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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Thirteen


How did so many years pass? Can it be that I have a beautiful teenage daughter already? She turns 13 today and it is a profound occurrence to me. My oldest baby is 13! I remember measuring at the midwife with her. I remember seeing her on the sonogram when she was as tiny as a kidney bean. I remember all these things like it was yesterday.


 


But here she is today, a lovely beautiful soul full of life and questions and interests on the cusp of womanhood. I am blessed beyond measure by her and even more grateful to God for this wonderful life.


 


Because my life is changing - and my littles are fast growing - I have been reading on and off Paul David Tripp's, Age of Opportunity: A Biblical Guide to Parenting Teens. I put it does to finish a series I was reading and have picked it up again. Last night I read these words:


 



“We tend to approach parenting with expectations as if we had hard-and-fast guarantees. We think that if we do our part, our children will be model citizens. Yet in a fallen world, this is not always the way it works. We tend to approach parenting with a sense of ownership, that these are our children and their obedience is our right.”


 


“These assumptions pave the way for our identity to get wrapped up in our children. We begin to need them to be what they should be so that we can feel a sense of achievement and success. We begin to look at our children as our trophies rather than God’s creatures. We secretly want to display them on the mantels of our lives as visible testimonies to a job well done. When they fail to live up to our expectations, we find ourselves not grieving for them and fighting for them, but angry at them, fighting against them, and, in fact, grieving for ourselves and our loss. We are angry because they have taken something valuable away from us, something we have come to treasure, something that has come to rule our hearts: a reputation for success.”


 


“It is so easy to lose sight of the fact that these are God’s children. They do not belong to us. They are given not to bring us glory, but him. Our teenagers are from him, they exist through him, and the glory of their lives points to him. We are but agents to accomplish his plan. We are but instruments in his hands. Our identity is rooted in him and his call to us, not in our children and their performance.”


 



These were important words for me to read. I must remember - every day - that these blessings are not jewels in my own crown, but in God's. They are His and only here with us for a short time. Oh, how short it is!

It is just a mere blink of the eye until she will be considered an adult in the eyes of the world. She will always be my little girl though. She will always be that chubby little baby who crawled backwards; that little toddler who tried so hard not to smile for the photographer; that funny early reader making all those endearing mispronunciations; that lovely young lady with a growing desire for knowledge and wisdom. She will always be my girl, but she is His first and foremost. She is His child and deserves the kind of care and love that is my charge to give. May God give me the ability.



Happy birthday my sweet Hannah.


You are a treasure and a blessing and I love you.


Monday, September 17, 2007

Learning Time - for me :+)

You know there are just so many things to learn in this life, aren't there? Do you ever feel like you have a handle on them? I don't. :+) I learned how much I had to learn this weekend in a very special way from a very special woman. Susan Wise Bauer came to speak at our local Classical Christian Home Educators conference. It was a one-woman show as that is the way CCHE does it. One speaker for many sessions. It was tremendous.

The best part about it was that it was so unexpected for me. Not that I didn't think Susan had anything worthwhile to offer (because I know she does) but because *we* have been heading in a different direction and I thought it might not be as applicable to me. Boy, was I wrong. *Everyone* has something worthwhile to share - something to add to your life - and sometimes those things may change your life.

It is hard to explain why seeing and hearing someone in person that you have read is so powerful, but it is. They give a part of themselves to you in a very real way. It is perhaps best explained by the comparison of chatting with someone online and having lunch together in person. There is so much to be gained by that personal interaction. Susan was real and vulnerable and human. She was a friend and a fellow homeschool mom--she was herself. I was so blessed.

She spoke of treating education as part of life and not blocking out hours for "school" - life and school together - education is something for all of life. There will be interruptions in our homeschooling days (when are there NOT?!) and she talked about not throwing in the towel for the day, but picking right back up. Life has so many moments of learning - they don't all come from curriculum! :+)

I appreciated that she cautioned parents to guard their children's social time too. We don't want our children to find out who they are in the faces of their friends. How true that statement is! It is just so easy to give into peer pressures. They are real. This does not mean we don't have peer interaction, but we must guard our children's hearts too--as I have to guard my own.

I was blessed to spend much of my weekend in the company of
Susan, Di, and Suzanne (Peace Hill Press). It is a rich and rare gift to have the kinds of interactions we have on this earth. I think the angels must wonder at our ability to love and laugh and enjoy life so much--to have friendships that endure. It was pure joy to be together and to be living. I am blessed by so much - by my very life, my dearest husband, my beautiful growing children, by the gracious ability and blessing of homeschooling - they are all tremendous gifts. I rejoice in the gifts from the Lord!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Happy Birthday Number 7!

Today is our dear Elizabeth's 7th birthday.




This birthday has been long in coming-to Elizabeth anyway! For at least two to three months now I have been hearing, "How many days, Mama?" It is funny how much our little ones look forward to their birthdays and we adults try to ignore them. Grin.

It is hard to imagine that she has been here for seven years. My children are growing up so fast! I don't know when it happened. I have "older children" now. I no longer have little ones. What happened there? I was so busy with my crazy life I forgot to look around and see they would not stay that way. Here are my beautiful children:




I feel so blessed. Every single day I know how very blessed I am. They are all so incredibly different and I am blessed to be their mother--to teach, to train, to love, to laugh with. What an honor!

For those of you under the tyranny of the urgent - the weight that often comes with many small ones - it passes so fast. You will one day wake up and realize there are no diapers to change, that everyone is sleeping through the night, that you are teaching the last of your children to read. I remember it like it was yesterday - the fear of teaching my first. Will she ever learn? Wow - they learn and they grow and the time goes so fast.

So while there is today - love those little ones. Enjoy them. Enjoy them. Enjoy them. May God be praised that I have seen it now - before any more time has passed.

So happy birthday to my precious daughter. You are a gift to me and I am grateful.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Exciting

Really, it is. Spending roughly two hours making 500 copies at Kinkos late at night - it is. Trust me. :+)  I was copying all this stuff for school--legal copying of course. :+) Kinkos had some fun music playing though so I moved and groved my way through it. Copy machines are wonderful and I am thankful for places like Kinkos. LOL I get this strange excitement making copies of things I know we will use and enjoy. I am excited about this year. It is silly that making copies would do that to me, but hey, what can I say.


 


I was also solicited by the Wife Swap folks today too. They are looking for a "Prairie Homemaker where the home philosophy is Faith, Family and Frugality" who will (in my opinion) sell two weeks of her life for $20,000. I could really use that money, but NO thanks. I have a really difficult time with that show because I think it messes with children and that bothers me so much. Can you imagine the kind of mother they would likely switch the Prairie Homemaker with?  I am quite content to stay at home and live my own life without the world peeking in and critiquing it!


 


We started the ramp-up this week--or "layering" as I am terming it. It is the effectual partial school week as we setting into four children schooling all at once. (!!) I am going to spend some time this week (I hope) detailing what we are doing this year. There have been some changes and additions and "it's all good." :+) We are happy and excited and fall is coming and I am ready! Are you? :+)