Just Being Us

Just Being Us
Family, where we can be real, and feel unconditional love!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

What If I Don't Feel Like Celebrating? (Dealing with Depression During the Holidays)

     It's so hard to be real these days. That is why I am finding it hard to post this, but I know that it may help someone out there so here it goes....

     There was a time when I didn't feel like celebrating the holidays. I was in a dark place. Depression had overtaken my every thought.  I was consumed with sadness. My mind wasn't in the mood to be "happy" about anything let alone celebrate. 

     As a Christian I felt like a failure. I thought I had lost my faith because of how I was feeling. That was a lie from Satan. I didn't stop loving Christ because of my depression. I was human and was taking on too much by myself. I didn't deal with stress well.  I didn't ask for help when I was feeling overwhelmed and scared. My hormones were out of whack.  These things didn't keep me from loving my Savior, they just distracted me from the truths I knew in my heart. 

      My biggest mistake was pretending it was all okay.  I would put on my big fake smile and bluff my way through the activities of the day. No one knew how much I was hurting. It thought it was my duty to make everyone else happy even though I was so unhappy. Lying about my true feelings was only making it worse.  

     Depression is not something we should hide. If we do it can cause us to go to such a dark place that we think of the unthinkable. We ponder what would happen if we were not here. We wonder if others would be better off without us. It's scary to even type these words because I know there are those out there who are feeling this way right now.  They feel desperate. They need someone to come along beside them and take their hand and help lift them out of the that deep dark pit. 

      Depression is not something you just get over. You need help from those who love you. You need support from those who care about you most.  You don't need someone to say "Get over it", "Snap out of it", or "Just be happy".  

     In order for a person who is depressed to get through it, they need understanding, unconditional love and support.  It didn't take a day for them to get into this state of mind and it won't take a day for them to heal.  It's a long road with many bumps and ditches along the way.  

      If you are dealing with depression right now, I encourage you to find someone to talk to. Don't put on your mask and pretend you're fine. Be real. Allow yourself time to heal. Hiding your feelings will not make them go away. You need to be open and honest with your loved ones.  Let them help you through this hard time. 

      If you don't have anyone you trust to share your feelings with, call a help line, a pastor, or doctor that you can talk with.   I promise there are people out there who will be able to help you through this.  You are not alone!!!!    

     It's hard for me to type these next few words, but if you are feeling so sad that you are contemplating taking your own life please call someone who can help you immediately like the suicide prevention hotline.  I know it's scary to talk to someone you don't know, but they are there to help you and talk with you.  

      I am praying for everyone who is feeling depressed during this time. There is hope as long as you have breath.  As someone who has been in that pit, I want to reach out to you and let you know you are not alone in this journey.  Don't lose sight of the light at the end of the tunnel.  With prayer, time and the support of others, you can make it to the other side. 



Monday, December 11, 2017

Our Review of Magic Stix from The Pencil Grip

     Do your children like to use markers? Are you tired of worrying about them drying out and not being washable? Well, we have a solution for these issues. The answer is Magic Stix from The Pencil Grip.  We were given the opportunity to try these markers for free and now we want to review them for you. 

      When they arrived in the mail, our daughter Hope, who is 10 years old, couldn't wait to get her hands on them.  She loves arts and crafts of any type. Markers have always been one of her favorite ways to express herself, but they always seemed to dry out quickly and the colors were not as vibrant as she would like. She opened up the package and right away you could see her mind go to work. 

      The first thing she said was that she loved the box that the markers came in. It is made of a durable plastic that keeps the markers in place for easy use and storage even on the go. We received the 12 count markers but they also come in a 24 pack.  

      It wasn't long before she had them all out and was putting them to use. I asked if they were different from other markers she had used in the past and she immediately said "YES".  She said the colors were vivid. She was also excited to find out they had no odor.  Some markers give her headaches if she uses them too long. She was also impressed with how comfortable they were to use. She said other markers are too large for her hands and make it hard to hold them for a long period of time. These are the perfect size.

      Here are a few of her creations.  She was able to use each color and she loved them! 

      I like the fact they are non-toxic and washable.  I don't have to worry about her getting carried away with her drawings. They also have a guarantee not to dry out even if the cap is left off for seven days.  Can you believe that?  SEVEN DAYS!!!  I have thrown away so many markers because they were left out overnight without their caps and that is such a waste of money.  These won't do that and that is a HUGE deal for our household.  I actually put one to the test and left the cap off for 3 days.  It didn't dry out and it worked just as well as the first day we got them. 

     We are very happy with these markers and encourage you to try them for yourself.  I love a company that guarantees their product and has integrity.  The Pencil Grip is a company that has those attributes.  We love them and will continue to buy and use their wonderful products.  

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew: Our Review of Forbrain

     I have always enjoyed speaking in front of people, but most of my children get quite frightened to do so.  I think they lack confidence in their speaking abilities and a couple of them do have small speech issues.  When we were given the opportunity to receive and review Forbrain from Sound for Life LTD, I was excited to see how it would help my kids to become better speakers and more focused. 

     Forbrain is a headset that when worn will help you hear your own voice with more clarity and more quickly than without it. It does this by blocking out sounds around you while you use it, and as the headphones sit on the two bones beside your outer ears, this stimulates the nerves to help with hearing and comprehension. It was created to help children and adults improve speech, focus, and memory. It is for ages 4 and up and can be worn for up to 20 minutes at a time, 3 times a day. 

     Our son Josh has attention problems. He has trouble focusing on one task especially if the task does not interest him. During the review time, I had him wear the headsets every day when reading his history lessons aloud. We saw a significant change in his grades.  He went from getting mediocre grades on his tests to almost perfect scores. After seeing him progress in his ability to memorize his historical facts, we decided to have him use them as he worked on scripture memorization as well, and we saw improvement in this class almost immediately.

      I asked him what he thought of the headphones and he said that they helped him to stay focused on what he was reading.  I asked him what he liked and disliked about the Forbrain and he said he loved them except they were a little large for his little ears.  He is 12 but is small build. He said they hurt his ears a little when worn for more than a few minutes and he had a hard time keeping them where they are supposed to be worn. Other than that he was quite pleased with how they worked.  

     Our older son Ryan is 17 and has trouble with speaking in front of others.  He hates reading aloud and gets very frustrated when he has to talk to a group.  He also has a tendency to speak loudly even in a quiet room.  He doesn't have hearing issues, but being a middle child he has always felt he had to speak up to be heard over all his siblings.  Now that his older siblings have moved out we are finding he is in a habit of still speaking with a loud voice.  We were hoping that this headset would help him in these two areas and we were not disappointed.  

      He loved the way they helped him hear how loudly he was speaking and are helping him to retrain his brain to speak more softly. He has also been using them to practice reading aloud and it is helping him become more confident in this area.  I asked him what he thought of the headphones and he said they were a great fit for him and that he will continue using them as he prepares for upcoming interviews and speaking in public. 

     I was very impressed with this product. They are made of durable material and I feel they will last for quite a long time.  We will be trying them with our daughter soon as she struggles with reading aloud also. If you have a child or know of an adult who has issues with focus, memorization, or speech, I would suggest trying Forbrain. It may help them in ways you never thought possible.   

     Would you like to learn more about this resource?  I encourage you to check out their website and their social media pages listed below:

     We also have more reviews of this product over here 

Forbrain {Sound For Life Ltd Review}

Come on over and check them out!
Have a wonderful week!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew: Our Review of Thinking Like an Engineer

     My son was so pleased when we were given a 2-year subscription to the Thinking Like an Engineer course from Innovators Tribe to review. He is still praying about what he would like to study after high school and engineering is on his list of interests.  I feel this program will help steer him in the right direction.  This course will give him a good idea of what an engineer does and I hope it helps him make a decision.  

       Thinking Like an Engineer is an online course with hands-on activities that give students a look at the career of engineering. Engineers are associated with applied science, technology, and design. This course has so much to offer like: 
  •  Self-paced Interactive Lessons 
  •  Hands-on Activities
  •  Design Challenges 
  •  Downloadable Exercise Journals
  •  Design Software
  •  Online Support
  •  Safety Measures

     Thinking Like an Engineer is taught with 6 different units that include:

  •  Introduction to Engineering
  •  Introduction to 3D Computer Design and Solid Modeling
  •  Engineering Rollercoasters
  •  Engineering Bridges
  •  3D Computer Design
  •  Nano-Engineering
     During our review period, we have completed the first two units and can't wait to move onto the third this week.  The entire course takes about 30 hours to complete. 

     Innovator's Tribe was developed to encourage young people to be creative, innovative and to discover new things. If you have a child that shows interest in technology, engineering, construction or hands-on activities, this may be a great fit for them.  I was very impressed when I listened in on some of the classes. They are put together with the purpose to teach our children how to use their imagination along with creativity and ingenuity.  They inspire our young people to use the gifts they have been given to better the world we live in. 

     I would like to share what my son had to say about the course so far.  This is in his own words.

     "I personally find the course to be fun and educational. So far we have learned what engineers do, 3-D design, and how it all works together. The teacher knows how to keep your attention and explains things very well. I have learned more about engineering during this short time than I ever have before. So far my favorite activity was creating a car tire rim in our 3-D design lesson. This program has encouraged me to use my mind to create and it has given me insight into what life would be like as an engineer."

     I asked him if he will be continuing this course and quickly got a "YES!"  

     Let's take a look at some of the activities Ryan did during his lessons over the past month or so. 

     In photo #1 we see the Tower Challenge. During this challenge, they were allowed to use 4 sheets of paper and 1 foot of masking tape. They had to make a tower that stood on its own for 10 seconds or more. It was fun watching him build it and seeing it stand tall. 

    In photo #2, we are seeing the tire rim that was built using the 123D Design software that they provide links for in the course.  This was Ryan's favorite project and he enjoyed spending time perfecting his rim. The software was easy to install.  Ryan was instructed on how to use it in the lesson before the activity.  He said it was an excellent tool for beginners.

     Our final photo is the Furniture Design activity. This also used the 123D Design software.  In this activity, you were to create a piece of furniture for your home or office.  Ryan decided to design a shelf to use for books or other knick-knacks. He had a lot of fun using his imagination for this project. 

    I was happy to see our son enjoying this course. It isn't easy to find good online classes for him. He has to be amazed by what he is being taught or he gets bored very quickly. This course was well suited for him. 

   I encourage you to take a look at the Innovators Tribe website to check out this course and the others they have to offer like Thinking Like an Architect. You won't be disappointed.  I know my son has been positively impacted by this course and will continue to use it throughout our school year.  

     If you would like to read more reviews of this course and others, come check out the Homeschool Review Crew site here
Thinking Like an Architect or Engineer {Innovators Tribe Reviews}
I hope you come on over to check them out!
Have a wonderful day!!!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew: Our Review of Thin Stix Creativity Pack

     Our family loves to review products that help us be creative. We were excited to be able to receive and review the Thin Stix Creativity Pack from The Pencil Grip, Inc.  This is not the first time we have had the opportunity to review the Thin Stix and we knew this larger set would be so much fun to use.  My daughter's face lit up when they arrived in the mailbox. She couldn't wait to begin creating.  

     We couldn't wait to use the new colors that were in the 24 piece Creative Pack.  In addition to the 12 classic colors, there are 6 neon colors, and 6 metalix colors in this set.  These paints are so unique. They are solid tempera paint sticks that are easy to use and they dry quickly.  There is no need for any water, so there is no mess and clean up is a breeze.  I would have loved to have these for my other children as they were growing up.  Other paints were such a big mess so we rarely used them.  

     We decided to do some different things with our Thin Stix this time around.  I bought us some wood items so we could try using the paints on them.  We focused our attention on the metalix and neon paints for these projects.  

     Usually painting individual letters can be very tedious work.  Not with the Thin Stix.  They make painting such an easy task. They go on smoothly with no drips.  The metallic colors are so beautiful! They showed up nicely on this wood plaque above.  We were so pleased with how well it turned out.  

      My daughter wanted to use the neon markers on the next wood piece.  She said the colors worked very well together so her wood heart got a rainbow pattern.  Towards the end, she added a few metalix colors as well.  She said she couldn't help herself since they were so pretty.  

     These paint markers are a great addition to our craft items and we will be using them on a regular basis.  They are so versatile.  They can be used on paper, cardboard, poster board, wood, canvas and other surfaces.  My daughter has so many other projects planned for these little sticks, we may have to buy more for her soon even though they are long-lasting.  

    I love that these markers can be used by all ages. Even little ones can have fun playing with them as they use their imagination to create wonderful works of art.  I love that you can hand them to your child and allow them to work independently on their projects.  There is no need for constant supervision. Kids like to have freedom when they are creating and these allow for that.  

     If you would like to check out these items and more from The Pencil Grip, Inc., I would encourage you to visit their website and other social media pages listed below:

     We also have some more reviews for you over here

Thin Stix Creativity Pack {The Pencil Grip, Inc. Reviews}

Friday, November 3, 2017

Counting My Blessings

     As Thanksgiving Day approaches, we tend to begin reflecting on what we are thankful for.  The month of November is always full of posts from people listing what they are thankful for.  You see them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  What if we carried that gratitude in our hearts year round?  Do you think it would improve our attitudes and outlook on life?  You bet it would! 

      If we would wake up every morning and count our blessings instead of complaining, our days would be more joyful.  A positive perspective will change how we see things.  Instead of complaining about our chores, we could be happy we have a home, clothes, and dishes to clean up.  In lieu of grumbling about our lives, we can be grateful we woke up to live another day.  As an alternative to our whining we can be praising God for all He has provided for us. 

      When I catch myself complaining, I step back and remind myself of the many blessings we have been given. We may not have all our wants, but we have all our needs met on a daily basis.  What more could I ask for?  There are so many who would love to have the little things I take for granted like a warm cup of coffee on a cool morning or a soft bed to sleep in at night.  Why should I complain when I have been blessed with so much? 

      As I count my blessing this morning, I look back on the amazing month of  October.  We had so much fun learning together and spending time with each other.  I want to share some of our activities with you now. 

Each evening in October we went for walks. The air was crisp and refreshing. We were able to have long talks and enjoy God's creation. 

We have been making some delicious soups in our crock pot. Some of our favorites are Chicken Tortilla and Potato Soup. 

 We went out and got a big beautiful pumpkin and had fun carving it as a family.  We were also able to get a great snack from the pumpkin seeds. We roasted them and they were quite yummy. 

We had a bonfire and roasted marshmallows. We enjoyed sitting around the fire talking and laughing. We didn't want the night to end.

Hubby and I were able to have a few date nights. It's important to have fun with your spouse! 

Our days have been spent learning and discovering together.  I love our homeschool!

     I am so thankful for each day! God has blessed us in so many ways. It would take days to list them all. I challenge you to find 10 things you are thankful for today and take time to thank our Heavenly Father for them. 

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew: Let the Little Children Come

     Our family loves to share Jesus with others. We were thrilled to receive and review the Gospel Tracts and Evangelism Tools Sampler Pack from Let the Little Children Come. These wonderful little products make it easier to share the gospel with those in our community and beyond. 

    We believe it is important for our kids to be able to lead their friends to Christ not only by their godly example but by communication. When we find resources that assist them in this undertaking, we are more than happy to take a look at them. When this pack arrived in the mail, we opened it and were pleasantly surprised at the quality of each item.  They are made of durable materials and are fun and colorful.  I was encouraged to see a company wanting to help children become little evangelists. 

     Each set includes:

  •  John 3:16 Animated Tract
  • Gospel Buttons FlipAbout
  • The Most Amazing House Pop-up Tract
  • Wordless Bracelet Kit
  • The True Story of Christmas Animated Tract
  • The Lost Easter Egg Pop-up Tract
  • John 3:16 FlipAbout
  • Silicone Salvation Bracelet
  • Where’s Everybody Going? Animated Tract
  • Wordless Book
     We want to share some of our favorites with you today.  My daughter absolutely loved the Wordless Bracelet Kit.  She had a lot of fun putting it together and is looking forward to sharing what it's all about with her friends.  

Here is what each bead represents:
reminds us of heaven. God loves us and wants us to be with Him for all eternity.

reminds us of our sins. Our sin keeps us from God.

reminds us of the blood of Jesus.

reminds us of how clean we become when we believe
 on the Lord Jesus as our Savior.

reminds us that it's important to grow our relationship with Jesus.

     I love how the beads help our children to remember each step to leading someone to Christ. What a valuable tool for them to have as they share their love of Jesus with others they come in contact with.  

     My son thought the Wordless Bracelet was great but not a good fit for him.  Instead, he loved the Silicone Salvation Bracelet. Just like the Wordless Bracelet, it is a great resource to help him as he tells others about God.  He said it was comfortable to wear and served as a reminder to share his faith with everyone he knows. 

     Our family's favorite tool in the sample pack was the John 3:16 Animated Tract.  We loved it so much we made a video so you could see how great the animated tracts are. Children of all ages (adults too) will enjoy watching these as the images begin moving. It's a unique way to share the gospel.  

     If you would like to learn more about these products and many others please visit the Let the Little Children Come website or check out their Facebook page: 

We also have some more reviews for this product here 👇

Gospel Tracts and Evangelism Tools {Let the Little Children Come Reviews}
Have a blessed day!!!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew: Our Review of Weave Your Word in Me -- Part 1

     When I see my children studying God's Word, it puts a smile on my face and joy in my heart.  I couldn't wait to receive and review Weave Your Word in Me -- Part 1 from Kid Niche Christian Books.  I knew this Bible curriculum would be perfect for our 10-year-old daughter Hope. She goes through devotionals so quickly that we can barely keep up with buying her new ones.  I couldn't wait to see how the Lord would work in her life as she studied each lesson. 

     When we received the Bible workbook in the mail, we were pleased to see it was binder ready. All we had to do is take it out of the plastic wrap and place the 72 colorful pages in our binder.  There is even a cover page to slip into the see-thru binder that we love using.  The vibrant colors and interesting illustration made it very appealing to her.  Hope couldn't wait to get started. 

     Before Hope began her lessons, I wanted to go through the study and see what it was about. I was pleasantly surprised to see how many verses were weaved throughout the curriculum.  I love that she would be studying the Lord's Prayer from a new perspective.  I believe teaching our children to pray should be high on our list of priorities.  This study is a great start to teaching them how to pray.  It also teaches them about who God is and how important our relationship with Him is. 

      For our review, we received part 1 of the 2 part series. It contains 36 lessons.  Each lesson uses different methods to teach such as cartoons, charts, definitions, drama, drawing, fill in the blanks, illustrations, matching, multiple choice, and sequence.  I love that it had Hope searching the scriptures as she completed each lesson. This is the first devotional for her age that we have had that kept her digging deeper into the Word. Kids at this age are so thirsty for knowledge, it's essential that they have a curriculum like this to help them gain the knowledge they seek. With each page she finished, I felt she was learning more and more about her Father in Heaven. My favorite part is at the end of each lesson, your child will be writing his/her own prayer. I just love this Bible study!

     This Bible study can be used for more than just a one on one study. It is so versatile that you can use it for a class study or a family devotional.  I wish we would have had this for my other kids when they were tweens.  It would have been a great addition to our family Bible studies.  There are also Activity Pages for you to do with your children on the website.  

     After Hope finishes part 1 we will be ordering part 2 for her. I have seen her grow in many ways and we want that to continue. I appreciate the time and effort put into making this Bible study. I believe we need more courses like this. I thank you Susan Case Bonner for taking time to create this for our children!!!

     I would like to encourage you to check out this wonderful study and others from this company.  You can go to their website Kid Niche Christian Books or visit their social media pages:

     We also have some more reviews for you to read over here

Weave Your Word in Me {Kid Niche Christian Books Reviews}

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Mom, Why Aren't There Any Pictures of You?

     I use to hate having my picture taken. I didn't like the way I looked. I had no self-esteem. My body wasn't like it was in high school.  I wanted to hide it, so why in the world would I allow someone to take a picture of me? I hadn't given it much thought until one of my children was looking through some old photos and said: "Mom, why aren't there any pictures of you?"  

     I didn't know what to say to her. I made some lame excuses at the time, but I knew in my heart why.  I was so uncomfortable in my body.  I didn't want to see reminders of what I thought I looked like. What I didn't realize is no one else saw me the way I did.


      My husband saw me as a beautiful woman who he loves with all his heart. My children saw a mama who loves and cares for them every day. My friends saw someone who was there for them. No one saw the imperfections except for me.  

      One evening I went through some old photos of my older 4 kiddos.  Very rarely did you see me in any of those pictures. I was always behind the camera. As I looked at those precious pics, I began to cry.  My older kiddos will not have photos of them with their mama, and I can't change that, but I could begin taking pictures right then and there.  I refused to let how I feel about myself to keep me from making memories with my kids.  I want them to have pictures of their mom. I know I cherish the photos I have of my parents especially now that they have gone to be with Jesus. How could I deprive my children of having photographs of me?

      So Moms out there, don't let your imperfections keep you from taking pictures with your children. I promise no one sees what you think you see in the mirror.  They see YOU!!!!  The mom, wife, sister, daughter, and friend that they love and never want to forget. Get out there and have fun with your kids. Take tons of pictures and don't worry about anything but making memories!!

     I know I am not perfect and I never have been or will be, but I do know that I don't want to be the mom hiding behind the camera.  I have embraced who I am and what I look like after having 7 beautiful babies, dealing with a thyroid disorder and anxiety. I won't allow anything to keep me from enjoying life one more day!  I want my kids to have memories of their mom just as she is.  They love me for me, so I will too 😊 

      Here is a look at some photos we have taken in the last month or so.  I am so happy they will have these memories to look back on. I am so thrilled to just let go and be me!