Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Returning to the Gospel, Again and Again

We've had a hard day.  We all have them from time to time, don't we?  Nothing specifically went wrong; I just seemed to be unable to get anything done.  And the house was a wreck.  And I had to remind Ada over and over and over again to sit still and pay attention and get your work done.  And sweet Evie pea followed me around the house, undoing any cleaning that I actually managed to get done.  By noon, I felt very discouraged, and I couldn't even remember why I was homeschooling in the first place. 

But now, now the day is done, and I am making myself sit down and remind myself why I decided to do this in the first place, so that I can start tomorrow with fresh vision.

My goal here, which I forget over and over again, is to live out the gospel in daily life with my children.  I want them home with me, so that while they are young, I can naturally help them respond to daily living with the truth of the gospel.  Today, their room was so messy, and I have told them so many times to clean it, and I just lost it with them.  Lost it.  And I took a minute, and I texted a friend, and I called Scott, and I prayed.  And then I gathered them around me in their room, and I apologized.  And I reminded them of the reality of sin and the reality that we live in a fallen world.  That the mess and the chaos and the yelling--that is not how it is supposed to be.  And I reminded them that as much as I hate the sin and the mess (the mess of the house and the mess of us) that we have hope because God has promised that one day he will return and he will make all things new.  It won't always be like this!!  AND I reminded them that we also can have hope because in the mean time, God has given us a helper--the holy spirit, to strengthen us in our weakness, to convict us of our sin, to enable us to turn away from that sin.  And then we prayed, we thanked God for Jesus, who saw us in our mess and knew we had no way out apart from him.  And we thanked God for the holy spirit, who is our helper, and we asked for help.  Help us, Jesus!!  And we thanked God for the hope that one day he will return and make all things new!!!  Hallelujah!!

And, as I prayed, and as they prayed, John also kept getting up and running around the room and asking me if we were done, and Ada's prayer seemed very half-hearted, and even as I told them ALL of the above, I felt discouraged again.  But this is why I have them home with me.  Because living the ins and outs of daily life with anyone provides so much opportunity for gospel application.  One day, one morning, one hour of this life shows us the reality of our sin and this fallen world.  We are a mess, and I want to be here to tell them the answer to the mess.  It's Jesus!!  And they may roll their eyes or ask if we are done, but I believe that if we keep going back to the gospel over and over again, and if we keep going to his word together, it will not return void.  I am trusting that God will use my feeble attempts at gospel talk to change their little hearts.  Now, I know that he certainly doesn't need me to change their hearts, but what a privilege if he allows me to play a role.

My prayer is that he would turn their hearts to Him, and that they would love Him with all of their heart and soul and mind and strength.  I pray that they would love His word, and that they would love prayer, and that they would spend their lives surrendered to him, surrendered to His will for their lives.  I have them home with me because I want them to know this is what comes first.  Phonics and math and memory work and handwriting, all of this must center around the gospel, and so I homeschool. 

Also, I always pray, always, show me if I am wrong.  Show me if it would be better if they were in public school.  Because, I certainly might be wrong.  But for now, this is where I feel he has called us.  So, I rest in Him on the good days and the bad days.  We run to the gospel on the good days and the bad days.  We run to Him.  He is always the answer.


yesterday at CC, learning about Norman Rockwell. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Order out of chaos

Well, here I find myself halfway through January of 2015, and no matter how much I try to walk away from the blog, there is always an urging in me to come back to it and record the details of our life. 

Evie is now a year old, fourteen months TODAY, and I am beginning to see through the fog of the past couple of years.  My pregnancy with her was a hard one.  Of course, there are those who have much harder ones than mine, but compared to my other two, hers was a doozy.  I was so uncomfortable and sick to my stomach for the entire pregnancy.  Then she was born, and we entered into the twilight zone that is the first year with a baby.  On top of that, the particular position that Scott had at Home Depot meant that he was working ALL OF THE TIME.  He got home late, and when he did get home, he got his lap top out and worked some more, and we felt like we couldn't ever really get to him.  But now, praise the Lord, he is two weeks into a new job that is so much CLOSER to home, and he has much more normal hours, and we are so very thankful.  We are also so very thankful for his time at Home Depot.  It was a good company, a good job, and it will always be a reminder of how God stepped into what felt like a hopeless situation and placed our feet on solid ground.  And I am thankful that Scott is such a hard worker and that he threw himself into that job and pursued excellence there in that position, BUT, I feel such relief with this new job that he has.  We all do.  In fact, just last week, after several days of Scott being home by six, John said, "mom, do you promise that daddy will always keep THIS job."  Bless him, he went to bed many nights this past year without seeing Scott.  (I realize that is the norm for so many families who go for months at a time without seeing their husband/father at all, but we are still thankful to see Scott on a more regular basis!).  This blog has always been a place where I could record the tangible ways that God provides for our family.  Scott's new job is the latest in that obvious provision.  I can't stop praising God for it. 

 
So, here we are, a new year, Evie is now moving into her toddler years, though she has yet to start walking.  She is my timid one, it seems.  She cruises around, and will walk while holding onto only ONE of my fingers, but she will not let go.  I am content with that.  She will walk when she is ready.
 
I am, of course, still homeschooling.  Though, technically, I am still only homeschooling one child.  Ada is in second grade, and, praise the Lord, this year has been mostly smooth sailing.  Second grade seems to be an easy year--no big learning milestones, really.  She is reading independently, sailing through math lessons, doing well memorizing her CC grammar.  Another way that God is providing.  It has been a hard past year, so for the school portion of it to be easy is a huge gift from the Lord.


All of that to say,  I have been living in survival mode--somewhat out of necessity, and I am ready to move out of that frame of mind.  We are two weeks into this school semester (we have spent these two weeks sick, so it hasn't been a great start), and I am thinking through a better system for our day.  School has to be a priority, obviously, because I am always aware that Ada is in SECOND GRADE, and sometimes I get that same feeling--like that dream that everyone has, where I am in college and it is finals week and I realize that I haven't been to class all semester!--well, I get that feeling sometimes about Ada.  As if she was supposed to start school two years ago, and we didn't start.  Really, I know that she is fine, but sometimes it is overwhelming that the responsibility of her education is ALL MINE.  I want to make sure that I am being a good steward of these years and this choice to educate my children at home.  I want to make the most of it. 

I am hoping--hoping being the important word--that I can start using this blog as a place to reflect and evaluate what is and is not working in our day to day life.  I crave an orderly home, and right now, it is more fly by the seat of our pants.  Some of that is inevitable during this season of life, but I want to be intentional in trying to find possible solutions for the chaos.   

We'll see.  Who knows when I will be back to this online journal of mine.  But my hope, and my plan, is that I will return soon.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Evie will be one on Tuesday.  We celebrated this weekend because during the week there are many nights that Evie is either already in bed or, at the very least, exhausted, by the time Scott gets home, so it made more sense to celebrate early. 

 In light of her coming birthday, I sat down last night after the kids were in bed, and I read back through the small handful of posts I have written over the past year.  And even though the posts were few and far between, I was so glad to have them to look back on.  Upon that realization, I press on with the blog...

I am not a big birthday party planning person.  I am big into celebrating my children, but I get very overwhelmed by the details of a birthday party.  I get very overwhelmed by the details of anything.   I also put a lot of thought into what my children will remember; what things we are marking as important to our family.  And I have realized that what is important to me about any of our birthdays is to celebrate the part each individual plays in our family.  So, we have, rather unintentionally, settled into a tradition of having fun family days for each of our birthdays.  If one of my children specifically asks for a birthday party, then I am fine with that, but I like to give them a little nudge toward choosing an activity instead.  It has become a fun time to go into Atlanta and do something that we would not normally do.  So far, to celebrate birthdays, we have gone to the aquarium, the children's museum, the American Girl store, and yesterday we visited Pink Pig at Lenox Mall.  Each of those outings also included a fun lunch out in Atlanta.  And John has put in a request to go see dinosaur bones for his February birthday, so a trip to Fernbank is forthcoming.  I am hoping this is a tradition that sticks because it has become a great way for us to step back from the daily grind and just have FUN together, and it doesn't involve the stress of planning a birthday party (because, like I said, party planning is NOT my strength). 

Because Evie's birthday is November, we thought we could combine her birthday with another Moore family tradition and visit Atlanta's Pink Pig ride at Macy's in Lenox mall.  John's first Christmas, we received tickets to the Pink Pig (not being from Atlanta, I knew nothing about it), and Ada has asked to go back each year.  It was a fun day, and it was fun to go to Lenox for the day.  I have fond memories of Lenox, because when I was first a stay at home mom still living in Atlanta, I realized that Lenox mall is very empty on weekday mornings, and I needed Ada to nap, so I would load Ada into the car, she would fall asleep on the way to the mall, I would put her car seat into her stroller, and she would nap while I strolled around Lenox, practically having the mall to myself.  I didn't realize how much visiting the mall would bring back those memories, but I was a little bit overwhelmed by the nostalgia.  Anyway...

 
 

On the way home from Atlanta, we stopped by Krispy Kreme donuts, and for her birthday, Evie had her first bite of a hot now Krispy Kreme donut.  She loved it, obviously.  What's not to love.


Bless her little heart, Evie pea was exhausted by the time we got home, AND we had already had donuts, so we decided to wait until Sunday afternoon for cupcakes and presents.  (I confess, the only reason I even gave her any presents was because Ada and John each wanted to give her something.  AND a friend gave us a really precious hand-me-down baby doll that her girls hadn't played with, so that was her birthday gift from us).  And the only reason I even really did the cupcakes/singing happy birthday scene was because I wanted a picture for the record books.  Plus, of course, Ada and John insisted.  I had the birthday candle from MY first birthday, and I really wanted a picture of that.  So, after lunch today, we put her in her highchair, grabbed the cupcake, recorded a quick video, and snapped some pictures.  Evie seemed very overwhelmed, and she wouldn't even touch her cupcake until we fed her some bites with a fork. 


 
 
 
Of course I have many thoughts and reflections about this first year that I hope to blog about, but I feel relieved to have the first birthday celebration recorded.  Though struggling, the little blog lives on...

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

In My Weakness

Life is a little bit hard right now.  I am not exactly excelling at the job, "homeschooling, mother of three."  And there is this voice in my head that always says you can't complain because you signed up for this gig.  No one forces me to homeschool.  In fact, there is a public elementary school within walking distance of my house.  Sometimes I pitch these tiny (and not so tiny) fits because I want that to be my calling.  I want to be called to public school.  Instead I feel called to classical conversations, and most days I am thankful for that.  I really am.  It's such a contradiction.  In the exact moment that I am crying out to God to give me the energy to get through one more minute because I am so, hang-my-head exhausted, I am also whispering a prayer of thanksgiving that I live in a place where I have this freedom.  I have this choice.  I just don't feel gifted in these areas.  I am not organized.  I never felt pulled towards the elementary age.  Give me high schoolers, and I feel much more in my element.  And in my secret of secret places, I dreamed of teaching at the college level.  But here I am, "L says..." with my four year old.  And he dumped all gazillion of the rubber bands out on the school room floor today.  And Evie has gone back to 45 minute naps during this stage of crawling and putting every single small, choking hazard type object into her mouth.  And Ada has developed the habit of rolling her eyes, but when I call her on it, she claims, "I don't know that I am doing it," and I wave the white flag.  Evie is nine months old, and I wave the white flag.  I am not getting better at parenting three.  In fact, I think I am getting worse. 

I think it is a good thing, though, maybe, for my children to have a front row view of my brokenness.  Maybe?  Because all pretense of having it all together ended a long time ago.  This morning alone, I yelled, apologized, yelled, apologized, yelled again, apologized again.  And I tell them, his grace doesn't run out.  I am going to fail them again and again and again and again and again.  He won't.  And we keep preaching the gospel to ourselves.  I tell them, He did it perfectly.  He was the perfect seven year old.  He got it right every time.  In our place, knowing we were failures, he got it right.  And then, in our place, he took the punishment. 

I am exhausted, ya'll.  It's exhausting to never, ever have a break from motherhood.  But this is what he has called me to do, and I keep reminding Him, "you're power is made perfect in my weakness!"  It is my mantra.  Because I have never been more weak.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Still Choosing Joy

I am back to list some more. 

I am thankful for

1.  summer time.  We were burned out back in June when we declared that first grade was done, but now after plenty of staying up late to play outside, sleeping in, swimming in the pool and at the beach, and just plain lazing around, we are ready to get back to a schedule.  I am thankful that God provides rest.  Rest in Him and what he has done AND tangible rest. 

2.  our homeschool room.  It is small, but it is also just right.  It is the random little room in our old house that seems picked out just for our school room.  The best part--so much natural light to keep our spirits high.  No more packing up my school stuff off of the dining room table so that we can eat dinner every night.  It feels like a luxury to have an entire room dedicated just to school.


3.  summer produce.  Berries and tomatoes and watermelon and peaches, and I could go on and on.  An abundance.


4.  sleeping Evie and crying Evie and an Evie who is attached to me ALL OF THE TIME.  It is claustrophobic and draining, but it is also intoxicating to have this precious girl.  We all love her so much, and she knows it ;)  She has an adoring audience that always surrounds her.

5.  .99 iced coffee.  Just the thing to get me through a long, sleepy afternoon.  And it is just around the corner from my house.  On that note, we are eagerly waiting for the brand new chick-fil-a to open "just around the corner from my house."  So, lots of little treats close by.


6.  Today specifically, I am thankful for free kids meals for Ada and John--a library summer reading prize.  We are going out tonight!!

I honestly could go on and on. 

OH!!  7.  I am thankful for supplements that my mom sent that I just started taking yesterday, and already I feel WAY more energized and my mood is much improved. 

Again, I could go on and on and on...  God has given in abundance.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Choosing Joy

I don't think anyone really reads blogs anymore.  I don't really, except to quickly see what is on sale at what grocery store, and does that even really count?  It's all about instagram and facebook, right?  But this has always been a place for me to put down my stones of rememberance.  To force myself to stop and look and see what God is doing right here in my everyday--a record of his faithfulness to me and my crew.

I am wading through some heavy duty post-partum "feelings" these days as I try to work out an appropriate treatment plan.  The medication I was on, only seemed to make the situation worse, so I am now trying to go off of said medication and try a more natural route, via essential oils and supplements.  Currently I am waiting on the EOs and supplements to arrive in the mailbox, and in the mean time I fighting some crazy emotions.  Lucky Scott ;)  Lucky Ada, John, and Evie ;)  And lucky my mother who I am currently calling on a daily basis to say, "tell me it's all going to be okay."  And, can we all nod in agreement that this dinner time, bath time, fussy baby, fussy mama, will daddy ever be home from work, time of day can do a number on the joyful feelings.  Right?

So...I am jumping back into blogging with a little list of things I am thankful for.  And I am going to most likely do that daily, not because I think anyone will read this, but because God sees me, even in my mess, and I want to force myself to stop and see that fact. 

Here I go.  I didn't even plan to write this many words.  I was just going to list.

1.  Microwave bacon marked down at Kroger today.  I didn't have one single clue what we were going to eat for dinner tonight, but we did have fresh tomatoes on the counter, and when I saw that the bacon was marked down (manager's special) to 1.50, I knew that it might not be a healthy dinner, but it would be dinner, and that was good enough.  BLT's it was.  (minus the lettuce.  oops, I forgot to buy the lettuce).

2.  I am thankful for those fresh tomatoes.  On Saturday, I desperately wanted some fresh tomatoes.  And my brain isn't so logical these days, so when we had driven around all over our town, because I thought that surely we would find someone selling fresh tomatoes, but there was not a tomato to be found, I might have cried a tear or two.  (I'm not joking.  Like I said, lucky Scott).  Well, Sunday morning someone brought tomatoes to church to give away.  I was home with a sick Evie, and Scott, Ada, and John walked in, home from church, each holding a big, fresh tomato in their hand.   Ada said, "guess what, someone was selling fresh tomatoes at church today.  And they were free!!" ;)

God sees me.

3.  I am thankful that mom suggested, because Ann has been trying this, that I require my children to have an hour of quiet time in the afternoons.  I have always wanted to enforce something like that, but it felt so impossible to do, but for the sake of my sanity, for the past two days, Ada and John have been required to spend an hour in their room while Evie takes her afternoon nap.  Ada has to quietly read for the first 30 minutes, but she can quietly play for the last 30 minutes.  John is allowed to quietly play for the entire hour.  They are not allowed to come out of their room unless it is an emergency.  (I am finding that their definition of emergency and my definition of emergency are two different things).  Miraculously--praise the Lord--it has worked really well the past two afternoons, and wow!  that quiet hour.  It is good for my soul.

4.  She Reads Truth.  I downloaded this app which has made daily bible study so simple and so easy to do, but at the same time, it is a very rich, in depth study of God's word.  I am always desperate for God's word, but I feel especially desperate for it these days.  Check it out and download it.  It's so great. 

So, there you go.  This list is my version of stopping and taking a deep breath and reigning in these feelings that threaten to get away from me. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Writing

We--the kiddos and I--just finished a three day parent practicum.  Which is just three days of training in how to homeschool with Classical Conversations.  With specific training as an essentials tutor in how to tutor on Community Day--Tuesdays for us.  The day I get to "play teacher" again and remember the old days. 

What does any of that mean?  It means that we are tired.  Down deep in our bones tired.  Want to crawl in the bed and pull the covers over my head and not come out until tomorrow morning tired.  But alas, there are children who do need things from me.  So, instead I will drink diet coke and coffee and get on with the day.  But I will get on with it, slowly, very slowly. 

I am an introvert.  I think?  It's confusing because I am drained of energy when I have been around people all day long for three days.  I mean, completely, empty of any social abilities, drained of energy.  But I also process out loud.  So...a combination? 

Let me just paint a picture really quickly of the past days--Ada, my happy-go-lucky, I love life, oldest daughter, practically ran into her daily classroom (geography drawing) with hardly a glance over her shoulder to say, "I'll see you at lunch."  This morning she said she wished that "day camp" was all summer long instead of just three days.  That was Ada.  John and Evie, however, were literally both attached to me at one point.  When I tried to drop John off in his classroom, he wrapped both his arms and his legs around my leg, meanwhile, I had a clinging Evie in my arms while I juggled a diaper bag, my tutor bag, and a packed full lunch box/cooler, plus a pointless umbrella stroller that only made Evie cry if I put her in it.  I was quite the spectacle.  We were quite the spectacle.  But, I was surrounded by homeschooling mamas, most with multiple children--many with more children than I have--and they were all quick to help me.  So, no one was judging me, everyone was full of grace and full of practical help!!!  And God was gracious because my son who hates crowded situations where he knows no one, also loves to play by himself in his own little world, so, for the most part, it all went as well as it could go, with John staying by my side all three days.  And Evie slept in my arms a few times, so we survived.  I am getting somewhere with this...

Yesterday morning, I found myself in the "mother's room," where two other moms and I had congregated to nurse our fussy babies and let our toddlers/preschoolers get some energy out away from the auditorium that echoed every sound.  So, of course, as women tend to do, we began to talk, and I found out that another mom in there had also been a high school English teacher before she became a homeschooling mom (to five!!  her oldest being severely handicapped--I wanted to sit and talk to her forever soaking up advice!).  So, we were chatting about English--how much we love British literature, poetry, etc. etc., as she nursed her baby and I nursed mine, and she said, "do you write?"  And I laughed and said, "I used to.  Before."  And we both laughed and the third mom laughed and we made the familiar jokes about, "back when we had time and all of these ideals about what life would look like."  But in the midst of the conversation and the jokes, we also talked about the beauty in this--in our children, our nursing babies and birth and getting to homeschool our children.  We said there is beauty, even in, especially in, the mess.  We talked about why we keep having babies--because it's so hard but it is so beautiful.  And, mostly, we talked about God's grace.  How he gives us the grace.  And I realized that I hate that I don't write anymore.  That here in the midst of what is my life and will be my life for a very long time--Lord willing--that I have separated the writer me from the mama me, and can't they be one in the same?  So, maybe I will try to write more.  Maybe?  Maybe I won't; you know how these things go.  But there is beauty here to record, and I want to write down the beauty.  Some people capture it in photographs and in painting and in a million little ways, and I would like to try to capture it in words.  Inadequate words, sure, but it is the process of writing that brings so much joy. 

So this is my attempt to write again.  And maybe next time someone asks, "do you write?"  I will simply say, "yes."

Last night, so tired, and she just wanted her mama.