Unscheduled Time

I want to be better at giving myself unscheduled time. I am not good at this. It is definitely not without effort. I can walk into a room and immediately start picking up and not notice the child in the room. Especially with another baby in our home my time is like gold! It can Seem like someone always needs something, and physical needs come first. Keeping clean clothes sounds so easy, doesn’t it? But often it’s the non-obvious needs that get second rank. The boy that wants you to fix his toy, mend his pillowcase, tape the book, re-paint his kendama because his is scratched. Moms are repair women. Our kids need us to be repair women.
“Margin is important for de-stressing our days, but it’s also needed for our relationships. We can schedule time with the Lord and our families, but we also need UNSCHEDULED TIME to nurture those relationships. We can’t predict and schedule when people are going to NEED US or when the best time for conversations will be. We need margin.” -Hearts at Home
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Ahhhh. We can’t schedule when people are going to NEED US. When I quit my dream teaching job, my mentor shared a story with me of a time when she was doing carpool with another teacher. One morning she got into the car, disheveled and obviously crossed-eyed from dealing with her 14 year old daughter. (When more than one female has to get ready for something, in the same house? Good gracious, what happens??) Anyway she got her seatbelt on, and let out a sigh of relief. Before they pulled away, the older teacher turned to her and said, “Ya know, the best time to talk with your 14 year old daughter………..is when she’s 14.” Meaning, DON’T WAIT. The best time to deal with things that come up is RIGHT THEN and THERE. Ahhhh. You guys, isn’t that so inconvenient?!!! It just interrupts my life, my thoughts (I am living proof that we cannot truly do more than one thing at a time.. and do it WELL). Kids are little interrupters. People are interrupters. And I don’t like to be interrupted! Seems like the more I “schedule” and plan, more “unexpected” comes my way. When you schedule your day, is there room for the “unscheduled”? How flexible are you?
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Unscheduled Time

Letter to Sawyer

Here is another one. Letters are so one-sided, aren’t they? The writer has such an advantage. Never interrupted, never challenged. There is nothing nor no one that can distract you from the point you are fighting for (and you can end a sentence with a preposition like I just did). Do letters help? What is the point of a letter?

Here goes my heart while thinking about Sawyer.

Dear Sawyer, 

Be courageous. Be bold in truth. Make others laugh, but at no one’s expense. 
Keep making “magic”, it really takes more skill than I thought, thank you for showing me how to perform a few tricks. You are good at including others, at remembering, at telling your perspective, at jumping in and trying new things. Keep doing those things. 
God is real. When you are getting frustrated, getting to a quiet place and telling Him about it helps me. Sometimes just saying your frustrations out loud will help them not seem so big. 
When you are wrong, admit it. When you have wronged someone else, make it right and apologize as soon as you can.

Things are not important. People are. 

Watch out for feeling like you are making God (or Dad and I) smile. It might feel good to think that you are doing good, that because you are following the rules, because you are obeying, or because of how you act are why God has saved you. Danger! Danger! Danger! Watch out! Nothing YOU do makes you get to go to heaven. 
Try to remember to ask your friend how HE is. Try to ask “How was your day?” Try to make him feel welcome and comfortable. 

Remember Lentil? He was different. He practiced that harmonica so much and it came in pretty handy that day of the parade. Remember The Glorious Flight? Did he fly perfectly every time he tried, or did he mess up a lot before that glorious flight across the English Channel? Remember Anna, who had a rag coat and wore it to school? The kids made fun of her coat, and what did she do? She cried so hard the log she was sitting on moved as she cried. Did she go home after that and give up? 
Keep making people presents, Sawyer. Keep making them sandwiches if they are hungry, drinks if they are thirsty, cards if they are sick, and silliness if they are grumpy. You are good at those things. 

Your words can help or they can hurt. Build others up. If someone is not building you up, and says something that hurts your feelings, you have a choice. Ask yourself if it is true or not true?

I love you, Sawyer John, and nothing you say or do will ever make me not love you. 
Mom

One of my favorite quotes was SUPPOSEdLY by Benjamin Franklin. I have it up in the classroom.

“Tell them….and they forget. Teach them….and they remember. INVOLVE them and they learn.” Love that. It is true for teachers, but it’s also true for parents, don’t you think? I can tell my boys about turtles. And they’ll most likely forget what I told them, or most of it. I can teach them with books and pictures and google. And they’ll remember. I can involve them by letting them involve themselves by observing a real turtle, holding it, getting down in its face (let’s hope its non-snapping), watching it eat, poop, go in its shell when it’s had enough (which doesn’t take long with 3 handsy boys). They really LEARNED a little. About one particular turtle round these parts. And then I made them learn what it’s like to let something go back to where it’s happiest, right!?

I guess we could take this concept of involving others to teach them to a deeper level. Hold that thought let’s meet soon, same place, anytime!

Letter to Henry

I write. And I write…..it is my language. I like to talk, too. I want to explain how I feel rather than show with hugs. 

Henry wants to show with hugs rather than explain. We must do both.

Here is a letter I wrote to Henry.

Dear Henry,

Be courageous. Be a warrior. You are so good at lightening the mood, Henry. Keep creating fun.

Remember that there is a time for everything.

Guard your heart. For it is out of the heart that the mouth speaks.

Henry fishingYou are a hard worker. Do your work, finish your work, but put people’s needs before your work.

Let that crazy imagination of yours get out of hand where it should, but listen to others that have practical advice. Sometimes it may feel like someone is “raining on your parade”….

Your heart is huge. You hurt when others hurt, you cry when others cry, you are happy when others are happy. This is called compassion. Bless you, Henry. This is not learned. This compassion is a gift from God. Not everyone else around you will have compassion.

We can do hard things, right? You can do all things through Christ! He gives you strength. Not strength like to lift heavy things, but a different kind of strength. He really can help you do hard things. Like when you are shy, or when you feel like no one is playing with you, or when other kids can do something and you think you can’t do it. You can! You will!

I love you and I am proud of you. Mom

Big Change

“Everything is going to be alright doesn’t mean everything is going to stay the same” (author unknown)

Whew. So i have had the last 7, nearly 8 actually, years just kind of hit me in the face like over and over and over in the last 2 weeks. Memories. My boys. Me. My boys. Me. We have been together all day every day for SEVEN YEARS. Well,OK, just my oldest (People-lovin Boyer) and I have been together every day for seven years, my middle (Big Heart Baboosa) for five. And my youngest (Just Wanna Have Fun Cooper Tooper) for 3 1/2. I have shopping, boys are with me. I have laundry, boys are with me. I have bills, somebody’s at my feet with a garbage truck. I’m baking, 3 barstools are headed my way. I’m sick, boys are bringing me water and blankets. I’m getting the mail, suddenly it’s a 4 person stroll, I’m plunging a toilet and there are only 2 boys that have the stomach to “just watch you, mama”, we went to the library, the dentist, the zoo, the vet, the doctor, the barn, the trail, the play date, the church, the bank (inside, mind you), the tire place, ah the oil changes. They went everywhere I went.

Learning was living and living was learning. Kindergarten was messy and great here. We had TIME to eat and talk at the table, eat and talk, eat and talk, eat and talk. Had to get at least 4 eat and talks in there. They are always hungry, and honestly, to get through the day I rarely missed snack time with them. Admitting. Forgiving. Praying. Discussing dreams we’d had the night before. We had time to crack open the science kits. We had time to play outside. A lot. We had time to catch a grasshopper and look him up in our bug book and name him and give him a home with grass and sticks and just watch him. And magnify him. And draw him. And make up a silly story about him. And hop like him. And hop over each other like he must do with his friends. You know? Time. Oh, time is precious.

So the big change happened almost 2 weeks ago. My older 2 started school. Kindergarten and 1st grade. I think there is a part of me that just assumed I would home school until my youngest was in High School. I never really thought that through. I just knew we were doing what we were doing because never before in my life had I felt so called to do something, so we did it. We kept Boyer home and did Kindergarten. And i don’t regret it for a second. Time. Oh, precious time.

Don’t get me wrong. I learned more about myself last year than I had in years. I leaned on Him more than I ever have. “I need Thee Every Hour” became my theme song. There were some very rough days, boys fighting, me screaming, house disasters, pull my hair out doesn’t even come close kind of days. But we learned what worked for us and what didn’t. I learned I had to get up before them. I learned about God’s grace and my weaknesses, about his Mercy and my sin. More about these in another post I suppose.

Now 2 of my boys, that are 17 months apart, are somewhere other than home together. Big change. Forget about what this did to me, but to THEM. They have never been apart. Last week was their first 5-day week. Baboosa has 1/2 day Kindergarten which I am grateful for the time with him in the afternoons where he has just found himself delightfully playing with trucks and taking on various roles in a dream world of his creation. But the two of them who finish each other’s sentences can’t WAIT to tell all the happenings at school, and who caught a bug at recess and what girls were scared and who was brave enough to kill it. I don’t even have to ask how school was if i just wait until they see each other. All the beans are spilled. All the glorious songs they are teaching them come out. This is my new favorite part of the day.

But I did not handle this change well. I was worried sick by the end of that first week. Like, really, SICK. The entire first weekend I was in the bathroom. It was awful. Josh picked up where I left off and didn’t have the weekend he was expecting, either. I love this man.

Growing up, these boys are. I love them. Trying my best to give them roots and wings. Roots and wings. I am glad to know that I am not crazy when I feel all choked-up when I see a picture or video of these kids when they were younger. I wouldn’t want them not to grow, but man I am having growing pains. I let Boyer hook up our video camera to the TV this week. Births of all 3, Birthdays, firsts, Christmases, sprinkler runnin’, berry eatin’, singing ABC’s and Twinkle Twinkle in the cutest voice you EVER did hear, mispronunciations and grunts, voices I’ll never hear again. Because they are older. And maturing. And growing. And it makes me STOP. It made me sit down. It made me share a blanket with my youngest. It made me pretend i had nothing better to do than to pretend he really WAS a dinosaur. It made me scream and act really scared and run into another room so he could chases me and attack me and giggle as we fell TO THE GROUND because that is what HE wanted to do.

 Did you send your kiddos to school this week? For the first time? To college?2014-08-25 08.54.48