Friday, January 17

Facing My Fear

Early last year (2019), my friend and I decided to work on a bible study book together by Priscilla Shierer called Fervent. Its all about prayer. A battle plan. A chance to take an in-depth look at one's life (mine) in every area and pray for it. A chance to rid all the possibilities of being personally attacked within those areas. It was INCREDIBLE. Going into the book, we knew that it was going to be an amazing adventure, if we allowed it to be. I don't think I fully understood how amazing it would be though. A year later, I am already craving a reread of it. Yes, it was that GOOD! 

Each chapter focused on an area in one's (my) life. The first paragraph was a blurb about how if the author was the enemy, how she would personally attack this specific area. Every chapter, after reading that blurb, my friend and I would literally text each other with an "oh boy!" exclamation. There were so many chapters that hit close to home, and so many things that I didn't realize I was doing or avoiding or simply assuming that it was just an Emilyism. All things that I didn't realize needed prayer! 

Then we turned to the chapter on FEAR! hahah (insert nervous laughter.) Actually, I knew going in that it would be a good chapter, but I assumed that would be it. It would be just another amazing chapter that I highlighted like crazy, prayed for the areas that needed prayer, and then moved on to the next. I didn't honestly think I was fearful of anything. Nothing was coming to mind that screamed "BE AFRAID." However, this is the chapter that stopped me in my tracks. This is the chapter that made me question literally everything. Every move I made. Every so called thing that I put under the list of Emilyisms - things I did differently than other people simply because I am a weirdo (and said in the "I am totally okay with this" tone, not the ashamed to be a weirdo tone). 

Whew. Boy. Was I wrong. 

Under several things that I am currently working on, driving was the thing (issue, Emilyism #1, problem, avoidance) that continually kept coming to mind. I got my learners many, many years ago, but after a couple of failed attempts at pursuing my licence, I stopped working on it cold turkey. Looking back I think I was embarrassed that I failed and I was really hard on myself because of that. The fear of never being able to do it (the failure) crept in and I let my brain and heart consume that consistently. I then started lying to myself and continually repeated that I actually didn't need my licence. Which worked for several years. Then my lack of a licence became a "well, its kind of annoying, but we are making it work without it, so whatever" frame of mind. 

I AM SO THANKFUL to my husband who did make it work. He is amazing. He continually questioned and encouraged me to go for my licence, but while I was in denial of needing it, he was there supporting me, providing for us, and being my chauffeur when I needed one. 

Several years ago, I sort-of, kind-of, thought about actually getting my licence. I was new mom and the idea of going somewhere with my baby seemed nice. Friend's house. Starbucks. Grocery shopping. The list goes on. However, at this point in my mind, it was much too big of a task. I was overwhelmed. I was tired from being a new mommy. I quickly let the idea go. 

Every moment from there on I would think of my licence in a negative, OH MY GOODNESS, there is no way that I can do this, way. It became a BIG deal. It became a huge mountain of stress. My mountain grew and became enormous, too large to tackle. Ever! 

I couldn't push it away though. The denial cloud couldn't cover up my mountain anymore like in the early years. The possibilities were ever pressing and my heart would continually imagine what life could be like if I had it. There were so many things I wanted to do. Places I wanted to go with my kids and without. People I wanted to visit and connect with. Things that were hard to make work with my husband's work schedule. These desires and hopes and dreams continued to grow. 

I was stressed. 

...but not fearful. Right? Right ... ?

"Because if he's (the enemy) working that hard to keep me from moving forward, there must be some blessing or beauty from heaven he's trying to divert me from." - Priscilla Shirer, Fervent

Earlier of last year, reading Fervent, a mom of two, I decided to challenge myself and attack my mountain head-on. The list of reasons seemed to forever be growing in favour of why I should get it rather than why I shouldn't. I could see myself doing all the things that I have wanted to do over the last decade, but couldn't do it easily because of lack of mobility. Or time on my husband's part. I could feel this chance, this chapter of my life, this huge opportunity blossoming and encouraging me to grow into something more than I was. And I really wanted that. 

I started to pray. A lot. Way before I started practicing to drive. I invited God into this area of fear. I shared those dreams that I had for growth with Him (like He didn't know them beforehand, haha) and asked for His help in this matter. Seriously though, if I had God helping me get my licence, I would be unstoppable. I gave my fear, my issues, my discouraging thoughts, to Him. I asked my husband if he would help me practice. We booked my test and went out driving daily. We drove so much (too much) that my oldest daughter started saying "nooo" when we told her that after supper we would go driving. haha. Poor kiddos.  

Every time I got behind the wheel, the anxiety and fear would creep in, which made me a very bad, jumpy driver. After more prayer, I realized that giving it to God, literally meant giving it ALL to God. I continually reminded myself that there is nothing God cannot do. I let go of viewing it in its enormous state, and just focused on one moment at a time. Get into the drivers seat. Get out of the garage. Get out of the drive way. I can control what I am doing. Nothing more. I cannot control the other drivers or the weather. I can only be in the moment. God can control the rest! So I let Him. 
Three months later, last November, I gave myself the best present ever. My licence. MY LICENCE! AHH! I remember the day so clearly. It was snowing, my two year old decided to scream the entire way to the licence agency place. I remained calm! Thank you, Jesus!!!!! I passed the test and life then kind of moved on as normal for about a week. It wasn't until my licence came in the mail and I was holding it in my hand when I realized that this part of the journey was actually over. I then cried some ugly, happy tears in my kitchen! I had finally tackled my mountain! 

Ahhhhhhhh!

Whew! Wow! ahh! Repeat! 

I know that I still have a ways to go before I am level 10 driver, but I am so happy that the test is over with. I now have the challenge of getting into that car without my husband and drive by myself. I had a couple of opportunities to do so before Christmas, but mentally I was burned out and declined each one. I think I just needed a break. Now the roads are thick with ice, so I need to wait for a warm spell. I want to take my daughters out for tea. I want to visit my sister. I want to take myself out on a date. And so many, many more dreams to fulfill. I am super excited for what 2020 is going to look like. God is good! I can do anything if I have Him by my side! This has been such a huge moment for me and I wanted to share. Thank you so much for reading. xo 

Friday, January 10

Currently : Bug & Birdie (Who is Better Named Monkey)

Bug (6 Years Old) : The half way point of our homeschooling year finished before Christmas and we begun the second semester with lots of science projects and fun ideas to get us back into the routine of it all. This has been such an incredible year of growth and learning for both Bug and I. Not even in just the grade one curriculum sense. We have been figuring out how best to communicate with each other, how to explain frustrations, how to be patient, and ultimately how to reconnect with each other. One of the best things to come out of this homeschooling experience, for me personally, has been how much one-on-one time I have had with Bug. I have been loving how she turns to me to ask for help and how much play time we have had with each other. It has been incredible. The school portion has been amazing too. Bug has flourished with all of her LA assignments and has even picked up her chapter book to read without any prompts. She loves her science experiments and her social studies activities. She is a very deep thinker and it has been amazing to see how her mind works. She is also a whiz for numbers. As always though, Bug's true love and passion comes into play when anything art is mentioned. She loves to craft, she loves when her other subjects include a craft. Even today, she has been telling me over and over what project she wants to dive into after she is done her schoolwork.
"I am an artist." - a statement she continually shares with me.

Bug is still enjoying her piano class. This has been my favourite year of listening to her play. I enjoyed hearing her before, but this year her class has taken some really awesome turns and the pieces Bug has been playing have been beautiful. I have even cried during some of them. It has really been such an incredible music journey.

Other things that Bug has been enjoying lately : We went swimming with a friend a couple weeks ago and now its all she can talk about. We have now made plans to get back into the pool and have more water adventures. Reading has been another favourite. She is excited to finish old series and to start new. Dragon Masters by Tracey West has been such a fun collection of books to read together. Bug's love language is still colouring. Or playing outside in the snow with her sister. She has been enjoying her other social activities through-out the week and it has been fun, again, to continually learn more about her likes and dislikes. She really wants to learn how to knit this year. That makes me so happy!

Birdie (who is more accurately named Monkey in our home) (2 Years Old) : We found out, over the summer, that our youngest Monkey is celiac. It has been an interesting journey of figuring out what foods she can and cannot eat, and oh, the label reading. We have gotten a really good handle on it at this moment and she has been thriving and growing on her new diet. Her energy levels are incredible. Our monkey is busy and definitely keeping me on my toes, and I love this new found energy. I hope to increase my knowledge with gluten free baking and cooking so that I can always provide yummy and nutritious meals for her no matter the occasion or holiday. She has also been really helpful with understanding that she cannot have certain foods because there is wheat in it. There has only been one incident where she cried because she wasn't able to have something, and since then, we have found a very great replacement for her to have instead. If you have any favourite gluten free recipe book recommendations, I would love to hear about them.

Our youngest has also found an excitement and proudness for potty training. We are still in the beginning stages of learning, but there are days that she will continually go to the bathroom to sit on her potty rather than just going in her diaper. She is so proud of herself and loves collecting stickers or watching the odd Paw Patrol as a reward. I have forgotten how much work it is to run with a child to the bathroom at all times of the day, but I am really excited to be at this stage. Soon diapers will be no more. Soon!

Monkey absolutely loves playing with her dolls, her babies that she has named all Dopey. Except for Just Baby, of course. haha. She loves dressing them up, putting diapers on them, and taking them all over the house. She usually asks Bug to join her and they often play dolls together. It is such a cute thing to hear their little conversations taking place. Monkey is a very smart little girl and she surprises us constantly with her verbal communication as well as her goofy sense of humour. She makes us all laugh daily.

Other things that Monkey has been enjoying lately : Her love for Olaf is incredible. He has even been ranked #3 in her favourite princesses list. She loves to sing Jingle Bells on the top of her lungs. She has been begging me to go back to the swimming pool. She really likes getting a tea at Starbucks. "I like to play" - that is what she said when I asked her what else she liked to do. She loves her big sister so much. She also really likes to play her own version of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star on the piano. Sometimes Monkey finds a crochet hook and pretends to make a blanket beside me. That also makes me so happy!
~~~
Life is amazing with my two little goof balls. I am so thankful that I get to be home with them, to watch and help them grow and learn. There really isn't anything better! I am excited to see where 2020 will take us. Life is great and I love this family of mine. xo

Thursday, January 9

Painting with Spices

Yesterday we did a really cool experiment for Science. When Science meets Art, oh yes, I am all about that!! Bug, my oldest, has lately been learning all about the senses. I found a really great sensory spice painting activity to help focus on smell, so we tried it. I really lucked out that out of the four spice I choose Bug enjoyed smelling two of them and other two she really did not! I used Cinnamon, Paprika, Onion spice, and Ginger. I ran out of white paint otherwise I totally would have used others. There was a comment on the original spice painting blog post were someone shared that their messy toddler broke out in hives because of the spices, so if you are wanting to try this activity at home, make sure you are aware of that possibility. Wash hands and bellies (my baby was naked) quickly and be aware of any possible allergies.

It was so fun to be able to smell the paints as we used them and to continue smelling the spices as the paintings dried. Bug was not a fan of the ginger or paprika smell, but she really liked how orange the paprika was. My youngest just loves painting. There were a few times I had to remind her not to eat the paint just because it smelled yummy.
I don't know why, but since the beginning of the month I have been craving all of the art projects. This science experiment has unleashed a painting craving inside of me that I wasn't aware still existed. I am thrilled that both the girls love hands-on activities and don't mind getting messy. It is my hope to do something like this every week with them. It is also my hope to dig out my old paints and experiment with them myself. 
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