Lord, Please remind me why I’m doing this!

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It’s been one of “those” weeks! Actually it’s been a number of “those” weeks that have accumulated, to the point of me sitting on the couch last night, head in my hands and asking God “Why? Why am I doing this Lord?”

It has been a busy time for Team Strong and life just hasn’t slowed down in the last 7 weeks! The problem that happens when we all get busy is that we lose our connection. Everyone goes into automatic pilot and we all hit survival mode. Everyone does what they need to to get through and grace seems to be the last thing on everyone’s mind! (God’s grace, not our own poppet in case you were getting worried!)

So for the last week or so, the busyness and tiredness have caught up with everybody and to be totally honest, none of us have put our best foot forward around home. Our usual filters of what is acceptable in our family have been dropped and the kids tolerance levels for each other have also plummeted. Now most Mum’s can just send the kids off to school for a bit of a break, but, of course, when you homeschool you don’t have that option! Nope, its kids 24/7. For 51 weeks of the year I absolutely love it, but this last week has left me asking “God, please remind me why I am doing this, wouldn’t it be just so much easier if the kids were in school?”

And the answer is yes! Yes, it would be easier to send the kids off to school for 6 hours a day, 5 days a week. Yes, it would be easier to send them off on the bus at 8am in the morning and not have to think about them till they got off the bus at 4pm. Yes, that would be the easy option for our family. But that is not what God has called us to do.

He has called us to homeschool the kids for their High School years. He has called us to invest in them, to spend time with them, to guide them along the path that God has for them. He has called us to be a family that lives outside of what most people would call “normal” and to make a difference in the world! To give them a Christian education that isn’t religious and regimented, to give them opportunities that most kids their ages don’t get. To build connections with them, and to create the life stories that they will remember long after they have left home. To equip them to be thoughtful, generous, well-adjusted adults that give to the world more than they take from it, and to impact the community around them…. Where ever that may be! Oh, and to have fun, I forgot that part! Yip, to have fun!

Right, so that’s why we are doing this God, I remember now! Time to get Team Strong back to a place where we are connected, where we are happy, and where everyone actually wants to be a part of  Team Strong!

And what better way to do that, than with a “Family Meeting” Ahhhhh, not the family meeting, I hear you cry! Why would you do that to your kids? But family meetings don’t need to be all bad, really they don’t! It’s a great way to get reconnected with each other. To clear the air. For everyone to have their say and for everyone to walk away feeling like they were heard. It’s also a great excuse to turn off all devices and to have chocolate self-saucing pudding and ice cream!

So, I am happy to say that Team Strong is back on track. We are refocused, we are all playing on the same team again and we are back to fighting for what we want instead of fighting each other! We are connected and we are back to being glad God has called us to be on the same team! And this Mamma, well she can go back to loving what she does and remembering why she chose this path for her family.

So watch out everyone, we are back, we are connected and we are stronger (get it!) than ever! We are going to make a difference in this world and we are going to have fun while we are doing it!

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Connection!

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melbourneEver have one of those moments when you feel like you’re a great parent? I know we all have the moments when we wonder how much we will spend on counselling for our kids when they get older, but every now and then, you have a moment when you feel like you hit the nail on the head.

I had one of those moments last week! Gracie turned 13 on Friday and for the last 2 years (ever since Jackson turned 13 and went to Bathhurst with Phil for his birthday) Gracie and I have been planning a trip to Melbourne to celebrate her becoming a teenager. She had been saving every single cent she was given for the last 2 years and I so wanted this trip to be memorable…..

The first couple of days were a blast, tramming around the city, shopping, dinners out and a Musical which was out of this world. We were having so much fun and so tired at the end of the day, we fell into bed each night totally exhausted. It was awesome, but something was missing.

The biggest reason for this trip for me was connecting. I realize that as Gracie is getting older, poor old Mum is falling down the rank of whom she wants to spend time with. Now I know this is normal, and I so want her to be normal, but gosh, after being number one for so many years, it’s hard to fall in the rankings! So one of my goals this trip was to have as many”heart to heart” talks with her as I could, to get connected, to get in while there were no others to pull her away from me.

But as the days passed, it seemed like all we were doing was having fun! A friend texted to ask how we were getting on and I explained my feelings to her, and her answer took away all the anxiety I was having over “connecting” with Gracie. She said that as a 13-year-old, this is how Gracie connects…...through fun, silliness and laughter. It was the key for me to “Let go, and let God”

If the whole trip had been about serious heart to hearts, then Gracie would have walked away not having her needs (the needs of a 13-year-old!) met, it would have been all about my needs, and that was not what this trip was about! For her, laughing and having fun is her way of connecting. The moment I let go, and let God do his thing, I relaxed and the rest of the trip was all about building one connection on top of another. And as a bonus God gave me what I needed too, we had an amazing “heart to heart” talk one night after dinner!

On the flight home, Gracie laid her head on my shoulder and as she fell asleep, whispered to me “I love you Mum, you’re the greatest”

Goal achieved!


Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?

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Mountain Road

Don’t you just love Road trips?

Now I know what you are all thinking……”Are you kidding me?”

But really, what could be better than getting up while it’s still dark, blurry eyed and bundling the kids into the car, heading off before they even know what hit them. What could be more fun than 6 hours in the car with a constant barrage of “Mum, he just hit me” “Mum, she just ate the last piece of candy” “Mum, he won’t turn down his music” or my all time favourite has to be “Mum, are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? No, really, are we there yet” What could even compare to spending that much time in a confined space with someone who had eggs and beans for dinner the night before (What? I didn’t mention anyone’s name!)

Ahhh, good times I hear you saying!

In 2009, we took a year out and lived in the USA for a year. We wanted to see as much as we could while we were over there, so made lots of car trips, and when I say lots, I mean LOTS! The USA is a big place and we wanted to make the most of every opportunity.

Every time we would mention the words “car trip” the kids would start whining and complaining. As much as they wanted to see the sights, the thought of being in the car again for any amount of time more than 3 minutes through a drive through, was just too much for them to bear! So I got creative……. I removed the words “car trip” from my vocabulary and replaced it with the words “Family Adventure”

It’s amazing how changing 2 words can change the whole situation. Now these dreaded “car trips” were something to be looked forward to. Where would our next “Family Adventure” take us and how much candy could we consume along the way?

Now don’t get me wrong, we still had the occasional fight (between the kids that is, well ok, maybe between Phil and myself too!) but things improved immensely. I was intentional about our time in the car and used the time to connect with the kids about all sorts of things, and learnt stuff about the kids, and actually I learnt a few things about Phil as well that I never knew, by playing those “What’s your favourite, or what would you do if” kind of games. We chatted about all those trivial things that you are “too busy” to talk about at home.

So today we are going to take a 6 hour “Family Adventure” to see my parents for my Mum’s 70th Birthday. I am super excited, not just about hanging with my family, celebrating my Mum’s birthday and the fact that I don’t have to cook all weekend, but I am excited about another Family Adventure. I am looking forward to getting up at the crack of dawn, having 6 hours of undivided time with my family in the car and, of course, eating copious amounts of candy along the way!