The Plan Is…

I am a planner.

It’s both a blessing and a curse.

For me, I find that I feel somehow more secure if I feel I have planned my day down to the last detail and this constant need for planning control, so to speak, has been my way of life for more years than I can even remember.

Planning is a wonderful thing but it can also be something that holds us back. How you ask? Well, for many, they live according to the plans. They live their life minute by minute according to what is written on their calendars or planners or checklists. Deviation from the plans can cause panic, frustration, anxiety or even anger.  I should know. I have been one of the “many” for a LONG time.

This has been my life. This is how I have lived day in and day out: according to my plans.

This year, God brought me through some SERIOUS circumstances that completely threw all my planning to the wind. It was really hard for me to walk through those moments because every time I would be so focused on MY plans and how I had mapped things out and I would fail to see one very important thing: My plans were not at all God’s plans.

I planned my homeschool, my life at home, my children’s time….I planned everything. EVERYTHING. And not once did I ever pause to ask God if these moments were planned according to His will for our family. I just wanted to show the world we could conquer it all. Be mighty. I wanted to be super wife, super mom, super everything.

And yet, I ended up doing and being the exact opposite. My plans and the chaos of biting off more than I could chew and the hard realities that came from difficult pregnancies, moves across time zones, unexpected C-sections and things gone awry…they all brought me crashing down to one very important conclusion. While I was so busy planning my life down to the last detail, I completely forgot one extremely important detail: TO LIVE MY LIFE. I was so busy trying to follow my plan that I forgot to enjoy the very life I was so desperately planning. I forgot to be present in the moments so I could make memories. All I was making was a lot of mess and tears.

As I came to this reality, I began to shift and sort through every area of my life giving it back to God. I would tell you how huge this is but honestly, the truth is, there are no words to adequately explain to you just how huge this is and was for this desperately controlling planner.

Fear has gripped me most of my life. I always tried to live life doing whatever I could to avoid the what ifs. I wanted to do things by the book so to speak. I wanted to follow the rules to the best of my ability. You see, I plan because I don’t want anything to go wrong. I don’t want anything unexpected. I want to follow the plan. To the tee.

The truth, the harsh cold truth, is that life isn’t lived in the plans. Life is lived outside the confines of penciled in meetings and planned moments. We truly encounter life when we leave enough moments to actually discover it…to see it…to breathe it all in.

So I have made a commitment to the Lord that in the new year I will commit EVERY plan I make to Him first. I will not plan every single minute of my day. Instead, I will work on a sort of block system:

  1. Devotion, prayer, worship and LIFE
  2. Schooling stuff and LIFE
  3. Home stuff and LIFE
  4. LIFE – whatever comes my way

I am just going to take the moments as they come. Each day I will wake up and conquer the schooling that God has planned. What we finish we finish and what we don’t can be done tomorrow. We are going to be sure our home is clean but again, we will clean what we clean and what we don’t, we will clean tomorrow.

I am no longer sitting down and planning out my hours. Instead, I will let God and life dictate our days. Of course I will write down important things like doctors appointments. But the kinds of things I plan to work into my agenda are no longer tedious, unnecessary to dos and conformities but instead things like: Look up when the Chinese New Year is for Mister M, explore a local museum, play “Operation” with the kids, do some household chores, take a hot bath, read a great book, laugh a LOT, eat some good food.

I am looking to target only the most important things and write those down and the rest of my life can weave around them. I don’t want to live my moments consumed by a checklist or some “plan”. I want to live my moments allowing room for God to move in our lives. I want room for spontaneous worship, random encounters with people who need God’s love, surprise moments of laughter and play time. I want room for growth, discovery and beauty. I want room for memories, memories and more memories.

So, I have chosen a different kind of “planner” to start off my new year and I want to share that with you. Who knows. Maybe you too are so over the whole “planning” craze and want to simplify and find a way to plan for the important stuff but still leave room for LIFE. Maybe you just want something to motivate, to inspire you and if you do, I think you might find this may be the perfect little “planner” for you too.

“Sarah’s Secret 90 Day Pocket Planner: Play More & Worry Less

The Easiest Way to Live Your Dreams and Get Out of Survival Mode.”

Author: Sarah Janisse Brown (The Thinking Tree Books)

Pocket Planner

 

This planner is simple, creative and the perfect way to help you plan only the most important things while still helping you focus on THE most important things: your life, your dreams, your accomplishments, your creative mind.

I love this little planner because it is 90 days. Just long enough to help you build a habit and then you can start all over and do another one. (It’s also just long enough to help you detox from that nasty habit of living within the lines of an hour by hour plan.) I love the simplicity. Each day you choose FOUR important things you wish to do and then that’s it. FOUR THINGS. Then you reflect on things like yesterday’s accomplishments or your dreams for tomorrow. Yes, I said YOUR DREAMS FOR TOMORROW. Why would we want to do that at our age? Because God created us to have dreams. The moment we stop dreaming is the moment we have forgotten how to live.

You can also use this amazing little pocket planner to de-stress by coloring and the best part…you don’t even have to plan. Not really. Maybe your four important things are remembering to reflect on four powerful scriptures so you just write those in there and allow those to guide your day. HOW POWERFUL IS THAT???!!!!

There is not hour by hour timeline, no to-do list, no shopping list, no busy schedule block. Just four bubbles that allow you to determine what four things will help you accomplish your goals of LIVING; of playing more and worrying less, of working towards your dreams, of celebrating who you are. Four things that will help you stop trying to spin your wheels and start focusing on what matters most and leaving the rest to God. After all, it’s His life really, not ours.

Pocket Planner 1

At the back of the book are these adorable little “Just for fun” coloring pages and note pages. The perfect place for some of that de-stressing I mentioned earlier or to record a memory from the day, a prayer need or praise that God has done. Maybe you want to jot down a new recipe, song lyrics, write a poem or just record a favorite quote. It is a space to take note of the beauty in your life and the things that you dream about, want to explore and love. It’s like a memoire just waiting to be written.

These 90 days can be whatever we make them; whatever we dream for them to be. God gave us dreams. He gave us laughter, he gave us creativity, he gave us a hunger for more in this life and we won’t find it scribbling frantically in our heavy planners full of stressful expectations and attempts to be what we feel we owe to society or those around us. No, we find the “more of this life” when we stop trying to do and just BE. Just be free to live our life IN the moments. No tedious plans. No expectations. Just concentrating on what matters most each day.

Pocket Planner 2

So I am offering a challenge to you. Do you want to keep trying to hold so tight to your life and live by a bunch of planned minutes or do you want to break free, let them all go back to God and allow Him to guide your day? Would you be up for not buying a single traditional planner this year and instead, consider purchasing one of Sarah’s pocket planners instead? Would you be willing to limit your plans to your four most important things? Are you willing to dream a few dreams and celebrate your accomplishments rather than moan over your failures?

If you are up for the challenge, I would LOVE to hear about it! You can leave a comment below and say “I’m In” and then you can hop on over to The Thinking Tree’s Amazon Shop to purchase one of these incredible pocket planners for yourself. She has several to choose from and they are on sale right now for just $5. FIVE DOLLARS. That’s a STEAL!

I am so excited to just let it all go and learn to  play a lot more in 2018. I have wasted too many minutes stressing over schedules, trying to plan every second of every day or worrying about things that aren’t even worthy of my time. I am looking forward to just living in the minutes and seeing what they bring me.

Because the plan is….there is no plan. Only living.

You can find Sarah’s shop here: Sarah’s 90 Day Pocket Journal

Happy Living!

In Christ’s Love,

Kristy ❤

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Just Beyond Exhaustion

It has been six months into the sweet life of our precious Little Miss M. It has been a season of joy, wonder, amazement, blessing, and absolute and utter exhaustion. There have been so many days when, although my heart is full of joy to have her here, my physical body has shed tears of frustration, anxiety and a feeling of overwhelm from lack of sleep.

No one told me how hard it would be to have a baby at 39 and nobody told me how hard it would be to function with merely a few hours of sleep a night at 40. I have felt ill prepared and I have felt more anxious and nervous than I did with my first three children.

In the beginning, I worried I was getting postpartum depression. I was struggling to just get through the day. I was swimming in negativity and exhaustion and I barely wanted to do anything. I could barely find the energy or motivation to brush my hair so I just kept it in a constant messy bun. And clothes? Who had time for those. Outside of when I had to actually leave the house, I wore pajamas almost 24/7. And then the eating began. I have always struggled with food. I have used it as a means of coping and comfort for most of my life and until these last five years, I never struggled with my weight but now…now I seem to be adding on pounds faster than bets at a horse race. The worst part? I can’t seem to lose any of it and I am at the season in my life where weight and health matter most. I am not a spring chicken anymore. I have suddenly become the old hen and I need to take better care of myself.

I have not discussed this past year in depth with many. Though those who know me and follow my journey on facebook have seen posts here and there and have some bits and pieces of the last year but very few intimately know the details of the physical and emotional struggles I have faced during both my pregnancy and delivery. It has been a very difficult journey that has led to a very beautiful and precious blessing.

Still, in the days and nights that unfold, I have struggled with so much stress and weariness from lack of sleep and anxiety as I have suffered some trauma from the events during my delivery. I have found myself feeling so desperate for God to just give me sleep; for things to just suddenly be so easy. But the reality is that the journey through parenthood is never easy. It isn’t meant to be. Parenthood is this special journey we take that grows us as we work to grow our children. There is so much that God does within our hearts, that He grows within our lives when we are called to this special journey and so even in the  most difficult of circumstances, even in the  most sleepless of nights, we find we make it through to another day.

In the last six months, I have gone through a variety of emotions during those late nights and early mornings. I have sat and rocked my Little Miss M while silently crying desperate tears hoping that God would just hear my prayer one single time and let her sleep through the night. But those nights have never come and I found myself feeling defeated and so alone in those moments.

Each month would get a bit easier and I would find that functioning half asleep all day became my norm. There would be moments of despair but many more moments of laughter at the things that unfolded in my zombie like state. Like the the night that I searched for hours for our television remote so that we could change the source so my son could watch a movie. After nearly four hours of constant checking, we gave up and he went upstairs to watch some television in my room. Later that night, as was the norm for several weeks, Little Miss M woke up around midnight and I trudged downstairs to make her bottle half asleep. As I did so, I decided to get myself a bottle of water out of the fridge and much to my surprise, what do I find? The remote. There it was in all it’s now nearly frozen glory sitting on top of what else? A stack of post-it notes. I couldn’t even contain myself. I laughed until I had literal tears.

Then there was the other day when I had woken up on Christmas morning. I felt more tired than I had in a LONG time and yet, I made myself go downstairs and make waffles for breakfast and coffee so that when Mister O and Mister M came downstairs for Christmas gifts and breakfast, all would be ready. After we had opened gifts, I went to set the table and get cups for the coffee. I reached into the cabinet and grabbed Mister O’s coffee mug and I was instantly shocked to be greeted by a flood of cold liquid splashing out of the mug all over me and my very comfy and warm Wonder Woman footie pajamas. It took several seconds before I realized that I had, at some point earlier that week, put Mister O’s coffee mug BACK into the cabinet full of coffee. I started to get angry, I almost wanted to cry but then I just started laughing at myself. How could I be so tired? Who does that??? The answer? Me. I do that apparently.

Just past the exhaustion and the anxiety that sometimes makes it’s way into my world, is this beautiful sense of wonder at the life I have. Just past the exhaustion is that moment I realize over and over and over I must die to myself so that God can be my strength. I must push past my own needs and desires and ask God not to make the baby sleep all night but instead, make me the mother my baby needs to find comfort to sleep all night.

Yesterday was an especially hard day for me. Little Miss M had kept me up from 3am until nearly 7am and then awake again at 8am. I had had very little sleep. I was so exhausted. I had to literally lie down and just let my body feel the weight of sitting up vanish, I needed to close my eyes on and off, even for just a few moments to get through the day. I kept thinking, “I just have to make it a few more hours. A few more hours.” And I did. Make it that is.

And God, in all His sweet glory, watched me struggle through and drew me closer. There were moments yesterday that were almost as if the Holy Spirit were whispering in my ear, “Take heart. This is only a moment. Close your eyes for just a few minutes and then keep going. You are not alone.” He kept nudging me through, giving me hope, patience and brief moments of semi-rest.

After dinner was eaten, dishes put away and bottles washed, I made my way upstairs to climb into my warm and comfy bed. I quietly whispered the same small prayer, “Lord please let her sleep until in the morning. Just this once. Just tonight. Please?” And that was the last thing I remembered before waking up to the sounds of Little Miss M’s crying from the baby monitors at 1am. I slowly opened my eyes and looked at the clock and moaned to myself as I trudged over to the vanity to make her bottle and get a diaper.

I was so exhausted. Another night. Another night that I had prayed that same prayer and yet no answer. Another night of wondering how long she would keep me up; how much sleep would I lose? I took a deep breath and told myself this is a blessing. I have this beautiful little girl who loves me so much. She literally lives to have me hold her and kiss her and rock her. For now, I am her safety net. I am her security. Get it together Kristy, this isn’t about you. But, secretly, I was bitter. I just wanted to go to bed. I just wanted to sleep . ONE NIGHT. That’s all I wanted.

I went through my usual routine. I changed her diaper and consoled her as she cried, wanting so desperately for Momma to pick her up. Then I gently lifted her out of her crib, so exhausted. Just wanting to go back to sleep. She smiled at me so sweetly then laid her head on my shoulder, nestled against my neck and relaxed completely. I sat down and started to rock her while she drank her bottle. She would stop and cry every few minutes and I knew what that meant. She wanted me to sing. So I gently began to sing, “Oh Holy Night”, the one song that, for the last month and a half almost, has been her very favorite song; the one thing that calms her almost every single time. She again relaxed, wrapped her fingers around mine and began to quietly drink her milk.

And then…it happened. Just past the exhaustion, she looked at me, bottle finished and eyes locked on my exhausted face, she smiled and then closed her eyes. I felt so selfish in that moment. I had just wanted sleep. I had begged God to just let her sleep. Yet, if I had not been in that moment with her, I would have missed realizing that while I am exhausted and weary and worn, my little girl sees only one thing when she looks at me: happiness. I am the one thing that brings her peace and rest. I am the person she clings to. I am her happy place.

Just past the exhaustion, if we only don’t give up or give in to it’s frustration, we find beauty in the struggle. We find this beautiful, wonderful place called happy and we suddenly don’t even feel so tired anymore. We suddenly feel calm and at peace. I rocked her long past her falling asleep, not wanting to put her down, not wanting to forget these moments that will pass too quickly. I rocked her and then I opened my lips, not to beg God for more sleep, but this time, for one of the first times, to say thank you. Thank you for answering the prayer I had been too tired to pray first. I thanked Him for helping me be who she needed during those long nights. I thanked him for giving me joy in the most exhausting moments of my nights and for giving me such peace when I had felt such chaos in the moments before. I thanked God for loving me enough to give me grace just past the exhaustion.

I know this is hard Mommas. This journey we travel. There is so much we sacrifice, much of it we would probably honestly rather not, but there is such beauty and growth in those places of sacrifice. We feel weary, we feel worn, we feel bogged down by so much pressure and so many needs, but if we just do not give in, just past the exhaustion is grace. Just past that place of hopelessness and struggle is perfect peace and strength. Just past that place is hope.

So keep pushing through, keep holding on, keep turning to God and know that when you come to the place of the most exhaustion you have ever known, the most fear you have ever faced, the most sadness you have ever felt, or the most frustration you have ever harbored, just past all of that is where God meets your heart and fills you with grace, redemption and strength to be exactly what you need to be in those moments.

You are doing a good job. We all are and the exhaustion, the pain, the anxiety, the worry…all of those are just embers in the fire of growth that someday we will look back on and see as battle wounds and reminders that we have journeyed through something extraordinary. We have survived to tell the war story and help others, someday, suit up in our place.

In Christ’s Love,

Kristy ❤

Matthew 11-28-29

Photo cred: My Treasure Box

The Magic of the Treehouse

As I shared last night, Mister M asked if we would buy him a set of the Magic Treehouse books for Christmas. He wanted the first 28 books in the series to read. As a book lover I was, of course, over joyed and really wanted to be sure that I got him that series. I was very fortunate to have let my Scholastic points accrue this past year as I ordered books and I had enough points to get him the ENTIRE first 28 book set for FREE with my bonus points and still had points left over! God is good ladies gentleman. God is good.

Anyways, after we had read the first book together in the series last night, we had also discovered a Magic Treehouse website that was totally free. It is amazing and Mister M loves it. He started reading book number two today and he has been completing missions and logging his book reading on the website.

Did you know that besides the fact that The Magic Treehouse books are so incredibly fun and exciting for kids to read, they are also extremely educational? Each book tells  an exciting adventure along with details and information about specific time periods, events or specific people in history. And even more than that, there are Fact Tracker books for the first 34 books in the series that you can purchase to use alongside them. These are nonfiction resource books that help to tell the children all about the specific time periods, events, or historical figures that are discussed in the accompanying Magic Treehouse story. They are amazing and so informative and would be an absolutely amazing way to help educate your homeschool or even classroom students (for any of my public school educators out there).

Who would have thought such fun and engaging books could be such an incredible resource in helping your kids learn about things such as the Middle Ages, Ancient Egypt, dinosaurs, The Mayflower and the Pilgrims and so much more. They are truly remarkable for so many reasons.

As we go into our new year, one of my goals is to work on purchasing the Fact Trackers for each of the first 34 books and as Mister M finishes up this first set, we will continue to find the remaining books and will be utilizing them for our school year to help us with things like science, history, reading and writing. We can utilize the fact trackers to help us really explore and learn about the things discussed in the book and do research on the events, people or periods more in depth through online resources and library materials. We are both incredibly excited to add these to our Fun-Schooling baskets after the first of the year and utilize them in many ways to help us learn and grow together.

If you have never experienced the magic and wonder of the Treehouse, I highly recommend you consider purchasing, at least, the first book and seeing for yourself why these books are a fantastic way to get your child reading, learning and discovering!

Trust me. Don’t wait. Discover the magic of the treehouse for yourself. You won’t regret it!

In Christ’s Love,

Kristy ❤

Here are just a few images of the website. You can visit for yourself and explore, learn and play at The Magic Treehouse. Enjoy!

 

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New Traditions

As one of my goals for the new year is to read more, I have been working to get into that mindset by trying to read more this week. It’s not that I don’t love to read. I LOVE reading and I have a serious control issue when it comes to books: I can never have enough.

But, as a wife, Mom, homeschooler, housekeeper, nurse, chef, errand runner and chauffeur, I often find myself feeling guilty for just sitting down throughout the day and reading. Until now. Those days are gone. My children, myself, my husband…we all come before perfectly clean rooms and immediately put away laundry. My house is clean and it doesn’t have to be perfect. Obsessing over that has cost me precious moments of time for myself to relax, read a good book or two and from reading with my children outside of our homeschool lessons. There was never enoufh time from the constant picking up and cleaning I was doing to have a perfectly neat house. And for what? A perfect house is not to be lived in. And we need a house for living in.

So, it was time to say farewell to the insane expectations I have had for myself and say hello to living my life for every moment, so, today I read. I read an entire book and I savored every second. I also found time to play games with Mister M and to spend lots of time cuddling with Little Miss M and I even got in a nap!! It was heaven.

And tonight, just as I was preparing to pick up the living room and prepare to make my way to tuck Mister M in bed, he asked if I would read to him. He went straight to the new set of Magic Treehouse Books he got for Christmas and brought me the first book in the series. We cuddled up on our couch next to our electric fireplace and we read. We read the ENTIRE first book in a span of 30 minutes. We DEVOURED it and Mister M anxiously awaited the turn of each page to see what happened to Annie and Jack next. As soon as we finished he ran to get one of the library books he had checked out on Dinosaurs and began to pretend he was Jack and was with Annie in the Treehouse.

My heart imploded with joy.

As I sat and watched him play, he turned to me and said, “Mommy, can we read together like this every night? Just me and you? Like we used to? Not for school but just for fun. It made my heart really happy tonight.”

And so, Mister M and I have decided on a new tradition: a nightly date with adventure and a side of milk.

This book loving Momma couldn’t be happier.

Life is so good when we just slow down long enough to realize that all the things we are often spinning our wheels to achieve or do aren’t nearly as important as the simple moments of just sitting with our children and reading to them.

Take the time to read to your children; not just for homework or schoolwork or because it has to get done but simply because you have a love for your children and a good book. Read to them because they will never forget those moments or those words. The laundry will always be there tomorrow and those toys in the floor will just end up in the floor again tomorrow but these moments won’t be there tomorrow. Don’t miss precious moments and new traditions unfolding  because you are too busy worrying about the same old burdens.

Breathe. Let it go. Enjoy those moments and enjoy the stories and memories that unfold. There is always time to read a good book if we just make room for it.

Blessings and love,

Kristy ❤️

Ready, Set, Goal!

As I prepare to go into a new year, I have a lot of things on my mind. This time of year I always find that I have a need to really evaluate myself and see if there are any areas I really want to work on or grow in. I can tell you, there are always plenty of those!

So this year I sat down a few days earlier than usual and really took time to reflect for several days before compiling my list of the Top Ten Goals I want to work to achieve in 2018:

  1. Get Healthy: Finding healthier recipes, not eating out and looking into a YMCA membership for exercise regularly.
  2. Play More – Worry Less: I want to focus on things that will allow me to ENJOY my life and children and help me also focus more on myself because I don’t do that nearly enough. Some of my personal “play” goals include learning to crochet, reading daily for myself and increasing my book completion each month, and picking up cross stitching again.
  3. Spend more time in prayer and Bible Study time: I really want to increase my time with the Lord, my time in intercession for others, and work on putting God first every day. One of my goals to have a prayer journal this year that I write in daily and really focus on being intentional in how I pray for myself and others.
  4. Grow my blog: I really want to be more intentional with my writing and to be consistent in writing daily. I want to be intentional with the content and the things I share and I want to work on trying to grow my community of followers and offer not just life stories but also faith builders and valuable resources and reviews that will help grow them, their families and their homeschools as I grow along with them.
  5. Grow my homeschool group: I want to work on creating weekly live video schedules, monthly giveaways, hosting live guest speaker events and one of my biggest goals is to research how to host a podcast. I would love to have a weekly broadcast but I want to really research this and pray about it to be sure that I do it well.
  6. Fun-Schooling/Have fun with learning: This year I want to be more INTENTIONAL with the BEST ways for MY children to learn. With that in mind, Fun-Schooling will our main focus for homeschool going into this year. I plan to purchase more Fun-Schooling journals and books that will help my son learn independently through reading and put together Fun-Schooling baskets for us both. I wan to focus on more read alouds this year ad having more free reading time so that my son can read and explore and have adventures through literature every day. I also want to work on creating a weekly field trip schedule but above all, I want to BREATHE daily and just TRUST GOD.
  7. Work on my personal writing: In 2012 I wrote a Women’s Devotional and was blessed to have a publishing company interested in publishing it. I got to the editing stages and hit a personal storm in my life that just caused me to shut down and pull my devotional from them. It was sort of a grown up temper tantrum with God. This year, I want to really work to make the editing changes and look into self printing options so that I can be obedient to the call to offer this devotional to the world in God’s perfect timing.
  8. Spend more quality time with my husband: Our daily routines are often chaotic and my husband works long hours while I am left to m own craziness of children, homeschooling and housekeeping. I love it all but I often get so consumed with all I am doing that my poor husband doesn’t get a lot of my time and attention. So I want to be more intentional to find time each month to spend alone with just him and I want to work hard at making sure these times are device free. This seems to be a distraction for us all.
  9. Deployment Readiness/Deployment Survival: This next year we will be facing a lengthy deployment. I want to be ready and prepared for when he leaves us. I want to work on putting together a Deployment Wall and a monthly care package schedule that will help me to have special themes, lists of items I want to send, cards and letters and plenty of photographs all listed out to make it easier putting together and sending on time for holidays or special occasions or just so my husband knows how much he is loved and missed. I also want to plan special deployment activities with my kids to help them learn about where their Dad is and what he is doing while he is gone. In addition to this, I want to keep a Deployment Journal this time where I can write down all the things I want to remember to share with my husband while he is away so that I have a place to record my struggles or joys without bombarding him while he is away when he is able to call or email. I want him to have something he can read and catch up on when he is home and adjusted to being back with us.
  10. STAY POSITIVE & BE JOYFUL: I have really struggled this last year with negativity. It has become a terrible mindset that I really want to focus on breaking. I want to be able to counter every negative situation and thought with God’s truth and to find joy and positivity in EVERY single moment, no matter the situation.

Goals are so important and if you do not usually sit and think about the goals for your new year, I highly encourage you to consider taking time to do just that. Having goals, written down where I can see them, help me to look at my year and focus on what matters most; they encourage me to work to be the best version of myself and to keep myself moving forward even when I am tempted to lie down and give up. They serve as a means of hope when I realize that little by little, my goals are met and they remind me that I am capable of so much more than I often give myself credit for.

So what are YOUR goals this year? What are some things that you really want to see change in your life? Write them down. Place them where you can see them and be sure to keep track of the moments when you achieve your goals.

No goal is too big or too small and anything can be achieved if you just work a little each day and never give up.

I would love to hear some of your goals for the year so feel free to comment below! In the meantime, good luck with your goal setting and onward hoe to another year!

In Christ’s Love,

Kristy ❤

My Written Goals for 2018 and some of the books I plan to start off my January with. I am so EXCITED to reread the entire “A Wrinkle in Time” Series and some new books I have been wanting to read for some time.

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Merry Christmas!

Well, another Christmas has come and as quickly as it has arrived, it is almost gone. I am up late this evening, which seems to be my new norm, and as I cleaned my kitchen and picked up toys in the living room, I looked up at my big beautiful, sparkling tree and felt a sense of sadness at the thought that this season has almost passed us by.

Christmas is my very most favorite time of the year. I am sure many say this but for me, it ranks high above everything else aside from my children and family’s birthdays. Those days are equally as important to me because they each, just like Christmas, are a reminder and symbol of very special births in my life.

Christmas has always been about family and traditions for me. Even as a child, Christmas was magical not because of neatly wrapped parcels under our tree but because my parents shared their time with us. They told us stories of Christmases past and we had the same set of traditions we followed year after year. I could rely on them and I anxiously awaited them each year. We would always put up the tree as a family on Thanksgiving Night. Carefully we would place each ornament on the tree, reminiscing about where they had come from or what they meant to us. My mother would always begin her Christmas baking the first couple weeks of December and she would stock pile all sorts of goodies from homemade bon-bons to her world famous buttermilk cookies. They would always buy little tin containers and deliver Christmas goodies to our neighbors just a few days before Christmas and I could always count on plenty to sneak into my own little hands. The tastes, the smells, I can remember them all so vividly still 40 years later.

Christmas Eve was always spent with our families. First my Dad’s where we would have dinner with the family and then exchange our gifts. We would then hurry to my Mom’s family gathering which was always a big to do. My mother comes from a very large family of 12 children so there were literally people everywhere. Children running and playing, adults laughing and talking and a smorgasbord of food. But most of all, there was laughter, there was love and there was a sense of magic in the air. Each year, Santa (who was actually, unknown to me, always one of my uncles) would arrive at my Grandmother’s house that night and he would bring one gift to each of us.  We would nervously await our turn to sit on Santa’s lap and hear him tell us how wonderful we had been. It was lovely. It was wondrous and it was a time of sweet memories.

Once we returned home, there was always cookies and hot chocolate and my parents would watch “It’s a Wonderful Life”. I would fall asleep every year to the sound of Jimmy Stewart’s voice and with a heart full of wonder and excitement and each year, my brother and I would awake long before the sun would be making it’s way onto the horizon. I often now wonder how my parents had the ability to get up so early. They had to be tired. They would be up for hours after we had gone to sleep, carefully placing each sweetly wrapped gift and making sure the cookies had been eaten and the mood was all set for the next morning. How had they managed to get up and still be so full of joy and excitement for us as we opened each package? As a child I could not imagine this. They seemed invincible to me then, though I now greatly understand all that they did and all they sacrificed to do it and how very vulnerable they are now to the time and years slipping away quietly.

Each Christmas morning, I can remember  my Grandfather and Uncle Dennis would come to our house when we woke up to open our presents. The sky as dark as night and the weather freezing, they would brave the wind and cold and lack of sleep just to come spend that time with us and it meant the world to me. There was so much laughter and so much love in that little small space in our home. The tree would be overflowing with packages of all kinds but the thing that I remember the most were the hugs. The smiles on all of our faces. These adults, these people who had jobs, so many different stresses and busy lives would take the time to wake up and come enjoy the magic with us, play with us and it was glorious. My mother would make a big breakfast and we would eat eggs and bacon, sausage and pancakes and all the goodies we could stuff into our bellies.

It was the same things every single year. I waited for it all year long. It was as if, for the entire month of December time just stood still and we got to relish in the love of our family and nothing else mattered. As I grew up, as most of us do, I began to forget the wonder of this special time in my life. As the years passed, I became busy. I grew up and I sometimes took those moments for granted.

As an adult now, I have a great respect for my family. I have a great love of the memories I got to make with my parents who work so hard to carry on those traditions all these years later. I cling to the memories of my Grandmother, my Grandfather and my Uncle Dennis who  left this world and have gone to their eternal homes far too soon. Each Christmas I find myself closing my eyes and for a moment, it is as if I am that little girl all over again and time again stands still and yet, when I open my eyes, I see a new world around me full of old and new traditions. I look at the faces of my own children and I feel so incredibly blessed. I wonder if they feel the same love and magic that I did? I wonder if they too are creating memories they will forever cherish and remember as they grow through the years? I pray they are. I pray that I am for them, all that my parents and family were and are to me.

As I made my way through the house tonight, turning off each and every light, I glanced up at our twinkling tree one last time and for a moment, I heard that little girl. I heard the sound of my oh so young parents, laughing and talking and for a brief moment I could hear my Grandfather and Uncle Dennis. I could smell that breakfast. I could feel the warmth and I felt at peace.

These years go by oh so quickly and each year I find that I hunger more and more for a way to slow down. To remember each detail. To never forget a single memory and to not miss creating new ones with my own precious family. I  may never be able to relive those Christmases past but I can relish and savor their memories and anxiously await the ones that are yet to come.

I pray that this Christmas has been a time of peace and joy for you and the ones you love most but above all, I pray that this Christmas has been a time of reflection, a season where time has stood still and a day of love and laughter you will cherish for years to come.

Merry Christmas.

In Christ’s Love,

Kristy ❤

 

That’s a Wrap

Our first semester of school has come to a close. We didn’t actually do  much this week outside of math and reading but we did start a new writing project that I hope we can finish after Christmas Break because it is just so adorable. You can catch a glimpse of that below.

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I snagged an incredible set of FREE resources for this from “An Apple for the Teacher”. You can find that here: If I Were In a Snow Globe

We didn’t have a very heavy week as Mister O thought that since he was home and it is so close to Christmas, we should not be schooling so we only got started on this project by beginning our brainstorm process. We talked a lot about how writers brainstorm ideas before they begin their story. As you can see in the image above, I showed Mister M how we can use questions to help us think of ideas. We also talked about how vital our senses can be in helping to establish the setting of a story and how it can also help to decide the mood of a certain character or help to tell what may be happening around them. I enjoyed this little lesson a lot (writing is one of my passions) and getting to share with my son how fun and wonderful writing can be was a highlight of our week.

Fun-Schooling this week also consisted of a daily opening of one small gift that we had chosen to give Mister M. This is going to be a new tradition for us going forward. He has a small stocking in our homeschool room so each day I placed one small little trinket in it and a wrapped gift on his desk. Each one was something he could use in the homeschool room or at playtime and a brand new book that I had chosen for him. We really like to emphasize reading at Christmas because we feel it is one of the most valuable gifts we can give to our children. Mister M was so excited every morning and afternoon to go check his stocking and unwrap his small gift and of course, he has already started diving into the books which makes this book loving Momma oh so happy! Below are some of the books we chose for him this year.

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In addition to all the fun and wonder of new books, we also spent a lot of time trying to play games that would allow us to work on things like math skills, reasoning, etc. I think our favorite game day was when we played Monopoly with Mister O. Of course, I may have loved it because I was seriously winning at life in this game but I won’t brag.

Monopoly is actually a really fantastic way to get your children practicing math skills such as their addition facts, counting money, learning about interest payments and how they work, budgeting and why it is important to make your money stretch. Some of the lessons are not so fun in the moment, such as when you land on a railroad and they are all owned by the same person and you are forced to pay them your last $200. Rent is not cheap in the world of Monopoly and in the game of real life, rent won’t be any cheaper. All in all, it was a LOT of fun and we will definitely be adding Monopoly to more of our family game nights in the future.

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We decided to end our wee yesterday with some physical education. So, Mister O took Mister M to the local gym and they played racquetball for hours. When they finally arrived back home, they are both drenched in sweat and I took one big sigh of relief as I realized how much energy Mister M had released on that court. And so, that is how I chose to end “school” for Christmas Break: sweaty, tired and ready to relax.

I know I say this so often but as I reflect back on these last few months, the most beautiful thing about our journey is that it never stops. Each day is a new day to learn and grow and the best part is that we get to learn and grow while we live, laugh, explore and play together.

Last Christmas, I would have been far too busy trying to get it all just perfect and work on the next semester’s lesson plans to actually relax and fully enjoy everything that makes our wonderful homeschool journey so special. But this Christmas? This Christmas the planning books are now all used up and I won’t purchase another until after the holidays. As I reflect on that and imagine what my plans for the New Year will look like, I can tell you with all steadfastness that the only plans I will record in our planner will be as follows:

  1. Daily Devotions, Prayer & Worship
  2. Math
  3. Fun-Schooling Journals
  4. Read a good book & Read Alouds
  5. Write/Tell a good story
  6. Laugh, play, live in the moment.

Repeat.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year from my family to yours. I pray that your Christmas and this New Year to come is filled with a lot of fun, laughter and precious memories but most of all, if you too have struggled with feeling like you are sinking beneath your homeschool or life expectations and circumstances, if you have felt weighed down and completely in disarray from anxiety and worry, I pray that God will give you peace; that He will help you to just let it all go and release it to Him. I pray for you to find perfect peace and an abundance of joy to fill your hearts.

In Christ’s Love,

Kristy ❤

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