Jan 10 2014

For all Things, There is a Season.

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For all things, there is a season.  Well, for many things, or most things…..but not ALL things.  Some things will never come to pass and for those, we need to let go and accept.  However, for the things that DO come to pass, understanding timing and seasons necessitates the importance of having and perfecting patience but most importantly, the ability of perfecting patience comes from an unwavering foundation of faith.

I gave birth to Emily when I was 26 years old.  That doesn’t sound very young, but by today’s standards when many women are waiting until they are in their 30′s to start having a family, I felt completely unprepared emotionally to navigate relationships with other women that had children at that time.  Due to my immaturity, while listening to the accolades of a rival tiny tot, I knew on some level you needed to step up your infant game.  I watched you lay there, in the safety of our home surrounded by soft blankets and adorable stuffed animals, cooing and pulling on your toes.  Drool dripping down your perfect chin, poo filling your diaper,  soft smiles rounding your face and I knew you were not taking your job of excelling and blowing these other tiny tots out of the water with your innate awesomeness seriously enough.  I struggled with the challenge of imparting to you the importance sleeping through the night before Charlotte’s baby (oh, I couldn’t STAND her…..), walking before 9 months let alone running, peeing on command at 11 months and reciting your alphabet in mandarin at 12 months.  I can not count the times we had conversations late into the night regarding these issues and more, but you simply did not care.  You were going to wake up four times every night for the next four years, babble until you were almost three years old and you decided that pooping in your diaper was way more entertaining than using some dumb plastic throne with rhinestones that sang songs to you every time you’d sit on it.  I tried to tell you you were lagging behind, but you kept telling me you didn’t care.  You see, Emily, even as a tot, you were smarter than your old mom.  Because innately, you understood that there was a time for everything.  It just took me longer to figure out.  That, and I clearly was not resting in the faith that the Lord had it all in hand and all I needed to do was love you.  Argh.

So, with the lesson you taught me, I understood that although other people do and accomplish things at certain times, you and the boys will accomplish things that are perfectly timed for you, in your season, whenever that may be.  No one can rush the process, in fact, it is in the rushing of that process that we are made to feel stupid, less than and unaccomplished.  Someone once told me that every flower blooms in its own time.  How surprising that the most beautiful truths can be told with the utmost simplicity.  So, my darling children, do not measure yourself by whatever anyone else may be doing, for you are not them and they are not you.  Your flower is blooming in its most perfect time, and God has a specific time and season for everything in your life.  Read these words and hear their truth.  Your timing, your season is YOURS, not be confused or competed with anyone else.

A Time for Everything

3 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;

a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;

a time to kill, and a time to heal;

a time to break down, and a time to build up;

a time to weep, and a time to laugh;

a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;

a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

a time to seek, and a time to lose;

a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

a time to tear, and a time to sew;

a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

a time to love, and a time to hate;

a time for war, and a time for peace.

Sometimes, the letters I write to you children are actually meant as reminders to myself.  I love you all, my precious ones.  I am sorry for the thousand times I pushed you when what you needed was patience and faith.

Love always,

Mom


Jan 9 2014

If This Was My Last Message to You…..

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When your dad and I started dating, exactly one million years ago, I remember telling him that for my entire young life, I had always had the overwhelming sense that I would not live a long life.  I don’t know why I felt that way, but it was a fairly clear impression and the fact that I am 45 years old and have had the privilege of watching you grow up to the ripe ages of 19, 15 and 11, I am so very grateful because it is more than I thought I would ever have.  So, as morbid as this topic is, I have wanted to write to you about the things that I think are important should one day I know longer have the opportunity.  I started writing a section of this blog called, Letters to my Kids a while back.  This year, I really want to focus more on this and hopefully send it out and have it bound in book form for the three of you.

If this were my last message to you……..there are SO many things that are important, but the MOST important thing?  I would want to imprint upon your heart and soul 1 Corinthians 13:13.  But now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

So many times when we read a biblical verse, or see it painted on a canvas, we simply pass over the words without truly giving them an opportunity to sink in and resonate within us.  Without the resonation, there will be no absorption.   No absorption, no change will take place in our thoughts or behaviors.

Children, consider the words carefully.  “Now” is not pertaining to a period of time, but more in the logical sense.  “Abideth” means fundamental and permanent, not coming and going on the whim of emotion or well-being.  P-E-R-M-A-N-E-N-T.  And the greatest of these is love.  Why?  Because love is the only way we can overlook another person’s inadequacies or short-comings.  Love blinds us and protects us from harsh realities.  Because love frees us from the bondage of unforgiveness, hurt and betrayal.  And pure love is the answered prayer that is given to you only by God.  It doesn’t come from us, because as imperfect people, we are unable to love in that way.

Real world application:  Your grandparents decided years ago to cut us from their lives.  I am sure that in their minds and hearts they are completely justified in doing so.  I am not here to qualify their reasons or defend our position, only to say that in the fallout since, your father has been deeply hurt.  It is impossible for us to get over their rejection on our own, to let go of the anger we hold inside.  Righteous or not, that anger and unforgiveness only serves to continue to hurt us and keep us from truly being the spouses, parents, and friends God intends for us to be.  Only if we love your grandparents, truly love them, will we be free.  Loving them doesn’t mean call or see them.  It doesn’t mean we will exchange Christmas or birthday cards.  Loving them means that whatever they are doing in their lives, with whomever they are doing it with, we want only the very best for them and we rejoice in all their successes and morn for their losses.  We are freed from the chains that bound in anger and hurt.  The truth is, we can’t change your grandparents hearts, we can’t convince them we are not bad people and it is not possible for us to make someone love us when they don’t have love in their hearts.

World view will teach you to hate and hold grudges.  World view will ingrain upon you to demand what “you deserve”.  Do NOT prescribe to world view EVER.  Always go to the Lord, seek the wise counsel of God.  The path is not easier, in fact it most probably is harder, but the Lord paid your wage of slavery through the sacrifice of His life, in an effort to keep you free, not to place you back into the bonds of slavery through anger, hurt and unforgiveness.  The ticket to freedom is found in the verse of 1 Corinthians 13:13.  But now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; and the greatest of these is LOVE.

Your parents have and will fail you, your siblings will fail you, your friends will fail you, your spouse will fail you, your job and boss will fail you…..this I promise you.  We are all imperfect therefore bound to failure, but love, the love that comes directly from the hand of God, will give you the ability to free you from chokehold of anger.  Ponder this, you only have hope in what you love and you will only find faith in what you believe and you believe in only that which you love.

Be free from the bonds of unforgiveness and anger, children.  Loving someone does NOT mean they have to be in your life, it means they will not have the ability to control it.  Pray.  God will answer you.

Love you always,

Mom


Jan 5 2014

2014

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January 5th, 2014

A new year. A new beginning. A new opportunity. A new start.

I don’t want to create a list of resolutions, I consistently break those and eventually feel like a loser having failed at something I know I ought to be doing. I just want to do differently so I can be different and have different outcomes…..otherwise it is all more of the same.

I want God to be more of a presence in my life. What can I do to make that happen? I can get up each morning at 5:00 a.m. and read devotionals, pray and listen to podcasts of Andy Stanley, Johnny Hunt, etc. We can go to church together as a family on Sundays. I can go to Women’s Fellowship Studies on Wednesday nights.

I need to take care of my body, physically. What can I do to make that happen? I can be more responsible in choosing the foods that I eat. I need to exercise and incorporate yoga and ti chi, daily. I can walk the dogs.

I need to be a better mom to my kids. How can I do that? I will spend time daily with each child. Actively listen, not to respond to what they are saying, but to hear their voices and validate their worth. I will prepare family dinner four times a week and breakfast daily.

I will invest in the person God wants me to be. I will read the books, take the classes and volunteer where called. I will make it a priority because I am one.

I will love my husband like no one else can. Because he is my soul, my friend and my foundation. He is my best friend.

This is my new year, my new beginning, a new opportunity and a new start.


Jan 6 2013

Don’t Be Just Another Christian……

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Dear Kids,

It is my desire for you to live a Christ-centered life. Your father is the spiritual head of our home and he prays over us and for us each night. We speak about Christ in our daily lives and I actively encourage you to pursue Christ in all aspects of your lives.   But there is something that is happening in the Christian sect that deeply disturbs me.  It’s the judgment that seems to pour out of Christians like water pouring from a vase or foul language from your mother’s lips.   Neither are going to change, I’m afraid. I try to not cuss, but since I don’t smoke, do drugs, eat, drink consistently or run around on your dad, sailor-talk is my vice.

Let me be clear…..YOU’RE not allowed to have foul language. Hypocritical?  Probably. But this is one of those times I get to pull the parental trump card. Just because I do it, it DOES NOT give you license. Accept it. That rule isn’t ever going to change. But that’s not what I wanted to talk to you about.

There is a large population of “church-going”, Sunday-best wearin’, Bible reading, and judgment-preaching Christians that seem to have a fairly loud voice. They attend the homeschool academy you attend, they are in our small groups, they write on blogs and feverishly post on Facebook and in editorials. And they seem to thrive on making sure we are clear on what sin looks like and who’s doing it. Homosexuals seem to be the current punching bag, but nothing is really off limits. I just read several responses in regards to the Le Mis. film that just came out and how the main character’s descent into prostitution was so foul that they could not EVER imagine allowing their children to watch that movie.

I’m not sure how to tell you this, so I am going to just come out with it. You are a sinner. Yep. Every day, no matter how much you pray or how hard you try, you my little miscreants…..are sinners. It’s kind of a past, present, future type thing. You HAVE sinned, you ARE sinning and you WILL BE sinning. It’s how God made us. Imperfect. And do you know why? Because GOD is perfect and if WE were perfect, would we need him? Nope, we wouldn’t. But as sinners, created to imperfect and to fail, we are to look to God for ways to be better, to do better, to love better, to be kind, to show mercy and grace, to have compassion. But Christians, not all but many, seem to find cold comfort in pointing out and highlighting the sin and failure of others. Because somehow, when they point out the sin in others, their own sin seems somehow diminished or less consequential.  But what it really elevates is the hateful, petty, small-mindedness of humanity.

Just because someone is sinning differently than you, their sin is not bigger or worse than yours. Be VERY careful to not sit in judgment of others. It makes you mean and as unChrist-like as you can get.

There is a quote that says “To love is to see the face of God.” Meditate on that. Look deeply within yourselves. Be the person that Christ compels you to be, not the petty Christian who feels the need to walk on the backs of the down-trodden. Remember, the righteous always feel righteous…..even when they are wrong. But hold this truth in your heart and guard it well, it is NEVER wrong to show love, mercy and compassion. Leave the judgment to Christ. He knows way more than we ever will.

I love you,

Mom


Dec 11 2012

Did You Just Say that with a Straight Face?

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October, November and December are usually my busiest times during the year in terms of scheduling family photo shoots.  It’s one of those things we generally put off until we have to have “that” photo of our family for our Christmas cards.

Last Sunday, I was doing a mini-sessions at a historical home in Roswell with an 18 month old, when low and behold…..guess who shows up????  Santa Claus and his lovely wife, Mrs. Claus.  I couldn’t have planned it better.  As the elderly couple were making their way of the front stairs that led to the veranda, baby’s mommy and I were cooing and making a fuss over our unexpected guests.  They graciously allowed us to quickly take a couple of photos with them and the toddler when a woman came up behind them out of nowhere.

“I have 35 little girls waiting to see Santa.”  She said as she glared at my client and me.  Santa turned to her and said, “Oh, I’m sorry, dear.  I didn’t realize I was late.”

I stared at the ballsy woman thinking I didn’t realize that Santa was only for some people and if you weren’t on that list, forget about seeing him.

Merry Christmas, Scrooge.  I hope you receive a LOT more Christmas cheer than you are handing out.


Oct 11 2012

Enough with the Attitude Already.

Really?  Did you not get the memo?  You are nine.  NINE. I am the grown up, the adult, the big cheese, the one IN CHARGE. Not you.  You are short, you tend to be lazy and your attitude SUCKS. And all this together time is really starting to annoy me.  So, I suggest that you QUIT arguing with me (just assume you are wrong so don’t even start) and get focused on your schoolwork.  Because my level of patience has OFFICIALLY run out and I am STARING RIGHT AT YOU. As Daddy would tell you, “Nothing good is going to come from this.”

I am writing this down because I clearly need to vent and I don’t want to hurt your feelings by actually saying some of this stuff out loud.

But if you keep pushing me, all bets are off.  Homeschooling is NOT for pansies.


Sep 18 2012

Some of the Best Parental Advice We Ever Got…..

 

Dear Children,

Having you has been an amazing experience that had we not, our lives would not be what it is today.  And for that, I thank you.    Having said that, I want to officially put it on record that I miss your baby/toddler/early years like I can NOT believe.  When we were in the heart of it, all I wanted to do was get through it.  The constant demands that young children make, not being able to dictate the smallest decision in our daily lives, ie; going to the bathroom solo, when to shower, if you GOT to shower, where to eat, what to eat, was I going to actually sleep that night and if so, would it be with your father or with you.  I’m not going to mention our sex life for two reasons, one day it’s all going to come back and bite you on your ass and for another, you get really weird about it.  So, whatever.

But now, I’ve got tweeners, teeners and an eighteen year old.  And I miss my babies.  I remember the biggest parental shock I got from Emily was when she was little and she used her markers to color our Golden Retriever as if his face were a blank canvas.  And he loved it.

The biggest shock with Bear was when he shoplifted a candy bar and I drove him to the police station to turn him in.  And for Bryson, it was when he was three and said “fuck” twelve times because your father and I couldn’t believe he said it the first time.  It took eleven more times before it registered.  By then, we realized he was talking about the fire fuck…..I mean the fire truck.

Regardless, the biggest parental shocks we received when you were young were minor.  It was easy to love you through them.  But now you are older and the parental shocks are more about character issues and integrity issues.  These strike at the very heart of who and what we believe in and how you have been raised.  These are so much harder to coast through.  However, I remember years ago, we were talking with some friends of ours that had older children, a little older than you are now, and we asked them, “what have you done to keep your relationship with your kids so strong?”  The father answered so simply, “no matter what they have done, NEVER stop talking to them.”

We didn’t realize how difficult this lesson was until recently.  There have been times when I was so angry and hurt I couldn’t speak even if my heart desired it.  I thank God for Daddy because in these moments he was able to fill in the cracks and keep the division from widening.  So, children, I say unto you,  heade this advise and hear the truth in these words.  Hurt and anger will eventually melt away, but your behavior is in the midst of those feelings will remain.  And that is oftentime much more difficult to overcome.

I love you, each one of you.  Keep your head on straight.  Quit trying to find happiness outside of yourself and from others.  Live within your guideposts and boundries.  And please remember, it isn’t anyone’s job to make you happy but yourself.  Own it.

Mom


Aug 11 2012

Mr. Brown……thanks for the entertaining letter. Allow me to respond.

Mr. Brown,

I thoroughly enjoyed your reply, especially your assumptions. First of all, I’m not speaking about the homeschooling that is taking place only in my living room, I am speaking of the homeschooling that is taking place in thousands of living rooms. How? Because the homeschooling movement has been changing, evolving and growing, which is why I recommended anyone who thinks they understand homeschool to get educated on the topic. And no, my kids DO NOT jump out of bed to start their day, except on the one day a week they meet up with all the other families that are participating in Classical Conversations (a curriculum that is taught through the trivium). However, as their teacher, I am very aware of WHAT they are doing, the LEVEL of performance they are giving, and WHERE they are having difficulties or mastery over the subject immediately. My kids are not loitering around in the halls, bathrooms or being truant. They are not “taught” by teachers who teach only what the government has prescribed, nor are they surrounded by kids who hate and resent the system. You are concerned about “social learning”? How sweet. Unfortunately, your basis of argument is incorrect. Placing peers together in a graded context breeds an unnatural hierarchy, competition against each other as opposed to performing to one’s personal best and rivalry. It’s a complete failure.

Sterile environment? Treats and cookies? That’s your kid’s school, not mine. My third grader learned to translate part of Book of Luke from Latin to English (It’s part of the Bible, just a little fyi). He learned, by memory, to draw all fifty of the United States, identify each state and capital, the four Appalachian Mtns in New England, in the South, the Western Mtns, NW Mtnns, Great Lakes, Bays, major rivers in the East, West, historical Trails, canals, territories and terrains, deserts and 10 of the US most prominent features and draw them on his map. He learned his multiplication tables up to 15 x15 in my sterile environment. All the cubes and squares. He learned his formulas for the area of a rectangle, square, triangle, circle, circumference of a circle, the associative, commutative and distributive, and identity law. My eight year old memorized, drew and identified the four types of tissues, the axial skeleton and three types of muscle. The nervous, digestive, excretory, circulatory, lymph, respiratory and endocrine systems. Don’t get me started on his history lessons that spanned from Christopher Columbus to present day, his memorization of all our presidents in historical order and this kid can explain to your public school kid what an atomic number is, an element, and the parts of an atom. He can tell him the first 10 elements on the periodic table by its number, element and mass. And this un-socialized kid played competitive all-star baseball in the fall, spring and summer.

So, no, I don’t wipe my children’s asses. I teach them how to learn and that the learning process never ends. I teach them that their absolute power resides in their mind and in their hearts, not in what popular culture feeds them. I teach them to be independent as opposed to dependent. I teach them to reach as opposed to wait and be spoon-fed. My children will NEVER be victims of society, yours already are. If my 13 year old son, who spends time weekly at the gun range in target practice, who competes on a Majors level of baseball, travels to throw a ball from a mound EVER enlists in the military……it will be as an officer and your sons will be BLESSED to serve under him. So, thank you. I have done an EXCEPTIONAL job, however, I have not done it alone. I have done it with thousands of other homeschooling moms that are too busy to wipe their children’s asses once they have been trained to wipe it themselves. And united we are STRONG. For our kids. Because they are worth EVERY SACRIFICE we make for them. Have a subpar, mediocre school year.

And GOD BLESS every teacher that works in that system that truly wants to make a difference and feels overburdened, trapped and disrespected by students, parents and their own administration. They are the true heroes and my hat and heart go out to every
one of them.


Apr 26 2012

School IS OUT for SUMMER!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hmmmm….your imagination of that is probably radically different from our reality.

School being out for summer, in our family, means that the bulk, heavy education has been completed.  For the next three months, we will continue our pursuit of knowledge, but in a more relaxed manner.  We will have more conversations and open dialogs regarding topics and issues.  We will try to look deeper into the meaning and context of questions in order to have a better understanding of who we are as individuals and where, at this young age, we think we want to go.

I’m excited.  More to follow.


Apr 23 2012

And on the Seventh Day…..

And on the Seventh Day, pleased and exhausted by all of his enthusiasm and effort……he rested.