Saturday, August 25, 2012

Test of Fire

As our nation prepares for the coming election it would be very easy to become complacent and tune out all of the commercials, sound bites, news stories, and yard signs. It would be easy to just let the moment come and go, choosing not to get involved in what is shaping up to be one of the nastiest elections in history. I encourage you to rethink those tendencies. I encourage you to register to vote, and then to make an intentional effort to express that right by actually voting. We have heard often in recent years that 'this election will be the most important one in history', and this time it really is. What will America become? YOU have the power to effect the outcome.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Falling In Love Again... With Heart of Dakota

Some parents have started worrying about how much school supplies will cost this year or wondering how many pairs of jeans will fit their children after a summer of shorts and t-shirts. Others have started worrying about teacher selection or bus drivers. But here, the biggest decisions we make are what curricula (after all you have to do more than one, right?) we will be using and how that will be provided. And I'm so happy I have that choice! As you may know, choosing from the plethora of curriculum choices available to homeschoolers today can be a daunting task. Just when you think you've settled on the perfect thing, you see something else that looks appealing. You listen to friends talk about what they like and what they didn't, and despite your best efforts to be practical and impartial you can't help but let that influence you. Especially when they discover some new, awesome thing! But I think I've found just what we need for Laura. And the more I plan using it, the more excited I become. We'll be using Heart of Dakota's Bigger Hearts For His Glory this year for most of our subjects. This is new for me because I always feel like I need to 'fix' things to make them work better for us. After all, that's what I did in the classroom and for my employees. Why wouldn't I do it for my kids? But this year I am content to just follow much of what Carrie Austin has written. Because it is just that good. We'll be doing a variety of math options as this is a subject Laura needs to regain the excitement that waned shortly after we moved from counting to actual addition. And Laura has moved beyond the suggested Grammar program so we'll be doing the next step in that as well. Adding in Apologia Science to compliment the program Carrie provides is a given, too. But that's because she loves science. However, that's it. Really. We are just going to do HOD and enjoy it. And I can't wait!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Circle of Life Goes On

Sometimes I like to forget. For instance, I can easily forget I've given up canned caffeine when presented with a cool, delicious 'silver bullet' with lime. And I can periodically forget that I'm heading downstairs after my hubby leaves each morning to torture myself on the treadmill. But what I really like to forget is how old I am. It is like my mind just can't wrap itself around the fact that I'm not still in my late 20's or early 30's. Time is standing still. At least for my mind. Sadly, my body isn't following suit.

Every once in awhile something puts itself right in front of you and it won't let you forget. You can't ignore it. It just is. And you know it. That happened yesterday. And I am still trying hard to grasp the reality it presents.

Yesterday my niece gave birth to the first of our family's next generation. I realized I was becoming a "Great Aunt" but I preferred to think of myself as a just a wonderful "great Aunt" and figured I could continue to forget the reality of the situation. You know. Semantics and all. It is a great coping skill when you are in denial. :) And it was working! Pretty well, actually. And then the new Grandparents had to spoil it all.

I heard the dinging of my phone and knew a new message had arrived. I picked it up and noted a new media message had arrived entitled "Gramps". "Great!" I thought. My parents had managed to get it together and get over to the hospital to see the baby! How awesome! And then I opened the picture.

There, sitting peacefully, was my brother holding the new baby. My Brother! Who is 17 mos older than me. A new Grandpa. I stopped breathing and just stared for a moment. The reality was that we are really old enough to be grandparents, great aunts, and great uncles. While I'm just almost 7 years from having given birth for the last time myself, my niece is just beginning the process once again for the next generation. Lance is the first. I'm sure there will be more to come. After all, there are five more 'cousins' to grow up and get married. I'm even looking forward to becoming a grandparent someday, too. When the time is right.

And perhaps, just perhaps, Lance has allowed me to begin to realize that intense parenting does end, grandparenting will begin. And in it all, I will be ready. At least physically.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Time Enough

I can barely recall the days when I used to hit the alarm clock two or three times before getting up. Or how often I went over to do lists in my mind between the alarms or while actually doing my hair as I got ready to head to work. But I do think that those days were easier. Could it just be that realities fade somewhat as they become memories? Do we prefer to remember only the good things, and not so much the more stressful things? Or is parenting and schooling at home really the hardest thing I've ever done?

Yes, that must be it. Really!

Take this week for instance. Yes, I plan a week at a time now. I used to plan for months back in the day, but now I settle for a week at a time. And sometimes a day at a time. It just makes more sense. And I am the first to admit that I have less control than I used to. Yes, less control. Before, being in charge meant that I could request progress/activities, and while there might have been griping under a few breaths now and then, it generally got done. There were deadlines. And my paycheck depended on them. As did many others. So they guided my life.

Now my 'deadlines' are fluid. I am raising children. I am not in charge of them. They must make their own decisions. It is my job to train, guide, teach and direct, but ultimately they will need to make decisions on their own. And live with the consequences. And I want them to generally make good decisions based on strong biblical principles, have strong relationships, be true disciples for the Lord, read wonderful books, do necessary math without struggle, and enjoy learning for learning sake. So I am very flexible. Because I am a parent. Of children. Who are ever-changing.

Okay, now back to my week...

It was my goal this week to stick to our schedule, make sure we made adequate progress in our school work, maintain a pleasant, encouraging attitude in a clean house, guide my growing children in thinking beyond their needs, get the laundry done including folded and put away, and make dinner at least 5 nights this week without depending on quick fix things like hot dogs. And I have other goals, too. Things like making sure I spend some time each day in the Word and with the Lord, praying over my children and their individual needs, reminding my husband of the reason we thought getting married was the absolute best idea in the world all those years ago, and coloring my hair while spending some time with my Mom are on the list, too. If you add in the necessary things like keeping milk and bread stocked in the frig, getting Laura to therapies and dance classes on time, making sure the boys shovel the three feet of global warming that falls in our driveway, and baking cookies for my troops, you can see my eyes glazing over.

But last week I realized something. Something I apparently was missing before. I discovered time. Time with the kids doing, well, nothing. You know. Like watching movies while not cutting out something for a school game, stitching, or reading at the same time. Just talking to them about whatever comes to mind without listing on ebay or carrying clothes down the stairs at the same time. And time to myself. Before everyone else but Don wakes up. Time to just sit quietly. Listening. To the snow fall. Or the cars drive by as the world wakes up outside.

I'm sure the kids wonder why I am not doing something else while I'm doing something, but they haven't complained. And if they saw me sitting, just sitting, before I started my day in the Word, I'm sure they'd have even more to consider. But I've discovered something valuable here. It is a hard job that I do every day. But it is doable. Maybe not to the ultimate standards that someone else may set for themselves, but at least I'm here. Home with my children. Molding their hearts and minds every day. To the best of my ability.

And some day... yes, some day, they will be thankful. And I will be wondering why my to do list is so small.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Mommy? Do You Know What I Want Most In Life?

After finishing phonics this morning I assigned Laura to run a few circles around the house. She was getting antsy and a bit bored with oddball sounds -ink, -ank, -onk, and -unk. So I figured a bit of exercise would be a good thing.

After 6 or 7 rounds, she jogged over to my desk for a quick rest. She reached out and took my arm and said "Mommy? Do you know what I want most in life?" I realize she's six, and whatever she is about to say will most likely be a fleeting desire that will come and go quicker than the sun in NE OH, but I turn to face her knowing that right now, this is a biggie for her. I immediately start thinking about how I'm going to deter her apparent never-ending request for a 'walking pup' as I'm sure that's what will fall out as soon as she opens her mouth.

But I was wrong.

"Mommy? Do you know what I really, really, really want most in life?" I shake my head and smile to encourage her to continue. "I want to go to bed without wearing shoes."

As I reach out to give her a great big hug, I hide the tears that are forming in my eyes. I can't tell her how many times I've wished and prayed, and prayed and wished for the very same thing. Or how many times I have wondered just how much longer she'll have to wear them since she's already several years past the norm. Or how often I've wondered if we will ever really be able to let go of the constant monitoring of her feet and if her big toe will ever go down to a normal position.

And then I glance down to her heels. Her straight, flat heels And I smile. The Lord has been good. He brought Dr. Dobbs and Kristina in to our lives and I am forever thankful. There will be a time when she can go to bed without shoes. And there will be a time when we don't automatically look at her feet as she runs by. And there will come a time when all of this will just be what happened back then.

As I pull away from her and touch her cheek with my hand, I tell her that someday she'll have her desire. Someday she'll go to bed without shoes. And until then we'll just keep doing what we should. She shakes her head yes, smiles and goes back to running circles in the house. On her flat feet. Just like every one else does.

January Really Arrives Tomorrow

After a quiet morning start, I spent some time planning. After all, that's what women do. We plan. We have to know what is going to happen, how it is going to happen, who will most likely help it happen, and what we think we're going to gain from it happening. And today I was planning the weekend.

Weekends here are not your average, normal, two days off from life. Instead they seem to increase the pace of life, demanding that we just do our best to keep up. If you are laughing, then I know you are a kindred spirit. If you are clueless, I'm assuming you can teach me something and we need to make a date for coffee...

This weekend I have determined that it is time to say goodbye to all of the warmth, clutter and decor of the holiday season. Our trees, decorations, wreaths and bells must once again just be a part of our memories for another 11 months. The plain, stark feeling that January brings will arrive right along with a few more inches of blowing and drifting 'global warming'. But in the end, it will feel really good to have the house organized once again. Really. It will. I'm sure of it.

I'll let you know how that goes...

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

New Year, New Knowledge

My son said it best on New Year's Eve. He stated "Goodbye 2010! May 2011 be much better!". I couldn't agree more, but I'm sure for very different reasons.

I've learned much in the past year. Things like more patience in parenting, picking the correct battles to fight, how callouses on your knees may be the best offense when raising teenagers, and how lack of organization really effects life have been biggies on the list of learning for 2010. But I still seem to be struggling with simple learning processes like time management, menu planning, making laundry exciting, and the ever present weight management thing. I suppose there is some give and take in any learning moment. For instance, if we are concentrating on learning how to converse with someone who is 17 with grace and patience, it is really hard for our brain to wrap around why we feel compelled to shove that fourth cookie in our mouths without even thinking. Or if we are in the midst of working our way down the to do list of crises at the moment, it is almost impossible to stick basic laundry in the mix.

So in the great scheme of things, I believe I'm going to concentrate on things just a month or two at a time. If I learn in those few months, then I can adjust my goals for the next few and so on. Sounds rather sane, doesn't it? But really, the bottom line for me is not what my goals really are, but that in doing all that I am doing, that I put the Lord at the center of the process. If I truly want a 'new beginning' all I really need to do is focus on Him. After all, His Word, His manual for life, His Book starts with the very wise words "In the beginning God..." If he is first, more important that what I have, more important that what I think I need to do, then he'll be in charge. I won't have to be. How freeing is that?!?!?!?!

Here's to a wonderful, exciting new year of learning, growing and becoming what God intends for me to be.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

WOO HOO!!!!!

I just had to take a moment and post our good news of the day. The week! The month!!! After our visit to our eye specialist, he released Laura from any patching!!! No more wondering how long it has been on or if it is on the right eye for the day. No more listening to her get frustrated. No more trying to remember where we put the patches or attempting to match her outfit. We're done!!!


Friday, November 13, 2009

Final St. Louis "Drive By" This Fall?

As you can see from the smiles above, Laura is about to get her final set of casts off during what we hope is a final St. Louis drive by for 2009. Kristina popped them off quickly despite Laura's needless fussing (her face below is just recovering from all of that fussing...) and she had time to sit, stretch, and generally enjoy her freedom before we put on our new night shoes. We've moved from the Mitchell's, which we have had since birth, to the Dobbs molded brace to see if it works better for her special issues. So far, she's not fussed at night and I'm happy to say both Mommy and Daddy have figured out how to put them on well. Yeah for Daddy! And Yeah for Dr. Dobbs (our own personal 'genius') and Kristina (definitely the woman behind the Dr!) who have done so much for Laura's future.

God is just soooo good!!!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Blessed Be The Tie That Binds?

I know. I know. He's handsome. Especially in a tie. But be prepared, girls. He won't be ready for his own wedding for another dozen years or so!