Tuesday, February 26, 2013


I am going to go on a short rant about social media. Being the list-maker I am, I will stay true to my OCD and tell you what social media does to normal functioning humans and why I think it is BAD (and not in a Michael Jackson kinda way). Let me also put a disclaimer in here as well...I am a recovering technology addict. I have lived many of these scenarios and am not at all proud of it. It is hard to stop, but when you sit and realize what it is we are doing to ourselves, it makes it easier and is definitely worth it.

What Social Media Does to Normal Functioning Humans
(A Rant of Frustration by Jenn)

  1. It turns moms and dads into technology addicts. We no longer interact with our family or friends. For example...the mom too busy Facebooking to see her son score his first basketball goal, or the husband and wife out for a date who are on their phones checking football scores or e-mail the whole time. I don't use the term "addict" loosley either. It is, in fact, become an addiction in our society. When you can't even have dinner, enjoy your child's game, or wake up in the morning without checking FaceBook before you get out of bed, then there is a problem. 
  2. It has made us socially retarted. I use that word in it's true context and not simply for shock value: "a slowing down or hindering of progress". That is exactly what we have done. Our social lives are hindered. We don't know how to communicate anymore. If it isn't in 140 characters or less, we don't have time for it, and it must not be important, right? Wrong..
  3. It makes us less patient. We live in an instant gratification world and social media has only amplified it. We don't want to wait for a letter in the mail...just e-mail it. We don't have time to chat with a friend on the phone, so text it. This is true for social media, as well as for other things...but that is another soapbox altogether, and I won't go there today.
  4. It makes people boring. If you know what someone ate for lunch, who they were with yesterday, what their kid turned in for a Science project, and what movie they saw last Saturday, what is there left to talk about once you are face to face?
  5. It makes us feel inadequate. If I'm not working out as much as so-and-so, or don't have my kids in activities like what's-his-face, or have a homemade dinner on the table every night like what's-her-name, then I must not have my stuff together...OR....
  6. It makes us uninhibited. You know what I am talking about. We all have those people who rant and rave on the social media of their preference on a daily basis. They hate traffic, their boss, their kids are brats, and they are sick of "someone" doing "something" to them. I am guilty of ranting (I know...hard to believe *ahem), but when we can hide behind a screen, we tend to say things that are typically not something that we would ever speak about in person. Our filter is lifted...and usually not is a good way.
  7. It is an easy way to ruin a marriage. Whether you are "chatting" with a friend privately, or perusing someone's vacation pictures from the beach where they are shirtless or in a bikini, it isn't honoring to your spouse. Complaining about your spouse on any media isn't honoring (even if it is true). Making "innocent" comments on someone's physical appearance (be it that their workouts are "paying off" or that they look "good in that dress") isn't honoring either. I often wonder what percentage of marriages are ruined because of contact and indiscretions where social media is involved. I would venture to say it is extraordinarily high. 
  8. Lastly, it causes us to sin. This is where I have been convicted and a huge reason that I have decided to give social media (for the most part) the boot. I found myself wanting to judge people for their posts, or "likes", or for their choice in activities on the weekend. I found myself in situations where someone had wronged my family or me, and the first thing I would do was to mentally prepare a "post" in my head for later to rant about it. I found myself not seeing people how God sees them, but seeing them for the things they post. I looked at myself and my posts and thought too many times, "That is not me, nor is it how I want people to view me". It is too easy to put yourself out there when raw emotion has taken over and you have an audience to vent to. 
I am not saying that social media is bad. It can be a wonderful thing. I have just found that when it is the only thing, it is not so wonderful. I chose to write more letters, have more face-to-face conversations, play more, read more, and hopefully blog more. My diary of my home and hobbies are better said in a thoughtful post than in a heat-of-the-moment rant. My relationships are more important than a quick thumbs up, or a smiley face. My time is better spent listening to my kids ramble on about airplanes, or painting our nails, or watching them hit the ball into the outfield, or snuggling up with my hubby on the couch to watch a movie. I'm not perfect, and I don't have it all figured out, but by God's grace, I am working on becoming a better me...but you won't see me tweeting about it anytime soon. 


Thursday, September 27, 2012

homeschooling...my 18 hour days...and i'm not being dramatic...not one bit...

I am a somewhat rookie homeschooling mom. Before this year, I put in about 6 months between my eldest son's kindergarten year (he will be 10 next week...hold on a minute...okay, I'm alright now), and the last half of last year. Let me tell you something...homeschooling 3 kids in 3 different grades is absolute insanity. Like, locking myself in a closet daily to go and have a good cry, insanity. Can I get an Amen? I will be very transparent and say that I question my decision on a daily basis. When I am trying to wash the dishes, teach long division, read about how "Bob and Jan sat on a rat", make sure that the "c" kisses the lines (some of you know EXACTLY what I am talking about & those of you who don't, no, we are not reading Louis L'Amour for story time), and make sure I have all of our supplies for our diorama, I think to myself, "Self, are you completely crazy? Self, is it worth it? Self, did you take your meds?" Just kidding on that last one, although that may actually be in my not to distant future.
I texted a fellow insane person (my friend Sarah) and asked her if she felt like she had a full time job with homeschooling. The verdict is out. It is like having a full time job with a full time job on the side.
I am not trying to be dramatic, because if you know me, dramatic is one thing I am not. I repeat NOT. EVER. (ahem). I am simply trying to say, or rather warn you, that if we cross paths on any given day and I have "that look" in my eye....RUN! Run for the hills. Run like Forest Gump, like Usain Bolt, like my kids from vegetables. Run I say! That, or offer to take my kids for the afternoon.
Any of you homeschool moms still have your sanity? How do you do it? How do you get your schoolwork done, have a house that doesn't look like an episode of Hoarders, have your children fed and clothed (in clean clothes mind you), have dinner on the table, get your workout in, your quiet time and your Bible study, plan a birthday party, have time for coffee with friends and date nights with the hubby? I am not quite sure how to do it or that it is even humanly possibly because those of you out there that look like your stuff is together either have it figure out or are big fat liars. I prefer to think the latter...sorry...but it makes me feel better. I jest.
I implore you, oh wise women, to thrust upon me your pearls of wisdom. That or pitch in and get me a day at the spa...your choice.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Here goes nothing...

I am simplifying. It may seem strange, but I started on my Pinterest board. After lots of prayer and self-examination, I realized that many of my problems with my love of things come from magazines, blogs (how ironic) and Pinterst boards of things that I will never be able to accomplish, make, live in, afford, or wear. I would peruse Pinterest and pin every thing that I could possibly dream I would ever want in my life. If I had my Pinterest life, it would be perfect. Therein lies the problem. With every pin, I would feel as though my "dream" was that much more unreachable. With every picture of every "perfect" female body with a workout attached didn't make me feel hopeful, but would make me feel more and more like a failure everytime I looked in the mirror. Everytime I looked at my board of crafts to make, I would get more and more frustrated because I had pinned 400 of them, but had only made 10. Does anyone see something wrong with this picture? The same goes for blogs. I would faithfully look at the 40+ blogs and wonder, "How do they have time to do all of that stuff? Their pictures are perfect. They have perfect houses. They are perfect moms. Their lives must be perfect."
Then my mind would go places that it should never go..."Why can't I do all of those things? Why can't my house look like that. Mine is always a mess because everyone destroys it and I can't keep up. I don't have time. I must be a failure if I can't cook perfect meals, have a perfect home, be a perfect teacher for my children, have my quiet time everyday with great revelation from the Lord, have a perfect body and a wonderful social life with my perfect husband." Hellooooo.... What? Doesn't it sound absurd? Yes, it does, but in my mind it didn't. I will admit, I am a perfectionist...as if you couldn't tell by the 432 times I used the word "perfect" for describing what I wanted my life to be. Perfectionism is something that I struggle with on a daily basis. It is what the Lord is really working with me on, and simplifying my life is one way that he is doing it.
Today, I began to simplify. I found myself really struggling with hanging on to things. Things that I thought I HAD to have. Things that I had hung on to for years because I was going to wear them when I was skinny enough, or make something out of it, or I just liked it. I had to look at each thing and ask myself, "Is this thing making me happy? Is it causing me stress? Do I look at it and feel like a failure because I can't utilize it?" That may sounds strange, but try it.
My goal is to make my home more streamlined. Less stuff means less cleaning. That doesn't mean a simple space can't be beautiful and personal. Don't believe me? Check these out...

I prefer a little more color, but how easy would that be to clean? So simple...
I adore clawfoot tubs. I could do a lot of soaking in there.

Simple and cozy.

Not a huge fan of the chair, but I love the simple desk.
Such a clean look. I love the ghost chair. My hubby doesn't. Can't win them all ;)

Clean and simple but with loads of personality. I heart butcher block counters!
I dream of that many windows in my kitchen. Natural light for days.

Friday, August 10, 2012


The title says it all. simple. I want simplicity in my life. I want to simply enjoy my children. I want a simple home. I want a simple home with less stuff. If you know me, you know I love my stuff, but I have truly felt a tug at my heart to release it all. There are those who embrace simplicity because they have no choice. They do not have the means to live any other way. I am, fortunately, not one of those people...but that doesn't mean that it doesn't lurk around the corner. I want a simpler life, not out of fear, but out of obedience and a hope for more than I give up.
I had a visit with a precious friend of mine last night. She is one of those people that lives simply. She strives to do so. It is very humbling for me. Her home is not big, nor is it filled with designer pieces.
It is filled with her children's artwork and pictures from their travels and hand-me-down furniture...and it is one of my favorite homes I have ever been in.  It doesn't have a sprawling back yard with beautifully manicured plants, or a pool, or an outdoor kitchen. Her back patio has a view of the lake, a huge tree with a swing and the sound of birds singing. I have even mentioned to her that I could sit out there with a cup of coffee all day. She says that she often does, and I can see her doing so. My friend is one of those people who truly sees the beauty of God's creation in the little things. She and her family don't take fancy trips. They only have one car. They have simple (and delicious) dinners. They spend their time together doing simple things. It is inspiring.
I want to be like her. I don't mean that I want to be someone else, I just want to embrace that spirit. I have felt the Lord tugging at my heart to embrace simplicity, regardless of my own desire to have more. I have really struggled with wanting what God wants versus what I want. I finally feel as though it is coming in alignment. I haven't figured it all out, but I am beginning to see the path that He has set before me.
I don't want a bigger house.
In fact, I want a smaller house.
The smaller the house, the less to clean and the more time I have to spend on things that matter.
I want less stuff.
The less stuff you have, the less you have to maintain.
I want more time.
More time with my husband, my children and my dear friends.
I want fewer things that take me away from a simple life.
Fewer commitments.
More walks.
More talks.
Less social media.
More reading.
More praying.
How simple.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

five & six

Six. Where did six years go? Too fast I think...

My baby is five. This precious little face is five. Oh my.

These two keep me on my toes. They test my patience. They make me laugh. They make cry out of joy and out of frustration. They are best friends. They are partners in crime. They are 2 big parts of my heart that are outside of my body. I can't imagine loving my kids more. I don't think it is possible. Sometimes I ask God why he would bless me with such an amazing family. I don't deserve it. I don't deserve any of it, but I am grateful for His divine grace, His unfathomable love for me, and for His incredible blessings.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Homeschooling is hard. I have 3 kids that are 3 different ages and have 3 totally different personalities and learning styles. My eldest is very smart, a born learner, and is really "into" certain things like war, history, the military, science, you know...tough boy stuff. My daughter is very bright but it takes her a little longer to get certain concepts. Just when we got over the handwriting-is-making-me-want-to-rip-my-hair-out hurdle, we began the learning-to-read-is-going-to-be-the-death-of-me stage. She is not patient (I have no clue where she gets it...*ahem...*cough...*cough...) and when she doesn't get something right, and have to correct her, she isn't very happy. Constructive criticism is not in her wheelhouse. Just when I thought that we would never see the light, it clicked for her. Her painstaking sounding out each letter turned into blended sounds and is slowly progressing into, like, really reading! Do you hear that? Yes, indeed, there are angels singing. Maybe that is just in my head. Anywho... I pulled out a Dr. Seuss book today, flipped through the pages, and KNEW she would fly through it. However, she wasn't having any of it. She didn't want to read. She was over it. I blame it on lack of sleep. It definitley couldn't be that she is strong-willed. I don't know where she would get that either....mmmmhmmmm. Bless her heart. She's just like her momma. My littlest one is only 4 so we don't really homeschool, but we DO do (sorry, I really tried to avoid the "do do") "school". It is school to him. He is eager, does very well, is very intelligent, but I have to duct tape him to the chair to get him to sit still long enough to do anything. That boy needs to have his DNA bottled up and sold because his energy is off the charts! (I would have said off the chain, but I am 35 and it just didn't sound right...fo' shizzle.)

My biggest challenge is getting them to actually work. We have figured out that the schoolroom (you know, the really cute one that I worked sooooo hard on???) doesn't work for us. Desks don't work for us. We end up homeschooling wherever we land, which is usually at the kitchen table because I am constantly preparing meals, eating meals or cleaning up after meals. It works out best for us (and about 99% of other homeschooling families from what I am hearing).
Getting them to focus is a huge issue. My eldest wants to watch my daughter and cheer her on (or boss her around......whatever...) and my daughter wants to chit chat...again, like someone else I know.

Anyone have any suggestions? Aside from duct taping their mouths shut, shackling them to the chair and putting on horse blinders, I don't have any other plan of attack. Splitting them up doesn't work because their mind's wander and they get distracted by every little thing when I'm not monitoring them. Here are a list of things that they get distracted by: flies, the texture of the wall, light fixtures, the glare of the sun on the glass, their pencil erasers, their pencils, the lead on their pencils, the crumb from this morning's toast that is 12 feet away on the floor, the bunnies outside, our dogs outside, the blades of grass outside, the birds outside, the noise they think they heard outside, the hum of the refrigerator inside, their eyelids, the hair in the brush in the other room, etc. etc. etc....

Comments? Suggestions? Beuller? Beuller?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Oh my...
What I wouldn't give for more of it. I say that, but know that more time would just mean more I could attempt to pack into a day already packed to the gills. I once gave advice to a friend that I need to take myself...spend time with the Lord in the morning, give him your day and all of the "stuff" you need to get done (and I mean REALLY release it), and the things that don't matter will fall away. The things that are truly important, will get done. The laundry might pile up and the baseboards might have to stay coated with an inch of dust, but your kids will remember that you played baseball with them in the front yard. You might have cereal for dinner, but you got to spend an extra 30 minutes with your family instead of scrubbing the dishes. You might not be able to watch that t.v. show that you need to "catch up on", but that extra 30 minutes snuggling with your kids on the couch or riding bikes around the block are more important anyway.

At least, that's what I say. I didn't say that I DO it. Sometimes it takes me being up at 1:00 AM and going into my daughter's room and sitting on her bed watching her sleep to be reminded of this. My perfectionism is an anchor. My guilt of not being perfect (or at least my vision of perfect) weighs on me a lot. I often fear that it makes me too demanding of my kids. When I do that, I end up taking on more so my kids can be, well, kids. Then I get frustrated because I feel as though I am doing it all by myself. I find it hard to find balance in my life. I want a tidy house, but I find it impossible with 3 young homeschooled kids. We are here all day, so we make messes all day. I want to plan my lessons ahead and be prepared, but find that doing so leads to frustration because we have to make so many adjustments throughout the week for things that we get done quickly, things that take extra time, or things that we simply don't get done at all. Then I panic and worry that I am not doing enough. I know...the beauty of homeschooling is that you can go at your own pace, but I can't help but feel the pressure when I know that what we do or don't do ultimately rests on my (tense) shoulders.
When you are a homeschooling mom, life is different. Your "you" time is something of the past. It is all kids, all the time. Your house is rarely, if ever, clean. You become a master at juggling things: throw in a load of laundry, give kid #1 directions, clean the dishes, answer kid #2's question, give kid #1 directions AGAIN, go find what kid #3 is doing, clean up after kid #3 because he decided to "decorate himself" with markers, then kid #2 needs help on their assignment and the doorbell rings, and "no thank you, I don't want any magazine subscriptions", and kid #1 is gone from the table. Oh yeah, he got done with his assignment and took it upon himself to turn on the tv. Hey, turn that thing off...we aren't done yet! #2, you get back over here too, you haven't even finished the first page...and WHY is it taking an hour to do 3 lines of handwriting?
Aren't you jealous? Seriously, I love homeschooling. That doesn't mean it is easy. It doesn't mean we don't struggle. It doesn't mean we don't school until 6 PM sometimes. It does mean that my house is often a wreck, dinner sometimes doesn't even get considered until tummies are rumbling, and sheets are sometimes still in the dryer at bedtime.

Then there are days where everything goes smoothly...and do you know what? Those are the days that I heed my own advice and give it all to the Lord. All of it. The to-do's and the things that can wait. He sorts them out better than I do anyway.