Friday, June 24, 2011

Tossing my Wristwatch

Yesterday was a lovely day. The sun was shining, the birds were singing and we...the 4 kids and I were going shopping. We were shopping for many thing, but skateboards and fancy clothes for their school closing were top priority this day. It's crazy how fast 5 hours can fly by while shopping...remember, shopping is an olympic sport for me...and my oldest son inherited my strength, determination and efficiency required for this buyatholon. The two of us dragged the other 3 though our thrift store gauntlet, but they were troopers and found their own treasures along the way.

Besides the chewing gum getting stuck on car window and rolled down into oblivion, we had one rather large moment where I almost hit "the wall". I took the two younger ones to the car in the mall parking lot while the big boys left us to secretly buy their sister a pretty pink cowgirl hat for her birthday. I gave the oh so important instructions to meet us a particular mall entrance when they completed their sweet errand. They didn't hear that part. There are a total of about 500 entrances to that mall (ok...I exaggerate again...but it felt like that many). It was supper time. We were hungry and tired. We had an event to attend in an hour. I'm an Olympic shopper who does not sit or rest while makes me crazy. So I had to pull out my mental coping skills and I don't have many of them.

Precious time painfully ticked away as my two younger kids wisely and quietly followed me through the consumer jungle, hunting for their siblings. The imagination goes a little crazy at these moments for me. I had ridiculous images of a bad man throwing my 6 foot 1 inch son over his shoulder and stuffing him into his candy filled car, with my careful son blindly following. Fortunately, I had some sense about me and I realized that I was just annoyed, not afraid and that I needed patience more than anything. Even my 9 year old said, "Mom...their not kidnapped...they're too big." My mind knew that, but my body doesn't just forget a lifetime of fear that quickly.

I MADE myself forget the time, throw away my schedule and just relax. I needed to walk in the Spirit and have self control and gentleness. We stopped in the middle of the mall, held hands and prayed that God would help me calm down and find the boys. Hopefully no one thought my two young ones and I were trying to cast out evil, materialistic, seductive devils from the mall...although...there's an idea ;)

It takes a minute or two for me to switch my brain from feelings to logic, but I DID IT! After driving around to several other entrances in search, calling their delightful names on the mall intercom...twice, and checking the mens' washroom (no, I didn't go in) I called my husband at work to see if they might have called him for direction...THEY DID! He told me where they were, I went to them, publicly beat them and then sold them at the last Thrift store we visited...cheaply.

No, actually, I hugged them and commended them on how they handled the situation. Then reached WAY up and scuffed the oldest on the head for not listening to my directions. I wasn't too hard on him because he gets it from me. Too focused and rushed getting the job done to really listen to details.

The rest of the town trip was really quite enjoyable, because I abandoned my schedule. I threw efficiency to the wind and let my hair down, frolicking in irresponsible timelessness. It was nice...involuntary, but nice.

On a more serious note, the unthinkable does happen sometimes. Friends of mine are still looking for their sister Kim Amero who went missing 25 years ago at the ANE in Saint John. She would be my age...she was 16 at the time. Please pray for her and her family.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Oh my. I've been very delinquent is sharing some of my paintings. I've been playing in the color puddles a lot this winter and am learning very much. My second son is catching the art bug too, so I'll post some of his creations along with mine. My mother has a green thumb...I did not inherit it...I try, but keeping flowers alive and well is not one of my I paint them. Flower paintings are much less work and still beautiful. Maybe someday they will invent "scratch and sniff' paint in order to make them even more lifelike :)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sum it up Solomon

Ok. So. The beloved homeschool conference has come and gone. My house is a mess from being neglected all weekend, my piano is cluttered with shiny new books and I can almost hear my bank account crying from the weight I have just put upon it's shoulders...poor little thing. But my heart has been lifted, I have taken a great big sigh and am looking forward to the next year of study. the next two years will be somewhat of a cram session for my oldest. He SHOULD "graduate" in two years, so I'm trying to squeeze every little gem of study topic into his 16 year old schedule. Somewhere between hockey, skateboarding and drumming, I think there might be some free space. I will find it. I am Mom.

Our conference speaker this year was Todd Wilson of Familyman Ministries. He is more like a stand up comedian than a "speaker" and everyone needed the laughter from his gift. His message was one of encouragement. "Relax, you are doing a great job as a homeschool and encourage her...don't neglect your first priority for the sake of academia...that being a strong, healthy relationship with your kids." That was basically his message, from my perspective, in a nutshell. I think some people may have been worried that families will interpret this message as "It's ok to slack off...lower the bar and have fun." I don't think he meant that at all, and from my experience, MOST homeschool mom's just don't have that bent. They are generally hyper concerned to meet a very high standard of academia, trying to enable their kids to play 3 instruments each and graduate at 15 years old...with a treasure full of scholarship money to Harvard. These moms can stand to relax a little and need to get back to God's plan for our kids' lives. He picked fishermen, not Harvard grads.

It's a touchy subject, for sure. Everyone puts a different level of importance on academic education. For whatever reason, academics has become the salvation of our souls. Even TV commercials tote knowledge as the key to happiness. Be smart, get a good job, make lots of money...then you'll be happy. One key, critical ingredient to that recipe is missing. I'm pretty sure the Bible addresses that subject:

1 Corinthians 8:1-2 "Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies. 2 If anyone supposes that he knows anything, he has not yet known as he ought to know."

God spurs us on to knowledge...wisdom...learning in general everywhere in the Bible. Proverbs is FULL of commands to pursue knowledge, but with a very strong of Paul in 1 Corinthians. All the knowledge in the world is vanity, unless love is applied to that knowledge. Without humility and Godly wisdom in general, we become arrogant. Arrogance is a subject I prefer to avoid in our homeschool. SO...the Familyman, I think, is trying to show us how to avoid that arrogance...develop a great relationship with your kids, so they can know Christ and have great future relationships, and then not waste all the knowledge they have aquired from your absolutely brilliant homeschooling efforts! We cannot afford to neglect the relationship aspect of our kids' education or we have labored in vain.

I tend to be the academic Nazi in our family. My husband is the relationship guy. We seem to have a good balance going on, reminding each other and helping the two important factors along. I always got better marks than he did in university (and studied hard for it), but he, I am quite sure, is much more "intelligent" than I. I am a good memorizer (at least I was...until I started middle-aged brain fatigue), performing great on tests and then forgetting the stuff the next week. Guy learns something once, gets it very quickly and NEVER FORGETS IT. Highly annoying. My zeal for accomplishing things and energy to "get-er-done" is very important, I know, but I can easily get off track and not even notice when there is a relationship glitch within our family that needs some attention and balm. I want to be able to set aside "the books", without fear and panic, in order to tend to the critical...the spiritual. Dad's need to make sure that happens.

I remember my own Dad doing that. I was studying for a test one night, frazzled and worried to the point of insanity. My dad went out, bought me a chocolate bar and rented a movie. He handed them to me and said something like this: "Now relax here with me and enjoy the rest of the evening. You've studied enough, you'll do great on the test. Right now, you need to take a break and trust God for the outcome." Obviously, it's not word for word, but that's how I remember it :)

Ecclesiastes 12:12-13 " warned: the writing of many books is endless, and excessive devotion to books is wearying to the body. 13 The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person..."

I LOVE Ecclesiastes. Solomon...the wisest of all...wraps it up for us. Our relationship with our kids and, in turn, their relationship with Christ, must come before bookwork. Do not neglect the one at the expense of the other.

We are taking summer vacation...without guilt!!!!