Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Our Schoolroom

I woke up this morning to a quiet chill in the air.  Autumn is almost here and a new school year is about to begin.  Our new schoolbooks have arrived and we've cracked open the fresh boxes of crayons.  I've spent the past few weeks rearranging things and making room on the bookshelf.  Things are fitting into place and there is a new season of excitement in our house.

But lately, I've found myself coveting my friends' schoolrooms.  These perfect and sweet little classrooms inside their homes.  There are desks for the children, matching shelves for supplies and precious nooks for curling up with a storybook. 

But I don't have any of that.  We do our lessons at our kitchen table.  I have a crowded bookshelf that holds our supplies and everything is packed up again before each meal.

Today, as I was putting things away, I was thinking about our homeschool.  We are not a school...this is our home.  I want our home to encourage a love of learning.  That doesn't only happen in a beautiful schoolroom, it happens because we are living a life of curiosity.

Yes, these rooms are beautiful and inspiring, and I'm sure they make managing home and school much easier, but I realized today, that for me, having a school room would be all about me.

I'm the one who doesn't want a world map on my dining room wall.  I'm the one who doesn't want science projects growing on my kitchen counter.

But it's not about me.

Kind of like all those baby nurseries I never got to decorate, and my babies never missed.

No, this is our home, and in our home we learn.  It may not be pretty, but we make it work and we are having fun.  And that...is a thing of beauty.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Storm Maker

For everyone who just lived through this hurricane...and through every storm in your life, may you always feel the presence of your Maker.

This is my beautiful sister, sharing her beautiful song.  Be blessed!  Check out her blog here.

Monday, August 15, 2011

It's a rainy day...

With such gray skies outside, I needed a little sunshine inside.  So, I organized my closet by color.  Now before you think I am completely crazy...I am not a super obsessive organizing freak.  I just like to see the beauty in everyday things. 

It took me less than a minute to rearrange my clothes...but I think it makes my closet look so much more put together.  Now, I know I don't have the most colorful wardrobe, but putting like colors together really made a difference (and I realized that I really wear a lot of brown!). 

And now every time I walk by my little rainbow it makes me smile.  :)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

"Yes, they are all ours."

Something rather intrusive happened when we started having children.  All of a sudden complete strangers were all up in my reproductive business.

I remember being pregnant with our first and shocked at the attention I received.  I could no longer go out in public without someone talking to me.  For a shy girl who would much rather go unnoticed, this was not an easy thing.  But, I was a proud mama and most of their comments were sweet.  What I was not happy about was that people I barely knew thought it was OK to just reach out and rub my belly!

Two years later came baby #2, this time a baby girl.  Everyone was so happy for us.  They thought that we had achieved the ultimate goal:  "The perfect family".

Then came baby #3 and people stopped being so nice.  Our perfect family was no longer cute...it was "a handful".

With baby #4, people were downright confused"Are they all yours?!"
And then just plain rude.  "Are you getting your tubes tied?"  "Do they all have the same father?"  "Better you than me!"

They also started to insult my children.  They assumed that we had been trying for another girl, and since we had another boy, our child was not wanted.  "Oh, your poor girl with all those brothers!"  The princess of our family certainly did not feel like she needed pity.

When I showed up pregnant with our 5th child, people put us in a whole new category.  "So, are you like those Duggars?"  "You should have a camera crew following you around!"

I've also been surprised at how much encouragement we've received.  For every one negative comment, we have probably heard five positive ones.  We are always being commended for how well behaved our children are in public.

I've had countless grandmothers pull me aside and say, "I just love your big family! My only regret is that I didn't have more."  And then they go on to tell me they had 7 children!

Over the years I haven't known how to react to all the comments.  Many times I just smile politely and walk away.  But lately I've been feeling very convicted.  I've been reminded of the Bible verse:

"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord.  Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have..."  ~I Peter 3:15

Our faith absolutely has inspired our desire for a large family.  We are not trying to make a radical religious statement.  We have simply prayed that God would give us His heart for children.

Now that my baby bump with #6 is becoming more obvious, there has been a whole new set of questions and comments.  But this time around I am seeking wisdom in how to respond.

I want to encourage the weary-eyed mothers of little ones.  It does get easier.
I want to challenge the grumpy baby boomers to view children differently.  They are not a nuisance.  They are not a drain on society.  They are blessings.  They are our future.  Their innocence should inspire all of us to live differently.

We feel truly blessed to be given the gift of our children.  We now have a home that is so full of love and laughter it is bursting at the seams.

Monday, August 1, 2011

For My Daughters...

My sister in law handed me a basket full of colorful tissue paper.  "It's for your daughters, you'll understand when you open it."  As I dug through the bright layers and unveiled each piece, I knew exactly what she meant.

She had given me 3 mismatched teacups and saucers.  I just had to smile.  She knows how much I love found treasures.  They were perfect.

As a mother of 4 daughters herself, she understands the power of a tea party. 

She didn't just give me beautiful pieces of china, but a reminder to slow down, cherish these moments with my daughters, and keep an open conversation.

My oldest daughter is only 5 years old.  She hasn't built up those walls or shut me out, and it's my prayer that she will always want to come to me, tea cup in hand, to have a girl talk.
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