Posts

Showing posts from April, 2020

Better Together

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Last week I talked about how important it is to connect with others during this lonely and isolating time of Shelter in Place. I spoke about connecting with those outside your home. On Tuesday I spoke about making special MOMents with each child. Now I want to talk about how important it is connect with all of those inside our home, together. 
We've been given a gift. A silver lining to this cloud that is hanging over our country. That gift is more time for families to be together. 

I know your schedules have been changed, and not much is normal for you right now.  That is hard. But I want to encourage you to take advantage of the extra free time you have together as a family. 
We are planning movie nights and game nights, tea parties and YouTube art classes. We are BBQing more and making fun desserts (sugar-free but yum!). We are worshipping together on Sunday mornings and listening to an audiobook together every evening. 
It's not all bubbles and roses. We have squabbles and bou…

Chalk Inspired!

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People are inspiring!

I've said it many times before, love spreads and people fill me with inspiration.

Recently, I saw a beautiful, multicolored chalk encouragement in my neighbors' driveway. "Thank you doctors and nurses" it said, each letter a different vibrant color. I thought that was AWESOME and felt inspired to pass on that encouragement... and more!

So I bought a box of sidewalk chalk and picked a day, "Fun Friday", to do that as our activity of the day. 

We started at Fred Meyer with my daughters, my toddler, and our dog... To write on the sidewalk next to a BUSY street. I hadn't thought this out well...

I left my eldest in the van with the dog and toddler while my middle child and I hit the sidewalk. We quickly sketched out the words in big, block letters "DON'T GIVE UP", "YOU ARE LOVED", "KEEP HOPE", and my daughter added at the end "GOD HAS YOU".

It was thrilling. It was enjoyable, despite the rocks that…

MOMents

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Quite a few months ago I heard an idea that was rather freeing for me. I was listening to a podcast and the speaker was a lady with a large family. She was talking about how one of the biggest arguments that people have against large families is: "You wont have enough attention for each child and your children will grow up feeling they were ignored." The speaker was countering this argument by saying that you don't need to constantly be stressing about giving each child their daily allotment of attention and making sure it is all equal. Instead, what you should be on the lookout for is creating special moments with each child. MOMents.

I love this idea! It felt like it was a huge stress reliever, like an expectation that was way too big and guilt-inducing was just lifted off my shoulders. Checking off a box of spending a certain amount of time with each child was overwhelming; making sure I sneak in special MOMents with each child, that was something I could do.

I think th…

Sunny Immunity

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I've been getting a lot of sun lately.

We've been having beautiful Spring weather here in Western Oregon. The day starts out cool as the sun rises and then gets to a nice 65-70 Fahrenheit in the early afternoon and evening. However, the real reason I've been getting out every day... To stay sane in Lockdown.

Besides seeing people from a distance, nothing makes me feel better than getting out with my kids. Going to the lake, on a hike, to a creek, or about anywhere that I can be outside. Enjoying the sunshine and not feeling alone for a little while! To keep my spirits up during this time of social distancing we've been going outside every sunny day. (I seriously need to invest in a big hat because despite my sunscreen my forehead is showing sun damage ).

Did you know that sunshine is not just good for your mental health but your physical as well? You might be hearing the buzz lately about Vitamin D boosts your immune system (something we all want right now), and it's …

I Felt Like a Hypocrite

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My heart was broken a little today.

It was an unexpected encounter with a women that left me feeling sad, hypocritical, and humbled.

We went to the edge of a park today (the playground is closed but while social distancing people use the other areas) for our "Sunshine Time" in which we played, did school, and had lunch. 

Before we left the park we drove up to the park parking lot to empty our trash next to the outhouses before our dog drug it all over our van. I instantly noticed a women in a bright pink bikini near the potties... The very next thing I noticed was that she had VERY large, VERY obviously fake boobs...

I instantly was put off and felt uncomfortable all at the same time. She said "Hi" to my kids as they dumped our trash into the park's trash can. My kids acted awkward too...

As I looked on from my car, I made more observation about this women. She looked like she had a hard life and that she either currently struggled with addiction, poverty, or both. …

Pause...

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The other day I was sitting on the couch and the baby started to doze. I looked down at him and sighed. I should really get him to bed so I can get the dishes done...
But I didn't feel like carrying him all the way down the hallway (which would probably hurt). I didn't feel like fighting to get him to sleep in his own bed (sometimes it takes several attempts to lay him down). And then doing the dishes would probably hurt, too. I just wanted to sit there and hold him and do nothing for a while. So I did. I held him during his whole nap, just thinking and praying and having quiet conversations with my other kids. 

Have you ever read any of the Psalms or the book of Habakkuk from the Bible? Many of them have breaks in them that say "Selah". A lot of people believe this word means to pause and reflect. This word is used 74 times in the Bible.
I see a lot of people getting a lot of projects done during this quarantine. Which is awesome. This extra time gives us opportunity …

A Different Kind of FUN.

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I found myself mom comparing lately. :(

Never a good thing. 

I was watching other mom's "Fun Mom Moments" with their kids and comparing mine with theirs. I felt less than. Have I got less fun the more kids I've had? Am I not doing as good of job? The questions always come. 

I used to curl up and watch a movie with my kids in bed... I used to play a lot more with my kids at the park... I used to do so many things... 

Then it came to me.

I just have differentFun Mom Moments with my kids. I don't do a lot of fun crafty activities anymore because of my little one. I don't usually play with my kids at the park, I'm usually overseeing the baby's safety. I often say "No" to playing a card game, seeing their latest invention, or doing something that feels "extra" at the time.

Some of reasons for this "less fun mom" is I need a break and then I'd be happy to do those things with my kids. However, a lot of it is I just do different f…

Separated...Together

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How are you doing, mama?  Are you finding ways to connect with others? I talked about my calendar last week, and I wanted to let you know that I connected with people who do not live in my home 5 times this past week. It was so nice! On Monday, my MOPS steering team had a Zoom meeting to practice for our Tuesday Zoom MOPS meeting. I also had a Zoom women's bible study on Tuesday. It was wonderful to see the ladies' faces and to interact, even if it was virtual.  Friday was fantastic, though. I was giddy about it the two days before. On Friday, some of my friends and I met at the river. There were six of us, and we sat around the fire (appropriately spaced, no one touching or breathing on anyone else) and talked and talked and talked. They started arriving around 6:30 pm and we didn't leave until after midnight. We were all starved for girl talk, and it was sooooo nice to be able to converse face to face.  We also had church with my parents and grandparents and aunt on Sun…

Finding HOPE during Global Crisis

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I feel hopeful for the FIRST time in this whole giant mess of a pandemic.

Yes, I know this pandemic will be over in time. Yes, we'll get through this but I just haven't had a lot of hope with no certain end in sight and so many restrictions on our taken-for-granted freedoms.

Today, I feel hopeful again.

I've reached a new stage in my social distancing "journey" which is to connect in person but with distance. I feel SO hopeful and excited about this. About getting see and talk to a friend. I said "hi" to my in-laws the other day from my mini van, which I mentioned already.

I feel hopeful because I finding small, little ways to not just survive my day to day life but actually enjoy most of it. I'm taking the kids out anywhere and everywhere I can, as much as I can, and that does wonders for all of our moods. It's been sunny and warm which always has a positive effect on my mood. I have been still keeping informed, but not heavily consuming, the media…

The Ugly Truth

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Since I was a young girl, I have deeply cared about doing the right thing.

When I was about five years old, I prayed that Jesus would forgive me and live in my heart. The next few months I was SO careful to not lie (because I wanted to make Jesus happy) that I would only answer "maybe" to any and every question. I didn't want to say "yes" and not be able to do it and it be a lie. (True story and I drove my family nuts!)

That carefulness to do what was right continued into adulthood as I intentionally lived in a way that I felt was pleasing to the Lord. As my relationship with Jesus grew, the more my pleasing Him became less out of fear of doing something wrong and more from freedom of knowing I am loved, He is good, and His ways are best.

But here's the ugly truth.

With all my carefulness and caution in life to do what is right. With all my deliberately trying to be the best I could be, I've always had bad thoughts, temptations, and little voices that promp…

Creating a Plan

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What day is it? Oh yeah...

What is your calendar looking like, ladies? Mine looks like this:

Yeah, that's right. I haven't filled it out for April. I haven't even wanted to look at it in weeks because its kind of depressing. OK, really depressing.
No AWANA, no youth group, no MOPS, no church. No birthday parties or appointments...
I don't really need to go on, do I? We're all in the same boat. 
Well, I can't steer this boat, but I'm not going to let it sink me, either. Surely I can mess with the rudder a bit. 
I'm filling out my calendar, ladies.
I'm wiping March into the past and getting the next month on the board.
We are going to have movie nights and parties, gardening days and drives in the mountains. I'm putting virtual meetings and Bible studies in the little squares. 
At the risk of sounding repetitive, I'm going to focus on what I CAN do, not what I can't.
What are you planning, mama? Please let me know!
Blessings, Lee


SEEING PEOPLE during Social Distancing

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As I've mentioned, social distancing has led to a roller coaster of feelings and decreased emotional well being for me... I have kids, I have a household to run, and I homeschool. I need to remain as healthy and stable as possible for my children during this tumultuous time.

I need to see people.

We've said it time and time again here "We are not meant to do this alone." This motherhood thing, this life thing, has many tough season and people, good friends, and meaningful connections are what God intended to help get us through it!

Being isolated during a global crisis is HORRIBLE! I'm speaking for myself here. Depression, anxiety, irritability, toxic stress, and anger are some of the things I've struggled with in this last month. As this crisis in America is still only only going up on its curve here on the West Coast, I realized, this Lockdown could go on for some time and I have to, I mean HAVE TO find ways to connect in the midst of it.

I need people.

So, I…

What Can I Do?

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Five weeks ago, I told my surgeon that I was in 90% less pain than before. She was thrilled.  Then I started to resume my normal activities...Four weeks ago, I was standing at my kitchen sink and thinking, I will never take being able to stand long enough to wash my dishes for granted again!
Two weeks ago, I couldn't take it anymore and called my mom up sobbing and asked if she could come over and help me by washing my dishes. I just couldn't handle the pain. 
For those who don't know, I had a double inguinal hernia surgery at the end of January to fix one hernia and try to fix the damage that was done from my last surgery (2016). Either the surgery wasn't as successful as we had hoped or I tried to resume normal activity too soon. Either way, nothing can be done to help me until the COVID-19 pandemic passes except resting and trying to keep from getting worse. 
This is hard for me. SO hard. I have spent the past 7 years dealing with this chronic pain and I had hoped I w…

Toxic Stress

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I'm struggling.

I feel isolated, trapped, and alone. My kids are driving me nuts and they are also feeling the stress of everything. I'm on edge, stressed, and anxious. My emotional well being is a roller coaster along with my emotions. I'm not doing this whole coronavirus/social distancing thing well...

I was sick about 2 weeks ago with something my husband had the week before. No fever, just two days in bed and fatigue that lasted for days after. I recovered and then went on trying to make it through this hard time as best as I can.

Then I got sick, again! I had body aches, stomach ache, headache, and was super tired. Do I have the coronavirus? I wondered. Is this it or am I just "Stress Sick"? For me Stress Sick is a real thing. I get sick when I'm under stress for prolonged period. It is toxic and my physical body suffers.

While sick, I could barely function for a day. I felt awful!!! I took a two hour nap and when my husband came home from work, I stayed in …

What Are You Fighting For?

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I was having my prayer time the other day in my room. I had positioned my antique white chair in front of my window because I wanted the benefits of being outside without the work of getting myself to my backyard. Silly, I know.

I sat there and prayed for my family and our world. Then I read Joshua 8 in the Bible. In Joshua, chapter 8, Joshua comes back from another victorious battle against Israelite's enemies. After this great victory they set up an alter, worship the Lord, and read the tablets of the Law.

My commentary read: It's important to remember who you are and what your fighting for.

Wow, isn't that the truth!

Right as I was about to pull out my pen and write down who I was and what I was fighting for, my children knocked on the door. The baby reached his "expired" time and was done playing with sissy... But this was important. I needed this. I needed some focus and hope in the midst of all the struggle.

"I'm not done yet," I said back through …

It's Ok That It's Hard..

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Have you ever seen Return To Me?It's one of my favorite romantic comedies. It's sweet and clean and makes me cry every time. There is a scene in which one of the main characters, who was just recently saved by a heart transplant, is talking to her doctor about how she feels guilty about complaining about bad days because she feels like she should never have any bad days anymore because this miracle has saved her life. 
It reminds me of how I first felt about motherhood. I've just received this incredibly beautiful baby, this gift from heaven, how could I ever have a bad day again? How could I ever be sad again? How could I ever be angry? 
Ha. Ha. Ha.

Flash forward to over 11 years later. My fifth baby is working on breaking three teeth through in one week. I'm still struggling with surgery pain (9 weeks post-surgery) which is extremely frustrating and makes taking care of the baby pretty hard at times. My middle child's (still undiagnosed) behaviors can be so nerve w…

Clingy Kid

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We've been home, a lot!

With the Lock Down in place here in Oregon, I've been doing my best to not take the kids anywhere except on walks. We are all feeling the stress and strain of everything going on right now... Even my little one.

My son has been VERY clingy lately. Like, I can't go to the bathroom by myself, clingy. He doesn't want to go with his sisters, clingy. He wants held and nursed or he is screeching at my feet, clingy. Driving me NUTS, clingy!

I've been picking him up and holding him. Snuggling, cuddling, and nursing him whenever I can. I began to wonder if he was teething or if he was not feeling good... but then I thought about this lock-down, the virus, the added tension and stress my husband and I are feeling. The kids feel it too!

And though this is not a time I have a lot extra to give, I can give that comfort to my child. I can meet his needs to be near to me when he's feeling insecure. I can pick him up and sit him on the counter when I'm …

The Twilight Zone?

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I forgot to publish my blog today! (today is Thursday for me; this blog will be published on Tuesday) That is the first time in over a year of writing that I have done that! 
I think I have kind of been thrown off balance. We are living in such a strange time right now. The world is still spinning like it has always done, a lot of things are the same, and yet some things are so different. 
For we mamas, especially those that are stay-at-home-homeschoolers, our days may not look that much different than they did before this pandemic broke out. We still have hungry mouths to feed, dishes and laundry to wash,  and lessons to teach. For a few busy hours at a time, I find it easy to forget the things that are going on in the world. 
Then I look at my phone. Or wish that I could call up a friend for a playdate and then remember that I can't. Or go grocery shopping, where everyone is wearing gloves and masks and you can't find toilet paper or the kind of cat food my kitties like. 
W…

You are Not Alone

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A Poem for youDear Mama,
You are SO important.
You are so loved!
You are making a difference.
Keep your head up.


Dear Mama,
I know this is hard,
The struggle is real,
The heart is felt,
And with a tear, it's breaking apart.

Dear Mama,
You are going to be okay,
There will be an end, I know and I pray.
Stay strong through the storm,
You are brave and true.

Dear Mama,
I'm thinking and praying for you, 
Even in the isolation,
You are still not alone.

You are loved
You are special
You are more than you know!


Love Always,
-Joy

Something to Look Forward To

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As I headed into this week with the goal of mental health I thought of an idea to keep things fun and lighthearted for my kids as well.

During Spring Break we had a Fun Activity per day to make that week fun despite not being able to go anywhere. Coming into this week I thought I could do something similar.

Movie Mondays
Tea Party Tuesdays
Woodworking Wednesdays
Etc

Finding something to make each day a little more special for my kids and myself as we have nothing else on our agenda has been fun. It's been a little extra work on my part as I have to think and plan ahead a little.

Today (as I'm writing this) is Tea Party Tuesday. My girls and I do our History lessons on Tuesday and Thursday while my hubby takes our son outside to work in his shop. I decided I wanted to make History time into Tea Time with some little cakes inspired by the Great British Baking Show along with other special snacks. I knew it was going to be work and boy, was it!

Ten minutes till Tea Party I had my entire …

Saving the World

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How are you doing, mama?I must say, I'm struggling a bit with the social distancing.
I feel like motherhood can already be so isolating, and adding this forced isolation on top of it has made it even more of a challenge. 
However, motherhood is all about sacrifice. We daily do anything and everything for the ones we love. We are pros at that.
And when I think about the sacrificing that Jesus did to save the world, staying away from others to slow a pandemic seems like a tiny thing.

That being said, make sure you are taking care of yourself, mama! Find ways to connect with family and friends. Find some time away from it all (lock the bathroom door and soak in a hot tub, take a drive by yourself, ask the hubby to hold the baby while you work on that craft you really wanted to make, etc). 
You can't save the whole world, but you can do your part.

Lots of Love,
Lee

Escape Day!

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As I shared in Monday's blog (if you haven't read that CLICK HERE) I gave myself 2 weeks of pretty strict social distancing... That, coupled with watching the news every day (something I NEVER do) and seeing the number of coronavirus cases and death increase by leaps and bounds, left me in a really poor emotional state by Friday. 

My mental health was in the toilet! I was anxious and depressed. Seriously lonely from the lack of in-person time with friends plus I noticed I was feeling a lot of fear which was coming out as anger... I was not holding up well.

Saturday was my day to help recover my mental health. I talked to my husband and expressed my needs and hopes for the weekend. We both agreed to turn off our phones (Do Not Disturb for him because he needed calls to come in if work needed him, full on Airplane Mode for me) and headed to the mountains with fire wood, lunch, and a quad to play on.

It took a lot to get out the door, there was a lot of drama that day. I stopped by …

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