Tuesday, January 28, 2014

On Perfection (and a visit to the prayer walking path)

Not long ago I had a bad few days.  Maybe it was the winter blues.  Or maybe it was just my broken, sinful self.

You see I like perfection.  And I want perfection in my life.  I want a perfect marriage, a perfect home, perfect sons, a perfect dog, a perfect credit score and an overflowing back account to go with it, perfect relationships with my family and friends, perfect results from anything I put my hands to, and perfect people skills.

Well, as you already know, because I'm human and so are you, I do not see perfection in any area of my life.  In fact in some areas of my life, I am far, far away from perfection.  And I let that bother me.

Sadly I let discontentment set in.  And being discontent is the pits.  I know how incredibly blessed I am.  I know that I am rich compared to most of the rest of the world.  I know I have freedoms others only dream of.  I know my house is perfectly lovely.  I know there are people who wish they had a home and food for their children.  I know some people ache and wish and desire with all their heart to have a family.  I know all of that and still I let discontentment grow in my heart.

I looked around my house and only noticed cracks in the wall, painting that needed to be done, flooring that needed replaced, furniture that was worn, and curtains that had seen better days.

I thought of all the things in my life that I want to do that seem impossible.  I told myself that life will never change, and that those passions and dreams that I know God put in my heart, needed to be given up and forgotten and that they would never come to pass.

I thought of the things I want to do, even good things to help people, that take an abundance of money that I don't have.

I thought of some of the flawed relationships I have.  And how for some of those relationships I had messed up and things would never be quite right.

I even told myself that I had no talent, no gift, nothing special to give to the world.

Yes, the winter blues.  Or an attack from the evil one.

My friend came over to pick her son up and we sat in the backyard for a little bit visiting.  I thought of all the things that needed refreshing in the backyard, and the rotting wood, and the neighbors junk pile that's visible from our backyard.  She gushed about the trees, the chimenea, the sitting area, and how nice the backyard was.  She noticed only the wonderful things about my backyard and not the imperfections.

I read some blogs and noticed their professional layout, their beautiful photography, their clever posts, and felt that my blog was lacking and what I had to say was less and what was the point of it all.

Thankfully, God slowly begin to work on my "stinking thinking".  (By the way I think my Dad used that phrase in one of his sermons.)  Something clicked in me.  I'm throwing off that yoke of perfection.  I'm done with comparing myself to others.  I'm finding beauty in the broken and flawed.  I'm repenting of making life all about me and my pride and my comfort.  I'm praying for a humble heart. I'm believing that everything will be made beautiful in its time (Ecclessiastes 3:11).  I'm remembering that he who began a good work in me will bring it to completion (Philippians 1:6).  I'm holding on to the promise that all things work together for good to them that love God (Romans 8:28).

"People throw away what they could have by insisting on perfection, which they cannot have, and looking for it where they will never find it." Edith Schaeffer

"Were I to await perfection, my book would never be finished." Chinese Proverb

 God's will for my life may be a life filled with imperfection.  Yet He will use all the imperfections in my life for something good.

 I Thessalonians 5:18
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 

John 10:20
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.  I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

So I'm embracing all the imperfection in my life.  I'm going to continue to dream.  And I'm going to put my hand to the plow and work on my blog, my life, my home, and my relationships and NEVER expect perfection.  I will not compare myself to others.  I will be content with my life.  I'm giving everything I am and hope to be to God.  I'm not alone.  I'm not abandoned.  I totally and completely trust that He holds me in His hands.    And I'm excitedly expectant to see what God will do with my imperfection.

Pictures taken at my new favorite place - a meditation/ prayer walking track at a local church.  It's open to the public and tucked away in a neighborhood and I love it.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Thanksgiving 2013

I know, I know...Thanksgiving was a long time ago.  I kept meaning to blog about our Thanksgiving, but it somehow slipped through the cracks.  I took so many pictures and we had the best time and somehow if I don't blog about it I won't remember the details. 

For our Thanksgiving we traveled to my parents house in the Dallas area, and had the best time with my parents, my siblings and their families.  I love, love my family, but we just do not get to see them enough.  Sometimes my heart hurts when I think of my family and how far away I am from them. 

On to the pictures....

My Mom is a superb cook, and she makes the best turkey too.  Needless to say we feasted and it was all so delicious.

Yes, this picture about sums up my brothers. Love them!

Then the real fun happened for the gaggle of guys.  Three dads and six boys began an epic football game.  Dads vs. Boys. 3 against 6.

Then on Friday, my parents planned a special night for all of us.

We began the evening at IN-N-OUT Burger.  We may have taken over the restaurant.

Then we journeyed downtown to the Dallas Theater Center to see A Christmas Carol.

And oh my word, this was the most spectacular performance.  The acting was incredible, there was superb singing, a flying ghost, and I just can't even explain everything that made it so good. The retelling of this classic story was so well done.  And the story just gets me every time.  It always brings me to tears.

  All the cousins loved it too!

Oh how I love my beautiful nieces.  They are delightful and such a joy to be with.  Again, my heart hurts I miss them so much!

 My parents treated all of us to dinner and a night at the theater in downtown Dallas.  Um yes, I do know that I have wonderful, generous parents.

On Saturday, more football was played and my Dad grilled for us.  The weather was beautiful and we ate out on the deck. 

On Sunday we sadly headed home, back to our real life.  Thank you Mom and Dad for a memorable Thanksgiving.  And sorry Dad that we ate all of your candy and sorry Mom for cluttering your kitchen with our shoes. :)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

A Day in the Life of a Homeschool Family

Cast of Characters:
Caleb ~ 8th Grader
Luke ~ 4th Grader
Captain ~ Faithful Dog
Big A ~ Dad/ Tireless Worker/ Provider
Mom ~ Homeschool teacher/ Cook/ Laundress

The Day Begins:
6:45 am ~ Captain wakes up Caleb and outside they go.
7:00 am ~ Once Caleb is awake, he's ready for the day.  But the rest of the house is asleep so he reads on the couch.
7:30 am ~ Caleb feeds Captain and the outside cats.  Caleb is getting hungry himself.
7:45 am ~ Mom wakes up (she may have stayed up too late the night before with Big A watching Netflix).  Mom showers and gets dressed.
8:15 am ~ Luke wakes up and groggily makes his way to the couch. He reads a book on his Kindle.

8:30 am ~ Breakfast and reading of the morning paper.  Caleb, our big NFL fan, is very interested in the article in the Sports page about Richard Sherman, the Seattle Seahawks player who had an on-air rant at the end of a playoff football game.  Caleb agrees it was immature, but doesn't think Sherman should be called a thug as some are doing.

 9:10 am ~ The boys shower and get dressed.  Mom starts some laundry.
School Begins
9:30 am ~  Caleb works on Latin.  The boys attend a homeschool co-op every Monday.  At co-op they take classes in Latin, Science, Biblical Worldview (Caleb), History, Literature, Writing, Drama or Music, Art (Luke) and P.E. They then have work to complete at home on Tuesday through Friday.

9:45 am ~ Reading for Biblical Worldview

10:15 am ~ On to World History

Meanwhile, Luke is working on Latin...

and Literature.

11:00 am ~ Caleb works on Biology

11:15 am ~ Luke works on his writing assignment.

Then reads a fold-out book about Ancient Rome.

And next begins his study on the human body.

11:30 am ~ Caleb's Literature teacher has assigned Oliver Twist and Caleb has to finish the book this week.  He says he doesn't like this book because of all the bad things that happen. 

12:45 pm ~ Lunch (choices from Mom's cafeteria this day included: leftovers from the night before, peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or quesadillas).  Dad, who is working from home, joins us.

1:15 pm ~ Outside play time for Luke and Captain.
1:35 pm ~ Luke helps Dad cut some wood and carry it inside in preparation for the cold front and possible ice and snow that might come that night.

 1:55 pm ~ Time for Luke to work on more school work.

 Luke works on math on the computer.

 And then handwriting. 

 1:15 pm ~ Meanwhile Caleb and Mom work on Algebra together.  He prefers to read through the lesson and then work each problem out on the white board.  Mom checks each answer as he goes and if he gets one wrong the two of them work through it together to figure it out.  Today it takes Caleb and hour and a half to complete the lesson.

2:15 pm ~ Exercise time.  For real... this is important to Luke, he likes to lift weights. Two pound weights.

Meanwhile, Captain waits.

End of School Day
3:15 pm ~ Mom calls it a day even though a few subjects were missed (spelling and our daily devotional).  They'll get done the next day.

3:30 pm ~ Free Time. The boys choose to listen to music on Pandora and read. Normally, they'd be outside, but the cold front has arrived.  Mom works on some laundry.

4:00 pm ~ The boys play video games while Mom runs to the post office and then begins working on dinner. 
4:45 pm ~ Caleb's on Captain duty.  First a walk around the neighborhood and then feeding.
6:00 pm ~ Dad's done with work and dinner is served, Vegetable Beef Stew.  Luke informs us that he is tired of having soups and stews.

6:30 pm ~ The boys unload the dishwasher and help clean up from dinner.
7:00 pm ~ Game Night.  Each night a family member is chosen to pick what the family activity is after dinner.  It's Big A's night and he decides the activity will be a game of Yahtzee.

8:15 pm ~ The boys watch one show on Netflix.  Mom works on some laundry.
8:45 pm ~ Caleb plays the new Switchfoot album for the family. 
9:30 pm ~ The boys head to their rooms to prepare for bed and read books.
10:00 pm ~ Lights out and prayers.  And the boys are soon asleep.
10:30 pm ~ Mom and Dad watch a few episodes of their favorite shows that have been recorded.
12:00 pm ~ The whole family is tucked in and asleep for the night.  The morning will soon come and we'll do it again.
The day is over.