Friday, December 7, 2012

ever wonder if you're making a difference?

have you ever had a moment in your life where you just knew God has to be snickering at you?
you know...when you're sitting, surrounded by half unpacked boxes, cheerios stuck to your shirt, spit-up in your hair, STILL carrying around some baby weight..and you mutter to yourself, "this was not what i had planned..."
i can almost hear God struggling with milk shooting out of his nose from that line.
i have to take a step back and remind myself that i KNEW this (moving 'home' after 8 years) wasn't going to be easy. that we came to this decision because the benefits far outweighed the downfalls. *but* that those benefits were "in the long run" benefits, not immediate.
i remind myself of how blessed we are. how incredibly, amazingly, blessed we are.
it's easy to get caught up in the ebb and flow of every day drama: someone's teething, someone's going through a growth spurt, everyone's crying (including me!) someone doesn't care to listen, is something burning in the oven? why is the carpet wet?!

so i take a deep breath and look at what I've accomplished that day. as a a person who struggles with the idea of and the fear of failure, some days, i just need someone to say, "you're kicking some serious butt today, you know that?"
don't we all occasionally need that?

and while my children's behavior is a reflection on me...nothing has made me more proud than yesterday when Lily and I moved into the birth and life of Jesus Christ in her history lesson.

i started reading the story of the good Samaritan to her and before i got more than 3 sentences in, Lily was bouncing in her seat, saying, "I know this!" i stopped and let her tell me the story. i didn't have to read it. she passed the history test with flying colors. i know i didn't do this alone, we've had a tribe of wonderful people in our lives helping culture a love of God in her heart; but wow, what a moment to stop and smile and really know that me- as a parent- is doing something right.

there are so many times when you can second guess your abilities as a parent or as a person in general...but when something like this happens, you have to breathe a sigh of relief.

i was second guessing my decision to home school. i was contemplating the idea of sending her to school...not because it got too hard..but because, well, i don't really know what put it in my head to even consider the change but i was...and now, I'm most definitely not.

there are so many benefits to home schooling: flexible learning schedule, learning at your child's pace, choosing to integrate your faith into everyday learning, instilling family values and morals, life lessons can be learned by allowing your school age children to see you every day in life situations (see above list: teething, fussing, crying, etc.)
i believe it's a very big deal for your children to be able to see you in stressful situations so that they will learn how to deal with their own stressful situations.
everything, absolutely everything can be a teaching moment. baking brownies becomes science, mixed with literature and comprehension, mixed with home ec.
i really love that we can pick up and go whenever we want to. i love that school can be done at noon. i love that my younger ones are able to learn by observing.

yes, if you know me, you know my plate is extremely full. don't ever tell me that staying at home is "easy". I've added a lot to my days by choosing certain things over others...but i hope that I'm teaching my children that easier isn't always better, and sometimes a little extra elbow grease is well worth it.

we cloth diaper vs. disposable.
I'm not against disposable. in fact, i typically keep a package in my house for specific situations like what we're going through now with Amelia. her skin is SUPER sensitive. we just recently changed washers and because of my miscalculation, the diapers didn't get rinsed as well and resulted in Amelia getting a chemical burn (think diaper rash, but more painful for her). so while all diapers are getting stripped and thoroughly rinsed, she's in disposables and healing nicely.
cloth diapers= extra loads of laundry...but I'm a stay at home mom, I'm definitely a homebody, so for me, the extra work isn't a big deal.

we don't do baby food.
for me, this seems easier. i just mashed up our food for Amelia when she required it and I'll do the same for Cain when he's old enough.

i do the haircuts.
we save money by getting home trims. Arnie's is easy. I've always done my own, and Lily is a breeze as well. i just gave her another perm last night which she loves. the cost? $5 and change. I've had the rods for a few years and the perm solution was roughly $5. more work? yes. is my neck and back killing me today? yes. does lily love her hair? yes. totally. worth it. :)

we don't do a whole lot of eating out.
yes, this equals more cooking, but in the end, we save lots of money, and eat healthier. we also teach our kids to be creative with food, for instance if i cook chili on day one, day two becomes chili cheese fries or coney dogs, and day three it becomes a dip for chips. also, when we do eat out, it is truly a treat and a fun adventure for the kids.

we recycle older things.
i try to teach Lily that old doesn't equal boring. we take towels that are too ragged to use as towels and use the sewing machine to make new things (attempts at clothes for dolls or diaper inserts for Amelia and Cain). we typically will scan through the clearanced fabrics and buy when things are ridiculously cheap. add that fabric (normally it's fun "seasonal" patterns that didn't sell for that season or holiday) to the old towels and you get fun new things for next to nothing. again, yes, it's more work...but I'm hoping this gives my kids a better foundation especially when today's society is so quick to throw the used and broken in the garbage. (we also use orphaned socks as cleaning rags)

we home school.
i know that you cannot shield your children from every terrible thing, but you can equip your children with the proper tools and knowledge to combat bad things they will encounter.
it is a great deal of work. it takes an enormous amount of may not be for everyone...but the pay out is so very rewarding. and i cant describe how happy i am to be able to spend that time with my be right there when they have their "aha!" moments is priceless.

so, yes, i most definitely have my days where i know God is giggling at my "this was not in my plans!" moments. i have days where i question every decision I've made. i have days when i feel totally insane, and yes, i absolutely have a good cry.
so, if you don't know me well and you read a post or two on facebook from me...please know that I'm not really bragging so much as making an "i cannot believe this day went this well!" statement...because i have plenty of days of nonstop messes, helplessness, and self pity. days where I've yelled at someone for something when no one deserved to be yelled at. days when there are no "meals" rather just snacks and things that can be eaten from a package so as not to dirty yet more dishes.
what i'm working on is this: i try like heck to pray often and remember that I'm being shaped by God. I'm being molded and formed for His glory and not my own. so I'm trying, but not always succeeding, to pray every day that my actions will be more along the lines of something God can be proud of.

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