Enough is Enough – The Flip to Fun-Schooling

When I began my homeschooling journey two years ago, I honestly had no idea of what homeschooling should look like. I had not witnessed in any real fashion, what homeschooling truly was. I had heard talk of curriculums and Co-ops. I had met friends who homeschooled and their children seemed full of life and excited about their education. I had a lot of preconceived ideas and images in my mind but none of them have truly been accurate.

I, like so many others who have gone before me, became obsessed with making sure that I was giving my child the best education he could possibly  have. Never once asking some very valid and important questions in the beginning. Questions such as: How does my son learn? What does my son love to learn about? What are my sons strengths and weaknesses? What does my son envision doing with his life? What are my sons passions? These are all wonderful questions to ask but in kindergarten I did not think that these questions would apply. After all, he was only five years old. How was he supposed to know what he loves to learn about or what he is passionate about? He hadn’t even yet come to understand such words as passion or learning styles.

How very wrong I was.

Had I taken the time to really look at my son and watch as his life taught him, I might have been able to catch glimpses of some very valuable and important hints that answered these questions. Hints like the way he could sit for hours and watch and learn about anything pertaining to space, how he loved to play Minecraft even though he was still learning to navigate such a game, how he loved for me to read to him, how he loved books in general for that matter. In addition to these things, my son had a great attention span but he would also get restless if he sat for too long doing one thing. While watching television, he also needed to have something in his hands whether it was crayons drawing a story image from his mind, the trains he would chug along the wooden tracks, or legos to build towers with. His mind never stopped working and wondering and questioning.

What exactly led me to believe that my creative and explorative sweet boy would be satisfied sitting at a desk for 5+ hours a day doing worksheet after worksheet and tests and special writing projects I honestly have no idea. Perhaps it was my images of the classrooms I grew up in – the very classrooms that in so many ways made me feel inferior and often snuffed out my creative sparks. Perhaps it was the need to mold to what the world around me deemed as the right kind of education for my child – the very mold that has often and in many ways forgotten that my child doesn’t learn the same way that 25-30 other students do. Perhaps it was the need to  prove to my terrified self that I would not fail – the need to prove I was good enough, worthy enough to truly educate my son. Perhaps it was all the above and so much more. Whatever led me to this very wrong assumption, it was certainly from a place of my own insecurity rather than the confidence in understanding my son and the calling God had given me to homeschool.

in just two years time, I had taken my sweet and incredibly smart boy who created his very own goals for kindergarten, who loved to learn and explore, who couldn’t wait to start school with Mommy and I had begun to transform him into a child who just wanted to get the worksheets done so he didn’t have to think about them anymore, who wanted to just stay in his room to avoid having to do another boring and long day of the exact same work he had been doing for weeks on end. He lost his desire to explore the world around him, he lost the excitement of new lessons. The only time I would even see a spark of joy was when we sat aside his regular work and did just a fun Science Day or we watched an educational video or just spent time reading. He would retain information like a sponge and his questions and his reasoning blew me away. Then once we returned back to our regular work, all the light was gone. There was only a dim expression from a small boy who just wanted to LIVE his education. He just wanted to learn about things that he could use in his every day life. He wanted to learn Math but not the same concepts over and over that he already knew. He would beg with me to do something different but I refused because we had a curriculum and he was a “Straight A” student. We were showing our family, friends and community that homeschool works.

Except for when it wasn’t. Which was basically every day.

Even as I type these words, my heart grieves. You see, I was homeschooling to prove I could do it. I was homeschooling to make sure my son met the world’s standards of intelligent and educated. I was homeschooling the very opposite way that God had intended and I had failed my son and forgotten him amidst my daily lesson plans and test planning and extra writing assignments. I was literally killing my son’s creative vision and joy for learning. I was taking from him his spirit and passion. All to fit a mold. All to fit my own need to be enough.

Over the last few months, I have spend many nights in tears, exhausted from the overwhelming struggle to get anything done. The stress of balancing my son’s school work load, an infant, two dogs, my household chores and all the other responsibilities I had resting upon me. I kept asking God for help and all I kept hearing was, “Let it all go.”

“Let it all go? Are you kidding me? I have worked SO HARD to hold this all together”, I told the Lord with desperation and disgust in my voice. “I have spent hours planning, I have bought this incredible curriculum, I have worked endlessly to make sure he gets every last bit of it done and I kill myself to catch up when he falls behind. You want me to just LET GO?!?!?!?!?!”

And His reply: “Yes. Just like that. LET IT ALL GO.”

Either God had lost His mind or I had and I think we all know the answer here. So, after months and weeks of arguing, constantly struggling with throwing our curriculum to the wind and then running back to gather it up again and try to figure out how we could catch up, I found myself again on my knees this past weekend. Tearfully, I laid in my bed and listened as my mind told me I was a failure. Wept as I convinced myself that I was not enough. I was not adequate. That the problem was me.

And suddenly I heard, “The problem IS you. You refuse to listen to me and  just let go. My child…just let go. I promise you I have a plan.”

In mostly desperation mixed with a lot of exhaustion and anger I finally agreed and I fell asleep. I slept so soundly that night and that one night only might I add. (Thanks Little Miss M.) When I awoke Monday morning, I felt this determination to change. I felt this need to give my homeschool back to God. So I did and then I walked into our homeschool room that morning, walked over to our shelf with ALL of our curriculum and teacher texts and I gathered them all up (minus Arithmetic and Handwriting) and I packed them up.

I PACKED THEM UP! Put them away in the closet and then I turned to my son who was now standing behind me with wide eyes and said, “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!”

Confusion was definitely very apparent at this point. He had a lot of questions. Was he in trouble? Was I sick? Was he having to go to public school (I must admit that the gasp and look of horror when he asked this had me laughing for a good 10 minutes.) Was I in trouble? Was I going crazy? What was happening? Each question received the same answer of no with a giggle.

I told him we were going to build something for school work. He looked at me shocked but ran to get his blocks before I changed my mind. We built a whole cabin. Then I told him he could play in his room for bit. He again, looked at me with this strange look of shock surely thinking something was going on but again, darted up the stairs before I changed my mind. After that we did one sheet of Math which he finished in just under 10 minutes front and back and then I told him he could pick a book to read.

The freedom to read a book he enjoyed rather than from the assigned readers lit his face up with delight. He read for almost 45 minutes. I had to STOP him to get ready for us to go to the store. He was sorely disappointed.

We had a very relaxed and minimal day of school and we spent the night watching Christmas movies and laughing together. It was glorious. Right up until, I tucked my son in bed and went down to the homeschool room to respond to some emails. As soon as I walked in, the closet seemed to be all I could focus on and my mind was racing. What was I thinking? I couldn’t just not use the curriculum we paid for! I couldn’t just throw it aside and be done with it! Had I lost my mind? Yes. I had lost my mind. I literally got up from my chair and darted to the closet to reach up and grab the basket of curriculum but instead I got smacked, literally, in the head with a Fun-Schooling Journal I had tucked away in the closet for “fun time”. I rubbed my head and then started to grab it to toss it back up into the closet and then I stopped.

See, over the last few months I had become obsessed with this Fun-Schooling method. I spent hours researching it, reading the reviews, and scouring over the endless amounts of journals I found on Amazon. I secretly dreamed of this method of schooling in our own home. I thought it must be heaven to be able to just teach your child that way with no guilt. How I envied the author of these journals. She seemed to teach her children with ease because they were in essence, teaching themselves. How could she school this way and be confident in it? Again, tears began to well up in my eyes as I heard my Father speak to me, “My child. When will you learn that you are enough? You asked for a plan, a way and here it is.”

I sat in the middle of my floor and began to scour over the journal. I thought about the things that Mister M might explore with this small, fun journal. I thought about the things I had been seeing online and the review I had recently given on my homeschool group page encouraging others to use them. Why was I not fully using it myself? And then I flipped to the beginning of the book and there scrawled on the page was a list of things Maximus had written that he wanted to learn about:

  1. Who were the 10 generations of the Bible that came after Jubal and Tubal-Cain?
  2. Small dinosaurs.
  3. How the human body works.
  4. Volcanoes.

And I was instantly certain this was God. No looking back. I closed the closet and said, “God, I am giving you my homeschool. Every detail. I am taking a HUGE risk here. I am not even consulting my husband so please forgive me but I am trusting you and I am going to do this. No more full ABeka. No more hours on end of insanely repetitive work. I am going to let you show me how to teach my son. I am letting go. Completely.”

And I did.

Now, I cannot tell you how this story ends because, well, it is just beginning but I can tell you that when we let go and just let God work through us, the ending is usually pretty stellar. I can’t tell you I am not going to struggle along the way but I can tell you that I serve a God who is already in that struggle waiting to help us walk through it with grace and mercy.

And, so begins our Fun-Schooling journey. We will keep only our Arithmetic workbook and writing workbook as he was learning to write cursive but that too will be replaced with the Fun-Schooling “Creative Comic Book Cursive and Spelling: Do It Yourself Journal” as soon as I am able to purchase it.

I am going to take back my homeschool for God and for my sanity. I am going to let my son be the creative, outside the box learner he is and I am going to stop trying to meet a standard I was never meant to chase after. That cycle stops here for me and my children. We are all enough and this is OUR journey. Just as I tell my homeschool group every single week almost, “The curriculum doesn’t rule me, I rule the curriculum”.

I can’t wait to share our journey with you more regularly and I cannot wait to encourage other Moms to just let go and let their children learn and explore outside the confines of what the world says is best. This is our home, this is our school, these are our children and we can choose to say enough is enough and do it the better way. The fun way. The Fun-Schooling way.

It’s never too late to flip your homeschool upside down and start fresh. Never.

In Christ’s Love,

Kristy Delgado, The newest member of the Fun-Schooling Moms Club ❤

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Learning to Breathe

We have been in a season. (Then again, who hasn’t been lately right?)

It’s been so tiring and at times I have found myself questioning so many things about our homeschool journey, about all the changes we have been experiencing, and well, just  about LIFE.

To say I am tired is an incredible understatement and yet through all that exhaustion and strain, I feel so incredibly blessed.

The last few months with Mister M have been such a very difficult navigation in regards to our homeschool. Between Mister O leaving for 30 days in February and then him coming home just as we are preparing our house to move and then us actually making that big move to a whole new state, city and life, our son has had a tremendously difficult time adjusting.

I should have anticipated it. I should have prepared myself for it. I should have been interceding in advance for it but I didn’t. I was consumed. I was overwhelmingly consumed with packing and planning and traveling and moving and adjusting all on my own. I was struggling physically, emotionally; I forgot all about the littlest member of my family and all that he was going to have to leave behind this time during a season of his life that he could actually understand and would remember. The impacts of that were profound. For the first time, he had developed real friendships. He had real communities of involvement. All of his known memories were from the place we had to leave behind and his heart was struggling and this Type A Mamma, in the midst of all she had to do and take care of, missed it.

So from February until the beginning of this month, we were barely able to get ANY school work done. We had to adjust our school calendar and add days. I know. I know. Most of you are saying, “You don’t have to do that. Just give him a break.” And the truth is, we did have a break. Almost two months of break. I couldn’t do it. He couldn’t do it. We were in burnout mode without either of us really understanding that was what it was. As we came into May, I was determined for us to be back on routine. I was determined for us to prevail and go back to life and all that we do. I was naive enough to think it was that simple.

So I dove head first; back to the grind and to all the worksheets, the projects, the reading. All of our rigid routines. I forced him into that classroom and I said, “We ARE doing this. No more excuses. Huge and pregnant and out of breath or not, we are FINISHING all of our school work and we will do it with determination.”

I am sure at this point, inside my sweet 7 year old’s mind, he was thinking, “Ughhhhh. Mommy, I need you. Can’t you see I need you to see that I literally cannot do this? I literally cannot handle one more thing? Don’t you see that I am hurting Mommy? You aren’t the only one who misses friends and feels lost and displaced. I miss my whole world. Why can’t you see that Mommy?”

But he didn’t speak those words out loud so I naively thought he was fine. After all, they say kids are resilient right?

WRONG.

They can be. They sometimes are but life affects them just as much as they do us and yes they are resilient over time but sometimes they aren’t. Sometimes they also hurt and feel and grieve just as we do. Sometimes they experience the same types of struggles and frustrations that we do so how is it we so easily forget and overlook that and just expect them to adapt and adjust without question or struggle?

So, with my determination we dove in and it was ROUGH. Every day was an exhausting struggle. We were schooling ALL day long because I, in my stubborn ways, refused to let him not complete EVERYTHING that was outlined for him to do. Some days I cried. Some days he probably cried too. It was bad. I mean REALLY bad.

And then it happened. He woke up one Friday morning that first week of May and everything came flowing from out of his mind, through his mouth and into my shocked world.

My precious little man woke up with tears and began to tell me how much he had been hurting. He missed his best friend. He missed our old house. He missed our old Co-op. He missed our life. Why did we have to move here? Why couldn’t we just have stayed and why, WHY, WHY, WHY did we have to have another baby and why did I have to have a GIRL!!!!!!!

And then it hit me like a tidal wave.

I had failed to see the single most important detail of them all. In the  midst of already overwhelming situations and transitions, we were adding an entirely more intense change: we were bringing a little sister into this family.

Until this point, Mister M has been the baby and with his sisters staying in Arkansas, he has been an only child from age 3 to now. All of his memories are mostly compiled of him being the entire center of the universe. Every activity, every thing we do has been centered around his little world. How on earth had I not paused to think that while he said he was excited for a baby that he might also be so terrified of a baby coming?

I felt like such a failure in that moment. I was stunned and unsure of how to speak so instead, I sat down on the bed, I pulled him close and I let him cry for a moment. I let him get out all his thoughts which included asking me, “Will you still love me the same? Will you still have time for me? Do you still want me to be a part of the family?”

My heart was crushing a little more with each question and I lovingly and calmly shed some of my own tears as we talked about what bringing Little Miss M into the family would be like. We talked about fears. We talked about changes. We talked about what might happen and what to expect. We also talked about how hard it might be but how good it would be. And then I did something I never do. I did what I honestly never thought I would be able to do given my issue with needing routines and plans and schedules.

I looked at my little guy and said, “How about we set aside school today and we just spend some time doing whatever it is YOU want to do today.”

His look of total shock said it all. “Really?? But what about  my worksheets? What about my reading? Won’t Daddy get mad at me?” To which I shockingly (to both myself and him) responded, “It all can wait. Today, we just need to enjoy being together.”

So, that’s exactly what we did. I put aside my routine and our schedule and we spent the day curled up under blankets watching movies and reading together and playing Uno. We laughed and we talked about lots of things and we got through the meltdown and by the end of the day, I had a different little guy.

The next week, we went back to homeschool but I approached it all with a different mindset. I approached it from the  mindset of what does my SON need to take from today and how does he need to take it in his current season. I tweaked how we are doing our schedule and began to incorporate breaks where we pause and play games or watch an educational show. I began to evaluate all his busy work because honestly, my son was doing SO much written work and worksheets that he made public school homework and classwork look like nothing. I asked myself what is most important? I shifted my focus and BAM.

It happened.

We overcame and we began to flow into our beautiful routine again. Don’t get me wrong, he still has a workload because that’s just how we work things, what his curriculum requires and he does so well with it. But we changed HOW we are doing the work and HOW we approach it and it has been so freeing. Some days we do his writing worksheets while other days I have him write letters to a friend or family member or write a story of his choosing in his writing journal. We did away with our Arithmetic Speed Drill worksheets and started doing flashcards together instead. Trust me when I tell you this made a big difference. He does two sheets of Math a day for his lessons and then when you add a 60 second timed Speed Drill worksheet on top of it, you find yourself with a kid who isn’t so much loving Math that day. We started doing reading first thing in the mornings because he loves to read and I changed the order of what we do when and it has been so refreshing.

While I know deep down, this won’t mean that he isn’t feeling the sting of his homesickness still, I know that he sees that I can recognize when he needs a time out. He knows I see that he isn’t just some robot that can handle and do whatever we say without any emotion or feeling. I know he knows how much I care because I cared enough to finally say, “Okay. Maybe I need to change things. Maybe you need a MOM right now, more than a teacher.” And suddenly, he is back to loving his learning experiences and being determined to keep his “straight A” status.

We have to school until almost July this year and then will take our “Summer break” until the beginning of September and that’s okay. We will finish our work. We will learn and laugh and we will do it all together. Taking those months off during all those changes wasn’t something I planned, it wasn’t something I wanted but I believe with all my heart and soul it was exactly what God had planned because He knew what was coming and how it was going to affect our little guy.

Life is hard. Sometimes, we miss things but it teaches us that sometimes, we have to stop long enough to see that something isn’t quite working and we need to readjust our focus. Homeschool is a beautiful journey for so many reasons but one of the very most important ones that I can think of is that it gives us the ability to see when our children are hurting, to allow ourselves grace to say that we need a break and to take it. Right then and there. We aren’t having to pace it just like everyone else. We can and if it works we do but sometimes, life happens and we need to let ourselves deal with it.

I am so thankful for a God who always reveals in the perfect time what is needed and helps us to realign our priorities and our life. I love that He gives us teachable moments when we least expect them even if they aren’t always easy or fun but most of all,  I love that I get to have this journey. I love that I get to love my children all day every day, that I get to be both their Mom and their educator and that I get to do it in a way that impacts them in every way possible.

This journey is beautiful and it is a blessing but sometimes I just have to take a deep breath, pause and remember that I am first a Mom and second a teacher.

We all are.

In Christ’s Love,

Kristy ❤

New Year, New Beginnings

Once again, I find myself coming to you after months of being silent. I apologize for not being here more often. Life just seems to slip through my fingers and while I love and cherish my writing moments and sharing my passions and thoughts here with you all, I have come to learn this past year that living life is most important. So, if I have to choose between moments of living in the moment with my family or writing about those moments instead, I choose my family every time.

What a beautiful thing that is indeed.

This past year brought many answered prayers, many changes, some brokenness and some big news. As I have shared of course, some of the big changes were when Miss M came to live with us full time last Spring after school had ended. What a rejoicing it was for this mother’s heart. But as we have so often learned, seasons change and with that rejoicing, we quickly, just seven short months later, found ourselves grieving as we had to say goodbye to Miss M once again after her making the choice to move back to our hometown. A decision that was so hard for us to hear but one that we knew she had fully reflected before making. It was a moment that taught me much about my ability to once again trust in God’s perfect plan and not my own designs.

And in the  midst of our grief, the Lord brought us miracles and more answered prayers. As we looked to Him and wondered what His plan was, He chose to reveal another small glimpse: the blessing of a child. Just before we went home to visit family for Thanksgiving and say our goodbyes, we found out we were expecting our fourth child. I would say our final child but we are keeping our futures open to adoption down the road if that is a part of God’s plan also. It was such a bittersweet and beautiful time indeed.

In December, it was revealed that our little one would be a beautiful baby girl. A girl. Another precious daughter. A chance for redemption and restoration of the things in my life that the enemy has tried so long to take from me.  There are not enough words to describe my feelings of gratitude and sincere awe at God’s goodness, faithfulness and perfection.

So, in June of this year, we will welcome our littlest Miss M and we could not be more full of joy. With all of the changes, I have learned to draw closer back to my Savior. I have learned that I do have breaking points. That I cannot always be the strong one. Sometimes, I am the weak one. Sometimes, I can’t be there for the world because I need someone to be there for me. I learned that I make mistakes, that sometimes I let people down, even when I don’t mean to; that I doubt, that I often question but that God never makes mistakes and every detail of our lives that He knits together serves a much greater purpose than we see. While it was hard to have to have goodbyes and journeys end so soon, God used the times I had before them to bring healing, to bring restoration and to work wonders within our family and my own heart and mind.

Miss M is flourishing back  at home. Public school is definitely where she needed to be and with all of our moving coming up and the changes, she just really needed to back with her familiar routines and her learning styles outside of how we operate. Not to mention, she was incredibly homesick and that was hard to watch her journey through. She is full speed into her junior year and while I know she misses us and our moments here, she is happy to be back home with her Dad and step mom, her siblings and all of our families. Her time here brought them all closer together as well and she is making decisions that make us all so proud.

As for us, we are flourishing too. The Lord once again moved us to a new place of worship and His timing, though odd, was perfect. After working through many things these last three years, I found myself returning to a spirit filled church. A place where the miracles and love of God abound and there is much freedom and yet at the same time, a reverence to God’s freedom and not our own. It has been such a joy for us and Mister M has fallen in love with church all over again. Something he has not cared for much since leaving our home church three years ago.

We are flourishing with our faith, with our studies and as a family. God has brought a wholeness and a determination to our hearts that brings me to tears when I reflect upon it. I finally have a balance I have worked to find since coming to my Father 7 years ago and I have begun to discover things about myself that I never could grasp until this place. This wilderness experience.

And as with all wilderness experiences, God is moving us out and into a land of Promise. Our next big change is coming in March as we prepare to move to a new state with the Navy once again. A new land of hope and promise that God has designed for us. A new land that will hold many more lessons and faith building moments I am certain and a land that will bring further fulfillment of the many promises God has made over the years since we found Him and surrendered our lives to Him.

I have learned so many things in 2016 but the  most important of them all is that 2017 is our greatest year yet. It is our year of fulfillment and it is a year of HOPE. It is a year of new birth and new faith. It is going to be a year that we will remember for a lifetime. I am more certain of that than anything else.

I pray your year came to a beautiful close and that your new year has brought a beautiful new beginning. A fresh start and a fresh fire for your Father and His kingdom. We have so much to be thankful for and much to anticipate. I look forward to sharing it all with you in the months to come.

In Christ’s Love,

Kristy ❤

To Climb a Mountain….

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This past week, I was incredibly blessed to get to take a Mother-Daughter getaway alongside my best friend and her daughter to Atlanta, GA for the Country Living Fair at Stone Mountain. I have been counting down to this trip for months as it was my first time to take a trip alone in years and I knew it would be an incredible experience for me and Miss M to have together. I look at her and realize how very quickly she is growing and how very quickly she will be off to college and making her own decisions. I feel like my time to create memories she can look back on is so minimal so I want to take advantage of every moment I can to make as many as possible.

The weekend was filled with vendor booths, amazing food, laughter and amazing views. The entire fair is inside Stone Mountain Park at the foot of the mountain. There are trees everywhere, beautiful landscapes and the weather was so amazing. It was my first fall in almost three years and I loved every moment under the color changing trees with the winds blowing over me.

On our first day, we decided to hike all the way to the top of Stone Mountain. 1,700 feet. To be honest, I was not really sure I could handle it. I am not a physically active individual and I struggle these days with attempting any form of exercise. As we stood at the foot of the mountain and I looked up at this huge beast of beauty in front me, I felt so small and incapable. I was already dreading the racing heart that I knew would soon encompass my chest and I was picturing me defeatedly turning around because honestly, when it comes to physical endurance, I have never had enough and my past history with quitting my physical fitness endeavors is…well, embarrassing to say the least.

And just as I imagined, very quickly into our hike, I was falling drastically behind. My pace was slower than a tortoise. I watched as my friends and daughter zoomed ahead of me while I struggled to breath and slowly make my way over each new rock and slope. Poor Miss M finally got so worried she just stopped and came back for me, certain I was probably not making it.

Each step was more painful and tiring than the last. My chest felt like it might explode from my heart beating so fast and I just wanted to quit. I really did. I wanted to just say, well, I went for a hike. That’s better than nothing. But I kept looking up at that beautiful mountain and wondered what it would be like at the top. What beauty would I miss out on if I didn’t finish the climb?

So I kept going. I had to make a couple brief stops to catch my breath but I pushed and I pushed until, over an hour or so later, I made it to the top. And oh…the beauty that I would have missed if I had given up. I have never seen something so beautiful. I could see for what felt an eternity all around me. The skylines in the distance, the clouds and the way the sun felt as if it was right there with me. Seeing all that beauty made every single bit of the struggle to get there worth it.

Climbing that mountain reminded me a lot of the trials we face in our walk with God. Far too often, it is easy to give up on the things God is calling us to do because the journey to get to the place He is calling us to is far too hard on us. It hurts, it’s uncomfortable, it’s exhausting. So we give up. We just settle for half the journey and turn back when it gets too hard. But imagine the blessings and the beauty that God has waiting for us at the top of that mountain. What if we didn’t turn around and go back? What might we encounter? What might we experience that might make all of that struggle worth it?

As you journey up your mountain of faith, remember that it’s okay to take a break; to catch your breath, to ask God for strength but don’t just give up and turn back around. KEEP CLIMBING. The beauty and blessing that awaits you at the top of that mountain with God will far surpass anything you have laid eyes on at the bottom and I promise you will be so glad that you didn’t give up.

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong…” 1 Corinthians 6:13

In Christ’s Love,

Kristy ❤

Oh the time!

I think it has been well over a week since I have written but oh how crazy busy we have been over here in Paradise! I feel like the weeks are just flying by and I am almost in shock that we are now in October! How did that even happen??

We have been working hard to balance our crazy life here at Casa De Delgado. Most days I feel like I “school” 24/7. There is Mister M’s school work and lesson plans, then there is Miss M’s school work and lesson plans and finding time to help her study, schedule tutoring times and then there is MY college work. And then on top of all of that there is the laundry, the cleaning, the cooking and the volunteer work. Most days, I go to bed and don’t want to think about a single subject, assignment, or to do item again.

Then I wake up, roll out of bed and realize it is another day of education and life and off we go. Do I get tired of it? Some days yes; but who wouldn’t get tired of school when that is what you do seven days a week. My poor brain hurts. Is it worth it? Absolutely, without a single moments hesitation it is worth every long hour and day.

Yesterday, I had two  major projects to complete and turn in for my Psych classes. I was so tired, as is the case when you have the “Mondays”. I had to start Mister M’s school a little bit later than usual so that I could really dig into my research paper and finish it so that I could just type it up while he was working on his assignments. So while Mister M ate his breakfast and watched some videos on Kids YouTube on Natural Disasters and Freak Weather, I slaved away at researching the correlation of stress with mental illness. I almost laughed out loud thinking to myself, “Well, I am pretty sure this week I am a prime example of this one.” My kids think I am mental with the moodiness I have shown the last couple weeks trying to be supermom. YET AGAIN. When will I ever learn? Oh God’s grace….

Once I got situated, I started directing Mister M to his lessons. He was as unhappy about school as I felt secretly inside. I just wanted a day to do nothing. Or do something. Anything other than school. I know. It’s a terrible thing. I am his teacher. If I don’t get excited about it, how on earth can he? If I don’t encourage the learning process who will? I would have cried a bit if I even had the energy for that but who has that these days? I need my tears to balance out the dehydration from talking and teaching, reading, grading, planning, studying, home working…all day long. Every day of the week.

Mister M was being very resistant and I couldn’t help but feel like it was my fault. Maybe he sensed how stressed out I was? How worn I was feeling? Maybe I was doing a bad job at all the things that mattered? (That ole’ slytherin…he is ALWAYS coming and trying to make me feel horrible when I already feel bad!) As I sat at my computer, staring at my screen and thinking at how much I was failing at wifing, mothering, teaching, being the student…I felt just near going to bed when I heard that still small voice say, “You are enough.”

“You are enough. In the middle of this mess when you feel like giving up but you won’t because you are determined to not quit this time, in the middle of the tears that just won’t fall, in the  middle of feeling like you can’t give another ounce. You are enough. You are more than enough because I made you and I know you are stronger than you know.”

“I can do all things” suddenly just kept ringing in my ears. I thought of all that God has done for me. For my family. I thought of the sacrifices and realized that if I feel this tired in only this, how tired must he have felt? How much more must he have wondered in those moments on the cross if he was enough? The Bible says he asked, “My God, My God,  why have you forsaken me?” So he must have felt abandoned for a moment, he must have had a moment of feeling not enough perhaps. I will never know the answer on this earth but what I do know is that He did not give up. Even in that place, He put his faith and trust in God and He fulfilled His purpose and what a glorious purpose it was. So much love.

As a woman with many hats, I often find myself feeling like I just give and give and give but I have given nothing in comparison to Christ. I give minuscule things compared to His sacrifice. If he can hang on a Cross for me and give me a life eternal through His sacrifice and suffering, if He did all that for wretched me…then I can give my time, my energy and my love willingly to those I love with a joyful heart. I can do these assignments, teach t these lessons, cook those meals, run those errands, give my time with joy and not complain and I can keep pushing closer to the Father seeking His wisdoms and truths to help me balance my life.

There will always be moments when I feel worn, that we will all feel worn but if we can keep our minds focused on Christ and what He has done for us, those weary moments will slowly begin to fade and we will be reminded of how precious and special we are. How special are we? Oh my sisters and brothers, special enough for someone extraordinary to give their life in exchange for ours.

Blessings and Love,

Kristy ❤

Oh my heart…

I know I am not alone today as I share with you all how broken my heart is over the tragic events that have unfolded in the last two weeks. There have been school shootings, looting and rioting and there have been catastrophic hurricanes ripping through our world both globally and nationally. The devastation has been incredibly gut wrenching.

Like most everyone across the nation right now, I find myself constantly thinking about the ever rising death tolls in Haiti and the destruction that will take an unknown amount of time to repair. I think about all of those in Cuba and the Bahamas and other areas not even mentioned who are picking up the pieces of their lives amongst rubble and chaos, with heavy and broken hearts. I find myself feeling anxious for those I know in Florida who have made the decisions to stay in their homes and brave the storm as it makes its way through and moves onto landfall. These moments and thoughts almost seem to take your breath away. It makes it nearly impossible for a split second to maintain peace.

But God. In the  midst of all the devastation and the chaos there has been these overwhelming moments of light and love shone that can only come from Christ.

A community wrapped it’s arms around a little boy who was taken from this world far too soon by violent means that we cannot on any day wrap our minds around. An entire community of “Super heroes” turned up to show his family that they cared…that his death did not go unnoticed and that his life, though short, made a big impact on a nation of people.

A world of people began to pray and lift up those all around the globe who would be impacted by Hurricane Matthew. People held prayer meetings and met on Facebook to pray for our world and our nation. They turned to the only one who could give us the peace we so desperately longed to have in the craziness of all that is our world. Those prayers became something even more: they became hope and they became determination to not just settle for what has happened without a fight.

I have watched as people offered up their homes, supplies and encouraging words to those who were afraid or who didn’t have anywhere to go. Moments where it was as if Jesus himself were extending his hands and feet and heart. Beautiful. Encouraging moments.

As the day and the night continues, rescue workers will continue to sort through the rubble of devastation around the globe, families will wonder if their loved ones are okay and many will feel the sting of grief at the news of a loved one lost. It will be a long night for many and it will seem daunting but God is still among us. He is moving and He has not left us. These are the moments when we begin to see humanity rise up and display Christ’s presence like never before.

So let us not give up hope and let us not surrender our peace. While our hearts grieve for those who are going through chaos we cannot fathom, we can still remember that it is God who holds us in His hands. We are not alone and He will help us find a way to rise above, to walk in peace, and to love through every chaotic and broken moment.

Where there is grief, where there is pain, where there is struggle, peace is not far off. It is in our  midst and we have only to cry out to Him, our God, and He will come. He will wrap His arms around us and He will give us the hope of a new tomorrow.

I pray for you as I pray for us all. May God be with you. May God save you. May God give you peace and strengthen you.

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:7

“The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace.” – Psalm 29:11

“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.” – Isaiah 54:10

In Christ’s Love,

Kristy ❤

 

So It Begins…

Well, I have begun my journey into the world of bullet journaling. Some things I have discovered within just a few days:

  1. Creativity has been screaming to get out of the corners of my mind.
  2. Bullet journaling does take time but not nearly as much as I imagined.
  3. I love that I can make everything different each time.
  4. I am in love with all things bullet journaling.
  5. This could quickly become an addiction. A healthy one but definitely still an addiction.

Since I am not sure yet how long this excitement might last or if it will really be beneficial time wise, I decided to start my journey by making use of a journal that I have written in only briefly. My goal: to make it through the end of the year as a committed bullet journalist. I have a nasty habit of seeing the next amazing, do-it-yourself thing and taking it on only to discover that I don’t have the time each week to dedicate to it what it needs to be successful for me. I don’t want that to happen again. This is a trial phase and I have two months to see how it goes.

I decided to start by creating my October Monthly Calendar. As you can see, I did this on a page that was already partially written on with sermon notes. I figured this couldn’t hurt because I am making use of that space and not wasting paper, which I think is a growing issue in our world. Maybe I saved a few branches of a tree right? Here is Monthly Calendar:

img_0129It is very basic and not nearly as cute and creative as I wanted it to be but since I put this on a page that was already used partially, it did not leave me a lot of room to add any cute doodles or designs and I had very small spaces to use for each day of the month. It might not be what I will make it in the future but it is effective and is getting the job done!

After I made my Monthly calendar, I took some time to decide which layout I wanted to try first: a weekly or a daily. Because I am still learning and growing with this and testing it all out, I w ill try different layouts over the next two months. I decided to start with a weekly layout. The number one thing that I immediately loved as I began this was that this is MY journal so I can make it my own. I can be as creative or standard as I want. I can use the same layout each week or change them as I go along to accommodate the changes and needs of our family and my life. This is one of the NUMBER ONE reasons that I cannot handle most planners. They are too basic, they don’t have all the things I need and  my needs change over time due to a busy life and family that is ever growing and changing from day to day. With that said, here was my first weekly layout for this week:

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I definitely LOVE this layout. I love that I can have so many sections added into my week that allow me plenty of space to write down what needs to be known for the week. As you can see, I added a quote and some cute doodles to add some personality. I wish I could take full credit for these doodles but I can’t. While I did draw them with my own hands and add the color and flare, the original design itself was drawn by someone else and I discovered them on Pinterest. (I would normally give a shout out to creators but I honestly have pinned so many and I cannot remember who originally created what. I am so sorry!!) I have  a serious addiction to doodles and handwriting font styles. But I digress. This layout served me so well this week that I decided to go ahead and make next week’s layout in the same fashion. We will get to that in a moment. I am not using  my “homeschool” sections to write my full lesson plans in, these are just to notate any quizzes, tests, special projects or field trips. With my daughter, she has MANY quizzes and tests in a week and it is so helpful to see and know what is coming for the week in full view all at once. This was perfect for that! Another hugely important factor for me with this layout was that I got to include a weekly scripture memory for myself. My children learn Bible verses and take Verse quizzes for their homeschool curriculum but I too wanted to learn more scriptures and begin to store them in my memory so I thought this would be a great addition to my weekly layout. It also provides some immense peace to my stressful week and helps me to stay in God’s Word no matter how busy or chaotic my day gets.

Once my weekly layout is done, I created an entire section to be used on Sunday of each week: “Sunday Morning Sermon Notes”. Here was my first week’s: img_0128

In all honestly, this was a spontaneous decision that I made as I sat down for our Sunday morning service last week. At first I struggled with waiting so that each week’s sermon notes would be available for that week’s Sunday morning sermon. This would mean that this section stayed blank the whole week until we went to church that Sunday. However, I realized that by having this in there from the PREVIOUS Sunday, I could reflect on those notes and use them to help me stay focused on working on those areas in my own life throughout the whole week. You could make this one page if you chose to attempt something like this but I tend to take a lot of  notes so I knew I needed at LEAST two pages. I will be lucky if I don’t need more in the future . (I seriously take a lot of notes.)

Notice, the “Highlights” section and the Bubble Cloud. These, of course, are both thoughts my Pastor shared that I loved and wanted to remember so I used these methods to make them stand out to me, plus I wanted the page to have some color and appeal as well. At the top, I used parts of our worship lyrics and parts of my pastor’s sermon to also highlight some things that struck a cord with me. These would stand out and that was important for me. And, of course, I had to add at least one cute doodle….

Once I got home, I began to think about other areas of my life that I want to focus on and grow in. I took some time to reflect on areas I want to make changes in or things that are important for me to help me redirect my heart back to God so with those things I mind I created this next layout for each week. (You will see when I share next week’s layouts that I changed it up a bit and will probably continue to tweak this section or have it vary from week to week depending on what is happening in my life as I go forward with this project.)

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My goals with this section are pretty self explanatory:

  1. I want to spend more time diligently and specifically praying to the Lord and making note of when God answers in that particular area. I want to leave a legacy of prayer and devotion to God for my children to look back on and honestly, I need moments of remembering all that God has done in my life when things get hard. (I don’t think I am the only one that needs this! Am I right?)
  2. I wanted to make note of areas I am struggling with while at the same time remembering those struggles in light of WHO GOD IS. Sometimes we are facing battles we don’t recognize because we don’t pay attention to what we are struggling with. I don’t want to be that way. I want to know my struggles, recognize who God is in spite of them and surrender my weaknesses to Him. I tweaked this a bit the next week because I want to rotate between different areas of my spiritual journey each week.
  3. Meal planning for my week has become so very important because we get SO busy. Our family was spending too much time eating terribly because I would be struggling to juggle all things on my plate and would often choose grabbing something for dinner so I didn’t have to try to worry about cooking that day. This has led to a significant weight gain on my part and a very unhealthy lifestyle so I started working hard the last month to plan my meals and cook in the home as much as humanly possible. This not only saves money but helps us to eat much healthier.
  4. Finally, I want to become more consistent with exercise. This is a HUGE struggle for me. I loathe all things physical activity. I know. I know. That’s awful but it’s the truth of who I am. The thought of gyms  make me cringe and the thought of exercise makes me want a double order of chili cheese fries. Stat. However, I so desperately want to work on this area of my life. I am approaching my 40’s much faster than I would like to be and I want to take back my health now before it’s too late. I want to begin to work on making sure I am here for my family for many, many, many more years. With that in mind, I thought I would track how long I work out each day. I will be honest. I did ZERO exercise yesterday. There was no time. (Story of my life as ole One Direction would sing if they were here.) I had an 8-page research paper due and the kids schooling also. Maybe this will motivate me to do something so that my days aren’t blank. I am not sure but we will see.

And that is what I have so far. My plan, for now, is to use these types of layout each week for the next month. I created next week’s also so that I would be ahead of the planning and designing. Here are next week’s layouts and any changes I made:

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As you can see, the weekly layout stayed the same aside from the cute images I used and the handwriting styles. I have not yet picked my Scripture for next week but will do that before the week begins. img_0143

My last section had a few changes. I changed my “Struggles vs. Gratitude” section to “Gratitude & Truths.” This will help me highlight things I am thankful for and allow me to reflect on a Truth of God’s Word each day. In addition to this, I changed the layout style of the Exercise Tracker just a bit. I think I want to work on this section a bit more but am not sure yet how I want to approach that.

I did not capture an image of my “Sunday Morning Sermon Notes” section because it is exactly the same and it looks pretty bland without anything written or drawn on it yet.

I am really very excited to see where this journey takes me and I am already loving how personalized, creative and organized it all is. But more than anything, I love that this method allows me to work on myself. It allows me to find areas that need growth, how I can implement them changes to help me while watching the journey of growth unfold. What a precious memory these weeks will become. I am very excited to press forward and will keep you all updated on my progress.

If you are a bullet journalist, as I like to call us, I would love to see some of your pages too! Until next time!!!!

Happy Journaling in Christ’s Love,

Kristy ❤