Thursday, November 29, 2012

Working it out

As any follower of Christ knows, this walk, this life is sometimes so hard.  Death of a loved one, difficult financial situations, broken relationships, disappointments...sin brought so much ugliness into our world.  We have to choose, daily, to see God in our lives.  It stands to reason that there are going to be days that this choice "feels" easier and those when it seems almost impossible!  Having godly friends can help greatly in this area.  As does having parents and other older relatives who demonstrate how to live out one's faith, in the midst of life.   So it goes here at the Simpson house:)  The daily challenges of homeschooling, character issues, and the overall weariness that can arise in mothering 4 people day in and day out - they all can lead me to feel burnt out and empty.  My friend is writing an ebook which sets out to encourage and demonstrate how to have a quiet time.  My sister is faithful in rising early to spend time with the Lord, and my dad is never far from the scriptures early in the morning.  My time too is before the day really gets underway.  Will often joins me and then the others trickle out.  This time really does prepare my heart for the challenges of the day as well as getting my eyes ready to see the blessings.
Right now we continue to parent through some character issues - lack of diligence, ugly tempers, and negative attitudes.  Unfortunately, God continues to remind me that where the mom goes, so goes the child:)  Where I show a short fuse, so will the boy.  When I feel lazy and cut the lesson short because I'm frustrated, so will the child think  that cutting corners is acceptable.  Time and time again, this "one-piece life" (Ann VosKamp) shows me how lacking I am in every area. Yet, the hope comes in knowing that I don't have to be enough.  Christ will be glorified in my shortcomings.  I must only remember to rely on him moment by moment and extend his mercy to myself and my children.  In this, we pray that they will be drawn to the gospel.
Ok, so some things to remember:
Ryan asking if we know the movie "Black Harry" - finally realizing that he means "Charlie Brown"
Jack working with Poppy to complete his toolbox for scouts - it's really amazing!
Hearing the kids encourage one another
Watching Ryan shadow Jeff - all day long, every move he makes, Ry is right there!  Oh how he loves his daddy!
A great Thanksgiving visit with dad/Poppy - relaxed and fun, we all enjoyed our time with him.

Looking forward to the coming Advent season - trying to prepare our hearts and minds in a way that honors Christ's birth.

Saturday, November 17, 2012


I had another wacky dream this past week.  Nothing unusual there, but this one made me laugh out loud when I woke up.  Back story:  when I was in high school my whole family, one of my aunts, and my maternal grandparents all traveled to Europe.  It was wonderful trip getting to see so many amazing places.  Back to the present, I just finished reading a memoir of sorts:  an American author and professor, her professor husband and their 2 children move to Paris for a year.  I'm  a sucker for a travelogue/living abroad story, and  Eloisa James (Mary Bly) is a fantastic writer, both touching in her honesty in the passages about her mother's death as well as her own cancer story, and hysterically funny in the bits on her own family, parenting, and the faux pas that come from those cultural and linguistic nuances.  So I can only imagine that these two things, amid others I'm sure, were the roots for this dream.  Ok, so we are living in some city, New York sort of but not quite.  I am walking through this huge library which also operates as the subway station - side note: I think this is a lovely idea, forcing people to spend time in rooms full of books while waiting for their transportation.  As I'm wandering, I am thinking about the fact that my Aunt and I are flying to England later that day and I have neither packed, nor decided which, if any, children I am taking with me.  I am also unsure of whether or not I have a valid passport, but this detail is dismissed from my mind when I become side tracked by a shelf of books, historical romances (this is where I'm sure of the Eloisa James influence, as she writes this kind of fiction) and a woman with her newborn.  Babies will side track me every time, dream or reality.  I find a book that looks interesting and ponder the idea of somehow having another baby, even though it is biologically impossible now. Then I'm in my Aunt's apartment and we are trying once again to determine what to pack and when to leave.  It occurs to me at this point that we should have already gone to the airport because we think our flight leaves in an hour and being an international flight and all, well, security etc. we should have been there hours ago.  Oh well, I think, lets just go now.  Oh, and pack a few things. And decide if I'm taking children.  Then this woman, Beverly, Bev for short, whom I apparently know and rather well at that, chimes in "I'm taking my 3."  Children that is, and  it is completely fine that a) this woman is traveling with us, and b) she is bringing the children, and c) this would have some sway over my own decision to bring/not bring my own.  I woke up at this point feeling both a tremendous sense of relief that I didn't have any major packing to do for that day and that my children didn't need to fear that I would or would not choose to take them to the grocery store that day. Otherwise I was also disappointed in myself for being so woefully unprepared for my dream trip.   It made me think about those yucky thoughts I have about myself: that I'm a flake and typically fly by the seat of my unprepared pants.  No worries, I was quickly able to dismiss the thoughts, but I remained saddened that there is no international travel in my future.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

When You Just Want To Throw In the Towel

I really do just want to throw in the towel.  I just want to sit around and read my books, haphazardly selected from the libraries we visit regularly.  A biography about a writer whose family lived in Paris for a year, check; a novella about an turn of the century boat wreck cum survival story, check; a slash and dash murder mystery, check.  Unfortunately I cannot merely curl up on my couch and read.  At the root of my discontent is that our curriculum is really not working for us.  I can't put my finger on it exactly which is probably the real root of my discontent.  I hate NOT being able to pinpoint the problem.  If I could then I could merely excise it like a tick - pick the offender off, pinching it between my fingernails and then washing it down the sink.  But I can't.  All I know is that we are all edgy and crabby and not learning.  The unit study method was selected so that I could join the bulk of our learning time into one group session which would be made either less or more difficult based on the child.  We did a couple of units and it seemed ok.  But the main issue is that there is much independent reading to be completed by the students - again an ok principle but a flawed practice in a home where one child is primarily and auditory learner.  I can only read so much in a day.  and I love to read aloud so that in itself says something.  More than that, I think, is that the books are not particularly engaging - I wouldn't want to read a biography of Isaac Newton that spent whole pages detailing mathematical language and infinite equations.  It also doesn't feel rigorous enough either.  Ugh - i struggled just typing that sentence because I struggle with this whole idea of rigorous academics vs. an educational environment.  So I guess what it filters down to is that I am bored, not learning, and don't really know what I want our homeschool to look like.  And that, my dears, is a ginormous problem.  if the captain don't know where she's headed, the whole crews going to mutiny:(