4 Things I’ve Learned This First Year of Working from Home

I cannot believe it has been one year since I packed up my classroom at a high school in Temecula and went home to work with my husband. Time has definitely flown by and I have learned so much.

1. Family Is More Important To Me Than Ever Before

Family vacations are so important

Our family at the Grand Canyon during Spring Break

I took the plunge and left my comfortable and safe job of teaching to risk the economical consequences of being home more with my kids. While I still work, being there with them in the morning for breakfast, taking them to school, doing homework with them, and even helping my oldest son with his independent studies once a week has given me a drive to want to step it up. To do more with them. Be more with them. Instead of reading teaching books to improve my teaching, I’m reading parenting books to improve my parenting. I’m reading one right now called Different Children, Different Needs that is just life changing for me. It is helping me see the different qualities in my children and how my words and behavior as a parent can nurture and hurt them based on those qualities. I’m not done with it yet. But it inspires me to love my kids and discipline them differently. We are also setting a two year goal to move all our kids to a hybrid homeschool. The lessons and practice I’m getting now will help me do well when that time comes, if God wills it.

2. Working Alongside My Husband Has Brought Us So Much Closer and More Aligned

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Owen and I in our live stream studio for our upcoming show, Power Your Passion.

We have had to spend A LOT of time together. Wow! And with that, we have had to annoy each other, love each other, and communicate with each other all. day. long. It actually has helped us uncover the fact that we both communicate differently. And so we have had to be students of each other in a whole new way than before. Learning our DISC profiles have been incredibly helpful and that is the same tool we have used to communicate better with our children. But let me tell you– having a common goal, sitting together at night both working on the same project, stressing together and rejoicing together over successes and failures in our business has been incredibly good for us. I don’t feel so disconnected, trying to understand why he felt a certain way about his work and trying to remember names of people and such while I feigned interest. He does not struggle anymore with resenting my piles of papers to grade or my long commute home because it is taking attention from him or the family…the list goes on. Through this all, we have also come along side each other in a marriage ministry and are helping other couples become more aligned. That common ministry has helped us become better spouses as well, forcing ourselves to practice what we preach.

3. I’mMore Complicated Than I Thought I Was

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I thought that if I came home from work that I wouldn’t be as busy, that I would workout more, that I would be more present, that I’d blog more, and all of that. But I’m learning that some of my issues are truly issues and are rooted in myself, not on my circumstances. I can only blog if I wake up earlier, and I’m still struggling in that department. Sleep wins the argument every morning! I also still go through long phases of not exercising like I should (and with not walking around my classroom all day, it has definitely affected my weight, so I need to fix this). I still struggle with being present and now have reminders set up on my phone, and am working to be more conscious of my tendency to be lost in my thoughts and overly task oriented. The books I’m reading are helping me see this as well. And I’m learning that I create business in my life. I do it to myself. So I’m looking forward to growing in these areas.

4. God is Moving and the Future is Grand

IMG_8285God is teaching Owen and I so much about the power of faith, and opening doors for us in areas I’d never dreamed. Who knows what the future holds but the silhouettes forming on the horizon of the future are nothing like would have expected had someone asked me to forecast the future a year or more ago. We have started a family vlog, are looking at investing into an idea of Owen’s with one of our friends, are getting more marriage ministry opportunities, and more. We are even now working on house projects together to improve our home and planning to hopefully move our family to the Austin area in Texas when Kanan graduates high school. We still have concerns about Owen’s health and with the risk of owning a business, and kids there are plenty of worries, but that is where God is teaching so much about faith and trust. We live by him each day. And no matter what happens, we are trusting in Him and his plans for us.

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Summer Blessings

13445400_10154927222784746_4419286371882224395_n (1)After our trial the last year with cancer, it has been such a nice break this summer. This morning at church, our pastor had us look at where God has us right now and where he might be taking us in his big plans. During that time, as I reflected on where he has me right now, I couldn’t help but praise Him as I saw blessing after blessing in His active working my life. I wanted to share them with you and let you know that every single thing on this list has been given to me by God and for God–No one can tell me there is no God because I know Him personally! 🙂 This isn’t an eloquently written post by any means, but its truth and I felt lead to share.

13512128_10154932488199746_4493964367166036115_nSo the first thing is my relationship with my children has grown this summer. When my daycare provider told me that she needed the kids to come in at least 2 times a week this summer to keep their spots open (3 kids is a lot of income to lose for the summer when you are a daycare provider), my first thought was “Maybe I can use that time for me time! I can go to the beach, read a book, take a nap!” And then of course, the other day could be used for business–lesson planning, work on my books, my app, Owen’s business, etc. At first that is what I planned to do with those two days until God clearly spoke to me and told me to use that free day to take one of my kids out each week on a date for one-on-one time. 13415497_10154891369579746_7140565395515364686_oWhile I was sad to lose my lost me time, I knew it was right and also loved the idea. I  knew it was much better and God-glorifying than a me day. So I’ve been doing it and it has been such a wonderful time! James and I went to a movie, had lunch together and chatted, then held hands as we walked to the beach. Kanan and I did something similar, but he actually talked me into jumping in the cold ocean water and body surf with him. Once I got past being cold, I had an exhilarating time. I felt alive! Then Benny and I enjoyed our one-on-one time at Chucky E Cheeses and the Lego Land Water Park. He is going through a whiney phase lately which he still pulled on our special day, but with his bright brown eyes and chubby cheeks, He was easy to forgive. Won’t have time for Scotty to get a date in without causing an imbalance with the boys, but she alrady gets so much attention given she’s the baby. I really feel the boys are the ones who really need that special time. But even on days when we are all together, we have had such a great time going to Balboa park on free museum days, enjoying the refreshing water at the waterpark on hot days, or working in the yard.

Next, when I found out the cost of making an app last year, the marriage app project that my friend Nikki-Marie from TheMomIWantToBe.com were working on last year seemed to feel impossible. I put my focus on my sick husband and teaching and pretty much forgot about it. That is until my cousin came up with an app concept and started successfully crowd-funding to make it. It has since inspired me and Nikki-Marie to do the same and we are now writing the scrip13434815_10154926962694746_32091562682476397_nts and getting the logo made for the campaign. We both strongly believe that this app could potentially save marriages if people use it. What is more God-glorifying than that? We are praying God blesses our endeavors and helps us get the funds to make it. Hoping to have the video filmed at least before I return to work.

Then, we found a new church. And while our old church was wonderful and helped Owen and I grow so much, we are so excited to grow deeper and make more friends in the church community as well as follow God’s lead in where he plans to take us through this next church community. If someone had told me two years ago we were going to leave our old church, I would have kicked and screamed and cried. But over the last two years, God has really prepared my heart for this change. We like the church too so much. Our new pastor has an interactive way of teaching–having us pull out paper and draw concept pictures so we can connect to the teaching as it relates to13442337_10154926961649746_7051367176373135726_n our lives. He teaches verse by verse. We just finished going through the book of Nehemiah and just started the book of Jonah. Seeing how these prophets helped create change in large communities for God’s glory has been so inspiring. While the church itself is much smaller than our old church, the new pastor’s vision is to be very active in the world. Everyone there is really friendly too. The pastor and his wife even took us our family out to lunch and had our kids play while we got to know each other!  We are really excited about his vision for our community and how we might be involved to serve God’s purpose and heart for people.

Finally, Owen and I have been talking about moving to Temecula the last few months. It wouldn’t be for a couple more years, but Owen has been so excited about the move and passionate about the decision.While the idea of living closer to work and being more connected to that community as w13445686_10154927222944746_2781050758264998830_nell as the lower cost of housing was appealing to me, I knew if we did, I’d have to ask my oldest son to choose who he wanted to live with. And I knew he’d choose his Dad. The idea of losing my son has been weighing so heavily on my heart. I have wept so much over it in private moments. Having him every other weekend for material things seemed like such an awful decision, but  When I first brought up my issue with moving, he didn’t budge. I don’t remember how I worded it, but it was brief. So I have resorted to prayer the last two months.  I’m doing a Beth Moore study right now on Believing God and during the study I came to recognize that God loves my son Kanan as well. And he would not want any decision to be made that could hurt him. I felt lead to trust that he would take care of it. I didn’t know how, but he would. Then a week ago, Owen prayed out loud during family prayer for God to let him know if He wanted us to move to Temecula or not. I praised God then because I knew that believe godGod must be working on his heart for him to be questioning the decision and asking God. I thought, I would wait for God to tell him. But a few days ago, I was hanging out with my friend Brianne, who I feel God used to speak to me. I brought up the move to Temecula and she immediately pointed out the concern for Kanan. She suggested I speak to Owen again about it, but I decided to just wait and let God speak to him because I didn’t want to start a fight and didn’t think Owen would agree with me. Maybe God could speak to him through a friend or divine revelation. But last night, I felt God tell me “Why are you waiting for Me to speak to Him through someone else? Don’t you think I could use you to speak to Him?” So I got up the courage to risk a fight and I told him my concern. But I brought up the possible damage it could cause Kanan and our family. Immediately, he said that he never considered those possibilities and that we would not move to Temecula. Then today, he brought it up again, saying that it his job to keep our family together. Yes! No fight. God just worked. He took care of it. He worked on Owen’s heart and worked on me to get the courage to bring up a sensitive subject when I hate conflict.

So right now I am just basking in God’s love and mercies. We are not experiencing any trials right now and I feel so safe.I feel very much like we under God’s canopy of protection right now. It is a joyous place to be. I know that if you are not in a trial that you just left one or about to be in one. We had a huge one this last year. And while I know this middle place won’t last forever, I want to acknowledge it, and thank God for it. I also hope to encourage any of you who are reading this to trust in God. He is so good and mighty!

Night

nightI love the night. While the sky darkens and the sun hides its head under the horizon, reality and what really matters become clearer in my home.

As a working mom, my day is filled with chaos— most days are a spit up cleaning, diaper changing, The Regular Show watching, grocery shopping, worker beeing, traffic sitting, copy machines breaking, coffee spilling, kids screaming, lesson planning, internet researching, phone texting, Facebook scrolling, dinner scrambling, dirty boy washing, loud music playing kind of day. It’s hard to see and hear and be under it all.

But at night…

We cuddle with our children as we settle for bed. We read stories or tell stories and above all else, we pray together. Owen and I listen to their prayers first as we close our eyes and then model other ways to pray. But sometimes their prayers are our model—pure and unadulterated, open to see what we as adults don’t see in the hubbub of the loud and distracting day.

Thank you for the funny people in our town

Thank you for my toes

Thank you for our pictures

At night as Owen and I lay in bed, I’ll wake up in the stillness to feel him reach out his arm over to mine …and I know he is saying, “I’m not mad at you for that spat we had yesterday afternoon right before dinner. I love you.” And then I scoot over closer to him and make sure that at least one part of my body is touching his thereafter–a foot, a hand, a leg.

The humble truth comes out at night. None of the chaos matters. You matter. We matter. God matters.

At night-time, we talk about our day, we ask for advise, share our fears, our laughter, our conquests and need for growth.

We have time to be still at night. To breathe in deeply and know we are here and we have a purpose and we are blessed. That God is here with us. That we are each others’ biggest fans.

Night brings us back to center like a Sunday sermon, giving us the strength to make it through the next day.

Perspective on my Purpose

The big theme of my life is to give more and stop being "too busy." Love is not selfish. If I want to reflect God more in my life, I need to give more.

The big theme of my life is to give more and stop being “too busy.” Love is not selfish. If I want to reflect God more in my life, I need to give more.

My pastor of my church has been taking us through an in depth study of Solomon’s Ecclesiastes. The deeper we go, the more we can see that Solomon saw the purposelessness of life without God and then how much God takes that and gives us purpose and meaning in all that we do when we center it on him.

It got me thinking.

Does every aspect of my life seek to glorify God?

And if not, how can I change my perspective on that aspect and create a deeper Christ-centered consciousness in that area.

So this is just a brain storm but I’m thinking about every big area/role of my life.

  1. Wife– How can I reflect God more in my role as a wife? I think I want to seek to understand my husband more, and to make sure especially during the next few months to attain to his sexual and emotional needs even when I am tired, dripping with breast milk, and over all not feeling sexy or loving and probably struggling with wavering post partum emotions (I hope not, but I’ve had postpartum anxiety with all three of my previous babies). But God wants us to be self-sacrificing and especially with our spouses, seeking to meet their needs above our own.
  2. Mother– I want to continue praying with my children each day but also reflecting God more by showing more patience and being less quick to yelling. I yell when they don’t listen. I know I can do better at this by being more consistent with training them to obey the first time, so that I’m not lead to frustration which prompts me to yell. I also want to make sure that my three boys feel loved even when they have to share attention with the new baby. I’d also like to get back into memorizing bible verses with the boys–something Owen got us started on last year, but since we moved we started slacking on.
  3. Homemaker– on top of working full time, and wanting to spend quality time with the kids in the few hours I have left with them at the end of the day and on the weekends, I just hate cleaning. Owen is very busy as well with his business. So cleaning gets put on the back-burner. I mean I clean every day. But it pretty much stays with the dishes and then a quick clutter check. By Sunday I can get around to doing a couple of loads of laundry, a sweep and a mop, a vacuum, and if I’m really good–a bathroom scrub down. This is stressful. I get grumpy. Especially if I feel like I’m the only one doing it. The kids help, but they are so young, its not a significant help. I want to have more of a heart of service. A heart of finding joy in serving my family by providing a clean home for them. But I also don’t want to be a Martha (see the book of John). I want to be wise when its time to put the scrub brush away and spend time with my kids. I don’t want them to remember their childhood as a time when Mom just cleaned and they played alone.
  4. Teacher-– I work in a public school. I wish I could just evangelize the entire time to this lost generation. I make sure though to give a different perspective and worldview on things when the topics arise. There is this christian group that shows up on Thursdays at lunch that feeds free pizza to kids who come and then gives them a gospel message. Tons of kids go. And they aren’t christian. I talked with the person who runs it and asked her if she’d be willing to have  a day where Christian teachers could give a quick 2 minute testimony to the kids. So the kids know that intelligent people can believe in Jesus. She loved the idea. When I come back from maternity I’ll pursue that a bit more. I also need to check with my teacher’s union to find out if I would be supported should I get any attacks from other teachers, students, parents, or administrators for making a stand during this meeting.
  5. Friend– I don’t spend time with my friends very often. And lately it seems like I’ve been more on the receiving end of blessings than I have been on the giving end. I want to check in with friends more. Find out how they are doing more. And if I can’t see them, to at least encourage them more via text or a phone call.
  6. Sister– same thing. Send out more encouraging texts. Make more attempts to get together. And be an example with the way I live my life.
  7. Daughter-– I don’t see my mom enough. I don’t call her enough. For the most part, I feel like I’m a pretty lame daughter. She lives in Newport Beach in a one room condo, so coming up with my big family seems often like an impossible feat. But I want to call her more at least. I’d like to talk at least once a week. Some of my friends talk with their mom’s every day. I would love to have that with my mom. But I can’t live my life wanting something but never making the effort to do that. I want her to know that even though we don’t see each other often, that I love her.
  8. Granddaughter--I want to finish my Grandmother Lois’s memoirs. I’m going to start in a couple of weeks. We are going to set up Monday calls. She tell me her life. I’ll record it. Then I’ll transcribe the recording by typing it out. She can’t write anymore, she is getting so tired. And she’s on an oxygen tank now. I want her to have her book before she goes. As for my other grandma, I want to call her more. My grandfather died a few months back and I know she stays busy, but I don’t want her to feel forgotten in that old folks home way up in L.A.
  9. Entrepreneur/Writer-– reflect God in all that I do by being encouraging and patient with my old memoir clients. To do a great job with every resume so that when my resume clients see that bible verse under my name in my email signature, they can say that the Christian resume writer had integrity and worked hard. We don’t need any more negative stereotypes about Christians. Finally, to get those Children’s books done. They are all Christ-centered. I just need people to read them!

I think the big theme here is for me to give more and stop using busy as my excuse. I get so busy, I tend to make busy our excuse for not loving people enough. For not being that light in their lives. It takes self-sacrifice. I struggle with the desire to blame. But Christ never did this. For me, my big issue is being too busy to reflect God. What is yours? What can you change in your life to show to reflect God more?

Reach–at times it feels like grasping for the wind

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openclipart.com

Reach

We reach for what we want…sometimes to find success. And other times only to be disappointed.

I watch my toddlers stand on tippy toes, trying to reach the off limits objects of their desires on counter tops and shelves— scissors, candy, their brother’s Legos, or that glass of milk.

In life…we reach for dreams. We reach for goals. We reach for our desires. Some—to enjoy and hold. Other’s—like grasping for the wind.

My stepmother did not reach my father in time in the warm waters of Maui while they were snorkeliFive-Minute-Friday-4ng. She reached down into the deep waters to drag him out and perform mouth to mouth on the shore. But that night after finally falling asleep, she woke up half conscious to reach for his warm body next to her, only to find a cold pillow.

I reach for that day when I can come home to be with my kids and spend time with them. Right now I feel so disconnected from them since I’ve gone back to teaching. I cry for this dream.

All three of my babies, I have had to have by C-section. All three I wanted to reach out to after they came out, only to have doctors take them away. Two to the NICU. One for an extra hour due to “low blood sugar.” This last baby–my little girl, I pray I can have right away.

In worship, I reach up toward the sky in my feeble attempt to touch my God, looking forward to the day when I no longer have to reach, but will already be in his arms, saved from the challenges of this life, and tears wiped from the pain. When that day comes, nothing else that I have reached for and had or did not have–none of that will matter anymore.