Observations and Thoughts from my Little Corner

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Behold the New Year!

I can only imagine how many blogs today began with these words: Happy New Year! Even so, I sincerely hope and pray that 2013 is a "happy" year for all of us. Every woman has her own idea of happiness, but many of us share some common desires. Health, strength, ability, and energy to perform those activities specific to our womanhood. Security, peace, safety; so that we can relax a little. Organization skills, so that we may balance our life appropriately to enjoy the richness of it and accomplish the most. Bigger hearts to love more (and more effectively) our family, friends, and even strangers. Open minds, to consider the uniqueness of situations coming our way this year...the different people we may meet, the new ideas we may encounter, and the totally unexpected curve balls. Resolution to do the things we should, especially those mundane requirements by which the rest of each day is affected, such as getting up earlier; resting, eating and exercising properly; and tending to the paperwork in our lives. Talent to paint, or sing, or write, or embroidery, or sew something, anything, that will bring more beauty into our world. Attention to the Lord, prayer without ceasing, daily devotions, in- depth Bible study, evangelism. More of what is real, less of what is not. Contentment.
If we share any of the same "resolutions", I encourage you to get specific in making them happen in your life this year. Consider the technicalities, the "how to", required for each goal. Think big, but start small. Look towards the top, but begin where you are. I wrote this for me, but I share it with you. God Bless.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

One by one the facts of being middle aged are staking claims in my life. The first of these, and most profound, is that middle age occurs regardless of whether or not one has achieved any of the traditional life goals which people often set for themselves. During the immaturity of my 20’s and 30’s, I wrongly assumed that spiritual peace, financial security, and general organization of my life would evolve before I became “my parents age”. I had a preliminary epiphany when I turned 40, but at the time I was dealing with turning 40, and not even considering the larger, looming issue of becoming middle aged. Before that, when my 30th birthday flew by, I remember thinking that I wasn’t like so many other women feeling dread of the aging process per se’, but rather I was feeling disappointment in my lack of accomplishment up to that point. And so it is with me, always thinking that this me isn’t quite the me she should be!

I know a special woman who struggled to quit smoking for years. She hated everything about smoking, the smell, the expense, the stigma. Being a Christian, she struggled with smoking on a spiritual level too, thinking that this vice made her somehow substandard in her Christian walk. She had prayed many times to have the “thorn in her side” removed, but she would put the cigarettes down, and always pick them up again. Until one day, without a program or a patch or any discernable difference to any previous attempts, she stopped smoking. It’s been over 10 years now, so I’d say she was successful. But what was the difference? She says it was a God thing, and I do not want to dismiss the factor of His timing, but this woman has always been a woman of God. She has also always been a woman of personal resolve, disciplined in the other areas of her life. So something made this time different than the others. I wish to learn what that something is. We need this information, this answer.

New Years Day is approaching, and many resolutions will be made. Predictions are that most of these resolutions will fall by the wayside with the resolutions of previous years. I don’t know the winning formula, but I know every resolution has the potential to become an accomplishment. I hope that a few of mine will make that transformation this year, and in the process transform me. That “middle age” issue is weighing on my mind, so my resolutions are seasoned with a little more experience and an impending sense of urgency. It reminds me of that frequent plea of band and choral directors everywhere: “Once more, with feeling!”

Shall we?

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Hospital Waiting Rooms

What to take: a needlework project, a book, Bible, pen and notepad, change for vending machine, cell phone, kleenex

What to do: pray, look for others who need prayer, make small talk with extended family members show consideration to other families, jot down list of non-family members who show up for support, and what am I forgetting…oh yes, wait…and wait.

How to be: poised, soft-spoken, calm

How to feel: often the opposite of “how to be”

What to know: God is not panicked. He is in control. Prayers are definitely heard.

My father was diagnosed with colon cancer, and promptly scheduled for surgery to remove it. The surgery went well. He was a model patient during his hospital stay, and is now recovering at home. Later today, we will get the pathology reports on the lymph nodes telling us whether or not chemo is needed.
The hardest part is the reality of someone you love going through the pain and stress of the entire ordeal. You can’t do it for them, and there is so little you can do to help. The incision hurts, so just turning in bed is very painful. The catheter and IV are uncomfortable, and don’t always work right. There will be good nurses and bad nurses, and it doesn’t really make a difference which you have, because the hard part is still up to the patient. So… you fluff a pillow, or straighten a blanket, and offer ice chips. Having the catheter and IV removed, graduating from ice chips to liquids, and other less delicate milestones become cause for celebration, because they mean your loved one is one step closer to getting out of this hospital.
Thank you to my friends who prayed for my dad. I didn’t want to blog or facebook about it because I didn’t want to trivialize something so important… and it was his battle much more than mine. But now, I am so glad that it is over, and that he is home safe!

Monday, March 1, 2010

I Never Learned to Do a Proper Cartwheel

We made it through February! Winter is still hanging around and snow to some degree is on the forecast here in northern Alabama for tomorrow. However, today is March 1, a "promise ring" from Spring, happily accepted, and shining in the sun! A cursory search of my unkempt winter yard this morning, did not reveal a single flower bud or bird's nest to photograph, but I did see a little more green than last week, and several very fat robins. I am looking forward to a lawn of green grass. While I won't being doing cartwheels, I will spread out a quilt and have a picnic with the children. I will plant some flowers and do some yardwork. I will sit on the front porch swing and think about...summer.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Daily Devotions with my Boys

I have to say that one of the most wonderful things about homeschooling is doing our daily devotion time. I start reading while the boys are having breakfast. Since there is no carpool or bus to catch, or no bell ringing at 7:55, we take time discussing the selection and cross referencing it to things they have learned in Sunday school, or youth group, etc. Many are the times that they beg me to go ahead and read "tomorrow's" section; the Bible is full of cliff-hangers, isn't it? Sometimes, I indulge them. Sometimes for dramatic effect, I tell them they must wait til tomorrow. And, sometimes, I let them read ahead on their own. I pray that because of the cherished morning devotions, they will know Jesus better. I hope that when they are exposed to wickedness and cultural errors of our society, they can think back to the lessons they learned at our dining room table. I hope they will remember how much their mother loved them.

If you are a teacher of elementary/middle school age boys, make the devotions applicable to their daily life with fun activities. We recently learned about Samson and the Nazarite Vow, so the boys made their own "Stephenite" and Kennite" vows. One of them tried to slip in that he would never cut his hair, but of course that didn't fly.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Whirlwind Week

What a wonder-full week! Full of children! Full of homeschooling! Full of church! I am definitely full!
First of all, after much consideration, prayer, and a long interview with the mother and grandmother, I did decide to begin babysitting Dominic and Rylan during the week. So many times in my life, I thought I was making a sacrifice for someone else, only to discover that I was the one to be blessed. This is one of those times, and also one of those times when a prayer of mine was answered in an unexpected way. Awhile back, I caught myself repeatedly praying this very silly prayer that God would make all of my children "little" again. What? Would God turn back time and plant us all back in that little house on Shoals Point Trail, just so I could have another go at things? No, God would answer my longings in His own way. So, with two new boys and three of my own boys still at home, my house is full again, and I am grateful and humbled with this awesome responsibility.
So, with Christmas long gone, and snow all melted, there was no further excuse to delay our second semester homeschooling. Stephen and Kenny started back with vigor, not wanting to endanger any of their electronics privileges. We started a new book for our after breakfast devotion time, about heroes and outlaws of the Bible, and the boys are hooked, begging me to continue a little longer each day. We decided to go back to the beginning of chapter 6 in our pre-algebra curriculum. (Any homeschool Mom can tell you that Ch. 6 is always a pivotal point in math curriculum!) Everything else went smooth as silk, with only one pesky little spelling test to do over the weekend. We are back in the academic groove.
Revival! Ken and I never feel like we get enough church during the week. We go the typical Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night like everyone else, but it seems so long between services, and we always want more. So… a weeklong revival is a very welcome event to us. We loved the evangelist, and his family. We loved the music and the messages. God definitely filled our spiritual cups. Even so, we are heartbroken over loved ones who are lost or straying.
By the time we got home from revival each night, dinner was late and becoming a medical necessity! Then of course, I had the clean up to do (did not want to start the next day with a pile of dirty dishes!) So, my days started earlier than the usual early all this week, and ended later than the usual late. And I am tired and strangely energetic all at once... enjoying my day of rest, and looking forward to whatever God has in store this upcoming week.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

First Big Decision of the New Year

My sister called last night and asked if I would be willing to keep the children of one of her co-workers five days per week for pay. The mother is a single mother dissatisfied with her daycare. Everyone knows I am morally opposed to daycare, but that I am sympathetic to those moms who find it their only option. The children consist of a 10 month old and a four year old. On the plus side, Sam would be getting a playmate, which is awesome. Secondly, I could be a positive influence for however long this lasted in the lives of these children and their young mother. And, of course, my family could always use the extra money. On the down side, watching a ten month old all day would certainly impact my homeschooling efforts with Stephen and Kenny. Also, there are a lot of projects I have planned with Bible Study, decorating, cross stitching, and scrapbooking which would definitely take a backseat or be put on hold altogether. Lastly… as much as I love children and value them as gifts from God, do I really have it in me to watch someone else’s children all day, everyday? I’m 43 years old with my own little three year old to chase around. So, I prayed about it, tossed and turned all night trying to decide, and called my sister to ask for another day to consider. I will probably meet with the mother to discuss everything, but if I do that, my heart will get more involved and I won’t be able to say no. So, this first decision of the New Year is a big one, and important to me, my family, and someone else's family. Any advice would be appreciated!