The End of an Era….

 Posted by on November 11, 2014  3 Responses »
Nov 112014
 

The other day I noticed ‘Stripey’ was not in bed with Selena as I came in to say goodnight.  In fact she hadn’t been for several nights, but this was the first time it really registered with me.  Stripey has been her constant companion since she was three and she would not sleep with out her, until now.  I asked her why and she said the Stripey was not real but just a stuffed animal.

The End of an EraWOW

That’s a big change.  Those two have been inseparable for so long.  Stripey has bathed with her and lost all her pink stripes swimming in an overchlorinated pool.  She has been recovered by me when she fell apart.  I actually remade her and stuffed her into her new skin, transferring the eyes to the outside of the slip cover.  I personally have a lot of time and effort wrapped up in that little pink and white frog!  For many years Selena carried tucked under her left arm and had trouble at playgrounds climbing because she couldn’t lift her arm to climb.  Recently she had been leaving her home but never had she slept without her.

At first I felt sorry for Stripey.  Wait, no, I felt a sense of loss for myself.  My little girl is leaving girlhood behind and growing up.  Those Stripey years are passing away, never to return.  But, I must let go of them too.  Let go and embrace the future.  Don’t cling to the past and regret it’s going.

StripeyGod is working in her life and mine.  Creating a new thing.  Maturing us.  Some days I don’t feel much more mature than her.  So Lord fill me with joy and the energy to leap into this new phase of life you have for us.  Be near me and help me to guide Selena in your ways.  Because this is not the end, but the beginning of a new era.

~ written by Amy Waters

A new little space

 Posted by on March 27, 2014  No Responses »
Mar 272014
 

This month I thought I’d share a simple project recently completed at our house.

Our house is a good size, and with only three children, there was enough room when we moved in for everyone to have their own room.  (Except me and hubby, we like to share, but when one of the kids moves out, I’m going to make her room into a pink, “Shabby Chic” reading and napping room just for me and any future granddaughters.  Shh!  Don’t tell!)

A New Little Space www.habitsforahappyhome.com

Anyway, the girls were 12, 10, and 6 when we moved in, and we let them choose their rooms. Each chose a different one based on her personality.  Youngest chose the largest room, which was good, because she had lots of toys.  Our middle girl chose the room with slanted ceilings that was the most old-fashioned looking, one that one of the heroines from her many books would live in.  Our eldest chose the sunny room at the top of the opposite side of the stairs…  the whole south side of the upstairs is her room.  It looks like a little attic and was technically called a “bonus room.” If you know real estate, you know that means it has no closet. For years, we dealt with this issue by having her share a closet with hubby and I (the other girls’ closets were too small to share) for her “hang ups” and shoving the rest of her clothing into her dresser, storing off-season clothes under the bed.

She also had two beds in her room, which was convenient for having friends or little sisters spend the night, but took up a lot more space in the tiny room, leaving her no room for bookshelves, which she desperately needed.  I don’t have many pictures of her room, and I forgot to take a before picture. I just wish you could see the books stacked on the floor!  We even painted it aqua and added those neat, peel and stick dots… but no closet rendered it just not “done.”

Our sweet eldest went off to college over two years ago.  Even though she spends more time away from home that at home now, we wanted her to feel like we cared about her personal space, and that she is special to us.  We finally found a way to fix it up that would work without calling in a contractor or spending a large amount of money.  (Pinterest helped.)

Here’s what we did:

new little space www.habitsforahappyhome.com

As you can see, we used one of the popular “expedit” bookshelves from IKEA.  (Hate to say it, but they were being discontinued. There are other, similar bookshelves in that line.)  Hubby anchored it to the wall and purchased a closet rod from Home Depot and a little hardware to go with that.  The whole project cost less than $75. (If you wanted to be even more frugal, you could find a bookshelf at a yard sale or thrift store.) Now her clothes AND books have a home, and I can’t wait for her to see it.  (The shoe rack on the bottom is also from IKEA.  I love the simplicity of their designs.)

I am keeping all the hangers the same color to add to the simplicity and for color continuity (can you tell I love to read Better Homes and Gardens?!).  Hubby thought of putting a curtain across the front, but I like the look of openness, and if you peruse any of IKEA’s catalogs, you can see many designers like it, also.  But the main point is that WE like it, and I think our daughter will, too.  Better late than never!

I’m so glad she chooses to come home for Spring Break, and that this little treat awaits our girl.  We love her so!

Grace for Ordinary Days

 Posted by on March 4, 2014  2 Responses »
Mar 042014
 

Winter can be a dreary time of year.  Lots of rain or snow make the sun disappear for days at a time.  Little irritations can seem so much bigger than they really are. The promise of spring is ahead, but just out of reach.  And the kids.  They just want to be outside!  (How do you help a two year old understand that he cannot ride his bike when it is 30 degrees outside?!)

How does one make it through the long season of short days and longer nights? Only by His grace.  There have been many days lately that I have felt like a failure as a Mom.  I have felt like I am doing this all wrong, and that my children will bear the ill-affects.  But when I start thinking like that, I must remind myself that it is not all about me!  The ultimate good of my children rests in the hands of my all-wise Father, and He can use me in spite of the times I fall.

My boys both got bikes for Christmas, and sad to say, they have both already had little wrecks here and there.  Do they quit, though?  No. They cry a little, get Mama to kiss their ouchie, and then get back on and pedal some more.

Yes we will fail as Moms. We’ll have those days when all we can do at the end of them is to beg God for grace for the next day.  Don’t give up.  Keep trusting His grace, knowing that “He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.” (I Thess. 5:24)

Are your kids suffering from FOMO?

 Posted by on February 6, 2014  No Responses »
Feb 062014
 

Are your kids suffering from FOMO? FOMO is very common these days among young people.

What is FOMO? It’s the “fear of missing out” and it’s very real.

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freedigitalphotos.com

FOMO is a social anxiety. It stems from the need to fit in. To be invited to everything. To not miss out on anything. Someone with FOMO will focus on what’s going on everywhere but where they are and fear that something other than what they’re doing is a better choice than the one they’ve made. It’s a compulsive disorder.

I was quite surprised when my young adult daughter told me about FOMO recently. Evidently, because there is so much happening in the world and it’s broadcast all over social media, kids are afraid of missing out on something that’s happening elsewhere. They might not even have known about it if it weren’t for social media. But as soon as someone posts on their status something exciting that they’re doing and today’s teens can’t get to it, suddenly they’re miserable.

According to PsychCentral, “Teens and adults text while driving, because the possibility of a social connection is more important than their own lives (and the lives of others). They interrupt one call to take another, even when they don’t know who’s on the other line. They check their Twitter stream while on a date, because something more interesting or entertaining just might be happening.”

It’s hard to be happy at Julie’s birthday party when Mary and Susie are at Tracy’s party and you weren’t invited but they are Instagraming pictures of the fun they’re having. And it’s so much more fun than you’re having. (Of course it is because you’re focusing on what they’re doing and not on having fun where you are.)

It might sound kind of silly to us adults but in today’s world, kids do want to be a part of everything. I don’t think this has changed from previous generations. It’s just that nowadays people have access to what other people are doing and they feel like they’re missing out. And because people (therapists, doctors, etc.) like to give things a name, they gave this emotion the title of “disorder” and named it FOMO.

As homeschoolers, you hear all of the time the question, “How are you going to socialize your children?” As many of you know, that usually isn’t a problem because homeschool kids are always on the go. But what about when they see their friends going places and want to be there but can’t because you can’t take them or because something else is on the calendar? Apparently, that’s a FOMO.

Should this be diagnosed as a disorder though? Or is this just an old-fashioned desire to never miss out on something? And if so, let’s get to the real root of it.

My kids are now grown and they are able to drive themselves wherever they want to go. They don’t often miss out on anything unless it just so happens to be something they didn’t get invited to or something that’s planned at the same time as another engagement.

A few years ago, after we’d been snowed-in for four days, my daughter had a meltdown. All of her friends had gotten snowed-in (on purpose) at the homes of their friends who lived in Atlanta. We live about an hour north of there. She watched all week long as friends posted their sledding pictures in Piedmont Park, pictures of their shoes all lined up outside of someone’s door, etc. She was driving herself crazy (and me) because she wanted to be there but the roads were impassable. On the fourth day, she was determined to get away from “the country” (and her crazy, boring parents, haha) and get to the city, somehow, someway. How did she do it? She went outside with her daddy’s machete and started chopping at the snow-covered ice on the driveway. She nearly gave herself a heart attack. Was she suffering from FOMO? Maybe just a bit. Although we didn’t have a formal diagnosis for a disorder then. We just thought of it as the normal anxiety teens go through when all their friends are hanging out without them. No biggie. She chopped her way out and drove to a friend’s, roasted marshmallows, and had a great time. End of story.

If your children are experiencing FOMO, it’s a good time to sit down and talk with them about why they feel so strongly that they need to be a part of every activity. Is it jealousy? Low self-esteem? The need to be popular? Fear that someone will say something behind their backs when they’re not present? Self-focus? The list could go on.

Once you’ve gotten to the root of your child’s FOMO, help her see that it’s okay if she can’t be a part of everything. If she were to do that, she would be spread so thin that little enjoyment would be found from any of it. It’s an endless (and pointless) pursuit for acceptance and happiness. In all honesty, the world (your child’s world) isn’t going to end if she doesn’t get to attend one little party.

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freedigitalphotos.com

And it’s not going to end if we don’t get to do everything, either. Yes, parents sometimes suffer from FOMO. Either we fear we’ll miss out or that our kids will and we just simply can’t stand by and let that happen. If we’re not careful, we can foster self-centeredness and narcissism.

We’ve discovered in our family that God is the master scheduler. He’s real good at working things out and making sure you get to the places and events that are the most beneficial to you. When you leave the decision up to Him. Maybe the place your child thinks she has to go is actually somewhere that God wouldn’t want her to be. He’s been putting up roadblocks but she keeps pushing through them.

God knows best. God is sovereign. He loves our children more than their friends ever could. He desires to protect them, as we do. He knows what’s in their hearts and he knows why they have a FOMO (if you want to officially call it that). He accepts us as we are and asks us only to “be still” so we can know Him. Honestly, is there enough time in a day to be a part of everything that our children are inundated with?

What is the solution? Well, there may not be one, short of running away to some place that has no connection with people other than the ones you’re with at the moment. But one important step in helping your children develop their sense of self and correct priorities is to limit their exposure to “the Joneses”, the media, and especially to social media. Until they are old enough to handle the pressure. (Not sure what age that is, since we parents suffer, too, at times.) We can help our children when we encourage them to focus on what God would have them to focus on—their schooling, their relationship with their family, bettering themselves spiritually. That’s what really matters in the long run.

I hope that this has been an encouraging post for you, maybe even something that will bring your attention to what your children are going through or may be prone to go through in the future.

Here is a sermon I found about FOMO Christians: http://vimeo.com/62010250

An an article about FOMO and the Christian: http://au.christiantoday.com/article/battling-fomo/14819.htm

~ by Sherri Wilson Johnson

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Feb 042014
 

Recently, my husband and I were having a date at a large bookstore, reading and drinking coffee together, and I came across this book.  I have not read the whole book, but skimmed through it and liked what I saw.  In it, author Michelle Singletary talks of taking a 21-day fast from spending any money unnecessarily.

Top Ten Fun Things to Do Without Spending Money www.habitsforahappyhome.com I shared the idea with my husband, and we decided to begin immediately (good thing we had already purchased a slice of cheesecake to split!).  Now we’re on day 9.  Here are a few things that have come up and had to be decided:  Food is necessary; eating out is not.  A new pair of jeans for a growing teenager is necessary; a new sweater for mom (who has several) is not.  A new sheet to replace our torn one is necessary; new lamps for our bedroom are not (phooey).  There are other facets to Michelle’s plan, but we’re just doing the Financial Fast for now.  It’s going to show us, supposedly, where we are unecessarily spending, and how much we can save if we stop for awhile.  I see it as a kind of challenge.

So here are my Top Ten Things to do for Fun Without Spending Money Unnecessarily:

1) Use those empty Starbucks coffee bags!  If you drink Starbucks coffee at home, save the bag!  Return it to Starbucks for a free tall hot or iced coffee.  No need to say “no” to a friend who wants to meet at Starbucks to chat!

2) Pop popcorn and play a game with your family.

3) Get movies from the library instead of renting them.

4) Do something creative with all those pictures that are hiding in a box in your closet, or on your computer desktop!  Use supplies you have on hand.

5) Have another family or two over for a potluck dinner.

6) Enjoy a cup of tea by the fireplace.  Invite your teenager to sit down with you, and really listen to her.

7) Rearrange the furniture in one of your rooms, or move decor objects around from room to room.  I even change my living room and dining room curtains around sometimes!

8) Do a household project you have been putting off… one you already have the supplies for.

9) Walk around your neighborhood, just a stroll to enjoy where you live.

10) One of our family’s favorites:  Set up your own bookstore in your living room.  Put out books and magazines from around your house for each age group in your family, some baked cookies or a simple sliced pound cake, a pot of coffee and tea, and some music.  A fire is nice, too.  Everyone helps themselves to the snacks and drinks, grabs a stack of books, and settles down for a good read.

~ by Kim, The Daisy Muse