Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Freedom! That word can bring many things to mind. The freedom we have in America. The freedom we have to worship God. The freedom to do what we want when we want. The freedom to homeschool. The freedom of people. You can go on & on about different types of freedom. I'm talking about freedom in a personal, inner sense. My freedom.

You see, I was a prisoner. No one would have ever noticed as I didn't wear prison stripes. This prison was inside of me. And worst of all, it was one I had created for myself. The walls were made of unrealistic expectations I imposed on myself. The mirrors were covered with outlines of others who I thought I needed to be like. The ceiling of unmet expectation hung low. The floor made of the mud of self-condemnation and jealousies.

I had convinced myself that because I was not just like everyone around me that I was worthless or that I was doing everything wrong. I was insecure. I was jealous. I just thought this was how life was. Happiness was meant for others. And if I did find happiness in different things than others, I needed to do everything in my power to destroy that as it wasn't proper to be happy in that situation.

I'm not sure how I became a prisoner. I do know that it was a subtle slow process. I was relatively happy as a child. I knew at a young age that God had made me & that He was my Lord & Savior! I remember singing songs to Him & conversing with Him in prayer as if He was my best friend. But as I grew older, that changed.

I know that as I got older and was put in age groups, I found I didn't belong. I was teased for my love of reading & learning. I was teased for my love of singing because I wasn't the best singer. I loved nature & animals as they didn't judge. I started to put up walls. Walls to protect myself against the words of others. I started to judge as I was judged. Instead of turning to God & asking Him to help me find who I was & finding my worth in Him, I started finding my worth in the words & actions of others.

I'm on the left!

Before I knew it, who I was was defined by what others said. I saw myself as ugly because the boys wouldn't date me. I saw myself as fat because TV, magazines & other girls said I was. I saw myself as not measuring up because I didn't do, say or wear things others did. In reality, I was a normal girl. I was fairly pretty. I wasn't fat just not a size 0. I had friends and was even fairly well liked. But in my mind, I was not any of these things. I was a prisoner. I was not free.

This mentality followed me into college and beyond. I continued to put up walls between my real self and the self I projected outwards. I don't even know if other people realized that inside, I was insecure & hated myself. I took everything to heart and felt if I wasn't who others were then something was wrong with me.

Even after I married, I continued to judge myself and my marriage by what everyone else's marriage looked like. I think I was driving myself crazy as well as my husband. I think my first breakthrough came when I was a new mom.

I had read all the books & listened to all the advice of others. I thought I "knew" what I was to do & how I was to be a mom. The problem with that is that I wasn't listening to my heart & the God-given instincts I had. So, we brought our oldest home from the hospital. We put her in her crib in her room & proceeded to let her cry it out! This was almost 12 years ago & the "attachment parenting" movement was fairly new. This felt wrong, but I was so determined that my feelings (instincts) were wrong because of the prison in my mind.

Thankfully God used my husband to help me see that my instincts were not wrong & maybe everyone else didn't know what was right for us! It was a breakthrough for me. I saw that for us, we needed to keep her in our room & not let her cry it out.

Over the next 11 years, I experienced more & more freedom from the traps in my mind. It has taken lots & lots of prayer & Bible study to change my thinking. One of the things that helped so much was to pull every verse out that I could find that said I was special to God and uniquely made. I have these written on a paper that I pull out and read when the prison walls threaten to close in on me again.

I have to watch closely because this prison is one that doesn't like to give up it's prisoners. Our minds, when not focused on God, want to condemn and entangle us. I love the freedom!

Freedom to know that I am the woman God made me to be. My life is meant to be lived in a way that no other woman can live. I have NO other woman to live up to! I only have to strive to be more & more like Christ! I don't have to think like others. I don't have to act like others. I have freedom!!

In finding freedom to be who I am, I am finding freedom to let others be who they are. I don't have to be jealous of others. I don't have to compare myself to others. How can you compare an original work of art to something else?

Along with freedom comes joy! I can enjoy life! I don't have to worry if my life measures up to someone else's life! I can enjoy every moment of every day! And I can let everyone else enjoy their lives! I love my life. I love the adventures we go on because we homeschool & Hubby travels for a living. I am embracing being different and having a totally different lifestyle than most of the people I know. It's making life a real adventure!

I do slip sometimes and start pulling myself into my prison. But I recognize those walls quicker now. I pray sooner and find freedom quicker. I find that my eyes are open to the traps now. I see that so many women are in the same prison that I was in & I pray they find freedom. God does not intend for us to live in a prison of self-condemnation & constantly comparing ourselves to others. He wants us to see ourselves as He sees us! He created us & He loves us!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Swim Time - 2/12/12

On Sunday, we headed to Horse Cave, KY. We stayed the night before going to Mammoth Cave & then continuing to TN where Hubby is working. I didn't swim but took a lot of pics of the kids & Hubby swimming. Here are a just a few of the kids having fun.

 Jamie wasn't sure at first if she wanted to get her ears wet.

 David jumping in.

 Jessica jumping in.

 Jamie in the water. She wasn't as adventurous as the younger 2 & didn't jump in any.

 Jamie playing in the water.

 David loved it when Daddy threw him.

Jessica being thrown by Daddy in the pool.

This was just a small taste of the fun they had Sunday night in the pool.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Trip to Tennessee - 1/22 to 2/4

Thought I'd post some pictures that I took during the 2 weeks that didn't make it into my other blog posts. So here goes! Enjoy!

 David jumping in the pool.

David in the pool. 

Jessica & Jamie in the pool. 

Jamie jumping into the pool.

 Jessica jumping into the pool.

Hubby, Jamie, Jessica & a little of David in the mirror in the van.

Kids at Fort Donelson. 
Pond somewhere in TN. Love the reflection in the water!!

 Sunset in the side-view mirror of the van.

 Jessica, David & Jamie at Fort Defiance in downtown Clarksville, TN.

Jessica at the park at the Cumberland Riverwalk in downtown Clarksville, TN.

 David at the park

 Jamie at the park

Jamie, David & Jessica are on a little pedestrian bridge between the park & Wendy's.

 Reflection of the sun on the Cumberland River.

Sunset one night in Tennessee.

 David looks like he's walking on water!

 Jessica trying to do a cannonball but her hands slipped.

 Jamie hanging by the pool. Her ears were already hurting by this time.

We returned to Fort Donelson on Friday before we left. This time I let them bring their stuffed animals.

At Fort Donelson on the river.

 The Eagle was back! Isn't he majestic! He flew away while I was there but I didn't get a good video. Maybe I will next week when we go.

 This is a stage area behind the Fort Donelson Visitor center. They hung out here for a good 30 minutes.

This elephant is in front of a little store out in the country as you leave Clarksville & head north towards Indy. There is also a giant cow less than a mile before this but I didn't have my camera ready.

Hope you enjoyed a few more pictures of our trip.