Are you Desperate?

1.11.2013

As mothers, we all feel like we are suffocating, at times.  This life is hard.  Raising kids is hard.  Our society teaches us that each man if for himself.  But....God never designed it this way.  He wanted (and still wants) us to rely on each other in a community of women, lifting each other up!

There have been so many times in my motherhood journey that I reached out to God in desperation.   I felt unprepared, unfocused, and particularly LOST!  In reading the book, Desperate by Sarah Mae & Sally Clarkson, I realized I had it all wrong.  My view of this motherhood gig was all wrong.  I had been chasing all the wrong things, instead of putting my COMPLETE trust in the ONE who saves and delivers.   Truthfully, Sarah Mae speaks the words I never could put together.  As I read the book, I felt like she knew me, my struggle and ultimately OUR victory in Christ.  

It is filling my spirit with such hope about this monumental job of motherhood.  Sally Clarkson and Sarah Mae are speaking directly to us....to you, me, the mom down the street.  As I read, I realize that most of my mothering years have been filled with feelings of desperation.  I can totally identify with both Sarah Mae and Sally.  The perspectives are so different, yet so biblical, encouraging and enlightening.  It is truly manna for my soul!  

It is, in so many ways, "hope for the MOM who needs to BREATHE!"

Now, go take a deep breath and order your copy now.  

Desperate:  Hope for the MOM who needs to BREATHE
by Sally Clarkson & Sarah Mae

The whirlwind that brought us home

12.31.2012

Wow.  This year has been a whirlwind....to say the very least.  We have been knee-deep in homeschooling, moving, character building, homesteading, chasing animals, and raising our little blessings on our "dream come true" homestead.  I must say that A LOT has happened since we last chatted (1 year to be exact). I am just thankful that some of you stuck around for my next installment.  
Thanks for believing in me, sweet friends! I'm thrilled to be back.
2012 makes me laugh partly because of my last blog post....yeah....the one I wrote in December of 2011.  I had NO idea what was about to happen around here.  I clearly had LITTLE faith!

We had been trying to sell our precious house for what seemed like an eternity.  I was to a point of questioning....should we move closer to family?  should be stay put?  should we move to midtown?  are we crazy?  And, everything in between....I mean it was an adorable house in a precious neighborhood and it wasn't selling.  So, after much prayer and discussion, we decided to take it off the market for good.  It had taken brick walls, unfinished projects, disappointments, detours, and faithful friends, but I finally realized that I couldn't do it all.   

Well that lasted about a month....and then, we got the itch again.  And momma got her strength back.  But, there were things to do.  We were busy with life, school, baseball, dance, piano, and the sorts.  And this momma was heading off on a girl's trip and had to get it all together.  I just wasn't entirely sure that putting it back on the market was good for our family of 6.

Now, for all you mommas out there.  I sure you all can imagine the scene.  It looked quite similar to a train wreck or small explosion.  After all, I had managed to pack all 4 kids and myself up, buckle them up and leave the house before 8 on said morning.  I had not worried what ANYTHING looked like.  Dishes in the sink.  Clothes overflowing in the laundry room.  Beds unmade.  Shoes shattered.  And people...I was just happy that we got in the car!  The mess was behind me...
That night, the hubby called to let me know he had just finished SHOWING OUR HOUSE!  "Really?  How could you?  I really hope you cleaned up before they came!  Do you know how to clean for showings?"  all before he could tell me the funnier part....they were interested and would be making an offer.  

And they did make an offer....and it was even one we liked!  We accepted and would be moving....in 30 days!  But where? I was worried.  The "downtown" house I had envisioned us moving to was sold.   I did not have ANY contenders.  So without any hesitation, we called our friend and agent who was listing our house the next day, explained our situation and he told us of the perfect house for us....

Remember that the Hubs had no interest in the farm life, but the house our realtor led us to was an old farmhouse on a few acres!  I knew there was no chance on this one.  It wasn't even on the market.  Jarrod was set on building downtown or buying a cottage somewhere near.  Plus, this house wasn't on the market yet.  And....there were men working on the plumbing with backhoes. Never a good sign, but...

we parked in this front yard not really knowing what to think.  I really wish I had a picture from that first day, but you will have to use your imagination on this one, folks!
Sweaty men were working everywhere and the sidewalk had been demolished.  In true Brandy fashion, I was still bound and determined!  I wanted to know what was so "perfect (for us)" about it, I literally climbed onto that old front porch, and together,  we crossed the threshold. 

In that moment, my heart stopped.  I knew that this was it and when I looked at Jarrod, I knew he did too.  We knew that this is where we would raise our family.  It would be within these old walls that it would all come to life and God would reveal so much to us.  And so, I now sit right here on this perfect porch (the one I build 100 times in my mind and never knew existed)...
...6 months later and I've laughed over this story again and again.  We tried to talk ourselves out of buying "this old house" a few times.  We came back and looked everyday.  But again and again, we just knew.  It is much more  a heart story than anything else.  We are HOME!

And now, the house selling days are over.  I've officially closed that chapter!  After all, the whole process/craziness of selling and moving has made me somewhat of a legend around these parts.  More on that later, my friends!  Little do they know....

By His Grace,
Brandy


E-I-E-I-O

12.27.2011

I've gotten to a point where I want to retreat....
to a farm far, far away where people can come and be refreshed.  Where we can explore and run wild.

It's funny to think that as a teenager, I always dreamed of leaving the farm life and living in the city. Heck...I even attempted running away....on foot!  What in the world was I thinking?  Oh yeah....I thought I knew it ALL!   

I always promised myself that I would be a city girl.  Well, I've been there and done that.  Now I am here to tell you that I DREAM of a more pastural existence for my children.   I see what it does for their souls....to run free....to explore....to be alone....to be quiet....and to have a safe haven away from it all where it's just us and we can be JUST a family.

For now, I really get it....
how it mends our souls and our relationships.  
how it builds our character and our dreams.
how it is a precious gift in itself.

and how, through that life (the one I dreamed of escaping) God gifted me with an amazing best friend in my sister. We had time to grow together without the distractions of everyone else.  We had time to live in our own little world.   We didn't feel the pressures that so many children feel today.  I want that same counter-cultural existence for my kids, but more importantly I want the INCREDIBLE peace that it brings to them.

I want to live on a farm!  Yep...I said it.  

Oh to be back there again.

Gotta work on my city boy for that one....

Times are a changin

12.12.2011

God always knows what we need, but it is truly amazing to see how he puts NEW people in our path that can totally understand us, and really challenge us to move beyond our comfort zone. I've been blessed with that provision in my life here lately, and it is WONDERFUL.  It is like a breath of fresh air for me. I hope you all have someone like that in your life....because it makes all the difference to have someone who REALLY, REALLY gets you and still loves you to pieces.

God has been doing a BIG work in my life here lately.  Yes...I know that the BIG shift occurred when I reluctantly agreed to begin our homeschooling journey.  Well, it seems he just used that one act of obedience as his "spring board" for the other changes he's had up his sleeve.  

He's really shaking me up....in a fresh, exciting, and wonderful, new way! 

My paradigms are shifting, and it's exciting.   I'm seeing His "light at the end of the tunnel" if you will.  No....things are not perfectly clear, but at least I am struggling with some BIG ideas... 

How to really be set apart, and actually look different than the world! 

Setting different standards for my daughters/sons...rocking the boat a bit.

Slowing down to really savor the important things....because that's what REALLY matters even if my dramatic self pretends otherwise!

Realizing that I have come full circle....finding such comfort and satisfaction in my life as a "homemaker" and homeschooling momma.

Eucharisto...because changing our perspective has the power to transform and amaze us. Thank you Ann for lighting this fire.  

Understanding that "this ain't your momma's education".  This generation doesn't need the education I got or even the one you got.  I am really trying to break free from this one, and it is really hard. I want to give them an education (and a life) that is so focused on Christ that there is no disconnect! I pray that I teach them through HIS lens so that they learn to view it all through HIS lens and really be HIS light.

Because when it is all said and done....I want my crew to be ON FIRE for Christ.  I want them to lay it all down in full abandon!  After that, I pray that the other "little" things will fall in place.  For we all know that they are really just borrowed from Him for but a moment.  

Blessings and grace to you all, my sweet friends!

Life in the fast lane

11.14.2011

WOW!  How did I get from September to November without a blog post?  I suppose it is because life is flying by and I just DO NOT like it!  We have had such an amazing time over the last few months.  

Soccer kept us really busy on Saturday mornings!  Hollis had the sweetest team full of all of his little buddies.  It was so much fun to watch them play as a team after their many intense ball battles earlier in the season.


We took a trip up to visit with my Mammaw.  It was WONDERFUL!  No matter what is going on in my life, how busy I've been, or how high my stress level is when I drive up.....it all just melts away when she hugs me.   She radiates the PEACE of Christ.  Her peace (which is so evident in her home) put me right to sleep within 15 minutes of my arrival.  YEP!  I drove 2 1/2 hours to visit and spent the majority of the time sleeping on her couch!  And no....she wasn't upset.   She said it made her heart happy to watch me sleep while holding sweet baby Rosie!  His light shines through in all she does.  I want to be just like her when I grow up!


We also celebrated a certain little man's 5th birthday.  Hollis celebrated like his mommy.....with an entire week of birthday celebration with family, soccer friends, co-op friends, and more family!  It was wonderful and he had tons of Star Wars fun.  We munched on Hans' Rolos, Vaderade, Wookie Cookies, and more.  


I just can't believe that my little bitty baby boy is already 5.  
Where did the time go?  It just doesn't seem possible!  


Hollis has been so much fun to watch this month.  He's known that his birthday was coming, and he started celebrating early. He's started coming out of his little shell, and becoming much more social.  Not sure if it's that #5, the karate, or homeschooling but something has clicked.  I am so thankful for the work God is doing in his life.   

He's an absolute original, AND this momma thinks that is WONDERFUL!  I hope that he never loses his beautiful sense of curiosity.  I hope he continues to look at everything differently, and I pray that he will continue to blaze his own trail....for that is where LIFE really happens. 




I have been trying to RELAX a little more....and you all know that's hard for me to do.  We've had several great field trips....the Wallace tunnel in Mobile, a cotton farm on the day of harvest, and to see the Humming Star Alpacas.  The alpacas were so cute and interesting!   I think I may need to start a new collection....on that farm I've been dreaming of.  

  

And last, but CERTAINLY not least, we went on our first camping trip....my first EVER camping trip.  And.....we survived an entire weekend of "PRIMITIVE" camping.  I say that we survived because I was really wondering about the survival part on Friday night.  Can you guess how cold it was from looking at this picture?


Well...it was WAY too cold for this Southern girl!  30 degrees....in a tent....without a heater.  I am guessing that if I'd known it was 30 degrees, I would have whimped out and headed home in the middle of the night (leaving everything behind).

It was quite the adventure for me, and guess what?  We can't wait for the next trip...in a tent...primitive style again!


We have been busy, busy, busy around here!  But....it's been so much fun!  We are truckin' along in our homeschooling journey, and I am actually giving myself a little slack!  It's a glorious thing.  I am turning it over to HIM!  More on that later....

Until then, I am wishing you blessings and grace!  

  

In the Line of Fire

9.21.2011


I suppose that this is where I should apologize. I have just begun my blogging journey, and I already can't keep up.  Please forgive my absence.  I will get better at this juggling act....I promise.  I need to vent and keep it REAL.  I need to write and exercise a QUICK dose of creativity.  Well, here's to keeping it real...
It's safe to say that my life can be summarized into one word here lately....CHAOS!
We have all taken turns with the "crud" (whether it be in the form of a cold or the stomach bug).  It hasn't been that bad physically, but it has made everyone an emotional wreck.  Everyone is a little grumpy, tense, tired, and edgy.  And that my friends really isn't a good combo when you are a homeschooling mamma at home ALL day with 4 kiddos.

I am beginning to wonder if Aunt Asha needs to give my oldest 3 hearing tests?  They must not be hearing me.  I am tired of hearing myself say the same things over and over again... 

Stop hitting your brother!
Stop running in the house (for the 1 millionth time)!
Use your inside voice!  Do you know what that is?
Why are you crying now?
And the worst (more about that mommy guilt in another post):  
Do you want to go back to preschool tomorrow?
I promised myself that I would NEVER let that last one leave my lips, but it has.....too many times to even count over the last week!  My nerves have been tattered.  I really don't want to feel this way, but sometimes even momma needs a little break. 
I know that none of you can relate.  I'm sure that it's just peachy where you are.  But this has been my reality lately.  And I want to keep it real.  No sugar coating around here.  It has been overwhelming.  I have felt scattered (and you all know that I don't like that).  I even missed my "therapy" (otherwise known as homeschool co-op) yesterday.  I surely did miss my girls.
I just never imagined it would be this much harder than teaching 85 rebellious, talkative, and sometimes obnoxious 10th graders EVERY DAY.  That was easy.  After all, I was trained!  I spent 5+ years in college getting it all figured out.  Folks,  it's a game changer when they are your kids....24 hours a day!  Don't get me wrong.  I loved those 10th graders and it was HARD, but I did get a break.  And I could always call momma.  Or send the REALLY bad ones to the principal's office.  Now....it's all on me.  The buck stops here.  That stresses my perfectionistic self out.  I need to start trusting my gut and stand firm on what I know to be true....God has it all figured out.  I can let go...and let God!

Please pray for us.  I know that we are right where God wants us to be. I know the journey won't  be easy.  But I am so ready to get back to the sweet rhythm of our first few weeks.  I do believe now is the time to let go of my "ideals" and just stand firm on God's promise to me.  Sound easy?  Well, please excuse me while I go off to laugh....pray...laugh some more...pray some more...and then NAP!
And we must not forget that my bible study starts tonight.  I can't wait.  It's going to be great, because we know that everyone needs a little help Becoming More Than a Good Bible Study Girl...Living the Faith after Bible Class is Over.  I can't wait to share the journey with you all.


XOXO  

Weekly Wrap-Up of our first week....only 2 weeks late!

9.03.2011

LIFE

Sibling rivalry has been crazy this week.  All of their activities led to really tired babies, which in turn led to a big headache for mommy....ARGUING, YELLING, and even HITTING!  By Friday afternoon, Mommy needed a little laughter and wine.  I know that God will never give me more than I can handle.  I am just so thankful that He is holding all of us in the palm of his hand.

Thank goodness we are moving onto the story of Cain and Abel next week.  This should be interesting.  I may need some help with this one.  Can you imagine the questions Hollis is going to ask me?

HOMESCHOOL

The highlight of Dylan's week was definitely Science. The girl loves animals, and we were all about mammals and vertebrates this week.  I love seeing her excitement.  It's infectious kinda like her love of books.  She took a special trip to the library (with her Gigi) to pick out a few fun books and books to enrich our history and science studies.  She felt like such a big girl. She was so excited to help out and "shop around" in the library.  

She also started riding lessons with a different instructor this week.  It is a bit more focused and disciplined for the hunter/jumper types.  She is so excited.  She rode Embers and did quite well considering....her mother forgot to give her the allergy medicine OR leave her water bottle.  Yes!  I think I am losing my mind.  And, YES!  My child rides them, loves them, and is VERY allergic to them.  Poor baby was swollen, spotted, and all itchy when I got there to pick her up, and she still said she had fun!


Hollis started soccer and loved it. So thankful that we have a team full of people we know.  After a day of co-op and a night of soccer, he lost all focus.  It was a struggle to get his work done this week.  We still have a few things to do.  Gotta finish that work on our T's.  You know me....can't quit midstream.

Huds is trying to potty-train himself...yep that's what happens when you are #3.  He seems to be learning lots of new things, even though he doesn't say much during "school".  He's enjoying tearing the crayon paper to shreds.  I will be glad when all of our crayons are naked!

Rosie started smiling, laughing and actually sitting through school....she's happy to stare at the pretty chandelier for at least 15 minutes at a time.  She is such a sweet baby.  I just want her to stop growing NOW.

NEW ADVENTURES

Co-op began....and it was a BLAST.  I met so many wonderful, interesting, and loving Christian women.  God always knows just what we need...when we need it, and I love that!  Everyone adjusted well for the most part.  Well...we had a few difficult transitions and I looked like an old, tattered woman chasing cats by the end of the day.

And now the weekend continues with R+F events, baby showers, engagement dinners, and church meetings.  I need some time off.  Yeah right!  I don't even know what that is.  I do wonder how I wasted so much time before I had kids.  And I thought I was busy then?  Really?  I was quite mistaken!

Well, William Butler Yeats once said that "education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire."  What if I feel like my entire pail is on fire this week?  I suppose some of us learn and work better under pressure!  Who knows?  I've always loved a good challenge.

And...I love y'all!  Thanks for reading.