Teens Plan and Mom Plans- Part 1

What a stretch of the imagine it would have been from my college days and the "all-nighters" as well as even teaching and often finding myself the last teacher to turn in any lesson plans that the principal might want to see. Now, here I am planning my own life and helping my teens plan their year for school as August rolls around. Our lives certainly do change after the arrival of children.;)

I can't help but emphasize how important communication is for us all throughout the year, and for the month of August as we "think out loud" and get ready for a new year, full of hope and promises of things we will learn, both inside the curriculum and especially outside of the curriculum! We find that we are far enough removed from the last school year and any emotional issues, and looking forward to the new and possibly getting some things in a new way, so that we have some productive "family meetings."

However you need to do it, whatever works in your situation, home school or not, I can't emphasize enough to communicate and be involved. For us, my income is vital to what we're doing so I need to work a lot of hours, but even higher priority now is school and life lessons that go with it. No matter how insignificant the change may seem, it may mean a lot to a family member. Talk with them, share, and tweak your schedule wherever you may need to. Before discussing how to improve the past year, praise them for work done and the spirit is much more ready to hear ways to improve.

Enjoy these teen years. If we think of them as the "dreaded teen years" then something is going to spill over into our teens' heads and they will see this. They are smart, and their spirits will be crushed instead of built up. Encourage and communicate for the things that can be accomplished. Work together. We are all a team within our families and even within the blogging community. Again, if we home school or not, we ARE guiding them through our example and now teaching them valuable lessons. How great to impact the life of a child. Especially our own. These thoughts have to be clear before we actually plan our tasks.

Enjoy building them up-

Confessions from a Reforming Control Freak

Ah, yes. God works with me in many ways by having children. And I would have it no other way. It is good for me to admit, even now, that I can be somewhat of a control freak given the right opportunity. The Before 50 person within me was truly a controlling person. Marrying late, I was used to things the way they were "supposed to be" and felt the need to keep controlling. Sharing my life and my "control" with God first of all and then a husband has been an ongoing process that has good days and tough ones. We have babies and what am I tempted to do? Control..when they eat, when they sleep, even upon potty training, what happens? I'm trying to control when they "go!" I had a blank slate of 2 people to control! God has worked hard with me, but as my daughters have become teens, the lessons are there and waiting to happen.

My "inner control freak" wants to tell my daughters at times "you should wear your hair a different way, it will be prettier." There is nothing wrong with it, just possible they may look back and say "oh, it would have looked better this way." What woman, especially, does not look back at teen pictures of ours and think that? But no, the controlling person comes out and rears its head. Age-appropriate decisions. That is what I need to remember. I need to guide them, nudge them gently, and not control. Two daughters, two different personalities. Now growing into wonderful young ladies. I am truly blessed. Every situation seems to be a teaching opportunity. I cannot put them in the playpen if I'm stressed and give them some toys for awhile and control the circumstances. Work, guide, and communicate. If they learn a lesson the hard way, I must remind myself, "who hasn't?" and let them learn the lesson within the structure of home for now.

A well-meaning person? Yes. But controlling is not the way I need to show it. I must be there for them, guide them in Godly principles, and make sure that is a top priority. My children are a work in progress, and I often tell them they're "not done cookin' yet." I am too, and prayerfully am just ahead of them enough to be the example they need to see, guidingem, and knowingt to pull the reins too tight, using God as my example. Every day has to have time for this, time that cannot be scheduled. It is seen and the teaching moments are ours, a gift from God. They cannot be controlled, organized, but are some of the best parts of our day.

Before 50 and Now

Life is so much different now than before 50. I feel the same (thank God) as when I was probably 20, much like when my kids were about 7 they thought they were 17 (in their cute little heads). My whole style of living changed after having children, and watching them grow into people needing to be trained for the world in front of them. Now, I need to not only talk with them, I must be an example. Before, in my 40s even, I had children and wanted to show them, lay the foundation, but now the rubber meets the road. I must be an example. In teaching them and homeschooling them, for example, NOW I need to show them how to plan what they need to accomplish and prioritize, guiding them so that they can see how to do this on their own. It's no longer changing diapers, it's not 1 plus 1 either. A great joy to teach them to read and all of these milestones, but now it is a different process. For me, it's life before 50 and life after 50.

My own life before 50 was fraught with the typical last minute thinking, inability to prioritize and many poor choices. I like to think I still turned out okay, and my children will be free to make mistakes as well, but hopefully the foundation is laid and some poor choices can be avoided; however, I need to be practicing their foundation as they watch me. I cannot be the person in my 20s and leave everything until the last minute with no goals or vision in mind while telling them to have goals and priorities. I was well known to pull many all-nighters in college before papers and exams. I may be blessed to feel physically well enough to pull that off, but I'm hoping my children will outdo me in that area. Working, blogging, homeschooling, being a wife and mom to teens who need to share and be involved also; life after 50. I do not have the luxury to behave as I did before, especially in the unorganized manner. I would have it no other way. Our children may be quiet, maybe not; however, they are watching. Prepare them well.

Word-Full Wednesday

As you get to know me, you may see that sometimes I like to go "against the grain." (LOL). Many people have wordless Wednesdays, so I will have "word-full Wednesday." This will consist of a word, a phrase or a "charge" that we can all think about this day as we juggle that will remind us to stay centered, focused, and calm.

Our word for today is breathe. Something so simple, something we take for granted. Take 10 minutes once or more during the day. Breathe. You're probably saying "you have teens, you can do that." Yes; however, you will see from future posts that teens are quite time consuming in themselves and will often come in thinking they need to share at that very second. (different issue). Don't worry. When we juggle, the good times with our kids and family can be guilt free and much more special as we are so happy to be with them. Quality, not quantity. To do it all, and do it effectively I need my times to breathe. If you have a baby that is crying, take the baby and just hold her, but sit quietly and think of nothing else. When my teens ask me what I'm doing, they know when I say I need to breathe. They know the times like that, whether sitting and reading a magazine for a few minutes or just existing, help me to be a nicer mom, :) better equipped to deal with what the day has in store. Enjoy your day and breathe.

Organizing in menu planning

Homeschooling teen girls does not end in June, nor does it end during the summer. It's a lifestyle, with a goal of equipping them as best as we can to be "out there" and not be totally thrown. (like I was LOL). One way is through meal planning and knowing how to cook, what to cook, and in our case, what will work in the lifestyle of working, blogging, and just trying to be organized. Enter, the slow cooker. It is my friend. I've been married for 17 years and just have started my second one. My first slow cooker was a wedding gift. I graduated to the deluxe model, still parting with my old friend. There are so many recipes out there! My daughters are becoming experts as well.

I will be starting a weekly Slow Cooker Sharing Day to share ideas and recipes. Join in. It's a great feeling to homeschool, blog or work, and know that you have dinner being prepared all at the same time.


The Word for the Day

Every so often, we all need a word. A word of encouragement is always necessary from God, and then we often need just a word to help us get on our way. When we have teens and work at home, AND need to homeschool, we must delegate. The simplest task can become overwhelming when you are in the middle of transcribing a report, have a question from a daughter that may not be easy to tackle in the high school years, and need to cook, clean, or anything else that may otherwise be simple. Our teens and our husband need to know that they are doing their part to support us in our efforts to help with income, serve others and share wisdom that we have gained. The act of service is important for all.

Delegate to your teen--even if she needs to check the slow cooker that you are hopefully using, wash a dish, as well as maintaining her own part. My husband works 3pm-11pm, so he is home during our school time. Yes, I'm spoiled. He is a wonderful help. I'm not saying it's easy. That's why even washing a dish or making a bed can be overwhelming with countless other things to do. Therefore, cry out to God daily, do not hesitate to cry out to your teens or husband for help, and delegate whenever you can, and praise those who help you!

Medical Transcription

When I have been blessed with anything, I feel an overwhelming desire to turn around and want to help others feel just as good. The same thing happened to me with medical transcription. As stated in a previous post, the friend I met through selling products walked with me on my quest to learn. It was not an easy beginning, but definitely worth it. She sent me practice tapes to transcribe, some medical reference books to use, and I worked on my own with unstoppable focus until I was able to pass a test and start working. The blessing? I did it without having to get a degree. I am a self-taught medical transcriptionist. I saved thousands of dollars because one person invested in me. I will be forever grateful to her, and we have remained friends for the last 9 years, sharing the joys and trials of working at home, homeschooling our teens, and juggling our lives. :)

I have many books, tapes, and some new medical knowledge that has come in very handy in parenting and wearing one of the many hats of "medical doctor" in our home. I would be interested in mentoring. Are you interested? There are many companies still willing to take people with no experience. It is consistent income, and you are able to control the salary once you progress. Budget what you need to make and go for it. I will be offering my services of mentoring, and reference books that I have used and since have purchased new ones. Do you have a computer? Interested?

Homeschooling Your Teen and Working

Homeschooling is yet another way to watch our children grow. It's the best when we see them meet their milestones physically. We rejoice when they roll over, crawl, walk, and many other things in between. The homeschooling process allows us to rejoice with them when they meet certain milestones such as reading, math facts, and many other universal things that we all must know. What a blessing to have a part in this as parents, knowing that we taught them, worked with them, and help them find their strengths and guide them toward future career and life choices.

Many people who homeschool fear the high school years. Fear not. There are options. If you have a husband who is helping, have him teach the subjects that are his strongpoints. My husband is our expert at science and history, and an excellent artist. I'm a musician and did well in language arts and math. We do what works for us. Your high schooler works well independently, and for that fact I work an unscheduled job where I can make my own hours during the day, and schedule my "heavy-duty" transcription for evening hours. Online schools are also an option. There are many Christian schools that are accredited, thereby making the choices for college easier. You then have help with teachers in each subject and you are still involved but in a supervisor capacity, yet still homeschooling your child. Plan well, choose what works for you in your situation, and by the time they are teens you will know their learning style and what works for them. Continue on with confidence.

Organizing After 50 Compared to Before 50

Organizing After 50 not only involves my own organization, it involves working with my husband as well as passing down the years of wisdom that I can now give my teens. Before 50, actually even before 40, my organizational skills were weak at best as I was well known for the universal college "all-nighter." Not a good practice, and most emphatically not good for the after 50 set! :) Passing this wisdom down that I seem to have gained by years of experience is necessary, and I must confess I can often become obsessive until I am reminded, either in my head or from my children, I learned this the hard way! This reminds me I may need to ease up, and possibly even let them learn some things the hard way while I am prepared to help them as well as sit back and smile in my heart while pondering the teachable moments that will be ensuing. Oh joy, they are still there! :)

What better way for me to organize myself than to have a God-given desire to be an example. My girls as pre-schoolers and early elementary students will watch us, but life skills are not first on their mind. As I'm tempted to allow procrastination become the thief of my time, I now am forced to think of how I'll explain this to my children and everything takes on a whole new spin. God does use our children to make us better parents, and overall better people.

Family, Homeschooling, Transcription, and Me

Yes, there we have it. The ultimate juggling act as I see it in the life of a homeschooling, work-at-home mom. I have two teenagers who have days that they are very helpful, and days that we work at it a little more as they will need a little reminding. Remember, as I must, they are teens and a work in progress also. To make the act work and not to drop anything while juggling is key; yet, something that does not always happen. When the proverbial ball is dropped, however, we all assess and move on. No regrets, but we work as a team.

1. Key to organizing myself is first clearing my head a bit. My heart starts to move towards organizing and planning usually in late July. I am a former school teacher, and the calendar is engrained in me, not to leave. We use it for the good, and my first task towards planning the year is actually to start, but only when my head is clear. I may have many hospitals to transcribe for that day, cooking to be done, but during those times I must simply leave, even for 10 minutes, and clear my head. Depending on the day I've had, this is not always a difficult process. ;)
2. All through school, college, in doing a plan we know we must always go from the general to the specific. In planning I cannot work the homeschool plan until I have a general overall plan. My work is often scheduled, at least in part. I have 2 teens, so I am also able to delegate some chores. As we will see and I will share with you, the slow cooker is our friend. How great it is to be transcribing and/or teaching our children and smile from the inside knowing that "I'm teaching and cooking all at the same time."

To sum it up, the key to organizing starts early and just may be in the back of your head. It doesn't have to be written immediately. Clear our head and have a general plan of how it will work. And know in your heart that it will work!

It's already getting to be late July, and it seems as if it was just Christmas. What happened? Hope you had a great year. Let us know one thing you will be doing different as you assess and evaluate a new school year, work, or just finding time for you.

From Financial Necessity to Medical Transcription

No one could have been happier than I was upon having children. Imagine your happiest moments in life and I believe the joy that I felt inside surpassed all that I could imagine. There was one issue, however, now starting to rear its ugly head. The need of money; more simply put, bills to be paid and food on the table, now for four people, not two. Granted, we did not wake up one day and realize this. It was a very gradual process, but one that could not be ignored. The need became more and more evident as we were the time to begin a formal education for our daughters. Having been a former elementary school teacher myself, I had a strong desire to homeschool them. (you will see many posts on homeschooling as I have been homeschooling for 15 years as technically I believe the educational process starts with the family at birth). I knew I had something to offer, having been a teacher myself. It all made so much sense as I had the experience that I could now use on my children; however, determination and experience did not pay for books, classroom equipment, etc.

Now with the need quite clear, my search had begun. I truly believe that God knew what he was doing when he gave us money. Money in itself is not evil, but the love of money can be and they ways that we use it can lead to trouble. With two children 17 months apart, we knew the need must be met quickly and in the process I started to become an expert on every work-at-home scam that was out there. Through that, I also was learning to be cautiously skeptical as well as the principle if it seems to good to be true, then it is. It was a unique process, expecting to stuff envelopes, or do beading where if one piece of thread was missing, suddenly there was reason that I would not be paid. The lessons were flying fast and furiously.

I then decided to try selling natural products and worked for a company advertised in a homeschooling magazine. The person who mentored me in selling was so very kind, and we became friends quickly, amazed at all we had in common. She frequently spoke of typing early in the morning before her kids got up. When asking her what she was doing, she proceeded to tell me about medical transcription. (knowing that I was not doing well selling products also). I had a really good feeling about this. I loved typing and had found medicine very interesting from childhood on up. I will explain medical transcription in another post, but know it is a consistent income and I have been transcribing for 9 years. It is not a scam, and I was able to receive on-the-job training and now had a friend to mentor me. As Christians, I believe that we are to give back in any way that God allows. If any of you are interested in finding ways to work at home, or actually interested in medical transcription, I have seen a lot and would be willing to be a resource. Comments are welcome. I would love to hear from you.


Biological Time vs. Calendar vs. Clock

Fairly early in my youth I came to the conclusion that I wanted a family, specifically a daughter, as many children do.  I had it all planned out and as I would "play house" with my dolls and with friends, I just knew that would be me.  I thought of finding a husband as an event, not a process, where one would truly ride on his white horse and find me.  That was life before 50.....along the road of life, career pursuits were coming first.  Why?  Because I allowed them to.  In my mid 30s, I came to the conclusion this was not going to happen.  Who needed it after all?  However....the biological clock was ticking and I wanted a daughter.  Prayer was not dropping that magical husband out of the sky either.  I investigated adopting as a single mother.  I suddenly felt that I was late for everything.....TIME.....We're all given the same 24 hours, no more, no less.  It extends for no one.  I had suddenly found myself thinking I was late for marriage, late to have a child, and late to pursue the dreams of my childhood that stayed with me.  Time can be our enemy or our friend.

Yes, my clock was ticking.  However, upon attending church I spotted my then-to-be husband and about a year later we were married.  Our pastor gave me away and as I walked down the aisle with him during the rehearsal practicing, he seemed to be going quickly.  Time again.....however, now I had control.  I did not want to rush this moment, both in rehearsal and at the actual wedding.  I told him I waited 39 years for this moment and I did not want to rush down the aisle!  That dream came true.  Years of life experience and hopefully wisdom had made me see that this was not a fairytale.  What is?  But I was not late.  Yet, in the world's eyes I "married late..."  I was blessed with not one daughter, but two a short time after and they are 17 months apart.  I was 40 and 42 upon giving birth.  Was I late??? Not in my eyes.  I had two daughters.  My whole universe had changed.  My children are 14 and 15 now, and as I teach them about using their time wisely it brings me back to the use of time and how relative it is in the big picture.  I was thrilled to be pregnant, change diapers, and the whole process.  Late?  So what.  I had no clue about being high risk due to my age, and no one used the term with me that we hear about now.  I was blessed, not late. 

Many issues I will share about will be things that can be related to as 30, 40 and 50 comes and goes.  I am not late, high risk.  The biological time did not win.  I feel 25 inside, so for all intents and purposes the calendar is not winning.  We will deal with the clock as we walk this journey, and as I work with my teens to deal with it as well as the rest of us.

Old, Young, or all of the Above

In what feels like a previous life, I can remember going to the doctor, and looking at the doctor as an older person, respected, no matter what age the doctor was....that was life before 50. (possibly before 40 ;) Move to after 50.......my husband recently had an in-office procedure done. As I went with him for a consult, we were in the waiting room and the receptionist quietly said "that is the doctor" thereby reassuring us that we would not be there all day and the doctor was arriving. I looked around for my memory of someone who had a "doctor look." All I saw was a person go bounding into the back where the offices would be. She had a ponytail and looked a lot like my daughter used to.............at 10!!

They say that you are truly old/older when the president is younger than you. I refuse to give in to that rule passed down from "them". We simply have a very young president. :) The calendar is one thing. What helps you keep young in Spirit?


Lessons Learned, Like it or Not!

It is my belief that life is a process.  We continue along the process all throughout, leveling off at times, learning at times, and even refusing to learn at times.  The lessons of life may be learned and benefited from, laughed at, or sometimes taking us down kicking and screaming before we give in and possibly cry "uncle."  There seems to be a change after hitting 50 for me.  Possibly I don't kick and scream as much, possibly I don't have the *energy* to kick and scream as much.  Every lesson now seems to always present an opportunity to pass down to my daughters.  At 14 and 15, I can only pray that will benefit from my process thus far.

Yes, I am over 50 and seemed to be late with everything; however, I have come to learn (yes, a lesson!!) late according to whom?  In medical terms, I had children late but they are doing well and have actually succeeded in keeping me young in spirit and hopefully I will share with you lessons learned at 50 and over, but possibly dealing with subjects that you can relate to whatever age you are chronologically. 

Come journey with me as we proceed together and we will laugh, cry, and share together.  I look forward to comments from you and learning from you as well.  We will take questions and answers weekly and guests will be posting as we learn how to have true quality of life no matter what our circumstances are and to live our best life.