Something I’m Working On

For the past several years, I’ve watched on the sidelines as different bloggers took part in the Write 31 Days challenge.

This year I’m joining them! (and now that I’ve said it, I have to do it, right?)

For the month of October, I’ll be writing every day about what it’s like to move from one part of the country to another. I’ll write about the things we did right and the things we did wrong. I’m even planning on including interviews from different people. I’m really excited about it!

 

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This is for you if you if any of these topics resonate with you:

*The hardest part of moving

*Making friends

*Culture shock

*The difficulty of finding a church

*What to do when you can’t even find your toaster (that’s for my friend, Ashley!)

*Helping your kids through a difficult transition

*Renting woes

Those are just a few things. There will be even more throughout the month of October.

I would love to encourage anyone who has recently moved, is planning a move or feels like they are still recovering from one. Or maybe you’re just curious about the story of how our family decided to move from Minnesota to Tennessee. Whoever you are, I would love to have you join me. Don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss anything!

Thanks for coming along!

 

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This entry was posted in Moving.

What I Learned From The Great Fuel Panic Of 2016

If you don’t live in or around Tennessee, you may have missed the fact that this weekend, if you were to look at any gas station, you would think a hurricane was coming and we needed to fill our car gas tanks and evacuate immediately. It was alarming, to say the least.

The most alarming part of it was that thousands of people were acting out of fear in a way that was creating a problem.

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Here are the facts:

  1. A fuel pipeline broke that supplies gas to several areas in the United States.
  2. The TN governor declared a state of emergency, not because we were running out of gas, but because he needed to make the regulations less strict so that other sources of fuel could work quickly to get fuel where it needed to be.
  3. The public was told that there would be no disruption in fuel service as long as they continued their normal pattern of driving and buying fuel.

Here is what actually happened:

  1. People heard the word “emergency” and nothing else registered.
  2. Thousands of people went to the gas station and filled up all their vehicles more than they normally would have and even bought gas cans and filled up those as well.
  3. Gas stations ran out of gas.

Here’s a link to a local new clip: http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/local/davidson%20/2016/09/18/officials-drivers-shouldnt-make-gas-shortage-worse-panicking/90617524/

The most fascinating and frustrating part of this was that everyone thought they were the exception to the rule. They “needed” the gas because they were driving somewhere in a couple of days and wanted to make sure their tank was full and were afraid they wouldn’t be able to get any if they waited. On Friday, when the news was first spreading, people panicked. Gas stations ran out of gas because of the panic and the fact that people did exactly what they were told not to do. Instead of believing the people who actually know real facts about the fuel supply, they said, “Look! We ran out of gas! We really do have a shortage!”

Tanker trucks arrived Friday night, just like the normally do. Gas stations had fuel again in the morning. People’s fears should have been alleviated. Common sense would say that people would have relaxed a bit. They did not. Defying all logic, the public refused to believe that we didn’t have a shortage. Even with the evidence in front of them that fuel was still arriving, they behaved as if there was a crisis and ended up creating one.

They spent all of Saturday buying up all the gas in town. Again, gas stations ran low on gas.

At this point, gas stations have now sold way more volume of fuel than they normally do. People still refused to believe that we were not experiencing a shortage and pointed to the dry fuel pumps “evidence”.

Tanker trucks came Friday and filled up the gas stations.

They came again on Saturday.

They came again on Sunday.

It’s Monday morning and most folks are back to work and school and don’t have time to stalk the local gas stations to buy up all the gas and life may be getting back to normal.

But what a fascinating display of human nature.

Here’s what I learned.

When people are scared, they don’t act logically. Facts are meaningless.

I watched from my couch as I read online arguments. There was no convincing someone who didn’t want to be convinced, that this wasn’t a crisis. In fact, many were convinced this was government conspiracy of some sort.

Did you see this quote from the Tennessean link:

Executive director of the Tennessee Fuel and Convenience Store Association Emily LeRoy said that while supply is tight in the Southeast, there is fuel available and consumers should not make the problem worse by panicking.

“The greater challenge is that consumers are buying substantially more gas than usual,” she said in a statement. “I talked to a retailer this morning who told me that he had an 8,500-gallon delivery yesterday that would normally last three days and it sold out in six hours.”

When people are scared, they think of themselves first.

Oh wow, are we ever selfish! Even though people knew there were others who had hardly any fuel in their cars, they still insisted on filling up their cars that were already half full of gas. As long as they were okay, they really didn’t care about anyone else.

The better safe than sorry approach made more of a problem.

I watched time and time again, as people said, “Well, I wasn’t going to get any gas, but everyone else is acting crazy and buying up all the gas. So, I better go get some just in case something happens and I can’t get it later.

I’m not a genius, but I think we can learn some life lessons from this 🙂 Also, if we ever have a real problem, we’re all going to die! Ha!

What Your Friend Wants You to Know About Parenting Kids With ADHD

I am part of an elite group of moms.

We’re moms parenting children with ADHD.

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Like most things about parenting, I was an expert before I had children of my own. I was so sure about so many things.

ADHD issues were one of them. How moms dealt with their kids whom they “claimed” had ADHD was another one. I put “claimed” in quotes because I wasn’t sure it was a real thing. I’m embarrassed for my younger self. Now I’m a mom of a child with ADHD and there are a few things I wish other people could see.

 

1.We are past worrying about things that don’t really matter like matching clothes and combed hair. That’s extra credit.We’re just praying our kids remember to shower and put on clean underwear. There are times I ask my son, “Do you even remember the last time you showered?” {He thinks this is funny. That’s why I can share it without embarrassing him}. Our kids have so much noise going on in their heads. We’ve learned to focus on the things that matter most.

2.It’s simultaneously infuriating and hilarious at the same time. The stories we have to tell are epic. The places our children have misplaced things.  The lengths we have gone to help them set up systems that keep them organized. It’s the stuff of sitcoms. We laugh because the alternative is despair. We’re pretty sure our kids are going to be able to feed and dress themselves appropriately on their own some day, but the journey to get there makes us doubt.

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3.Please don’t judge us for “bailing out” our kids. We’ve heard the comments that warn  us that if we just let the child fail their assignment or go to practice without their shoes, they will learn their lesson. We know you mean well, but you don’t know the entire story.

Sometimes kids forget things because they were careless. Yes. That absolutely happens. In that instance, it might be best to let the chips fall where they may.

There are other times it’s not because they were careless. It’s that they have 5 big assignments due on the same day and they worked their tails off to do a good job and they remembered to bring everything but one important thing. In that situation, I’m going to choose grace.

Our children can learn just as much from lovingly administered grace as a harsh consequence.

4.Sometimes it’s a behavior issue. Sometimes it’s a brain chemical issue. It’s hard to tell the difference, but we’re working on it. There is no excuse for being a lazy jerk. They have consequences they have to deal with that you don’t necessarily see. You may have seen me helping my 11-year-old put together his homework binder that was falling apart. You didn’t see the other things that he had to handle without me.

5.We are so thankful when you love our kids. When you see who they are past the disorganization, we are grateful. We know it’s not easy. We fail at it ourselves. So, when our friends tell us something encouraging about our kids or seem to actually enjoy them, we’re full of warm fuzzy feelings.

 

Do you have children who struggle with ADHD? What’s your biggest issue right now? I’d love to hear from you.

 

This entry was posted in adhd.

3 Things You Can Do To Make Social Media Great Again

I know a little something about you. You have a love-hate relationship with social media. Some days there’s hardly any love at all. You’re tired of the noise.

So many opinions.

So much posturing.

So much anger.

Some days the noise can make you sick to your stomach. And, honestly, some of it is your own voice that you’re sick and tired of.

 

3 Things You Can Do To Make Social Media Great Again

 

I found some nuggets of wisdom tucked away in a book that I’ve had for ages. This is what it says:

“Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger. So, throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation garden of your life.” James 1:19-21(MSG)

The NIV version says it in a more familiar way:”Quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” Those three things might just be the key to making social media great again.

1. Listen First.

The first thing I want to do when I’m irritated is talk. A lot. To everyone who happens to be near enough to hear.

What if we listened first? Listening puts us in a position of watching, waiting and anticipation. It’s a posture of truly trying to understand. Listen to the person whose political views you don’t share. Listen to the person who drives you nuts. Listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying.

Listen first when you want to sound off on what’s hurting or irritating you. It might change the entire story.

2. Wait To Speak.

My daughter asked me yesterday what it meant to be “slow to speak” (we’re talking about this passage a lot in our home). The first thing I told her was that we don’t need to share our opinions on everything. The dangerous thing about social media is that it’s so accessible. It doesn’t ask us before we hit “post” if we really mean to say those angry, passive aggressive irritated comments.

The second thing I thought of was how her older brother, Ethan, enters a room. He leads with his mouth. He’s talking before he even arrives in the room. It does not occur to him that he’s interrupting me. I’m often in the middle of a conversation with another child when he does this. It drives me nuts. It’s the same thing when we don’t think before we post. We enter that digital space, leading with our mouth.

Being slow to speak looks like letting things simmer inside of our heads for a while. It looks like entering that digital space quietly. It looks like what we practice in 2nd grade sharing time at our tutorial. We wait until it’s our turn to talk. Sometimes it’s just not our turn.

3. Keep A Lid On Anger.

Here’s the thing about anger: We can’t always help it if we feel angry. We can, however, keep from speaking and acting in anger.

I know it’s possible to express anger appropriately, but I’ve not seen many people do it well.

The digital world is full of angry, argumentative and passive aggressive comments. I don’t know who to credit this to, but I read somewhere that who you are online is who you are. In other words, if you are a bully online, you’re actually a bully. There’s not two of you. So, if you’re an angry person online, you have to accept that you are an angry person.

I don’t want to be an angry person. I would rather be the person who shares funny things about their kids and doesn’t take herself too seriously when it comes to things that don’t matter.

 

What do you think? Would our social media experiences be better if we listened more, were slower to say what we were thinking and were more hesitant to post when we’re angry?

 

 

That Time I Thought The Safest Place For My Kids Was In My Vice-Grip

“Let’s not let fear stop us from being the good news to a world desperate to be known by God’s love.” – Shannan Martin, Falling Free.

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A few weeks ago, I asked my husband if he ever had fears for our children. “Not really,” was his reply. I looked at him in awe and a no little jealousy and admitted that I was full of fears. While he wasn’t scared of much, I admitted to walking around with, at best, a low-level of anxiety on their behalf most of the time. And that’s on a good day. On a bad day, the fear blinds me to anything else.

I discovered Shannan Martin’s blog several months ago. Her story is fascinating and it’s challenged my fears in the best ways. Through some unexpected life changes, they were challenged to look again at their dreams. They had made all the safe and easy choices and felt like they were missing something. They opened their hands and asked God to help them see the world the way he does and it changed everything.

Her book, Falling Free, comes out in just a few weeks and I’ve had the opportunity to read an advanced copy. I have pages of quotes I’ve copied from it. Most of them are about fear.

“The irony is, not only are we hesitant to allow our kids to live in the world, on mission, we’re also eager to use them as prime scapegoats for our own bailout.”

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“We elevate our families above God’s divine plan to heal humanity through his glory, but we are fooling ourselves when we believe we can rubber stamp a guarantee of protection and provision across their lives. . .”

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“. . . if we want to see his goodness, we’ve got to drop our torn-up nets and follow him even as the bile rises in our throats and people snicker.”

If you’re thinking this is another book that is written to make you feel guilty for having nice things, you’re wrong. This is not a formulaic, prescriptive narrative. It’s simply the story of what happened when the Martins asked to see the world through God’s eyes and a challenge for us to do the same. It will cause you to look again at your idea of hospitality, generosity, church and loving your neighbors.

I’ve been thinking about my fears for my kids. One of my favorite books is The Pursuit Of God by A.W. Tozer. In that book, there is a chapter called The Blessedness of Possessing Nothing. It’s about Abraham and Isaac and how God asked Abraham to be willing to sacrifice him. I’ve had this part underlined for over two decades:

“We are often hindered from giving up our treasures to the Lord out of fear for their safety; this is especially true when those treasures are loved relatives and friends. But we need have no such fears. Our Lord came not to destroy but to save. Everything is safe which we commit to Him, and nothing is really safe which is not so committed.”

It seems God wants to remind me that my idea of safety is not the same as His. Honestly, I’ve held back from truly loving my neighbors because I’m not sure of how this would impact my kids. Isn’t it ironic that I would think my children would be better off in my vice-grip than in the hands of the God of the universe? Maybe you need the reminder that our dearest treasures are safest in His hand and not your own. I know I did.

If you’re interested in hearing more of the Martin’s story, you can preorder Falling Free and get a whole bunch of fun freebies. I know you’ll love it.

Saturday Sundries: August 27

Happy Saturday!

We finished our 4th week of school this week and I’m feeling very ready for fall weather. So far, Middle Tennessee is not agreeing. We’ve had several 90 degree days this week. In fact, it feels like 102 degrees outside right now. Here are some things I saw or read this week that I thought I would pass along to you.

This video clip of news anchors laughing uncontrollably after an interview with Ryan Lochte made me laugh so hard.

 

You need to read this new book.

Shannan Martin has a book coming out very soon and here you can read an article that talks a little about their story. Her book is fabulous. I’m on the launch team for her book and was able to get a copy to read and review.  I’ll write more about it in the next couple of days. You can find out more about it here too.

 

I had an article published on the Huffington Post!

I’ve submitted a couple of things to HuffPo and a couple of days ago, my article on being an early grieving mom was posted.

What I didn’t mention was that another one of my posts was also on their site. I didn’t say anything because I wasn’t sure that one “counted” because it didn’t have to go through any editors and I was able to just hit “post” and have it on their site. I’m beta testing a new framework they are using with bloggers. Of course, you never know exactly where your article will be and if anyone will see it. I was pleasantly surprised later to look at their “parenting” page and see a link to my article featured there for everyone to see!

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This article on the care and treatment of an unhealthy church was very interesting.

Here’s a quote:

“Too often, we tell hurting, broken, unhealthy churches to start acting like their strong, healthy siblings. Or we tell them how to get bigger, assuming that bigger equals healthier. Then we can’t understand why so many of them stay unhealthy or get sicker.”

Have you seen or read anything interesting this week? 

 

Confessions Of An Early Grieving Mom

I cannot believe my oldest child used to be too small to fit into newborn size clothing. Today he’s taking anatomy quizzes and talking engineering with his dad.

The posts and photos of moms dropping off their kids at college are killing me.

It’s too much.

How is time going so fast?

I’m over here mourning the passing of time and, if I am honest, I know it’s a tiny bit dramatic.

It’s perfectly acceptable to mourn dropping off your child for college, but mine still has 7 years with me before that happens.

 

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I have an affliction I like to call “Early Grieving Disorder”(EGD). If you wonder if you have it, here are some of the symptoms:

  • Kindergarten graduations make you cry because those kids are going to be in college and married before you know it (only 12 years!)
  • You have a hard time enjoying the current parenting stage you are in because you’re wrapped up in sorrow over the fact that it’s going to be over soon.
  • Social media on the first and last days of school push you over the edge.
  • Country songs & Butterfly Kisses render you completely incapacitated. (even though you know they are completely cheesy and ridiculous)
  • Your friends/spouse are likely to mock you for the tears you shed over random children’s milestones:

Nathan: Why are you sobbing? What terrible tragedy happened?

 

Me: Lydia just graduated from kindgergarten and she was wearing a sweet little cap and gown and there was a picture of her when she was a baby and another picture that said she wanted to be a princess when she grows up.

 

Nathan: Who is Lydia?

 

Me: The daughter of a person I follow online.

 

Nathan: You do know that being a princess isn’t realistic, right? Don’t you think it’s a bit much to have a “graduation” for every single grade? That child is going to “graduate” 12 times before her actual graduation.

 

Me: You are dead inside, aren’t you?

 

(This is purely hypothetical)

  • EGD is more often found in women. Onset happens after the birth of her first child.

I have no idea how this happened to me. I want to blame all the sweet grandmothers who insisted on convincing me to “carpe diem” and told me “the days are long, but the years are short”.

Who is with me? Do you have EGD? What are your symptoms?

4 Things I Learned Last Week

4 Things I Learned Last Week.

 

  • Meal Planning Saves Money.

You probably already knew that little fact, but I had gotten really lazy at meal planning. We were going to the grocery store every day because I wasn’t thinking about more than one meal at a time. It was killing our budget! So, I sat down and made a real menu for the week and a comprehensive grocery list. I ended up spending 50% less than the previous week.

  • This Cookie Recipe Is Delicious.

Do you love chocolate chip oatmeal cookies? Do you also love the taste of coconut? We had some friends over a couple of weeks ago and they brought these cookies. I loved them so much that I decided we needed to make them. I’m going to be a horrible blogger and just give away the secret without making you click 5 million times. Replace the butter with coconut oil. That’s the secret. If you like the taste of coconut, you’ll like these cookies. It also makes the just the right texture. Not too soft not too hard. A little chewy (which I love). The secret is the oil.

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  • I don’t have a baby anymore.

My “baby” is looking more and more like a giant to me and I’m all mixed up emotionally over the entire thing.

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How did his legs get so darn long? This week, for our homeschool tutorial, Isaac brought his stuffed dogs, Henry & Peanut, with him to show the kids in his class. He announced to the class that he had something to tell them about Henry. “Henry can talk!” The kids were a little skeptical until they saw Isaac tilt his head to the side, as if he were listening to Henry tell him something. Isaac’s eyes grew wide with surprise and Isaac exclaimed, “You did WHAT?!”

The class and teachers were in stitches. We have NO idea what shocking thing Henry confessed in Isaac’s ear, but we’re all having fun imagining what it might have been.

  • The 5th Wave Is A Bad Movie

Nathan rented a movie he thought we might like. I have no other way to describe other than, “bad”. I love a good YA story, but this one felt contrived. Someone might need to analyze it and tell me why I didn’t like it. I think it was that I didn’t care for the characters. I was not invested in them.

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Those are my 4 things from this last week. Leave me a comment and tell me something you learned/loved/enjoyed last week!

Why Risk-Takers Are Sometimes Silent

Do you know that one of the hurdles I had to get over when we chose to homeschool our kids was that I knew that people I loved would think it was a bad idea? Stay with me because this isn’t really about homeschooling. It’s about any counter-cultural decision that you make.

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When we choose something that is “different” than someone else’s choice, for some reason, we get push-back. We also get sent a message that we aren’t allowed to talk about it being hard. As if being “hard” is a sign that it’s a bad choice.

We hear it all the time. People have strong opinions about how you educate your kids, how many children you should have, what kind of risks are acceptable, . . .

The risk takers hear a message that is sometimes implied and sometimes spoken out loud: 

“You chose this path and you don’t have the right to complain.”

In fact, on the days that are hard, we all know that certain people aren’t safe. They will hear your struggle and do the opposite of encouraging you. They regale you with stories of other people who made similar choices and how poorly it turned out.

Why do we respond this way to people who choose something “other”? It’s crap.

So, we choose to be quiet when the days are hard. We don’t dare say how hard it is to chase a dream to someone who thought to chase it was a bad idea to start with.

People are going to make choices that you don’t understand:

  • They might homeschool their kids. Please don’t tell them anecdotes about kids who didn’t do well in that system.
  • They might send their kids to public school. Please don’t tell them anecdotes about kids who didn’t do well in that system.
  • They might choose to have a big family. Please don’t tell them how they will never be able to support all their kids emotionally or financially.
  • They might choose to be foster parents. Please don’t tell them you think it’s too risky.
  • They might choose to get out of debt.
  • They might choose to adopt.

Have the risk-takers in your life become more silent? It might be due to the fact that they don’t believe you’re on their team.

One of the best gifts you can give the risk-takers in your life is to give them the benefit of the doubt that they have thought through their decisions and weighed the pros and cons and made the decision they thought was best. Treat them like you believe they are wise enough to make good choices- even if you don’t understand them.

Have you ever found yourself holding back from being honest about seasons that are difficult because of how others interpret struggle as an indication that you made the wrong choice?

 

 

 

Why Our Imperfect Back To School Photo Is My Favorite

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I love all the back to school photos people post. I wish we had done them from the beginning because it would be fun to see the progression through the years.

But, I didn’t. It wasn’t as much of a thing 6 years ago.

And, let’s be honest, if it was a “thing”, I still might not have done it because I love the idea of things like this more than the actual implementation.

That sentence tells you pretty much all you need to know about me. Idea=Hooray! Implementation=What? Actual effort?

 

I’ve taken a photo the last several years and done it so imperfectly and I think I’m okay with that. No frame for the little signs. The kids clothes are sort of a mess. Hair a disaster.

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I love it.

This is who we are.

Barefoot because we  are hanging out at home.

Mismatched with stripes and plaid on the same kid because I think it’s kind of cute and don’t care most days.

Hair that needs a trim, but I had not given much thought to.

Goofy smiles.

Kids holding the wrong grade signs or holding them upside down.

A perfect showcase of the fact that Audrey cares about how her hair and clothes look and the boys don’t 🙂

Tan legs and arms from Tennessee summer days at the pool.

This is who we are and I love these ragamuffins like crazy.