When We Struggle in Church with Young Children

I find it very difficult to let things go and not bother me.  I usually hang on to the hurt and review the play by play in my head long after.  This past Sunday, when we visited a local Byzantine Catholic Church, an old lady was visibly annoyed with us.  During the sermon, little Eric was unable to stay still.

Christ Blesses the Children

I was holding John on my lap because he was a bit overwhelmed in a new place, and Nathaniel was dealing with Gregory and David.  So, Eric slipped away and decided to spin around in a circle right in the middle of church.  Then he looked up and smiled at everyone.  He was as sweet as can be, but he was a disruption.

Then I heard a loud “humph” from the back and looked up to see the woman staring daggers at me.   In a parish as small as that one, Eric’s distraction could go unnoticed.  Nathaniel quickly grabbed him and placed the wild little man on his lap.  Just a bit after that, another child was being incredibly defiant, so I picked up Eric while I was pulling the other child by his arm and left the church.  What a great first impression we had made.

Needless to say, I was incredibly discouraged by the time we drove out of the parking lot.  At our parish in Kentucky, we had a system that worked for us.  That doesn’t mean it was easy; dealing with five young children in church is never easy, but we did have their godparents and friends who would help out.  I rarely felt completely alone, even if I did feel overwhelmed.

Recently, Sarah wrote a good post called “How to Encourage that Young Mother at Church.”  I recommend this for everyone, whether you have children or not.  It is so important to encourage those who are struggling.  And I guarantee that, at one time or another, every parent is struggling in church.  Thankfully, in the end, the struggle is worth it. IMG_20150823_112238

Going with the Flow

There are times in everyone’s lives when they must make decisions based on what is good for everyone involved rather than what might be wished for or expected.  This weekend we had to make these decisions over and over again.

We had planned to spend most of the weekend at our new parish for the Bishop’s visit.  Unfortunately, with Friday being one of the worst days Eric and I have had in a very long time, we opted to stay home and keep him safe.

You see, he had very badly injured himself at the playground on Friday morning.  Then he continued to injure himself over and over again as the day progressed.

IMG_20151009_154039Thankfully, it wasn’t due to a concussion or anything like that; he is just incredibly adventurous and fearless.  By the end of Friday, my nerves were frayed, and he was exhausted.  Eric ended up sleeping with us that night, as well, which wasn’t restful for anyone. IMG_20151009_181845He woke up early on Saturday morning and then took a really long four hour nap.  We decided to just stay home and rest that day.  Then in the late afternoon, Grace fell while running on the stairs and badly bruised both of her shins.  She spent the rest of the evening on the couch with her legs elevated, icing them on and off.
IMG_20151010_165532Rather than going to church that evening, we opted to stay home and order in Indian food. Sunday was to be Hierarchical Liturgy with the Bishop at church.  Nathaniel and I talked about it the night before and realized that this would be really difficult for us with our youngest, who cannot stay still, and his slightly older brother who really struggles with sensory overstimulation at church.  So, we made the executive decision to use this Sunday as an opportunity to visit another church in the area. IMG_20151011_113319

The people were kind and welcoming.
The church had this plaque: IMG_20151011_113250

We went to lunch and the kids played on the playground for hours.  By the time we came home, it was mid-afternoon, so everyone took some time to rest or nap.

Tomorrow, a new week begins with its challenges and blessings.

What do you have planned for this week? 

Into October

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
IMG_20151006_115821IMG_20151004_163117I love Autumn.  I love the cooler temperatures, the crispness of the air, the sunsets, the traditions.  October is a big month for birthdays in our family, too.  We are looking forward to visits from both sets of grandparents at the end of the month.

For the past ten years, my mom has been with us at the end of every October.  She was here when David was born nearly ten years ago and she has returned every single year, without fail, even when she was fighting cancer and undergoing treatments.  Now, that is devotion.

It is hard to believe that David is about to turn double-digits!

To make this Autumn even more fun, the kids and I put together a “Bucket List” for the season.


We have already crossed off a few things from our bucket list.

IMG_20151003_174501 IMG_20151003_175334We are planning to cross off a few more when family comes to visit, too.

Do you have any fun plans for Autumn? 

A Blanket for Gregory Yarn Along

IMG_20151004_215903We moved to North Carolina about six weeks ago and expected to experience the beautiful late summer weather we had heard about. Sadly, for the last week and a half, all it did was rain.
And rain… and rain.

For a while there, too, we had some warnings regarding the hurricane that was originally moving more westerly.  So, of course, I did what any normal person does: I went out in the torrential downpour to stock up on yarn for a project that I am currently working on.


I’ve had lots of time to work on Gregory’s blanket.
He picked the colors, and they are perfect for autumn.
I started it last Thursday evening,
and I hope to have it done by tomorrow.

Usually Yarn Alongs are about what you are creating and what you are reading.  Well, I have basically just been watching Downton Abbey while I crochet in my spare time or at night after the kids go to bed.  I started with season one and already part way through season two.  I am also reading The Climb by Anatoli Boukreev and listening to Northanger Abbey on Librivox.

What have you been creating or reading?

Rainy Weather Nature Walk

After feeling under the weather for the past 24 hours, I decided it best to take a walk outside in the fresh, albeit rainy, air.  David and Eric joined me.  Along the way we found lots of evidence of all of the rain we have had: mushrooms!  All different types and sizes of mushrooms.
IMG_20151004_162729The fresh air helped a bit, but now it is rainy again.
I am sitting out on our front porch with Eric,
but with the wind picking up speed,
we need to go in.

IMG_20151004_163015I hope you had a nice Sunday.


A Rainy Day Field Trip to Historic Yates Mill

IMG_20151003_153316We were supposed to make a trip to visit our good friends in South Carolina today, but with the bad weather and flooding throughout North and South Carolina, we decided to stay off the interstates and close to home. IMG_20151003_153643   Historic Yates Mill is less than two miles from our home, and with all of the rain, it was the perfect day for a trip to a mill!  IMG_20151003_152432
IMG_20151003_154728Listening intently to the tour guide: IMG_20151003_150742IMG_20151003_152601IMG_20151003_153953


IMG_20151003_154752 IMG_20151003_154935IMG_20151003_155139The parks department in Wake County is really amazing.
We have been so impressed with all that there is in this area.

What have you been doing during this rainy weekend? 

Recipe: Coconut Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies

Today is National Homemade Cookie Day!

So, of course, I’ll take an excuse to make cookies.
I created this recipe so that I could use coconut flour instead of wheat flour.




  • 3/4 cup unsalted creamy almond butter
  • 3/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1 cup organic sugar
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In blender or food processor, add almond butter, peanut butter, sugar and coconut oil; process until smooth. Add eggs and blend again.
  3. Pour out into bowl and add coconut flour, baking soda and salt. Gently fold in chocolate chips.
  4. Use a Tablespoon to drop dough onto prepared cookie sheet.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes or until cookies are beginning to brown along the edges.
  6. Allow them to cool on cookie sheet for a few minutes and then transfer to a wire rack.

Make 3 dozen.

This is what the dough looks like once you have mixed it all together.
IMG_20151001_115025Make sure you let the cookies cool before you move them to the wire rack. IMG_20151001_115434

Rethinking Homeschool


Back in Kentucky, homeschool law indicated a specific number of days that were required for homeschooling.  For some reason and without my knowledge, this limited my ability to fully homeschool my children.

It wasn’t until we moved to North Carolina and the number of days was no longer required that I was fully able to embrace the lifestyle of homeschool.  I realized that every day is a homeschool day.  My kids are constantly learning, every minute, every hour, even when we are just exploring new places or going on nature walks.


Now, don’t get me wrong, I still keep a very structured school (because that is what best fits my children and me) but I have learned that some days we are going to run errands, explore a new park or just sit around reading books all before formal school begins.

IMG_20150929_145907 IMG_20150915_094727IMG_20150915_094735 IMG_20150907_082508

And do you know what?
Our kids are thriving!  
They are enjoying school even more this year.  They are excited to learn about Ancient History, Earth Science and Latin.  The have even stopped complaining about cursive.


Something has shifted in our home:
we have embraced a lifestyle of learning.

Super Blood Moon Total Lunar Eclipse

Late Sunday night, way after their bedtimes, David, Grace, and John joined me to watch the eclipse.  At about 8:45pm, the sky was pretty clear; we could see the moon very well.  Unfortunately, as the night progressed, the sky became much cloudier.

I got some photos of the eclipse portion of the event:

DSC_1299And for the rest of the night, the cloud cover was too much for us to really see anything, and I definitely couldn’t get my camera to take any photos where you could tell the moon had changed to an orangey-red color.

Were you able to see it? 

Highs and Lows


I never expected this whole moving-to-a-place-I’ve-never-been to be easy.  I knew it would take time to learn the area, make new friends, get established, and navigate where I’m going without a GPS. I also knew this was a good opportunity for our family, a fresh start in an area with a lot to offer a large family like ours.

So, when I hit a really low point last weekend, in many ways, I felt like I had betrayed myself.  I knew what I had agreed to, what I had gotten myself into, and I didn’t want my husband to think I was unhappy with the move.

I tend to put on a brave face, push through, and cry later.  That’s just who I am.  But, Sunday afternoon brought forth an outpouring of emotional baggage that I’d been clinging to since we moved.  Of course, it happened at the most inopportune time and in a very inconvenient place, as these things tend to do.

It is very easy to feel forgotten, even when you’re not.  Loneliness had crept in and tried to take residence in my heart.  Sometimes your heart doesn’t leave space for your brain to think clearly.  Four weeks.  It had been less than four weeks.  And in those four weeks we have had so much fun together as a family, trying new things and going to new places.  We made lots of new friends and are enjoying our new church parish.  Everything is new.  

And maybe that was part of my problem.  When nothing is familiar, it is easy to feel lost or alone.  But I have to tell you: I really like it here.  I am quickly learning the area.  I’ve found a few friends who I really like a lot, and our kids have made lots of friends, too.  Nathaniel is enjoying working in the office.  We have been spending so much time together.

My main goal for this move was to bring our family closer together, and I know it has done that already in a month.  We were already really close, but we had just had such a fun time exploring together.  I think a highlight for the kids and myself has been all of the nature that we’ve seen.  David has found more varying types bugs in this one month than he did the entire time we lived in Kentucky. Just for fun, here are a few of his finds:

IMG_20150924_173505IMG_20150922_095233 IMG_20150914_133230 I guess I write this to say, as with anything in life, there are highs and lows.
Jim Morrison said, “I think the highest and lowest points
are the important ones. Anything else is just…in between.
But I have to say: most of my favorite parts are the in betweens.