Two updates posted early! I’m on a roll! If you want to participate in this meme, please visit Carol at ThreeLittleLadies, and be sure to link your post to her Mr. Linky so that we can all see what life has in store for you. From where I sat this past week,
As an individual, I…
am thankful for everyone’s encouraging words regarding the situation at church. The update on the meeting that was to take place with our new partner/ drama teacher over the younger teens is that there was almost no drama, and a shared interest in teaching. This is a good thing. All week long, I thought about the dynamics of this meeting, anticipating the worst, so I had every argument well planned out. I had heard from several who knew more details about the situation to stand my ground, so I was prepared for a fight. Normally when I’m prepared for a fight, I never get it. I’m convinced that this is the Lord’s way of saving me from the hazards that my tongue would otherwise lead me into. The smartest move I made was to ask that we pray together before we get started. The meeting wasn’t perfect, and we still left with some disagreements about how to move forward; she wants us to be there every Sunday, which means that we wouldn’t get to just sit in service and hear the Word unless we stayed for two services. I instead choose not to be at church for that long, and to prioritize family time and household time above sitting in the room each week for face time. I’m at peace with that decision; I’ve rolled my eyes and shook my head at people who are at the church all the time, but have families that are falling apart. That’s arrogant on my part, but so is the way that others brag about their presence and associated fame within the church, as if that somehow qualifies them for something that you don’t have privy to. God makes it so simple to serve Him—both in our homes (first) and in church, but we make it so hard.
Anyway, this teacher also has a lot of interest in activities that are away from church—not my passion given my own schedule, but I said that if she’d be willing to coordinate the effort, we could transport some to wherever. At the end of the day, I feel good that our interactions with this lady are no longer contentious, but I have the remaining uncertainties about where all of this is going. I’ve not ruled out leaving altogether, but as a number of you have stated, this is not a one-church issue; it is the plight of any of us who sit under leadership that is aggressively trying to grow, but perhaps embracing a very flawed path in doing so.
I’ll work out twice, including today. It’s slow going, but I’m on the way back.
Finally, I’m experiencing a mild euphoric glow as NFL season rolls back around.
As a wife and homemaker, I…
am holding hands with my husband as we walk through crazy, busy weeks together. I started teaching a class on this past Thursday night, which means additional grades and late nights to complete them. He’s been swamped, too, and with dance this week, we often met ourselves coming back. He told me yesterday that he missed me, even though we’re here in the same space. My mom and dad never had this problem. Life has changed so much over a short time.
Soon it will be time for fall trimming and mulching of the flower beds. Our little vegetable garden has been fruitful enough until we are thinking about a fall garden and what to plant. Greens look promising as well as green beans, and I hear different things about when tomatoes really come to life. We’ve had about 3 tomatoes off our plants, although the plant itself has grown incredibly. We’re still up to our eyeballs in okra. I’ve fried it the last couple of times we’ve had it—my vegetarian son loves it like this. This week, I’ll cook another pot of chicken/ okra gumbo. The picture below was from our first harvest, and we were so proud. Many of these pods were near 7 inches long!
The problem is that, when okra is this big, the texture is tough. My first time cooking this was like feeding the family bamboo! Lesson learned: yes, ladies, size does matter (smile).
Karen’s Amish friendship bread has been the gift that’s kept on giving, and her variations on the basic recipe are making freshly baked bread one of our favorite Saturday morning treats. This morning’s carrot raisin variety (made just like the cake, but not quite as sweet) was the best yet; even the oldest ate three slices of it, and her suggestion to smear a little cream cheese on it set it off perfectly. Finding out that I could freeze the starter was a lifesaver because I was really struggling with giving bags of starter away. No one I know cooks, or at least, not at the level that they’d birddog a 10-day process. Anyway, I finally got the right quantity such that I can cook and freeze without the bread becoming like our okra. I’m quite proud because Lord knows I’m too cheap to throw out anything that could be food.
As a mom and homeschooling parent, I…
am happy to report that I survived the first week of dance. The week was pretty much like all of last year, but I realized while sitting in the lobby of the studio that mid-July to early September was not enough of a break. Anyway, we ended on a high note. The oldest was asked to be the team captain of the Performance Team. She is the oldest on the team and has the most dance experience, but I was excited for a totally different reason. When our son was asked to be on the competition team, the oldest was upset (although if the truth be told, she wasn’t at the same level, in large part because she didn’t practice). I remember telling her that her gifts would make a way for her, and they have. Through a very casual decision to go into class and help her younger sister, she became a teacher’s assistant. Not only that, but on last year, the primary teacher of the classes she helps left mid-season to have a baby, and the other teacher left for unexpected gall bladder surgery. Parents were coming to me at the recital praising her for being the mainstay amidst all the chaos. One parent even said, “Without her, there wouldn’t have been a class.” Yet, I confess that I’ve had to work to be the “Amen” corner on my own sermon. That side of me that is panicking about impressing a college into funding my daughter’s education had me thinking that something more needed to happen. I didn’t dare push the oldest into any more activities; it’s been enough for me that she’s completing her work in a timely manner and actually finishing her day before the sun goes down. So when the teacher pulled her aside, and she later told me what the conversation was, I immediately thought: Team Captain, Dance Center Performance Team. That’s a nice tip on the iceberg that will compile her college application. She’s always been my pride and joy (as are all our children), but I also realize that she’ll have to appeal to others with a different set of eyes. Dear Lord, is all I can say, and of course, that’s enough.
What’s happening with school? The oldest is performing well, as I said. We completed reading The Epic of Gilgamesh, and I think she would have complained, but we had also just finished discussing in logic how too many people judge a book without understanding it. So she couldn’t say what she wanted to say, and I left her alone this week to get her wrap-up work completed. I resisted the urge to jump in and spoon feed, but I kept a careful eye, primarily to be sure that she didn’t wait until the due date to decide to get working. Again, much of our work this year has been about nailing the intangibles. We took off Labor Day, and so she began Tuesday and Wednesday heavily dependent upon Sparknotes (www.sparknotes.com), and apprehensive to really dig into the assignment out of fear of being wrong. As an aside, isn’t it amazing what you learn about your children when you’re around them in this way? Finally on Thursday, she comes to me and says, “Mom, I understand it!” and proceeds to explain the plot of the story. She’s so proud of herself for hanging in there and “getting it” until I didn’t have the heart to say what I was thinking: “What have I been reading for the last couple of weeks?!” Anyway, who am I to criticize? Now in my 40’s, I’m learning some things about ancient history that I never knew; world history for me was a series of short-term memorization of dates, people, and places—none of which do I remember. So I’m as excited to finally get the flow myself as I am to see her light bulbs go on. In the next several weeks, we’ll use The Compact Guide to World Religions to cover Judaism and Confucianism. Then we begin the Iliad. There is no way that we’ll finish these books—thick with no pictures (LOL)—in the number of weeks I allotted for it.
The youngest continues to insist on the happy ending. We argued over Mr. Popper’s Penguins because, without spoiling it for you, Mr. Popper left with the penguins to go the North Pole. She thought this was great because he didn’t have to be separated from the penguins. I thought it was a miserable ending—he left his wife and kids! We’re still having fun with our other studies, and once I slow down (maybe on our fall break?) I’ll post pictures and share more about what we’re doing. If only for my sake, these will be times worth capturing. As it is, I’m like a duck paddling underwater to try and live up to my reputation as a “fun teacher” this year. During the HOTM Home Education Conference, the Mystery of History founder (Hobar, is it?) talked about the relationship of teacher involvement to lesson plan development. As the need for one goes up, the need for the other goes down, so I’ve tried to keep this in mind as I resign myself to being okay with not having written down a plan for her in weeks. With me there, lesson plans are not necessary.
Sarita Holtzmann, Sonlight co-founder, also spoke at that same conference, talking about how to instill in your child a heart for the nations. She basically covered the book lists that are a part of the curriculum, but her voice has such passion in it that she is still such an effective evangelist and speaker. Having said that, I am enjoying tremendously my time with our son over the Dani tribe of Papua New Guinea in Torches of Joy. We have covered so many places together, and I get thrilled when I see him discuss places with his dad, or want to show me something he found in a book about people from another land. He and his sisters are in an extended honeymoon season with school, and I’m floating on cloud 9.
As a business owner, I…
had a light week with the business. I allowed myself a week between starting the new class and the kids starting dance to get readjusted, so hopefully this week will find me picking up more activities.
May the Lord bless your week as well.