If you’re starting to FREAK out….

christmas-de-stressThis time of year seems to FREAK people out, right?

If you’re a mom, this is probably the time when you’re placing unrealistic demands on yourself such as get the house cleaned and decorated, get all the presents bought and wrapped without busting your budget, prepare to have family in or prepare to visit family members, attend Christmas gatherings, make the perfect holiday dinner, and on and on and on. And this is all on top of your regular responsibilities of running a household, homeschooling the children and the other work you do.

So, how do we handle the added stress of the obligations, the parties, the budget overload, the pressure to be everywhere and do everything for everyone that the holiday season brings? [Read more…]

9 Essential Skills Every Child Should Learn

In my book, I Saw the Angel in the Marble, I shared that when I graduated from college I felt like I’d been prepared for a world that no longer existed. It was quite a shock to have spent 18+ years getting an education only to discover that many of the things I had been taught had no relevance to the world I found myself in after graduation. I was trained in a skill set based on the jobs that were in demand when I started school, not when I graduated.

I have a friend who works for what was once one of the largest newspapers in the U.S. Over the past five years he has watched one budget cut and layoff after another. The paper has shown a consistent loss for the past ten years and now operates on less than half of the staff it employed five years ago. And circulation has dwindled to a third of what it was just a few years ago. Why? Because people don’t read newspapers that much anymore. With the proliferation of internet news sites, smart phones, and cable TV, there are much easier, more efficient, and less expensive ways to find out what’s going on in the world. [Read more…]

My Series of Unfortunate Events

unfortunate eventsSometimes my days seem like they come right out of a Lemony Snicket novel—they are a “series of unfortunate events.” Seems like I’ve been having a lot of those days lately.

For example, I had some workers in to do what I thought was going to be a simple repair and they discovered all sorts of wiring and plumbing problems. This eventually led to having to tear down the drywall in the room to expose the wiring and plumbing and find the source of the problem—which led to needing electricians, plumbers, and drywall guys in and out of my house for three weeks.

Meanwhile, everything in the house was covered with dust and our savings account was dwindling at an alarming rate. [Read more…]

Graduations and Goodbyes

inconceivableThis past week, I came across the true story of a couple, Carolyn and Sean Savage, who underwent an IVF procedure after years of childlessness. They were elated to discover that Carolyn was finally pregnant, but that joy turned to shock as they realized that the clinic had made a medical mistake and impregnated her with an embryo from another couple. So the baby she was carrying wasn’t hers and Sean’s; it was someone else’s. The Savages were faced with an agonizing choice—they could terminate the pregnancy or they could bring the baby boy to term, birth him, and then hand him over to his biological parents. By the time they discovered the clinic’s mistake, they already loved the baby, which made it impossible for them to imagine how they could abort him. But it also made it impossible for them to imagine how they could give him life and then give him away. (The book is called Inconceivable.)

One of the taglines of the book really struck me. It says this:

Inconceivable is a story of what it is to be a parent, someone who nurtures a life, protects a soul, only to release that child into the world long before you’re ready to let him go.“ [Read more…]

Sell Your Stuff

Flea marketThings are hectic here because I’ve been gearing up for a huge sale. Somewhere I read that the average person has around $2000 worth of junk in their house and garage they can sell. Well, I can attest to that. I’ve always been somewhat of a pack rat (I blame that on my father), and I’m always amazed at how much “stuff” accumulates in the house and garage. I think it breeds and has “baby” stuff while I’m not looking.

I’ve posted an item here and there on eBay or Craigslist before, but this time I posted about thirty things at a time. What I wasn’t prepared for was being inundated with emails and texts from interested potential buyers. And, because I put my phone # in the ad and said to text me, of course people haven’t paid attention and are calling me all day and night. [Read more…]

The Hand That Rocks the Cradle

cradle-croppedIn the late 1800’s, a poet named William Wallace (no, not Braveheart!) wrote a somewhat schmaltzy poem entitled, “The Hand That Rocks the Cradle is the Hand That Rules the World.”

It’s a reminder to us Moms to never forget the incredible influence we have, not only on our own children, but on future generations. In fact, our influence is so great that we actually can impact the whole world.

But some days it’s hard to believe I have any influence at all. Years ago I read an article from Focus on the Family that used the phrase “overwhelmed and undersupported” to describe many stay-at-home moms trying to juggle the myriad demands of managing marriage, family life, a household, homeschooling, and their own personal needs. I thought that was a very good description of how I felt most of the time when my children were young—overwhelmed and undersupported. Like I was buried under a pile and I could never dig myself out, no matter how hard I tried. [Read more…]

When Homeschooling is a Struggle

Fiona MacCollLong ago – it seems like a whole lifetime now – I started homeschooling my son, Connal.  If I’d known then the struggles we’d face, I might have hesitated but I’m glad I didn’t.  Watching him now get ready to go to college to study Arts & Humanities and plan a future career in Law, I know it was worthwhile.

But it was difficult….

People start to homeschool for many different reasons.  Our reason was bullying.  Connal was being bullied. Three times he ended up in hospital with head injuries and each time we confronted the school and were assured that it would never happen again.  We tried to be patient and believe that it would sort itself out, but it didn’t.  [Read more…]