Just a Stay at Home Mom

One Little Word

A pastor in our sending community often shares his distaste for the word “just.” We use it without meaning it. We say, “I just want some quiet.” Then as soon as everyone quiets down, we say, “Now, I just need to finish this page.” Well, you got what you asked for, quiet, but you were not satisfied. Pastor Tom’s explanations about the word just have inspired me to truly be more aware of the words I am using, and especially with the word just. I have removed it from my prayers because I never Just want that one thing. I want it all. I want the peace, patience, joy, love, grace, time, and sleep running over all over the place!

While I have worked hard to remove the word just in some areas of my life, I spent a season this past year elevating the word as well. In 2015 I felt that I was not being an intentional mother in the way God was calling me to be. I had people affirming my skills in mothering, I was homeschooling my son, but I was not obeying God in submitting to the role of motherhood. I wanted to be able to do all the things I wanted to do, plus mothering. It was like motherhood was my side hustle instead of my primary job. That was what God was taking issue with. So, I took a year to be “Just a wife and mother”.

Just a Wife and Mother

The first thing I found funny when I began using this expression was how people would correct me right away. “You’re not JUST a mom!” If I had said I just want to lose 100 lbs, no one would have batted an eye, but that phrase is all cued up in Feminist America’s mind as NO WAY! And I would explain, “Yes, I do just want to be a wife and mother for awhile. I was called by God to do this, and if I keep pretending I can do every single passion full time I will never have time for my kids.” The year was an excellent learning time for me. When our daughter was in pain all the time, my commitment was not torn from other pursuits, I was already prepared. God obviously knew what He was saying when He called me to this commitment.

Now What?

This past October I had a friend remind me that my commitment was for a year and it was over. I looked at my life and realized that in that year I had learned so much about how to be a good mom to my individual kids, and now I am ready for this new stage. I am going to be attending Rutgers University to pursue a second Masters degree. This degree is going to be focused on library and information science. I am excited to pursue this passion that I have had on the back burner for quite some time now. I believe it is going to open up new opportunities for ministry and fruit in my life.

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Why I Can Call Myself A Cook Now!

This is Day 3 of my FREE 21 Day Writing Challenge. The only way to receive the prompts in your inbox is to Join the Challenge!

I Never Used to Cook

I was not opposed to cooking pasta or something from a box, but I truly used to avoid all raw meat, all food that had more than two or three steps in the recipe. When I first married Louis I received an excellent cook book for the wedding shower, but every meal seemed to be something we disliked more and more.

All of those jokes about the wife burning the food, or pretending to like the food your newlywed wife cooks were all true for us. This past year I knew that I had to up my game if I was going to lose my goal weight. In the past I have had a great time with the Bikini Body Mommy site for the online exercise videos, so I decided to use those right away. This time I also became a paid member and signed up for the meal plan. Every week Brianna sends meal plans with all the recipes and a grocery list so you know exactly how much to get to follow the plan.

A Plan That Worked For Us

Not having to plan and think was one of the benefits. I also decided not to make the family eat every meal, but to stick to it for myself while allowing them to eat their meal. Then something crazy happened. The whole family liked the majority of the meals. Over the course of the year, I also learned so many ways to substitute foods, and have even been able to adjust other meals when we find something outside the plan we want to try to cook.

A Good Attitude

The change in my attitude is the best part for my family. Being able to provide for them healthy meals is very satisfying as a mom. Not having to make as many decisions, being able to buy the same ingredients and have a core set of meals that we really like to make has transformed our decision making. We have more time on our hands with this no longer being a fight, or even much of a discussion. Food seems to magically appear on plates now that we have this plan.

I have lost 71 pounds this year.

I know this has to do with truly finding that balance of diet and exercise. Check out Bikini Body Mommy for yourself!


This post is one of a series meant to kickstart a writing habit. I created exclusive prompts which are emailed to those of us signed up for my FREE 21 Day Writing Challenge. I am posting my responses each day, and I invite you to join me in this writing journey by CLICKING HERE! The only way to receive the prompts is to sign up for the Challenge. The emails will include the prompt for the day as well as directions to kickstart your writing habit for any combination of the following:

  • Personal Journal
  • Prayer Journal
  • Blog
  • Christmas/New Year Letter or Correspondence

Goals to Build a Thriving Life in 2016

This is going to be a short post that will begin my weekly goal posts. I am going to post Mondays, and the goals will not include the weekends so that I have more slack to review my goals from the previous week. I just completed the course Make Over Your Mornings by Crystal Paine, one of my favorite bloggers. Much of the method to my goal setting comes from this course. I cannot place a measurement on Thriving, but by choosing the following measurable goals, I believe, day by day we will begin to thrive.

If you want to see my past posts on Goal Setting CLICK HERE.

My BIG GOALS for 2016

Self, Heart, & Soul:

    Read the Entire Bible Through (New Testament 5 Times)

List 1: New Testament – 4 Chapters Every Night Before Bed

    Once Complete Repeat all but Revelation

Old Testament Read 1 Chapter of Each List per Night

List 2: Prophets

        List 3: History

List 4: Law

List 5: Poetry

    Take Tim Challies’ 2016 Reading Challenge

My Goal is to Attempt Avid Reader this year, which is to read a book approximately every 2 weeks from the challenge list. This is audacious, but I think will help my soul and heart to attain the rhythm God and Louis are both impressing on my heart in this season of life.

Marriage Goals:

After finding the reading challenge mentioned above, Louis and I both have set reading goals, which will come from that challenge instead of add to that list.

    Louis: Read 6 Seminary Books

Finish Third Culture Kids

Finish Serving as Senders & Create our Blog Study for Partners in the States

Read 1 Book Together

Spend Intentional Time Together Just for Us 3x per Week.

Family (Mothering, Parenting) Goals:

Many of the goals for this year are not truly Big Goals for the year, but just building routines. At the end of the year I want to be able to look back and see several things accomplished however.

David Potty Trained

School Decision Made for Davy

Routines in Place:

    Grocery Shopping without Louis

    Teeth Brushing (Davy Learn and Do it Routinely)

    Bath Time (Water Heater Routines and Bathing)

Pause for PRAISE here for our evening routine at bedtime working so well and continuing to include Bible Reading to the kids!

David getting dressed and undressed by himself

Arabic Study Plan: Study 1 hour per day. 20-30 min. per day for Davy.

Ministry & Discipleship Goals

The Arabic Study Plan of course is part of our ministry here, and once that plan is in place it will cover many of these categories.

Mommy Book Blog: Post Weekly Goals once a week for accountability and twice a month posts on books and parenting and life in Lebanon.

Lisses to Lebanon Blog: Post twice a month. Hopefully one from each of us each month about missionary life and ministry.

In the past I made many mini goals, but these BIG GOALS will be broken into bite size (weekly) pieces and posted each Monday in Weekly Goals. Feel free to post your own goals so we can all keep each other accountable.

Book Review: T. Rex


As you may have read in my post about Science being our new subject in homeschool this year, Davy has grown a great interest in reading non-fiction. While my stack of books at the library is mostly Cozy Mysteries, Alternative Fairy Tales, and Activity Books, Davy sticks to aisles with call numbers. It has been quite fun for me to learn about the animals he has such an interest in, so that during playtime I can have some answers about the animals he plays with.

    This dinosaur book was read right alongside other books with names like Ankylosaurus, Baryonyx, Triceratops, and Pachycephalosaurs, so I had no expectation for it other than hand drawn pictures instead of computer generated. I thought it looked cartoonish, and seeing his taste I wasn’t sure he would like it much once we started reading it. He likes seeing the “real” pictures. However, I was pleasantly surprised at this book, and by the time we finished it, I loved T. Rex!

    The book is a conversation between a grandpa and grandson, with each character getting a different size and format to their words. The facts in this book are presented as the grandpa telling his grandson. And where there is missing information in paleontology, places that all his other books have given guesses and theories stated as fact, this book leaves the facts as they are. To which the grandson asks, over and over, “Don’t you know? Why don’t you know?” I love that! It is so disappointing to learn about animals only to find out that much of the information that was stated as fact is not based on fact, but on educated guesses. This book invites the young reader to join in the process of learning and discovery by showing how much we have to learn still.

    Being a Christian it is also important to show my child how there is a lot of theory and guesswork in science, to help him from an early age to recognize why and how changes in science happen. I also want to encourage him to ask questions, to be curious, and to look for his own place in the future. This is a great book for so many reasons that I have kept it beyond Davy wanting to “trade it in” at the library. Go get this book for your little ones. It is so much fun, and opens up a world of curiosity.


The facts about the book.

Title: T. Rex

Author: Vivian French

Illustrator: Alison Bartlett

Place: A Museum

Publisher: Candlewick Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Publication Date: 2004

# Pages: 29

Special Features: Unique – Conversation between a grandpa and grandson, Dinosaurs, Leaves you with many questions, Truth and Facts

Price: Free from the library or from $0.01 on Amazon.

ISBN: 0-7636-2184-6

Book Review: 150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids


I got this book from the library, took it home, and realized I had already pinned almost everything in the book! I already follow the blog FunAtHomeWithKids.com and love the ideas! However, being in transition for so long has given me only enough motivation to pin and not enough to do. With the book in hand I was able to share it with my son, who immediately chose some things he wanted to do. I was also able to explain some of the ideas to my husband with the pictures and explanations and chapters. Wow I love books!

    I have wanted to do sensory bins for some time, and this book had some great ideas. Once I was able to show this book to my husband he latched on to the idea, and the next day we went out and bought the bin ($3 at Walmart), a bag of insects, lizards, and frogs ($1 at the dollar store), a bag of shells at Michaels ($5) and we had everything we needed for several of the ideas in the book. We already have at home many many small figurines in lots of themes: farm, dinosaur, ocean, Noah’s ark (multiples of animals), desert, rainforest, Arctic, etc. I am not crafty and artsy by myself, and I was a little concerned that I would put too much work in and nothing would come of it, but Davy loved it! Louis loved it, and I am looking forward to adding this to our homeschooling this year as a recurring activity.

    

The second thing I was excited to take from Pinterest to Reality was Discovery bottles. It is so easy to see the beautiful pictures on Pinterest and in reality the work outweighs the reward, or the supplies are out of reach. Since we chose an ocean theme first, since we were reading Jonah, we wanted to make a Discovery Bottle with sand and shells and shiny marbles. What we got was a murky mess. This book included the same Discovery Bottle I had pinned, and upon actually reading the instructions, it calls for craft sand or no sand at all. As I said I am not creative on my own, so it was essential that I get these two ideas because I had not thought of it myself. The book also explained that upon filling the bottle with water or gel or oil it might be too heavy for baby to lift. This was very useful because it brought my expectations to reality, and when it was too heavy for Kyrie, Davy and I just dumped it into the ocean sensory bin and played with the items ourselves.

    I hope the two experiences I took out of this book can give an idea of the usefulness of this book. If you are like me and are looking for ideas to play with kids, and would like them to be in your hand instead of in the digital expanse, this is the book for you. I love this book, and I am going to be using it quite a bit this year. Too bad the library only lets me renew books 4 times. Other fun things in this book include Slimes, Doughs, Paint (including all-natural paint that you color using items like carrots, beets, & spinach), other Sensory Activities, and DIY Toys. I am so excited to share with you in the coming years all about how I am using this book (and the corresponding blog).


The facts about the book.

Title: 150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids: The Very Best and Easiest Playtime Activities from FunAtHomeWithKids.com!

Author: Asia Citro, MEd

Publisher: Adams Media, Avon, Massachusetts

Publication Date: 2014

# Pages: 255

Special Features: Easy Doable Activities, Upcycled Supplies, Age Range for Each Activity

Price: Free from the library or Kindle Unlimited, and the ideas are all on the website/blog FunAtHomeWithKids.com. The books even have some DIY kits to give these books as gifts to a parent. $12.66 on Amazon or read for Free on Kindle Unlimited.

ISBN: 978-1-4405-7615-7

My Goals For This Week

This Week’s Goals:

Family

  1. Organize Kids’ Clothes:
    1. Take Out Clothes That Are Too Small
    2. Pack Up & Label Clothes That Are Too Small
  2. Pack Up & Label Pregnancy Clothes
  3. Write Love Notes to Louis & Kyrie
  4. Exchanges and Returns on baby clothes she has already outgrown

Education

  1. Create an Arabic Study System
  2. Add the Motor Themes to the Homeschooling Curriculum
  3. Begin Reading TCK

Ministry

  1. Continue Bible Reading Plan
  2. Write Lisses to Lebanon Blog Update
    1. Funding Update
    2. Timeline Update
  3. Start Reading Serving as Senders
  4. Organize the Space to Write Thank You Cards

Personal

  1. Celebrate the first 2 Weeks of my Made Over Morning Routine: Use my Coldstone Gift Card
  2. Begin Studying the Bible again by reading 1 chapter this week of 1 Samuel
  3. Choose a Book For Fun & Start Reading

I realize I might be jumping in to far too much, but what I have been learning these past few weeks as I have begun my Morning Routine again is how useful scheduling out my days can be. Thank you, again Crystal @Money Saving Mom. So, I have begun using Google Calendar in a way that I might share as soon as I figure out how to explain it. The main point is to put it down on paper and leave it there. So, before I send these goals out now I have them written down on my calendar in a reasonable way. More on that later, but for now…

Accountability through Blog, we have Re-Begun!

As always, feel free to join the accountability of goal setting by writing your own goals in the comments.

On Being A Mommy Who Reads Voraciously

My baby boy was born in November 2012. During my pregnancy leading up to his birth I was able to finally read quite a few books that I had been meaning to read for years. I read the entire Harry Potter series, and enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. I reread the three books about The Mysterious Benedict Society and loved them all just as much on the second read. Finally, I reread the Hunger Games Trilogy. I was reading the third book, which is my least favorite of the series. I was quite aware that I may not finish it when I picked it up. I had intended to only read the first two books of the series again, but didn’t want to start a book which I would need to finish. Mockingjay was a book I could put down and not care much if I picked it back up again after my baby was born.

Thinking all of this over as I had made it even funnier to me when my nurse, after I had had my beautiful baby and been moved to the nursery floor for couplets care, laughed at my having a book in the hospital. I was aware that I would probably not get much of it read in the next few weeks, but when she said, “It’ll be years before you get through another book,” I felt that I had met a challenge I could not turn down. I laughed along with her and then determined that I would read all the time. Besides, what would I have to say to this baby if not for the chapter books I would read to him?

However, my true purpose in undergoing this challenge was my own regrets. I have spent years avoiding my passions in the pursuit of work and these five years of committed stay-at-home motherhood are about my own mental healing as much as they are about raising my beautiful baby boy. This is why the books on this site span so many age groups, and genres, I truly love books. My need for a kind of book is as fluctuating as my baby’s sleep pattern, which is a day to day phenomenon. Some days I need an easy read to get my mind calmed down. Other days I want to read to my baby a book that has pictures for him to look at. Often I want a book that speaks to me about my own life, or humanity in general. Sometimes I pick a book up merely on recommendation.

Which is what I hope this blog can be for you. I hope that you can continue, begin, or pick up where you left off being a lifelong reader. Use this blog as a place to make recommendations for me to read, or to find books to read based on your needs.