Wednesday, May 28, 2014

What is beautiful?

I have decor ADD.  

I can't stand to have my house the same for longer than 3 months.
I know I am not the only person who has this problem, right?  One of my besties and her mom have the same issue, so there are at least 3 of us in this big ole world with this issue.
Having the desire to change things constantly makes me reevaluate everything in my home constantly.  That is a good thing most of the time.  I still don't know what I want to do with my home.
When I first got married, I had no idea how to even keep a home.  We had hand-me-down furniture, an unholy amount of clutter, and everything I used for decor was country and Americana.  That is a perfectly fine style, but it didn't grow with me very long.  My home style remained the same for our first 4 homes.  I wanted to have a house that reflected me a bit more.  The clutter continued... {Anyone else come from a family that was terrified of minimalism?  If you know what I mean.  *wink wink*} but the style changed to reflect the current love of cottages, but the Americana remained.
  We lived in that home (in the desert) for 5 years.  That was when I realized how much I loved architecture and structure.  Living in rentals doesn't really lend itself to a lot of architectural change possibilities.  Things got more simple after another two moves into a beautiful big and awesome house!  I explored color and style more there than anywhere else.  My home was comfortable, less cluttered, and reflected not just me, but my whole family.  Another move, and I found myself in an awkward little house with broken furniture.  We started over thanks to Ikea.  Unfortunately, I couldn't figure out my style starting from scratch, so everything we bought from Ikea was black.  Almost everything in my home is black or white.   I know how weird that is for someone who really LOVES color.  The thing is.... I have a serious crippling case of color phobia.  What if I put the wrong color all over?  What if my house starts looking like a child's room, or some weird experiment?  What the heck is beautiful???

Do you understand how stressful that is???????

This year, I have decided to tackle this color issue.  I am realizing how important beautiful things are to me.  I know my idea of beautiful and yours might be very different, but it is the first time in my life, I am making sure to pay attention to the beauty around me.  It is a priority in my life to surround myself in my home with simple beautiful things... to give my children a beautiful childhood... to give my beloved husband a beautiful place of rest at the end of each day.
 My goal, for the month of June is to share with you some thoughts about beauty.  I will share my favorite art, my favorite quotes, my favorite people, and my favorite decor.  I can't wait to share some beauty that has touched my life with you.

I am looking forward to it!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Moving kicked my rear

I was thinking about a title for this post, and I thought I would just be honest.  Moving kicked my butt, last year.  I moved a whole dang year ago.  How could it be that I am just NOW starting to feel like I am in my groove again?  I had a lot of personally devastating things happen before I moved here.  In all honesty, I feel like part of me died in the months prior to our move.  I thought it would be a new start.  I thought it would be a wonderful new, exciting, beautiful place full of adventures.  It was!  Well..... almost and not at all at the same time.
Part of the joy and frustration with military family life is that you move around a lot... in theory.  We haven't moved a lot.  In fact, I moved 3 times while my beloved was gone for 2.5 years at Basic, AIT, and Korea.  We then moved to Fort Irwin.  The post 37 miles away from the closest "town" in the middle of the Mojave desert in California.  I heard many people say they cried on the drive in because it was so devastating.  I LOVED it there.  My family thrived there.  We had an incredibly tight knit community there.  In fact, almost all of my closest and dearest friends were made there.   We lived there for almost 7 years.  There were people who moved shortly after we got there, went to 2 other duty stations and got back before we moved.  That was an eternity in Military life time.  We went to Fort Bliss in the desert of Texas after that.  Our 2 short years there felt like an eternity.  I was challenged in really great ways, and shaken in really terrible ways there.  It really was a place of extremes for me.  Then on to Fort Hood.  The tag line for Hood is "The Great Place."  After a year here, I really think they are referring to the size of the post rather than the quality.  What I am learning is that if you look, you can find some really amazing people here.  It just took forever for me to take the time to look.
These awesome people adjust so quickly to moving... they make themselves at home anywhere.  

Once we got settled into our house, we didn't know where we would fit in.  I have always been a part of PWOC (Protestant Women of the Chapel) on post, but I wasn't sure if that would work with our homeschooling schedule.  I didn't know if we should get involved in one of the co-ops here because they usually require a lot of extra time and money, and we end up having to speed school on co-op days.  We knew the boys wanted to do Scouts again.  After quite a while, we ended up signing all of the boys up for Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts.  Anah talked us in to putting her in Girl Scouts.  (I know... I was very against it also.  She loves it.  She is using the skills for good things.  I do not want to argue about the political and spiritual correctness of Girl Scouts.)  I tried attending PWOC, but wasn't able to make it work in our schedule.  I also signed on to be a mentor mom at our MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) on post.  We made lots of friends in the neighborhood. I have AMAZING, FUN, AWESOME neighbors.
Today was our last MOPS meeting.  I knew it was coming, but I wasn't prepared for the emotion of it.  I had only a few ladies in my group that were able to attend on a regular basis.  I thought maybe, just maybe, I could answer their questions and encourage them and that would be good enough.  I had the HONOR to get to know these ladies... to see their world, their struggles, their victories.  I celebrated potty training victories, cried and prayed with someone struggling with awful circumstances, and offered advice about organizing and planning.  These women gave me the opportunity to love on them and to enjoy their wonderful children.  I have had an entire afternoon to look back on the meeting and think about the year we had.  I have learned SO much from these women.  They have such amazing strength.  I will never, ever underestimate the strength of MOPS Mamas again.  These are generous, kind, brave, selfless women who are doing everything they can to provide the best life possible for their children.  I thought I would say good bye, keep up with them on fb, and that would be it.  I think my heart hurts a little thinking about not seeing them every month.  Those women, who I was supposed to mentor, touched my life in ways I couldn't imagine.  They helped heal my heart.   They gave me purpose and hope.  They held me to a high standard, and that made me step up my game.  I am a better mother today because of MOPS.  I am beginning to heal from my off year because of the love and friendship I found there.
It seems that hope and healing often come from unexpected places.  I know we are to be on the lookout for miracles.  I know there are big ones and little ones happening every day.  My MOPS group was that miracle for me.  The Lord knew that is exactly what I needed.  I wasn't a particularly good mentor mom.  I was myself though, and they accepted me and allowed me to be their quiet cheerleader.
Now I know, just as I have learned at every single duty station.... The very best way to get over a moving funk is to get involved.... to serve someone else.  We often reap so much more than we sow.

Do you have good opportunities for fellowship in your community?


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Two Inconsistent Blogs

Now you don't have to hear me talk about homeschooling all the time if you don't want to!  I have a homeschool blog that I will keep all the edu-speak on while focusing on family and faith on here.  I will post the link on here, and you can head over if you want.  :-) 

  Here's to hoping my plan works!

Monday, May 5, 2014

My Dirty Little Secret

This post is a difficult one to write.  I feel like it is time to write it though.  I know there are a lot of mothers out there struggling.  I remember how many times I spent Mother's Day feeling completely guilt ridden because I didn't feel like I deserved recognition.  I often feel like I have failed.  Why would someone so happy with everything all the time feel that way?  That is my secret.  I feel like I guarded it long enough.

I haven't always liked my children.  

Truthfully, there were times I questioned my love for them.

I have felt they would be better off without me.

There have been some phases of motherhood that have been more than I could handle.  There have been so many times I have questioned what on Earth I was doing raising children.  There were so many times I felt like giving up.

There was the having a baby, toddler, and preschooler stage, immediately followed by the pregnant and sick with a baby, toddler, and preschooler stage.  That merged into 3 in diapers (Hello 4 under 4), 2 not walking, and me completely overwhelmed trying to pretend I had it all together.  How about 3 potty training at the same time?  Thank goodness my last baby was a girl who got to underwear first and inspired her older brother to give up his diapers!  I am pretty sure they all did half a decade of the "terrible twos" together, and then have some moments now that remind me of those times.  We have spent most of their lives without their father in the house, but we are all thankful for our military family.  The children didn't really get to know their father until we moved to our current home, a year ago.  It has been a long journey for our family already.  We are finally in a really good place.    

I spent most of their childhood being the only person taking care of every aspect of their lives.  They have spent some time in public school, but never all at once.  I thought it was my job to take care of all of their needs, maintain a spotless home, cook incredible meals, keep a well stocked freezer full of meals to share, bake up a storm to share at my husband's work to make him look good, volunteer anywhere and everywhere I could, say yes to anyone's plea for help, take care of all of my friend's families and their children, have extravagant holidays all year round, do crafty things daily with the children, teach and participate in every Bible study offered, and somehow be happy all the time.   At times, I could pull some of that off, but never, ever all of it.  That isn't possible.  We aren't meant to do everything for everybody.  we aren't mean to be everything to everybody.

You know who is?  God

Trying to take the reins and control everything cost me so much.  I was worn out.  My body, mind, and soul were just done.  I didn't want to be home with my children.  I didn't want to spend time with friends.  I just wanted out.  I thought I wanted to work, to have my own life, finally.  I thought that everything I had ever done at home meant nothing.  I still struggle finding the value of being a stay at home parent.  I just was lost.  I missed out on so many opportunities to get to know my children.  I missed out on experiences and fun I could have had with my husband.  I was living a wasted life.  No wonder I felt like every day was just a race for survival.

You can't live like that.

Boy, is that the truth.  It is impossible to maintain that.  I HAD to change.  I HAD to find a way to make my life worthwhile.  I had to find a way to see my children differently, and to be involved in my marriage.

One baby step at a time, I started to get better.
 I gave over the things I had no control of to The Lord.  Guess what?  He handled it!  All I had to do was realize that I am weak and broken in my humanity, and give up the control.

  It sounds simple.
     It wasn't.
         It was worth it.

  I began speaking truths over my children.  I referred to my most frustrating child as my "dependable and big hearted" one.  My absent-minded child was called "smart and creative" when introduced to new people.  I started making sure that I took what I was frustrated with, or what I saw as weakness was turned around to be positive.  The result?  I started seeing my children in a different light.  I think they started seeing themselves and each other differently.  Our home became more peaceful.  We had harmony.

I began looking for things to be thankful for in my life.  It's funny how much more you love your life when you constantly see little things to be thankful for.  Look around?  Even in the trenches of motherhood... when you haven't had a moment to yourself in days, and you smell like baby vomit, there is something to be thankful for.  I asked The Lord to show me, to make me completely aware of the things in my life I should be thankful for.  He has remained faithful.

So What is the point?  I am not the most amazing mother.  I might not even be a particularly good mother.  I love my children.  I like them now that I have a different perspective.  Hearts can change.  People can change.  Life is beautiful, if you look for the beauty.  Turn to heaven... often.

That is all.