Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Character Education

I have come to the realization over the course of several months that I want my children to be different. I want them to excel as they grow in to adults and thrive in adulthood if when they get there. :) I would love to homeschool, however, that is not an option for our family in this season. I can, however, begin to teach our children some of the things they could get with a homeschool education while they still attend public school. Fortunately, they attend a school that places emphasis on "a culture of kindness." It's even in their school motto/mission statement. For that, I am extremely grateful. Things that I can do at home, though, can go beyond what they learn at school. Just like you would help your child with their homework and encourage their academic learning, we can encourage their character learning. Encouraging the character qualities we want to see in our children is essential to how they will function as adults. How they will do in their jobs, how they will love their spouse, how they will parent...how they will love you as you age. This is something that is simple to do, even with a full time job and multiple children at different stages. I will try to keep an account of how this is working and what we are doing for those who would like to join us, or try your own version at home. The first thing I did was make a list of 17 different character qualities: Trustworthiness/Honesty, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring/Compassion, Citizenship/Patriotism, Perseverance, Self-discipline/Self-control, Courage, Integrity, Kindness,Hope/Optimism, Loyalty, Initiative, Contemplation, Adaptability, Forgiveness. I wrote them all on pieces of paper then had the kids take turns drawing them out of the bowl until we had one per month through the end of the year. This did two things: gave them some ownership in the process and kept them from saying that I was just picking ones I wanted. Here is what we ended up with: April - Responsibility, May - Initiative, June - Kindness, July - Contemplation, August- Integrity, September - Caring/Compassion, October - Self-Discipline/Self-Control, November - Fairness, December - Loyalty. When we start the new year, we will evaluate where we are. If we are doing well, then we will draw qualities for the entire year. Today we started Responsibility. Very simply, we defined it. The kids are 9, 7, 4, and 2. We still need to make sure they know what the word means before we expect them to put it into action. Our definition is, "being accountable for something within your control or management." As we go through the month, we will look for ways to be responsible, time when we can see and encourage others who are being responsible, and we will see what the Bible has to say about responsibility. My hope is that, through this process, our children will begin to see beyond themselves and see ways that they can serve God and serve others. I am also fully aware that this will change us as parents, too. Just a nice side effect! ;)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Be Still

So... A lot has happened since my last post. Some good, some not so good, yet all part of His plan. Part of our life is back on track, part is still far from where I thought we would be at this point in our lives. I have really been struggling for a while with not being where I think I should be, where we should be as a family. It is what I want. I have an idea of what I would like our family to look like, to act like, to do life like. It is not His plan...it is MY idea. If you had asked me 14 years ago, when we met, what my family would look like now, it would not be like this. If you had asked me 10 years ago, when we got married, what our family would look like now, it would not be like this. If you had asked me 5 years ago...well, you get the idea. I NEVER pictured life like this, spiritually. I have been thinking a lot about that. Why can I not have the relationship with God that I know I should have. Why can't my husband....my children? Why has parenting become so much harder as they have gotten older? Wasn't it supposed to get a little easier in ways? I thought I was prepared. I was not. On the way home, I was listening to Pandora and a song by Christy Nockels came on..."Be Still and Know." God really used that moment and the flow of the song to speak to me. On that drive home, all my worries, all my insecurities...it doesn't matter. He is GOD! I will hold on to that. I can't be still in my life, but I can know that He is God. My life could be falling apart worse than I could imagine, worse than I have experienced already...He is still God. I have said it before. Music is very powerful in my life. The way the notes flow, the lyrics, the feelings it explains or creates in me. God has given me that. Where words fail...Music speaks. Here is the link again...Christy Nockels, Be Still and Know

Monday, June 17, 2013

Worn

Tenth Avenue North - Worn Lyrics Artist: Tenth Avenue North Album: The Struggle I’m Tired I’m worn My heart is heavy From the work it takes to keep on breathing I’ve made mistakes I’ve let my hope fail My soul feels crushed by the weight of this world And I know that you can give me rest So I cry out with all that I have left Let me see redemption win Let me know the struggle ends That you can mend a heart that’s frail and torn I wanna know a song can rise from the ashes of a broken life And all that’s dead inside can be reborn Cause I’m worn I know I need to lift my eyes up But im too weak Life just won’t let up And I know that you can give me rest So I cry out with all that I have left Let me see redemption win Let me know the struggle ends That you can mend a heart that’s frail and torn I wanna know a song can rise from the ashes of a broken life And all that’s dead inside can be reborn Cause I’m worn My prayers are wearing thin And I’m worn Even before the day begins I’m worn I’ve lost my will to fight I’m worn Heaven come and flood my eyes Let me see redemption win Let me know the struggle ends That you can mend a heart that’s frail and torn I wanna know a song can rise from the ashes of a broken life And all that’s dead inside can be reborn Yes, all that's dead inside will be reborn Though I’m worn Yeah I’m worn Strong words...powerful lyrics. For a long time, I have been struggling. I am worn out. Life, parenting, marriage, work...it all wears on us to some degree. Some more than others. Some seasons are harder than others. My struggle is feeling like I've been in this season for a VERY long time. Parts of what I have been through have been short, some have drug on for years. Some are personal, some are struggling as a family. I will not go into detail...this is not the place and now is not the time. My story is not done. Maybe...someday...this will be a powerful part of our testimony. Maybe...someday...God will use this experience to bring someone else to Him. I never imagined life like this. I look at others and envy what they have in their lives. Not material things, but relationships, friends, a view of life that I feel like I've lost. I have always turned to music and others' lyrics to help me understand and deal. Now is no different. Lord, help me to understand your will for this family and for me. Guide my thoughts back to you.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Struggles of a Working Mom

There is a constant debate among moms about who works harder, SAHMs or working moms. I won't even talk about the pressures that society and media place on moms on either side...or the pressure we place on ourselves. I posted a few thoughts a couple of years ago about the ugly, yet very real, struggles of being a stay-at-home mom. As rewarding as it is, there are some things that many moms do not talk about or sometimes don't even deal with. Now, I am on the other side. I have been working full-time, out of the house, for 2 1/2 years now. In that time, we have added to our family, moved houses, and my job moved cities. I honestly think it takes at least one year to adjust to something major like a career change. The kids have to get used to it, your spouse has to get used to it, and you, as a mom, have to figure out how to make it all work together. After 2 1/2 years, I still struggle. I am tired...actually, exhausted is a better description...all the time. I still carry the majority of the household chores (and cooking and shopping) even though I am working out of the house. My day usually starts with my alarm going off at 5:00 and doesn't end until about 10:30. I don't think this is anything that is exclusive to working moms, but I don't remember being this tired when I was at home full-time. I feel like I have a lot to do and never really get anything done. Once again, not exclusive to working moms. Also one of the reasons I am so tired! :) I also have a job where I am juggling several things and feel like nothing ever really gets done. Maybe this is just me or is this a struggle for all moms? I have a couple more, at least, to talk about in another post. What I would like to know, though, it what do you struggle with? Are you a SAHM or a working mom? Do you stay at home part time and work part time? I've done that one, too. I'm not looking for a debate. I would like every mom and dad out there to know that we are all in this together and we are all raising our kids to the best of our ability. It takes all kinds! Until next time.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

Woo! Two days in a row! Happy Easter! Every year, on this day, I really take the time to let it soak in what Jesus did for me...for everyone who ever has or ever will walk this earth. Wow. Have you ever really taken the time to really let it sink in? Think about it. This man, who was fully God and fully man, was beaten, spit on, driven to the point of unimaginable exhaustion, then made to drag a tree (yes, the cross was the size of a tree) up a mountain so he could be killed on it. Why? Because He loves us. Because He was God's plan. And you know what? This was not the end. He was buried. He laid there for three days. He was dead...like really dead...like stinky, rotting dead. And then, on the third day, He just got up. He was alive, walking, talking...like really alive! This is what makes this day so amazingly different. This is the one of the three things that my faith is based on. One of the things that I believe without a shadow of a doubt. Do I know how? no. It is not for me to know why. We are not supposed to know everything...that's why it's called faith! I don't know where you are or what you believe, but know that you are loved. By me and by God. I may not agree with what you believe or how you choose to live your life, but you are loved. If you ever want to know more about me or about Christ, just ask. I am more than happy to share my story and continuing struggles.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Hi, there!

Okay. So, once again, it has been over a year since I last posted anything. Life is busy and, let's face it, blogs aren't really all that popular anymore, unless you have a certain target audience. But, I realized that I really like writing, I have an actual computer again, and this is the only way I really document our life. So...I shall try to update more often this year (of course, it's nearly April) and see if I can make a go at it! First, a kid update. We have four. They are now 8, 6, 3 1/2 and 16 months. Oh...my...word. We are busy. And it's not even "out of the house" stuff that keeps us busy. It's just the craziness and chaos of 4 kids! Kyler is in second grade, was just tested for intellectual giftedness, and is turning into a pretty awesome big brother. He's helpful and kind (most of the time) to his sisters and is growing up way too fast for this momma's heart. We have entered the phase of slowly having to let him be more independent and make mistakes. Wow, that's hard. Aaliyah is in Kindergarten and LOVES it! She is still quite a diva princess and that is very hard for me. I'm all about comfort and low-key and she's all about high-maintenance and glitter. She did her first pageant earlier this month and did very well for her first time out. This is not going to be a common thing and she will always compete naturally (as opposed to glitz), but she really enjoyed it and would like to do another one sometime. Juliana is...well...Juliana. She is crazy and wild and three! She has a huge personality and huge hair. :) She loves with everything she has and I love that about her. She is also very big. She is officially "off the charts" in height and only about 7-8 lbs lighter than Aaliyah. Alana is so sweet and cuddly. She is still not talking, but starting to try and repeat words and sign. She is also not walking, but getting there in her own time. I've never been one to really worry about when my kids start doing things, but, given the circumstances of her birth, I am keeping a closer eye on things. Everyone I talk to says she's just the 4th so the others are doing everything for her. Second, job update. I am working full time with Vanderbilt Women's Health, still. I have been there 2 1/2 years now in the Access Center. I got a bit of a promotion when I returned from my maternity leave last year and that added responsibility is kinda nice...sometimes. As with anything, with more responsibility comes higher expectations and I judge myself quite harshly sometimes. Everyone there thinks I'm doing a good job, though, so I guess I'm doing something right. Ray is working from home and still doing photography. He has finally found his niche and it's not families! He is an amazing artist and I am so impressed with what he is able to do with that camera. I guess that's all for now. If there is anything you all would like me to write about, feel free to let me know.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Starting Over

If anyone is out there...I'm back!!
After a long time (over a year) of not blogging, I am going to try and get back into it. A lot has happened in the last year and I will try my best to update and actually have some deep thoughts along the way. :)

For those who are keeping up with the kid count...we now have 4! Alana Noel King was born on Nov. 29th at 5:01 pm. She weighed 8 lbs 9 oz (just like Juliana) and was 21 1/4 in. long. She is most definitely the last! Labor and delivery with her was not how we expected or planned, but she is here and healthy and that's all we ever ask for. The other three are doing very well with her. Kyler feeds her the last bottle before I get home from work and changes her diaper, Aaliyah is great at getting anything else we may need, and Juliana is great at playing with her. She looks just like the other three and is such a happy baby...sometimes too happy at 2:00 in the morning, though. ;)

I am back to work and it is hard. Working full-time with four kids at home is not for the faint of heart! I'm up between 4:30 and 5:00 every morning and am usually crawling into bed at about 10:30. Ray is still working from home and keeping the girls. His business is really starting to pick up and he's had some awesome opportunities lately that will give him even more exposure locally and, hopefully, nationally.
Kyler is now 7 and in 1st grade. He played football this fall and did amazingly well. Daddy was one of his coaches and I'm so glad they had that time together. In this family of all girls, it's important that they boys get their time. He's playing basketball now and we'll see how it goes. With every new sport, there is always a learning curve and Kyler is still climbing that curve.
Aaliyah is still a princess and growing fast. She hasn't done any sports or dance or anything, yet, but it's coming. Her birthday is coming up quickly and I can't believe she is going to be 5! She is definitely the child who tests my nerves every day. We will probably always butt heads, but I am training her to be a strong, independent young lady.
Juliana is now two and turning into our little bruiser. Always into something and talking up a storm. She is the sneaky one who can get away with murder because she is so quick about it. She is getting smarter by the day and loves hanging out with her brother and getting dirty. We have pretty much decided that she will be the daredevil. She's extremely independent and driven just like her daddy.

So there's the quick catch-up. More to come!