Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Art of "Good Enough"

Do you ever avoid doing something because you know you won't be able to do it perfectly? I often succumb to the thought, well, it's already messed up, so why bother? I'll never get it the way I want it.
I gave up on perfect in my house. That perfect picture in the magazine took hours to set up. And it's not reality. Perfect is an illusion. Perfect is fleeting. Perfect is unattainable.
"Good Enough" is the new "Perfect". As soon as one item gets put out of place, perfect is ruined. When the room is good enough, that one item out of place is no longer ruining anything. It's good enough.

Good enough means that the room is clean enough to have company over. Good enough means that there is dust on the table, but the toys are not on the couch where the guests sit. Good enough means that laughter runs around the house chasing more laughter with a lightsaber. Good enough means that I am not stressing about the crumbs in the corner of the kitchen but concentrating on making my friends feel comfortable in my home.
I would prefer to make my tomato sauce totally from scratch, starting with fresh tomatoes. The only problem is, using fresh tomatoes doubles the time it takes me to make the sauce. So, I aim for good enough instead of perfect and use canned tomatoes, along with frozen and fresh vegetables. I still control the ingredients, the amount of salt, adding more veggies than most store brand sauces have. It is good enough. It's not my ideal, but it will do.
Good enough means that I sometimes buy stuff that I could make. For instance, I know I can make a good pie crust. It's not that difficult, and I usually have all the ingredients on hand. However, it is time consuming. And I would just rather spend the money on a ready made pie crust and spend my time doing something I deem more worth while.

Let go of Perfect. Perfect will always let you down.

Embrace Good Enough, and you can always achieve your goal.
Personalize this: What Perfect are you holding on to that could be Good Enough? What stresses in your life can you get rid of by letting Good Enough be your aim? What guilt can you let go of by replacing Perfect with Good Enough?
Take it to my kids: Kids aren't Perfect, and never will be. When your kid does a chore, don't follow behind and "fix" it, because that just tells them what they did wasn't good enough. When my 5-year old folded the facecloths, it took much willpower for me to not straighten out the corners. She did a good job folding, and I just had to realize that she worked hard on it. It wasn't Perfect, but it was Good Enough. Give your kids grace and let them be Good Enough.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Taco Seasoning

Did you know that the taco seasoning packets you buy at the store are full of preservatives and salt? Have you ever looked at the salt on one packet? It's a huge amount.

I wanted to get away from the preservatives, and also to know what was in my food, so I started making my own taco seasoning.

I have been making this particular recipe for a few years now, and I believe I have perfected it!

1 cup dried minced onion
1/3 cup chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic salt
3 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp oregano
4 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
(and the secret ingredient!) 1/2 tsp Vietnamese cinnamon

You can just mix it up as is. My family prefers it without chunks, so I put it into a food processor (Magic Bullet) and mix it up well.

Use about 1-2 Tbsp per pound of meat. I make three pounds at a time and put in about five tablespoons.  If I make taco meat once a month, this recipe will last about five months.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Secrets of a Homeschool Mom

We started school this week. I am only two days in and I'm completely frustrated, worn out, and wondering why in the world I do this. (I'll tell you why, because I believe it is best for my children, because I want to get them grounded in Christ and the Bible and in who they are in Christ before I send them into the world.)

As I start this week, all of the doubts, fears, and issues I have with myself come back to haunt me with a vengeance.

1. I am constantly second guessing my decision to homeschool, and I feel like everyone is also questioning whether or not I am good enough to teach my children.

2. I feel inadequate. All. The. Time.

3. I am always under pressure to teach my kids more and have them know more than other kids their ages.

4. When my kids are "behind" others their age, I feel like a failure.

5. I feel like a failure most of the time.

6. I'm not homeschooling my kids because I want to spend all of my time with them. In fact, I am often envious of moms who's kids go to traditional schools.

7. If I am a good homeschool mom, I am a horrible house keeper. If I am a good house keeper, I'm a horrible wife. If I'm a good wife, I'm failing at homeschooling and house keeping. I always come up short.

8. I often feel isolated.

9. When someone questions an area of my child's knowledge and they come up lacking, it feels like a personal assault on me, and I lost.

10. Teaching my own children is the most frustrating thing I have ever done. And I lose my temper rather frequently because of it.

So, there you have it. A glimpse into who I am as a homeschool mom. I probably will never say those things out loud to another person, especially someone who doesn't homeschool. But I think them, privately, all the time.

Monday, May 30, 2016

No Perfect Parent

Not so long ago, (okay, six years ago) it was a sunny day in Portland, and I took my three year old boy and infant girl to the zoo (because that's what you do on a sunny day in Portland). It was a bit crowded, but I didn't mind; it was a beautiful day!
I encouraged my little boy to walk forward to the glass to look at the animals while I stayed with the stroller. Like I said, it was crowded. The little girl next to him also wanted to see the animals. I watched, as if in slow motion, as she pushed him with her arm, and he reacted as a normal three year old would do, he grabbed the offending arm and tried to bite it. (that's normal, right?)

As I was moving forward to grab him, astonished that my sweet boy would do such a thing, a mom in front of me yelled at her friend, "THAT BOY JUST BIT TAMMY!" (or whatever her name was). I grabbed my boy and turned around as that same mom started yelling at me about keeping watch on my kid.

I replied (a little nastier than I wanted to), "You're a mom! Give me a little break! I'm sure your kids have done things like that before, too!"

"Not MY kids!! I WATCH THEM!" She screamed at me.

The retort that wanted to leave my mouth, but didn't (but probably should have), was, "Well, I watch my kids too. I WATCHED him try to bite that little girl!"

If that mom hadn't been yelling at me, I would have made my son apologize to the girl and I would have apologized to her mom. But I was in such a fluster because of that angry mom (who wasn't the girl's mother), that I couldn't think straight. All I wanted to do was get away from her.

Moms, we've all been there. We watch our kids. We watch our kids do some pretty awful things before we can stop them. Sometimes they slip away in the two seconds it takes us to look away.

Give other moms a break. Be gracious. We are all in the mommyhood race together trying to raise our kids to be responsible adults. Let's stand united in this and instead of tearing each other down, build each other up. Encourage a mom who is having a hard time with her child instead of glaring at her. Her child is probably acting up because mom is doing her job.

Have you ever had a mommy moment when your kid got away or did something awful? Share your story with #noperfectparent

#attentiveparent #momlife #iWatchMyKid #mommymoment #kids #CincinnatiZoo #gorilla #harambe #mystory #grace

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Entitled to my Anger

I feel entitled to my anger when one of my children, instead of putting the toy away like I asked two minutes before, is playing with the toy and starts fighting with a sibling over said toy and hits the third sibling (who is actually cleaning up), giving the child black eye.  I feel my anger is justified when one of my children hurts another because of disobedience (on that same note, I tend to have a lack of compassion for the child who hurts himself because of disobedience).
want to yell at my child when they have deliberately disobeyed and someone gets hurt because of that disobedience. I am angry. And rightly so. Right?
I may have a right to be angry, but do I have a right to yell? Do I have a right to shame the child who was disobedient? Is my anger righteous because the child was wrong? Is my yelling at the child going to cow them into penitence and obedience?Water Your Soul
I think you can tell the answer to all the questions is no. Even if I have a right to be angry, I do not have a right to yell at my child, to shame my child, to make them feel small and make them cry because they were being foolish instead of obedient.
I used to think I was a person who did not get very angry very quickly. If I am angry at another adult, rarely do I yell. In fact, I can't remember the last time I yelled at an adult. I tend to boil quietly and then go rant to a friend.
But then I had kids and I discovered that I can get angry lightning quick. Because they are little beings who are foolish; tiny humans who are immature and don't properly think through their actions; young minds that quickly forget what they were doing; curious hands that want to explore everything within reach; children who know exactly how to push my buttons.
For some reason, I think my kids should be more mature than they are, and when they show their immaturity, it angers me. When they don't do what I tell them to, it angers me. When they are being foolish, it angers me. And then I yell.
I am not proud of yelling or my anger; I am just telling you the truth because I know there are other moms out there who struggle with it.
So how do I get rid of this anger and the yelling with it? James 1:19-21 tells us how.  "My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you."
Yeah, I get it. Be slow to speak and slow to become angry. But how? The last part of the passage tells us what to do - plant the Word of God inside of us. That means reading the Bible every day. Purposing to sit down every day and spend time reading God's words to us.
Lately I've notice how quickly and how often I am getting mad at my kids. Then today I actually sat down to read my Bible. And you know what? It has been over a month since I last did devotions. A month! No wonder I was cranky! Any word that has been planted in me has withered. A stark contrast to the plants outside that are thriving with the spring rains, my insides have withered away because I have not been watering my spirit. And the withering has come out of me as anger.
So I encourage you, dear sister moms, be in God's word every day. It is the only way to control that anger inside of us.
Personalize this: Write James 1:19-21 on some note cards and put them where you can see them. I find that taping verses around (and making them look pretty!) helps me remember to bite my tongue.
Take it to my kids: I've had to sit down with my kids and apologize for my anger. I've noticed that they start yelling at each other and that is a direct reflection of my own sin in them, and it saddens me. Talk to your kids and say you're sorry for yelling. Read them James 1:19-20 and tell them you're trying to work on it. Ask them to pray for you.