Too much rolling around in my brain

The kids told me that I couldn’t just document our home school life on Instagram and be done.  They said that I must start blogging weekly about other stuff we do and things they say.  It’s fun for them to look back and read funny stories from when they were little, so they want me to keep the blog going.  I hadn’t intended to NOT blog.  I just don’t have time, it seems.  I cannot tell you how many stories I have rolling around in my mind, but I just never make it to the computer to type them out.

There is so much to do to keep a house running and to home school all three kids.  Laundry is just hilarious–how it never ends.  And the cooking and eating.  Wonder why God didn’t make it so we had to eat once every other day?  That would be neat.  And less messy.

With all that is going on in the world these days with politics and Christian leaders casting doubt on the Word of God and all, it’s not like there isn’t plenty to talk about…but it’s probably best we not talk about those things out here in crazy cyber land.  I felt sort of bad for the guy helping me with my groceries though. I have a lot of pent up words. I mean, last time he helped me with my groceries he was telling me how he thinks I should grow my hair out and kept asking me why I was buying so many groceries.  “Hold on, Jim.  We just met.  I don’t care what you think about my hair, and I have a family of five to feed–three of which are growing children.  Back off.”

Well, last time I was gracious and just smiled and tried to explain why I bought over $300 of groceries.  Today, however, since I am here in our new city without friends to vent to over politics and religion, he didn’t get many smiles or gracious explanations.  He asked me where my kids were.  I told him, even though it is none of his business.  “At home doing school.”  He remembers that I home school and asks me how I like it in a tone that made it clear he thought I was a bit off for schooling the kids.  I told him I loved it (that is a half-truth…half the time I love it and half the time I hate it, ok?).  He then asked me what I like about it.  “Well, I get to spend time daily with my kids.  I teach them in the way I think best suits them and at our own pace.  We have lots of flexibility, and I teach them according to the Bible.”

Then, he asked THE question, “What about socializing?”

Seriously?  Do people still think this is a question worthy of asking.  For a second I thought of saying that I don’t worry about socialization or socializing.  I just lock my kids in the basement with their books and throw them a sandwich every day at noon.  But instead, I told him, “Oh, we go out and about.  They talk to people and answer questions.  We attend church where they make friends and go to parties.” (Why am I explaining myself to this stranger?)  He looks concerned and tried to finish my sentence…I continued, “They aren’t only around–” and this is where he broke in to say, “you all day.”  I corrected him.  “No, they aren’t only around kids their age most of the day, like in a school setting.” Personally, I  don’t really count it a high priority (or good way of learning how to socialize) for them to be in a room full of peers.

Bless him.  Bless me.  Bless this crazy world we live in.

So, ok now that I am so off track from giving my children glimpse into their life…..wonder how I should transition?  Hmmmm.  How about pictures?

I love fall!  We got out and about today to run a couple of errands.  Molly took pictures, and I am going to post them and end this post on a happy note!

The bakery we went to was beautiful!  I couldn’t get over how many delicious treats they had on display.

Then, we enjoyed driving back home looking at the trees and the gorgeous houses.

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The house above is in our neighborhood.  The houses below are not.  😉 img_8576-2img_8580img_8582

We appreciate our weekends more than ever these days.  Tonight we’re having lasagna and bread with salad. And we are planning to play games.  This is fun for everyone in my family except me.  I am going to be demonstrating what it looks like to sacrifice this evening.  I would prefer to be sitting in front of the fire with a book and quiet, but I will do my best to embrace a “Fun-Filled Friday Night Game Time” instead.

Happy Weekend, y’all.

Book recommendation!

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If you are a home school mom, I highly recommend this book. A friend of mine sent it to me, and I am so thankful she did. I laughed and cried. I felt conviction about how I spend my time with my kids, but not because she tells how great she did everything, but because she was honest about what she wishes she did differently. I was inspired to teach and encourage my children to be life-long learners. I was reminded that home schooling doesn’t need to be as difficult as I sometimes make it in my mind. I wanted to share a few of my favorite quotes from her book here to encourage you and maybe inspire you to go buy this book!

page 6 “We have to repent of that idea of control, repent of our little kingdoms over and over again. Maybe the greater part of our sanctification comes as we remember that those around us were not born as appendages to us; they are unique individuals made in the image of God. In return, we are not appendages to our family either. I was born a person. My mother found this just as shocking about me as I did about my first son.”

page 7 “Motherhood is a place of dreamy hopes and crushed fantasies and the hard, hard work of sinners in relationship with one another day by day.”

page 120 in regards to her children leaving home, “It was a bit of a shock for me to watch my family dwindle over the last ten years, because ten short years ago we had all of our children squished into the pew with us. And while my other children are all generally in a pew somewhere, they are not with me…There’s just no way to see something like that coming, and maybe it is wrong of me to even mention it to young mothers.”

page 113 “I read once that a nine year old boy is the most pleasant of all children to be around. I believe that is true. As moms, we have this baby, and then we have this nine-year-old boy, and our relationship with him is sweet to us, but that is not the end of the story…….Ultimately, we have to let our boys be men. Whatever satisfaction we got out of our relationship with our son must be turned toward the one who is better than ten sons. Isn’t that how our hearts work? Our longings are triggers which find their fulfillment in Christ. That fulfillment is always available to you as a mother ever in the midst of letting go of relationships we treasure.”

SIGH. Mack is nine years old. He is the sweetest thing, too. After reading this section, I may have gotten up and walked over to his bedroom where he was sleeping and kissed his freckled cheek and whispered a prayer that I would be a mom that could love and not smother. Be a mom that raises him to be a man, a strong and bold and kind man of God.

page 110 “We are living in an increasingly feminized society. Some people view that as an increasingly civilized society, but it has left our boys with deep desires for honor but few outlets for displaying it properly.”

This next quote in particular made my stomach sink. Being a stay at home mom that home schools her three kids can, at times, feel isolating. Social media can be your main connection to the outside world some days! Or maybe you want to pretend like you aren’t a home school mom, so you immerse yourself in what other people are posting about their lives or you read news articles for an hour about the two crazy contestants for President (doesn’t this feel like a game show that will end instead of Presidential election with real nominees?). Whatever the reason, I do NOT want to harm my relationships with my kids when I ignore opportunities for big, juicy conversations just so I can see what so-and-so did on Fall Break or how far Suzy Q ran yesterday. I mean, seriously. It is absurd as it sounds. I do think there are positives to social media—no doubt. But we must be mindful of how it might be affecting our family.

page 88 “Perhaps I did not watch my children as well as I should have during those years. It seemed like I was always with them, but was I paying attention? It turns out I was not, and some of my children suffered deep wounds because of it. It would be convenient for me to skip this fact, except that I feel compelled to warn other mothers not to make the same mistake.”

page 148 “If we read a book knowing we have to tell someone else about it, we will read with attention. Without attention, no child or adult learns anything. Narration, oral and written, trains the mind to pay attention.The attentions the child gives engages his mind so that he is not merely reading, he is processing what he is reading.”

Oh, so much good stuff in this book, Mere Motherhood by Cindy Rollins. This book is one I will need to read again…and again. Go out and get a copy and let me know what you think!

Simply Rest (easier said than done)

The weather here in Charlotte has been divine. Fall is my favorite season already, and I am enjoying it immensely in our new city. Long walks with the kids, sitting on the front steps watching the kids ride their bikes, eating lunch outdoors when we can.

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Schooling the kids is the main way I spend my days. Math, History, Science, Reading and Writing.

So the days are calm. I’m a slow learner, but I think I am starting to embrace the season of rest that the Lord has given me. I went for a walk the other evening while Ruby was at a youth group social. I was praying as I walked and just said, “Lord, I am not re-hashing to you all of my thoughts and emotions. It’s exhausting, and I know you already know. I am going to listen to You. Anything You want to say?”

It was pretty clear what came to me next. I was immediately reminded of the simple (not easy) priorities from The Word of God.

1- Love God.
2- Love and respect Josh.
3- Love and train the kids.
4- Manage the home.

Short little sentences packed with a gracious plenty to keep my days full.

I remember reading in a book about how to be an excellent wife that it would be a good idea to ask your husband every day if there was something you could do for him. In the season I was in, with little needy kids, I laughed to myself at that piece of advice. I mean, you must be kidding. I wasn’t asking anybody for anything extra to do in my day. I knew I was going to work my tail off around the house and for the kids…that’s what I would be doing!

But it has been a helpful question to ask lately. It’s a reminder that I am Josh’s helper, and I do want to help him. It makes me feel good to take something off of his plate. And it sets an example for my kids.  I mean, in your life, how many people are approachable?  How many people truly listen to you?  How many people are just available to be there for you?  How many people ask you how they can help you?  I want to be that kind of person.  If I want to be that approachable, caring, listening person, I can’t have a jam-packed life full of places to go and people to see.  I need margin in my life, and I am thankful for how God brought me to this place of such simplicity.  You can bet your bottom dollar I will pray and think very carefully before adding anything to my calendar. Not out of a selfish guarding of MY time, but out of a desire to “number my days that I may present to God a heart of wisdom.”  It matters how I spend my days.  And the way the Lord wants my days to look might be different than how other people want my days to look.  It might be different than I want my days to look, but I want to hear from Him.

I have been challenged in how I show love to my kids during these days, too. I am notorious for letting my kids know that, “I am not your maid!” In my ambitious spirit to make sure my kids are not total brats, I may have missed opportunities to serve them in ways that make them feel loved. Like when Molly forgets her drink at lunch, I want to say, “Didn’t you know you were going to want something to drink before you sat down at the sandwich and chips?” Instead, I could be an example to her of how to respond to someone who needs something or forgot to do something and needs help. When Mack asks for help when he is making his bed, I can joyfully walk in and help him. I know how much easier it is to make a double bed when you have someone on the other side, so why not give him a hand if I am able? And I definitely have time to help the kids.  It’s just them and me all day long—doing our school and going on walks.  That’s it!

Rest. Simplicity. Reminders.
Just what My Heavenly Father has ordered; I want to graciously, humbly, thankfully receive it.

I pray you are also hearing from The Lord in this season of your life.

Deliveries, Fallen Limbs, Road Trip and Family

Today we did school and waited on our new kitchen chairs to be delivered.  I was very excited to have them arrive!  The house is coming together, slowly but surely!

We were then able to go out on a walk.  The weather is absolutely perfect.

And here is the little “library” on the corner up from our home.  Ruby and I looked in it today and picked a book to take home.  It is the neatest little thing….

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Let me show you the huge limb/part of a tree that fell off in our front yard while we were out of town….

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It is rather large.  Thankfully, we have already had a couple of limbs fall, so we now have a tree guy!  He plans to come this week and do some more pruning and also cut this limb up and take down the whole tree. We are thankful it didn’t hit the house!

We were out of town because Josh’s step grandfather, who was 102 years old, passed away. We wanted to be there for Charlene, and we were glad we were able to make the trip.  We got to see my family on the way there and on the way home, as well as Irvin, Aunt Pep, Uncle Jerry, Uncle Tony, Aunt Denise, Al and Linda, Great Aunt Norma, Uncle Jason, Aunt Merrilee, and baby Deacon….and numerous other friends and family!  I especially like seeing SaraBess and Susan because they just remind me of Debbie so much.  They were all such good friends, and they know so much about how she was.  I am glad they got to see our kids, too!  Sweet ladies!

We also made a stop at Middle Georgia College in Cochran, GA.  What great memories!    You just don’t know how free you are during those college days.  At my age and with my responsibilities, I now know.  Too little, too late.  Riding those country roads and driving around campus flooded my mind with memories.  Loved it.

 

We told the kids about when Josh took me to Village Pizza intending to ask me to be his girlfriend.  I noticed he didn’t eat very much.  He said I talked the whole time and didn’t give him time to ask.  Not true….I don’t think.  He finally did ask once we got back to the dorm.  I told him I needed the weekend to pray and think about it.  (The kids did not understand what that was about… haha! ) Village Pizza is now a mexican restaurant.  Can I just say that I am so thankful that there weren’t chips, salsa and guacamole so nearby when I went to school there?  And Hardees is now Wendys.  I much prefer Wendys over Hardees, so again, I am thankful that it wasn’t there while I lived in Cochran. Freshman fifteen would be more like freshman forty.

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Never would have dreamed that the past almost 20 years of knowing Josh would have been such a journey!  He’s a fabulous leader for our family and loves us all well.  He is NOT a boring husband, that is for sure. And to think it all started in the little town of Cochran, Georgia.  Thankful for the providence of God.

 

Funny Days

The days around here are so funny to me.  I wanted to document this so that I will remember the first days of this move and appreciate when things are calmer.

Yesterday, a couple of guys got here at 8am to remove all the old grout and put back down nice, bright white grout in the girls’ bathroom.  It made such a huge improvement in that 1952 bathroom!!!  The shower got new grout all around and everything was sealed up nicely.  Hopefully, no more leaking from this shower down to my room!

At the same time, a tree guy, Caleb, came by to give me a quote on taking down a few limbs from some trees in the yard.  He was so knowledgable and told me all about the different kinds of trees in my yard.  I wish I had know I was going to learn so much because I would have made sure the kids were with me out in the yard and counted it as a horticulture class. Caleb is a believer, and we got to talking about how he was an MK in Peru until he was 11 years old.  He informed me that there is an organization in Waxhaw named JAARS that I can take my kids to and learn about how they get the bible translated into other languages.  Very nice guy!  (Sidetone: There are benefits to living in one of those neighborhoods where they take down every tree and just build houses!  If hurricane Matthew brings too many strong winds to Charlotte, I’m not sure what our yard is going to look like!!)

The tree guy left, and then our yard guy, Cruz, came by to finish cutting up the huge limb that fell last week and loaded it on his truck to take away.

During that time, an older gentleman came by to ask me a “few” questions for the census.  Lots of personal questions, too!  Like, how much money we make and how old I am.  He realized my kids were home schooled and then proceeded to quiz them with math questions.  I don’t know why that annoys me so bad, but it does.  I would love to know if he asks kids who are schooled other ways if they can solve his math problems.

Ok, then David (we’re on a first name basis) came by.  He was here last week and the week before.  He is our chimney guy and installed our wood burning stove…evidently he needed to measure something one more time before the company felt comfortable ordering the last piece for our stove.  I will see him again next week when he comes back to install that last piece.

In between all of our visitors, we were schooling and fixing lunch and doing laundry.  I was reminded of this quote I saw the other day about all the regular, mundane stuff we do in a day.

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So even all of these appointments with people in and out of the house can be used for God’s glory, instead of just thinking that they are interruptions in my day.  And when all the deliveries and work in the house are done and all we do is cook, clean, and do school together, it will all be important work.

I am instagramming our school stuff, so I don’t feel the need to document that here, but I am probably going to wish I had one day.  Maybe soon, if you’re lucky, I will do a home school post and update everyone (….whomever “everyone” is) on what we are learning  at the Dorminy Academy of Higher Learning.

I am sure you can hardly wait.