A place to be real about a life of chaos, with eight beautiful children, homeschooling, special needs, adoption, sanity or the lack thereof.........a rubber hits the road sort of journey that I thankfully do NOT walk alone!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Alone ... to a quiet place...to rest?

“…He said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’” Mark 6:31b

This was the scripture attached to a devotional I try and read daily...."come...by myself"?...."for rest"??
Now that....that sounds just downright glorious...except that I am my own worst enemy.

I really have no one to blame...it's quite easy to get caught up in ... well... getting "caught up".

My daily schedule is full of routine.  Mostly so my charges don't implode at the mere suggestion of something not totally expected.   It's busy.   Just.  Busy.    There are lots of days I look back and truly question what it is I have accomplished despite being "busy".

Today is a good example....it was the first day of school around here.   The culmination of many hours of planning and scheduling, organizing and assigning.    By 8:30 am. I was determined to be on track and all seven of the schooling children would be hard at it.    It worked... and within 20 minutes one had cried, one had refused, one had dished a very healthy load of attitude and one was pouting.   The other three were probably being excellent students but somehow I was more wound up in the "challenge".  

We persevered and defeated the work of the day!   Yay!!!   I'd like to take credit for some of this but to be honest I have been recently reminded I surely don't do this on my own and the glory is definitely directed at the ONE who holds me up .... (often by the armpits I'm sure as I go kicking and screaming into another challenge)   :)

So my whole attitude adjustment that was to include giving it all to God as I enter another day is working thus far....but today I was convicted as I read my morning study that perhaps this sense of "needing" to be busy is something I should think of giving up all together.   I'm sure it's an addiction in some weird way...the inability to sit down in a day is not normal....is it?    Perhaps I'm too far gone....I wonder...

Ah not so....just a little in need of a kick in the pants to remember how it is I am to recharge the battery in order to function at my best in my role around here.    

Surely a little "sit" wouldn't hurt.   I little quiet place to rest..... 

This isn't exactly what I had in mind ... but believe me I'd try it if I thought it would work!!

So....even though.....the pharmacy is late filling the boys' prescriptions (these are important!!)....one child insists on testing my unconditional love as a mother while sitting visibly pining over a picture of his birth mom (in rebellion to correction)...I'm reminded by a well meaning child it's time to dye my hair...mornings continue to challenge the safety of some just because it's ... well ... morning...I'm not baking enough because supper was the first they hadn't had a treat all week...there are no more suckers left in the cupboard and .... not everyone likes what is prepared for supper....EVER....

We are all called to come alone and ....rest......

It's perfectly impossible reasonable to have a moment of non-business in a day ... purposely ... to handle all of the above.... says me....now I'll try and put it into practice!! 

(This has absolutely nothing to do with this post but I couldn't help myself....It was back to school picture morning and he had to be included!! )

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Hit the pause button!!

Is there a pause button??  Please let there be a pause button!!
Have you ever had a day like that?   Perhaps a day where a "do over" would seem an appropriate alternative.

Lately I have been a little guiltier of the negative self talk...you know..."failure",  "keep trying but it won't get you anywhere", "can't you get a grip on it!", "if you were a better parent then...", "I must be dealing with this because I am lacking...."

How easy it is to fall into the rut of "trying" too hard!    I need to quit trying and start to say "Yes"!!!

Tonight I watched a webcast of two of my favourite authors/bloggers.    It solidified for me the NEED to say yes and ditch the trying.    Cause....I don't know about you but the more I try ... the harder it seems to get and the less likely to feel successful I am!!   What is wrong with this picture??....
With every September, especially since I've been homeschooling, I build myself up with this "fresh start" mentality and to be honest I'm just about driving myself crazy!!    I work diligently creating all the schedules for the children's schooling and then this week after finishing that I decide I need to revisit bed time routines and times, chore charts, library visits and reading times, screen time and when each child should be allowed this time, do we need cable, perhaps group bible study is better than individual, play music during school hours or not, where should the kids complete school, do we need those noise minimizer head phones again, schedule specific times for classes or just work at their own pace, should each child get an extracurricular activity or are all the church activities enough, perhaps a car pool would help, should I volunteer in the nursery or perhaps Sunday nights,  ..... get the idea!

Now don't get me wrong....schedules and routines...especially around here are a blessing but it is ME I'm scheduling and I think I can handle life with a little less structure!!    Sometimes I think in my effort to "do well" I'm really letting people down.     Where is that darn pause button!!  

People are often telling me what a wonderful job I'm doing.    You would think that would come as a comfort and even build me up a little.    Instead I find myself feeling like I'm living up to someones expectations and that is not at all what my life is meant to be about!    Perhaps I come across as having it all under control and let me tell you....it is VITAL that my children believe I do cause I am SERIOUSLY outnumbered!!
I have always believed that I was meant to be Mom to eight children but I am coming to realize that this belief was faulty only because I "thought" it was because I could love on them and help them to realize their potential; give them what they needed to become whole perhaps for the first time in their lives.  Don't misunderstand me....I don't think I have more to offer them but just truly believed I was "up for the challenge"... Recently I am being reminded.....that I "need" these children, each and every one of them so that I can be taught more patience, how to walk with God through this journey, how to grow me!!

If there is a pause button I should delight in pushing it so I might sit tight in the "spot" that I'm in and appreciate it all!    In the process I will undoubtedly have an affect on someone...preferably an affect that doesn't result in some of the eye rolling glances that say, "Oh for Pete sake mom are you kidding me!!!"   but the affect that will speak to me later....much later...."Well done, good and faithful servant".   

As it has been said to me.....am I intentionally, in the midst of my own expectations and shortcomings, pausing in order to recognize that I am loved??   In the midst of chaos am I capable of feeling peace?   

My new September goal.....before I even rise from my bed in the morning....I will give my day to God so that in it I will hit the pause button, not to escape the reality of my day but to immerse myself in it!   I will be intentional in my partnership and recognize what a blessing all the noise in my life is!

Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.
Proverbs 11:25 (ESV)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Back to School "Eve"

Well...it's the night before "back to school" Tuesday.  

My planning is completely finished for all the children for the year and that is a huge relief!   I actually have planned to begin our school year next Monday the 12th of September!   I told the children tonight thinking there would be a resounding cheer and to my surprise....I got blank stares followed by "are you serious", "Oh....I was looking forward to starting tomorrow",  "can I start tomorrow anyway?"
My goodness!  Not at all what I had expected.

The plan was to enjoy this next week perhaps visiting the beach, taking a hike, one last hurrah at a favourite playground in the park, or just getting into all the routines around the house and organizing our school space.    The weather is a tad "chilly" for the beach but dressed appropriately we could still make a great day of it.....the idea being that all the other children are back in school and we will have the beach all to ourselves...

I'm sure I could enjoy a day like this!!

Today we went for a country drive.  By noon hour the kids were a little stir crazy so we decided a drive with the hopes of finding a place to play and a treat to eat was in order.     We ended up in Fergus and found a small park that was perhaps a little more appropriate for the oldest seven but nonetheless a great little break!    

 I love how even the simplest of venues seems to be appreciated!    I sure hope these little life lessons of contentment stick....it is without a doubt one of the more important lessons I hope to deliver as a parent.

Funny story today....phone rings and everyone is suddenly deaf....a common affliction here unless of course one is expecting a call!    Finally the thirteen year old delivers the portable phone to Dad who tries to answer it but receives no dial tone or anything.    He asks the same child to listen on the base phone to see that there isn't a connection problem and she lifts the whole thing .... yes... base and all to her ear and with wide eyes is intently listening to the phone (which in case you haven't got the visual is clearly sitting in the hang up position on the base now at her ear!!! )   Oh my goodness if ever there was a laugh needed to break any tension....this was it....how funny!     Not until the entire family is rolling on the floor in hysterics does she realize anything is wrong and gently sets the phone down .... "What?" she says.... Oh my.     This is one of those moments that come to remind me that on days when I am convinced I'm the one losing my mind.....clearly not always the case!!    :O   Ha ha!

Finished the evening off watching another "Feature Film for Families"....it's nice to sit as a family and watch something everyone can view with no content concerns.    These films have proven to be excellent time and again and always deliver some powerful messages!  

Most of the children have gone to bed and I plan on hitting the hay shortly.....trying to convince my mind to shut down a little earlier these days in preparation for school....the body has no problem complying it's stopping the wheels from turning that keeps me up!   

Anyway....another awesome day!   

It doesn't get much better than this!!

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.       Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)

Winding up summer :(

Well...it's hard to believe but we are just about to end summer vacation!

We have had a rather sedate summer with few trips and responsibilities. There are days I wish we could have done more but a part of me is just so glad for the refreshing and recharging of the batteries that comes with no schedules, no deadlines, no "must do", just enjoying the children and our yard and Grandma and Papa's pool! It has truly been nice.

This past week Chief was on vacation and so several little jobs were done.

We had been waiting some time for a little extra money to fill in our "hole" that once was a parking spot for the second vehicle. It had been long enough and with a little creative financing we had the 5 yards of crushed stone delivered. It may have seemed a little daunting but only for some.....

At least one of my little troopers was thrilled at the prospect of some hard work! He truly plugs along with such a positive heart attitude of service. As long as he has a job he is such a sweet hard working helper!

So sorry I didn't get a picture of what happened next here.....Daddy got a little close to the hose while inspecting the job and well.....he just couldn't help himself and let Daddy have it!! Ha ha....the perks of lending a hand!
It wasn't all hard work....There was lots of play!!


or....with the rest of the gang!!


or just hanging out!!!

taking turns...

being cute!

and a little silly!

well....maybe alot silly!!

What a great summer it's been!!   Now to convince everyone these darn back to school routines and regular bedtimes (unfortunately earlier than summer time) will not be so bad!! 

There's a secret part of me that loves all the planning for the children's schooling....don't tell anyone that would only confirm my "instability"...haha...

My blessings continue to flow...