I’ve written about this sooooo many times, and I have made a final decision (after talking with Robert who is a very balanced person and he agrees with me this time). I am doing something “black and white” (I’ve been … Continue reading
This past week has been full of reflection. With the high profile suicides that are happening, my friend asked me if I was okay. She was concerned since I lost my brother to suicide and because of my own struggle … Continue reading
For years, the info out there about “nutrition” would frustrate me because I never knew what to believe about health. I have come to the conclusion that a healthy plate is balanced with protein, carbs (whole grains if I can), … Continue reading
Yesterday, I relaxed all morning (drinking coffee of course), then I worked in the house all afternoon. The kids and I cleaned the whole house, I did some laundry, and I organized my office. I also made an amazing vision … Continue reading
Being in a constant state of worship and adoration, service, gratitude, prayer, and confession are what set my heart on fire. Unfortunately my life has been just one struggle after another and my spirit has gotten lost in all of … Continue reading
This was a very difficult time in my life. I was going through postpartum depression; I was raising 3 babies, 4 and under, by myself pretty much (Robert worked ALL the time). Joey had just committed suicide (a few months earlier). I was in a fog to say the least. Behind that smile was a lot of pain.
I would barely survive the day and as soon as Robert got home, I would hand him the baby and leave. Not every day, but a lot of days. I didn’t keep up with laundry, clean the house, cook. I just survived.
I did NOT feel like a good mom. But I did the best I could under the circumstances. I couldn’t help that Joey had just died. I couldn’t help that I was going through postpartum depression. I couldn’t do anything about the fact that Robert worked so much (We ended up leaving the camp we were at because of that, and life was still hard in different ways, but have never regretted leaving!).
As you can see, we all look different these days. Karis is now almost 11, Levi just turned 7, and Ethan is 8 1/2. We have much more fun with our kids!
Since the earlier picture, I have been hospitalized twice for my mental health, I’ve been diagnosed properly, I am on great meds, I have been treated for alcoholism and work hard to stay sober, I have all day to take care of the house and laundry so I’m not feeling overwhelmed anymore (because the kids are in school), and I no longer try to work (because I know that I can’t… I’m fighting for disability now).
My parenting has changed over the years, my view of myself as a mom has changed, it has been over 7 years since Joey died, we are at peace with and love where we live and our life here at Camp Eagle (we will be here indefinitely unless God calls us elsewhere), the kids are in an amazing school where they are loved and valued, I’m much more patient, my house stays mostly clean, the kids can do chores (and they are excited about it with a sticker chart/rewards!), and so much more.
How am I different as a mom?
Well, for one, we rarely spank now. When they were younger I spanked often out of anger. I would spank and spank because I didn’t know what else to do. I would spank Ethan so much that it hurt me as much as it hurt him.
Ethan threw a LOT of huge tantrums. Those didn’t stop until the past few years. He did throw some when I was homeschooling him, but he would do them in his room and come out just fine. He has since stopped them completely. I have taught him how to control himself better and he uses those skills (lots of pausing, breathing, and figuring out what emotion he is feeling). Going to school has really helped him in this area. I am much more patient with him and use a different form of consequences.
Typically, with the kids, we ground them and/or take away privileges.
It helps that their teachers give them consequences at school. We (almost) always support the teacher (even if we don’t agree) and give them a consequence at home. They rarely get in trouble at school these days!
They love their Wii U, Kindles, Minecraft, etc. They don’t get to play on them all the time, but they lose the privilege for a few days to a week if they do something that deserves a consequence. Sometimes we ground them from playing with friends (this is huge for Ethan and Karis). We spank sometimes, but it’s usually for something big where they need a spanking and another consequence. This is rare.
We have a conversation with them about why. We discuss what the purpose of their decision was. We talk to them about having control over their actions and how they interact with their siblings and/or friends. We discuss the implications of their choices and how they affect others. We talk about how they would feel if that was done to them.
We try to not discipline in front of friends, but sometimes we have to.
We use rewards when we can.
Are we always perfect at this? No. Do we yell? Sometimes, but not near as much as we used to.
The thing that helps all of this is that the kids are older, able to discuss things, able to work through emotions, and able to control themselves better. It makes a huge difference!
We have also learned what works for each child. This has taken a long time to learn through trial and error.
It really helps that I’m not with them all day, every day.
I was much less patient when they were home all the time. I was much less patient when I was homeschooling them.
They get what they need at school (social interaction with kiddos their age, being challenged, etc), then they come home and do homework and chores. They have routine every day (which was lacking when I homeschooled them, mostly because I was either drinking or hungover).
My favorite part of the day is bedtime. Most nights (not all) we read the Bible or a devotional. We read out of a chapter book, we sing a worship song, and we pray (usually Ethan prays… it is precious). I end most days (not all) in bed with each kid, talking to them about their day, their feelings and emotions, and what God is doing in their lives. Most nights I end this time praying for them (not every night).
Karis and I have a Google Document where we write each other back and forth. This has helped our relationship a lot!
Last night both Levi and Ethan made the decision to accept and follow Christ! They prayed and asked for forgiveness, they understood the purpose of Jesus dying on the cross (and as Levi said, he washed away our sins!), they prayed for the ability to repent from their sins, and they decided to serve Jesus all the days of their lives (Ethan realized that what we do here at camp is serving Christ)!
I also discussed this with Karis again because she accepted Christ at a very young age and I wanted to make sure she understood.
They are all ready to be baptized! We started going to a new church (very small church plant), and the pastor wants to have a little class with them before they get baptized.
We are also going to join the church. We feel at home there. I still want to talk about some things with the pastor that are different for me, but I’m sure it will be fine. We’re looking forward to it!
I will always have something that isn’t perfect.
I get worn sometimes on the weekends when they are home all day. Sometimes I let them play on electronics too much. We often forget to have them brush their teeth at night. When they are home for lunch, they often eat chicken nuggets and mac n cheese. We don’t always eat healthy, but I’m okay with that. We sometimes yell at them. Sometimes I spoil them with too much candy, too many snacks, and sometimes I do too much for them that they can do themselves. Recently I caught myself enabling them by making their beds, etc. Robert reaffirmed this. I am remedying that. They have been cussing lately because they are learning new words on the bus with high school students. We’re working on what words are not appropriate to say :-). It’s new to them so it may take a bit of time.
Being imperfect keeps me humble and helps me rely on Jesus more.
I’m thankful that God has helped me learn how to be a better parent. I have a long way to go, and that’s okay. I’m just thankful that life is much more peaceful these days.
I woke up late today, but have been busy ever since. I’m finally sitting down (at 2:30) to blog about all that I have been doing today.
The first thing I did when I woke up was have my coffee, plan my day, and spend time in the word. Today was day 1 of the Ruth study on She Reads Truth. This is an old study… one that I missed in the past. I’m not a huge fan of the one that is happening right now, so I went backwards. It is fantastic.
Then I made beds (well, I had the kids make their beds but I went behind them and straightened them because I’m a perfectionist).
Then I straightened up the house. This didn’t take very long because I tend to keep it clean these days. Plus, I have the kids clean up after themselves. It helps that they are only home in the evenings and on the weekends.
Here’s what the house currently looks like:
I updated my meal plan for the month.
Then I started my meal prep.
First, I cut veggies for lunches and dinners.
Then I made healthy snack muffins.
I prepped lunches.
I made dinners for the nights that I will be going to town.
Veggie and meat sauce
Whole wheat penne
I ordered some items from Walmart.com that I will need this week. Friday, I will only have to buy ground beef, produce, and dairy! I will also be picking up some pizzas from Papa Murphy’s for Saturday (my parents will be here).
Next I will be folding and putting away my one load of laundry for the day.
We will end the night by playing games!
This post is going to reflect more than just meal prep, but that’s a big part of what I got done yesterday.
Earlier this week, I cleaned the house really well. Yesterday I “touched it up” by making all of the beds, wiping down sinks in bathrooms, cleaning the table and counters in the kitchen, catching up on dishes, vacuuming and sweeping, and catching up on laundry.
Here’s what our clean house looks like!
Then, I got to work prepping meals for next week!
I cut veggies (some of these were from last weekend).
I prepped lunches for next week.
I organized my lunch/fruit cup (for the kids) drawer.
I organized the kids’ snack cabinet.
I boiled eggs (well, instant potted eggs).
I wrote out my meal plan for the next two weeks.
I pulled the meat out of the freezer to thaw for the week.
I baked breakfast cookies. I used Kodiak Cake Power Cakes instead of flour.
I made breakfast taco filling (this time only eggs and bacon).
Today I will do one load of laundry and PLAY WITH THE KIDS! I love that I am home on Fridays now! I can get my prepping done instead of doing it on the weekends!
I bought groceries for most of 2 weeks, and I spent about $150. I got a table full of fresh food!
- HEB long grain brown rice (2lbs)
- HEB pinto beans (4lbs)
- Aguilar flour tortillas (2 packages of 20)
- HEB Corn tortillas (80 count)
- Zulka sugar (4lbs)
- Duke’s mayo
- HEB Coke Zero (3, 12 packs)
- Bananas (2 bunches)
- Gala apples (3lbs)
- Bell peppers (4)
- Russet potatoes (5lb bag)
- Sweet potatoes (4)
- Roma tomatoes (6)
- Jalapeños (3)
- Avocados (5)
- Broccoli (3 crowns)
- Cabbage (1)
- Carrots (1 medium bag)
- Celery (1)
- Cantaloupe (1)
- 50/50 spring mix and spinach (1 small)
- HEB whole milk (2 gallons, 1 for yogurt)
- HEB half and half (1/2 gallon)
- HEB cottage cheese (32oz)
- HEB sour cream (32oz)
- HEB shredded cheddar (1lb)
- HEB summer sausage (12oz)
- HEB bacon (12oz)
- HEB butter (1 lb)
- Ground chuck (4lbs)
- Hormel natural lunch meat (4)
- Farmhouse eggs (2 dozen)
- HEB frozen chicken breasts (36oz)
- Kiolbassa polish sausage (2lbs, 11 links)
- Kiolbassa beef sausage (2lbs, 11 links)
- HEB whole chicken (1)
- Grands biscuits (1)
- HEB hummus (2 snack packs)
In the next two weeks, I will need:
- More HEB Coke Zero (yes…)
- Milk (2 gallons)
- Eggs (2-3 dozen)
- And maybe some produce (we’ll see… this may last)
I love grocery shopping!
Today as I was looking at my memories on Facebook of years past on the same day, I came across a blog that I wrote a year ago today (It’s Been a While). It was exactly what I needed to read.
You don’t really have to read it because the important stuff will be quoted here.
A few reminders:
I am unable to work. I have tried and tried. I thought an at home, part time, computer job would be the dream job because it’s more simple than teaching, but it proved to be just as difficult for me as my previous jobs. I have never been able to keep a job because of my mental illnesses, and I just don’t see that changing. I have been denied for disability twice and am now working with a lawyer to try to get it. It’s hard because I’m okay when I’m not working, but my anxiety and depression are terrible as soon as I start working! It’s hard to explain that to social security!
I truly do have a sick brain. My bipolar has been under control, but I’m still working on managing my anxiety. I go to counseling once a week for cognitive behavioral therapy (for anxiety), take lots of medications (6 for my mental health alone, plus supplements and 2 other meds), practice lots of self care, daily prayer and Bible study, and go to AA (including meetings 3-4 times a week, step work, meeting with my sponsor once a week, and daily gratefuls) for my addiction to alcohol. These are the only way I’m managing right now. Without these, I would be really struggling. It takes a lot of work!
I am back to the food freedom, body positivity, anti-diet life. I wish I had stuck with that last year instead of ditching it and dieting again (for 3 months!). For some reason summer is a huge trigger for me to diet. I don’t understand why. I’m hoping that doesn’t happen again this year. I am now in several groups that focus on these things, so hopefully I’ll stick with it! I wrote this in last year’s post: “I am learning to finally accept my body the way it is. I am finally DONE with diets and hard exercise programs. I am learning to eat to nourish myself (and sometimes that involves a doughnut), move for enjoyment, and I am okay with the fact that I may never be the size I once was. I have kind of become anti-diet industry now and am un-following everyone that focuses on that (especially the pyramid scheme marketing companies that sell stuff for “weight loss”) because I don’t need that un-healthy view of bodies staring me in the face. It has brought me so much freedom.”
I’m back to this 100%. Exactly the same thoughts and feelings, unfollowing people, the freedom it brings, etc.
My family has been and continues to be my support. Without them I don’t know where I’d be. Between being passively suicidal many times, dealing with alcoholism, and my severe anxiety, it’s been a very hard thing for us all to deal with. I mean, my kids had to live with my parents for almost a month. They were completely out of their normal routine, not doing much school, and missing me and home (not my parents’ fault at all, just not normal life for them). Robert has stood by my side in sickness and health. He supports me at my worst and at my best. He loves me for who I am, not who I wish I could be.
One of the biggest things that I have been struggling with is feeling like my blogging doesn’t make a difference. I do blog for myself mostly, but I want to know that I’m not just blogging for myself. Yesterday I was reminded that I am speaking to people (I received a private message from an old acquaintance). Even if it’s just a few, it’s worth it. I want this blog to be full of authenticity. I will always be open and real. I may share things that I’m good at, and that’s okay too! I’m learning to be confident in the gifting that I have. I pray that it is all used for God’s glory and not my gain.
Last year I wrote: “This blog will never be what is viral out there, and I’m okay with that. If my blog never grows, then I’ll just know it is for the people who need it, when they need it. I trust God with it all. Numbers don’t matter to me. It’s authenticity and depth that I’m looking for. So, my hope is that you will always find that here. I may not always post about mental illness, but that is typically what I post about. Hope you’ll stick around!”
And now I post about alcoholism because I’ve finally come to terms with that (AA step 1!).
In the midst of it all, God is good and sovereign. He has a plan, and He will be glorified through it all. I am me, and I am made the way I am for a reason and a purpose. I am thankful for the freedom that I have in Him to be that person that He created me to be.