Adoption, Homeschool, Lifestyle, Parenting

Why we stopped homeschooling

I am sat drinking coffee alone in my favourite coffee shop reflecting on the last 12 months. Today is the first day back at school for our boys after we spent a year home educating them. The irony is not lost on me that it was in this coffee shop that we spent our first morning of homeschool last Easter.

There were many reasons for choosing to bring our children home, but the main reason was that we wanted Jesus to be at the centre of everything; our home life and the children’s education. They were in a faith school, and one that they loved, but we felt that we needed to give them something more. I was more concerned with their character than with their class performance, and decided to spend a year working together as a family at home.

I was more concerned with their character than with their class performance

The homeschool lifestyle is incredible. We thrived outside of timetables and schedules, we loved the freedom and spontaneity that homeschooling afforded our family, and we found such incredible friends within the homeschool community. We read books on books, we spent endless hours outdoors and learned a great deal about ourselves and each other. It was such a privilege to watch my boys grow in confidence, learn new social skills and make new discoveries.

So why end it all? That is a very good question.

We always said that we would homeschool for a year and then review our decision. On reviewing, we realised that our eldest was missing school terribly, and the truth was, I was floundering under the demands of educating two very different children while running two very different businesses. Home education is most definitely a ministry in and of itself, and is a huge sacrifice for parents.

I felt that God called me to homeschool, however it wasn’t my ‘calling’ and at times, I struggled to find my identity over the last year. I loved being with my children all the time, but as God continued to speak into my heart I felt a tension between teaching them and spending quality time with them, alongside doing things that I wanted to do or felt called to. It is fair to say that the children have missed corporate learning, and although their social lives have been off the charts, the majority of their education has been in the home, one on one with me.

So what was the purpose of these last twelve months? Well, I believe that this year has not been about heart education not head education.

Our homeschool journey has been about heart education not head education

Prior to homeschooling, we were struggling at home. We were still blending as a family of five following our daughter’s adoption and still recovering from my maternal mental health challenges. Last Easter we needed to press the reset button. So we did.

As we took school out of the equation, and put God and family first in our home, we have gotten to know each other again. I believe that we have grown tremendously, in faith and in relationship. As we leaned in, God bound us together and we have now laid the foundations for a stronger family unit going forward.

Since December, God has been challenging me, guiding me and equipping me in so many areas; business, serving, faith and family. I believe that He called me to homeschool to lay down the foundations for our family future. God never said for how long we would homeschool, He just asked us to step out in obedience. We now believe that this season has come to an end and we need to build on what we have started. I am pressing in and listening hard. It feels like I am listening to a new song on the radio and God is tuning the dial so I can hear it clearly. I can hear the melody but now I need to let him refocus me so I can hear the words too.

Can you homeschool? Of course you can. Should you homeschool? Yes, if you feel led to.

I absolutely advocate home education and have seen firsthand how my children have thrived in the home environment. But I have also seen the delight on my children’s faces as they walked into their classroom, watched their eyes widen with excitement about the things they will get to see and do and the friends they get to meet.

So although my heart was a little sad as we waved them off this morning, I also felt incredibly excited for this new chapter of our story – both for them and for me. Here’s to the first entry on the page.

R x

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Lifestyle, wellness

Love Your Body

Did you have a health kick in January? Are you still going now? If so good for you! If not, read on. As part of the Love Series we are running for the month of February, we will be focussing in on different areas of health and wellness. So lets find out how to love your body from the inside out.

You are what you eat

Hippocrates said that all health starts in the gut, and any reputable trainer will tell you that weight loss is 80% diet and 20% exercise. With that in mind, surely we need to focus first on helping our gut to be healthy. You would like to think that eating healthily would be enough to help support a healthy digestive system but think again. Today’s food doesn’t have the same nutrient content that it did 10 years ago. This is due to imported foods that are sprayed with pesticides, picked before they are ripe, and heavily processed.

Our food quality is affected by pesticides, premature picking and processing

If our food isn’t up to standard, what can we do? We can supplement our diet. Not all supplements are created equal, however. The high street is awash with multivitamins, mineral and supplements of all kinds, but the majority of these are impure and packed with fillers that have no benefit.

If you want to supplement your diet, don’t do it with adulterated, filler packed supplements. They have little or no impact on your health as the body cannot utilise the elements within the product, and you will simply excrete it out.

For more information on nutrition and supplements email me at chasingwavesandwellness@gmail.com .

R x

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Faith, Lifestyle

Christians and Climate Change

Yesterday I had the greatest privilege of attending the Live Lent launch at Lambeth Palace. I was invited by The Church of England to learn about the climate crisis and how we can step up to make a change.

As a family we actively work to reduce our waste and recycle wherever possible, but I have never thought about the importance of bringing my faith into the future of our planet.

Faith and our future

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby chaired a panel discussion with Christians who were passionate about sustainable living, serving Jesus and preserving the planet that God has given us. This Lent, he urges the wider church to step up and start fighting against climate change.

The climate crisis

I was humbled and challenged to learn that our world is heading for a three degree climate change by 2050. This rising temperature will lead to heatwave summers as standard, increased flooding due to hotter, humid conditions and catastrophic conditions for millions of people. Those in already warm climates face prolonged extreme weather, which can lead to failed crops, lack of food resources and adversely affect geopolitical systems.

This is more than just being a degree or three hotter, the climate crisis is a global emergency that we must take action on now.

Justin Welby shared how The Church of England will lead the way in the net zero campaign, to end carbon emissions, by reducing carbon emissions across their churches by 100%. He stressed the importance of climate prevention rather than church preservation, and it was encouraging to hear that The Church are tackling the climate crisis head on.

Creation and the Creator

Perhaps one of the messages that struck a chord with me was the passionate speech given by panel member Ali Angus from St Leonard’s, Streatham. She implored is to take our faith into conversation into the climate crisis because loving our neighbours looks like loving the environment they are in.

Loving our neighbour looks like loving the environment

We are made from the earth, formed by a Creator to live in and live off the land. Without the planet, we cannot survive and we need to look after the one we have been given.

After the panel discussion, we had an eventful Eucharist, which, due to a fire alarm, was finalised on the law a of Lambeth Palace. Ruth Valerio spoke warmly of her revelations when writing her book Saying Yes to Life, sharing how in scripture, God is in every single detail of nature, from the birds in the air to the deer crouching down to give birth.

We were challenged that as Christians, maybe we have separated the creation from salvation, yet the Bible is actually a huge nature book. With so many details of creation recorded in scripture, it makes sense that as His children, God would call His sons and daughters to protect it.

What can we do?

This year we will see the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) where decisions will be made for our planet’s future. What we do now as a people will determine the kind of life our children lead, and the kind of world they grow up in.

Now is the time to petition and pray for our politicians. We need ambitious and bold plans from the UK government on climate change. Current plans still lead to a 3.2 degree increase across the world. Aiming to halve this at the very least could help, but will still be disastrous for many.

The only real solution is to end carbon emissions and stop global warming.

This seems like an impossible task but we can all do something.

We can rise up as the Church, with one voice, to pray for our MP’s.

We can implore and encourage our government to bring forward policies on transport, heating, energy and diet.

We can vote with our feet by not using plastics.

We can choose zero carbon travel to reduce our footprint.

We can reduce waste and recycle wherever possible.

We can restrict consumption of animal products.

We can buy ethically sourced and fair trade items.

We can educate our children on the beauty of God’s creation and why we must do everything in our power to protect it. This Lent why not take time to prayerfully consider Gods creation and pledge to make a change? There are some incredible resources available including Live Lent 40 day challenge booklets for adults and children.

We all have different spheres of influence and can each share what we are doing to change the climate crisis. Love is the greatest commandment, so let’s love our selves and our neighbours and the environment we are in, in order to save our precious planet.

Are you in?

R

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Essential Oils, Lifestyle

New Year Naturally

We all know the dangers of pollution in our air, but do we pay much attention to pollution in our homes? This month we are taking a look at every day products that contain known toxins and how we can swap them to a toxin free alternative.

One of the biggest toxins within the home is fragrance. We love to smell good, we love our clothes to smell good and we want our homes to smell good. But the price we pay for our synthetic scents can be devastatingly high. Studies have shown that synthetic fragrance and other chemicals in perfumes and beauty products are linked to infertility as well as foetal development, asthma, eczema and more. It is perhaps no coincidence that the rate of increased miscarriage and difficulty conceiving is directly proportionate to the rise of the use of phthalates, parabens and other preservative in our products since the 1950s.

Since 2017, we have been on a journey to create a non-toxic home for our family and friends. One of the first things we got rid of was scented candles, and the difference this made to our children’s respiratory health was huge! We replaced our candles with essential oil diffusers, and for the first time in 8 years. that winter we didn’t have a trip to A&E to have nebulisers and steroids administered to our boys. We then removed fabric conditioner from our laundry routine and replaced it with essential oils on wool dryer balls or in our ironing water to naturally fragrance our clothes.

We began flipping over the bottles of products under our kitchen sink, in our bathroom cabinet and my make up drawer. So many of them contained SLS, parabens, phthalates, mineral oil, parfum etc, and were literally poisoning us from the inside out. These toxins are endocrine disruptors that threaten to cause chaos in our bodies, disrupting and disabling our hormones. Our hormones are chemical messengers that tell our cells what to do, so when disrupted, our cells can’t get the right messages.

Discovering the hidden dangers lurking in your home can be a daunting prospect, but I am a firm believer in the saying, ‘When you know better, do better.’ Month by month, we began replacing our toxin filled perfumes, fabric softeners, air fresheners, moisturisers and make up with clean, green products. As we have gone further into our toxin-free journey, we have then begun to look at the packaging of our products and how this is affecting our planet. It has become important to us that looking good and feeling good should not be at the earth’s expense, so we are trying to replace plastic in our homes, create less waste and be more mindful about where are products come from and where they end up when we are finished with them.

If you want to know more about replacing shop bought, preservative filled products with clean, green, natural options, click here or drop me a message today.

R

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Faith, Parenting

Learning lessons

At first glance this looks like a father and son moment; a lesson in handling a saw and managing a garden. The truth is it is a lesson in handling consequences and managing poor decisions.

Look closer at the picture, do you see the tree on the right? It has a huge branch torn off the trunk because my son swung on it and it ripped the tree.

That wasn’t just a tree, and the damage isn’t just a broken branch. That was my favourite tree, adorned with lanterns and bird feeders. It was special to me because it helped me manage my discontent in living in the city, it brought me such joy to seeing the wild birds hopping around in its branches and it provided shelter as we played in the garden

As a new homeschooler I am trying so hard to cultivate an environment of love and joy both in my garden and in my home, but I rarely seem to succeed of late. We have strong willed children who challenge us often and at the end of the a tough week this broken branch spoke of my broken my heart.

I knew parenting wouldn’t be easier but I never dreamed it would be so hard. I didn’t know how much it could hurt when your flesh and blood acts out. I want to fight for my children, not against them. I often wish I could ‘fix’ them, but perhaps this has more to do with my own iniquities rather than theirs.

I am not just a mom, I am a daughter of the King. And when I feel like I can’t, He can.

God created me to be a mama and He gave me these children to raise. I am going to need to learn some lessons of my own in raising my wildlings.

So today as I gather the remains of my beloved boughs, I gather my thoughts and give them to God. Time to go back to the Source to find our Selah. 

R x

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Essential Oils, Lifestyle, Mental Health, Parenting

Too good not to share

Ever been in love? If so you know what it feels like to be head over heels, completely consumed by someone or something. This is how I feel about essential oils. Sound extreme? Think again.

If you knew that you had a way to help a friend feel good, help her baby sleep, or support her skin, you would share it right? I mean, we don’t think twice about texting a pal to say that the Zara sale is EPIC, so why would you hesitate if you could share more than just great wardrobe suggestions?

I am passionate about sharing how we can live happier, healthier lives. Essential oils were key in my recovery from maternal mental health. They helped me feel positive, confident and courageous (find out more about essential oils and emotions here). Their impact on me was so huge that I couldn’t not share. Medication didn’t work for me this time around, but I found a natural alternative that supported my emotions and my mental health so well.

Since that first huff in the summer of 2017, I was hooked and have been on an oily journey ever since. The phrase ‘once you know better, do better’ rung true on a whole new level for me as I explored how and why we use essential oils. As a family, we are now well on the way to eliminating as many chemicals as possible from our home, filling our air with life-giving plant oils not putrid perfume and petrochemicals.

Our kids don’t cough like they used to. My skin doesn’t itch like it used to. We don’t get sick like we used to. Coincidence? I think not.

Since we ditched the chemicals and switched to plant based, natural products we have been the healthiest we have ever been. Coughs and colds have been few and far between, illnesses rare and rapidly recovered from. Teething smoother, tantrums shorter (mostly!), periods easier. You name it, every system in our body has benefited. And you can too.

I am on a mission to empower YOU to make a difference in your family health. You are the gatekeeper to your home. You control what comes in through your doors and goes on to and in to your body. Start turning over the products in your bathroom cabinets and kitchen cupboards. Read the ingredients on the labels in the brightly coloured sprays that you use on your babies highchair and on your body. Many of these products contain known carcinogens, known toxins that pollute your atmosphere and damage your organs. When you know better, you do better, and I would love to help you on your journey to a healthier, happier you.

Want to know more? Grab your oils, grab my hand and lets learn together.

R x

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Faith, Lifestyle

When the waves rise

The skies are clear but my eyes are clouded. A storm rages in my soul. I feel torn in a million different directions, my heart beats I am staring at the waves rising around me and I want to run for high ground.

They say knowledge is power but the more I learn the more I wish I didn’t know. My head is filled with questions and my heart reels.

We are en route to the coast and these few days away with my tribe couldn’t be more timely. I feel like we need time to ponder and pray; to recharge and refocus. At home I am so busy looking at the waves that I forget to look at the One who walks upon them.

When the waves rise, look at the One who walks upon them

Family is everything to me. They are truth, consistency and unconditional love. They are ‘home’. I have craved unity and togetherness my entire life, searched for a place to belong. But the generation that was supposed to nurture and build up chose to tear down and destroy. Those we were supposed to follow didn’t speak love or truth and our hearts were left wanting with unanswered questions.

When it feels like your life is flooded with doubts and disappointment, where does that leave you? With empty hands and a broken heart.

Jesus loves making something out of nothing.

When we have nothing to give Jesus pours in love and peace. When we are hurting He brings healing. He gave the blind sight and He raised the dead to life.

In the beginning the Spirit hovered above the waters waiting to make his move, ready to command the waves to surge and recede.

If, like me, you have unanswered questions, if you feel the storm surrounding you and the waves surging, simply whisper “Spirit lead me”.

Just as the Holy Spirit waited with anticipation when God spoke the world into motion, he is ready and waiting to move today. Let Him still the storm and hold your hand, as you walk on the waters together.

R x

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Faith, Lifestyle

He who holds the stars

Are you a perennial planner? A self confessed striver? Busily plotting your life to the nth degree then panicking when things take a detour? Yup me too.

I like to know where I am headed, what I need to do to get there and how long it will take. But so often this doesn’t take into account God’s opinion on the matter.

Our future is something we obsess over, yet we so easily forget that the One who flung the stars into space has our life in His hands. We hope, but He HOLDS. We try but He TRIUMPHS.

We hope, but He holds. We try but He triumphs.

Funnily enough God has been whispering this into my soul over the last few weeks and months but today at church I felt like He sealed it in for good.

Our current sermon series is all about Peter, and today we looked at the last time he met Jesus after the resurrection. Jesus had told Peter that he would be the rock on which Jesus would build the church, yet Peter had denied Jesus three times. We pick up the story where Jesus is risen, but hasn’t visited the disciples in a while. Peter is sat in his fishing boat, heart heavy and head in hands after a long and unsuccessful night of fishing. He must have been thinking to himself, “What now? I thought I would be a great fisher of men, yet I can’t even catch a fish. I let Jesus down and everyone know it.”

It can be so easy to beat ourselves up when things don’t turn out as we planned. So often we get despondent and downhearted, but this isn’t what Gods wants for us.

There is no point trying to know every turn and plan every step. That is not faith.

There is nothing to gain when we do things in our strength. But God’s gets all the glory when we let Him take over.

We are called to follow Jesus, to watch where he walked and place our feet in those footprints. Why follow Jesus? Because we can trust Him. Our happiness is His priority and He will take excellent care of us.

He who holds the stars will hold our hand. He always has and always will.

So wherever this finds you today, won’t you stop and be still. Stop striving and start living, because Jesus didn’t die so you could find your future. He died so you could find freedom. And that my friend, is a gift that you can enjoy right here, right now.

R x

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Faith, Homeschool, Parenting

The Home School Diaries #3

I got it wrong today. Okay not just today, but spectacularly so on this occasion. This time it was with my middle child, my easiest by far and my least demanding. He is so often overshadowed by his more vocal siblings or overlooked as he is generally happy to go with the flow.

We were doing our daily devotions (yes I know, the irony is not lost on me) and I was asking him to read aloud from his Bible, like I do every morning. He was dragging his feet, messing about and flicking through the pages at a snails pace. My impatience boiled over, my little boy crumpled, his tears tumbled and my heart broke.

I drew him into my arms and said I was sorry. He said he didn’t understand how to find what I had asked him to read and I realised he needed me to explain it better. All too often I expect so much of him as I am busy dealing with his two year old sister (I had already dealt with two potty incidents before I finished reading my devotional page aloud).

I lifted my son onto my lap and I asked if he wanted me to sit with him and talk it through with him. He looked up at me with tearstained cheeks and nodded. We then spent a happy half hour together, my boy snuggled on my lap while I spoke softly and encouraged him. I showed him the different parts of the Bible, how it is made up of the Old and New Testament, and contains 66 books. We looked at the content page and we found today’s scripture together. He read it beautifully and we finished our devotional with smiles on our faces and love in our hearts.

Being a mom of three, I feel constantly pulled in every direction, and never more so than when it comes to teaching my children. They all need different approaches, different atmospheres, different content. But one thing that they all need is love.

The one thing that my children need most is my love

I need to teach them from a place of love, of patience and of acceptance. I am their mom first, educator second. My job is to love the bones off those kids so that they feel safe and cherished, which will empower them to learn. I need to not bark out instructions but learn alongside them.

That is just the way that God works too. He is a loving Father who wants to love the bones off us, if only we will let Him. He doesn’t want us to flail around or panic because we don’t know what to do. He wants us to come to Him and say Papa I don’t understand. Then He can swoop down and scoop us into His arms and talk us through it.

When I experience the love of God it makes it far easier to love in all circumstances.

As they say, every day is a school day, and this new homeschool mama is on a learning journey too.

R x

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Lifestyle

Hinch your home without harming your health

This week marked our second week of potty training. I’m not gonna lie, having done this twice before, I was dreading it. I really wasn’t sure I wanted to add washing clothes and scrubbing floors every five minutes to my endless to do list. Fortunately for me, my girl smashed it, but even so, every parent knows that floor mopping, bottom wiping and hand washing increases ten fold when potty training. This time round I had Thieves and I was so crazy grateful for it.

When I potty trained the boys I was heavily reliant on Zoflora, Dettol and Domestos. All three are highly toxic, highly irritant and considered poisons, yet I would spray, soak, wash and wipe every surface of my house with these religiously.

Synthetic fragrance is a silent killer

The biggest problem with these products is synthetic fragrance. I though I was doing the best thing for my children, but in fact I was filling my home with cancer-causing chemicals. It is no coincidence that they both struggled with irritated skins and respiratory symptoms throughout their early years.

When we know better, we do better.

Chemicals in our homes, both for personal care and in our cleaning products have been scientifically linked to many health conditions, including cancer. But we can reduce the risk by reducing our exposure to chemicals in the home.

Since we started using essential oils in 2017, our family has embarked on a wellness journey which has led us to remove chemicals wherever possible from our home. Rather than have a cupboard full of chemicals, we now have one natural, plant based cleaner in our home – Thieves Household Cleaner. It is completely non-toxic and contains a powerful blend of oils that effectively cleans your home. We use it on floors, walls, windows, bathrooms, everywhere, and one super concentrated bottle lasts us about 6 months. Oh and it smells like Christmas.

Don’t risk your health for the sake of a ‘clean’ home

Want to hinch your home without harming your health? I cannot recommend Thieves Household Cleaner enough for chemical free cleaning that WORKS. We also use the Thieves hand soap which we split into three dispensers and top up with water as it is soo concentrated!

Check it out for yourself and grab your free membership account here to get wholesale prices.

Don’t risk your health for the sake of a ‘clean’ home, harness the power of nature instead.

Happy cleaning friends!

R x

Photo Credit: @younglivingeoeducation
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