Sunday, December 8, 2013

We Aren't Putting Up a Christmas Tree This Year

Whatever you do, don't blink.
Preface: This is just my own personal thoughts on how my family is choosing to celebrate Christmas this year. I have no problems with Christmas or presents or how others choose to celebrate. I don't believe there is anything inherently wrong about having a tree or giving presents. I really have no problem with Christmas. Except for that creepy elf on the shelf thing. That I have a problem with, but that is another post.

My oldest daughter's first Christmas was a typical first Christmas. She had more toys than she could possibly need. We actually had to open them in two sessions because she fell asleep before she finished. We continued this on as my other children were born. Every year a tree, decorations on the house, presents. Then 7 years ago I miscarried on December 16th. We didn't do decorations on the house that year but we forced our way through the tree and presents for the kids. If I am honest, I never really recovered my Christmas spirit after I lost my baby. Every year around this time brings me a profound sadness that I can't seem to exchange for the commercial Christmas joy. But, as sad as December the 16th makes me, it is not really why we have decided not to do a Christmas tree this year, it has simply served to slowly open our eyes up to what our family really wants Christmas to be about: Jesus and family time.

This year we will not put up a tree:

1. Because we don't have the space to bring in more stuff. As you know, last year we sold our big 3,200 square foot house in suburbia for a 1,600 square foot house in the country. While I know that 1,600 is still quite big to most of the world, it has been quite an adjustment for us and with that adjustment we have had to make some major life changes. With downsizing the house we have had to do some major purging. It makes little sense to purge only to turn around and fill that space back up with more stuff.

2. Because it is expensive. I skipped the sales. Our children are getting 1 gift from us, which will either be consumable (art supplies and the like) or Lego. Since we made such major life changes with the move, we have decided that we must follow through with our intentions to become debt free. We will save quite a bit of money this year by not over indulging our children with more stuff.

3. Because Christmas makes a big mess. Call me selfish, but I do not want to have to clean up after Christmas. I don't want to have to take down the tree, pack up all of the stuff, clean up the wrapping paper and so on. Yes, my family would help, but I would just much rather use my time to actually be with my family. I want to be sitting around the fireplace playing games and talking with them, not watching everyone rush off into different rooms so they can play with the newest piece of whatever they just got. My husband doesn't get a ton of time off work and I would much rather we spend that cuddled up on the couch than ripping lights down off the roof.

4. Because after looking at Christmas decor and hearing Christmas music since before Thanksgiving, frankly, by the time it actually rolls around I am sick of it. Every year stores put out decor earlier and earlier. Christmas music starts being played mid-November and the ads everywhere start featuring Santa. Yeah, it gets old fast. I mean seriously, who wants to listen to songs about it snowing when the weather outside is still in the mid 70's?

Don't worry! Just because we are going minimal on Christmas this year does not mean it is all bah humbug in the Molder house! We have already enjoyed many Christmas activities together. We have packed Operation Christmas Child boxes, we have watched a Christmas river parade, and we will have a big family get together that will include a small gift exchange and ugly Christmas sweaters. We will celebrate Christ's birth and talk about what it means for believers. I will bake yummy goodies and we took the kids to see Disney on Ice as part of their Christmas gift. However, this year, the focus will be on Jesus' birth and simply being together.

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Monday, December 2, 2013

To the Young Mother Who did not Need God but Needed Help - I Survived and so will You.

I stumbled across a blog post a couple days ago. It was written by a young mother and she sounded fairly desperate.  She spoke of how older women were not following the Biblical mandate found in Titus 2:3-5 - -“Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good.  Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be submissive to their husbands, so that the Word of God will not be reviled.”

She was frustrated by the lack of help she and other young moms were getting from the Christian women who are older.  She did go on to say that she had been blessed by an older lady that did eventually step in to watch her babies so she could have a break, a nap, or grocery shop sans kids and also of hiring a young lady to come in and help her around the house on occasion.  You can read the entire post here.

Here is my response to this young mother:

I feel for you moms with little bitty ones. I have been there. But, I take issue with the expectation that older women should be doing more to help you.

The Bible doesn't tell me or any other woman to go to your house and babysit. Is it a nice thing to do? Absolutely, but it is not a Biblical mandate nor is it a requirement of being an older woman.  Older women have put in their time with their own little ones. They have put their time in the church nursery. Now they get to reap the reward of a hard job, well done.  They are not called to be the caretakers of your children or your home. That is your job. That is your calling. That is your responsibility.  It is not all fun.  It is work. It is hard. But, even though it feels like an eternity before you will ever get a full nights sleep, it is short.  I miss smelling my newborn's baby smell.  I miss the chubby hands of a toddler reaching for my glasses. I miss the contented feeling of nursing a baby at my breast.  Those days go by all too quickly.

This is how older moms and women can help -

  • We can help you make a plan. We can not make you stick to it.  
  • We can show you how to deal with unexpected circumstance. We can not make you see.
  • We can tell you what we did to get through each day. We can not expect that the same things will work for you. 
  • We can tell you to lower your expectations. We can not make you do that. 
  • We can tell you to relax a little. We can not relax for you.
  • We can teach you a hundred other things about running a home, caring for infants and children, caring for a marriage, making a budget, creating meal plans and all the other things that are involved in house and home.  But we can not make you learn.  

What I have found so often with young mothers who come to me for advice is that they see no possible solutions.  They seem to know everything, have tried everything, and are not really wanting to do anything that may seem to add to their already heavy load even though it would help them in the long run.  Keep in mind, I have been there.

So my biggest piece of advice to you as a young mother - - - Do not write off the wisdom and words of those that have gone before you.  Do not refuse to see possibilities in seemingly impossible situations.

When we that have walked through the fire say, "lower your standards," we really mean just that. Your house is not going to stay spotless and if you are anything like I was, you will learn to accept mediocrity and find more contentment in it.  Somedays you need to just call the day a success if you managed to wash a pair of underwear in the shower and blow dry it dry.

When we say, "savor this time," we really mean that.  Your kids are going to be big before you know what happened and you will miss their babyness.  You will almost forget what they felt like when you held them as infants.

When we say, "relax and enjoy your life," we really mean that. You have to find the joy. Some days this will come very easily. Other days you will dig and dig and dig before you find the joy. But, with practice you will get better at this and it will bring you contentment even when there is milk all over the floor and someone is crying and another is using the milk as paint for the walls.

When we say, "give it time," we really mean that. Some situations are out of your hands and you will be able to do nothing to fix it. Time is a gift from God. Accept it and allow it to do its work.
I remember when my kids were itty bitty.  I was 32 when I had my youngest child. At that time I had a newborn, a 2 year old, a 3 year old, and an 8 year old with significant behavioral and emotional issues.  I was very overwhelmed.  I also trended toward thinking that the older women in my life were not doing their "job" and they were not "helping" me.  I had all the hormones that come with giving birth and nursing. I had toddlers. I had a house to keep up. I had a marriage to keep up. It was a lot.  

Now I am 37 and my kids are 5, 8, 8, and 13.  My life is not a bed of roses. My 13 year old still has significant issues. My 8 year old boy has a chronic illness, my 8 year old girl has learning disabilities and my 5 year old is still dependent on me to help her with a lot of things.  But, I am sitting on the side of the fence where everyone can find and tie their own shoes, get their own glass of water, wipe their own butts, and take a bath on their own. They are also no longer adding to my burden of cooking and housekeeping but sharing the load. It is really amazing at the difference in my life compared to just 3 years ago, when I felt like I would lose my mind.  There is light at the end of the itty bitty kid tunnel!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Vinyl Wall Art Giveaway/Sweepstakes

I'm not a great decorator. Seriously. I can look at pictures of rooms and think wow that looks great, but when it comes to doing it myself, nope, not happening. I think that is why I love vinyl wall art so much. It is customizable, looks good and most of all, it is easy.

My mother and I recently embarked on a new adventure. Wall Worthy Vinyl Designs creates and cuts out vinyl wall decals. We can even create a custom piece just for you! Everything we create can be made to your specifications. Want pink? No problem? Have a space that has awkward measurements? Let us know and we will do our best to customize your art to fit your space.

Wall Worthy uses high quality vinyl that when applied and cared for properly can last for years inside! You can even put it outside, though weather conditions can cause vinyl to age quickly. We also use a top-notch cutting machine. This means sharp edges and highly accurate details. Vinyl will stick to almost any flat surface with the right preparation. From glass to tile or even textured walls!

Because we can create a piece just for you, you will have the opportunity to have truly unique piece of home decor!

Now the fun part: As part of our launch we are giving away 1 free vinyl decal valued up to $50! Choose from our already created designs or we will work with you to create a custom design. Remember custom designs, design changes and sizing may change the base price of the design you choose. All of our products ship priority so as long as you get back to us quickly we can have this to you in time for Christmas!

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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

God Filled My Quiver with Just Three Arrows

I read those posts. The ones where mothers of many children pour out their hearts on how wonderful it is to be pregnant with their 7th, 8th, 9th child. I love them. I hate them. I have friends still in their prime childbearing years who post Facebook after Facebook post on how if we truly trust God we would allow our fertility to take it's natural course. I have even been told straight up that I was playing God. I have well intentioned friends who are only telling the truth; having children is amazing. I don't regret a single one of my babies and if I had more I wouldn't regret those either. But I do regret whole heartedly the fact that I do not have more. Passion runs deep over family size. Quiver full...raising the next Christian generation...leaving our legacy, isn't it our responsibility even a command?

And then there is the "do it natural" crowd. Oh, don't misjudge me. I completely agree that we have turned pregnancy and child birth into a condition that requires treatment. I think scheduled c-sections should only be done under the most dire circumstances and I lament that more doctors are not willing to let birthing mothers attempt VBACs. I hate that we are poked in prodded, given medications that can have dangers side effects and often not allowed to birth in more natural positions. I believe the safest place for a risk-free pregnancy is at home with a midwife in attendance.

What these women don't know, is that I sit behind this computer screen crying. Sometimes it isn't a physical cry, but a deep emotional cry. See, I know what it is like to be told you will never have children. It is a physically painful experience, you hurt to the depths of your soul, and even though by God's grace we defied the odds, those two years ripped pieces of my heart to shreds. I know what it is like to experience a pregnancy loss. To wonder what you did wrong to deserve this punishment. To not be able to do the most basic thing your body was designed to do. Why can't I conceive and bear children without all of this?! I know what it is like to have scary dangerous pregnancies. To have it suggested to me that I induce early and just get the "inevitable" over with. To spend months going back and forth to the hospital knowing that when you leave your baby won't be coming home with you. I know what it is like to take injections in hopes that it will buy you just a few more weeks of pregnancy; just long enough for lungs to finish developing, just long enough that you have a shot at bringing home your baby. What these women don't know is that my fertility was ripped involuntarily from me. That I laid in a hospital bed making decisions that I never dreamed I would have to make. That my doctor looked me in the eye and said "your baby could die" if you don't make this decision. "You could die" if you don't make this decision. I know what those mom's are thinking...that doctor pressured me, that doctor just wanted to do some procedure on me, if God gives you more children he will protect you, or if he doesn't it was God's will. You played God.

What these women don't know is that I cried out and God answered. He answered by sending me a doctor who has been with me every step of the way from my infertility to the final decision to close off my fertility. He answered by giving that doctor the wisdom, knowledge and ability to help me realize that what God was telling me, was 4 pregnancies was what he had chosen to pour out on me and 3 biological children was what he planned for me. I listened and followed God's will for my life. I am sorry it wasn't what you had envisioned for me, but I rest on the promise that God has much bigger better plans for me than you. My quiver is over flowing.

I still struggle, regularly. I put on a happy face every time a friend announces a pregnancy. I truly, truly am happy for them, even as I hurt for myself. I hold back every time someone suggests that I should have more children or that if I would just "trust".  I realize that most women have pure intentions and don't know my struggle and I realize that my envy is not their sin.

All I am asking for is grace when my face seems to drop a little at your announcement, or when I in a moment of frustration respond with anger to a post about being "full quiver". And maybe a chance to hold and love on your baby when he or she arrives.

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Monday, November 25, 2013

Great Homeschool Convention Special Speakers and Free Download!

As convention season sneaks its way closer and closer to us, Great Homeschool Conventions keeps rolling out more and more surprises! Besides the eventual addition of Texas in 2015 (!!!) to their convention states they have now secured several new and exciting speakers!

Michal Medved and the blogger that has taken the internet by storm, Matt Walsh are all scheduled to be at all 3 conventions this year and Michael will be in Texas 2015. Radio host, Mike Gallagher will be at the South Carolina convention.

Mike Gallagher is also offering a great history audio Thanksgiving Download to his subscribers.

Stay tuned for more excising Great Homeschool Convention news as we get closer!!

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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Reformation Day Lesson Plans and Resources

Since we don't participate in Halloween, we have chosen to celebrate the alternative holiday of Reformation Day. Strictly speaking, we are not reformed or Lutheran (non-reformed Christians do celebrate Reformation Day but it does tend to be associated more with reformed Christians), but we do appreciate the impact that Martin Luther had on the protestant church and his bravery in confronting the false theology of the Catholic church's teachings during a time in which it was so dangerous to confront such a power. Since the information can be found all over the internet, I am just going to post excerpts and link to the sites rather than retyping it all in my own words. How lazy is that ?

From: ShareFaith

The History of the Reformation
The historical trends that brought about the Reformation began centuries before its actual occurrence. In part, the root causes stem from the Church's departure from the foundational teachings of Christ regarding a believer's relationship with God, believers' relationships with one another, and the means of salvation. By the time of the fall of Rome, in the late fifth century, the Church had already adopted many practices contrary to the teachings of Christ.

Particularly, three perceived errors in doctrine stood out as major flaws that were in direct opposition to his teachings, and these later became the basis for Luther's ninety-five theses. The first error created a priesthood that acted as mediator between the believer and God, suggesting that direct communication between man and the almighty was impossible. The second was the establishment of a pope or pontiff who would exercise authority over the entire Church. The third error related to the attainment of salvation through penitent works and charitable acts, rather than through the miracle of faith.

The catalyst that caused Luther to directly confront these issues, however, was the Church practice of granting "indulgences". The custom was based on a verse in the Gospel of John, where Jesus gave the apostles the authority to forgive or retain the sins of humanity. In Luther's time, the Church was engaged in the practice of selling indulgences as a means of increasing ecclesiastical wealth. The Church justified this practice by citing that, although God released the offender from his heavenly obligation, he was still required to pay an earthly price for his sin.

Such payments (or other suitable acts of charity) to the Church released a person from financial or civil obligation incurred as a result of sin. This practice greatly benefited nobles and the wealthy, who could literally pay for their crimes, and correspondingly severely disadvantaged the poor, who could not. The practice also included the selling of indulgences to the families of deceased relatives to release their souls from Purgatory.

It was the "Jubilee Indulgence," authorized by Pope Leo X to pay for the rebuilding of St. Peter's Cathedral, which incited Luther to take action. As the doors of churches were often utilized for posting public notices, Luther, having written his ninety-five theses, placed them on the Castle Church doors on All Hallows Eve, where many who would attend the following All Saints Day observance would read it. However, it was the recent invention of the printing press that allowed Luther's theses to be circulated throughout Europe, thereby bringing him to the attention of Rome and the papacy.

Doorposts offers a Reformation Day Packet with activities and lesson plans for Reformation Day.

Homeschool Share offers this free lapbook on Martin Luther and Reformation Day.

Free Reformation Day Printables can be found here.

Blessed Beyond a doubt has a nice list of Reformation Day resources.

And don't forget to browse Pinterest for ideas!

What do you do to celebrate Reformation Day?

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Friday, October 4, 2013

My Homeschool Plan for 2013/2014

When I first started homeschooling I was a planner and a plan executer.  I was good at making my plan go and checking off boxes.  After my son got sick, planning became a guilt inducing exercise.  Finally, I just gave in to the idea of "flying by the seat of my pants."  So, that was the official plan for a bit.  I am glad that I had the option of doing this.  :)  My family needed to be able to rest and go with whatever we could do for a bit. We were able to find rest in it.

I came up with a plan at the beginning of the year and for the most part, we have followed it.  But, my son is better and he is continuing to improve, and my baby is now 5 and my 8 year old daughter suddenly decided she knew how to read.  They are ready for something more and I am finally emotionally and physically ready to give it to them.

This is what I now have planned for my littles:

Apologia Science
Story of the World
Prima Latina

Phonics Museum, Veritas Press

And to top it all off, we are going to do lapbooks for each season.

All About Autumn
I found one for the Fall for only a dollar!  If you sign up for the newsletter you get a $5.00 coupon!


We have gotten down a great schedule so far.  I am going to add in latin as soon as I get the materials.So our schedule will look like the following:

Monday - History, math, handwriting, reading
Tuesday - Science, math, reading, Latin
Wednesday - Library day, math, gymnastics, tutorial homework
Thursday - Tutorial class, math, reading
Friday - Grammar, Latin, math reading, lapbooking

So far, I have been able to end school by lunch time every day except Thursdays.  :)  I am so thankful for the freedom that homeschooling provides. I can truly alter the kids' education plan, even during the first quarter!

Leave us a comment letting us know how your homeschool year is going and what you are doing!  Have you made any changes? 

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Monday, September 30, 2013

Our Trip to England: The Ultimate Field Trip

You have probably noticed that I have not blogged in a while. I have been having a major brain fog with blogging. Thankfully, our trip to England gives me plenty to share!

My husband is British so we try to make a trip every few years so that his elderly grandparents can see the children. Last time we went, Luke was only 2 so it had been a while. The kids were definitely excited!

Loaded up and ready to go!
Waiting for our plane

The moment we arrived we got to start visiting with family!

This was not our usual trip though! About 6 months ago my brother and sister in law had a baby girl and we were meeting her for the first time. She was absolutely precious and we loved playing and snuggling with her.

While we were there we even got to help celebrate Nana's 90th birthday!

These trips are primarily to visit family but we always try to get out and do a few educational activities. How can you not when you are in a country so rich with history?

Our first stop was Warwick Castle. It is a a well preserved castle and they had all kinds of interactive programs for the kids. Of course, with school in it was also pretty quiet. We explored the rooms and read the history and I even managed to climb the tower, during which I may or may not have cried for my fear of heights. I couldn't manage to allow myself or the kids to get too close to the edge, but even the view from where we were was spectacular and my husband so kindly took the photos I was too afraid to take myself. I closed my eyes while he did that.

Next on the list was a train ride in an area known as the Lake District. We had done this one before but this time we took a chance and drove further to get to a second train we had not done. The drive was long, but WOW, very few places could compare to the beauty of this part of England. At the end of the train ride was the quaintest little village I have ever seen. We stopped and had ice cream made from local milk. Delish!

Our last trip was to York. York is one of my favorite places to visit in England and I hadn't been since my oldest was a baby so it was almost brand new for me! Since we are studying medieval history, the Gothic architecture and the old Roman fort beneath York Minster were a homeschool mom's dream come true!

We are glad to be home, but will definitely cherish the memories we made on this trip. It really was the ultimate field trip!

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