Keeping Connections When Family Lives Far Away

The Fundamental Home

After a long week with the flu last week, I scrambled to get the house presentable for a visit this past weekend.

My dad comes every year to spend a few days with us at Christmas time.  This year was a bit different because he wasn’t able to get here in December.  Our visits are determined by when he can get off work., so we didn’t get to enjoy his company until mid-January.  I was glad that he hadn’t decided to come the weekend before this one.  That was when the flu was just starting, and I fear he would have taken home a present that would not have been appreciated.

This past weekend, I was just starting to feel like myself.  I have a bit of a lingering cough, but overall, I am at about 85%.  The fine weather also helped.  While it rained on Friday, Saturday was sunny and rather warm.  It felt like a spring day, and I found it hard to believe that we would get any snow on Sunday even if the weather report said we would get some.  We took advantage of the nice weather to visit a semi-local tourist site that I have been trying to get him to visit for years.  I took pictures, but my dad isn’t a fan of sharing his image online.  Instead, I will share with you a picture of Briana and Brian from the visit.

The Fundamental Home

Do you have family that lives out of town?

All of our extended family lives far away.  Every single one is in a different state, the closest being 5 hours away.  It is tough to live so far away from the people you love.  We are especially sad that our children have mostly grown up without extended family nearby.  There were no cousins to play with or grandparents to spoil them for a large portion of their childhood.  Having my sister far away is difficult for me.  Today is her birthday, and I wish I could be there to tease her about being older and getting gray, but I will have to do that by phone (I am too old-fashioned for Skype).

It’s a challenge to be far from loved ones, but we have found ways to make it work.  Here are some ways we keep connections with our family that lives far away.

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20 Ways to Be Kind to Strangers The Week Before Christmas

The Fundamental Home

This is the week before Christmas, and if you plan to be out in public at all, you need to brace yourself.  I know because I have been out in public all day.  It’s a war zone out there- and I live in the sweet south.

Maybe it’s just me.

Maybe I had a challenging day.

Maybe I was in Walmart three times before 2PM.

No maybe about it.  I definitely was in Walmart three times before 2PM.

That last time, I was a bit embarrassed to go in and pass the same door greeter.

It all started when I ran in there early this morning for a planned errand.

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Preparing for Holiday Guests

This post contains affiliate links, and I may receive compensation if you click one of the links contained.  Even though they are affiliate links, I wouldn’t include them if I didn’t believe recommending these products to you. Please read my full disclosure for more details.

The Fundamental Home

Every year, we have guests over our house for Christmas.  Some years we have just a few folks, mostly family.  Other years, we have had large groups of friends.  This year is one of the least busy, in terms of guests arriving.  We only plan to host my father and his wife for a weekend.  They do this every year, although I wish they would stay for a week at least once.  Whenever guests are coming, Rick and I have different reactions.

I love to have guests over.

Rick tolerates having guests over.

I plan lots of fun events in our home.

Rick plans lots of clean-up when I plan events in our home.

I rush around making sure every little detail is perfect.

Rick sits in a corner and dreads every little problem that could happen.

When it’s all over, I always feel like I could have done more.

When it’s all over, Rick always feels like it went way better than he expected.

What can I say?  It works.

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Biblical Encouragement for Overwhelmed Moms

 

Biblical Encouragement for Overwhelmed Moms thefundamentalhome.com

It happened again last night.

I was laying in bed, trying to go to sleep, while thoughts about all the little stresses of life ran through my mind.  It probably didn’t help that I watched that wildlife documentary (which I thought would be a pleasant diversion and ended with a couple being mauled to death by a bear.  Did I mention we saw a bear in our woods last week?)

I was laying there at midnight, knowing I had to get up at 5, and I just could not get these thoughts out of my head.  I am overwhelmed with all the tasks on my plate at the moment.  OK.  Let’s be realistic.  If you know me at all, you know that I am ALWAYS like this.  I am ALWAYS overwhelmed because I ALWAYS have too much on my plate.

Sound familiar, moms?

I know I am not the only one who is always doing WAY too much.

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Staying Positive During the Holidays

The Fundamental Home

I love the holidays.

Who doesn’t?

The family, the friends, the food, the parties, the presents, the decorations.  It’s a whirlwind of fun!

Of course, there are also some stressful aspects to the holidays like the family, the friends, the food, the parties, the presents, and the decorations 😉   A girl can get overwhelmed just thinking about everything that needs to be done.

Then, there are those who are especially struggling this particular holiday season.  A good friend of mine is on chemo and facing surgery.  Some friends are dealing with recent losses in their family.  Some will not be able to see their family this Christmas due to deployments or other non-negotiable commitments.  A few are empty nesting it for the first time this year.

Not to mention, our lives don’t take a break during the holidays.  There is still sickness, cars break down, finances get squeezed, or you say something embarrassing in front of people you care about.  Really.  All of that has happened to me in the last week.

It can be hard.

Rick and I are always a little blue this time of year because we live states away from all of our extended family.  My husband hasn’t seen his parents or sister in 5 years.  He hasn’t seen his brother in 15 years.  Rick works retail (another cause for holiday stress), so he can’t just take a vacation and visit.  We miss them all year, but it’s especially difficult right now.

You can see why I need to work on staying positive.

This brings me to yesterday.  Sunday morning.  I was scheduled to work the nursery in church, and the Pastor mentioned that he was preaching on getting an attitude adjustment.  I thought to myself, “Boy, I need that right now, but I will be in the nursery.”  Guess what happened?  There were no children in the nursery.  That never happens.  Ever.  I joked with the Pastor that the Lord knew I needed that message.

There is truth in jest.

Needless to say, it was just what I needed.  The Lord always knows, right?!  My attitude has been changed!

So, I wish I could share with you every nugget of wisdom I got from the one message, but that would take forever!  Instead, I will give you the one verse that has been instrumental in helping me stay positive.  I think it will help you to stay positive during this holiday season.  Here it is…

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Raising a Daughter… Without Going Crazy

The Fundamental Home

When I found out I was having a girl, I cried.

It wasn’t a beautiful cry.  It was a “my life is over” cry.

The tears only got worse when it hit me that my due date was my birthday.  I knew that what my mother had wished for me was true.  I was going to have a girl who was just like me.  The thought was terrifying.

I was not exactly an easy child.  (Frankly, I am not an easy adult, but that’s another story.)  My mother and I… we had our issues.  When I looked at that monitor showing my sweet, unborn infant, I saw my teen-aged self coming back to haunt me.  Needless to say, it was that moment when I knew parenting was not going to be easy anymore.  I knew what was coming in just a few short years.  I committed myself to pursuing something different with my daughter.

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Homeschooling Your Children: How to teach the Bible

Teach the Bible

Several weeks ago, I attended a meeting of homeschool moms where we discussed ways to teach our children the Bible.  I didn’t even bring any materials because I thought I would listen.  There had to be a lot of great ways to teach our children from this wonderful book.  The ladies had good ideas.  I found that many relied on devotionals or Bible story books.  We started that way, too, when our children were smaller.  One mom supported her church’s programs by using their memory verses and study guides at home.  We did that in the past, too.  As I listened to the ladies, I found myself sharing the techniques we now use.  Our study has changed over the years to make it more simplistic.  It seemed like those ideas were helpful to my local friends, so I have been wanting to share them with you (all the moms in blog world), too.  So, here are a few ways we teach the Bible in our home.

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What if I mess up my child? (and other homeschool worries)

What if I mess up

Last night was the first meeting of our local homeschool organization.  This meeting is the time when we all get together to talk about all the exciting activities we have planned for the year.  We also get to meet and chat with some of the new members.  That’s my favorite part.  I love meeting the new homeschool moms (and dads).  They are usually filled with questions about the state rules, curriculum choices, and day-to-day homeschool life.  I want to encourage them that everything will be OK.  In fact, it will be better than OK.  It will be the best decision you ever made in your life!

Every year I get the same questions.  Moms have the same worries, no matter their circumstances.  The biggest concern…

What if I mess up my child?

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How I Feed My Family of 5 For Under $100 Every Month: Part 5

The Fundamental Home

It’s the last week of our grocery budgeting series.  I hope it has been a blessing to you and your family.

This week, I am going to share with you 8 tips to make the most of your grocery budget.

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