Friday, April 18, 2014

I'm Not a Clean Freak...Really, I'm Not

There may be a problem with me. I'm not a "clean freak," even though my daughter over heard someone tell another person that I was. But I do feel really accomplished if I clean my house every week, not like everything is sanitary and sparkling, but wiped down and somewhat picked up.

It's always in the back of my mind if I haven't changed my sheets or there is a ring around my bath tub. I'm not talking about the stack of books that we are reading or the basket of toys dumped from a little one, that's all just life happening. I just love to get to do my Saturday cleaning.

I don't know why I'm this way, but maybe-
  • It's the thought of a ninety year old woman, bent double still cleaning houses to make a living (she worked for my mom for years when I was a teenager)
  • It's the years of design school that taught me that appearance is everything (I know, not true)
  • It's because I stumble and trip over anything on the floor, especially shoes
  • It's the knowledge that God is a God of order and it is good for things to be orderly
I have come a long ways. This morning I brushed aside the crumbs from the table cloth and out of the seat in the chair to have my quiet time. There was a time not too many years ago that I wouldn't have been able to even sit in that room, much less been able to read my Bible with such a mess. I would try to leave one room picked up before I went to bed every night so that I could have a spot to read my Bible with out going on a ridiculous straightening frenzy.

I have a friend who posted about how thrilled she was to have just spent three hours gardening. My first thought was to announce how excited I was that I just spent three hours cleaning the garage, actually, I was a little giddy. If you had seen how dirty it was you would totally understand. But what is it that makes me so beside myself to get something clean?

When my family came home from a fun day out all day long, I actually had them take a trip to the garage so that I could show them all my hard work. There was the obligatory oohs and aahs, then life went on, but I'm going to sleep tonight knowing that all of the coolers in my garage have been scrubbed today.

Yea.... I may have a problem.

Now, reading this, a person could get the idea that our home is spotless, it isn't. The dust bunnies in the dining room do not make up for a mopped garage floor. I'll tackle those little monsters another day.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Parenting - Tested

Well, it finally happened. My two year told me that she didn't love me. It was the first time any of my children had said those awful words to me.

I've never allowed the girls to say they don't love someone, their sisters, their friends, their worst enemies, and definitely not their parents. We don't use words like hate or call each other hurtful names. The girls have slipped up and said things like that but were always quick to reverse it. I know that the mouth spills out what is in the heart and they are bound to "feel" not nice ways towards others. They are also capable of self control to stop their mean words and to change the bad feelings in their hearts towards those they truly love.

This morning, Abigail was unusually bad.

She kept snatching, jerking away, demanding her own way. After she started wrestling with Mary over the iPad, I administered the "rod of correction." After it was over, I told her that I loved her and was sorry that their was sin in her heart.

Her sweet little face, stained with tears, looked up and said, "Well, I don't wove you."

I wasn't terribly bothered because I know she wasn't feeling any "wove" at the moment. We talked about honoring mommy and daddy, about saying things we don't mean, about how we really love each other.

She was very calm and deliberate when she said again, "I still don't 'wove' you."

I kept Proverbs 23:13-14 going over and over in my mind. Her heart was hard towards me and towards God's discipline for her at the moment. I was questioning everything I knew from twenty-four years of parenting.

It took almost an hour before she was able to say that she loved me, but her actions didn't show that she was feeling love towards me. That was hard to swallow for me. Even a while later when she was playing, she didn't really want to give me the "good bye" kiss while pretending to leave.

That part was crushing, like a heavy weight on my chest. The more I think about it the heavier it is.
Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die.If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol.Proverbs 23:13-14
Discipline and punishment are painful, to the child and the parent. But holding onto God's Word, I am confident that it is right. I guess my study of  Proverbs is being tested.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Some Lessons Learned from 15! Years of Homeschooling

Has it been that long? Can you tell I have homeschooling on the brain?

  • Just because it worked out okay for the older girls doesn't mean it can't be better.
  • I can't do it alone.
  • It can't be done on the fly.
  • It takes more planning than I think that it does.
  • I don't have to do something just because it works so well for others.
  • My children are my responsibility.
  • A noun is a noun in the second grade, the third grade, the fourth grade,... I don't have to teach the same thing over and over.
  • My whole family needs to have the same commitment to homeschooling that I do.
  • Order in my home looks differently than what it used to.

It looks like after fifteen years, I would be better at this.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Susannah Meets Boss

 I love how sweet she was trying to figure out how close she could get to her Nana's dog. He was good too because he just stood there.
 But he did check to make sure that this little girl was safe.

Friday, March 28, 2014

A Son's Responsibility

My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints.  (Proverbs 2:1-8 ESV)

I am prone to feeling guilty about different things in my children's lives so I found these verses to be very helpful. 

The parent is responsible to teach (vs. 1).

The second half of verse one through verse five gives a clear list of things that the child must do. 
  • treasure commands
  • listen carefully
  • incline the heart
  • ask for insight
  • ask aloud for understanding
  • seek and search for understanding
The Lord gives wisdom, knowledge and understanding. He stores up wisdom and He is a shield, guarding the paths of justice and watching over His saints.

The implications of these verses are freeing. I have to be faithful to teach, and the child has many responsibilities, but the Lord is the One who gives the wisdom.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Hannah and Sarah share Their Birthdays

Both girls had a few local friends to come celebrate, eat, and play games. What a joy to hang out with all of these beautiful girls.
 How did they get to be nineteen and twenty-two?
 No matter how old the get they will still be silly together.
Abigail was glad to take "selfies" and "snapchat" with their friends.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Ecclesiastes 5:18-20

Behold what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot. Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil-this is the gift of God. For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart.

Is this why I do not remember the loss, suffering or evil that has crossed my life's path? 

Have I been occupied with joy

I don't describe myself as one who has great joy but I do not dwell on the disparities of life. I love my life and am thankful to God for the way things are. Yes, even the trials and great losses have brought me to a better place. I'm not wealthy and nor have great possessions, but I truly enjoy what I have.

Wealth and possessions can be in the eye of the beholder. Compared to Hollywood, I'm very poor. But to the starving nations of Africa, I am very wealthy.

But neither poverty nor wealth is what makes a person filled with joy. God is the one who keeps me occupied with joy. These are more verses from Ecclesiastes that remind me to enjoy my life because it is God's gift to me.

  • 2:24-26 eat and drink and find enjoyment in work, apart from Him who can have enjoyment?
  • 3:12-13 be joyful, take pleasure, this is God's gift to man
  • 8:15 man has nothing better than to eat and drink and be joyful, it will go with him in his toil
  • 9:7 eat bread with joy, drink wine with a merry heart, God has approved what you do
  • 11:8 - if a person lives many years, let him rejoice in them all

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

"My Wife Homeschools Too"

Unexpected guests at the door were met with an apology that things weren't ready for guests. We were in he middle of our morning routine, homeschooling, chores, half dressed kids, mom with wet hair. One of the men coming to meet with Ray shrugged it off politely saying, "Oh it's fine, my wife homeschools too."

Something struck me - "my wife..."

What about him? Does this husband not doing anything to homeschool his children? I'm sure he is involved, but I want to change the way he and we word that phrase.

Homeschooling has to be a family deal. If you teach your children at home, you are a homeschooling family. Now I know as well as anyone that looks different for each family.

Some families relate everything they do to homeschool. Their houses look like school- complete with labs growing in the refrigerator and Grammar rules hanging on the walls. Their schedules revolve around school- nothing happens between eight in the morning and five in the afternoon if it isn't school worthy. Their friends- they all homeschool too and use the same mode of teaching and curriculum. Their vacations- think Williamsburg, Gettysburg, an ice berg, .... Their clothes- okay, I'm not going there! Homeschooling is what defines them.

But in some families, homeschool has been integrated as part of their normal lives. The homeschool is important but doesn't rule their lives. Whether the children always sit together or go to their own rooms, they are getting their school work done and learning in a valuable way. There may be some children doing all of their lessons at home, some that go to a co-op and even some to a full time school. Flexibility in curriculum and schedules can be a great motivator to teach at home.

But no matter what your homeschool looks like, it involves the entire family! If everyone isn't fully committed there will be serious consequences. That doesn't mean that both parents are teaching equally and each child has the same love for the mode of teaching. It means that there is a respect from everyone in the household of the importance of an education and how the family has chosen to go about that.

There will be interruptions. There's a fine line between a want and a need in many cases and it's up to the parents and children to decide which direction to go. Who decides what will be done every day? How much time will be devoted to every subject? What counts as a "field trip?" Who decides if a concept has been learned? Who watches the clock to make sure the required time has been put in? What about the phone, internet and guests who drop by?

For each family those, and many more, are all questions that have to be answered.

But the biggest obstacle to homeschooling can often come from within the own home. It takes a lot of time, energy and money just to plan to homeschool.... Actually pulling it off takes that too.

Both parents must make the decisions about curriculum, style of teaching, and how consuming it will be in the family. Every member has to consider the other members and how their behaviors affect another's way of learning. All of these things need to be taken into consideration before homeschooling begins. As the years of homeschooling pass, and they will quickly, each family needs to reassess.  There are many decisions about changes that need to be made and what they want to continue. But it's still all in the family.

I'm not advocating that children have an equal say so in the decision making, but that they can give their opinion and make requests. I am emphasizing the need for both parents to work together, with their children, to make decisions about how school is to happen.

This is where I go back to the statement at the beginning - "My wife homeschools too." In the typical family one parent, usually the mom, will take on most, if not all, of the actual teaching of the children. But that doesn't mean that the other parent isn't very involved. He must know what's going on. He should know that homeschool is happening and that his children aren't learning in a haphazard way. He should have a real idea of the mode of teaching that works in his family and have a major hand in choosing those things.

I'm not bashing our guest for his statement, I don't even know him, much less how involved he is in the homeschool process. But I want to change his wording. I want him to say, "our family homeschools too" with the complete knowledge of what that means.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Thinking About the Trials of Others

Lately, I've been more emotional than usual and have found myself tearing up more than normal. In the past few weeks the griefs of others have seemed a little more grievous.
  • The death of a lost person I know is always sad, but this time it was closer than I wanted to feel.
  • Someone I know and loved was imprisoned over foolishness then sent away for a year to rehabilitation from drugs and alcohol.
  • Courtney moved out of town to live with and minister to her recently widowed grandmother.
  • A young girl we know and love is facing trials that seem to weigh too heavy for a young lady.
A couple of weeks ago, friend and local pastor found out that the brain tumor he has had for four years is growing rapidly and the prognosis is very bad. When Ray and I visited him at the hospital he had smile on his face and kind words in his heart. He spoke of Scripture and his joy of knowing that he would be with his savior soon. He and Ray talked about a sermon entitled "Dead Man Ministering to the Dying." When our whole family went to visit them, it was so encouraging to see the whole family, five children - ages three to nineteen, worship God together. We sang hymns, read Scripture and prayed; we enjoyed conversation and laughter. Proverbs is right when it says laughter does the heart good, like a medicine. What a blessing to see a godly family facing their hardest trial with such faith!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Gender Reveal Party!

Rachel and Adrian hosted their gender reveal party to let us know that they were having a boy. It was fun to get together with Adrian's parents to find out that our next grand baby will be named Josiah Ray.

Grandma Rink and Grammy

Team Blue

The "girly" side of the table had chicken salad, fruit and spinach salad. The "manly" food was meatballs, potato boats and chips and dip.