Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Sometimes Life Just Sucks

Pardon my bluntness. Life sucks. Bad things happen to great people and people who don't deserve the dirt they walk on get great things. Life is not fair. At no time is that more apparent than when learning of an illness of someone who is your age...or who you are close to...or used to be close to. What makes it worse if having to walk your children through that. I love being a mom. I love my children...all 6 of them (if that number confuses you, see my profile). Nothing can bring more joy or pain than being a mother. Part of that journey is walking your children through grief. We have the honor of being able to teach our children about life. About the good and bad. Sometimes we forgot that this is an honor that has been bestowed upon us by God Himself. I have had to walk my children through this valley more than once. And that valley is not always the grief of life lost. It can be the loss of "what could have been." The loss of a relationship, a marriage, a home, a friend. Kids are resilient but that should not cause us to belittle the feelings they have. Feelings are very real for a four or five year old just like they are for an adult. My children are very compassionate. I am thankful that this will lead, hopefully, to lives as compassionate adults. They feel big. Some more than others. With big love also comes big anger and big grief. As children, they have had to walk through more grief than I ever did. I am walking through many of these loses for the first time with them. I am thankful, though, that I can walk them through grief guided by God's light. Filtering my responses through an eternal filter. I have the honor and awesome responsibility to teach them that God is in control. He will be glorified in the good and in the bad. He gives and takes away. He will work all things together for good...even when we don't understand. Between my depression, my husband's depression, and the amount of loss they have had to endure over the last four years, I am thankful that God is in control and that we can always hold on to Him. Even when nothing is left but our fingers clinging to the cross, He has never let go. Thank you, Lord, for our children and for making yourself known to them. Thank you that they have opportunities as children to spread your love for others and to demonstrate supernatural peace when everything in the world says that they should be a wreck. Thank you for giving my husband and I the words to say at the right times so that we can guide them through life's difficulties with your grace and peace.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Character Education

I have come to the realization over the course of several months that I want my children to be different. I want them to excel as they grow in to adults and thrive in adulthood if when they get there. :) I would love to homeschool, however, that is not an option for our family in this season. I can, however, begin to teach our children some of the things they could get with a homeschool education while they still attend public school. Fortunately, they attend a school that places emphasis on "a culture of kindness." It's even in their school motto/mission statement. For that, I am extremely grateful. Things that I can do at home, though, can go beyond what they learn at school. Just like you would help your child with their homework and encourage their academic learning, we can encourage their character learning. Encouraging the character qualities we want to see in our children is essential to how they will function as adults. How they will do in their jobs, how they will love their spouse, how they will they will love you as you age. This is something that is simple to do, even with a full time job and multiple children at different stages. I will try to keep an account of how this is working and what we are doing for those who would like to join us, or try your own version at home. The first thing I did was make a list of 17 different character qualities: Trustworthiness/Honesty, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring/Compassion, Citizenship/Patriotism, Perseverance, Self-discipline/Self-control, Courage, Integrity, Kindness,Hope/Optimism, Loyalty, Initiative, Contemplation, Adaptability, Forgiveness. I wrote them all on pieces of paper then had the kids take turns drawing them out of the bowl until we had one per month through the end of the year. This did two things: gave them some ownership in the process and kept them from saying that I was just picking ones I wanted. Here is what we ended up with: April - Responsibility, May - Initiative, June - Kindness, July - Contemplation, August- Integrity, September - Caring/Compassion, October - Self-Discipline/Self-Control, November - Fairness, December - Loyalty. When we start the new year, we will evaluate where we are. If we are doing well, then we will draw qualities for the entire year. Today we started Responsibility. Very simply, we defined it. The kids are 9, 7, 4, and 2. We still need to make sure they know what the word means before we expect them to put it into action. Our definition is, "being accountable for something within your control or management." As we go through the month, we will look for ways to be responsible, time when we can see and encourage others who are being responsible, and we will see what the Bible has to say about responsibility. My hope is that, through this process, our children will begin to see beyond themselves and see ways that they can serve God and serve others. I am also fully aware that this will change us as parents, too. Just a nice side effect! ;)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Be Still

So... A lot has happened since my last post. Some good, some not so good, yet all part of His plan. Part of our life is back on track, part is still far from where I thought we would be at this point in our lives. I have really been struggling for a while with not being where I think I should be, where we should be as a family. It is what I want. I have an idea of what I would like our family to look like, to act like, to do life like. It is not His is MY idea. If you had asked me 14 years ago, when we met, what my family would look like now, it would not be like this. If you had asked me 10 years ago, when we got married, what our family would look like now, it would not be like this. If you had asked me 5 years ago...well, you get the idea. I NEVER pictured life like this, spiritually. I have been thinking a lot about that. Why can I not have the relationship with God that I know I should have. Why can't my children? Why has parenting become so much harder as they have gotten older? Wasn't it supposed to get a little easier in ways? I thought I was prepared. I was not. On the way home, I was listening to Pandora and a song by Christy Nockels came on..."Be Still and Know." God really used that moment and the flow of the song to speak to me. On that drive home, all my worries, all my doesn't matter. He is GOD! I will hold on to that. I can't be still in my life, but I can know that He is God. My life could be falling apart worse than I could imagine, worse than I have experienced already...He is still God. I have said it before. Music is very powerful in my life. The way the notes flow, the lyrics, the feelings it explains or creates in me. God has given me that. Where words fail...Music speaks. Here is the link again...Christy Nockels, Be Still and Know