Saturday, February 28, 2015

Letting the Kids Know

Yesterday, on our way to Book Discussion, I decided to tell the kids that we were not doing school for the month of March.  In all honesty, I thought I would hear a lot of loud "hurrays" and "yippies."  Instead I heard a very calm "Will we still do Math?" and "Yea, no rules." (That would be EG)

I was quick to clarify there would still be rules but I really wanted to take the time to work on some heart issues that I felt were getting in the way of fully experiencing joyful and peaceful homeschool days.  (Myself included!)  I told them I felt we needed to slow down and really prioritize what we do.

I told them I want to get back to the basics.  To work on a good foundation.  We have developed a lot of bad habits.  Little ones, that day after day, can hinder peaceful progress.  As I was telling Boop, all habits are learned and they are like ruts in our brains.  Things we do, day after day that we don't really think about.  I want to replace some of the bad ruts we have created with good ruts.  I have great kids.  And I really think we do school well.  We just need a few adjustments to make things even better!

We are so darn busy that our goal everyday is to just get finished with what we are doing so we can go on to the next thing.  School is important, activities have value and service is necessary.  But, so is rest.  So is enjoying the simple pleasures of life.

Anyway, I think the kids think they are going to be sleeping in and doing nothing all day.  And there might be some of that.  But we are just going to take our time in everything we do.  Teaching diligence and doing a job right the first time.

Some big projects will be the garden and cleaning and decluttering and organizing.  We are redoing our master bath so the kids will be peeling wallpaper and helping with tile.  I am sure Boop will be helping with tools and such.  

I must keep my expectations in check.  Because we are who we are.  No matter what, we are still a small big family full of sinners.  Each of us growing at our own pace every minute of every day to be Christlike.  And through all of it, truly grateful for the grace and mercy of God. . . .

Friday, February 27, 2015

Month of March

We are taking the month of March off of school.  I am taking the month to regroup and refocus.  It really is a multifaceted decision.  But some of the main reasons are:  we need to work on some heart issues and we all have them, NG will be starting high school next year and I really want to think about what that means for us as a family and we have kind of gotten away from some of the real reasons we homeschool and I will be figuring out how to bring some of those ideas back.

I am not sure what the month will look like.  I am praying about it all.  And I definitely want God to be in charge.  Guiding and directing all our moves, ideas etc.  We have some commitments that we will keep such as co-op, book club and book discussion.  We may take time to hone math skills.  I can totally see us taking field trips and working in the garden.  We will continue to read everyday.  And really work on life skills.  Grocery shopping within a budget, cooking, cleaning, how to mange screen time.  The list can go on and on.

I know I will re-do schedules and work on just getting the basics of everyday life down.  Chores and such.  And really think about/pray about where and how we want to serve.  We have our hands in a bunch of different things and right now I don't feel we are doing any of it very well.  And working on doing those few things with an attitude of thanksgiving and gratitude.  Then the rest of the time just working on our hearts and really trying to focus on what God wants from each one of us going forward.

When I was telling a friend the other day, she said I should journal about my experience.  I don't really journal anymore.  I am starting to keep a commonplace book.  But, I thought I would blog about it.  So, that is what I intend to do.

Can't wait to see how it all plays out . . .

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Puppy Class

I have loved puppy class.  It has been a trick getting there every Monday night but oh so worth it.  It is super stressful though.  Like you want your puppy to perform well and understand what he is suppose to be doing.  (Kinda like raising kids!)  The teacher has known Moose since he was a wee puppy.  He saw him every other Saturday when the rescue place had their adopt a pet program.

Moose loves the interaction with the other dogs.  He has found a friend and the two of them play hard during class breaks.  We have had the puppy and her owner over for a playdate and it went fabulous.  The dogs played hard and we got to meet a really sweet young lady.  We have another playdate next week!

I think the most important thing Moose has learned thus far is to not pull on his leash.  It is a work in progress as he is still so young but he does well.  He struggles learning his skills in class because there is so much going on.  But, when we get home, he gets it and gets bored super quick.

He has learned sit, leave it, drop it, take it and we are working on stay.  It is hard to remember to work with him every day but we are doing our best.  We want a dog that has awesome manners.  Well, at least as good a manners as the kids!

He graduated Monday.  I think we will take some time to work on the skills he has learned.  I would definitely like to go back for more training.

Moose and his classmates . . .

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

It Is Done

So, I wanted to post about the half marathon before my Swiss cheese brain forgets anymore of it.

The whole event was just so surreal to me.  My friends picked me up around 6:30 AM and we drove in darkness to the race spot.  The topic of conversation was all about the race.  The nerves, the anxiousness, the speculation of the outcome.  When we got there, people were everywhere.  And most of them looked like real runners!  I still felt like a poser.  Should I really be here??  We all went to the bathroom and took our "before race" picture.  Then it was off to find our starting spot.

They have all the runners placed from fastest pace in the front to slowest pace in the back.  And that is where we headed.  But, we were not alone.  There were tons of people in the back of the group and all different kinds of people too.  It really helped me relax to look around and see all the various types of people who came out to run a half or whole marathon.  People in all shapes and sizes and ages!

At 7:30 we were off and running together but we ended up kind of separating which we all knew would happen.  I stuck to my plan of walking the first 10 minutes, just to get my old bones, muscles, lungs and heart warmed up.  It had worked in the past so I didn't want to change a thing just because it was a race.  The downside of that was, though, most everyone was passing me from the very beginning.  It was hard not to start running but I knew I would have a much better chance of finishing "well" if I stuck to my plan.  I always have to have a plan.

When my 10 minutes were up, I just started to run.  Slow and steady.  Taking in the scenery and the people and soaking up the whole atmosphere.  I saw a number of people I knew from spectators to runners.  When I run I don't talk or listen to music.  I prefer to run alone.  I can barely run much less talk while I am doing it!!  But, I do find myself smiling a lot.  Maybe because I am just amazed at what I, and countless others are able to do.  Or delirium.  Who knows.

I knew I would be OK the first half.  I had asked hubby and the kids to be at the turn around, halfway point because I knew they would be some inspiration.  They actually were a little bit before it and they cheered as I ran by.  They might have left and found another place to wait but a little bit later, after my turn around point, I saw them again.

It started getting difficult on the way back.  Ankles hurt, knees hurt, hips hurt.  Thankfully not all at the same time.  My devotion Sunday was about just saying "help Jesus" when I need help. And so that is what I did. Running a long race is really like doing life.  There are good spots, spots in life where you do well and you can rejoice.  Then, there are spots in life where you struggle.  And at those times God if faithful to be there "a very present help in the time of need."

When I run long distances, I get into a zone.  I really don't notice much else.  Getting towards the 10 mile mark I did see hubby and the kids again, twice, kind of following me in the van.  Then, after mile 11, nothing.  I really didn't see or notice anything except maybe the occasional person to ask "How much longer?"  By that time I was talking to myself out loud.  So much so I was losing breath and had to stop talking out loud.  I was just being silly, trying to pass the time and keep myself motivated.  Just repeating out loud all the body parts that hurt and by this time they all hurt together.  But, I was determined.  I knew if I stopped running I would never start back up to cross the finish line running.

But, also at that time, I was reflecting on how much God loves me.  Loves all the runners.  How much He has blessed me, blessed me beyond measure.  I spend most of my time, while running, talking with God.  And towards the end it became a little emotional.

I was tired physically and mentally and emotionally.  This had all started as a celebration of life and health of a wonderful friend who had had brain surgery exactly a year ago.  Our crazy idea of running together to mark the one year anniversary turned into 6 months of love and prayers and encouragement of not only a physical nature but of a spiritual one as well.  A bunch of wonderful Godly women (our group has expanded to include 2 or 3 more) has been praying for families and children and all sorts of life's stuff along with the encouragement to keep exercising and training.

At the end, I was just so grateful and thankful to God for a life filled with love and family and friends and the trials that make us grow in faith.  I was also so focused on finishing that I never saw my family and my mom cheering me on the last 3/10 of the race.  I also never saw them at the finish line.  I was so singularly focused on crossing the finish line running with a smile on my face that I heard and saw nothing!  I was shocked that they were there!

Afterwards, I was a little sore because my legs were allowed to stop moving.  But it was doable.  I was one of the first of our group to finish so we had a plan to meet the rest of our runners at the last 3/10 of the race and run in with each one as they crossed the finish line.  No one cared how long it took for the others to run the race.  We were in it together and we were going to finish together!

There were tears as we all hugged.  We had accomplished something great!  Together!  Then we all went out for lunch!  All 20 of us (kids and husbands included.)

There has been talk, already, in our virtual running group, if we will do another 1/2.  I don't know.  I would have said last week "never!"  Now, I am not so sure.  We have decided one thing though, we are going to keep our little prayer and encouragement group going for both exercise and spiritual accountability.

As I read back over this, I wonder why on earth would I run when it can be so hard and painful.  The only thing I can think of is that many of the things that are worth doing are hard.  But, the end result is so worth it. I don't think accomplishing great things is ever easy.

Kind of crazy it is over.  Gotta figure out something else to stress about . . . (just kidding) . . .  (sort of) . . .

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday

Oh my word.  It is almost here.  The half marathon.  I have worked hard.  I have stuck pretty close to a plan.  And I am as ready as I will ever be.  I completed 10 miles this past Thursday.  It wasn't easy but it was doable.  Everyone I have talked with says if I can do 9 (10) then I can do 13.1.  The concept is a little strange to me.  It is 3-4 more miles.  But it is what it is.

I have a little calf/chin pain and I don't know what that is all about.  I am just going to wait it out.  Pray it goes away and try not to stress.

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday . . . .

Monday, February 2, 2015

Homeschool Burnout

I am in my 9th year of homeschooling.  And I think I have hit a wall.  Maybe it is because I am schooling four.  Or maybe it is because I have to contemplate teaching high school.  (Yes, I will be homeschooling through high school, God willing.)

Our days are far from perfect.  And many days, if I am not careful, I can let the stress and responsibility of home education overwhelm me.  But, the other morning, as we did school around the fire, it was a gentle reminder to me of exactly why I do this. I do what I am suppose to do.  And God has got the rest . . . .