Saturday, October 29

Do the next thing

Well shucks! I updated last night, but must've been distracted before I posted the update. It was all about our great camping trip last weekend. We had a BLAST! Rather than recreate it, I'll let you read my friend Nancy's take on it and see some of the pictures I took.

My health has been going steadily downhill since we got back. It started as a benign sinus thing, but I felt it settle in my chest, which is always a bad sign. Add insomnia and exhaustion, and you've got a recipe for yuck.

Every day I look at the camping stuff that's still out and think, "Ugh, not today." Then I look at my perky, completely doable school plan and think, "Ugh, not today." Then I look around at the housework beckoning to me, and think, "Ugh, not today." It's beginning to feel like a Richard Scarry book, the ending of which would include me and the kids getting plenty of rest, waking up healthy, and deciding, "Yes, we'll do it today!"

I keep trying to tell myself to do the next thing, in my best Elisabeth Elliot voice. For some reason, though, that just leads to me pacing through the house again before flopping back down. It's so totally pathetic!! I don't think it's at ALL what Mrs. Elliot had in mind.

(Ok, I just threw away a lozenge wrapper. Woo-hoo... progress!)

Let me tell you about my dear husband. He's been sick, too. And yet, he's been picking up a lot of the slack for me this week, even though I've been grumbling at him. Today I told him that I was feeling critical and oversensitive, and asked him to stop me if I start going off on him. My mind kept drifting to his flaws as well as my own. He took it in stride and had a snappy comeback for me. And then, you know what he did? He packed up the kids (and Manoah, the Traveling Wonder Dog) and took them to town. He has a big plan for them which includes playing at the park and eating at Wendy's. What a husband!

Of course, I feel guilty for not getting all sorts of housework done while he's gone, since that's normally what I love to do with my "alone" time at home. That's not happening today. But I did get a chance to think about my current circumstances. And I realized that I'm being very short-sighted. My illness, the state of the house and the camping gear, and all the things that are bugging me right now will likely be non-issues in a week or two. God must just be shaking His head at my foolishness. Here He's got all of eternity laid out for me, and I can't see beyond my box of tissues and cup of tea. It's times like this when I wish I were better at pressing toward the mark. Most of the time I do well to just recognize the mark.

I'm so thankful that when I confess this to God, He is faithful and just to forgive me. It brings peace and hope, and the courage to "do the next thing."

So now I will go spiff the kitchen, fill up my God-shaped hole, and get ready for a good night's sleep... AFTER I submit this post!

Saturday, October 15


Yesterday I was exposed as the shallow fraud that I am. You know those stereotypical nightmares where you find yourself naked in public? It felt just like that. Even with big, comfy clothes on.

But first, let me back up. Actually, let's back up all the way to the root of the problem: I don't lean on God nearly enough. He is not the first one I think of in the morning, nor is He always the last one I think of at night. There have been days when the children and I don't mention God in conversation. There are even days when we don't open a Bible, even in a browser window. And as you can see, my writings are not full praises and acknowledgements of our Creator.

There. I've said it. Our roots are shallow and our fruit is small and withered. And yesterday, everyone who attended the homeschool meeting got to see it.

We met at a new location, which didn't quite work out as planned, so once we got there, we had to make some last-minute changes. My right-hand person, whose job is to oversee the childrens' classes, couldn't make it. This wasn't a huge problem, but my inability to think on my feet began to get the best of me. (Today I'm thinking it wouldn't have if I prayed more... God could take it away completely, or at least allow me to function.) We got a late start, and I had to ask if we start with announcements or devotions. Normally I know these things. I made a few more blunders before the scheduled "talk", and each one shook me just a little more.

We had a panel discussion which was to cover "favorite tips, curriculum favorites, and things that we have learned over the years." I was on the panel with three other experienced homeschool moms. Well, I soon realized I'd missed an important point: they all came prepared to discuss the fact that it's all about training and discipleship, not curriculum. Their most important homeschool resources are the Bible and a book on being a good wife. Mine is the internet. They were able to discuss the Charlotte Mason method, classical education, and the importance of reading aloud. Like all the time. Thousands of books. My big things are having routines in place, staying home and building skills and relationships there, and teaching my kids to read so they can learn independently. I hate reading aloud. After my introduction, I found there was nothing else I could add to the discussion. I sat there, the chaos manager on a panel of really amazing, magazine article quality homeschool moms. Their years of experience have led them to the fount of wisdom. Mine have led me to put all my kids' assignments for a grade level into one folder for them to manage, and to phonics.

To make matters worse, I'm developing really bad anxiety about speaking in front of this group. (Is it any wonder why?) My mouth gets so dry I can hardly speak, and I can hardly tell what I'm saying. When this happens, apparently I'm still able to connect words, but I can't comprehend what I'm saying to know whether what I've said so far makes sense or if it will go with whatever comes out next. So I don't know what I've really said or whether I'm done. It's horrible.

I must say, I was relieved when it was over. The kids helped me pack up, and we went to lunch. I let Lynae choose from a couple of restaurants, and we went to the one she chose. When we got there, it was super crowded. By the time we finished ordering, though, there was an empty table, so we sat in the dining room to eat. Guess who was on the other side of the dining room? The rest of the panel, along with THE homeschool mom who has been a mentor and example to everyone in our group for years. Can you say "awkward"?

I managed to choke down my lunch and not rush the kids too much, and we came home and took a nap. When I woke up, I felt like I'd been run over, beaten up, and stepped on. I was up and around within an hour, but it was seven excruciating hours before the headache went away.

Anyway, it's all over now... until next week's planned humiliation: camping with the homeschool group as the token fat lady. LOL I love camping. I hope this doesn't ruin it!

Saturday, October 1

Monday cometh

Mood-setting media: Large Family Logistics

Saturday is the day of the week on which I most look forward to Monday. Monday represents a fresh start. God's mercies are new every morning, but I'm not as generous with myself.

This week, I determined that I need to get back to some of my most basic routines. Medications and sleep cycles have been neglected lately, and when my health suffers, so does the family. This afternoon, I announced my intentions to Loren, full of hope and determination. Actually, I started by telling him I plan to become less flexible. LOL Being in charge of our schedule, I often require us to be so flexible that we end up in knots. That just doesn't work for us. I also told him that it's quite a challenge to choose something that works and stay with it, with so many different ways to organize a family and educate children. The grass always seems greener and more consistently cut on the other side of the computer screen, ya know?

In spite of all that, tonight I was reading the blog on Large Family Logistics. Boy oh boy, this woman's got it together. And yet, she can be flexible. She's got a Plan B. She only does her laundry once a week. Ooh, another novel idea! But NO, I'm not falling for the old trap. I will continue with what I have chosen, and be happy that her way works so well. I will keep reading, but only glean and implement what will work for this family, not try to make yet another family's system work for me. Oh, I feel so liberated!

I'll be planning my week in my head tonight as I help the kids get ready for church tomorrow. And hopefully I'll lose some of that overstuffed feeling I got from eating too many homemade egg rolls. Oops!