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From where I sat this past week,
As an individual, I…
am feeling good about this week after coming to a grueling slow down on last week. We are, as of this morning, on fall break. My primary agenda item today? To sleep a bit later. By Thursday, the kids were barely speaking to one another—a rarity in our home, but a true indication of how much we all needed a break—and I’m resisting the urge to make the kids reading during our time off. I realize that I probably need the break as much, if not more, than they do. I don’t want another item to do amidst my own plans, which include reading and—dare I think it(?)—scrapbooking, after a two-year absence. We leave on tomorrow for abrief vacation, and I’m determined to enjoy some time to myself, even though I still have my adult classes.
Still no workouts, but a very active day in the garden preparing for fall, with more planned for today. I don’t care what anyone says, gardening is a strength workout unlike no other. I didn’t get out at all during the summer—it was too hot and mosquitoes seemed to be thicker than usual. One of our neighbors, a pastor, always laughs at us for having any landscaping in the first place. His comment is that he ‘lets the Lord cut his yard in the winter and grow it in the summer.’ Of course, I see his yard and think the Lord’s looking for some shoe leather to show who He is. Okay, that was mean, but I am sure others must have thought the same of us this year. Thankfully, we’ve finally gotten the mulch high enough such that weeds are not a major problem, but the ginger plants I put down in the front needed more shade than they get in our yard, and so there was much dead undergrowth to clear out. All the dwarf holly bushes needed trimming to be the same size, and one had to be relocated after a juniper tree grew over and into it. Two of our three lantana bushes never returned to their former glory after last winter, and the superhero helped me pull these out of the ground, inclusive of the roots that grew an amazing four feet long—who knew? I’ve not done anything to the back yet. If the Lord says the same, this weekend we’ll put down mulch for the winter (such that it is here) and fertilize the trees for the fall/winter season. Maybe then I’ll get the back weeded. In short, can you say, “Whew?!”
As a wife and homemaker, I…
am increasingly aware of how much marriage requires that you die to self. I have had the opportunity to minister to a couple of Christian women whose marriages are younger than ours, and the common element has been consistently an unwillingness to prefer others over ourselves. This has to be one of the harder lessons of Christ, and we are sometimes even encouraged in churches that the Christian life is about us—a better life, a sweeter life, a happier life. While that is, in part, true, I am convinced that we miss out on one of the fundamentals of the Christian life: giving sacrificially. The Lord gave His only son. The Word implores us to give. Even Job saw his life turnaround at the point that he put his friends’ needs before his own—friends who, by the way, had talked about him like a dog in the midst of his valley experience. Enough on that sermon; send your love offering to Paypal (smile).
I am back at the sewing table. Our son’s legs have outgrown his old bathrobe, and apparently, according to retail stores, boys over a size 10 must have little or no need for robes or pajamas, for that matter. Everyone has picked up that pattern shopping is a quicker to increase the wardrobe, so the oldest jumped in on the deal with a request for shirts, and the youngest looked at robes for herself, too. Hopefully I can finish the son’s robe before mid-November. I penned a second Hawaiian shirt for him (the first was too small before he even got to wear it), but never cut or stitched it, and now the season is coming to an end. Plus, the shirt was a nice-to-have; the robe is a necessity.
As a mom and homeschooling parent, I…
am getting more and more in touch with my “story voice.” I knew, somewhat instinctively, that stories come alive with different voices, instilling of personality, and even animation (though I’m not that great at it) when reading stories, especially to smaller children. Seven years into homeschooling, it’s finally clicking that my ability to incorporate my story voice increases retention for both the young and the…Linda Fay speaks more about the power of our voices here.
Anyway, when I’m preoccupied with the day’s responsibilities, I find myself rushing through the reading, and this year, I’m doing a lot of it! I didn’t realize it until the youngest and I had a conversation after she didn’t do so well with a narration. She stated, with all the sincerity of a small child who’s sad that she didn’t perform well but knowing that she could do better with some help, “You read too fast.” I took her words to heart and told her to slow me down whenever I do it again. Now I’m annoyed when she does it too often, but I stand corrected when I hear her narrations. Lesson learned…
As I mentioned, we’ll hit the open road on tomorrow. We’re off to Glen Rose, TX to see where dinosaurs once strolled in the Lone Star State. I wanted to take this trip this past spring when the youngest worked on her dinosaur lapbook, but our purse strings said otherwise. Our son is wrapping up Apologia’s Zoology 3, focusing on land animals. Guess what he would have studied this week? Dinosaurs! Don’t you love it when a plan comes together?
I talked about the story voice helping each child. The Iliad is coming together for the oldest. This week, in putting together her commonplace book, she asked me how the war began in the first place. I found out that I didn’t know; I always assumed it started because Paris stole Helen from Menelaus. In truth, that’s the middle of the story. The beginning was a “celebrity” wedding, and the jealousy of the goddesses Hera, Aphrodite, and Athena (if I’m remembering correctly) over who Paris would think was loveliest between them. Anyway, we chose to skip past each Trojan and/or Achaean who “was caught quickly, run down…and speared in the [name your body part]…and then dropped to the earth, and red death came plunging down his eyes, screaming, death swirling round him…” (Homer really needed to get out more; also, he couldn’t possibly have been married—LOL). With some attention to my story voice, we’re making our way.
Midweek this week, my MIL, a public school teacher, called with an invite for the oldest to attend a college fair—on the same day that she called. When the Lord gave out spontaneity, someone else got my portion. So I found myself somewhere between elated that this was another opportunity to attend one of the larger college fairs in the city, and overly sensitive as the last-minute invite felt to me like the teacher who felt that she had to rush in and save the poor, poor homeschooler. With the superhero’s help in the transportation department, I decided to get rid of my oversensitivity and take the hand as it came. It truly was a blessing, and as my MIL teaches at one of the wealthiest schools in the city (and therefore the school draws a lot of attention from colleges everywhere), a number of colleges were there that the oldest would probably not have looked at otherwise. Now we have a wealth of information to sift through and my head is again swimming. Wisdom, guidance, and discernment, Lord, wisdom, guidance and discernment.
I finally published my second Squidoo lens on Ancient China. We’ve had fun this past week playing matching games with Chinese pictographs, completing word searches, and watching silkworms make silk. I’ll put the pictures on the lens hopefully later this week. Now if I could just figure out how/ where to get enough wind to make a kite fly.
As a business owner, I…
am still working on the elementary series edits, and looking forward to getting the cover graphics redone. I also need to complete an article for a Christian women’s magazine, but so far, the thoughts have yet to leave my notebook and assemble themselves eloquently in Word. This may not have been the opportunity for me—yet more to pray about. Rick Warren says in his Purpose-Driven Life that there are a number of opportunities that are good, but we must be wary of those that distract us from our purpose.
May the Lord bless your week as well.