Tuesday, April 6, 2010

One Thing at a Time

I clearly remember the first time I felt overwhelmed by my to-do list. I was in fifth grade and the workload had gone up. Suddenly I was being assigned homework. I couldn't figure out how to remember everything I needed to remember. We had a school assembly one day, where we were introduced to the school counselor and were told that we could go to her about any problem we had--so I took my problem to her. The advice she gave me helped me then, and God has been gently reminding me of it in recent weeks: "Don't look at the whole to-do list, take one thing at a time, do it, and move on to the next."

After being down and out with my knee surgery--and really, having been out of comission for a few years with my high-risk pregnancies and migraines (which I recently discovered were caused by milk--avoiding milk has freed me from the pain I was dealing with every other day), I can look at all that needs to be done and feel overwhelmed. In fact, I had been feeling so overwhelmed, burdened, and frustrated with caring for my home and children that I had become frazzled and depressed. My attitude was to look at everything that needed to be done and to feel my fatigue and sit down because I just couldn't deal with it.

Finally, I reached a point where I couldn't take my frustration anymore and I prayed. I began to get up a little earlier than the kids. Aiden has an alarm clock that goes off in the morning, signaling that he may come out of his room for the day (otherwise he'd be up around 5:30/6am every day). Jocelyn usually wakes up between 5:30 and 6:30 for a bottle and is content to stay in her crib--sometimes she goes back to sleep, and sometimes she plays on her own. That is the time I've carved out to read my devotional, Bible, and pray. It may not be much some days, but I am finding that when I start my day doing that, everything else falls into place.

When I start the day, the kitchen may be a wreck, laundry piled to the ceiling, and Nappy hair is often tumble-weeding across the floor. Before, I would think of all of that, plus every little project that I haven't tackled (such as the stenciled monogram that my mom made for Jocelyn's room that is still not displayed on the wall), and I would get discouraged. Now I feel the reminder "one thing at a time," so I block everything out of my mind and tackle the kitchen, then I move on and tackle something else. All day long I move, doing one thing after another. Slowly, methodically, I move. Stopping to feed the baby when it's time to eat, or to tie Aiden's shoes. These interruptions don't bother me as much as they used to because I realize that I'm doing the best I can do--to God's glory, not mine. And somehow, it all works out just right. Dinner is served and my house is more picked up than it has ever been, even with the many interruptions in my day.

Even if my house is a wreck at the end of the day, I find that if I've had the right heart attitude all day long--I don't care. I can feel proud of the work I've accomplished because I know that God was pleased with how I lived my day. You see, God doesn't look at the outward appearance of things--He looks at the heart. If my heart was in the right place, everything else in my home is placed just right as well--even if I didn't find the time to get to it because I was loving a teething baby, or taking a preschooler to the zoo. As my husband keeps reminding me...who's list do I want to be on? God's or man's? When my answer is God's, somehow it all falls into place and I go to bed with a peaceful heart.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Time has flown since Jocelyn was born. What a delight this baby is! The whole family is in love with her. In the morning when I hear her screeches of delight Aiden and I dash in to greet her. She waves her arms and kicks her legs grinning from ear to ear. We cherish her.

Now that I am past my knee surgery--some of you may not have heard, I wasn't very communicative about it, but on October 6 my knee, which had been injured 10 years ago while playing soccer, bit the dust. I was sitting on the floor playing with Jocelyn and as I switched position I felt it go out (which happened quite often). Immediately I tried to straighten it to get it back in, but it wouldn't straighten. It turned out to be a bucket handle tear of the meniscus (fun, fun) and required reparative surgery. The surgery turned out to be a longer ordeal than we anticipated because it was a repair--usually they just snip out cartilage and let life go on, but in my case, since I'm still pretty young, the doctor decided to repair it. Needless to say, it was impossible for me to care for Jocelyn on my own for quite some time and all of my energy went into recovering from that. Then Christmas came and suddenly I find our family halfway through January--and it's time for me to buckle down and consider what needs to be done to gear up for Aiden's first year of homeschool.

Yes, we have decided to homeschool him. We feel that the public school education does not offer the same worldview that we hold and we want to be sure that this precious child, who was entrusted to us, is educated fully and completely. We don't believe that can be done unless the Creator is included in the lesson plan. After all, it baffles me how one fully explains the creation without the Creator.

We also believe that much of what composes a successful education has been cut out of the public school curriculum in favor of politically correct social messages. What is so silly is that if the messages of Jesus were taught in public school, we wouldn't have to worry about having a politically correct agenda--Jesus taught us to love one another (Matthew 22:37-40) 'Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself. The Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.' (NIV).

Also, God commanded us to care for the earth (Genesis 2:15) 'The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.' (NIV). It seems to me that if we didn't cut the Bible out of the curriculum in a misrepresentation of what the "separation of church and state" really meant we wouldn't have to spend so much of our time teaching basic morals in secular ways.

My mom gave me a 2nd grade reader from the 1940's as a Christmas gift...Do you know what they used to teach reading back then? Aesop's Fables! Today the literature is chosen carefully to reflect current political views--I know because I was an English teacher. What wonderful lessons on wisdom and morality have been lost to a generation of children because top educators decided to neglect the classics in favor of a social agenda!

And so, we are going back to the basics with Aiden's education and pursuing a Christian-based classical education.

Don't get me wrong. I'm choosing the form of education that I like best and I believe God has put the burden on my heart to educate my son following the classical method, but I also understand that I am not perfect and I know there are going to be struggles--I'm sure that you'll read about them here in the years to come! No one form of education will turn out the perfect child. I will do what I can, but ultimately it is God's work that is going to be done, not mine. The prayer of this mother's heart is that her children will ultimately become children of God's kingdom. Nothing else matters in light of eternity.