir, I thought you were my brother” and ran back to my table.

I don’t remember anything after that except my brother cracking up at the table when he heard the story. The guy was probably understanding (especially if he had siblings of his own). I don’t remember a reprimand; I think my mom thought, that me being so terrified, was punishment enough and that it “served me right”.

So this is a cautionary tale to you people who like to pop out. Make sure you have the right target.

Resolution Check In ~ April 2014

I believe in following through with my resolutions if I’m going to take the time to make them.  I made some this year, so this is my first check-in.  I’m not doing too badly.

  • I will complete 2 quilts

I have started the first one and had sewing machine trouble.  I need to get back on it.  I am about 40% done.

  • I will finish my read through the Bible that I started in 2013

I am getting really close.  I have a month left of reading

  • I will exercise at least 5 days a week (unless I’m sick)

This one is a complete fail, but I still want to keep it as a goal.  By next check-in (probably in June) I hope to tell you that I’m on track.  I do walk a couple of days a week, but not up to par yet.

  • I will lose 50 lbs.

I have lost over 25 lbs.  Over half way there!!! (Although my goal is actually higher, my resolution was 50 lbs.)

  • I will post a non “picture blog” at least once a week.  This post is post 695.

I have been posting every week…woo hoo!

  • If I reach 100 followers, I’ll try to figure out some kind of giveaway.

I do have more followers, but I have not reached 100.  I have 10 new Followers this year and am now at 76.

Happy April!  Have you kept any resolutions?

How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie

win friendsI have not done a book review in a long time (even though I’ve read over 20 books already this year). This book I feel warrants the effort.

I know it may sound a bit cheesy, but in fact this is filled with great advice. It’s such a great reminder on behaving nicely.  My favorite part of the book is the first section.  I wish most people would follow its advice, because I feel society would be a much more pleasant experience if we did.

It was first published in 1936 and is still relevant today.  The current Kindle version is an updated one (and currently only $3).  They even have a story about Terrell Owens (the football player who behaves poorly most of the time).  I believe they have recently added another “How to Win Friends” about the same topic, but specific to the “digital age” (but I have not read that one).

After reading this recently, I found myself in a situation where I was tempted to correct someone and I thought of the book.  I asked myself if being right and correcting the person was worth it, and realized I should just mentally let it go.  It was the right choice.  I avoided conflict and my friend is still happy with me.  Our lives were not going to be changed for the better, by me arguing an inconsequential point.

Get it!  Read it!  Let me know if you liked it.

Thin Does Not Guarantee Happy

IMG_0830I am chubby and happy. It took me a while to love myself as is. I started to realize I’m worth that new piece of clothing for my wardrobe now, not later when I weigh XYZ. I let people take pictures of me now without fretting over the chubby, because I know some people love me for my heart, my humor and my friendship (and a picture let’s them relive that love). I’m at peace with who I am, wherever that is physically: chubby, wrinkled, grey hairs and all.

I once read that people diet and lose weight because there is hope that when they reach their goal they will finally be happy. Finally be happy? The truth is, you can lose weight, or move from city to city, or even change jobs, but it all ends the same with you being you. If you can’t be happy now, there is no promise that being at some decided goal that you are going to suddenly find all happiness. My hubby and I like to say, “Wherever you go, there you are.” Running from yourself just doesn’t work.

What if that is why so many diets fail? What if the hope we have while dieting is better than actually achieving our goal, so we subconsciously sabotage our efforts? This constant state of trying and hoping for what is in the future, feels better than just being a thinner version of yourself. What if you find out that your unhappy chubby self is not much different than your unhappy thin self?

I am not saying that eating right is not important. It’s very important. I am in the process of losing weight. Wait! before you call me a hypocrite, I want to say that I am happy now even if my body stayed like this forever. I am not losing weight to add value to who I am, but it’s because I value myself that I’m getting healthy. I didn’t want this journey to be about being happier someday (that has been my way in the past). So now I eat right and exercise, but I also live life at each step of the way and enjoy who I am now.

What if getting healthy could be our real purpose for losing weight (people say it all the time, but how often do they mean it)? What if loving ourselves started with making ourselves better on the inside? So, if like me you are on a weight loss journey (or even just struggling with body issues), I would encourage you to find your happy in different ways along the way. Sing, dance, love and laugh as much as possible. Work on your friendships. Take pictures! Buy a nice new skirt now!

Quit Legalizing My Religion!

One thing that happens over and over again working with teens, is that they often believe that to follow God means their life should suddenly be about following a list of rules. They often wonder if being with God is worth giving up all the “fun” stuff they like to do. I get their quandary.  They often have heard what a “good” christian does and doesn’t do and it feels like a lot of pressure and they don’t know what’s in it for them.

If a random stranger called me at two in the morning and said, “I need your help. Can you come over right now?” I would tell them to call 911 or someone else, then I might hang up on them (depending on how tired I am, I might add a few choice words). If my closest friend called me in the middle of the night and asked the same thing I would try to help as best I could.  We do things for the people we care about because we have a relationship with them.

When I deal with someone who is thinking about following Jesus, I focus on the relationship.  My goal is to help them feel loved by God, and to develop a deep trust and love for God.  I never talk about the dos and don’ts, because the truth is, we all have don’ts in our lives.  I spend time trying to figure out that person’s “style” of connecting with God and encourage them to be doing that thing as much as possible so they can get to know God as you would a best friend.

Even though I do my devotions most mornings, it is not my favorite way of connecting with God.  It’s not my “style”.  I do it because I have a relationship with God, and at some point I felt convicted that this is how he wants me to spend time with Him.  The strongest way for me to connect is by serving teens (so I do that as well). When I spend time teaching a student how to study the Bible, or talking about their life so I can pray for them or some other aspect of youth ministry, I’m feeling a tug in my heart that brings me closer to God.

If I can get the teens to start a relationship with God, then I feel like God becomes that best friend calling in the middle of the night.  He will ask that teen to do or not to do something, and it will be because of the relationship that it might be easy to follow His call. I don’t think it’s ever a good idea to start a relationship with someone by exhorting them; that takes intimacy and that’s what I want their relationship with God to be, intimate.

Hey! Rude People, Turn it Off!

I was recently at one of my favorite restaurants in Napa, The Rutherford Grill. This place is really nice and has amazing food and atmosphere. I was ready to relax and enjoy some good company.

After my group was seated I noticed a group of three young adults at the next table that were all staring into their “smart” phones (maybe they can be called “smart” because they control our time and have sucked our brains right out of our heads). Not one of the young people was speaking to the others. I was sure that this was just one awkward moment in their time together. I was wrong.

A full hour went by and they remained like this. Once in a while, one of them would do a mild guffaw and they would share what was on the screen of their phone, but very little else happened. Even when their food was delivered they remained glued to their electronics. I have to say I was completely APPALLED!

I no longer have babies at home with a babysitter, I don’t have a young teen who is babysitting for the first time, I don’t have an ill person at home that could possibly need me on a moments notice, so I’ve decided that there is absolutely no reason for me to take my phone out in a restaurant. My family knows where I am, if there is a real emergency, they can go the old fashion route and call the restaurant and have me located. I am no longer keeping my phone on when I’m eating out with someone else.

I have caught myself a few times recently feeling tempted to quickly Google some piece of info that is part of the discussion, but realized it wasn’t dire. I know I hate when I’m talking to someone and they pull their phone out to “just check something” and I’m sitting there awkwardly waiting. I don’t want others to feel that way in my presence any more. I want people to know, that if I’m eating with them, they are my priority in that moment.

Today is the beginning of lent. I know a lot of people give up things like Facebook and other such media. I would suggest you take a look at whether you are a smart phone junky or not. Maybe putting some limitations on that thing for 40 days might be a nice change…think about it.