anxiety, grief, healing

What to Say Instead

Nothing! Yes, often the best thing to say is nothing at all. But that’s so hard for this fix-it society. In fact, I caught myself opening my mouth to spout a fix-it verse just the other day. We often feel like when someone says something, we have to respond. Right that second. Don’t.

Stop. Listen. Think. Respond. Silence is not always a sign of a lack of wisdom. Sometimes it’s the greatest sign of wisdom. Use your filter!

While you’re saying nothing, try just sitting with your friend. Offer a hug, a shoulder, and a tissue box. Actually ask if she wants to talk about it, or what you can do to help. What do you need? What can I do for you? And then respect the answer. Or try a simple I’m so sorry.

“When you make one other human simply see they aren’t alone, you make the world a better place.”

Lysa TerKeurst, Facebook, Sept. 10, 2019

But what do you do about those pesky feelings? It’s ok to feel that way. God isn’t mad at you for feeling that way. Me, too (but don’t hijack the conversation). I understand (but only if you really do – “tired” is not the same as chronic fatigue syndrome; “my husband is away for a week” is not the same as not having one). I can’t say I understand your struggle exactly, but I will certainly pray for you!

I don’t want to give the impression that reciting Bible verses is wrong, but do so judiciously. Don’t offer bandaids for bullet holes. Do offer a relevant Scripture or two, but don’t try to make the issue go away or minimalize it with the “magic” of Bible verses.

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”

1 Thessalonians 5:11

Bonus responses: I’m on the way with chocolate ice cream! Let’s meet at Starbucks; I’m buying. 

Seeking to understand is always better than trying to give answers! How are you planning on encouraging someone the next time the need arises? How do you need to be encouraged yourself? What works for you?

homeschool, learning styles, study skills, writing

How to F.O.C.U.S.

Forget trying to get the kids to focus, I’m the one having problems concentrating! So, here are a few tips to help moms (or anyone else) focus on the task at hand, which will enable you to finish sooner.

F – FACEBOOK (Twitter, blogs, email, etc.) = NOT! Turn it off for a while!

O – ONE thing at a time. Even for multitasking mom mavens, it’s best to concentrate on doing one thing WELL at a time. You’ll find that you’re really more efficient in the long run.

C – CONCENTRATE on whatever is in front of you. Don’t be distracted by the T.V., kids jumping on the trampoline, or the cats chasing each other. Bonus: CAFFEINE helps–sometimes. You know yourself; if it helps, have some. If not, don’t.

U – UNDERSTAND that you will have interruptions no matter how good your intentions (and/or instructions) are. Sometimes your own thoughts will interrupt you with other things you have to do; write down whatever pops into your mind so you can get it out of your head and focus on what you’re supposed to be doing.

S – STAY on task for a specified length of time or until you meet a certain goal. Make short goals (to write 1,000 words, to clean 1 kitchen cabinet, to make 1 project, or whatever), meet each goal, then take a short break. Bonus: SLEEP. It’s a good thing. Get some.

Today’s confession: I scribbled the outline for this post while I was trying to focus on another writing project!

Q4U: What are your best tips for focusing on the task at hand?

anxiety, encouragement, homeschool

Recharge Your Batteries

Let’s face it: homeschool moms expend a lot of energy. We’re not only the chief cooks and bottle washers, but we’re also the main teachers and guidance counselors for our children. And then, our hubbies like for us to reserve a little energy for them, too. Not to mention the fact that many homeschool moms also work-at-home (or even away from home) and volunteer at churches and other organizations. No wonder we often feel as if our batteries are dead! We’re expected to act and last like the Energizer Bunny on a dollar store charge.
So, what do we do about it? When, in our insanely overcrowded schedules and commitments, can we find time to recharge our batteries? Summer is the perfect time for homeschool moms to recoup. Some of us completely shut down our homeschools for the season (except for that field trip disguised as a vacation and the occasional worksheet or required book), while some of us keep going with the core subjects. Whatever schedule we follow, summer still tends to have slower, lighter expectations. Here are some ideas to get us started recharging our batteries:
·         Float in a pool
·         Catch fireflies in a jar with your kids
·         Pack a picnic lunch and relax near a playground while your kids do the monkey bars
·         Spend time at your favorite destination (beach, lake, mountains, state park, etc.)
·         Sleep in late a few times
·         Rent your favorite adult movie (And I don’t mean R-rated! I mean non-Sesame Street.)
·         Read your favorite book again
·         Journal about homeschooling highlights
·         Brainstorm with your hubby or other homeschooling friends how to improve this coming year, even if you had a good year
·         Sign your kids up for the free activities at your local library and spend that time browsing for new books
·         Set aside some girlfriend time and leave the kids home with your hubby or a responsible teenager (your own or a babysitter)
·         Soak up some sun (properly sunblocked and hatted, of course)
·         Soak up some Son—spend extra time reading Scriptures, praying, praising, and listening for God’s encouragement and direction           
I don’t know about you, but I’m solar powered. Sunshine makes me happy and energized! SON time is even more important. Add in a few of the ideas listed above to some quality solar time (both kinds) and your inner Energizer Bunny will be ready for the new school year come September.



anxiety, encouragement, homeschool, planning, writing

What’s Next?

What should I do next? That question has often left me in a tizzy trying to figure out which item on my very-important-to-do-right-now list ought to be the next thing to receive my attention. Yes, I’ve read the books on prioritizing. Yes, I usually make a physical, written list of all that needs to be accomplished in a day. But, my lists always seem to have the word urgent beside each item. How do I choose what to do next?
A few months ago as I was cleaning out some files, I can across a copy of a page out of an old devotional book that was sent to me by my mother years ago. It contains an ancient poem that sums up what one must do on those occasions when it seems impossible to do anything. It simply says to do the next thing. I’m going to take the liberty of quoting the poem in its entirety here. The original author is anonymous.
          Doe the Nexte Thynge

From an old English parsonage down by the sea
There came in the twilight a message to me;
It’s quaint Saxon legend, deeply engraven,
Hath, it seems to me, teaching from heaven.
And on through the hours the quiet words ring
Like a low inspiration: “DOE THE NEXTE THYNGE.”
 Many a questioning, many a fear,
Many a doubt, hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment, let down from Heaven,
Time, opportunity, guidance, are given.
Fear not tomorrows, child of the King,
Trust them with Jesus, doe the nexte thynge.
 Do it immediately, do it with prayer;
Do it reliantly, casting all care;
Do it with reverence, tracing His hand
Who placed it before thee with earnest command.
Stayed on Omnipotence, safe ’neath His wing,
Leave all resulting, doe the nexte thynge.
 Looking to Jesus, ever serener,
Working or suffering, be they demeanor;
In His dear presence, the rest of His calm,
The light of His countenance be thy psalm,
Strong in His faithfulness, praise and sing.
Then, as he beckons thee, doe the nexte thynge.

Did you have plans that got shot out of the water before 9 a.m. today? Me too. “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps” (Proverbs 16:9). Is your hand empty? “For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you’” (Isaiah 41:13). Still not sure where to turn next? Isaiah 30:21 makes it clear that God will show you which direction to go—if you listen to him. “Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it.’”
So, what’s next? Is the baby’s diaper emanating a stench? Change it. Is your fifth grader stuck on the mysteries of making equivalent fractions? Teach her how. Will your husband be home for dinner in an hour? Put supper in the oven. Find the next thing to do, and then do it. The longer you spend agonizing over what to do, the more time you waste. Just do the next thing. 

homeschool, organization

Amy Bayliss on Pursuit of Proverbs 31

We women thrive on and love to multitask. There is definitely a time and place for multitasking, but somethings are better left to focus on by itself. Creating a home or revamping a system is one of them. Read all of Ecclesiastes 3. God created seasons so that the earth could function in such a way that it totally and completely sustained life. This same principle can be applied to managing your home. You don’t need to mow the grass in winter and you don’t need to shovel snow in the spring so your ways of managing the home should change accordingly. Your plans should also change according to your seasons of life. A couple with no children would have different tasks from a family of six. This is why it is so important that you do not compare yourself to others. I love how in Ecclesiastes 3 it is said that there is a time to dance, there is a time to cry, there is a time to plant, and a time to harvest. There is a time for everything. Vital to our life and home is our dependence on God to help us determine what time it is. Focus on the things you need to do now and let other, unnecessary things go. If you’ve ever wanted to tear the 31st chapter of Proverbs out of your bible this book is for you. She is a wife, mom, business owner, seamstress, she serves the needy, speaks life and wisdom, and seems to be quite the major overachiever, perfectionist type. Except that…she’s not. Come along and journey with Amy and take a look at the real woman of Proverbs 31. She isn’t as perfect as she seems. In fact, I think she is a lot like you and me. If you want the Kindle version, get it here: Pursuit of Proverbs 31 for Kindle. You can also download the free Kindle app on your PC, iPad, iPhone, or many other devices. For the downloadable, printable PDF version, get it here: Pursuit of Proverbs 31

Amy Bayliss Amy is a small town Cajun girl living life in the big city. She and her husband Ryan have four children, all boys, ranging in age from toddler to teen! Amy is a full-time blogger and WP designer at My Southern Media. You can visit her at her personal blog, Cajun Joie de Vivre or you can follow her ramblings on Twitter and keep up with her mischief on Facebook.

Thanks, Amy!

Uncategorized

October Baby (review)

What happens when a 19-year-old college student named Hannah finds out that she was not only adopted, but also the product of a failed abortion attempt? She has to find out all the details. She has to figure out for herself whether the truth really will set her free. Things get messy, especially on the spring break road trip, but forgiveness and healing prevail.

Is there life after abortion? Yes! The actress who played the birth mother talks about her own personal experience with abortion in a special vignette that follows the actual movie. Abortion is a controversial and serious topic, yet the screenwriters handle it with sensitivity. The movie is rated PG-13 because of the abortion material, so use caution when thinking about taking your kids to see this unapologetically pro-life movie.

Want to go see October Baby? Visit the October Baby website and tap in your zip code to find a theater near you. Thanks to the Benham Group in Concord and Cities 4 Life in Charlotte for sponsoring the special preview and the Q & A with one of the men who helped in the creation of the movie.

Help keep October Baby in theaters by making it a blockbuster this weekend!

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Dealing with Chronic Illnesses, Part 5: Organization Helps

I’m over at Heart of the Matter Online today. Hop on over and check out our other fabulous posts by our very talented writers.
Before y’all glare at me for suggesting more work for we who can barely manage the basics most of the time, let me assure you that being organized can help us. I promise. The end result of becoming and staying organized outweighs the effort and the time. I understand the overwhelming fatigue that comes with a chronic illness, especially if the one who’s sick is mom. However, having one or more children who have chronic illnesses is enough to sap the energy out of even the most energetic of us.
Benefits
When you feel well, take advantage of it, but try not to overdo it! When you don’t feel well, you’ve got routines, plans, and procedures in place that can just work themselves out. Obviously, the toddler is not going to feed himself breakfast, although he may try, but I’m more focused on school work and perhaps a little necessary housework.
What to organize
The question really should be, “What shouldn’t be organized?” Academics, routines, and appointments can be written down and displayed prominently for all family members to access easily. School supplies, art supplies, and toys can be in labeled containers. For those with nonreaders in the house, try using pictures instead of words, both for putting away toys and for routines.
How to keep it working
Don’t expect everything to get and stay organized with just a snap of the fingers a la Mary Poppins. Start slowly when you feel up to it. Gradually work your way towards a more organized home and a more organized routine. A little at a time, train kids to put stuff back, look at charts, and groove to routines.
Attitudes are everything
The right attitudes can go a long way towards making everyone feel more positively about homeschooling, organization, and chronic illnesses. The book of Proverbs reminds us that “A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken,” and “A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones” (15:13; 17:22 NKJV). Let’s write these encouragements out and post them on the refrigerator beside the chore charts and schedules.

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Learning Styles: Resources (Part 6)

Our discussion the past few weeks barely scratches the surface of learning styles, but they give you a starting point. I don’t pretend to be an expert on learning styles, so instead I’ll recommend some resources below. In addition, merely Googling “learning styles” nets a plethora of definitions, quizzes, and websites. 

The Way They Learn, Cynthia Ulrich Tobias
Every Child Can Succeed, Cynthia Ulrich Tobias
Carol Barnier, author and speaker, http://www.carolbarnier.com/
Personalized homeschool curricula advice online by Cathy Duffy, http://homeedexpert.com/nav.aspx
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Learning Styles: Orderliness (Part 5)

So, what does orderliness have to do with learning styles? Quite a bit, actually! For instance, I personally can’t focus on learning anything if my environment is a mess. What about you? What about your kids?

We all know about the messies and the neatniks, but let’s put these into an academic context. On the one hand, we have the sequential/concrete learners (mostly the neatniks). On the other hand, we have the global/random learners (usually the messies). Sequential learners need to learn things one at a time in an orderly fashion. They’re building their foundations one brick at a time. The concrete part means that they need to see, hear, feel, or touch it. Abstract concepts are usually difficult for the concrete learner to grasp.
            Global learners prefer to see/know the whole picture all at once. While they may still get from point A to point B, they usually don’t take the most conventional route. Their minds jump randomly from one thought to another. Abstract concepts are much more easily grasped for this type of learner.