Notice of Changes

You will notice that some of my albums are "empty" on my Facebook page and that some pages and pictures are missing on here and on Natural and Free. Don't worry - they won't stay that way. :) In light of some recent events, I've had to watermark my photos and designed images. Until that is done and I get a chance to upload them, my FREE Fibro Banners and Badges and Inspirational Designs {By Me} pages will be down, and the albums under the same (or almost the same) names on my Facebook page will be empty, and pictures will be deleted and watermarked at various times for as long as it takes to get that done. I'm sorry for any inconvenience this may cause you. Thank you for understanding! In the mean time, if there is an image you would like that you saw or have an idea for a new one, feel free to email me or leave me a comment, and I'll do what I can to get one to you. :)

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Autumn Is My Favorite...


I don't really have anything to share today because, though things have been busy, they have been uneventful (to which I am glad) or full of things I am not at liberty to share just yet or at all (because they didn't happen to me or we don't have all the results yet, as in the case of the allergy testing my kids are going through right now).  I, however, did not want to skip a week of posting, so I decided that I would share some of my favorite autumn pictures with you today (all taken by me).  None of them are too recent (at least 5 years ago), but I am hoping to take more this year if we have as beautiful a fall as we normally do and I can get out there and take them. At any rate, it is my hope that this photos lift your spirits and make you smile.  I know they have that effect on me.  Autumn is definitely my favorite.  Enjoy!










What is your favorite time of year?



Saturday, September 21, 2013

"Where Have You Been?"

Image courtesy of Michal Marcol/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Well, I have been, for lack of a better word, busy!  Homeschooling has been a lot more "must keep this schedule" than I thought it would be, i.e. not a lot of room for fluctuation in daily life.  My days are completely full from about 7:30am until 8pm with school, housework, family life, etc. Monday through Friday, Sundays are busy from about 7am until 9pm or so and Saturday...that's kinda my breather day.  I kinda live for about 8pm to 10pm Monday through Friday, but especially for 4pm Friday until 10pm Saturday.  That's the time I feel like I can breathe and relax.  Until then it is a little schedule overload, hence the picture I chose for today's post.

Due to the craziness that is adjusting to new scheduling, I have had to change my blogging schedule.  I am not able to participate in link-ups as much as I'd like to right now, I am not able to read my blogger buddies' posts as quickly as I'd like, I don't get to check as email as quickly as I'd like, etc.  It is not easy for me to have to change so much so quickly, but it is necessary.

Anyway, I just want you all to know that I will normally blog on Saturdays now (hopefully weekly, but I cannot promise that at this point), but a rare blog post on another day will show up from time to time, especially if we are on a break from school, if I have a guest, if I am participating in a link-up, etc.  Also, I will eventually get back to your emails, comments, etc., it may just take a little longer than we'd both like.  I wish it didn't have to be this way, but it cannot be helped at this point in time.  I sure do hope you understand!

I have been asked, with all the crazy, if I regret our choice to homeschool.  Not at all.  It was and is the best choice for my family, and I have seen some very positive changes and learned so much about my boys and how they think and work, you couldn't even begin to imagine!  I am still very impressed with the curriculum, though nothing is perfect, and this is no exception.  I have my "What in the world?!?!?" moments with it and my kids, my moments of wanting to pull my hair out, but I also have my "Wow!  Who knew my kids were so brilliant?" and my "I am so stinkin' proud!" and my "This is great!  I never would've thought to teach my kid that in this way!" moments, too.  I think we've definitely gained a lot more (i.e. one-on-one time with my kids and helping them along in ways I couldn't before) than we've lost (i.e. my sanity at times).  All in all, it is an adjustment, but it has been worth it. :)

Thank you to all of you who have been such an encouragement to me in this transition time!  Your kind words and prayers have helped so much!  It is getting better a little bit each day, and I am finally feeling like we're getting into the groove of things for the most part! :)  Totally makes me feel like a winner, I assure you!

For those of you wondering how all the change has affected my Fibromyalgia, I have had surprisingly little extra pain.  I have had a few overwhelmed, meltdown moments, but since I've had an increase in my Levothyroxine, I am doing a lot better (I can't tell you how not fun it is going through a major routine change when your thyroid levels are off!  YIKES!).  I still have to take myself out of the moment sometimes so that I don't overreact or freak out, but that's ok.  That's as it should be. :)  Praying every morning before we start helps a lot, too!

Before I get back to enjoying some time with the family, I would like to ask you all to continue to keep me in your thoughts and prayers about these things:

  1. That homeschooling will continue to improve, and that we will continue to find our groove.  It improves a little every day, and I am confident it will continue on that path.
       
  2. That we will find the proper dosage of Levothyroxine for me (and my son who has also had an increase in his dosage).  This is a must for optimum health!
       
  3. That the allergist will figure out the best way to help my kiddos (my oldest has been there and my other 2 are going in a few weeks) so that we can keep the ickies at bay, know how to keep them healthy (i.e. if we need to change diet or environment, do shots), etc.  I think that keeping them healthy will keep the rest of us healthy, reduce stress, etc.  It is a win-win all around!  (FYI, I love their allergist!  He is GREAT and works with autoimmune disorders.  I may even end up seeing him in future if need be.)
        
  4. That I will learn to just relax and enjoy this homeschooling experience.  I have a tendency to be "perfectionist" and push when I should back off a little at times, and I want to know when to push ahead and when to hold back to help them be successful.  I am learning, but it is not an overnight process!
Thank you all for your support, love and prayers!  They mean the world to me!  If you need anything, including a prayer partner, feel free to email me!  My email is always open!

What's going on in your area of the world?


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Lessons In Training

Tuesday was the first day of school...Homeschool, to be exact, but I'll get to more on that in a minute.  First, I want to talk about something that didn't change, and probably the only thing that didn't: Taking "first day of school" pictures.


~*~*~*~

1.  We take the "serious" picture:
The "serious" picture
This is needed to show family and friends the school kids being well-behaved.

2. We take the "not so serious" picture:
The "not so serious" picture
This is needed to show that we aren't always serious and like to have fun!

3. Individual pictures:
Stephen, my 6th grader
Sean, my 4th grader



These are needed to show each kiddo alone and to mark the year, and I am bemoaning the fact that next year my baby girl will have one of just her (Can't believe she'll be in pre-school next year!!!).

4. A picture of everyone:
All the kiddos, because Elaina had to be a part, too! :)
We take this because everyone has to be included, and next year (as I alluded to above) this will be phased out because Elaina will officially be in the "serious" and "not so serious" pictures and also have one of just her.  Time flies too fast!

~*~*~*~

Now onto the things that have changed, i.e. everything else.

I am finding that I wasn't as prepared as I wanted to think I was for this transition.  I am finding that I am a lesson myself, and I'm definitely in training!  By that I mean, each of us, our lives, are lessons for others as they watch us, and I am in training for or morphing into the finished lesson that I will ultimately be.  This is one area of that training that truly has me reeling!

I wanted to think that I could do this alone.  I told myself that I had all the skills, all the training...What would be the big deal?  Well, apparently all the training in the world cannot prepare you for the change that is schooling, especially homeschooling.  Sure, I know intellectually what to do, but there is the whole scheduling and dividing time and newness that makes it so strange and overwhelming.  It can take one's breath away!

So, today, I woke up early and prayed.  I asked God to help me.  I confessed that I needed Him.  I confessed that I'd forgotten the whole reason we were doing this: Because it was what we believed was right for our family, and mostly because we wanted to make sure that our kids got a Godly education, too, and that part is on me since it isn't in the curriculum.

I know I will get frustrated and overwhelmed, but now I have remembered to include God, and that is key to this whole en devour.  Without Him, I can do nothing (John 15:5, KJV).  Knowing that He is there makes all the difference.

Today, when the kiddos get up and before we start, we are going to pray, and we will do that every day.  We are going to pray for guidance to know when to move ahead, when to linger, when to cut back, when to get extra help...When to do anything so that we can succeed.  We are going to pray for wisdom in all things, for patience with each other, for the ability to forgive others and ourselves when things don't pan out and for love that knows no bounds to deal with all the changes.  

This is the first of many new steps and new lessons.  We are in training for life lessons as well as academic ones.  We are learning about integrity, honesty, hard work and so much more!  And we can do it all, "...through Christ which strengtheneth..." us (Philippians 4:13, KJV).

No matter what happens, after this morning, I know it is for our good.  I know we have made the right choice.  The material is great, challenging and do-able...It is just very different and will take time to get it all figured out.  I have faith that we will do that and more, because God is faithful.

Your prayers are appreciated as we continue on this journey, please and thank you! :)  Know that I pray for you all daily, too.  Please let me know if there is any specific prayer requests that you have in comments below or via email, and I'd be happy to pray for you!


~*~*~*~
How is your back-to-school going?
Are you a lesson in training, too?
What's your best back-to-school tip?