LIFE

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Had a pretty amazing day today! I found a recipe online the other day for home made play doh, so today I made some. We forgot to buy food color, so it was just plain color. Well, the lack of color had no impact towards my son, he LOVED the dough. As a matter of fact, he’s pretty much spent the entire day playing with it. So, I’ll be getting some food coloring and finding more loose objects for him to press on the dough and play! We have cookie cutters and shells, but I’m thinking of more items for textures and such. It just brought my heart so much joy and pride to see how he enjoyed playing with the dough. The recipe for the dough can be found here….http://theimaginationtree.com/2012/04/best-ever-no-cook-play-dough-recipe.html

It’s been a tough road getting here, for me.  Emotionally and spiritually,  I’ve been pretty broken for some time. But, through all the tough moments, the good has always far outweighed the bad in my life. I’ve learned forgiveness is the best tool I have to get me through life. I have to forgive those who’ve hurt me deeply, and I have to forgive myself, as well. I’m doing my best to go back to the me I was before I let life circumstances change me; and I really just want to build people up. I want people to know that they matter, that the world is better because of them.

Everyday I spend with my soulmate and my son is a tremendous blessing. They are my reason for breathing! I will do everything in my power to see that they know everyday how loved they are.

The journey of motherhood has definitely changed my soul. Like, I am not the same. And I am constantly evolving; I’m growing right along with my child. It’s a pretty amazing experience. And I am just so blessed.

Today, I received a random act of kindness from a sweet, dear friend. I was a bit overwhelmed by it! I mean, I love this woman like a sister, but still, it touched me deeply. I am grateful I have this person in my life, but I’m not sure she realizes how special she is. So, I thought about it.  How good her kind words made me feel. So, I tried to do the same today, with someone I know. I guess I feel, you never know what someone is going through in their life…..maybe your words might be just what they need to hear. It’s a nice thought.

Whatever the future holds for me, I’m ready! I’m pretty tough. I’ve been through a LOT! And I know that God has great plans ahead for my family. All in HIS time. Today, we relished in the simple pleasures of life: home made play doh, a kind word/gesture from a friend, a pay it forward and just some beautiful weather. God has blessed me greatly.

God’s Plan. God’s Timing.

Thinking today about stuff and honestly, I’m struggling a bit.  JEALOUSY is such an ugly trait and something I try hard to not let creep into my heart. But, when we are feeling low is when Satan has the most power over us, and he likes to plants those thoughts into our hearts and mind. So, I am just an imperfect human and my way of working through these thoughts is to put it down in writing. And it’s always my hope that words will help someone else who is struggling as well.

Anyone who knows my family, knows that finances are a big struggle for us. And I guess that’s the biggest thing I struggle with, is understanding WHY, why does it have to be? What is Gods plan for my family? Does He not see in our hearts? Does He not understand all we would like to do to help others? Does He not hear our prayers? Does He not see the emotional toll that our family faces daily? Are we not WORTHY of having these prayers answered?

My spouse is pretty damn amazing! I will brag on her until the day I die. She is the type of person any company should be PROUD to have as an employee.  She’s dedicated, ethical, driven to be the best at her job, and she’s adaptable.  Her forte’ is Inventory control and/or management. She’s got a keen eye for detail and a knack for spotting costly mistakes. Despite this, it’s been incredibly hard for her to find a job to replace her previously highest income jobs. And unfortunately that creates a lot of stress in our family.

My spouse worked for Walmart for almost 16 years before quitting. The decision to quit, it’s a bit complicated. Basically it boils down to we unfortunately ended up at a store that was out of control; and we didn’t believe in ourselves enough at that time to stand up for ourselves. It was easier to quit! That is not a typical character trait of my spouse at all; in fact she’s anything but a quitter! So, was that part of God’s plan for us? Was there something in our future path that wouldn’t have occurred (a blessing for us or someone else) if we had stayed employed by Walmart? It’s definitely something to think about. We do know that the company did a lot of “cleaning house” at that store after we quit; so our concerns were validated.

Last year was really tough on my family. A friend helped my spouse get this job that paid really well; and we hoped it would be the answer to help us get caught up on our debts and move forward on some of our other plans.  But this job came at a great cost…it took my spouse away from her son for 3-4 days a week! That is a lot of TIME to sacrifice, that is a lot of FIRST moments she missed. And when the journey to become a parent was a 16 year journey filled with loss (I had 3 failed pregnancies) and bankruptcy; you shouldn’t have to choose between family and paying the bills.  TIME always has more value than money.  So, my spouse was laid off from that job in July 2016.  It’s been really tough financially on us since then.  Was this too God’s plan? Did God know that my spouse needed to have more family time?

So, here’s where I struggle the most. In understanding people’s motives. We have always been freely giving people. Giving of money, giving of gifts, giving of information, giving of advice, giving of support, giving of time.  Our motivation in life has always just simply been to be happy and help others be happy too.  If I can help you, I will. I can be struggling to pay my bills, but if I see a job opportunity that might benefit you; I will pass that along. There is a quote, “Do not expect others to treat you with the same kindness as you treat them; for they don’t have the same heart you do.”, this is absolutely true. I think our society is so competitive that people just aren’t inclined to help. They feel if they help you that you may somehow do better than they are doing. I think there is enough success in the world for everyone.

So, is it jealousy I feel? I’m not sure. Maybe it’s just heartache I feel. I don’t covet material possessions. I would just like my family to be able to pay our debts without worry. My could become a millionaire tomorrow (stranger things have happened), and I would still want to live a simple, frugal life. The difference would be I could afford to do so. I would be able to get solar power installed, buy supplies to can and dehydrate food, get our home updated to be more efficient, etc.  Having money would just allow my family to be together daily and to spend time learning life skills, growing food and working on philanthropic activities. We definitely have more ideas than money; maybe that too is God’s plan. Maybe one day it will all come together and make sense. Maybe much of what we desire in our life will happen in the future, through our son, not us.  That is definitely a lovely thought.

Well, I definitely know in life that the only person you can truly count on is yourself. (Don’t get me wrong, we’ve been blessed much in life by kindness from strangers, family and friends.) We don’t understand or know what God’s plan is for us, the path we need to choose. And I think that’s the hardest part of life. We think we are on a good path, but then it seems the bottom falls out! We know what we want, we want to be able to work from home, to eventually bring in all our income from working together as a family.

Work fromhome jobs are tricky, there are more scams than legitimate jobs. I am a pretty good novice at sewing. Our number one goal before this month is over is to unpack my sewing machine and get things functional so I can start sewing again. Then hopefully I can sell some stuff and start building a business. We had talked for years about doing a t-shirt business, but weren’t really sure what to pick or how to proceed. It’s funny how life is though, we talked so much about it that a person close to us actually did it! They had the money and resources to do it. Does that make me jealous? I guess, a little. They were in a position that they could afford to take the plunge, they had the money and a back up income source. We’ve never had that, so it makes it harder for us. Like we can’t afford for it to fail! But was this all God’s plan? Was it for us to plant the seed for someone else? Maybe, who knows?

The only choice we have in life is to continue to move forward. I will continue to try to find ways to bring in additional income to lessen the burden on my spouse.  I am looking forward to doing some sewing and hopefully people will be happy with what I have to offer.  And as a family we will continue to fight the good fight to stay positive and work together to achieve our goals in life. We will continue to show resilience and not give up!

We are looking into my spouse possibly being a realtor, but I believe to start requires about a $2k investment, plus the time to learn. And the additional income needed to get a better wardrobe and take care of some dental care.  But it’s an idea we are throwing up into the universe to see if God approves. We are keeping our hearts, ears and minds open to opportunity. We want to be able to pay back debts and kindness shown to us. I would love to be able to fund The Little Pantry and The Little Library movement and just do so much to help my family and others. And I know, that despite the hold and power that Satan has over this world, that somehow God will provide.

Somewhere through all this rambling, I find myself feeling a bit better. I still have no answers, but I can see that the answer will be provided.  There is a track record in our lives to the blessings that have been bestowed upon us; and that is it always comes in Gods timing, not ours.  So, we will stay open to possibilities and just do what we are capable of until He provides the solution.

Outdoor Play

IMG_0098As an older mom, I constantly battle with feeling that somehow I am letting my child down.  That they are at a deficit of some sort, because I’m not a younger, more vibrant mom. I’m trying to get back on a healthier track in life and hope to lose weight and become more energetic. I KNOW how to eat healthy and I know how to lose weight; but I’m finding it so hard right now. I know a lot has to do with worry over finances, as I am an emotional eater. But, I trust in Gods plan and know the resolution will be presented to us in HIS time.

That all being said, I have shed MANY tears over things that I feel are necessary for our child to have a great childhood. I swear I use to be such a kid & know how to play; but somehow life has just beat me down & I can’t get to that place. So, I think to myself if my child had a great outdoor play space, I could play with him and maybe learn to be a kid again. So, I have been OBSESSING over getting him a play kitchen for inside play (I love to cook), and for outside, I wanted to get him something from Cedarworks, Little Tikes, Step 2 or Gorilla Playsets.  All I could think is he NEEDS this amazing outside play area.

Our little boy actually enjoys watching American Ninja Warrior; it’s actually the only adult program I get to watch. He loves to climb and I know in my heart he would enjoy an outdoor play area.  So, I am constantly scouring the BST pages and Craigslist for a good bargain.  There have been a few obstacles with these finds though: (1) most items won’t fit in our SUV,  (2) even the good deals are typically too much for our current finances, (3) most people won’t hold items until you get there, and (4) people won’t deliver, even for gas money.  So, we’ve found it hard to find what my heart desires.

So, I tried talking with the companies that make the items I want. Asking them for discounts or anything to help.  What I got back was SILENCE.  This is hard, it’s actually a bit heartbreaking  I KNOW our son is not going to suffer from not having outside toys  But he is our only child. We are older parents who unfortunately also are poor financially; we just want him to have some things, the things we think are important.

Well, so then I was just at a standstill.  I was depressed and just overwhelmed.  I spend most of my time helping my spouse in her job search, selling (or trying to sell) items on EBay, and playing with our son.  So, I started thinking.  And I come to realize that I was allowing myself to be swept up in to the world of consumerism and the material world.  And I had to take a deep breath and remember why we are on this journey and what is important.

We desire to be homesteaders.  That though is expensive to start. Living a simple life, comes with a hefty price tag when you are starting from scratch!! But we view this as a worthwhile endeavor and it’s our goal to LEARN and to be able to TEACH our child.  So, with that in mind I went to my favorite Facebook pages to gain support and ideas.  These pictures are not mine, I found them on Google.  But after talking with some wonderful moms on the Waldorf Life Page and WildSchooling; these are my inspiration and what I hope to build for our son.

We have plenty of downed wood on our property and a few pallets. We are a bit out of shape, but we also are motivated. There are things we need: tires, pots, pans, buckets, washboard, sink or something similar and utensils, along with other miscellaneous items. The most expensive item we need is either a chainsaw or the money to hire someone to help us cut and move the wood. Even if we buy a chainsaw, we’ll probably still have to hire someone to move the wood to the build site. And then of course, the tires are the next most expensive item.  It’s all going to take time. And we have to do our planning to get it right. I have a post going on my local BST page asking for an old tractor tire and also for items for the music wall and Mud kitchen. I’m hoping to get at least one project done in time for Christmas.

The tire sandpit I had thought we were going to build this weekend.  But, we tend to get EXCITED and not always do our due diligence in preparing.  So, now we are looking for a tractor tire, as the tire on our property is pretty small. And we also didn’t have the area prepared.  We need to dig up the ground, put weed proof down and I’d love to cover the weed proof with some gravel or something.  Then we also need some plywood to make a top and a pool noodle, and maybe some paint. This quickly became a project that we can’t currently afford.

In a perfect world, I could get the Mud kitchen and music wall built in time for Christmas.  And then start getting the logs cut and moved to build the playground and cut stumps and such for him to walk and climb on.  This is my hope.  I’m truly hoping that I will encounter some kindness from the community and people will donate some items so I don’t have to buy a lot. But, if I do have to buy, I plan to shop at Goodwill or places similar, as I know they provide many services to the community.

My spouse is excited about us building our son a playground.  My hope is that we can actually physically and financially pull it off!  I want our son to grow up being in touch with the earth and nature, that is my greatest hope for him.  But I suffer with great anxiety about the dangers in nature…. it’s one of the biggest struggles I have as a parent. I want him to be brave, explore and enjoy all there is in life; but I want to keep him safe.  The best way for me to keep him safe is to educate myself about our surroundings, to be familiar and to be out there exploring with him. This is a great challenge for me, but it’s an obstacle I have to overcome.  I don’t want him to inherit my fears and anxieties, I don’t want him to grow up sheltered.  I want him to be in touch with all that nature has to offer, all the blessings God has provided for us.  Making this playground will force me to take him outside more often, and that is the first step.  It provides a safe place for him to explore, to play, to be outside.  And hopefully it will be the stepping stones to greater adventures in time.

SIMPLE LIFE

IMG_9690.JPGWhat I want more than anything is to just live a simple, non-consumerism life. I want to learn to grow our own food and preserve it. I want to make memories and have great life experiences, instead of things. I want to have less financial strain and more joy and laughter! I want to squeeze every ounce of pure bliss out of life. I want our son to be able to say he had the most loving and supportive parents and the best childhood.

What I have is a life in progress, working slowly to that goal. It is HARD to achieve. Living simply, doesn’t necessarily equate to living cheaply; at least not in the beginning. It cost to live a simple life. But, I feel it’s a worthy goal and something I will continue to strive toward. One should never give up on their hopes, dreams or passions; the answer to your prayers might be just a eye blink away.

GRATITUDE

Today, I found my GABBA! It’s a vitamin supplement my chiropractor gave me after my car accident last year, it’s a mood stabilizer. I was very happy to find it (we are still unpacking from moving) as I think it would be beneficial to me right now. I am not ashamed that I struggle with mental illness, lots of people do! It’s part of who I am.  I fight the good fight, I do what I can on my own to stay positive. I have dark times. I have times of pure joy! It’s life.

Ive taken different antidepressants throughout my life. I can’t say they don’t work, they do. And if you are prescribed medication, by all means take it. And if you feel you want to stop, have an honest conversation with your doctor about how to do it safely and what alternative you are wanting to do. Depression, mental illness, whatever you may suffer from needs treatment. And there are many different ways to treat the illness, depending on what you have.

I suffer from depression and an anxiety disorder.  The absolute best treatment for me PERSONALLY, is exercise. It’s an absolute adrenaline rush and releases all those feel good sensations. Exercise is absolutely something that uplifts my mood. Currently, I’m not getting enough, which causes me to start body shaming and feel like I shouldn’t be seen in public. Other treatments I use in conjunction with exercise is writing therapy (this) or I’ll text a friend, talk therapy (talk to my spouse) and I will take natural supplements, as in the Gabba.

Part of it is staying positive. So, that’s why I titled this post “Gratitude”, because it’s very important to feel gratitude everyday. Even if something like you are grateful for your cup of warm coffee, or the beautiful sunset. Today, I am grateful I found the Gabba. I am also grateful for my loving spouse and my beautiful son. I am grateful for the peaceful surroundings of our home. I am grateful for my life.

It is all too easy to get focused on disappointments. Unfortunately they do tend to come more often then blessings. But, again its about changing our perspective in life and taking time to notice all the miracles and blessings in our life. And I have far too many blessings to stay in the dark gloom of depression. But, I also have to be honest with myself and work through my feelings. The worst thing I could do is to just sweep it under the rug and pretend I’m ok, when I’m not. But, I’m getting there. I’m working through it. And I’m loving my life and praying for God to continue to bless us and guide us on our journey.

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Facebook Hiatus

I decided yesterday to take a break from Facebook for a bit of time, to work on my mental health. I’m not a Facebook junkie, I don’t neglect my home responsibilities or my child to be on Facebook. I typically am on it when I’m also doing something else or my child is happily playing by their self. But, I needed to take a break.

With the recent turn of events in our financial situation, it was hard for me to be on Facebook. I spend the majority of time on there looking at BST pages to try to find outdoor toys for my son, or looking at posts of livestock for sale. Knowing that I can’t purchase anything in the foreseen future kind of makes it hard, because of course you find great deals or things you want.

I have learned through the years as I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety, the best thing is to eliminate the things that stress you. So, although I love checking in on my loved ones and such on Facebook, it’s not a healthy environment for me right now. This probably seems crazy to some people, but it works best for me. I just have to take time to reset myself and refocus my foundation for happiness.

I am very blessed in my life. I have a spouse who is my best friend. We’ve been through lots of trials and tribulations, that would of broke most people up. But we remain the best of friends and still love one another very much. We have a son that we’re very dedicated to raising to be happy and know that he is loved. My son brings me tremendous joy and sense of purpose. And of course I have some amazing friends and family.  A home of our own (albeit a fixer upper) on a beautiful 20 acres, it is extremely peaceful. So I am thankful.