Let’s Talk Attitude

As this fresh new year has began, I suggest we take a look at the attitudes in our home.  Seeing this is a family blog with a homeschool focus, this topic is something dear to my heart.  Many of us are halfway through our school year, when taking inventory of how things are going is common.  Whether you are a homeschool family or a public school family, couldn’t you agree that attitudes can often make or break a productive day, particularly pertaining to learning?

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I’m actually not referring to our children.  I’m actually calling attention to us, the parents.

Are we displaying the fruit of the Spirit around our children?  Are we setting a loving tone to our children’s (home) education?  Even when they’re not being very lovable at times?  They learn from example, so what we model matters!  Just something to ponder in this new year.

PAUSE

Hello friends.  Much has been going on since I last posted here.  As much as I missed writing, I was just too busy in the daily grind of life to find time to be here.  The last I wrote, I shared about my beautiful daycare kids.  What a blessed season!

In the midst, we had moved to a tiny house in May 2017.  Truly we had a blast as we had 3 acres to explore.  This was so much fun for both my family and my childcare.  However, as the autumn rains came in, the house became small.  Add to that that the house was for commercial sale, and it became clear we needed to find another home… once again.

On the flip side, God has been working His will in my plans.  To make a long story short, I closed my doors to Little Friends Discovery Place, and am opening my willingness to start up a women’s ministry with a dear friend of mine.  That all will be shared at a later time.

So here we were, looking at the Christmas season with changes, and boxes, and no decorations, crafts, or baking.  The move came on Christmas Eve/Day, I was sick, it began to have freezing rain and snow, and much was chaotic.  But God is good, and His grace is merciful.

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So as 2018 knocked on my door, I had a friend prompt me to think about One Little Word for the year.  Then all these “p” lettered words began to pour out of my pondering, and truly PAUSE came to mind.

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My focus is to pause a bit.  To rest in the moment while settling into our new normal.  To recognize and embrace the small seemingly overlooked moments in my life.  Which oddly, is exactly the same calling I had back in 2008 when I began my blogging adventure.  To journal those small simple moments that slip past us too easily.  I’m also choosing to pause before decisions.  To pause before commitments.  To pause before God and Proclaim His glory.  That’s my 2018.  Do you have One Little Word that came to mind for your new year?

Martin Luther King Jr ain’t no holiday.

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Martin Luther King Jr Day-

A day we don’t take off from school,
but rather reflect on it’s meaning (and divine purpose).

Katie-girl created the meme above as her assignment.
We came to the conclusion that God’s Golden rule …
“Do to others what you would have them do to you”
is the quickest path to peace.

I find Martin Luther King Jr’s quote,
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that”,
to be quite profound. 

Why do we still struggle, cept by sin alone.
Evil exists, but so does hope.

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Our family discussed that each one of is a part of the peace process.

To understand that concept better,
we wrote down all the words that could mean peace
(on a dove as a symbol of peace).

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…on the other side of our dove we did fingerprints of ethnic diversity,
as a symbol that Jesus Loves All the Children (people) of the World.
(yes, that is a Sunday School song *smile*)

We also watch a Reading Rainbow episode on Martin Luther King Jr,
as well as listen to his (famous) speech.

What God inspired in Dr King ain’t no holiday…
it should be a life style. 

“To recognize that all men are created equal,
that we may all be judged not by the color of our skin,
… but by the content of our character,
that we should all be able to sit down at the table of brotherhood
… together.

We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

What do you choose?

New Beginnings, A Welcome to 2016

I began blogging in 2008 with this opening statement:

To New Beginnings…

Ah yes, the changing tides of life are upon us…life is so fast, and as one child begins his new journey in our loving home, our oldest son ventures out to face the world…thus the desire to share ‘the little things’ with those we love…Life is a journey, not a destination!

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It was a fresh new beginning in many ways that year.  The biggest one being that I had closed a chapter on my years of providing daycare for many lovely families.  Baby #6 was born that year, and we were in a new season… I was in a new season… to learn to just “be”.
Just be a mom, just be at home, just be still even…

In the last 8 years I’ve learned to embrace intentional parenting, to guide a self-led learner in their homeschool journey, face special needs with a gentle approach, and endure an highly sensitive (albeit gifted) child…

we have moved 6 times; have had a mother (-in-law) with severe dementia get diagnosed, live with us, then live in a care facility near us; have had 3 young adults take turns in 3 consecutive years living with us for their own reason and season; we’ve graduated two homeschool students, and have seen our oldest son marry the girl of his dreams…

It’s been a blessed journey.

And the voyage continues…

This year is different.  

Instead of adventures outside of the home,
such as field trips, co ops, and homeschooling alongside other families, sports, random park days, etc…

we are now creating them inside the home,
such as providing childcare, offering a preschool co op in my house, and still encompassing learning from home.

It’s been a huge transition for us.

We went from following a rhythm to our days, where we had guidelines
but could embrace the moments in life as they came.
It was a low key and very effective way to learn and live in our family environment.

Now…

we follow a schedule,
not just a schedule for my own days activities with my kids and care kids,
but also the care kids parent’s work schedules, sports schedules, public school schedules, etc…

The hours are long, unpredictable, and busy…

my stay-at-home responsibilities are still in high demand as well…
and some days I question my sanity (as in why am I doing all this?)…

yet I already know the answer.

~To share Christ’s love.

I admit I have to do a lot of things to make this all work, family life and all…

but more importantly…

I get to…
*play with little people all day
*do what I love to do
*follow God’s lead for my life
*show God’s grace in our daily lives
*cultivate friendships with other moms
*show my kids that endurance with the right attitude means everything.

So I welcome 2016 and all it has to offer!

 “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
 

Do not be anxious about anything,
but in every situation, by prayer and petition, and with thanksgiving,
present your requests to God.

And the peace of God,
which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4: 4-7

The Days of May

Child #3 turned 18-
yes, no longer a child in reality, but still my child.

Some outdoor fun:

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Child #6 turns 7-
“the baby” who obviously is no longer a baby.

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and frankly, Bryson (7) is TJ’s mini-me!

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Then there was Mother’s Day…

me and my boys!

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as we went to Grandma M’s place to visit her!

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I’m pretty sure she enjoyed her time with us.

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Next came homeschool State testing,
which officially wraps up our school year for 2012-2015.

The results excelled some of my expectations, and was typical for some.
It definitely showed that time, consistency, and individual attention was effective for my Aspie child.
Unlike the previous 12 yrs of testing, I opted to test the kids additionally in Social Studies and Sciences.  I was curious as to what the results might be, with the awareness that we have not truly had any formal lessons beyond interest-led topics and good quality books (not text books).  They all scored average in Social Studies (which was not history based much to my surprise) and excelled in the sciences.  Hmmm, I guess self-led learning is efficient!  *love it!*

So with all this, comes the announcement of TJ’s graduation!
Transcripts, a diploma, and some family fun!

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* May was actually an emotional roller coaster of events;
from a recent loss of a beloved teen,
to reflecting previous losses of loved ones in this same month (3 to be exact),
to celebrating life and accomplishments and embracing joys in the moments…
I took time off from here (the blog) to regroup and regain a sense of normality.
I am well rested, reestablishing goals, and looking forward to a relaxing summer!

~simply grateful

A Delicate Mood on this Mother’s Day

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Mother’s Day…

a bit of a fog today.  A few days ago we lost a sweet young friend in a tragic car accident.
One of my preschoolers back in the day, now 17 and full of dreams… now smashed hopes.
Not really, for eternally, she is with Jesus… yet it is still painful.
and her family, her parents, her sisters, her brother, her boyfriend… all in my prayers.
No words really…   She had a heart like Jesus…
“Thank you Jesus for the joy you allowed her to spread in our lives and in our community…
may we continue to pay it forward in Your name”…

One thing about loss is that you appreciate what you have…

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My boys are good to me, and I am thankful for the joy each one brings to my heart.

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The girls add a sweetness that sprinkles my life with happiness.

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I love how we enjoy doing things as a family…
it’s a priceless gift really…

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one that adds grace to our days, love in our hearts, and gentleness in our attitudes.

Happy Mother’s Day all my lovely friends.
This day is a celebration to many, and yet difficult for others;
loss, broken relationships, heartbreaks of many kinds…
but there is still JOY because YOU were born! Carry on and be glorious…

“In the same way, let your light so shine before others,
so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven. ”
Matthew 5:16 –

“No Need to Be One of Those Weird Christians”

Those were the words in a comment, that stood out to me, while reading through a facebook post on Why Christians Should Celebrate Halloween.

Me?  I started cracking up laughing.
I guess I never really thought of us as a Weird Christian before,
but the more I thought about it, the more I realized it was true!!

Now, obviously, I know we are different because we do not celebrate Halloween like most of our Christian peers.  After all, there is a popular compromise; do the fun stuff, avoid the evil stuff.  right?  ‘cept what I see is a gray line that is constantly able to waver.

We (my family, especially us parents) are known for Living our Faith Out Loud.
We choose to walk our talk, so to speak.

This makes us Weird. 
We commonly do not fit in,
even within our Christian Community,
and we are ok with that.

We judge not others, but we are responsible to respond to the Lord’s convictions for our family.

We love our fellow Christians as well as our hometown community of non-believers.  We interact well with them, work alongside them, cheering on games side by side, chatting at the local grocery stores, playing at parks, and all that small town stuff.  However, we are weird.  I admit it.

Weird; to be strange… abnormal… unusual.

That fits us!

Funny enough what we (my family) thinks is normal, is exactly what is abnormal about us.

Swearing, as an example.  We just don’t do it.  I wouldn’t swear in front of Jesus, and since His presence is always with us, well, the conviction is not to do it.  period.  However, my older children (adults) often see even youth pastors swear in casual conversations with them.   Is that bad?  Well, what does the Bible say about foul language?

Drinking… ah yes, this is as tricky as the Halloween controversy, eh?  Is it a sin to drink?  no.  Is it a sin to get drunk?  yes.  That seems black and white enough, right?  Nope.  Again, we are the rarity of people who choose not to drink alcohol, at all.    Why?   A couple of reasons.  One is draw a clear line for our own kids; drinking is not necessary.  Two, who are we to cause another to stumble, for we don’t really know who struggles with alcohol and/or addictions, right?  Three, because Jesus is enough.

Media/movies…  language, suggestive behavior, lewd humor, and shows that portray dad as stupid and mom as overtly sexy are all avoided.  Do you happen to know of that childhood song “oh be careful little eyes what you see” , and what you say, and what you hear, and what you do?  yeah, that pretty much sums up our perspective.

At church we are unusual.  and oh, we so love our church family!  They are some amazingly beautiful beings!  However, we are still weird.

My family likes being together, not segregated into different groups.  My teens would prefer to sit with us in service.  My younger kiddos will go to Sunday School, but they really wouldn’t mind sitting with us to hear our lesson either.

and Home Groups aka Life Groups?!

We really kinda don’t fit in there either!  Are you surprised?  LOL, yeah, me either.
So what’s different there?  simply just life style.
We have many kids.  Honestly that makes it hard to just crash someones house that’s already full of people for the Life Group, right?
We have littles, middles, teens, and adult children… a 20 year stretch from 1st child to last.  So our friends often either have young children or teen/adult children… so which Life Group should we choose?
Also, our kids like hanging with us, which is awkward to most adults.  We have a life group, and maybe a great conversation about baptism going on… my kids would love to sit and listen to that rather than run wild outside, be put in front of a movie, or simply stay home.  Is that strange?

So we may not be of the world, but we are most definitely in the world.  We are called to care, to love, to share, to shine His Light… and we embrace those who come across our path.

There is much wisdom in Matthew 7.  Starting out with “ Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.    Yes, we are one of those weird Christians, we live our faith out loud, doing what we are called to do…

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
This is the first and greatest commandment. 

And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’