If you are a Facebook friend, you probably saw my Facebook post a couple of weeks ago about my kids all being in school. If you missed it, here is it:

People ask me, “So, Karen. What are you planning to do now that all 5 kids are in school?”

I’m thinking about ninja training.

Well, I have decided to forego the ninja training. I checked the local yellow pages and there are no ninja training academies in the area.

Instead, I am going to start a blog.

Why, you might ask? I am tired of talking to myself. I might as well type it all out instead of narrating in my head.

What will my blog be about? Stuff, I guess. Family and home life and the direction I would like those to go. I would like to write about attempts to make my chaotic and cluttered life and finding calmness and tranquility. It looks easy in print, but reality is another story! Right now calmness and tranquility seem a long way off, but you have to have some goals, right?

We have five kids. They are truly great kids, but parenting is challenging nonetheless. We have no family close by to help out and I am a weak person and hate to ask others for help (I know, it’s a character flaw, but I’m working on that). We have long outgrown our three-bedroom, one-bathroom house, but for now, we need to make it work. This can cause for many a stressful morning as kids are getting ready for school, my sweetie is getting ready for work, and I am searching for missing shoes, all the while shouting, “Brush you teeth! Brush your hair! Socks! Shoes! Why aren’t you dressed yet?????”

My husband and I have also been dealing with the issue of aging parents. Out of respect for their privacy I won’t go into details about those issues, but we do try to help out as much as we can. My parents live about three hours away, and we try to get there at least once a month. In the summer, the kids and I might be there several days in a row, go back home for a few days, then repeat. Jayson’s family is about two hours away. His dad passed away just before Easter this year and we lost his mom 7 years ago. In the year or so leading up to his death as his health was declining, Jayson and his siblings would take turns spending the night at their dad’s house, helping him as needed, but mostly for the company. I am so grateful my husband had that opportunity to spend with his father. A lot of time (and mileage) has been spent running around to be with our parents, but it is so very worth it! Despite the inconveniences, the travel, fast food meals, and the time away from our home we wouldn’t change a thing (well, maybe the fast food part). We understand the importance of family and would make the same choices again.

With all of these life stresses, as well as others, I struggled with depression. As life went on, and I went downhill, our house went downhill, too. I had no interest or desire or time for housekeeping. I did the minimum – dishes, laundry, cooking – to keep us going, and my husband did more than his fair share, but the downward spiral had already started. Even as my depression was treated and under control (thank you, Lord!), the damage to our home had been done. Sure, I gave my kids some chores to do, but it was too little too late. Things with the house have improved as of late, but there is still a long way to go.

My youngest child just started Kindergarten. I now have my days free to myself. People may think I now have the freedom to lounge about eating bon-bons and spending the day on Facebook, but I have aspirations. I want to get this house back in order. I want to organize closets and get rid of extra stuff. Clean out the garage. Wash walls, shampoo carpets. I want to make this house the home my family deserves. I want to deepen my faith and give more time and attention to the Lord. I want to enjoy my family as a whole and as individuals.

Now when people ask me, “So, Karen. What are you planning to do now that all 5 kids are in school?” I can say I am reclaiming my home and my life. Ninja training will have to wait for now. Maybe when they are all off to college.

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