Monday, September 29, 2014

crafting a life

We have, in essence, crafted the life that is just right for us. We are thoughtful in our decisions about what comes into our lives, about how we spend our time, about the things we say yes or no to, about the ways we earn an income. We've worked hard and lived simply so that we can be together as a family in the ways that we are each and everyday.

These wise words were from one of my favorite blogs, Soule Mama.  After another bout of frustration last week, I just told the boys that we needed to change things.  Because we can.   By choosing to homeschool, our family life has the freedom to say "This isn't working, we need to change something."  This journey is a creative endeavor, not static.  We can tweak, we can adjust, we can overhaul.

What freedom.

But there is a flip side to that, because as we "craft this life", we must limit ourselves.  We have said no to two incomes, no to expensive vacations, no to lots of wants.  But it has freed us to say yes to so much.  Yes to another story, yes to art time with Daddy, yes to climbing trees and sledding. 

We will continue to craft, to whittle, to sculpt out this life we have been given.  With grace and love.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

grateful for tomorrows

We had a bad day yesterday.  That was all it was, a bad day.

But today is tomorrow.  And we get to start new.  And we look back and we learn.

That evening baseball games require more sleep the next morning.

That mama really cannot give attention simultaneously to three children.  One must be occupied and then maybe she can work with two at once.

That some activities require quiet, and the living room/ kitchen area is not quiet.  The bedrooms are.

That the schedule serves us, we are not slaves to it.  So it isnt working, we can and should change it.

That sometimes we want creativity and fight against limits, but then we find that a few boundaries actually help our creativity.

Most of all, we learn that we are homeschooling because
 we are in this together,
we are not giving up on one another
 and we are tailoring this education to our needs. 

And we always have tomorrow.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

You may be a nerdy couple if. . .

You hurry to get the kitchen cleaned up and and kids to bed so you can be alone and . . .

watch The Roosevelts. 

Watch it! Its so good! :)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A little Scot left in my soul

I dont know all the particulars, the ramifactions, the prognostications and the predictions of what Scotland's independence would mean.

I just know there is a part of me that wants them to vote YES. 

Like most Americans, I'm a mix. Mostly English, a bit of German, but a whole lot of Scot-Irish.  I don't quite get it, but basically my people were too ornery for the English to handle, so they gave them land in Ireland just to get them out of their hair. 

So you could say I get the Scots desire to break free from the harness of the oppressive regime.

It must be that Scottish part of me. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


We have all felt it, havent we? 

That tensing in the chest, maybe tears in the eyes.  And everything just feels. . . tight. 

Driving in a new city, repeating instructions for the 100th time, messing up a stitch and having to pull it all out.

My son felt it today.  A math problem that didn't make sense.  Mom's explanation just upped the tension.  Tears came.

Curled up in a ball, he concentrated his energy on the best cure for frustration-  breathing.

A lesson to myself.

When it is all too much.

Too much noise.

Too much confusion.

Too much clutter.

Too much pain.

Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out.

It will get better.

Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out.

You will make it.

Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out.

You aren't alone.

Friday, September 12, 2014

pin the post on the book game

Melissa Wiley started it.  She challenged her readers to post about a book on their shelves that they randomly pick.

My selection criteria was limited to the two shelves that have the grown ups books, but not the counseling books.  I flipped a coin to decide which shelf and then threw the coin at the shelf.  The book it hit was:

Unfortunately, I havent read that book. :(   But two doors down is the one Thomas Merton book i have read, the one that got me to recommend him to my husband,  who is the Merton reader around here. 

I may be the only teenage girl in history to take Seven Story Mountain as a beach read on a high school spring break trip.  Yeah, I was that kind of girl.  

Its an autobiography of a life that spanned continents, religions and for someone who took a vocation of keeping to himself, he was very connected with many great thinkers of his time.  

Thomas Merton is truly a fascinating person.  Full of contradictions and a continuous arc of growth and discovery in his life.  We have visited the Abbey of Gethsemane several times.  A little oasis of quiet amidst the farms.  

Maybe not a beach read, but definitely thought provoking and inspiring.  Below is the famous prayer by Merton, from Thoughts in Solitude.  (Hey, I have read that one too!)

“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”
Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

No Whining, No Comparing.

Tomorrow night I am having a group of moms over for brownies, fellowship and discussion centered on the topic of "How to teach kids that would rather make forts all day."  A topic I completely ripped off from Andrew Pudewa.  You can download the talk here. 

Since we are all moms and none of us have time to waste, I want the discussion to be a time of building up and leaving with some ideas and tools we may not have come with.  So I thought some ground rules might be necessary.  I came up with two essential ones, maybe there are more, but these are good start. 

No Whining.  We are not here to complain about our active, energetic kids.  Every child is a blessing, a gift.  God has given us these kids for a purpose and it is with deep gratitude that we consider how to teach them well.  We dont need to convince anyone that it is hard to be a parent of any kid.  Complaining can be a snowball, the more you do it, the more things you see to complain about.  Avalanches are destructive, our discussion is to be constructive.

No Comparing.  A wise man once said "Whenever you compare, it never comes out even.  Either you are better or you are worse."  God didn't give our kids to anyone else, just us.  We aren't living anyone else's lives, just ours.  There is no script for this adventure, we write it as we go.  So let us focus on humility, on seeing ourselves as God does.  We can glean from the wisdom and experience of others, but not hold them (or ourselves) up as measuring stick of success.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

More and All Done

My baby girl can talk.  Well, she can sign some words, and that is a great step. :)

As I was wiping up the dropped bits of strawberry, peas and beans  (she drops food as she loses interest in it) my son said, "All Done is a really important thing to know how to say."

Yes, it is.

How many struggles in my life revolve around knowing when to say "enough" or "no, I can't" or "sorry, not today" ?  I get stretched beyond myself so easily and run out of time, energy and patience. How many burdens in our society such as credit card debt, obesity, stress, etc.  stem from the lack of saying "All Done"?

And More?  How many times do I hold back from reaching out to someone who is lonely because I am too consumed with myself?  Why won't I just sit and be still with God?  Why do I say "More" to the things that drain me instead of the life-giving things?

Today was our first day of starting the full school schedule and I was wiped out by lunch.  It is a time when we are all learning together how to say "More" and "All Done" and to discern when to use them. 

All done with blaming, judging, criticizing and stewing.

More love, grace, laughter, hugs and hope.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

working on my attitude

Recently I was put in a position I didn't really ask for.  It isn't a huge burden, but it does take some of my time and puts extra responsibilities on my shoulders.  How do I approach this?  How do I face this situation?

My natural inclination is to get frustrated with others that won't help.  To feel very righteous that I am working and serving others while the rest of the crowd just takes and takes.  I keep a little mental list of all who dont measure up to what I think they should be doing.

But. . .

What if?

What if I chose to be thankful for this way I can love God by loving others?  What if I prayed for each person I am around and looked for God's image in them?  What if my attitude was welcoming and warm?  What if making others know they are precious was my highest priority?

What if I took all that energy I usually spend on being negative and blessed others with no expectations? 

What if?