Moving To The City

Image courtesy of dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Our family is moving, it’s almost official. We’ve signed the contract, had the inspection…now we’re waiting to see how our buyer’s inspection goes because our sale depends on their sale…

So much to do, so much to get rid of. I didn’t realize how unsettling the feeling of having no home was going to be. Looking into the future and not knowing where we will live is scary. I’ve been reading “The Red Tent”, and there’s a time when Jacob (Esau’s brother from the bible) asks his four wives to travel and find a new home. They’ve never left their father’s land, they don’t know where they will end up, even Jacob doesn’t know for sure where they will live. I thought how scared they must have been, how unsure. At least, I know the place I’m going to, even if I don’t know exactly what house it will be.

The kids want to move to the country because they want horses. We’re not getting horses. I like the idea of living in the country, there is a peace I find in the country that I can’t get anywhere else. But when I look at the next ten years of our life, I see people. Lots and lots of people, and clubs, and running the kids from lessons, to church events, to ball practice and to friends’ homes. I see us homeschooling outside of the home as much as possible because it gets lonely when we’re by ourselves with only your sisters to play with and I don’t want that anymore. We get excited when we are with people, when we’re building relationships. Our baby, snuggling, no-sleeping-at-night years are over and the next ten years are going to be incredibly busy and exciting. I know God has a plan for us and I can’t wait to see what He does.

Motherhood: Stage 2

jennyandcaci

Happy Mother’s Day!

On Mother’s Day, I think it’s fun to capture exactly where I’m at on this motherhood journey. Looking back, I wished I’d done this when they were smaller. I wished I’d written about the complete exhaustive fog I was in when they were babies and how much joy I got when they smiled at me and grabbed my finger tightly with their little hands. How my babies gave me hope to go on, to keep fighting my life. But now I’m here; I’m a mother with a 9 yr old, a 7 yr old, and a 4 yr old; all daughters, beautiful daughters.

So the hard parts, because they’re beautiful too….
One of the downfalls of homeschooling is I begin to want to avoid my children, being around them 24/7, I crave breaks, I hide away in my books and computer, I get way too excited for an hour alone. I imagine mothers who spend the day working away from their children look forward to seeing them at the end of the day and catching up. They run into each other’s arms joyfully wishing they’d never parted, but I know this is not true, they probably struggle to love also.
I’m finally getting plenty of sleep at night. One of my homeschool teaching strategies was to make my children bored, so they would have to depend upon creativity to get themselves through the day. This sometimes works, but often, they end up following me around and wanting to talk all the time because they don’t know what to do with themselves. So I end up telling them to go find something to do, it makes them sad and I feel bad about it.

We are on the verge of the next phase of parenthood, the time when your kids become interested in life, and you do whatever you can to support them. Driving them to clubs, to friends’ homes, inviting friends’ over. We are almost out of the snuggly, stay home phase where you are too exhausted to go anywhere and everyone is asleep by 7 pm, so you wouldn’t go anywhere anyway. Our kids’ are aching to get involved in the world around them, and I’m not sure what the best way of doing this is. I know many people sign their kids up for all kinds of organizations, it makes me want to send them to public school, but that has some big disadvantages. We need a large social group that is willing to hang out and do productive things with my children. I’m thinking 4-H, or maybe I could start my own homeschool co-op?

My oldest daughter has almost outgrown me. She is so beautiful. She really wants to be funny and she is not a natural comedian at all, so we’ve been working on appropriate humor and I try not to get mad at her when she insults someone because she’s trying to tell a joke, I try re-direction instead. She is naturally gifted in hospitality and gave me the most special birthday party the other day. She spent hours making me a gift and setting up the moment so I would feel loved. She succeeded. She is almost bigger than me, but still wants to crawl into my lap and be held. I love that she still wants to do this, but I have to tell her no sometimes because it’s so awkward. I hope she never stops asking and we continue being awkward our entire lives.

My middle daughter is quiet and independent, she often gets forgotten. She is also incredibly selfless, she will give her stuff away without hesitation and whenever someone is sad, will do whatever is necessary to help her. I feel protective of her because she doesn’t do anything to protect herself. She lives life by giving everything each day. She plays and runs hard until she crashes, then I have to pick her up and make sure she’s eaten enough food for the day, or give her mandatory rest if she’s surrounded by people because there’s nothing left in her to give. When she is on the verge of a crash, watch out, she can have a temper. She hasn’t figured out gentle ways of finding space or boundaries….will have to work on that.

My youngest, so precious. She is still always requiring my attention, needing help to get her cereal, her clothes on, to buckle her seatbelt. I’m beginning to get tastes of what life will be like when I’m not needed constantly. It’s exciting. But I do love her chatter, she will crawl onto my lap as soon as I sit down, and tell me all her thoughts, or she will just sit. She follows #2 around everywhere and they are good playmates at this stage. They jump on the trampoline, play with dolls, play games, legos, restaurant, play with the dog…..they stay incredibly busy with pretend play.

I think a lot about filling my children. Filling their minds with good things; scripture, prayer, good stories, songs, grace, truth. I’m hoping roots will grow deep, and when I let them go on their own later, they will have a strong foundation for life.

“How can it be a large career to tell other people’s children about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one’s own children about the universe?
How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? No. A woman’s function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute. I will pity Mrs. Jones for the hugeness of her task; I will never pity her for its smallness.”
― G.K. Chesterton

note: both my bathroom sinks are full of mud at the moment from kids playing outside barefoot then coming in and washing their feet in the sink.

The Five Kinds of Manipulators

I finished reading Scary Close, Dropping The Act and Finding True Intimacy by Donald Miller. One of the best parts of his book is when he discusses the five different kinds of manipulators. Also, he does something I seldom see when books talk about manipulation. He makes us point the finger at ourselves instead of others to see where we fall in the manipulation categories. He and his wife watch each other and keep each other accountable to not have a manipulative marriage. We all have tendencies toward manipulation of some sort, I’m often blinded to my own but very aware of other forms. Which type of manipulator do you come closest to?

The Scorekeeper

“Whenever somebody starts keeping score in a relationship the relationship begins to die. A scorekeeper makes life seem like a contest, only there’s no way to win. Scorekeepers are in control of the scoreboard and frame it any way they want, but always in such a way they’re winning.
“Scorekeepers keep tabs on whatever favors you owe them and call in those favors when they want to control you. Scorekeepers will call in favors by saying you don’t owe them anything, as in, “You don’t owe me for that time I dropped you off at the airport, but I’m traveling next week and…..”~Donald Miller

The Judge

“A Judge personality strongly believes in right and wrong, which is great, but they also believe they are the ones who decide right and wrong and lord it over others to maintain authority and power. Right and wrong are less a moral code than they are a collar and leash they attach to others so they can lead them around.” ~Donald Miller

The False Hero

“You might be dealing with a False Hero when the future they’re describing seems too good to be true. The False Hero manipulates by leading people to believe they have something better to offer than they do.” ~Donald Miller

This one was confusing for me, but then I figured out False Heroes promise a lot, but don’t always have intentions of following through. Like a man promising marriage and babies to get into bed with you.

The Fearmonger

“Fearmongers rule by making people suffer the consequences of insubordination. The mantra of the Fearmonger is: If you don’t submit to me I’ll make your life a living hell.” ~Donald Miller

The Flopper (I call this one The Victim)

A Flopper is someone who overdramatizes their victimhood in order to gain sympathy and attention. Floppers assume the role of victim whenever they can. This is a powerful and destructive form of manipulation. In order to be a victim, a person needs an oppressor. If you enter into a relationship with a Flopper, sooner or later that oppressor will be you.” ~Donald Miller

What I thought about the book:
It was a wonderfully written, honest, and vulnerable book. He tried to make it nice stories and advice, but I saw a deeper theme. It was about how he was changing his rougher edges because of a woman he’d met and married. I would love to see his wife write a book, I’d be very interested in reading her writing, she seems to be a relationship expert.
Donald builds a lot of walls in his life in regards to people and he is working on being better at intimacy, I admire that, but he still seems very young in his intimacy skills. I left the book feeling like I needed to protect myself from others, which wasn’t his goal at all, but it still leaked through in his writings. Would love to see how he matures in the next ten years. I also have a “God meter” I apply to books I read. I believe the book should point to God, draw us closer to Christ, speak the gospel, and be soaked in scripture. I have this craving for Christ that I want to satisfy when I read books. This book had a little bit of Christ but not much, so ultimately I didn’t like it, I wished it was more Christ-centered and less Donald-centered.

Sooooo, we discovered Classical Conversations #Homeschooling

(I have not been paid to promote anything written below, these are my opinions as a homeschooling parent)

Well, it appears there is a trend in homeschooling traveling across the nation, and because of the state we live in and because we live out in the middle of nowhere, we are about three years behind normal American homeschoolers. This trend is a curriculum called Classical Conversations. Classical Conversations is a program developed by a woman who realized when her son was a teenager about to leave the home, that although she had taught him history for twelve years, he couldn’t remember the basics from several years ago. She said to herself, this is what I wish I had done instead and she made a list of essential information she wished he had memorized and known. She then took that essential information and plugged it into the classical philosophy. The classical philosophy is based on a model from the ancient Greeks that teaches:
-young children are good at memorizing, so have them practice memorizing facts
-middle age children begin to ask why, so take those facts and relate and compare them to each other
-high school kids should be masters in their areas by now and should be able to debate facts and ideas, intelligently representing both sides

We would be at the young child level, which Classical Conversation calls “Foundations”. Foundations is a four part (four year?) series that takes historical, math, latin, geography, science and more and teaches the students how to memorize them using songs and repetition. I have to say, none of that really interested me when it was first explained. I am not a memorization person, I’m a creative, and I have lots of difficulty emphasizing memorization in my homeschooling, it doesn’t fit my personality at all. So I had to look at this program as a way to help out my weaknesses, it is also very intimidating for me. But these people are very willing to help train you and to find you a group to attend that is nearest you.

So here are some excerpts of what they do, and to really understand this program, please watch the videos. The songs and the huge amount of information children memorize has impressed me. This should not replace your history, math, science but act as supplement for it.

You also should understand that these aren’t just random words she is saying, for every event she mentions, she has also memorized the answer to a historical fact or a little song about that event.

There are more:

and this is just a taste of what they are teaching. They cover everything! Presidents, modern history, continents, you name it and your kid will know what it is.

We have not started this program yet, just learned about it, and wow, it is impressive. After showing my kids the video once, they began singing the songs in their off-time. It’s very catchy.

Are any of you familiar with this program already? Do you like it? What are the pros and cons that you know about.

(note: the foundation teaching textbook costs $75 and the CD costs $35, there is also an app you could buy for $15; everything else they sell are add-ons that are helpful but not necessary)

Weightloss, Blog Move, and Understanding Women

I’ve been 17 days without sugar or bread, which is a big deal for me, I usually never make it that long!  God has been merciful to me.  Something clicked in my head after reading “Weightless”, and I realized I just need to focus on staying on the wagon and not falling off for as long as possible.  This has taken a decision out of my option choices.  When approached with sugar, instead of “Well, it’s a special event” or “it’s for a birthday party”, or whatever we are celebrating.  The choice of a decision has been taken out of my hands because the answer is always going to be no.  I can’t express how much this has simplified my life.

Also, I’ve been at delightfuloak.com for a year now and my subscription is about to expire.  I’ve decided not to pay for another year here and to go back to my free site at delightfuloak.wordpress.com. You can’t follow me yet, because it is still forwarding the address to here, but wanted to give you a heads up.

Most of you are already following me there, so you won’t have to worry about re-following me.  SeriouslyServing , you are one of my new followers, so will have to make sure I stay connected with you.  If you follow me on facebook or twitter, that will not be changing.  But if you are an email follower, then you might need to re-subscribe.  I believe I have another month before the subscription wears out.

And I will end this blog post with a great quote from a book I’m currently reading:

“If you want to understand any woman you must first ask about her mother and then listen carefully.  Stories about food show a strong connection.  Wistful silences demonstrate unfinished business.  The more a daughter knows the details of her mother’s life –without flinching or whining– the stronger the daughter.” ~Anita Diamant, The Red Tent