Wednesday, August 25, 2010

As the School Bells Ring...

And the School Bell Rings!!

Saved by the bell is not exactly what I'm feeling this week. In some ways, yes. I am enjoying the freedom that has come to my days. My kitchen is spotless. I went to work on-time since we were out the door earlier than usual. We have tons to talk about because everybody goes to a different place each day. But, yesterday, my FB post was: "The kids are off to school. I'm free. Why am I so weepy?" I'm better today. Just a little hint of wanting to cry. But no real tears, yet.

I've homeschooled until now, so this is a jolt to all of our systems. We went from little structure to lots of it. When anybody asks me how I'm doing, I have been embarrassed by the river of tears that swells and threatens to overflow the banks of my eyelids. I was relieved to have several moms tell me, "I wept when my kids went to school," or "I cry every year when school starts because we've had so much fun through the summer. You get used to them being with you."

Not all moms feel this way. And please don't feel bad if you did a happy dance when you dropped them off the first day. I think that will come for me, a few weeks.

The openness of these moms to share in my sadness by admitting their own, reminded me that it's so important to be authentic with each other. If I pretend to have it all together, I just make life harder on somebody else. So take a risk and offer your true feelings to another mom. It might be just the ticket to help her find a balance between sadness and the "happy dance."

This year we are going to work on learning Romans 12. I'm praying for my kids Romans 12:2: "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - His good, pleasing and perfect will."


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Rocks vs. Pebbles

You might have seen the illustration about putting the big rocks in the jar before you pour the pebbles in. If you pour the pebbles in first, the big rocks won't fit, overflowing out of the top of the jar. That's exactly how it is with life. If we don't commit to putting the major things into our day (time with God, investing in our families, etc.), we will be constantly chasing the small things (practices, matching stray socks) and may miss what is most important to us.

For many moms, our time is taken from us by the demands of school, extracurricular activities (ball games and music lessons), church commitments, or a job commitment, not to mention all the responsibilities a home and family bring. For single moms, your time is stretched even further, beyond your limit at times. There are more books and articles on the subject of balancing our time than there are jelly beans in a "guessing jar." But why are we trying to keep all the plates spinning at the same time? Even the trained circus performers who spend hours trying to keep the plates balanced allow one to drop on occasion!

What plates are you balancing? The beginning of a new school year is a great time to set some goals and be intentional about what we spend our time on.

Lord, Thank You for watching over my family as we go through our day. Some days are so full that I feel like we didn't live them--we endured them. Help us learn how to rest in You and enjoy our days. When we are home, Father, help us to really be together. It will be something only You can do, but lease, Lord, help me to see my children's faces before I see the mess. Trim our schedule as You see fit, Lord. Give me wisdom to see things the way You would. Learning to rest...Amen.

Now it is your turn to chime in. What are some ideas that work for your family to spend time together? Any tips to get house work done to have time for some fun? How about keeping the family schedule within livable limits?

adapted from Laurie and Sharon's book Mom...and Loving It!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Still Giving His All - Delightful Dad Contest Winner

My dad met me when I was just 3 years old. My mom and I traveled from New York to California looking for a better life. She was 16. My dad found us and fell in love with us immediately. When I was 6, he married my mom and took me in as his own. Both he and my mom struggled to find work and keep a roof over our head. We scraped by, and I wasn't aware then how hard he worked to provide for us.

My dad took every job that he could, while also committing to his family. He worked in Phoenix on the weekends and in Costa Mesa, California during the week. I always remember how happy we were to see him come home, but only to send him off a very short time later. He never looked tired to me, though, and always attended to our needs.

I saw as I got older and into my teen years, how much my Dad really provided for our family. Not only financially, but spiritually and emotionally. His showing me that hard work was the key to success and that determination and trust in God was critical. He taught me that you can't always believe what you read or hear, and that I could always go to him when I needed to.

When I was in college, he was able to start his own business and grew it slowly and successfully. He blessed others with benefits and a good salary before his own, with gifts and loans as they needed, and he shared the blessings of a successful business with those who were having a rough patch in his life.

It was 3 years ago when my dad lost his business. The money he put away for his future and the money he earned through his 20 years of a successful business vanished. He lost his company, his home and his health. My parents moved to New York 2 years ago to care for my ailing grandfather who has cancer. They have struggled daily and my dad is back to working two jobs, 60 hours a week, to make ends meet. At almost 60 years old, he deserves so much more. He still provides for his family (just him and my mom now), and it pains me to see his struggles come full circle.

I don't know how to bless him right now but to pray for his well being, his strength to get through each rough day and to send you a note for this contest. I would love to see my dad earn a gift card, especially in his hard times, but more importantly to be honored for all that he has done throughout my life, and for what he continues to do even during his darkest of days.


Kathleen...He wins! Sounds like you won a long time ago with a wonderful father. We are honored to recognize him and pray that the gift is a blessing. Thanks for sharing your story.
Sharon and Laurie
Thanks to all of you who participated in our dad contest. Sometimes dads get a bad rap. If you've haven't experienced the joy of knowing your father's unconditional acceptance, we pray that you'll find hope in God our Father who knows your every thought. Psalm 139 lets us in on just how much He loves each of us...including you.