Monday, March 7, 2016

Happening Lately

Happening Lately...
Since Jack returned to public school a year and half ago, I noticed that how we do school at home was not the same.  As a student, he required much time, attention, and structure in his day.  The three who are home now do not.  We still have a rhythm to our days and we have a plan for each day, but I'm finding that we have drifted away from the strict classical model and are moving toward Charlotte Mason's idea of education.  
We enjoy reading, being read to, and discussing what we've encountered in books.  I'm trying to weave more of this into our day, still acknowledging that my personality requires a plan!  I love a good plan, and have to work hard with Christ's help, to work the plan, otherwise I just have a good plan:)
He is good to help me, reminding me that this is my vocation, and with grace it is important work that cannot be sloughed off.  I am grateful to have Him in my corner, refining me and guiding our days.  
And that's really the most important lesson I've learned in these 6 years of home schooling - I must bring my days before Him, asking for His wisdom and His will to be done.  I fail, often.  But I do see the fruit of His life in mine!  And that is what spurs me on!  Hopefully the children see this too - an imperfect person being sanctified by God as a result of His love and grace.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Hard Things

A letter to my oldest:

      This school year is drawing to a close today.  Dad and I cannot be prouder of you!  When you first started hinting that you wanted to go back to public school, I'm not going to lie, it was hard for me.  It felt as if I had failed you, failed to make homeschool this thing you wouldn't want to leave.   Eventually, the Lord opened my eyes to how selfish that thinking was:  it wasn't about me:)  You needed something, some place, different.  You really are a social kid and while you do have siblings, it was those peer relationships you were missing.  And, let's be really honest, you and I can clash spectacularly in our day-to-day interactions.
    So after much prayer, and a few tears on my part, we decided to send you back.  I tried not to envision lions in the gladiator arena circling you, waiting to snatch you up.  But it was hard.  I was scared of how that place would change you.  Again, I didn't trust that those years at home and laid the foundation you would need to navigate those hallways.  And here's the thing.  You wrestled so many lions, but YOU did it!  You encountered discrimination (against homeschoolers of all things), and bullying, and so many transitional challenges in the classroom and in the lunchroom and everywhere.  But you did it.  You even went out for the football team, a sport you knew nothing about and had only played as a 5-year-old.  And again, it was hard.  You had no idea what to do or where to run or where to stand and who to tackle.  But you never complained or didn't want to go.
    You know who you are and what makes you feel connected and fulfilled.  You trusted the Lord and I didn't.  But now I know.  You showed me God and His unfailing love and His promise that He has only good for us.
    So today you wrap up this amazingly hard thing.  We love you.  You are prayed for and loved by so many family members and friends and you're on to the next hard thing.  This time I'll remember - God is with you and for you and you are awesome and amazing and no matter what that next hard thing is, you'll be just fine.

Friday, October 24, 2014


It's again been so long since I've taken the time to sit down and write.  We have moved, a fine house that suits our purposes for now.  But, it's not a house that I would have chosen had we had more time and more money:)  We are however debt free, and that is what counts!
With the move came a change for Jack.  He started public school this fall and that has proven to be about more than I can handle.  During our first public school experience and then as we homeschooled we were certainly aware that he had some issues which made "normal" learning a challenge.  We tried many different things and found some success and much failure:(  The classroom environment has been a huge adjustment.  No longer can he just ask one person (me) for help - his teachers are great but they have other students to attend to as well.  I can't hardly write this without crying as I imagine how challenging it all must be for him.  He's been tested through the school and now we are pursuing help via a psychologist referred to us by our pediatrician.  There's talk of medicating, diagnostic tools, anxiety, ADD, ADP...the list goes on...for far too long.  I feel such a tremendous amount of guilt for having not seen the depth of his issues before this.  I feel guilt for being hard on him, for telling him he was being lazy and not giving us his all.  I feel confused because as I research these various disorders/issues so many of the "symptoms" do not fit him.  He seems to be this giant jumble of several significant issues, each on its own would be too much, but altogether seems impossible to sort out and make sense of.
And yet, here we are.  Moving forward to find some answers and trusting that God is sovereign and loves Jack even more than I do.  Staggering to think on that one:)  And I am so very, very proud of this boy.  School and all of the social junk that accompanies it, it difficult for a "normal" brain.  Yet, this boy gets up everyday and does it all over again - even when he's teased and made fun of, and even when his "friends" are not those I'd choose for enemies.  Oh this boy.
No one tells you when they're born just how much your heart will expand to love and how many times it will literally be ripped open for the pain that you feel for something they're going through or how cruel someone has been to them.  There are no words.  Yet God.  He does know.  He gave His one and only son.  I'm not literally turning my boy over to be crucified, even if it does feel that way sometimes.  I will choose to rest in the understanding that even in the midst of pain and trouble, He is with Jack and He will always be for him.  And I will too.  We will choose to laugh together, as we did in the doctor's waiting room yesterday, and we will puzzle together over how far to let someone push you before you stand up for yourself (a very interesting discussion about who Jesus was talking about/to when he told us to turn the other cheek - in regards to bullying and being picked on).  So Jack, my sweet boy, I choose you, and I will choose you again and again until we figure this thing out together:)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

House Hunting

I just needed to sit down for a minute and get these thoughts out.  We have been coming to terms with the fact that our 3 bedroom home is simple no longer a good fit for our family.  We put it on the market and sold it in 7 days.  And then the journey began.  Quickly we found what we thought was a great house for our family of 6 - lots of room and rooms, and while it needed some TLC, it would be a good fit for us.  Then we found out that where we live, the septic systems are often outdated and don't match the advertised bedrooms.  We ended the contract and happily went on to find another house.  Rejected offer due to the property being bank owned - they don't like contingencies and we had one, that our house had to close.  We decided we needed to look outside of BV - away from septics:)  Found another house - right school district, good price, but again bank owned.  We were out bid I suppose - didn't get that one either.  And then we searched the county high and low.  Literally from one end to another.  Left no stone unturned.  Imagined how closetless rooms could become bedrooms etc.  All the while asking for God's direction and guidance, and wisdom.
Here I sit, 5 days away from the closing on our home, and we are still without a place to move.  This has been a trying month and a half.  As we look at one more property, friends are dealing with children with cancer, foster children whose issues feel insurmountable, and babes going off to college.  House hunting pales in comparison to these trials.  Yet, I know He is in the details of our lives, not just the big ticket items.  He has a place, a house, and neighborhood.  So I will wait upon the Lord.
As I walked Chewie last night, I got a little teary when I hear the birds chirping in the twilight air, the gentle breeze moving through the trees.  I looked back at our home, the house that Jeff and Dave built.  What a blessing this house has been!  When we moved in it was just 4 of us.  Little did we know 2 more Simpson boys would join our family:)  It's hard to remember bringing those sweet babes home from the hospital.  So many tearful prayers for our Ryan went up, waiting for him to be strong and healthy so that he could come home.  My mom's last Christmas was spent here in this house.  With Laurie and Gran here too.  So many decisions were made under this roof, joyful celebrations of birthdays and holidays.  Because we moved around so much growing up, I think I have a soft spot for "place" in my heart.  Yet, it is also because of those moves, I also know how to adapt and enjoy the adventure of a new place.  Praying for God to prepare the way ahead of us, to our new home, our new neighbor, new friends.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

 We've had quite a winter this year.  The kids, of course, have loved it.  Sledding, snowball fights, etc.  The public schools won't get out until June this year.  We will just keep going:)  That is troublesome for these kiddos.   When they hear that public school is out for weather, and we just keep going.  Oh well.  They will get over it:)
Will is reading independently now.  So sometimes he settles on the couch with his little brother to share a story with him.  So sweet.
We continue to deal with Ryan's tantrums.  Daily.  Well, maybe not daily anymore.  But often.  He just becomes consumed with his way and he lacks the ability, in the moment, to garner enough self-control to communicate clearly what it is that he does want.  Hmm.  It is so true that God uses our children for our own refinement.  How many times do I lose my self-control.  Unable to stop myself from over communicating - emotionally manipulating my children, or distancing myself from them.  I am seeing just how broken I am.  I cannot, in my own strength, become whole.  With age and maturity I see more clearly my great dependence on Christ.  In His power, I can hold my tongue and keep my emotions in check, in order to clearly and calmly communicate with my children.  For them to become healthy adults who can thrive in their adult relationships, they must too realize their own incapacity to be whole without Christ.
It is easy to feel overwhelmed by this task.  Pointing our children continually to the Lord.  Whew.  It is tiring.  But it shouldn't be overwhelming.  Tiring, yes.  Exhausting, yes.  But never to the point of undoing us completely.  Because then we are surely not operating from a place of residing in trusting our Lord.  Then we are trying to do all of the work, instead of trusting in His grace to redeem what we cannot accomplish, and to rescue from sin those who chose Him.  We cannot force salvation on our children.  So for now I work on how to show them the holy work of our days.  The seemingly mundane tasks we repeat each and every day - that these are sacred too.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Happy 12th Birthday Jack!

As always, it is simply unbelievable that you are yet another year older:)  My dear first born!  We anxiously awaited you those 12 years ago.  We were living in a duplex in Fayetteville, AR.  I was in Grad school and you hear so much Shakespeare, Old English poems, and Post-Modern jibberish in-utero I shouldn't be surprised at all that you pick up foreign language just by ear!
Jeff was working for the Sheriff's office by then and on the eve of your birth, had gone in to work for a meeting.  When he came home, I told him, "well, I've never been in labor before, but I'm pretty sure this is it."  We headed to the hospital some hours later, and they tried to get rid of me, claiming I wasn't dilated enough.  Ha!  Little did they know about this mamma.  I had packed a bag and had your daddy drive us through the icy streets - I wasn't leaving that hospital for nothin'!
Our midwife was out of pocket til later, so the nurses kept checking me/you  and sure enough things were moving along - slowly, but surely.
After midnight GG and Poppy showed up - GG had woken up with a feeling that she needed to be at the hospital.  Thank goodness she came - her nursing experience and calm demeanor helped daddy and I stay calm too, even though we were a bit nervous.  Finally at around 2:30 I told the nurses that it was time!  They told me to hold on !  Are you kidding me!?!?  The midwife was on her way, so in the meantime the ER doc came up - he had on one of those plastic face shields and I thought I was being examined by a welder:)
Marni arrived - our dear Irish midwife, who had just returned from a trip to the Caribbean and had a head full of white blond corn-rows with beads click-clacking every time she turned her face!
It was time - after a few good pushes and some pretty ugly facial expressions, you arrived!
Our first born son, Jack Wingate Simpson.  And now you are 12, and then you will be 18, 21, 30...
It is so true that the days are long, but the years are short.
While school may not be your thing, we have been blessed to see you keep at your studies every day.  It may not always be a great day, but you always get your work done.  This demonstrate diligence and perseverance, and it has been a joy to see this develop in your young heart.  We know the Lord has great things in store for you - amazing ways you will serve and glorify Him!
Some fun facts about Jack:
He ride dirt bikes and enjoys racing Motocross.
Enjoys hunting/camping/hiking/being outdoors.
Likes video games like Need for Speed, MX vs. ATV, Castle crashers, Rise of Nations, and Paintball
Favorite music - contemporary Christian
Favorite color- red
Favorite Dirtbike - Kawasaki 85
Fave racer - Ryan Villapoto
Fave food - cheeseburgers
Fave place - dirtbike track and church
Fave movie - well, tv show, Psych the Musical
Fave thing about this past year - buying his dirtbike with money he made from his lawn mowing business

He's a great kid and we love him!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

When I Think of You

The past month has been a whirlwind in the truest sense of the word.  My life was blown apart a bit, and now slowly it is beginning to come back together.
We celebrated Will's 6th birthday back in Sept.  And while I say this every single birthday, for every single child, I simply cannot believe that he is now 6.  There are so many things tied to him, from his rough beginnings (failure to thrive!) and his presence in the room when my mom finally breathed her last breath, to the crazy boy he has become, so scrappy and strong and smart!  It is, most days, a joy to teach him.  He grasps most numbers/math with ease, and is becoming a proficient reader.  He sees and thinks outside the box, which challenges and rewards me.
A couple of pics from his bday party:

Just prior to his birthday we had to say goodbye to our sweet Hap.  Hap had been with us since the summer we married; through 4 babes, moves, life.  

We all got to say goodbye, here at home and then again at the vets office.  Jeff met us there to be with the kids, while I stayed in with Hap.  Ryan kept asking Jeff why he was crying, adding, "Policemen don't cry."  It was the first time Ryan had ever seen his daddy cry - he wasn't born when mom passed away, and he has no memory of all the tears we shed over him in the NICU.  
Life continued on, and then in late Sept, my friend Mel's mom came up for a visit, ended up contracting CDiff, a lethal bacterial infection, and was hospitalized for 3 weeks.  She only this past weekend returned home to TX.  
Two weeks ago, my other dear friend Kimberly, lost her mom.  Suddenly, she was gone.  Her service was last Thursday and Kimberly did what I wish I could have done at my mom's service; she gave a loving, thoughtful tribute to her mom.  She was so brave and amazing!  
Ryan came down with an ear infection the Monday before the funeral, and then this past weekend I succumbed as well:(  I sound rather manly, and feel rather shoddy.  The Zyrtec-D prescribed to me yesterday kept me up all night.  I will not be taking that tonight:)
We did squeeze in a camping trip somewhere in late Sept - can't even recall the exact day now.

 Love this one- the 2 littles wanted to go swimming like the bigs were doing, but I had already run back to the campsite once, so I told them to swim in their skivvies.  They thought it was a hoot, but that water was chilly!
What happens when you try to take a selfie of a family of 6?  This many outtakes:
Whoops, no Jeff or Will...
 Ok, no Jack, or Will and half of me and Jeff
 Yay, everyone's in the shot, but EK, you're not looking!!!
 Oh well, maybe we should just give up...
 Almost...Ek, we need your eyes...
Hooray!  Blurry, but all in!
And that is how it's done!  
So, now Oct is here and we are trying to stay on top of school (we missed many days while helping our friends as they walked through their troubles.)   Dad and Theresa come this weekend and we are all so excited to see them!
I'll leave you with this handsome face - finally got a haircut and looks so stinkin' cute!