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Monday, December 30, 2013

Embracing the Bright, Shining Moments and Growing in Our Struggles

I have these revelations.  Thunderbolt moments. 

And then I read the things I was blogging about a year ago and realize…

Oi!  This is not some brand new revelation, this is exactly the same thing I was thinking a year ago! 

I think maybe I need to read my past posts more often. Winking smile

As 2013 comes to an end, I’m reading over the thoughts of my past self and imagining my future self in about a year’s time. 

It’s giving me some much needed perspective.  The past couple of months I’ve been feeling a bit burnt out and not sure where I’m going…it’s hard to see the path before you when you’ve forgotten the path that brought you to where you are right now. 

I read what my past self had to say and it sounds so very much like what what I’m feeling right now.

Remembering the Real 2013…

This time last year, I was heading up a project called DOing More and reflecting on how the moments I want to hold onto are the unplanned, unpredictable moments, not the things typed into a goal planner.

I was looking forward to a year of fulfilling dreams.  A year of hard work, yes, but also a year of personal peace.  A year of growing, not just as a Mom and a blogger, but as the me I’m meant to be.

In January, my husband and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary.

chris susan wedding

In February, I admitted that I’d been banging my head against a wall when it comes to teaching one of my kids.  Because, yes, accepting the responsibility of educating your children is a hard job.

In March, I started a series of tutorials for using Windows Live Writer to blog with a post on Snazzy Pictures.

Around Easter our family busted the Comfy Couch Myth of Homeschooling and I talked about being more Real while blogging.

comfy couch myth

In honor of Ichthyosis Awareness Month in May, Release the Butterflies came into being.  A few blogging buddies and I spent the whole month celebrating the uniqueness of our kids. 

Release the Butterflies Posts:

  1. Embrace the Wild Child, Release the Butterflies
  2. Giving the Butterfly Time to Emerge
  3. Hold onto Your Butterflies, but not too tightly
  4. The Butterfly’s Dazzling Colors Dance in the Sunlight

Last summer, I reminded myself to Count the Successes. 

Peter is my special needs kid and there are times when I lose sight of how very far he has come.  When our kids are struggling, it’s hard to see beyond the struggle sometimes.

count the successes

As we geared up for the new school year, I reflected on avoiding the Subject Boxes when putting together a plan for learning.

In August, Homeschooling Hearts & Minds celebrated its 5th anniversary and I shared some highlights of that first year.

5 year anniversarymy 13-year-old when he was his younger brother’s age

Less than a month later, we were seriously considering putting one or more of  our children in school.  It seems like this isn’t a topic that’s shared much in homeschooling circles, so I shared my heart here.

This is an ongoing discussion for our family.  Our goal is to do what we feel is best for our children and as their needs change, we remain open to changing how we do things.

That same month, I talked about how Learning is Bigger than Schooling.  Sometimes I fall into the trap of believing that I bear all responsibility for my kids’ learning---that’s not fair to them or to me.

learning is bigger than schooling

In the Fall I shared how I do 3rd and 4th grade English for free by creating my own copywork from our content subjects and using good books, plus free online resources. 

37 free artsy resources-001There were many other free resources throughout the year, including:

And of course, I shared my plastic Christmas tree, the perfect tree for my family.

plastic tree

Overall, I think it’s been a good year, but I’ve got a confession…this post is as much for me as it is for you. 

This blog a place where I can easily record bits and pieces of my life and the thoughts behind the choices I’ve made.  Even if no one else read it---it would be worth it to me to record our learning journey here.  Reading where we have been, our past struggles, and our successes…this is something that I need to do with regularity.

It helps to keep me grounded. 

I need to revisit our year every December.  It gives me hope in those cold, dark months.  It encourages me.  I do hope it encourages you, too!

Tomorrow I’m going to be rambling about my goals for 2014---blogging, homeschooling and stuff.  I hope you’ll join me!

In the meantime, I hope that you will visit some friends of mine who are also looking back on the Real 2013:

2013 - a messy but blessed year by April E. @ ElCloud Homeschool: Busy Minds, Busy Hands, Busy Feet

2013: A Look Back by Leah @ As We Walk Along the Road

Five Revelations From 2013 by Clara @ A Slice Of Homeschool Pie

2013 is Almost Gone by Kristen @ Sunrise to Sunset

2013- A Reflection on our Year by Jennifer @ Conversaving

Where Did 2013 Go? by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory

Saying Goodbye to 2013 by Tess @ Circling Through This Life

I'm the Mom of three teen boys, and other highlights of 2013 by Debra @ Footprints in the Butter

Looking Back Over 2013 Adventures In Homesteading & Homeschooling by Kim @Homestead Acres

2013 ~ The Good, The Bad, And The Beautiful by Audra Silva @ Simply Audra Marie

Real Moments of 2013 by Cristi @ Through the Calm and Through the Storm

It's a Beautiful Life--2013 Edition by April B. @ Coffee, Cobwebs, and Curriculum


  1. As always, your post was encouraging and enlightening. I loved reading it.
    It is very good to take the time to look back and see how far we've come, and what the Lord has brought us through. It makes us stronger, and it helps us to move forward with new resolve.
    Happy New Year, Susan!!!

  2. I agree that going back and reading posts can be a good way for me to remember also. I need to remember that I blog for me and for our family as well as to encourage and connect with others. Thank you for sharing these posts and for heading up this sharing time. Happy New Year!

  3. Thank you, ladies! Have a wonderful New Year!

  4. Looks like you shared a lot of worthwhile posts. Great job!

    Happy New Year to you too!

    ~A Slice of Homeschool Pie


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