Homeschool Tricks from Someone Who’s Homeschooled for 7 Months

You’ve probably gathered from the post title that I am no expert when it comes to teaching. My intention is to give you guys some tricks that are mostly useful for when your kid/turd is having an off-day. As you’re reading this, please know that our formal, dedicated school time usually lasts an hour (my son is in kindergarten). Although most of these tips are for combatting bratty behavior, most of my school days with my son are not bratty. So, maybe I am an expert.

homeschool tricks carolyn honeychurch
“Smile, son.”

Trick #1: Leave the Room

There’s a good chance your kid is going to “act up” more around you than they would a teacher. They know your weaknesses and they’re going to try to exploit them. There are days when my son wants to sulk and pout simply because I’m sitting there. It’s a performance and I’m the audience. I noticed that if he has to do independent work (e.g. math problems, copy work), the performance starts up. I get it. It’s boring. Sometimes I want to whine when I’m pulling clothes out of the dryer. One technique I learned is to quickly say, “I need you to copy this sentence. I’ll be back. I have to get my coffee/go to the bathroom/check on something.” In reality, I just leave the room and come back in 3 minutes. Most of the time, the work is complete by the time I come back. Sometimes I have to go in and encourage him to finish (“Oh, just two words!”) and sneak out again to “check on something.” If I’m in the same room, he whimpers and it takes five days for him to write, “The cat is fat.”

Trick #2: Play Dumb/Let Them Teach You

Kids get insecure or frustrated when school work is a challenge. My own thoughts have sabotaged me, so I understand the need to shift my focus from feeling sorry for myself and to a “greater good.” Sometimes “playing dumb” looks like me reading a book to my son and pretending to struggle with words/sounds that he knows or is currently learning. He’s always happy to sound them out for me. If I’m introducing a new math concept, we work on the first worksheet together. He does one problem, I do the next, but I will often struggle to find the appropriate blocks or I’ll choose the wrong ones. Make sure you don’t go too far and enter the realm of comically dumb. I once went overboard and my son thought it was fun and also wanted to be dumb.

homeschool tricks carolyn honeychurch
“How you said that? How you said that word?”

Trick #3: Have a Checklist

I’m satisfied when I get to mark something off a list and apparently kids are, too. I keep a schedule of what we’re going to do each day. I started posting my schedule on our cork-board in the office and if my son is being particularly impatient, I’ll show him he only has three tasks. Then I let him check them off as he completes each one. He gets a bit more pumped when he can mark something off. This would also work on a whiteboard or just a sheet of paper.

Trick #4: The Earlier the Better

This may not be true for everyone, but I’ve noticed if we wait until after lunch to do school, it is always worse. Our magic hour is 10 am. I’m reminded of my days working full-time in an office and how work was tolerable before lunch, but torture later in the afternoon. Still, I know people like to take advantage of the flexibility that homeschooling allows (I agree, it is a luxury), but I personally like a schedule and I think children respond well to a predictable routine. Even though kids are the ultimate bringers of chaos, they are happier and less anxious with routines. I read that on the google.

Trick #5: Don’t Do Anything Too Fun Prior to School

“Hey, I see you’re having a blast. Why don’t you stop and come in here and learn to read?” My husband and I let our son play video games. He is not allowed to play them before school. There have been mornings in the past where I was like, “Sure, go ahead and play Mario Odyssey for half an hour.” Bad move. And that’s my fault. Back in the old days, I would wake up early, make coffee, and play Fallout or whatever Zelda game came out at the time. Then I’d have to do work. I wanted to cry. Why do that to my son? Anyway, it’s easier to drag your kid away from a coloring book than a swimming pool.

Trick #6: Put on Instrumental Music

My son likes video game soundtracks. The only downside is if it’s “boss music” he gets worked up. Music helps me chill, too. Still, if your child is easily distracted, pay attention to what distracts them and remove it from your school area beforehand. If my son so much as sees a crumb on the table, that crumb is suddenly a wonderful toy. I don’t always use music, but I think it helps pep things up when he’s doing independent work or a craft.

Trick #7: Be Honest

My son likes to say, “I’m scared!” whenever he doesn’t want to do something. Sometimes I say, “Me too!” And it’s true. I get worried when I’m going into a task knowing that the one I’m working with is gearing up to be a monster. He did this today and I replied that I was scared, too. He calmed down immediately and we had a great school day. There are times I’ve told my son that being disobedient or having a bad attitude makes it hard for me to teach. I get grouchy or sad when he’s being a turd. We usually come away from these chats ready to work together as a team. However, I make sure I only address the effects of things he has control over (e.g. his behavior). I never say things about homeschool in general being tough. All that said, I try to tell my kids that they can be sad, grouchy, hungry, thirsty, bored, or whatever, BUT they don’t get to rant and rave. Just let me know how you feel and I’ll help. Don’t kick me in the chest.

Trick #8: Mirror Back Their Annoying Behavior

Sometimes kids don’t “get” how they’re sabotaging themselves. I have tried to explain to my son that the sooner he does his work, the sooner he can go play. In the heat of the moment, many kids (and adults) don’t listen to reason. One day I was on the verge of plucking my own eyes out and juggling them in a fit of insanity. Then an idea came to me: I told my son to tell me to write my name. I told him to count how long it takes me. I wrote my name correctly and quickly. It took five seconds. Then I told him to tell me to do it again, but this time I did all the annoying things he does when he doesn’t want to do his work. He started counting and a look of horror came over his face as I twirled my pencil, fell out of my chair several times, referred to the task as annoying or stupid, etc. This was actually one of the biggest turning points in schooling for him. I should also add that I did not mock him or over-exaggerate my impression of him. I tried to keep it exactly as he was acting. He needed a visual of the time he was wasting rather than just hearing it from me.

homeschool tricks hover carolyn honeychurch
“Can I see?”

Trick #9: Don’t Hover Too Much

I enjoy watching my son work, but it sometimes annoys him or makes him uncomfortable to have my big head casting a shadow on his work. I’ve almost punched people for hovering while I was working. Sometimes I do have to watch how he’s doing things (like with handwriting), but I remedy this by pretending to do my own work at the table or tidying up the office while I watch him. I try to alternate between sitting next to him and observing from afar. Constant hovering is annoying and discouraging.

Trick #10: Do Hands-On Crafts/Lessons as a Family

If there are any lessons/activities/crafts that I can do at the breakfast table with my son and daughter (she’s two), I try to do that and keep these activities out of our normal 10 am school time. This makes “school” go faster. Social studies, science, and art normally have hands-on activities that I can print duplicates out for my daughter to do one, too. If you have a set time for doing school, I would recommend using that time for the necessities (language arts and math) and if you can sneak science and social studies into other areas of the day, do that.

Trick #11: Occupy Younger Siblings

I read a parenting book and the author referred to toddlers as the “weakest link” in the family. It’s true. I’m giving you permission to let the little ones watch TV or a show on the iPad. They won’t die and their brain isn’t going to turn to foam. I watched TV growing up and look at me. I have a blog! There are loads of educational programs for your kids to watch. Or just let them watch stupid garbage once in awhile. Another way I distract my daughter is I will get out some toys that we don’t let her have ready access to (play doh, kinetic sand, etc). Or I will set up her doll house really nice. She can’t resist when the doll house is setup nicely and all the rooms are decorated. Now that she’s getting closer to turning three, I just tell her we’re doing school and to go play. I know. That’s super abusive.

Make sure you put some water and Goldfish crackers in the box.

Trick #12: End School if Your Kid Is Being a Nightmare

There have been a handful of occasions where my son is resisting school to the point of throwing a fit and I knew it was a lose-lose situation. It’s tempting to lose my temper in these situations, but if I do, he wins. I see this in adults. They want a fight and the best thing for you to do is take control and walk away. When my son is in such a bad mood, I shut the books, put things away, and tell him to leave the office. But, I always tell him we are going to finish; at some point today, he will circle which one is bigger: the dime or the quarter. If I don’t end it, the lesson can drag on for hours and be the start of a bad habit. Plus I’ll end up in prison. By ending school, I set the terms and place the blame on his shoulders. No exaggeration, within 15 minutes, he’s ready to do school and he’s in a good mood.

Let me know if you try any of these tricks and whether they worked out. If so, please send me $5 for every time it works. It’s the least you can do.

How to Drink Water in 2020: Ladles

It’s almost 2020, which means it’s time to leave your water drinking habits in the past. Throw your water bottle in the trash. You’re going to look like a caveman drinking from a bottle. Trust me.

In 2020, we drink from ladles.

drake meme ladle water
Would this guy lie to you? He might, but I won’t.

“What’s a ladle?” A ladle is a spoon that looks like a bowl on a stick.

“But where do I get my water?” you might ask. From everywhere! A Burger King bathroom sink, puddles, water fountain, a Home Depot bucket you fill with tap water and keep in your car trunk… use your head! I can see you now with my binoculars rolling your eyes. “I’m not drinking that gross water.” Wow, you are spoiled, but I get it.

ladles life drinking water
I’m hydrated.

In San Diego, tap water tastes gross. I’m originally from Northern California where you can drink from a garden hose and it’s no different than chugging from a majestic waterfall. In SoCal, the water tastes like hotel water. You know what I mean. We’ve all been there: dried out in your hotel room because you ran the A/C at 67 degrees because you wanted your money’s worth. Desperate, you look at the Aquafina bottle sitting on what looks like a wireless phone charger. You know you’ll get charged $3.99 for it, so you grab the urine sample cup they left you by the coffee maker. You get some sink water, even though you know some weirdo probably put their butt on the sink faucet. The water tastes gray, like fossils. They probably let a rock dissolve in it. That’s life in San Diego, 24/7. Ladles solve this problem.

How? Because ladles fix nasty water. WHAT?! HOW?! Because it’s RUSTIC. Nasty water is rustic. Ladles are rustic. Do you get it?! Ladles are meant for bucket water. Puddle water. Water from a well where a raccoon fell inside and died. If you drink nasty water from a wine glass, you will be offended. If you drink nasty water from a ladle, you are content. That’s how our brains work. Deceive your brain! You will feel like a gristly hero drinking from a ladle.

ladle drinkers
Ladle Drinkers: Martyrs, Cowboys, Wizards, 26th Presidents, Medicine Women, Sea Captains

Ladles are cool. Ladles save money. And they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. This guy on YouTube made a ladle from a piece of tree. My ladle came from my kids’ Melissa and Doug kitchen set. They weren’t using it. Final point, I have never seen a wimp drink from a ladle. Be in good company. Get yourself a ladle.

Use Holiday Stress to Cause Sleep Hallucinations

Six years ago, my husband and I were visiting family for Christmas. I was pregnant with my son (first trimester) and I felt awful. The Dropbox album for this trip is appropriately called, “Christmas: To Hell and Back.” On this trip I had what is known as a “hypnagogic hallucination.” Hypnagogic hallucinations are the visions, sounds, or sensations you experience during the first stage of sleep. If you’ve had sleep paralysis or the common nightmare of falling off a cliff right after you go to bed, then you’ve had a hypnagogic hallucination. They’re often caused by stress and anxiety.

sleep hallucination boxer puppy
Figure 1. Victim in bed with dog. Photo take by perpetrator.

Clint and I stayed at my sister’s house; she had a new puppy and a TV with many channels. We were in bed, the lights were out, and I was ready to pass out. Clint was probably watching a 45 minute video of American Truck Simulator on YouTube.

The Hallucination

Here’s what I remember: Clint gets up to use the bathroom. I close my eyes, hear the bathroom door close, and then my brain starts malfunctioning. I open my eyes and I’m still at my sister’s house, but Clint never returned from the bathroom. Instead, there’s an invisible demon presence standing in the shadows watching me. I can’t move. I start screaming, “Get out! Get out!” but my voice is muffled. I’m terrified. Why is this happening to me? The demon won’t leave. They never leave.

hallucinations nightmare sketch alpha sleep
From the demon’s perspective.

Clint wakes me up.

The demon was gone… or was it? Clint told me that he came back from the bathroom and heard me breathing heavy, so he quickly woke me up. At least that’s what he should have said. What he really said was that he heard me breathing heavy so he got out his phone and started recording it. This is when I start to wonder who that demon in my hallucination represents. Clint said that after awhile I stopped breathing heavy, so he shook the bed to get me going again. And it worked. That’s when I started yelling, “get out.” In the embarrassing (edited) audio clip below, you can hear a garbled “get out” followed by some whimpers. I sounded a lot more passionate in my hallucination.

I sound like one of those dogs that can say, “I love you.”

Here’s the point of all this: You don’t want to be “the Carolyn” in this kind of situation. If you want a good laugh, like Clint, heed my advice: get them before they get you. If your spouse or a family member is exhausted from all the Christmas shopping, baking, and socializing, make sure you stick close by as they fall asleep. You may catch them hallucinating and could get great footage to play the next morning for everyone to laugh at. That’s how you win Christmas.

Hallucination Tips and Techniques

– Must be done within 5-10 minutes of the person falling asleep.

– Put something stinky near their face. German researchers (go figure) found that smells influence peoples’ dreams. Stinky = negative, good smells = positive. Maybe light a match then blow it out so they think the room is on fire. Now that I think about it, Clint went to the bathroom right as my hallucination started…

– Use Clint’s bed shaking method. Be gentle or you’ll risk waking your victim. Try sitting at the foot of the bed and giving it a good bounce.

– Think about what you want you want the person to hallucinate and make subtle sounds associated with that monster or beast. Moaning, growling, hissing, Andre the Giant impression, are some good ideas.

– Get a friend or weird cousin to help.

– Merry Christmas!

Yummy Fruity Pebbles in a Bowl

This is such a special Christmas commercial. Not because it warms the heart or brings back fond memories. It’s because this commercial is to blame for the rise of entitlement, narcissism, and socialism in our nation.

There are three elements that make this Fruity Pebble commercial a moral tragedy:

1) Rampant Sin. In 30 seconds, Barney breaks two laws: breaking and entering with intent to steal, and identity theft (Santa’s). In California, this is a felony punishable by prison time and a fine. Barney is not punished for either crime, which I’ll get to later. He also does not apologize–not even a half-hearted “sorry Fred.” In fact, by the end of the commercial, the untrained viewer would have forgotten these sins altogether because Santa has manipulated the situation by saying, “tis the season to be sharing” implying that allowing a thief to steal from you is “sharing.”

Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. [2 Corinthians 9:7]

fruity pebbles fred barney christmas
“‘Tis the season to hand your rights over to the State, Fred.”

2) Corrupt Authority Figures. As I wrote earlier, the untrained viewer will think Santa is the moral authority, there to teach Fred how to properly behave. Santa’s worldview is full of contradictionsSa. Let me explain: Santa shames Fred for having a normal reaction to someone attempting to steal from him. Santa claims to only reward people through good behavior. “He’s making a list, he’s checking it twice, gonna find out who’s naughty or nice… So be good for goodness sake!” This is one of the fundamental characteristics of Santa… or so we’re taught. Who gets rewarded in the commercial? The “naughty” Barney. Do we not see this same trend in our culture today? Covet your neighbor’s money? Let’s raise their taxes! It’s no coincidence that Barney dresses as (maybe even idolizes) this thug in the same way gang members idolize Scarface.

Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand it completely.

[Proverbs 28:5]

3) NO JUSTICE. How does the commercial end? Barney gets what he’s after. Santa rewards him! The System (Santa) gives it to him. There’s not even a moment where Santa says, “Hey, you know what, Barney? Maybe you ought to go back home, change into that burlap sack you wear, and knock on the door like a civilized caveman. And maybe apologize to Fred. Could you do that, Barn?” Even that would be something.

What’s in a name?

So, here’s what we know (or maybe what I just made up): Fred goes to work at that rock place and earns his clamshells. Wilma goes to the market to pick up some Fruity Pebbles to share with Santa because Fred likes to share. There’s no doubt about that. To me, it’s obvious he’s had this whole thing planned out for weeks. I’d be willing to bet money that this is a yearly tradition for him. If you notice, Fred’s in a good mood when the commercial starts. The only reason he gets angry is because Barney breaks into his house and stakes claim on Santa’s bowl of cereal.

I know a drunk when I see one.

Where is Barney’s money going, by the way? He works at the same place as Fred and they seem to have a similar lifestyle. Judging by Barney’s feelings of entitlement, I’m thinking he’s one of those guys that hits up the bar on payday and shouts, “Drinks on me!” Then there’s no money left for rent much less a $3.49 box of Fruity Pebbles. With the right coupons, you could get that down to $2.50 (California dollars).

fruity pebbles commercial fred barney
Someone in the YouTube comments pointed out how Fred chews even though he never takes a bite. He’s not even living in the moment. He’s somewhere else. He is so far gone, he can’t even properly fake that he’s eating those pebbles.

The worst part is how broken Fred is at the end. He plans this special night for Santa, someone he clearly admires (now that I think about it, that may be Fred’s downfall: admiration for a charlatan like Santa), and Santa snaps at him for being upset with a criminal. Fred just wants to please Santa, so he buddies up to Barney and shares his pebbles. I know Fred is probably thinking, “This just doesn’t feel right.” Good. It shouldn’t. This was your downfall, Fred, putting your faith in Santa.

It eats at Fred, night after night. He tries to confide in Wilma, but she tells him to put it behind him. Then finally, 18 months later, he takes his own life. There are no heroes in this story.

“None is righteous, no, not one;
11     no one understands;
    no one seeks for God.
12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
    no one does good,
   not even one.”
[Romans 3:10b-12]

Life Class: Busyness

These are my notes from Life Class taught at Barabbas Road Church. It was on “busyness.” I’m not going to post all the notes I took (cuz they’re MINE!), but I did want to share some of my favorite points. Coincidentally, I bought my 2020 planner this week. It’s the Day Designer for Blue Sky. I tried other planners, but this one is the best (for me). I wanted the brown leather-looking one, but it didn’t have the hourly breakdown for the days. Wah.

Busyness Is a Heart Issue

I. Signs That You May Be Too Busy:

(1) You feel guilty when you try to relax
(2) You can’t enjoy quiet (have to be distracted all the time)
(3) You seldom feel satisfied
(4) Always pushed by fear (FOMO!)
(5) You live for the reward of success

II. The Solutions to Busyness:

(1) Prayer – Pray over your schedules/to-do lists (e.g. ask for wisdom; ask how I can love God and others in how I spend my time)
(2) Praise – Count your blessings
(3) Prioritize – Make the best use of your time. Ask yourself: what is most significant in God’s view? Use the Word of God as a reference.

III. Other Great Points

– Remember: there are seasons in life. Manage your expectations based on the season you’re in.
– Christ offers us rest [Matt 11:29-30], joy [John 15:11], and an abundant life [John 10:10]. Don’t seek counterfeit ways to have rest, joy, and/or abundant life (brought up alcohol as an example)
– Be a good steward of these things: Time, Talents (spiritual gifts), and Treasure (finances)
– Encouragement: Don’t be afraid to look for encouragement. As a church body, we’re in this together; look to others for help. If someone is better at something than you (e.g. budgeting), then ask them questions.
– You will bear more fruit if you focus your time on a few things rather than spreading yourself thin over many things
– You’re never going to learn Spanish 😔

IV. Homework

Make a list of everything you do and want to do. Write down your to-do list, your dreams, everything. Don’t edit it. Be honest. Pray over this list. Organize it by priority. Begin crossing things off. Try to narrow down the top 3 (or so) things that you should do daily. Don’t let things further on the list (e.g. #30) come before higher priority things.

This One Workout Tip Will Transform Your Life

I’m not in great shape, but if I were, this tip would be the reason for it. You will not find this life changing advice anywhere else on the internet. The government has been trying to hide this secret from the masses since the Taft years; they want us to get fat and die young. I am risking my life sharing this information with you, but here I go:

Don’t wear deodorant.

How did I discover this life changing secret? The other day I was on the treadmill and I forgot to put an extra swipe of deodorant on. I was hoping the swipe from the day before would cover the stench that was to come. Four minutes into the run, I began to sweat and with each drop was the foul smell of BO. My social conditioning tried to shame me, but I still couldn’t ignore the fact that with every whiff of stank, I ran faster and with more gusto than before. In fact, we should change the name from BO to gusto.

Gardenias and lavendar never made me feel this way.

Perspiration Is Inspiration

BO workout no deodorant
“Aw yeah, gusto.”

According to my studies, smelling your own BO while working out will extend your workout by 20 minutes.

That’s 250 lbs! A new record for that guy.

Still don’t believe me? Look at the math:

highly accurate math don't wear deodorant
I crunched the numbers so you can get back to crunching them abs.

STILL don’t believe me? Try it yourself, since you’re so smart. Go to the gym during their busiest hours (this way you’ll have a bigger audience when you reach your maximum potential). Make sure you have zero deodorant on. Take a baby wipe and wipe your armpits if you need to. Then get pumping. You should probably use Instagram or Facebook live to broadcast your workout for the rest of us to see what happens.

Just a warning: People get scared of other people’s gusto because it’s intimidating. They don’t want to see you succeed, so if they try to fight you, just know that it’s because they see you climbing the fitness ladder and they’re jealous. They could also be government spies sent to take you out.

Not Good Updater

Hello. I’m terrible at updating this thing. Oh well. Take it or leave it, friend. By the way, this is mostly just a book update. Very boring post.

So, let me back up a bit. May 29th I finished my first draft. Today is September 18th, which just reminded me I have some meat in the fridge that goes bad today. I haven’t touched my first draft all summer, in fact, I’m not even going to read the thing…maybe that’s not wise. I don’t know. I’m starting to second guess myself. Okay, I’ll read some of it.

Sitting in the garage, working, hoping my son doesn’t get run over by a car.

The reason I said I wouldn’t read it is because I’m doing a total overhaul on my manuscript. I’m changing the point-of-view/narration. Originally it was first person, but then I second guessed myself and switched it to third. Huge mistake. I wish I had someone to blame, but it’s my fault. I do dumb things.

Anyway, I haven’t set a firm goal to be done with my second draft, but December 31st is sounding nice. I haven’t started writing yet. At the moment, I’m writing all my “beats” out. Although not much is changing plot-wise from my first draft, there are a few tweaks that have to be made.

Okay, I’m done. I’m not even going to bother with “good SEO” on this post.

I Been Married Nine Years

When my husband and I first moved to San Diego, a relative of ours broke the depressing news that it takes men three marriages to find the right woman. Forgive me if you did not already know this. It was a shock to me, too. I went to bed that night wishing someone had told me sooner. Imagine me, Carolyn, the first of three brides. How long did I have before number two came along? Five years? Twenty? Did my husband already know this? Did he sense it? Was he already looking for number two? She’d be a real beast of a woman, no doubt. I would have to teach my kids to hate her.

She’s always telling me she ain’t playing for real.

But after her comes the third wife; by the time she comes along (probably when I’m in my late 50s), my bitterness will probably have subsided. I’d still judge this woman though. Not so much in a hateful way, but with great pity. “Oh, she must be so insecure and pathetic. The poor thing.”

She’s boring, but she’ll be a great relief after the last one. Also, I just realized, she’s wearing my sweater.

Anyway, today is our nine year anniversary and our marriage has gotten better over the years, which only means that it will be even more tragic when the end comes. What could possibly cause my husband to lose his mind and leave a charming creature such as myself?

Middle-age is going to be rough. He has two divorces to go through and I have to find a man that’s already been divorced twice–this way I’m guaranteed to be “the right one.” I bet I could find a young one in prison. I’ll have to check the minimum security prisons since I’d rather be with a white collar criminal.

Always scheming. I’ll have to keep my own checking account.

I don’t know how I’m going to handle step kids. I haven’t even met them and I already can’t stand them. Spoiled and always looking at me wrong. Their moms will try to start fights with me because they’re still in love with MY husband. Plus, they’ll be jealous that my kids are cuter. Wait’ll the courts see all the voicemails and texts I saved.

Or I can just stay single and spend my free time matching missing persons reports with unidentified remains across the country.

Oh, and since this is an anniversary post, I’m supposed to write something like, “We’ve had our ups and downs” then you guys can start thinking, “Ooo, I wonder what she means by that!”

First Draft Done

Look who just came off the printer tray at Staples. Today is a happy day for me because I finished my first draft of my novel. 80,770 words. I wanted to be done by May 31st. This is like the first time I actually hit a goal. Anyway, I am SO relieved. I’m taking some time off before I do my edits. Thanks to everyone who encouraged me, prayed for me, and to my husband who took the kids for a few hours on Saturdays so I could get this thing done. As I said before, even if this book is poorly written garbage, I’m still going to publish it (God willing—obviously). And if you’re curious what it’s about, I’m going to be vague because I really HATE talking about it. It’s like when someone asks you what you’re going to name your baby and they don’t hide their disgust with your name choice and then you’re like, “Okay well, let’s never speak again, how about that?” So, I guess my answer is if you take The Princess Bride novel and cross it with Army of Darkness, that’s what I kinda imagine my book to be. I just hope it’s actually funny.

Book Update, Goals, and Mother’s Day

I’m going to try to keep this book update short.

book update

Last week I hit 60,000 words, which is the number I was most looking forward to (besides my final word count). This finally feels like the end. Unfortunately, I had a bit of a burn out and I took this past week off from writing my novel. Turns out, getting up between 3:15 and 4:30 makes you crazy.

The bad news: I probably won’t reach my goal of finishing my first draft at the end of this month. The good news: my brain is no longer in a vegetative state. Pray for me.

Goals for My Novel

Write a book for a broad audience. I want my book to be funny, entertaining, and exciting (to men and women, young and old), but also clean. My book doesn’t have cuss words or explicit content. Still, I think a lot of “clean” books (and films) are cheesy and boring. My book is not Christian fiction, but as a Christian, I made sure that people can read it without exposing their eyes to cuss words and their imaginations to nakey-ness.

Get Published. What this will actually look like is dependent on how good my book actually is. I have no idea if I can land an agent or a publishing deal. BUT, no matter what, I’m going to publish my book. Even if it’s insanely bad, I’m going to do it.

If I’m successful at that…

Make some sweet coin. My goal is not to be wealthy. If it’s God’s will that I have a financially successful writing career, cool. I do, however, have two financial goals that I would love to see happen: (1) Either afford to rent or buy a house with a yard. I don’t want a shared yard. I don’t want a paved patio calling itself a yard. I want grass and trees. Oh, and I want this house to be in San Diego and preferably remain in PB or any other coastal neighborhood. (2) Give a ton of money to our church. We go to the best church in San Diego. I just want to write the church fat checks. Is that so wrong?

Mother’s Day

book update

Happy Mother’s Day! I’m a mom, so that means I get to be happy, too. My husband asked what I felt like doing for Mother’s Day. He threw out the idea of having a spa day. I told him I wanted to lay in bed and read. We’re celebrating a day early, so I’m in bed reading, writing, and making plans. I’m also eating like I want diabetes. Hopefully I have a positive book update next weekend.

Proverbs 26:11–Taking a Ladle to the Toilet

“Like a dog that returns to his vomit
   is a fool who repeats his folly.” Proverbs 26:11

proverbs 26 11 dog vomit folly carolyn honeychurch
Whose dog is this?

How stupid would it be to stick a ladle in the toilet and sample our own barf? “You know what? I’d like to barf that up again… let me put it back inside me.” There’s nothing enjoyable about throwing up. It stinks, it looks like massacred food, it’s full of bacteria and other poisons that your body clearly couldn’t handle, and the process to get it out is usually painful and humiliating. The only thing good about throwing up is it purges our bodies of sickness. Still, when I’m in a moment of sickness, I’m never thinking, “Oh, how splendid to watch my body empty itself of this virus!” I’m actually thinking, “I will never eat sausage McMuffins again. Or shrimp tacos. And I’m gonna wash my hands more. I’m never going near children, etc.” In other words, I’m thinking about how not to let this happen again.

Anyway, have you ever watched someone repeat the same foolish behaviors over and over again? It’s like, “You’re still doing that? Didn’t you already do that in the 90s?” They complain about it and say they’ll never do it again, but then they do it again. And again! Then you start wondering if they’re mental or have memory problems because no one can be that dumb. Because of Proverbs 26:11, I often think to myself, “There they go, taking the ladle to the toilet.” It really is that stupid for us to repeat our foolish mistakes. But why do we do it?

Part of the answer lies (according to me) in what the scripture isn’t saying.

(1) No One Is Force Feeding the Dog Its Vomit

Here, boy.

Which means no one else is forcing us to repeat our same folly. “I wouldn’t have done it if so-and-so hadn’t blah blah…” If you’ve ever watched My 600 lb Life, you’ll see this excuse in action every 5 minutes. (I reference this show a lot, because I binge watched it during my last trimester with my daughter and I think I have PTSD). The doctor on the show will ask, “Why did you put on 5 million pounds last month?” and the morbidly obese person will say, “My girlfriend who is old enough to be my mother keeps bringing me sack after sack of cheeseburgers!” Someone in this situation would probably acknowledge that their situation is foolish or sinful (like a dog eating barf), but the only reason they’re sinning is because of someone else (me force feeding the dog with a spoon).

I think many of us are guilty of blaming others for our foolishness. Even Adam and Eve were pointing fingers. Would it be nice for the rest of the world not to give out cheeseburgers/alcohol/drugs/abusive boyfriends/psycho girlfriends/credit cards, etc? Yes, but that’s NEVER going to happen. So, I guess it’s time for you to hold yourself accountable for your folly.

Or you can just get you another ladle full of that hot barf. It’s looking chunky. You’ll definitely have to chew it.

(2) The Dog Is Not Snacking on Someone Else’s Barf

“Skippy, please goahhhhblaaaaarklkaaaaaa!”

So, I’m over here puking and the dog wants in on the action (I could see a real life dog doing this, by the way). This is a case of, “I don’t even have a problem, they do.” I feel like snitches use this logic a lot. Anyway, here’s the most common, modern example of this I can think of: foolish choice in significant others. “All men are pigs” or “All women are crazy.” Because if all men are pigs, then the fact that I keep dating pigs means I am innocent when I saunter over to that trough of vomit the pig men are offering and have me a sip or two or ten because it’s the ONLY option. It’s not even MY barf!

You better not use your wooden ladle in this vomit. It’s heavy in stomach acids and will eat right through it.

I’m really stretching it with that last illustration. I think I just wanted to take pictures of a dog eating my barf. I’m probably why 1 Timothy 2:12 exists.

So, with those two points in mind, pride is what keeps many of us from repenting of our folly and is also what continually keeps us in a pattern of falling:

Pride goes before destruction,
   and a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18

Best case scenario, we swallow our pride (maybe that’s a bad choice of words) and admit we have sin in our lives–I’m specifically referring to the sin of folly mentioned in Proverbs 26:11. Although that’s a good first step, it isn’t enough (see Return of the Unclean Spirit). We need something to put in place of our foolishness. What’s the opposite of being foolish? The answer, I think, is to be wise. And how do I get wisdom… here’s a hint: GOD.

You may need to plunge it, but that’s okay.

Flush the Toilet: Fear God, Gain Wisdom

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
   fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7

I can hear it now, “Why should I fear God? That doesn’t seem like a loving God.” Read that last bit of the scripture again, the part starting with “fools.” Maybe you ought to just hear God out on this one. I’ll just say this as my quick reply: we ought to fear God because He’s GOD. “Oh, but I want a God that loves me and puts up with my crap.” That’s the last thing any of us needs. “But how come God would want me to suffer…” Just get off my website and go hang out on Reddit.

For those of you who have stuck around (this was supposed to be like 4 paragraphs long), here are some bits of wisdom from the book of Proverbs to whet your appetite:

For lazy fools:

10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
    a little folding of the hands to rest,
11 and poverty will come upon you like a robber,
   and want like an armed man. (Proverbs 6:10-11)

For fools who follow worthless pursuits (e.g. MLM schemes, get rich quick schemes, dumb business ideas–forgive me)

Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread,
   but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense. (Proverbs 12:11)

Wealth gained hastily will dwindle,
   but whoever gathers little by little will increase it. (Proverbs 13:11)

When in doubt, go with God (don’t take advice from other fools):

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
   and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

For the foolish fellas who like crazy women and hate the heat:

It is better to live in a desert land
   than with a quarrelsome and fretful woman. (Proverbs 21:19)

For people who act like fools when they’re angry:

A fool gives full vent to his spirit,
   but a wise man quietly holds it back. (Proverbs 29:11)

I think that’s enough for now. Some of you might be weighted down too heavily with conviction or hating hard due to the correction. I have a great idea though: find a Bible and read Proverbs. Oh, and don’t forget to fear God.

Don’t be a fool,


Health Alert: In Love with the Wall

There’s a terrible disorder that strikes 98% of children under the age of nine yet many don’t know the name I gave it back in 1991. The disorder is called In Love with the Wall or ILW for short (but don’t call it that). It’s characterized by obnoxious, slaphappy hyperactivity that typically results in the child falling in love with a wall. After annoying everyone in the household, the child will eventually stumble (or be shoved) into a wall and remain leaning against this wall. The wall is then looked at as if it possesses great beauty and is even caressed despite the fact that most walls cannot experience any sensations. I first witnessed this disorder over twenty-five years ago in one of my younger siblings. This sibling also fell in love with the couch, but wall sounded funnier.

in love with the wall mental health carolyn honeychurch
Figure 1. Like a drunk leaning against a lamppost, this subject appears as if she is unable to part ways with the wall. The subject develops an infatuation with the wall and proceeds to laugh while “wallering” on the wall.

Unlike your common, run-of-the-mill hyperactivity which is usually brought on by caffeine, sugar or exposure to cold water, someone who is in the throws of being In Love with the Wall acts as if they are in a drunken stupor. There’s also a distinct facial expression that accompanies the disorder: dull expression, gaping mouth, and glassy eyes that refuse to make eye-contact.

in love with the wall mental health carolyn honeychurch
Figure 2. A. ILW Disorder presented in the face. Notice how punchable the expression is with the subject’s gaping mouth and glassy eyes. B. Common Hyperactivity presented in the face. Unlike the ILW face, this expression is more slappable. The eyes are crazed and the teeth exposed in an aggressive way.

Figure 3. Harassing others, the ILW subject loves to be hated. When the subject is not actively in love with a wall, they are often invading the personal space of others and inciting rage. Notice how the victim (in this case an older brother) is clenching his fist. The urge to punch someone going through an ILW fit must be resisted. Shoving them into a wall can usually free you from their attacks.

Other Traits Found in “In Love with the Wall” Syndrome

– Loss of verbal skills. Mostly makes huurrr and duuurr sounds. May erupt into exhausted laughter.

– Difficulty with personal boundaries or the well-being of others (e.g. will collapse on people mistaking them for a wall)

– Thinks they are funny, but they are far from it

– Loss of hearing especially the pleas of others for them to “Stop” or “get away from me.”

– Usually has to pee, but will lean against the wall and cross their legs

– May fall in love with the couch once the “fit” begins to subside

– Snaps out of it as soon as someone has had enough and hits them back.

– ILW usually strikes in the evening or sometimes earlier on overcast days.

in love with the wall rug burn
Figure 4. Another case of an ILW subject clinging to a victim. In this case, the subject is so in love with the wall that he is unaware that the carpet has pulled down his shorts and his privates are being rug-burned.

If you or a loved one suffers from In Love with the Wall disorder, start playing THIS SONG really loud.

Writing Goals and Methods

One stupid-dumb thing I always do when making writing goals is that I come up with the goal first then I try to make my terrible methods accomplish this goal. So, for example, last year I said, “My goal is to be done with my book by the end of the year” because that sounded cool. My husband and I agreed that my writing nights would be Monday and Wednesday after dinner. Then I would try to cram in writing any other time I could. Of course I failed. Not because of the timeframe, but because my methods weren’t very wise. Also, sin.

carolyn honeychurch kids playmobil writing goals
(L) Me trying to find a balance between loving, teaching and disciplining my children (R) Me about to Bawitdaba da bang da bang diggy diggy diggy

For starters, as a stay-at-home mom with two young kids, my brain is pretty fried by 5 pm. At that point, I could probably be collecting disability. Remember that brain-egg in the frying pan commercial? “This is your brain on drugs?” Well, my brain on kids would be the same, except when he cracks the egg, a fart comes out of the egg and swirls around the pan.

I guess anyone with kids, whether you work or not, is fried at that hour, but I would argue that stay-at-home mom brain is a different flavor of exhaustion.

Anyway, I would still go upstairs and write, but it was such an inefficient use of time. Sometimes I could only get 200 words out in 90 minutes. I never took the time to experiment with different times and figure out what worked for both my family and me. But that’s all changed, you guys!

Here are some bits of wisdom I learned over the past 3 months that helped me hone in on a method that is actually working.

Clean at Night

This is a good idea for two reasons: (1) Cleaning requires little brain power or creativity, so it’s best to do while braindead in the evening. Writing, on the other hand, does require brain power and creativity, so I should probably use my fresh morning brain on this task, right? (2) My kids will destroy my cleaning efforts throughout the day and then I’ll be re-tidying up ALL day (this = rage). Better to do it once at night and wake up to a clean house.

writing goals carolyn honeychurch messy living room playmobil

In short, give your “stupid self” stupid tasks and your “smart self” smart tasks. I feel like if I took the time I could come up with a cool Johnnie Cochran rhyme for this.

My husband helps, too, but it looks better if it’s just me slaving away.

Note: It’s not like I DON’T clean during the day. Things likes laundry have to be done during the day, but certain things are left for when the kids are in bed (e.g. loading/running dishwasher, kitchen wipe-down, tidying the living room, chiseling boogers off the furniture).

Write in the Morning

I never considered myself a morning person until I met my husband and realized there are people who need three hours to wake up. Now please don’t confuse being a “morning person” with one of those X-Men that only needs 4 hours of sleep. I wish I had that power. Anyway, I thought about getting up early to write, but it just didn’t seem practical to me.

(L) Early bird (R) Night owl

After attending a Christian writing conference in March, one of the speakers (Costi Hinn) encouraged us to get up early. This was kind of not good to hear, because my daughter (before daylight savings time) was getting up between 5-5:30 am. That means I would have to get up at 4 am to get at least an hour in. That’s going fishing times. But I took a step of faith and started doing it. I realized if I go to bed at 9:30, I could still get 6.5-7 hours of sleep. So, three days a week, I’m up before 5, usually 4:15 am. And it works.

I Still Do Bad Things

proverbs 16:3 carolyn honeychurch
“Oh no, a Bible verse” – some people

I had a few paragraphs here about how I still do bad things, but I decided to make that into a separate blog post. To sum it up, the third bit of wisdom came about when it was brought to my attention (thank you God) that I had sin in my life that I needed to repent of. Stay tuned for that juicy gossip. Oh, and with the scripture above in mind, I actually did that (commit my work to the Lord) and I just want to warn you that sometimes God needs to correct you in order for your plans to be established. It’s worth it though.

By the way, if anyone wants to be a character witness at my trial, please e-mail me.

My Revised Methods and Writing Goals

So, here we go. Just a little snapshot of my goals for April. Things will be modified for May.

  • Write ~4,750 words a week.
  • Wake up early three days a week (write at least 750 words during this time)
  • One writing night a week (Wednesday night, write at least 1000 words).
  • Two hour block of writing Saturday (write at least 1,500 words)
  • April total: ~ 19,000
  • Total word count: ~ 59,500 words

This post was supposed to be short. Also, for the sake of my SEO keyword density: writing goals, writing goals.

A Fresh Start and Book Talk

Hello. If you’ve been to my page before, you probably remember that I, Carolyn Honeychurch, had a lot of illustrated posts on here. They were mostly stories about my life. I archived those since I’m transitioning this site into something more professional. Just to be clear, my idea of professional is not good (that’s what a real professional told me, at least). Also, my old stories contained material and language that can get you thrown in prison nowadays (e.g. m*dget).

So many memories.

Anyway, if you don’t already know me, my name is Carolyn Honeychurch and I’m currently working on my first novel. By “first” I mean the first one I actually intend to publish. I wrote one in high school and had another one going in my early 20s (got about 80% done with that one). Maybe I’ll write about those in future posts (Spoiler: they’re terrible).

carolyn honeychurch playmobil please leave
I’m not really a Playmobil.

As I get more involved in the writing community on social media, I realize that a lot of wannabe writers are very willing to share their plots, snippets of their writing and character bios. I will not be doing this. If some jerk came up to me and had two envelopes, one containing my work in progress and in the other, a nude photo of me, and then this jerk threatened to release one to the public, but I get to choose which one, I would have a lot of trouble choosing.

Here’s what I will tell you: it’s fiction, satirical, kind of adventure-y, a little fairytale-ish and maybe fantasy-like. It’s supposed to be funny. If it’s not funny, then I failed. But, on the bright side, if I fail, you all get to experience my failure with me.

carolyn honeychurch novel word count frog
Subtract 126 words.

Here’s my current word/page count. I assume my finished book will be between 75,000-85,000 words. My goal is to be done with the first draft by the end of May.

That’s it for now. I will keep everyone updated on my journey and other stuff here or on my Instagram @honeychurchbook.