Day 16: Pray #write31days2018

Not a day goes by that I don’t pray several times for help from God. Most of the time, it’s a quick prayer in the midst of sibling conflict between my two children. But in the morning, I usually do  have time for more focussed, less desperate prayers.

However, I have found that those short send-ups for patience, wisdom and grace in moments of desperation are still meaningful. I am learning these days that I cannot control my children or the outcome of my parenting. I can only do what I think is best at the time and pray for the Lord’s will to be done in their lives. The Lord alone knows what is best for them, and I need Him desperately in these days. I am not the potter. I am here to nurture my children and to teach them all I can about making godly choices. But I am not able to determine the path they will go. This is a humbling, and in many ways frightening, realization.

So I pray. A lot. I pray that I will faithfully mother these precious souls. I pray that they will see Christ in me, even through my many flaws and failures. And I pray with gratitude that my God is big enough to draw them to Himself no matter how much I may mess up in the day to day.

This post is part of the 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes and Write 31 Days blogging challenges. Find all my posts in this series under the tag “write31days2018.”

Day 15: When #write31days2018

In the early days of motherhood, I quickly realized how lost I was in the duties of housekeeping and homemaking. I had had all sorts of free time before having children, and I didn’t realize how much I would need to organize my days once children entered the picture. It was a steep learning curve, but I eventually got a handle on some sort of routine. I at least knew when I needed to do certain tasks to keep the house running somewhat smoothly.

Now that my children are entering more independent elementary and preschool ages, I find myself with a little more time again. I am enjoying getting back to pursuing more of my creative interests, like reading and writing. This week I decided to get back to practicing the piano a little. I starting using the Duolingo app to practice my Spanish vocabulary again, too. I have been getting my knitting out every day this week. I am also thinking about when I can add some time to draw in my sketchbook and nature journal.

If you are a new mother or in a stage with lots of littles underfoot, I don’t write all this to make you feel badly. I do, after all, only have the two children! I write to encourage you that someday, you will have time again to do those things that make you uniquely you. And I write to challenge you a little to find a few minutes (really, just 5 minutes a day!) when you can do one thing that makes your soul come alive. There will be a day when you can spend more time on your interests again, but even now, amidst all the diapers and laundry and feeding little mouths, don’t forget that you are a person, too!

This post is part of the 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes and Write 31 Days blogging challenges. Find all my posts in this series under the tag “write31days2018.”

Day 6: Belong #write31days2018

Ever since I was a little girl, I have struggled with finding where I belong. It’s not that I didn’t have a loving family or good friends. But I have always felt like I was a little different and didn’t quite belong to my peer group. Even as an adult l struggle to find a place where I feel like I am really more than just a curious outsider that the “in crowd” tolerates having around. 

The difference is that now I know that I am not alone in feeling this way. Especially in this age of online comparison in which people see carefully curated images of others’ lives, I know that many moms like myself feel like they are missing in-person community to which they can really belong and be truly themselves.

So this month I finally decided to do something that is way out of my comfort zone. I am starting a little book study group of homeschooling mom to study through some of Charlotte Mason’s 20 Principles together.

I am hoping that this group will become more than just a book club, that it will become a little tribe of likeminded women who belong together, who support each other and lift each other up when we fall. I want this to be a welcome place for other moms to be honest with each other and to encourage one another, because we all need to belong somewhere.

This post is part of the 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes and Write 31 Days blogging challenges. Find all my posts in this series under the tag “write31days2018.”

Setting Intentions and Atmosphere in Our Home

I sat at the dining room table Sunday afternoon, notebook open in front of me and pen in hand, waiting for some ideas to come. After weeks of growing discontentment with our current routine and the attitudes in our home, especially surrounding chores and school, I was ready for a change. 

But what kind of change? I knew I had to set the tone with more positivity and a fresh atmosphere, so I set down a few ideas for adding positive reinforcement and a little more loveliness into our day. 

One of the problems we have been struggling with is in the area of completing our morning routine without dawdling and complaining. I created a little extra incentive chart for my son to do his morning jobs in a timely manner without my constant nagging. I also decided to back up the time I expect us to “start school” each day to stop us feeling so rushed. When I talked to my son about these changes, he was very excited and ready to try to get his tasks started in the morning.

Since my own attitude is really the only one I can change, I also wrote down some very different priorities for the week in my planner. Instead of usual top 3 tasks for housekeeping and work, I wrote things like “Smile, laugh, and have some fun every day,” “Create something with your hands,” and “Love God and your family well.” I also reminded myself of the importance of getting my personal Bible study and prayer time in before the kids wake each day, so I set my alarm a little earlier for Monday morning.

Finally, I resolved to infuse some fun and beauty into our homeschool routine so that we all have something special to look forward to each day. Over the past few weeks we added “Poetry Tea Time” back into our schedule once a week, and it had become a highlight for me and the kids. In my notebook, I wrote down plans for daily “tea time” at the beginning of the school day: light candles, set out the tea things and snacks, and gather at the table with smiles and anticipation of the good time we are about to have learning together. 

Finished with my brainstorming session, I pushed back the notebook and set down my pen with a satisfied sigh. I knew that none of these changes were big on their own. And I knew that none of them was a magic formula for success. But I also knew that because I was setting my intention to make positive changes and have a joyful attitude myself, things would be better. Because I was going to set the tone and prepare an atmosphere of beauty and goodness, our day would be different. I was hopeful.

And, you know what? Today was the best day we have had in a very, very long time. I hope it is not the last… I don’t think it will be!

The Simple Woman’s Daybook for August 6, 2018

This week I thought it would be fun to take a departure from my usual blog format and participate in The Simple Woman's Daybook link-up. This is an opportunity for you all to get a little glimpse into an average day around here at the Lemon house, and for me to record some of the simple, but still special, parts of our life to look back on in the future.

Today

Looking out my window... it is a mostly sunny, hot afternoon here in Middle Tennessee. The grass is getting dry and crunchy underfoot because we have not had rain for a long while. I do hope we get some good soaking soon.
I am thinking...that it is time for another brain dump! I have a lot going on over the next couple of months, and I just added a new virtual assistant job to my plate! My head is in need of some organization, and so is my calendar.

I am thankful...for my family. We have been through some rough seasons over the past few years, and even now I feel like parenting is the most sanctifying thing that a person can experience. But we are blessed to have one another, and my husband and children truly are my favorite people!

One of my favorite things...in case you didn't already know, is this Tetley British Blend tea! I drink a cuppa with cream or half and half every morning, and most afternoons. Cheers!

I am creating...hmmm, I haven't been doing much hand-crafting lately. All my creative juices have been poured into creating graphics for the blog or the podcasts I manage.
I am wearing...mismatched workout shorts and a t-shirt. I haven't exercised yet today, but I am going to before the day is over! (And this is where I just about run out of pictures for this post....)
I am reading...The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton. I just started it last night, though, so don't ask me anything about it just yet. It's on my Back to the Classics list. The last Wharton I read tore me up, in the best way, and I suspect this one will, too.
I am listening to...old rebroadcasts of Elizabeth Elliot's radio program, Gateway to Joy. I just found out about it through post in one of my facebook groups, and I knew I needed to listen to the wisdom of this great woman of the faith!
 
I am hoping...my husband will be able to pick up our new school bus in the next couple of weeks! We are converting it into an RV. (This will be our second time doing this...our first bus bit the dust last fall, so we are replacing it!)
I am learning...how to meditate on the Scriptures through Kari Denker's free resource, Meditation119. We started with the first 8 verses in Psalm 119 in July, and now many of us are moving on to the next section in August.
In my kitchen...this week we are going to eat out of the freezer, fridge and pantry. Last week my grocery bill was twice what it normally would be, so I have challenged myself to make meals and snacks this week with what we already have on hand.
In the school room...today we changed things up a bit by doing Morning Recitations (our memory work) right after breakfast, before starting our morning chores. My son also did one of his readings on his own and narrated to me while I did dishes. This dramatically shortened our lesson time later on, and I think we will continue this routine!

 

Board room...I haven't spent much time on Pinterest lately, but it is a really fun place to find and collect ideas for our new Bus Conversion! We are thinking about doing a split galley kitchen somewhat along the lines of this one. You can find my "The Bus Life" board here.
 
Post Script...don't forget to check back here on Wednesday for my brand-spanking-new link-up, "Wellness Wednesday!" I would love to have you join me in writing and sharing our wellness journeys!
Shared Quote...a quote I have been thinking about today is from Alfred Lord Tennyson:
It is better to have tried and failed than to live life wondering what would have happened if I had tried.
A moment from my day...I can't stop admiring my newly organized bookcase in the family room. It was a lot of work, but now I have this lovely and functional space that makes my heart happy!

Closing Notes...Thanks for reading and taking a peek into the ordinary-extraordinary that is my life right now! You can find the original Simple Woman's Daybook post for today here.