Category Archives: Uncategorized

Bring Back the Block Party!

I thank God for my husband.hubby funny

When we were dating he used to embarrass me.  A lot. He is not the type to care too much about what people think. He’s bold, honest, and not afraid of confrontation. I was mortified quite often back then. I used to care way too much about what people thought. What if they think I’m strange? What if I say something that offends them? What if I share too much about myself? It all boils down to pride. Whether you’re shy or very outspoken, the insecurities we have almost always come back to pride. Me, me, me. I remember when I got the revelation that being too shy is prideful. That was an important turning point for me.

Thanks to Jesus and my husband who learned early on that you have to be who you are no matter what others think, I have come far from where I was. I have been pushed out of my shell many times over and I’ve decided that life is too short for all the “What if’s…” So what if people think I’m strange. So what if not everyone likes me. Not everyone will and that’s ok because life is not about me! It’s about being who He designed me to be to accomplish His purpose in this life. Now that is freedom.

In the past few years, the Lord has given me a desire to get to know those around me that He’s placed in my path. I’ve knocked on many neighbor’s doors with cookies or chicken eggs (yep, feed ’em good and they’ll love you, ha!), and I’ve gained some great friends and acquaintances and learned things that I never would have had I not stepped outside my fears. I won’t say that its easy for me to do this all the time. I still have my struggles and I still like to be a homebody sometimes, but the benefits have far exceeded the momentary fear of what someone might say or think if I knock on their door.

Right before we moved into this house, I wanted to meet the neighbors next to us, so the night before the big move I knocked on doors letting them know that the moving truck might be blocking the alley for a couple hours in the morning. Easy peasy! I met two sets of neighbors right then! After that, we were lucky enough to have a power outage for a couple of hours which meant that LOTS of neighbors actually came OUTSIDE into their front yards! How often does that happen?! I jumped at the chance to congregate with the 4-5 other couples and families who were gathered around talking about the outage, and met a whole lot more of the neighbors. Then, after the woman across the street brought us homemade bread, I returned with cookies and since then have had lovely discussions with this great painter who has already raised her children and loves the Lord and has brought little gifts over for my kids. Simple things like complimenting their gardening and asking them what they think about certain plants and how to prune, etc. go a long way in getting to know them better. Wave at them when they’re outside. If you see a family outside with their kids, bring yours over and introduce them. Going for walks on Saturday and Sunday afternoons or evenings are great times for seeing other neighbors outside since that’s such a prime time for gardening or taking care of the house and yard. Which leads me to today’s story. I admire one neighbor’s house every time we drive down the alley because I could tell he was a great gardener. Flowers and bushes spilling over the fence, beautiful landscaping, and I knew he did it himself since I’d seen him outside with his rototiller. So today after coming home from the water park we saw him backing into the driveway and I mentioned to Keith that that was the man whom I would love to ask questions about gardening. Being tired (and maybe a little shy, lol) I didn’t go much beyond that but then Keith says, “Well, let’s ask him.” So he rolls down the window and introduces us. I told you, I love this guy. No fear. And the man invites us to come over anytime to see his backyard!! *happy dance*  So, getting the kids situated inside, I head over to their house with some eggs. His wife answers the door and invites me back to see one of the most beautiful back yards complete with a very nice sized vegetable garden, a hammock, beautiful flowers, and a large koi pond with a waterfall. Stunning! I asked questions and listened and the wife even offered to walk down and look at my yard with me! Because of this one evening, I have learned not only about what the strange plants are that are growing in my yard and how to prune my flower bushes, but I’ve learned about a wife and mother of seven who has fought through cancer twice and knee surgery and who is now waiting for a knee replacement. Hard for a woman who used to be a marathon runner. They have seen their share of struggles and I now know how to pray for them…at least more than I did if I would have never knocked on their door.

It’s not about us. It’s about Jesus wanting to use us right where we are. As a stay at home mom, my neighbors are important to me. I can’t not know the people who I spend most of my hours around. And I think deep down, we all probably want the days back when block parties were normal and people stayed outside talking in the evenings while the kids played together down the street.

Let us step out right where we are. Let us put aside the fears and “what ifs” and be ourselves to the very people that the Lord has us around! Sure, you might get embarrassed or not get a reply at all when you say “Hello” to them for the fourth time (we may or may not have a neighbor like this), but who cares? Think of all the things you could gain! Even if its just knowledge as to how to pray for someone, its still worth it.

Let’s bring back the block parties even if it means it has to start with us. 🙂

“Hi, my name is…”

Don’t ask me how He does it. How He takes such flawed, diseased, sickly flesh and uses it as part of His beautiful love story, but He does.

My thoughts of late have encompassed so many things, and I’ve been wrestling with wanting to share and not knowing exactly what to say that wouldn’t take pages of explanation, but right now this is what’s on my heart.

What if we were real? What if we became more vulnerable with each other about our issues and hangups? How much more could the true love of Christ be shown if unbelievers or even believers just struggling with their position in life could see that we are not very different from each other?

“Hi, my name is Candi and I struggle with perfectionism, insecurity, anxiety and panic attacks, raising my voice at my kids more often than i should, laziness when it comes to house cleaning, and eating right, amongst other things. ”

There is not a huge chasm between me and the guy next door who struggles with alcohol or marijuana or codependency or rage. We all have a bent towards sin, and we are not required to fix our issues before we can receive Jesus’ gift. His gift that says, “Yeah, I know who you are. I know your ins and outs, and I still want you. I still think you’re amazing. I still see your potential! I still want to use you to make a difference!”

You are that person. We are so very very similar. And the Father of life, the Creator of the vast universe, still wants us!

“And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 cor. 12:9

These last few weeks have been rough for my physically and mentally as I’m walking through anxiety and even panic attacks, a place I never thought I’d find myself. But I can say that through the journey He has shown me so many things…about Himself….about me….and oddly enough, about my potential and strengths even though at times all I can see is my weaknesses. It’s in these times of weakness that He pulls me close and reminds me that I am not perfect but He is. And He wants to work through me as I continue to lean into Him for what I lack. And let me clarify that this doesn’t mean I can continue to walk in habitual sin that I absolutely know is wrong. When we come to Him we have to decide to walk away from certain things, but what it does mean is that we can come exactly as we are and He won’t push us away. He will meet us there, and because His love is so great for us… for you…He won’t leave us where we are. Because He knows your potential in Him.

A diamond ring that gets dropped in the mud is still a diamond ring.

So…”Hi, my name is Candi and I struggle with perfectionism, insecurity, anxiety and panic attacks, raising my voice at my kids more often than I should, laziness when it comes to house cleaning, and eating right, amongst other things…But because of His love and redemption, I can also see that I lean towards compassion and mercy. I absolutely love helping people think outside the box, and empathy comes quickly for me when I see someone hurting. I dream of doing big things to combat injustice in this world, and music and worship are my very heartbeat.”

I am not perfect but He is, so I choose to follow Him as I trip and fall and get sidetracked and dirty along the way. Where else could I go?

I would absolutely love for you to add your “Hi, my name is…..” in a comment on the blog so long as after being real, you don’t forget to add your strengths!

If I can get enough of them, how cool would it be to pull them altogether in some format! I have a pretty cool techy hubby that could help with that. 😉

Think of the people it could reach if they saw you being real.

 

My Measuring Tape is Off…

This morning has been nonstop and I feel like I’ve been walking in circles. And its only 12:30pm.Let’s see if I can do a run down of the day so far (don’t worry, I’m going somewhere with this):

I woke up at 6:15 because little Miss Jovie thinks that is when the day should start. I played with her in bed for about 15 minutes and then got up to get my coffee going, and maybe have some quiet time. Jovie wants food so I feed her some banana. Start my coffee. 6:45, Ethan walks out all sleepy eyed and parks on the couch while Dad is about to leave for work. 3 minutes later Caleb walks out. Pour 2 bowls of Cheerios and get water for the boys and then try to finish getting my cup of coffee ready. Sit down with my coffee and crack my Bible open while the kids are at the table. Read some, and write a few verses down. Remind kids to do their BB’s (brush teeth, make bed). Get Jovie down from the table, and hear the boys playing. Tell them again to do their morning chores.

After they finish the boys play or watch Wild Kratts  and I put Jovie in the exersaucer so I can get a shower. (I really needed it folks.) Get out, get dressed, and try to start the computer but the Internet is not working. I need to check emails and do some work on eBay so I need it to run. I do the usual Restart, take the battery out, try and repair the network connection, etc. No go.

Start to put Jovie down for her nap but decided to call Verizon  as well. (Not a smart decision. Reminder for next time: get the baby asleep first and THEN call.) Nice man tries to help me on the phone while the boys get too loud and Caleb starts whining for more food. Finally figure out that the problem was the little switch on the side of the laptop that had accidentally been switched so that the Internet couldn’t connect. (Insert joke here about how the lady called to see why her computer wouldn’t start and it was because she had it unplugged from the wall. Yep, that’s how I felt.) Finally get on for a few minutes to do emails and check eBay status for shipping a product while making sure Jovie goes to sleep.

Ethan comes to me and asks to clean the back doors to earn some extra money. I get him set up. Knowing that Caleb doesn’t have any money in his jar I ask him if he wants to sweep the floor under the kitchen table. I get him set up and help him as its not an easy task for a 4 year old. Divvy out the money and then Ethan wants to know if he can spend it….(I’ve been telling him no for a week now, so I decide to try and kill 2 birds with one stone.) I want to check out a garage sale to look for ebay items to sell (gotta shop sometime if I wanna make extra cash) and tell them they can look for something at the garage sale.

Jovie wakes up, we get loaded and stop at the garage sale. On the way I almost hit a car. The boys buy some little jets from the garage sale but Jovie is trying to run away so I can’t focus enough to shop for anything worthwhile. We head home and Ethan whines for food.

At home I make fruit kabobs as promised to the boys and also pass out some salami and cheese sticks while looking for something to feed Jovie. Get her going with some tuna and strawberries (not together, yuck). The boys go play while I make me a salad and put on some music to jam to while I try to pick up the kitchen. Eat my salad while sharing with Jovie who is asking for ‘mo’. Have the boys come out to help with kitchen chores as Jovie climbs in and out and around the dishwasher. Caleb’s job is putting the silverware away but today he doesn’t wanna do it. So he whines. Jovie gets stuck under a chair. (I’m sure there’s been a couple diaper changes in here, too.) Finish unloading but still have pots and pans to hand wash in the sink. They’re still there…

Jovie is fussy so we head outside for a bit. Ethan gives me a creature power badge to wear so we can all pretend we have creature powers. I’m a giraffe. Then he wants me to wear a crocodile mouth he made, too. So I’m a giraffe with a big paper crocodile mouth taped to my face. I explain to the boys that their inventions cannot stay outside and that I want my big decorative rocks to be put back where they were found. ( They look for bugs and forget to put them back often.) Caleb loses his jet that he just bought and needs help finding it. Can’t find it so I play catch with him outside for a few minutes. Come inside to read a story and put the boys down for quiet time…which is what we’re in right now. Jovie is asleep in the crib next to me and I’m typing this out not to complain (ok, maybe I’m venting a little) but to see if I’m measuring my day the right way.

Right now I feel like I did stuff ALL morning but have nothing to show for it. My house is still messy and my kids still needed to be disciplined a time or two, and we haven’t done art or music yet today for school. If I measure by that, then not much was accomplished.

BUT, if I think about my morning over again, there are some things to be thankful for and things that were worthwhile:

Caleb had a couple of temper tantrums and I was able to talk with him one on one about behavior and pray with him about how those times show us that we need more of Jesus.

Even if it wasn’t for long, I played creature power suits with Ethan, and catch with Caleb. They grow too fast…

My boys did their chores for the most part without a fight, and I know they are becoming more hard working which will be essential to them as leaders of their home one day.

I had coffee. (That stands alone.)

I have made some good food choices today for me and my kids.

I am not struggling today with anxiety and fear as I have been the past 2 weeks! (Thank you to those that have prayed for me ❤ )

I danced around the kitchen with my daughter while listening to Toby Mac.

I still have the afternoon ahead of me to catch up on unfinished chores….or maybe take my kids to the playground. 🙂

Its very easy to measure my day by what I think it is supposed to look like. But let’s face it, life, and especially having kids, requires us to be flexible. Flexibility is a nonnegotiable. But changing my perspective allowed me to look at my morning again and FIND the good. Its a practice, just like Ann Voskamp talks about in her book, 1000 Gifts. I have to LOOK for the good and be thankful for it. And you know what, because I made that choice today, I can move forward with my afternoon, keeping my plans flexible, loving my God and my children at the foremost, having a joyful heart, rejoicing that His mercy is there if I screw up, and being thankful for whatever may come even if it wasn’t on my list.

And so it begins!

School, that is.

Yep, the Reindl Academy of Books, Binders, and Paper Clutter has officially begun!  Ethan is in 1st grade and Caleb is in pre-K (if you wanna be technical). We started Monday and were done by 9:30!..? Apparently, I thought that going from Kindergarten to 1st grade was going to take over our whole morning, but when you start around 8am, it really doesn’t!

I spent a lot of time prepping for this year since we follow the Charlotte Mason style, and it has you reading a lot of books at one time on different days. I based some off of the Ambleside Online curriculum, http://amblesideonline.org/01sch.shtml, borrowed some resources from Simply Charlotte Mason, http://simplycharlottemason.com/ , and got a TON of practical ideas from this experience mother’s blog, http://www.charlottemasonhelp.com/ ( I really really love this site!) to come up with a workable plan for us.
Then I printed a one page word doc that has every day listed with things to do that day (color coded for the visual learner in me), and put it in the front of my homeschool binder. At the bottom it lists some informal activities to work on with Caleb (workbook, tracing, manipulatives, busy basket, etc.) and lists all of our Read Aloud books for this year with the subject next to it. It looks like this…

Monday’s list looked like this:

  • Quiet time w/Ethan and his journal (encouraged to do this from that woman’s blog post on how she taught her kids to have quiet time with the Lord),
  • Breakfast,
  • BBWs ((bed, brush teeth, wipe sink) and a morning chore
  • Storybook Bible
  • Math workbook while Caleb works out of his basket
  • Copywork
  • Read Aloud from “A Child’s History of the World”, Ethan narrates,
  • Add a picture to History Wall Timeline (a string to hang pics of each topic from the world history book in order of time)
  • Free Play/Lunch
  • Nap/Rest time
  • Have Ethan practice reading to me
  • Handicraft/Free Play
  • Round Up Time (pick up anything that’s yours around the house)/Dinner
  • Read to Caleb (at some point alone during the day is the goal)
  • Bedtime

Each day will have a little variation since we only do history, science, and art and music 1-2 times a week. Science is covered by nature walks and nature journaling, and Apologia’s Land Animals book. We debated on this one but I love how you just focus on one topic for the whole year!! We let Ethan pick, and since he heard the word ‘spider’, he picked this one.

I decided this year that each day we will do something different for Bible time:

  • Monday – Read from The Jesus Storybook Bible (If you don’t have this, get it! Its brought Keith and I both to tears, and its written for children. It’s written as the love story that the Bible truly is.)
  • Tuesday- Read from A Child’s Book of Character Building
  • Wednesday- Proverbs
  • Thursday- Old Testament
  • Friday- New Testament

Math is similar since Ethan really struggles with doing the workbook.

  • Monday- workbook math
  • Tuesday- Math games/manipulatives
  • Wednesday- Starfall math
  • Thursday- workbook math
  • Friday- NO MATH!

Fridays are planned to be our easy days so we’ll do some art and music time, and run errands, or have playdates and such!

I thought that this would be a full (verging on cumbersome) schedule, but so far this week, it’s gone fairly smoothly minus some whining from the eldest that we have to do school “again?!” and we’re usually done well before lunch. Charlotte Mason also had the Year 1 kids starting to learn a foreign language and learning to recite a scripture passage and some poems (broken up over the year), but I was afraid of overdoing it at first. I think I may gradually work these in starting next week.

Overall, its been a great first week and we still have so much time for just exploring other interests. Today, Ethan wanted to know what kinds of clouds there are so went spent some time on Youtube and looking at weather books! I really believe they learn and retain so much more when it’s their own curiosity that sparks the study.

I’m sure our schedule will get tweaked once or twice…or more…as we get further into the year, but I feel good about how everything is flowing. For all you Mamas about to start the school year, YOU CAN DO IT! And as one Mom told me, “Teach them to love the Lord and everything else will fall into place.”

 

 

 

30 Day Shred!

Today was my last day of Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred. I had tried to go through it twice before, but without accountability, life’s issues (aka, my children and my down days)  always won.

But not this time, buddy!

When I saw my friend, Missi, on Facebook saying that she was going to start it, I knew I needed to jump on board and ask for some accountability. It makes SUCH a difference knowing that someone else is doing it with you!

Some background for me: I got married right after turning 20 and weighed around 125 pounds. Since then, I’ve been married for 8 1/2 years and have had 3 children. I kept about 10 pounds after each child so I started this 30 day shred at about 160 pounds. Besides the workout, I also started tracking my calories. As much as I hate writing down what I eat, it really helped me to see how many calories I was taking in. I didn’t want to reduce too much as I’m still nursing my almost 7 month old and that could affect my milk supply. (Nursing mommas need an extra 4-500 calories a day.) I tried to keep it around 2000 calories but was not crazy strict about it. Some days I was a little under, some a little over.

I didn’t take pics so I have no before and after shots, but here are the results I do know about:

I lost 8 pounds!

I lost inches all over! (Keep in mind that you’re strengthening muscle so you might see inches come off before the weight does.) My arms and legs are tighter, my tummy is flatter (trouble zone for me!), and even my chest is a little smaller (3 kids remember? lol).

I’m fitting into pants about a size and a half smaller and I can fit a size smaller in shirts.

I feel stronger, and good! I’m able to go longer with more energy which is so needed with 3 small kiddos.

Overall, I am thrilled that I was able to discipline myself to follow through with it. I am a good starter but not usually a strong finisher. Ask my husband about all my unfinished art and house projects… And because I’ve been working hard at it and seeing results, its been easier to discipline myself to eat better. Seeing change really is a great motivator.

Last, but certainly not least, the Lord deserves the praise. This is an area I’ve been praying about for a while. As I mentioned, when I attempt these areas alone, I always fall short and have to deal with the disappointment. I had been praying for the Lord’s grace to help me in this area, and of course, He came to my aid. It’s by no means over because I can’t stop here. I have to keep the momentum going, for my health and for my children to have a good example to follow.

Next up, Ripped in 30 by Jillian.

Let’s git ‘er done!

 

 

 

Building the Coop, Day One!

Today is the day! We actually started building the coop and I’m really excited folks! Chickens are coming SOOOOOOON!

I am taking pics as we go along in case others are looking for some help with chicken coops, and so we can go back later and see how we built it. I know I personally spent days looking at others’ coops online so one more can only help, right? This was our very first one and hubby said to mention that he is not an experienced carpenter (but I LOVE what he’s done and don’t really think it needs mentioning, lol).

We can only have 2 hens here in Garland so we are building the coop to be about 48″ x 36″ and fencing off a large run area since we probably won’t let them roam around the whole backyard too much. (I thought about it but the poop factor all over our patio and such scares me.) We plan to put the 2 nesting areas in the back with a divider in between since I read that they like to lay their eggs in privacy, and then have some space in front of the boxes with a roosting perch above. You don’t want the perch above the nesting boxes or you’ll be cleaning a whole lotta poop of of your eggs. Then we’ll attach a door of sorts to the backside so that I can reach in and get the eggs. The flooring is mesh wire and we’ll pile some pine shavings on top of it. This will let the air circulate through, but also keep them warm.

Without further ado, here are the progress pics!

First off, you don’t need a big yard to accommodate chickens. Here is a view of our yard from the back door. (Don’t mind the toys, we live here.)

And here is the other side where the chicken coop and run will be!

Side note: We acquired some pallets to help supply some wood, and while that is the case and its working, pallets can be extremely hard to take apart and the wood splits really easily.

The fencing is 48″ x 50′. I’m hoping its tall enough but I’m considering having the hens’ wings trimmed just in case they try flying over.

Cutest little ‘helpers’ ever.

This is about as far as my hard working hubby got today but stay tuned! I’ll keep posting the progress. 🙂