Month

April 2015

Its real. Its raw.

How often are we raw? how often are we real? When do we let our guard down to accomplish these things…

Too many days… too many days I can count where I have smiled through the tears, put my chin up and kept truckin’ on. Society has it ingrained in us to always have our game face on. Everything is always ‘OK’. If not, what does that mean? We are admitting we have flaws and weaknesses and apparently society wants to forget that we are all human. Very inherently so we are flawed, beautiful, strong and weak- all at the same time. Life is so hard and also so good, ironically speaking usually what is good is hard, whether that is working hard, challenging ourselves, or the tragedies and things life has thrown at us that has made us into who we are today. Bit by bit we grow. We stretch. I am so eternally grateful for that. My heart is aching on the inside some days. The every day throes have gotten to me lately where each day is hard to get through. I am so blessed to call these 5 children mine and would never down play what miracles and gifts they are, however it does not diminish the demanding nature of 3 wee ones and 2 elementary aged children in the house that all have different needs at different times. The work is never ending- always fulfilling- but never ending. Sometimes this brings me to a place where the light at the end of the tunnel has been extinguished. Amazing enough I have this network of God-given friends and family who have been praying for me and our family and He has placed them in my path at just the right time- when my pride would not have let anyone glimpse in on the hurt and exhaustion I was feeling. I say was, God’s grace is sufficient, rather than relying on my own strength (which isn’t very strong) I exchanged my inequities in for His perfectness. I know some of who read my blog are not religious or believe in the One and Only God, what I can do is share my testimony however, and let me tell you- He is real, more real then you or I. It is no coincidence that He placed these wonderful people at the right time and the right place when I was falling apart. Not only were these wonderful people praying for me, but the kids’ hearts as well, that they would be receptive and open to understanding, caring and willing. Doing nothing other than praying I saw a dramatic change. Not only in them, but in my mental well being as well. My outlook on the situations changed, I know I will come back to that place again, life is a journey of ups and downs, but I have a secret weapon, I just need to remember its always there.

Time and time again God always shows me He has never left my side, nor will He.

What happens when we do get ‘real’ and share our rawness with others? It usually builds a stronger connection and relationship with that person you are sharing with. Very seldom its the opposite and not so great, that just means they aren’t the right people to be in our lives at that time…

When we do get real with others and they ask us ‘How are you today?’ They aren’t usually expecting an honest answer! Someone last week asked me that same question, and I said ‘you know, it has been a long hard week for me, I am struggling.’ They responded in essence ‘Oh that’s nice.’ Of course they didn’t say those exact words, but the jist of it was that- they hadn’t cared when asking the question, so nicety or not- don’t ask if you don’t care. (and no, I am not talking about the grocery store clerk 😉 I think that is in their job description!) Those of us that are trying to be real are exposing ourselves and taking a risk in sharing with you, that means we trust you to know that we are not perfect… Airbrushed everything we see these days- magazines, commercials, ads, TV- all of it screams perfectionism, being polished. Perhaps that is why I have a love for antiques, they are beautifully flawed and have withstood the test of time. Thinking back on our childhood we all longed for that one best friend who we could share our secrets and heart longings with, that still has not changed- we need one another to stand strong through life. Encouraging one another. No matter if we are 7 or 70 years of age. How often though, are we real? raw? honest? Too many texts, too much social media everywhere and not enough one on one soul connecting. I have made a conscious effort to not spend too much time with those things and spend time building up real relationships, friendships. It has been far more rewarding than having hundreds of ‘friends’ on FB to share my life with and share in theirs.

The next time you find yourself sharing in someone else’s struggles or sorrow, instead of saying  ‘this too shall pass’ (which is all good and fine) lets try dancing in the rain during the storm with them, hand in hand. Lifting one another up with an encouraging word, prayer or practical gesture. (Food Is always a no-fail!)

Life is about the journey, it doesn’t stop and start again while we wait for the thunder and lightning to quit- its what we do during those times, that ultimately make up our life story.

I realize this post is more on the moody side of things, which is exactly what I intended. To share a slice of my real life with you and have you know its not all rainbows and sunshine over here, rather we are real. Sure we have A LOT of rainbows and sunshine- usually colored all over the walls as reminders ;). Really though, life is beautiful and Pssst that’s why God created the mastermind who invented Magic Erasers! Just for me perhaps.

Until next time, keep it real- life is more beautiful that way.

Amber

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Spring break?! More like Spring cleaning!

Not only with making a master list of spring cleaning and checking a few things off (more to come on that), I also have been able to enjoy spending time with friends and family…guilt free.

Amazing what one can accomplish with school work on the back burner for a week, and not only that but our church is currently hosting VBS for ages 4+, meaning the older 3 have been gone all morning everyday- just the twins and I from 9-12. Don’t get me wrong- I LOVE our homeschooling lifestyle, but I do admit this has been a nice treat to get some of the nitty-gritty done AND enjoy tea/coffee dates with some great people! I am sure I am not the only home educator out there that feels pulled in a million directions during the week, so I adopted the attitude of spring break (and spring cleaning) this week. No expectations of what we need to accomplish, I can let go and be more easy going in our routine and be open to hosting in our home at a moments notice. So far all is well. A side note- the kids are learning a great deal this week anyway, it may not be typical ‘book work’ but it certainly is science and critical thinking as they deepen their relationship with God. This years theme for VBS is Son Spark Labs- with cool experimentations and lab fun showing the awesomeness of God’s creation.

 

So- while the kids are enjoying this program all the wonderful volunteers have worked so hard to put together, I am busying myself with a master list of spring cleaning. A lot of work goes into running a household and although every year I do each and every chore listed below, I have never thought of putting a list together that I can come back to time and time again. Now nothing will get missed and I can feel good as I check off everything one by one. In case you care (or want some ideas for your own list) or just because your curious with what I am cleaning in a household with 5 kids here-go…

Spring Cleaning List 2015

  • degrease/clean tops of cupboards
  • clean windowsills and windows (in & out)
  • wipe down door trims, casings
  • wipe down baseboards
  • wipe down kitchen walls
  • organize/dust china cabinet
  • clean under/behind appliances
  • organize/de-clutter school closet
  • organize/de-clutter art and paper drawers
  • organize bathroom drawers/linen closets
  • clean and put away all winter gear- give away anything too small
  • wash blinds and window drapes
  • Go through each room in house and donate any unused items
  • Pack away half of toy room toys in preparation for summer
  • Go through each dresser, donate anything too small and make a list of needed summer items
  • vacuum and organize laundry/storage room

I can happily say I have 50% of this list done.

Spring Cleaning
Don’t forget that many hands make light work! The kids can easily be given a task or two- they seem to enjoy cleaning windows for some reason…

(Oh wait- add in ONE more chore that might just be for my home only- Purchase half a dozen magic erasers and clean off ALL pencil, marker, white board marker, pen, pencil crayon, chalk, mascara, jam and glue- white and solid glue stick of course- off the walls……. Ahhhhh crazy cutie pies).

My goal is for our home to be as clean, dust free and organized as possible this season before the weather turns nice, we only have a few nice months here on the prairies and I would like to spend as much of it worry-free outside with the kiddo’s while enjoying a nice organized atmosphere inside the home when we do venture indoors…springcleaning

We will not forget to mention that we also have a garden to prepare and all the work that goes into maintaining a yard. Our home went through major reno’s the year before last and left our front yard looking very sad. We were forced to dig up our landscaped yard, in the process crushing our under ground sprinklers to install weeping tile so our basement would not flood every year, which then in turn we had to re-do the entire basement and a couple weeks after that completely re-roof our entire house. Just a little busy (Oh did I mention the twins were less than a year old during this?). To make something good out of all of it we are planning a beautiful 2 tiered stone flower bed that runs along the front of our house, which needs to be done first and then we will have to (Ok I would like to- don’t have to, sigh) bring in some good fertilizer (manure) and rototill that all up and lay down grass seed. I suppose we could lay down grass seed without the manure- but I have a love for lush, soft grass. I mean who wants to walk barefoot on pokey half yellow-half green grass? Not me if I can help it, ha! (I technically do not usually walk too much on the front grass anyway but hey, at least it will look esthetically pleasing!)

As you can see my outside work is cut out for me already, so it only makes sense to get a jump start on the inside, and it makes me feel better to be doing it now when it is snowing in April (Ya, I know… how sad is that) rather then trying to juggle all of it in May or June. I hope my list has inspired you (not the opposite by tiring you out by just looking at it!) and may you enjoy the rest of your ‘Spring Break’ … as it is only Wednesday 🙂

Pssst! A friend of mine was suggesting we should rotate houses and have a work bee involving spring cleaning- I think she is on to something!

Till next time-

Amber

Go to the ant, you sluggard;
    consider its ways and be wise!
It has no commander,
    no overseer or ruler,
yet it stores its provisions in summer
    and gathers its food at harvest.

Proverbs 6:6-8 NIV