Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Fathers Day and JOY

Well, I was going to write about Fathers Day, like six hours ago when I started writing this...."There are no words for how precious a Father is to a child, boy or girl...doesn't matter...he is the first image children have of their heavenly Father."  And then it happened, interruptions and life.  And now I'm tired, exhausted really.  My children are BUSY. (A phone just rang in my house that I have never heard before its either Brett's new tablet or he left his phone and changed his ring tone or....).  Ok, where was it.  Oh ya, busy...well they keep me busy.  Today we had fun, I gave them free rein of the hose!  They loved every minute of it and no I didn't get any pictures because then I would get soaked, they have no mercy!  They took turns soaking each other, which is wonderful!
 This past week I have been trying hard to land in a place of peace and patience and JOY (I know, you are never suppose to pray for it...BUT I DO!)  Mostly JOY despite my circumstances.  I'm reading "Choosing Joy" by Angela Thomas (She is wonderful, I got to meet her at Hearts at Home this past March, see picture...don't look at me, look at Angela and oh you must hear her speak, love love love her!!!!).  Anyways...those "fruits of the spirit" are tough for me. (There is an annoying fly, flying around me...so I tried to get the cats to come in and get it, but they won't come because they are too busy chasing fire flies...see what I live with!)  (I think I have ADD).  Today I just decided that its a choice, it is, I wish it was more than that, but I don't think it is.  And its hard especially if you battle depression or anxiety or addiction etc, its hard to make the choice to "let go and let God."  But TODAY (no, not every day...clearly, have you been to my house?  Its crazy! But I love it). I made the choice to relax.  I prayed for God to show me what he sees.  As I read with my tired baby girl (she is trying so hard to hit two hours a week for the Library reading program) I sat her on my lap and stroked her hair as she sounded out each word.  And I cheered her on when she reread the sentence "the fast way."  I love watching her face light up when she gets excited to have accomplished a book (or another 20 min of reading time).  I saw the JOY in my son's face when he lined up every one of his lego guys he could find and made a parade (out of legos, no easy feat) for them to watch and then asked ME to take a picture and send it to Lego Magazine!  I always have joy when I hear my children playing well together and when Kenenisa's siblings make him belly laugh...there is almost nothing more grand!  Or when Silas speaks a whole sentence and I understand him (and Kenenisa doesn't feel the need to translate it for me), I tell him I'm so proud of him using his Dona Words (that is his speech therapist), I give him a high five and his face lights up...that is JOY!  I wonder if that is what God sees, or does he see something deeper, something more significant that I miss.  Nevertheless (although I would love to know), it makes my days more enjoyable.  These days truly are the longest, and the years the shortest.

Me and Angela Thomas at Hearts at Home
 Super Hero Dad, nobody wrestles like Dad, except maybe Uncle Stanton and cousin Adin.
 Eli went golfing with Dad for the first time ever this Fathers Day, from what I hear...it was AMAZING!  Eli set this shot up, not me, I LOVE it!
 Brett is my Hero, I was sick this past weekend and he took the kids to Douglas Heart, they loved it!  Nice Science field trip!
 Love her.  Love him.
Dad is fun!
Brett is an amazing Dad and wonderful husband.  Its not always been easy, but its always been worth it.

Monday, June 9, 2014

A quick snap view of homeschooling since we started

I'm clueless today where to start because there is so much I would love to write about since we started back in Feb.  I promise I won't always write about just homeschooling...I'll write about life too.  For now...we all love blogs with pictures, so here we go....
 Sensory pans...lots of people doing it...I did two...I'm not so sure!
 Field trips are AWESOME.  My silly kids called this a gerbil, but Zahavah knew better!
 They love the goats, we need to get back to see the babies.
 We love our local gymnastics homeschool group.  Eli saw Mr. Zack yesterday at church...he just thought that was so cool!
 We do art...here Eli is learning to draw.  He is really good!
 Science experiment with Apples.  LOVE LOVE LOVE Apologia Science!  Which apple would you eat?
 More Apologia Science...we made an edible cell!

 And more Science...we just love Science (can u tell?)  Here we are studying bones.  We made clay people with bones and without bones (toothpicks)!

The guy on the far left...well, he has lots of broken bones sticking out!

Hope you enjoyed some of the things we have done!!!!!
I'll write about the Classical Conversations part of their education some other time.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Part 4 Happy Happy Happy...

Eli wants to know how many parts there will be!  He wants 50 or 100 parts.  Don't worry, there won't be!  He loves reading my "stories."  Honestly he just loves to read.  Magic Tree House book are HOT right now, he devours them as soon as he picks them up.
Ok, now part 4...
St. Johns has a nice park day at the end of the year.  I was able to get the date and surprise everyone (even my kids).  I told them we were going to go somewhere fun...so I took them to some of my favorite spots Goodwill, Salvation Army that morning!  "This is NOT fun Mom!"  Hehehee.  I'm kinda fun like that.  Eli is a super smart bean, he figured it out as soon as I picked his year book up from the school office, then we headed to the park across the street.  Once again, I was not prepared.
One would have thought I pulled up with a celebrity!  He was literally mobbed.  The news spread like wildfire across the playground.  "ELI IS HERE, ELI IS HERE."  I must say, it warms a Momma's heart to know her child is so loved.  I stood back and took it all in...their smiles, their laughs, the way they hugged him, adored him.  He was feeling it too.  Loved.  Cherished.  MISSED!
I will forever enjoy our memories at St. Johns. Its a wonderful school, with fantastic teachers and children.  I think that is what made it so hard to surrender and be obedient to God...which is ok. Well, and fear, which is totally satan driven.
I do have pictures from our last day.
Oh you maybe wondering about Zahavah.  Her class was not at the park (bummer), so we went for a quick minute to the classroom.  She got to hug some of her friends...and we hope to catch up with them this Summer.
 The welcoming crowd
 Signing his yearbook...its so cute, they are still young, so they all just wrote their name.  No little notes...yet.
 Someone is checking to see if Eli is taller than him! Hehehee.
 Hiding from the HOT sun.
 Being squished!
 I love this one, the girls are so sweet.

 They seemed to love Eli's hair. Ahh...nice photobomb between the boys...I just now saw that!!!!!
 These two are super cute.
 The whole gang together again.  Happy Happy Happy

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Part 3 Not Prepared

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. -Jeremiah 29:11

I'm a little disappointed this morning because I thought I had some pictures to post from our last day at St. Johns, but I guess I only took a video.  On Feb 14, 2014 my children attended their last day at St. Johns.  I picked them up at lunch time for our Cracker Barrel Celebration, but as I walked into Eli's classroom little did I know what was about to unfold!  All the children were sitting on the classroom rug listening to a story.  I watched.  I love watching all their little faces.  Little did I know the teacher had just told them it was Eli's last day right before she started the story.  When she finished the book she had Eli come up and each child was welcome to come up and say good-bye to him.  That's when it started...me NOT BEING PREPARED.  They hugged him, they loved him, they expressed their sadness, "I'll miss you buddy"  "you are my best friend Eli"  lots of sad faces.  My tears started to roll.  Then some of the student's tears started to roll.  I was caught off guard.  By my tears and theirs!  I'll never forget seeing one of Eli's best buddy's tears after he hugged him good-bye.  It will forever be etched into my memory.  My child had bonded with wonderful children, at a wonderful school and now we were closing that chapter.  I was not prepared.

Sadness set in.  I was expecting happiness (my own and well, everyone else's too.  Reality check!!!!).  We slowly left the classroom and loaded into the van (and I'm thinking Oh I get to do this again with Zahavah...Lord what are you doing here? This is painful!).  But we didn't even make it to the K room, we made it to the van (K and 2nd are in two different buildings) and Eli busted into tears.  Again NOT PREPARED!  Tears rolled, second guesses set in.  I heard, "Take me back in"  "I change my mind"  "Noooo please take me back in"  Yikes!  We had talked a lot about homeschooling.  He wanted this, I wanted this, Daddy wanted this and most importantly God wanted this.  "Oh no buddy, its ok to be sad, its ok to cry" I told him.  I touched his little face, wiped his tears.  "It is painful isn't it, I wasn't expecting that either" I explained to him.  We talked for awhile in the van before driving over to get sister.  And at this point I kinda wanted to crawl in my shell.  I'm feeling like maybe I made a mistake, second guessing our decision and wiping away my own tears.  Hello God?

I am happy to report that picking Z up was a breeze.  She was her happy go lucky self.  I'm pretty sure she was oblivious to what was actually happening.  Her best buddies...Oh I want to name them but I'm sure I will miss some Ava, Claire, and Faith are deeply missed.  She talks about them often, but the last day was definitely different for Eli than Zahavah.  Its ok, Eli had 2 1/2 yrs with those awesome kids, Z had 6 months with them.  We did make it to Cracker Barrel, we did stop shedding our tears, and smiles came back, especially when Daddy surprised us as we were leaving with Valentines Day goodies...a bouquet of flowers and little gifts for the kids.

We spent the rest of that day together as a family finding a deeper peace with our decision.  Was it easy?  No, it was not.  I second guessed myself.  I asked God again what happened?  Why was I so not prepared for myself and my children!?  I don't know if that's really important or not, nor do I believe you could ever prepare for such a thing.  What I do know to be most important is that God laid it on our hearts.  We prayed about it a lot, we talked about it a lot.  And then we moved out of obedience to the Lord.  And that...that obedience to obey and follow what the Lord has laid in front of you...that's most important.  That is also what keeps me (us) going, on the hard homeschool days when I'm ready to pack their backpacks and send them back to St. Johns (come on let's be honest, not all homeschool days are peachy).

This was a life lesson for me on obeying the Lord when he lays something on your heart.  It wasn't my first lesson and I'm sure it won't be my last.  God has been so FAITHFUL in this journey.  We LOVE homeschooling.  My children LOVE being home and taught by us.  We check in with them every once in awhile and they are happy and content right where they are at.  They don't have a desire to go back, except to visit their friends from time to time...and I'll leave that for Part 4.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

I interrupt this series for a clear cut reality check...

You know those wonderful Momma blogs that portray their perfect lives....where everything from their kitchen floor, child's face, car floor and yard are PERFECT!  Not here sister.  Let me tell you some hard core honesty...my life is not perfect.  It is perfectly CHAOTIC!  (I wouldn't have it any other way) Rarely easy, but I don't think its suppose to be.  I'm slowly learning that, I'm being conformed to the image of Christ.

 2 Corinthians 3:18 "And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." 

Pause and let that set in for a moment. Me and you being molded into the image of Christ. Sinful, self-centered, strong-willed, type A - no extreme A++ perfectionist...oh yeah nothing about that is going to be easy and today, well today was no exception. Let me give you a little glimpse of my molding process...

     I told baby K he could help himself to some water when all the sudden I hear water gushing, I'm thinking he is having fun w/ the frig water dispenser- that would have been easy enough to clean up!  Nope! That little booger got ahold of my FAVORITE 64 oz bottle of Blackberry Crush juice FROM TRADER JOES (4 HOURS AWAY) 1/4 full and had poured the remaining yummyness all over the kitchen table and it was running all over the floor.  SNIFF SNIFF.  Did I mention my house cleaner just mopped the floor THIS MORNING?  This is the most refreshing drink made by man! As my blood was boiling up from my toes to my eyeballs I sent the little rugrat outside BEFORE he saw the blood in my eyes.  I kept trying to keep calm, asking God, "What do you want me to see?  What do you want me to learn?"  And it hit me...I saw communion juice...I saw Jesus' blood...more blood on Calvary poured out for ME than what was on my table and floor.  It was a painful sacrifice for Him but one He was willing to do.  Was I willing to clean this disaster up AND with a cheerful heart? The cheerful part is the pruning God is doing, I do not do it well!

Proverbs 15:13: A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit, and Proverbs 17:22: cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.  Phillipians 2:14-16:  Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.  James 1:2-3:  Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.

That's what I'm (we) called to do, have a cheerful joyful heart!  Santification doesn't feel like that!!!!  Pruning hurts.  But I got what God was trying to teach me.  

The kids were outside playing while I cleaned up the mess, and as I was soaking it all up I hear raindrops on the skylights.  Oh no!!!!  I just need them to stay outside for a few more minutes (a little rain never hurt).  I hurry!  And I'm glad I did.  I made it to the door just in time to watch my children playing nicely together under the big tree in the sandbox (I love this) but this time was more neat-o than usual.  I got to see them all each slowly discover that it was beginning to rain.  Baby K was the cutest...he ran out from under the tree, held out his hands, looked up to the sky, looked at the drops on his arms, felt his hair-he was in ahhh.  His expressions were priceless. Then he ran back under the protection of the tree.  Now there is a thought!

I would like to say it all ended peacefully with the rain, but it didn't!  My little booger picked up a wasp or bee near the pool and screamed bloody murder and about gave me a heart attack!  I ran to comfort him. He was really upset, screaming and talking faster than I could understand but I did get...."dat bug got me!"  "Owwww"  "It hurts SUPER bad"  "Kiss it"  "No Daddy, Daddy kiss it" "bad bug"  "It stung me, bad bug"  My poor little guy.  One of the BEST things about being a Momma is being there to comfort them.  I love it.  But this little man was also STINKY, super STINKY.  You know the diapers where you think something DIED in there STINKY.  No cuddlin was happening until that was dealt with - blah - the not-so-fun Momma part of parenting (but vomit is worse).  So I cleaned him up, put some lavender oil on his sting, grabbed his blanket, cuddled and let the tears roll.

That's exactly what my heavenly Father does, it's what he wants to do.  I can make a mess of things and he comforts me.  The tears roll.  He hasn't given up on me (EVEN when I fail the lessons given to me).  He WILL complete his work in me (AND YOU) until the day of PERFECTION!

Philipians 1:6: And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you.