Monday, February 28, 2011

What Really Matters

This last weekend Dave and I attended the homeschool conference. This is my fifth conference and I can honestly say that every year I glean something worthwhile. I find it very refreshing to attend an event with so many likeminded people. People who totally understand where I'm at and why I sometimes get frustrated. People who embrace homeschooling as normal.

As is typical, I discussed the conference at length with my pastor's wife. She and my pastor were very active in the Saskatchewan homeschooling organization when their kids were younger. I am very thankful for their (among others) contribution to the cause because they have truly made my path so much easier. Provincial legislation as well as the funding I receive is currently the best it has ever been, and I was told this weekend that presently Saskatchewan is considered the easiest province in Canada in which to home educate your child.

My pastor's wife and I have never been similar in our approach to homeschooling. She embraces the unschooled approach. I embrace the ducks in a row, regulated approach. However, I have changed a lot since I began and, although I don't think I will ever be totally unschooled in my approach, I have come much more toward the middle. I at least understand why someone would choose the unschooled approach. The unschooled approach is really suited to a laid back personality. In someone like me, who is far too intense, it would create grey hair and early baldness. And extra heart palpitations.

My pastor and wife have three tremendous kids. They are thriving and successful. They are excellent Christians. You really could consider them to be the poster children of successful parenting and homeschooling. As I was reflecting on the conversation I had with my pastor's wife, I tried to imagine myself following their exact prescription of homeschooling AND parenting because, quite simply, YOU CANNOT ARGUE WITH RESULTS.

And I had an epiphany. Maybe I'm just slow.

I realized that even if I did my best to follow their exact methods, there would be no way I (we) would have the same results.

Because I am not my pastor's wife.

Because my husband is not my pastor.

Because my kids are not their kids.

And, because sometimes I get myself worked up over my inadequacies, I felt like God dropped this little thought into my head and told me to "just relax".

It's not the unschooled approach. It's not the legislative approach. It's really not about education at all.

It's whether the parents are bonded with their kids. Loving them. Praying for them. Teaching them. Guiding them.

It's whether the parents (and not the peers) have their children's heart.

And within the context of our own unique family, God is the centre. He knows that with all of my little stinky pitfalls, my heart's desire is that my kids fall in love with Him.

After all, that's what really matters the most.

Disclaimer: I do understand that even when all of these essential elements to parenting are completed perfectly, there are still some children who make choices that break our hearts. All we can do is our very best.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Return Of The Valentine Box

Last week I asked Hannah if we were going to get our Valentine Box out again this year for Valentine's Day. She had no recollection of what I was talking about, so I pulled up my story, The Valentine Box, and had her read it. With a smile on her face, she decided she was going to make this year's Valentine Box. She is not very artistic, but she happily constructed this from Seth's Thomas The Tank Engine lego box, carefully cutting a big slit in the top for cards and other delightful surprises.

The box sat outside her door for several days. Despite an attempt by Seth to restore HIS Thomas The Tank Engine box back to its original state, it did manage to survive the week. My girl would sneakily stuff things into the box. At times she would coax her brother to do the same. I waited in anticipation.

This morning at 6:15, a pre-planned time because Dave leaves for work at 6:30, a sleepy-eyed boy and a wide-eyed girl convened in our bedroom to open the box. Treasures galore were in the box: home made pictures, a tiny box of beads, cards, treasures from the kids and treasures from mom and dad. I was spoiled by everyone.

I managed to find something little for the kids. Scooby Doo is Seth's favourite dog right now. Several years ago he received three electronic Scooby Doo books from an aunt which he memorized. He periodically drags the books out, practices the theatrics, and then puts on a skit for us. So, when I found Scooby Doo for only $5.00, I knew I couldn't pass it up. He was ecstatic, and his reaction was worth enduring a morning of "Rall right rom! RI'm roming!"

I found a little stuffed pink poodle, which was inside a miniature pink purse for Hannah for very cheap. She promptly named her poodle Lucia, calling her Lucy for short, and spent the day cuddling her and teaching her obedience.........:-) She put a belt around her neck and used it for a leash. When she got in the shower tonight, she tied her to the chair leg. She explained with a smile that she didn't want Lucy to "get away".

I am told I have wonderfully unique kids.

Tonight Dave and I went out for dinner. It wasn't fancy. It couldn't be called supremely romantic. All of those restaurants were packed and we really didn't want to spend any more money than we already had. We used a coupon and went to an average restaurant where it was just the two of us without the kids. That's all we really needed anyway.

One last thing, something I must bed time Seth - my wonderfully unique son - always gets his bed ready. He cannot simply just jump in bed and get under the covers like other boys. That would be too simple and un-unique. Plus, he has too many animals that he sleeps with. So, he arranges them in exact, perfect order, every night. At times I have pulled his covers back and tried to arrange his animals, but I always manage to mix some of them up - which totally ticks this boy off.

Here is what I am talking about:

He sleeps in a rectangle, with his animals surrounding him on all sides. Not an elephant out of place.

And so ends another wonderful Valentine's Day.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


I tried to reach my sister this evening. Several times. I knew she was off work but she was not answering any of my texts.

And I became impatient. Harrumph.......!!!!!!!

Then it struck me how different the world is - with ME being a very guilty culprit - because of technology. How astoundingly........IMPATIENT. In the days prior to cell phones, a person would actually have to wait until someone was AT HOME to call them. How novel! It is becoming the norm for people to cancel their land lines and carry a cell phone only. And you know what that means? That a person can be reached AT ANY TIME, ANYWHERE. It means that a person carries their phone 24/7 because heaven forbid we should miss a call. Or a text. Or not be able to surf the net. Instantly.

Sometimes I sit and wonder what it would be like without any of this *garbage*. Tonight I imagined myself living on an acreage - just one or two acres is enough - just outside the city limits. With only a land line. No texting. Maybe even.......{{gulp}} internet. Having my own garden with fresh vegetables (that I absolutely detest taking care of but perhaps I would push myself to do). Maybe even a flower garden if I got REALLY good at gardening.

One, maybe even two dogs that ran wild outdoors.

No cats. They are detestable.

Room for my children to run free and play outside. Ride their bikes without worry of traffic.

Taking life slow.

Learning the art of true patience in an instant society.

Maybe I could start a new movement: Apostolic Amish Society. I can't help but smile. (Maybe I'd even trade in the car for a horse and never know).

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Gracious God

I've been praying for my daughter a lot more lately because she needs the Holy Ghost. Tonight, in God's gracious lovingkindness, He showed me a glimpse of her heart.

On the way home from church, she brought up Solomon and we discussed him. Then she said to me:

"You know mom. If God ever asked me what I wanted more than anything else like He did Solomon, I really wouldn't want anything in this world. You know what I would want?" she asked me. "I would want Him to take away the pride that seems to keep me from praying and worshipping in front of other people."

How is that for an honourable desire? She knows that she is hindered by the thought of anybody either staring at her while she is praying or worshipping, or by the thought of somebody helping her pray. We have had many conversations about this and she has finally come to the understanding of the root of the problem.

I was so thrilled with her response, I told her that God heard her request. Right in the car. Then later when we were having our little chat at bedtime - I was rubbing her back and she was lying on her stomach - I told her that WHEN she got the Holy Ghost, I was going to pray that she become an altar worker. That she has a desire to pray with kids AND adults at the altar because, quite simply, she has the heart for that. In her silence, I heard her smile.

"You are smiling right now aren't you?" I asked.

"How did you know?" she asked with a GREAT BIG SMILE.

"Because you can ALWAYS hear smiles when you listen close enough," I said.

And we both smiled.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Stark Honesty

I've had writer's block lately. Except that would insinuate that I'm a writer, which I'm not. I simply like to put a few sentences together in a blog. I guess that means I have blogger's block. Added to that, I am bone weary. With winter. With ongoing situations. With homeschooling (which normally happens in January/February of the school year).

It's not that I don't have any writing material, either. Many times I tell myself that I have to blog about a particular incident, but by the time evening comes I can't seem to get it out. I have thought about shutting down my blog, an option that I am still considering. It may be time to simply stop my stories and compile the ones I have. Time will tell.

Frankly, I am struggling telling anything about my son because I don't know how to tell it in a positive manner. I love that boy-o-mine to distraction, but he is driving me stark, raving mad and at times I feel guilty about that. I am not sure how to deal with his constant craving for attention and am troubled by it because when I look into the future I see an attention-seeking boy and I wonder what lengths he will go to for attention. I shudder to think of him in public school because he is such a FOLLOWER. I suspect of my two children, he is "the crowd's" favourite because he is so funny and charming. They don't know my loss of sleep, or my extra worry lines in my forehead (hmm....on the other hand maybe they do.....) and several hundred more grey hair. Because I am concerned about the FUTURE of this boy.

I know He's in God's hands. I just struggle daily to leave him there. Maybe I should be better at trusting. Truthfully, I'm not. That's stark honesty. I know of better parents and better Christians whose kids rebel against them when they are older.

I don't worry about my girl in the same way, although I do worry. She is going to get her heart broken continuously because she sets her heart on things. For example, yesterday we went to the library, just her and I, after her piano lesson. We went to a different one than we normally do because we were in a different area of the city. This was the first thing to set her off. She wanted the "main" one. What was her undoing, however, was the fact that THIS library didn't have Thea Stilton books. She was pinning all her hopes on Thea Stilton. Boxcar Children wouldn't do. Our Canada books wouldn't do. American Girl books wouldn't do. Hardy Boys books wouldn't do (she's read the Nancy Drew books several times over). Only Thea Stilton would do.

She pitched a fit. She shocked me by it because it really isn't typical of her. She DEMANDED to know why we couldn't go to the "main" library! Harumph! She began pleading and begging - in the middle of the library - to drive to the other library. None of this was done very loud, but it was a public display nonetheless, and I had to tell her three times to stop. When we got into the car, I told her how very displeased I was with her behaviour in public and that in no uncertain terms would we be going to the other library after that display. She was so distraught that she told me that I "PROBABLY DIDN'T EVEN LOVE HER"!!! (That was a first).

I laughed out loud. I couldn't help it. (Does this make me mean?)

She sulked for a solid hour. Then she pulled me aside (we were at granny's house) and apologized to me. I thanked her for her apology, but asked her if she thought that meant I was taking her to the other library. She was honest (I love this about her). She told me that yes, she hoped I would, but she understood if I didn't and that she was still sorry.

We went today to the "main" library to get her beloved Thea Stilton books.

One last note.....since I'm on a role that may not come again for a while.......about my son. A couple of days ago he wore his clothes to bed. UNDERNEATH HIS PAJAMAS. He showed me them in the morning. He was "being sneaky", he said. We had a good laugh over that one. I have no idea how I could have missed his bulk.

And I just realized that, at least for a short time, I became unblocked. Good night all.