Friday, June 28, 2013

things i learned in june

it's a fun little thing emily's got us doing...why don't you join in!

things i learned in june...
1 :: it doesn't really feel like summer until my pasty white skin gets a tan.  and after a week at the beach i officially have summer!  
{on a side's really just my front that's tan.  every mama of preschoolers knows that you will not be able to tan your backside for years since you must be seated, facing the kids, and on high alert at all times around crashing waves and sweeping undertows.  but i can't see my backside anyway...}

2 :: sometimes your soul grieves things that your mind is not fully aware of.  last week's unexpected tears were evidence of this.

3 :: a 'fortnight' means 14 days.  thank you beatrix potter {not to be confused with harry potter despite what my 5 year old thinks...mommy - can we read that bunny book that harry potter wrote?}

4 :: it's totally worth it to be brave with a paintbrush and a piece of furniture.  and don't let the sewing machine scare you either...

5 :: brookgreen gardens is still my happy place.  it still whispers inspiration, wraps me in beauty, and fills me with peace...even when i take my kids along and they complain that their feet hurt and they can't possible walk another step...suck it up people - you're missing the beauty!
6 :: if i stay silent long enough when my kids are whining and complaining one of them will eventually parent the other one in my absence.  
just relax, oliver!  do you know what that means?  it means be patient and be quiet and let the peace of Christ rule in your heart and be thankful.  just relax!
{and so i've also learned that they are paying attention to everything i say.  that's good...and bad}

7 :: watching dads baptize their kids will bring a room full of grown women and men {including my stoic husband} to tears. 
8 :: and finally...people of all ages are for real crazy about duck dynasty.  this picture automatically made me 10 times cooler in the eyes of my kids at church. {and...shhhh...i've never even seen the show}

what did you learn this month?

Monday, June 24, 2013

unexpected tears

there are years of tears.  
seasons in which a small act of kindness or a slight mishap could both open wide the floodgates.  
i've lived those years.
maybe you're living them right now.

today i watch the rain rush down my windowpanes and know that there are years like this day... 
when the fabric of life is so threadbare that the slightest movement causes it to burst at the seams...everything that was wrapped up inside comes pouring out.
for over a year now i have felt stitched up strong and tight.  i have felt rooted deep...the ground beneath my feet more terra firma and less shifting sand.  dark clouds have found another sky to dim.

but two nights ago i sobbed myself to sleep.
i'm not sure why.
i just rolled right over in the bed and what started as a slow drip had me convulsing within seconds.
i think i left my poor husband completely freaked out.

singular tears escape me all the time...running soft down my cheeks.  
moments move me.  
conversations touch me.  
experiences pierce my heart.

but weeping doesn't come easy.  the full-body, gasping-for-air kind of weeping.

jesus wept.
remember that?
he must have known that lazarus' life wasn't really over.  wasn't he aware that within moments he would command him back from the dead?  sorrow surrounded him but hope indwelled him...and still he wept.  

sometimes the first whimpers are for the sadness but the inconceivable hope that follows brings the downpour.

there is a line of a song that can bring the weeping every time if i really let it settle into my spirit.

what if there's hope you never dreamed of hoping for.

it's a funny thing.  
those hard-fought seasons that find you shedding tears at every turn...they never leave you dry.  
that fertile soil spread deep inside your heart is beaten down by the heavy, relentless rains of your struggles and things get muddy.  then...amazingly...with just a tiny seed of hope the tender green evidence of something new breaks through.  and before long the fragrant blooms burst.
the easy years can leave you dried out.  the trees go without water and stop producing fruit.  you forget that something amazing could blossom inside of you.  
sometimes it's easier to lose hope in the easy years than the hard ones.

on a routine saturday night a twinge of sorrow broke something inside of me and the blinding light of hope came streaming through.  it so overwhelmed me that i could only weep in response. 
it hurt in the best kind of way.  
with eyes wide open i faced the complete inadequacy of myself and, in between sobs, i watched breathlessly as every fragile piece of my being was wrapped up in the strength and power and promise of the One who sends me out with joy and leads me forward in peace.

as i wiped my swollen eyes and struggled for air through my clogged nose i felt it happening...though i had been drenched in tears, something new was coming up inside of me.  the sadness had been watered by the hope-giving truth of His word...and so...
instead of a thorn, a myrtle.
instead of a brier, a cypress.

in time of silver rain
the earth
puts forth new life again,
green grasses grow
and flowers lift their heads,
and over all the plain the wonder spreads
  of life,
  of life,
  of life!
in time of silver rain
the butterflies
lift silken wings
to catch a rainbow cry,
and trees put forth
new leaves to sing
in joy beneath the sky
as down the roadway
passing boys and girls
go singing too,
in time of silver rain
  when spring
  and life
  are new.
{langston hughes}

Friday, June 14, 2013

the listening part of writing

you haven't heard from me since monday.
i've had sand between my toes and flowers beneath my nose and art displayed before me everywhere i turn.
that doesn't mean i haven't been writing.
sometimes the words come flying swift on a sweet breeze, wrapping themselves around me.  i want to snatch them up and tuck them into a satchel on my side where i can be sure to find them later.  but grabbing and snatching causes the winds to change and i find myself empty in the still, stagnant air.  
and so i've learned to stand in the swirl of let them dance and sing on their own...wishing there were a pencil in my pocket to capture them.
i may not remember every word that was written in my heart this week but i know my writing will be richer and deeper for having listened.
sometimes writing is more about listening than speaking.

i pray a spirit of listening over you this weekend.  may the words you hear be sweet and may you know they were meant just for you.  may you not force them or edit them or change them...but instead...let them change you.

Monday, June 10, 2013

curriculum for the core {reason to homeschool no. 5}

jesus, please let the pool be open.  you know i really love to go swimming.
lucy, jesus can't hear you.  he died.
i know, oliver, but he came back alive and he is in heaven and he CAN hear me...all the time.

i was privy to that conversation during our car ride up to the neighborhood pool last week.

then there was the death discussion.

and of course all the words she has committed to memory that are spontaneously spoken aloud...building a bank of wisdom... 
God loves a cheerful giver.
The Lord delights in the prayers of his people.
Obey your leaders, they keep watch over you.

and then there are her bedtime prayers...

God, you have the very best heart.  and you know my name.  i pray you will always know my name God and always be with me...

and the songs...oh the songs.  i kid you not when i say there are at least a dozen of these originals every week...

thank you jesus for being my friend,
you take away all my sin.
oh God you love me all the way
i want to praise you every day.

she sings and she twirls and there is freedom in her being...all these little spontaneous acts of worship.  these are her words...not mine.  but i know they come from the truths that we read and sing and try our darnedest to live out...vibrant strands woven into the fabric of our days.  

there are some things that schools don't cover in the core curriculum...and it's those things i want to be part of her core.   

when we see flowers bursting with color we thank God the brilliant artist.  when we watch the bees tucking themselves inside the fragile petals until they are hidden, filling the pollen bags on their legs we marvel at God the thoughtful creator.  when we examine a scab and consider it's protection of the fragile skin underneath and later watch it fall away to reveal the pink and new we thank God the mighty healer.

we find Him there in each moment, each breath, each discovery.  everything comes back to Him and in Him is everything.  there is a deeper meaning that underlies all the facts and figures and in that deep place i find true education.

i believe in christianity as i believe that the sun has risen, not only because i see it but because by it i see everything else.  c.s. lewis

i want to teach my children what is true and good and everlasting...and there is only One in whom i have found these things completely.  only One who colors the way i see everything else.

of all the reasons i have chosen to homeschool, this one is most me.

{this homeschool series all started here}

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

why i let my feet do the fighting

remember how i ran that half marathon?
and i was all like...i'm a runner girl now.'s been almost 3 months and i have run a total of 4 times since then.  in case you're horrible at math like me - that's an average of about once a month.  i guess that means i'm a slacker out-of-shape girl now.
when i went for a jog last weekend i decided that i'm recommitting myself to regular know why?

it's a healthy way to exhaust the fighter in me.

here's what i mean...
i live with my hand on the holster, i don't like to be told i can't do something, my blood pressure is quick to rise, i can't stand situations i can't resolve or people i can't save, and...i don't drink caffeine {for fear my fighting spirit may lead to an all out bloodied battle}.

i had medical testing done a few years ago for some health problems i was experiencing and one of the things the doctor told me is that i have unusually low blood pressure.  he didn't think it was a big deal and told me to go eat more potato chips and drink some gatorade.  i laughed but i couldn't help but find it fascinating that perhaps i was created this way for a reason.  i guess God knew that the passionate heart he had set in me would lead me to fight...
for what's right, 
for what i love, 
for my beliefs,
for change, 
for Him and His people.  
and he knew that fight would get my blood he set my baseline low.  otherwise i may have already had a heart attack before i even reached 40.

when my feet hit the pavement they hit hard.
when i reach a hill that takes the road up, i lean my body into it and let my feet take it down.
when i begin to feel out of breath i open my mouth wide and steal the air back.

my runs are worship, my runs are a release...

but most of all, my runs are a fight.  

not the bloody, wild, WWF kind of fight but the ones of strength and grace like the art of judo.

i'll always be a fighter and i'll always have to be careful when and how i choose to do battle.  even though i've never thrown a punch, my tongue can cut right to the bone if i don't bite it back into place.  a passionate heart leads you to feel deep and react big.  but if i'm not vigilant the feelings and the reactions can lead to war...and ultimately i want to be about peace.

so i let my feet do battle with the ground while my mind fights through the lies and half-truths of my mind until my thoughts are clear and peace is restored.  

this is how i fight the battle for my freedom...without killing or wounding anyone else {except for the enemy of my soul}.  how do you fight yours?

Sunday, June 2, 2013

you complete me {reason to homeschool no. 4}

when i was young i stepped through the doors of my elementary school with my mind open wide, ready to receive whatever challenges my teacher had for me.  i hungered for opportunities to learn new things and apply my knowledge.  i was excited at the prospect of what i might be able to produce.  

my favorite teachers were the ones who didn't spend all period pouring over a textbook but who sparked my interest in something and then let me run with it.  they would give me book reports that i could actually experience with costumes and props; science lessons that required actual experimenting and reporting of results; opportunities to use art to demonstrate some historical person or event.

i'm a project person.  i love a good project...something that allows me to bring what i have learned to life.

on any given day i have at least a dozen ideas of projects i would like to try.  so...if someone else doesn't give me a special assignment, i will find one myself.  

but here's the thing with me and projects...i'm really good at starting them...not so great at finishing.  i don't typically make a long-term commitment to most of my projects.  i love giving birth to an idea and getting it up and walking but typically i end up passing it off for someone else to raise into maturity.

that doesn't work when you're a mom.  you can't just give birth, teach them to walk and then pass your kids off to someone else to finish the job.  or can you?

because of my personality i'm afraid that's exactly what i would be doing if i sent lucy to school right now.  i would be passing her off so i could get started on something new.

i don't think this is true for everyone.  i think there are plenty of parents who send their child to school everyday and yet they still give the majority of their time and energy to that child.  i just know that wouldn't be me.  as soon as i found myself with an extra 40 hours a week i would be up to my eyeballs in some new venture.  and when i commit to something new...i commit 100%.  i wouldn't have much left over when she stepped off of the bus.

as a mom i have been given a special assignment...and this one is going to require more than just a good 'start' to produce the results i'm hoping for.

so here's the beauty of a project person like me homeschooling...

my kids are not projects.
but the things i do with them everyday are.

so instead of pouring myself into projects that will benefit someone or something outside of my family i can choose project after project that will directly benefit my kids.

and so i research and i learn and i get creative around all these different things i want to teach my kids about nature and history and character and literature and art and just generally living this great story that is so much bigger than any one of us.

and although i reserve a small piece of my time and energy for my 'job' and the important work i do there, the rest of me is kept busy moving from project to project alongside these children whom i want to raise...completely.

{this is part 4 of my weekly series on homeschooling}