A New Direction

Yesterday morning, I received an email that kind of sucked the wind out of my sails over my plans for the upcoming school year. I thought I was an easy contender for a job that would be perfect with my schedule with the kids and I was pretty excited about it all.

It ends up that I never even got the chance to apply!  Talk about a way to start off a glorious summer Sunday! (You do hint my sarcasm there, right?)

It put me in a bad mood all day, much to the frustration of my husband and my sweet kiddos. I feel like I’m back at square one trying to figure out what I will do part-time, in addition to my design ideas, but this morning I have had some breathing room and time to think. I’m sitting here in my dining room, staring out my back window, just contemplating the future. Kids are quiet with a friend over all day, so thankfully….I have had some quiet time today to regroup.

I’m enjoying the leftover dying flowers from Maggie’s party….

And I’m thinking on this:

(above image from Raechel Myers IG feed from She Reads Truth)

And I’m realizing (or more likely REMEMBERING) that this whole life thing is not about what I want or how this is supposed to go in my mind. It’s about how it’s supposed to go in the way that’s best for everyone possibly involved. God’s plan is greater.

For a long time now, I have wanted to do something that was helpful in some way or glorifying to God in some way and I keep waiting to see what that is. Yes, I know that raising my babies as my sole job for the last 8 years has been glorifying to God. But now it’s time that I ventured out from the home and I want to see where I can be used. It’s difficult to wait and see what happens, especially when you see it happening all around you. I have lots of interests and ideas of things that I could do to bless others, but I also have to remember that I need to be working to be a secondary supporter to my family’s income now. What job takes those two things hand in hand for me right now? I’m not totally sure yet. I feel that I’m on the brink of knowing and I have a couple of ideas up my sleeve of how to further push this to see where it all goes.

For now, I’ll look upon my dying flowers, enjoying the last couple of days of their color. I’ll enjoy my hot summer days with my babes, I’ll keep reading and learning and searching and forging new friendships. And most importantly, praying over it all.

Please pray with me.

And for me.

And if you have a prayer request you would like to share, please do.

On another subject – I hope to have Magdalen’s birthday party pictures up this week. My friend, Sarah, took them but I forgot to download them from her camera before she left the next day! Aaagghh! My fault, so hopefully I’ll get them somehow to share this week! Happy Monday, friends!

Blame It On The Rain. (Yeah, yeah.)

School has been out, summer is going strong and wow, it’s still raining. Nonstop.

I snapped this photo last week during another rain storm and looking at it later that night, I thought about something. (My kids, always teaching me something whether they know it or not.)

I am full of excuses.

Yes, you heard that right. I don’t come across as that way to most people. I do what I want, when I want and I usually don’t make excuses for the easy things. Easy things to me are things that are tangible. Things I can see. Things I can touch. Oh, you want me to move furniture around the house by myself, even though I might hurt myself? Of course I will! No excuses! You want me to show up at school even when I have no extra time so I can help you with a school function? Yep, I can fit that in somehow, too. No excuses.

But then there are the hard things for me.

Beginning.

Starting something.

More specifically, starting something that could possibly fail.

I have become the ultimate, amazing procrastinator because of this fear. I refuse to start something if I’m not sure it will turn out exactly as I’m seeing it in my mind’s eye. The trick here, though, is that I am not that picky of a person. It’s just that if I have in my head how I want something, then that’s exactly how I want it.

I am a certified dreamer. If I tried to share the massive amounts of dreams in my head to someone, they would possibly look for the “off” button. I share a lot of them with friends, family, etc., but so many of them are locked away in my own dreamspace and may never see the light of day. And that’s okay, too.

My entire point of sharing this about myself is that I’m tired of waiting. Tired of just dreaming the dream and not doing the dream. It can suck the life out of you and it makes me physically tired sometimes.

This fall, Magdalen starts Kindergarten. I’m looking to work part-time outside of the home for someone to sort of remind my inner-schedule (if I have one) how to have a routine again. I look back on my working days and they seem so long ago. Another lifetime, really. I’m ready to work. Ready to get my hands dirty, so to speak.

In addition to this part-time work I’m looking to do, I’m going to be blogging about our home. Our remodel, as we go along, and before-and-afters. I’ve shared bits about it on Facebook and Instagram in photos over the last year and a half that we have lived here, but we had only done the basics in order to live here comfortably enough in the beginning. Now that we’ve paid off our original remodeling loan (Hallelujah!), we are ready to start saving for the big purchases. One at a time!

On our short list: having the house thoroughly insulated before winter so we don’t freeze almost-to-death again and gutting our tiny master bathroom and having it updated completely (I have NO ELECTRICAL OUTLETS in my master bath, that is how old it is).

My goal alongside that is to go through each room of our home and make it the way I want it. Even if it’s not perfect. I will be doing this on a tight budget by shopping my home, thrift shops for repurposing, and finding deals along the way. If you have never seen the deals I find in my shopping excursions, you are in for a treat. I am like a deal magnet. No joke. You would not believe the items I find at ridiculously low prices! I would love to share this with all of you!

For now, this is my accountability post. I dabble in so many different interests and this will hopefully make me stay focused on the ultimate goal. Budget friendly home design, event planning, and life in general. I like to shop but more importantly, I like to shop smart.

I am working towards getting my working-design feet back and move into having design and event clients in the future and also doing some virtual design boards for those that are interested from afar. I’m tired of having excuses for every time I become afraid to start. I’m not that girl, so….

NO EXCUSES. I’m not blaming it on the rain anymore. I’m embracing the rain and figuring out a way to work it into each day that it arrives. I hope you join me and enjoy following along on our crazy old house. Next post later this week I will tell you the history of this “Blessing House” as my friend, Kimberly, so lovingly calls it.

 

From Baby To Boy

Disclaimer: I originally wrote the post below back in August of 2012, the week after Maddox started 1st grade. And I never published it. The photo above is one I took of him last summer during a baseball game with his team. I just found this post tonight and felt compelled to share and I had edited this exact photo to put with it last year.

He’s older now and some things have changed since then, but this story still rings true and I felt the need to read it tonight as a reminder to myself as a parent. Then I thought it might be a great reminder for other mothers (or parents) out there, too. Here’s the story….

8.6.12

This boy.

Oh dear, I wish everyone could know him.

A heart of gold, a playful spirit (a little teaser), and a thoughtful little man.

How have we raised him to be this amazing? I know it hasn’t been me alone. Nor has it been his father. The combination of very clear boundaries and set rules and specific expectations and lots and lots of love and laughter and tenderness since he was an infant have helped, no doubt, but he was born with a heart for God. That we could not have given him, but it’s there and we have worked very hard to keep it intact.

I have noticed this since he was just a little guy.
Questioning everything…..and the questions were big ones. Thoughtful ones for a 2, 3, 4, and then 5 year old. He blew me away each time. He understands things beyond his years and that’s a little scary, but also hopeful for his maturity level as he grows.

I had him in my hand all these years to mold him, shape him, and teach him all that I know and also shield him from all that I know that I understand he’s not ready for yet. (Which in this world are many, many, too many things to count.)

And now…..he’s 6.5 with one year of school under his belt.

I think this summer was when I got scared.

Did I teach him enough?
Did I pray over him as much as I could?
Why did I not teach him memory verses?
Why didn’t we have family worship on a regular basis?
How do we keep this sweet spirit alive in him?

This is all up to me during the week as the adult who is his caregiver. And I feel that I have failed when I look back on all that time I wasted doing other things.

I realized that I was not his core teacher anymore and in all scariness, neither is his teacher this year. (Although she is a great teacher and I’m thankful that he has her this year, just as I was thankful for his K teacher!)

That’s right. His peers are going to be. And it is so out of my control that I get sick to my stomach thinking about it. I’ve tried to steer his friendships as much as I can while still giving him the leeway to know who he likes to hang out with and not. But it’s still hard as a Mama.

It hit me last week, his first full week of 1st grade, that if we’re not careful then we can lose him.

If I’m not conscientious about what is going on his world then it’s hard to turn things around and get back in there.

Don’t think I don’t know how it works because I saw it happen with too many of my friends whose parents got busy and stopped teaching them the main values at home. I know I can’t leave this job up to his school each day and when he’s gone for 7 of his 13 waking hours, I have to make a VERY. CONSCIOUS. EFFORT. to make sure I’m using my time with him wisely while not beating him over the head.

Because really? What is more important in life than giving a child a foundation and a basis in knowing who Jesus really is? I am knowing the answer to that more and more each day.

I mentioned yesterday that I wanted to write a bit about what I’m doing with Maddox when it comes to talking to him and teaching him more about God, so I’m just going to jump right in to this subject.

A couple of things happened over the last few days that lead me to believe I’ve been on the right track.
At least, for now.

Have you heard this song?

Maddox started singing it to me a few days ago at the dinner table out of the blue and I almost started crying right there.

It was the song that his Kindergarten class sang on their presentation (graduation) night together and surprised all the parents with and I had forgotten about it.

Imagine a stage in a lunchroom with nineteen 6 & 7 year olds all in a row singing this song to you. It makes me teary just remembering how I couldn’t hold back my tears that night.

He let me take a video of him singing part of it tonight before he went to bed, so now you can hear it coming from a child.

“I want to set the world on fire
Until it’s burning bright for you.
It’s everything that I desire
Can I be the one You use?

I….I am small but
You….you are big enough
I….I am weak but
You….you are strong enough to

Take my dreams
Come and give them wings
Lord, with you
there’s nothing I can not do.

I wanna feed the hungry children
And reach across the farthest land
And tell the broken there is healing
And mercy in the Father’s hands….”

There he was at dinner just singing it to me after I had been thinking these same thoughts quietly to myself ABOUT myself.

So, later that night, we were getting he and his sister ready for bed and I asked him if he wanted to read with me or by himself.

Again, he blew me away with his response: “Um….I got my Bible out and I want to read some of the story of Job tonight. Is that okay?”

Well, let’s see….is that okay?

YES. Yes, you dear child. Where do you come up with these thoughts? Is my worrying all for no reason? Have we given you that basis to grow from already without realizing it?

The answer is maybe, but we can’t stop there. It’s an ongoing process and I’m praying for direction to know how to approach him as he gets older.

So, with Maddox we have started a nightly ritual. (This was all his idea, by the way.) I come to his room at bedtime with my Bible in hand and we sit up in his bed together with our Bibles and he reads a few verses, I explain them, then I read a few verses and explain them and so on.

Seriously, I couldn’t make this stuff up! What six-year-old kid picks JOB to read of all stories in the Bible??

Apparently, my kid does.

Tonight when I said, Where’s your Bible? He said “Woohoooo! I wasn’t sure if we were reading Job tonight. Awesome.”

I wanted to share this because, first of all, it makes me happy and I like to share my happiness. Secondly, I wanted to share to give parents a hopeful idea of how to have a worship with their sons. Just choose their favorite Bible story and go straight to the actual Bible and read it together! Boys love adventure and there is adventure and drama in that Book that they are going to think is very cool.

Sons can be tricky for Moms to know how to teach & direct sometimes and him coming to me with this idea was perfect. (Thank you, Lord.)

I get to bond with him and have a special time that was just us. And inside of that, we learned more about God together. I mean hey! I’ve never read the whole book of Job and that’s our goal together now. It feels good.

I’m currently reading and enjoying this book called That’s My Son: How Moms Can Influence Boys To Become Men of Character by Rick Johnson (shown below) and it has given me great insight on Maddox’s mind and how to teach him and I really recommend it. Thanks to my mom for giving it to me! :) You can click on the book here and take you to the Amazon link to read more about it or buy a copy for yourself.

In the next week I want to write more about the changes in my life and our life as a family coming up. And the reasons. And the goals. Major changes, but ones that we feel great about even it’s not the norm.

Be Thankful : Day 1 (and I’ve moved)

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 I’m thankful for that up there. ^^^

The husband who I don’t deserve + who somehow splits his life between 2 very different worlds.

The children who are more loving + kind  + full of sweet soul than I ever could have imagined.

How did I get this lucky?

 

I was standing in the laundry room on Sunday going through an entire stick of that Oxy gel stick  stain remover on Maddox’s grass-stained school uniform pants.

Usually when this happens I start to mentally tally up the money I’m spending on stain sticks (I go through about 2 a week) and how many new pair of pants I could buy instead with the money. And I start to get really annoyed that my son likes to slide on the ground all over the place whenever he plays with his buddies.

But on Sunday, I paused for a second and I think God was whispering in my ear.

I suddenly got a big smile on my face and some teary eyes and thought of how I am LUCKY to have to be cleaning the grass stains off of a 6 year old boy’s khakis. He is healthy and active and able to run and play.

And he is here. With me. Alive + well.

Sadly, some parents can’t say that and they would give anything to be cleaning their sweet child’s play clothes each night.

Perspective.

That’s all life is really, and so I spent the next 30 minutes JOYFULLY working on all of his clothes.

 

So, today I am thankful for them and all that they have made me. Thank you, Jesus, for blessing me with this family.

 

On another note : my blog has moved! (Obviously.)

FINALLY IT’S DONE.

At least for now. ;)

I’ve moved from Blogger to self-hosted WordPress and changed all names directing you here.

I had a sweet girl (Danielle Burkleo) do all of my blog + upcoming shop logo and designs for The Paper Arrow and I’m excited to start fresh over here. (I have transferred all of my old posts over, so if you are searching for something you should find it here.)

There are a few things that I’m still tweaking, but for now everything is usable.

And writable!

Lots of stuff coming up, and I hope you enjoy this new space.

 

Influence Conference, New Blog, and Redesign. Whoa.

I am just home today after 4 solid days of being with other Christian bloggers in Indianapolis at the very first Influence Conference. 

 

I am tired. But energized.

 

I am overwhelmed. But also feeling more focused.

 

I have a lot to say about it.

Just not tonight.

 

But this I do want to say before I get some shut eye:

 

I wanted to make sure that everyone knows that my blog is soon changing. A LOT.

 

I will have a completely new redesign and if you are reading this on Magda Row (blogspot) then I will soon be redirecting you to an entirely new URL which is self-hosted on an entirely new platform. (www.ohamandaleigh.com)

 

If you are already reading this from my self-branded site that is under construction (you are here because we traded biz cards in Indy!), then you just have to wait and I’m sorry if you get tired of the silly pumpkin photo that I have up there. ;) I’ll be perfectly honest and tell you that I’m tired of looking at it myself. Let’s just call it “filler.”

 

Big changes, people. Big changes.

 

I have a designer working on my site and it might have already been done, except I barely had a chance to call Chad these last 4 days, much less Danielle who still understandably has more questions as to the direction I want her to go for me.

 

Sooooooooooo.

 

Stay tuned. I’m hoping to have a launch date soon to share (this month) and then you will see what I’ve been up to and why I would drive 5 hours with 3 strangers to stay in a hotel room with 4 new strangers (including sharing a bed with 1 girl I had never spoken to) where there were 200 other women who have a passion for blogging and also sharing our faith while doing so.

 

These last 4 days completely rocked my world. In a very good way.

Influence: Pre-conference Meet & Greet!

Happy Friday!

I am excited to announce that I have won a free ticket to The Influence Conference in Indianapolis next month from The Tiny Twig (one of my favorite blogs of all-time) ! I am beyond excited, to be exact.

And am I a little freaked out? Yes?

I went to Blissdom this past January, but as you know, I live in the Nashville area already so I was able to go home whenever I wanted and sleep or whatever. Pretty much just come and go. Eeeeeasy.

This one is different.

I’m carpooling with two girls that I’ve never met before at this point (hi future local & blog friends from Life. Edited and Wild & Precious – thanks for adding me to your traveling adventure), and I’m still looking for a roommate who will definitely be a complete stranger. Ha! I feel brave already. ; )

*Edited to add: I was just contacted by Brittany from Live Laugh Studios (blog maintenance right now) to say that she and her other 2 roommates (Ashley and  Kimberly have space for one more. ME! Mission accomplished. Thanks to everyone who tweeted & retweeted that I was looking still.

So, in order to get out there and meet people and not feel so nervous, the girls who are running this thing have started an online Meet & Greet and I’m linking up over there with my answers to all of the questions.

3 Get To Know Me Questions

  1. I sing all the time without knowing I’m doing it. According to Chad it’s a really bad habit, but some people think it’s sweet and means I’m happy. I sometimes hum to a song in my head while someone’s talking to me on the phone and they have to say “What are you singing, Amanda?” before I realize that I’m doing it. You can also catch me humming this exact version of this song on any given day (and that REALLY drives him nuts). Haha! I honestly don’t know why it’s in my head all the time. (In college, I woke up with Melissa Ethridge’s song Come To My Window in my head every. single. morning. I’ve never even owned that song. 
  2. I’m a Seventh-Day Adventist Christian and if you want to know more about that part of my life you can just ask me. 
  3. I’m a let’s-have-fun-where’s-the-next-party-or-event type of girl who married a workaholic musician. It has taken many years for us to learn how to make that work, as you can only imagine. : )
2 Things I’m Looking Forward To About The Conference
  1. I honestly can’t wait to meet all of the girls from Nashville finally! I would love to have more friends who are local in real life….not just on my laptop….and this would be a great place to see them all in a place that’s geared toward us. I also want to meet the other girls that I follow who live all over the place, including my newfound roommates.
  2. I want to know my purpose and learn what my specific voice is and I think this conference and all of the women who are speaking and sharing will help me narrow down my swirling thoughts.
1 Thing I Can’t Leave Home Without

One thing only? Hmmm….my inhaler. Haaaaaaaa! Okay, and my phone. October does seem to be the month that I drive myself to the ER at 3am the most due to asthma attacks, but whatever. ; ) 
So…..here I go! Linking up with all of the other fabulous ladies who will be joining me. 

Mama’s Got a Brand New Blog

Yeehaw!!

I’m here. I did it. I just created my own WordPress thanks to the direction of Michael Hyatt in this post. I’ve never met you, but thanks, guy. :)

I’ll be posting here from now on and figuring out this whole new world of blogging.

I think I’m in love already.

Off to figure out more settings,

~Amanda

Vintage Farm Fresh Breakfast Bridal Shower

I posted a sneak peek yesterday of this fun party we threw for Maddox’s Kindergarten assistant from last year, Miss Sarah.

She’s getting married in early 2013 and I had a really great time pulling this together with help from the other Kindergarten moms who made or brought food to the table.

This bridal shower had a different twist to it because all of the Kindergarten class was invited to celebrate Sarah!

That was a bit of a challenge to make the whole thing 6 year old friendly AND still feel like a sweet grown up party.

So….who doesn’t like breakfast?! : )

I’m a girl who grew up in the country so all things vintage country or farm style are dear to me because they feel so natural and normal. It is truly not a “style” to me but things that I have always loved and/or seen since childhood.

Here enters the Vintage Farm Fresh Breakfast theme. I knew that Sarah’s style was a different type of vintage, but I was pretty sure that she would like it.

I hardly had to buy anything extra because I had most of the decor already in my party planning/house decorating/food serving stash. That is always a bonus.

I also luckily have an old massively long wood table for children and chairs in our sunroom, so seating for the kids made it pretty simple. (I also keep a plethora of vinyl tablecloths on hand for these kid occasions. Usually $3 at Walmart in the summertime.)

She’s so tiny she blends in at the kids’ table. ;)
All of the kids did great and they were amazingly excited to see her after 6 weeks of being out of school.

Here are a lot of photos of the food we served and the decor I used on the serving tables! Thanks to my friend, Sandra, for sharing all of these iPhone pics she got because if she hadn’t there would be NO pictures of this party. And that would be a sad thing. : / 
The quiches that were supposed to be made the night before couldn’t be made due to power outages, so we were able to grab some quiche from Publix and they were YUM!
I always prefer to use real dishes, real glasses, and real silverware. Even with children! Less waste and cheaper in the long run. 
Butter, syrup, and sugar – served the old fashioned way. 

Fresh eggs purchased from a friend’s daughter who raises chickens and sells their eggs as her job.

Maddox was happy to see his friends and Sarah and also glad that it was a grownup party that included his type of food. ; )

Our sweet set of juice glasses for the kids. I searched for a set of these for about a year before I found them locally. I think I paid $1 each. SCORE!

Milk bar with milk containers bought at World Market and milk bottles purchased from Shop Sweet Lulu. The little cow creamer was just for decor and was something I used for Magdalen’s 2 year Vintage Cowgirl birthday party. I’m hanging onto that thing!
Soda box purchased at World Market (no! I couldn’t find an authentic one in time, but this one served it’s purpose).

I use mason jars for almost every party, unless it’s formal. The mason jar drink dispenser seemed to fit the theme so I used that. (Purchased at Word Market also. I love that place!)

My vintage cart (purchased locally for a steal a couple of months ago), melamine dishes from Walmart and 2 STRAWBERRY PIES made by our dear baker friend, Sandra. Everything she makes tastes like heaven!

Mini peach preserves in a jar was the party favor I found and it was perfect for a breakfast/brunch party! The vintage rustic toolbox was something I already had that held them perfectly!

The food was scrumptious, the kids were well-behaved, the guest of honor felt loved, and there were lots of smiles all around.

Thanks to the ladies who helped me so much in the kitchen making the pancakes and all of the other last minute details that needed to be finished. Also, the cleanup! They were like little magicians in my kitchen because they had a lot of it cleaned up by the time I was done watching Sarah open her gifts. : )

Great friends equals a happy heart and I hope to show you some past parties on here that I have had the most fun scheming on and actually putting together and enjoying with dear friends!

{SNEAK PEEK} Vintage Farm Fresh Breakfast Bridal Shower

I’m not quite ready with my post on Maddox and what I wrote about yesterday. I want the words to come out just right, so in the mean time I thought I would post a few fun things while I work on it!

I had the honor in July to do a fun little bridal shower for the Kindergarten Assistant from Maddox’s class last year, Miss Sarah. She’s a sweetie and we loved her. : )

Here’s a sneak peek of that little gathering and since I’m rushing off to a Summer Reading Rewards swim party for grades 1-4, I will just show one photo here and the rest later today or in the morning.

It really did turn out cute and I can’t wait to share the rest of the photos. Thanks to my fellow Kindergarten mom and good friend, Sandra, for all of the pics from her iPhone. I was so busy hosting that I forgot to grab my camera or at least my phone! It was a crazy, fun morning though.

Happy Wednesday!

A Deliberate Life

Really bad photo I took with my phone of an excerpt out of a book called Alone Together by Sherry Turkle (page 275)

So this Facebook strike I’m on (I told you I would come back and talk about it)……today I’m almost at 5 weeks without Facebook access and this has certainly given me a lot of quiet time in my mind to think about some of the most important things in my life.

My life.
My marriage.
My parenting.
My friends.
My family.
My home.
Wow. Lots of things needing some thinking and attention. 
I had been floating. Mentally and emotionally and spiritually. And I didn’t realize it because of all the noise that social media creates for me. 
Now, please understand that I am still very present online. We have lots of new things going on at the homefront/moving status that have happened in the past week and a half and I am pinning on Pinterest like a mad woman as I find ideas and room layouts and paint colors that I’m digging. 
I’m on Twitter but only check it out a couple of times a week to catch up with the latest buzz in the handmade & crafting & blog world. But honestly, Twitter is too fast and too detailed for me in small bursts for me to hang around for very long. It’s a nice catch-up of the RIGHT NOW.
I’m also on Instagram, because seriously….who can’t resist posting some pics of their kids once in awhile? Can I hear an Amen? ; )

My mom follows me on IG and a handful of real-life friends and a lot of blogger friends so it’s nice to keep a smaller amount of people caught up that actually seek me out on there. IG being just photos  makes it easy for me to not get all crazy up in there with my time.

I’m learning, through this fast (of my biggest social media addiction), that I was crowding God out. Since I turned it off – literally deactivating my FB account – I have had such peace in my mind. And openness for thoughts. I have been speaking to God more often throughout my day and taking the time to speak to the kids more about Him on a regular unplanned basis and it has felt so nice. I’ll write more about that tomorrow though. 
I briefly mentioned our trip to Destin in an earlier post and before we left I checked out a few books from the library. (I’m wondering how many posts I write that involve me talking about a book? hmmm.)

Anyway, I was perusing the books and came across this book called Alone Together by Sherry Turkle. It’s premise is that we are sitting in our homes ALONE while having a false sense of being TOGETHER with others because of social media and the tricks it plays on your mind. I didn’t get a chance to actually read it before it was due back at the library but I skimmed it and love the quote from it that I posted above. It just jumped out at me and I just kept nodding my head. Yes. YEEEEESSSSS. So completely right on with the thoughts I’ve been having and the feelings I’ve been experiencing lately. 

Here’s another explanation for you of what this book is trying to convey. You’ve seen this commercial, right? 

Sadness.

Was I that girl? Seriously. I know I wasn’t that bad because I do actually go out and do things and see people. (I promise.)

What I’ve found is that it can be a pretty severe trap for moms. Especially moms like me who are the only grown up at home during waking hours and into the child-sleeping hours that I like to call “Mama’s Free Time.” It is addicting to hop on FB at any time during the day as well, whether on the laptop while the kids are playing or on the phone while stopping at a stoplight or sitting in a parking lot just to have a quick brief contact with another grownup, no matter how insignificant & a waste of time it might be. I was the WORST at that type of thing. I have been cured already of the need for contact with others. My kids are enough for me now. They are amazing little creatures and I don’t want to miss a thing.

The other trap I fell into was feeling like you’re back in school trying to keep up with the “cool” kids when really they are no better than you. I can’t even count anymore the times I felt completely left out and wondering what was wrong with me or my kids or my family when I realized that a lot of my “friends” were all hanging out without me. Repeatedly. How did I know? Oh. All the photos of them having a good time. On Facebook, that evil tool. While I knew I was sitting at home doing nothing at the exact same time. Mhmmmm.

Or when they thought they were being sneaky (which I think might be worse) but since I’m not a complete idiot I easily and quickly read between the lines when I wasn’t even trying. *sigh* Sometimes being extremely perceptive is not a trait working in your favor, but I can’t turn it off. : /

I can usually take an ego hit in stride because I don’t let myself get upset about those types of things, but it got to be pretty blatant at times and I will admit right here that is is very hurtful. And really….why do I need that drama in my life? I don’t.

And now? I don’t see what anyone is doing. Ever. And I honestly love it. I found out who my true friends were. You know, the ones who actually call me or text me or email me or seek me out at church to say hello to me. : ) I am extremely grateful to these people.

I had one of the best summers ever while hanging out with just 2 key best friends. I was relaxed and not dragging the kids all over the place trying to keep up with too many activities and opportunities. It was perfect, really, and a precursor to my new way of life.

I quit looking at my kids as material for FB photo posts all day long. Yeah, they’re cute and funny and sweet and endearing and oh my word, I want to eat them up! but I’ve started enjoying the moment more and have stopped looking at my phone all the time.

I HAVE BEEN LIBERATED.

I have a feeling that if I hopped on Facebook right now this is what I would notice after being separated from it for so long:

  • people trying to be witty
  • people bragging about their kids 
  • people posting too much information about their kids and photos that said kids will kill them for later (you do realize that whatever you post online about your kids is on there FOREVER, right?)
  • people bragging about what they buy
  • people bragging about how natural they are
  • people bragging about how crafty they are
  • people trying to convince others of how __________ they or their kids are. 

etc.
etc.
etc.

Blaaaaaah.

I know that I would be rolling my eyes so much that they might get stuck up in my head.

Because here’s what I’ve learned – I don’t care about impressing anyone anymore. I did for a very long time and at what cost? Ignoring my precious children while I’m online? Ignoring my husband when he’s actually at home because I wanted to know what mere acquaintances were doing with their time? Trying to keep up with everyone else?

Nah. Not for me.

(And I apologize for being so harsh with these thoughts of mine, but we all know it’s true. The majority, at least. I do miss following a few people who were just completely genuine in what they posted….photos of family vacations and of their kids just being kids and not posed and just updates on babies, marriages, fun new life events, and new job or career announcements or advancements. That’s fun for me to know about!)

I’m having what I’ve internally coined a “Mini-Mid-Life Intervention”. I am almost at mid-life, right? I’m 34.

I’m rethinking all the areas in my life and trying to simplify as much as I can, while still enjoying simple joys.

Mainly my family. : )

Taking the advice of another blogger and starting to take timed shots of me WITH my kids. : ) I don’t even care that I was wearing no makeup, because they will not care one day when they wish they had a photo of us all together. 

I have so much to say about everything that I’ve been thinking and will continue to elaborate in the coming days & weeks on here.

In just a few words after all I said above? I AM HAPPY AND AT PEACE. : )

Tomorrow I’ll write more about what I mentioned above…..speaking of God more to my children.