It’s cold here in northwestern PA. . I know Polar Vortex, as if this is a sci-fi movie. Please. It’s cold. We feel it. Some of my chickens died and my Linemen husband is frozen when he actually comes home. This cold does go right through to your bones.The bleakness of winter can consume you if you let it. My kids of course are driving me crazy. If we don’t get above 1 degree soon I am seriously going to reevaluate my mental health. We’ve acquired a talking Amazon Parrot , conure, kitten and a dog since I last posted. I don’t have enough chaos in here, I’m opting for an indoor zoo! So I haven’t posted in over a year. I wasn’t able to sit at my computer. I have these disks that seem to pop like popcorn. This is the third time it has happened to me. I thought for sure I was done. I don’t know if you have ever experienced nerve pain, but it is not like anything I can describe.It is relentless and pursuing. I could not escape it. I did finally get surgery. I am not a fan of chiropractors and please refrain from telling me how wonderful they are for you. So I know this is not like my usual posts. I want you to know that God does hear the prayers of the Homeschooling Mom. He heard me say” God I can’t do this. If you don’t help me I quit. I am sending these kids to the public school and I just give up. The pain is too much( and it was)”. My friends forgot me, some family thought I was addicted to the pain meds( I don’t know why, they didn’t help much) . I told Him in no uncertain terms that I was done with Him and with everyone. Now if you don’t know God you will say” some God you have there” I know . You see this is not the worst thing I have ever been through, Maybe as far as pain level, but not the worst thing. He did help me through this and compensated for the lack of schooling I was not able to do. My kids are so much better now. I could just weep to think of it.I ditched my old schooling. I have so much better results now. I have more help for my dyslexic son. God used this time when I could not even sit, to do some great things in my kids lives. I have come out of this thing called suffering so much better. You see when you suffer no-one can go through this with you. You have no companion. It is not meant to be shared. I am not out of pain and probably never will be. I’m okay with that. I’ll be okay, someday. It has been awful. It has been painful and hard. Lonely nights. One thing I can say is trite things like this” You have not suffered as much as Job or as much as….” are just so ridiculous. So glad I have a great God who does reach down in my pain, because I have suffered as much as ME. He made me and knows my pain. My Creator fashioned me. No matter where I am. In a lonely dark place( which I have been before).He’s been there for me. This lesson isn’t learned breezing through life. It’s learned on the road less traveled. God knows our pain. No matter how deep the pit. Take heart. Homeschooling can be hard. I know. I’ve weathered the storms, the comments, the scrutiny, the struggles. They’re worth it. Don’t give up. I’m not perfect. I’ve been unorganized, my house messy, freaked out, lost my patience, lost my mind, please don’t ever think that you have lost your God. He’s here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQnBvUiAGsI#!
I drove by a dogwood tree today. The beautiful flowers blew in the spring breeze. Immediately I was taken back to my childhood. The small Dogwood in our front yard. I waited every year for it to bloom. It was a bright spot in my hard life. Joel and I were coming back from the dentist. We were chatting and enjoying one on one time. It’s always nice to just get alone with one of my children. I thought about the memory of the Dogwood and how it brought me back. It reminded me that memories are being made every day. I can choose to be a part of them or I can be a distant memory in my children’s lives. Time tends to erase memories. In an instant though a smell, or a sight can bring them flooding back. I want to be part of those memories in my kids life. Every silly giggle and exciting event. I don’t want to be the Mom on Facebook posting ABOUT my kids. I want to be the mom who INVESTED in her kids. Even while I home educate the balance of Mom and teacher is carefully weighed. Some days I feel like all I do is scold. I hate that. Todays dogwood reminded me that my kids need me to be their Mom, not just the scolding teacher. It’s the silliest moments that create the most memories. Sometimes I get caught in the trap of DOING. The more I do, the more social activities the more friends I allow, that will create great memories for my kids. You know what? My kids always remember the quality time together, like taking a walk yesterday. A Huge black snake came slithering out of the swamp in front of us. We all froze. I gasped( hey you would too if you saw it.) Gasping has a funny effect on my Australian Shepherd Cooper. He went on the attack. He started flinging that creepy beast back and forth. The kids were yelling, I was gasping( causing the dog to attack more) Now the kids are spazing and everyone is worried about Cooper. Cooper turned out fine and that black devil was dead. Guess what my kids have been retelling all day! They are not remembering the latest movie or a toy recently purchased, nope they are reacting the drama of yesterday. I could have said no lets not walk, I’d rather________________, but the sun was shining and my children were asking. I don’t want to be a distant memory. I want to be part of the whole picture.I was encouraged that my kids don’t think I’m the scolding teacher I feel like. Cheyenne made me this picture. In her mind I am a smiling happy mom.(good thing she can’t see how I feel on the inside, some days I feel like such a failure)
God gave these kids to ME. It’s my responsibility and joy to join in the adventure and raise them. Now Monday when I am freaking out because the house is a mess, or they are lagging on school, I might have a different opinion. Today I’m enjoying these gifts and being thankful for every drama filled minute. At least when this ride is over I can say I invested my all and am part of the memory. Memories are being made every day. Are you part of them?
I never realized before how much I appreciated the action of sitting. I told you in a previous blog I was in pain. Well I am. I have a herniated disk which is pinching a nerve, making sitting near impossible. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not whining. That’s not something I usually do. I just want to be thankful today for the things I’m sure I don’t even realize I take for granted. I haven’t blogged in a while. I usually get up at 4:30 am when it’s quiet. The rooster isn’t even crowing then. The quiet gives my mind a chance to just flow. Well I also sit in front of the computer, with my coffee:O) and savor the alone time. None of those things are appealing to me right now. I’m in a state of perpetual motion. But I looked outside today and the sun is shining. . It’s going to be 80 out, the wind is blowing. I love the wind. I can’t lie. I’m in agony. The pain meds are not even helping. Home educating is so frustrating. There is something about the wind though.. it’s like a balm to my soul. I remember going to Prince Edward Island with my husband. We stood there on the cliffs and felt the force of the wind. Ever since we call these types of days PEI days. You know those days. When your soul feels like it has wings. It doesn’t take away my pain. it just makes me stop and remember that God has not forgotten me. I hear his still small voice. Only it doesn’t seem so small. It’s pretty loud. The trees rustle, The red brush grinds, the clouds are whipping by. The forest is bustling with activity. I need this reminder. That amidst all my pain and all the crazy bombings and factories exploding, the evil in this world, God is still in control. He hasn’t forgotten. He is still In charge. He still gives me these PEI days. The pain tries to overwhelm me. Home educating becomes a chore. Portfolios are the last thing I want to do. He hasn’t forgotten me. I can still cling to the knowledge that yes, I do know the Master of the wind.
The Wind by Robert Louis Stevenson
We all know Reducers. To reduce means this:
Make smaller or less in amount, degree, or size: “the need to reduce costs”; “a reduced risk of coronary disease”.
Become smaller or less in size, amount, or degree.
diminish – decrease – lessen – abate – lower
You know that particular someone who you cringe when they come near. The are the ones who without a doubt will say something negative to “help” you in someway. In casual conversation they have to tell you(for your benefit of course) that your child has committed an infraction. They will put down your goals. Put down your kids. Put down you. All in the name of “help”. Yet they are older or more experienced. They are the leaders. A scenario like this just happened to me. In casual conversation I was talking about one of my children. Smiling, I said a positive. The reducer said in counter,” Yes and your other child was doing such and such.” I blinked . As if I already don’t know how my children behave. I mean it’s not like I spend all day watching their lives play out before me.Here’s what I learned about reducers. They don’t have all the answers! In pointing out the flaws of your life they miss the bright sign pointing at themselves. We are always spouting the Bible verse “thou shalt not judge”. I think we also miss the overwhelming evidence of God telling us to encourage each other, to edify, to uplift.
A reducer expects you to discipline your child on their behalf. DON’T DO IT! Throw away the “help” of the reducer.NEVER discipline your child for what others think. This is performance based parenting and Christians are so guilty of it. My kids were given to me by God. They were born sinners, just like me. They are not spiritual, they are little conformists. Do I expect my kids to always perform for me? Are they robots programmed by a master controller? No, they are kids with personalities and a will of their own. I can train my kids to do right, but in the end I cannot make them. A reducer will only see the negative. This particular reducer practically ran to tell me about my childs misbehavior.( which I already knew via a tattling sibling) Am I saying never to listen to correction? No . I don’t listen to those I know have an ulterior motive in informing me how “bad” my kids are. Trust me I already know the areas they need to work on. I am already working on them. The truth is this reducer makes me sigh every time they come near. I think it’s a “my kids are better than yours.” Here’s what they fail to see. I’m not in competition. I’m trying to please ONE and I don’t live my life based on the opinions of others. I decided to use this for good. I am consciously aware of how I treat others. There are some times I want to say something( and thankfully people can’t read minds) but I always think” do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Do I like being reduced? Do I like this person coming to me informing me of every flaw in my life?( in the name of I am more godly than you)I’m sure this reducer walks away very proud that they helped me grow. Yes, thank you for showing me that I NEVER want to be the one reducing people down to size.
I watched the sun rise this morning. All the colors rose slowly until they met in one burst of brightness. It felt like an eternity. I was sitting there alone doing what people call devotions. It didn’t feel like devotion , it felt like wonder. God was speaking to me. I’m always in a hurry. It might be just my natural inclination or being raised in CT. I’m not sure. Most times I don’t even know why the hurry. It’s just. hurry to get school done, hurry to prepare supper, hurry to church. It’s so exhausting. I am not in a position to hurry right now. I guess God is trying to slow me down. You could say I wrestled with God. I hate admitting that I’m in pain, so here it is. I’m in pain. I read this morning. “Life is not an Emergency. Life is brief and is fleeting but it is not an Emergency.” Ann Voskamp I think of yesterday. The moments I want to take time to remember. All of us standing behind Joel praying he finally beats the boss on Timez attack. He had tried 32 times. We all feel his pain. Failure is not an option for him. He finally got those last three facts. We all cheered. I could have missed that moment. I had so much to do. In this moment I decided to stop. I joined in the struggle. It felt like my victory. Dyslexia has many aspects to it. Memory is really affected by it. Sequencing, memorizing steps in math, all affected. I know that the Dyslexia movement keeps saying it’s a gift. I wonder if they ask a child who has it. In hind sight one can always say it was a gift, but in the struggle, sometimes all you see is the struggle. I told my husband yesterday as we watched Joel build a fort in the front yard ” you would never know he is the same kid who took 32 times to beat a level on his Timez attack. He is happy, confident hammering away( with my husbands tools he is sure to lose.) I know why he built it in the front yard and not on the rest of our 60 acres. He wanted his dad to come home and see his fort. He was super proud. Today I just wanted to remember the moment. Each tiny, little moment. Haste makes waste people say. I know why, we are in such a hurry to get to the next moment we miss the magic of the one we are in.
Gotta go. I’m missing the sunshine and many magical moments.
The only thing I heard was” Cheyenne use two hands!”The next sound was glass shattering on the hard pavement. I waited. It’s the moment I knew was coming . Then came the crying. I stuck my head out the door. “Cheyenne what happened?” Through sniffles and little tears her broken heart said, “I dropped the pickle jar”. We had just come home from grocery shopping. First of all shopping with my husband is always interesting. We shop at Aldi’s a lot. I’m too brain-dead to coupon right now. So he decided we did not need anymore bags.” Okay”, I said “but they are going to roll around in the car.” I just shake my head and smile. He’s helping me is all I can repeat silently:O) So back to the driveway Cheyenne is in tears. I yell “Cheyenne everyone has dropped a pickle jar before, don’t worry Daddy will clean it up.( As the Amish are clip clopping by smiling at me) Just get away from the glass.” All Cheyenne could see was . I failed. I had this one job and I blew it. So she comes in the house and I hug her. For some reason today I knew I understood better than other days. I told her. Cheyenne I am so glad you’re( please don’t think I’m being corny here. I’m not one of theses moms who goes overboard .)helping. It’s okay that it broke. It’s just a jar of pickles. I used to drop everything( Haha who am I kidding, I still do!)We hugged and I wiped the tear away. She smiled when I offered her a strawberry. (somehow I think I may have been had) I said “now why don’t you help me clean off this table.” Cheyenne was restored. The pickle jar was already in the past where it should be. I stood there for a moment thinking about this. Cheyenne is the child in my house who is full of life. I mean it is bursting out of her. She does not do anything half-hearted. Jumping on the trampoline with the other kids goes like this” Daniel says, “mom watch this”, then Cheyenne rolls in jumps higher and says, “wait mom watch this.” Daniel stops because Cheyenne is a tiny peanut. Daniel tries to speak again ( just picture dash from the Incredibles) Cheyenne is flipping, jumping, smiling, arms flailing, hair flying, all heart. Daniel says(sarcastically) “Never mind mom I’ll just sit on the edge and let Cheyenne show you.” We both grin. What if when Cheyenne had dropped that pickle jar I yelled “Cheyenne, come on we told you two hands, look what you did!” The weight of her mistake would have bore down on her spirit crushing her. Then every time she helped with the groceries we said” Cheyenne you cannot help carry in the pickle jar. You broke it once. She would be forever broken realizing we judged her about the broken pickle jar.
I could not help think of this ,(John 8:1-11)
8 Jesus went unto the mount of Olives.
2 And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.
3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,
4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
I know this about home educating. I think more than anything my kids educate me. In every circumstance I can see God speaking to me. I saw it in the insignificant pickle jar. I see it when Cheyenne smiles those 400+ smiles a day. When she holds our chicks and tells me each quirky little name. Home educating happens everyday.
So this woman, can you imagine today? We would post about her on Facebook. She would never out live her past.Not because she did not want to, but because WE wouldn’t let her. We’d let everyone know. She was the adulterer. Look what Jesus says” Woman where are thine accusers?” Then he tells her He does not condemn her. Amazing. If our Lord can forgive someone like that, if he can see past her past, why can’t we? No accusers. Imagine if all God’s people treated each other like that. Instead we feel the need to share and warn others. To post about people on Facebook. Let God be the judge. Put your stones down. Everyone breaks a pickle jar. We just need someone to be there to help us clean up the mess and be restored. Jesus says I don’t condemn you. Let them post. Let them think what they think. You have no accusers. What a great lesson for us to see. He is for You.
Whether it’s broken pickle jars or broken lives, The Master Teacher once again shows me through my children how to treat others . Don’t you think that is so awesome!? I’m humbled as usual.( Always feel free to comment. I’d love to hear your thoughts.) He is for You.
Wow. I really did not think my kids were paying attention.Oh and be assured adults while are you are posting stop bullying MY kids are paying attention. I guess you could not miss the noise yesterday. We had a lot of school to do and my WiFi was down. I was glad. I did not want to hear it. I’m used to scrutiny. I became a Christian at the age of 14. Nobody applauded me. My aunts and uncles were not there saying we are so glad you have hope in your life. It did not matter to them that for the first time ever my heart smiled. My brother actually was the first to hear about Christ. He was on a ship in the Marine Corps, floating outside of Turkey around the first Iraq war. He sent a letter home telling us of his decision to trust in Christ as his Savior. Later that month a lady my sister worked with came over to drop something off. She was one of “those” born-again Christians. We showed her the letter and asked questions. I decided that day in the driveway. I wanted it. I wanted this Christ. I went in my house and knelt down in that 572 sq ft house in Sandy Hook, CT and asked Jesus to forgive me of my sin and be my Savior. I was finally free. I honestly felt so imprisoned in despair. My heart smiled. Since then I have tried to be the best Christian I can be. Man I have failed at times. So yesterday I thought about what he said. Why? Why can gays , Muslims, blacks, minorities, disabled, and everyone else have a voice but Christians are hated? Please don’t think it is about the right of an individual. If that were so it would not have been directed at Jesus. Then I heard a collective voice on Twitter and Facebook after my WiFi came back on.. Maybe you could hear it too? ” Crucify Him! Crucify Him! It just keeps getting louder the throng is pushing forward. Their mouth is an angry viper spewing its venom. They hate Him. They hate what he stands for. He gave up His own life for them, yet all they can do is yell Crucify Him! This week in the quiet of my heart I know the answer. ” If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you” (John 15:18) That doesn’t mean I go out of my way to be unlikable. That’s what bothered my son. I’ve made meals, attended funerals, watched kids, sent packages, cards, prayed you name it. He said. “So where is everyone when you are in pain? When you had back surgery or Sierra was having seizures? I see what people say mom. If you were drinking alcohol with them or participated in the things they did they would help you” For my son that bothers him. Sometimes he just wants to see the evidence of the “doing”. I have been doing for a while. I guess I know the drill. Can you picture it though? Where were all the people Jesus healed when they nailed those nails into his feet and hands? We are not talking little tiny nails. Lets think tent spikes. Let’s think he had been whipped and beaten so now he is bloody and you cannot tell he is a man( is visage is marred). This is not the anemic wimp portrayed in most pictures. This is a strong carpenter who has been tortured. So where are the scores of people He helped? Then they jerk the cross into the ground. Imagine his back jostling on that cross after the torture. That is the thanks He gets. Am I any better than my Lord? Do I deserve a better reward here? Have I even done half the good as Him? I just go back to the day He set me free. Yes, I said free. The word REDEEM.REDEE’M, v.t. [L. redimo; red, re, and emo, to obtain or purchase.]
1. To purchase back; to ransom; to liberate or rescue from captivity or bondage, or from any obligation or liability to suffer or to be forfeited, by paying an equivalent; as, to redeem prisoners or captured goods; to redeem a pledge.
That is from this huge dictionary I have by Noah Webster 1828. Can you imagine me on the auction block. My Redeemer comes. He sets me free and “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.(John 8:36)
So they can hate me and yell and their voices can get louder and louder. My life was changed. He set me free. I am Redeemed.
Let the children come unto me and forbid them not. Can’t you see Him? Jesus is sitting there with the children. It’s the iconic picture we all love. We picture people singing Jesus loves the little children. Let’s fast forward to 2013. Lets paint the picture today would bring. Here’s what I see.
Excuse me children are you running? No, running! You could fall down and get hurt. Children, Children! Jesus doesn’t want all this racket be quiet!. Skipping is Not using your walking feet! Now walk over to Jesus and sit quietly with your hands in your lap. No talking. If my son Daniel was there they’d say Daniel stop asking questions.(Because you know what would happen if he asked a question?) Oh and wait please don’t touch Jesus without hand sanitizer . Yucky germs.
Everywhere I go I see it. Children are not allowed to be children. Now I am not talking about brats. I am talking about even when we say we want children to be individual. We don’t let them. They must fit our pattern of behavior. Our rules for life. Older folks cannot stand having these loud children around and I mean if they run, whoa buddy watch out. Please dont get mud on the floor(that would be Joel)
I saw this study on smiling. It said adults smile 7 times a day( one fake) and children 400 times a day.
They know how to really smile.Let’s take all the laughter and joy out of them and say no fun allowed, sorry.
What’s left? Staying inside looking out the window watching life pass you by? How about a nation with an obesity problem in kids? I drive by house after house. Where are the kids after school? Inside playing video games or on a device. What happened to exploring, to adventures in the woods? If you live in the city, how about a park? My memories of my time spent in the woods behind my house in Sandy Hook are like old friends. I remember the story lines I created. It was my escape from the real world. It was my Narnia.
Have we so forgotten what makes a child a child that we stifle them at every turn? I know kids get out of hand. I know they do outrageous things. I did them.I have four of them. I lived by Lake Zoar. In the winter the stream running down the mountainside there froze. It was like heaven for me. On this one part the road drain came out and made a frozen waterfall you could go behind. I waited all year to see this. My imagination soared. What makes a person an individual is allowing them to express this wonderful imagination. We live in such a fearful society today we don’t allow this to flourish.
So what happens when a child asks a question and you don’t know the answer? What if the child challenges your belief system? What will happen. Is it about the child or the control ? My husband told me in his public school they stopped calling on him. They would say anyone but Dan. Why? People are afraid of true individuals. We want everyone to agree politically , religiously, socially. We want to make them by rules and legislation to force them into a mold. It starts at child hood. It starts in our homes, YES in our churches. It won’t matter if you say Let the children come, we still want them coming just like us. Quiet, orderly, perfectly the opposite of an individual. If you always stifle what is in a child you will miss great moments like yesterday. Daniel came to me. He had one of those moments. He’s a reader. He has read books on every topic imaginable. I finally got him the complete Chronicles of Narnia series. I found it at a Goodwill. Every single book! So he reread the first 6 a few times then savored book 7 a while. He said “Mom I wish every book ended like this,”( me too)
You do not yet look so happy as I mean you to be,’ said Aslan.
Lucy said, ‘We’re do afraid of being sent away, Aslan. And you have sent us back into our own world so often.’
‘No fear of that,’ said Aslan. ‘Have you not guessed?’
Their hearts leaped and a wild hope rose within them.
‘There was a real railway accident,’ said Aslan softly. ‘Your father and mother and all of you are—as you used to call it in the Shadowlands—dead. The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.’
And as He spoke He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at least they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.
Now that seems to contradict my post but it doesn’t. We spent the weekend building an awesome snow fort and of course the worms. Yet here is Daniel not focusing on the latest trend. He wanted to savor the ending of a book. He told me he could read it over and over. Individual. So today maybe when you see a sign at a playground that says no running, or when a child asks the that question that makes you feel dumb( everyday for me:) . Let them be kids, happy smiling 400 times a day kids. WHOM do you think created them to be that way?