Sunday, March 29, 2020

Finding Normal

As we approach week three of self isolation, I am just now editing our vlogs from week one. What a week that was--relearning routines, being gentle with ourselves because chaos and shock--and discovering God's holy provisions even in the face of fear.

I have been praying for Italy and New York a lot, watching the news (and not watching the news) and talking with my church members. I miss playdates, park adventures, random coffee runs. Reuben's preschool camp was canceled. I had not even told him he was going yet (it was a two hour program for one day) but I was excited for him. My friends are losing their jobs left and right and some of them can't find specific foods at the store. A close friend of mine was only allowed to buy one loaf of bread for her family of 12. Three weeks ago I was moaning about how cold it was and feeling sorry for myself as I did dishes and made beds and wiped bottoms. Now I thank God for our health and pray for a country that is changing right before my very eyes.

we are out of flour now, but I baked a lot the last two weeks!
Here in Lynchburg, VA, the virus is new. When self quarantine started two weeks ago, we had around 12 cases in the state, and zero anywhere near me. Now, two weeks later (as of 3/27) there are 600 cases and 4 around me (only one in Lynchburg as of yesterday). We are staying home. I have autoimmune diseases, my husband always has lung issues and gets everything in his lungs, I have Becky who is normal and Reuben who is always sick and has a lot of allergies. We have gone out a few times and taken the trash out, and done some car-side-to-go orders, but the next week we will be trying to leave our house as little as possible to flatten the curve as much as we can. I am grateful that my husband can work from home during this time and glad we have groceries until next Saturday.

If you are interested in seeing what our first three days were like, I will leave those vlogs below. Follow me on my vlogging channel if you want more. Hint, its mostly shots of my cute kids. Because it helps me take my mind off things...and, cute kids.

How are you guys doing? What has changed in your lives? I am praying for you.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

No One Really Has A Surprise Pregnancy

One of the things God has taught me as I have traversed infertility (twice now) is that no one really has a surprise pregnancy.

I have heard (and said myself) about how amazing it must be to just have sex and get pregnant. No complications, no tears, just BAM. I have envied other women who seem to get pregnant with ease. I have thought they were lucky. I have wished to be them.

But you know what? To God, all babies are planned. There are no surprise pregnancies to him. He plants babies in mamas to further his will and his glory. He gives gifts of children as he sees fit. While I worked really hard to have my Reuben, struggling for three years with miscarriages and infertility, God already knew that he was coming. God formed him and knew him. Reuben is mine to raise for this short time on Earth, even as I know he belongs fully to God; and he wasn't a surprise to God.

The same goes for my friends who seem to "get pregnant easily". God knew and gave those women babies too. I should not envy what God has given another, I should not let anger simmer in my heart over what I do not have.

my two sillies
Babies may certainly be news to us here on earth when they come, but now I can glory in the fact that God knew all and loved all, and planned for all.

This simple revelation helped me release my feelings of sorrow over infertility, and accept God's will for me and his gifts of Reuben and Rebekah. I would have more children, if I could choose: but I can't. I must be thankful what God has given and rest in his plan for my life. His plan is good, and I desire to be a good steward of the time he has given me.

So, I thank him for the tiny moments I had with my babies who passed and rest in the joy that God gives to those who search after him. God knows the story of my life and the story of my babies lives already, he is the one I want writing on the pages of my life, a life he gave to my mother.

My life belongs to him, always and forever. And I thank him for my two babies and my five miscarriages, and for my dreams. God is good.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Life is not about YOU

How many people do you know who are dissatisfied with life? With their jobs? With their spouse? 99% of the time it is because they they think life is about them, their pleasures and their wants, their happiness and their desires. This is a wrong foundation to build your life on. So what should you think about? What should you do?

I've made a video about my thoughts below, and would love to hear yours in the comments.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

I feel like a good mother when...

I feel like a good mother when my house is clean.

I feel like a good mother when my child eats all his food.

I feel like a good mother when I cook nutritious meals for my family.

I feel like a good mother when my son is in a good mood.

I feel like a good mother when my baby naps.

I feel like a good mother when I get my “to-do” list done.

I feel like a good mother when the laundry basket is empty.

I feel like a good mother when the toys are picked up.

None of these things have anything to do with my motherhood.

I'm a good mother when I speak kindly to my children, and others.

I'm a good mother when I apologize.

I'm a good mother when I battle my own sin.

I'm a good mother when I give myself grace.

Motherhood is not measured by meals made. Motherhood is not measured by obedient children. My floor could be clean, but if my children don't feel safe and are not being taught the word of God, am I really following God's will?

A clean house and a organic meal can fester as idols in my heart.

A spotless floor and non-GMO produce does not make me a good mother. My worth is not found in things. My worth is not found in tasks. If I am prideful, I am not a good mother.

A good mother is humble. A good mother learns from her children as they learn from her.

A good mother bows her head before God and knows she is only a good mother because of Him.

I want to be a good mother.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Preschool Tour (homeschool)

Here is a cute little video I made with Reuben highlighting some of the things we use in our preschool.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

February Mother Culture

I didn't finish everything in February. February was HARD. I babysat at least one extra toddler four days a week, and on some days had two extra toddlers! Also, tragically a friend of mine (and community leader) died recently leaving behind a four year old and her husband. Our community has been in shock ever since. I've been randomly frozen in sadness thinking of her and her son. I can't believe she is gone.

After feeling guilty about my progress on my mother culture goals for about three days, I decided to just roll over Feb into March and push everything back a month. The purpose of Mother Culture isn't to finish my list, but to cultivate my own learning and make intentional time for myself. February was crazy, March will be hopefully less so. I'm grieving a loss and need to give myself space and be gentle with myself--time to knit and read will come later.

Right now I am half way through I Said This, You Heard That, and about 1/4 the way through Lord of Chaos. I'm finding it hard to make time to read, and knit! In the evenings I am usually just so exhausted I lay on the couch and watch my husband play Zelda Breath of Wind while my knitting sits on the floor because Becky is nursing. It is what it is.

I did manage to knit about 6 inches of the bottom!! I have four more inches to go, and 2 inches of k2,p2. So close! I will be making short sleeves so, I really am a week or two away from finishing if I work hard! I am loving the Engle pattern--its SO SOFT and I think it looks great.

I also wanted to start on sourdough bread making this month too, but I have zero motivation to make bread from scratch right now. Maybe later.

How was your February?

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Not What I Expected

This first year of homeschooling has not been as I expected. I envisioned effortlessly reading good books to my happy, well-groomed children. I dreamed of days spent outside but forgot about the muddy floors and bad attitudes, and the sticks. The sticks that are thrown. And the tears from those who receive said stick to the face. I swear we spend five minutes happily playing, and 20 minutes fighting over whose turn it is to use the swing.

This year, instead of an easy path towards educational enlightenment, I have been thoroughly humbled and trounced by my own home-school.

The biggest lesson I have learned in my first foray into educating my own wild offspring is that I am a sinner schooling other sinners. I am a sinner and I can't forget my own sin as I teach.

It isn't like I would change this year of preschool. It isn't like I wish I had done something different. But, I have thus far been appalled at my own sin. I am lazy. I don't want to read another book. Sometimes I skip whole paragraphs, especially in Bert Dow Deep Water Man. What kind of person puts paragraphs in a children's book? And why did I ever buy this book? (Well, it was because Bert Dow Deep Water Man is written by the same author of another of our favorites: the one about bears and blueberry hills. But that one has significantly less words and almost no paragraphs.)

Reuben went through a period where he wanted to read Bert Dow Deep Water Man six times a day. I used to try to hide it. Picture books need to come with a word count attached to it or time warnings for lazy mothers who don't love their children as much as Charlotte Mason.

But seriously, why is it so hard for me to stay present with my children? I am constantly distracted by my house; the meals to cook, the laundry to do. Not to mention the internet, social media, knitting, and reading books. And the noise my children make. Why must they make so much noise while I am trying to teach them?

Looking back at this year I have to laugh at myself. I am not a good at homeschooling. In between reading poetry and enjoying tea, I have to remind Reuben to keep his hands out of his mouth and to stop playing with his tongue. No one told me this would happen. Our habit training has gone from my lists of the 10 commandments to “stop touching your face/mouth ALL THE TIME”.

Someone needs to nominate me for mother of the year.

Well. All of the above is true. But what also is true is that I have unaccountably and irrevocably fallen in love with homeschooling. It is empowering and healing, to take control of my own education and “reeducate” myself as I attempt educate my children. Like motherhood, birth, and “postpartum,” homeschooling is another way for God to make me uncomfortable. Another way for Him to teach me about my own sin and my own limitations. Another way to make me see that I can't do it without Him and to surrender.

Surrender should be the new name of my home-school. I mean, we don't have a name yet. I know some people name their schools—in many states you are required to think up a name. I think I'll call ours Surrender School. Me, surrendering to Christ and hopefully teaching and showing (by example) how to do so to my children.

Next year, we start Kindergarten. I'll try to surrender to muddy floors, to sticks, to reading for long hours and learning to love it, to incessant questions that are not at all related to the subject matter I am attempting to impart, and to love, family, and sin.

May God be praised.