Friday, April 22, 2011

For thought...

I Took His Hand and Followed
Mrs. Roy L. Peifer




My dishes went unwashed today,

I didn't make the bed,

I took his hand and followed

Where his eager footsteps led.



Oh yes, we went adventuring,

My little son and I...

Exploring all the great outdoors

Beneath the summer sky



We waded in a crystal stream,

We wandered through a wood...

My kitchen wasn't swept today

But life was gay and good.



We found a cool, sun-dappled glade

And now my small son knows

How Mother Bunny hides her nest,

Where jack-in-the-pulpit grows.



We watched a robin feed her young,

We climbed a sunlit hill...

Saw cloud-sheep scamper through the sky,

We plucked a daffodil.



That my house was neglected,

That I didn't brush the stairs,

In twenty years, no one on earth

Will know, or even care.



But that I've helped my little boy

To noble manhood grow,

In twenty years, the whole wide world

May look and see and know.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Homeschool 101

I didn't think it would happen to me. Others, fine, to each their own and all that. But now it has happened to me. Eliana is starting school in the fall, we were thrilled when she got into the school we wanted. And now we are moving. And all the good schools are wait-listed and did drawings for spots months ago.

All that is left is public school. A quick word on that; I am not a public school hate-er. I do believe that the money the schools are given per student is not used where it is most effective (in the CLASSROOM!). I believe teachers unions will be the death of public school. I believe that changes need to be made, they know how to make them, and teachers need to make more money than they do. Teachers have to teach to the lowest common denominator and have too many kids and not enough time or help. All that being said, I doubt any of my kids will attend a public school. I am not a big fan of a lot of Christian school because...well...I am not a big fan of most things labeled "Christian". I love some of the private schools and some of the charters are doing great things but those are not an option either.

And so I am left to home school. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at I time, so I am told. So I started to do what I do, collect information. Here is what I am processing right now, types of homeshool:

Traditional—Textbook/workbook approach, emphasizing reading, writing, grammar, and spelling through drill and practice.


Classical—Following the medieval “trivium,” a child’s education progresses from fundamental facts and skills to logic and advanced language abilities. Students study the great works of Western literature.


Unit studies (instructor-designed thematic studies)—Progress in several disciplines is woven around a particular theme.


Unschooling / Child-directed / Delight-directed—Allowing a child to learn by encouraging and equipping him to pursue his own interests (guided or unguided exploration).

I find myself totally drawn to parts of the last 3 of these and I am guessing my style will just be like I am; a little of everything thrown together until it works.

Now, I am pretty sure I won't be able to screw up a moderately intelligent kindergartner even if I just wing it. But as I start to embrace the face I will be the teacher, I am finding myself really excited. I love Eliana, I love teaching her and spending time with her. I look forward to how much fun we will have. I am excited to have Addilyn learn right beside her. I can't wait for the projects and trips and memories we will make together.

As I embark on this adventure, I do have a couple of hang-ups. I was soooo excited to send Elie to the Montessori school, she would have LOVED it. I was excited for Addilyn to have time to be the big sister at home, her and Annabelle would have had so much fun.

I am sure this is the first of MANY posts about this, I feel like I have so much information to process. Enjoy the ride!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Toil

Adullam has been discussing over the last few months what it looks like to me a missional family. It has been a great series. One of the things that is important to the Adullam community is that we spend our effort and our money on the things God thinks are important. Cool building? Not really on God's heart. A church family who is actively loving the community? A great thing to fund. This attitude carries over into our family life too. This weeks topic (taught on by Matt Smay) was work.

Now, I must say, while he did a great job talking to those who have traditional 9-5 jobs, he did totally leave out about 30%a who don't get paid and work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We are mothers. Matt read from Ecclesiastes and Genesis. He talk about the fall of man and how man's work became toil. In Ecclesiastes it talks about no matter how hard you work, you leave it to someone else when you die. You see, God never meant for us to define ourselves by our work. Yes, work is something you have to do and you can do in a God honoring way, but it is just a job.

What if you stopped planning your world around your career? What if you chose to believe that the time you spend developing relationships with others, serving and things like that is actually the important part of you week? Matt did some shocking math. We figure that "we just don't have time" for stuff other than work and sleep, but did you know once you take those two out you still have over %40 of your time free?

Motherhood is a little different. I am on call at all hours and my "work" looks a little different. It takes the form of laundry, sweeping, making beds, picking up, cooking, shopping, and everything else that goes along with being a stay at home mom. But this lesson can still apply in my life. Do I spend my time on things that are on God's heart?

Every day I make choices for how my children and I spend time. Just like I am not off the hook for doing my work, I need to be careful that I don't define myself by it. A clean floor is not more important than snuggle time with a little girl who is having a rough day. Beds made are not God's heart as much as friendships made are. I can choose to prioritise opportunities to serve, both my family and others. I want my children to see in my life that people are more important than things.

And then the hours when the house is quiet. The children are asleep and it is the closest I come to for "free time". Do I park my butt on the couch to watch tv or do I choose to follow God's heart and spend time in good conversation with my husband. Do I surf the net or plan fun activities that will help me get to know other moms in my area? Where is God's heart in my life? No one is exempt from toil, but it was never meant to define you. God, help me be attune to your heart. Let my energy be spent in ways that honor You.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Becky's Oat Bars

Some people start to feel nervous when their gas tank gets below a quarter full. My idiot light is usually on for a good 10 miles before I fill up. Others get anxious when their bank account gets below a certain number. Ummm yeah, I am not sure we have ever had a time in our marriage where we had excess, I am ok with small numbers. I do have times when I start to feel a little uncertain, it directly correlates with the amount of baked goods in our home. I like to know when I need a treat to go with my afternoon tea I will have one readily available.

My friend Becky likes good food, this is one of the many reasons I like her. She posted a recipe recently on her blog (see Blogroll at right for address) and I thought it seemed like something I must try. The problem is I am completely unable to follow instructions as written. Be this tied to my issues with authority (it isn't a issue, in my opinion, I just don't LIKE authority, but I digress) or my need to express my creative flair, I went ahead and altered the recipe to fit my needs.

I like to say I am "good at using what is on hand". What this translates to is "I don't plan ahead enough to really follow any type of written recipe". This means that instead of using blueberries like Becky calls for, I used a mix of raspberries that I had frozen, fresh strawberries and blueberries that we started to look a little wrinkled. I figure this would be tasty with whatever fruit you had (I'm thinking' I am going to have to try it with apples and cinnamon here soon) and maybe even amazing with dried fruit (apricots anyone?) With no further ado, here is the recipe, if your the type who likes these things:

Becky's Fruit and Oat Bars
3/4 c. butter (if dairy free use coconut oil or dairy free margarine)
1 c. brown sugar 1 1/2 c. flour (if GF use Bob's Red Mill flour mix and 1 tsp. xanthan gum)
1/4 c. flax meal
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. oatmeal (optional 1/2 c. chopped pecans)
2 c. fruit (my berries were tart to say the least, so I tossed them with 1 T sugar)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream butter and sugar, mix in flour, salt until well blended, add oatmeal. Press half of the mixture into a greased 9x13 inch pan: spread fruit over the mixture and sprinkle with the remaining oatmeal mixture. (Like a crumb topping) Bake @ 25minutes or until golden brown. Cool 5-10 minutes before cutting into bars.

So yummy if served a bit warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Or perfect with a hot cup of tea mid-afternoon. Now you will never again have that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach when you realize tea time has come and you are without a treat to go with it.

Monday, April 4, 2011

My life plan

Some people have "bucket lists", which I admire, you know how I LOVE myself a good list. Strangely enough, I have yet to make a bucket list. This totally seems like something I would love to do; I love a good plan and lists make me unquestionable happy...maybe I can add "bucket list" to my "to-do" list.

While I don't have myself a handy dandy "bucket list" I do have a well organized life plan. I assume God has some plans of His own for my life and I am more than happy to switch to His plan at any time. But until I see the sky writer/direct message from God, this is what I am going to be doing:

1- Move to Jersey for Matt's job. Ok, so he doesn't actually HAVE the job in Jersey but a plan has to start somewhere. Live in Jersey for a couple of years, home school Eliana and work on getting my parent educator certification so I can practice as a postpartum doula and parent educator.

2- Move back to Colorado. Enroll Eliana at Montessori Peaks with Addilyn. Work on growing my nest egg for a few years until all my kids are in school.

3-Start my second business (my first being my roll as a parent educator). A coffee shop/kids play area. Cooler than Monkey Business, more like The Wonder Place but with a nice coffee shop in the front. Have a class room on site where we do children's classes (music, art, science) during the week and birthday parties on the weekend.

4- Run both businesses for a while until kids are Jr. High age. Move to Haiti for a year or two with the whole family. Start a woman's education group with Pwoje Espwa and Mothers Global village that teaches impoverished women how to start their own businesses to support their families. Offer micro-loans to get them started. Train one of the women to take over the school and return to America

5- Upon re-entry to US, enroll my kids in High School. Take my businesses back over. Get all kids out of the house, happily enrolled in the college program of their choice. Work on writting my first book, maybe a "mom humor" type or maybe something else. I have a while to decide.

6- Matt and I sell our house and RV around the country for a year or two. Once the kids are out of college, start traveling the world. Continue my writting, maybe free lance for a mag or two.

7- Get our girls married off to nice, Jesus loving boys. Buy a small place to retire. Enjoy grand kids while supporting the missions work we started. Die happy :)

Friday, April 1, 2011

Sisters

I am blessed for MANY reasons: I live in America, I live in the beautiful state of Colorado (for now, at least), I was raised by parents who loved Jesus and I HAVE SISTERS! If you would have asked me when I was young if sisters were a blessing you would have gotten mixed reviews depending on the age and when you caught me. As an adult I have grown to see what amazing women my sisters are. They are so different from each other and from me and I admire so much about them. They are hard workers, amazing mothers, great wives and have so much to teach me. I am so glad we are close. When we had Eliana, I prayed that she would have a sister. God must have really been listening because she ended up with 2! My girls are buddies. They play for hours on end, take care of each other and even thought they sometimes drive each other nuts, they really do love each other. I thank God that I have sister and that my girls do too.