Category: Day to Day

The Year of Fixing

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Me, working on illustrations for the book, “Dog the Dragon”. Nothing to do with the post but thought I should add an image of some sort. So there you go.

 

After years of trying to get back on track (and pay off our debt) this is apparently the year of fixing. Fixing the car, fixing our health, replacing things that can’t be fixed, just plain getting things back in order.
So far:

  •  Shamus has gotten a benign cyst that I was sure was a unicorn horn starting on his forehead.
  • Rachel has been diagnosed with moderate hearing loss . She has cheap over-the-counter hearing aids that rub but which help enough that she willing wears them anyway. Our goal is to be able to get her a pair of digital ones (including bluetooth for music, phone, computer) BEFORE she moves out in the next year.
  • New glasses for Es and I – much needed, including reading glasses for me. This would make me feel old except that I have needed reading glasses off and on since I was 18.
  • Replaced dead Wii with Wii U.
  • New sewing machine to replace multiple dead or nearly dead old ones.
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Another unrelated picture, though apparently this is also the year of the rain cloud. all the rain, all the time.


Coming soon:

  • Full glaucoma workup for both Shamus and Es because apparently there is weird eye stuff running in that side of the family.
  • Get Rach in to doctor for proper inhaler script, permission to get hearing aids (because the FDA is weird), and get her driver’s permit physical.
  • Get car doors fixed- our car has issues. Every door has something wrong with it, 2 don’t open at all, one only opens from out outside, one only opens from inside and one works but has a broken bit so you have to open it just so.
  • Get Rach decent digital hearing aids that suit her needs. Preferably ones with bluetooth that can be adjusted from her phone and can be used with bluetooth so she can easily do what she does, like talk on Skype, listen to music, watch movies.
  • Get a good printer for printing art so the girls and I can, you know, print our art.
Sunset. Because sunset.
Sunset. Because sunset.

I am sure there is more that I have forgotten.

Lots of general stuff going on:

  • Rach graduating and moving out (soon).
  • Rach working on independent study of art and possibly video game design and programming.
  • Me working on the book illustrations, working full time, and working on several websites.
  • Es working as content manager for a website.
  • Es designing and creating a video game.
  • Es writing a webcomic.
  • Issac doing his thing (mostly video games, Lego, and hanging out online with friends while growing and eating and growing some more.
  • Shamus writing, writing, writing, working on Good Robot, writing some more, doing  Spoiler Warning and the podcast and writing some more.

Life is Beautiful and Teens are Awesome

The last couple months or so have been crazy busy.

Mr. Tumnus gets a new look.

A photo posted by Heather Young (@gracedbychrist) on

We moved in the fall (that is a huge story that eventually I will tell, when I have time, and words). Es started volunteering at the library. Rach got a job, then lost it due to age restrictions (company policy vs store policy.)

Breakfast date with my baby boy. (He wouldn’t let me post the one with him in it.

A photo posted by Heather Young (@gracedbychrist) on

The kids are all teens now, and wonderful, awesome, brilliant, fun to be around, and all busy with their own stuff. I don’t post things about them unless they give permission (never have) and now they are older and more private about their stuff and well, I have less to share. We have several new projects we are working on as a family.

Life as we know it is swirling and changing and adapting. I go from times when the kids want all my attention and it is a swirl of activity to times where no one is around– all asleep, or busy with their personal projects, or talking to friends.

 

Rachel’s new head.

 

A photo posted by Heather Young (@gracedbychrist) on

My own projects go in spurts. In this season they often get set aside to talk out personal issues with the kids, discuss how somethign works or why, or how people work or think or why people can be dumb sometimes.

Pillow fort.

A photo posted by Heather Young (@gracedbychrist) on

It is all such a whirl of color and activity interspersed with times of quiet and nothing that it is hard to keep track of coming or going.

 

THIS is how geeks spend Thanksgiving. Dungeons .and Dragons Clue plus Sheetz takeout.

 

A photo posted by Heather Young (@gracedbychrist) on

Our big current project – the kids and I (I’ll let Shamus share his own as he sees fit) is body butters. (For sale here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/SeriouslySimpleStuff) They are fun to make and pretty and the kids love them as much as I do.

Kind of excited about the adorable body butters the kids and I are selling. This is the cute little sample size.

A photo posted by Heather Young (@gracedbychrist) on

 

And how cute did the single Valentine’ s gift wrap turn out.

 

A photo posted by Heather Young (@gracedbychrist) on

And there is more happening but I will leave it for now. Life is beautiful, and fun, and wonderful. We have a new warm, safe place to live that is everything we could have asked for, if we had thought to do so. This season with teens is absolutely awesome.

It is NOVEMBER!

A photo posted by Heather Young (@gracedbychrist) on

Sixteen

Happy 16th birthday to my baby girl, to the one who made me a mama, to the one who is strong, and brave, and very sure of what she wants, to the want who made us rethink our idea of child-raising and education and healthy living, to my dear sweet guinea pig, adventurer, shopping buddy, traveler, joyful, fun-loving, creative, musical, artistic, amazing oldest daughter.

Rachel Travels

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Rachel with her Asian Onion bun.

Our oldest is back in Texas for a 3 week visit. Everything fell in place perfectly for her to spend her 16th birthday there at her best friends’ home so we went ahead despite winter’s unpredictable weather.

Rachel with her Asian Onion bun.
Rachel with her Asian Onion bun.

The first day of the trip was awesome despite the bus leaving an hour late and driving straight through due to snow and ice. She made friends with a girl about her age from China who barely spoke English. She helped her  get where she need to be and do what she needed to do. They watched their favorite shows together (Thor  which they watched in English with Chinese subtitles and Heartstrings- a Korean drama which they watched in Korean with English subtitles). They shared Rachel’s food (there was snow and ice and they were running late so they they didn’t stop at any of the normal stops for food). It was amazing and wonderful and Rue was thrilled that God was clearly in this trip.

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Look at my onion bun!

The second day was HARD. She had a pack of Pocky left for her breakfast and wouldn’t get in till 9:30pm. (I really wish I had bought her a few more buns at the Asian grocery store (I ran in while she waited in line to get check in.) They were running really late still so weren’t making any stops and when they did stop there were only broken machines. At one point the bus broke down. She had a layover in Oklahoma City with no way to get food as the machines were all broken. Finally they got to Amarillo where she missed her transfer and her luggage had gone missing (they think it went to Dallas but so far no one is sure as it hasn’t turned up yet yet.) She ended up stuck in Amarillo, well after the time she was supposed to be in Lubbock, after everything had closed, waiting for our friends to drive an extra hour to come pick her up with no way to get any food and no luggage.

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Waiting and waiting and waiting. She was standing in line for over an hour and a half.

They took her to eat, took her home, found some clean clothes for her to wear, and they all crashed. Today they are heading into the city to the Greyhound station to see if they can track down her luggage and go thrift shopping for some new clothes to tide her over. A friend is sending a replacement for her Bamboo Tablet (which was in her luggage) and she received another pair of headphones as a late Christmas gift. So the big things that were lost (if the luggage isn’t found) have been replaced. Her brother gave her some money for her birthday and she will receive a little more which will help cover the rest of her loss. Not the most fun way of spending your 16th birthday but being with her best friends will make up for it.

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Finally getting on the bus!

We are praying that her luggage does show up and soon since we aren’t sure how much to replace and what to wait for. Regardless it will make a great story someday and she still has 2.5 weeks of time with her friends before she gets to deal with Greyhound again.

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On the bus. Finally.

A letter to a friend about to lose her home

I wrote this in response to a friend who just found out she is about to lose her home, something her husband was keeping from her due to her panic attacks and fear. Their financial situation is much as ours was 4 years ago. They live on what work and finances God provides (which makes it tricky to work with the bank and government agencies), have been struggling for a while, and she was scared. This is now an open letter to those in that position, those who are struggling with crippling fear as they look at a future of change. Frankly it could be a letter to myself 15 years ago. And again at 10 years ago. And 5 years ago.  And possibly a letter to myself again in the future. 

 

You are NOT alone. We have been through it, Ame (one of several friends who  knew all that was going on during and helped me through) has been through it (and held my hand through it, including through the panic attacks), I have been through it, many of us have gone through or are in the process of it.  Many moe will find themselves in that place.

The panic attacks do come but once you let it out a bit (you need to let it out like steam in a pressure cooker or you will fall apart) you choose, you choose to stand firm, to be strong, to support your husband anyway- he was protecting you knowing you panic, knowing you can’t cope. He was trying to protect you. It is your turn to be strong anyway. It is your turn to help him and help your family by choosing not to fall apart. Yes, you will. It happens. But then you pull yourself up by your bootstraps and do the next thing. No point in worrying about anything else. You can’t do anything else. All you can do is the very next thing.

I know about the not being able to verify financial info with the bank and government agencies- we tried to keep our house and because of our unusual income sources (how do you explain manna living to a bank?) we never could get anything to happen.

The thing is God is way bigger than that. Bigger than our fear. Bigger than our relationships with people. Bigger than houses and jobs and money and things. WAY bigger.

 

 

I know it is hard.

It is REALLY, REALLY hard.

This is where you get to tell Satan he is a LIAR and choose to ignore all the whispers and shouts he is sending at you.

You get to choose to be strong anyway.

You get to stop telling yourself all the things you can’t do and choose to say “I may not be able to do all that BUT I CAN do this, right here. Right now. I can be grateful for the things we have. I can be grateful that my husband loves me so much he tried to protect me from this knowing how weak I have been. I can support him anyway. I can show my kids how strong I can be and make them proud so they know how to deal with all this stuff that is bound to come at them in the future.”

Be brave, Girl.

You can do it!

You don’t have to do everything right now.

You don’t even have to apply for help if you feel God is not leading you to (we never did- God provided through other means and it was horrible and hard and amazing and miraculous) but you can choose.

You have a choice. Right now.

You can do the very next thing. That is all you have to do.

You don’t know what will happen in 5 years, a year, a month, next week, 2 days, 2 hours, geez- you don’t even really know what will happen in 2 minutes.

All you have is RIGHT NOW.

And that is ALL you have to cope with.

All you have to deal with.

All you have to be strong for is RIGHT NOW. Everything else is gravy.

God is good. He loves you. You are worth it. And He is a very ready help in times of trouble.

Just saw this this morning and it struck me as important:

I Will Go Before You

I will go before you
and will level the mountains;
I will break down gates of bronze
and cut through bars of iron.
I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name. (Isa. 45:2-3)

God’s imagery of going before us lets us know that he desires us to go on a journey. This is not so frightening. Most of us are aware that the Christian life requires a pilgrimage of some sort. We know we are sojourners. What we have sometimes not given much thought to is what kind of a journey we are to be taking.

Not realizing it is a journey of the heart that is called for, we make a crucial mistake. We come to a place in our spiritual life where we hear God calling us. We know he is calling us to give up the less-wild lovers that have become so much a part of our identity, embrace our nakedness, and trust in his goodness.

As we stand at this intersection of God’s calling, we look down two highways that appear to travel in very different directions. The first highway quickly takes a turn and disappears from our view. We cannot see clearly where it leads, but there are ominous clouds in the near distance. Standing still long enough to look down this road makes us aware of an anxiety inside, an anxiety that threatens to crystallize into unhealed pain and forgotten disappointment. We check our valise and find no up-to-date road map but only the torn and smudged parchment containing the scribbled anecdotes and travelers’ warnings by a few who have traveled the way of the heart before us. They encourage us to follow them, but their rambling journals give no real answers to our queries on how to navigate the highway. – John Eldredge, The Sacred Romance.

Everything in its Season

*I wrote this in my Christian unschooling  group in response to a young mom with a 15 month old wondering if she would ever have time to do all the things she wanted to, to learn all the things she was interested in learning. It occurred to me that she is not alone. I remember being that young mom wondering if I would ever get a full nights sleep let alone  be able to do things I was interested in, things that weren’t just about my family. And how were all these super moms doing it all? 

This is just a season. Everything in its seasons. Pregnancy is a season. New baby is a season. Toddler is a season. There was a season of me stuck at home in a new town with hubby gone all day, pregnant and with a toddler. We had a season of 3 kids under 5- all in diapers at least part of the time. A season where one child was constantly in and out of the hospital. Several seasons where I was too sick to get out of bed. We have also had seasons of going all the time. Of passionately learning new things- I have learned a little of several languages (Not a natural language person so it is more osmosis for me- watching a lot of tv in that language and just exposing myself to it). Learning to cook for food allergies. Learning natural remedies and cheap healthy foods. Learning wild crafting and herbal-ism. Learning how to be a homemaker. Writing a book. Editing and publishing my own and my husband’s books. Marketing books and art. Learning to code html and php. Hosting and maintaining websites for myself and others. Blogging. Reading the Bible through multiple times and really studying it. Researching pretty much everything. Running several websites and Faecbook groups. Learning to fix things myself and then doing it. Working for an antique appraiser. Working as a caretaker for an elderly woman. Taking care of my own grandparents.

 

I have been married 17 years now. I have a nearly 16 yr old, a 14 yr old, and a 12 year old. There have been many many seasons. There are many seasons to come. I have no idea what will come next. Some of the seasons rotate around my children. Others around other friends or family members. Some mostly around myself.

The biggest trick is learning to focus on the here and now- to do the next thing and not worry about the other stuff, but also knowing this IS just a season so you can enjoy it fully. You can keep your goals in mind, you can have a list, the list will change. Your passions will change.

One of the wonderful things about unschooling is that passion for learning in YOU will encourage the passion for learning in your children so when you hit a season where you can you do- you study and research and learn. And when you hit a new season you do what you need to do for that one. And you build on all that stuff that you have learned and are able to learn and grow more and it benefits your kids as you do so.

A Season of Transitions and Many Blessings

After 3 years of  full freelancing, with God providing from all different places including the work of our hands, the Lord has seen fit to give me a job that is providing fully for our family. This will enable us, God willing, to find a local place to rent instead of moving wherever (as we were willing to do and are still willing to do should things change, yet this means we can stay here where family is, especially my grandmother who is not doing as well as we would hope.) This was completely God’s hand– one minute I  was doing some website work and an hour later I had a full time job.

New palette– sketch for future color reference.

This job is not a forever job.  I am part of a team of women who care for an elderly woman. When she no longer needs us then I will no longer have this job.  So we are using this income to get ourselves on better financial footing, to pay off debt,  and find a temporary place to live. (The bank finally, after 6 months, decided that the buyer of our home was not suitable and that we were going to back into full foreclosure. Sigh. So we have a Sheriff sale ate again and a move out date.)  We are packing up the house and looking for a place to rent, or will as soon as the plague leaves our house. We have a list of places to check but are waiting on God’s timing, and part of that is being healthy again (Rach got sick, then the rest of us did– par for the course, though I think we are on the tail end of it now).

Little reader dragon-ACEO

In the last month, not only have we been adjusting to the changes that come with me working full time but also, God has been doing some serious spiritual heart surgery around here.   There have been many changes of a wide variety and those, combined with me working, and the family being sick, have made for a very interesting time but one I am not quite ready to discuss publicly (especially since we are still in the midst of it– we are talking deep internal changes which only show in small things externally). Basically Shamus and I have been spending a huge amount of time listening to the bible together and talking about what God is showing us and  the internal understandings and changes have been pretty huge. Aside from  all the other stuff He has specifically laid 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 (11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you,12 so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need.) on both of our hearts and we are praying and learning what that looks like in the work that He has given us to do.

Curled up with a Good Book– dragon postcard.

Also, during that time Shamus had a huge computer mess which lead to blessings but that is a story for him to tell (which I believe he will be sharing later this week.) In fact, I believe he has another thing to share this week as well.

All in all God has been blessing us from every angle.  The job I have permits me a lot of downtime and quiet, so I spend that time reading and painting. I do have internet access but no laptop or tablet so I can only be online in part, via the wi-fi smart phone– this means I can keep in touch with the family while there without having to make calls. This means I am spending less time  on groups on Facebook and more time just praying for the CU group (I can only access it sporadically from the phone and usually don’t get updates). That said it is a blessing to have quiet time to paint, and be encouraged to do so (the lady I work for loves that I spend my downtime painting and encourages it.) So I am not only working full time but also producing more paintings.

New book dragon.

The only downside of me working is I am getting less time at home with the family. 🙂  They don’t seem to be suffering for it, in fact it has been a neat transition as Shamus is taking on more of the daily conversations about anything and everything. I think it is a very good thing all in all but I do miss having a good feel for what is going on, what is needed, and who is struggling with what.

Finally, Shamus and I celebrated 16 years of marriage this week by getting nice and sick (well, he is.  I am only slightly  so– stuffy nose mostly) but that made for an interesting anniversary.  Also, Rach spent her birthday last week sick but I think had a super awesome birthday anyway.

So there it is.  A bit of a rambly post about how God is working in our lives and  where we are right now. Aside from being sick the kids are thriving. Shamus is thriving. I am thriving. God is good and is doing great things.  We will see where He leads us next.

#Birdsoftheair New Job Edition

Since last post God has provided  money for the car alignment, money for groceries,  more small gifts and more big gifts for the family.  Shamus was gifted a much needed headset for computer work and an awesome  insulated travel mug (for traveling back and forth to his desk and keeping his tea warm while he is busy) and I got one as well (French press which is extra nice for keeping the coffee grounds and tea bags out of the way.) Issac received a Minecraft axe which he is thoroughly enjoying.  Es got a pile of ebooks that she has been longing for.

And then, a few days ago, a job fell into my lap.  A perfect job that fits exactly into our family schedule. I suddenly find myself working  as a part time caretaker for a local senior citizen. It was very clearly God’s provision and God’s perfect timing. The income should fill in the gaps and allow us to get caught up with bills and needs. The situation means I should have  time to work on paintings/editing/maybe even writing and plenty of time with my family while still providing for us.

God has also provided ways to  take care of a few other needs that worked out perfectly (includes gifts so can’t share.)

Shamus’ computer issues have worked out, leaving him with one less hard drive but a much more stable and faster computer now that he is using Mint.

The weird sleep issues I was having seem to have disappeared (apparently I tried to shift my sleep schedule to fast so that even though I was super tired my body refused to actually sleep. I guess shifting my bedtime from 2am to 9:00pm was a bad idea even if I was tired.)

Also, it looks like the house sale is continuing to go through as at least his most recent attempt by the bank to shake off the buyers failed.  We will see if they continue to hold on.

All in all it has been an amazing and wonderful week where God has been showing His provision for us from every direction– a book sale here, a donation there, a gift here, and job there. 🙂 It will be exciting to see where He leads next.