Yesterday I announced our first virtual Tea Party for this Friday, August 17th. I’m sharing my life story this week and would really like to hear at least some of yours as well! Since we can’t meet over a cup of real tea (yet!), I decided to sponsor a virtual afternoon tea instead. If you are a blogger, this is a great chance for us to double our connections with others and hear from you. Consider how you can participate and leave a comment to let us know to look forward to hearing from you Friday…

Yesterday I also shared about some of the seeds planted in my childhood…a love of nature, books, writing, and healthy living. Did you know that even though the tea plant, the Camellia sinensis can grow up to seventeen feet tall, it is pruned to waist height to produce the best crop? I know what it’s like to be pruned down to size…

TPG Becomes a Parent: The Camellia Sinensis is Pruned to Proper Height

Todd and I were only married a little over two years before we welcomed our first child, a son. We also joke we did everything backwards…married, then found employment, birthed a child, then bought the house. Thanks to a Realtor friend, parental encouragement, and a generous grandmother’s help, we bought our first house in California in the late 1990s before the prices went crazy. Five months later we brought home our second son.

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I consider the first two-three years after the birth of our second son to be the most difficult season of my adulthood to date. But it was during this time I learned lessons I draw on now every day. A number of significant events happened during this season that fundamentally changed the way I make decisions, relate to others, and believe life is meant to be lived.

I didn’t know it at the time, but common to many young mothers, I suffered deeply from postpartum depression. I remember p-e-e-l-i-n-g myself off the bed with exhaustion to answer my newborn’s cry. I was often physically sick and unhappy. Because of other choices in my life during the time, choices many 20-somethings make such as living for other people’s expectations of them, etc., I remember literally shaking from fatigue as I drove my two young boys down the road. It took me a full year to finally drag myself into the doctor’s office and ask for help.

The road to sanity and joy took awhile to find, but I finally did. Many factors contributed to the ultimate success of this season of growth including a supportive husband, helpful parents, doctors’ help, and letting go of toxic friendships. I feared a major set-back when I found myself pregnant again (surprise!). But I believe with all my heart God formed her, our one daughter, as a personal gift to all of us in this family. She is our sunshine. He knew how much we needed her.

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Like so many stay-at-home moms, I tried a number of ways to bring in a little extra income. One was to care for a friend’s daughter while she worked full-time. The other was to work in an office with my infant in tow. A third was to try and establish one of the plethoras of home-party businesses. These three experiences taught me:

  1. I cannot be motivated simply by money.
  2. I loved nurturing the home-fires and wanted to spend time earning money from home instead of away from it.
  3. If I was going to sell anything, it needed to be something I completely believed in.

Now with an infant, preschooler, and our oldest in kindergarten, we began life as a schooling family. Suddenly, my days included packing lunches, carpooling, and fund-raisers. It was during this time I began to really wrestle with a truth I knew in the depth of my being. It may sound foreign to some of you, but I began to make a choice that more and more families at least in the United States make each year. It started when I didn’t enroll the preschooler in any formal program, but kept him home with the baby and me. And by the time my oldest was in first grade at public school, I couldn’t wait for the year to be over. When our second son was old enough to start Kindergarten, we began a lifestyle Todd and I knew we were meant to live: as the primary educators of our children instead of the State. We officially became “home-schoolers”.

Tomorrow: TPG Finds a Place to Flourish~The Camellia Sinensis is Transplanted

So what would you like to share? Sign up any day this week here*, and we’ll come visit for tea at three (PST) on Friday.