Wednesday, January 30, 2013


I usually don't post these sort of things on this old blog.  However we had a wonderful message on Sunday morning and I think it could be beneficial for just about anyone to hear, no matter your faith or denomination.  

The topic is Servanthood.  The message is from our associate pastor and it was our first time hearing him preach.

Click here to listen.

I'll be back tomorrow with something mild and non-controversial. 

I made this for dinner the other night with a few of my own tweaks and changes.  Brian said please don't lose this recipe.  I love this website.  Lots of seasonal recipes to be had here!

Monday, January 28, 2013

I am Woman

I am going to attack this subject gingerly and I pray that you won't find it to be offensive....if anything I pray that it will merely add food to your already generated thought.

If you are blog reader, you may have noticed the hype surrounded around the topic of Feminism.  These posts have got me all fired up and I have been chewing on many parts of this big idea.  Now lets leave out all the parts of feminism  that deal with underprivileged women and women that are suffering abuse and the like.  These are all of great concern to me, but feminism is a multifaceted subject and one that has more layers than a Walla Walla Sweet.  Lets stay focused.  I want to talk about us.  I want to talk about me.  I want to talk about our daughters and heck I even want to talk about the men in our life.  

I want to tackle the social angle of this.  I want to tackle how we behave.  How we are in our homes and I am fully taking this from a personal and selfish point of view.  As it pertains to women of my demographic.  Because this is my response to what I have been reading elsewhere and the blogs I read are usually from women in my demographic.  So there you be.  These are my disclaimers.  If you choose to judge me based on will get my typical response....Judge on judgers.  And if you want to dialogue through the comment section lets do it.  But lets be supportive of each other because I believe the most beautiful thing about being a woman is our backgrounds and how we come to be the beautiful, fierce, and lovely creatures that we are.  Each carefully knitted background is what helps us to create a carefully knitted point of view.  And points of view are meant to be changed and stretched and grown in all directions.  Evolution in our minds is important and essential to growth.

So rather than this being a viewpoint on feminism lets make it viewpoint of being a woman.  I want to talk about what it means to me to be a woman.

I think being a woman makes me stronger.  I do not want equality I want appreciation for what we were all created to be separately.     

Lets start with my carefully knitted background.  I grew up not liking women, not trusting women.  Aside form a few key figures.  The women I was meant to look towards for what it meant to grow up into a young lady or a woman of substance left something to be desired.  If thats what it meant to be a woman I didn't want to be one (don't take that comment any farther than suface level).  I always had a feeling there was more and so at a very young age I decided I was going to form my own definition and began searching.  I picked up little things here and there from all sorts of people male and female.  I formed opinions of what was good and what was bad.  I am sure if you look back and examine your life you can remember people or experiences in which your own opinion was formed.

As time passed I had no use for women figures as it was but that wouldn't last.  In fact in my early 20's I felt myself searching for what it meant in my situation then to be a woman.  Growing up through my teens I felt like I was constantly searching for a break in the form of my womanhood, I felt like I was missing something.  But once I became a wife and a mother I felt lost. I felt so lost that I also allowed myself to feel as if I was failing at the one thing that foundationally made me gender. Because what it meant to be a woman for me at that point was a jumbled mess of attributes rather than skills or actions.  I was a hot mess of things I wanted to be, I had places where I felt I fell short, things I thought I could never possibly be and areas that needed not only growth but maturity as well.  It was rather selfish really.  I could fill a book of "I" statements, such as, "I will be faithful."  Instead of statements that were filled with thoughts of me doing things in order to benefit my little family. And so i began to search for statements that mattered, areas that I could find that I felt good at or successful in that I could expand upon.  God had given me a big job and I really needed to figure out what that meant for them in reference to me.  One thing I was lacking in the beginning was influences and friends that were in my own position. When I had Elliot I had not a single friend with a baby, I felt so lonely in that time.  So I started searching out circumstance that would put me in line with meeting other women I could study and learn from.

Being a wife and mother are two of things that are key definers of my womanhood.  I realize that isn't true for everyone so remember this is my personal point of view. Also realize I got married at 19 and had my first baby at 21 and although I would never change it because in my mind it is exactly as it is supposed to be.  Becoming a woman pretty much coincided directly with me becoming a wife and mother so at this point in my life it is hard to separate one from the other.

Many things i have read lately on the subject of woman hood has been wrapped around the idea of equality.  Equality in between the sexes from my standpoint is not one that I am sure is even possible in our day to day lives as it pertains to the world.  I believe men and women were created completely differently and that was purposeful.  Although I could make myself to be able to do the same things as many men I am not sure that is really what God intended.  I like to focus more on the fact that we are all individuals created by someone who did not make duplicates of mistakes.  In this I am not sure if it possible for equality to completely exist.  I hate that we make this a gender thing all the time.

My viewpoint of being a wife and a mother is not one of equality and I am fine with that.  Being a wife and mother requires a servants heart and attitude. It can't be self serving.  Being a wife to me means giving 100% of what God has made me to be.  And sometimes that is 100% different from what God has made Beej to be.  This means equality doesn't always exist but a cooperative existence does where we use fractions of each other to create 1 whole part.  I believe God created me to be soft and loving but firm and strong all at the same time.  He created Beej to be loving and firm and strong and loving. Yep they may seem to be the same thing but believe me you they are completely different.  So we can't be equals because it takes a finite recipe to make what needs to be made for each situation in our home.

Being a Woman in Reference to Motherhood
As a mother I believe it is my job to cook and clean and care for my children and all at the same time nurture and support my husband.  In fact the bible lays this out pretty clearly in many areas, in my humble opinion.  Does this mean that I can't have some for me? Nope!  Does it mean that I shouldn't have help from my counterpart at times? Nope.  It just means in my mind that God created me with those jobs in mind and so it is easy for me to draw from my attributes in order to make these things work.  Beej does not have what that takes to do my  job.  But that doesn't make me less or him more or visa versa.  It justs means I am using my God given bents to best serve my family.  I believe God created each of my children with me in mind as their mother and that is humbling, terrifying, lovely and wonderful all at the same time.  It is not something I take lightly as I don't believe anyone should as I said before I consider these children to be the single greatest "work" of my life.  And I am not sure how I could have these feelings and not do it myself with God with me all the way.

Being a Woman in Reference to my Daughter
Mothering my daughter holds a special list of convictions to me but I think the most important is that she sees me accomplishing things that are personal to me.  That she sees me succeed and the she sees me work for things.  That she sees me in a confident light that isn't afraid to fail. A light that surrounds me with a feeling of confidence in what I have been given.  Confidence that comes form my little family....the simple existence of it....Confidence in my relationship with her father and confidence that I am a woman!  I want her to know that I love me for more than what my body looks like but for what God created it to do.  That I love myself enough to want more but also to be content with what I have.  She also needs to see me sad sometimes.... disappointment is an important tool that we all fail to use far to often.  I want to teach her that above all else she is a daughter of God and in that she always has something even if it feel different.

Being a Woman in Reference to my Son
Mothering a son for me is interesting.  If you have a son than you know that the love form son to daughter is different.  For Elliot I pray that I can show him how it feels to be loved and cared for but at the same time I want him to be able to care for himself.  I want him to know how to do household things so that he can not only take care of himself but if he so chooses he can make a wonderful helpmate someday.  I want him to feel accepted and successful while he lives in our home so that he can go out into the world a confident man.  I want him to know that without God leading him he is lost.  But with God he always has a candle in the dark.  

Being a Woman in Reference to my Husband
As a wife I have a lot of strong feelings.  many of which may shock you....may offend you...may tick you off. I want to add a quick disclaimer.....the reason I believe these things to be okay and healthy is because I am in a healthy relationship.  These convictions come from me alone not from my spouse. Also again this is what works for me...and may not be what works for you so feel free to think I am ridiculous.  But here goes and remember I am not asking you to think the same as me, I am simply offering another viewpoint.  I believe in my relationship it is my job to support my husband in all things, it is part of my  job to make him feel confident in all he does.  This doesn't mean stroking his ego rather it means helping him to succeed in what he feels he needs to do in supporting this family, in leading this family....because that is the job God gave him to do and so my job is to support Him in those things.  By creating a supportive and organized home environment my husband knows that home is good and his earthly work can be his focus while he is gone during the day (I forgot to tell you some of my viewpoints may seem 1950's some of you won't be surprised).  And while I am sure some of you already want to scream womens lib and freedom to flow I am going to push forward.  I believe it is my job to carry my self emotionally and physically in a way that my husband finds attractive and beneficial to his own well being(I write this and have a very worried look upon my face).  I believe it is my job to carry myself emotionally and spiritually in away that is beneficial to him as well, when I am right with God I am right with the world and I can support him best this way.  This doesn't mean I can't have a bad day or an emotional freak out-believe me I do this and I don't feel bad about it.  But the prior statement is what I strive for.  I believe its my job to provide him with a kiss when he walks in the door and a warm meal to bring us all back together and to thank him for working so hard for us.  This doesn't mean we don't eat grilled cheese every now and again because we do, I even ask him to pick up pizza occasionally...but the kiss never changes;) this relationship is not one of equality but one of understanding, one of forgiveness and one that requires work and effort and understanding our roles within it is always something that brings me peace not resentment.

This marriage thing is something that is only good when we are both giving and taking.  Sometimes one is taking more than the other causing the other one to put their own needs aside.  Right now we are doing that for Beej but we have done that for me time and time again.  I feel no need for stroking or thanks in this journey we are currently in.  However I have many women that have told me, "well I just don't think I could do that."  And I think could do what?  Support your husbands hopes and dreams....Do what is best for your God's leading?  I assure you most of these women could they just haven't looked at it from my perspective and maybe haven't been put in my position.  But I believe my job is to answer all of those questions with complete affirmation and so I have.  It doesn't make me a super-hero or a super-woman it makes me obedient!  I don't need overflowing praise. I don't need condescending statements.  All I hope is that someone else will someday be able to see our story and find the strength to move forward.

On being pretty. I have read at least three post/articles on the word pretty.  It gets me all steamed up.  Since when is it a bad thing to feel attractive.  I think we have taken the word pretty and made it into something scarlet.  I said it and I meant it!  I think that we all know what we look like when we feel like we look our best, when we look matter how the world perceives us.  In my opinion pretty is as pretty is not always a look but an action.  Its a culmination of atributes and actions that makes a woman pretty.  And I think that is for each of us to decide for ourselves not for the world to tell  us.  So be pretty and feel good about long as we are not vain it comes form a pure place.  Wearing something pretty or fixing myself up is part of what make me feel like a woman.  So there I said it.

In my opinion being a woman is no easy calling.  Its hard and treacherous.   But the best way to fight for the things we find to be important is through action not words.  

What triggered all this you ask?  I read someone else's account of their life and what they had experienced and I didn't like the tone they took in response.  Their response was that simply being a mother and a wife is demeaning in some way.  I didn't like that some look down on me or others in my position because in their opinion we took the weaker position.  That maybe we were afraid of stepping out on our own.  That we are not claiming all this world has to offer.   What a diservice we are doing to our families when we think this way.   

Being a mother and a wife is what God created me for and I feel humbled with the challenge.  I am honored with the titles I hold.  It is not demeaning to me that I challenge myself everyday to make my life an act of service to my family.  And it ticks me off when people say otherwise, because its a hit to mothers everywhere.

That the fact that being a woman for me is largely wrapped up in my relationship to three people on this earth and my Father in heaven is a gift ladies!

And lastly I want to say it is possible to have these responsibilities and callings and search for more as well.  If you are a mother and feel like you are missing out...dare I say that is no fault but your own?  We are part of a society that makes it possible for us to have it all.  As a woman you can be a farmer/wife/mother/homeschooler/skydiver/online entrepreneur and no one can get in your way but you.  So next time you want to complain about how men have more opportunities than women or that there is inequality between the sexes, or that how could you possibly reach your hopes and dreams if you are home with your kids all day, I want to know what you plan to do about it.  Because if its just moaning about the differences....that becomes offensive and old and blah blah flippin blah.  Get off your bum and go do what it is that will make you happy.  You may find you need to be content with  who you are and what you have first though.

And now you have read it.  I must have rewritten, copy and pasted and edited this 15 times.  Writing this made me laugh, made me cry, made me grimace, made me afraid of judgement and made me proud.  I hope that it will empower you not make you feel bad.

I love women and I love being one and it took me about 30 years to say so!

Friday, January 25, 2013

A post to hold you over.

I have got tons of photos hanging around here that I haven't shared.  So I am going to share them.

And also I am stalling on my I am woman post.  I suppose I am worried about how honest I want to be.  I think with a bit more editing I can post it tomorrow.  I will not let it die amongst the dozens of other posts I didn't have the guts to post.  Sometimes I worry about how those of you who don't know my heart well will be offended by me.  My mother in law told me once though that I have probably done it before and I will probably done it again.  So tomorrow after one final edit I will bare my soul on being a woman.

IMG_1947_zps98148118 photo IMG_1947_zps98148118.jpg
This is our church.  I am kind of in love with the building...yet I love whats inside too!  Its been a great place to  be.

IMG_1951_zps6a283220 photo IMG_1951_zps6a283220.jpg
We go out to eat on Sundays because it gives me the night off and it bares some resemblance to tradition.

IMG_2004_zps15a10bfb photo IMG_2004_zps15a10bfb.jpg
We ate dinner by "candlelight" in the cabin one night.  If you look hard you can see that Sarah wasn't all alone.

IMG_1993_zps16d746cb photo IMG_1993_zps16d746cb.jpg
Sarah gifted me with this at Cabin Fever.  If you know me at all handmade is heart made and I love cross stitch more than anyones 80 year old grandmother.  She based our outfits off of our family pictures in 2011!   I love this and will treasure it always!

IMG_2032_zpsc94f06f4 photo IMG_2032_zpsc94f06f4.jpg
The kids love homeschooling.  Elliot still really dislikes coloring.  We have to get a certain amount of art in a week and I struggle with coming up with things this little man will enjoy.  I picked up a math coloring activity thing thinking he would be more inclined.  But nope....I name this photo death by coloring crayon.

IMG_1958_zpsd61f06f1 photo IMG_1958_zpsd61f06f1.jpg
Grace likes to color a picture of the stories I read to them during history.

IMG_1970_zpsfef40c09 photo IMG_1970_zpsfef40c09.jpg
I'm making a new quilt for Brian and I.  It is a churn dash pattern.  I love the simplicity of it.  I picked the fabric specifically to match my 1960's curtains that I bought for our bedroom.  

IMG_2011_zpsf0bce981 photo IMG_2011_zpsf0bce981.jpg
One of the many beautiful sunrises we were blessed with at cabin fever.

IMG_2021_zpsa4b67f48 photo IMG_2021_zpsa4b67f48.jpg
My brosef the Brewer lent me his acoustic bass to learn on.  Every year I set out to learn something new.  Last year it was sewing/quilting.  This year I am going to learn the bass.  The thing is bigger than I am but I mean its white....shes a real beaut!  Oh and yes I was attempting to teach myself bass scales while driving over the pass in the mini....a trucker laughed and us.  Poor Brian has to have the patience of none other to be married to me.

IMG_1961_zps435077cb photo IMG_1961_zps435077cb.jpg
I  love Grace Jager she is my heart!

This is my buddy Luke.  The kids call him Uncle Luke.  He will hate that this is on here but he is one of my most faithful readers and one of our best friends.  Thanks for caring about us Luke we just love ya!
IMG_2015_zps490e59e8 photo IMG_2015_zps490e59e8.jpg
I mean come on this photo is the bomb!

IMG_2039_zps483d2387 photo IMG_2039_zps483d2387.jpg
I escaped from the house and got my hair cut.  My hairdressers name is Mattie and she has just the right amount of 21 year old angst in her to keep her incredibly interesting to me without being annoying.  She is also very good at cutting my hair!  She is covered in tattoos and yesterday she was sporting an adorable haircut with lavender hair.

IMG_1938_zpse4073182 photo IMG_1938_zpse4073182.jpg
After receiving a $400 heating bill the first month we lived here I banned all fireplace usage in our home for the following month.  Upon receiving the next bill it was $20 higher so the ban has been lifted and these two love to sit like this with each other and play and to me this sight is worth more than and money could buy!

So I believe I have appropriately stalled and tomorrow I will be back with that post that will probably be way less of a deal I have made it out to be.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I'm back.

-We are home minus the Beej, he is back in Bellevue for a few days.
-It is cold, yet temperatures are rising which only means one thing in Spokane....more snow.
-I didn't sleep well last night because every time Beej leaves the boogie man moves in and he sure is noisy and scary.
-I am pretty sure my pants do not fit right after our cabin fever indulgences but my mental health is better for it!
-Elliot has a new friend at homeschool who introduced himself to me and finished our introductions off with a fist bump he seemed very nice and Elliot gave me a smile afterwards as to tell me he was happy...I love happy!
-I went to Target today and bought some random items, as well as something for my new nephew-I have named him Doogie because Emily won't tell me his name- that will be making an appearance in June, baby things are so tiny and so cute!
-I started a pilates class yesterday on top of my Barre class and it was much more difficult than I expected it would be. However back referencing line item number 4 I could use the difficulty at the moment.
-The kids are currently building a Ziggurat out of legos for a history/art project...I love history so we are diggin deep into studies of ancient times we started with the nomads and we will end with the last roman empire.
-I love that for homeschooling I can cater to my kids interests and is sort of lovely! Its amazing how much they are learning...this might just work.
-We found an extra book for the Indian in the Cupboard series and have decided to read it together. If you are not familiar one of the characters is an indian chief with the name Little Bear. Grace thinks this is ridiculous. Elliot's response was,"Uhhhh Grace its not like he's some ranky dank guy, he's a great indian chief, thats accurate naming for indians." Naturally she still thinks the guys name is bunk and would like to call him Joe. We will be reading it as it is written;)
-Wednesdays are now my day only day off and I would love nothing more than to hibernate all day. Reality always sneaks in though and I realize I really don't have any days off just one day without children. My teacher's wages include a manicure every week and a coffee from Starbucks....I know you all want my job now!

I have much more to say and maybe tomorrow I will be more motivated to do so. I want to talk about feminism.......yep, I'm going there. Also Brian and I are going to do a video segment on here once and awhile and would love to know what you would like us to talk about.....we are open for anything.

Friday, January 18, 2013


Today marks the beginning of our cabin fever weekend.
But first we are hanging out with this guy.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

My life.

I have had a few moments over the last weeks that strike a chord with me in the form of sadness maybe even longing. But mostly a lot of realization. And realization is positive in all forms for me. Realization helps me to move forward, helps to be to be thankful and pushes me to make records of my blessings.

In the last months I have experienced the slowest times I have ever had in the last 10 years for sure. I have plenty of time to sit and wonder and reflect and pray and laugh and enjoy things around me. It is a chance for me to stop and smell the roses. However it is hard to not sometimes be sad. The thought...I miss my life...came to mind the other day. It was an interesting thought because where I am now, how I am living now and what I am experiencing now is my life. And if I truly believe that I am where in fact God has led me my life is exactly as it should be. The latter is the hardest pill to swallow.

The things I miss may be obvious but I am not sure that you would know how hard it is to uproot unless you have done it. Because the smaller things are the hardest. The things in your life or the changes in your life that you could have never changed had you stayed where you were are sometimes the things you miss the most. The normalcy of what used to be is something that you long for.

We have made some permanent changes over this time and that is exciting and terrifying all in one. We have moved away from Lynden and will now have no option of returning in the job that we currently hold which means we aren't coming back....big swallow tears butterflies enter here.....which means my home will never be lived in again by my little family and I miss the security that those walls offered. We have moved my grandmother in with us and although this has been a complete and overwhelming blessing I worry about her in a whole new way, I pray my little family makes her feel like a part of it, I pray she feels secure and knows that we will care for her when she needs us to. We left our friends....we have no friends here and being a person who loves connection it is hard when your connection is hundreds of mile away....It is scary to know that we will all move on, that I will miss all the big stuff and the little stuff too. I am no longer the auntie that had weekly drop ins of her little lovelies, I miss Joshy about a million times more than I ever thought I could, being an auntie to him captivated me and my heart adopted him as a tag along to my other two and my sister allowed me to love him so. We have opened ourselves up to move again after a year here, again terrifying but I will allow God to continue to lead this family wherever he sees fit. Family, oh the ultimate connection the place you always belong,Sunday lunch, birthday dinners, midweek get togethers, grandparent connections for my kids. Responsibilities, I have none outside of this house.

At first the lack of chaos was peaceful, now I want so badly to do something, it is crazy how much your identity is wrapped in things that you do rather than the things that you are. And it is even more ironic that my calling at hand with my little family is probably even more important and crucial than it ever has been...there are a lot of needs to consider. However at the same time as I am trying to figure out "what I do" I am trying to figure out who I am.

So what is my life as of now? It remains a question that I ask God everyday. It seems he has answered part of it in this recent homeschooling chapter. But what I am searching for is far more selfish than that. I want to find me. Sometimes I feel like we left what used to be me in a box in Lynden. This is truly not a poor me moment. So please do not misunderstand. I am just attempting to figure out a new identity that does not include the above mentioned things, and I am not sure what that looks like yet. Right now my identity is wrapped up in everyone else and believe me I am sure that makes me sounds horrible when I say that. I also trust that you all know how much I love my family and how I continually believe that a part of my calling is to be the best mother, wife, daughter, granddaughter, sister, auntie, friend I can that supports loves and cares with every fiber of her being. But I am searching for one that is apart from that. And I think that's okay.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Advocating for your little ones.

It is amzing to me after almost 10 years of being a mom I am still recogninzing new things about my approach to the world of mothering. Each chapter we enter challenges me to evolve in my outlook and question if what had been doing before is still working for what our life looks like now. For me it takes a lot of prayer and a lot of processing sometimes to get us through, and to come up with a new plan.

I remember the first time I really felt like a crazy Mama bear with Elliot he was two weeks old and we were in the middle of an ugly situation in which we really needed to protect our little family. I can remember the moment exactly and although it is not necessarily a good memory it is one the sticks out to me in the development of my motherhood. I can remember feeling a combination of rage, sadness, grief, and anger but the overriding emotion was love. Which many know what it feels like to feel love in combination with sadness and grief but love combined with rage and anger can be a tricky thing. Love combined with rage and anger faced in the direction and goal of protecting you child is not a place I would suggest anyone standing in the way of. It's primal and edgy and dangerous and if not combined with the biblical attribute of self-control downright scary.

I've been there many times in the last 10 years and although it still hurts to watch your kids hurt. And even though you can not always save them from it you can always advocate for them in many ways.

In our most recent schooling situation I felt the need to advocate for my children again. Now let me share with you advocating does not always include fixing the problem at hand. No, rather it can simply mean supporting your child through listening. Or teaching them and giving them social tools to deal with a situation on their own. Sometimes it simply listening with no response at all. All of these options are difficult because as a Mama our first desire is to fix, to heal, to nurse, to love. Sometimes for me it takes me on a quick trip through crazytown usually resulting in an emotional cry it out hyperventilation followed by a quick self talk pump up that I can in fact be mom in all situations, that God has in fact given me the tools to deal. Once we realize we have so many tools to use these emotions and actions in we are in the money, it quickly becomes go time....this is when we are ready to go into battle.

In a recent conversation I was reminded once again how much self-control it takes in advocating. I mean the initial conversation in talking through a problem takes patience, you have to be careful not to jump to conclusions, you have to listen and ask questions...and all this has to happen before you can even start to deal with it. I don't know about you but this is so hard for me. In this conversation, Grace led me down a windy road of an inappropriate situation that happened at school and during those 5 minutes I jumped from wonder to worst case scenario to worry to anger to anxiety to what the heck and all the way back through. And it was amazing amongst listening how much self talk I had to have to make it through. Its a growing experience this mom thing.

In talking with Elliot I realized the advocating was just letting him know that he was heard. I even had to tell him at the end of the conversation that I wasn't even sure exactly how to fix his pain, but if he gave me time and we both prayed about it we would be able to come with a plan. Because sometimes advocating doesn't have to be instantaneous but there is a lot of trust involved and I think that is the main theme. And I couldn't believe how much better I felt as soon as I shared the plan with him. And the look of relief on his face was nothing short of amazing.

You see before I even bore these children. Before I carried them in my womb. In fact long before I even was ready to allow God to use me to create a little family I knew what I wanted for my kids. Reason being because I knew what I wanted for me. When I was five I started praying for a new family. I started praying for safety and comfort and love. And even now I am not sure how I knew to pray...The holy spirit I suppose. I knew that I wanted love and support in all things I wanted adults that knew what I needed so I wouldn't have to worry. And you know what even though this recollection and memory is hard for me to share I can tell you I am ever so thankful for it. And I mean that. Thankfulness comes in recognition that even though not all things happen in Gods will God is in it all. So part of advocating to me is thinking about what I wanted...what I desired and in turn mothering my children in that way. I knew I wanted to give them safety, I wanted to support them in all things, I wanted to encourage them to spread there wings, I wanted them to know that even if they screw up and I can't fix it God can and He will, I wanted them to know that I don't have all the answers but I will die trying to find them. But most of all I want them to know where ever they go in life I will continue to allow God to use me for their good. And this is true avocation. This is true motherhood to me.

Once again I know with all of my heart I don't have this all figured out, it takes a lot of grace on God's part with me. But I am mesmerized by the work of God through my children in my life. This chapter for me, this chapter that will never end is beautiful and good and it challenges me to be better everyday!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Homeschooling Not So Confidential

I have been absent in this place. Anytime I feel like I can't share everything here I disappear.

I think that I have been fairly honest here about the move. Today I will just share the difficulty we have experienced in changing schools.

In choosing a new school I was looking for a few things. Size, general structure of beliefs and similarity to how they had already been being taught were just a few of the main things I was looking for. So we chose a school that I thought exhibited not one but all of these things. Even though it was 20 minutes south of our home I felt it was worth it. I felt it was the best place for them and so we went for it. However the honeymoon ended quickly and we began to realize that this was probably not the best fit for our family. In the last months we have dealt with bullies, physical violence, inappropriate language, themes in play that I find extremely unacceptable for their age and lastly and probably one of the kickers, teachers that assured this was all normal and kids will be kids.

Finally a few things happened that helped us come to the current decision. Prayer and prompting. I felt the homeschool nudge. The first time I felt it I was surprised. I thought to myself you have go to be kidding me. This is the last thing in the world you will ever catch me doing lets just switch schools. So I checked out other schools...found a great one now that I was armed with the proper arsenal of questions. I actually wish I would have put them there in the first place. But as I prayed about switching them I began to feel like that would just be to much for them after all of the change they have gone through in the last months. So our next thought was we would keep them where they were for the rest of the school year and then revaluate over the summer. We would pray our tushies off and all would be fine...I mean how much damage could be done in one school year.

Well last week it all became ever so clear how much damage could be done and I started to pray about homeschooling. Two days later we had a discussion with Elliot about friends and how sometimes we can't always be the leader. In order for others to get to know you you have to immerse yourself in their play. With tears in his eyes he told me with little judgment and much humbleness that these were not the kind of friends he was supposed to have. (to some this may sound judgy...keep reading) You see I have been very deliberate in teaching my kids how to choose good friends. How to be a good influence and what to do when faced with those who don't reflect what we believe to be right (I mean this in behavior). And my boy may not always do it perfectly, in fact sometimes I am not even sure he is listening. Turns out he had been listening. He went on to tell me these kids were not good influences in full detail....he had a mental list. Now I am all about my children being good influences to others and blah blah blah. But I also believe at this age they need to be sheltered a bit. I take full advantage of the fact that I can still control their environments and who they hang out with and that is how I like it. Our old school I realize was a gem. I loved all the kids in their classes, I knew all their parents and I knew we were all similar. This is what I hoped I would find here.

So I went for it in my mind. Brian and I had a strong discussion. We came to the realization that Homeschool might be the option and we agreed to investigate it.

But there would be more to come in the form of pushing in regards to this decision. The next night I lay down with Grace to chat and she led me into a conversation that would make my decision easy. At the end of the conversation she asked me not leave her at school anymore, she was crying and upset, fearful and anxious. My girl has never expressed this ever in her little life. She is mostly confident and has always has found school to be fun and exciting.

Before I go any further I want to share my viewpoint on school. I realize it may not be the same as yours and I am fine with that.

I believe school should be any extension of your home. It should be an extension on what you believe in spirit, in beliefs, in behavior and in love. I realize this is a high calling and an even bigger expectation. And we have been blessed for the last 5 years to have been a part of school that was by no means perfect but supported our goal in this with our children. My children had teachers that not only loved them for who they were but for what God had in store for them to become. They had friends whose parents had similar goal in mind for upbringing. And they approached school with a mindset they we do our best in all things because we do all things to bring glory to God. As I watched them learn in that environment it was easy for me to develop my own opinions for what I wanted for them in school.

This was not the case in their new school. In fact I found myself questioning much and over time developing my own anxiety towards leaving them their every day.

So after having my conversation with Grace and praying and talking with Brian. We decided to pull the plug and move forward with the new plan.

We are homeschooling. What the heck? I never thought in a million years we would homeschool. However, I never thought in a million years that we would move across the state and form a new home in a place where we had no friend or family either. It is all about God's plans not my own. On Friday I registered us into a program that is affiliated with the state so that we could receive guidance in the area of academics. My biggest fear is that I stink at this and we get behind. So the program is run through the Mead School District, they will aide me in a bit of teaching as well as guide me in curriculum and facilitate testing to make sure my kids know what they need to know. They also provide some extracurricular classes as well as PE among other things. We have selected Christian curriculum in the subjects of Science and History and of course we are doing bible as well. It has been overwhelming and I would be lying if I didn't express to you that I feel confidently terrified as we plunge in.

Today we covered Math, History, Art, Science and Bible while mixing in a bit of writing. I am waiting for our Language Arts Curriculum so we are trying to incorporate writing into other things in the mean time.

The good thing is they are already ahead in most subjects in their respective grades so I just need to keep up the pace. This is no small thing:)

We are taking this one step at a time. We will most definitely finish out the school year this way. And reevaluate after that. I think there is great importance in them learning from others in a classroom surrounded by their peers and so we are incorporating one day of "school" as well with the homeschool coop.

I have so much more to say about the parenting importance's I learned through all this and so I will spread it our overtime. I think I made you read enough for today!

So we go where God leads....I have no idea where that will be and everyday I learn that there is actually more comfort in the mystery than always knowing what lies ahead.

Friday, January 4, 2013

New prayer plan.

As you know I have to lovely cherubs! And with my cherubs I have made a point to pray every morning with them on the way to school. I am a strong believer of this ritual and I believe it is the best way for us to start our day together. It also offers me peace in my leaving them and I hope that it offers them the same. Most mornings the last thing I pray is that as they leave my arms they would feel Gods around them all day.

As of late I have felt the urge to increase my children's awareness of others needs. Our prayer in the morning are often self centered and only stray to topics of school and teachers and friends there. Although I feel that all of those things are good and fine and wonderful I really have been wanting to teach them to pray outside of themselves more regularly. My children's world is quite small at this point which I am thankful for but I want to challenge them to think outside of it or realize more of whats actually in it.

In hopes of doing this better I created a new little plan for our morning prayer time. I have always considered this time in the car to be our standing appointment at the feet of our Father in heaven and I want to treat it as such.

And so these appointments are from now forward going to be a bit more planned out for lack of a better description.

I took a notecards on rings set and converted it into a monthly prayer schedule. Each day has something different on it or at times someone different. Each of them prays for the topic and I close in praying for each of them in their day.
The topics are as follow and the number corresponds with the day of the month.

1. Teachers
2. Pick a Friend
3. Ebenezer Lemon Squeezers
4. Dad
5. Grandma Chewie
6. Our President
7. Our Neighbors Past/Present
8. Our Church
9. Bubba and Nick
10.Granny and Grandpa
11.Grandpa and Grandma Boat
12.The world to know Jesus
14.Auntie Em and Uncle Jamie- Joshy boy and new baby
15.Pastor Gary and our old church
17.Auntie Jaime and Uncle Justin - Kolby and Savannah
18.Uncle Justin and Auntie Sarah
19.Southside Christian
20.Great Grandpa and Grandma
21.Those who are lonely
23.TerBeek Farm
24.Thankfulness for our home
25.Elliot for Grace and Grace for Elliot
26.One of the Uncles
30.Uncle Matt Auntie Lani Caden and Layla
31.Free Choice Day...They pick something...I would also like this day to be a day we can get prayer requests from others so if on the 30th of the month you have a prayer request feel free to email it to me and the kids will pray for you.

This prayer thing with my kids is near and dear to me for many reasons. The main one being I want them to know that they can go to their Heavenly Father with anything and everything. And secondly I want them to grow up to be people that think outside of themselves and that put others needs before their own.

Our book is pretty simple as I lack in the area of crafty genius:) Put you could even just type it up on a simple piece of paper and keep it with you where and when you pray with your kids. Seeing as I drive my kids to school every morning it is the perfect time for us to pray together. But I know some that way with their kids for the bus every morning or maybe some of you have little ones at home that are just learning to pray with you(when my kids were small we prayed at breakfast tiem together)...make it part of your day, you will love it. And your kids will love it too. Also have them help them make the list...the only rule for ours is that it had to be for someone or something other than themselves.

I put a quote form Corrie ten Boom on the front of ours.
Don't pray when you feel like it. Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it.

And a scripture found in 1 Thessalonians 5:17.
Pray without ceasing.

So if you aren't on the list above please send me your prayer requests we would love to pray for you. Jessica at angryblueberry dot com. And even if your name is on the list you can send me requests we will honor those on your day.

Praying that you all will be able to incorporate prayer into your day with your children.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Big Ol' Picture Filled Christmas Post.

Christmas was great as we had a lot more vistors than we ever expected. My parents came for 3 fun filled sewer backed up days with no water or ability to flush toilets. They were good sports and we were so thankful to have by dad here to help with the situation. My in-laws came next for a few days and we enjoyed plenty of games and hanging out it was very enjoyable (however somehow I took no photos while they were here). And last but not least the Bajemas came over the day before NYE and stayed until New Years Day, we enjoyed a double date and sledding among other things. I am going to let the photos speak for themselves.

Tomorrow I am going to write about a new practice the kids and I are putting into place.

I challenged Elliot to a reading challenge of 500 pages over break I think he read 700. He hasn't asked me for a reward:)



My parents brought Reilly. Apparently we missed each other. I think she must have laid on me like this for over an hour! Love that dog.


The most magical Christmas sunrise ever!



Apparently this is a nice face...boys!


Brian attempts to sabotage all of our selfies.


Mom Bajema's Fudge Sauce.....huzzah! The fact that this was hand delivered via mountain pass in December mind you deserves 3 fist pumps and 2 heel kicks!! Winning!

On our way to an epic sledding adventure.



This may be my new favorite picture of the Rahster and I!

I got these for Christmas..I love them a ridiculous amount. I think I have worn them every day since I go them. Which is pretty practical seeing as it hasn't gotten above 15 degrees today.

So the kids are back in school and I am delaying taking down the Christmas tree...most years I can't wait. This year it seems cozy.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

What a Christmas.

Before I show you the typical Christmas fare of photos, kids in sweet pajamas and Christmas faces full of surprise I need to be honest about the season and how it really was for me this year.

Christmas attempted to make itself into something that was really not Christmas at all. In fact it may be even blasphemous for me to mention it in this way. But that is truly how it felt. In fact the last months have felt that way.

My journey towards spiritual obedience is not one that has been full of white puffy clouds and rainbows. Rather the deeper I get the harder it seems to become. Before you think that I am searching for a pity party...It is really quite opposite. When making the choices that we have made and ending up in the valley that we currently reside in it sometimes feels as if the whole way traveled has been uphill. But I will still shout from the rooftops that I know with every fiber of my being that we took the right road that we have followed the right map. I know that we followed where God led. And I am constantly reminding myself that just because we are obedient and faithful does not mean that things will be smooth, easy or anything resembling perfection. No, sometimes the first step in obedience is simply more of it with a heavy dose of patience. It is strange though in the upheaval, disappointment and sometimes questioning I have never felt more at peace about life. I do not know why we are here yet or why we were called to leave our contentment but we were none the it goes.

I feel as if I am always quick to search for a silver lining, to find a way to be thankful for the misfortunes that sometimes greet me. The reason for it is because I can't think of a single bad time that wasn't fixed at some point, that wasn't evened out with understanding and reasoning over time or made relevant and I mean that. And as many of you know I have been faced with a healthy handful of interesting life happenings. This move has been no different. Things have not turned out as originally hoped for, making for moments that I feel less than content. And the silver lining is far from being found but its the moments that I have experienced before that have prepared me for this and even for whats to come.

I love the poem from Mary Oliver, called the Uses of Sorrow.

Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness.
It took me years to understand that this, too, was a gift.

This couldn't be more true. This whole life is a gift and I may not always feel like recognizing it but the truth remains. The joys that I am given on a daily basis are simple reminders that much grace is needed and much grace is given. Grace I do not deserve at all. Most of what I have really is undeserved...and earned I think not for I fall short daily of what it would take to earn the kind of grace I receive.

The fact that I have enough socks to wear two pair at the same time everyday and a washing machine to wash them has been a gift as of recently. Plumbing alone is a gift which I was reminded of over the holiday when we were without use of our sewer for 3 days while trying to celebrate the holiday. I am reminded daily as I drive the streets of downtown of what it means to have a warm home at all. There are many that have walls made of tarps out there. My children's innocence being spared through all of the recent tragedy is a mercy I have been granted for whatever reason, I pray for the others whose is lost. I think of all that I have that would seem like a luxury to much of the world, all the things that I take for granted completely forgetting that much of the world has no access to more than half of what I have. I could make a list a mile long that have nothing to do with my main circumstance that outweighs what troubles me the most. For it is in the small things where the blessings shine through the most. Sometimes our happiness and blessings do lie in what appears to be darkness. Sometimes that everlasting blessings come from what seems like the least hopeful.

So as it appears Christmas was something different this year. I am not sure I have ever been more focused on the Star of Hope and what was found underneath it.

It may take me years to realize why we made this move and why it has gone the way it has...yet it may take months or days, and at the end of this day what does time frame really matter. I am really not searching for an earthly gift anyway, its the eternal one I have interest in. And so the chiseling continues, and my main prayer is that God would find a way to use me in all of this, that he would find a way to make me more useful for his purpose in his molding. I never knew when I started praying for obedience and patience and trust that it would take me where it has. But it has and I am here and I will be better for it. And not better for me but for Him.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

I need to catch up.

We had a crazy holiday and vacation. Some big stuff happened....unfortunately some bad but all in all it was pretty awesome. I am hoping to catch you up to speed in the next couple of days.

But for now...check out the article I wrote for Full Circle. They published it on their blog today and I am pretty happy with it. You can find it here.

I'll be back tomorrow.