Black Void

I have this black hole in my life. It started out small, maybe the size of a pin head. It gradually grew and as it did, I became more idle, immobile, guiltful, sad, and the more it grew the more I fed it. How do I feed the black hole? By being here. Yes, here, on the internet. To be more clear, on FB, on DailyMail, on other trashy "News Paper" sites and by accidentally coming across trash online.

I "quit" FB a few months ago. I still log in to check out the latest news and photos. FB has turned into a propaganda and Pinterest site. I scroll down the news feed and my eyes are exposed to everything. A picture of a starving child comes up with this: "like and share if you care, keep scrolling if you're don't!" Ugh,  I never feel good after my visit, yet I still visit. The DailyMail focuses on the negative and the evil of the world. It brings out the saddest and soul stirring news. I never feel good after I visit, yet I still visit. It's the curiosity that pulls me back in.

Our eyes are the windows to our souls. What we read and watch will feed our soul in one way or the other. EVERYTHING we read or watch WILL affect our soul and well being in one way or the other.

I have lived it. I am still living it. I chose to open up a tab and read the latest kak online. Sometimes, usually, more often than not, I come across the latest sad news on innocent children being hurt or killed by sick people. My heart and soul aches. The "well" written imagery on the ordeal creates images in my mind that are disturbing. Imagery, forever in my mind. I carry that.

In the same way, most of what is on TV, and its imagery is forever imprinted on my mind. Scary movies, (which I have not watched in years because my psyche can't handle it) vain and promiscuous shows. I carry that baggage. Baggage that is cancerous.

This builds up, or should I say It grows. My worry and disappointment grows. But the next day, I am at it again.

We don't have TV but I am still feeding my energy sucking void, by replacing it with the ones listed above.

Youtube is dangerous. I honestly believe that it has to be one of the most dangerous sites for anybody to be on, especially for kids. This is what I meant about "accidentally coming across trash online".

So I'm wide eyed following the latest gossip, show (youtube), tabloid and then after I've discharged(sucked out) my positivity and energy, I attend my precious gems. I am not present though. My mind lingers on what I've read, what I've seen and the after shocks. After shocks as in deep in thought, deep in worry, deep in compassion, and sadness I am not strong enough to carry. My children ask me questions, buzz around me, they talk... I nod, smile but I am not here. I've waisted my first hour of the day, surfing in trashy waves. How clean and fresh am I? How motivated and energized am I? Where is my focus?

Can you count the number of times you have logged back online to "check"? It's like going to the fridge again after 10 minutes from the previous time, again, to "check" if magically any food has appeared, only it is to check for news, latest news to only eventually see that it's all the same and time still passes by. Time you can never have back.

Not only that, but I have missed out on here and now, by being around but not being here. This poem called "Dear mom on the iPhone" is what I am talking about. Have I swapped being with my precious to being with the app? I don't want to, not anymore. Whether you are a parent or not, student or retired... where is your focus?

I know what the news tomorrow is, without even reading tomorrow's news, and I can tell you what it will be.

- NOT good.

Tomorrow's news is not good. Until the second coming of our Christ, Jesus, the news will always be filled with bad.

There IS good news though. Good News which will never change. regardless of what is happening around you, in your heart or in the world. Nothing we read on the news or see on TV can change the love story, the Truth that has been bestowed upon us. That good news is your life manual, the love story between God and YOU. The Bible.

Where is your focus? Can you put down your pinning on Pinterest, your daily sharing on FB and your logging in to your favourite gossip news site and focus on what really matters. Focus on the eternal? Focus on today, a gift?


Does God Bless Your Wardrobe?

God sees the heart, knows our secret wants, our "vanity". I don't speak about it, I am content. Since, that is what the scriptures say,

1 Timothy 6:8  ..."But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that"... 

and that is what a "true Christian" ought to be. All good, I give up my style for the good of my family. Priorities, priorities... Second hand clothes, still used 18 months after I got pregnant. I am not pregnant, but I am wearing the same pregnancy clothes. After all, some people lack clothing, I am blessed with the clothes I have. I can count them with both hands. That's all, yet so much when compared to the ones who lack... yet so little... shouldn't complain. I am content, I am content. 

I feel awful. My pregnancy weight lingers. I am different from most women, I shed the weight AFTER I quit nursing. Would I ever be so vain to quit for the sake of my figure, God no! Would I want to? I am tempted.... guilt builds up for letting it cross my mind. 

I call myself names I would never say to anyone or even think of anybody that way. I am a "läski-paska"...which directly translated means "fat-s**t".. not very flattering at all. I say that to ME. Just writing about it, typing it out is shocking. Lip trembling shocking, how could I be so brutal? What have I done to deserve that title? 

I re-dedicated this ground to the Lord, he sees my heart. I want to live out the scripture, to feel it, to believe it. I am Your property, I was bought with a price, I am Yours... I have more than enough, I am blessed.

Last night I got a call from M, from church. She said that she would really like me and my 3 kids to attend tomorrow's Mom's group clothes swap meeting. She told me that they want to pay for my child care and perhaps H and S would let me have a few items without charge. "Oh sweet! What a wonderful blessing! Thank you!"...

Today I attended the swap meeting. I don't know why I attended. I didn't have the money or the body to even want to go. I am happy that I did though.  Once we got there, I dropped the kids off to the nursery and waited in line for coffee. I was approached by L (who gave us a ride to the swap meeting)- "Are you going to do some shopping?" she asked with a smile. "No, I don't have the money..." I replied, hiding the other side of my reason. As she offered to pay for me, I refused kindly and suddenly broke down in tears, in shock trying to hide my face in my blouse. What on earth? Am I crying?, apologizing for my "weakness" and feeling stupid and guilty for it.  "I'm sorry, I don't know why I am crying.."... We retreat to the ladies bathroom to share. I got a hug. I have not been hugged in my sorrows for so long. The hug felt so sweet. Right afterwards, one of the leaders of the group, asked me if I was ready to shop!?

Oh what sweet blessings. It was more than I ever anticipated. My nursery fee was covered, the clothes I ended up getting were a GIFT and I was styled by someone who really has an eye for it.  I can't match clothes one bit, but she could. And well. I think I tried clothes on for a good hour, and even got into some pretty funky heels!

 I got my eyebrows threaded. This was an accident, I just followed the "line" and didn't even realize it wasn't part of the free fun (like the hairstyling).

 This picture was taken in the midst of my trying on clothes. Although the picture doesn't look like it, I had no idea this shot was taken. 

I am so overwhelmed and grateful. I got home, I looked at my haul, I sobbed. Thank You, God!! Wow, I even got heels... (not anywhere top in my priority list) I went from owning 3 pairs of shoes to 9! 

He sees my heart, he sees where I am at. He blessed my wardrobe.

Have you asked God to bless your wardrobe?


Ever Wonder Why Your Kids Are Rude?

Okay, I am not here to tell you that YOU are the fault of your rude kids, BUT I am here to SHARE what I learned today. (All comments are welcome, just remember that we are here to share not to judge and fight over the right ways to raise kids. Be respectful :) )

Scenario: We had a dear friend of ours visiting us today. She did some baking with the kids. The kitchen was a chaos to begin with. The table was over crowded and was still in use. This creates angst in me. Especially when clumsy little hands are involved. Something was about to "tip over" and I quickly, sternly said, intented for one of my kids, "Move it away!" and realized that it was our dear friend who was already in the midst of moving it. I then followed by saying : "oh, I didn't mean to use such a rude tone with you (slightly embarrassed), I... meant.... to... say it to....- J!?! Yes, realizing at the same time, what that sentence sounded like and that it was TRUE! I used a rude tone with my kids and would never use it with my friends. Do note: there is a difference with being clear and stern with a loving tone and bossing. Our kids learn from us!

I expect to be spoken to with respect and expect my kids to speak to others with respect. I sometimes get frustrated when I hear them speak with a rude tone. And sigh, wonder why on earth, how come etc?! They mimic.

This hit home, hard. I couldn't believe it. I was okay to rudely order my son around, when I could've instructed and taken the opportunity to train. I fail. But I have hope.

One thing we do in this family is apologise to our kids daily. There is always something we have done that wasn't the best and we should be at ease to be able to apologize to them. I don't want to be the mother-who says it and it's the law, my house, my rules, my table, under my roof, you're outta here- kind of mum. I want to lead by example. I am broken. I am learning. I love. I fail. I am sorry. I try again. I love. I love. I love.


Reasons Why We Homeschool

"Why do you guys homeschool?"  "Do your kids get to socialize?"  I get asked these questions often.Well, I get to answer them here!

4 years ago, S and I came to the conclusion that we wanted to homeschool. Little did we know, this was a very good decision, better than we initially thought. Here is a list of the reasons why we homeschool. (The list is not in priority order. )

1. Protection. Protection from peer pressure, bullying and foul language. 

Comment: You can't protect your kids in the real world, they will have to face it sooner or later.

Response: This is true, we can't protect them from the world, but we can train them and raise them, so that they come to know their own self value and worth, in Christ and stand a little stronger, when they are out there "alone". They don't have anyone telling them what trend to follow, what's uncool, what's in, who's out etc. If they curse, we know exactly WHO to blame. Ourselves. We have more opportunities throughout the day to spot times, where we can teach and train our kids.

2. Quality time during lessons.
1 on 1. We start our school doing grammar in our jammies, while I sip my morning coffee. Then chat about the day and about this and that, we spend time together.

Comment: Do your kids get 6 h of school a day?

Response: No. More like 2-3 hours. During 1 on 1, we move through our lessons faster. There aren't 30 pupils crying out for attention from one teacher and as a teacher, I can take my time and teach with undivided attention or time limits. However, homeschool can last all day and all evening too,  depending on what we are doing. Gardening, field trips, outdoor adventures, scavenger hunts in the woods can take time and we might finish the day with a little science or social studies. Very relaxed!

3. Take the time necessary. 
Our kids can develop at their own pace. If math is a challenge, we can invest time in it during school and not after school. If math is "easy", we can move onwards to the next grade levels.

4. Each to their own.
Our school day is structured according to our child's energy levels. Some days J might have a "bad day" and can't seem to focus well on his subjects, we can then do something else and come back to whatever we were working on later. There are no lost opportunities.

Comment: Shouldn't a child eventually have to learn how to work regardless of how he or she feels? You can't just not go to work when one is having a bad day. Welcome to the real world!

Response: These days, modern companies are actually using more flexible work systems and support the diversity of employees. Also, bare in mind that these are children. Their learning should be in a productive learning enviroment, fun and varied. If I child has had a restless night and is tired, it won't make or break his day, he won't get behind. Studies show that homeschooled kids learn 37% better than those who attend school outside of the home.

5. More variety of material and learning activities. 
We get to go on fieldtrips every day if we like! Everything we do, we look at it as "how can I teach/learn from this?" For example, posting a letter at the post office. We can spend an extra 15minutes discussing different airways, snail mail, air mail, cargo,...etc. How the letters find their way. Instead of merely reading how a seed grows from a book we can step outside, toil the soil and really understand the growing process. Hands on!

6. Biblical teaching. 
We believe that we are called to,
 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
Deuteronomy 6:5-9
New International Version (NIV)

How can we teach this, if the school is teaching against it? Who has more time to spend with your child during the day? What could be a more holy calling than to train and teach your kids, to invest in them, so that they can walk on the righteous path?

7. Family time. Building relationships within family. Strong bond. 

Comment: Shouldn't kids be able to explore and get out there to create new relationships?

Response: Yes and no. Absolutely they get to interact with other kids daily, but we also want to teach them that a family is a nations "back bone". It sorrows us that in many families, kids look for role models, friends and peers outside of the family rather than within. There is nothing "uncool" about your younger brother and that they can open up to us as parents rather than look for it elsewhere. Instead of looking for friends outside of the family (only), they can build close friendships with their siblings too.

8. Socializing. 
Our kids get to socialize with ALL age groups, not only with a classroom full of 6 year olds. 

Comment: Homeschooled children are socially inept.

Response: Absolutely not! This is a misconseption. Actually, they have better people skills than average. They can have a conversation with all age groups and feel relaxed enough to play with babies too. 

9. Sleep. This is a big one. 
Thank God, we have not had to drag them out of bed to rush them out the door to make it to school on time. Sleep is super important. The best thing about this, is that they are well rested and ready for school time. I feel for the parents who have to emergency it out the door in the mornings, rushing to make the bell.

Comment:  As they grow up they'll need to wake up to get to work, tired or not.

Response: Yes true, and here we have a great opportunity to teach them how valuable sleep is and how we musn't ever compromise. Each child demands different amount of sleep. For example, our middle child needs the most. She goes to sleep first and wakes up last.

Here is a great article on homeschool and sleep deprivation in public school pupils. https://www.aophomeschooling.com/blog/homeschoolers-get-more-sleep

10. Travel and teach anywhere! What freedom, such richness!

11. Control. 
We have more control over what and how our kids learn. We can again, take the time to invest in the best, in what suits our family best, what suits our kids best, individually. How can we be the main influence for our kids when we don't see them for 80% of the day?

Comment: Tight leash.

Response: Think of it as rather, a greenhouse. A place, safe haven where they can grow to become strong individuals in Christ. For example, being available to deal with issues (arguments, hurt feelings, math problems, etc.) instantly and not left unsolved or undealt with. We are their parents after all, and so yes, we keep a close watch.

12. Encouraging, praise and discipline appropiately. 
These days teachers have no authority over pupils in schools. Bad behaviour won't get overlooked.

13. Identification of talents and skills. 
Due to the fact that the learning is 1 on 1, it's easier to identify a natural talent for a particular subject or activity. But more than identification, homescooling gives parents the opprtunity to encourage the further developement of those talents. Sure, some talents may be picked up at school, but more often than not they are overlooked or sidelined and never really passed on to the parents.

14. Hierachy of subjects. 
The current system of education was developed for a time very different from today. At that time - industrial revolution - there was a dire need for further developent of reading, writing, and mathematics as most of the population would not have access to these types of activities. Society was lacking. Due to this, those subjects, reading, writing, mathematics and also the sciences were placed at a greater value than the arts for example. Today, in a very different world, this hierachy still exists and creativity is undervalued. For example, if you have a student with a real ear for music or a wonderful ability to move their body but is below average in maths they would be deemed still today, "stupid". With homeschooling, there is no such hierachy, you can place as much emphasis on the arts as sciences and allow a child's creativity to flourish.

Here is a very very interesting clip, by Sir Ken Robinson. Don't pass this opportunity, it will change the way you view life, forever. http://youtu.be/zDZFcDGpL4U


Soul Food

Soul Food tonight, hurt. Hurt deep, felt good... 

It felt like I was being peeled open slowly, unraveling layers of busyness and finding a way to the inner part, my beating heart, my soul. 

My daughter laid in her bed and as I walked by she asked me to read "this book" to her, as she lifted up a thin blue book. In my busyness and frustration (after trying to put a baby to sleep for an hour) I said I'll read half, and began to read the story to her quickly...

First page, a mother is holding her baby, rocking back and forth singing him this song,

.."I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living, my baby you'll be"...

Second last page, the baby all grown up, holds her at a nursing home.. rocking her back and forth and singing this song.

..."I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living, my MOTHER you'll be"...

The last page, the son, now a father, holds his baby daughter, rocking back and forth singing,

..."I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living, my baby you'll be"...

As I'm reading this, I cry.  I look at my daughter, hug her and sing to her,

 ..."I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living, my GIRL you'll be"...

She asked me to sing it again. I tried singing it to her as I tried to swallow my tears...

I said goodnight, walked out the room, and cried. My heart aches.  I cry for the lost time. I cry for what is to come.

Thank you. Thank you for giving me the most precious gems. Amen.

Continues De-Cluttering

I have said it before. I have done it before. I have accumulated again. I am decluttering, again.

Not so long ago, I went through a 2 year decluttering process. It was hard, it was liberating, it was awesome! I got to spend more time with my family. I had less stuff to maintain, dust, pick up, clean, and re organize. It was an eye opener, a lesson, it was freedom.

After our BIG move, we started accumulating essentials. Well, we were surrounded by lots of giving people and before we even knew it, our home was bursting from its seams. Wow, that happened fast!

I began to itch again, to feel overwhelmed with stuff. Especially the little bits and pieces that were gathering and piling on top of kitchen tables and counters. It began to bug me. Random pieces.  I yearn for plain, for basics, for minimalistic living. Simplicity. 

Well I am half way there, emptying my home again. Getting rid of plastic, again.