Thursday, May 28, 2009

I'll take Life for $1000, Alex

Mondays are always fun for my blogging self.The weeks end, a sigh of relief. I am a rather introspective, reflective kind of a person. I enjoy looking back over the week seeing its high points and the ones further south.

This week was very full. School ending, getting settled into summertime routine, meals for friends with new babies, discipline, bedtimes, chores. The dailiness of life often takes over. And so the week started. Mixed with the to dos was the what to dos.

This week, my tongue was silent when there should have been words. Someone I love was hurting, I couldn't find a thing to say.

My mother-in-law is back in the hospital. We got a call from my father-in-law saying that he was going to call 911. The firehouse is just north of us so we heard the sirens as they headed south to their apartment. No one quite knows how serious it is this time. I can not go the hospital. The kids need me home. They cannot handle the roller coaster. Will Grandma live or die. Wanting to know what is happening in Grandma's body. I cannot explain it to them. Again, there just aren't words enough.

Just when I feel unable to cope, I get a fresh breeze. This week it came from my children. They make made me laugh. They made me think. Their curiosity makes me more determined to face life head on. After all, it's quite simple to them. We've got God. He'll take care of it. His plan is perfect.

"Do not hinder them. The kingdom of God belongs to such as these."

It's no wonder God loved to have children around Him.

Children have such a zeal for life that is hard to suppress. Their fears are equally hard for them to suppress. That is where I relate best to kids. I'm a first class worrier. My tears fall as easily as Becca's, though I've learned to hide them better. Although I know to be anxious for nothing, I cannot seem to manage to make it happen. Although He has not failed me, I doubt. I lose heart. My courage fails.

"Take courage, it is I. Don't be afraid." Mat. 14:27

I love that there are so many stories about storms in the Bible. I love the Jesus was in the midst of them. Sometimes He ended them. Sometimes He walked through them.

Take courage.

Trust Me.

The question I feel like I'm being asked is not do I see the storm, but do I see Him. Do I trust Him. Do I believe He is able.

This past nine months have been a roller coaster ride for our family. My mom #2 (mother-in-law) has been in and out of the hospital so many times. We wonder each time if she will make it home again. Time and time again we are surprised by her strength and the plan God has for her life. There are questions in the midst of this storm we want answered. I want to have answers that make sense to my children's questions. To my questions. I want this to make sense somehow, some way.

Instead of clarity, I am getting a challenge.

Trust Me.

When you need help, trust Me.

When you can't go on, trust Me.

When you don't have the words, trust Me.

Take courage, it is I.

I hope your weekend is joy filled. May He bless you with His presence.

Bethany

This picture is about a year old. Would you pray for Mom. She is fighting hard. We know she wants to complete her work here, but we also know her body is tired. Thanks for lifting her to the Lord. We pray for His good and perfect will to be done now as always.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

To My Sisters

I finally copied my pictures onto my computer from Mother's Day weekend. This was one of my favorites. My sisters and I haven't taken a picture together in several years. So, in honor of two of my favorite women....

Me and my sisters
Just us three.
We've walked roads together
That no one else can see.

Me and my sisters
We've shared a lot of life.
With only one bedroom
We shared a lot of strife.

Me and my sisters,
I'm glad God gave you to me.
We'll be together in the end,
Just you wait and see.

Love you both!!!

P.S. Thanks Amanda for the picnik tip! It made this picture MUCH better. I owe you.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Remembering

Today I sat in church and was reminded again of what a privileged nation I get to live in. I am a citizen of a country founded on moral ground. Solid ground. Principals that are backed by the word of God. The founding documents of our nation were designed for a country whose citizens took responsibility for themselves. Citizens who saw the need to care for themselves and others, not looking to the government or "somebody else" to care for our needs. "Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." (John Adams)

It is at times like these - when our nation is facing great change, when our nation is undergoing great transformation - that I love to look back at the words of our founding fathers. People came and come here because they have a chance to grow. A chance to make something of themselves. There are many nations in our world where people can go for a handout. Ours was not one of them. It is becoming one. It makes me sad. It's not that I believe that helping others is wrong. There is much good in church run food pantries. There is much benefit in the service the American Red Cross and Salvation Army provide. There is even some merit in government subsidies. But the problem begins when we expect our government to hand out_______. Fill in the blank. The question anymore seems to be less what do we ask for and more what have we not asked our government to provide. Instead of allowing its people to lean on God and trust in His provision, it inspires us to lean on our government and trust in its provision.

This weekend as I remember those who gave their lives, I am proud to be an American. I'm proud to be granddaughter to an Army veteran. I'm proud to be sister of an Air Force JAG. I'm proud to be daughter-in-law to a Navy veteran. I'm proud of all the friends, uncles, cousins who have served. I'm proud of all the men and woman who are serving. I want to not take lightly that it was not so long ago freedom of religion was something that was dreamed of. It was not long ago that right of free speech, press, assembly and bearing arms was just a dream. Some of my ancestors paid the ultimate price. Some of yours may have too.

So, as I remember, I give thanks. Thanks to God. Thanks to those who have served. Thank you to those who are. Thank you to the families who make the sacrifices. My family will not forget.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

School Day?

Just because I'm sure you are all dying to know.....

TODAY WAS A SCHOOL DAY!!!

That means 3 days left.

Just because I'm slightly OCD, Ty did a math test this morning. Read his own story problems. And I'm counting it!

I'd post pictures of the excellent socialization that he got, but I forgot my camera. And it wouldn't have mattered if I had taken it, I was too busy keeping Hope from eating goose poop and chasing the mean nasty things. Maybe I'll get some pictures when we go to the Organic Creamery for a field trip next month.

Hey, can I count that day towards next year???

Monday, May 18, 2009

Not Me!

So, I kind of forgot it was Monday. The same way I kind of forgot all the stupid funny things that happened in our house last week. And I was just going to let it slide and post next week...but, my friend Jeri posted the most hilarious Not me! I've seen in awhile. And I thought just out of fairness to her (since you all should really click on her link and check it out) I'd share my moment(s) of the week with you. So, here it is!


This week I did not spend much time debating about whether or not to count a end of school picnic with the other homeschooling families as a school day. It would be just wrong of me to think that since the public schools do it, I can. And it's not me, who's still trying to decide. No way.

It was not me who went out with some women to a nice restaurant for a wrap up committee meeting and had to use the women's room. And that would not be notable because I did not slip and almost fall on my way there. Had that happened, I would not have elbowed another patron from the restaurant in the back to keep myself from totally wiping out. I would have not just uttered a quick apology and walked away. Nor would I walk back to my table and not mention a thing about it. How embarrassing would that be. So glad that did NOT happen. So thankful I'm always graceful...even on slick floors in spiky heels.

It was not me who denied my child the right to hurry to the potty and ended up with a mess on the floor in my van. I would never say "you just went 10 minutes ago" and tell the child to wait. That would NEVER happen.

I did NOT decide Saturday morning was a good time to ask my husband to build a closet. If I had, I would never have agreed (or encouraged him) to him taking two children along to get the supplies. And had he, I would not have called and asked him to bring me home a coke. If I had, he would not have told me he couldn't turn around because he had drywall in the back and it was raining and then show up...coke in hand. I do Not have one of the all time great husbands.

Head on over to MckMama's and check out all the other not me's!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Pencils Down

Remember those words?

Every year as I took the Iowa Basics or some other version of the achievement tests, I would always wait restless for those words. It didn't matter how long ago I had finished. It didn't matter if I'd double or triple checked my work. "pencils down" meant there was no more time to correct mistakes or change what I'd written.

Pencils down.

Finality.

As this homeschooling year comes to a close, my heart is restless. Although it's not me putting the pencil down, it still feels like it. Tyler is the student who's attendance is required. Yet it feels that I have more to learn than he. I doubt, and question, and wonder...

Did I forget to teach something of great importance?

What mistakes have I made that I need to correct?

Have I dampened his desire to learn?

Insert very, very deep cleansing breath here. (Hey, all that Lamaze did pay off!)

I have yet to meet a homeschooling mother who doesn't question whether or not she's doing enough. Isn't having the secular media, most public education groups, and many times family members watching us, pointing out our failures enough? Why do I do this to myself?

I believe one of the greatest challenges to homeschooling is this: we have a vested interest in seeing our kids succeed in more than just academics. BUT, academics is the standard we are measured by.

Do I want my children to succeed academically? Of course. There is no question in my mind that my children have the God-given ability to learn. And I want them to do that to the best of their ability. But that is not the only area I am concerned with. I would rather my children learn to love God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength than learn to be the next Rembrandt. I care far more that my children learn to think and reason than I do about them mastering calculus. I want my children to learn to love others as well as gather knowledge of the human anatomy. I don't just care that my children do well in the sciences and arts. I want them to learn to care about the things that matter to God's heart.

How many classroom teachers are able to identify AND work with each individual child to help them achieve their very best, physically, socially, emotionally, spiritually and academically. The teachers I know WANT to. They want the very best for the students. But they CAN'T. They are simply unable to look at 20 + children in their classroom and give each of those precious children all the time they would like. My oldest sister, my friends from church, my homeschooling mom friends (all formerly or currently excellent public educators) tell me this is true. The problem lies not with the trained teacher's ability or desire, but the time constraints, the sheer number of students, and the need to pass the test to get the funds.

As I look back and think over my first year of teaching that "counts" I have two thoughts.

Homeschooling is incredibly humbling. I have never had so many questions about my sanity, my abilities and my parenting. And that just comes from my children! Seriously though, explaining over and over why this is the path I have chosen is at times overwhelming. It makes me question my decision...and I think that's a great thing. If I just kept putting one foot in front of the other and plodding through my children's school years, I would miss many opportunities. Having to articulate my answer for the "why" questions helps me focus on what is truly important.

The second is this. I personally do not have everything it takes to teach my child about everything. I don't believe God intends it that way. But just as I can (and do) look to my own mother for much help and many answers she cannot be my sole guide on this journey. I have many other homeschooling moms and public educators that give me wisdom and encouragement. But, I will work hard to make sure each of my children are nurtured and encouraged in areas of both strength and weakness.

As I finish out my record keeping, put away the dog eared books the verse "My strength is made perfect in your weakness" plays on constant repeat in the background of my mind. What a refreshing thought. I have my responsibilities, but I don't have to take on God's. My children are capable of learning in many environments. I've watched them. Whether it's a classroom setting with other children, the backyard watching bugs or snuggled on the couch with good literature, they are learning, growing and changing into the young man and woman God created them to be. It really has far less to do with me and a heck of a lot more to do with God. I fail every single day in some way. He doesn't. He mends the mistakes. He brings to mind my shortcomings so I can do it better, differently the next time around. It's exhausting and exhilarating all at the same time. I know home education isn't the answer for every family. But I am glad that I have this chance. This opportunity to be with my children. I have a front row seat to the amazing things happening in their minds and hearts. I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Seriously?

It's Monday, and normally Not Me! takes center stage...and maybe it will later. But first, this important announcement.

My blogging friend Amanda has started a the Awesomest Blog Awards 2009...and I was nominated...TWICE...in the parenting category. I was informed by email (of course) and sat there in shock. I knew about the awards (since I read her blog). And I had been meaning to go check it out, but life got in the way. I went to tell Doug and since then he's been walking around saying, "You're the awesomest." Corny I know, but sweet too.

So here's the business end of the deal. Go over to Amanda's blog. Check out the nominee's and vote for the Awesomest Blog in each category. Who knows? You might just find some awesome new blogs to get addicted to.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Not Me! Monday

Now that MckMama and Stellan have returned home, Not Me! Monday, has returned to the blogging world. You all know the drill by now, hop on over to MckMama's blog if you want to catch up on her and everyone else's Not Me's. Happy blog hopping.


Since it has been several weeks since my last Not Me! I'll start with the most recent stuff and cut this post off before it gets too long.

Yesterday, I did not run to the store to get new find for new fingernail polish for Becca and Hope. It would be incredibly ridiculous to buy new polish for such little girls. I wouldn't waste my husband's money on such vain things (nor would I ever use "grocery money" on it).

When returning home from the trip I so did not make, I did not promptly start painting my littlest girl's toes. She's only 16 months. I wouldn't "make" a baby sit still just so she could have pink toenails. Nope, not me.

When I went to get a file for Becca's nails, I did not leave my chair pushed out from the dining room table. And that so wouldn't matter since I do NOT have a baby who is a climber. And I definitely don't have a climber who now likes nail polish. And I didn't leave the finger nail polish on the table where she could reach it had she happened to climb on the chair -which of course she didn't. And had she climbed on the chair, she would never have gotten the nail polish off. And had she gotten the nail polish off (which she so did NOT do) she would never have had the opportunity to spill the bright pink polish on the carpet. And since she didn't spill it on the carpet there was absolutely no need for me to come back into the room and yell to my sleeping husband - "GET HER!" And since I most certainly did not yell like a crazed woman, she did not have a heads up to know that her new toy was soon to be taken. And since she did not know that, there was no need for her to finish the deal by sticking the brush in her mouth. Definitely NOT in my house.

Oh, and that so did NOT happen less than an hour before we had to be at a birthday party.

Oh, and it also didn't happen that as I was scrubbing the carpet, we got a phone call from some cousin's saying that they would be stopping at our house in about 15 minutes. And I did not completely freak out because not only was I scrubbing NAIL POLISH out of my carpet, my house was an entire wreck. Nope, not me!

This past weekend, my husband did not build a fence across the front of the garden so our new puppy cannot dig in it anymore. I so did not get perverse pleasure from standing in the garden, calling her and watching her try to jump through the fence and hit her head. I would never laugh at a dog's stupidity. (Truly, I only did it once. But I did laugh really hard. And she is smart. She found another way in. Darn that smart, stupid dog.)

I was so not excited that only one time this past week did my neighbors see me chasing the dog mentioned above down the street. That would not be something to celebrate since my neighbors are so used to me chasing this dog, they now send their children out to help me wrangle her. I do know how to train a dog so this would never be me!

A week ago, I did not work to help our church's MOPS group with their annual kids clothing sale. If I had, I would have done it out of the goodness of my heart, not so I could be an early shopper. And had I gone, and worked, and shopped, I would not have spent over $200. And had I spent that much it would not have looked a little crazier than this when I brought it home.
And I wouldn't have averaged spending $1.35 per item. And I would not at all be proud of that. Nope! Not me.


One Sunday, a few weeks back, Mom did not come stay at our house while Dad went to a funeral. If she had, she would NOT have decided it would be hilarious to throw a fit with my daughter. And had she, I would NOT have put it on film (or whatever you call it now). In all fairness Mom, I did tell you it would end up here. :)

video
(I know, I know, I really need to work on my video skills.)

Okay, last one, I am so not looking forward to the school year being out. I am totally dedicated to my children's education. So there is no way the thought of closing the books and leaving the last 15 days for "summer school" would have crossed my mind. Any other homeschooler's out there with me. Yeah, I didn't think so!


Have a great week!