Saturday, January 31, 2015

No, I Don't Agree, but That is Ok

As I have mentioned before, I tend to be a worrier. With that, comes the difficulty in saying no. I'm often obliging, even when I don't want to be. Saying yes, or nothing at all, because I don't have a good reason for saying no. Feeling I need to explain myself and my decisions to others, I will keep my thoughts and opinions to myself,  because I worry that if I speak, they won't be my friends anymore. One truth I need to embrace is, I don't owe anyone an explanation and my thoughts and feelings are just as valuable as others.

No, I don't agree with you on so many things.

I don't agree parents should be required to vaccinate their children or keep them locked away from the public.

No, I don't think other people's medical history is any of our business, whether it has to do with vaccinating, birthing, or anything else.

No, I don't think it is our place to tell another person all the ways they are failing as a parent, or person, for not doing things our way.

Same goes for how they live. So what if someone eats fast food or only organic and you don't. Homeschools and you don't. Etc...

It often seems to me that people are so twisted up about how their way is the only way, (in which case, why is it so hard to believe Jesus is the only way?), and instead of enjoying the beauty of life and relationships, they are bent on trying to conform everyone else to their way.

I'm tired of extremism. I don't care which side of the issue you are on, it is ridiculous, intolerant, close minded, and ignorant and quite honestly I'm a bit surprised by how many extremists I know. Let people live and stay out of their business. We can't and shouldn't try to control everything about everyone else's lives. We also shouldn't expect everyone else to think, believe, feel, or live as we do, all the time. It is not the person who disagrees with us that is the problem, if we can't handle their equal right to have individual thoughts and opinions, it is ours. Our job is to LOVE one another not control one another.

The truth is, we all have our "things". Those things we feel adamant and passionate about, but not everyone shares that with us. That doesn't make them a bad, uneducated, fear-mongering, person. It only means, they have different priorities and perspectives than we do. And that is O.K.!!

Monday, January 26, 2015

The First Day is Always the Worst, Right?

I didn't cry the first time I was away from my children. I didn't cry the first time they went to a nursery or child care center. I didn't cry on their first day of school, as I walked them into their classes and handed them into the care of others. I didn't even cry the first time I took them to camp to spend the weekend learning and growing without me.

Today, I cried as I drove home from dropping my girl off. Not because I didn't think she was safe or wouldn't have a good day. I cried because it felt wrong to take her. I cried because she looked like she was holding back tears and wanted nothing more than to come home. But this was the choice she made. I knew she would be fine by the time she came home. That she'd have fun and make new friends. I was right, but it didn't stop the tears.

Then a friend called me, who has also decided, in the best interest of her family, to enroll her children in school, asking if I could help her out so she could do school tours. As she told me the weight on her own heart, I was able to understand and listen. Simply listen. I wanted to say so much and try to comfort her, but I knew it wasn't words she was looking for, except these, "I believe you are making the best choice for your family. It is still heartbreaking, but it is the right choice."

And with that, a thought struck me. Already God has used this detour, from my plans, for His glory. I was able to be a listening ear of compassion and understanding to this friend. And now we know we can lean on each other as we face the emotional ups and downs of this semester together.

Some might say, we should've already cut the apron strings. This isn't about holding onto and sheltering our children, but about the visions we, as the makers of our homes, our families, had for our families and our lives with them. It's about changes we didn't expect. Bumps in the road of life's journey, that we would've never hit, had we been able to avoid them.

We all have ideals of how things can be and it isn't always easy to accept unwanted changes.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

My Troubled Heart

We've decided to let one of our daughters attend the local public school and I'm finding that I am having a very hard time with this. Frankly, I down right hate it. I hate it, because it disrupts my hopes and dreams. It rocks the boat. It takes away from family time with her. It limits us in the things we can do. I could go on. Worst of all, it makes me feel like a failure. It makes me question if I was right when I chose to homeschool them in the first place or if I was just selfish.

I didn't choose homeschooling because they weren't doing well, academically, in public school. In fact they were doing really well. I have no doubt they will/would do very well in public school now. For me the choice was more about what worked for our family and our "un-traditional" life schedule.  Of course there are plenty of other reasons, but this was truly one of the biggest.

Homeschooling has given my children more time with their dad as well as with me and with each other. It has given us opportunities for adventures we might not have had otherwise. It has given them more freedom to pursue their interest than they'd had while in public school.

However, it hasn't been all sunshine and rainbows. In fact, more often than not it has been ugly. Certainly not much how I hope and dream and imagine it should, or could, be. The house is a mess, the kids are fighting, and it seems as though no one is listening to me or getting anything done. At the end of the day, I often wonder if they learned anything at all. I constantly feel like we are behind. Behind in my plans for the year. Behind what their public school peers are doing. Behind the expectations others have. Then the outsiders add their two cents to the pot, leaving me feeling even less like I'm doing good for my family and more and  more like I'm failing them.

I've imagined, on my worst days, what it would be like if I sent them all to school, like "everybody else". I'd have a clean house, meals ready, more time alone with my husband, as well as more time to be alone, time to focus on my writing and crafting, and I'd be able to still see my kids, when they weren't busy with sports and other activities or nose deep in their homework. I might actually be able to really relax and think and breathe. It would be so easy. I could even get a part time job, if I felt like it. On my worst days, letting someone else take the load becomes very tempting. I'd rather them go and actually get an education than stay and not grow.

And that is why she is going. One of my daughters does show a willingness to let me work with her to help her grow. The other, is like a brick wall. Though she claims she doesn't want to go to public school, she also has made it clear she won't let me work with her towards growth. This would be fine if she pursued it on her own more actively, but she doesn't. And this crushes me. The fear that I have in some way crushed her desire to pursue life instead of watching it idly pass her by. I just want what is best for my kids, just like anybody else does.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

3 Days In

We are 3 days into a new year and what many would consider a fresh start. I have to admit I, like most, have already "failed" at some of my goals. Yet, I feel no guilt, shame, or disappointment. As I've thought on my ambitiousness, I've realized that truly, as long as I strive to end each day the best that I can, then it's all good.

Today, I did not think I would. Today, I awoke with a sharp pain above my eye and feeling exhausted. I actually took a nap with my youngest blessing, but still woke up feeling off kilter. In fact, it wasn't until after dinner, that I finally found some gusto to do anything. And do it, we did. With the help of most of my young ones, we were able to accomplish what normally takes me all day to get done. To be honest, this evening worked out better than I imagined and I am thankful. Thankful that, even if my children don't help tomorrow, they did today. Even if tomorrow fails to be perfect, which chances are that it will, today did too, and I am still ending it with a smile in my heart.

One of my goals this year is to count my blessings, taking each day one at a time. So far, in that, I have succeeded.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Blessed New Year

With 2014 shut behind us, we begin to think on the blessings that 2015 may hold for us.

For me, I hope that it is a year of healing, renewal, growth, and adventure. I do have goals for the year, but also a plan of forgiveness and acceptance that I am not perfect and may not succeed everyday. I have written out my goals for the year as well as how I can make them happen this month, though my fear of failing in front of others prevents me from listing them just yet. I'll worry about next month when it happens. The fact is, even if I miss things today, tomorrow is a whole other page to the story of this year, that I can write on and even start fresh with.

I believe that in this year, starting this day, I am moving forward towards being the me God plans for me to be. Letting go of worries, fears, doubts, and bondage while moving forward into courage, boldness, faith, and love. I pray that you, my reader, will also experience beautiful things in this year of our Lord, Jesus Christ, 2015. May you see the blessings this year offers you with graciousness and faithfulness.