Monday, August 17, 2015

Random Thoughts for Monday: 5 Things

Summer is wrapping up and our reading lists and outdoor activity lists  and keep-the-kids-from-boredom lists have been replaced with school-supply lists and back-to-it lists.

In a couple weeks, I will be back in high gear, mentally racing between homeschooling, teaching creative writing courses, Awanas, Bible study, etc.  By God's leading, I've decided to back off from all extra-curricular items (no dance, co-ops, sports, what-have-you). Some moms would judge me for this decision: "you aren't giving your children enough opportunity." But honestly, my children are still young and at this critical phase (who am I kidding--all phases are critical) of absorbing and learning. Creativity, inquiring, and security come from necessary down time and family time, not schedules and opportunities.

I like to stay busy, but I want everything I do to have purpose. I love homeschooling for the flexibility it affords our family.

5 Reasons to Love Homeschooling:
  *You don't have to buy clothes for "back to school." My kids' growth spurts never line up before      September anyway. Waiting works perfectly with their fall birthdays. 
         *You get excited about new books, crayons, pencils, and notebooks too!
           *You get to relearn everything you forgot.
               *You have the privilege of integrating any extra-curricular activity you want (painting,   cooking, wood-working, Swahili).  
                   *No school lines, school lunches, school uniforms, parent/teacher conferences (that   would be weird),fundraisers, or bullies(okay, yeah, we have plenty of sibling rivalry to make up for it).

But the best thing about homeschooling is that I get to be here to really know my kids and go through the big struggles and highlights. I am the one that teaches them to read and tie their shoes and write in cursive (yes, we do that). When they ask the hard questions, I'm around to answer them.

Recently a dear lady, and my daughter's co-op tutor from last year, went Home to be with Jesus. She fought cancer for three short months and left behind a husband and teenage daughter. My heart just aches for all that loss entails. I don't pretend to know what they are experiencing; every person's loss is personally their own, but I do know that grief isn't as clean and linear as we'd like it to be. And people, bless their well-intending hearts, can say some truly stupid and painful things.

5 Things to Avoid Saying to a Grieving Person:
   *I know how you feel. (That just makes people want to scream; you don't, so don't say it).
            *God needed another angel. (Sorry, your loved one will never become an angel.)
                  *Offer advice or ask painful questions. (Not helpful).
                      *When are you going to come back to work, church, school, etc.?
                            *Sentences starting with "At least..." (minimizing the pain offers little sympathy)

After reading these lists, a person may think, "well, I guess I shouldn't say anything." But no grieving person wants to feel like a leper. If you don't know what to say, hug them, bring them a meal, and be sure to write a note, send an email, or call a person a few months from their loss. The shock will have started to wear off and the deep pain will settle in with acute rawness.

Life ebbs and flows, and remarkably, it keeps going...even when it feels like it shouldn't it. When my dad left this earth, it seemed like a complete betrayal to "keep going." I wanted to scream at people at the store, "Do you realize what just happened to me?" My spirit felt like it had been run over and my body wanted to sleep for several days on end, but I had three small kids to tend to and a job to keep. It all felt so wrong. So upside down.
But the seasons kept going, and this spring will mark three years since Dad left.

5 Things to Remember as Fall Approaches:
    *Don't forget why you are here (purpose). It's so basic, but this simple truth often eludes people.
    *Remember to rest: doing so exudes a level of trust that God will cover us and provide for us.
    *Take time to give. If you are too busy to pour into people, you are too busy.
    *Read His words to us. The world bombards with lies and temptations. Know your truth.
    *Keep a short list: ask God, "who do I need to forgive today?" And then forgive them.

Philippians 3:14 "I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

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