Davy’s First Year of School!

This morning I sent David off to school for his last day of KG1. Last night as I was thinking about this school year I had a bit of a slideshow playing in my head.

The Tears

I remember the first two weeks putting him on the bus, pasting on a big smile, blowing him kisses and waving goodbye. Then, as soon as the bus was out of sight bursting into tears and crying all morning. Even into April I was still tearing up every now and then when I put him on that bus.

The Culture Shock

There were many small culture shock moments for both David and I. Davy learned playground Arabic throughout the year, but at the beginning of the year he couldn’t communicate with most of his class mates. Even trying Arabic, many of the kids just weren’t speaking as well as he could because they are learning 2 or 3 languages at a time. He thought kids didn’t want to play with him, and he struggled with the rough way they would act.

For me it was the unspoken rules that were expected. Even Lebanese parents were frustrated by things like that, but they felt used to it. For me it felt like I was in big trouble. For instance, I learned that muffins do not count as a breakfast sandwich. It has to be the sandwich they expected, one I had never made before.

By the end of the year I handled these moments much better, but still would have some amount of shock. For Davy’s school musical they asked us to buy “sandals”. What we didn’t know was that in Arabic there was a much more specific word, so the first ones we brought were considered “slippers”. The second time our language teacher approved them, and now he has great summer shoes, so it worked out well. Also, we were extremely proud of ourselves because we were able to get both pairs of new shoes for $10 (US Dollars).

The Growth

At the beginning of the year Davy could barely jump. Now he can jump, stand on one foot, and do a whole slew of exercises.

He was not able to color in the lines or draw anything on his own. His fine motor skills are awesome now, he stamps, cuts, draws, colors, paints, and doesn’t mind getting messy any more.

David hated singing even though our homeschool curriculum has a song of the week or two every week. David would just allow me to sing it, and if I tried to make him sing it with me he would shut down. Throughout the year his love of singing sprouted and blossomed, and he performed for us in three different presentations with mostly singing and dancing in front of large audiences.

Our shy little boy from the beginning of the year has found his comfort level and spent half an hour after church on Sunday greeting a team from Canada and showing off and telling them stories about his life and plans for summer.

There has been so much growth this year I can’t even begin to share it all, but these are the big pictures that came to my mind as I pondered the year. Thank you for sharing them with me.

If you are interested in an actual Power Point including videos of David’s various performances during the year,

Fill out the form below and I will send you the actual slideshow I created for myself. Busy Mom Scrapbook = Power Point to the rescue!

Goal Check In For the Week of June 19, 2017

Successes This Past Week

Reading

I read a fantastic book called The Great Passage, by Shiwon Miura. It was such a well-crafted book, and made me care about dictionaries and words quite a bit. Worth a read for any book lover.

Exercise

This week was another Fit Test, since 15 days had passed. I had a funny weight loss story happen when weighing in. I weighed in and realized I had gained 4 pounds! I was disappointed, but know that weight can fluctuate throughout the days, and it isn’t that big of a deal. I am feeling like I look better, I am feeling stronger, I have increased stamina, so all of my goals are being reached regardless of 4 lbs. A few days later the kids wanted to be weighed, and Davy was asking how to read the scale. As I was showing him I realized I had read the scale backwards! I had added weight when it had actually been 4 lbs I lost.

Numbers:

I lost 4 lbs in the last 2 ½ weeks.

I also lost inches in my waist and hips.

Here are two of my #BBM6.0SweatySelfie’s. My arms are getting toned!


Language Learning

I have been building a habit of practicing every day, and I feel like it is really helping my brain to feel success.

Blogging

Mommy Book Blog

New Total for the Year: 22

Do This One Thing to Get Rid of Digital Distraction in Your Life

The Most Important Thing I’ve Learned About Blogging

Lisses to Lebanon

New Total for the Year: 12

Let It Go: A Frozen Post by Louis

Join Us For A Week Of Prayer

This brings me up to 34 posts out of my goal of 52 posts. So I am at 65% of my goal. This is fantastic progress as I am writing every day now in a regular habit.

Events

Sunday marked the beginning of our newest Quarterly Prayer Challenge Week, so I have been hard at work all week preparing the in depth emails which will be sent only to the small group committed to our Prayer Warrior Team! CLICK HERE if you would also like to join that Prayer Warrior Team and commit to praying for our ministry in Lebanon this week!

Goals for This Coming Week

Reading

Since we are entering full prep for travelling, I want to continue to read. Reading The Great Passage this week allowed me to stay calm and not spend every minute working to burn myself out. I hope to read another book this week that is a novel to relax.

Blogging

I need to work on the Prayer Challenge. There will be posts on the blog with a general description of prayer needs, but only the Prayer Warrior Team will receive the in depth explanation of what we are seeking prayers for.

Additionally, I will not be taking the laptop with me to the States because we need to buy a new one for Louis, so I am hoping to schedule blog posts ahead so that there is at least one a week while we are traveling and getting settled. This means writing multiple posts and continuing to be consistent while preparations increase for travelling.

Research

This week I am diving into sending emails to set up appointments with people for my time in America. Several big dates have to be decided, and I am seeking God’s guidance and wisdom for making wise decisions.

Events

Today, Monday, is the last day of school for Davy. We opted out of his class trip because it is an extremely expensive picnic, and because Louis’ work schedule was going to mean that the first two days of summer vacation he wouldn’t be around. We are going to have a family picnic in our living room instead so we can spend time with Daddy before heading for America. We hope it can be a fun day to relax as a family.

The Most Important Thing I’ve Learned About Blogging

My Most Important Blogging Lesson

We started our Lisses to Lebanon blog while we were fundraising before moving to Lebanon back in 2013. In the past 4 years of blogging I have learned so many things. The most important thing I have learned is not new or creative.

Know Your Audience

Know your audience. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard that from English teachers in writing projects in my 30 years of life. I heard it so much I thought I knew what it meant.

Only recently have I realized that I don’t truly follow that wisdom. I don’t have a clearly defined audience to write for, so I often sit down to write and feel stuck.

What Will My Readers Say?

This thought is a plague that eats away at my writing, motivation, and will power. And when my husband says, “Who is “They”?” I just get annoyed. Of course he doesn’t understand, he isn’t trying to whip out 20,000 words a day about everything important in life!

This is a gross exaggeration, and I love my husband very much, but this is what lies do to us.

The lie is that I have thousands of people reading my every blog post and criticizing me as a person.

The truth is I have a smattering of friends and family and a few people brave enough to join the email list who don’t know me personally. These people read the posts that relate to them, just like I do with the blogs I follow.

And if someone doesn’t like a post they rarely criticize. Usually they just stop opening the emails.

The second lie is that I am trying to write so much!

The truth is that I am enjoying a life of being a mother. I am spending great lengths of time with my family, and I believe this is the correct and right thing for me to do.

Now That I’ve Stopped Taking Crazy Pills*

Overthinking what people will think of me keeps me from writing. When I sit down and pray about what God is telling me to write I usually end up with month long series posts or a challenge and my writing goes well.

I was reading through old posts and ran across one that blew me away. What’s Stopping You? This post was written with a joy and exuberance that I have inside of me but rarely share on the blog. I don’t think even my family knows that feeling is inside me most of the time. Don’t I want to share it with the world?

I may not become the next huge blogger. I may not do much more than continue to share my thoughts with you all and gather a small group of people who love me. For me, that would be enough.

*I don’t take pills other than my daily vitamins: C, Fish Oil, B, and Calcium/Magnesium/Zinc/D3.

Community

I am in the process of finding who God wants me to be, to belong in my own skin. And in this quest I am discovering a gaping hole in my life for community. This blog provides small doses of that. Anything I do to grow my audience will be with the goal of growing my community.

I hope you have good things to say in the future, and I hope the changes I make in my blogging life will bless and encourage you. I hope my joy can start to pour out onto the pages, and I hope you can share your own lives with me.

Do This One Thing To Get Rid of Digital Distraction in Your Life

In The Beginning

This blog was started because a nurse thought that I wouldn’t be able to read as a mom. Since that day my son was born until now I have been constantly reminded that we can accomplish something when we really put our minds and energies towards that one thing.

In an ongoing series about the Spiritual Life of Christians I shared about our Ideal, Paragon, and Focus. As we focus on goal setting we can often choose things that sound good, but aren’t things we ever intend on doing.

However, I meant to read because it gives me life. I enjoy it, find purpose in it, and it is a huge benefit to me.

How Do You Read So Much?

It is funny to me when people ask me this because reading is such a part of my life, and I love to do it. To me the answer is, “Of course I can find the time to read!”

I have a dear friend who reads far more than I do. As I look at the two of us, natural readers, reading a part of our DNA, I know that it is because we make it a priority. If you hear me say that and think you want reading to be a priority, but you still don’t check a book out from the library, it is possible you are merely trying to compare yourself to me or other readers you admire.

If I compared myself to my friend it would seem like I am not a reader after all. However, I am not reading for her, or for you, but for myself and to better my relationship with God.

Why Do You Read So Much?

Reading quiets down my soul and mind and gives me a place to vent internally, in notes, and in prayer; a way to escape; a place to say I don’t know and seek help; and a place to process all that is going on in life. For many people that isn’t their experience reading. I don’t want to tell you what experience you should have reading, or even to tell you to read.

We live in a time of social media and technology running huge chunks of our lives.

I was listening to a webinar today about multitasking and was so proud of myself for not being the person he was describing.

As I said before, this is natural for me, so my experience is not going to be your experience. Most likely if you are following my blog you have some level of technology access, so on some level there is some point at which you are distracted.

I am easily waylaid from my projects by multitasking. I used to think I was so amazing because I could “multitask”. Now I know that what I perceived as multitasking was really and truly getting high on adrenaline.

I Don’t Multitask

That is my secret ingredient for successful days. It is my secret ingredient for being able to read or cross stitch or homeschool or clean.

Now truly, there are distractions, there are alarms, and I am a mom.

But when I decide that we are going to homeschool, I don’t try to pick up a book while David works. I prep for the next activity, or I turn on their homeschool songs so we can sing and work. I stay on topic.

If I decide to read, I choose to do it when everyone else is also doing a quiet activity. I have trained my kids to have quiet times in their rooms, and I read during those times. I read during naps. I read while waiting for the bus. I read while Louis works on the computer after the kids go to bed.

If I decide to clean, I split my task in two. 1. Chores the kids can help with. These are chores that will require my oversight, so I can’t go dig in on a task I need to focus on while hoping they work. During cleaning times they have to stop playing and tidy up, wipe up spots, etc. 2. I put the kids in their rooms to play while I work on dishes or deep cleaning.

For me it is easy to focus with single mindedness, so this strategy works well to get me accomplishing what I want and need to do throughout the day.

Goal Check In for the Week of June 12, 2017

Successes from Last Week

READING

I read the Bible in my downtime a lot this week. I am in 1 Chronicles, which literally put me to sleep one day, but I am getting naps! Success for naps, and for pushing through.

HOMESCHOOL

With sickness the last few weeks, it was a challenge to get back on track, but we are doing it! And the kids are so adorable. I love teaching the Bible to them, and Davy has Psalm 23 almost completely memorized. It is awesome to see their little minds and hearts growing.

EXERCISE

Fit Test this week! Even with all the sickness and delays, I lost inches and weight! I am so excited! Louis and I have been super busy preparing for America and with interns and life, so I don’t have any progress pictures to post with this check in today. But I am feeling great, and it is working!

BLOGGING

For those of you following Lisses to Lebanon or Mommy Book Blog you may have noticed a lull this week. Louis wrote a post, which ended up taking time to format and we also had some crazy prayer requests come up. We shared the prayer stories via email for people signed up to receive our Prayer Challenges and Alerts, so CLICK HERE to join that list.

Goals for this Coming Week

READING

Books

Library books checked out on the Kindle.

Finish reading 2 books.

Bible

Read 4 “days” on my Bible Reading Plan.

BLOGGING

Continue building the habit of Write Every Day.

Prepare for the Lisses to Lebanon Prayer Challenge. If you would like to join us for a week long prayer challenge, CLICK HERE.

PACKING

Get my house organized and ready for packing.

Laundry done so I can pack clothes that fit the kids.

 

June 5 Weekly Goal Check In

Successes This Past Week

Reading

The kids’ bedtime coincided with the evening prayer time for Ramadan all week, so as I was tucking the kids in we could hear the call to prayer. So we had family prayer, songs, and Bible reading every night. It was wonderful, and the kids were even quicker to get ready for bed in anticipation by the end of the week. Yay! Successes in obedience!

I finished When Helping Hurts and a book called Terms of Use.

Book Total So Far: 19

Homeschool

Both kids love doing homeschool, and Davy had his first set of “exams” this week. We were moving the week that I was supposed to give him his writing test for capital letters, so we skipped that one. He had to trace the letters we have been working on and then write them by himself. He did very well. Two lowercase letters were backwards, but his capital letters and numbers were perfect.

We didn’t really get a week in, and routine was tough, but we got caught up by also doing homeschool on Saturday.

Blogging

Mommy Book Blog

New Total for the Year: 18 Posts

Am I Happy Yet?

Lisses to Lebanon

New Total for the Year: 9 Posts

Posts from this past week in case you missed them:

Life in Lebanon Challenge #1: Grocery Shopping in Lebanon

Building a Job Description From Scratch: The Humor of Missionary Life

How To Use Your Pen in the Battle

I am at 52% of my goal for the year! I caught up quickly to my goals by just working on it every day for awhile. Even working a lot less on the blog the past two weeks I was still able to have things scheduled to post.

Events

David performed in his school musical. It was a huge cultural experience, and completely adorable.

Goals for This Coming Week

Reading

Books

Library books checked out on the Kindle.

Finish reading 2 books.

Bible

Read 4 “days” on my Bible Reading Plan.

Exercise

With Kyrie sick, we ended up staying up with her at night, and since I hurt my head and neck I gave myself a week before I worked it. So my goal for this week is to get back in the routine of waking up early to work out.

As I rework my wake up time I will also have the goal to work out every day whether it is in the morning or at night.

Arabic

Go to class! A good goal after two weeks of being sick.

Blogging

Continue building the habit of Write Every Day.

Prepare for the Lisses to Lebanon Prayer Challenge. If you would like to join us for a week long prayer challenge, CLICK HERE.

Events

This week is Louis’ and my 9 year anniversary!

This week also marks 3 months in our new apartment.

Am I Happy Yet?

The Quest

This year my word of the year is Belong. I am seeking to belong in my own skin, to love myself, and to be happy. Now that we are in June I want to take a minute to look back on the first half of the year and see how my quest is going.

The Heroine

There is a version of myself that I truly believe I am turning into. I am deepening so many good character traits, and really working to minimize and eliminate the bad. I am so much more patient now that it is weird to think of how I used to fidget and pace and start to raise my voice if something was taking too long. Now I can sit, silently, waiting without feeling any stress. I am able to sit next to women here in Lebanon without needing to say something. This causes many women to build relationship with me because that is normal for them as well.

I have reduced the voice raising so much that when I raise my voice now it surprises me, too. Once a month this gets a little wacky (sorry if that’s TMI), but even that week is nothing compared to how bad it used to be.

I really am learning to love myself. I have a clean house most of the time, and I am able to keep up with chores and homeschool and have begun really showing consistency in the blog, exercise, and many other areas of life.

So much of who I want to be is starting to happen. As a family we are instituting strategies that set us up for success so that we can encourage each other’s strengths.

Day by day, step by step, I am becoming the woman God and I want me to be.

The Villain

Sometimes, in a movie or book, it can be hard to recognize the villain. Often the villainess is good friends with the heroine until in a sudden twist she becomes the bad guy.

I can be the villain in my own life. Just when I am starting to get to know myself, be calm and happy for an extended period of time, or do something to take care of myself, the part of me that does not believe this is possible starts to react. I start distrusting people around me, finding things to nitpick.

Back in February I posted a short letter to my Shadow Self, that villainous piece of me that tries to remove Joy and Love from my life. The battle with her goes on, but it is greatly diminished in the past few months. I have control over that aspect of myself far more than I did before.

I am afraid.

I become my own enemy out of fear. Fear of change, fear of loss, fear of failure.

Recognizing that I am afraid, I can give it back to God, seek His help, pray with my family, and get the train back on the rails.

I really love and thrive on consistency and routine. But so little of my life has been focused on those two things that it is a big change to move from chaos to routine. I have to tell myself every day, “This change is good. This change means that eventually there will not be chaos and mania. I want to be made well.”

I am excited.

I am living in paradox. Feelings that don’t go together are simultaneously in my brain. In the midst of those feelings of fear I am looking forward to the future with confidence and faith stronger than ever. I know without an inkling of doubt that I am headed where God wants me, and that right now at my computer typing this, I am in God’s hand.

God told me I can be happy. So that is true. Anything my Shadow Self, Satan, or any other enemy says that is different from that is not true.

As we plan to go to America, fundraise, people raise, train people in prayer and moral support, and spend time with family, I am thrilled to be on an adventure. I am sure that God has great things planned and can’t wait to see what they are. I know that it will all be different because I have changed inside my own skin so much.

I hope to continue to learn to express myself and share what God is putting on my heart in a way that encourages and blesses others. I have learned how to take care of myself so that I can be the best person, mom, wife, and friend I can be. In another 6 months I know I will look back and see what a special year this is.

I love you, Annie.

If you live in the Arizona or Utah areas, I would love to meet with you while I am in America! CLICK HERE to make an appointment or shoot me a comment or reply.