Word of the Year 2014 : Plan

Several years ago, I began choosing a word for my year. I love reading stories of other bloggers’ lives …. their focus … their intent for the year. Here, Dawn shared that she wanted to FLOURISH in 2013!! What a lovely word! I can’t even picture the word in print without clean, lean brushstrokes. And Rebecca Sower wanted to GIVE.  She used her thread and needle to create an image to hang in my memory. This is a fabulous post by Mary who wants to Rewrite the upcoming year.

In 2011, my word was Fellowship. I wrote about it here.  I chose a words for 2012 and 2013, but
honestly
I’ve struggled with vulnerability
and have not been brave enough to write about my Words in detail.
But, I thought I would share a little bit today.

There are many reasons to set goals and many reasons to avoid them. I think personality has a great deal to do with whether setting them is healthy for you or not. If you’re more of a perfectionist and you want to get things “right,” (whatever THAT means!), you may be one who is better on focusing on a word for the year
rather than a list of “things to do.”
But, if you’re really laid back, specific goals might be helpful.

I spoke with a friend the other day that set 60 goals for this past year. I was amazed!! 60 goals sounds lofty to me!! As we talked, I noticed that the goals that she set that were measurable (like lose a specific amount of weight and save a specific amount of money) were not reached …. BUT, she was REALLY close, had made progress and could count that progress. A number of her goals were not as “measurable” …  like “be more happy.” The problem with vague goals is that there is  no way to truly measure your success and you are then left to emotions when “counting time” arrives (the end of the year).

Last year, I wrote a little bit about my word  (here  “A year of …..”   ) …. but didn’t follow up. It took me  a few months to really know that I had chosen the right word.  Last year, my word for the year was FEAR. When I shared the word with a friend, she said, “Why don’t you use the word “courage.” And I had already thought the same thought. But, courage is such a broad word. For me, it wasn’t about being brave and courageous all over my life, it was about facing some very specific fears.

I began to think about fear as the days went by and I realized that, for the most part, I’m not a fearful person. In fact, my fears are very specific. I am afraid of physical injury, especially from a fall (like the roof) or from traveling very fast and losing control (like on my bike, on skis or as skateboard). And I am afraid of what people think … more specifically, what men think … and most specifically, men whom I care deeply about.

And honestly, it was a really good year. I looked fear in the face. I listened to my words and noticed when I used the phrase, “I’m afraid.” I considered what I was afraid of and whether it was a good thing to fear.

In fact, I’ve considered focusing on fear for another year, but I think that I have exposed enough of it that I am now in the practice of looking at it, calling it what it is and facing it. It’s a very good thing and I think I will carry this with me as I move on to another focus.

Fear was a second step after my focus word for 2011. 2011 was a slow year for my word coming, as well. It was in February or March of that year that I realized how deeply I allow others to influence my actions (again, specifically: men).  It was in 2011 that I chose the word “Disengage.”  I decided to begin to truly push back when I felt the nudge to do something because someone else wanted me to do it rather than doing it because it was something that I wanted to do it. I began to become fully aware of how often my decisions are based almost fully on whether they will make a man in my life upset or pleased.

It was when I was talking to my brave, encouraging friend, Della, that I realized just how far I have come. Some time ago, I found myself telling her the story of my getting dressed. As I pulled my socks up over my calves, I thought about a particular man who wouldn’t like my sock and shoe choice. She asked, “Did you wear them anyway?” I confessed that I did. She said, “Well, good for you. I remember a time not so long ago when you would have changed your mind and changed your socks and shoes. You are making progress.” I hadn’t thought of it that way. And she was right.

So, after a year of disengaging
and a year of facing fear,
I am ready to “plan.”

I see that when I don’t PLAN for action, I don’t act.
I do the things that have to be done.
I pay bills. I cook and wash dishes. I clean and vacuum.
But, when I don’t make a decision to paint, sew or create ….

when I don’t carve out time to read my Bible (like I used to) ….
when I don’t make myself exercise because I have made the decision to do that ….
I don’t “act.”
And it makes sense.  Without a plan, there is no follow through.

While I use my calendar well and often,
My Calendar there are so many planning devices

that sit idle in my world right now.
I think it’s time to do a little better in this area.My calendar

In a way, “plan” sounds very goal oriented … but it’s more of a focus on my actions. I want to think ahead and carve out time to do the things that I say and think are important … but that I allow myself to get away with NOT doing. I want to think ahead for the week and plan for activities, rather than just letting life happen.

I plan to figure out some sort of plan for making some of my dreams
become a reality.
This past year was full of beautiful, exciting changes.
I’m praying that next year brings more of the same.
I think, by focusing on planning, I will be able to see those dreams come to fruition.

What about you? Do you have a word to share?
Share here in the comment section below OR
go here and share at One Word 365! 

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Flowers are red, young man

In 1978, Harry Chapin released his song “Flowers are Red.”
I was 15.
Already being a lover of Harry
through his 1974 release of “Cats in the Cradle,”
I was certain I had a best friend in this man.

I still remember the day. I was a fourth grade in Mrs. Lance’s room at Newton Estates Elementary School in College Park, Georgia.  We were in the last room on the hall … to the left, just before the heavy, royal blue double doors that appeared to lead into the woods, but in fact, went onto the playground. Our door was close to tall, lanky-legged swing sets. “Rock City” (an area in the woods that was a catch-all for huge rocks when the school was being built – a fun place to play and climb and sit … tucked in the shade of trees) was on the other end of the playground. We weren’t supposed to go into the woods, but it was my place of preference. And oh, those beautiful boulders. I still remember.

I still remember how much I enjoyed art. While our home today is full of everything creative …. stamps, paper, scissors, tape, glue, glue guns, yarn, spray paint, looms, and more … my mom wasn’t the creative type. It wasn’t that she didn’t allow me to be creative … I don’t think she knew to supply me with the tools because it was out of her realm of experience. Since I didn’t many have resources at home for creativity, art at school was my creative outlet.

I remember the day that we painted the big flowers. The tall roll of stiff brown paper was unfurled. Our teacher drew the flowers for us – a gracious three-foot tall each. We cut them out and were encouraged to paint them. I don’t remember the teachers instructions at all. She may or may not have given us limitations.

The flowers were all painted with petals that matched. Stems and leaves were green. Flowers were yellow, white or blue. Flowers were orange, pink or red.

My flower had petals that were all different colors.

My mom kept a neighbor girl whose mother worked. Her mom drove us to school, before she went off to work … while she and her mom fought over brushing the tangles out of her hair. A “rats nest,” they called it. It was a daily ritual, as I remember. My mom picked the two of us up every afternoon in our powder blue, metallic 1960’s Mustang. Robin i and I fought a bit … like siblings, I guess. She was one of my first friends when we moved to Atlanta, just before kindergarten. She was sitting on the curb of the street near my house … making pepto-bismol pink foot prints on the asphalt with paint that was put out for the trash.

She had things that I did not because her mother worked, but I had my mom.  I was always grateful that my mom stayed home with me while her mom worked. I wore hand-me-downs and was perfectly content. Robin’s mom referred to my mom as “Poor little ol’ Lee.” I always wondered why.

I don’t remember if Robin was in my classroom that year … but I would guess that she was not. Because I remember when she came to the door of the class room, our flowers lining the wall that once full of windows but now bricked in with cinder blocks. We lived near the Atlanta airport and this cut down on noise, but blocking in windows was a trend at the time. I’m sure it helped keep the children from daydreaming or being distracted. Robin looked up at my flower and made a disparaging comment. I remember that she commented that
flowers petals aren’t different colors … a flower has petals that all match each other.

….. that thought hadn’t even occurred to me …….

at all.

In fact, I liked my flower!

Several years later when Harry’s song came out, I could relate to every word. I knew what it was like to think outside the traditional box. I knew what it was like to see things differently than most others.

Life happens. Most of life just passes us by
but
there are those things that happen to us
or around us
that make us change our minds
about how we will live or feel …
about which parts of us we share
and which parts we hide.
We make daily decisions
for or against
words, choices and actions
according to what has been
said or done to or around us.

At nine years old, I certainly didn’t know
that at forty-seven I would still remember words spoken to me in a doorway
of my fourth grade classroom.
I didn’t realize that the sight of a shirt hanging in a department store
would remind me of the flower I painted with powdered tempera paint
– royal blue, sunshine yellow, fire engine red and true purple –
would bring back memories from decades ago.

I don’t fault my friend Robin for her words.
They weren’t painful for me.
And we were just children.
In fact, her words had impact
and helped shape my opinion
on encouraging individuality,
embracing creativity
and seeing the beauty
in those we relate to …
and those we don’t.

That experience,
like so many others,
reminds me of the power, strength and ability of words.

We make choices everyday
to build up
or tear down.
We can intentionally encourage
or carelessly waste our words on destruction.

Lord, be my filter.
Help me to see how my words might be taken
before they spill from my mouth.
Help my words draw people to you.

Augusta Tech Graduation Night

We arrived early. We were supposed to arrive between 4:15 and 5:45. Being directionally challenged, and knowing that parking might be an issue, we left early and arrived right at 4:00.

And she waited.

We stood in line in another room for what felt like hours. We lined up. We listened to instructions. We practiced. We took a break.

And my child continued to wait.

And then
we walked
in ceremony that took two and a half hours.

We left the arena at 9:30 pm.  I was so proud of her for not fussing and complaining about the long afternoon and evening. She stood up to people who wanted to barge in on the seats she was saving for Glory and James. She was amazing.

And ya know, that’s the way things have been. Since I’ve been a single mom ; they’ve been grand. They have been a strong support for each other. James has told Joy that all she has to do is call him and he will drop life to go pick her up if she is off somewhere and wants to come back home. At times, Glory and James have taken care of Joy so that I can go out-of-town. They have both stopped by to pick Joy up from school … especially on Monday or Thursday when she carried her backpack AND violin case on the three block trek. At times, when I couldn’t make it home for class before Joy got home, they would rearrange plans to be there to welcome her home … that Joy might not have to walk into an empty home. They have taken her to a movie or to get ice cream. I could not have done it without them.

And they sat there in those stands, the three of them together, and watched me march.

To be honest, I was quite giddy about the entire ceremony.   I was surrounded by people who had worked extremely hard to do their best.

These “kids” … they are my friends. I know they see me as “old,”
but I see them as friends.

And I was so excited to be there with them … walk with them …
be able to celebrate with them.

Across this stage we walked.

From this podium, our names were called … one at a time.

From the rear of this stage, our two program instructors stood and clapped for every.single.graduate in our program that crossed. No other instructors showed that kind of support. None.

It was a grand night … one that stood in jeopardy for several weeks. But, praise God, I was able to walk and receive my degree with my class on Wednesday, June 15, 2011 at 7pm at James Brown Arena.

It was an absolutely wonderful evening.

Graduation Upd8

Last Friday, I gave my final exam speech in an attempt to exempt a required Speech class that somehow slipped through the cracks during the past few years at Augusta Tech.  I believed that I had a class to transfer from a past college experience, but I was incorrect.  Without the class,  I wouldn’t graduate as planned. I passed the speech and then was given the direction to prepare for the written exam. My teacher gave me a review sheet to study. I b.e.l.i.e.v.e I could have passed the test right then, had it been necessary.  Most of the questions seemed “obvious” to me … BUT I’ve been speaking in front of groups for ages.

In fact, the first “speech” that I remember was when I was around my sophomore year in high school.  I was in a drama class taught by Mr. Fred Allen in Thomasville, Georgia. We were assigned to do any type of presentation/performance we would like. Others sang or gave a monologue. I almost remember someone dancing, but my memory could be flawed on that one. I remember my own choice; I chose to talk about advertising.

I was basically poking fun at the ads, logos and spokesmen of the time. It surprises me that, even thirty years ago, I paid close attention to advertisements that did a poor job of conveying their message or that embarrassed themselves in their own ads. This is something that I still notice today.

In fact, I’ll show you an ad campaign currently going on in our area. It is for a school that is sending out the message that their kids are ready for life by eighth grade? (That’s what I gather from the ad) But, when I try to decipher the coding of the message, the play on words/images doesn’t work. The school is a denominationally based school. So, the billboard is trying to say the school/curriculum is based on “faith.” But, de-code it:  the board says, “fate-th.” It doesn’t work for me … no matter how hard I try. It’s close, but “fate-th” is not the same as “faith” any more than “prostrate” and “prostate” are the same. Ya know?

In their defense, the other billboards work well!!  Here’s one that is super!!

Anyway …. my point is that I’ve always paid attention to words, images and their messages.

The topic of my speech last week, in fact, was on beauty, self-acceptance and how we (and those around us) are so strongly influenced by the message that we receive from advertising.

Having received the review sheet on Friday, I had until Wednesday to study for the exam. I took the test and made a 92!!  Yay!  So, I’ve turned in the proper paperwork to have the Speech exemption qualify me for graduation. UNLESS some new snag comes up, I’ll be standing in line to cross the stage for graduation on Wednesday, June 15th!!

I’m excited …. and nervous.  Recently, in talking to a friend, I used the analogy of jumping off a dock to compare how I feel about graduation. No matter how excited one might be about going swimming, you know that once you jump off the dock, you’re going to  be soaking wet and you will have to swim. This is similar to how I feel about graduating. I’m excited about graduating, but once I have the degree, it’s time to decide what I’m going to do. There is no more waiting to “finish” this or that. That’s it; it’s time to swim. I’m pretty nervous … but it’s the next step.

It is time to walk str8 to my f8. No need to circumnavig8 or w8. In my gr8 orn8 gown, I will navig8 my way, trying not to be l8, as we gather to celebr8. I absolutely h8 that my prior-m8 won’t be there. I won’t insinu8 that I am not prostr8 before God … asking that He infl8 my knowledge, ab8 my worries, accentu8 my strengths, cre8 a place for me with clients to remuner8 … all without my needing to sed8. Now I st8, time to step up to the pl8 … another upd8 at a near d8.

School Speech

Can I just say that
nothing at Augusta Tech
works the way you expect?

After being in school for a little over two years …
after sitting down with my counselor three or four times  to check and double-check
transferring classes and those taken at ATC
against degree requirements ….
after saying more than a half-dozen times,
“I’ll believe it when I see it,”
I hit the newest, not-surprising-to-me glitch.

With graduation less than two weeks away, I got the letter that said that I need three classes to finish my degree.
Nevermind that I asked to be evaluated for graduation in the middle of quarter before last
so that, if there was something I had missed, I could take it this quarter.
Turns out that two of the classes required are not needed for the degree that I want.
In other words, I was evaluated for the wrong degree.
But, the third class  noted on the letter (Speech), is required for graduation in my chosen degree.

Of course, they were so kind to offer that I walk anyway – but be sure to pay the $35.00 before Friday.
I paid it.
But, I won’t walk
if it’s just “for show.”
If I can’t receive the diploma that I have been striving to earn,
then I’ll just graduate quietly, without pomp and circumstance
as the next ceremony won’t be until June, 2012.

As I was leaving the admin office, it was suggested that I try to exempt the Speech class.

Brilliant. My reply was immediate, “Absolutely!”
I could easily give you an impromptu, ten-minute persuasive speech on pocket lint
and keep your attention. Speeches do not make me nervous.

So, Friday I found out I’d soon be giving a final speech
in a class I’ve never attended.
Monday was a holiday.
Tuesday I picked up a loaner Speech book from a friend.
Wednesday, I began reading chapters 1-7, plus 16 and 17.
Wednesday and Thursday (yesterday), I wrote my speech.
And this morning, I presented it
to an audience of one: my instructor.

Praise God, I passed
and was accepted into the “Now-you-have-to-take-the-written-exam” club.
I have four days to prepare for
an end of the quarter class final
in Speech.

I think I’ll do fine. I have to make an 80 or above.
I was given the study guide. And I am fairly familiar with many of the ideas listed on that guide.

Soon, we’ll know.

I may get to walk on June 15.
Or I may not!
Either way, I’ll be there
celebrating with my friends
or celebrating for them.

Soon …. it won’t be long.

Never finished

He winked at me.

We were in the office in the Graphic Design department at school last week,
and as he spoke, he winked at me.

Jon, Mary, Me and Sean

It is rare that a wink
doesn’t give me the “willies.”
But, this was different.

This was, “It’s okay. I mean this for your benefit.”
This was, “Trust me. Don’t be hurt.”
This was, “Believe me.”

Time and time again, I openly claim that I want to be directed and corrected. I am quick to step into the lives of others and share my thoughts with them. I long for the action to be reciprocated.

So, there we were
in the office of the two instructors in our department. I had just finished going on about a project I have been working on and Sean said it:

“You know, you’re never finished.”
I immediately thought, “You’re right! You understand!! Yay!”

And then he went on:
“You always have something else you want to do with your projects. You’re never finished.
Be done with them and move on.” *wink*
“You’re a good designer. It’s okay. Be finished.” *wink*

The saying goes
“Good is the enemy of Best.”

Could it be that
“Best is the enemy of Finished”
and that keeps perfectionists like myself
forever yearning to do
one … more … thing?

Sean in classThese thoughts just reinforce the idea that
we should never look around and compare ourselves with others.
There will always be someone better, faster, cuter, smarter.
There will always be someone who is more talented, more thoughtful,
more creative, more intelligent or more spiritual.
There will always be a better parent, friend, lover, neighbor or employee.

None of us is expected to be better than ________________.
We should only try to do our own personal best …
And …. so difficult for some of us ….
know when we are finished.

This, again, follows the spiritual/physical parallel.

Like Jesus spoke in parables, paralleling the spiritual and physical worlds, God convicts and teaches me through similar daily events.

I’m certainly one of those looking around
at others who do more for God ….
who witness daily,
travel to the mission field or pray like true warriors.
I must remember to look up, not around.
It doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing
in the spiritual world or the physical.
I need to keep my spirit in check with my Lord
and do what I am called to do rather than compare myself to others.

Thanks, Sean, for the *wink.*
I appreciate your friendship.
You continue to make me smile.

Roller Coaster Ride

I’m sure you know the feeling.

Maybe yours was a big event like surgery.  You knew it had to be done.  You knew in the long run that it would probably be best.  But you knew that you didn’t know what it would take to get you from here to there.  And you really didn’t know exactly what life would look like on the other side.  But, you still had to walk it out.

Have you given birth?  That experience is similar in emotion. In those end days, you wonder how you’re going to make it through labor and delivery.  You know that you want the end product – that sweet child … flesh and blood …. bone and marrow … spirit and breath  – but you’re apprehensive about the process of getting that tiny one from inside to outside the womb.

It may be the memory of an accident.  You can still remember the moment that you realized you were in trouble.  Everything began to move in slow motion.  You felt the movement of your body being propelled out of control …  and you knew there was nothing you could do to change the actions that had been set in motion.  You were along for the ride and could not truly change what was happening.

This chain of events, emotionally, is the way I have felt this past week…..
knowing that today is the day that everything changes.
The experience is that of feeling like you are completely out of control.
Today, we hit the wall.

I want to let go.
I want to free fall into His pool of mercy.
I want to walk – feeling blindfolded – holding His hand … one step at a time
but knowing that I’m safe and protected.

But, this isn’t how I feel.

I feel like I am ready to go under the knife…
in the last hours before the pushing…
or getting ready for impact as the other vehicle careens out of control in my direction
… in  s l o w motion.

Today is the first day of our new quarter. Today, my home will stand an empty shell.
Today, with great excitement, my oldest will begin his second year in school.
Today, my oldest daughter, will begin her college career.
Today, I will begin the most difficult quarter schedule.
Today …. I will leave home before Joy and I will return home after Joy.

It has been my desire that the last memory Joy has of home is that of my hands resting upon yours as I pray God’s gracious blessings and direction upon her day. That will end today.  I will certainly still pray for her, but it will be before I leave …. long before her teeth are brushed or she dons her helmet to ride down the sidewalk to our neighborhood elementary school.

Today, Joy will walk up the driveway, climb onto her bicycle and ride down the sidewalk without me watching her out the bay window.  I will not be here to hear her ring the bell on her handlebar two times and glance over her shoulder to flash me her smile as she rides away.  I will not be here.

It has been hard so far.

I tell you with tears in my eyes: today it will be harder.

Webster states that the Archaic definition of rape as
“the act of seizing and carrying off by force.”
I feel as though I have had my motherly privileges
and that of being a wife
raped from my being.
These activities were seized and carried off by force.
I am left bare and empty. My purpose has been stripped.
I am no longer allowed to raise, nurture and guide my brood
in the way that I feel called.
I have been left by default to play the role of the breadwinner
… the protector … the handyman …. while still wearing the hat
of the caretaker, chef, laundress, concierge, accountant, administrator ….
But … focusing on doing any one of these jobs with excellence
is undermined by pure exhaustion.

Today, I look at the upcoming year and wonder what things will look like on the other side …. once the dust settles and we are walking in the new normal.  How will I make sure that everyone gets to the dentist? How will I feed these bodies that need nourishment when I scarcely have time to plan?  When will I do my own homework when I am taking three art related classes and a math class?  How will I help Joy learn her times tables and have time to talk to her about science, recess and the challenges of life?  I know others have done it before me. I know I will learn. But, right now, I feel lost and bewildered.

Am I the only one that has known this position? No.
Does that make it better, easier, desirable? No.
Does that make the situation healthy for my family? No.
Is there anything I can do to change the situation? No.

Today, I see the roller coaster up close.  I take those last few steps to the buggy.  I lift my foot and place it inside the cart as I  take my seat.  With trembling hands, I strap on my lap belt.  “Hands up,” I hear, as the well-padded shoulder bars come down over my head.  I take a deep breath, whisper a prayer and brace for the ride.

I am not angry. I am not bitter.  Indignation would not serve my family or my Lord.  Resentment would not heal anything.

And so I do what I must.  I take that step.
I place my foot into the cart, because I know that it is what I must do.

But, I tell you:  I am nervous.

In Awe of Creation

Joy and I had such a wonderful time camping at Hunting Island State Park in South Carolina.   We had beautiful weather the entire trip.  The days were sunny, but breezy. The nights were cool enough to be comfortable without being cold.  The full moon pulled the tides higher and lower than we are accustomed so it was a treat to watch the ebb and flow from one to the next.

The best treat of our holiday was finding more treasures in nature to uncover.  We learned new facts from reading the books we picked up along the way.  I always find at least one book while we’re off on excursions.  This trip we found one about seashells and shore creatures. Candy to the eye for this book-lover's soulWe learned several new facts. Did you know that a Sea Anemone is not a plant, but an animal?  I guess I had never given it much thought.  I knew it was carnivorous, but so are Venus Fly Traps. And a Limpet has a snail inside it’s shell.  I always thought it more like a Barnacle that could not move, but that isn’t the case. a tiny fiddler crab - in the palm of Joy

Have you ever seen a crab so tiny?  Joy has quite the eye … always looking, searching, finding.  How she even SAW this crab, I don’t know.  She said there were many.  She was searching amongst the marsh grass for Fiddler Crabs as we adventured to an island via a boardwalk.

Look at this beautiful crab, thinking he’s hiding amongst the grass in the mud.  He was stunning in color, as he lie there still thinking himself camouflage.

Seldom fearful, Joy was apprehensive about trying to catch one of these Fiddlers.  The females have two smaller pinchers, but the males have a small pincher and one that is tremendous.  Careful handling insures that you stay uninjured, but it does take just a bit of practice.  Here she holds a male so we can view his beautiful markings.

pelicans flying overhead

Pelicans flew over in a “v” formation – back and forth above us.  I’ve always noticed the pelicans at the beach, but they always seem solitary and scarce.  This weekend, there were dozens of them, flying in groups — low to the water and high overhead.  They were beautiful.

Green stink bugs on dead sunflowers ...As we drove down, Joy and I spotted a field of dead sunflowers.  The field was fairly sparse, but I stopped to take a few photos.  It was really neat to see each Sunflower had up to a half dozen Green Stink Bugs clinging to it’s huge, brown blossom.  I was amazed to see such beautiful tentacles with stripes of crimson blazing in the morning light. A fisherman caught this little charmer while we played around on the shore.  We noticed how tiny his little teeth are (above) and wondered just how big the shark must have been that once used this tooth (below) to tear into his dinner.Just under the water ... this tooth was an easy findWhile shopping in the camp store, I noticed this sweet butterfly patiently, longingly sitting on the window sill – wondering how to make it around the glass to freedom.  We scooped her up and set her free, but admired her beauty before we let her go. This beige Ghost Crab surprised me by letting me snap shot after shot until I was less than six inches from him.  Finally, in a split second, he decided I had ventured much too far into his personal space and he took off across the sand.  Ghost crabJoy and a small hoard of children that she rallied together dug a large crater that they filled with small minnows. I enjoyed watching this clever little Dowitcher.  He took his time to pluck the small prizes from their corral before the tide came in and erased it’s walls. That was certainly an easy lunch for him.And so, our weekend was filled with creatures of all sorts …
beauty all around.
And I wondered again
how anyone can live in this fascinating world,
watching each intricate individual
and how it is so closely interwoven with
the lives of others around it
and come to the conclusion
that there is no God.

For you shall go out with joy,
And be led out with peace:
The mountains and hills
shall break forth into singing before you.
The trees of the field shall clap their hands.
Isaiah 55:12

Not this soon

Christmas.

That is when I expected to hear these words.

Not twelve days in.

My Homeschool Mom heart rejoices.

My Reality Check Heart is heavy.

In conversation with Joy on Monday afternoon, she admitted that she really didn’t like public school.  I expected that the newness would wear off.  I expected that she would eventually miss home and with it, the freedom to learn, do, create, explore, build and just “be” there. But, I had not expected the statement to come quite so soon into the year.  Not twelve days in.

But, this is what we must do right now.  It’s where we are.  We have no real choices.

I’ve seen good things happen even in these twelve short days.  Joy is taking responsibility for her school work more than she did at home.  She is caring a little more about NOT spending the day as a bedhead and she is brushing her teeth. She’s doing a great job of getting herself up in the morning and being ready on time.

I’m praying for her every morning before she leaves for school.  We stop and sit, hold hands or I wrap my arms around her and I pray over her and for her. I pray that she will be a blessing to those around her and that she will stand out and be a light … she will be different in a good way and others will see a reflection of Christ in her.   I’m praying for wisdom for her with her words and that she will pay attention and learn a great deal. I’m praying for stamina and peace and joy and discernment.

It is so sad that it took her going to public school for me to be faithful to do this e v e r y d a y without fail.  I will not let her walk out unprotected by my pleas for her protection and His covering. Being at home with me all day does not mean that she needs God any less.  I kneel humbled at my laziness and thankful for God’s faithfulness in our lives … even when I have failed to be faithful to remember to ask for it every single day in the past.

And so, my Homeschool Mom heart breaks.  I want to be home, but cannot.  And now, I’m even wanted at home by my student, but it’s irrelevant. For now, this is where we are and this is what we do, as difficult as it is.