Go to school or stay home?

Three and a half weeks until school starts. This mama and her kids are all anxiously awaiting that day and praying every day that nothing changes the minds of those in charge of our school’s decision.

Remember, too, that this mama and her kids homeschooled for many years before this past school year. I have blogs and blogs of school stories and photos over the years. I love that we have those memories and all of that time together. I truly think that home schooling during that season was exactly what we were supposed to do. No regrets. God’s hand guided us and orchestrated details I didn’t have the sense to think of. I am grateful!

I also believe that the kids going to school this past year was exactly what they were supposed to do. (Though I have cursed Covid-19 for ruining the last few months of school, I actually do trust God with the whole situation.) It was good for them in this season to be around other kids and have other teachers. They were ready, and I was ready to share them with others. God’s hand guided us and orchestrated details I didn’t have the sense to think of. I am grateful!

So with the perspective I have on schooling kids (did you know I also taught public middle school one year and substitute taught before kids?), I find it so interesting all of the conversations I am hearing and reading about around the topic of school decision. 

It reminds me of the poem “Everything I Ever Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.” There is so much truth there! Remember being told to draw an imaginary circle around yourself and take care of who is in the circle, and in doing so, your life will be so much more simple and drama-free? Yeah, that lesson needs to be dusted off these days.

For YEARS I had to deal with people asking random questions after hearing that we home school—-“What about socialization?” (this person must assume I lock them in a room after giving them workbooks and only let them out to eat on occassion) or “Do you plan to home school through highschool??” (this person assumes I have a magic eight ball that allows me to see far into the future and know every detail of my life) “How do they make friends?” (this person assumes I have no life outside of my four walls)……and on and on we could go. 

NOW, people ask me if I am worried about sending them back to school to be around other kids? And I just have to shake my head. Good grief! You people cannot have it both ways. So I was ruining my kids when I kept them home but now I am ruining them for sending them?? Do tell me more about what you think I should do.

Before I get more hot and bothered about the topic, let me truly use this time to tell each person who might be reading this:  YOU WERE GIVEN YOUR KIDS BY GOD. YOU CAN MAKE DECISIONS FOR YOUR KIDS AS FAR AS HOW THEY ARE EDUCATED. You do not owe other people answers or explanations. You can change your mind about how your kids go to school or where they go to school. Pray about the decision. God’s hand will guide you and orchestrate details you don’t have the sense to think of, and you will be grateful! 

Draw your circle and do your thing. I believe in you.

Paradise

Josh and I will be married 20 years in January 2021; since the kids were all three going to be away from home this past week, we decided to plan a getaway for us. We planned this well before Covid-19. We almost decided not to go. What a bad decision that would have been! It was our best vacation yet!!

Being married 20 years is a big deal and deserves full celebration, which I will likely write about in January when the actual anniversary date arrives. This time away was particularly needed because —have you ever had three teenagers? I mean, if you have and you survived, send me all the advice, ok?? We deserved this vacation, not necessarily as much for being married 20 years as for daily facing life with three teenagers. During a global pandemic with “safer at home” orders for many, many weeks. Dear Lord, help me.

Don’t misunderstand. I love my kids. I love how God made them and their fun, quirky, strong personalities. I love to watch them use their gifts and talents. I enjoy hearing their perspective. I love my three kids.

And I love time alone with Josh. Neither of us realized how much we needed this time until we were actually away, alone, just being together.

We got settled in and found our way to the pool. There were kids laughing and playing on a float and then they were arguing and slapping and calling for their mama…and then we overheard someone say something about an adult pool. And without being too obvious, we packed our stuff and walked around to the adult pool…all the while hoping it wasn’t topless women, but weighing the scales of what we’d put up with on our vacation—topless sunbathing or obnoxious kids. 🤣🤣🤣I kid. I kid.

I woke up every morning around 6am so I could sip coffee and watch the sun rise. And I don’t mean that I just watched the sky change pretty colors. I actually saw the big, round orange sun pop up every morning and make its was up, up, up into the sky. It was gloriously beautiful.

THIS👆🏻is what I credit our marriage to—Thank you, Jesus!!!!

And another full day of sun and relaxation.

No one else on planet earth I’d want to be on this journey with. He is my favorite, forever and always.

Monotonous, marvelous motherhood

Ruby was huffing and puffing while she was helping clean up after dinner. I was also tired after a long day and was washing dishes while wishing I was able to sit down and rest. I reminded her to think long and hard before jumping into motherhood because most of motherhood is work. I know that there are a million blessings intertwined but to overlook the vast amount of work would not be smart. She didn’t say anything is response.

The work can be monotonous and yucky—like using your hand to wipe off nasty dishes from time to time. Or cleaning the dog’s throw up off the floor. And I can’t forget the gazillion nasty diapers I’ve changed or runny noses I’ve wiped. Plunging toilets. Wiping hard toothpaste out of the sink and more. Then, there’s just the regular stuff—making beds, driving kids to places, ordering school uniforms, wiping down counters, figuring out what to cook for dinner for the millionth time, folding laundry, sweeping the floors, paying bills, picking up random shoes or baseballs or notebooks or games scattered all around the house.

Sounds glamorous, right?

I know, no one goes into motherhood or family life for the fame and glamour. But that doesn’t mean moms don’t sometimes feel a little trapped in this monotonous work. The Lord reminds me often that this is an important work. My kids need me. My husband needs me. The hidden work is often where I’m being made. My inner thoughts are being sharpened and my character is being strengthened in these daily tasks I sometimes huff and puff at.

I am reading in Exodus and came across the section in chapter 28 about how to make the priest’s robe. It struck me as comical when God is describing the hem that He, first, gives an overview: “You shall make on its hem pomegranates of blue and purple and scarlet material, all around on its hem, and bells of gold between them all around:”

Ok. Sounds straightforward enough.

But then He adds in the next verse “a golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, all around the hem of the robe.”

And immediately I was struck my the monotony of that task. “A golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate.” Wonder if the person assigned that task ever looked at someone hammering out gold or handling the jewels for the breastplate or making the laver and wish they had a little more exciting job?

But every person making any part of the holy garments and holy pieces for the Tabernacle were doing a holy work. God told Moses to speak to “all the skillful persons.” These were people “wise of heart,” my Bible clarifies…so they probably understood the magnitude of their job. The person or people making sure there was “a golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, all around the hem of the robe,” were making something for Aaron to wear “when he ministers; and its tinkling shall be heard when he enters and leaves the holy place before the Lord, so that he will not die.”

I’d say that’s a pretty important role! So I’m reminded that even (and maybe even especially) during monotonous work, I’m a part of ushering in the presence of God. The way I view these mundane tasks matters. God meets me here in the messes.

Lord, give me a heart of wisdom today in everything I put my hands to—the dishes, the toilets, the sweeping and mopping, the driving and drycleaning pick-up, dinner and every little interaction with those I love. Help me see this role the way You do. Amen.

Happy Independence Day!

Independence Day 2020. A very interesting time in our country. Global pandemic, racial tensions, an election year, face mask mandate in several states, how school will start is still unknown, and more weirdness.

In an act of sanity, we tried to do something we would normally do even though it was discouraged by most. We cooked and ate with real, live people! 😊 What a great lunch! We had friends over—old friends and new friends that are church friends and work friends, young friends and our age friends. I’m so grateful for those who were willing to be with us today as we celebrate the undeserved privilege of living in America. I sure didn’t have anything to do with the fact that this is my birth country, but I’m grateful that because of that I was able to, quite easily, hear the gospel at a very young age and know Jesus as my Savior and Lord, my Friend and my Father—Another undeserved privilege that had nothing to do with me endearing myself to God. All Jesus. All praise to Him! And who the Son sets free is free indeed!!!

I meant to get a group photo, but everyone was busy eating and talking and enjoying themselves. So I’ll share what I did get.

Now the kids have gone to hang out with friends, Josh is snoring in his chair, and I’m sitting with Rolo while she begs me to go share some BBQ with her. Sweet, silly, manipulative dog. And my neighbor just text me to ask if she can have some flour to make an apple pie. Seems like a very American thing to do today! Happy Fourth!