Thursday, October 30, 2014

My Kids Broke a Window Out of My Car... Now What?

The last few weeks have been insane... and to ice the cake of crazy- the kids threw rocks through one of my car windows. As a mom, I'd like to think I have a pretty high tolerance for things. Not that I let behavior go, but I generally don't let it get to me. This was one of my biggest tests.

Last summer, this same window was broken out while I was at school. The police said it looked like it was a result of heat (over 100° that morning). Lesson learned: don't leave all of my windows rolled up when it's hot.

Somehow I didn't think this lesson would be so simple.

The reality is that cars are very expensive. This car was listed online to sell, so the last thing I wanted to do was spend more money on it. Last summer, it was over $300 to get it fixed. I'm pretty sure I was over charged, but that was the number stuck in my head. Christmas is coming up, baby on the way, house to work on... We don't have $300 to spare!

As soon as I saw the car, I told the kids to go inside and get in their time-out spots while I took a minute. I haven't ever really blown up at my kids and I knew that as angry as I was, I didn't want to overreact. It was a big deal, but not the end of the world.

The first thing I did was take away their privileges for the evening, since they had about 3 hours before bed. Everything, except books, was off limits.

The second thing I did was ask them to get their piggy banks. I counted the money out with them and explained that it would be used to help pay for the window. Somehow they would help earn the rest, but I would need to think about that more.

The next day, I wrote out a list of jobs for the kids to do to help earn the money. Nothing too hard, but nothing too easy either- it is a punishment! The list includes things like helping clean up the car, cleaning bathrooms, weeding the garden, etc.

Each job done earns them 25¢ each. They need to earn $10 before their punishment is over. The idea is for them to understand that money is earned through doing work. But we kept the amount low so that they could each visualize the numbers.

Until the $10 is earned, no allowance or rewards.

Now that I've played the mean mom for awhile, I want to point out something-- Emily is 7 and Ethan is 5. They are too young to have jobs or have enough money for such a large expense, and these jobs are going to take a few weeks to complete. Realistically, we can't expect them to earn the full amount of money or to be miserable for several weeks. That's not fair and I feel like it would be more mean than beneficial. 

So, life is going on! We do 1-2 jobs a day, and the rest of the day is pretty much normal. Our last adventure was carving pumpkins. :)

What would YOU do if you were in my position? What do you think is fair for their ages?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Book Review: The Hardest Peace by Kara Tippetts

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted... Ecclesiastes 3:1-2

The Hardest Peace has quickly moved onto my list of favorite books. I wouldn't say that it's not a book for the faint of heart, but it certainly makes a person reflect on their own life. Rarely do I find a book that connects me so deeply with an author or one that truly changes the way that I see my own self. 

Within the first chapter, I was able to identify with Kara. She begins with a story of her childhood and what she endured with her brother and sister. It reminded me of my own tumultuous past and the grace that I am still struggling to give to those who hurt me. Reading of her journey to peace with her past has given me the courage to move forward on my own road to forgiveness. 

From her childhood to losing her dream home in a wildfire to her battle with cancer, Kara shares her heartaches with profound honesty. While this story may seem like it is all about struggles, it is also about hope and finding joy in the every day. In the beginning of the book, Kara shares sweet memories of her grandmother, Elnora. She describes her as a joyful woman who radiates the love of Christ. Her grandmother's life was the ultimate testimony. The example she showed gave Kara the confidence that a life with God was the only true way to live. It will be her faith in God that carries her through her struggles and helps her overcome each one.

Kara's battle with cancer may not be 'new' but her story is real and inspiring. She captures a perspective that is rarely seen or understood- the reality of death and who you are leaving behind. 

It has been eight years since I have seen my mom. She was diagnosed with cirrhosis in the summer of 2006 and passed away just a couple of months later. During that time, our family learned that a person with terminal illness goes through the five stages of grief, as we would as well. It was a heavy process of denial, anger, sadness, bargaining and ultimately acceptance. It was my mom's courage to accept her fate and her peace that taught me one of the greatest lessons in my life. I was 17 at the time and pregnant with Emily. My life was just beginning and while I know she struggled with leaving me, she had faith that God had a plan. As heartbreaking as it is for a mother to relinquish control, she knew that I would be just fine.

Reading Kara's thoughts on her illness and being a mother reminded me so much of my own mom and what I watched her go through. It makes me both sad and comforted to understand the thoughts of a mother in their shoes.

Kara Tippetts is a courageous and genuine woman who has an amazing story to tell and profound lessons to share. Each chapter is an experience of it's own, and each one ends with questions to ask yourself. The book concludes with letters from Kara to her husband and children. While I can't promise it's an 'easy' read, I can promise that her story will touch your heart.

I recommend this book for anyone who has faced struggles in their life, and let's face it, we all fall into that category! Whether it's a past that hurts you or present situations that have you at a loss- give this book a shot. I cannot give this book and this author enough praise! 

Image from Mundane Faithfulness, property of Kara Tippetts.

Please pray for Kara and her family now as she is facing yet another phase of her battle with cancer. You can follow her continuing story on her blog and Facebook.

If you would like to win a copy for yourself or a friend (this makes a GREAT gift), enter the giveaway using the form below. Open to US and Canada only!

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising"): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Harvest 2014 {Farm Life}

Harvest is in full swing, which only means one thing- chaos for the Haney family. Harvest means that Jordan is gone an average of 14 hours a day and this pregnant mama is on her own. It hasn't been easy, but I'm getting used to it. This is the hardest, longest, and most important part of the year for us... and it's going to happen every single year. So I figure it's a good idea to get a system down and use this time the best I can.

Jordan in the combine.

So far, this season has been a bit rough. It's a great crop season which means a high production...but such a high supply comes at a cost. Prices were down at the beginning of harvest already by 40% from last year. Not every season is the same and learning to go with the flow is just a part of farming. We are praying for improvement this year and hopefully better years to come!
On a good note- this year has produced some of the largest ears of corn that they have had.
If you're wondering why the corn is a bit wonky in the middle, it's due to changes in temperature and moisture throughout the growing season. It still tastes the same!
Because of the pregnancy I haven't been able to ride along with Jordan as much as I did before. So Ethan and I have been making a lot of trips to bring him lunch and hang out when we can. 
Taking Jordan his lunch and checking out the equipment!
The cows are still around, but soon we will be getting a new group at our house. I'm going to miss the ones we have now but Jordan says the next batch is also friendly. I'm just hoping I can teach them to pose for pictures like this--

The grass is always greener on the other side...
Of course Emily is still my awesome helper. While Ethan is in love with the mechanical side of farming, Emily is fascinated by the animals. Taking care of cows is her favorite chore!
What have you been up to? 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Book Review: Overrated

"Are we more in love with the idea of changing the world than actually changing the world?"

When I first received the opportunity to review this book, the subtitle alone hooked me in. It is a profound question that I think we could all benefit from asking ourselves.
If you have been following for awhile, you may know about the World as One Project. I founded the World as One Project earlier this year- with the intention of changing the world. It didn't take long before I found myself overwhelmed and wanted to give up. I had this grand goal in mind, but realistically the work that it would entail was more than I was capable of doing. The world is a pretty big place and the issues that we are facing are many. One person, one organization cannot possibly do it all.
This book focuses on asking the deep questions about what is driving us to make these changes, and whether we are making the right choice for us. We need to figure out if what we are doing is for us or for God. Whether we are pursuing justice and all things right, and willing to pay the cost for those things. To truly make a difference in the world, we have to be willing to make a difference in ourselves.
Before I go further, watch the video from the author, Eugene Cho.

Reading this book helped me to evaluate where I am and what my intentions are. Is this really worth my time, or is it really what God has planned for me? Am I willing to do what it takes and to stand firm in my beliefs?
The chapter that stood out to me the most was Asking the Hard Questions: Self-Examination. In it the author talks about the plans that he had with his wife to start their non-profit, One Day's Wages. Here's one of my many favorite quotes- "Without being willing to explore our motives, to be deeply introspective, to give permission to trusted friends to ask the hard questions, how can we possibly act with honesty and integrity? How can we know that our care, generosity, advocacy, and pursuit of justice are not just a show?"
Wow. How powerful and how honest is that?
The point of this book is not to discourage a person from trying to change the world, but to help a person figure out what they are doing and why they are doing it. If you know your intentions and you can honestly say you are doing the right thing, then by all means, continue through! However, we have to understand that if we do not have the right motives, if all we seek is glory for ourselves, we will fail. Not only will we fail at what we are trying to accomplish, we can hurt other people in the process.
I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to read this book and I feel more at peace with my decisions now that I've had the chance to really think about them. Continuing forward, I feel that I have a clearer idea of what I want to achieve, but also what is possible. I highly recommend this book for anyone that wants to truly make a difference in the world. Examine yourself, ask the tough questions, and ultimately grow into someone who is capable of doing more.
You can win a copy of this awesome book for yourself! Enter using the form below--
Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising"): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

"Morning" Sickness is a Terrible Lie

I'm sorry I have been so quiet lately. I've missed the blog and all of you, but I've had a hard time staying motivated.
I have been suffering from "morning" sickness, or what I like to call 24/7 misery.
I'm about 9 weeks so I'm hopeful it will be over soon when I start the second trimester. I mean, it has to get better, right?
Until it does, here are the top 5 things I hate about this ridiculous phase-
I can't drink coffee. When I found out I was pregnant I bought new coffee with half the caffeine and stocked up on my favorite creamer. When the morning sickness started, I threw up my coffee and haven't been able to look at it since. This coffee addict has been without it for over a month.
I'm craving everything and can't eat. Jordan took me out to my favorite Mexican place last week to try to get me to eat something. I ate 3 bites of my favorite meal before he said I turned pale. I couldn't eat again until the next afternoon.
Remedies don't work. I've tried it all- Ginger, crackers, pressure point bands, etc. NOTHING works.
There are times I just wish I would get sick and get it over with. If there's one thing I hate more than anything it's vomit. Even the word makes me cringe. But for the love of God I wish I could just get it over with and feel decent for a bit.
I'm exhausted. I don't know if I'm exhausted because I feel sick, or if it's just it's own symptom. Either way, I can barely keep my eyes open!

I see the high risk specialist on Tuesday so I will do a health update then. This pregnancy is going to be a little different than what I've experienced before, but I'm trying to stay positive. Whatever happens, we will have a little baby here in April! 


Friday, September 12, 2014

Letting Go Is The Hardest Part

Source: NHNE

There are a lot of topics I could apply that title to, but here, I'm going to focus on the hardest part of co-parenting-- letting go of control.

Last Friday was another exchange day. I packed the kids' medicine bag, we had a snack and then headed out the door at 5 o'clock for St. Louis. Our drive is normally an hour and a half which is long, but good time to talk with the kids. This time we talked about the weather and how cool it would be to ride a cloud. Good stuff!
We met with the kids' grandparents and I was feeling okay about things, until they mentioned that they passed a bad accident on the way in. Car accidents are a very negative subject for me. Several years ago I was in a bad car accident and subsequently was diagnosed with PTSD a few years later. I have actually gotten over a lot of my fear and I can drive about anywhere now and feel safe. However, something about the news set me off. I kept my cool and said good-bye to the kids as usual...and then cried the entire way home.
Normally I don't have that hard of a time with exchanges, but the anxiety took over. I know that the kids are safe with their dad and his family, and I know that they are perfectly good drivers...but there's something about having the kids with me where I can be the one to protect them that makes me feel better. And I'm going to take a wild guess that's true for all parents.
As a mom, I have been given this awesome responsibility to take care of my kids. It's something that makes me feel proud...and something that scares me to my core. When they are away from me I worry constantly. Are they taking their medicine? Are they eating right? Are they getting enough sleep? What if _____ happens?
In reality, I am not in control or responsible for every single minute of their lives. I can do my best when they are here and the rest of the time I have to give it to God. This entire situation that we're in was not my plan, but His. There is a reason for each time the kids are away and I just have to trust that everything will go alright. And sometimes I have to accept that even if things aren't alright, that's the plan too.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Canadian Adventures Part Two

In the year and a half that I had been with Jordan, I never once saw him sleep in- until our honeymoon! He got up around 9:30 on our second day and then woke me up at 10 with breakfast in bed. It was a great start to my day!
One of the things that lured us to Canada was the mountains. The second day was devoted mostly to driving the back roads and seeing where they would lead. Here are just a handful of my favorite pictures-
On the road just outside of Canmore, about a mile away from our resort.
Coming into Canmore...
Canmore itself was really cute, but the best part was being able to see the mountains in the background everywhere you turned.
Leaving downtown Canmore for the Provincial Park
Going up!

These goats were everywhere!
This lake was a few miles above Canmore.
Other side of the lake...
We were still close to Canmore but it felt like we were in the middle of nowhere.
This beach was one of my favorite places that we visited on our trip. In fact, we went again on our fourth day. It was hands down the most peaceful place I have ever been to. I could have stayed there forever!
I'm going to end this part with a picture of our rental car. We arrived in Calgary with the expectation that we were getting a sedan of some kind, instead we got this, one of my favorite cars-
I will share more gorgeous mountain pictures next week!