Monday Breeze

I got up early this morning, and stayed up. This is difficult to do, but even more difficult was getting Aliyah, Sam, and Noah up by 6:30 and out the door by 7:30. It was BMV time.

Aliyah needed to renew her temps, Sam and Noah needed an id card, and I needed to renew my driver’s license. Have I ever talked about my many mishaps resulting from an expired license here on the blog? Every. Four. Years. But who says a forty year old dog can’t learn new tricks? I’m a month early.

We got to the BMV at 8 on the dot, only to find that their server was down, and most of the services they render, renewals and photo-taking among them, were not working. I decided we would wait at least until nine, since leaving and coming another day would just be another hassle. It was rather ironic to see all of these BMV employees having to ‘wait’ for their computers to work. Ha! At one point a BMV cashier got everyone’s attention (“Okay, People…”) and explained that even they did not know when the computers would be online again. “It may be five more minutes, it may be five days.” Really? You’re telling me the State of Ohio is going to let their servers be down for five days? That would make national news. Drama Queen.

I must say I haven’t had to wait like I did this morning in forever. I can’t remember a time I was in line. Part of that is I let my license expire and don’t come as often as I should (hee), part is because I try to come right when they open in the morning. One time I came and the sun was just coming up as I emerged with my renewed license (which means it wasn’t spring or summer). It was a beautiful sight, the warm orange light peeking over the brick buildings of downtown Mansfield. I thought of a wonderful opening line to a book:

“Sunrise is beautiful in my city, and I am the only one who stirs.”

 

When To Call It

The most often asked question this week is, “Are you done with school yet?” And the answer is easy or difficult. Easy because we can be done anytime I say we are, difficult because I have felt especially bad about this year- ‘homeschool fails’. The boys made some videos during track meets and called them ‘Football Fails’, films that were particularly funny to their age group or younger. This year, similarly, felt to me like me acting out the wrong way to do everything, from getting up in the morning (late) to going to bed at night (late). But, there is light on the horizon- I’ve been reading a couple of books that I think will prove helpful to this summer and next school year: Teaching From Rest, and The Literacy Cookbook. Both have some wonderful insights, talk to me without making me feel guilty, and make me want to do better next year. With no baby on the way, I already feel some space to do that I didn’t have this year. Whatever circumstance I am in, however, is an opportunity to follow Jesus, so I can’t really make excuses.

Aliyah is doing a college-credit program in the fall, and Luke was drawing up a record of ‘courses’ she has done for high school so far. This is actually a good thing, because we can think ahead for Sarah, Sam, and Noah and have a plan for where we want them to be when their turn comes to apply for this program. I’ll appreciate having a checklist of sorts, and the challenge to have them work more and more independently.

I went over to a friend’s house last night to pick up some eggs. She invited me to stay and rest on the porch, and I took her up on the offer. It was a lovely evening, and just the right amount of adventure and offroading for me. I hadn’t ever been to her house, but it wasn’t that far out of the nearest town and I couldn’t have gotten lost, something I do many times in that area. She also has elaborate landscaping, added-to each year, and I found it very inspiring as we are planning to do something around our porch (finally!)

We have decided to take a break from our church for the summer. Some disturbing things have happened in recent years, and we’re just not sure if this is the place to be right now in our family’s life, with many children and the philosophies we have about serving them and serving in the church. It was hard to say what we were doing out loud, when I had to find subs for nursery and such. But not too many people have said anything to me about it, and my friend last night didn’t say a word. Maybe that is a good thing- there isn’t really anything to say right now- my hope is to be quiet and listen these next few months.  The Lord will show us what to do.

 

Reaching Out

I read a blog post today where the lady was very critical of “trendy churches”, with their “coffee bars”, as missing the point when it came to truly reaching those who are hurting. She described the loss of her husband to cancer and noted that it wasn’t her trendy church she credited with helping her get through her difficult time, it was Jesus.

While I wholeheartedly agree that our church programs may or may not be hitting the target, this article seemed to be a little disjointed, if not running on parallel tracks. On the one hand, this woman has experienced a great loss. But to say the things she did about megachurches didn’t seem to go with that. Maybe her own church was unthoughtful or absent while her husband was suffering, and she is now resentful. But it almost seems as if the article is a ‘fake news’ type of publication, where someone grabbed this woman’s story and decided to make it a bash on modern church growth strategies.

This blog post did get me thinking, though. Is it really up to the church at large, the administration, to reach out to those suffering and widows? Yes, James tells us to look after widows and orphans, and no good church would ignore them. But I thought about how those who are hurting would typically be touched: if I met up with such a person, I might invite them over to my house, or to join me in a small group of people with something in common (mommy group, men’s group, etc). I probably wouldn’t invite them to church right away, keeping the connection one on one for a while. In this model, the person would be experiencing the love of Jesus, and the love of the church, but through an individual member of it. At this point in our relationship, my church’s coffee bar or salad bar wouldn’t have much to do with it.

I’m sorry for this woman’s loss, but I don’t see how her church’s flaws play into it. And yet, she now has a deeper awareness of others in their suffering, and Christ’s strength is made manifest in her weakness. In this she can delight.

Nice To Be Missed

It has been a rough few weeks, with illnesses, stresses, and trials.  Julia has been a unique baby in that while she is sick with a cold, she refuses to nurse. This causes me to wonder each time if she is weaning. Up until now she would recover and get back to nursing, but this latest illness put nursing away for good. I’ve handled it okay, not having too much discomfort. But I am a little sad at the thought this might be the last baby and that was the last time I got to nurse. Last night when she got up with a stuffy nose, she leaned in close as if to say she missed me. I needed that. She is certainly old enough to move on, and on the move she is, walking a little farther each day.

Micah’s birthday is coming up on Thursday, and she told me she wants to have a party. “The only party I ever had was my baby shower, so I would like to have a party this year.” It struck me that this means she never has had a party (how did I miss this?), and the shower she refers to wasn’t so much as a celebration of her, but a condolence in the wake of losing her sister. I knew my family just wanted to do something special for Micah and me, though no one could give me what I really wanted- Micaiah. So this party void need be remedied! I asked her to write down ideas in her journal, and I’ll take a look at them today. We can make April 27th great again. We can.

 

Working

I have a few minutes until dinner is set and eaten. Tonight we head to church, so dinner is a little early. The kids came in from playing a bit ago, planning the shirts and shorts they wanted to wear to church. Uh, I don’t think we are wearing shorts tonight. It is warm right now, but later it will cool off. Caleb said, “Mom, I don’t want to wear SWEATpants all evening…” Strange. It worked last week, and as they will be indoors all evening…

Track meets start this week. The older four and Luke will be gone til tonight for the middle school meet. We will try to go to a few in the coming weeks, but today it was simpler to have Luke take them.

Tacos for dinner. I packed some meat in a thermos for Luke. It should go over well. I don’t usually pack tacos in his lunches for work, because 1) there are usually no leftovers, and 2) he doesn’t want that twice in a row. The thermos trick I’ll have to remember.

Sean Hannity had a good rant today about hard work. I felt a little guilty again about the way I’ve been sleeping in and lazy about breakfast/ starting school/ modeling good work ethics for our kids. I want to get to where I am making every minute count, and doing all to the glory of God, but I am not there yet. I like to sleep.

Fix Up

I’m sitting outside Volunteers, waiting for the girls to come out. I had forgotten how much I dislike doing this. When I got in the door, I instantly forgot what I was looking for, and almost felt guilty for taking up space in the store. There were some good buys, though- I found some Robeez for Julia. She now has three pairs of fun shoes. I’m all about shoes. You can wear an outfit only so often, but shoes are so much more interchangeable. Though now I’m wondering if I will be able to wear anything but my sneakers. I hurt my leg a while back, and have slowly tried to get back to running on it. I didn’t listen closely to Luke’s directions, and ran two days in a row last week, and it is hurting again. BUT I also wore these Clark’s shoes to church, and wondered of a couple hours in different shoes was enough to make my leg sore. I wish I would have listened to Luke because I can’t know.

Girls are back. Time to go.

Sundays

A nice spring rain is falling outside, and I am thinking about our garden. Yes, I have failed in the past, numerous times. Yes, I will try again. Instead of a green thumb, I have a thumb in my nose and I’m saying, Nah nah, I’m not weeding, I’m not tending! And though we are only in the planning stage, which I love, we will hopefully keep improving upon past gardens and their keeping. After all, there is nowhere to go but up.

Aliyah is at the library, taking a practice ACT exam. She was really stressed about just doing this, so I hope it removes some of the jitters she might have had for the real thing. I’m sure she’ll do well.

I made a big pot of chili for dinner, a perfect accompaniment to a rainy day. Sundays are good for resting, and for thinking about the week ahead. Tomorrow is track practice for the older four, and I’d like to get a good bit of school done in the morning before that. Then Tuesday is half off day at Volunteers in town. I’ll be looking for Easter clothes and summer wear. Sam is doing a project on ‘outfitting the Civil War soldier’, and is thinking of dressing himself, and one of the little boys, one Confederate, one Union.

Wednesday is TeamKID, our children’s program at church.

Thursday is Good News Club, an after school ministry the older four do.

Friday is free so far, but I may invite someone over for dinner. It is so good for our housekeeping to have people over, getting things done that might normally be neglected. There isn’t much time at church to socialize, so this helps with that, too.

Saturday is another track practice, and maybe someone to dinner, if not Friday. My parents haven’t been up for a while; I might invite them.

I must go turn down my soup, and get back to work. Quieter, laid back work, but still work.

Pastor’s sermon was very inspiring yesterday. My goal is to have it affect me and be applicable all week long. Usually it is Tuesday and I am like, “Pastor Who?” He was talking about learning from soldiers, athletes, and farmers (2 Timothy), and noted that each have commitments that require their daily energies, not just a long-term focus on the war’s end/finish line/harvest.

The Christian life is hard work, and each day requires my full attention and commitment. I felt like I was ‘all in’ for a good part of the day, til this afternoon when I felt a headache coming on. I was in Powell waiting for the kids to be done with track practice, and not looking forward to the drive home. Thankfully, the worst didn’t hit until I got home. There is something nice about changing into pjs and going to bed at 6:45 p.m., though. I enjoy those occasional times when I can baby myself. I dozed for a half hour or so, and when I got up I felt better. The boys are huddled around a basketball game (something about March Insanity?), the kids have put on a Studio 52, and I have a screen of my own. How funny these times are that we live in.

There was a sweet viral video last week of a man who works from home and what happened when his kids came into his workspace. I loved seeing this instance of kids being kids, dad trying to salvage the moment, and mom coming to the rescue. Today I saw a Star Wars remake of the viral video, which totally cracked me up. Watch both here for a smile.

Easy Button

Days like today should be the norm, but they’re not. I got groceries this morning, the bill wasn’t too high, the items fit well into the recycled bags I bring to Aldi. (Weeks that I don’t have enough bags for it all I get really embarrassed for some reason. First world problems, right?) The kids went down for a nap reasonably well, and I now have a window of free time to choose an activity. For me. To do. By myself. Cool.

But, like I said, this is not what happens every day of the week, and usually what does happen requires great struggle and sacrifice on my part. My wants and needs are often marginalized. I am often asked to put others and their needs first. My gut reaction is usually to complain, even if only inwardly, I didn’t ask for this! Why me, why now?

The first study question of my BSF lesson hit me squarely in this. ” How does this passage (John 18:1-27) show you the Lord Jesus Christ chose to suffer and was not a victim of circumstances? ” Wow.

You could almost say that most trials of life, and our choices while handling them, fall into either one of these categories. We can choose to suffer, ie. die, to ourselves and submit to what we can learn from the experience, or play the victim, and hold on to our rights we think we have to a happy life and NOT this happening, with any number of resulting fits and tantrums, even if only inward ones. I’m queen of the second category, by the way. I’ve played the victim all my life. Jesus is King of the first category, one of many reasons He is holy, so completely ‘other’ in His behavior. I want to be able to look at life and my choices in it the way He did while He was on earth. Not least of which would be His determination in His final days, arrest, and crucifixion. The only Person who could ever have truly played the victim, didn’t.

 

What He Would Say

I was reading a children’s story Bible to the boys one day, and when we came to the page with a picture of Jesus sitting with some children, I asked what Jesus might have said to these little kids.

“He told them to be quiet and to behave,” Kenan was certain in his reply.

As funny as it was to hear, it was a little sad, too. Is that what Kenan thinks Jesus wants from his four year old self? Good behavior? Is that the message he is getting from home and church, that all important be-quiet-and-then-we-can-do-fun-stuff?

I thought some more about Jesus and the children. I love the pictures that have Him holding the infants and kissing them. He was all in, whatever crowd it was. Newborns or lepers, they were all welcome at His side. I do wonder what He had to say to these littlest of all, most powerless, most helpless. Would He have told them of the heroes of old, like David, like Elijah? Would He have told them secrets of the world to come, what their rooms would look like? What most important things could He impart to a group of young that He may never see again? I imagine it would include, Love God Who Made You And Loved You First. Love Your Friends. Love Your Enemies. Love And Obey Your Mom and Dad. In These You Will Be Blessed.

It starts to sound like Keeny’s answer. Be quiet. Listen for God’s voice. Behave. Honor your parents and do what they tell you. This is the path to knowing God for each and every one of us.

You will say, “How I hated discipline! How my heart spurned correction! I would not obey my teachers or listen to my instructors. I have come to the brink of utter ruin in the midst of the whole assembly.” Proverbs 5:12-14