Content Fatigue

I first heard the term “compassion fatigue” in a meeting for volunteers. It was about not trying to pour from an empty inner cup. Giving is good, but we have to be resting and taking in what we need to have anything to give. Excellent concept – and important for all of us to avoid compassion fatigue so we can say yes when God calls on us.

Then, in trying to grow as a mother, after walking through my young son’s suicide attempt, I sat in the middle of my bed, with books stacked on the nightstand, pod casts sending notifications on my phone screen, books due back to the library, and YouTube channels subscribed to, but the videos mostly untouched.

I’d read some. Listened some. Watched some. And soon the messages were blurring together, I wasn’t uncovering anything that I hadn’t just read/listened to/watched. But I was trying to keep up with consuming all this media to help me grow through this experience.

Good idea, bad strategy. It was too much. I was deep in the throes of content fatigue and not gaining ground in the whole growing-through-pain thing I was shooting for. I was momentarily caught up in so much content that I forgot to reach for even the hem of my Savior’s garment. I’m not really a “self-helper” so my piles of media were Christian based. Or at least Christian sprinkled.

I was overwhelmed and not seeing God in the mess – especially in the part of the mess that I was making for myself. I took books back unread. I deleted pod casts. I unsubscribed to YouTube channels and emails. I even stopped multiple Bible plans in my YouVersion app.

Not all of them, Bible plans are good food for our spiritual journey. But I am a busy mom and I needed to live in the mess, not in the piles of media, trying to become an expert or something. And when I crawled out of the rock pit of too much media, I was able to apply what I’d read, listened to, or watched. I was able to see the hand of God moving in my life, through people, and in the midst of painful circumstances.

Maybe you are drowning in content, not because of a tragedy, but because you are trying to learn something new. Or you are just greatly interested in something. Whatever it is, it’s okay to not consume it all. You cannot consume it all. There is too much content being created and released on a daily basis for one person to consume it all.

Read one book at a time. Listen to one or two pod casts at a time. Watch one or two YouTubers at a time. It’s okay if you don’t “complete” all of their content – get what you can for a while, then unsubscribe. You have to use what you’re learning to keep learning more. You have to apply it before it really starts to sink in.

Don’t beat yourself up because you haven’t watched/seen/heard the latest thing that is a craze. Pick content that makes you more of who God is calling you to be. Pick content that stretches your mind, challenges you and keeps you focused on Jesus.

Until next time,

Liebster Blog Award

A sweet blogging-sister, Amy, from Vomiting Chicken, nominated me for the Liebster Blog Award. Thank you, Miss Amy. I am honored.

The Liebster Blog Award is a chance for people to recognize a blog they really like. The blogs that are recognized are usually up and coming blogs, and this is a great way to encourage bloggers. As she pointed out on her blog, this award comes with a catch. I am supposed to answer her 11 questions for me, tell you 11 things about myself, and nominate 11 other bloggers. I can’t nominate her again (boo! I totally would, her blog is awesome.), and those of you that I am nominating, well…you can’t nominate me back. You have to come up with 11 of your own blogs to nominate!

I’ll start with her 11 questions for me:

  1. What is your favorite meal? Home cooked – anything off the grill, veggies, meats, pineapple. Yum. Restaurant – seafood! Specifically I like crab legs and (not-cold-ever) shrimp.
  1. Do you believe in space aliens? If so, how would you describe them? I believe that space aliens are a possibility (I mean, look at all that God created on this one planet, why not other planets?) I believe there is no limit to God’s creativity, but I really don’t feel qualified to guess what they look like, eat, or like.
  1. How do you keep your house clean?  Really, I want to know. I need help in this area. I don’t. I mean, I try. I give it a really noble effort most days. But with 4 kids ranging from 14 years to 2.5 months, there is no “clean.” There are just varying degrees of cluttered. The best thing I do is always doing something. Doing what I can all of the time. Sometimes doing something means reading, or taking a quiet moment for myself, but Mom has to recharge to. Sometimes it means being on my feet, picking up, reorganizing and doing even just half the dishes. Forward progress is still progress, even if it’s never all the way done around here.
  1. How do you stay fit when you spend much time at the computer? Eek. Fit. I am not fit. I don’t eat as healthy as I should, even though I am fully aware of how horribly I’m poisoning my body. And I don’t exercise enough. I’d really like to blame it on having a lot on my plate, but my hubby should get an award for how willing he is to let me pursue things that are important to me. I could walk every night when he gets home. I just don’t. Working on that, actually.
  1. What’s a dream that you hope to accomplish this year? I want my book to be finished. Really, I’m shooting for the first of June. I just hit a big snag of revisions, and that’s freaking me out. I have a hard time not giving up on it.
  1. Do you own a grand piano?  Do you play an instrument? Hahahaha. Sorry. Me? An instrument? Well, I took piano for two years as a kid and couldn’t even read sheet music (not my instructor’s fault, promise! Both ladies that I studied under had many successful, music reading, instrument playing, singing students.) My inclination for music is less that zilch.
  1. How will you spend your birthday this year? My birthday has already happened. I spent it cuddling our newborn daughter and enjoying Olive Garden with my hubby and sis-in-law and her hubby. Good times!
  1. What are some of your favorite movies and t.v. shows? I really enjoy “Switched at Birth” and “NCIS,” as for movies, I like “Pride and Prejudice,” “The Notebook,” and “PS I Love You.”
  1. What are you reading right now, book and magazine-wise? I’m not reading anything right now, other than blogs. If I try to read a book, while working on the one I’m writing, I start sounding like the author I’m reading. And my characters start sounding like the characters in the book. Oops!
  1. Are you a cat person or a dog person or a gerbil person? We are animal people. We have dogs and a rat currently. I want a bird and a horse. I want to not have a rat. I am not a fan of rodents, but I am a mom of boys and they like rodents. We hope to have some land, some horses, chickens, and goats someday. Hopefully sooner than later.
  1. Do you have a favorite Youtube video that you’d like to share with the class? I will let you all mock my video making skills. I have a disclaimer before sharing the link. This video is a perfect example of my ability to overdo something. My original idea was supposed to go something like: “You know how everyone wants a million likes? We want a million dollars. Like, share, and send a buck (just one) to _______________.” I’m not sure how that idea (which is still funny when I think about it) turned into this video, but that’s me for you. I overdo things all the time. It’s true, less is more in MANY cases. Here’s the link:

Now, I’m supposed to tell you 11 things about myself:

  1. I like a little coffee with my cream and sugar.
  2. I tend to function in extremes. When I set my mind to something, I do it with my all. But if I falter, I quit. There are very few “happy mediums” in my life. If I can’t achieve perfection, why bother. (This is not a good quality, for the record.)
  3. I am skeptical of modern medicine.
  4. I have very severe asthma, and almost died from complications with my asthma. This very thing makes me wonder often what God has for me in the coming years.
  5. If we could afford to, I would compete with the Duggar’s for # of children born and raised. I love having kids, and I especially love babies.
  6. Our daughter was born at home. On purpose.
  7. I cry every time someone brings up foster care, adoption, and kids that need a home and/or a loving family.
  8. My wedding ring doesn’t fit my ring finger because I’ve lost just a little baby weight, so I wear it on my middle finger. This bothers me, but I don’t want to resize it until a little more baby weight comes off.
  9. I like chocolate.
  10. I am addicted to Scramble with Friends.
  11. I make my own laundry detergent, and use cloth diapers.

Well, that wasn’t so bad. Now, for my 11 nominations!

  1. Angela Archer
  2. A Homeschool Mom
  3. 1001 Book Marketing Ideas
  4. Faith Rising
  5. Daddy’s Tractor
  6. The Romantic Vineyard
  7. Blog Formatting
  8. Birth Without Fear
  9. Sabrina’s Writing Reflections
  10. Alli Crafts
  11. My Healthy Green Family

I hope everyone will participate and pass along nominations to their favorite bloggers, too. My 11 questions for these bloggers are:

  1. What inspires your writing the most?
  2. What causes you the most writer’s block?
  3. What is your favorite cartoon?
  4. Where is your favorite place to write?
  5. What is your favorite season?
  6. Does your family eat cereal? Is it a breakfast only food, or is it a quick dinner, snack, lunch, etc sometimes?
  7. What is your favorite household appliance?
  8. What is one good habit you want to implement in your life?
  9. Do you have a bad habit you want to give up?
  10. If you could remodel any room in your house, which room would you choose?
  11. Why that room? What changes would you make?

Have fun and keep writing! Do you have a favorite blog? Add it to the comments below!

Homeschool Confessions #4: Math

Hi. I’m a homeschool Mom of 3 boys, and a baby girl. I stay home and teach, clean, cook, etc. Sometimes I sit on the couch and delegate the chores while I’m nursing (or just sitting!) I read aloud to and with the kids nearly every day. We read straight from the bible, from a devotional book, and right now, from a book on stuff/ecology/economy/systems. It’s a good read. Lengthy, a little beyond the younger two, but a good one so far.

I was never a history buff, but I try to engage the boys in historical-type topics. I try to have them practice some sort of writing exercise almost daily. Sometimes we just focus on penmanship (which, for some odd reason, one of the boys is fighting tooth and nail). We have a weekly home ec day, where we just bake and clean and practice life skills without ever touching a textbook.

I love workbooks and worksheets and “busy” work. I like the kids to become proficient at a skill, and therefore will make them practice a lot. The new information doesn’t stop while we practice skills we already have, though. I just like seeing them put on paper that they really have something figured out. I like to encourage them to teach each other – like trickle down education. It’s pretty nifty.

We don’t do the same thing everyday. In fact, I change it up all the time. I’m still not sure what works best for the oldest, so instead of getting stuck in a rut, I change it up. The kids know they have school time every day, but they don’t always know if we’ll be working together, or sitting at the table, or what order they will do their subjects for the day.

I loathe math. Not adding and subtracting. Or even multiplication or division. I can handle fractions, decimals, and counting back change. But algebra makes me sick. I get a headache instantly and my brain becomes dumb. To combat this, I spent lots of time watching YouTube videos so I could help the oldest with his work. (Am I allowed to say that doing so sucked? No? Okay, then I won’t say it.)

Guess what I found? I found an online compilation of YouTube videos, with lots of online work, and tests, and it’s free. It starts with basic math and works up all the way to trigonometry and calculus. So now, I sit back and let the kids watch the YouTube videos, and then work the problems. This program even tells us when they are proficient with a skill! (Click here to check out the program! Note: I am not in any way affiliated with Khan Academy, and I receive nothing for using or recommending it. Just sharing something I found with you!)

My confession boils down to this: I am taking a “backseat” position with math. I am admitting that just because I homeschool, doesn’t mean I know everything (or even have to). Homeschooling means I know how to find and use resources and have vowed to teach my kids the same thing.

Have you ever taken a “backseat” position with a subject? Or anything in life?