#ONEWORD2016

Amazing what can happen when I choose to spend time in my art studio! Made this one this morning at, you guessed it, 5am.
Amazing what can happen when I choose to spend time in my art studio! Made this one this morning at, you guessed it, 5am.

I’m sure you’ve heard about #oneword by now, right? It’s been around for a while. The gist is you choose one word at the beginning of the year and use that word to improve yourself throughout the course of that year. I’ve attempted it in the past. Multiple times. I came up with a word, wrote it somewhere, and then hoped for the best. If I remember correctly, past words of mine were Simplicity, Enough, and I think even Change. Except that I haven’t.

Changed, that is.

I keep repeating the same years, over and over and over again. I mean, sure, some things change. The kids keep getting bigger, after all. But this rut that I’ve gotten into has just not gone away. It’s exhausting being this stuck and constantly spinning my wheels but getting nowhere. But, I had an epiphany.

I haven’t changed because I haven’t done anything differently. 

I know, right? It’s like, whoa, that’s some deep stuff! Seriously, though, I have been waiting for changes to happen instead of actually doing the things that need to get done to see some changes. (Duh.)

I know it sounds ridiculous, just waiting for change. In fact, I KNOW it’s ridiculous. I’ve been living it, for crying out loud! But I think many (most?) of us are waiting for the next thing before we decide we’ll make a change. The next season. The next event. The next house. The next job. The next {fill in the blank}.

But change ain’t gonna happen if we just sit back and wait for it. Trust me, I know. My years keep ticking by… If you want something different for yourself, you have to DO something to get there. You want to have better health? Reading all the health blogs in the world won’t get you there. You have to DO something, like eat better and exercise. You want to get out of debt? Reading all of Dave Ramsey’s books, while inspiring, won’t make it happen unless you DO what he tells you to do in those books. You want a cleaner house? Buying all the fancy supplies and setting up schedules won’t work unless you DO the things it says to do on those scheduled days.

You want a better life for yourself? You have to DO something for it. (Amazing concept, isn’t it?)

In order to DO something, you have to know your options. You have to know what it is that will get you where you want to be. And then you have to decide to do it. This is the trickiest part for me. See, I’m awesome at researching options. I can research the heck out of things, and then overthink them, and then get overwhelmed, and then freeze. A dear, smart friend calls this “analysis paralysis”, and I totally have that. To. A. Tee. So, how do I change?

I have to make a choice.

A-ha! And there is it. That’s my word of 2016. Choice.

I have been a perpetual decision-deferrer. (Is that a thing?) I have no opinion about anything, or so it would seem, and I constantly avoid decision-making. I’m not sure if over the years I thought it would be better, maybe more peaceful, to just let the other person decide? You know, so they’re happy? I dunno. But I’ve gotten worse and worse at making choices. (Unfortunately, that’s rubbing off on my kids which is annoying the heck out of me, so we must remedy this problem post-haste.) On the other end of the spectrum, because I’m a researchaholic, I tend to give myself way too many options when needing to make a choice, and then I can’t decide what to do or how to start so I just don’t. I do nothing. Add a lack of DO-ing to the lack of decision-making and it’s a recipe for perpetual sameness, folks.

I read an article (researching again, surprise!) about strong women and things they do and don’t do. (I’d post a link but I can’t remember where I saw it…. sorry about that.) One of the items in the article that stuck out to me is they do not apologize for making decisions. They make decisions and stick with them because they know what’s best for themselves. They don’t doubt themselves. They don’t question themselves or their actions. Decisions are a sign of strength and are powerful.

Choice: The opportunity or power to make a decision.

So, that’s where I’m going to start this year. I’m going to consciously make choices about what I do each day. I can choose to be lazy (default setting) or be active. I can choose to be the same day in and day out or to change. I can choose to DO or not. Either way, it’s a choice. My “choosing” perspective has already helped! I chose to get up at 5am this morning, for example, because I know I have better days when I take time for myself first. I chose to clean the house today instead of letting it go just “one more day” because it really needed to get done. I chose to start meal planning again because I know that’s the only way we will eat better as a family. Could I chose to sleep in and then be cranky and unproductive? Of course! Could I choose to continue to live in a less-than-kept house and cringe when others visit? Sure. Could I choose to just wing it with our food and struggle daily with what to eat? Yep.

Could I choose to stay the same, repeat another year, and end up in the same place yet again? Yes.

But I don’t want to.

Choice. One small word. One world of difference.

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Why we are choosing to homeschool

A recent entry in my art journal. This quote hit home, but I cannot remember where I originally read it.
A recent entry in my art journal.

Today is the big day! It’s the first day of school for the kids in our area! There will be a collective shout of joy from many moms and maybe a few misty eyes from others. But all in all, starting today, the kids will be busy at school.

Well, except for mine.

By far, the biggest question we get asked when we tell people we’ll be homeschooling this fall is “Why?”, followed by looks of pity that scream why in the world would you want to do that?!?! (Just kidding. Sort of.) And no, there were no issues at school. No bullies, and her grades were great. It has nothing to do with the enrichment program dissolving or the high school closing, although that did build our confidence that this is the right choice for us. And no, we’re not doing it to “stick it to the system”. (Vive la révolution!) We’re not doing it because we think we’re better or because we think we’re smarter. We don’t think your kids will suffer and ours will excel. The short answer is we’re doing it because we believe this path is currently the right one for our family.

I’m the first to admit that this seems to be an odd path for us, mainly because we moved into this area a number of years ago specifically for the schools. (Go figure.) I mean, just about a year and a half ago, I was counting down until Pumpkin would be starting kindergarten full-time. So, what gives? Why in the world have we decided to start this new adventure and take on not only raising (which is exhausting enough), but educating our kids as well?

(I almost did not publish this post. I can’t write it without sounding like my choice is best, because for our family, it is. But by writing about why I believe our choice is best for us and our circumstances, it’s going to be read that any other choices are less than the best. That is not at all what I’m trying to say. I’m not trying to tell you that homeschooling is the best for your kids, because it may not be. Remember, this post is not about you and your kids, it’s about me and mine. Ok?) 

Family Time

While this list isn’t really in any sort of order, family time is by far the most important reason we are choosing to homeschool. Hubby’s schedule is such that, during the school year, he rarely sees the kids. He sees them briefly before the bus takes them away, but he gets home after bedtime. He works all day every Saturday and most holidays. Typically, Sunday is the only day we get to spend as a family, and usually that day gets used up with chores around the house or other outside family parties or gatherings. So, our family time is virtually none during the school year, and that is not ok.

By homeschooling, Hubby will get to see the kids much more often since he leaves for work in the afternoon. He will get to be involved in their lives with what they are learning and doing. He will be teaching them right along with me, every step of the way. We will get to have “family meals” most days instead of just on Sundays. Basically, we will get more quality time together, and that’s huge for us.

Learning about our kids, with our kids

I’ve often said that the little girl that got on the bus in kindergarten is not the same girl that got off the bus last year, and I don’t just mean because she has been growing up. She has changed and forgotten who she used to be. For the past 4 years, she has spent a lot of her waking time at school, changing a little each day and being molded by the school system. I want to get to know her again. I want to know what makes her tick, how she learns best, what inspires her. I want to get to her core and have her learn what it means to be herself – her true self – and not what others expect or want her to be. Fortunately, Pumpkin hasn’t un-learned who she truly is yet, and hopefully we can keep her that way.

Finding their talents and passions, and cultivating them

I believe everyone has a gift, or even multiple gifts. I also believe school can squash those gifts by directing kids to be “successful” instead of “happy”. Do I want my kids to be successful in life? Absolutely! But our idea of successful and society’s idea of successful may be two very different things. I want my kids to recognize their gifts and have the time and opportunity to let those gifts grow and flourish. I want to see my kids’ eyes light up when they figure something out or when they find what brings them joy. Can they find their gifts at school? Maybe. But right now, I’m not willing to chance it. Above all, I want my kids to be kids and not little grown-ups. My kid doesn’t need to be college ready at age 9, thank you very much. I truly believe childhood keeps getting taken away from our kids, and this is one way I can slow it down a bit.

Incorporating faith

We are a Christian home. Our faith is important, and it’s becoming increasingly more important as the years go by. I want my kids to have a strong faith. I want them to know God. I want them to learn what Christian living is supposed to be through serving others and volunteering and through their own personal quiet times with God. I know Christian values are not taught in school and can even be frowned upon. Political correctness and this whole “easily offended society” we live in makes me crazy. Am I going to brainwash my kids? No. Am I going to teach about other faiths and beliefs and diversity? Of course. Am I going to let my children choose their own path as they grow older? Absolutely. But my job right now is to be sure that I’m bringing my kids up well, and the best way I know to do that is by incorporating our faith into everyday life.

Life lessons, not just random facts

How much do you remember about what you learned in school? If you’re like me, I’m going to say not a whole lot. Sure you remember social engagements, sporting events, teachers….. but I’m sure there’s not a whole lot of the “learned” stuff left in there. Why? Because lots (and lots and lots) of what we learned we do not use. Ever. Nowadays, it’s even worse because the kids are learning what they need to know to pass tests and not learning because the lessons are important in life. Do I have stats to back that up? Nope, this is all purely my opinion and speculation, as well as my own past experiences in school. Could I take the time to research all the stats and such and report it here for you? I guess if I really wanted to I could. But I don’t. I have too much life to live.

I want my kids to know how to be independent adults when the time comes. I want them to know how to grocery shop, how to cook, how to clean, how to change the oil in their cars. I want them to know how to find answers to questions and work through problems. I want them to know how to be responsible for themselves. I want them to know that it’s important to take care of the bodies they were given by eating healthy and being active. I want them to be good stewards of their belongings and realize that money does not equal happiness. I want them to know how to take care of their finances and budget and stay out of debt. I want them to know what it means to be generous – with their money, with their time, and with their gifts.

You know, all the stuff they *don’t* teach in school.

Does that mean my kids won’t learn about explorers and science and history and math…? Of course not. But my kids will learn a little differently than yours, at a different pace than yours, and in a different time frame than yours. Is one way right and one way wrong? Nope. Just different.

And different is good.

Nurture a love of learning, not a love of “good grades”

This one hits home for me because I was good at school. I had the good grades and the competitive nature to want to be one of the best in academics. So, I learned at school how to take tests and to anticipate the areas I would need to focus on to get the grades. After the test, the information was gone. I rarely retained anything after midterms. I didn’t learn because I wanted the knowledge. I just did what I needed to do to get the grades. I lost my love of learning in the competitiveness of academic success.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I think healthy competition is good. I just don’t believe that learning to get the good grade is as effective as learning because you want to know more. I want my kids to be passionate about learning and to realize that learning isn’t just confined to within the walls of a school.

Flexibility

You know what I’d love to do someday? Travel. Once of my dreams is to travel the world with my family. You know what doesn’t work with that? Rigid schedules. With my kids getting older, it’s harder and harder to pull them out of school for something “fun”. Vacations need to planned around school breaks, when the rest of the world takes vacations and prices skyrocket. Spur of the moment opportunities need to be rejected because there’s a big test that week or there will be too much homework to make up.

You know what? It’s our life. I want us to be able to enjoy it while the kids are young and want to hang out with us. If we decide we want to go camping on a Sunday-Tuesday (because that is what would work best with Hubby’s schedule), then I want to be able to do it without having to worry about too many days missed at school. If the weather is gorgeous and it’s a perfect day for the zoo, I want to just go to the zoo without having to call the school and make up a story about why my kid won’t be there (or risk the dreaded “unexcused absence”, since quality family time doesn’t count as an excusable reason). When my sister comes to town to visit, I don’t want the kids missing out on quality time with her because of school schedules. Peanut is getting old enough to go hunting with Hubby. I want her to be able to go a few mornings with him – even on school days – to experience one of his favorite things with him.

I want to let me kids sleep in after a rough night of storms instead of dragging them out of bed before they’re ready. I want to be able to finish that movie with them even though it’s getting late on a school night. I want them to be able to enjoy breakfast instead of rushing through it to make it to the bus. (And for those of you that are thinking “well, they have to get ready for work in the morning someday so you’re doing them a disservice”….. Remember college? How early did you get up then? Exactly.)

Will we travel or camp during the week? I don’t know. But if the opportunities arise, I want to be able to just pick up and go without having to clear it with an outside entity.

Expanding horizons

I loved learning about mythology when I was younger, and Greek mythology was my favorite. You know what we didn’t spend much time on in school? Yep, Greek mythology. I mean, we did spend some time over the years, but I would have loved to go so much deeper into it. I even took a class or two in college, when I could fit it in my schedule.

Is Greek mythology something important in life? Not necessarily. But it was an interest. Who knows where it would have taken me. It may have opened up other opportunities through museums, travel, in the art world, literature…. But I’ll never know because in school you have only a limited amount of time to get through each topic. And in school, kids don’t have the same interests in the same topics. It’s basically a one-size-fits-all system. And yes, they can always explore the topics on their own outside of school, but with all the homework eating away their precious minutes, when would they find the time?

But what if you could have studied deeper into that one thing that interested you to see where it took you? (Some of you may have and are working your dream jobs – kudos to you! That’s a rarity, so you are a lucky one!) What if you were able to spend weeks on volcanoes, instead of just a few days? What if those math equations spoke to you (I know, that’s a stretch) and you were able to grasp even more than you thought possible? What if that study on plants would have turned into a career in botany where you could have traveled the world to discover new species? What if….

I want to give my kids those chances, without the “what ifs”. I want them to explore until they’ve learned their fill and decide to move on to something else. I want them to learn about what excites them and triggers their natural curiosity.

 

I understand that not everyone can homeschool. I know that everyone has different circumstances. We all want what’s best for our kids. For most, school is the best (and sometimes only) option. This post is not a “mom shaming” post, by any means. I didn’t write this to seem like my way is the better way. Heck, I could very well be back on the “yay for school” team next fall. It’s just insight as to why we are choosing this path. It is a choice, and it’s a big one. And right now, it’s the best choice for our family.

Getting it all wrong

We attended an awesome sermon on Sunday about seeking first the Kingdom of God, and everything else falls into place. I’m trying to put that into practice in my life. I *thought* I was already sort of doing that. But now, I am pretty sure I was wrong.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. Well, dwelling, actually. Maybe even wallowing. I’m finding this mom thing to be hard and time consuming and no one listens and everyone is making me crazy and why can’t I do what I want to do and how am I supposed to find my gifts and purpose in life with these little people interrupting all my deep thoughts and inner conversations… and… and…!!! Poor me, right? So I’ve been praying “show me what I’m supposed to be doing” and “help me figure out how to fit more in my day” and “help me to see what I need to do to be more successful”.

Apparently, I’ve been too wrapped up in me.

You see, I’ve been reading a lot about big dreams and all these people that are so inspiring and successful. And I want that to be me. I want to inspire! I want to be important!

I’m sure I’m meant for more than just this, right…?

So, Tuesday morning, I’m searching through my Bible and looking up stuff on children. Mainly discipline related. Maybe even something involving “smiting”. Because no one is listening to me these days!!! 

Instead, I was led to Psalm 127:3. Do you know what it says?

“Children are a gift from the Lord….”

That stopped me right there. I know I’ve heard it before, but reading it – when I was literally searching for ways to get them to listen to me – made me freeze. Children are a gift. You know what’s funny about gifts? They don’t have to be given. There is no obligation for someone to give you a gift, no matter what society tells you.

This one verse reminded me of all the heartache we faced over 10 years ago with fertility treatments that didn’t work. These words brought back all the tears and the unanswered questions about why we couldn’t conceive. This moment made all the years of continued failed attempts at pregnancy – with both of our girls – come rushing back. This verse reminding me how much I wanted to be a mommy, back before I was able to be one.

MY children are a gift from God.

What if I am supposed to do just this right now? What if I start treating my kids like the gifts they are, instead of making them feel like inconveniences when I’m doing something “important”? What if I’m supposed to be here to inspire my girls and not the masses of strangers out there? What if being here and present for them day in and day out causes them to become women who inspire the masses and change the world?

I’ve not really thought of that. I selfishly want it to be me that’s big and important. I want people to know me – which is funny because the majority of the time, I just want to be by myself. I see myself more as the reclusive artist/writer who lives a quiet life off the grid. Hard to do that AND be big and important.

So maybe my focus has been all wrong. Maybe it’s not about me finding myself. (At least, not right now.) Maybe it’s about helping my kids find themselves, to become what they are supposed to be. To find and use their gifts. Who knows, they may be the ones that change the world someday.

#AugustInspiration

My first attempt at Faith Journaling

 

My art faith journal
My art faith journal

Today, I tried something new for my early morning time. Today, I decided to go into my new art studio and do something. Since I know myself and I know that decision making is hard for me – and nearly impossible at 6am – I determined last night before bed that I would try my hand in a little faith journaling.

I took a class about faith journaling last week with Nicole (www.nicplynel.com) at a local art studio. It was exactly what I needed to get the spark of inspiration going. I’ve been wanting to start quiet-time Bible studying, as well as more artsy stuff in my brand-spankin’ new studio, so what better way than this? I’ve not started either endeavor for the simple reason that I could never find the “perfect” time or the “perfect” space, and I’ve been afraid to not have the “perfect” outcome.

But, it’s #NoExcusesJuly, right? And perfection is overrated.

So this morning, I quietly made coffee and crept down to my new space. I put on some soothing “nature” music, and started reading the introduction of a book I had bought ages ago studying the book of Isaiah. Why that particular book? To be honest, I don’t know. Months (years?) ago, verses from Isaiah would pop up regularly – enough for me to notice and realize I should probably look into what God’s trying to tell me. So, I bought the study book, and it sat on my shelf ever since. Last night while deciding where to start my faith journaling journey, this book popped into my head. Well, that was easy.

I didn’t even get through the introduction before a verse or two jumped out at me. Go figure. I made myself stop reading after the intro, not because I didn’t want to continue, but because of time constraints due to my early risers. I didn’t even make it into the “meat” of the study yet, but I knew that if I kept reading, I’d run out of time to play with my new art journal from the class.

And do you know what I realized as I got down to my last 10-15 minutes to play before the kiddos would start looking for me? I need to replace my paints. I guess years and years of non-use tends to dry things out! But I didn’t let that stop me! No excuses means no excuses! (insert face of determination) So, instead of painting, I just used my watercolor pencils. With a limited amount of time, it’s not much, but it’s a page that’s no longer blank. Do I love it? Not really. In fact, I didn’t even want to post the picture. But it’s a start, and right now, that’s what I need. A start.

I imagine my pages will get brighter and more appealing as I go along. Hopefully I will be able to spend more than just a few minutes at a time as well. But, for now, I’m happy with just one quiet morning a week, all for me, my art supplies, and my Bible for inspiration.

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…In quietness and confidence is your strength… Isaiah 30:15 NLT

No doubt

be-yourself-believe-carry-on-dream-Favim.com-1613987
Image credit

Do you have doubters in your life? We all do. Heck, most of the time I’m my biggest doubter! But sometimes, you make a decision and you know deep down in your core that it’s the right move. You may not know why, or how, but you just know.

Hold on to that. The doubters may not see it, but don’t let them take that conviction away. Will you make mistakes? Of course. But some decisions can change your life. Some moves, however unconventional, will pave the way for the life that you’ve only imagined. It will be a decision that is hard, or unusual, or against the norm of society. But sometimes? It’s a decision that opens the doors of opportunity that few will ever experience. Those are decisions that 99% of the population won’t choose. They’ll select the safe route. The well traveled path. The 99% will just do what they’ve always done, and what everyone else has always done, because it’s easier.

Don’t be the 99%. Take risks. Make plans. Do what’s best for YOU. You never know what will happen if you don’t try!

#AugustInspiration

Dreams

Our big, crazy dream list and "someday"s
Our big, crazy dream list and “someday”s – not in any particular order. Just wrote them as they came to me.

I recently started writing down goals.

I’ve never been one to write them down. In fact, I’ve never been one to really “dream” at all. Living paycheck to paycheck tends to suck the dreams of “someday” away.

We have been fans of Dave Ramsey for years, and we have his Financial Peace University set. When we first read Total Money Makeover, it kicked us in gear. That was probably about 5 years ago. We read it on a road trip down to Florida when I was pregnant with Pumpkin.

Then life happened. Best intentions, right?

Well, this past fall, we re-evaluated things. We got back on the cash budget bandwagon and started having our monthly budget meetings. That took a huge amount of pressure off of me, because trying to figure out all the finances all the time by myself was awful. So now, we’re a team again and have been working towards the same goals together.

Since then, we’ve rolled that snowball and paid off two more debts. (Woohoo!) But financial freedom isn’t the point of this post.

For years, Hubby has wanted to go onto a 10-month contract with his company. He has never loved having to scramble to find hours over the summer months, and as much as he loves his job, he would not miss being “off” in June and July. He has never considered it a real option because, again, the paycheck to paycheck thing kind of holds you back from taking a pay cut by choice. But, we’ve talked about it, prayed about it, and have been “pretending” that we have to live on what he paychecks would be if he did take the pay cut. (Added bonus – that money has then been rolled into our snowballs, helping with those two now-paid-off debts!) For the most part, it’s been doable, but barely. There were a couple of months where we couldn’t put that full amount towards the snowball – we just couldn’t pretend it wasn’t there. There were other months where there was no real problem because he was working extra coverages or substitute teaching. But none of those “extras” are guarantees, so the idea of cutting down to 10 months still seemed doubtful.

Not anymore.

We started on a journey together, as a team, with these essential oils. We doubted – at first – that they would really do much for our income. But, we tried it. It started bringing in a little extra money and helping our family with wellness issues to boot. We started seeing a bigger picture, and we started dreaming. We’ve never let ourselves really do that before because it just seemed to set us up for disappointment. In April, I started writing down monthly goals and started a list of some of those dreams. Some, like going down to a 10 month contract and paying off debt, seem reasonable (but still a struggle in current circumstances). Others, like my dream cabin in the woods, seem like they would never happen.

Well, the paycheck we received in April allowed us to reach that first dream. We officially bring in enough money from this oil journey to get Hubby down to a 10-month contract. We have enough monthly income from it to more than cover the pay cut. So, as of August 10th, he will officially be on a 10-month contract. We are reaching our dreams!

Where will this journey will lead us? We still want to be debt free as soon as possible, so that’s the next dream to reach. After that, who knows? We’re learning to dream big!

And you know what? It’s awfully nice to be able to put a “completed” date next to something on that dream list.

Attitude of gratitude

My back deck is amazeballs for stretching after a run. It's quiet and peaceful and just perfect. Til the kids wake up.
My back deck is amazeballs for stretching after a run. It’s quiet and peaceful and just perfect. Til the kids find me.

Day three of my #NoExcusesJuly and so far, so good. It helps that the weather has been gorgeous for running and yard work. And it also helps that Hubby won’t let me wuss out with his #NoMercy approach. And while I feel awesome, I know there’s a lot of month left. Good thing for accountability, huh?

So, this morning I got up and out of bed for my run. (By the way, typically today would be the day I’d quit because after running Wednesday and yard work yesterday, I knew I’d barely be able to move today and I’d be exhausted. But, I kicked that excuse the curb before I went to sleep and told myself I had to do it!) So anyway, I’m jogging along, listening to the birds, and feeling really good – which is a little weird for me, but whatever. So, I start talking to myself (in my head of course – can’t have people calling to have me institutionalized) because I can’t figure out how to get my music on my phone to work (stupid technology). And I’m all, hmmm, what should I be thinking about on this beautiful morning? Dreams? To do lists? Coffee?….. Gratitude? Wait, what?!? God, did you hijack my conversation with myself?!? Cuz let me tell you, at 6:30am while running, gratitude and thankfulness are NOT what is going through my head. Typically my head-talk is more it’s too early, I want bed, my legs hurt, I can’t breathe, I hate running, whine whine whine groan and so on. Obviously, this gratitude thing was not my idea. But, ok, I’ll run with it. (Ba-dum-bum)

So, I started to think about what I was grateful for at that moment. And you know what? My answers surprised me. I realized I was thankful for being healthy enough to run – I had legs that moved me and lungs that work and the drive to actually do it. I realized how thankful I was to have a loving husband that supports me and sticks with the decision to allow me to continue to be a SAHM so I can go out for a morning run, even though it means he has to work his butt off to do so. I realized how thankful I was to live in a neighborhood that is safe for me to go out early in the morning – alone – and run without fear. I realized how thankful I was for the time alone just for me.

Talk about deep thoughts! And I hadn’t even had coffee yet! (Usually my pre-coffee thoughts consist of merely random babbling and incoherent mumbles.)

So, this #NoExcusesJuly may be more than I realized. I may actually grow during this process and find out a lot more about myself than just my level of willpower.

Who knew?

No Excuses

No Excuses
Photo: Google images

July is going to be a big month for me. I’m making it my new start. My clean slate.

I have a bad habit. In fact, I’ve nourished this habit so well that I honestly don’t even realize how often I do it. It has become second nature and automatic. It’s been years in the making, so breaking it will be hard. I’ve justified it and became enabled by it, but it’s gotta stop.

I make excuses.

They start out innocent enough….. Oh, it’s raining. I guess I can just go to the grocery store tomorrow…. I was up with the kids again last night, so I really should stay in bed to try to catch up on extra sleep…. I know we should be eating healthier but it’s so expensive sometimes. It’s just easier to do it this way for now…..  I can just clean the bathrooms tomorrow, we aren’t having anyone over anytime soon anyway.

This trend has been my life for a long, long time. No wonder I get very little done, eh? I can talk myself out of doing virtually anything with just a little reasoning. But you know what I’ve realized? Reasons are just excuses to make lazy seem ok.

Did you catch that?

Reasons are just excuses to make lazy seem ok.

I’m not saying reasons don’t exist. I’m saying reasons shouldn’t be stopping us from doing what we need to do.

I’ve fallen into the trap of Stay-At-Home-Mom Syndrome. My brother-in-law used this phrase to describe what happens when a stay-at-home mom falls into a rut. There are no deadlines, so there are no real pressures to get things done. There is no boss watching over us to make sure the work gets done, so we just put things off. There’s no real issue with appearance because our kids don’t care if we’ve showered or not, so even that gets put on the back burner. After all, as Scarlett O’Hara says, tomorrow is another day! Unfortunately, that’s the mantra I’ve been living with – tomorrow is another day – for years. It’s just going to be the same things tomorrow as it is today, so why bother?

You know what? I’m kinda tired of it. I want to have a house that isn’t an embarrassment when people stop by. I want to have a daily routine that involves taking care of myself. I want to get into healthier habits, for myself and for my kids. I want my business to take off and give me the dreams I see in my head, but….. I’m too tired. It’s too hard. I don’t have time. I don’t know how. The weather is bad. It’s too nice outside. I have a headache. It’s too far. It’s Tuesday. And the list goes on, and on, and on.

Time to get off that hamster wheel, folks. And I’ll be the one to jump first.

Here’s the thing. All of my excuses – every single one of them – comes back around to me. I am my own worst enemy and I constantly sabotage my own efforts. But if I’m honest with myself, I can see what my “reasons” are really saying:

I’ll just do it (whatever “it” may be) tomorrow. -I am choosing to be lazy.-

I can’t get my business moving/I don’t have time to focus on my business right now because of x, y, z. –I am choosing to not make my business a priority.-

I can’t believe the car broke again – just our luck! We’re never going to get our debts paid off. –I am choosing to have a negative attitude.-

I just don’t feel up to it today. I’m too overwhelmed by everything. I don’t even know where to start. –I am choosing to let my past issues with depression and anxiety get a foothold in my life.-

I can’t get up early to run, I’m too exhausted. I hate meal planning, I can’t get a good system in place. -I am choosing to stay unhealthy.-

I can’t start this project or do that thing or learn this skill, I don’t have time. I’m already running around like crazy as it is! -I am choosing not to manage my time wisely.-  

Basically, I am choosing to stay in my rut. I am choosing to hang out in my pity party. Puts a different perspective on it when we realize virtually nothing on the outside is a factor, doesn’t it?

 

“If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way; if you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.” – Jim Rohn

 

Just because I want something doesn’t mean squat unless I actually take action and do something about it. And for that to happen, I have to choose to beat the living daylights out of silence my inner whiny girl. Cuz really? She’s annoying. And sometimes, (ok, probably frequently) she sneaks out of my mouth. And the only way to silence her is to just do it. Whatever it is. Get up early. Go for that run. Make that phone call. Scrub that floor. Find the silver lining. Whatever it is – it must get done. No more excuses. The choice is all mine.

July is No Excuses month. Wanna join me?

#NoExcusesJuly

It’s Official

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Trust is a funny thing.

Today, TKEP Academy was born.

Ok, not really. Technically, TKEP Academy won’t be open until after this school year is over, but the paperwork is in pulling Peanut out of the public school system as of the last day of school. We will officially be a homeschool family in fall 2015. We had been talking about the idea most of the year and made the decision a few months ago, but the “official letter”  didn’t go to the district until today, the day registration for next year is due.

For whatever reason, this letter was difficult to write. Not because I didn’t know what to say – I managed to find a template and just copied and pasted – but because it makes it real. Up until this point, homeschooling was just something we talked about. Now it’s something we will actually be doing.

(Hold me.)

Homeschooling has been on my heart for a good year. As I may have mentioned, I didn’t necessarily want to homeschool, but someone else kept gently leading me to that direction. Even after I turned away and laughed it off, He would delicately bring me back. So, I guess it’s about time I actually listen, for a change. Who knows? Maybe He actually does know best. I mean, He does seem to be supplying all our needs these days…..

See, here’s the thing. I *may* have some control issues. In order to trust someone, you have to let go of some of that control. This year, I’ve been attempting a whole more more trusting and letting go, albeit usually while kicking and screaming. I don’t like not knowing things.  I don’t like not being able to see what comes next. I don’t like it when plans that I thought were good, apparently weren’t the right plans. This has been a very confusing and potentially life-changing year for me. And it’s only May. I’m pretty sure I’m in the middle of a very important lesson I’m supposed to be learning, but I refuse to look at the notes and just learn it already. (While typing that, I had a mind picture of God face-palming Himself and shaking His head.)

Also, I may not be dealing with it all that well. My anxiety levels have been through the roof. I’m overwhelmed over everything and nothing. I’m pretty much a jumbled mess.

Trust in the Lord….

Yeah, but what about….? And what if….? And I think we should……

…. lean not on your own understanding….. 

But how will I know what I’m supposed to be doing? I’m completely clueless! I’m stressed out! I’m a mess! How can I possibly handle all that when I can’t even handle all this?!?

…. in all ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths.

So, that’s that. He knows what He’s doing with me and our family. (I personally still think He may be a wee bit crazy on this one, but whatever.) I’m trusting that this homeschooling journey will not end in disaster, but will instead open my eyes to bigger and better things. I’m trusting that He’s got this, even when I know I don’t.

I’m telling myself I will trust, even though my thoughts and actions are not in alignment with that notion yet. But I must learn to trust. I must learn to let go and just…. let go.

So, wherever this path may take us, the first step has now been made. That first leap into trust has been done. And now, we wait. We wait to see what happens next, what is planned for us, and what is expected.

And we trust.