Finding the Quiet {Blogging Through the ABCs}

Q is for Finding the Quiet

Q is for Quiet in the Chaos 😉

You saw that coming, didn’t you?

No really.  I have needed a little blogging inspiration lately; I have been in a rut the size of Texas.  Then I came to Q in our blogging through the alphabet series.  It reminded me of why I changed my blog name, bought my blog domain, and started writing for the masses (well, for more than just my family and friends).

Since I wrote my introduction post, we have added an another tiny human to our crew, and while she is a pretty perfect angel, her middle child, older brother is still just as demanding as he was a year ago.

Imagine that.  =)

So things aren’t ever exactly … quiet. haha

My goal of this blog is to help inspire other mamas, not give them more things to worry about.  Or more things to stress over.  I want to help solve problems, share simple, real-food meals, introduce new ideas, and inspire us all to look towards God for help, healing, and thanksgiving.

I have found when I am in a rut in any part of my life, it is when I have become “too busy” to focus on my relationship with Christ.

When I have stopped my daily devotionals for a few weeks, stopped praying over every part of my life; when I have shifted my focus from God to wordly things and controlling those wordly things, it seems like my wordly-world starts to become foggy, cluttered, and slowly shift back into chaos.

So this is me shifting my focus.

Through the move from Nebraska to Kansas, through trying to heal my body physically (so I can feel finally do what I love and run again), so I can feel better about myself and reflect that in all that I do; so I can be the best wife and mother I can be I am turning my Quiet back on.

This is me reminding myself, and any other mamas in their rut, to let go and turn everything over to Him.

 

Blogging Through the Alphabet

P is for planting: Bloom Where You Are Planted

You know how before you ever go searching for something different, you can feel change on the horizon?

I am not sure how, but for several (and by several I mean at least 6) months, I have felt change coming. Just that gut feeling in my core that while uncertain, something is certain to change.

I wasn’t sure what God had in store; would it be work? Good? Devastating? Scary? Exciting?

And then the call came; a job offer. An amazing job for the most amazing man I know, my husband. We pursued it, prayed over the situation, and a few weeks later we are making arrangements to move!

You all know I *love* my planner. This year they made the covers removable, so you can change out your covers through the year. Several weeks back I ordered this one:

Bloom Where You Are Planted

 

It arrived the same day we put the for sale sign in our yard.

I think the hardest part about this particular transition is this: This was the first home we signed our life away on. This was the first home, where everything was OURS. It was our blank canvas and we made it our home. We worked so hard, & we truly loved everything about it; it has been perfect for raising our young children.

I know it is just a house; but it is just our house. It is the first home where we were real home owners. It is where we lost a pregnancy, were blessed with another, and built an even stronger relationship than we had the first 6 years of our marriage. We found a church home with not only amazing people, but where every Sunday the sermon fed our souls. It was more than just an every day Sunday service, and it took us many years to find it (or for God to get us there).

Maybe if we were moving right into another home, or God laid everything out right in front of me, I wouldn’t feel quite so emotional about leaving here. Leaving Arkansas was exciting and freeing- we were moving away, doing something on our own like we had always talked about. And while this is exciting too, it is the first time I have felt emotionally attached to a place; because it was our first fresh start.

There is always something about your first home that stays with you forever I think. But that being said, I cannot wait to see what the future holds for our real estate journey. We have already started looking at a few different turnkey properties, so this is an exciting time. One of our friends sent us this useful turnkey real estate guide on roofstock, so if you are also looking to expand your real estate horizons, you might want to take a look to see what you could learn.

Every season has a reason; and this is a season to replant, regrow, and follows God’s plan for our life together. And I can’t wait to see what blooms!

How has God shaken up your life recently?

O is for Organization {how we plan and organize our days}

O is for Organization {how we plan and organize our days}

Organization.

I have talked about organization in our home and homeschool before. I keep a general routine in place, and organize our school in such a way that it makes me life easier.

Posts to how we organize:

Organizing and Schedules/Routines

Our homeschool and life routine is ever changing (though not by much) simply because we have a baby in the house whose feeding and sleeping schedule changes as she ages. Here is what we are doing now with a 4.5 yo, 2.5 yo, and 6.5 month old.

  • 6:00am Hubby and I are up emptying dishwasher, starting laundry, making breakfast, etc
  • 7:00am Wake time for all, I nurse and bottle baby while older two eat breakfast
  • 7:30-8:30am In this time I clean up the kitchen, pump after nursing Ila, and we begin our Sonlight P4/5 read alouds and circle/calendar time.
  • 8:30 Ila goes down for nap 1
  • 8:30-10:30 We continue school-this includes Bible, our SL read alouds, Max’s BFIAR, calendar and circle time song/poem/memory work, Lexie’s AAR, Math, HWOT, and a science video some days. We are also memorizing maps (which we’ve been doing informally for some time) just continuing work on: the 50 states, continents, and countries Daddy has visited and their geography (this is for fun and is NOT formal). On Fridays we do an art lesson using ARTistic Pursuits (which we LOVE-link & review coming soon!).
  • 10:30-11:30 Lexie goes downstairs for independent play, Max goes to their room for his Independent play.
  • 11:00 I get Ila up, nurse, solids, bottle then she chills while I make Lexie and Max’s lunch.
  • 11:30- L and M eat lunch, then play outside weather permitting
  • 12:15- Max down for Nap
  • 12:30 Ila down for nap 2, then hubby or I do Lexie’s nap with her and she goes down stairs to rest; some days she may quietly play dolls upstairs, or she can rest for an hour then go outside for an hour.
  • 3:00 Max up, Ila up and nurse, solids, bottle
  • 3:30 snack for Lexie and Max, then outside to play weather permitting
  • 4:30 Ila down for last cat-nap; I start dinner
  • 5:30 Ila up from cat nap
  • 5:45 we eat dinner as a family (Ila will soon get solids with us here), then baths and silly show or books with Daddy
  • 6:30 nurse and bottle Ila
  • 6:45 Lexie and Max to bed (daddy does this while I put Ila down)
  • 7pm- Mommy and Daddy begin their night! =)

The only things here set in stone are the kids’ naps and eating times. Everything else has just fallen into place naturally. I prefer getting school done in the morning so we have the afternoons to read, play outside, run errands, cook, etc. Once it is off my plate I feel like we have the rest of the day to do whatever we want, or continue learning about other things. As they get older and school takes longer, that will change but for now we can accomplish all that I feel is important in a few hours in the morning.

We clean up after each transition- so: before independent play, before naps, before daddy gets home, before bed, and always before we can go outside. This also encourages them not to ransack any one area in the house and leave it! 😉

On Tuesday night we pick up the entire house- everything goes in its place and Wednesday morning is cleaning day! The kids go down stairs after I put Ila down for her nap, and at that time I clean. They have already taken their clothes to the laundry room, picked up any toys that were out, helped clear the breakfast table, etc. I clean the house top to bottom alternating a different “deep clean” area each week (fans, blinds, baseboards, walls, etc). I try to use Tuesday night as my declutter/clean out time. I do a whole-house declutter three times a year, and I usually hire a company that does Hard rubbish removals. It’s surprising how much junk collects up over time! Fellow parents might already be aware of this, but the biggest mess in the house is usually toys that are strewn everywhere. If you’ve got the space, a playroom can take care of this problem. A friend had a nifty hack and got something like a prefab she shed to use as a playroom as they didn’t have enough rooms in their house and it works great for them.

Planning

For my homeschool planner I use the Mardel Simple Plan Homeschool Planner and I LOVE IT. I did use the Ultimate Homeschool Planner for a while and I did like it, too. I think either of these will fit most homeschooler’s needs. I just prefer the Mardel planner (and can’t link it for you because they don’t have them in stock until June or July).

For home and life in general, I use (and LIVE by) my Erin Condren Life Planner. I use it for everything not homeschool related-tracking Ila’s schedule, menu planning, to do lists, bills, purchases made, my monthly oils order, library books, husband’s travel, our travel plans, etc. basically everything NOT homeschool related. The ECLP is spiral bound, which is fine, but I chose to arc mine and will probably never turn back. I love it!

I may even arc our SL instructor’s guides; it might make it less desirable to others for resale, but we will be using the cores for all 3 children, which means I will have them for some time and I want them to be as convenient for me as possible, and that may mean arc punching them. I am still debating, but will definitely let you know what I decide and include a post!

So, that’s it! O is definitely for Organization in our home and homeschool.

How do you stay organized and on top of things in your home?

N is for Nature {Blogging Through the ABCs}

N is for Nature {QuietintheChaos.com}

Growing up, mine and my brother’s favorite thing was being outside, in nature.  Climbing trees, digging in dirt, fishing-basically anything outdoors we were down for.

My favorite past times of high school are those fishing with my friends on Pickwick lake, at a friend’s pond, or going on early morning squirrel hunts.

Mine and my husband’s first date was fishing at Shelby Farms in Memphis-that’s the first place he kissed me, where we took our dogs on picnics, and flew kites (yes- 18 and 24 year old fly kites!).  We camped, fished, canoed, and hunted our way through the first years of our relationship and marriage.

Our children are growing up loving the outdoors- they love to camp, fish, walk by the creek in town, “work” in the garden, and hear about daddy’s hunting adventures which they are sure to join  him on one day.

God gave us one of the most precious gifts for our enjoyment-

Nature.

I wonder what Adam thought when God gave him reign over the earth?  When God told him to name the animals, enjoy the fruits of the trees, use their leaves for medicine.

Did he know how amazing that was?  Did he know God had given him everything he would ever need?

What I love about homeschool is we can stop, in the middle of the most beautiful warm day and go lay in the grass; breathe in the fresh air and soak up the sun and thank God for the most beautiful gift and responsibility.

I love that integrated into my children’s education is how God works in nature.  I like that everything they are learning links back to how God created it, and that science can fully support our God’s work.

In my life, in our family, and in our homeschool N is definitely for nature.

Blogging Through the Alphabet

M is for Moment

http://pixabay.com/en/presence-awareness-mindfulness-615648/

Photo Credit HERE

Being in the moment, intention in the day.  It goes back to my word of the year, smile.  If I am always in my head thinking about things, analyzing and planning, then I can’t be right here.  And right here is where I want to be!

I want to be outside in the yard with my babies, soaking up all the sun.

I want to be in the pew, next to my husband, learning more about Christ who saved me, and more about how to love others.

I want to be at the dinner table, listening to our 4 year old and 2 year old having an incredibly deep conversation about fabric (?!), and how we can help others by having Jesus in our hearts.

I don’t want to be worrying about what to cook for dinner, why the baby is crying- is she hungry, poopy, tired?!- or if I am forgetting to do something.

So I plan and prepare.  I schedule the main things in our day (wake up time, feedings, meals, naps) and let the rest fall into place.  It keeps me sane.

Most importantly it lets me be right here.  In the moment.

And when I slip up and don’t plan our meals, or the events in our week?  Everyone in our home can tell- because I’m not present; I am not wrapped up in our moments together, but thinking about tasks I haven’t accomplished, and what to fix for dinner.

One of my goals this weekend is to go through our freezer and fridge and plan out 2-3 more weeks of meals (because I am at the end of my last menu plan), and get some books reserved at the library for our next month’s homeschool.

Because being in these moments, the ones I promise myself I will remember always (knowing I won’t), is most important.  I will never get these back.

How do you stay in the moment?

 

Blogging Through the Alphabet

Juggling with Jesus {Blogging through the ABCs}

Juggling with Jesus {www.QuietInTheChaos.com}

Photo Credit HERE

This week our letter is J.  My obvious choice was Jesus, but I settled on something else that involves Jesus.

Juggling.

It doesn’t matter if you are a work at home mom (this is stay at home moms too, because boy do we work!) or work outside the home mom- We are all juggling.

But a while back I vowed to stop juggling.  Stop just barely getting by with all areas of my life and really focus on what matters.

We juggle:

  • our relationships-with Christ, family, & friends
  • our responsibilities-at home, and outside the home
  • our personal extra curricular activities (all the extra things we love on top of our families and jobs)

In the past, I have had a hard time making time for everything I do and need in my life.

In the past … 5 years or so, my relationship with Christ has grown exponentially, (through work on my part and on His) and thus so have the other relationships in my life.

My responsibilities are numerous- from schooling the kids while training their hearts, keeping our home and paying bills, to taking care of myself (which always comes last) while doing what I love, which is sewing and blogging- there isn’t enough time for it all every single day.  (is that a messy sentence or what?  eh- I’m going to leave it.)

So I do drop the ball.  Sometimes I drop them all.  Jesus says that is okay. (thank you Jesus!)

I set out before Ila was born to prioritize my life.

And so I have.

I made a list of priorities and it hangs on my refrigerator.  Jesus and my marriage are at the top, followed by my children and my well being (aka exercise for mama *this is hard for me to fit into my day, because I always see something else that needs to be done.  but taking care of ME has to take priority to something).  Then tending our home.  And finally, blogging and sewing are at the bottom of that list.  And although it was hard for me to put those things in order, it had to be done.

Now, I can go about my day with intention (which was my word in 2014 .. or was it 2013?).  Because I am no longer juggling and barely getting by.

Once I got my priorities straight, starting with Jesus, everything else fell into place.

Blogging Through the Alphabet

Keeping My Children’s Innocence {Blogging through the ABCs}

Keeping our Children's Innocence {Quiet in the Chaos}

Standing at the kitchen sink, a chubby little hand touches my own; I look down to see a precious face full of wonder and innocence. “Mama, can you tie my bonnet?” My daughter is playing dress up- she wants to look like the girls from Little Women, with her petticoat down to her ankles and apron doubled around her waste, Uncle Wiggly’s Storybook and The Giving Tree tucked under her arm.

My baby still has her innocence; but society is trying its damnedest to take it from her. This mama will fight back. More and more of us are fighting back, protecting the hearts of our children because that is our job.

My job is not to be the hottest mom at the play date, to be the best house keeper or cook, to make the most money, or drive the nicest car.

My job is to protect my babies’ innocence.

Every day our children are bombarded with sex, violence, vulgar language, and ideas that children shouldn’t even be trying to make sense of. There are sites, which you can check out here, which are suitable for adults but by no means should be visited by children. In the span of a twenty second commercial that airs during America’s Funniest Home Videos, what should be a decent family show is ruined by commercialism.

When my four year old covers her ears because watching the Lion King (or Finding Nemo, or any other “child’s” movie we have tried watching “for fun”) scares her- I turn it off.

I don’t want to desensitize her.

I don’t want her to think that those bad feelings, that fear, or hurt is normal.

When her gut says run, don’t look, or this is wrong, I want her to run, turn away, and do what is right.

I want her to follow her gut. My job is to keep her gut feelings, those instincts, in tact.

Because one day, when she is in a hard situation, has to make a tough decision, or someone is making her feel uncomfortable- she needs to know that gut instinct IS RIGHT.

Maybe my children are “sheltered” by today’s standards. Maybe they won’t Open a free collection of sex vids at hdpornvideo for example, whilst others might. Maybe my children aren’t exposed to the commercialism, sexulaization, or violence that has become the norm (even in products marketed for children) in our culture. Some might say my views make me a prude (I’m sure this London escort would say otherwise), but I just think children should be sheltered until they are more mature.

But I am here to protect her innocence until she is ready to handle the bigger stuff. So we play, read books, talk about the Bible, heaven, life, death, sickness, our emotions, love, Jesus, and people who don’t love Jesus, how to pray, and how to treat ourselves and others with respect.

But we do it on our terms– not the T.V’s, not society’s. Our children will have their innocence.

Blogging Through the Alphabet

H is for Harmony {Blogging through the ABC’s}

H is for harmony {quietinthechaos.com}

Harmony: the use of simultaneous pitches (tones, notes), or chords.

Life can be chaotic, noisy, exciting, and stressful.  With three children under 5 (and one of those being a 2 year old that could rival a bull in a china cabinet), this describes not just life, but our home many days.

But then there are those moments, the moments that inspired me to name this blog, Quiet in The Chaos, when all things work together beautifully.

The moments when everyone is quiet, peaceful, smiling, and working together.

A goal for me in 2015 is to stop. listen. and see the harmony.  See the smiles passed from a big sister to a little brother as he dances every single step to “stepping time” from Mary Poppins.  Notice the way big brother sweetly touches his baby sister’s cheek before telling her she is the “sweetest baby Ila-Dila. yeeesss.”

The harmony.  The rhythm of our home; from the way my husband unloads the dishwasher every morning while getting the oldest two their breakfast, to the chubby little feet pitter-pattering across the kitchen floor to see what/who is eating something.

It takes a lot of prayer, and a lot of patience but if you are still for a moment you can feel the harmony in your home, through all the chaos.

Blogging Through the Alphabet

 

G is for Grace {blogging through the ABCs}

I am a little late, but I am excited to join the “Blogging Through the Alphabet” series. Each week I will have a new post based on the a letter of the alphabet.

This week is the letter G.

G is for Grace {blogging through the alphabet www.quietinthechaos.com}

G is for Grace {blogging through the alphabet www.quietinthechaos.com}

G is for Grace-giving and receiving

I have a really hard time with this one- grace for myself, and grace for others. Grace was bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ. God has given us grace. Why do we not give it to myself? It is okay if everything doesn’t go perfectly as planned- modify and adjust. It is okay if every inch of the house isn’t perfect- shut the door to the messy rooms! It’s okay if dinner didn’t turn out just right- they will eat it anyway (because you cooked it, and they love you).

God doesn’t require perfection; he doesn’t require that I be: the perfect wife, the perfect mama, the perfect house keeper, the perfect homeschooling parent, the perfect friend, the perfect daughter, or the perfect daughter of Christ.

What he does require of me is that I give others grace.

Then give myself grace when I fail.

Don’t stress over it; LET IT GO.

Do you know the best gift you can give to someone else? grace.

Our children need our grace; sometimes the room looks clean to them (what clothes all over the floor?) when it is a disaster to us.

Our husbands need our grace; sometimes it is overwhelming being the provider, the daddy who give “shouldy rides,” and the fix-it-all man of the house.

Have grace and patience with our work. Even having patience with my blog and using the hostiserver.com servers and others like it.

We need to give ourselves grace; let it go. It wasn’t exactly perfect, and that is okay.

Husbands, we need your grace. We need you to look past our imperfections and see the heart of what we are doing- raising our families the best we can to honor you, our children, and God.

God poured his abounding love and grace all over each and every one of us when Jesus died on that cross, then called us to live like Jesus did. Treat other like Jesus did.

And what did Jesus do for others?

He gave them grace.

Read more blogging through the alphabet by clicking the picture below.

Blogging Through the Alphabet
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