Saturday, July 30, 2011

Trying Again

I found an email I sent to Jeff last July when I was out of town planning for school.  Here’s a snippet.

I really am asking the Lord for this to be our best school year yet- I trust Him. Jessica and I are talking through lots.  We experience much of the same dynamic different as we are. It IS a big job and there IS lots to cover but we know there is a better way to do it than we have done in the past. When we look at the material to cover and then plug it into the week, it's overwhelming wondering how in the world and even more so HOW do we make this fun??? Because our oldest kids are indeed OLDER, the days of being finished by noon are over unless we want to have a 'crack the whip' morning. We have come up with some good plans/strategies as we have read other materials and talked them through. I am mostly encouraged but a little nervous about carrying it all out. Again, as I said at the beginning, I trust God to help. 
Thanks for letting me be here.  I hope you sense it is worth it,  not just for school but for our family as a whole. I do.  Absolutely. 
Ok- have another great day. I am excited about mine.

Honestly, it was hard to read.  Next weekend, I will go to plan for 2011-2012. Today, right now, I am lacking the “zip” I need to plan for 2nd and 4th grade. My head wants to be thankful for summer, but I feel like I have missed a month somewhere.  Does August really come after July??  Apparently so.  This time next week I will be surrounded by curriculums, notebooks, sticky notes, work books, chapter books and hopefully my favorite snacks and several empty coffee cups.  I will plan 9 months of school days and right now, I am needing some drive, some excitement.  Something.

Reading the note I wrote to Jeff made me a little sad.  I hardly felt last year was “our best school year yet”.  Was it and the preceding 4 were even worse?  I totally had “crack the whip” mornings in hopes of a little down time for everyone by mid-afternoon, only to be frustrated in the late afternoon because we were still checking, correcting math sheets or answering the knocks on the door from kids home from their school day.  Before it started, the job felt big and overwhelming and packed.  And the more squeezed I felt, the less fun I felt like having.  Oh sure, there was SOME fun but much more could have been dished out.  For sure.

So, how’s that for encouraging??  Everyone ready to home school their kids now??

Would you roll your eyes if I said, I love it?  I do.....but I want it to be better!  Energizing.  Anticipated.  Stimulating.  Fun.  I will always hope for that, plan for that and every year, for however long I get to do this, try again for that.

I think every Mom, home schooler or not, struggles with how her family’s days are going, how she is responding to hard situations with her kids, how she intercedes in arguments, how she reacts to her children’s behaviors (typical childhood silliness and downright disobedience), how to best protect the family calendar,  and how to be pleasant, encouraging and generous when her husband comes home. For me, those are the biggies.  Those are the ones that sneak into my thoughts at night when the house is quiet.  I can choose condemnation and shame or I can choose forgiveness for the present and hope for the next day.  I like to fall asleep with the latter on my mind.

Being together all day magnifies everyone’s faults and faults magnified are no different than a piece of string under a microscope.  It’s creepy.  And messy.   But here is the opportunity for blessing-- seeing everyone’s mess, working through it and loving each other through it.  We give and receive genuine forgiveness everyday.  That’s good stuff and that’s worth whatever struggle I feel.

I read Oswald Chambers last week and I could relate to his words in a few situations in our lives right now.  We tend to focus on and measure according to the goal, the end result.  Walking with God focuses on the process, the journey, the dailies.  The goal is important but I don’t think near as critical as HOW we got there and all the things that transpired on our way.  That’s what I think was good about our 2010-2011 school year- a few minutes here, a good laugh there, obedience chosen, conversations at breakfast, hurt feelings soothed, arguments settled, books relished. Our dailies weren’t always pretty, but there were great moments-- moments I am counting on to shape not only their lives, but their next day.  MY next day.

I will continue to trust the Lord as I plan once again to educate Julia and Brighton in these rooms-- that He is in the detailed workings of this process, with us in all the rabbit trails this journey takes and speaking to me regularly regarding the dailies of our home.

Just as I did last year, I still have hope that THIS can be the best school year yet.  (That is, if I can get some better pencils.)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

591.  kids catching waves, grins riding in front

592.  hushpuppies fried right

593.  kites

594.  kayaks

595.  dolphins

596.  palm trees mingling with pine trees

597.  Southern delicacies-- peach ice cream

598.  jelly fish that don’t sting

599.  them- enjoying each other (how it does a Momma’s heart good)

600.  beach clouds

 St. George- the old bridge

Santa Rosa Beach
601.  that he always looks for my camera

602.  beach at night

603.  sacrificial hospitality-- thanks, Phil and Barbara!

604.  Julie’s way of eating ice cream  (click!)

Our smallest “sundae" lost her cherry...  and wasn’t quite sure what to do about that.
605.  old discoveries new again

606.  hermit crabs

607.  strangers

608.  cousins!!!

St. George Crew 
Santa Rosa Crew
609.  anticipating next year

Leaving St. George

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

We’re Here!!!

Vacation is a gift, especially when you are with seventeen other people you enjoy so much!  No surprise, but we are having a ball.  

Sitting in my spot on Monday, I looked up and saw this.

And it reminded me of this.  {Julia’s first year on St. George.}  Unbelievable.

564.  morning hair

565.  friends, sisters, cousins having fun (Charlie’s Angels meets the Cat Burglar)

566.  AbeBooks

567.  unexpected dinner guests of the best kind

568.  planning and packing for the summer road trip

569.  company at Panera

570.  friend’s quiet pool

571.  air conditioning

572.  unsolicited affirmation

573.  church musicals

What he spent most of his time doing-- looking around the person in front of him and figuring out what comes next

This gal was made for motions.

574.  first road trip for this for him

575.  news from Margaret, what we always knew

576.  hotel bed at 5 am

577.  RAIN!!!!!!!!!!!

578.  Ken Burns documentaries

579.  hellos from Uncle Blake like no other

580.  Georgia peaches

I LOVE Texas but the peaches just don’t do it for me.

581.  picking up where we left off

582.  blue breaking through

583.  16 year old saying “yes” to building a sand castle

584.  a break from triple digits

585.  starting a new book with my toes in the sand

586.  Nana and Mim and what their containers hold

587.  morning sun on the water

588.  Daddys planning dinners

589.  shucking help

590.  several more days left here