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
I have pulled out my computer and sat there staring at the screen (or getting distracted by Facebook) so many times in the past month or so. We have so much going on and I have so much that I could share, but the words just aren’t coming when I sit down to write. I’m not sure why. I do know that I have spent MUCH less time on my computer lately and that’s a good thing. I used to sit on my computer all day, every day. Now I don’t have time for that, nor do I want to. Part of the reason why I don’t write as much (or sit at my computer as much) is that I used to drink and drink and drink and all I could do while doing that is sit. Also I have been so busy. Mostly in a good way!
The moment that I decided to put Karis back into school, my anxiety went away and my depression lifted. We didn’t even take much time to pray through it once I thought of it because 1) I knew that Robert wanted our kids to be in school, 2) I realized that my mental health went back down hill when I pulled Karis out, 3) Karis went backwards in many ways being home and I knew it would be best to teach her how to persevere even when things are hard (and she needed to be around kids her age).
Since we’ve made that decision, lots of things have hit us… broken arm, asthma attack that landed Ethan in the ER, lots of doctor appointments, bloodwork, lots of medicine, Ethan got strep (and ended up missing 4 days of school), counseling appointment for Karis… And I have been in either Rocksprings or Kerrville pretty much every single day (with a day off here or there). I have also tried to go to AA twice a week but it hasn’t happened as much as I would like (I definitely go once at least).
But do you know what hasn’t changed through all of this craziness? My joy. I may be tired. I may be somewhat stressed. Karis has cried a lot (as we’ve been walking her through things). Levi has been in trouble a lot at school this year (and we’re working with his teacher and doctor to figure out how to handle this). But I haven’t regretted anything. I haven’t felt guilty. I haven’t tried to make something happen that wasn’t supposed to happen (which is how I ended up homeschooling off and on so much over the years). I haven’t made things to be my fault when they weren’t (like putting Karis in school or Levi getting in trouble). I’m just truly living each day. One day at a time. To its fullest. I’m more comfortable in my skin. I have spent a lot of one-on-one time with my kids. Karis and Ethan are doing choir. The house stays mostly clean (except this week because the kids are home, and that’s okay!). Robert and I work together. I focus a LOT on self care because that is what keeps me going. Life is just good. But I don’t take it for granted. With my history and my mental illnesses (and being an alcoholic), I truly have to take it one second, one minute, one hour, and one day at a time. And I’m finally in a place in which I can do that.
So on this beautiful Thanksgiving, I have so much to be thankful for.
It has been literally years since I felt this kind of peace and joy for more than a few days, and especially through stress and difficulty.
My family and friends are amazing, I’m learning to love myself as God has made me to be (and I’m realizing what my true calling is), Jesus loves me and I love Him, we love Camp Eagle and are so blessed to be a part of this family, we have all of our needs met (even when we don’t know how things will work out, they always do), I’m thankful for AA and what it has done in my life (and continues to), I’m so thankful for the Healthy Habits Happy Moms community (and Balance 365 program) that has helped me see myself in a completely different light, and I’m thankful for all the little things that bring me joy each day… music, flowers, coffee, Christmas lights, candles, a hike, spending time with my friends and family, playing games, cleaning, coloring, drawing… the list could go on and on. I am who I am today because of who God is, my family and friends, and through the difficult of the past several years.
The past 2 weeks have been long and stressful and amazing. I was in town 10 times in those 2 weeks (either Kerrville or Rocksprings). Karis broke her arm and we went to urgent care on Monday the 9th, Karis started school on the 10th, choir was on the 11th, we went to the orthopedic doctor on the 12th, the 14th we went to Wild Seed Farms and Robert and I had a date day (amazing day!!!!!), the 15th we went to the Alumni meeting at La Hacienda and I got my 1 year chip (and we picked up the kids), the 16th I went to AA (and Robert took Ethan to the ER that night for asthma), the 17th I went to town to get Ethan’s steroid med filled, the 18th was choir, the 19th Karis met with her partner for science fair at the library, and Friday Ethan and I went to the doc for a follow up and we got groceries. The urgent care, ER, and doctors were not good (well, the docs and stuff were great but having to go wasn’t good), but the rest was! And I’m really starting to feel better. I’m having a few physical symptoms that I’m not sure about, but I’m still just taking it one day at a time. I might go back to the doctor eventually. It’s nothing extreme. And tomorrow I will see my psychiatrist. That’ll be good! I don’t think I really need to make any changes. I feel like things are going better and while I do have anxiety still, I don’t want to take more meds and I think it’s just something I have to live with. I’ve learned a lot of coping skills and put those into place when I’m struggling. Things are going well for the first time in a long time!
Tuesday we had “HAF (Home Away From) Homes.” This is time with our gap year students (well, 3 of them). We share with our neighbors who we love deeply. It’s such a sweet time!
Friday was so fun. I had an entire day with Ethan. The appointment with the doctor went super well. We got all of his asthma meds refilled and we’re going to focus on getting him completely stable in that area. He got a flu shot. Then we got donuts and got some blood work done to see what he’s allergic to. We got groceries (I spent very little and am so proud of myself!) and we got Halloween costumes. Then went to eat at a Chinese restaurant (Ethan’s choice).
This past weekend was so productive.
Saturday I cleaned the house nearly spotless. It has been a long time coming! I have just been having the kids clean it and obviously that means that things weren’t being cleaned super well. So I deep cleaned the bathrooms. I cleaned the floors. I cleaned and organized my bedroom (desperately needed to be done… I had piles everywhere). I got caught up on laundry. Washed some sheets (I need to finish that this week), and washed towels and bathroom mats. The kids cleaned their rooms (not spotless, but good enough for now). I did the dishes and cleaned the kitchen.
After the kids cleaned, they enjoyed time with their friends and Levi enjoyed time reading fall and Halloween books that I pulled out :-). At the end of the day we watched a movie as a family (Spiderwick Chronicles… so good!).
Sunday I did a bunch of food prep! Mini whole wheat pumpkin banana muffins. Homemade whole wheat bread (though it didn’t rise real well). I made lunches for 4 days. I bagged snacks. Cut cantaloupe. Cut veggies for the veggie tray. Froze pumpkin in candy molds for smoothies.
The kids were out playing with friends this whole time. The boys went fishing in the river. Karis played with her friends. I love that they have each other!
Robert worked, then he had to go pick up the camp jeep because it broke down.
At the end of the day I did a quick pick up of the house, finished the dishes, set the coffee up for the next day, signed the kids folders, and did a little bit of spot sweeping. I went to bed exhausted and fell asleep pretty quickly! It was so great!
I really think having all three kids in school is the best for our family. I feel so much better mentally/emotionally. The kids are thriving. Karis is actually doing so much better this time. She feels somewhat stressed, but she’s handling it very well. I encourage her constantly and she has amazing teachers. She’s making A’s and B’s! A 100 in science and even an 86 in math! This is HUGE, especially since she came in late in the school year. Also, she’s doing well writing with her left hand since her write arm has a cast on it!
Yesterday I went to AA (always amazing!), then I had a nice lunch on the patio of Chili’s afterwards. Then Walmart, then home! We had dinner with friends last night. It was so amazing!
I always get my Sonic Coke Zero with lime before AA. And there’s a dollar there because they take up donations to pay for the fee for using the building, material, etc. That’s my AA Big Book. We read “How It Works” last week and this week. It’s my favorite chapter in the book. It tells you how to work the 12 steps.
The burger was a Smokehouse Cheeseburger. It had a special sauce, crumbled bacon, 2 amazing onion rings, and all the veggies. It was so amazing, and of course I love their fries.
Today I’m hosting ladies’ Bible study here. It’s always a sweet time of fellowship.
Life is good!! Praise God for this!!
This week has been a doozy.
Wednesday I got an email from Levi’s teacher that said:
“I’ve enjoyed him this year! I remember when he first came to school. He had trouble socializing with the kids, following routines, and remembering rules. Public school was a challenge . Now he fits in with the kids, has a lot of friends and does so well. We did a memory book of first grade and one page says “my best friend are”…… Levi was mentioned in all of the boys books and a couple of the girls. He is a star shining bright! Thank you for giving me the opportunity to spend this year with him!”
Then I found out that Ethan has been mean to another kid. His behavior has gotten worse since I told them they were homeschooling.
I felt anxiety for several days because of this. I thought that maybe they were better off in school.
Through anxiety this week I have learned a few things…
- It’s probably never going to go away so I need to stop assuming it will.
- I’m not causing it by decisions that I’ve made… I have it because I have an anxiety disorder.
- Learning to work THROUGH it instead of wishing it away will be the best thing for me in the long run.
- Giving myself grace is so important.
- I have this assumption that peace means that I’ve done good and anxiety means that I have done something bad.
- Anxiety comes and goes. It’s like waves.
- Prayer makes a huge difference, believe it or not.
- It’s normal to feel nervous about starting something new again (homeschooling), and I WILL have anxiety some days even though we know this is the right thing.
- I have spent so much time over the years changing decisions based on anxiety. If I felt anxiety, I would change my mind on something. Then when I would feel anxiety again, I would change my mind again. It has been a back-and-forth thing for as long as I can remember. I need to learn to stick with decisions even on the hard days (and there WILL be hard days).
Robert and I talked about how we decided to homeschool based on what is best for our family as a whole, not because they were struggling at school. It works so much better out here at camp.
I decided that no matter what, we need to stick with our decision. It wasn’t just me that made the decision, and I need to trust that God is working in Robert’s heart in this matter, too. The fact that he wants to homeschool now says a lot about this decision.
Yesterday the boys were saying that they want to go to school next year. They had an amazing week of not doing much school work, playing, and partying. They were saying that they will miss their friends and bus driver (really?!). Haha. I told them that they WILL be homeschooling next year and they seemed okay with that. I think they needed me to just tell them what we’re doing no matter what (I had to come to terms with it as well). This morning they were cheering about being homeschoolers now and how excited they are! They just needed to be home to remember what it was like. They have played outside all morning, and I’m sitting on the porch while they play outside. Next week they will start reading 30 minutes a day, and we will start school in July so we can take breaks as needed during the year. We will take a week off when we go to Glorieta camp for family camp (and to see Robert’s parents) at the end of July (it starts on my birthday!).
We’re all just so at peace today and enjoying life. The house is a mess, and I’m going to have to let that go now that they are home. Luckily they clean up quickly, well, and without a fight so it should be fine.
Life is hard, but it is good. I trust God and His plans even when they don’t always make sense. I need to stick with things and be content with where we are in life.
The kids and I went swimming after the boys got home yesterday (at 1:00)! It was super fun! This will be a regular activity! When the lifeguards are out, they can play on the toys. When they aren’t, we just swim :-). Their favorite thing is the floating dock. They get on, jump off, on, off.
This morning I woke up (at 9:00!) to them playing on the back porch and yard. They haven’t done that in a long time… they mostly play across the street under our neighbor’s porch. They are enjoying the Pokemon card game!
I’m also very rested today, which I haven’t been in a long time. So that helps my anxiety considerably! I have been sooooo tired and not sleeping well. I slept the whole night last night!
I’m realizing today just how different life is now that I’m sober. In the past I would have started drinking in a few hours because that’s what I did. I drank typically starting at noon into the evening. Maybe not every day, but most days. I wasn’t living life! I was in a fog all of the time… never alert to what was going on around me. Now I can think clearly and experience things.
Life is good! Praise God!
From the chapter of the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book, “How it Works”:
“Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves.”
“Selfishness-self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity…”
“Above everything, we alcoholics much be rid of this selfishness.”
“We had to have God’s help.”
“First of all, we had to quit playing God. It didn’t work. Next, we decided that hereafter in this drama of life, God was going to be our Director.”
“He is the Father, and we are His children.”
We read half of this chapter on Monday in the AA Women’s Big Book meeting and these bold words stood out to me. I have been stuck in this for a long time. I am self-centered, self-seeking; most of all I have had a lot of fear and self-pity. I sit and focus on my illnesses and difficulties in life.
I posted this on Sunday:
“This describes me 100% right now. Mental illness, EMDR, counseling, alcoholism, AA, fighting cravings, taking care of my family, just getting through each day… takes a lot out of a person. I feel that I am a strong person (thanks to Jesus), but I am worn. Starting a new week tomorrow with hope in Jesus, knowing that I can get through the week because He’s with me.”
While all this is true for me, I was really hoping for pity… I was acting in self-pity and I wanted people to encourage me. This is self-centered. I wanted attention because of my issues… and in reality, this is me trying to make them my identity.
I want people to see me as strong. I want people to see me as brave, courageous, and honest. I don’t want people to see me as having self-pity and being self-centered. I want people to see my love for others. I want to be known for my love for Jesus. My identity is in Jesus first and foremost. Without Him, I am nothing.
Something else that’s really important is the reminder that I need to get my butt up and outside moving. Not for weight loss, but for time to commune with God and for mental/emotional health. I hiked Tuesday… I took it slow, took pictures, noticed the flowers, listened to the birds sing, listened to the river running, and was just in the peaceful element of nature. It was perfect. I talked to my counselor about it Tuesday night and she really wants me to make this a priority. It’s hard in the moment when I don’t feel like doing anything, but it is so stinkin’ helpful that I need to do it even when I don’t feel like it. My counselor that I had in Frisco would tell me that when I can’t think my way into acting, act my way into thinking. So in other words, even when I don’t feel like it, just get up and do it and it will help me mentally/emotionally.
It was a beautiful day. Sunny and the perfect temperature.
I used to exercise obsessively when I was dieting, and definitely not for mental/emotional health… mostly to try to lose weight. I counted steps, calories, etc. I would exercise to be able to eat or I would exercise to make up for what I ate. This is not healthy. I sold my FitBit because I was tired of feeling guilty if I didn’t reach my 10,000 steps a day, and when I hiked, I would obsess about getting as many steps as I could, not enjoying it. I now use Map My Walk, only to see how many miles because I’m curious. It’s not something I have to keep up with every day. And I can hike without the app… it’s all about curiosity.
The program with my dietitian is called Attuned Eating for Attuned Living.
Every week I have audios to listen to, worksheets, and lots of readings (including some books). She also goes over my food journals most days and we have a weekly Zoom meeting so we see each other and talk to one another. Sometimes there are one or two more ladies in the meeting.
Today we talked about something that I have been struggling with… my coffee and Coke Zero intake. She thinks it’s keeping me from being able to listen to my hunger and fullness cues. I drink so much coffee in the morning that I have a hard time eating breakfast… then I’m shaky by lunch time and over-eat. She also pointed out that there is a reason why I feel the need to have a lot of coffee and Coke Zero (only drinking those and drinking very little water). She thinks I have a habit to the process. Also, I’m using my drinks to replace alcohol, which means that I’m still trying to not feel certain things. It’s an emotional crutch. She wants me to be journaling about how I’m feeling when I drink coffee and Coke Zero.
We’re also focusing on my eating breakfast every day so that I’m not starving and shaky by lunch. The most common thing that I’ve been eating is breakfast tacos. Potato, bacon, and egg with salsa and cheese. It keeps me comfortable until lunch. Today I had homemade Greek yogurt and steel cut oatmeal. I’m pretty hungry now, but it’s almost lunch time so I’m fine.
The most important thing that she’s doing is helping me to learn to love myself just the way I am. She told me that gaining a little bit of weight is normal as my body overcomes the constant dieting that I did for so many years. My body is trying to find it’s set point. Where it’s supposed to be without dieting. I may end up losing weight eventually. But the most important thing is to not weigh myself at all because it changes my emotional state big time.
The most important thing that I have learned this week is that I need to make God’s word and fellowship with His people priority.
I got very behind on my Bible study because of dietitian homework, driving to and from town, and being depressed and anxious. It’s been a rough few weeks.
I was going to skip Bible study since I was so behind. Robert did everything but push me out the door.
We had technical difficulties so we ended up having Bible study at my house, watching the DVD on my tv, and having coffee and discussion. It was really great! From now on the Bible study is going to be at my house. I’m so excited about that because it’s built in accountability. I also love to host women in my home… especially since I’m alone most of the time!
We decided to start fresh next week (turns out, I wasn’t the only one behind), so now I’m right on schedule!
I started it as soon as we finished!
This book (1 Peter) talks a lot about trials and suffering. It’s just right for what I’ve gone through and continue to. The good news is that it says “for a little while.” That’s hopeful!
So… through struggle comes strength and growth.
Between AA 2-3 times a week, step work, meeting with my sponsor weekly, working with a dietitian that wants to teach me to love myself the way that I am, my counselor working with me on my self worth, daily time in the word, constant worship, church (becoming members), and so much more, I’m growing so much!
Through working hard, I’m learning more about myself and my calling.
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 wrote a post on Monday titled Waiting Room. In a nutshell I talked about the possibility again of homeschooling the kids next year. I talked about having to wait a few months to make the decision and that was really hard for me.
Well, we already have our decision made (for next year at least), and it makes me sad, but I know it’s best. It’s what gives me the most peace.
You see, I want to homeschool. I love it. It gives me purpose. It helps me fill my day with something that I feel joy about. I love being with my kids all day. I love that they have lots of play time. I love the convenience of it. I love that most people here homeschool, and the kids all get to be together.
This time of year is when I’m usually researching to buy curriculum for the next year (of course, I ended up changing so many times I lost count…).
I saw some pictures of Karis today that I took when I was homeschooling just her last year. It breaks my heart that I’m not doing that with her right now. It brought me joy.
But those reasons are all about me, not about what’s best for her. Sure she wants to be homeschooled as well, but that doesn’t mean that’s best for her. Her teacher has made it clear that she has seen her come out of her shell since she started and she really feels that school is best for her. And she’s right. She also has the opportunity to be counseled by an amazing counselor and the opportunity to do choir (and maybe other extra curricular activities in the future).
Karis is making A’s and B’s (even in math she’s making a B, and she started really struggling). She is on an eighth grade level in reading and she is challenged. She loves science and social studies, which are subjects I was never good at teaching.
She is making friends and really starting to like school. Yesterday a friend gave her a Valentine’s gift and she said, “Do you know why he gave this to me? Because he likes me and I like him.” He’s a sweet friend and they seem to have a lot in common. They talk Minecraft every day :-). While she’s a little young to be liking boys, I’m just happy that she has a good friend that’s her age and boys don’t cause as much drama as girls ;-).
And the boys… why would I want to homeschool them? Only because it’s safe and comfortable.
They are also both thriving.
Ethan has gone from a first grade reading level to a second-third grade reading level since November! I struggled every day to help him learn how to read, and I just wasn’t successful. He has all A’s and B’s! This is huge. He has the opportunity to do sports, which is what he has always wanted to do.
This is from his teacher today:
“I am enjoying Ethan. He has made some huge strides since he came to me in November. He is doing well.
Ethan is very polite and always helpful. He has several different groups of friends that he plays with on the playground. He is great about including the students that don’t always have a friend.
We had a conversation the other day, because he gets his work done, but he has to procrastinate a little before he gets it done. As we talked, he told me that he gets distracted by the others around him when he has to do independent work. Ethan asked to sit at a table by himself so he can concentrate. I let him sit by himself with the option to move with a group if he wanted and he seems to be staying on task. He sits with the group when we are doing partner/group collaboration, however prefers to sit by himself when doing independent work. Ethan does like to rush through his work, but that has seemed to subside as well by letting him sit by himself for independent work.
He has really taken to reading. I have noticed that just in the last month or so, he has really began to push himself to read even more so than before. He is reading about 70 words per minute with accurate comprehension. He should be able to read at 90 words per minute fluently by the end of 2nd grade. He is right on track to meet the 90 words a minute in fluency. Ethan is reading at a 2.5 reading level and I will test him on his reading level again this coming Monday. I suspect his reading level with be higher than 2.5.
He is doing well in math. He still needs to continue working on his math facts, but is getting better with them every day. We have started multiplication as repeated addition this week and he is picking up on this really fast.
I am sure enjoying Ethan in my class.”
He has met his AR goal early this six weeks. He and his classmates that met their AR goals are in this picture. He is the one lifting his paper high :-).
Levi is learning social skills that I couldn’t teach him here. He started by getting in trouble all the time, and now he rarely gets in trouble. His teacher has been way more successful at teaching him the correct behavior than I ever was. She told me today that he’s a joy to have in class. He has all A’s and 1 B (math). He is growing so much in the area of academics. He is also on a second-third grade reading level. He is challenged in this area. I love that he can read books on his level versus reading readers that I pick out. And he is tested on comprehension which is something I wasn’t doing with the reading curriculum that I was doing here. Today he made a 100% on his chapter book that he read in 25 minutes yesterday.
Levi’s teacher told me that he is a joy to have in class. She is pleased with his quality of reading. He has made such progress since November.
One other thing that is really important is my healing. I have so much work to do still. I know that if I were to work, I would spin into severe anxiety and depression. How is homeschooling any different? I was obsessing about curriculum. Spending hundreds on credit. I would change their curriculum every few weeks!
I was drinking every day when I was homeschooling before. Obviously it was causing me anxiety. Well, that and I’m an alcoholic.
I spent some time today asking friends to remind me of why I know having them in school is best, and pretty much everyone was “right on.” These comments especially stood out to me because it was different than anything else, and it made so much sense.
“Pulling them based on the your original post seems to be about you & not them. It’s best for them because you socially, emotionally and mentally then need to be where they are thriving and you need to focus on you.”
“Is it possible that the rhythm of homeschool became sort of an addiction as well? Something to distract, define or comfort you?”
“Not trying to vilify it at all but maybe it was more for you than them at times?”
“This is a really good point. _________ and I were having conversations about this because he is also doing his stepwork with addiction. It’s all too easy for those with addiction issues to trade one addiction for another. You give up drinking, but a part of you still craves something, so you feed it with something else. In your case, it could be the “high” you get from buying curriculum, planning lessons, and homeschooling. This might be a good topic to talk to your counselor about and get their take too!”
I am in awe of how God speaks through friends. I needed to “hear” everything that these people said to me.
I truly think I have an addiction to all things homeschooling (and teaching in general). The high that I get from researching curriculum, buying curriculum, lesson planning, etc keeps me going. Now I have to learn to not search for a high, but allow God to work in me and help me learn how to take good care of myself.
A few things I decided today: Along with taking good care of myself, I also want to start serving friends here. I plan to start making meals for friends, having coffee with friends, hiking with friends, etc. I feel like I have purpose now after making decisions today.
I’m looking forward to the future!
I’m struggling today. I have many things to be grateful for, but I’m still struggling. I will write a post on that in a bit. But for now I will try to focus on the good!
I’m so thankful for this man. He has been there supporting me through hospitalizations for mental illness, treatment for alcoholism, and through leaving countless jobs because of all of this. He loves me more than I could imagine a man loving a woman. He’s amazing.
Our camp family (and my parents, Meemaw, and Grandma)
I spent time yesterday teaching Karis how to bake my sugar cookies on her own (she had to bake cookies for school).
These cookies were made and decorated by a friend here at camp. She’s talented!
I got the kids a little something for Valentines this year. I don’t normally do this. I let them eat their cookies before school today! That made their day.
I spent today working on my blog and drinking coffee. Great for a cold day like today!
I’m 125 days sober today! It gets easier every day!
Also thankful for:
- God’s word (and She Reads Truth Bible studies)
- The fact that God worked out all the details to make it so I can go to town on Mondays instead of Wednesdays… which means the kids can do the community choir :-).
- The kids being able to be involved in extra curricular activities
- Restful days at home
- A clean home
- Laundry caught up every day
- Self care
I could go on and on apparently. This brightened my day! Enjoy your Valentine’s Day!
My weekends are amazing (I’m usually very productive and feel great… and the kids and I have bonding time) and my week days are hard. I’m trying to learn to accept that. I’m only going to town 2 days a week from now on. Going to town takes so much energy and makes me tired.
Even staying home is hard. I desperately miss homeschooling (I loved it despite the anxiety that it brought me) and evenings are so hard… with homework (lots of protest and sometimes tears), exhausted kids, emotions about school, etc. I hope it gets easier over time.
I have been chairing an AA meeting on Wednesdays (12 Steps and 12 Traditions), and I’ve enjoyed that. I just wish I didn’t live so far from town. Tomorrow is 100 days sober!
I also processed through the rest of my AA Step 6, which took some energy. It was good… just exhausting. My sponsor is so good. She helps me see things in a different way and pushes me to be my best. I’m working on making some changes with my perfectionism, and the first thing is that I’m working on letting the kids have things in the living room. I always like a spotless living area so this is taking me a lot to let go. Of course some structure is good so they have to clean up before bed. I feel that’s a good compromise. This picture is what it looked like to have a “messy” living area. The kids did bring out some Legos after this, but they cleaned them up quickly when I told them it was time for bed!
This is what it looks like now! It took 5 minutes to clean up.
On another note… I received a lot of new information yesterday. I am processing it so I’m not ready to blog about it yet (and probably won’t ever, actually). It has to do with abuse and death of a family member (other than my brother… I’ve shared about his suicide a lot on my blog). It’s all so raw and difficult to process. I asked for the info, but I probably should have waited to ask till it’s closer to the day I meet with my new counselor (she can’t meet until February 1st because she will be out of town next week). I’ll survive, though. It’s good to know the info so I can process it in counseling.
The one thing that I realized yesterday is that I have such a victim mentality. I know why, but I need to learn to fight through that. I don’t want people to feel sorry for me. Encouragement is nice, but pity isn’t. I often seek pity and that’s not healthy. I’m working on this.
I’m also going to read this book again. My friend that is a counselor suggested it when I was going through hyperventilation syndrome last spring. I started reading it, but I never finished so I’m going to start over.
I have so much anxiety in the evenings. I hate that because all community events (here at camp) happen in the evenings. And dinner in the dining hall (we didn’t end up going this week at all and there were meals every night this week).
That’s when I drank. Lots in the afternoon/evenings. It helped quiet the anxiety. I would also drink before community events which helped with social anxiety. Obviously none of that was healthy. I need to find a better way.
My old psychiatric PA didn’t question my drinking. He just said that it’s common among people who have anxiety. I would tell him how much I drank and he didn’t think there was anything wrong with it. Hello?! It would have helped me so much to hear from a medical professional that I needed to get help! I have all of the signs of alcohol use disorder and he didn’t know! AND, drinking while on the meds that I’m on is stupid and dangerous. I know all of this now, but in the middle of it, I didn’t process it.
Another thing is that I’m wondering if I have been having symptoms of my bipolar 2 and didn’t know it because the symptoms didn’t last long. Like rapid cycles or something. I found out last week when I saw my new psychiatrist that the birth control affects my Lamictal (one of my bipolar meds). She took me off of it, but this past week I have had lots of ups and downs, so we’ll see what happens. I had what I think was hypomania on Sunday and Monday. Not much sleep, got a TON done around the house (more than the normal person… see my posts from Sunday and Monday), and just felt more energetic than normal. Then these past few days I have been feeling down again. Obviously the symptoms aren’t as bad and don’t last long, but it’s still more pronounced than a normal day.
Anyway… lots of stuff to process. Yuck. I am hopeful, though, that through all of this processing (and EMDR treatment) I will come out a stronger, more confident, less anxious and depressed person.
Don’t feel sorry for me, but I love encouragement! Reminding me that God will help me through it, and He’s always been there! Even (and especially) through the thick of it. I spent some time praising Him this morning and he reminded me that He is there. He’s got this. Reminding me that I am a strong person and I can get through anything with the strength of Christ, His grace, and His peace! Thank you!
Because week days are so busy now days, I spend lots of time on the weekends getting ready for the week ahead.
I cleaned the house Friday and we have kept up with it today.
Robert got caught up on laundry today!
I spent the afternoon prepping meals for the coming week!
I cut up lots of veggies.
Prepped my lunches and snacks for my days in town.
I made granola.
I washed the jars for yogurt and made yogurt (it’s in the Instant Pot right now).
I made Pumpkin Breakfast Cookies. I used a recipe that I found online, but changed it a ton, so I’ll post my recipe soon.
Robert made chili for dinner tonight :-).
Before any of the prep work began, the boys and I played games, and Robert and I played a game! Karis did some art on the small marker board :-). It was a great way to start the day :-).
Tomorrow we are going to church (yay!), buying white elephant gifts for our camp Christmas party Monday, and taking family pictures!
We have a busy week coming up with AA, camp Christmas party, doctor appointment in San Antonio, Robert will be busy Wednesday evening, and kids’ Christmas concert Thursday evening. Next Saturday is Christmas at my parents’, then Sunday our friends are coming to stay! Looking forward to all of it!