Joyful Mothering ReDirect

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Christin Slade
I normally don’t make these types of announcements in this manner, but in this case it’s necessary.

I am in the process of changing the joyfulmothering.net domain/url to christinslade.com domain/url. As I make this change, you may notice a redirect. The goal is to remain on the Joyful Mothering site with a new url: christinslade.com. So when you type in joyfulmothering.net it should change to christinslade.com, but still land you in the right place.

Please bear with me as these changes are made. I am not certain how long it will take to complete and have the redirects complete. Hopefully only a day or two.

You will also notice the design change. This is normal and I’d rather work with the site remaining live than shutting it down. Bear with me around the dust for a few days?

In the mean time you can find me interacting on Facebook. :)

Psalm 37 – Week 1 {Moms in the Word}

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Delight Yourself in the Lord

Psalm 37 is the exchange of the righteous’ reward while the wicked pass away.

On a Personal Level

One thing that immediately comes to mind as a mother when I read this passage is the post I wrote on rewarding children for their work around the house—and why not extend that into their character training, pending it isn’t an issue in their maturing process?

Just read this passage and see how God rewards the righteous and punishes the wicked. It’s plain as day; black and white.

He doesn’t just tell us about reward; He offers it everyday. Every time the sun rises and we have breath in our lungs. When He gives us peace in dire circumstances; when He offers us just a slice of His plan to let us know He’s still there and He’s still working. It’s all a gift. It’s all a reward for running the race that can be so hard to run at times.

He tells us, “It will be worth it.”

But the meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. Psalm 37:11

He encourages us to trust Him (vs 3) and is our strength (vs 39).

On a Global Level

Imagine how David felt in the face of his enemies. God gave Him comfort because of his faithfulness to his Lord. We don’t have the same urgent threats on our life as David did, but we do face other challenges as our nation has changed and allowed more and more things to become acceptable. This is a war, not because people are free to choose, but because pastors and other people of Christian faith are forced to say it’s acceptable when it goes against what God has said.

There is much we can learn in light of our circumstances and one of them is that vengeance is the Lord’s. We have no place in taking that role from God. Even David refused to touch one of God’s anointed when he was presented with an opportunity to kill Saul. It wasn’t his place. He simply waited on God to deliver him. And guess what? He did.

Today we are called to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. (Matthew 5:44) So we certainly have a duty to fulfill. And what we deem as persecution here in the States isn’t close to what they are facing in Iraq. But we can stand in the gap and pray for our fellow Christians as well as those who are persecuting them.

Prepare to Stretch

I am looking forward to digging into this passage because I want to trek into areas of my faith I’m not prone to trek. To open a new possibility of growth and understand God.

Typically I venture into areas of growth I am already familiar with and continue to build upon. Not bad, necessarily, but not terribly stretching either.

Get the Resource

Psalm 37 Moms in the Word

If you want to purchase the resource to go with our study, you can buy the e-version here. This is a daily study and today we went over Day 1. If you prefer the paperback, that is also available, though it will take time to ship and arrive.

If you follow me on Facebook at Joyful Mothering, I have moved over to a new page. You can like below or click here.

The link up is below.

 

What is one thing that stood out to you reading Psalm 37?

Link up your Moms in the Word posts below (or simply link a post sharing what you’re learning in the Word).

 

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Don’t forget about DaySpring’s Black Friday roll outs. Click here to see more gifts up to 75% off. The Caddy below is just $9.99. Also, you get a FREE Advent calendar when you spend $50 or more. Use code PREPARE50 at check out. Through Wednesday only.

Caddy Free Advent Calendar

 

Photo: kevron2001 / Dollar Photo Club

Black Friday Begins at DaySpring

(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

Ohh I am so excited to share with you the best deals of the year from DaySpring. Many of these products are some of my favorites and we utilize them daily.

Here is one of my personal favorites: the caddy—we use ours in homeschooling for colored pencils.

Right now it’s only $9.99 – normally $22.99.

Caddy
And this beautiful piece I have hanging above our french doors in our dining room. Only $15.99, normally $39.99.

Abide In Him
 

I also have this beautiful, hand-crafted dough bowl, which can be used in a variety of ways around your home. It is high quality and a very solid piece. Normally $64.99, this gem is only $24.99 right now.

Dough Bowl
 

DaySpring has also released a few other pieces that may interest you that are on a hot steal right now. These make such beautiful gifts.

DaySpring Collage

When Homeschooling Doesn’t Fit Your Mold

(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

Homeschooling Isn't Meant to Look Perfect

The Initial Picture

When I first began homeschooling back in 2004, I had the ideal picture in my head. I also had only 2 children, one of whom was actually doing any sort of “school work” by the age of 3.

In addition, my first born was (is) a very eager learner and quickly punched through any workbook I placed in front of her. So, by the time she turned 6, we switched to something more robust and challenging: Tapestry of Grace. She rose to the occasion.

Coming up behind her was her younger brother and a one year old tornado. Thankfully she started off as a rather independent learner.

The Reality of Our Days

Today, I often have younger children running around in the background as I try to teach my older children. They don’t stay engaged very long, and when they do, they make a rather large mess by the end of teaching my lesson.

There are just some things I cannot control and I have to be OK with. As someone who came from public schools, it’s all I have to go off of on how “school” is supposed to look and it has taken a long time for those walls to come down and learn that learning can be done in more than one way.

So, having said all that, the ideal I had in my head to teach my children the same things, at the same time, from the same curriculum just doesn’t happen. My children have different needs, learn at different levels, and with different methods. That makes for a rather interesting day of school!

No two days look a like around here, despite my carefully planned out schedule.  The schedule simply cannot account for a child “not in the mood” to do their lessons, a child who gets sick, tired children who’ve had a long weekend, or distracted children. I mean, really, the list can go on. And with seven children, it’s rare we have a smooth day of school.

I think it’s important, in order to set ourselves and our children up for success, to accept the fact that our expectations may be too high and to take things as they come. That’s not to say we shouldn’t plan, but the plans will get messed up and we can’t just throw our hands up when that happens. We simply need to adjust ourselves to that reality and work from that place.

Today, I am getting over a cold that has knocked me down these last couple of days. I am still not feeling 100% myself, therefore I can not perform optimally. In addition, I have not yet been to my friends to pick up our next set of books for the next unit in our Tapestry studies. In light of this, I am adjusting our week accordingly.

Thankfully, we just made a great library visit over the weekend, so the children have plenty of new, good quality books to dig into. And because I’m still lacking energy from being sick, I am only focusing on the most important things today. For example, since we aren’t leaving the house today, I am not enforcing everyone to get dressed. We can declare today a “pajama day”.

On top of all that, reading aloud is often a nightmare because I am always telling someone to “Shhhh”. Math consistently puts someone in tears. (Including me at times). Writing, my own favorite subject, is a subject I struggle to teach–especially at varying levels.

Bad attitudes are a norm (I know, they shouldn’t be, but I can only encourage good attitudes, not force them). Despite the fact that I’ve created a schedule and chore chart for each child, I am constantly telling them what they are supposed to be doing.

The sooner I accept the fact that homeschooling isn’t perfect because people aren’t perfect, the smoother our days will go.

Homeschooling isn’t meant to look perfect, it’s meant to serve a purpose, and that purpose will be defined by each family.

For more imperfect homeschool days, visit the iHomeschool Network bloggers.

 

ImperfectHomeschool

How I Homeschool and Work At Home

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How I Homeschool and Work From Home

Working from home is a hot topic among moms.

Many moms want to work from home, but don’t know where to start. Others don’t know how work-at-home moms manage to work at home, homeschool, and tend to the house.

I want to share what I do to give you an idea of how we make it work for our family. It has taken many trial-and-error periods to find something that works well for us, but we have settled into a fairly workable groove.

Simplified Homeschool

We are year-round homeschoolers, which helps alleviate a lot of stress trying to pack it all in.

Because of this, we do not do every single subject everyday. I have broken down our lessons to focus on 4 subjects a day. This allows us to study each subject more thoroughly and not feel like we need to rush through them to get to the next one. In addition, it allows my children to pursue their interests because they in fact have time to.

When it comes to homeschooling, I have learned that is less is more. I have tried the Classical Education approach and while it’s a fine method, it just doesn’t work for our family dynamic. So I went back to my first love: Charlotte Mason.

Another thing that I am working toward is helping my children become independent learners. Having seven children at varying age levels can definitely stretch me when I don’t empower my them to work on their own, they don’t pursue their own studies.

My two youngest still require my full attention for lessons, so I spend about an hour in the morning with them. And then throughout the morning I offer help where the other children need it. They each have an assignment sheet they work from. Then I spend another hour working with my two Ghanaian girls as they continue to strengthen their English and reading comprehension skills.

Work Schedule

One of my greatest challenges of working at home is I don’t have any real set hours. I plug in when I can and work. I’ll do some in the morning, in the afternoon, and at night when the children are in bed. This actually proves to be quite stressful because often when I’m homeschooling or cleaning, I have tasks in the back of my head for clients that I also need to accomplish. So I am currently working through this dilemma.

Since most of our lessons are complete by lunch time, I am considering using the afternoon as my work hours while the children pursue their creative outlets and interests. I just bought a new planner that I am looking forward to digging into for my work related tasks.

So my goal is to work in the afternoon and free up my mornings to focus better on homeschooling and cleaning, and free up my evening to focus on time with my husband.

Sometimes I work Saturdays if we don’t otherwise have plans.

While tasks are getting done, having a more streamlined schedule will help free my mind of stressful clutter.

Work at Home Myths

I think in order for one to see the workings of a family with a work at home mom, one has to let go of some of the myths surrounding working from home.

For example, homeschooling doesn’t take all day — even with seven children.

Because I have seven children, there are lots of hands to help with cleaning, so I am not doing that alone. I wasn’t always in a season where I had older children, so it’s not uncommon for work at home moms with smaller children to let some cleaning slide until the weekend.

I do not work full time hours. I work 2-4 hours per day. Obviously my work as a mom is still work and fills the remainder of my hours. But as far as writing for my blog and working tasks for other bloggers, it’s about 2-4 hours per day.

Hopefully this gives you a fair picture of my days. I have a more extensive version of being a blogger and stay at home mom in my eBook, Blog at Home Mom.

What burning questions do you have? :)

P.S. In case you haven’t heard the news yet, Joyful Mothering will be merging into this site by the new year. I will also be shutting down my Joyful Mothering Facebook page and utilizing this one. So be sure to like it to stay up to date on news and receive encouragement via Facebook.

Psalm 37 Intro {Moms in the Word}

(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

It is so good to be back in community again! Whew! Sometimes life can take it’s toll, huh? The goal is to always “get back on the horse”.

We are entering a busy season as the holidays approach. I know many of you will be using advent devotionals as December arrives. The study I chose for this round is deep but does not take a lot of time. Instead of studying a whole book, we are going to focus on one chapter.

I am using Doorposts, Busy Mamas Bible Study guide for Psalm 37. It is an excellent guide that helps walk you step by step through digging deep into the word. You can get it as an eBook or a hard copy.

Today I’m just going to go through the introduction so it will give us a foundation and allow a little more time for those who want to get the study guide to grab it.

Stop and Listen

Before we enter into this study, I really want to just make sure our hearts are aligned and we are ready to truly dig in and receive His word.

Father God, I just pray right now for every woman reading this post today; for every woman who desires a deeper relationship with you. Align our hearts to receive your word and compel us to be consistent in reading. Remind us how much we need you and fill us up so that we can pour out and serve others. I pray you provide peace and rest for those seeking it and remind us to look to you as our source of joy. In Jesus’ name….

I love how Pam opens the study by pointing us to Martha in Luke 10. I encourage you to take just a few minutes and read Luke 10:38-42

As a very busy, homeschooling, work-at-home mom of seven I can tell you that I can relate to Martha being distracted by serving. And I know that can sound bad. Distracted by serving? Wait, isn’t that what we’re called to do, is serve? Well, yes, but not at the expense of our growing relationship with Christ. We need to constantly be plugged in to Him. And I often find myself running on empty because I haven’t taken the time to sit at the feet of Jesus and allow Him to fill me up.

Pam makes an excellent point in her introduction:

“There’s always something else to do. We’re never ‘done’. So if we wait until we’re done or even until we think we have time to read and study God’s Word, we probably won’t ever get around to it.”

Do you find this to be true in your own life? I know I have! God wants our first fruits, not our leftovers. That may be why so many encourage us to wake early in the morning and do our quiet time then. Not everyone is a morning person, though, and your first fruits may actually be at night because you’re a night owl.

But there must be a point in our day when we make a hard stop to get with God.

Only one thing is necessary.

We can do our duties and rush around, but what do they mean when we neglect God? We can no longer allow ourselves to be robbed of our very necessary time with the Lord.

So I invite you to join me for this Psalm 37 study. We will meet here once per week. I will have a link up each Tuesday for you to share a post you’ve written on what you’ve learned. If you do not want to write a blog post, that is totally fine. Feel free to engage in the comments.

Sometime exciting I have coming in 2015 is I will be opening a Moms in the Word Facebook group so we can more easily collaborate there as well. I will be opening it for members beginning December 1st.

Question: In what way do you find yourself so busy in serving mode that you forget or fail to meet with God and just be filled with His Word and His presence?

 

Reminder: This blog will be getting a new home and I have a new Facebook page, so be sure you like it here. The new blog will change over January 1st, so you don’t need to do anything because I’ll take care of all that for you.

HUGE Changes for Joyful Mothering

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It’s been on my heart and mind for a while and I finally know it’s time.

The Beginning of Joyful Mothering

You see, when I started Joyful Mothering back in 2010, I was just about to have my fifth child in eight years. I had been a pregnant or nursing mama for many months straight and it drained me during that season of my life. I was hormonal and exhausted all.the.time.

Leaving the house was a huge chore for me, so I left as little as possible unless my husband accompanied me. I struggled through some postpartum depression but I didn’t want to talk to anyone about it.

I changed diapers for 12 straight years; having 3 in diapers at once at some point. I was so busy and needed a safe outlet to be in community without actually needing to leave the house.

I had everything I ever wanted but I struggled to find joy. Thus, Joyful Mothering was birthed through that search. I needed a place to have accountability and a place to grow and release my feelings and thoughts.

As I began to come out of being a mother who birthed and breastfed babies, I began to see the sun again. It wasn’t that I was unhappy, it’s that I was hormonal. Lack of sleep and having your hormones completely out of balance can make a huge difference in one’s quality of life. I never took medications for it, though my doctor offered. I don’t believe it was so bad it warranted medication. I just struggled to function past survival mode.

Another Journey

When my youngest turned 2, we began the adoption process of our two daughters.  The stress and uncertainty involved in 18 months out of the 24 months it took to complete this process were almost just as bad as being hormonal. It was tough.

Our girls have now been home 4 months and they are adjusting very well. 

I have entered a new season of motherhood and life. I am no longer so focused on doing everything perfectly (a symptom of PPD); rather I am excited to get out in the world and teach my children about life and possibilities.

I’ve also learned that it’s OK to have more to me than being a mother. I am many things and I am not selfish for pursuing those things. I have also learned that moms can turn their children into idols unknowingly. While our children certainly require plenty of love and nurture, they also need space to grow independently when the time is right. And I cannot only look at life through the lens of motherhood alone. I have a husband and I have other parts of me in need of growth; not just who I am as a mother.

And some of this stuff I really needed to know during that season of my life.

So, what does all this have to do with the changes of Joyful Mothering?

Growing Out of, And Into

Well, I kind of feel like I’ve just grown out of this label; this brand. I don’t want to be seen as someone who has to constantly produce attributes having to do with joy, or even motherhood all the time. And I don’t like labels. Because there is more to me than both those things. And I am not a brand. I am a person. (Thank you Sophie Hudson).

So where does that leave me? Where does that leave this space?

As the new year approaches, I am going to be morphing this space into who I really am: Me.

And who am I?

I am a daughter of the most high God, so intimately He knows me by name, knows the hairs on my head, and knows the deepest parts of me.

I am wife to an amazing man, who has supported me in just being me and as a result has helped me grow into a better me; one who wants to reflect Christ.

I am mother to seven incredible children. A gift I don’t deserve and a role that I will never perfect. But everyday as I seek Him and hand their lives over to Him, He is shaping me and helping me shape them.

I am a writer. I am so much a writer that I’d rather text or email than talk on the phone. And writing is something I would like to pursue further, in more depth. I want to grow as a writer as I grow as a mother and in other areas of my life.

Joyful Mothering is getting a name change to: Christin Slade.

What the Future Holds

Because that’s who I am and there is only one of me and the only thing I need to grow into is who God molds me to be. I will no longer be narrowly focused on just learning to be a joyful mother.

So, what will I write about? The topics I write about won’t change, but their focus will. And my goal is still to serve you. I will simply serve you as fully me. Not just as a mother, but the whole of me, as a writer, a wife, and one who desperately longs for Christ.

I will continue to write about:

  • motherhood
  • homeschooling
  • homemaking
  • spiritual growth

But I will also being adding more:

  • marriage
  • writing
  • work at home mom
  • adoption

The latter list won’t fill my calendar, but they will be consistent additions.

Everything will be moved on my end, and really, you don’t have to do a thing. You won’t need to resubscribe or anything. Come January 1st, you will automatically land in my new space, ChristinSlade.com (yep, it’s already live and kicking). Right now it is solely my writing blog, but I am merging everything into one and giving it a face lift.

There is only one little thing you will need to do if you’re on Facebook, and that’s simply to “Like” the new page there. Easy peasy, you can click below.

 

I am so very excited about this new chapter and hope you will be, too. I feel like I’m stretching out my arms and waking up again.

I have other fun things to share with you that will be unfolding in the new year, but I think this is enough news for one day. ;)

Tomorrow I will be back with the Moms in the Word study on Psalm 37. I hope you’ll join me! Get your posts ready to link up. :)

Planning for the Upcoming Year (and a Giveaway!)

(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

We’re at that time of year when I start thinking about the following year and what I hope to accomplish. I am huge on planning — sometimes to a fault. In fact, my husband is more on the spontaneous side and when he mentions doing something that isn’t on my radar, I go into convulsions.

If it is not something that was discussed prior to that moment, I have to make myself readjust. I can be spontaneous when I’m away from home and I’m not in charge of things.

But when it comes to my home and our family’s schedule, I like to know what we’re doing ahead of time.

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own and I only share things I truly believe in and which may be beneficial to you. :)

That’s why I love the Daily Planner by Sue of HomemakersFriend.com.

Planning for 2015
This planner is equipped with monthly and weekly planning pages, as well as sections for notes, tasks, projects & events, address book and perforated shopping list pages.

Planner Tasks
It’s an excellent tool for homemakers to plan and keep track of birthdays, daily happenings, extra curricular activities as well as everyday life as a mom and homemaker.

Planning Calendar
There are verses throughout the pages to keep you encouraged and motivated as well as some quotes. It’s really a beautiful planner that is both functional and manageable. 

Weekly Planning
I am already itching to begin planning in it — I love a brand new planner just full of possibilities, don’t you?

Sue is offering Joyful Mothering readers a discount on an already rather inexpensive planner. You can go here to get that discount.

NEW DEAL: Buy one get a second planner 50% off, now through November 17th. Click here.

Giveaway

We’re  giving away one planner to one lucky reader. All you need to do is leave a comment and share a planning tip.

 

Be sure to leave your email address in the form so I have a way of contacting you if you win.

Open to U.S. residents only (so sorry!)

Giveaway ends Tuesday, November 11th at 11:59pm EST.

Daily Planner (2) 250x250 sales price border (1)

How Many Followers Are Enough?

(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

How Many Followers Are Enough

A Little of My Story

I remember about five years ago I was hooked to a blogger who seemed to speak directly to me. I followed her for quite a while and she moved from Blogger to WordPress and her following grew.

When I first happened upon her blog, she had about 200 subscribers. As I watched her grow I tried to mimic her methods. Every time I would hit 100 subscribers more, it was exciting! I hit another milestone! But as I continued to watch her blog grow, it grew exponentially compared to mine and before I knew it she had 4000 subscribers and I was hovering around 500. I thought I would never catch up. But, catch up I did.

But by the time I hit 4000 subscribers, she was at 10,000.

So I asked myself, how many followers are enough? What is this really about anyways? A game? A race? A competition?

It really made me rethink my goals as a blogger, because if I kept up this unhealthy pace, I was never going to be satisfied. It’s not hard to get sucked into the numbers game, especially when you’re trying to build a business or write a book. Sometimes, it becomes our sole focus and we fail to see there are faces behind each of these followers. They aren’t just numbers; they are people.

Turn Your Followers Into Faces

Imagine this: take the number of subscribers you have, whether it’s 5 or 5,000 and place them into a room as people. You’re at the front as if you’re going to speak. It could be a small group, it could be a large convention, depending on where your subscriber count falls.

But look out into that room and see, there are people there who are listening to you. Let’s focus on the small group because that’s where so many bloggers are. Are the people in this group any less important than those at a large convention? They each have a story and they’ve come to your house (blog) to hear what you have to say; to see how you can pour into their lives and encourage them. They have given you permission to speak into their lives. This is HUGE friends. What a gift to be honored with!

What are we going to do with that? Are we going to look over their heads, waiting to see if more people will come through the door and as a result offer little of ourselves because we’re too distracted waiting for more people? I wonder, what do those in the room feel when we overlook them because they aren’t enough? When we focus on numbers, we miss the point. I’ve been there and chasing numbers will leave you constantly unfulfilled and dissatisfied; because it will never be enough.

Focus on your subscribers, those little Avatars or pen names, as people. Because there is someone behind that computer reading what you have to say, because for them, it matters.

 

We need to see subscribers as souls, not stats.

 

 

It’s the best thing I could have learned about blogging and the blogging community.

Be sure to see what this week’s writing prompt is by going here: Writing Prompt

Today Only – Nativity Hurricane Candle Holders

(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

I just wanted to quickly share this deal with you since it’s today only (sorry it’s so late!)

DaySpring is rolling out their best sales of the year, and every year I share them here. I love DaySpring and I love Mary & Martha (which are sister companies) and I hope you’ll love them, too.

Today only, they have a deal on their Nativity Hurricane Candle Holders (which I also own and love). This is my favorite Christmas decor and I’m looking forward to pulling them out soon!

Nativity Hurricane Candle Holder Set
They are also offering these year round metal sleeves for only $5. So you can keep your Hurricane candle set out all year long.

Year Round Metal Sleeves
 

Also, if you are still in need of Christmas cards, they have a Buy 2, Get 1 Free deal going on as well. Stay tuned as I share some pretty sweet deals for the coming Thanksgiving and Christmas season. It’s the only time of year I do this!

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