Monthly Archives: August 2014

Wise Words by “Dear Abby”

Feet on the Ground

A Busy Summer

a summer day at the parkWithin a week, my children will be in school, after a three-month summer break. It was a summer I had hoped would be focused on them. Outings. Stories. Fun. Togetherness.

It was, in fact, a busy summer. It began with an in-depth “spring cleaning” (yes, in summer) after my sister and her kids moved out of our home. It continued when my husband began a new work-from-home venture by building a small voice-over studio in our family room. And when I had three separate courses to plan from scratch and prepare for teaching at an adult school: working from home, blogging, and living on purpose. In short, it was not a sit-around-and-relax summer.

But we did some things as a family.

1. We got season passes to a water park and went nearly every week.

2. We took a weekend camping trip, waded upstream until someone spotted a freshwater crab, and stargazed beneath a diamond-strewn sky.

3. Nearly every morning, we read stories from the Bible or a kids’ devotional, or watched a video from the “Creation Today” show.

4. We had a memory verse contest, where every ten verses memorized was rewarded with something special: a sleepover or a special snack.

5. I read stories to the kids nearly every evening. Jessica and I have been reading through Madeleine L’Engle’s “Wrinkle in Time” series. Allen and I, first through The Sugar Creek Gang and then the “Little House on the Prairie” series.

Still, I feel that in many ways I spent too much time sitting at the computer; much of it was necessary work, some of it was unnecessary browsing, but all of it was time not spent with the kids. They keep themselves busy, yes. Our daughter reads books as if we’re about to enter a Fahrenheit 451 realm of existence and she needs to experience every book at least once. Our older son occupies himself with drawing and creates artwork that is beyond my skill level. Our younger son designs complex patterns with his hot wheels cars, and more recently has been expressing an interest in drawing and coloring. I’m thrilled to see them develop skills, create make-believe worlds together, and utilize their God-given imagination.

But I was still feeling guilty and I didn’t do more with my kids. Then I remembered a few summers ago, when I created an intricate summer schedule for myself and the kids. It included learning Spanish twice a week, a baking project once a week, a weekly science class, guitar lessons, times tables, and more. I wrote a blog post about the summer plan, and my mom made the following comment:

We all had certain jobs that were year round. Summers were spent hanging out with friends. When they put a community pool across the street, we swam every day. I walked for miles to visit friends. I played solitaire when I was bored. I embroidered. When we were younger the parents would shove us out the door to play, and sometimes locked it so we couldn’t get back in. I don’t remember my mom having to entertain us. It’s admirable that the kids want to learn and do things. In all your planning, remember: summers are for teachers (and that’s what you are besides being a mommy) to recharge and get things done they have neglected throughout the school year. God worked 6 days and rested on the 7th. Down time. We all need it. Kids too.

She was right. As it turned out, we moved that summer, and much of the schedule went out the window.

This summer, I might not have been doing something with my kids every moment, but they still learned. They grew. And I didn’t have to do it all. I tend to believe that I need to take an active (or over-active) role in the lives of my family, but sometimes I need to let go. Every year, as my children grow, I will need to let go more and more. This includes not feeling like if I don’t do everything I intend to do, I have failed as a mother.

I will never be what I would consider a “perfect mom.” But I love my children. And the times I spend with them are the best moments of my life. Sometimes, I suppose, perspective rather than perfection is enough.

I hope you had a wonderful summer with your children and family as well!

A Good Investment

A Good Investment

Fireflies by Owl City

My kids enjoyed this video. The singer created the video in his parents’ basement. Looks like a great place for creativity and fun.

Christian Music and Inspirational Quotes

You would not believe your eyes
If ten million fireflies
Lit up the world as I fell asleep
‘Cause they’d fill the open air
And leave tear drops everywhere
You’d think me rude
But I would just stand and stare

I’d like to make myself believe
That planet Earth turns slowly
It’s hard to say that I’d rather stay awake when I’m asleep
‘Cause everything is never as it seems

‘Cause I’d get a thousand hugs
From ten thousand lightning bugs
As they tried to teach me how to dance
A foxtrot above my head
A sock hop beneath my bed
The disco ball is just hanging by a thread
(Thread, thread…)

I’d like to make myself believe
That planet Earth turns slowly
It’s hard to say that I’d rather stay awake when I’m asleep
‘Cause everything is never as it seems
(When I fall asleep)

Leave my door open…

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Rejoice with those who Rejoice

Aiden coloring page

Aiden’s coloring page

Once a month, I spend my Sunday morning with a group of preschool-aged children at church. Okay, so it’s only about an hour and a half, but it seems longer. I watch them as they play with blocks, puzzles, and cars. We clean up together and then read a story. Afterwards, they do an activity, usually involving a coloring page.

This past Sunday, I had nine kids, including my five-year-old son. Most had already spent an hour in Sunday school class before I arrived, so by the  last half hour, they were getting a little squirelly. Between restroom trips and drinking fountain breaks, I was late in reading them their Sunday story, which was about a little girl named Emily who was jealous of her brother getting lots of attention because he had broken his leg.

A couple of the kids were already up and  racing off to reclaim their toys when I remembered the coloring page. I called over the din that we had a fun page to color, and it was something important that Emily learned, to “Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.” Most of the kids colored their pages, the parents came to pick them up, and another Sunday morning was complete.

That night, after reading stories to my kids, they decided they were going to have a “sleepover” in mom and dad’s room, which consisted of them lugging a small mattress into our bedroom, and bringing in a couple hundred stuffed animals.

We prayed for the night and I turned out the lights. I was tired and more than ready to fall asleep. The kids were whispering and laughing about something. I told them, for the third time, to please be quiet and that it was time to sleep.

“But Mommy,” my five-year-old called up from the mattress. “Remember? We’re supposed to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.”

I’m thrilled he remembered the verse. I’m not quite as sure about his application of it. For some reason, he neglected to recall verses I’ve taught him such as “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.”

But it’s a start. And if he does remember that verse throughout his life, and knows how to rejoice with those who rejoice, as well as weep with those who weep, I think he’ll be doing pretty well.