Posts Tagged ‘daily-life’

My goal for the next 40 days

My goal for the next 40 days (and longer, I hope!)

I haven’t been blogging for… too long. Life has brought transitions and turmoil since my last long-ago post on here. (There has also been much good… I often have to remind myself that transition is not a bad thing!) The last few months have led me to the goal of having more trust, and showing more transparency… and for me, that is easier through writing than talking. SO… I’m trying to find the good — and bring it back here. Whether it is an inspiring quote, a blog post plucked from Google Reader or a tidbit about my day, my plan is to update this blog with positive things to think on. I hope you will join me on the journey!

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H is for Homeschooling

If you had asked me 5 years ago if I would ever contemplate home schooling my kids, I would say it had never crossed my mind.  At the time, being able to stay at home at least part time was a wish I thought was likely to never come true… but even if it did, I assumed kindergarten would mean heading to the public schools wherever we were (which wasn’t planned as where we still are!)   Three years ago, I lost the job that I thought was necessary to our family income .  Somehow (and I’m really not sure how!) we’ve made life work since then with some part-time, sporadic work for me.  It comes with sacrifices… like having a car that hasn’t worked for too many months now… but we haven’t wanted for necessities.  Somewhere along the way, I realized how grateful I am that I’ve been the one around to catch all of the adorable-isms that have characterized the preschool years.  They make the times of feeling isolated (because I will apparently never be like the other SAHMs) or overwhelmed worth it all.

The other thing that I thought I would never say is that I am grateful that my son had the chance to be in an in-home daycare for a few years, with kids ranging in age from infants to 5 (though I still don’t think those babies got the best care — at that facility, not all daycares — and I am so glad he was 1 before he had to go there!) I love that he had the chance to be around other kids and older kids to get some introduction to sharing, playing together, letters and numbers.  Looking back, I prefer that to the typical kids of the same age preschool set-up.  When he was finally home full-time at age 3 1/2, preschool or even a PDO was not an option.  We started doing “life school” at home… nothing formal at ALL, but just showing that all of life is learning — pointing out letters on the highway, reading tons of books, getting toys that were fun but also allowed for creativity.  And I started to realize how much I love watching him learn and don’t want to see him lose the love he has for learning.

Add that to some doubts about our neighborhood school, some doubts about public school in general, and having a child who is very asynchronous in development so far — past the end of the year kindergarten curriculum in some areas, right on target in others, and probably behind on some gross motor skills — and that leads to being fairly sure we will be homeschooling in the fall… though I will admit that decision is changing frequently right now.  I guess I should say we will be officially homeschooling… because I have come to realize that I’ve been doing it all along without labeling it as such.  I’m sure in the fall we will get more formal about it, but for now he loves to “play school” on the days we do more formal learning and learns just as much on the days we play or visit the zoo or something similar.  The huge task at hand right now is finding some groups to get support and friends from, and trying to have faith that it will all work out somehow.

This morning we had fun testing out an online program I’m thinking about for reading/phonics, playing go fish with sight words and counting/graphing with jelly beans! 🙂  Taking a break for lunchtime… then headed to the store to pick up a few groceries and the library to pick up some books on hold.  I’m thinking about making pretzels this afternoon but it depends on whether we’ll have time for the dough to rise and bake before we have to head out to pick up my husband from work.  And *that* depends on the weather… because I’m fairly sure we’ll end up at the park unless it decides to rain this afternoon.  I love having the flexibility to plan schedules around *my* priorities…

D is for Direction

Decision making is not a strength of mine.  I excel at endlessly analyzing options and never reaching a decision (My husband will be quick to agree with that).  But… over the next few months I am going to have to make several huge decisions (even if they end up being decisions by default) about what the next few years will hold for my family.  My 5 year old is heading to kindergarten in the fall… or not… depending on a decision about homeschooling vs. our local public school.  I am headed back to work… of some form… or not… depending on the school decision and a number of factors I can’t control such as whether anyone will hire me to begin with (job interviews rank in the top 5 of my least favorite things to do).  Life is headed in a different direction… and right now I don’t have any idea what direction that is.  I feel like I am just beginning to find the map for how to manage being a stay at home mom and now it is time to switch maps (and I’m not sure I ever got to where I was trying to on the first one!).

It is very easy for me to feel like there is a right decision… and a wrong decision… for every choice.  The reality is that not every choice is black and white.  (Okay, practically no choice is black and white… but the ones I am facing seem to be a very medium shade of gray).  I am trying to remind myself that whichever path we choose… or have chosen for us… will have treasures along the way.  (That isn’t working right now, but I’m trying!).  I have spent much of the last few years begging for some blazing billboard to tell me a direction to go in life.  It hasn’t come.  I really don’t expect it to.

I don’t expect to ever get to this point:

… but I sometimes wonder if it would be easier just to get rid of the expectations and trying to plan (it doesn’t work anyway) and just live life as it comes.  (Except, that still calls for making decisions!)

One Thousand Gifts: #76-88

Continuing the praise with Ann and the Gratitude Community

76) The first snowfall of the season… just a dusting (which is still big news here) and even better when it was a complete surprise!
77) Christmas cards arriving in the mail!
78) Christmas lights and decorations around town…
79) and people who put them out year after year as their way of blessing the community… I’m thinking of a display we’ve gone to over the years whose maker just told us he is stopping after 20 years of putting up lights and awe-ing children of all ages. That has been a gift from him!
80) and my family’s holiday tradition of stopping for coffee & hot chocolate as the way to end an evening of light-seeing.
81) The blessing of a new day to be in a better mood or repair a relationship
82) My church’s performance of Behold the Lamb of God
83) … and that they included the kids (even the littlest… well, the preschoolers, who are almost the littlest. There has been a bit of a baby boom over the last few years).
84) … and that browsing for a song from that on YouTube later in the day led me to be reminded of an old Rich Mullins song which was particularly powerful after hearing the tale of God’s love for Israel (and that Rich’s music never fails to inspire, humble and move me)
85) Watching the joy my little boy got from playing with an early Christmas gift yesterday
86) and his joy at walking in the door at church Sunday morning… he never fails to have a huge smile. I love that they love him.
87) At a restaurant after church, an older man walked over to us. He told Andrew someone along the lines of, “Young man, I want you to remember something as you grow up. You have a gift of a beautiful smile that you can use to brighten people’s days.” He is right. While Andrew certainly isn’t happy all of the time… his happiness and joy shines out and his smile reaches other people and brightens their day. I just thought it amazing that he shared that — what an example of encouraging others!
88) Being able to say “thank you” for past experiences (okay, at least some of them) that left me broken at the time… but also irrevocably changed my life… isn’t it great to have a God who can use all experiences?

What are you thankful for this week?

Confession

Sometimes I feel like the “me” portrayed on this blog is more reflective… more spiritual… and much less impatient and overwhelmed than I often feel.

So this is more the typical.

Today, I woke up to my husband yelling goodbye to our 4 year old and slamming the door in a rush to get to work. I went back to sleep… only to be awoken a few minutes later by a little voice asking to watch PBS Kids… and I sleepily consented (hoping it was even on, because I had no idea what time it was!)  Got up a bit later to the mass chaos which was my kitchen when I went to bed last night (how is it possible for 3 people to need so many dishes washed so many times a day?)… a husband home for a quick morning break from work… neck pain from sleeping the wrong way…and a brownie for breakfast. TV blaring… incessant questions from the 4 year old… exasperation from me from the noise onslaught… and sudden realization that much of the 5% of things I have left to do for Christmas need to be done in the next 48 hours. A little boy upset at missing storytime because I cannot deal with library drama today… a rush to try to get Christmas wrapping done (only to discover I have no bags to wrap trinkets in), and the realization that it is going to take some creativity to make the food in the refrigerator cover lunch and supper if I really do want to stick to the menu plan.

So I stop the rush… and try to stop the internal frenzy… and try to remind myself that the hustle and hubbub isn’t what Christmas is about… or what life in general should be about for that matter… (if only it were as easy to put simplicity into practice as to long for it…)

With lunch still uneaten but husband back to work and little one having some quiet time in his room, I log on to Google reader for a bit of sanity time… to find my blog friend Jennifer’s post… and a link to tragedy… and a reminder that love and time and letting those around me know I love them *now* is so much more important than getting things done. And yet so hard to balance at times too.

And so I’m about to recall my overtired little boy down from his room… read some Christmas books, take a moment to escape the house for an hour to run a few errands and have a bit of fun. And be, even more than usual, grateful that he is here… and four years old for another few weeks, with all the joys and challenges that brings.

God, help me remember how quickly time passes… and how quickly life can change… and to be grateful for the season of life I am in and the people you have placed in it.  How is it I have to learn that lesson over and over again?  I know how quickly tragedy and bad news can come… and life can change… and yet I am still learning these lessons to be thankful and grateful and appreciate the moment over and over again…

If you are reading this… say a prayer for Dana’s family today… and for so many who are having a difficult time at this Christmas time.

Multitudes of Blessings and Book Club (#56-75)

Linking up a day late… but only because I was in the midst of much to be thankful for!

After missing out on last month’s meeting, I was glad to be able to rejoin my book club last night.  Our meeting is about more than books… and leaves me with much to be thankful for.  So many in the group are older than myself, and socialize with each other more than just during this meeting.  It is a blessing to me to be able to watch them interact, get some perspective from a few years or decades away, and get reminders of how quickly this time of having children at home to love (and hopefully have more of an influence on) will pass.  Some days I need reminders to enjoy the journey.

Last night I listened to a heart-felt prayer from one member, which in part pleaded intercession for another member who has been battling cancer.  David Crowder’s How He Loves Us, played in the background.  (Go ahead, click the link, listen while you are reading the rest of this post!)  A double blessing for the ears.

We talked, laughed, settled down to attempt to discuss the book… which, as is typical, several of us had yet to finish.  Oh, well… we never have time to discuss the entire book anyways.

And so I am thankful for…

56)  Opportunities to remember the blessings of the time of life I am in now

57)That Mary said “yes”

58) And Joseph, too.

59) The ability to own a Bible (actually, many Bibles… I was searching for one to take with me and realized that although the one I typically use is temporarily missing — which probably means under a coat in my car — I still had an abundance to choose from)

60) And the freedom to read from it and study it… as an American and as a woman.

61) The freedom to discuss my ideas

62) Having the opportunity to be with a group of women (and in a church) that is open to new ideas… to taking in new information and evaluating it to see if traditions or opinions need to be changed.

63) Gena’s prayers

64) Nancy’s faith…. how is it that I can read journal entries from someone fighting cancer… and yet I am the one who walks away encouraged?

65) … and reminders (from the book) that sometimes faith is not being sure… but just committing to try to believe even when we can’t figure out what God (or Jesus, for Mary) is doing and how this fits into what we thought was the plan.

66) Shirley’s hospitality

67) Goodnight hugs & kisses from my favorite 4 year old… who didn’t get them before I left the house but came running down the stairs yelling, “Mommy’s home!” and requesting goodnight hugs & kisses as soon as I walked through the door… WAY past his bedtime…

68) … and the fact that my husband has never, *ever* referred to staying at home while I am out as “babysitting”

69) In a week where I’ve heard of several marriages being torn apart, I am grateful for having a husband who has stayed with me and will stay with me through it all.  Although at times I’ve wondered if the reason we are still together is that we are both too stubborn to be the one who walks away… the reality is stubbornness (and commitment) through tough times leads to still being together when life is better again.  Marriage takes its own brand of faith.

70) Central heat

71) and my space heater, which I have spent much time curled up in front of this week (it’s COLD!)

72) Having a nice (and warm) winter coat

73) Washing dishes by hand (which I know from experience can grow old fast… but is nice sporadically!)

74) Warm clothes straight from the dryer

75) And that Epson ships refill printer ink for free… because it always seems to take me a week to get to the store to buy it (and then I forget which one to buy!)

What are you thankful for this week?

Random thoughts from the long weekend…

  • I’ve decided the joy of a home cooked Thanksgiving meal is all about the multi-generational cooking (even if I am apparently the only one who *likes* to cook) and not necessarily the menu. My mom and I spent some time cooking on Saturday (though not a Thanksgiving menu) and that redeemed the Thanksgiving meal at a restaurant slightly.
  • Why do people keep insisting that boys can’t play with dolls? My 4 year old has a little boy baby doll who he has had for a few years and *loves*. He calls him his little brother. He packed play food for him to have Thanksgiving dinner. And yet he got told (by a cousin, I have no doubt) that only girls play with dolls. This on top of me being told by other family members that he has odd taste in toys because he doesn’t mindlessly play with trucks and guns and superhero toys  (okay, to be fair, they didn’t specify what toys they thought he should be playing with) so he is “hard to buy for” = one irked mama.  (Seriously?  What 4 year old is hard to buy for?)
  • Employees who work Black Friday and shut down their checkout line and walk off without calling a manager when I am the next person in line (and have been standing in that line for hours)… and, worse yet, don’t care = Black Friday FAIL. (Managers who step in to check out those of us trapped in line = good management, so it did end well). Yes, Wal-mart, I’m looking at you. Hire employees who do their jobs, please.  And hire enough employees to work the busiest season of the year.
  • Employees who tell me at 4 am that they were supposed to leave work 5 hours ago… and yet are still pleasant, not complaining, and serve me good food = Black Friday WIN.  Here’s hoping that he got double time and a half for working PLUS great tips.  Ditto for stores who calmly adjust prices when the register doesn’t ring up the correct price stated in the sale ad. (Thanks, Macy’s!)
  • Online Black Friday shopping to finish up my shopping — yay!  No sales tax + free shipping = even better!
  • Santas who tell kids that if they are really good they will get presents (even if said children asked for expensive gaming systems their parent can’t afford) = Santa FAIL (fortunately this didn’t happen to me, I just witnessed it!)
  • Santas who tell indecisive kids to talk to mom and send a list before Christmas = Santa WIN (and, that was again at Wal-mart… I’m not all against them!)
  • Having 99.9% of my Christmas shopping done = awesome.  Just some stocking stuffers to go, I think.  And most of the wrapping to go too!
  • Getting a decent family picture for my Christmas cards = even more awesome (and incredibly funny too)
  • Coming home to a (mostly) clean house and prepping to do Christmas decorating = even better.

I really needed a weekend away (even if parts of it were stressful and I am really glad to be home!)  I’m looking forward to being able to celebrate the fun parts of Christmas with a bit less of the stressful side of it too!  Thankful for the weekend away… even the stressful parts.