In November, I deactivated my Facebook and forgot my Instagram password. I knew these websites were changing me, but I really had no idea how much. Here are some ways I was surprised by what I've learned!
1) Eight months later, I'm quite literally still recovering from my Facebook addiction.
I have a fake Facebook account with zero friends---and an empty newsfeed---so that I can post on my blog page, and for some reason I still check it frequently. Even eight months after quitting, it's such a reflex to go on Safari, type in "fa", and click on the first suggested link. Sometimes I'll sneak onto my husband's Facebook and do as much clicking and scrolling as I can. It's terrifying, really, how lingering the effects of unbridled social media addiction can be.
2) Real healing for my mental health issues didn't start until I quit social media.
I hope to go more into detail later about my journey, but know this: it was really really bad, and over the last eight months it has gotten significantly better. I've gotten off the rollercoaster of emotions and found stability. I'm not going to say quitting social media was a savior for me. It was God who got me out of the pit. But there have been a LOT of factors contributing to my vastly-improved mental health since November: getting counseling from one of my pastors, deepening some friendships, simplifying my life, exercise, prayer, opening up to a close friend and confessing my sin to her...but I honestly don't know how many of those things I would've pursued if I was still distracted by Facebook. Instead of escaping from my issues by scrolling, comparing myself to others, or trying to display a certain identity, I just had to be brave and focus. I can't believe how much emotional healing has happened this year.
3) I can see the sadness and emptiness of the scrolling in others.
One of the reasons I quit was because I was at the car wash and overheard a news report that Americans are spending more time on social media than ever, but it's also become less enjoyable than ever. Sure 'nuff, every time I see three people on a bench all scrolling on their phones, they're not smiling. Their posture is slumped, they look bored, they look dissatisfied, they look like they've lost themselves. I hope our culture gets out of this mess soon.
4) I'm learning to be a friend, not a spectator.
Having no idea what's going on with my friends and acquaintances makes for better and deeper conversation. If I'm waiting to hear news from a friend, I'm going to have to ask her personally instead of waiting to see her public post about it. Chances are hefty that asking personally will provide more depth and relationship. I'm a participant, not an audience. It's really awkward to say, "I saw on Facebook you went on vacation last week!" "Yeah, it was fun!" "The pictures looked cool. I've always wanted to visit Colorado." And then the crickets chirp. But asking, "Hey, how've you been?" is probably going to cut the small talk and get into richer and more meaningful conversation.
5) Being disconnected from political tension is so incredibly amazing.
I quit social media in November 2016, which is the very best month I could've possibly quit, because obviously the political divisiveness of our country increased by at least a billion percent when President Trump was elected. But get off the internet, and you know what? You don't feel like you're in the Civil War anymore. In real life, people are still living their lives. I subscribe to The Atlantic and I'll read political blogs from The Gospel Coalition or the ERLC, so I'm still an informed citizen from multiple different perspectives, but my eyes are not inundated with hateful memes or whiny videos. I hate most things our president says and does, and I'm not a fan of what the right or the left are up to either. It's yucky time for America. But I'm convinced that loving my neighbor is a far better solution than stirring pots of controversy online and burning bridges.
6) It's easier to love people when I'm not so jealous of their lives...or when I'm not trying to make them jealous of mine.
Comparison is a trap, we all know this. I struggle with both sides of the spectrum: comparison feeds my insecurity and it feeds my pride. If I'm feeling discouraged about myself, I'll snack on thoughts such as "At least I'm a better mom than her..." or "The only reason she is so skinny is because she abandoned her more important priorities." And the reason I get so insecure in the first place is because I'm having thoughts like "She has more responsibilities than you and actually gets it all done. Your best isn't good enough, yo." Or "Her husband made a scavenger hunt for their anniversary...let's spend some time meditating on all the ways Peter is the least thoughtful man in the universe." None of those thoughts are helpful. Spending actual time with other women doesn't feed comparison nearly as much.
7) I've had to own up to my desire for attention.
I quickly realized I don't take as many pictures anymore. That's a bummer for posterity's sake, but it's also exposed a lot about my heart. If the world isn't going to see something, what's the point of even taking a picture or experiencing it? Tony Reinke wrote a fascinating article about how Instagram is shaping our vacations and our budgets: http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/instagram-generation. Evaluating these things has made me really face the facts: I crave attention from others. Stepping out of the spotlight has helped me genuinely find contentment in being known by God. I'm no longer crafting a cute post in my mind; I'm just enjoying experiences as they come. It's incredible, folks.
8) I can quit something, but unless I fill it with something better, I'll just find a new addiction.
I learned this in seventh grade when I spent many hours each day on Neopets. I eventually realized this was controlling me, so I broke some proselytization rules on the message boards (it's okay, you can laugh at me) and I got my accounts frozen on purpose. But you know what? In no time at all I found alternatives to Neopets and just spent hours each day on those games.
Forsaking something isn't enough. You've got to fill those gaps in your heart with something better. Leaving Facebook and instagram still left me with this desire to be entertained when I start to feel bored, and YouTube greatly meets that need. I still need a huge heart change, but thankfully Jesus is an endless and welcoming source of joy.
So those are some observations. I would love to hear your feedback!
Here's the article I wrote as I quit social media: http://www.recoveringwomanhood.com/blog/9-ways-social-media-is-hurting-me
The next stop on our 2-week road trip was in Northeast Georgia to the breathtaking Tallulah Gorge. Even though we had to deal with rainy weather the whole time, I totally recommend this spot. Our kids really came alive with all the easy hikes, and we created some fantastic family memories spending so much time outside.
We stayed at the Tallulah Gorge State Park campground, which was quite cramped but boasted a lovely playground, and---best of all---the hiking and biking trails are easily accessible from the campsites! Here are just a few more pictures from hiking and biking around the park:
Also, the nearby town of Tiger had a very unusual free attraction accurately called Goats on the Roof, and I can't imagine how it could be more goats-oriented. It was the kind of tourist trap that made feel like they still had my best interests in mind.
They sell made-to-order nitro ice cream, which was a pretty fascinating process. I wasn't personally able to partake of the lactose-laden goodness, but my husband and kids said it was delicious.
The nearby town of Clayton also has a really cute, walkable downtown with some interesting shops. And we stumbled upon a weeknight traveling circus!
Oh my dear readers, this circus was everything I always dreamed old-fashioned circus would be. It was truly a family-run circus because every single performer looked alike and helped out with multiple different roles; the aerialist also did face painting; the hoop performer also sold popcorn. The circus opened with an 11-year-old family member performing an impressive balancing act. His 6-year-old sister, hands on her hips and dressed in a ballet costume, professionally solicited the crowd's applause whenever he did a trick. Their childhood is so different from that of most kids, but I think they were happy. Anyway, I could---and I did---write a whole essay on this experience but we're moving onward.
Oh, and here's a motherhood horror story: before the circus, my son had to go to the bathroom so I urgently warned him not to touch anything and sent him to the port-a-potty. When he was finished, he opened the door, grabbed a urinal cake from the port-a-potty urinal, and started rubbing his hands all over it! I abruptly stopped him, of course, and asked him "why in the world, dude!?", and he told me thought it was soap. There was nowhere to wash his hands, I was holding the baby and didn't have a diaper bag or anything with me (and Peter was elsewhere removing a splinter from Piper's hand), so we just prayed over his hands and begged God to protect us from disease. And He did. But that was nightmarishly gross.
If you want to hike down to the gorge floor, you need a permit and you have to be one of the first 100 people of the day to ask for one. The floor was closed when we were there, but we've heard amazing things (including that there's a natural rock waterslide, which is so cool!) so we hope to go back. Walking down a gazillion (620) steps to the bridge was still really beautiful though.
Oh, and there are some challenging mountain biking trails if you're into those! :) My husband is!
We found a really cool geocache while hiking! I loved how easy the trails were for our kids to manage. They even did all the steps!
My beautiful daughter who tends toward girly-girlness made mud lollipops, and that's just so important. Love it.
So check out Tallulah Gorge if you can. If you enjoy nature, you can spend several days there easily, even if it's rainy :)
Click here to read about Stop 1: Providence Canyon.
One time I, being the mature adult that I am, cried for two whole hours on the drive home from North Georgia. I didn't want to leave. It feels like a whole different world up there, and the mountain breeze and serenity of nature sweep me off my feet every single time.
For this trip, we stayed with family on their property, but we've stayed at AirBnb's all over and every single one has been a hit. You simply need to go.
If you’re going to Blue Ridge, there’s no way you can not visit Mercier Orchards. Whether you’re there in apple season, apple blossom season, or somewhere in between, you’re going to consume some amazing apple-related food and drinks.
They have a really yummy breakfast with an all-you-can-eat option (just say yes) and an overwhelmingly good-smelling bakery. The apple cider donuts, as you can expect, are joy encapsulated in a cinnamon-sugar-covered ring of dough. They also have a store with every amazing-sounding canned good and anything-else that you can imagine.
For me, though, the yummiest treat is the apple cider slushy. They have alcoholic versions too, if that’s your style.
Check their website because they have u-picks and various events going on throughout the year; we visited during a time when they were offering free Apple Blossom tours in which we got to ride behind a tractor and behold the most scenic farm I could ever imagine. The rolling hills were just outrageously cute.
Downtown Blue Ridge has a wide variety of shops and a really decent playground, which really matters when traveling with kids.
The great thing about the North Georgia mountains is you don’t need to have a bunch of destinations in mind; just find a nature-saturated place to stay and sit outside. I’m a very impatient and antsy person, but I don’t even know how many hours I must’ve spent rocking on a bench swing and listening to birds chirp while my kids ran around in the grass. I brought books and planned to read them, but I never did---and I don’t regret it---because there was a lot of learning I needed to do just by sitting and beholding.
Also, these flowers. What in the world.
Tips if you go:
-If you’re near Jasper on a Sunday, Mountain City Church in downtown Jasper is a warm and accommodating church family; visiting that church was one of the biggest highlights for me on one of our North Georgia trips.
-There are some really neat restaurants in the nearby small towns; here are my recommendations:
Ball Ground - Burger Bus (you literally sit in a remodeled schoolbus to eat your burger; this picture is from October)
Jasper - Coach’s (extremely yum hoagies with some deliciously greasy fried side items)
Jasper - Dos Margaritas (really gaood Mexican restaurant)
Other people have recommended a ton of other places nearby, so check them out!
This isn’t technically North Georgia, but I have to share this anecdote because it was so humbling. Before we went to Georgia, I knew that my Pappaw really wanted to visit a particular church with a high-profile pastor, and I knew that the church building had an escalator in it. My Pappaw is a godly man with good taste in preaching, but in my pride I was confident that nothing good could come from an escalator-church. I made plans to avoid going to that Saturday night service and almost cried when I found out I’d have to go anyway. “Ugh, the last thing I want to experience is a flashy light show and a broadly-appealing message that barely even touches the Bible,” I thought to myself in super-spiritual disgust.
We took a seat in the enormous auditorium and I was instantly surprised by the simplicity of the stage and the lack of showiness on behalf of the singing ensemble. The lyrics to the songs were solid and gripping, every single one of them. And when this famous high-profile pastor went up to preach, he spoke with so much grace, humility, and Jesus-centeredness that it took me about thirty seconds to realize I had been completely wrong about this place. I honestly don’t know if I’ve heard a sermon packed with so much scripture from so many different angles. It was amazing. I tend to believe that if something is popular, it’s bad, but this pastor was popular just because a lot of people in the area want to learn about the Bible. I learned so much from the escalator church.
So, in conclusion, North Georgia is gorgeous, listening to nature is birds tweet is productive, churches with escalators can be awesome, and pride is always the wrong way to live. Happy adventuring!
A couple months ago, our little family went on a 2-week road trip to five different stops in Georgia in North Carolina. I’ve been on some great trips (not to mention thirteen cruises), but I honestly think this one was my favorite ever. So I decided to share some pictures, reflections, and tips, because I highly recommend every single place we visited and I think you would have a great time if you went there too. Each stop was a home run, folks.
Stop 1: Providence Canyon and Florence Marina State Park, GA
Believe it or not, that picture was taken only six hours north of Tampa. Beholding the Grand Canyon is one of my dreams, but west Georgia’s Little Grand Canyon was like a yummy snack to hold me over till I get to enjoy the full meal, whenever that is.
Providence Canyon was formed by accident in the 1800’s due to poor farming practices and erosion. It’s quite consistent with God’s character to make something so beautiful out of what people considered to be a total mistake. #Redemption
Near the end of the 2.5 mile Canyon Loop Trail, we came upon several abandoned cars and trucks from the 50’s. The state decided not to remove the cars because they had now become habitats to various plants and animals. We really enjoyed seeing this piece of history and were delighted to find a cleverly-hidden geocache therein.
The canyon floor was quite enjoyable to explore as well, and my son Stephen even said, “This is so beautiful. It’s like I’m in a dream.” Tiny streams of water weaved in and out of the clay floor and as we looked up at the 150-foot canyon walls, we noticed numerous different shades of red, orange, pink, and light purple. We definitely had to pry the kids away or they would've spent the night in that mud.
Tips if you go:
-The best views are extremely easy to access; you simply park your car near a picnic area or playground and walk out to behold the canyon. If you want to see the old cars, just head backwards on the Canyon Loop Trail because they're near the end of it. Though the trail is fun and good exercise, you’ll be disappointed if you’re looking for great views of the canyon; if you’re short on time or energy but want to do a little hiking, you’d probably be better off exploring the canyon floor instead.
-Unfortunately, the weather feels a bit Floridaesque. It’s very hot, humid, and mosquito-saturated compared to the breezy magic of North Georgia. Prepare accordingly.
-Providence Canyon is located right at the border of Georgia and Alabama; since these states are on different time zones, your phone is going to be very confused. If it’s important that you know the actual time, wear an analog watch.
-If you want a cheap souvenir, go to the park ranger office and ask to fill a bottle of sand. You can scoop in various layers of sand from the canyon, and it’s quite incredible how diverse the colors are.
-The parking fee is $5. Consider getting a Georgia State Parks annual pass, especially if you plan on paying for camping. Our pass paid for itself in two days.
-Providence Canyon is also kind of in the middle of nowhere. This means that the night sky is incredibly gorgeous, but it also means there’s not much to do in the area and the nearest city is Columbus, 45 minutes away. If you’re able, camp at Florence Marina State Park because it’s really beautiful in its own right and also only ten minutes from Providence Canyon.
Florence Marina State Park was a great place to bring our travel-trailer, and of course the pull-through campsite was a major plus.
My favorite thing to do at Florence Marina was ride bikes. The lake was beautiful and we found ourselves on a couple small peninsulas. Exploring is really fun, even when you have to ride through a Halloweenish black tarp that gives you the creeps. The great thing about road trips is you’re already expecting to enjoy the journey with all the randomness and imperfections that come along with it.
Raising and loving my children is one of my favorite things. Being pregnant, however, is one of my least favorite. And, since I'm now expecting my fourth child in six years (yay!), I've been pregnant quite a bit. And for the beginning and end of each pregnancy, I maintain about 15% of my standard energy levels. Thanks to perpetual dizziness and nausea, laying down for large portions of the day feels like the only way I'll survive.
I've read articles on how to thrive in the first trimester and a lot of the advice is fine for first-time moms but completely impossible if you have other people you're supposed to be caring for all day. "Show yourself grace and eat Skittles while binge-watching Netflix," one mom-blogger suggested. But if you have other kids you're trying to parent, laziness to that degree isn't an option.
In that first and third trimester, my kids indeed get 30-60 minutes of screen time every day, but the rest of the time I have to figure out something else to do so I'm not just watching them but developing them. Here are some of my favorite ways you can play with and enrich your children even when you have no energy and can't get off the couch:
1) Play Pharaoh.
My brother and I invented this game and played it our entire childhood and even as teenagers (which is a tad embarrassing to admit.) All you do is lay on the ground and send your kids to find blankets and pillows to build a pyramid over you---basically, they're burying you, but it's not as morbid as it sounds. Once they've covered you well (and tackled you a few times), you "wake up" and break through all the pillows, tickle the kids, then lay back down to get buried again. They love it and you get to lay down most of the time.
2) Play Remote Control.
You sit or lay on the couch and have your children stand in front of you. You point a TV remote at them and say things like "Hmm, what does the 'sleep' button do?" and they do whatever silly things you ask of them. (Other button ideas include: jump, grumpy, spin, laugh, sing, etc.) It's also fun to say, "Uh oh, I hope nothing bad happens when I push this red button..." and they get to decide what they do.
3) Put them in an enclosed space outside, sit on an exercise ball, and lightly supervise.
It's amazing how much fun kids have when they've got dirt. I've done enough research to know that sending little kids to play in dirt is one of the best things I can do for them. So I simply make sure they can't escape and then I grab a book, bounce on my ball (or sit in a lawn chair), and they do their thing while I do mine. It's perfection...except for the whole summertime-in-Florida thing. This experience is at least ten times better when mosquitoes are absent and the air is breathable.
4) Let them give you massages for charity.
My son is an entrepreneur to the core, and I particularly appreciate his massage business since, well, I get massages. However, seeds of greed start young and I don't want the kids to become materialistic, so I challenged them to raise $10 for the organization of their choice (Stephen chose an organization that helps families in crisis situations.) One of their fundraising techniques was giving massages. I gave all three kids some lotion, laid on my bed, and told them I needed a massage on my hands and feet. I told them I would give them a bigger tip if they did a really excellent job, so they got me a pillow and stuffed animal and played music for me. And those three kids massaged my hands and feet for probably an hour. It was so relaxing for me and they had a blast. (I totally had to change the sheets though because there was lotion everywhere.) I don't mind giving a big tip because I know it's going to a cause that deserves my money anyway.
5) Tell them stories.
Sometimes I just lay on the bed and tell them to gather around while I tell them a story, and if I can't make up a good one (which I usually cannot) I simply describe the plot summary of whatever movies or books come to mind. Whether I'm telling them about Beauty and the Beast or a simplified version of the novel I just read, they think I'm the coolest ever for having so many stories. Even if you're a terrible storyteller like me, if you lower your voice to a whisper for the suspenseful parts, your audience will be completely gripped. And then, of course, you can offer up the floor for the kids to tell you stories, which is a ton of fun and way easier.
6) Babyproof a bedroom, supply open-ended items or toys, lock the door, and lay down.
Again, independent play is super important, so you don't have to feel guilty for letting your children use their imaginations while you rest nearby. If you lay on your child's bed while your children are playing with cardboard boxes, you're still parenting well.
7) You might be a better mom if you start using paper plates.
A mom of eight gave me this advice and it rocked my world. I definitely care about the environment and I try to avoid disposables when I can (whether it's plates, napkins, paper towels, or even trendy throwaways in toys or fashion) but having zero energy means that we have to choose some priorities. Disposable is easier and it's not too pricey if bought in bulk. So switching to paper plates and cups for a season might be a good idea so you don't have to waste those rare moments when you do have energy on quite so many household chores.
8) Let them prepare their own food.
Do you know how much fun a little kid can have if you put a glob of peanut butter on their plate with some crackers or a piece of bread and hand them a plastic knife? Or how much they might enjoy a plate of spaghetti in which they get to pour their own sauce? It keeps them busy, feeds them, and teaches them independence. Boom. It's messy but most moms wipe down little kids after meals anyway. (I'm not one of those moms, by the way, but I'm trying to grow in that area.)
9) Washi tape art.
Once your kids figure out how to use washi tape (maybe age two or three), they can be kept busy for hours. And it makes no mess! They just rip pieces of colorful, patterned tape and arrange them on a piece of paper. Ask your kids to make art for specific people so that they're very careful to do their best work. You, on the other hand, get to lay down while your artists are busy creating. Buying a dozen or so rolls from Amazon is probably the easiest and most cost-effective way to acquire washi tape, and it'll be the best investment you've made in awhile. And you can get 24 rolls for $14, so they really don't have to drain your funds.
10) Give them a rug/towel and a book, set a timer, and close the door.
I haven't been able to do this with my 1 year old, but the 3 and 5 year old not only thrive for those fifteen minutes...they often ask for more time. It's amazing how little kids can thrive with boundaries. And it's amazing how relaxing or productive fifteen minutes of silence can be for you!
11) Hire a mother's helper.
Chances are you know a responsible pre-teen or teenager who isn't quite old enough to babysit but who would like to earn some money. Ask her parents if they'd be willing for her to work for you as a mother's helper! My mother's helper has been coming every week for over a year. She started at $5/hour (her mom's idea) but eventually I gave her a raise to $6.25/hour ($25 for a 4-hour shift each week) because she's getting older and does such an amazing job. She watches all three kids, reads to them, builds Lego's with them, braids the girls' hair, etc. and they absolutely love her. I still make lunch, change diapers, and discipline when needed, but for the most part I'm able to catch up on my tasks and take it a little easy.
I will mention that a lot of these activities depend on the obedience and independent-play abilities of the kids. This fluctuates greatly with my children and, unfortunately, tends to be correlated with how attentive I've been to their hearts and how consistent I've been to discipline them. If they're overstimulated or get too much screen time, they're not going to want to play with a cardboard box for an hour. So I constantly have to reevaluate what I'm trying to accomplish with my parenting, and then by examining my actions I must see if my functional priorities match up. And, of course, I need to pray that God will give me grace to be a good mom and that He will help my kids be joyfully obedient and part of the team.
Also remember that pregnancy or sickness is a season. It's probably not going to be for the rest of your life. There will be plenty of times when you are able to play tag with your kids and take them to the park and bake with them, but maybe it's not right now. That's okay. God knows better than we do that we have limits, and in His kindness He often orchestrates the universe in such a way that we slow down whether we want to or not.
I hope that was encouraging! Now get some rest :)
What a month mingled with joy and difficulty!
-This month the kids have grown deeply in their tender affection towards each other. Stephen (age 5) started offering to put Piper (age 3) down for her naps and she gladly obliges. He’ll put his hands on his knees and tell her, “Okay, Princess, let’s go take your nap!” and then he carries her…this is a completely hilarious sight given that he’s only a few inches and pounds bigger than she is. But she holds on tight! Once he puts her in her bed, he reads a story to her (or tells her a story from his imagination!) and helps her go to sleep.
I see this kindness take root in Piper as well she deals with her younger sister. When Evangeline (age 1.5) is upset, a hug from Piper is often the only thing that can soothe her. And they hug for a long time. Yesterday Evey didn’t want to go to sleep, but I heard Piper whisper to her, “Mommy and Daddy love you and I love you. And you know what? Tomorrow we are going to do something really fun. But you have to go to sleep.” And then she sang her a song.
God has just been so gracious to me in giving me these little people. Watching them grow in love and obedience is one of the biggest privileges of my whole life.
-May 22nd marked six years of marriage for Peter and I! So far some anniversaries have been a joyous toast of “Here’s to a hundred more!” and some years have us say, “Whelp, that was hard, but God has held us!” and this year was definitely one of the latter, but of course we’re grateful for the past and hopeful about the future. #TDDUP (Till Death Do Us Part!)
-To celebrate our anniversary, we went to Orlando and saw Peter’s favorite band, Citizens & Saints, along with The Sing Team and King’s Kaleidoscope. We’ve been major fans for three years and we have waited ever so patiently for the Seattle-based band to come to the east coast. So I practically fell over when I saw that they were coming to Orlando and I immediately snagged VIP tickets. Peter was such a fanboy talking to the band; it was equal parts cute and embarassing. But it was a really worshipful experience and I loved screaming out lyrics such as “I’m His kid no matter what I’m feeling!” or “Our hope is Jesus and His blood never fails!”
-My whole life I have dreamed of going to the annual Florida homeschool convention, and last weekend I finally did it! (And yes, it was everything I hoped it would be!) I learned a ton from various workshops, I got sick deals on educational gear in the exhibition hall, I had some great conversations with some experienced homeschool moms I know and admire, and I enjoyed sweet times of prayer and planning for the future. Little retreats like that are so helpful, and I’m more convinced than ever that homeschooling is right for our family. Thanks, Peter, for sending me!
-Oh and I had the privilege of attending my friend’s birth! It was amazing! I wrote more about that here.
-There are some other exciting things in the works that I’ll share more about later!
What I Learned:
-It doesn’t matter what I know or what I can do…if I don’t have love, I’m wrong. (See 1 Corinthians 13:2.) That’s a really humbling lesson to learn, but I’m seeing it to be true over and over again. If I lack love, it doesn’t matter what I’ve gotten right because I’ve missed the heart of God. And there is no doubt that a loving life is the happiest way to live. John 15 tells me Jesus cares a lot about my joy: “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” Then in the next two verses he says “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” Jesus was the happiest person to walk on this planet, so He knows the key to joy: love God and love others. I would do well to listen to Him.
-I came to the homeschool convention hoping to choose curricula and nail down a plan to make my son learn to read…that's been such a stressful aspect of his education that we both have begun to dread homeschool. But a huge takeaway from the convention is that meeting everyone else’s standards for my kids’ academic achievements is not the point of homeschooling. My real goals in their education is that they’ll love learning, that they’ll crave adventure, that they’ll value people, that they’ll know their Maker. If forcing my kid to learn to read while he’s five years old is going to get in the way of the far more important things, I need to question why I would prioritize that expectation. So guess how much curriculum I bought? Zero. But I bought really enriching and enjoyable books, audiobooks, guides, art supplies, and games! And when I step back and look at homeschooling with that perspective, we're getting a lot of learning done.
-I discovered a free app called Moment that tracks how much time I spend on my iPhone each day. It’s startling and really helping me feel motivated to pick up my phone less. It even tells me how much of my waking life I spend on my phone…very, very humbling.
-“The Movie Date That Solidified J.R.R. Tolkien’s Dislike of Walt Disney” is a really interesting article by Eric Grundhauser that gives us a glimpse into a time when Tolkien and Lewis went to the movies together to see Snow White! #DwarfDrama
-This month I loved listening to Andrew Peterson’s older album Resurrection Letters Vol. 2, especially the song “All You’ll Ever Need,” which is full of metaphors from 1 and 2 Kings (of all places!) that show the ever-flowing wholeness and healing that comes from the blood of Jesus.
-"Car Lip Sync Battle" by Studio C just really tickled my funnybone. I might be joining the crowd of a million Mormon middle schoolers who are obsessed with Studio C, but who cares. Clean comedy is much appreciated.
-The melodic and somber “Psalm 42 (Satisfied in You)” by The Sing Team has some incredibly rich lyrics that have been so precious to me: “Let my sighs give way to songs that sing about your faithfulness//Let my pain reveal Your glory as my only real rest//Let my losses show me all I truly have is You.”
Several months ago I was in a lot of emotional pain and I didn’t know why God hadn’t relieved me from the suffering yet, but a word that I felt like He gave me was “necessary.” It’s from 1 Peter 1:6, which says, “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials.” God didn’t even spare His own Son from me, so He’s certainly not going to start withholding good from me now! So when I find my heart saying “How long, O Lord?” or even just “Why!?” I feel deeply comforted that God’s love for me has not fallen short, but because of His love for me He is weaving a better story than whatever I would contrive.
Stuff I Wrote:
When God Is Silent
A Tribute to My Mom
Our Obsession With "She"
3 Reasons Watching Friends Give Birth Shouldn't Be Weird
Here are some pictures!
Me: What are you painting?
Piper: It's a Maze of Darkness. It's the only design I know how to do.
Sigh. This girl. So much delight.
We have a really cool (but also smelly and gross) beach only twenty minutes away and Stephen goes into full-blown Explorer Mode. It's so good for him.
Peter and I went on a 9-mile kayak ride and forgot sunscreen so...even three weeks later my peeling sunburn reminds me of how much fun we had :) Seriously, check out King's Landing and Wekiwa Springs if you're in the Orlando area. We saw tons of gators, turtles, birds, and some otters...and apparently there have also been sightings of bears and monkeys! #weirdFlorida
We only got to go blueberry picking one time this season :( Since they're only $2/lb, for a few weeks in late April and early May we have a mostly-blueberry diet and as a family tend to consume 28+ pounds a week. But Evey was still quite excited for the blueberries she did get to eat!
So anyway, that's my month! I hope you had a good'n and that June is even fuller of joy and immaterial richness!
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My name is Hope.
I'm 26, married to a former skater dude, and raising little people ages 6, 4, 3, and squishy-baby. I like lime green and sarsaparilla, and I wear my Crocs until they melt. (Florida problems.)
Quick links to some of my posts:
Articles I've Written on Other Sites:
Youth Ministry's Family Blindspot - Christianity Today