Our Family’s Bible Verses: 2017

Our Family Verses 2017-- WellOFaith

Making a Prayerful Decision

This year we’ve been having a few problems with our children’s behavior towards each other.

My husband and I realized this wasn’t completely on them, but fell on us as parents as well. Their behavior reflected on how we treated, acted, and reacted to those around us.

We prayerfully decided to choose two verses for our family to not only memorize, but to truly take to heart.

The Lord wants us to place His words on our hearts and carry them with us–remembering them and understanding them.

Place the Lord’s Words on Your Heart

Our Family Verses 2017-1--WellOFaith

Ephesians 4:29

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Titus 2:7a

In everything set them an example by doing what is good.

One Step at a Time

Every morning we recite these two verses together. So far, both of my children have them memorized.

I on the other hand still need to look at them.

I’ll blame old age. 🙂

We will continue reciting them each morning for the remainder of 2017.

Currently there is still much work to be done, but I know as long as the words are there for my children, in time those words will make an impact in their lives.

And in mine.

What verses do you return to again and again when your family is having problems?

 

Blessings,

Sare Signature

 

 

 

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How I Became an Accidental Co-Sleeper

New Moms Make Mistakes

Nine years ago when I became a mother I never expected to become the kind of mother I am today.

When my eldest was born everything I’d read said to sleep-train. To place my child in a crib in her own room so she could learn to sleep on her own.

She did great, and we never had a problem.

Not So New Moms Make Mistakes Too

When my son was born nearly four years ago we continued on as we always had,  but this time there was more difficulty.

He displayed a need for more contact and more connection. Where my eldest slept in the bassinet beside my bed in the hospital, my son wouldn’t sleep without being in my arms.

Sadly, instead of realizing his needs and accommodating them, I stubbornly trudged ahead. I had college classes beginning three weeks after his birth and anxiety clawed at me. How would I manage the requirements of school if he insisted on being held all the time?

Looking back now, I realize how the choices I made then affect our family everyday.

How I became an Accidental Co-Sleeper --WellOFaith

You Can Teach an Old Mom New Tricks

Last year, when my youngest was born, things were different.

I had drastically changed in the three years since my son was born. The Lord had softened my heart and shined light into the dark corners.

The military base house we live in only has three bedrooms, and the age range is so wide between my children I quickly realized there was no place except our bedroom to place her.

A bassinet was placed on my side of the bed, within quick reach, since we were trying to breastfeed.

After her birth I had severe anxiety, and holding her in my arms was the only thing that calmed me. Feeling her heart beat, and her breath against my cheek slowed the panic that clawed at me. Often this would lead me to fall asleep, content with holding her, and knowing she was safe in my arms.

Years ago I would have made sure she went to bed in that bassinet and slept in that through the night. I would have loved her, snuggled and fed her, and then put her back to bed.

Like I mentioned, I’m no longer that mother.

Returning her to her bassinet started happening less and less frequently.

One night as I snuggled her beside me, and buried my nose in her downy soft hair, I realized I’d been missing out on something amazing. I had been so concerned about suffocating my babies while I slept, that I had denied us both the love and connection we needed.

I had become a co-sleeping parent, by accident–or by His design. Something I never would have considered before.

My prayer that night was one of wonder and thanksgiving. The Lord had blessed me with another little girl, and in doing so, had opened my heart to something new.

The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same

As she has gotten older she has slept in her crib off and on. Each night after she falls asleep between us, we’ll transfer her to her bed. Most nights she will still end up in bed with us again.

Now that she is bigger and takes up quite a bit more space, because she sleeps like I do, our snuggles in bed aren’t always as comfortable or relaxing.

What those nights lack in comfort, they more than make up for by filling my heart with happiness, peace, and the knowledge that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

God has once again changed me. I may be continually sleep deprived, but I’ve got a different kind of connection with my youngest than I ever imagined possible. She is just as independent as her older siblings, but she is happy snuggled against me as she drifts off to sleep.

I’m not sure how things will be as she gets older, but I know this is the path Our Heavenly Father has placed me on.

I will walk it in faith.

Did you co-sleep with your children? What is a memory you enjoy from that time?

Blessings,

Sare Signature

How I Became an Accidental Co-Sleeper--Wellofaith

Six Things I Learned When I Quit Facebook

Six Things I Learned When I Quit Facebook

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Whatever you have learned or recieved or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice. And the God of Peace will be with you.”

–Philippians 4:8-9

 

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This post contains affiliate links. See here for full disclosures.
When I discovered Facebook almost a decade ago, I never imagined it would be something that took on a life of its own. I sure didn’t expect that a social media platform would be something that could ever require the need of a hiatus.
Then one day, not long before the election, I realized I was in desperate need of cleansing myself from the constant updates, notifications, and interactions. During the four(ish) months I was away I learned a lot about myself, and the effect Facebook has on me. Here are six of them:

Facebook Can Bring Out the Worst in People

For every positive post on my feed, I found five negative ones. During the months leading up to the election even those people I counted on for encouragement and a Christian perspective suddenly posted less lighthearted and loving messages in favor of angry, judgemental, political posts.
This negativity while not directed at me, was still affecting my own spirit. There was so much darkness that it started to permeate every part of my day.

Facebook Worsens My Anxiety

Since I have already been dealing with heightened anxiety since the birth of my youngest, it doesn’t take much to push my anxious feelings to another level. Reading all the negative and hateful posts had me in a constant state of anxiety. I was having trouble sleeping–worrying about people I didn’t even know, and things I had no control over.
Six Things I Learned When I Quit Facebook __Well O' Faith

I could give my personal worries over to God, but for some reason, the worries of the Facebook world were never given to Him.

Facebook Made Me Less Social

Given the negativity and anxiety Facebook was bringing to me, I guess it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that it led me to avoid most physical interaction with friends and relatives.

With depression and anxiety comes a desire to be alone–or at least the belief you want to be alone.

After being bombarded by the cares, worries, and desires of those people on Facebook, I couldn’t afford to expend the energy on anyone else. Not even on myself.

I also fell into the false sense that I could be just as social through Messenger as I could in the physical company of a friend.

Though, to be honest, some of my nearest and dearest friends live too far away for me to sit in their presence; in that case Messenger has been a wonderful tool.

Without Facebook I Could Focus

During those months without Facebook, I found a focus I hadn’t had in years. I had removed the Facebook App from my Android devices, and without the ease of single touch, I no longer felt the overwhelming need to check-in several times (or more) a day.

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It was too much effort to actually have to go through the website.

Much to my husband’s surprise I could actually make it through a movie or a show without my attention drifting to my phone. In many cases, my phone wasn’t even with me– a wonderful side-effect for both of us.

I Was Present With My Family

Without Facebook (or my phone) taking my attention away, my family and I had the chance to make more memories. True, they aren’t photographed or chronicled on Facebook, but during those times we were one-hundred percent together.

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I experienced so much joy watching my children grow and change; snuggling with them as we read books, laughing together over the antics of characters in movies, and discussing whatever was important to them. Being able to focus on them without reaching for my phone was by far the greatest blessing I experienced.

I Had So Much “Free” Time

For the first time in too long, I finally had time. I wasn’t rushed, and if I wondered where the day had gone it had nothing to do with getting sucked into social media.

I read books.

Not just a chapter or two here and there, but actual books. Instead of being glued to Facebook, I was able to lose myself in the worlds of great writers and storytellers.

I earned a well-deserved “book hangover” from Killing Patton; and enjoyed an impromptu book club with my eldest as we read and discussed The Girl Who Drank the Moon.

I was creative.

Crocheted blankets, booties, hats, and washcloths were started and finished. And each Tuesday a friend came over and we enjoyed an hour of chatting and crocheting.

I spent time with the LORD.

Six Things I Learned__Time with God-- Well O' Faith

Without Facebook calling my name, losing myself in the Word became easier. I had time to not only read a verse or two, but could actually carve out time to dive deeper into books of the Bible I’d been neglecting.

Finding Balance With Social Media

I’ve slowly began to re-enter the world of Facebook. I still haven’t replaced the app on my phone (and I’m not planning on it).

There is so much joy and living to do outside of social media, that I don’t want to find myself suddenly trapped in old habits again.

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I know there is a balance needed, especially as a blogger, and I’ve learned valuable things about myself these past few months. There is a place in my life for Facebook and other social media platforms, but they no longer have the pull on me they once had.

It’s a brave new world out here, folks.

One where I’m not controlled by social media.

One where it is controlled by me.

Have you needed to detox from social media before? What changed for you? How long did you do it for? I’d love to know.

Blessings,

Sare Signature

SAD: Why Living in the PNW is Hard.

SAD: Why Living in the PNW is Hard

SAD: Why Living in the PNW is Hard

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Living in the Pacific Northwest is Hard

Almost four years ago my little family and I returned to the Pacific Northwest. This relocation has been a struggle for several reasons, but one of the biggest struggles we’ve had to deal with is my ongoing battle with Seasonal Affective Disorder–SAD. Although the struggle didn’t start out as hard as I expected it to be, it has recently gotten worse.

I spent four years living in the desert, a place where it was sunny almost every day. On those rare occasions when it wasn’t, every part of me knew it. Those days were miserable for me, and made me grateful for each and every sunny day.

I also realized how blessed I was to no longer be living in the PNW.

The LORD had other plans for my little family though, and one day we packed up and headed back to the trees and mountains I’d grown up around. The PNW is beautiful. There is no denying that, but to be beautiful it spends quite a bit of time gray and dreary. For someone who needs the sunshine to be mellow and happy, the trade-off comes at a high price.

Summer Makes Me Come Alive

Today is beautiful. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and there is just the right amount of breeze rustling the trees. Spring is here, and summer is approaching. I’ll be honest and say summer makes me come alive.

The past few months have been hard for me. Our family thrives on schedules and routines because, when it comes to me living in a state that spends close to six months a year with little sunshine, routines help me to not completely become a hermit. It also keeps the SAD from getting so out of control that I end up becoming a shadow of myself.

Sadly, this year those schedules and routines haven’t helped as much as they have in the past.

Making the Connection

I can’t really lock down when this ongoing battle became noticeable;  when the depression started interfering with my life. All I know is one day I realized I’d started putting off going places. I’d started finding reasons to not leave the house–to excuse myself and my family from social events because they felt like obligations–and that feeling stressed me out.

During the winter months I struggled with this a lot. Since the loss of my father and the suffocating feeling I had from the bleakness of the weather, I found myself leaving my home less and less. I’ve stepped away from several things I enjoyed doing, because I couldn’t convince myself the recovery time it would take me afterward was worth it.

The only things I’ve managed to maintain throughout this time are things directly involved with my children. No matter how hard it is for me, I don’t want to let them down. They enjoy their time at AWANA and Classical Conversations community day.  It wasn’t (and isn’t) their fault that I have a hard time functioning without glorious sunshine.

I’m Worried Too

My husband worries about me, and my friends worry about me. They’re afraid I’m not just going to become a hermit, but a full-fledged shut in.

If I’m honest, I’m worried about that as well.

You see, I love my church, but when this suffocating sensation turns to panic at the thought of leaving my home Sunday morning and facing people, I know there is reason to be concerned.

Today, I’m feeling great, and that knowledge can lull me into a false sense of security. It can cause me to forget the way I feel when it isn’t sunny and beautiful.

Sunlight therapy isn’t enough (though, I highly recommend adding it if you suffer from SAD!), and neither is the medication I gave in and started taking four years ago.

I need God to help me through this, the same way I need Him in every aspect of my life.

Blessings, 

Sare Signature

Lord, Shine From Me.

Lord, Shine from Me

May the LORD always shine from me.

My Plan

When I first started writing this blog, the original plan was to show all the happiness and joy this walk brought me.

The only problem with that idea is that nothing good comes without at least a little pain. I wouldn’t be true to my Heavenly Father, or myself,  if I skipped over the dark places; those trips, falls, and downright cliff-diving moments that take me off His path, and make me as imperfect and human as each person reading this.

 

You’re Not Alone

I want everyone who reads this blog to know that they’re not alone.

Not alone on this planet, and certainly not alone spiritually.

The LORD pulls me out of each mess I find myself in, and He will do the same for each person who calls out to Him.

So, I’ll share my stories, the good and the bad; I’ll let the light of Jesus shine from me.

Blessings,

Sare

Homeschooling: The Right Choice for Us

We know that at this season in our lives, homeschooling (HS) is the way to go. I don't pretend to know what the future holds, or what God will place on our hearts at a later date. Right now, however, this is our great calling.

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People who’ve known me my entire life were surprised when I announced that at the end of my daughter’s first grade school year we were removing her from public school (PS), and beginning a new journey. We’d decided after a lot of prayer, discussion, and consideration that we were going to travel on the Homeschool Highway (which, by the way is an excellent book).

Our Reason

Many won’t understand this, but even more people will. As a parent it is our responsibility to do what is best for our children. In our case, we felt that included removing our daughter from the questionable curriculum, associations, and experiences she was having in the public school system. As a first grader she had become far more worldly than any six year old should be.

She and I had many discussions about what she wanted from her education, and honestly, neither her father nor I felt she would receive that in the public school environment.

Where public school is not necessarily *EVIL* and works well for many people, our goal was to allow our daughter the freedom to become so much more than we are. We wanted her to have the freedom to become whoever and whatever she wanted to be.

Where We Are Now

Not much has changed since we made the decision to pull her from public school. We knew then as we know now that during this season in our lives, homeschooling (HS) is the way to go. She is thriving, as is her brother who has joined her in a life of continuous learning. We’ve been on this journey for three years now, and it continues to bring blessings to our family.

I don’t pretend to know what the future holds, or what God will place on our hearts at a later date. Right now, however, this is still our great calling.

Have you made the decision to homeschool your children? What was the deciding factor for your family?

Blessings,

Sare

 

10 Books to Read for Personal Growth in 2017

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A List of 10 Books for Personal Growth in 2017

 

Each year I compile a stack of books–some paper, some digital– to help me grow as a person. This year I’m particularly excited about my choices. I’m also honest enough with myself to know I might not get through them all. However, I thought I’d share them (in no particular order) with you. Maybe you’ll find a few new additions for your own “to-be-read” pile.

The List

This isn’t an exhaustive list, and I’ve been known to add more books to the pile as they catch my eye; my husband spends a lot of time fretting over the lack of space we have and my never ending fascination with having my own library.

What are some books you have on your reading list for 2017? Please share them in the comments.