Tuesday, July 16, 2019

a good book becomes part of you

Why do people read books? Some may say for the stories—and that is partially true. But one reason I read books is for the ending. Or rather, the moments after the ending, where the whole of the book—characters, plot, storyline and prose-- can be contemplated and digested at once. When the whole story is told and all the pieces of the puzzle fit together and I sit back and let out the breath I didn't know I was holding. Suddenly I remember the cold tea that's sitting next to me that I forgot to drink because I couldn't stop reading. And just like that, as I set the volume aside. Quite a small thing, are books, and made of such fragile paper. Yet they move mountains and churn the sluggish coggs of my mind.

I realize where I am and the shock of being back inside my own body makes me unable to speak for a few seconds. 

That is finishing a good book. That is beauty and mystery come full circle. That is reading.

There is something otherworldly about the hour after the last page is turned. Everything is different. I am not the same person I was when I started the book. The world is not the same world. Of course, this depends on the book. Some books do not satisfy—where as other are like jewels in the sun and lifeblood to my veins.

Today I finished The Distant Hours by Kate Morton and the writing was suburb. She really understands people; the depths of human relations and the lenses through which an individual views the world. Not only does she understand but she can beautifully relate it to the reader with a skillful, fluid prose that is akin to what I must do when I breathe in and out. Except she does it with a pen.

I will say that not all her books have made me feel. I hated two of the four of hers I've read. But of the two I loved, I have loved them with a passion unequal. They are literary masterpieces .

After I have read a particularly good book I feel satisfied. I feel complete. Centered.

After I've finished a novel of particular wonder I always need a break of 2-3 days to just mourn and celebrate. I'm mourning that the world is closed to me. There is no more I can learn about the characters and places I have come to adore. There might not be closure.

But I also celebrate as I internalize the ideas, concepts and “breath” of whatever novel I've finished.

A good book should leave you with that out of air quality, like the way an invigorating swim in the moonlight with your lover lingers with you long after the honeymoon is over.

A good book becomes part of you.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Charlotte Mason Preschool Printables

We are doing a low key Charlotte Mason preschool with Reuben this fall. I plan on making a whole post about our goals and the things we will be focusing on, but for right now I am just creating some printables to use as I plan our weeks. You can download them by right clicking and saving to your computer or download the high resolution PDFs (mint green lesson plan here and leafy plan here).

Please feel free to donate $1 to me if you love it and want to see more!

Thursday, July 4, 2019


It has been AGES since I have painted. And I miss it. So this week I made sure to make time to watercolor and relax! Painting always reminds me of my grandmother who used to send me flowers doodled on notes in the mail.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Necklaces for Moms

I was contacted by Get Me a Necklace to write up a sponsored post for them. I have never done a sponsored post without actually receiving the product, but GMaN was more interested in bringing awareness to their website and jewelry and less about a review. So please note this is not a review but more my thoughts on their website so you can check it out.

I did receive $20 for this post and that is exciting, right? I get contacted by so many people to write up things and never get offered payment (so I politely decline) but this one was different!

Two things really stuck out to me on GMaN. One, they have picture charms. I really want one of our family pictures made to wear on a charm bracelet. Two, they have infinity necklaces, and I really want one of those as well. I would put my grandmother and grandfathers names on it. I'm named after my grandmother.

I love that they are very country inclusive. There is an option to change the currency at the top of their website, so you can order from Canada or China or wherever you live.

They also have cheap engraved bracelets, family necklaces, and bracelets in sterling silver. I know my highschool self would have really wanted some of the couples jewelry.That was all the rage back in the day. Now I'm married and we live together so I don't pine over Brian the way I did when we were dating. I mean, I still love him. Our love has grown so much...

Anyway, check out the jewelry if you are interested. I'm sure I'll never do another sponsored post again so don't hate me. I was just excited!! Finally, someone takes blogging seriously!

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Adventures in High Blood Sugar

Since my gestational diabetes diagnosis I check my blood sugars once or twice a month to make sure they are on track and that I am not developing type two diabetes. The last two months they have been high. My highest reading was 185 but I was consistently getting 165 and 155 two hours after meals. That number is supposed to be under 120. High blood sugars damage your organs and decrease your lifespan. I want to live as long a life as I can and I like my organs working at 100%, thank you. Having these high numbers has caused me a lot of stress in the last two weeks as well as panic and depression. I am working so hard and doing so much to help manage my autoimmune problems and adding one more like type two diabetes to the list felt like a weight I could not handle.

I have a very knowledgeable Type one diabetes friend and couch who helps people with diabetes and fitness in general, so I booked a 30 minute call with her. I knew I needed outside help. I was exercising 40 minutes a day minimum and eating under 150g carbs a day (half the recommend American limit) with plenty of organic veggies and fruits. This is what I had been doing since I quit keto when Becky was 8 months old--and it had been working for me just fine. Until now, that is.

Becky, 18m old
I went into the call feeling helpless and lost. I came out of the call with a plan! I decided to go down to 50-100g carbs a day, add some strength training to my workout (previously only yoga and walking) and make a food diary so I can see what foods are "problem foods" for me. I went sugar free (except fruit). I had been consuming some honey and some coconut sugars and I've now switched to stevia and monk fruit to sweeten things if I need it. It has been two weeks and my sugars have not been over 110 two hours after eating. I am thrilled!! I really don't want to eat keto again--I would miss foods that I love. On my modified low carb "diet" I can still eat potatoes and beans--two of my favorite foods!

I did find a lot of problem foods that I have cut out. Rice is one--it elevates my blood sugar like nothing else. So do all the gluten free flours like buckwheat and sorghum that I had been baking with. I have switched to just using almond flour and coconut flour with maybe a tablespoon or two of gluten free flours to make it taste more like the "real" thing.

In the last 10 years I have changed up my entire way of eating many times. I went vegan first, gluten free, dairy free, paleo, keto... every time I make a change it is so stressful for a week or two (or three!) while I figure it all out and see if it is right for me. My body is changing as I age and especially after pregnancy! I am glad that I have been able to make elimination diets work for my health and the health of my family. But boy, it is hard.

This August we start Reuben's low key preschool program and this will be another change for our family that will ripple through the next 18 years of his life! Keep me and mine in your prayers and thank you for reading!

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

my life is scrubbing floors and I love it

If I could show you how my life has changed since having kids you'd be shocked. I went from being an entitled self-focused oblivious millennial to a hardworking mom of two. 

The first year after my son Reuben was born I fought this transition with everything in me. I had never learned discipline and hard work in my life before. I didn't know the satisfaction and joy that laboring for the Lord would bring to my heart. I wanted my old life back and naively thought that it would eventually return.

When it didn't I went through some dark times. Not only was I mourning my old life, but my body was changed. My relationship with my husband and even my sleep schedule was altered. Everything was different and it was a difficult year that I remember blogging through with tears and prayers and the wrong heart attitude. 

I think my transition would have been easier if I had the right heart attitude. Like I have now, where my eyes are on God and his plan and I realize that raising kids does take sacrifice. But that these sacrifices are made willingly by me because I want to honor God. Before I had kids I didn't really understand or live my life realizing that it belonged to God. I thought my life belonged to me. But having children was the catalyst to sparking total surrender to Christ in my heart. I'm not perfect, I still struggle, of course, but my attitude has made life much more bearable and brought so much joy to my heart.

Motherhood isn't glamorous. At least not the way "the world" and "Hollywood" paint beauty and fashion, or worth. It is also hard work. It takes effort and attention. It takes planning and love. And I think it also takes total surrender to Christ.  It takes sacrifice of my will and my desires to God as I serve my family. This doesn't make me special or anything--it is what God requires of everyone. It is just me doing my job. 

Anyway, I spend a lot of time scrubbing the floor. Sometimes negative thoughts swirl through my head with the suds. I'm meant for more than this. Why do my kids make so many messes that I have to clean up. My life has no meaning. All I do is cook and clean. There must be something more for me. 

But I have come to realize a lot of things about scrubbing the floor. And I have come to be thankful for this daily chore and even to love it. Now while I am scrubbing the floor I am showing my son and daughter how much I love them by caring for them. I am teaching them discipline, because they scrub floors too! Even my 16 month old daughter can help. I am worshiping God by caring for my home and serving my family.

I'm not above scrubbing floors. It's okay that life didn't turn out how I imagined it would. It's good that my livelihood isn't easy because it keeps me close to God and in surrender to him. I now try to have a favorable view of scrubbing floors and chores and child raising--because I don't want the seeds of bitterness and regret to fester in my heart and I don't want to raise my children with a mom who is always unhappy, stressed out, and pining for what she can't have. 

I have everything I need because I am a child of God. Even in the hard times. Specifically as a American! And even if I lost all my worldly possessions, I can't loose my faith and trust in God. He will care for me like the lilies of the fields in Luke. 

And here, in surrender to God, he has shown me the deep joys of motherhood and family service. My place does have meaning, a meaning that fame and fortune and klout could not touch a finger to. The glory and riches of God surpass all other glittering idols. 

So, sometimes my life is scrubbing floors but I love it. Sometimes I don't sleep but to God be the glory. If Corrie Ten Boom's sister Betsie can give thanks for fleas in the middle of concentration camp, I can give thanks for dirty diapers and whiny voices and wet kisses and the same book for the 10th time. I can give thanks for husbands who work late and little boys that don't want to go to bed and saying "please put your shoes on" for the 14th time. God sure has blessed me and I will give thanks, because we are never promised tomorrow. 

Luke 12:27-40 (ESV)

27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29 And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. 30 For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.

32 “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.


Thursday, June 13, 2019

Living Like It Won't Last

A internet friend of mine was killed in a car crash. She left behind five children.

I've been grieving all day. If anyone deserved life it was her. I mean, she had it all. They had just started homesteading. She was homeschooling. She ran a crochet business. She was real and honest and devoted to God.

Molly Clee was full of life and it feels so unfair that she is gone.

All day I have been thinking. What am I doing? Why do I complain about anything? I am alive and here with my babies. Molly's babies will never see her again. Molly's husband will have to continue on without her.

This is devastating.

Today I held my babies. Today I decided to stop complaining and start thanking God for the things I do have. I am here, I have food and a roof over my head. My husband loves me and my kids are healthy and vibrant. God is so good! Life is short and I am never promised tomorrow.

If I ever die (I mean, I know I will) but when I do--know that I go willingly with acceptance to God and his plan for me. Tell my children and my husband that they were the light of my life and, besides worshiping my Creator--the very joy of my existence. May they remember me with a smile and not a tear and know that they will see me again.

Our earthly discomforts are temporary. Keep your eyes on heaven.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Face Scrubbies

I created a face scrubby pattern. Mostly out of need. Because I need to wash my face. Enjoy this free pattern!

Download the PDF on Ravelry here. View the video tutorial here!

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

On Choosing Joy

I have experienced a lot of growth since having kids. Lately I have been learning about joy.

It's strange to realize I am my own worst enemy when it comes to contentment in my life, but it's true. I like to complain. And with two kids, a postpartum body, a mother who is sick and a husband who works late there is a lot I can complain about.

Until I quit. Complaining, that is.

Why? Because it was stealing my joy.

I realized somewhere between my last ranty Facebook post and angry text message that I actually choose to be unhappy.

I was floored. And also miffed at myself. How could I participate in this cycle for so long and not know it? But I was. I was choosing to be miserable!

I've never experienced true suffering (and I hope I never do). I have had three meals a day all my life and clothes and a roof over my head. I have my health and two amazing kids. I should be rejoicing daily not crabbing about my lack of sleep or free time!

When I have a hard day I make it harder by wallowing in my own pity.

Typing and publishing that sentence is refreshing milestone and an honest confession.

I have realized that trials in my life are one of two things:

  1. Things I cannot control
  2. Situations that I have only myself to blame for
What I can manage is my reaction. I can choose to complain to everyone and let whatever I am going through ruin my day, my kids day and my husband's day. Or, I can look for the blessings in my life and allow those small sparks of joy to point me to worship God in spite of my hardships. I can choose JOY.

I've been doing it all week and it's been amazing. It was hard to rewire my thinking at first. Habits, even bad ones (actually especially bad ones!!) are difficult to break. But so necessary! 

Here are some things I struggle with.

When my husband comes home late I used to be angry with him. It would ruin my night and sometimes the next day. Now I thank God I have a husband who loves and supports me. I count my blessings that we have a roof over our head and money in the bank and I try to do something nice for my husband to help him relax when he does get home instead of complaining about how rough my evening was because he was absent. It is rough that he works late. But I still need to take care of my kids and God is still good even in the hard times of parenting while my other half is programming. 

When my kids are whining and everyone is crying I don't complain on Facebook anymore about how done I am with being a mom and I don't give into fantasizing about escaping my life. I don't punish my kids for being kids. I stop and read a book with them and try to love the closeness of our family while I can. It is hard. It requires effort and discipline. But following through creates joy and brings positivity to the situation instead of despair. God is still good when my kids are melting down. I can lean on him and have his strength fill me through tantrums and whining. 

When I look in the mirror now and don't like what I see, I don't let it crush me. I don't spiral out of control with dieting. I don't begin creating rules around food. I don't let my negative feelings over my middle-aged postpartum body foster resentment against my children. And I no longer talk bad about myself. In my 20s, I craved attention from men and women in regards to what I wear and how I looked. I wanted to be told I was beautiful: and I only felt beautiful through the eyes of another. When I gaze in the mirror now I thank God for my strong legs that let me hold my babies. I thank God for my arms that prepare meals for my family, for my hips that birthed two and my saggy belly that stretched as my little ones grew. I see the beauty that God has given me because God made me. I hope I will be blessed with 80 years and wrinkled skin so I can see my grandchildren. Beauty is not how I look. Beauty is my name in the book of life and God's eyes on me. God is still good even if my body falls apart.

Every time I face trials or uncertainty I remind myself that God is still good. I don't question God's goodness or lack of control. I pray. I ask for help. And I try with all my might to lean and trust in him.

I'm still a work in progress but I am going to choose joy.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Motherhood Needs

I need time away from my kids yet I hate time away from my kids. What is wrong with me?

Lets back up a bit. Last week I decided to hire a babysitter so I could work on my YouTube channel a bit. It needs help, as in videos. Because I don't post anymore. All week long I wrestled with guilt over scheduling two hours for me time. I wrestled with feeling like a bad mom and for "wasting" money on a babysitter.

The day came and I legit tried to cancel three times--each time never sending the text message. The hour came. I stress-loaded the kids into the car and drove to my friend Brooke's house whose teenage daughter would be watching my wonderful neurotic angels for two hours. I worried all the way there that I was making a big mistake. Becky would miss me. She would cry. She would feel like I'd abandoned her. I was abandoning her. Oh my goodness, she might never get over this. She could get PTSD from me leaving her. What was I doing? Why had I done this? I needed to turn around. But I couldn't cancel five minutes before, could I? Who does that? What was wrong with me? Why was this so hard?

I got there and left them quickly, so Becky wouldn't have to see me stand there and fret over her fretting. Reuben ran off easily, but Becky was hysterical. I cried all the way to Starbucks.

I got a text that she was doing fine about 15 minutes later.

I know I need space from my children. Space to still be me. Space to be creative, to breathe, to plan and work on my own spiritual walk. This is healthy, this is good. I KNOW this yet leaving my kids with someone else is SO HARD. I don't understand it. Why do I feel like such a bad mother for hiring a babysitter once a month? I mean, I would never judge another mother like that! I need to give myself the same grace. It isn't wrong! I'm not a bad mom. It's just my anxiety, my stress, and my own unhealthy desires to "meet all my kids needs" that triggers these feelings.

I can't even meet all my own needs, much less my kids.

I shouldn't try.

Only God can meet my own needs. Only God can fulfill me. Only God can fulfill my children. And I need to give myself permission to step back and work on my own dreams.

I've found I have this problem of letting motherhood be all-consuming. I let it completely overwhelm my "role" as wife and my identity as my own entity because I worry so much that if I slack in one little area in regards to my children, I will ruin them and start a cycle of abuse that will cause them to have miserable lives.

Instead, I need to show them how an healthy adult handles relationships. And that is not accomplished by letting my title of mother obscure all my other titles--but letting "mother" bloom in it's time and place like a garden of beautiful truths.

This is easier said than done.

So today I'm giving myself permission to step away. To have space from my children when I need it--not as a reaction to being overwhelmed or burnt out, but as a right, as a repose--so that I, too, can grow and find peace and return to "motherhood" invigorated.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Our First Family Vacation

Our first family vacation and we didn't snap any group photos?! We are failures. Oh, well.

We have been on vacation before, sure--but only twice; and there was a holiday involved each time (first our anniversary, second time Christmas). This was our first real family vacation where the only goals were travel and fun. Although our travels did coincide with Mother's Day weekend. That was inconsequential. I have an extreme aversion to Mother's Day that I will have to address in another post.

It was fun. We went to the beach. It's only four hours from our home! Reuben would see the ocean for the first time! (Rebekah too, but at 15 months I don't think she'll remember it) I was excited, my husband was excited, Reuben was excited and Rebekah was excited just because everyone else was. We woke up really early Friday morning and loaded everyone into the car, drove to the coast and went directly to the beach. It was a beautiful; cool and breezy with a partially overcast sky. I hadn't been to the beach since 2011 and was extra stoked to lay on a blanket (I hate swimming) and read a book while my husband managed the kids. Or you know, watch them play in the immense amount of sand while reclining on my $10 rental chair.

It did not go as expected. First, I left all the snacks in the car. The car that we parked really far away. Why did I do this? I have no idea. If you can please go back and slap me with a wet fish for my faux pas. I deserve it.

Second, the rental chairs were not for rent. It wasn't late enough in the year. I had no chair to rest on. And thus no way to get out of the sand!

No sooner had we arrived then both kids began whining for snacks. Luckily we were able to find a banana to split between everyone. Also, I DID remember to bring sunscreen. Go me! But I forgot to apply it until we had already wandered onto the beach. And applying sunscreen when your skin already has sand on it is not pleasant.

Reuben was afraid of the frigid waves and only wanted to climb on the man-made dunes. I kept taking pictures trying to document everything, and I am glad I did but for some reason it was causing me stress.

It was at this point that I realized I hate the beach. I have always hated the beach. That is why I haven't gone since 2011. But CLEARLY time obscured all memory (or having kids and being sleepless in Lynchburg has addled my brain) because I had not recalled this abhorrence to sand, salt-water, tourists and overpriced bottled drinks until just this exact moment while standing toe-deep in the Virginia coast.

Clearly I need help. And a reminder program on my phone.

As the sun beamed cheerily down into my very light sensitive eyes I tried to make the best of it. It's only one day, I told myself. Tomorrow we are going to the VA Beach Aquarium. It's only one day. I can make it. A few more minutes passed and suddenly I was covered in sand and everything I had brought was gritty, my children were whining and I just wanted to go home. My book sat untouched; so consumed was I with answering questions and nursing and tending to Becky. I don't know why I even tried taking a 15 month old to the beach. She kept getting sand in her eyes or taking off her hat or crying because of the wind.

In short, going to the beach was not my favorite part of our vacation although I do think Brian, Reuben and Rebekah enjoyed themselves immensely.

Then we went out for lunch. I hate going out to eat on vacation. I get sick. But I always believe next time will be different. It never is. I need to just buck up and bring my own food on vacation. We went out to eat lunch on the boardwalk and ate out for dinner that night. I asked each time about gluten free food and was assured everything was fine. I don't know which restaurant it was but the next day when I woke up I felt awful. The feeling I know comes from eating something I shouldn't.

It was the severest reaction I have had in two years and it made me barely functional for the rest of the day (and the day after). Just now I am beginning to feel better and those meals were four days ago! I barely remember going to the aquarium or the ride home due to the amount of pain I was in. I had to sit down for most of the aquarium in the lobby and read a book--I couldn't walk around and enjoy myself.

And that day we drove home and hit the worst traffic ever. It took an extra two hours to arrive, and I was just done with life and everything in it by that point. I am glad to be home now and I don't think I will try to vacation again any time soon.

Were there any good moments? Yes. I really loved staying up a little late on our only night in the hotel and playing Timeline. I loved the nap I got in the hotel with Becky when she fell asleep. I loved seeing Reuben's reaction to everything and watching him swim in the hotel pool. I would do it again just for the fun times we had, but I do need to plan ahead next time so I don't get sick. And remind myself not to forget the snacks from the car.

How do your family vacations usually go?

Friday, May 3, 2019

The Governess of Penwythe Hall (review)

I chose The Governess of Penwythe Hall from BookLook Bloggers to review. It was...meh.

Cordelia Greythorne is the main charter of TGoPH--she's a gentle widow turned governess after some mystery with her husband's family. She's strong-minded and yet weak as you see her interact with her kid's tutor, the kids themselves, and Jac, the owner of Penwythe. 

So why didn't I like this book? It was stereotypical. There was limited interaction with the kids (and they are a major plot point! more about them, please). Also, the governess is the main character, so I wish we had seen more of their "governess-child" relationship develop. 

For the love interest. Jac was just too good to be true. He falls madly in love with Cordelia, cares nothing about her past, and seeks to help her out in any way possible. So much savior, so little reality. 

The drama in this book was also overdone, in my opinion. From kidnapping to characters who suddenly repent from their evil ways right at the last (and most opportunistic) moment, to an entire family of narcissistic smuggles--it was a little much to swallow. I found Cordelia monotonous, mundane and unvaried. She was flat. Her students were flat. Her love interest was flatter than the wallpaper of their sitting room. The villains were annoying instead of scary. I felt bored reading the entire thing.

I would recommend this book to people who love idealistic love stories where not much happens but everyone ends up happy.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Creamsicle Hat Pattern

I made a new pattern! I was contacted by anasa.ca to review their yarn, so in order to review it I had to use it. That is how this hat came about. I love the yarn (you can see my review video here) and if you would like to use the same yarn, you can buy it here (this is an affiliate link, you will receive 10% off and I will receive 10% commission) The yarn is beautiful and I already have two other colors on my buy list.

Becky loves her hat and I already have my three year old asking me to make him one "with rainbow pompoms mommy". So I may have more sizes available soon!

You can download the free PDF here, and view the video series below or on my YouTube channel.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Rebekah Wears pt 2

Becky is now old enough to wear the hat I made for Reuben! I made them both matching hats when she was born but she quickly outgrew hers and is now wearing his. She is also able to fit into the toddler woollies I first made for Reuben when he was 2. She is growing SO FAST guys. I can't keep up, but I am glad she gets to wear these special things that Reuben also wore. It makes my heart glad.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Six Ways Living Without The Internet Healed Me And My Family

You should get rid of your internet. Yes, you. The person reading this. Get Rid of Your Home Internet.

Why, do you ask? Oh, so many reasons.

For one, do you even know who you are without the internet? I mean, really? So many parts of us are online now. In today's world our feelings of self worth spring from what is said and done online. Too much of our time is spent cultivating and curating our image online.

I just spent a few months living without internet. I hope to spend the next few months doing the same! But here are some things I have noticed and learned about myself and the world, sans internet.

  • For the first time, I have only my own voice in my head
This one is hard to explain. I grew up with the internet. We had AOL when I was a preteen. I've always had access to the online world, and as a teen and young collage adult I spent a lot of time surfing the web. Direct and ready access to the web built up a lot of internal chatter! All those voices, in my head. Telling me what to think about this or that, what to cook, what to clean, what to do with my free time... I didn't know there were other voices in there until I got rid of the internet. (not actual voices, but hopefully you know what I mean) For example, when I would get bored at home when I had internet I would just get on the internet. But now, for the first time since I was a child, I was alone in my own head. If I was bored I had only my own thoughts to entertain myself. If I had a question, I could not google it. I was able to think through it and ponder whatever question I was postulating to myself. I have learned more about myself in the last few months just by being by myself and having only my own thoughts to springboard from. At first it was scary, to be cut off from what I now know I used as a safety net--but now it is wonderful.

  • The Internet Discourages Growth 
This one stems from the above point. Because all those voices were always telling me what to think and do, and because I never had to flex any mental muscles when questions would arise, I was stagnate. Why grow when everything is right at my fingertips? Why exert myself when I can, with a click of the keys, entertain myself for hours with videos and articles? The internet enables inactivity. If you are so busy cultivating an online image, your thoughts always crowded over with whatever everyone else is posting, thinking or doing, what mental energy do you have towards your own personal growth and development?

  • The Internet Breeds Consumerism 
Taking space from the internet also made me take space from internet ads. It felt like physical relief not to see advertisements for things everywhere. No Facebook ads. No YouTube videos. For the first time that I can ever remember I felt contentment. I wasn't comparing my kids to friends kids. I wasn't lusting after new houses or new cars whenever someone posted a picture. I finally started to love my house, and not nitpick over what I didn't have. The ads on the sidebars of sites would grab my attention. I was always planning what I should buy next and falling into the trap of "this would make my life better, this would make me happier". Well, it never did before, but it did help make companies money. Now I am much more content with what I have and I see clearly the lie that the internet has fed me for years: that what I have is not enough, that I need more--or "better" things in order to be happy and content. I don't. And there is so much freedom in that. 

  • I spend time with my kids
I mean, I used to spend time with my kids when I had the internet too. But my focus was never fully on them. I would have my phone with me, just in case I received a notification. I would often sit with them but listen to a podcast. Or watch a video while they played. Or take pictures to post to Instagram to show what a great mom I was. In short, half my brain was thinking about what I needed to do/see/experience online. Now, all of my brain is with my kids. I am able to be a fully engaged mom-- and my children have responded by becoming better behaved and less needy of my attention. I mean, they need me. But as I am able to fully give them my attention more times during the day instead of half my attention a few times--their cups are filled and they are happier because of it. Our household is a happier, more playful, more joyful place.

  • I deal with my own stress
I noticed that the internet comes between me and dealing with my own stress and problems. Without the incessant noise of the internet to distract me, I am able to better settle my issues instead of just distracting myself with YouTube or Facebook. Or, as often was the case, being so wrapped up online that I wouldn't even realize I had a problem in the first place.

  • The Internet Discourages Hard Work and Discipline 
As I have healed from my internet addiction and come to understand myself in ways I didn't even know I was missing out on, I have become a disciplined person. It just happened slowly over time. I haven't given it much thought. But, how has this happened? What changed? What lies was I believing before? It's a lot of different things at once.

As I have quit being distracted by the internet I have had more time and energy to devote towards my own personal growth.. The biggest shift, for me, was becoming content with my lifestyle. As I said above, I used to deal with feelings of discontentment and frustration over my perceived lack of possessions. I was living a consumerist lifestyle, moving from one purchase to the next, and trying to keep up with the posts and ads I saw online. I didn't have a joyful heart. And when I didn't have contentment in my heart I would watch lots of videos online to distract myself from my "hard life" so I wouldn't have to think about what I didn't have or couldn't buy at that moment. This was not a good cycle to be in, because watching videos would just remind me of more things I did not have... You get the idea.

Now, without the internet I see, finally, the value in the things I do have. I don't (usually) pine for things I don't have. I don't spend hours "fake shopping" online (as in, filling up my online shopping cart but never checking out) and I don't see ads that serve only to "remind me" of what I need to be happy. Cutting out all the impressionable ads with the rest of the "junk" on the internet allowed me to invest my time into actually cultivating my own life into a lifestyle that makes me satisfied and happy.

The internet does not want you to be happy. If you are happy, you are not consuming. If you are not consuming, the internet isn't making any money. It isn't getting your most valuable commodity: your time. If the internet can keep you in a state of need, living a consumerist lifestyle, always distracted by the next post--than it can keep both your happiness, your time, and your money in it's pocket. Don't let life pass you by being enslaved to the internet.

I actually have more points to write down, but this post is long enough already. I will make another post. I would encourage all of you to spend 1-3 months without home internet and see if you, too, have an internet addiction and if living without home/cell internet can change your life for the better. Can't hurt, right? It's only been positive around here!

I don't want my children to grow up always with the internet. It's up to me to show them healthy habits and teach them to create good boundaries with the online world. To do that, I have to heal myself of my own internet addictions. Good luck!

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Rebekah Wears

I made this pullover for Reuben and it's crazy, but Rebekah can wear it now! It's big on her, but will be too small next winter. I am glad that she got to enjoy something that I made for her brother. I enjoyed it too.

Isn't she just the cutest?!

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Tiny Truths Bible Review

I jumped at the chance to receive this book for free from BookLook bloggers in return for my honest review. Isn't it cute? And of course biblical! Over the last few months Reuben and I have enjoyed reading through it. I would say it is perfect for the 2-6 age range, with lots of detailed pictures and good prose. The stories are short, and they do gloss over a lot of the "murder, death, blood and gore" that is in the bible. For example, in the story of Daniel and the Lions Den, they just say that the advisers that plotted to kill Daniel got "in trouble" after Daniel was rescued from the den. And in the story of Joseph with the coat of many colors, they don't go into how he was accused falsely of rape--only saying that he was in jail for a crime he did not commit. I guess that is one way of putting it. We adults know the stuff behind the words. We all know King Darius' advisers were thrown into the pit and devoured--a little bit harsher than "trouble"! But perhaps not something you want to tell a two year old, yet? Yet it does seem a bit "too watered down" at least from my perspective. I know that there are some unpleasant things in the bible, and I know it must be age appropriate--but I think Reuben can handle most of it already. I think it is important to God's redemptive story not to remove so much of the hard things, but rather give your child the full truth (when they are ready) and talk them through it.

What things did I like? I like the cute pictures, and the diverse people groups shown. I liked how each section was short and to the point, and the binding opens easily. I hate it when I can't lay a book flat, guys. Its a struggle as sometimes I am nursing a baby and reading a book at the same time. This book is able to be laid flat without the pages closing!

I have another children's bible: the Jesus Storybook Bible. I couldn't help but compare Tiny Truthss to my Jesus Storybook Bible. I like the Jesus Storybook Bible better, but it might just be because I owned that one since Reuben was born and we have been reading it for three years now. I can't exactly pinpoint why. It feels like the JSB is more "biblical", but I would have to read them together and I don't have time for that. I know the JSB doesn't gloss over as much of the blood and gore as Tiny Truths does.

However, we are thrilled to get it and I will be keeping it in our home library just for further reading with Reuben. He loved it! If anything, it opens the door to conversations and I find myself picking up my bible and reading the original version.

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