Be humble.  Don’t try to impress others.  Don’t be self-centered.  Scripture is filled with messages such as these – reminders to put others first just like Jesus did.  To not highlight ourselves.  Our pastor preached on this on Sunday and I nodded along in agreement until he brought up the words ‘Facebook’ and ‘Social Media’.  Then, I felt like he was talking directly to me.  My ears perked up and as I often do, quickly felt like I was going to discover something I am doing wrong.

Really, though, it was just an opportunity to assess whether or not my intentions are right with Jesus or if they are right with the world.  When I started this blog it was simply a way to share my photos with my family living in other states and a place to pour out my thoughts and experiences as a mother.  As my photography has developed and I went through the period of using this blog for a photography business the shift changed a bit toward promoting my business.  That’s logical … businesses need to draw people in.

But, I’m no longer in business, exept for teaching MME over at Clickin Moms and I hardly have to promote that at all since the name Clickin Moms draws people to that far more than my name ever would.  Now, I do know I still blog for the same reasons I orignally did but also know there is more to it now, too.  And have to check myself that self-promotion isn’t part of it.

I want to promote a life lived for Jesus, sharing the blessings we receive as obedient followers of Christ.  And I want to promote how Jesus holds my hand through the struggles I inevitably face in this fallen world.  I want to promote documenting the moments in this gift of life that slip away so quickly… the little moments in the day that are gone quicker than the duration of a blink.  I want to promote a life that is focused on loving and educating our children and being 100% committed to the man I’ve married.  I want to pomote that there is honor in staying home to raise our babies and to care for our home because these are gifts to be cherished.  I want to promote studying photography and to share my knowledge on the subject.  I want to promote a simple, unhurried, yet intentional lifestyle where I don’t go to bed at night feeling like I didn’t hug my children enough, visit with my husband enough, pray enough, breathe the fresh air enough, check in on friends enough, take in our view enough, or scratch my dog behind the ears enough.   I do not want to promote me because I do not deserve promotion.  Trust me.  But these choices for our life that Jesus has led us to, they work.  And our days really are filled with a lot of joy and happiness and conflict resolution and contentment and gratitude I want to promote that.  Because they are choices we all can make and are gifts in response to following Him.

I want to always promote the right things, and not myself.  Though, pride does seep in and I admit that I will get excited if the number of ‘likes’ on an image rise.  There, too, on Facebook, I feel this pull to check my intentions.  And that I think that is why I come back to blogging over and over again as my medium.  I do not check my stats for this blog so outside of the few comments I get, I don’t know how many people are reading so that automatically keeps this space a humbling environment.  ;) Though, here as well, I do faulter.  

I have received the sweet compliment regarding my photographs that “it looks like beautiful light follows you wherever you go!” and I while my response is always a smile and an explanation about how I watch for the light and choose not to take photos when the light is unflattering and yadda yadda … the truth is, yes, a beautiful light does follow me!  And you!  His name is Jesus, and I want to promote Him.

Thank you so much for reading and taking part in the stories of our life through this blog. 

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It was a beautiful day.  Cold, but gorgeous.  And dry.  Finally!  But after we’d finished our school lessons, I practically had to push the boys out the door.  Not 20 minutes later, they came back in and I asked why.  “It’s cold out there, Mom, and there was something I wanted to do on your tablet.”

Oh, nunununu – no.

I honestly felt a little panic come over me and simply said, “Put on your coats, then, and head back outside.”  That was received with more groans of “We were bored!” and “There’s nothing to do out there!” and several other complaints.

To which, I replied, “You don’t appreciate this place you get to live, you’d rather be in here building fake 1-dimensional worlds on Minecraft or sitting around on the couch just messing with each other.  Have you forgotten all that you love to do outside?  And on a day when it is finally gorgeous out!

You guys aren’t even country boys anymore.”

Their faces looked like I’d just told them I’d sold their dog to the circus.  Hurt, surprise, confusion.  The truth.  It hurts sometimes, but they had crept to that point where it looked like the electronics were getting their hold and truthfully, I was on the brink of letting it happen.   Letting them play the tablet, the phone or the Wii is so easy.  And it has come to be the only way I am guaranteed peace and quiet in the house during the day.  Because everything else will either lead to an injury or arguing and nothing holds their attention for so long.  Ouch.  The truth that have let it get to that point hurts.

Most of the time, when I very emotionally and overly-dramtically point out ‘truths that may hurt’ to my boys, it is because they are also issues that have and when I see my faults living themselves out in my boys’ behavior and choices, that stings.  And it makes me emotional and I sort of erupt.  And my statements to them are just as much statements to myself.

I could have just as easily said to myself, “You don’t appreciate this place you get to live, you’d rather be in here editing photos of fun times already passed and pinning images on the one-dimensional world of the internet.  Or sitting on the couch watching a show about fake people rather than living your own beautiful life. Or cleaning up little messes that can more easily be cleaned up with the joint effort of you and your 3 little helpers, later.  Have you forgotten all that you love to do outside?  And on a day when it is finally gorgeous out!”

Now, I’m not a ‘country boy’.  ;) I’m a homebody and I love being inside caring for our home … but there are times when I happily choose the online world to my own world.  Or cleaning to enjoying those who make the messes.  So I was talking to the boys as much as I was to myself.

It helps so much to hear these issues be identified verbally.  I really wish though that I could deal with these stinging truths before they creap into my boys’ lives and behaviors and choices.  In the end, that’s really the truthful part that hurts.

Back to my ‘country boy’ statement … they weren’t going to stand to lose that label.  They put their coats back on, hiked on their boots and headed back out, only to come in for a snack a bit later.  The day kept getting lovelier, so back out they went.  All the way until the sun went down.

 

How these boys could ever feel bored when they have trees to climb, I don’t know.  Or when they have brothers to wrestle.  

Or slugs to play with … 

Right… and brothers to wrestle.  :) 

“Look!  The first star is out!”

Is it odd how happy these images make me?? I wish I would have switched my camera over to video so I could have recorded their laughter.  Although, it probably couldn’t have been heard over my laughter.  

Sometimes, we just need the truth to slap us so that we can snap to the realization of what areas we need to work on.  Here’s the thing though.  If I’m not slapped with the truth in a loving way (but a direct way), from someone who loves me, it just doesn’t have the same effect.  I don’t like it.  I don’t want it, and don’t always receive it well, but I know I need it, even when it hurts.

I don’t know why it has to get to that point, though.  So, what I’m working on is seeing and dealing with those truths and areas where I’m lacking or faultering before they manifest in my boys behavior.  Or before my husband has to point them out.  ;)

Thanks for visiting.  I appreciate having this place to share our stories and my thoughts so much, and I appreciate your presence here even more.  Photography friends, these were all taken within about an hour and a half before sunset with Big Curtis (the 70-200).:) 

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  • Mom - Sweatpea, I can “feel” your pain and your joy in your reflections. And I can “see” your laughter in all the great photos. Thank YOU.
    XOXOXO to GCK from GrammieReplyCancel

Maybe it’s almost 10 years of parenting boys … maybe it is photography … maybe it is getting outside after several days of rain … maybe it is God finally wearing me down to not sweat the stuff that doesn’t really warrant my mama-knows-best-mentality and to just lighten up…

Whatever it is, it is shocking to me to say that not only was I tolerant of the mud-play, but I was encouraging of it!  Hah!  

The boys and I have a pretty small circumference of space that we explore while Matt is gone at work … a lot of the time, it is just inside our home or the backyard.   I’ve mentioned the cougars and bears around here, yes?   But once he comes home we branch out.  And that also, just so happens to be the time of the day when I’m just tired enough of being the do-this-do-that person and am ready to take off the keeper-of-structure-hat and let them (or, more so me) let loose a bit.  On this afternoon, we’d just come out of several days of rain and had a sliver of the daylight left so we hiked on our boots, climbed up the hill behind our house, breathed in the smokey-air, and got stuck in some mud.

Like, really, actually stuck.  At least this guy was.  I figured it was a good trouble-shooting situation for him and his brothers to tackle while Matt piled limbs and I, obviously, didn’t help and just took photos.

Dancing didn’t free him… 

… and neither did jumping as ambitiously as he could.

So we left him there for a bit while we wandered.  :) 

We couldn’t wander very far without him, and the mud creeped up to the top of his boots, so I carefully balanced my camera (and Big Curtis) on my back, bent over, took hold of the little bit of ‘clean’ boot left and heaved.  It wasn’t going to be that simple.  After freeing his foot but not his boot, sliding into the mud myself, nearly crashing my camera (and Big Curtis) into Kaden’s head as he was bent over also trying to help, and lots of wiggling the boots and a good team effort, he was released.  :)

And we were all a few inches taller from the mud collected on the bottom of our boots.  Perhaps the name of my blog, “This is Life. With Country Boys” has never looked so true in an image.  

Clearly, Gage and Matt were not very concerned with our predicament, being no where to be seen.  

It was all good.  And not only did I tolerate it and encourage it, I think back on it and laugh about it.  How much more fun is life when we laugh about being stuck in the mud (and being covered in it) than stress about it?

I love our evening outtings.  And with the days getting longer and the weather getting a bit nicer (we’ve had 3 blue-sky days in a row!), it looks like they may soon be rejoining our daily routine.  :)

Thank you for your well wishes about our illnesses … we’re all on the mend now, and feeling nearly back to normal!  Whoop! Happy Monday!

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  • Mom - This was a fun post :) I especially like the image of Doot and Charley and the one of Matt and Tado. Ahhh…..
    XOXOXO to GCK from GrammieReplyCancel

  • Rick - Atempleton - Your light and colors make for such a special look and atmosphere! Authentic and amazing photos!ReplyCancel

What a funny week.  Not funny in the ‘haha’ sense, but funny in the shake-your-head-with-a-little-smile-and-puff-of-exhale-and be-glad-it’s almost-over-sense.

On Monday, I wrote the post you read here, about being content and finding joy in what we’re called to do.  And I meant every word of it. I posted it on Tuesday and wouldn’t you know, that day, I struggled big time with contentment and joy in homeschooling.  Our pastor shared a few weeks ago that this always happens to him too … that when he preaches on something, he is tested in that topic.  Right now he’s doing a series through Philippians on happiness and ever since he started it, he told us that he had been struggling with that.  Happiness.  I experience it too … whenever I share something I truly feel convicted about, it is always followed up with Satan thrusting his annoying hand in my face and saying “What???  Are you SURE about what you’re saying??”

Throughout our lesson-time on Tuesday, getting these boys to complete their lessons was like pulling teeth without the assistance of a dentist or nova-cane.  We worked through our Bible and History lessons and onto their independent work.  I use ‘independent’ loosely, since I’m still always right there next to them.  Due to my previous day’s devotion to caring for an ill-Kaden I didn’t get much work done, so decided we’d all spend this time working independently and I’d work right next to them.

Well, their inability to get through the remainder of their lessons unless I was LOOKING directly at them, brought a post to mind in which I’d share our main challenge with homeschooling:  Independent work and how much help is too much help.

I wasn’t frustrated that I couldn’t get my ‘work’ done.  I know, it can wait.  But what I have a growing concern for was that these guys seem to only be able to push through their lessons smoothly and attentively if I am actively involved with them in question after question of their lesson.  No always, but often enough to concern me.

The natural response to this is, ‘So?  You’re homeschooling.  Help them!’  Right … but to what point?  At what point should I expect for them to be able to sit down with their lessons, read the instructions to themselves (they are both able to do that) and use self-motivation and self- discipline to propel through the assignment?  Without me having to acknowledge that, ‘okay, no we’re moving on to the next problem … what does the next problem say …. where do you start …. okay, now write that down … ”  And so on.

I don’t mind, AT ALL working through their lessons with them as far as my time goes.  Because I know they know the materials and I’m not telling them the answers.  It just concerns me that they seem so dependent on my presence and involvement to get their work done.

And that concern led me to the ever present question of whether it is actually my calling to homeschool them because I wonder if they are being ‘held-back’ in a way by becoming too reliant on me for their productivity.   That would be all my doing, because I actually like walking through their lessons with them, step-by-step.  

So, I had this whole blog post being written in my mind as we pushed through our school day on Tuesday, centered on my main struggle with homeschooling being how much of my help is too much help.

Fast-forward to the next day, Wednesday.  When I woke up with the full blown stomach flu.  It made its way to me.  I quiver just thinking about it.  Talk about another experience making me contemplate my bold assertion that there is joy to be found in all that we’re facing.

Believe it or not, I did manage to come up with several joys to be had in experiencing the flu, but I’ll hold back on sharing all of them since it’d require too much talk about the f.l.u.  (We’re still trudging through it, with Cooper still being sick … so … moving on.)

But, I will share one!  While I was down and out and feeling completely removed from life and the living and lay half asleep on the couch, I heard the most miraculous sound.  Gage and Cooper, in the schoolroom, doing their schoolwork.  I was passed out for most of it, but the next day they told me what they’d accomplished.  Without me even asking to get to work, and certainly without my presence in the room.

Hello, flip-flop from the previous day.   

Wednesday night, Cooper was hit hard so Thursday was a recovery day for him and me.  And again, I found Gage working away on his lessons, all on his own in the schoolroom.  

I don’t expect that there won’t be any more days that I won’t have to be the audible voice that encourages them to stay on task and reminds them to keep going and insists that they get back to work.  And I remain curious about how much help from me is too much help ….

But, this week was a little assurance that maybe, just maybe, my voice is still audible in their minds when I’m not physically there.  Or, better yet, maybe my voice is being replaced by their own little voice, encouraging them through self-motivation and self-discipline.  I’m hopeful.  And where there is hope, there is joy.

And I’m hopeful that next week we’ll be back to good health, too.  ;)

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  • valerie a. - Oh man– I TOTALLY know exactly what you mean about Satan challenging our testimonies! I have definitely had those times when I have felt so enlightened and my heart so full of a gospel truth that I am really understanding so truly and clearly in my life, and then BAM! But hey, if we get through those times while keeping the faith and holding onto that truth, our testimonies will emerge even stronger, right? SO sorry you had the flu too.. ugh! I’m ready for spring!ReplyCancel

  • Mom - Oh, sweetgirl, I’m so sorry the flu bug got you and Coop too. I pray you are both on the mend. Please tell Doot that I’m so proud of him for studying on his own. I’ll call this weekend :)
    XOXOXO to GCK from Grammie – I miss you!ReplyCancel

  • Katie - Just wanted to pass on a HUGE thank-you for sharing your struggles as well as your joys. As a reader, it is so easy to look at people’s blogs and think they have perfected the art of homeschooling, motherhood, and life in general and wonder where I’ve gone wrong. It’s nice to know that God is able to bless us through our imperfections, isn’t it? :)ReplyCancel

  • annie - Just so you know that teacher’s often have trouble deciding how much help to give a child, the only difference is that teachers can say “work on it while I go check on…., then I’ll be back to check on you.” The problem is that having just a few kids, it doesn’t work. You have to come up with some other way to train your children to do some of their work without you. I certainly had a hard time myself, even though I was a former teacher. (I finally used the shower method…as in, “you start here and after I wash my face I’ll peek and see how you are doing.” It took a while before I could really see that they could do many things for themselves.) Maybe a preschool teacher would have known more of what to do……
    I guess the moral was that God works everything out for our good, where you got to see that your sweet boys do well at working on their own. Sorry you had to get sick though!ReplyCancel

  • KimSteen - Thank you for this post–I have been struggling with the same issues…contentment, joy, homeschooling (5 kids), and the flu (it went full circle). My kids are the same when it comes to getting their work completed–I usually have to be right with them for them to get anything done. It’s comforting to know I’m not alone in this endeavor. Thank you for the reminder of the spiritual battle going on as well!ReplyCancel

  • Jolene - I always leave your blog feeling encouraged! I agree on Satan trying us when we share what we have learned through the Word. You are a wonderful mother :) Blessings!ReplyCancel

Today, I’m blogging from the floor of our bathroom.  I’m sitting here keeping our littlest guy company while he awaits another tummy-ruption from the flu bug he’s battling.  He doesn’t want me to leave and he doesn’t want to leave either.  You know.  Just in case.

I woke this morning at 5am to his pleading of my name, proceeded onto encouraging and comforting, re-working his bedding, starting a load of laundry and then onto my workout.  Agony from him again, so I stopped my workout, carried him to my bed, preparing it for the worst … and repeat.  Until the other boys got up and we started school.  And actually finished a full day of school all the while ushering the littlest guy through the flu-bug process.

Now, here I sit.  Delighting in caring for my baby.  Hearing his questions about the pedialyte he’s drinking, explaining to him why having a cookie will have to wait, and assuring him that the red nose a clown wears is actually fake.  “That’s good,” he tells me.  “Otherwise, they couldn’t smell.”  And talking about how tasting and smelling are related.  And what happens when we flush the toilet.

This post isn’t about the woes of motherhood, or to pat myself on the back for being here for my guy.  I’m just feeling reminded that it is so important to do whatever it is we’re doing today, for Jesus.  Not for our own recognition.  And not just for fun and reward and success.  But because it is the task He has put before us.   The task may seem mundane.  Or gross.  Or insignificant.  But when we do it for Him first, there is joy in it.  Not joy in the sense of ‘happiness’ necessarily … I’m not happy Kaden is ill … but happiness isn’t God’s ultimate goal for us anyway.  There is joy where there is contentment and contentment comes from knowing we are doing what it is that God wants us to be doing.

So if today He wants me sitting on the floor of the bathroom keeping my baby company and helping him when needed, while going back and forth between school-lessons, making lunch, sorting out sibling disagreements, and all that, I’m content.  I’m thankful, and I’ll find joy in it.  Not just because “I’m a mom and that’s what we do” (though that is certainly part of it!) but because this is His calling for me.

 

 

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  • Stephanie @ La Dolce Vita - I love how you can take a negative and turn it around. Hope he is feeling better soon!ReplyCancel

    • Lacey - Thank you, Stephanie. I have gotten used to having to do this or I could get pretty down with all the challenges that come with parenting, let-alone being home with my kiddos 24-7. ;)ReplyCancel

  • valerie a. - thank you for this reminder! I’ve been feeling a bit weighed down by sicknesses/life’s challenges this last month, and I’ve been trying to renew my perspective. This post came at a great time!ReplyCancel

    • Lacey - I’m so glad, Valerie! Thank you for letting me know and I’ll pray for clarity and guidance for you! <3ReplyCancel

  • Mom - Oh, sweet, little Tado and his Budsie. I pray he’s feeling better.
    XO to Tado from Grammie
    XOXO to Doot & Coop tooReplyCancel

  • Randa - I just happened to run across this today…first time to your blog. Just wanted to say this was a much-needed reminder today. It’s a miracle I made it through your post since I have a phobia-level fear of the stomach virus hitting our house. It was meant to be for me to hear your message ;) So, just a hello and thanks. :)ReplyCancel

  • Jolene - Hope everyone is soon feeling better! I needed to read this post! Thanks for the encouragement!ReplyCancel

  • My Biggest Struggle with Homeschooling » This is Life. With Country Boys {Lacey Meyers Photography} - […] Monday, I wrote the post you read here, about being content and finding joy in what we’re called to do.  And I meant every word of […]ReplyCancel

  • Sheila - I just discovered your blog today and love it. Amazing stories and photography.

    Sorry you and the littles were sick, it doesn’t change, by the way. Mine is 16 and still wants her mommy when she is leaning over the toilet.

    The joys of motherhood!ReplyCancel

    • Lacey - Hi Sheila! That doesn’t surprise me at all, since after I recovered and was talking to my mom, I told her I’d wished she was here to take care of me. ;) There is just something special about knowing someone loves us enough to be there for us when we are going through something so unpleasant. :)ReplyCancel

  • Katie - Wow, what an encouraging post! It is so easy to think that what we do as mothers is insignificant, but your reminder that we do everything to HIS glory makes it all that much more meaningful. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and beautiful pictures!ReplyCancel