Why I Write, or What I Learned on my Blogging Break

When I took the month of June off from the blog, it wasn’t intentional. Life got really busy, and I was exhausted in the evenings when I usually would write. I was also feeling uninspired and rather unmotivated. So during that month away, I started thinking about why I started this blog and why I even take the time to write in the first place. Here is what I learned by asking myself those questions:

1. Organizing my thoughts…

When I write, I can sort out my thoughts, ideas and feelings better. Writing gives me a chance to order my ideas in a more logical way. As an INFP on the Myers-Briggs and a Type 4 on the enneagram, I constantly have an ENORMOUS amount of thoughts and feelings swirling around inside that need a constructive outlet. Writing about things I am thinking about or feeling is therapeutic for me because I can get some of those pent up ideas out of my head and in black and white.

2. Learning and growing…

Blogging also encourages me to learn more about the topics in which I am interested so that I can better share about it with you. I write to learn, because when I process what I am reading about through the written word, it helps me retain and synthesize that knowledge. And when I share ideas or lessons I am learning with you, I have a certain level of accountability to take action and move forward.

3. Encouraging others…

I write to share my story and let people know they are not the only ones with doubts, fears, heartaches and tears. Maybe, just maybe, there is someone else out there who feels and thinks and wonders some of the same things I do. My hope is that what I write will help or encourage someone in similar circumstances or wrestling with similar challenges. I want my blog to be uplifting and beneficial to you, my friends and readers, whoever and wherever you may be.

4. Building community…

Along those same lines, one of my goals for this website has always been to build community. In this online, social-media driven world, it is increasingly hard to find local friends who are willing to take the time to spend doing life with each other. Because our family is more apt to move frequently due to changes in ministry callings, the mobility of the online world makes it easier to get in touch and stay connected with people across the miles. And I know that it is hard to find like-minded people when moving to a new place. Although I have been blessed to find a lot of women in my area who share similar interests and values, I know that is not the case for everyone. So sharing a bit of our lives online allows us to make contact and find our tribe, no matter the physical distance.

5. Made to create…

I am made in the image of the Creator, and therefore, I am creative. As Jonathan Rogers so aptly put it in his most recent newsletter:

Exercising your creativity makes you more fully human. If that sounds too touchy-feely, let me put it this way: Creativity is one of the most important ways that you engage reality. We make things more beautiful than they have to be because the world is more beautiful than it has to be.

I love the written and spoken word, so this is a type of creativity that naturally flows from me. I am painfully aware, however, that my skills as a writer are weak. So I write to flex that creative muscle, to hone my skill, so become better at creating so that I bring more glory to my own Creator.

I DON’T write because…

Perhaps the biggest takeaway I had from my blogging break was actually the one thing that is not and cannot and will be my motivation for writing. It is this: I DON’T write to make money. I am not aiming to have posts go viral on Facebook or be the most popular pins on Pinterest or anything like that.
Yes, I would love for my readers to support the cost of running this blog by using my affiliate links. But I am not going to write on topics that I don’t honestly care about just because I think that will make my blog more popular. I’m not going to focus on monetizing this site.
Know that if I do post links to other blogger’s products it is because I really, truly think they are helpful resources that I want my friends to know about. It’s not because I am out to get your money. My friend Crystal has said it time and time again that if you are in the blogging business just to make money, you will burn out hard and fast. I believe it!

From the heart…

So, I am letting you know from here on out, I am going to write from the heart. I will write about things that pique my interest, things that are hard for me, things that I think will be helpful to you….whatever topics align with my vision and goals for this space and my writing life. I hope you will connect with me here in the comments and on Facebook or Instagram so we can build community around these ideas of uplifting and coming alongside one another through the written word!

Memory Work Plans for July 2018

Back in March I shared our memory work plans for our homeschool morning recitation time, and I had really intended to make that a regular monthly post. Somehow, though, the next couple of months sneaked up on me, and those posts never happened. I decided to try and pick back up now that we are about to start a new school term. I know many homeschoolers who also start back up in mid-summer, so perhaps it will help some of you out as try and wrap up your planning during a holiday week!

July Memory Work

Hymn: Great Is Thy Faithfulness

Catechism: Questions 32 and 33 of the New City Catechism (shorter version)

Motto: “We love and obey our Lord Jesus Christ with wholehearted devotion” (from Our 24 Family Ways by Clay Clarkson)

Scripture: Psalm 27:1-2, Psalm 28:7

Poetry: Over the Hills and Far Away by Eugene Field

Folksongs: My Country, ‘Tis of Thee and Over the Hills and Far Away

I decided to add an extra song into our recitation time this term. I have so many songs that I still want to introduce to my children while they are young, and I just don’t remember to do that unless it is part of our school day.

I chose most of these selections back in the winter before we began our new school year. If I had it to do over again, I might try harder to choose more patriotic themed memory work to go with the Independence Day holiday. Maybe next year I will remember to do that if I know we are going to be schooling in July. But at least I had a general outline planned to save myself the time and energy during break! I hope this little outline of our July memory work helps you as you plan for your own homeschool recitation time.

 

Adapt: becoming a new creation, #fiveminutefriday

adapt: to make fit (as for a new use), often by modification

~Mirriam-Webster dictionary~

I’ve been thinking a lot a bout “fit-ness” lately. My husband and I recently got FitBits, and we have been working on increasing our activity level and eating less. We realize we aren’t getting any younger or fitter by just sitting around doing nothing. If we want to feel better and be able to do the work we have to do and enjoy life, we know we have to get our physical bodies in line with those goals.

But at the same time, I’ve been trying to get in better shape emotionally and spiritually so that I can be a better servant of Christ and a better mother, wife and friend. I need to be fit for all the roles God has given me. And most importantly, I need to be fit for the kingdom!

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

2 Corinthians 5:17

As a new creation in Christ, I have a new identity. But I usually walk around identifying with the old self, believing lies from Satan about who I am. I often believe I am worthless, a failure, destined for a life of depression and destruction. But that is not who God says I am. He says I am worthy, holy, redeemed, and whole, destined for a crown and a life in His kingdom in glory! I have to adapt my body for physical success. I also have to adapt my mind and heart for spiritual success, speaking the truth to myself and believing what God says about me and my future.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27

This post is part of the Five Minute Fridays link-up hosted by Kate Motaung. Join the FMF community and get your free-write on! Find my other Five Minute Fridays posts here.

Turn, turn, turn- Five Minute Fridays

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)…

This old song by “The Byrds” popped into my head immediately with this week’s prompt. I started thinking about the concept of seasons, both in the weather and in life. Right now here in Middle Tennessee we are experiencing a cooler than usual spring, as I’m sure many others are, as well. But the seasons definitely are changing. The leaves are opening on the trees. The wildflowers are blooming in the fields and woods. The birds are nesting and singing sweetly each morning. It is a hopeful time.

Thankfully, the seasons seem to be changing a bit in our family life as well. After a long, difficult transition period over the last couple of years, we are coming into a spring of sorts. My children are older and more able to help me and help themselves around the house. We are in a good rhythm in our homeschool days. My husband and I have been exercising and keeping each other accountable to get back to taking care of our health. Our finances have stabilized thanks to more part time work and generous gifts from friends and family. And our house is under contract again, and there is hope that we will actually get to close the sale this time around! I am reading some excellent books and doing some deep thinking, forming newer and healthier thinking habits. We are putting down roots here in TN, and it feels like growth is happening. Change is coming, and it feels good!


This post is part of the Five Minute Fridays link-up hosted by Kate Motaung. Join the FMF community and get your free-write on! Find my other Five Minute Fridays posts here.

A Much Needed Break

This week was break week in our homeschool. Can I get a “holla” from all the homeschool mommas reading this? 😉 Let’s face it, as much as we love homeschooling our kids, it is not all sunshine and roses. Some days it’s just plain hard! The discipline to keep showing up and guiding our children through the work of learning is hard to cultivate, both in ourselves and in them. So it is good to take a break sometimes and step back to breathe, rest and re-evaluate how everything is going.

We just finished Term 1 of AmblesideOnline Year 2, so it was high time for a break after plugging along for 12 weeks without stopping. The funny thing was that this week, my kids acted like they didn’t even know what to do with themselves half the time. They are so accustomed to our normal daily routine on week days that not having that same structure left them wondering what to do. Even my 2 year old was asking for school! I take this as a good sign that our daily rhythm is working well for our family and that it is providing what they need to get their days off to a good start!

At the same time, though, I needed a break to recuperate, reevaluate and reorganize before plunging ahead into the next term. And I feel like I have accomplished that this week. Here’s how:

Recuperate:

The first thing I did after we finished school last Friday was to put all the school book in the homeschool cupboard, just as they were, and shut the doors. Then I proceeded to spend the next three days not even thinking about homeschool stuff. I didn’t plan or prep anything. I didn’t clean up anything other than to just shove it in the cupboard out of sight. I just let myself clear my head and not worry about what was done or what was coming up. It was lovely!

Reevaluate:

On Tuesday of break week, I finally sat down with my son to go through his Year 2 Term 1 exam questions. AmblesideOnline has these exams already all set up for us, so all I had to do what print off the questions! Then we sat on the couch and he told me as much as he could remember from different books, did a few oral math problems, recited some memory work, etc. It was pretty quick and painless. The important thing about these exams is that they give me a chance to look at some weak spots in my teaching. It is not so much about grading my student as it is grading myself. If he didn’t remember very much of his Spanish vocabulary or know a term we were supposed to have studied in Geography, it is not because he was not trying. (I can tell when he is just trying to get out of doing the work of narration or recall!) It shows me that we did not spend enough time in those areas to let him make the connections with the material. So I know that I need to shore up those subjects next term.

Reorganize:

Finally, on Wednesday, I sat down with all my school planning resources and got to work planning for the next term. Creating new memory work pages for April was first on the docket. Then I wrote out lesson plans for the first week of the next term. I printed out new math worksheets and the next month’s set of nature study lesson plans. Finally, when all the planning was finished, I set about the un-glamorous task of cleaning out and reorganizing the homeschool cupboard. I don’t know how these spaces get so cluttered so quickly, but it had become quite a mess! I sorted and tossed and filed and rearranged…I even sharpened all the colored pencils! Hours later, I finally had a neat and tidy home for all our school books and supplies once more, and I felt a huge weight lift off my shoulders.

After that work was done, I was free to enjoy the rest of our break week catching up on other tasks around the house and online. Today we had a family fun day, since my husband is off from work for Good Friday. We let the kids use up some Toys R Us gift cards that they were saving before that store goes out of business. Then we explored the Cool Springs Galleria mall because I had not found the time to wander over there yet. We ended with lunch at a Chinese buffet, and we all came home happy, full and sleepy! I know to some people it doesn’t sound that exciting, but for us, it was just right.

That’s what break week looked like here in our neck of the woods. I’d love to hear what you do in your homeschool during breaks! Leave me a comment and tell me something you love to use your breaks for!