The Weight of the Choices that We Make

the weight of the choices we make

Caleb drew it. We all colored it. This is a tradition that we enjoy.

Wow! What an election year, eh? Alan got to be in Washington, D.C. for election night, but it was not just me and the boys here. Nana came over too! We had an “election party”, which is basically where we feed the boys Oreos and let them fill out the electoral map with red and blue markers as the results come in. Of course, most of it had to wait until the morning.

I always stay up as late as I possibly can to watch the results. I only made it until midnight this year. Parenting takes it out of you. Doesn’t it?

The whole election thing got me thinking about choices.

Choices, choices, choices.

They are constant aren’t they? So many decisions all the time. Some of them harder than others. We’ve all made our presidential choice. Check. Phew! Done. But there are so many choices left to make.

Today I had several messages on my phone to answer. I had house cleaning that I’ve been neglecting (as usual, because bleh–house cleaning). I had this absurd need to watch news anchors discuss the election with the experts. Then there was John David, wanting to be taken outside. I had a blog that needed updating. And I have growing boys that need me. Every minute that I spend doing or not doing anything is a choice that I make that says something about my priorities.

I try to always start my day out with God’s Word and prayer because when you put first things first, everything else should fall into place.

“Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”   Matthew 6:33

I loved this quote from Beth Moore:

“You may have many different things that you want to do, but they may not have anything to do with what you want your life to be about.”

I wrote it down and stuck it to my wall. I need that reminder. Am I trying to do every little good thing and ending up stressed? We can’t do ALL the things. We have to do some picking and choosing somewhere.

OR am I carefully choosing to focus on what it is I want my life to be about?

Just a little food for thought on this sleep-deprived-post-election day. What is your mission in life? That is the most important question here.

I want mine to be about serving the Lord. I want to walk in peace with Him, serving him by serving others through the ministries that He has given me. I want my boys to feel cherished and to know what is important. I want my husband to have a wife that builds him up and is a trustworthy companion. I want my blog to be a gospel-sharing ministry that brings joy. I want to live a life that is in line with God’s plan for me.

How about you? What do you want your life to be about? What things do you say ‘no’ to in order to focus on your mission?

 

 

 

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veterans

Click on this picture to read the Veteran’s Day article I wrote for Monterey Premier.

 

Happy Veteran’s Day! Hope you all get a day off!

Managing the “Santa” Question!!

 

 

 

santabydan

 

I love potatoe Clause, don’t you?  Oh, it used to be so simple, when all the boys were Daniel’s age or younger.  We bought the gifts, we wrapped the gifts, we barely even hid the gifts, no one asked any questions, and everyone was happy.

Joshua has been finding his gifts since he was four or five years old. I made up excuses (lies) to keep the magic alive. “Oh, that’s just your gift from us. Santa will bring you other stuff.”

We also always use the same wrapping paper. Caleb commented on it this year, “Mom, how come you and Santa always use the same wrapping paper?”

Oh, well, um…

But this year Joshua didn’t just find a gift or two, he found the mother load!!

“Mom, can’t you just go ahead and put all these presents under the tree?”

So we went ahead and put their one big gift and one little gift for each boy under the tree. I’ve bought five total for each boy.

calebandtree

 

They were so excited. Joshua made this giant present tower. Have you ever seen anyone else do that?

I figured Daniel would get caught peeking, and then they’d see why I can’t put all the presents under the tree. Joshua kept begging me to put them ALL under there. To my surprise, Daniel and Joshua have been supremely well behaved about the whole thing! However, I caught Caleb peeking, and J.D., one afternoon, with NO SHAME whatsoever, ripped open two presents.

Needless, to say, no more presents have been added, and the tower has actually come in handy. The boys pile the small presents, which interest J.D., up at the top where he can’t unwrap them.

It’s all rather ridiculous, because even through alllllll of this confusion, they STILL believe in Santa. Joshua even caught me shopping on Amazon. He’s nine, so I even tried to hint to him, “Well, Joshua, you know you DID find your presents. What do you think that means?”

Joshua got scared, “I’ve been too naughty, and I’m not getting anything!!!???”

(What!???  Not what I meant!!!!)  “Nonono, sweetie, that’s not what I mean at all. I’m saying, Joshua…”

Alan stepped in, “We buy the presents,” he said softly, as he hugged Joshua, “I’m sorry, Buddy.”

Joshua looked at us blankly.

We waited quietly, for it to sink in. We thought maybe he got it.  Nope. Still believes.

The next day, another gift for J.D. arrived. The rain had destroyed the box, exposing it for what it was.  I said, where Joshua could hear me, “I can’t put this under the tree. I’m going to put this in my closet, because this is a Santa present.”

Suddenly, it all clicked, and Joshua full on panicked. “What! Mom!  There’s no Santa? He’s not real? It’s not true!!!!????” where ALLLLL his brothers could hear.

“What!? Sh sh sh sh Joshua, go to the laundry room, and stop saying that, you’re going to scare your brothers!’

I didn’t know what to do. I was weak, and I did not enjoy that scene that I’d just witnessed, so I said, “Joshua, the Santa gifts are arriving here early because we are having Christmas here early, remember? Christmas Eve will be too late.”

It was all too easy. He was very quickly soothed.

OH! But now I have the guilt of a liar. 🙁 Now that he’s nine, it all makes me a little uneasy. The Santa magic has been so fun. I LOVE making a really HUGE, BIG deal out of Christmas. In Bible times, they always had great feasts and parties and exchanged gifts to mark events where God had provided for them. Why should Christmas be any different?

Of course, I don’t suppose they created any fictional characters in all of those Biblical feasts….

Sigh. This is one of the hardest things I’ve faced as a parent yet! Isn’t that silly? I don’t want to crush Joshua!

I figured the myth out by the time I was seven. Santa was a great big deal to us too, but neighbor kids told me he wasn’t real, and when I asked my mom, she just said, “Well, what do you think?” I said, “Well, I mean, I know reindeer can’t fly, and it doesn’t really make any sense.”

Mom said, “No, you’re right. He’s not really real.”  She didn’t make a big deal of it. It was still a shock, though. I quickly said, “But wait, then the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy…”

It’s such a major milestone in a child’s life.

Now I feel so guilty for perpetuating this Santa thing. I don’t want to kill the excitement of Christmas. They DO know the true meaning is all about Jesus’s birth, but still. Killing the fairy tales of childhood seems like a thing I do no want to do, you know?

So what say ye? How did ya’ll handle this?  I’d love to hear your stories.

 

felt tree

Our classroom tree: a felt tree that Caleb decorated with pretty gifts at the bottom and the ornaments. Joshua did the candy canes. Caleb has a surprising eye for making things look nice.

 

olaf drawings

 

 

Caleb worked hard on this Christmas with Olaf picture. Love it! 2 Olafs. The black rain is supposed to be snow.

kidswrapping

another new thing this year: Joshua and Caleb are LOVING wrapping presents. My job keeps getting easier!

treewithgifttower

Our Christmas present tower cracks me up. Joshua definitely thinks outside the box.

We also couldn’t figure out where to hang the stockings, since we don’t have a fireplace. The boys solved that problem this morning. They hung all four stocking ON the Christmas tree. (pic to come later) Haa!

 

kids wrapped presents                                                 gift wrap by Caleb 🙂

I did ask Joshua, “What are you most looking forward to about Christmas?”

He replied, “Jesus’s birthday and the field trip.”

“Huh? What field trip?”

“You know,” he said, as he pointed to the calendar, to the day marked for Alabama.

“Oh!!!  Yeah!”

I’m getting excited too. 🙂

Now let’s hear your Santa advice!!

 

 

 

Breaking into the Home-School World

I just spent an hour typing out a blog post that I was unusually happy with. I thought my computer was plugged in and all was well. It wasn’t.

I thought, “No big deal. It automatically saves…..” It didn’t.

You will be happy to know that I did not panic. I felt sad, but I internalized all of my bad feelings rather than annoy anyone by “venting” my frustration. That’s right. You can look for an April explosion from this suppressed disappointment later……

I’m not the kind of person that can re-create awesomeness. It’s gone. It will never come back. So we will just hit the highlights. Forget my brilliant essay, and since no one will ever get to actually read it, I can call it brilliant. 😉

We will just stick to the bullet points:

  • Home-schooling. It’s happening. We are really going to do it, ya’ll. I’ve ordered the curriculum. I’ve attended information sessions, book fairs, and read copious amounts of information. I’ve been planning, and planning, and planning. I’m even getting excited about this.
  • Embarrassment:  I’m not too thrilled about announcing this to the masses. I admit it. In my mind, I’m still wondering if this officially makes me a weird-o. Many of you are nodding your heads…. On our trip out West, Alan would tell people, “Actually, we are home-schooling.” I would all but elbow him, as I wanted to hide under a rug and whisper, “Would you please stop telling people that!?”
  • Does this make me crazy? Nah. I’m just doing what I think is best for my family. Neither of them listen well in a large class setting. Their teachers have told me that repeatedly, so I know the normal-for-these-days classroom setting of 28 kids to 1 teacher just isn’t working. At least I will be working a 4:1 ratio. Why stick with something that isn’t working?
  • Clarification: The boys are doing okay in school. They even do really well at some of it, but the thing is that I know they could do better. So we try something new. They are smart boys. I know they can do well.
  • This was the answer to my prayer, and it was loud and clear. Do you ever get loud and clear answers to your prayers? It makes the decision so much easier.

 

What I worry about:

  • Making friends: The boys are really good at making friends. We are as social a family as you will find. If I am unable to find friends for them through our tutoring service (Classical Conversations), church, or extracurricular activities, this may not work.

Hope:  It’s been AMAZING to see the 4 of them playing together just fine this summer. Also, they have been making friends everywhere we go: church, the playground, the library. They always walk away telling their new friends, “Come back tomorrow!  We’ll play some more!!”

  • Fitting in in my neighborhood–Will anyone else in my neighborhood be doing this??  Or will they label me “that crazy home-school lady”???  Noooooooo
  • Fitting in with other home-schoolers–These ladies seem so much more “together” than me. As a group, they are thin, accomplished, healthy-food-eating, conscientious, seemingly- perfect- people. What if they find out about the way I down soda when I’m stressed or that my baby is 12 months old and still wakes up once each night????  😉 Shhh.  Don’t tell them.
  • Also, when do I get to go to the dentist….or the hair stylist???  You can’t do those things with children in tow, and Alan does not work flexible hours.

Hope: Of course, there are no perfect people. I should be fine as long as I’m nice, accepting, and friendly. Right?? I will quote Reese in Legally Blonde, when she went to Harvard, “Relax. Everyone will love you.”

 

What I’m not worried about:

  • Curriculum– I’ve done a little of this before, so I’m well acquainted with what works and what doesn’t for my boys. I think I have found some awesome materials, through Classical Conversations and A Beka. I LOVE the lesson planning part.
  • The teaching– I’ve been teaching Joshua all of his math for years, since he doesn’t listen in class. Thankfully, this past year his teacher picked up on that, and I got a break! I also taught in Texas, ages ago, so I feel comfortable with that portion. When you have children, you teach all the time.
  • Okay. That’s about all I’m not worried about!  Haaa!  Excited but nervous first-year home-schooling mom here, ya’ll!!!  Any words of encouragement would be greatly appreciated. See the comment box below!!

I have high hopes for this year. We all do what we think is best for our family right? And as we say in the South: “There is more than one way to skin a cat.”

 

 

 

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