Saturday, December 21, 2013

Best Laid Plans

Today is best titled: "Best laid plans of mice and men often go astray."

This Saturday was supposed to be full of Christmas. Christmas shipping, Christmas concert, Christmas party.

Amazon laid waste to my shipping plans. I have a package that arrived in Oklahoma City on Wednesday. The original delivery was supposed to be Thursday. The package is still not here. It is somewhere in OKC but not in my living room. So the part of our family who live faraway will have presents to open on New Year's Eve.

The Christmas concert went off with out a hitch and Hilde did splendidly. I,on the other hand, recorded the video with the sound off. I kept my sound off so that it didn't disturb the concert.  I thought the microphone would still work. One day I will catch up with my fancy-dancy technology. Until then I rely on my friend, whose daughter also plays, to share her great video with me. I am thankful for friends who know how to use video cameras.



The Christmas party was laid to waste by an ice storm that hit last night and impending snow. While I am sad there is no party, I can't help but be happy with the weather. Everything is sparkly and ice covered and it cold and frosty, just like the winter should be. It makes us northerners happy when the weather behaves like it should in Oklahoma.

Photo credit to Dawn Gilstrap at dawngilstraphotography.smugmug.com

In hindsight this Saturday fits in perfectly with the theme of my Advent. (Each year an Advent theme bubbles up for me.)
I am reading The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp.  It's an easy read but her writing and especially the questions are really thought provoking.  Basically she asks you to stop and answer the question: "What is Christmas really about?"  To me Christmas has always been a time of best laid plans going astray. Ask any character in the Christmas story: Mary, Joseph, shepherds, wise men, Elizabeth, Zachariah, even Herod, Anna and Simeon. None of their plans went off the way they expected.  So, I am in good company when my plans are turned upside down. In a year where it seems like most of my plans ended upside down this is good news.  

It is good news because I know that God works miracles through upside down plans. When it is darkest and looks bleakest and things seem like they can't get any more upside down; when you are at the end of your rope. That is when God steps in. Miracles happen.  Topsy-turvy plans get put back the right way because they get put back together God's way. Which is always better than what we could imagine or plan.  

So this Saturday instead of focusing on the negatives.  I am trying to focus on the positives. Presents will get there when they get there, it's not such a big deal. The party will be re-scheduled. I will get violin video and there will be another video next year. Hilde will be even better by then. 

I get to read, nap, blog and not rush on the last Saturday before Christmas.  

These small miracles kindle my hope that God is always working. Noticing them makes waiting for the big miracles more doable. That's Christmas. A small miracle that turns into a big miracle.

Turns out this Saturday is full of Christmas after all. 



Friday, September 27, 2013

A Glimpse into our Home-school World

This morning I went to brush my teeth before school started. I am an awesome mom that way, I get rid of my coffee breath before we begin. It's the little things. 

Anyway, I came back into the dining room and saw this:



It's an ANI chart and outline for an essay titled Why We shouldn't do School Today. They learned how to do this in a writing class they have been taking. I was impressed. Some of the reasons include, "We've been awesome students" "We've been working very hard" "Most of our work is on time or ahead" "PC North (our public school District)has off" these are offset by "We're lazy" "It's a school day" "We need to finish on time" 

All true.

My favorite reason - "We need more time to clean". Yes, yes you do. 

My second favorite - "We need a parent teacher conference". Hmm, that could either be a date night with my husband or me time. Either way a win/win. 

As you can tell from the fact that I am posting this at 10:30am, I did let them have the day off on three conditions. They need to read, they need to start their Spanish project and I got to Instagram this chart. Hilde also suggested I blog about it. (She's my biggest blogging cheerleader.)  

I love this chart because it really does encapsulate my main goal in schooling my children at home. Which is that education is about your whole life, not just something you do during a block of time Monday through Friday. Being an educated person is more than knowing facts and being able to choose the right answer; it's about thinking, creating, and knowing how to learn. 

This one chart shows me that they are learning. More importantly that they are thinking, they can apply what they learned to new circumstances. It shows how important humor is to our family and that they really are "Awesome students". It also shows what they learned from their father, which is how to work the system. 

Finally, It shows that we need to work on spelling and handwriting.  That will have to wait until Monday. 

  

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Regular Busy-ness of Life

This spring has been full of the regular busy-ness of life and some things that are beyond the ordinary, everyday busy. Slowly but surely I am regaining my balance and I will be blogging more when I do.  

Until then I am going to point to a great article over at Christianity Today.  
Suburbia Needs Jesus Too  is a great article pondering the church's preoccupation with doing big things for Jesus. Big things are great but someone needs to do the laundry. My favorite line is "our mundane actions have profound purpose."  

The whole article reminds me of the quote from Mother Teresa: 


Enjoy

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Quote for Mother's Day

I read the following passage today and it sums up what makes a great mother.  

Some people give us glimpses of a God who loves to step into the middle of our chaos and pain and bring peace to it. Those who have the ability to do this are few and far between. Most people are fighting and clawing for their own promotions. But every once in a while, you meet someone who seems to be interested in your wholeness as much as you are. ~ Chad Norris, Signs, Wonders and a Baptist Preacher

I hope that my daughters see glimpses of God through me because I definitely see glimpses of God through them.

Happy Mother's Day!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Learning to Listen

This blog has been quiet because I have been busy doing real life stuff like educating my children, serving in my church and trying to keep the laundry done.  (Why is it so hard to manage inanimate clothing?!).  I have also been lazy. Lazy, in that Pinterest and Facebook call my name and pull me in and before I know it I have spent all my screen time looking at pictures of fancy homes and DIY projects that I will never do.

One of the best things I do with my Internet is follow Ann Voskamp's blog A Holy Experience.  You have seen her words in my posts often.  She has a great way of arranging words so they poke at my soul. Ann and her family have been in Haiti. I have been following her adventures through her blog posts because a mission trip to Haiti has been on my mind since 2010.

I have two good friends who were in Haiti on a mission trip when the earthquake hit. Since then I have been blessed to be on the fringes of an amazing transformation that has taken place in them.  One friend now works for a mission organization that serves in Haiti. She raised funds to build a boys' orphanage and now heads up child sponsorship.  She has been an inspiration and has encouraged many, many people to help Haiti. 

She also keeps asking me when I am coming to Haiti.  I keep putting her off with excuses about schedules and  family obligations. The truth is I am scared to go.  Scared that like Ann and my friend a trip to Haiti will change me. Change me in ways I that I can't prepare for. I'm a planner who likes control. Ironically, so is my friend. She stepped out of her comfort zone and right before she left in 2010 she said, "It's a mission trip, what could go wrong?"

Earthquakes happen whether you are ready or not. I am not sure my soul is ready for an earthquake. Since moving two years ago it has been in a pretty fragile state. One big quake and it just might fall apart. 

The other reason I am scared is that I am crier. I cry when I read Ann Voskamp's blog about Haiti.  I cry when people share their stories about Haiti. I cry when I get the newsletter from the mission organization updating me on all the work they are doing. I cry when I just think of my friend and her story.

What if all I can manage to do in Haiti is cry? 

A broken-hearted crier. What use is a broken-hearted crier?

Then I read this:
"Is anyone crying for help? God is listening, ready to rescue you.
If your heart is broken, you'll find God right there; if you're kicked in the gut, he'll help you catch your breath.
Disciples so often get into trouble; still, God is there every time.
He's your bodyguard, shielding every bone; not even a finger gets broken." Psalm 34:17-20

And this:
"I do know that unless the emotive center of our lives is touched, it is if a fuse remains unlit. Tears are a sign - not an infallible sign, to be sure, but a sign nevertheless-that God has touched this center. Through the Prayer of Tears we give God permission to show us our sinfulness and the sinfulness of the world at an emotional level. As best I can discern, tears are God's way of helping us descend the mind into the heart and there bow in perpetual adoration and worship." Richard Foster Prayer: Finding a Heart's True Home

And finally from Jesus Himself:
"You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule." Matthew 5

Even though I know God has a habit of using broken-hearted people I still wonder if that includes me. So, I listen and wait and listen some more to hear His voice saying go. Hoping that through listening I will find the courage to take the first step.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Quote of the Day

Mothering is no second-rate ministry for the spiritually and intellectually mediocre. 

Mothering is a Christ-rated ministry for soul and mind sculptors and what could ever be substandard about passing on Christ’s standard?  
................................Quote of the day is from Ann Voskamp's Post today at A Holy Experience.  Such a good reminder.