When Blessing Abound, There is Peace

This week we joined Daddy where he was TDY-another reason I love homeschooling! It was so great to be able to pack up our school work and follow him, set up camp and enjoy some time together. Unfortunately, due to a family emergency, we had to return after only two days but we still managed to make some sweet memories and enjoyed the time together!

Even in the craziness of it all there was provision that could only come from a Mighty God. We are so thankful, even after the vomitapocolypse, for His blessings and mercy in moments when the world seems to be spinning out of control!

Sometimes it’s enough to find just a few moments of peace in the midst of a storm.

 

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april

Teaching First World Kids Third World Problems

My children are spoiled rotten and I don’t know how to fix it.

We were talking on the phone, him and I, and he was so frustrated with the oldest two. So fed up with their lack of interest in studying their second language. Tears from one and indifference from another as they were asked to sit and review vocabulary.

They don’t know how good they have it, he said.

And all I could do, in the middle of Target (why am I always at Target?), was agree with him. His frustration was justified and I had been there. Oh my, as their teacher and mom, I am there daily.

It scares me, their sense of entitlement, and between you, me and the wall my kids are some of the sweetest, most well-behaved children I know. They are thoughtful, mostly kind to each other, and only do chores with minimal grumbling. They are precious and yet they are spoiled and I am lost with how to change it.

In the past year, as we’ve begun this homeschool journey, I often talk to them about what it means to have an education. What a privilege it is to be able to learn and excel without the distraction of hunger or fear. We talk about the little boy we sponsor in Mozambique, how he is struggling in a country often unsettled by violence but still pursuing his education with hopes of becoming a nurse. In his latest letter he writes that he wants to help his fellow human beings; it’s beautiful because his dreams are built on a life my children can not comprehend. I think about what it will mean if he’s able to achieve his goal and how his accomplishment will differ from my own children. How his education depends on the willingness of strangers a world away when my kids do not worry about their next meal. It is humbling and spurs me on to push them harder if only to honor his own dedication in some small way.

I don’t want them to be ashamed of our life or what they have been given because their father has risked his serving this country and his sacrifice is worth every dime. But what I do want them to have is a sense of how much they’ve been blessed. That there are few countries on earth that boast such comfort and opportunities and they have a responsibility to no only grab it with both hands, but cherish it.

Maybe it’s unreasonable to expect children to have such insight. Maybe in time this selfishness is slowly replaced with wisdom through experience. I don’t know.

They aren’t given everything their hearts desire. They work, they earn, they save. But when they fuss and fight or particularly when they complain about school work I want to shake them out of their spoiled skins and make them see how easy their life is.

I see kids around me and they are often so rotten. Demanding and unkind and just plain entitled. And it’s not just a parent problem-it’s a society problem. It’s a reflection of a culture that has squandered and mistaken its freedom to mean that anything goes and everyone deserves.

We’ve fallen off the edge of a proverbial cliff and I’m afraid we can’t undo the damage. I see it every day reflected in the attitude of those around us-especially this current generation-and it is a constant complaint from my husband.

The kids today, he says, they expect to be given a second and third chance just because they want something. They think because they were good athletes or excellent students they deserve to win, deserve to get a pass despite their inherent weaknesses. They don’t know what it means to struggle and perceiver. 

They also have no idea what it feels like to fail.

Everyone wants the best but they aren’t willing to work and sacrifice for it or start at the bottom.

That’s not what I want for my kids. How do I explain that life is hard when, really, for them, it’s not? They don’t go hungry at night. They don’t have to walk long distances to school in clothes too small or too big. They do not worry if there will be pencils to write with or markers to color a picture. There are books to read and knowledge at their fingertips. They don’t worry about clean water or disease.

And I am so grateful for all of it because I know how different it could be.

But they don’t.

So now I am faced with introducing the world to my children. In small steps, I think, to open their eyes and give them some perspective. Some insight into a world rife with chaos and struggle but still bursting with hope in the darkest of places.

This parenting journey is so hard, so imperfect and fragile. There is so much to teach in such a short amount of time. How will we know when we’ve done it right?

 

april

To The Mom Who is Weary: A Love Letter

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The sun rose again this morning, bringing with it a day full of potential and possibilities, but still you slept. Pulling the covers over your head, letting the morning noises fade away for five minutes more and then ten until finally you can no longer ignore the work that waits. 

You swing your legs over the bed, rub two day old mascara out of your eyes and pull back your hair knowing it won’t see a brush until well after mid-morning. You pick up the toothbrush, meeting your own eyes staring back at you and suddenly wonder: when did this all happen? There are new lines-not unlike the rays of sun that poked through the clouds this morning-stretching wide across your forehead. There are circles under your eyes and quietly you reflect on the days when you didn’t need rouge to blush your cheeks or gloss swiped over your lips. You glowed somehow but now? Now you feel slightly indifferent to the woman staring back at you.

The coffee is warm but quickly on it’s way to cold because the baby spilled his cereal and the older ones are fighting over nothing and everything. You can’t remember the last time you drank a cup of coffee steaming hot, fresh from brewing, and gulp down the last chilly bit hoping it’s enough to get you through one more errand, one more meal to a friend on the other side of town. One more seemingly endless day that runs into another and then another.

When did you become so very tired?

When did it all seem so exhausting?

Sweet friend, you are not alone in your weariness.

Remember that mom you enviously watched in the grocery store? The one with three kids who looked put-together and couldn’t possibly own a pair of yoga pants (or four)? She’s tired too. She is worn out and exhausted. Under her makeup and blown-out hair is a mom just like you; trying to be everything to everyone yet slowly losing the battle.

She gets dressed-up to make sure no one sees the cracks in her facade and her smile is so automatic on her painted lips that it gives no one a chance to assume she’s anything other than perfectly okay.

And the mom you saw crying in her car when you dropped off little girl at preschool? You have coveted her tennis dress and manicured nails. It means she has time to run and breathe and then sit and be still. That her few precious hours alone aren’t spent picking up prescriptions and folding laundry. But what you missed is that her tennis dress now hangs off of her already tiny frame. Her curves are disappearing because the chemo makes her violently sick and she’s to-the-bone exhausted. She wonders how she’ll continue this way-unable to eat and hair falling out-for another eight weeks or maybe a lifetime. Fear has seeped into her soul causing a suffocating weariness when what she really needs is the strength to fight.

Today you will stand in your kitchen, dishes to be done and floors to be mopped and think, if you could just lie down, if you could just sleep for a while everything will be okay. The house would be in order, the chores finished and meals prepared. Everything will be better with a good nights sleep. You just need to feel rested and somewhat refreshed so the day’s burdens will seem lighter.

I know your body is tired but really it’s your soul that needs rest. Your spirit is aching for restoration as you continue to fill it with children, husband and home instead of hiding away the beauty living right in front of you.

It’s not enough to continually give all of yourself. You must INCLUDE yourself in the giving process. When you drink from the cup it’s not enough to dip your tongue in the cool water while allowing everyone else to drink freely. You, too, must also quench your thirst. You must be able to taste the sweetness and relish the feeling of the cold sliding down your throat until your stomach is cooled and satiated.

In the same way you give to those you love, give to the one who is also loved and cherished by God.

Don’t allow yourself to become forgotten in a life created by your careful planning and care, your warm hugs and soft kisses. Don’t become a passive observer in your own life because you only have this one time. Yesterday is already too late.

In the morning, when you wake up and again drag your worn body from bed, resolve to find one thing beautiful and hold it close like a secret.

Don’t just go through the day but experience it! Fall in love again with driving with the windows down and the music turned all the way up. Let the laundry sit in the dryer just this once because a quiet walk around the lake is soul medicine. And unless you’re expecting the Queen, declare breakfast-for-dinner and enthusiastically pour cereal in bowls with a smile because you chose to spend the day laughing and playing instead of doing.

Don’t let the exhaustion consume you. You are worth every moment it takes to enjoy a slice of this messy, crazy life. Reclaim the part of yourself that loved to watch the sun set or volunteer at an animal shelter.

You used to love hiking. Love it again. You always found peace in early morning runs. Do them again. Your heart was gladdest rocking babies in the nursery. Start it again.

Your life doesn’t begin after everyone else is clothed, fed and happy.

You are writing your own story and experiencing your own life RIGHT NOW.

Everyday, you are the beautiful that everyone holds on to.

Now it’s your turn.

 

april