Friday, April 11, 2014

FPP, vol. 4 + Washington D.C. Edition

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Sticks and stones.

 

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Baby love.

 

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Desert sunset.

 

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New favorite.

I only snapped a few cell phone photos this week but Uncle Ben is in Washington D.C. chaperoning Christina on her school trip and they’ve been kind enough to share some photos along the way.

Brings back fun memories of our trip a couple of years ago!  

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Cherry blossoms.

 

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Iwo Jima.

 

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The Capitol.

 

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National Cathedral.

 

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Colonial Williamsburg (with Patrick Henry).

Happy Weekend, friends! 

CBS Spring Program

Sunset & CBS 007

 

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Our young maiden and angel narrator.

 

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The kids all did a wonderful job of reenacting the story of Esther for their Spring program. The girls always look forward to participating and it’s been such a joy to watch them blossom over the years. We’re quickly coming to the end of another fruitful year at CBS and we couldn’t be more grateful for this important weekly ministry in our lives. 

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

The day I said YES to homeschooling changed EVERYTHING.

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I remember, the girls were only 2.5 at the time but we began thinking about different schooling options in our community. Unlike many homeschooling families, it wasn’t me, the mom, who was prompted to homeschool. It was my husband. I remember the day he introduced the topic to me. Let’s just say, my reaction was less than enthusiastic.

I even had my own misconceived stereotypes about homeschoolers. Don’t we all? (Not that I ever knew any growing up!). Over the course of a few months, my husband kept sending me articles to read. I have to admit, they were interesting and enlightening but ultimately, my answer was the same:

“OK, maybe it could work. But not for someone like me.”

Let’s be honest, I didn’t want to be responsible for messing up my kids. I didn’t think I had what it took to be their teacher and by the way things were going, I clearly lacked patience in my life. At the time, I was in the trenches of motherhood-- diapers, boundaries, spilled milk, and finger paint, all x’s 2. Envisioning a little break in my distant horizon seemed like a light I could cling to.

In reality, I was also saying, “But what about ME time? What about being free for part of the day and doing something I want to do? Something I’m good at and have a passion for. What about socialization and sports and school dances? What about lunch with my girlfriends? And what about my mani/pedis??” Sigh… I know.

And then came the day when Morgan asked me that fateful question…“Would you at least pray about it?”

Ugh. Reluctantly, I agreed.

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Fast forward 5 years. Now I know that whenever my hubby asks me to pray about anything, God is about to move. And move He did. He began to soften my heart towards the idea of schooling my own children. He gifted me with kindred friendships and met all my questions and terrifying insecurities with a simple, “Trust Me.”

So, with reservation, I said Yes.

I had no long term commitment in mind. I told myself, “It’s only pre-school. I mean, come on…         I CAN DO PRE-SCHOOL.”

Well, it turns out it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Still is. It wasn’t so much teaching the ABC’s that was the difficult part. It was the constant realization that I pretty much sucked at being loving to these two imperfect little beings. In fact, it revealed areas of my mothering that needed serious help. Ugly things in me like pride and stubbornness bubbled up every day. I was being stretched and tested in ways I never imagined. And so many times, I failed. I was defeated. I cried. I whined. I yelled. I learned more about my wretched sins, than I ever cared to.

But day after day, I also learned about God’s love and His amazing grace. Slowly and painfully, God and I began this heart wrenching journey together. Through homeschooling, He was teaching me how to love and how much I truly needed a Savior.

To be clear, this post is not about public school vs. homeschool. This is a personal journey. This is about saying Yes to something God had called me to. Even when I was afraid. Even when it was hard. This is about trusting Him and knowing that when He calls us to something, He will not abandon us. Even though there will be days when you question that. His ways are not our ways and His plans are always better than ours. Always.

What started as a low-level commitment has now blossomed into five years. Has it gotten easier? In some ways it has but at the same time, I’m always struggling to rely more on God and get over myself. At the five year mark, I now have the privilege of looking back. There have been many unexpected gifts.

The greatest revelation and surprise to me about homeschooling is the fact that it is less about academics and more to do with EVERYTHING ELSE IN LIFE.

Important things like: patience, grace, relationships, family, bonding, serving, faith, love, trust, sharing, forgiveness, obedience, surrendering, keeping a home, peace, contentment, priorities, and so on…

In many ways, academics becomes the easy part. Not because I’m a good teacher but just because as the children grow, they naturally learn more and want to learn more.

When I reflect on the last 5 years (and my, have they flown by), I marvel at what the Lord has done. In me and in my children. I’ve had the privilege of answering questions about Jesus. And heaven. About bras. And unicorns. And everything in between. I’ve kissed hurts and disciplined bottoms. I’ve baked more cookies than I ever thought I could. I’ve cheered my loudest and I’ve cried out to the Lord in times of utter defeat. And I’ve had the great joy of leading my children to Christ.

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The reality is that our children are being schooled every single day. Through our words and our hugs and our yelling and our repentance. They are learning from one broken, imperfect person to another, what it means to trust God and follow Jesus.

Of course, I don’t know what my life would look like today if I had said no to homeschooling. I wonder sometimes about our choices and the forks in the road of life we face. Do we always choose the path well known or risk taking the path less traveled? How many times have we missed the blessing?

I can think of a couple of significant crossroads in my life. Like when I said Yes to a date with my handsome blonde friend back in 1999. Well, at first I said no (because who in their right mind would risk a good friendship by starting to date?). Thankfully, after some time, I came to my senses and even more thankfully, he is a very patient man! That yes turned into a marriage proposal two years later and little did I know, he would turn into my best friend, my partner, and most importantly, God’s gift to me on this amazing journey.

Or the time we said Yes to adoption together. THANK THE LORD WE SAID YES TO ADOPTION.   We would’ve missed, everything.

It’s been said that every decision we make is based on either fear or faith. After 5 years, the Lord has taught me (through homeschooling), He is faithful and worthy to be trusted.

After all, our children are not ours. They are His.

So I sit and I wait on Him to show me what to do and how to do it. What’s important and how do I bring Him glory through all of this? That’s the only way this homeschooling thing works around here. It’s the only thing that has sustained me. I’m continually seeking His leading and then praying He equips me with enough love and courage to do what He asks. And then I’m learning to rest in that because that, will always be enough.

So what are you doing right now that requires faith? What is He calling you to say Yes to today?

Take heart. That Yes whispered in obedience will not return void.

In fact, it could change everything.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Jacob’s Tool/Pool Birthday Party

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Ben & Karen, helping the kids.

 

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Bird houses are done!

 

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Time for the POOL!

 

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Grace looks so grown up here!

 

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The lovely ladies.

 

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Kids gravitate toward him.

 

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Cake time.

 

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Every young boy loves tools, right? Combine that with the first pool party of the year and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a fun birthday celebration for all. 

Happy Birthday, Jacob!!

(from what I hear so far, EIGHT is pretty GREAT!!)