Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tuesday's Teachable Tidbit

There are so many reasons we decided to homeschool. Despite that fact that homeschooling was on my 'never' list, I am grateful that God asked us to school our children at home (granted, there are days I must choose thankfulness as I bury my face in my hands).

One of 'subjects' that we put at the top of the list under studying the Bible and reading is life skills.  What are life skills?  Well, they are all chores I don't want to do and conveniently teach my kids to do....laundry, dishes, and meal planning. Joking aside, life skills are the things that our children need to learn to do so we can 'launch' them successfully into the big, wide world.   They are learning how to manage money (how to spend wisely, save carefully, and give generously), how to plan dinners for the week and grocery shop (although, I may have inadvertently taught them how to sneak yummy treats or overpriced 'health foods' into the cart without checking the price), how to do laundry (even Noah can run the washer and dryer), how to manage their time and work as a team, etc.

Does this always go smoothly? No, of course not.  Do we need to 'dock their pay'? Yes.  As I have said before, I don't pay 'unemployment'.  It is a process, for sure.  However, it is one of the big benefits we see in this season of homeschooling.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Disclaimer and Prelude

I have sat down and drafted many a blog post over the last couple of weeks since I posted the "We're Back" post. Each time attempting to express my thoughts regarding the last five months. Yet, I never feel quite satisfied with what I have written. It isn't a 'perfectionist' thing...I am acutely aware of what that looks like. It is more a failure to truly capture in words my experience. Perhaps it is because the experience of wrestling with God is still so fresh or so deeply personal that it makes it nearly impossible at this point to express it in words; or perhaps it is because I risk sounding crazy! Maybe it is all of the above.

I'd also like to propose a disclaimer that for those out there who do not follow Jesus, it is likely that my experience looks a lot like self-inflicted misery and insanity. For those who do follow Jesus, it seems that we each journey with the Lord in a way that is unique to our God-created personality and character. Either way, my experience is part of my story.

With that said, I will end this post with a few excerpts from My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. Other than the Bible, this little book has been my daily companion for the last month or so. His words have the ability to both comfort and infuriate me.

From September 12th: “There are times in your spiritual life when there is confusion, and the way out of it is not simply to say that you should not be confused. It is not a matter of right and wrong, but a matter of God taking you through a way that you temporarily do not understand. And it is only by going through the spiritual confusion that you will come to the understanding of what God wants from you.”

From September 13th: “True surrender is not simply surrender of our external life but of our will—and once that is done, surrender is complete. The greatest crisis we ever face is the surrender of our will. Yet God never forces a person's will into surrender, and He never begs. He patiently waits until that person willingly yields to Him. And once that battle has been fought, it never needs to be fought again.” 
From September 28th: “Jesus' primary consideration is my absolute annihilation of my right to myself...” “Very few of us truly know what is meant by the absolute 'go' [Reference to Mark 10:21] of unconditional identification with and abandonment and surrender to Jesus.”

Let me “distill” this into a few thoughts as my husband would say. The take-home point for me is this: the need and daily exercise of laying down me (my wants and desires) and picking up His wants and desires for me. I am an expert at focusing on me; I am a novice and life-long learner of focusing on Christ.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Window Wednesday

My friend Ann and I ventured into the Oriental Market on Monday to buy some fabric. (The Oriental Market is one of the largest markets in Central America...sometimes referred to as the Black Market even though that is not completely accurate.)  I only buy from one shop in the Oriental Market.  It is known by the ex-pat women here as the "One-Armed Man."  The owner is indeed a one-armed man who smokes in his fabric shop under the sign that says "No Fumar" (translation: no smoking).  It is hot, dusty and moderately disorganized....but he has the best fabric in the country (in my opinion). At the shop of the One-Armed Man, you buy fabric by the pound.  He has a ton of remnant fabric!  The price per pound is 60 cordoba which is about $2.30. They weigh it on a deli-style scale.  This last trip, I bought a little over 4 pounds of remnant material and paid about $11 with tax. While there are days I miss Jo-Ann's Fabrics, I take solace in the fact that I can visit the One-Armed Man in Oriental.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Tuesday's Teachable Tidbit

[Thanks Shannan Blair for the inspiration to come up with an alliteration using Tuesday and teaching.]

For our current read-aloud, we are reading a book called A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck. It is set around the time of the Depression. As we were reading, there was a historical reference to Armistice Day. Thinking I'd be all super integrated and smart, I mentioned to Andrew that he should research Armistice Day when we finished reading. He then proceeds to educate me on the details of the armistice—including the signing taking place in a train car. So, lest I fear that my children are not learning, I will remind myself of this moment. (By the way, I researched Armistice Day myself and learned a few things...okay, a lot of things.) My children may be learning math, reading, writing, as well as history and science, but I am learning humility.

[not sure what the scrunchy face is--
probably a protest to the photo being taken]
Andrew, age 12, our resident history buff and voracious reader 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Window Wednesday on Thursday

Okay, we did NOT spray the toad...the bug spray bottle is merely to show the size of the toad.  Just sayin'.  I don't think it would have 'repelled' it anyway.  This toad hung out in one place for most of the day...then during the night went on its merry way.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Monday's Moment of Homeschooling

Well, it is a working post title.

Today started out a little rough.  Usually Mondays are our best days--lots of energy, good organization, ready to start the week--but today is a National Holiday.  It is Independence Day in Nicaragua.  The drum-line at the Catholic School down the road started EARLY.  All schools (except our home-school) were closed.  So, even though we weren't taking the day off....it is as if our minds told us that we should be on holiday.

Anyway, we eventually rallied. Some learning and a lot of character building happened.  We concluded the day with a rather simple activity. Finger-painting. Yes, I realize that I have a seventh grader, fourth grader and first grader.  However, we just finished a family read-aloud called The One and Only Ivan. 

It was a fantastic book.  It is loosely based on a true story of a gorilla that was captured as an infant, taken from his family in Africa, and raised in captivity with no other gorillas in the United States.  Ivan remained in his inside 'domain' for 27 years in a roadside mall exhibit until he was eventually transferred to Zoo Atlanta where he lived until he died a few years ago.  (You can find his true story on the Zoo Atlanta website.) Ivan loved to finger-paint. So today, in celebration of Ivan and finishing his story--we finger-painted. 

Here are a few snapshots of the event.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

And.....We're Back.

Yes, we are back!!!

Thank you for your patience/tolerance during our sabbatical.

If you're like me, you are likely curious as to WHY we took a break from the world of blogging. Well, I (Bethany) am the primary blogger in the family.  It is therapeutic for me to write...usually. However, over the last five months I found myself in an extensive wrestling match with God. Sounds fun, huh? Um, no. No it wasn't. However, just this week...okay, let's be honest...just today, I laid down and surrendered before the Lord.  What a sense of freedom! (That is the irony only found in being a child of God).

Over the next several weeks or even months, I will try to provide you with my thoughts and musings regarding this experience.  It isn't so much that I am overly excited to share--it is more that I hope that my personal experience will give comfort and hope to others who have experienced or may be experiencing something similar in their journey with the Lord.

In addition to sharing from the heart, I would also like to restart Window Wednesdays and a peek into our family's world of homeschooling (since there is no day of the week that starts with H, I am open to suggestions on how to label this one--because we all love a cool label, right!?)