This. Is. Hard.

One question that I get asked a lot in relationship to parenting is “How do you do it?” My answer is simple. “I have no clue.” The fact is that I don’t have a clue. I am convinced that when God called me to the realm of parenting – especialy parenting three children who are all one year apart – He knew that I would need Him more than ever. There was probably a time in my life where I would try to do it all and take credit for it all, but I’m here to tell you that the absolutely only way I can do anything in my life – including parenting three teens – I do with God’s grace, mercy, and guidance.

I’ve written here about some of our challenges and how God has definitely used them to make me not only a better parent but a better person in general. This year alone,  we joined a new church, I got a new job, I rediscovered a passion that I allowed to lie dormant for almost 20 years, and our family re-joined the world of homeschooling again.

While I am glad I followed God’s direction on all of these things, I can tell you hasn’t been easy. Part of that is because sometimes I’m not the most obedient follower of the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I know – don’t judge me.

Y’all. Life with three teenagers can be amazing and fun and exhilarating. They are busy and bustling with energy, and of course, there’s always something going on. Routines are beautiful, but just when we get settled into a new one, things change. Basketball practice is rescheduled, study group session times have changed, and SAT and ACT registration dates conflict with what we put on the family calendar.

So we adjust. And we laugh. A lot. And we pray. A lot. But the truth is this: We also cry. And some days are just hard. Continue reading

If Nothing Else Has Changed, My Writing Has

the state of our country affected my writing

Reenactment of three conversations that I’ve had in the past two weeks:

“Toni! How’s blogging? What have you been writing about lately?”

“Blogging is great. I’ve taken some time off this fall but other than that, it’s great.”

“Oh wow. What are you writing about now?”

<My initial thought: “Did you just hear me say I took some time off this fall? That means I haven’t been writing.”>

“My last post was in August  – it’s now November, I’m not sure that I’m actually writing about anything now.”

Cue the awkward silence. I haven’t been writing a lot. Writing is my therapy so if I haven’t been writing, it’s like I’ve missed some valuable therapy sessions. Those who are close to me know that something is probably very wrong in my world if I’m not writing, and I haven’t been writing in the past three months.

Because things were very wrong. Continue reading

A Much-Needed Break From a Cruel World

CRUEL world

Welcome to the end of July! Our month was challenging to say the least, but we’ve learned a lot, we’re healing, and believe it or not, we are forgiving those who we need to forgive. Parts of this post have been sponsored and include affiliate links, but rest assured, the story and the opinions are all my own. (I wouldn’t wish some of this stuff on my worst enemy.)

It’s the end of July. I have had no less than three panic attacks this week alone because August is right around the corner. With August comes a lot of stuff. No, let’s change that. August doesn’t really come with a lot of stuff. IT IS PURE MADNESS for our family. There’s no way to sugarcoat it, there’s no way to be nice about, it just is what it is. This year though, we find ourselves entering the month of August after having a really rough July.

Between the acts of violence that occurred throughout our country, our city, and our college, we then had some really rough and emotional moments to tackle as a family. We’ve been moving through the stages of grief and processing the feelings of death, abandonment, unfairness, and uncertainty…daily.  Continue reading

Are you up for a challenge?

Click here to read all of the on-line challenges I'm participating in the month.

Apparently I am. And apparently I love them. So much so, we can call October the month of Toni participating in a whole bunch of on-line challenges. Just for fun.

Sigh. Something tells me that I may have overextended myself in the on-line world. However, these challenges are really good and I know I am going to learn a lot from participating.

So…if your ready, I am going to share them with you in case you’d like to participate. If you do, tweet me and let me know which one you participate in.

Women Living Well. Courtney hosts this challenge every fall. It’s focus is on Making Your Home a Haven. I need this challenge — like yesterday. I will admit to you that sometimes my home is anything but a haven. Instead of a haven, it can be filled with negative energy, sibling rivalry, dirty laundry, and dishes in the sink. It’s not a house cleaning challenge, but it is a way to get a simple reminder that small things can have a big impact on our daily lives. And the challenge assignments are given weekly, not daily. How convenient is that?

Write 31 Days. Bloggers from all over the world are joining together to write about one topic everyday this month. I am writing about social media, because at the end of the challenge I am hoping to combine all of my blog posts into an e-book for my on-line business.

Content Creation Challenge. In the past 6 weeks, I have successfully transitioned from being a recreational blogger to a full-time blogger. While scary to say the least, I have been able to utilize the services of a blogging coach who really helps me in crafting my message. If you are a blogger, head over to the content creation site and learn how step your own blogging game up. And because I know you’re wondering, yes…there is money to be made in blogging.

The Finance Bar Mental Money Cleanse. I actually stumbled upon this site while designing my own blog. My blogging coach has a background in graphic design and web development, and I learn a lot from her about those things in addition to the business of blogging. She actually designed the Finance Bar website and as I was looking at it from a design perspective, I discovered that the site has really great information. The Finance Bar is a non-profit mobile hub personalized for women seeking to make smarter financial decisions in order to live a financially confident lifestyle.

And if that wasn’t enough, I decided to create my own #blingyourblog challenge with some blogging friends. If you are a beginning blogger, or think you may want to start a blog, then this challenge is for you. You can sign up for it here.

In case you missed any other recent blog posts, click on one of the images below.

A single mom embraces the term.

NYC

A Mom's Review of the 2015 Buick Enclave.