Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I'm Doing Something!!!

I need to get to bed, but I would also like to journal a minute. I am homeschooling my children, right? Then why am I not home all that much? How come the days that we get to spend an entire day at home are fewer than when I'm out running errands or on play dates? It's beginning to bother me.

A couple of years ago I attended a homeschooling conference. I went because the Jessie Wise was speaking and I think that she is a rock star! While there I was reading a bit in Nehemiah, I'm not sure why, but God used Nehemiah to show me that I was doing something. I was building a wall. When the enemies tried to distract Nehemiah so he would quit (leaving the city vulnerable) Nehemiah blew him off and told him (in essence) that he didn't have time for their nonsense, he was building a wall. I am building a wall. I am rebuilding as I build. Our culture has all but obliterated the family unit telling us that we need to be busy in order to be valid. We need to be sure that we are allowing our children the time to play with other children and on teams for fun and then for competition and we need to be in church and programs out the wazoo! It's not healthy first of all, and it's not possible second of all.

I am currently in a study at church called Redeeming the Time. I am learning a TON and tonight I realized that I am so consumed with the "urgent" things, that those things that are necessary are going undone. I am becoming increasingly more frustrated because I am not in my home long enough to "keep" it and when we are here the phone is ringing or I'm attempting to do many things at the same time. Totally inefficient.

What has God called me to do? Has He called me to run my children until we are all ragged to insure that their social "needs" are being met? No. He hasn't. I'm sure of that. He has called me to teach and train my children and then there was one more thing...what was it? Oh, He has called me to ENJOY my children. I am really going to beg Him to do this. I have been enjoying them, but I haven't been fighting for it. I have allowed circumstances or the urgent needs of others to put them second or even third. They are the best thing I have (Mike and Jesus too) and I am treating them they second class citizens in a third world country!

I'll say this, school is great. We learned a lot and got a good bit done, but that's not why I have my children home. I want to play games with them and sing songs and clean and cook and ENJOY our days TOGETHER! So, I think I'm going to be saying "No" a bit more often these days. I think that I may be misunderstood and I may miss out on some fun stuff, but I do NOT want to miss out on the ordinary, everyday, mundane stuff of life that I will never get back.

It matters to me that they have friends. Heck, I want to hang out with my friends, but we are gone way too much for way too long. One of my favorite lines is from Goonies when they are in the well and they find a "wish" that they want to take back they say, "This is my wish, my dream, and it didn't come true, and I'm taking it back...I'm taking them all back." I'll tell you what, "These are my kids, my gifts and I'm taking them back...I'm taking them all back."

A very wise, anonymous Wal-Mart shopper once said, "The days are long, but the years are short."

I want to ENJOY these long days. How about you?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Just a Note

I just finished reading Bartholomew's Passage to the kids for today. I just want to say that where it is a super story (although rather violent at times...there are Roman soldiers) I don't completely agree with all of the devotional aspects. They aren't way off, but they cause me to scratch my head a little. I just wanted to say that. Carry on.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Christmas Fun!

I love, love, love Advent. I love preparing our hearts for the coming of our King. I just want to share two books that we are using this season and maybe some of you will find them helpful.

Last year we made a Jesse Tree (I could link it, but if you google it, you'll get a lot more info) very simply. I printed some stuff off-line and we made a poster board tree and simply taped the ornaments on. This year I bought a book called, The Jesse Tree, by Geraldine McCaughrean. It's sort of a story within a story. There is a little boy that finds a grumpy old man working on a Jesse Tree in a church and day after day the boy comes back to hear more of the story and the man's heart'll have to read it to find out. I think we may make our ornaments out of clay. Only a few of them, though. I'm a big dreamer and a small doer, we'll probably color the majority of them. I thought it would be fun if every year we make a few really good ones or find some throughout the year. Anyway...I'm sure you can think of a super fun way to make yours, but I thought I'd share the book.

The other book we'll start tomorrow is called Bartholomew's Passage. The author wrote a book that we really enjoyed last year called Jotham's Journey. Mike and I agreed that it would make a great PG-13's sort of a drama with a lot of live action. Each parent must decide what is suitable, but everyone who was in our home when we were reading this demanded another chapter. We would close it and tell them they would have to come back the next night. The author warns the parent that some sections may be better explained rather than read. It's not a typical Christmas story, but it's good. The author is Arnold Ytreeide. If you have older children, they'd dig it. My kids are younger, but we dig it.

I think that's it. I've got lesson plans to write, a 3 year old in my lap that needs to go to bed...and I think I want some OREOS and milk. Busy night. I pray that this Advent Season finds you making Christ-centered traditions that will bless you and your family for generations to come!

Merry Christmas!

The Amazon link has Bartholomew's Passage and the Jesse Tree

Monday, November 2, 2009

Just Enough...

I love what I'm doing. Things are messy. People are starting to raise their eyebrows when we're out. We're learning together. I'm getting FRACTIONS!!! I'm also beginning to understand WORLD HISTORY and see God's hand in it all. I'm listening to Julia read. I'm learning about the Classifications of living things and how to tell a Monocot from a Dicot. I get tired. I get frazzled. HOWEVER...I wouldn't choose anything else given the opportunity. That being said...

Last week we went to the library and then walked out to the park. A woman was there with her granddaughter and struck up a conversation with me. She asked if I was a homeschooling mother and I replied, "I am. I sure love it." She looked as if I had just admitted that I was from planet Mars and here to take over. "Really?" She responded. I told her that I felt as though I was far more efficient with a few kids than with many. She asked if I was a former teacher (she asked since I said that I had "many" and now I have a "few"). I reluctantly told her that I was. I say "reluctantly" because every time I tell someone that I taught they think that I have every right to teach my own children where someone else isn't as capable. I don't think that is true, so I try not to let people find out what I did in my past life. ANYWAY...the next thing she said was, "I think it would take a really disciplined person to do that. Are you pretty disciplined?" I'm not sure if she was just curious, or pointing out some of the "requirements." Here is what I said, "You know, I'm as disciplined as I need to be. God has continued to give me exactly what I need for the stage I am in." I shared that with a woman at the store today who is pulling her children after Christmas and she cried. It was such a relief to her that she was only required to have enough. She doesn't need the discipline required to teach a High Schooler when she has a second grader. We get scared don't we? What will we do about transcripts? What about Calculus? Latin? Parenting a teenager all day??? I'm convinced that God is not a liar. He promises to give me EVERYTHING that I need for life and godliness. He promises to never leave us or forsake us. In His own prayer He teaches us to ask for our DAILY bread. We do not yet need our rations for the years to come. Just today. Just enough.

So, wherever you your laundry plotting against you as mine is? Are your children taking longer to go down for their naps because they are munching their Halloween Candy as mine are? Is your bathroom so raunchy that you feel like "hovering?" I'll not tell you about mine. I'm going to start slow and hopefully by Friday everything will be clean. Until then I'm going to trust that God will guide me to do what is most important and that we will continue to praise Him for being enough.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A peek into my heart.

I was reading through my journal a few days ago and realized that most of my entries start like this, "LORD, ARE YOU TRYING TO KILL ME? HOLY CRAP-THAT IS ME...I AM PRETTY TIRED OF BEING BULLIED BY MY KIDS! OR WOULD YOU PLEASE KEEP MY HORMONAL TIRADES TO A MINIMUM OR GET RID OF THEM ALTOGETHER?" There was one that reminded me of why I do what I do. I hope that it encourages you today.

August 26, 2009
Sweet. Just plain sweet. The days that I spend in our home are like honey to me. The playing, the reading-the joy of being with them. Keep me here, Father. I know that all too soon the Little People will be but a memory. Polly Pocket's plastic clothing will no longer be littering my living room. There will be bigger people with different toys-going places. They will not always live here. They will not always fill my days with endless chatter and mind-numbing clamor. I-SPY Bingo will not always be the first choice game and baby dolls will be put to bed for the last time. Let me not mourn for this time once it has passed. Allow me to look back with great joy and content that I did, indeed, wring out every ouce of life from these days. Then I pray I will turn my face to the future and look with much anticipation to the years to come. Remind me that I do not stop giving my life away when these 3 step from here to where you have called them. Until I see your face in Glory I am not finished. Please remind Mike and I that the harvest field is ripe. Thank you for the absolute blessing that these days are to us. Thank you for a little house that doesn't require much time to maintain. Thank you for using us where we are. You are good and your love endures forever. Thank you for every good and perfect gift that you have given me.

Until next time...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Best Day

So, confession. I borrowed my sister's Taylor Swift CD and it is currently playing in my van. Confession #2, I like it. Confession #3 one of her songs made me cry...twice. I have shared before on my other blog how I like teeny bopper type stuff. I like the Disney Channel movies and sometimes I like the music. Today I was listening to said CD and the song "The Best Day" challenged my heart.

It is very easy to move into and stay in, Command Mom Mode. Like, "pick it up, put it back, bring it here, sit down, turn around, pick a bale of cotton!" You know just barking all day long. "Finish your Language, focus on Math, don't pick your nose (or anyone else's). We need to get this done. Get in the car, buckle up, get out, stay on the white line, follow close, hold the door"...oh my goodness I could go on and on! I know that I need to be training/discipling my children, but this song reminded me of the importance of loving my children well. I am the only person that is with them everyday. Do they enjoy my company? Would they say that any day they have spent with me is the "best day?" Would they choose me or someone else? I know I don't need to be their best friend, but I do need to allow them to enjoy their days.

I asked myself, "Am I laughing with them? Am I singing? Using my words to encourage? Am I seeking opportunities to step into their world? How am I spending our time together?"

As a homeschool Mom, I know that I have a great deal of control. I pray that I would use it wisely and that they would be blessed by spending their days with me, and that I would count it a blessing to spend my days, the best days...with them.

May today be one of "The Best Days" of your life.

The Best Day lyrics
Songwriters: Swift, Taylor Alison;
I'm five years old, it's getting cold, I've got my big coat on
I hear your laugh and look up smiling at you, I run and run
Past the pumpkin patch and the tractor rides, look now, the sky is gold
I hug your legs and fall asleep on the way home

I don't know why all the trees change in the fall
But I know you're not scared of anything at all
Don't know if Snow White's house is near or far away
But I know I had the best day with you today

I'm thirteen now and don't know how my friends could be so mean
I come home crying and you hold me tight and grab the keys
And we drive and drive until we found a town far enough away
And we talk and window shop 'til I've forgotten all their names

I don't know who I'm gonna talk to now at school
But I know I'm laughing on the car ride home with you
Don't know how long it's gonna take to feel okay
But I know I had the best day with you today

I have an excellent father, his strength is making me stronger
God smiles on my little brother, inside and out, he's better than I am
I grew up in a pretty house and I had space to run
And I had the best days with you

There is a video I found from back when I was three
You set up a paint set in the kitchen and you're talking to me
It's the age of princesses and pirate ships and the seven dwarfs
And Daddy's smart and you're the prettiest lady in the whole wide world

And now I know why the all the trees change in the fall
I know you were on my side even when I was wrong
And I love you for giving me your eyes
For staying back and watching me shine
And I didn't know if you knew, so I'm takin' this chance to say
That I had the best day with you today

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Not a Creature is Stirring...

Today was the first day of our co-op. What fun we had!!! We are members of a Classical Conversations Community here in Augusta and what a gift it is! I am a tutor and it feels good to sort of be back in the classroom again. The only difference is that I only have 8 children, once a week, I'm introducing material, one parent must be in the room at all times and I love what I'm teaching!

God has made me as a teacher. I love coming up with little games or jingles to teach the memory work and it is so sweet to have my very own Julia in my room with me. I wonder what she thinks about me as a teacher. I'm sure she sees a different side of me. She seemed to have a good time. I was whipped to say the least! I slept for about an hour and the kids are still down.

I could cry. Really. When God began us on this journey 4-5 years ago, I wasn't sure how it would look. I knew that obeying God beat disobeying and I certainly wanted to disciple my children. The other night I told my husband, "I see where we are headed and I like it." That is only because of His grace. Surely He can be trusted. Surely His plans for our lives are good. Surely I can look at the future with great anticipation because He is leading us there by His rod and His staff. He is my sweet, sweet, Lord and for whatever reason He has given me these children to spend my days with. I tell my kids as much as I can, that there isn't another way I'd rather spend my days. Really. The laundry, the lunches (I really don't like fixing lunch everyday) the mess that my house seems to stay in because people live's all because of the privilege I have in discipling my children.

So, it's official. We are in a co-op and we are doing this thing! We are really doing it! We've taken matters into our own hands...and placed them in the Father's care.

He is so good. I am so unworthy, my only response is praise.
Thank you Father.