Thursday, June 26, 2008

Driver's Ed Experience

I can't believe I am old enough to have a child who's almost ready to begin driving (enter scary thoughts), but she is taking driver's education this week. Yes, only this week. The same course I took over several weeks, 30 hours of instruction, are all being crammed into five days. Truly amazing. I guess you just have to applaud public instruction.

Having said that, I have been reminded this week why I home educate. Now I must confess, I did have a moment this week as I was packing lunches and preparing to send Ken off to work and Lindsay off to 'school' when I thought that this going off to school thing might not be so bad. I mean, with everyone out of the house for eight hours a day, I could accomplish a lot. Not to mention all the peace and quiet I might enjoy. But I'm really not that big a fan of peace and quiet.

So the things that reminded me why we educate at home - the most obvious: cramming thirty hours of work into five days. Being home lets us work at our own pace, chase rabbit trails, pause for a game or bike ride at lunch. We are not slaves to anyone's schedule.

The first day of class there was only one bathroom as the student bathrooms were under construction and someone locked the door to the one bathroom. Thus, no bathroom break all day, unless you wanted to use the boys' to which my child said, "No thanks." At home, we can use the bathroom whenever needed.

On the second day, the class was informed that for the rest of the week they would have their class in a different building in the hall as you cannot cram 68 kids in a room made for 35. The change was due to more construction on campus and epoxy fumes. Well, someone thought it wise to cram all 68 kids in a room made for 35 anyway. Does this violate some kind of fire code? And I have to wonder, did no one give any thought as to the best way to accomodate the kids for this class? I mean, this wasn't a surprise class.

So only two days left. It has been good for my child who has never attended school at all to see what she has been missing. She is thankful we do the home education thing, and I am too.

By the way, I am thankful for the person teaching the class. She must wear a halo having to deal with all the kids and the construction.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Do What You Love

Okay, I realize I am somewhat of an idealist and I have all of these great ideas of what life ought to be like. (Note: my life doesn't always reflect these great ideas). In my few short years, I feel like I have done a lot of living and one thing I have learned is that life really is short - one breath, no repeats or do-overs. Once you grasp this idea, you need to live, really live, not just merely exist.

I really want my kids to get this now, while they are young. I want them to learn what their gift is and actually use it. I'm not just talking about making a living - that may (or may not) be separate. But I don't want the fear of not making tons of money to snuff out their gift or point them in the direction of a hum-drum existence.

Sure you have to make money to live and you have to work hard, but why not work hard at something you love? God has given us gifts to glorify Him, impact others for Him, and help us along the way. If we don't use them, then we are merely existing and not really living.

I met a young man today who plays college baseball and loves it. When I asked about his back up plan, since loving baseball does not guarantee playing in the majors, his reply was, "Exercise Training. That way I can still be around baseball." I think he has exactly what I am hoping my little people will learn - he's finding a way to do what he enjoys.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Making Memories

Just before Ken and I were married, someone gave us advice that I will never forget. An older woman who attended my wedding shower told us not to spend all of our money on material things - they just collect dust and the new wears off quickly. Instead, she said to spend our money on experiences, making memories. Last week that is exactly what we did.

We took time off to celebrate summer, our anniversary, Father's Day, and Ken's birthday. Here are a few glimpses of our memories.

Twenty Years!

Cooling off

Fun with Grandaddy

Get me out of this car!!

I can't look!

Lovin' this!


Pooped Out

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Twenty Years

Ken and I have been married twenty years today. Twenty years, half of my life. Yes, I was young and I guess he was too. We knew just what we wanted and we were convinced that God had a plan for us and that His timing was perfect. We ditched all the fussy wedding plans just a few weeks before the big August date and just got married at a small church with a couple of friends and our pastor on a Tuesday afternoon in June. It was really what we wanted all along. Neither of us really wanted the fuss and details of a large wedding - we just wanted to be married. And so our journey began.

Today I look back and while I know we have had some difficult moments, all I can see are the really wonderful times - the excitement of Ken's band producing a cd, buying our first house, having our first child, having our second child, the scary switch to just one income, deciding to homeschool, moving way out into the country, having our third child, deciding to get a dog, having our fourth child, moving back to civilization, summer vacations, holidays with our families, countless hours at baseball games, piano recitals, afternoons in the pool, evenings in the backyard. All of these simple joys have comprised the last twenty years of our life together.

I recently read this quote from Seneca, an old Roman philosopher, "As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters." So today we will celebrate our good life together and thank God for His mercy, grace and the many simple blessings we enjoy.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Life is Short

It seems everywhere I look today, I am reminded that life is short. From the death of a prominent journalist, to a friend whose nephew has been in a horrific accident, to a family whose poor choices may have contributed to the death of their child. There are reminders all around that there is no promise of tomorrow.

And while I may not know what tomorrow holds, I can choose how to live today. I can laugh more, love more, trust more and worry less. I can choose to enjoy the day whatever that may mean. My life really is just a short ocassion and I want to rise to it.

Lord, show me how fleeting is my life. It really is only a breath. Let my hope rest only in you. (Psalm 39)

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Thoughts on Failure

I read J.K. Rowling's Harvard Commencement Address today and she said some things about failure that were very interesting. You can read her entire speech here. I must confess that I have never read the Harry Potter books - just has not been a real interest for me. This address is so thoughtful and well written as she explores the benefits of failure and the importance of imagination. It is definitely worth taking the time to read.

The thing about failure that stuck out to me most was how she told about her own failure a few years after college graduation. She found herself parenting alone and broke. In her words, "...failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had already been realised, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life."

Often what we perceive as failure is actually the opportunity to rise to the occasion to live the life we were meant to live.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Teen Years

Some days I wonder if I will survive the teenage years, and I am very new at this teenager thing. Lindsay is just 14, and Alex will be 13 by summer's end. Right now it's not that they are in to crazy stuff, it's that they are venturing out more and more without me. And while I do trust them, I don't trust the world they are exploring - so many dangers, so many opportunities for trouble, so many paths to go down.

I have spent all this time trying to teach them to be confident in who they are, to remember who they belong to. I have spent time reading and discussing the Word with them and helping them discover their unique gifts. They are by no means perfect, but I hope they have learned something along the way. Looks like it is test time. As they venture away from me from time to time, I have to trust they have been filled up with good things and hopefully those good things will come out. I also have to trust God's plan and protection for them, and pray they make wise decisions along the way.

So I guess on days like today when they are out with friends, as I breathe I will pray for God's hand to rest on them.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Correction and Praise

I attended a homeschool graduation this weekend and I must say it was very unique. There were seven graduates from seven different homeschools. Each family had their own way of celebrating - some with songs, others with slide show presentations, and every parent had wonderful words to praise and challenge their graduates. It was all very moving.

One mom did share something I have found my self pondering the last few days. She said that as a mom we are always correcting our children. We are always telling them what they have done wrong and what they need to do better, and we do this because we love them and want them to grow into the best person possible. Now if we are homeschooling moms, we get the privilege of this task twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. So on this graduation day she wanted to be sure her child (young adult now) knew that for every one thing done wrong, there were 25 other things done well.

Like I said, I have been pondering those thoughts a lot. There are many days when it feels like all I do is get on someone for something, and while there are plenty of things the kids do well, I am often focused on what needs correcting. So today in the midst of all the correcting, I will make it a point to praise the things they are doing well.