Staying Above Water

Drowning

Some days I think I’m drowning. I get that feeling … everything seems blurry, all running together, and all I can try to do is survive and head for shore (in this case, rest). I occasionally would love to have a camera follow me around all day. Not because I want to be a reality star – but because I don’t think people would believe how crazy my days are. From running around for my boys, special projects, meetings, article deadlines and interviews, helping hubby and an evening event, then sprinkle in a once in a lifetime opportunity for the kids – it’s all I can do at this point to type and think straight.

Especially at times like these I am thankful for God’s grace. I am thankful for His peace. And I am thankful for His provision. There is no way I could live my life on my own strength – honestly, I don’t think anybody could! (My life is not for the faint of heart, lol). But eventually, things will slow down, I will get the rest I need, and I’ll wonder how I made it through. Only by the grace of God . . . as He carries me to shore.

Is Your “House” In Order?

Experts say it takes anywhere from 21 days to 66 days to form a new habit, depending upon what you read. Bottom line – it takes time to phase out with the old and in with the new. As you read this, we’ll be in the third month of the year and close enough to consider any new habits solidified. That’s exciting! Or is it? It all depends on what those new habits are. Perhaps you’ve made some progress towards achieving your goals, but things still don’t seem to be flowing as smoothly as you thought. Springtime is right around the corner. Maybe now is the time for a little “Spring cleaning.”

The beginning of the year is the traditional time for deciding what areas you want to work on in your life. Setting goals, of course, is productive. But so is a time of pruning. John 15:2 of the New Living Translation says, “He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.” Simply put, after a couple of months of effort, it’s a great time to examine your progress, and any changes that need to be made. Here are just a few areas you can review to determine if you are doing all you can to move towards achieving your goal, or if a little tune-up might be in order.

Continue reading at: http://www.gospeltoday.com/blog/2015/03/20/is-your-house-in-order/

Don’t Underestimate the Simple

Sharing again because I need it right now :) Enjoy . . .

I was stressed. Neck tight, lower back ache, and head hurting. I hadn’t been this stressed in a long time, after months of carefully structuring my schedule and my life to avoid being overwhelmed. But somehow, this situation snuck up on me. And here I was, in a battle to regain the orchestrated simplicity (or organized chaos)  that has been working so well. Just wanted to share a few very simple methods I used that did a world of good….

Continue at . . .
http://andthatsmyreality.com/2014/03/24/dont-underestimate-the-simple/

Exposure

Gov Nathan Deal Capitol Trip March 2015  2
(Us with Governor Nathan Deal)

A couple of years ago, we were in the doctor’s office, waiting for the boys to get their regular checkups. My youngest, 2 at the time, started playing with another 2-year-old and they were having fun. My oldest son, then 6, was there too. The other mother remarked about how well-mannered my boys seemed to be – how well they spoke, how well they acted. She then expressed concern over her son …. and the way he would swear. Huh? Yes, she was concerned about her 2-year-old swearing, and asked me how I kept my kids from doing it. Once my surprise wore off, sadness set in for this young lady, who truly wanted her child to do better, and seemed lost to the fact that she was probably the very reason for the swearing. What I mean is, any child, especially one that young, is going to reflect whatever he is exposed to. You, as a parent, are responsible for that exposure.
That interaction caused me to think … about what I expose my boys too. Of course I consciously avoid the bad. But I want to make a pointed decision to expose them to the good; to expose them to:
– People who make them think, and make them express themselves
– People who have achieved great things, from whom they can learn
– Situations where they may be unsure or “out of their element”, so it can become their element
– Those who are less fortunate, to maintain a heart of compassion and love

Here’s to seeds of greatness being shown … through exposure.

The Top 10 Things Children Really Want Their Parents to do with Them

I guess this is sharing week for me, lol. Another great read I’ve found, to really help me better prioritize as a mom. I mean, all the activities and things I do “for my kids” . . . is it really for them, or to help me feel better about the life I’m giving them? Food for thought. In the meantime, enjoy this article by Erin Kurt.

Blog pix

What do you think matters most to your children? You driving them to lessons and practices, or is it the smile and hug you greet them with after school? If you guessed the latter, you are correct.

Sixteen years of teaching and giving the same assignment every Mother’s Day has led me to the exact same conclusion. You see, every Mother’s Day I would ask my students to give me advice on being a mother. They were to think about things their mother or guardian did for or with them that made them feel happy or loved. The classroom would go silent as the students wrote intensely for longer than they had ever written before. Often smiles would appear on their faces as they reflected on the happy experiences they were remembering. After reading their responses I would add to my list all the ideas they mentioned. Surprisingly, many of the responses were the same. Year after year, in every country I taught, and in every type of demographic, the students were saying the same things and had the same message: It’s the small things that their mothers did that meant the most and that they remembered.

Continue reading at: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/the-top-10-things-children-really-want-their-parents-to-do-with-them.html

Don’t Be Sorry for the Struggle

Fantastic blog written by Christy Wright. And well worth sharing.

“You’re spoiling that child! She’s going to grow up thinking the world revolves around her!”

From the time I was a small child, friends and family warned my mom that her parenting would ruin me. They said I would grow up selfish—that I would expect everything handed to me on a silver platter.

It’s true that I didn’t suffer many consequences when I misbehaved. They were right that my mom rarely told me “no” when I wanted a new toy or outfit.

That’s because my mom, like many single mothers, often operated out of a sense of guilt that my dad wasn’t in the picture. This led to more freedom and fewer consequences.

But all of those well-meaning family and friends didn’t consider this:

I watched my mother struggle.

– See more at: http://christywright.com/2015/03/dont-be-sorry-for-the-struggle/#sthash.DNl9aKW4.dpuf

Marriage: It’s Beautiful. It’s Natural. It’s Incredible

Married love is a funny thing. Built on a foundation of respect, honesty, commitment, and genuine friendship, it has to be nurtured, protected, developed, and honored. It’s almost like a child in a way – you give birth to it when you walk down the aisle. Then in the first few years of teaching it to “walk” or “work,” there are bumps and bruises as you get a feel for it. Finally, the cruising begins and you’re on your way…to more lessons, bumps and bruises, failures, and triumphs. Yet through it all, you have each other.

And while many in today’s society view marriage as antiquated, unnecessary, or even unrealistic (despite scores of happily married couples who beg to differ), those of us who are married know how joyful, fulfilling, and secure it can be. That’s why it’s so important to work to keep your marriage happy and healthy. I want to do something a little different today. Instead of telling you ways to keep your marriage spark alive, I want to help you understand the reason it is so crucial – and what can happen if you choose to let the flame extinguish.

– See more at: http://www.gospeltoday.com/blog/2015/03/02/marriage-its-beautiful-its-natural-its-incredible/#sthash.BrfcbnaL.dpuf

The Greatest Show On Earth . . . Part 2

Circus popcorn

I told you Monday about how we got into the circus for the low low. Now I’ll tell you how I kept quiet a couple of little boys who eat for sport … and want everything in sight.

– Feed them – good – before we go inside. And I don’t mean in the food court of the venue, where prices are sky high. We stroll past Chick Fil A or another restaurant where it’s food they like, they can fill up, and it doesn’t break the bank.
– Strike up a deal, almost immediately. Their eyes will glaze over at the toys and gadgets they could buy. Then hamburgers, hot dogs and pizza, oh my! I scope out the prices and find something they can both SHARE. Don’t you want Popcorn? Bingo. Redirected.
– Bring in a few goodies of your own, if you can. A snack pack of cheezits or something similar can go a long way after the salt and butter of the popcorn have worn off.
– Eat slowly. Doesn’t always work, but I try to slow them down.
– Give them something to look forward to. No, I’m not going to buy any other items (gotta stick to my budget). But when we get home we’ll have a special snack and talk about our fun time.
My tricks don’t always work, but use a few together … and you’ve got a winner.

The Greatest Show On Earth . . . My Way

Boys at circus

Yep, I did it my way. I took my princes to see the circus the only way I know how – economically. Let me give you a few tricks of the trade to save money on ticketed events.

– Always google the word “discounts” or “coupons” with whatever event you’re going to. In this case I searched for “circus discounts” and found out about an awesome program at the local library. Read 5 books, get a free child’s ticket with an adult purchase. Bam.
– Sign up online to receive emails from the company. I’ve done this several times and gotten great details re: early sales, ways to save, etc. I signed up for the birthday club from Legoland and got free entry for each boy during his birthday month.
– Facebook. I sign up for the company’s facebook page, and tap into some of my “frugal” networks to see what deals they’ve unearthed. Our local paper also has a column on seeing Atlanta cheap. I stay on top of that.
– Check out all of the savings websites. Groupon, ScoreBig, Living Social and Goldstar are just a few. I scour these sites to compare which deal is the best.

We loved gaining admission, paying less than normal.

Coming soon … how I saved money once we got inside.