If You Build It, It Will Come…and It Did!

My son is turning 10 in December. He has not had a single pet. Every boy needs a dog. I finally broke down and got him one.
My husband was set on a puppy. (ay, yai, yai) I was set on a German Shepherd.

My son spent some homeschooling time building a doghouse himself (great measurement lesson!). It is almost finished. Phillip (my son) and I laid hands on it and prayed earnestly that God would bring us not just any dog– the perfect dog for our family.

I believe we definitely found him! We found a 1/2 Golden Retriever 1/2 Black Lab puppy. He is so gentle, fun, and 90% housebroken. (We let him rule the “finished” basement while he’s adjusting. It has no carpeting.)

My son is so smitten that he wants to sleep down there with him. (The basement has actual bedrooms, too)
My heart is thrilled.

Following his human–his best buddy

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Marriage: Conjunctions Can Change Your Life

I am celebrating my 3rd year of marriage. My favorite new saying is “Nothing will bring you to Jesus like trying to stay married.” As a married woman and an English major, I came to realize that conjunctions often get substituted. “Or” is often considered interchangeable with “And”.  It really shouldn’t be.  That little conjunction can change your whole life.

DISCLAIMER: I'm not trying to make a grandiose argument or anything. This is just a random observation I had one day. So if you think I'm completely off my rocker, you're probably right and therefore starting ruckus in comments is probably extraneous.

Wedding vows: For Better- OR-  for worse. For Richer- OR- for poorer. In sickness- AND- in health.

I was randomly noticing one day that all of a sudden the conjunctions in wedding vows change.

OR, means that one or the other things can or cannot happen. I think that this means there is a chance that we are entering a covenant that may be ONLY worse the entire time and that better will never come. Now, I don’t want to sound like Debbie-Downer so let’s remember that this could also mean that better could come the entire time.  My point isn’t to abase the institution. Really. I’m simply realizing that God did not leave out “the fine print.” In deeper reflection, I think it makes entering the covenant even more sacred. God meant marriage to be so lasting that even the conjunction is perfectly chosen to stress the no matter what.

The hardest part of that is accepting it and staying married anyway. (This doesn’t apply to abuse– duh.) I have found in my own relationship that the first 3 years have been difficult. I am not implying that my husband is a bad husband– he’s not. I have found that I give out 50% and then wait for his 50% and am disappointed when I think I haven’t received it. (I also have the ‘comparison’ problem, which is my struggle not of his doing.)

I read in a book recently about a spouse giving 100% and not expecting a return from the other spouse. Simply put, true love is giving our all despite what we get in return. True love is wanting the best for the other person even at your own cost- no matter how angry, unsatisfied, or lonely you feel at the hands of your spouse.

Only Jesus can really do it all the time.  My human nature just keeps killing my best laid plans to be that wife. And guess what – my spouse is human, too. He mucks it up. Just like me.

God gives us spouses as leaders, helpmates, and overall another imperfect human to help us practice the 100% love. He knew what he was doing when he planned it this way.

I toy with this thought all the time:  Marriage is the opportunity to fine-tune our character qualities.

It’s easy to demonstrate integrity, true love, and grace when everything is going great. That doesn’t really speak  much to one’s true character. It’s the reactions and choices one makes when all is shaken loose that shows our areas of weakness that need improvement. And hey, practice makes perfect, right?

Marriage gives us lots and lots of practice.

For some, not all, matrimony also gives us someone on our side to help us when it’s the outside world that’s beating us down. (It’s kind of like when you were a kid and had siblings or a best friend that you fought with all the time but if someone else fought with you they would whoop their ass. Same principle, only stronger bond.)

And the outside world will come. I have learned this– The Enemy wants our marriages to fail. He wants our Homes to be Broken. He wants our Children to suffer from divorce.

I’m going to share some of my ugly character flaws with you- much to my chagrin.
For me, even so much as entertaining the thought of divorce leads to wrong action in little ways. I listen to him just a little less. I make a few more snide comments just a little more often.  I get quick to anger a little more. Guess what all that does for me– provokes him to do the same.
Voila!- A vicious cycle. Voila!- Satan’s foot is in the door.
(Biblical example of this: David’s first accidental glance at Bathsheba. He entertains the thought of her. We all know the next step: Thoughts=Action.)

  • I throw myself face down on my bed, sobbing, telling God that I give him my marriage broken and to return to me fixed. I make sure to stay deeply in touch with God.
  • I try to change my actions with nothing but the hope that it will inspire him to change his.
  • I choose my hills to die on and let the rest go– no matter how hard it is. Then I take my resentment on some of those to God.
  • I continually seek out wise counsel and Christian literature to help me.
  • Every day I think of one wonderful quality in my husband that I love and speak it out loud to myself. On really bad days, I speak it and then write it down. Yes, sometimes it feels difficult to think of even one, but it’s really not that hard once you get started trying. Even “he didn’t do anything stupid TODAY” is a start. 😉 Ha-Ha.

All I know is that I knew what a conjunction was when I chose to say it.  All I know is that today is not the day I get divorced. All I know is that tomorrow is not the day I get divorced.  And so on.

For the record– my husband is a really good man. He tries really hard to be a good husband. I did not share this post with you as a complaint about him— it is about the reality of how difficult dedicated marriage is.

Homeschooling: Phew! A Few Weeks Down

So I’ve found that doing a college style block system works best. We do between 1-3 subjects Monday, Wednesday, Friday and the other 1-3 on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday. (Yeah, I’m harsh making him do work on the weekend; ha!)

This seems to really help with him not getting burnt out on any one subject.

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As a “reluctant reader,” I have found that the combination of audiobook & book works so great!! Especially when they are books about Babe Ruth– he finished it within 1.5 days. We take turns with just-for-fun reads and classic literature.

Life skills: Keyboarding (two hands, please!) . Laundry (so my future-daughter-in-law doesn’t hate me), and we did budgeting and check writing (but our exact address was visible so I didn’t post it)

The old-school “Schoolhouse Rock” — I  love it!!

We have already covered local/state/federal government, reading maps, Nouns, Math rounding, and Nutrition (myplate). He had a blast with the nutrition!!

We even threw in a weekend of having his best guy friend over for some “socialization.” We’ve been doing a lot of character study which has included proper interaction with friends and proper communication techniques when you are angry so I thought having someone over would be a really great chance for him to practice it. He did great!

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One Lovely Blog Award

Thank you The Homestead At Spring Creek!! I’m happy to be nominated but overjoyed that it was from a blog as amazing as yours!!!!  Rules of acceptance: Thank the person/people who nominated you and link back to them in your post. Share seven possibly unknown things about yourself. Nominate fifteen or so bloggers you admire. … Continue reading

This Little Pig Went Wee, Wee, Wee All The Way HOME

My son comes home from public school every day and weeps. He stalls as long as possible getting ready so he won’t have to be there “as long”. We have been going through this since kindergarten and it’s only getting worse as the years go by. And, needless to say, kids are mean. So mean. Last night I held my son for over an hour while he sobbed.

My son has ADD. (Not adhd, that’s different) So naturally he has a really hard time at school anyway, and when he ends up with teachers that aren’t specialized, it is the worst possible scenario.

K-2 were so difficult. None of his teachers have been specialized and he’s a Type B personality so basically the public education system as a whole isn’t really a great fit for him. He learns best through hands-on learning;  he’s a mover. If he is allowed to do jumping jacks while reciting his multiplication tables, he knows more than I do. If he is forced to sit behind a desk all day and take a paper test, he can’t get past the 2s. I will never be convinced that all children learn the same way!, and yet we put all children in the same learning environment. But I’m starting to get off on a tangent.

He was in 3rd grade this year and had a specialized homeroom teacher. She is amazing and he has blossomed. Unfortunately, at this age they change classrooms/teachers for all subjects outside of the basics- p.e., art, music, technology, etc. None of those teachers are specialized. A child with ADD is very frustrating; the good Lord knows that I  know this. He gets yelled at all day by some of the teachers and he gets yelled at a lot by the other kids. He feels like “everyone hates me,” “I get yelled at all day everywhere I go,” and “I have no friends.”  And then, of course, when he gets in trouble at school (which is every damn day), we have to ground him at home. So the child truly cannot catch any respite. He hates going to school- dreads it even.

I only have one chance to raise this child the right way. I only have one chance, one childhood.

I think I’m going to homeschool him.
I can switch my hours from day to night so I can be with him to school him during the day and his dad would be with him at night. I’d make the exact same amount of money and still get to homeschool. We could even pick a Christian curriculum.

I’m doing a lot of research on this right now. I’d be open to any information any of you have. Where I live, there are homeschool groups, homeschool field trips, homeschool discounts, homeschool library resources, etc.
Please let me know if you have any information that could help!!! 

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Dear Father,

I need Your guidance and wisdom. I need You to give me the strength to defend what may be an unpopular choice with dignity and grace. I need You to fill me with the right knowledge to pass on to another generation. I need You to lead me to the right resources. I’m afraid and unsure of myself, Lord. Yet I believe that You will provide what is best for my son, Your little beloved.  If this is the wrong path God, please send me signs and I will obediently follow Your directions with a joyful heart…even if I disagree at the time. I ask that You give peace and comfort to my son; I ask that You heal his heart, as You are the only one that truly can. I love you God.

In Jesus Name, Amen.

365 Gratitude Project: Week 7

Wake up every day with at least 1 thing that makes you grateful you are alive, who you are, and exactly where you are– that was the mission.

The first few pictures are from my son’s list. He joined the project over his Spring Break. This is a picture of him doing this. I couldn’t let that moment pass: 

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Okay, the first on his list were his mom (me!), his dad, and God. Everyone knows what I look like, I don’t know if I had permission from my DH (dear husband), and God is fickle about being seen in person. So let’s start with his next three.

 His church. Isn’t that music to a mother’s soul?!

He is very active with his youth group. It is an amazing group!

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 What 9-year-old isn’t grateful for a Dairy Queen on his block?!

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 His school playground. Note: He did not say “school,” he said school PLAYGROUND. 🙂 🙂

According to the very interesting Multiple Intelligences study, he is a “movement smart” child so I’m not really surprised by this.

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Okay, let’s start mine for the week.

Modern Medicine. I know amongst some this is taboo, but I also think sometimes we overlook how readily available medicine is when we get sick. Imagine having something serious, like strep throat all the way to Lupus (a very real, very painful illness!). Can you even fathom never, ever having medicine for it? To have to live with it every moment of the day until you die? We call the doctor and they call the prescription into the pharmacy for us.

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 This is two-fold. A) Being a homeowner instead of a renter. We can actually plant our own garden in the backyard. B) Homegrown, fresh organic produce to eat straight out of the ground and to can for awesomeness in the winter!

(Obviously this is from when we first started planting)

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Still being at least cool enough to play soccer with out where people can see us. I love playing outside and having a child is the perfect excuse and someone to play with instead of having to kick it against the house! 🙂

And having a job that allows me the time to be at home with him over Spring Break.

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 The funny ways God gives moms to earn respect from boys. If you look closely enough, you can see the perfect outline of the soccer ball. This is what I get for blocking a great kick in capris. I didn’t whine, cry, or even stop the game; earned a lot of kudos from the man-child.

365 Gratitude Project: Week 5

Wake up every day with at least 1 thing that makes you grateful you are alive, who you are, and exactly where you are– that was the mission.  (Yes, I am almost a month behind. But always better late than never!)

A kid that loves vegetables. I’m completely serious when I say that he enjoys eating them. He’ll even ask for them as a “side” in his lunchbox. I love this kid!

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Stain Remover. God bless whoever invented stain remover.

Stain Remover is to a mother what a gun is to a cowboy in an old western.

Word.

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Decent hospital food. If you must sit up at a hospital all night, at least you can get the amazing food delivered right to your door, still piping hot.

(I realize that most hospitals have crap food, but the one where I live is AWESOME!)

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 My custom-built scrapbook desk/cubbies. My dear husband has amazing skills that are so different from mine. He put a lot of time into this just to make me happy. And it did. This is a serious scrappers dream come true!!

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 Cocoa, book, warm throw blanket. Do I really need to say any more?!

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 Black Friday Shopping. We would never be able to afford a trampoline. Thanks to Black Friday we could. He has been outside every single day. He is exhausted when he comes inside.

And it seems to bring all the neighborhood friends to the yard…

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 Getting to share in truly joyful occasions. Being a part of something really special is just the best! My friend has wanted a baby for the last 10 years and is finally pregnant! The room was just bursting with Joy and I am so grateful to have shared this moment with her!