a brief overview

The first year of homeschooling I had to learn the value of discipline.  When I say discipline, I don’t mean figuring out the best way to deal with a child’s unwanted behavior.  I mean doing the thing you want to do, whether you feel like doing it or not.  This is particularly difficult for a person who thrives on following my heart, whose thinking process follows the line that if I don’t feel like doing it, it isn’t worth doing.

If I don’t see the value, I won’t waste my time. This is why I say I had to learn the value of discipline.  I am a person driven not only by what I feel, but also by what I value.  Where some people rely on reason to keep their feelings well-ordered, more often than not, what keeps me from being completely ruled by my feelings are my firmly-held values.

One thing I value is time together.  The best part about homeschooling for me is the fact that it gives us a chance to be a family.  I’ve often told people the best part for me is getting to spend so much time together, which, by and large, has also been the most difficult part.  Two b-words are needed in order for family to work: boundaries and basic human decency.  This is something I’ve had to accept for myself, to change about myself.

People need space and respect.  I am a human being, and human beings need space and respect.  It isn’t selfish to set a boundary.  This is one of those things I would wish to be aware of if I could go back and do motherhood over:  I would respect myself enough to make adjustments and accommodations for the sake of my own needs and limitations.

The Christian mommy blogs refer to this concept as “giving yourself grace”.  I definitely needed grace, and on the worst days, I suppose it’s only the grace of God that gets any of us through.  But for me, I needed more than grace.   I needed God in tangible shape and form.  I needed boundaries, something hemming me in, building me up, protecting me from the weaknesses and harms of the self.  I needed a class on the right way to live.

 

 

 

 

 

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scandinavian horses

Winter quickly is becoming my second favorite season.  While Christmas brings the ending to my all-time favorite summer, winter marks the onset of a love I cannot name.

It helps to have the snow.

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I could talk about the weather for days if you wanted,

like the time when the hail took our little world by storm.

We called them ice marbles.

Don’t mind me, boys.

I’m just content to watch you play.

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Basking in the sunlight of childhood.

still listening

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sometimes my heart just needs a place to go
where I can lay it down completely bare.

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I need to offer myself up to Something, to Someone.

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Take my life and let it be

For You, my God, remembered me.

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“For you shall be in covenant with the stones of the earth,
and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with you.”

~Job 5:23~

the saga continues

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It’s amazing how God sends us times of refreshment.  At the end of last school year, I was full of joy and totally beat.  From what I can tell by talking with teacher friends over the years, this is a common phenomenon, the feeling of Done by the time May rolls around.

And then, come September, something changes.  You’re ready to begin again.  You’re itching and excited to get back in the classroom.  The summer months were a wonderful time of rest and rejuvenation, with plenty of sunlight, water, and breaths of fresh air.

There seems to be a peaceful time of childhood, around the ages of 5-10 or so, where things get significantly easier in terms of the maintenance a child requires.  They can get themselves dressed, put their own shoes on, use the bathroom on their own.  It’s truly amazing, really.  The physically exhausting years had a secondary side effect–emotional exhaustion.  When the physically exhausting years have a chance to ease up, the emotional exhaustion also eases up, and you have a chance to rest for a minute.

As my children get older it is harder to talk about motherhood in specific ways.  There’s a reason for this.  When they are small, they are attached to you, to where you don’t know where little one ends and you begin.  To talk about your children and everything motherhood is to talk about your self and life.  As they get older, and more independent, they are not as attached, meaning they are becoming their own separate person.  It’s an incredible transformation that a mother gets to witness over the course of many years.

Stormy is the word I would use to describe it.  Homeschooling has come with so much joy and delight, quality time, and positive learning experiences.  It also comes with storms.  The storms would happen even if the kids were in school, they just wouldn’t be happening around me between the hours of 8-3.  The occasional stormy days or even the quickly moving storms feels like I’m racking up a significant amount of wear and tear.

Thankfully, just having the slightest warning or knowledge this was coming has helped tremendously.  Having being forced to fall flat on your face in the throne room of God out of failure and desperation during the little years has also helped.  God is faithful.  I’m learning to go to Him a lot quicker with my problems, because He has proven Himself not only as the God who sees, but the God who acts, a constant help in times of trouble.

 

in other words

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“In other words, in the deepest heart of man, the motive for art and the motive for worship are bound together.  That is not accidental.  In both art and worship, the heart seeks out something beyond itself–a beauty or power that is not its own.  That seeking involves a great deal of what can best be called ‘play’.  Why, if the painting of the deer is only a practical superstition meant to help catch another deer, is the deer the artist paints so deer-like–not photographically true to life, but lovingly true to what it must be like to be a deer?  Why lavish so much care upon a caveman’s version of bookkeeping, if that’s all it is?

But that is not all it is.  The play of the artists hand is one with the praise of the artist’s heart.  He cramps his knuckles and strains his eyes in the poor light to reproduce in the cave a hint of the wonder in his life: that there is a god who gives him and his people the deer, for their feasts, their clothing, and for their enjoyment of their odd and familiar ways.  The painting bears the style of his hand, yet he does not at all mean to express himself in it;  rather it allows him to pass beyond himself, to the animals he knows in part, and to the mysterious forces that govern his life and the life of his people, forces that he hardly knows at all.”

~Anthony Esolen