May 9, 2012

Car Wash

Why is washing a car so much fun, but washing dishes is boring?

Maybe I should just bring my pots and pans outside?

May 8, 2012

Two Things I thought I'd Never Say

 "Boys, take the underwear off the dog and get to History."


Annie - "PEEE-U!!! The dog just 'fawted'!!!"

Me - "How do you know?"

Annie - "B,b,b,be-because I just smelled his butt, and IT STINKS!!!!"

Me- "Annie get off the ground, AND don't EVER smell the dog's butt again!!   Let's eat lunch."

Just another typical homeschooling day here.  -It's ok. I'm alright...really.

Apr 2, 2012

Lessons from a Snowman

Interesting weather around here lately, huh?  One week, there's snow, and the next week, it's 80 degrees.  Our summer clothes are half in and half out of the attic.  It's hard to know how to dress each day. I think it's safe to say that we've seen the last of the snow....I hope.

The other day, our munchkins headed outdoors to enjoy what appears to be, the last remnants of winter.

"Let's make a snowman!" one of them shouted.  Annie grabbed a small snowball and began to roll it through the heavy snow.  It was a warm day outside and the snow had begun to melt, creating the perfect snowy combination for our frosty friend. 

Matt began the work for the middle section.  He rolled that little snowball around the yard, packed it down, rolled and rolled some more.

When it came time to lift the snowman's belly, and put it into place, it wouldn't budge.  He could not lift it alone. One by one, each sibling came over to help him....

 "Ok everybody," Matt yelled, "On three!.....One....two...three!"  They grunted and groaned. Together, they maneuvered that big ole belly into place.

Matthew grabbed a shovel, and began chipping away at all the parts that didn't seem to fit.  Emma sculpted the other side.

Slowly, a snowman began to take form.

Isaiah 64:8 

But now, O Lord, you are our Father;
we are the clay, and you are our potter;
we are all the work of your hand.

 When God, our perfect designer, sees things in my life that doesn't fit, He will do the same.  Sin needs to go in order for me to take the form of Him. Jesus was completely sinless. As imperfect humans, how can I take the form of Him?

John 3:30 "He must increase, but I must decrease."  

The formula - MORE of HIM, less of me.  Isn't that the formula to change anything in our lives?  Want to lose weight?  More moving, less eating.  Want more money?   More working (or managing), less spending.  Want more time? More managing, less idleness. Want to change your life for God? More of Him, less of you. Let Him do His work, chipping away at the selfishness, anger, pride, impatience, gossip and all those time wasters that draw us away from Him.

Only by His strength can I be molded into a patient, loving, humble,  peaceful mamma.  I want more of "Mary sitting at His feet" and less of "Martha's senseless running around."(Luke 10:38-42)

I don't want to stand around with a plastered smile on my face, frozen into place.  Our Creator didn't just make us and leave us. He continues to lovingly chip away and sculpt each one of us into His useful vessel.

I love this...................

The Master's Vessel 
Author Unknown

The Master was searching for a vessel to use; On the shelf there were many - which one would He choose? "Take me", cried the gold one, "I'm shiny and bright, I'm of great value and I do things just right. My beauty and luster will outshine the rest And for someone like You, Master, gold would be the best!"

The Master passed on with no word at all; He looked at a silver urn, narrow and tall; "I'll serve You, dear Master, I'll pour out Your drink, and I'll be at Your table whenever You dine, My lines are so graceful, my carvings so true, And my silver will always compliment You."

Unheeding the Master passed on to the brass, It was wide mouthed and shallow, and polished like glass. "Here! Here!" cried the vessel, "I know I will do, Place me on Your table for all men to view."

"Look at me", called the goblet of crystal so clear, "My transparency shows my contents so dear, Though fragile am I, I will serve You with pride, And I'm sure I'll be happy in Your house to abide."

The Master came next to a vessel of wood, Polished and carved, it solidly stood. "You may use me, dear Master", the wooden bowl said, "But I'd rather You used me for fruit, not for Bread!"

Then the Master looked down and saw a vessel of clay. Empty and broken it helplessly lay. No hope had the vessel that the Master might choose, To cleanse and make whole, to fill and to use.

"Ah! This is the vessel I've been hoping to find, I will mend and use it and make it all Mine." "I need not the vessel with pride of its self; Nor the one who is narrow to sit on the shelf; Nor the one who is big mouthed and shallow and loud; Nor one who displays his contents so proud; Not the one who thinks he can do all things just right; But this plain earthy vessel filled with My power and might."

Then gently He lifted the vessel of clay. Mended and cleansed it and filled it that day. Spoke to it kindly. "There's work you must do, Just pour out to others as I pour into you."

Feb 1, 2012

Proverbs 31 Woman or Superwoman?

(Let's not mention my last post, and the fact that I almost moved to Australia, ok?)

I've got good news!!!  I just found this out last night. I was laying in bed reading my Bible, and came across Proverbs 31:10-31:

 10 A wife of noble character who can find?
   She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
   and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
   all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
   and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
   bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
   she provides food for her family
   and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
   out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
   her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
   and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
   and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
   and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
   for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
   she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
   where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
   and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
   she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
   and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
   and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
   her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
   but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
   but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
   and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
I read that whole passage out loud to my husband. "So, let me get this straight...this woman of noble character whose worth is far more than rubies apparently stayed up late, serving and woke up early, serving. Her husband's needs were met in every way. He praised her, and had confidence in her. She had two business' going on.  -both real estate and sewing. (note to self: learn to sew. Duct tape can only hold a hem for so long) She made a profit from her business deals. She gave to the poor.  She always had the right thing to say. She was full of wisdom and kindness. She wasn't lazy or idle. She was a vigorous worker. She was the picture of health with her strong arms. She wisely instructed her children, who called her blessed.   She was a gardener.  She had seasonal clothes all ready to go for her family. (If anyone has an explanation as to why I just washed a bathing suit in the middle of winter, please send me an e-mail with a subject line of:  "Hey Loser Mom! It's winter! Try putting the summer clothes in a tote, so your kids don't have access to them."  -And, I will gladly never speak to you again.)

I continued to read that passage out loud, now with slight sarcasm in my voice, "Oh and look here!  Ms. Proverbs 31 made blankets for her bed....probably made her bed every morning, too!  She kept a careful eye on her household, and made sure everything was running swimmingly. She took care of herself and dressed nice.  She wasn't vain, but she was no slob, either. AND!! EVERYONE IN HER FAMILY AND IN THE ENTIRE STINKEN' COMMUNITY JUST THOUGHT SHE WAS THE CAT'S MEOW!!!" I put the Bible down in my lap, and looked at my husband completely exasperated. "WHO CAN ACCOMPLISH ALL THIS?????!!!!!!!! WHO?! WHO?! WHO??!!"  My chest was heaving. Beads of sweat were dripping off my forehead.  Joel opened one eye and calmly said, "Where in that passage does it say that she did all of that in one 24 hour period?"

-Light bulb moment!-

 My husband went on, "You're reading about her life's work."

"Oh."  -I curled up, and slept like a baby last night.

I don't know why that was such an epiphany for me, but it certainly was a glorious one!! I have read several books on the "Proverbs 31 woman."  I've attended ladies' Bible studies where we diligently dissected each phrase, and compared and contrasted her to today's woman.  I really did want to follow this woman's example, but she seemed so unattainable. I'd wake up with new found determination to put it all into practice, and after only a few hours, I'd feel exhausted, overwhelmed and defeated. (Australia ring a bell?) All this time, I thought she accomplished planting a garden, selling property, sewing clothing and blankets, feeding the poor, being Ms. Smarty pants, "Wife of the Year" and raising her kids up to call her blessed was just, "all in a day's work" for Ms. Proverbs 31.  Despite the fact that she did not do everything in a day, I still can learn much from this Bible heroine. She was obviously methodical in getting her work done, according to time and seasons.  She invested in people...real live people, not "Farmville." Her worth was far more than the price of jewels, because of her character, not because of what she could accomplish. My favorite part of all this is that "the Proverbs 31 woman" was human, not a Superwoman.
*huge sigh*  What a relief!  Now I can return that Superwoman suit. -It made my legs look fat. :0)

PS  I love him.

Jan 24, 2012

Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Days

 As Mikey was reading  "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" book to me, I felt a connection with Alexander.  Poor, poor Alexander waking up with gum in his hair, his sweater in the sink, missing out on the toy in the cereal box.  I sat there listening to my boy read, but not really. My mind was plagued with a to-do list longer than the Nile River.  There are piles of laundry around me, dishes precariously balancing on every inch of the counter, food rotting in the fridge, and the vacuum cleaner is sound asleep in the linen closet.  (I don't even think I remember how to turn that stupid thing on.)  Emma and Annie start bickering over who gets to sit in front of the fire place. They do this even in the summer. "Girls, go get dressed." They walk out, continuing to argue over who got to sit in front of the fireplace yesterday. Mary comes in the room, and tells me that she didn't sleep well at all last night, and the little girls woke her up.  She's not happy.  The phone is ringing.  The dog is pacing the floor, making it clear that he needs to use the facilities now. "Matt, the dog needs to go the way, when did we get a dog?" Annie walks in, and asks me if I know where any clean "undah-wearah" is.  I point to the mountain in the corner. The phone is still ringing. The dog is still pacing.  "MATT!! THE DOG!"  Mikey continues to read, "I think I'll move to Australia."  AUSTRALIA!! Yes, that's it, Alexander! Why hadn't I thought of that. 

"Mom, my cello string is broken. I guess I can't practice." Matt yells.

"You have three left. Work around it," I yell back.

We've replaced at least 84 strings on that cello.  The last cello was crushed under our suburban, but that's a story for another day.  Surely there is some homeschooling mom out there who doesn't have it all together.  I grab my laptop and google, "homeschooling moms who don't have it together."  I come up empty.  I did find a homeschooled  7 year old working on his master's degree, and another homeschooling mamma who has a freezer full of meals for the next 12 years.  This particular group of homeschoolers wear the "Homeschooling badge" proudly. When you talk to them, they like to slip in little phrases like, "When we were studying quantum physics the other day...." I shamefully look down at my "homeschool badge."  It appears to be upside down, and covered in chocolate.  Most days, I wear my hair in a messy bun with the same sweatshirt on. If I do decide to put makeup on, Annie asks where we're going, so I try to keep her stabilized.  When I took Emma for her first dental cleaning, the hygienist asked her how often she brushes, and she proudly announced, "When we go to church and to the library."  The hygienist looked at me like, "Is she telling the truth?"  I smiled and shrugged. "We're religious bookworms."  The scary thing is that Emma was HAPPY with that information.  She actually thought she gave the good answer for that one.

We go to have her cavity filled on Monday.

Why am I telling you all this?  Because for far too long, there has been this false idea that "homeschoolers have it all together."  I'm here to let tell you that the jigs up.  We have cavities.  We eat cereal for dinner. We have science projects growing in the refrigerator that were not planned science projects.  We have string-less cellos, mismatched socks and library fees larger than the national debt. Just keeping it real here, folks. I don't think it helps anyone to pretend to be something you're not.  My husband gets daily phone calls from me threatening to list our children on e-bay.  He's used to these phone calls, and calmly tells me that everything will be fine, and that he'll bid on all five of our children, and perhaps I should go out for a little bit of fresh air.  I then tell him what a horrible wife, mother and human being I am. He says, "No, you're not." -And then, we're good for the next 28 days.

Mikey turned to the last page of the book, "My mom says that some days are like that...even in Australia."

Well said, Mrs. Alexander....well said.