Friday, September 21, 2012

The car ride home

The kids take after Bryan in many ways...but ALL of them seem to have inherited the "gift of gab" from me. It's a blessing to know what is on our kid's hearts and what is going on in their lives....but when it all comes at once, it's overwhelming!!!

Imagine six kids, all in one car, wanting to share a school day full of stories, irritations, recess time,  fun, homework, their quizes and tests, and just about a bazillion other things....ALL AT THE SAME TIME!!! Yep, it's not a pretty sight or sound!

So, to spare myself a major headache each day around 3 pm...and to still let my kids know that I care about their lives and their day....I came up with a plan. Or maybe I heard it from someone else at some point, forgot, and now think I am pretty smart!:)

On the ride home, each kiddo is allowed to share 2 things with the whole family: one thing they liked about the day and one thing they didn't like about the day (or two things they liked!). They have to do it all in just a few sentences. I know it may seem weird that I allow them to share one thing that they didn't like about the I really need to help the kids out in the grumbling and complaining department, right?!

Yet, I have found that question to be most helpful. Since they are not allowed to elaborate during their turn, there is little room for gossip but much room to gain insight into a possible friendship problem, a needed heart adjustment, some extra hugs and love at home, school assignments that need special attention, and a myriad of other issues that might have otherwise gone unnoticed or unspoken.

The ride home has turned into a great time of interaction! By the time everyone has had their turn, we are about 5 minutes from home. Those 5 minutes can get a bit loud as they all start talking to each other...but often, those conversations are sparked by the sharing that took place...and I have been blessed to hear them encourage one another, give each other advice, or take an interest in something that was previously shared. They are growing up and engaging in each other's lives in new and deeper ways that make this mommy's heart swell! (And, lest you think we are some type of perfect family, as they grow, they are also arguing with each other in new and deeper ways, too!)

So, today, I am thanking the Lord for our 20 minute commute. It may cost $50 in gas a week....but, as the commercial goes, some things really are priceless!

"Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil."  Ephesians 5:15-16

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Take your pick

 Accepting the job at Horizon also meant accepting the reality that life was going to be a bit crazier. Hmmm....scratch that. We were already one crazy bunch to begin with:). I guess the better word would be busier...less time for me to get the same amount of stuff done.

Delegation was in order!

I'll be honest, though. I am not the best delegator. I like things done a certain way, so I end up doing a lot more myself. Not good. In my desire for "control" I am not equipping my kids with basic skills that they need to learn.

Let the equipping commence!

We started out with laundry. We had lessons on lights and darks, water temps, stain removers, lint traps, and more. They were not super inspired, but I was super excited! :) The girls are responsible for doing their laundry together and the 4 boys are responsible for theirs (Micah and Samuel bear the brunt of it right now). They are still learning...and they are still forgetting. Caleb wore sandals (closed toe, of course :)) to school on Wednesday not because he wanted to, but because he had no socks! Guess what the boys were doing Wednesday night? :) All in all, they have caught on fairly well, and folding parties are the new "rage" in our house. :)

Not having to do laundry for the kids is a huge blessing...but I knew I needed a bit more help. Each of my kids have already been assigned a "night" during the week that they have to help with dinner....setting the table, emptying and loading the dishwasher, cleaning up after dinner with Bryan...and I am so thankful for that help each night; but the dreaded "lunches" loomed large.

Not anymore!

I came up with a system that is working REALLY well. We all sat down and made up a list of lunches that they like to eat and can make on their own:

-Peanut Butter and Jelly  -Salami and Cheese Sandwiches  -Quesadillas  -Bean and Cheese Burritos

-Cup of Noodles  -Bagels with Cream Cheese  -Macaroni and Cheese  -Hummus with Tortilla Chips

-Cheese and Crackers  -Yogurt   -Leftovers from Dinner

I typed up this list and taped it to the inside of the pantry door so they can see it each day and get ideas. Next, I filled up 3 bins: one with different types of granola bars, one with bags of chips, goldfish, pretzels, etc..., and one with small packs of candy and fruit snacks for dessert.

Here is what it looks like....the kids figure out what they want to make from the list for lunch and then pick one thing from each bin to add to their well as a piece of fruit and/or string cheese from the fridge. Most of them make their lunches as soon as they get home from school...they want to get the "cream of the crop" from the bins as I only fill the bins once a week! :)

It's working, it's delegating, it's equipping....and the same stuff IS getting done in the amount of time we have. And, slowly but surely, the kids ARE becoming more and more responsible, and that is a sweet blessing to this momma's heart!

I am so thankful to the Lord for the gift of time...and so thankful that, although there seems to be less of it available in this season of life, there is still enough to accomplish what is needed...and there is still times of rest. It's all grace. Glorious grace!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Where do you start when you only post once a month?:)

I am not sure how it time gets away from hours pass into days and days into weeks and, before I know it, another month has come and gone!

One thing I have always loved about blogging is that it causes me to reflect...reflect on an event, a passage of Scripture, a quote, a trial, a joy. It's a time where I can "be still" and rejoice in "knowing that He is God"as I look at the tapestry He is weaving in my life and the work He has done in the lives of others.

I miss it.

It's not that I don't think, reflect, or ponder....but there is something about taking that extra step of getting it down into words that presses those events and thoughts deeper into my mind, like a child's hand in wet cement. While it may not be necessary, it is certainly fruitful for me! I am so thankful that God chose to communicate with us in words...and that He allows us the privilege of communicating in much the same way. His gifts are never ending.

As I settle into my new "school routine", I am praying that my blogging will increase. When I look back over the past 4 years, many of my blog posts are like "stones of remembrance", reminders of God's mighty hand and faithfulness. And other posts are reminders that His care is just as sweet in the day to day moments as it is in the "life-changing" ones. He is an intimate God! I want to continue to document each gift from God...that my kids and even their kids might, one day, read these posts ( I get them published each year) and rejoice in the great things God has done!

Facebook has been a great way to stay in touch with many people at one time and share tid-bits about life....but, before I know it, those tid-bits have disappeared with a new day....and I have no way of recording them! So, here is a "Facebook" update of our past month with a few other thoughts in between!

The middle of August brought a sweet blessing in the form of a special visit from friends that have become family....and Titus also participated in a paddle board race with kids his own age...getting to meet a paddle board "star", Dave Kalama, in the process. It was like Disneyland for Bryan and Titus!:)

The time between when the Loewen's visit ended and school began is a bit of a blur. There was much to shopping, food shopping, meal planning,  cleaning, and 22 shots (poor kids) to fill the days!  

It's hard to believe we've been in school for  two weeks! Two weeks of a new rhythm and routine, of getting up early and wishing for just a bit more sleep :), of easy meals even if they haven't always been the healthiest, of a house that has been less than clean but better than chaos...but, more than all those things, it's been two weeks of blessing! The kids are having a great time...and I dare say, their momma just might be having even more fun! :) My heart is full of thanksgiving!
We are all learning and growing together....the kids are learning how to do their own laundry and make their own lunches....Bryan is learning to live with a wife who is a bit more tired and loving me anyway and serving so much (love you!). We are all having fun reading through "The Gospel Story Bible" and engaging in great conversation around the Word and learning new facts....for instance, Eve didn't get her name until AFTER she and Adam has sinned and were both "cursed" by God. Really! Check out Genesis 3!

I have been reading some great books that I hope to share with you soon...and we've come up with what I think is a pretty great system for putting together school lunches. But that will have to be for another post! Also, I had a request to put a link on the sidebar of my blog of the books that I have read or that I am reading along with my thoughts on the book (or at least a recommendation or not). I love the idea...I just have to figure out how to do it! :) Stay tuned for that one!

I'll close with this quote by J.I. Packer....

"God's chief end, purposed in all that he does, is his glory, and he has so made us that we find our own deepest fulfillment and highest joy in hallowing his name by praise, submission, and service.

Christians get so hung up with the pagan idea (very dishonoring to God, incidentally) that God's will is always unpleasant, so that one is rather a martyr to be doing it, that they hardly at first not
ice how their experience verifies the truth that in Christian living duty and delight go together. But they do! And this will be even clearer in the life to come. To give oneself to hallowing God's name as one's life-task means that living, though never a joyride, will become increasingly a joy road." J. I. Packer