Learning to Set the Bar LOW - Collage Friday


 I am a classic over achiever.   Add to this the fact that I'm also Type A, and you can imagine that sometimes I can't keep up the pace of everything I WANT to do.   

This past week I've had several things happen that have all served to show me I need to lighten up on myself, others, and just set the bar much LOWER in general.

Writing this post is therapeutic and a bit painful, too.  


I try to keep up with so much:  homeschool, giving piano lessons, my blogging business (and yes - it has turned into a business), church commitments, and a myriad of other little obligations.  

My collage above represents some random things about me from this past week:   a quiet, peaceful walk where I really did some serious thinking; my love affair with coffee, my contemplation of my feet (well, really just me taking a picture of my favorite flip flops while I was waiting in the doctor's office), and one of my favorite quotes by John Holt.  

Today I wanted to share with you a little more of my heart and a little less of the nitty gritty of our homeschool.   While I love talking about homeschool, sometimes I use that to hide from larger issues in my life.

Something I don't talk about much is my struggle with chronic back pain.  (I have shared it here one time that I can recall.) I have never shared much about it because I have NEVER wanted to be perceived as a whiner - and in my life I have always been able to push through difficulties.    Recently, not so much.  

Long story short - after a difficult abdominal surgery three years ago I developed horrendous back pain during the recovery period.   It has been diagnosed as a herniated disc, but nothing has seemed to help.   It is debilitating on some days, and on other days it just makes me grumpy and short.   I have pain from the minute I wake up until the minute I go to bed, and I don't like to talk about it because I don't want to give that pain power over me or my family - I also don't want to be perceived as a complainer.

For the past year I have pushed it to the back of my mind, but on Monday I saw a new doctor that gave me a glimmer of hope.   For starters I told him how hard this was for me because I was always perfectly healthy for the first 37 years of my life.   I also told him about my worry of being perceived as a whiner.  He looked me straight in the eye and said, "I BELIEVE YOU.  I know being in pain is terribly difficult and I want to do everything I can to help you get out of pain."  

I was fighting back tears because just sharing my struggle was so therapeutic.  You see, not many people other than my husband and maybe one or two friends really know how much I hurt on a daily basis.   

While I'm cautiously optimistic about a diagnosis of "arthritis in the low back joints" and a possible treatment that is non surgical, I also know that this pain has been placed in my path to teach me several things:

I cannot hide my struggles.

 I used to think sharing struggles was a sign of weakness... but I am learning (and it was placed RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME in a devotion I read Monday morning) that as Christians we need to share our struggles so we can share one anothers' burdens.


 I need to lighten up on myself and others!

 I have such expectations for myself and high expectations of others that most of the time I wind up disappointed... disappointed in myself and in others.   I need to lower the bar and realize that we are all flawed and that in admitting weakness there is actually great strength.


God sees me all the time.  He knows my every thought.

 I'm currently reading The God Who Sees You (another thing placed in my path by God this week) and wow is it a good book.   I cannot hide from God - even if I ignore my daily pain, or ignore the need to spend more time taking care of myself.


Those were my big revelations this week.   We did have a very good homeschooling week - I leveled with my kids and told them I just can't do as much.... they were very sweet and helpful.   Now, I need to put my money where my mouth is.   

On to our homeschool collages:


Grant is my MATH KID.  He loves all things numbers.  He's also very athletic.   After a morning of waiting for his sister during her math class and then suffering through shopping we came home and had some scooter races.  He wrote down his times and his sister's times and then averaged them to see who had the lowest time.   I considered this math -- we talked about tenths of seconds and what they meant; we learned how to average.  After they had scooter races they hopped on their bikes and did the same thing.  I love it.


We've been reading a lot.  I have encouraged my kids to "Get Rich Reading" - I'm rewarding them for reading books.   I made a free printable for those that like Homegrown Learners on Facebook to log books and explain how our system works.  (My favorite book report form was created by my friend, Jimmie.) I did have one negative comment from a reader about paying kids to read.  All I can say is this:  I prefaced it all by saying that you can use play money and rewards or you can use real money.  We are choosing to use real money... just because my kids don't get paid for chores.  I feel that they deserve some spending money, and this reading program is working.   Different things work for different people.  

Grant and I began reading Something Greater than God - the story of Eric Liddell.   It's a fabulous book.   Our read-aloud for both children is The Happy Hollisters.   What a charming book this is, too.  

Random bits from the week:

  • I don't think we can live without our membership to Notebooking Pages.  It is SO WORTH the money!  There are notebooking pages for everything you can imagine!  
  • Saxon Math is a God-send.  Really, it is.  
  • We jumped back into The Story of The World - we always love these lessons. I offered a few tips for using SOTW.  
  • The Storybook of Science is a gem of a science resource.
  • Heritage History is my favorite new found resource this week.   If you are interested in ordering any of their living books for your e-reader, you can use the discount code MARYHOME to help you out!
  • I have a couple of friends who sent children to college this week.  I'm praying for them, because I know they are going to miss them so much.  
  • I'm ready to be at the Beech Retreat.  Is it January yet??


Whew.   I know there was a lot of information in this post.  I've had a lot on my mind and heart this week.   I enjoy writing these collage posts each Thursday evening.   It's a special time for me to sit and reflect on our week.

Won't you join me?

If you want to link, please be sure your post contains lots of photos of your week.  Please be sure to text link to this post or grab the Collage Friday button.  Then, please visit someone else in the linky to show support and gain ideas!