Saturday, January 3, 2015


I have a lot of really big things happening this year.  I feel like I am standing at the bottom of a really huge mountain, getting my gear ready to climb.  Only a week ago, I would have told you that there is NO WAY I could make it to the top, that I could never find out what is on the other side.  Fortunately, I have great friends who challenge me, and hold me accountable for things when I am feeling incapable.

Here are the challenges from friends that I have accepted for this month:

*Do a book club challenge.   This is what we are reading.  It is great!  It has both cleaning and heart related challenges.  I am on day 3, and I find it to be a good combination of encouragement and assignment.  On a side note, I was encouraged by one of my dearest friends to start reading more, because it is always something that was a part of me.  I am so glad she reminded me of who I am at my core.  I read a book this afternoon, A.S. and it brought me serious joy.  I don't think I will be feeling quite so desperate.  ;-)

*Joining my bestie in encouragement, prayer, and fasting.  We are keeping each other accountable for our attitudes as well as our to-do lists.  We committed to not allow ourselves to have a rotten 2015.

*Working out on a regular basis.  I have the best beach body coach...ever.  This year I am saving my life and kicking butt.  I actually lost weight over the holidays.  That is how awesome beach body is.  Now that I know what I have been missing, I plan on becoming completely addicted to my daily workout.

*Making church and Christian fellowship a priority.  It is going to be one of those years that I really need to make sure I don't retreat into my shell and stop talking to people.  I FINALLY found a church that we all really love, which makes me incredibly happy.  Our next semester of PWOC (Protestant Women of the Chapel... a non-denominational Christian women's Bible study and service group) is about to begin, and I am not going to let myself become invisible there.  I have been going for 2 years, and still have people I have had several classes with asking me if I am new.  Nope... just quiet. I will be the one getting involved, volunteering, and helping others this year.

*Blogging.  This is kind of one that I am doing for myself a bit.  I don't know if people actually read all this craziness, but I know that it helps me to get it all typed out.  You are my therapy.  Thank you.  I can keep sharing pictures of my favorite people if I keep blogging.  Seeeeeeeee....

*Blogging a once a week recap of school.  One of my homeschooling friends who has children in preschool through college helped me reevaluate my homeschooling.  I was surprised to hear how much more we do than most other families.  It is encouraging to know that I am not just ruining my children.  She thought it would help me to see the good things happening (looking over that failure wall) if I blogged about that.  I'll try to keep my homeschooling craziness on my homeschooling blog.    ;-)

So, even though I know I am still in a war with depression, and I have many more difficulties ahead of me, I am gearing up for the trip up the mountain.  For the first time in a long time, I am looking forward to the view from the top.

Do you do resolutions or annual goals?  Those who fear failure as I do, generally don't make resolutions knowing there is a chance they will be broken.  You can't fail if you don't try, right?  WRONG!!!  You miss out on so much if you don't try.  I've missed out on a lot.

My Sister-in-law reminded me that we need to live with no regrets.  She is absolutely right.  Looking back, feeling sorry for oneself, and regretting the past will do no one any good.

I need to have the accountability in place to keep going with positive things, so with challenges accepted, scheduled, and in process, I am ready to move FORWARD.

How can I encourage you in your goal making/keeping?

Let's move FORWARD together!!!


Friday, January 2, 2015


I recently did a Facebook post to my closest friends saying that I was completely lost in this failing 2014 thing.  I lost hope.
If there is something I have always clung to... it is hope.
It is something I always remind my struggling friends of.  It is something I always remind my children of.  It is something that I lost complete track of.
Without hope, everything is dark.  Darkness breeds scary things.  It allows loneliness and depression to creep in and take over.
It is completely consuming.
I am not allowing it to rob me of joys in my life.
I am not allowing it to keep me from being thankful for the great things I have.

My family isn't quitting.

I am not quitting.

There really is hope.

I needed to be reminded of that.  I needed to be scolded a bit and prayed for a lot.  I remembered that it is what keeps me going.

I was looking for hope in all the wrong places.  Working towards impossible goals won't bring hope.

I am so thankful I have amazing people in my life to remind me of how truly blessed I am.  In my hopeless state, I didn't even see a point in living.  I feel like my eyes have been opened and I can see more clearly.  Everything in life isn't going to be pretty or easy.  It may be hard every day for the rest of my life.  What has to change is my perspective.

Here is what I have to live for.   Here is who I hope for....

Where does my hope come from???

My hope comes from the Lord.

He is the one who held my head above water, while I have felt about to drown this last year.   He is the one who placed stubborn and encouraging friends in my life who refuse to give up on me.  He is the one who extends me the grace I don't deserve, and reminds me to do the same with my family.  He is the one I am turning to, focusing on, now.  My hope comes from the Lord, and I hope one day soon my life brings Him glory.

It is happening. 


Thursday, January 1, 2015


There it is.  My constant fear, my constant nemesis if you will.  It haunts me in every area of my life. The little voice in the back of my head telling me that if it isn't perfect, it is failure.

Another year, barely blogged....
Another year struggling in homeschool...
Another year constantly working to change things in my marriage...
Another year, still fat and completely insecure...
Another year feeling like I am ruining my children....
Another year, barely holding on to my faith....

What is this?
It is like a wall.  Each perceived failure becomes a brick in this wall that blocks my view of what great things are happening in my life.  It's so much more than having blinders to the positive things, it is not being able to see them at all!  All I can seem to see these days is the shortcomings.  Life is so much more than that.  We are so much more than the sum of things we don't excel at.  We don't have to be perfect all the time.  We can't!

Yeah, I didn't blog this year.  I missed the last 10 years as well.  No one is just DYING to know what is going on in our lives.  It is okay if I keep my ramblings to myself for a year or two (or ten), right?  I spent more time playing games (am I the only one addicted to Words with Friends?) with my husband online.  That is what I needed.  We had fun.  I don't regret not focusing on blogging.  I may actually have failed at that, but good came out of it.

The never ending homeschool struggle.  Is there a book I read somewhere that made me think this would ever be easy?  Being responsible for the education of four very different children is a lot of work.  It is thankless work.  They have the memories of parakeets.  They get that from me.  Do I double fail because of that?  What I struggled to see was that J has an 'A' in math.  My son, who used to cry every day for years about math, is succeeding.  M is finally (FREAKING FINALLY) remembering his parts of speech.  Who knew he needed hands on reinforcements.  Homemade games work wonders!  N is actually comprehending what he reads and listens to.  Take that Colin Powell Preschool special ed department.  Not only can he "function like a typical person," but he is thriving.  A is taking off and finding her passions.  She kicked dyslexia's butt and spends hours and hours READING.  They are finding such huge successes.  The day-to-day stuff is tough and we all get frustrated, but those things are huge... and that isn't even all of the major stuff they have accomplished.

I didn't expect to be married right now.  I thought for sure, this was the year we would finally give in. The fact that we are still together, and that we are even stronger says an awful lot about the things I couldn't see in my marriage.  There is not failure there.  It feels that way sometimes.  I am not the dream wife I have in my head.  I still haven't tricked him into saying  convinced him to say heard the three words I have longed to hear from my husband for more than 13 years.... "you are beautiful"   My marital unicorn.  I want to be whatever my husband thinks is beautiful.  I am not. I may never be.  There will always be that broken hole in my heart longing for those words to be spoken sincerely.  I am working.  I am working to become what I think he wants me to be.  Someday....  Maybe everything I see over the wall still points to failing as a wife, but not failing in doing this marriage thing.  Is that possible?

My children.  They are amazing.  They deserve better.  That is an area I am constantly failing.  There is no way to master this whole being a mother thing.  There are always one million ways to approach any situation.  I could have reacted differently to one situation, or been more proactive in another.  I say hurtful things or enable helplessness.  Moment by moment, I have to get on my tip toes to see over that dang wall and peek at the good things they learn from me.  They are just the best people.  If you haven't met them, you will someday.  They are going to change our world.

Fat.  Fat and insecure.  That is a failing duo of dysfunction.  I have a beach body coach.  I have a plan.  I have more determination than ever.  I am failing, but I WILL NOT always be.

It is hard to see the good in so many complicated areas of our lives.  I know I am not the only person who struggled in 2014.  There are many, many reasons I chose the word of the year that I did.  My word is FORWARD.  I don't want to look back.  I want to keep moving forward.  I want to set better goals and never stop working to accomplish those goals.  This is not the year for quitting anything.  I have some things going on in my life that make me want to just lock myself in my room and cry all day.  I absolutely will not let myself get to that point this year.  This is not a year to be depressed.  This is not a year to be thinking dark thoughts.  This is not a year to dwell on the negatives.  This is a year to move FORWARD.

It doesn't matter how much I failed or didn't fail in 2014.  I am moving FORWARD in 2015, and nothing can stop me.

Won't you join me in my plan to make 2015 a year of FORWARD momentum?

Thank you for putting up with me.

Mandy #forward15