Friday, June 28, 2013

No perfect mom

I love to blog and enjoy sharing thoughts and experiences with anyone interested in hearing. I don't try portray myself as a perfect mom, on the contrary, I know I'm a piece of work. Daily my prayer is to be a better mom and to have much more patience. Some of you may know that I have two full grown adult children and starting all over again has not been an easy road.

I home school my children so I'm pretty much around them twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. So again I pray for lots and lots of patience. I have to think before I start yelling and work to re-create words that help and not hurt. This takes lots of prayer.

Why am I writing this? Being an avid reader means I read lots of blogs. Most of the time I get the impression that other moms are perfect, maybe even faultless. It makes me feel like I'm not such a good mom because I don't do all the things I read about or feel all the ways that other moms feel. I feel burned out a lot.

Then I decided that being a good mom did not mean being perfect but rather it means being the best mom I can be. Again, this is why I pray so much, I know I need God to help me. I could not do this without Him. So be encouraged and know that there's no perfect mom, no such creature exists.

Now I look at the kids to see if they are smiling. I look to see if they are happy. When I mess up I'm quick to say I'm sorry. I'm quick to offer a hug and a kiss and lots of reassurance.

I may not be a perfect mom but I'm getting better everyday. That's what it's all about!

everyday talk for everyday women...

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

What really matters?

What really matters to kids? Maybe what we think matters doesn't really matter at all. Kids value simplicity more than we know. They are not so complicated.

What matters to them is spending time together, at least when they are young and if we want them to value time with us later we ought to value time with them now, when it matters.

To a child what matters is that they are loved unconditionally and accepted just as they are. They need to know that although they are not perfect, they are perfectly loved by you. 

Does it matter whether the floors are hardwood or ceramic? No. What really matters is that if they spill something they won't get yelled at and condemned. They need to know that they mean more than the floors and accidents happen because no one is perfect.

Does it matter if you get a child a $3 bike from the thrift store or a $120 bike brand new? No. What matters is you going bike riding with them. Riding the $3 bike to the local school yard or around the neighborhood with you means the world to them.

Does it matter if you buy kids the best of everything? No. What matters is teaching them by actions that the best things in life are free. They enjoy taking nature walks, going to the beach, having a book read to them, or telling them a story at bath time. 

Does it matter if children have lots of electronic gadgets? No. What matters is that you play and laugh with them. They won't care if it's a simple game of tic-tac-toe, checkers or hide-n-seek, they want to have fun with you.

I have seen it constantly with my children. I get them new markers to draw with, they are happy with that but it always comes to "can you color with us?. Sheesh, I got the markers to keep them busy. Not enough, they want time.

I get the dvd they have been asking for. What do you think they ask for next? "Can you watch it with us?".  I fix them lunch and plan to check my email, they say "are you going to eat with us?" Need I go on? The common thread here "with us".

The lesson I am learning is that children equate love with time and there's no getting around it. They don't really want all the trappings that stuff has to offer. They want our attention, acceptance and love. They want our time because taking time says they are important to us.

A bunch of expensive stuff is just a cheap substitute for the real thing called love! 

everyday talk...


Monday, June 24, 2013

Wrapping up the state of Maryland!

We had a blast taking the children to see the state of Maryland.  I'll let the pictures do the talking. Enjoy!

We visited Marshall BWI Airport, named after Thurgood Marshall. He helped fight for equality.

              The children were thrilled to see the planes in the air and on the ground.

                      The beautiful Cylburn Arboretum and Nature Museum.

             Our new friend at the arboretum. He told us he was 80 years young.

                                             You can see they were having fun!

                                                     This is the Cylburn Mansion.

Taking time to smell the flowers at the arboretum, the gardens were stunning.

Maryland Master Naturalist Ms.Daisy at the museum was full of information and fun.

Can you count the white butterflies in this picture? Must get a faster camera...

We visited the Governor's Mansion in the state capitol, Annapolis. This is as close as we could get.

The children were amazed to see so much water while crossing the big Bay Bridge. My husband told the children that the idea of constructing bridges came from studying spider webs and how they go from limb to limb. We learn so much from nature.

Is any trip complete without a pillow fight? Spending time together is what this is all about...

                                  Such angels (when they sleep). Worn out finally!

For now we are done with the state of Maryland. We covered lots of territory in a little time with limited resources. I can't thank my husband enough for his support. He is always on board when it comes to the children. I don't know if I could have pulled this off without him being there every step of the way.

This project is about learning, and discovering but most of all, it's about investing time and love together. In my opinion, children equate love with time, fancy stuff and gadgets can't replace that. 

In two weeks we will visit another northeastern state. Maybe Delaware, Pennsylvania or Connecticut?  I'll keep you posted. Thank you for sharing this journey with us, it only gets better.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Big fun in Maryland

We are off to a great start. Right now the children are enjoying watching cartoons in our hotel room,  we don't have cable at home, this is a treat for them. So here are some pictures of the places we visited today in the state of Maryland. Enjoy as we kick off "The 50/12 Project".

                                                             Welcome to Maryland.

                                   The Crain Memorial Welcome Center in Maryland.

                                   Ms. JoAnn at the welcome center, she was the best!

We visited the State House Square in Annapolis, fascinating. We also saw the Governor's Mansion, more pictures to come.  

                                          Brown v Board of Education statue.

                                                The Thurgood Marshall Memorial.

                                                        The Senate Chambers


                                                             The House Chambers

                                                       The House of Delegates.

                                             Here is Camden Yards baseball stadium.

                                        At the Reginald Lewis Museum in Baltimore.

                                        Arts and crafts at the Reginald Lewis Museum.

                                                     The lovely Baltimore Harbor.

                                          World Trade Building in Baltimore, MD.

Tomorrow we have more places to visit in Maryland. For now we are enjoying a little rest and relaxation. It's amazing what you notice when you actually take the time to look and enjoy, children really help you take notice of life. Thank you for joining us. Stay tuned for tomorrow!


The 50/12 Project begins today!

It's a beautiful morning with clear skies ahead. Today we begin our journey to see all fifty states in the next twelve years, "The 50/12 Project". I was motivated to start this project with my children after reading a great book by Dr. Ben Carson, called "America the Beautiful". I would highly recommend this book as well as his other books. In the book he states that as an adult he's been able to see forty nine of the fifty states in America. I was so impressed to the point that I decided to start "The 50/12 Project" for my children.

The goal of The 50/12 Project is take our minor children to see all fifty states before they go out on their own as adults. I am a native Washingtonian, Washington DC is not yet a state, and have seen a total of eight states in America, and I am in my mid forties. How awesome it will be to give my children the gift of seeing all of the beauty in this great country called America.

So today we leave to see our first state, Maryland. Our goal is to cover the Northeastern states first and then work our way over to the west coast, Hawaii and Alaska will be our last stop. We are packed up and ready to go, the children are sleeping but were full of excitement last night as we discussed our first visit.

I primed them this way. We looked at our wall map and identified the states we will visit first, they love the map. Next I borrowed a DVD about the northeastern states and we watched it a couple of times. Although they don't quite grasp all that is going on here, they know it's something big and important and they are ready to go see America.

They are starting to wake up one by one, so we'll eat breakfast, pack a lunch for the road and we're off. Good bye Virginia, Maryland here we come! Our first stop, the Baltimore Harbor. God's grace is with us.  

Friday, June 21, 2013

Do children really need naps?

When it comes to napping children, opinions may vary. Do children need naps? My answer is undeniably, unequivocally YES! If only I had the time to take naps like the children I would be on top of the world.

You see nap time is not just about sleeping. We all need a time to settle down and allow our bodies and minds to rest. Most people are just doing busy things and never allowing time to regroup, restore and renew themselves, this includes our children. They ought to have time to wind down during the course of the day.

Nap time is beneficial for both parent and child. The parent can recharge the battery while the child recharges his or hers.

My five year old asked me "how do you hear God talking to you?". "What a great question" I told her and then I used this as a teachable moment. I explained that we hear God many ways but one of the ways I hear God is by being quiet. I told her that quiet time is very important because when you sit still, you can hear the things in your heart and mind. I stressed that nap time is one of the best times to hear God speaking as well as talk to Him.

Just like adults, children experience many distractions that don't allow them to think thoughts clearly. Time to rest is important in order for kids to formulate and think their own thoughts. They need time to hear what's going on inside themselves. Nap time is an opportunity to be calm and rest not only the body but to rest the brain and allow healing and restoration.

It seems being calm is a lost art and the more busy children are the better. I beg to differ. How will they discover who they are if they never spend time being alone in peace and quiet? How will they appreciate little things like hearing a bird outside or just gazing at the clouds? In life a balance is required in order to stay physically and mentally healthy, this is true for adults and children.

It's common to hear parents say that their child will give them no peace because they look to their parents to keep them occupied in one form or another, constantly. They require constant busy lives and cannot occupy themselves. Reading a book is out of the question, they have to be "busy" moving and doing something. There's no reprieve for parent or child.

We can change this as parents. It may be hard at first but small consistent changes will work. You may start out with 15 minutes of quiet time. No tv, electronic devices, or noise makers. Only books, paper, crayons, or pencils, it must be quiet. Gradually increase time increments, you will be surprised at the progress. After spending some time drawing or reading most children will drift off to sleep and wake up refreshed. Even if a child does not sleep, at least they have rested mind and body as well as used quiet time to be creative. Before you know it, you may have an hour or two of quiet/nap time and both parent and child will benefit.

We can do this, our children depend on us.

Do you have other suggestions, comments? Please share, we would love to hear from you.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Link to educate yourself (follow up to previous post)

I get posts from other great blogs and I'm sharing this one because it relates to what I last posted. This link is not to impress upon you homeschooling, although I recommend it but rather it's good information for parents in general.

Read and share. Click on the link below.

Educating ourselves about our children

Everywhere I look there are children being diagnosed with a learning disability of some sort. It could be ADHD, ADD, Autism etc. This is one of the reasons I opted for homeschooling, especially my boys who are beyond active. As parents we have the option of doing investigating/due diligence for our children and not just  taking whatever comes our way.

Disclaimer: I am not giving ANY medical advice nor am I a doctor. Seek your professional physician for any advice or counseling.

In my opinion we as parents should read as much as possible as well as seek opinions of others with like issues. The more we read and investigate, the greater our chances of finding out other ways besides medication to treat or even eliminate some of those childhood vexations.

Sometimes diet can play a key role in treatments. Adding more of the good stuff like veggies/fruit and eliminating the yuck stuff like sugar that's found in colored drinks, candy and other types of junk foods can be life changing in a beneficial way.

It's easy to just give a pill and call it a day. Do we even know what's in these medications that we are quick to give our children. Heck, I can't even pronounce most of them. Again, I am not saying take your kids off of any prescribed medications. I am simply saying educate yourselves about alternatives in addition to giving medications.

I read a very interesting article and I'm sharing it with you, I hope you share it with someone else. Click the link below to read this inspirational story.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Father's Day weekend...

I salute all the father's who make a difference. This weekend has been one of family and fun. My husband wanted to spend the weekend with the grand children, in the country, so he got it! He had all but 2 of the grand children, plenty of family and loads of fun. We also camped out in the RV, per his other request.

There was quite a surprise waiting for me when we returned from out of town. My first born called to tell me she is expecting her first baby. WOW! It's taken me almost two years to wrap my mind around the fact that she's grown and married. Now my baby is having a baby and I am super elated. I am going to be a grandmother. I do have grandchildren through my marriage but this will be my first biological grand baby and I am beside myself with joy. I can't wait to hold the little one in my arms and kiss his/her little face. Now I have to figure out what I will be called. Any suggestions?

Back to father's day. We spent the weekend in the country with family and we went to the beach, my favorite place. We had so much food, my husbands other passion. Check out the pics and enjoy.

                                                          Our children and the grands.

                                                         They love the riding mower.


                                             The father's cleaning fish for the big fish fry.

                                                   Father's day was a mini family reunion.

This will be a father's day my husband will remember for a long time. Again happy father's day to all of you who make a difference. God bless you all. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Cat in the sun

We can learn a lot of lessons if we look around at nature and all the other things that surround our lives. I recently learned a lesson from my cat, that's right my kitty cat taught me something valuable. We have two male cats and they like to be outside, especially when the children are out. They stay in our yard and don't venture out much.

There was a cat fight and our cat was wounded, we did not know at the time how serious it was. The next day the children and I were outside and could not find the cat who had been in a fight, he was hiding under the house and would not come out to eat. This was alarming because the cats love to eat. When Tiger, the cat, came out he looked terrible and was very unresponsive.

My friend was helping me with the children and she even noticed how rough he looked. He limped away as if he didn't want to be bothered. Later on we noticed the cat was laying out in the sun. Usually both cats lay on the deck in the shade right beside each other, but all day long the cat stayed in the sun.

At first I was afraid he was dying, he would not even look at me nor would he open his mouth to meow. My friend told me she was afraid Tiger was dying also. My husband came home and checked him out and said he would be ok and that if we had to we would go to the vet. For the next few days Tiger stayed in the sun, to my surprise he got stronger and stronger and began to eat.

Before I knew it Tiger was back to normal, whatever that is for a cat...He was playing, eating and meowing again. What is the lesson I learned from Tiger the cat? When Tiger was wounded, he stayed in the sun, when he needed to be healed, he stayed in the sun. He laid in the sun and stayed in the sun until he was better.

The same applies to us. When we need healing we can lay in the SON. When we are wounded we can lay in the SON. When we are hurt and discouraged we can lay in the SON. In Jesus, the SON we find our strength and our reason to go on despite the fight. In Jesus, the SON we can be restored and renewed. Everything we need we can find, if only we lay in the SON and stay in the SON.

everyday talk for everyday women...

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The wedding vs the marriage

Planning a wedding is very exciting and these days it can be very costly. There are many things to consider, plan and pay for. I have often wondered if there is as much planning and preparation put into the marriage itself as it is for the "big day".

I have witnessed young people spend ten, twenty, thirty thousand dollars and more on that one day called the "wedding". Now don't get me wrong, I'm all for celebrating the big day. I have, however, wondered who the weddings are really for.

Here are a few things to consider. Why not spend a fraction of the cost on the wedding day and invest the rest for purchasing a first home? What about paying off or on student loans or consumer debt? Some of the money can be used to pay cash for a vehicle and avoid a car note. How about starting an investment portfolio of some sort? Attending marriage seminars are a great way to invest some money and time before getting married.

There is a lot of time spent as well planning for the "big day". Countless hours are spent looking at clothes, flowers, cakes, patterns etc etc. What if those hours were invested in pre-marital counseling or with older married couples soaking up wisdom and advice? How about investing some of those hours in the library reading highly recommended books about marriage? 

Getting married is a time of celebration and joy, however, there are ways to defray the cost and invest the rest. Besides the wedding will only last a day, the marriage will last a life time. Why not invest more into the life time? Just my thoughts.

everyday talk for everyday women...

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Our red cross date

Today was the first day my husband was off for the summer. He is a teacher and this summer vacation has been a long time coming. To celebrate we got a babysitter and we hit the road. Where did we go? We went to the Red Cross in our area and we donated blood.

This was something I decided to do last week and then when I shared this idea with my husband he was all for it. It was a very smooth and comfortable experience and they gave us a full lunch. Not just cookies and juice, they served hot dogs, beans, slaw, and ice cream desserts, talk about a cheap date.  Keep in mind lunch is not the norm but at this location they are very appreciative of those who donate. 

After we finished we were very glad we donated blood, in fact we found out that the dear friend who watched the children for us had to have a blood transfusion a few years prior, it saved her life.

I would encourage all who are able and healthy, to donate blood. You never know the life you may save. For more information click on the link below. Remember to save time you can schedule an appointment when you call or sign up online.

In addition to a great lunch we also received these nifty little notebooks and pencils. How cool is that?

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The 3 R's

From time to time I re-evaluate my goals in terms of teaching the children. As they get older I discover new things to be implemented or improved. What in a nutshell is most important at this time to convey? I narrowed it down to the 3 R's. Respectful, responsible and resourceful.

Respectful. My desire is that my children respect themselves. Next they should respect all people, especially those who are in authority over them. Respect is almost a lost art today. While folks feel entitled to it, there's no deep conviction to give it. Being respectful is an attitude of the heart coupled with humility and with the right attitude you can get anywhere you want to go and be anything you want to be.

Responsible. Children should be taught how to be responsible for themselves, whether cleaning up a mess made or being able to make a simple sandwich. Making up the bed they sleep in is their responsibility and gives them a sense of ownership and pride. Moreover, I want my children to understand that they are responsible for their own actions, and their actions alone. I don't want them pointing the finger at another but rather owning up to what they do.  

Resourceful. No matter what comes their way, I want my children to be able to thrive and not be stopped by external forces or circumstances. This could mean creating a business, building their own homes, or growing their own food to be self sustaining. Nothing in this world or economy is certain so our children must learn to be resourceful and creative in order to be who they are created to be. This is a strong trait I admire in my husband.

We recently watched a documentary about George Washington Carver, it was life changing. He was born to slaves and became one of the most famous inventors known. During his years of teaching at Tuskegee University he did not have the science technology available nor did he have a typical science lab at his disposal. Instead of giving up and teaching the bare minimal, he took his students out and about town visiting dumps and collecting old bottles, cans and other objects. Before they knew it, his students had a full operational science lab which they all created themselves. When I saw how resourceful they were I decided right then that I wanted my children to grow to be adults who are resourceful and who will work what they have.

So my focus for the next few years with the children will be the 3 R's. Raising them to be:

Respectful. Responsible. Resourceful.

To read more about the fascinating life of George Washington Carver click on the link below.


Saturday, June 8, 2013

Attitude of gratitude!

It's a beautiful morning and I hear the birds singing outside of my window. Today I decided to write about gratitude. The art of gratitude is a habit and I find writing things down makes a better impression on my heart.

Every night, or almost every night before I go to bed I write in my gratitude journal. It's simple, I just list five to ten things I'm thankful for or blessings for that day. It's a great way to end the day.

You can pick up a spiral notebook, journal, or whatever to do this. Sometimes I jot things down during the day so that I remember later on to write them down in my journal.

Some of my journal entries include:

                                              I'm thankful the kids are in bed sleeping

                                     thankful the kids were excited about the turtle in the yard

                                           thankful the baby birds are growing wings

                                                      thankful the kids plants are growing

                                         thankful the husband took kids for a ride on the mower

thankful the husband fixed kids bikes

thankful the husband put gas in my van

I recently added a new twist to my writing at night. It seems something to complain about is always present in terms of our spouse. To combat the urge to complain, I now list a few things I'm thankful about in terms of my husband. So often we focus on what the other does not do and we forget to see the things that are done. Now when I sit and write them out I see just how blessed I am to be married to the man I married almost seven years ago.

Below is a link to a great website about gratitude to get you moving in that direction. Have a God blessed day filled with gratitude and love.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Marriage maintenance dating!

I recently expressed to my husband the need to have business/budget meetings outside of our house. The logic here is no distractions of children, ringing phones and floors that need sweeping. He agreed.

I got another idea while running water, those negative ions are at it again! My thoughts went from business meetings to "marriage maintenance dates". We maintain our cars with oil changes, our homes need maintenance and we get evaluated at the job. I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Why not take the time to maintain our marriage?

So here's the plan. We get a babysitter. Select a restaurant with no tv. We come prepared with notebooks, an open heart and open mind. We will open up with prayer and then discuss the following.

Budget, bills and debt free plan
Immediate goals (family and individual)
1 year goals (family and individual)
3 year goals (family and individual)
Any concerns about the children
Iron out any issues
Things we appreciate about each other
Set a date for the next meeting
End with prayer

Of course this is not etched in stone but it's a start. Will it be a challenge to carve out this time? Sure, but we make time to do everything else we want. Maintaining our marriage is important.

Like anything else this plan can be adjusted to suit each family. Maybe you can have your meeting/date after the kids are fast asleep at night. If you have older kids you can send them to a friends house. Whatever works for you, plan your work and work your plan!

Anything worth having is worth working for. We put time and energy into many things in life that external and even temporary. But the most valuable things in life are our relationships, we ought to cherish and nurture them regularly.

I'll let you know how the first meeting goes.

Any thoughts, please share.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Finding contentment

Why did I say "finding contentment"? Well from what I've learned you have to look for it, contentment doesn't come easy. So then what does it mean to be content? Contentment means being where you are and being thankful that things are as well as they are. It means appreciating the moment.

Being content does not mean we don't want better or even different. What it means is today we can be thankful and cease complaining. That's a hard one, I know so well. What I am learning however, is the closer I get to God, the more I am content with my life.

Contentment brings a trust in God, knowing that He has it ALL in control. Contentment means not complaining while doing whatever we need to do to make the necessary changes we desire.

As we get closer to God, we find hope, we find contentment. We find everything we need.

everyday talk for everyday women