Early Mornings. . .

Productivity experts and uber-awesome moms extol the virtues of waking up early. The quiet, peaceful mornings. The crisp, cool air. The relaxed cup of coffee over Bible reading.

I’ve been experimenting with waking up early again. It’s been, oh, twenty years since I’ve had consistent early mornings.

I remember why. Anytime I wake up early, the little kids do to. And cranky.

I’m going back to bed.

 

“”Yes,” said the countess when the brightness these young people had brought into the room had vanished; and as if answering a question no one had put but which was always in her mind, “and how much suffering, how much anxiety one has had to go through that we might rejoice in them now! And yet really the anxiety is greater now than the joy. One is always, always anxious! Especially just at this age, so dangerous both for girls and boys.””

— Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace (aff)
 

The thing life is fullest of is the thing we find hardest to believe in. New beginnings. The incredible gift of a fresh start. Every new year. Every new day. Every new life.

What wonderful gifts!

And when we spoil things, and life goes all wrong, we feel dismayed, because we find it so hard to see that we can start again.

God lets us share it too, you know. Only God can give life, it’s true—make a new baby or a new year—but he gives us the power to give each other a new beginning, to forgive each other and make a fresh start when things go wrong.

–Penelope Wilcock, The Hawk and the Dove (aff)

Reformation 500: Audio Resources

We are celebrating October 31, 2017 as the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing the 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenburg church. The Reformation, of course, was not sparked by that action, but it is symbolic of what the Lord was doing in the hearts and minds of His people.

I encourage you to use this month and the upcoming year to delve into history and the foundations of our faith. I’ll be sharing some resources that have been beneficial to me, and would love to hear what you’ve enjoyed as well.

Audio resources:

The Life and Times of Martin Luther Podcast

5 Minutes in Church History Podcast (especially the October 2017 daily series)

Here We Stand (Heroes of the Reformation)

White Horse Inn: Solas of the Reformation

Nature Study: Tadpoles

We caught some tadpoles a couple of weeks ago from a much-neglected swimming pool. I thought they wouldn’t last more than a day or so.

But it has been two weeks and the four little tadpoles are still here and growing! We watched a couple of videos and have been feeding them. They are getting so big we had to put them in to two jars.

I caught H2 feeding them this afternoon. A5 and I have been watching them, but I didn’t realize she was observing them, too.

True Confessions of a Foreign Service Homeschool Mom

Prior to our packout from Ukraine more than two years ago, I organized and labeled plastic bins with all the books we were keeping.

I asked the movers to keep them organized how I had them and fill the extra space with packing paper or pillows. I requested that they be wrapped in packing paper and then taped, to further protect the contents and not have nasty sticky residue on the storage boxes when we unpacked.

When we moved, I saw the boxes wrapped and taped as I requested.

Unpacking in Nassau, I discovered that actually everything I so carefully organized had been dumped in to cardboard boxes. Miscellaneous stuff had been instead packed in the plastic containers.

My careful organizing and sorting was all for naught.

Our new post had zero bookshelves.  When we finally were able to find bookshelves to purchase, we unboxed only the most vital books.

The rest have been on the landing by the stairs for the past two years…

Two years.

They have been a resentful reminder that sometimes my efforts are so easily undone.

I’m tackling it today…  I’m under no illusion that I’ll finish it any time soon.  My goal is to uncover enough of my special books to start Kindergarten (!) With A5 after Labor Day.

And hopefully, I’ll have them sorted and labelled again before our move next summer.

 

#ItsTheFSLifeForMe

How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.  What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time.

When I Give Advice. . .

I have six kids.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, people ask me for mothering advice.

Advice.  I bristle at that word. As if I know your family better than you do.

Yet I am willing to share where we’ve been, what we’ve learned, and how we’ve failed or succeeded along the way.

You are just the right mother for your children.  They are the just right children for you.

I’m still knee-deep in laundry and playdates and diapers and driving lessons.  I don’t have all the answers.  But I am willing to encourage you, right where you are, with the children God has put in your life.

With anything I share, I want to emphasize that God made you the mother of your children.  You are just the right mother for the little ones God has entrusted to you.  They are the just right children for you.  No one can love and know your children like you do.

I hope that you are surrounded by people who are encouraging and supportive.  I want to be part of that chorus of encouragement in the middle of the nitty-gritty challenges and joys.

Yet the end of the day, God put your children in your family as part of His plan.   You love her and will nurture them.  Somehow in His infinite goodness, even when you make mistakes (and even sin against them!), He is using that as your children grow in to the people God created them to be.

When I give advice, please hear it as from a friend who wants to encourage you, and trusts you are you make decisions for your family.

Transitions, Undone

Spring is always a whirlwind for families. It’s already late summer and getting closer to the fall ritual of kids returning to school.

This year our second son graduated high school and we are just weeks away from him leaving for college. He’s ready. I think I am.

But something feels like it has been left undone over these past few months of transition.

What am I going to do? Part of me wants to hold him tight, engage deeply, soak up each last moment.

His summer plans have taken him overseas, and my summer plans have involved travel and home repairs and medical appointments.

I stay in touch with him via messenger. I follow his friends who post pics on Instagram. I try to do the bits and pieces of college paperwork that remain.

But it is so little. So distant. So electronic.

No real hugs. No making coffee for him and talking about both the minutiae of our days and the big plans we have.

What I can do is pray. I trust our sovereign God. I trust that this is His timing for T—— to take the next step.

I remember my mom telling me years ago that the most important work of parenting is done on our knees. I believe this is true. Sometimes I even act like I believe it is true.

The best book I’ve read on parenting is The Praying Life, by Paul Miller  (aff). It has nothing in it about child development or connecting with your teens. Instead, he writes of the importance of prayer and how to make praying a practical part of our parenting.

I struggle with this. I struggle with transitions in life.

I am trusting God to keep us connected.