They Will Know Us By Our Love

Social Media has blown the lid off of otherwise ignored or silenced issue in our country. 

It’s stirred up a lot of uncomfortable feelings and opened up a lot of debate.  Our knee jerk reactions tend to be to self-preserving.  Meaning none of us are quick to take blame.  That’s just human nature.  We can be 30% at fault yet argue as if we are completely the victim in a situation.  

When I started to see how loved ones were hurting around me I felt like I woke from my ignorance.  I would have said before I wasn’t a part of the problem.  I would have said I didn’t do anything wrong. I would have shouted, “Someone needs to do something!” at the news of another black person’s life taken at the hands of those sworn to protect and defend.  And then I realized that my anger didn’t compare to the pain of those who closely relate to those who’s lives have been taken. 

I realized I have to do better.  There’s so much to say.  So much. To be honest I’m still educating myself.  I haven’t been on the receiving end of many blatant prejudices.  I rarely experienced injustices and they were certainly never based on my race.  

There’s no more excuse for ignorance to how people are being treated around me.  It’s uncomfortable.  It’s painful.  Seeing what’s gone on in our country and imagining it happening to myself or my own children and then responding to it like as if it were has changed me.  I’m grateful.  Grateful that despite not having the same experience or surrounding that I have been shaken.  If we are not willing to examine our hearts… pause to empathize… and respond with that love then we are not loving as Christ would have us love. 

I believe in one God. One who created all men equal.  Based on my own beliefs I choose to be held to a higher standard of love. That love means treating my neighbor the way I want to be treated.  It means fighting for the weak. It means celebrating with those who are celebrating and being sorrowful with those that are sorrowful.  Because of that I have chosen to not close my heart off from the pain that my neighbors, my friends, my brothers and sisters are feeling. 

I’m taking a hard look at myself, my own heart.  I’m considering how my lens, through which I view the the world, was formed. I’m thinking about who I watched and learned from and why they impacted me.  I’m praying.  I’m repenting.  I’m forgiving.  My experiences shaped me for good or bad.  I recognize that.  As a mother I realize my children will be shaped in a similar way.

Even though I would like to just live quietly by example I cannot. I’m doing the work on myself so I can recognize my own prejudices. FROM THERE I’m having conversations with my children.  Please hear me – I am no expert. I am not trained in how to handle this. I’m walking out what I feel lead to do.  I’m sharing it in hopes that it will help even one other person, or one other parent.

We read the Bible and talk about Jesus daily. I thought it was enough.  What I’m learning is the conversations have to go deeper.  AND WE HAVE TO LISTEN.  The best teachers really are amazing listeners, aren’t they?  The same questions I’m asking myself I’m bringing to my children:

Do you feel differently in the presence of people with different colored skin? 

Do you think differently about people that have less than you?

Do you notice the kids that aren’t being included?

How do you feel when you’re the kid excluded and waiting for just one person to include you?

How would you feel if someone treated you differently because of the color of your skin? 

What would you want someone to say or do to come alongside you?

BEFORE you have these conversations with your children I caution you to examine your own heart FIRST. They need us humble. They need us listening with an open heart. You may not like what they answer with.  Just like I didn’t like what I saw in myself.  Do not shame them.  Ask more questions. 

I think it’s important for you to also know that in our home our standard of truth is Christ.  Without a delineation of what it good and what is evil I don’t see how we can teach them to recognize discrimination or injustice. 

 

Survival Guide to School Shut-Down Part 3

Before I jump into sharing our homeschool routine, I gave it a lot of thought and I decided that it would be far more helpful to encourage the moms out there navigating all this for the first time. THIS IS NOT EASY. If you found a site, or blogger, or person that says homeschooling is easy UNFOLLOW them. They are a LIAR. The struggle is real. There’s so so so much out there that you could do. It’s overwhelming. Thankfully most of our teachers are working super hard to get us some guidance so you don’t have to create the wheel (or copy somone else’s).

There’s a reason we switched from homeschooling full-time to our current hybrid charter. Coming up with a syllabus/lesson plan, implementing said plan, managing your kids, and home life is a lot to take on.

It’s a LOT.

So here’s my advice: take baby steps.

It seems like most of us fall into one of two groups. The overachiever that plans every fifteen minutes of the day or the avoider that feels too overwhelmed to start a routine.

Neither is wrong. We’re all built so differently and we all respond to stressful situations and cope differently. You might be somewhere in between – keep reading you’ll get a lot out of this too. I personally bounce between both depending on the situation. OR I avoid and then overplan ;-P

To the overachiever I caution you to pace yourself. For most of us it’s looking like at least 3 weeks of this situation. You might have a really great start and then burn out. The thing about homeschooling is that it isn’t traditional brick and mortor schooling. Take the pressure off. A full day of school at home isn’t necessary to keep your kids learning and growing. Keeping their brains busy with creative play is a great opportunity this sitation is providing us. Keeping structure is fantastic. If you’ve taken on too much pair it back. Instead of giving 3 worksheets on the same subject see where you kiddo is being challenged and focus their time and energy on that primarily. Review what they know and challenge them with the next thing. You don’t need to do busy work – Hallelujah! This is an awesome opporunity to close some learning gaps and even get them ahead.

Just think if your child’s teacher had the ability to work one on one with your child they wouldn’t waste time or energy going over things they already know. In class they have to go the pace of the majority of the kids. They try to help the ones struggling and they try to challenge the advanced, but they can’t devote all their time to either. While they’re home we get to do that! It’s exciting (not easy).

It’s a juggling act. For example: My oldest last year was asking questions that showed us she was ready for multiplication and division. She hadn’t memorized simple addition equations though. It bugged me to move on when she couldn’t quickly aswer 6+7. So instead of holding her back we introducted multiplication slowly and did drills to help her memorize simple math equations simultaneously.

To the avoider take a deep breathe. You’re going to survive. It’s going to be okay. You’re probably feeling overwhelmed and paralized. You don’t have to do all the things. You don’t have to be a Pinterest Mom. Not doing all that stuff the overachievers are doing doesn’t make you a bad mom. But your avoiding stress is probably stressing you out. Structure probably isn’t something you seek out or like being imposed on you. But your kids running a muck and/or not learning doesn’t feel great either. Take it easy and just start small. Baby steps my friend. Switch that binge watching to Magic School Bus or some other educational program. When the show is over talk to your kids about what they learned. For big kids have them write down a summary. For littles have them draw a picture. Super easy and you’ll feel amazing.

The next day do it again! Then you might try googling the same subject for a worksheet or easy project related to the topic they learned. Don’t go all over the place. Just put one foot in front of the other. They learned about the states of matter? Cool make some apple sauce and review them together. Tell yourself something is better than nothing and you don’t have to be an expert to try. This is just my opinion – but the avoiders/ type B’s/ go with the flow peeps seem to be the pretty artsy and creative ones. Let your creative instincts take over. Whatever you do don’t compare. Find what works for you and build on it. You’ll make some pretty awesome memories and see your kids through a whole new lens as you watch them learn and explore.

Now, I recognize the curiousity is there to see what we do. We follow this structure, but it isn’t rigid. We might spend more time on lessons back to back and end early or we might do most of our lessons in the afternoon. The imporant thing is figuring out what system works best for you and your kids. Break it down to as simple a subject a day if you’re just starting. Or as simple as 10-30 minutes (depending on child’s attention span) per subject.

  • Reading/Writing
  • Math
  • Science
  • Social Studies

These are strange times. I never saw myself sharing any of my experience in homeschooling so publicly. In the past it’s been a subject I converse with many about in DM’s. But with everthing going on right now it was something I felt could help more people if I wrote it out and made some graphics… so here we are. I hope it helps!

Love,

Ginny

Survival Guide to School Shut-Down Part 2

Without “Quiet Time” I don’t think I’d make it through the week! As a stay at home mom (survivor) and homeschooling veteran I feel like I should share how I manage my four different kids so I can get some silence during the day.

Sweet sweet silence. My introvert soul craves it. We can be having the best day and yet by the end of it I’ll get grouchy and tired without a stimulous break. I’m not saying every day the stars align and I get this gift, but it is definitely something I’m diligent about imposing if we’re going to be home all day.

It’s not just for me. My kids definitely benefit too. Some of them love structure and some of them don’t. The quiet alone time gives them some time rest too. For the ones that need freedom I to to give them more free play time to be loud and wiggly before or after. This is not their favorite part of the day, but it’s still necessary for them.

Quiet time is easiest to transition to straight out of infancy into toddler-hood by just continuing that afternoon or morning nap as a rest time. Sometimes they’ll fall asleep and sometimes they won’t. During the winter its such a great way of helping their bodies fight germs too.

If you haven’t had a quiet time habit, or because of the school shut down are now wanting to start one, here are my suggestions.

  1. Start short! Don’t force your 6 or 9 year old to be calm and quiet for an hour and half when they’re used to doing something else. Depending on their age and willingness start with 15-30 minutes and build from there.
  2. Keep everyone seperate. For large families this can be tricky. But as much as you can give everyone space so they aren’t tempted to talk to each other or play together. This is suppose to keep you from having to referee.
  3. No mess, no stress. Give them or allow them to do things that won’t create stress for you worrying about what mess it might make. Maybe forgo the playdoh, art project, slime, silly puddy, glitter, glue, beads, etc. You get the picture. Even if they’re old enough to use it reponsibily they might interupt your rest to ask you for something. This should be total independent time.

Quiet time will not happen on it’s own. Please don’t expect your kids to comply easily when you haven’t been practicing this. It’s going to be an adjustment. Be patient. They’ll need consistency to accept that it’s a new part of the routine.

For the visual learners here’s how we do quiet time in our house.

I hope this helps! Stay sane friends!

Love,

Ginny

 

Survival Guide to School Shut-Down Part 1

It’s going to be okay! You’ve got this Mama!

When I was homeschooling full-time I had so many families reach out to me about how to get started.  I’m no expert, but what experience I do have I hope helps ease some of the stress.  

If you follow me on Instagram you know I had a whole post ready and my site glitched and deleted it. So I’m attempting this again, but it will have to be in parts. I’ll start ya off with just three tips.  They are “simple”, but please don’t confuse that with EASY. I repeat mommin’ is hard any way you go about it so don’t be hard on yourself k?

As and Introvert I find it super challenging to be home with my kids all day without a break so I COMPLETELY understand the ease of switching that TV on and getting some quiet.  Or maybe you have big kids that can spend hours on end on a game system.  I’m not saying not to let them play a game or watch a show. What I’m suggesting is you use that veg time stategifcally.  

For example, if you know you need some early morning quiet (like me – no talkie until mommy has her coffee) then plan on having them veg while you get your bearings for the day.  Or maybe you’re trying to work from home and you know you have to make some calls in the afternoon. Save the veg time for when you really need it.  They’re less likely to bug you – I mean ask you – about all the random stuff if they know they just get one or two shows or that one movie for the day as opposed to 4.   

More to come on that in Part 2.  We use electronics for educational purposes too so I’d love to share with you some of the things we do for Art, Science, Math and Reading. 

Upside to being home vs. school = More Recess!  Yay!  Kids are full of energy and creative juices.  If you’re doing educational stuff and hit a wall make sure you take breaks to be active.  If you aren’t doing educational stuff and you’re doing more vegging than learning (no judgement here) don’t forget that their need to exhert energy might bite ya in the butt when you least expect… Like bedtime.  Aint nobody want kids having a burst of energy when they’re ready to wind down.  Am I right?

Weather permitting get outside. Avoid parks with play structures – those are petridishes on the regular – but even more so now. Take a walk.  Ride your bikes.  Kick a ball. Fly a kite. Or one of my personal favorites is to send them out back and say, “I’ll let you know when you can come in.” I sound terrible, but at least I don’t lock the door.  I find the less toys they have outside the more imaginative their play.  I’ll share more of our schedule later, but I usually do this right before lunchtime so they get some energy out and then  I call them in to eat. 

If you’re literally stuck inside you could even put on a great playlist (I like Can’t Stop The Feeling station on Pandora) and have a dance party! I hit an energy low just before dinner so even if the kids don’t join me I put on some jams and get my blood pumping again.  YouTube also has a ton of easy exercise videos you can follow along with. A quick 5-15 minutes can make all the difference.  

Raise your hand if you’ve ever planned a craft to do with your kids or super fun outting and it totally blew up in your face. This is percisely why I consider myself more of an Amazon Prime mom than a Pinterest Mom.  I have come to expect the unexpected.  The kid I thought would be totally interested throws a fit. The paint gets everywhere. The glitter spills. The baby  doesn’t stay asleep.  It’s parenthood. It’s a beast.  So this tip is all about riding that wave if the kids are playing nicely. If they are totally enaged in a lesson and want to learn more GO WITH IT.  But girlfriend, when you see the signs that things are going south ABANDON SHIP. Don’t guilt yourself into something that will completely zap your energy physically or emotionally.  

Say you’re doing a craft and it goes haywire, have that next thing in mind so you can hit pause and either circle back or just do something else.  There’s gonna be a lot of pressure to do all the Pinteresty things.  But keep in mind you don’t have to follow a rigid schedule.  Be flexible.  Plan your day as guide, but don’t feel like you failed if things don’t go as planned.  

When all else fails blow bubbles.  Not  even kidding. Kids love it and it helps Mama to breathe deep when stress is high.

Hope these tips help. Let me know if you have any suggestions or resources for your fellow mamas out there in the comments.  And don’t forget to subscribe so you can get Part 2 right to your inbox.  

You got this mama. It’s gonna be okay.

Love, 

Ginny

 

To the Mom Who’s Struggling with Depression

To the Mom Who’s Struggling with Depression

To the mom who’s struggling with depression, I see you.

To the mom who struggles to get up in the morning, I see you. 

To the mom who pushes through to get just one thing done, I see you.

To the mom who feels the weight of EVERYTHING and isn’t even sure how she’s managing to keep going, I see you.

To the mom who feels exhausted and can’t find rest, I see you.

To the mom who feels so alone, I see you.

To the mom who won’t admit she’s down because she doesn’t want to disappoint anyone, I see you. 

To the mom who feels trapped, I see you.

To the mom that wishes she could genuinely smile and laugh with her kids, I see you. 

To the mom that gave her all, all day, but lies down with regrets every night, I see you. 

To the mom that walks under an invisible cloud of heaviness, I see you. 

To the mom who loves her kids, but feels like she’s always irritated, frustrated, and disappointed, I see you.

To the mom who feels like she was dealt a bad hand, I see you. 

To the mom who wishes she were different, I see you.

To the mom who has tried her hardest to fake it, I see you.

 

You aren’t alone. You are not forgotten.  

You may feel abandoned. You may feel hopeless. Don’t give up. You’re still here. You’re still breathing. Fight another day.  God’s not done with your story.  

Do you even blog bro?

Do you even blog bro?

You might have noticed I’ve been a bit MIA…

It’s funny how when you set something down how it can be so so hard to pick it back up.  After my husband graduated from his CRNA program I took the summer to just ENJOY time with my family.  We traveled, we played, I worked my Maskcara biz a bit, but mostly I just wanted to soak in every minute I could before my husband started working full time and before I had 2 kids to homeschool.  And then the school year started.  And we got pregnant!  Surprise!  Just kidding we applied ourselves to that process if you get what I mean… Anywho!  First trimester kicked my butt along with homeschooling my son who’s educational needs are far different that my oldest daughter’s.

Every week I was struggling with migraines and fatigue.  I felt comfortable taking a step back from work.  It was a huge relief that I had built my business (praise the Lord) to where I could cruise.  And secretly it was a relief to have the excuse to lay down the blog part of my work.  Here’s why:  I was overthinking it.

I had an unattainable standard for my posts to be worthy of posting.  I had drafted SO MANY posts that never got finished.  I’m really good at starting projects hahaha, not so great at finishing.  Can you relate?

I started feeling so much better and work picked up again in January. but blogging… it was this “project” in the back of my head that just seemed impossible to get to.  My last interview was with Alisa Manajarrez, a Leadership and Executive Coach and she gently called me to the carpet.  Through my chat with her I told on myself.  She asked just the right questions for me to realize I just didn’t WANT to.  A few month later I mulled that over and realized I didn’t want to do it the way I had been doing it.  You can only take someone as far as they’re willing to go.  So I didn’t go anywhere for a couple months.

In that time I came to the realization that I really do LOVE to write.  I love to share inspiration.  I’m a perfectionist.  I worry about using the right words.  I have too many ideas and have a hard time focusing on one thing at a time when my creative side starts spiraling – that’s a big problem!  If you’re a creative with this issue PLEASE send me all your tips!  Getting back to the point – I don’t want to be pigeon-holed.  This is my business and since I’m in charge I decided that I can give myself more freedom to write about what I want to write about.  So here I go!

I might not be everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s 100% okay.  I like me.  I think I’m pretty awesome in fact!  And if what I write about doesn’t interest you that’s cool!  Much love to you on your journey and I hope you find inspiration that resonates with you.