Monday, September 30, 2019

Waiting is Hard ~ But God Still Works in the Waiting

Waiting is hard sometimes.  For kids, for adults, it is just hard at times.  If we aren't patient it is hard to teach a kid patience. 

In a society where almost everything is becoming instant and at our fingertips, we forget how to wait.  A couple weeks ago I cam across some interesting facts about waiting, or rather lack there of.  It takes seconds waiting at a red light before drivers grow impatient.  Can you imagine what it is like in traffic?  Waiting in line at a store?  Even in a time when we can get things delivered to us the day we order it or within a couple days as soon as it is delayed we grow impatient.

What if we looked at it in a different way?  Why not use the time waiting for something else?

We can still grow while we wait.  Sometimes we grow the most in the waiting.  The waiting can be a few hours, or days, months, or even years.  During that time it can be a real struggle.  Wondering, yearning, wanting answers, growing frustrated or irritated or maybe angry. 

For me, in the long stretches of waiting I tend to grow doubtful.  Asking tons of questions, wondering when or what if, all too often letting the negative inner critic have more say.  The fears, the worry, sometimes guilt get the better of me.

More recently, I have been working on my perspective and attitude during the long waits.  Letting go, not letting the doubt or the inner critic overwhelm me.  Sure, I do take a moment to listen to that inner voice, but when it starts down the negative side, doubting, frustrating,,,whatever the feeling I acknowledge it, accept it for what it is, and work through it.  No, it isn't always going to be easy and it ain't always going to look pretty. 

At the same time, I am teaching and guiding little ones in this too.  So what can I do I best or better to help them process and wait as they watch me in my waiting.

So what do we do while in the waiting?

For me, I reground myself often.  I pray and let it all out.  I do card pulls to have something tangible, because sometimes I need to have something a little more concrete.  I talk it out and work it out in workouts

We grow all the time.  But we grow the most in the waiting, through the storms, through the things that push us the most outside our comfort zone.

I have learned that God is still working in the waiting.  It may not feel like it, but there is work happening.  And that work can carry you through to the outcome and answers.

We are faced with waiting all the time.  But how do you face waiting?

I am still learning to let myself grow and to change my perspective, and yet still be authentic and real.  It is a work in progress, but then again so am I.  Transformations don't always take a short time, sometimes they take longer...longer than anticipated. 

Are you in a period of waiting? Or have you just come out of one?

What do you do in the waiting?

Saturday, September 28, 2019

New Season, Changes, Celebrating Harvest

The start of this week was the start of a new season.  Fall has arrived and I am loving it!  The other day in my BSF group we were asked what our favorite season is.  I am a true Upper Midwest kind of girl and need the four seasons.  Yeah, sure Winter lasts like six months and the rest sometimes get crammed into the other six.  But I enjoy having four distinctive seasons, different activities that come with each season, and seeing each season through my kids' eyes as they grow.

Which season is my favorite?  Fall tops it.  With the vibrant leaf colors, sun shining warm with cool breezes, windows open, the crunch of leaves as you walk through them, watching leaves twirl as they fall to the ground, pumpkins and apples, hot beverages in a warm mug with my hands wrapped around  it.  I just love Fall.

But I also love Spring. Spring is about things greening out, flowers starting, warm breezes with windows open, feeling the warm sun after a long Winter.  It is about new growth and planting.  Fall is about reaping what you have sewn, abundance, change and letting go, preparing.

Fall is the time of year where abundance, blessings, thankfulness are all around us.  As Summer turns into Fall reaping the harvest that has sewn and worked on so hard.  It is a time for celebrating that bounty.

But what if you don't have a bounty, or it isn't much of anything, or if it doesn't look like what you thought, or you had so many storms and so much destruction that you can't see the abundance?

It doesn't have to be a large thing sewn or a huge bounty, or even grand to be abundant.  We can find even a small amount of joy in any of it .  We may have to finish riding out the storms, sift through the destruction, or wait a little longer, but in time it will come.  There is still growth in the waiting.  Even though small seeds were sewn, a small yield was gathered, it can make a huge impact down the road, over time.

Maybe you planted all at once or every so often.  Maybe you are a seed sender, spreading these seeds little by little, day by day.  Maybe both, depending on the year, the seasons, or circumstances.

What seeds are you planting?
What have you planted and are waiting on?
What has bloomed?
What hasn't worked?

Through it all, we can still find joy, a small piece of joy to carry us through to the next.

I want you to take a moment and think on something.

What has brought you joy today? This week?  This month?  What are you looking forward to in this next season? Next month?

You can plant your own seeds any time of year.  You can celebrate the bounty of them at any point.  And once they are done growing, you can plant more.

This Fall is about change for me.  Changes that start with me and will hopefully spread.  Where this will all lead?  I don't know yet.  But I am willing to take the chance to plant some new seeds, nurture them, and see what will happen.  I am choosing to see the joy, the abundance through the storms, through the changes, through the growth.

It is like I tell my kids often, we are never done learning and we are never done growing.  Change is going to happen, we are going to make mistakes, we are going to fail but through it all we can still grow and we can still reap from what we have sewn.

So, what is your favorite season? Why?

What are you finding joy in in this very moment?

Monday, September 16, 2019

Back to School ~ Year Two of Homeschooling

It is back to school time.  For many, you may have already been going for two or three weeks at this point.  What grades are your kiddos headed into?

My kiddos are 6 1/2 and almost 4, so we are headed into first grade and pre-kindergarten.  We are headed into our second year of homeschooling.

Anyone else out there home school?

We do a mix of work at home and work out and about.  Our adventures are filled with just as much learning as at home.  Now that we have a first grader I am being asked more often what curriculum do we use or what method of homeschooling we do.

You see there are a lot of options out there for curriculum and methods.  It makes it nice to really tailor to where your kiddos are at and their interests.

I have one kiddo who loves to be creative, be outside, read, play, and learn.  He is combining what he is learning in math and reading into his every day.  Other subject areas come out through reading, adventures, and play.  Right now he is really interested in the Mars Rover, so we are adding lots about that topic into our days.

My other kiddo wants to be like brother and have curriculum of his own.  He has a few concrete curriculum activities like Reading Eggs and Mathseeds.  However, he isn't using them weekly like his brother is.  Instead, he does them when he asks.  But we are having a letter of the week focus, as well as a number of the week focus for him.  In the car he has them posted (older brother has sight words posted) so we can play games while we drive or when we wait in the car.  He will also have a worksheet to go with each.  Otherwise, through play and art, books and adventures he is learning.

I get the question every so often, well what about socialization?  Won't they miss that piece?

Socialization doesn't come from going to school.  Sure, they will get it through the earlier years like preschool and prekindergarten.  But once in a school building, school setting it is actually a missing piece.  Remember being a kid and being told you talk to much in class or you aren't here to socialize?  I was, as I have heard it before in classrooms even still today.

Socialization is not about being put into a room with others the same age as you and being taught all day.  It is about knowing how to interact with others of any age throughout the day, having manners, being cooperative, being kind.  It is about being out in the real word with others.

You get socialization through going out to eat, through visiting other people, through classes and camps, through running errands and shopping, through having a meal together as a family, going on adventures and talking with the other people there, through sports, talking to your neighbors, and much more.

This Fall the kids are signed up for swim lessons, art classes, and zoo classes.

Our set curriculum is Reading Eggs on Mondays and Mathseeds on Fridays.  Spelling is either on Monday or Wednesday.  Art, history, geography, health, writing is throughout the month.  We have adventures we go on, call them field trips if you like.  We also have a day for chores to get done.  Some worksheets or workbooks scattered throughout to practice skills.

This year we are adding more faith exploration into our day and week.  We go to a Bible Study Fellowship once a week.  My oldest and I have reading to do and questions to answer.  We are using the weekly verse to carry us through the week.  We are also adding in devotions with our breakfast.

We are using other people's adventures to learn more about certain topics like geography and different cultures.  We have friends visiting Germany and family headed to visit Italy.  For us as well, both those are a part of own lineage as well.

All are excited for a year of fun, adventures, and learning.

I am finding that as more time goes by we are finding more and more people who are going the home school route.  And even though some don't have kids, they have lots of questions about it as it is on their minds and they are thinking that it is the route they want to go.

Whatever you decide, remember you can take learning where ever you go.  Anything can be turned into a learning and growth experience.  It may not always look like learning, but it is in the process that teaches us the most.

No matter your age, keep learning and keep growing.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Making Space: In My Day, My Week, Our Day, Our Week

I have a several roles to fill, and I know that God put me in those for a reason.  Sometimes I do question them, if what I am doing is heading us down the right path, if it is enough, am I using the gifts and talents  I have been given, am I being authentically me through it all.

Have these thoughts, these questions run through your mind before?

As I have been looking at my purpose over the years, I have been realizing recently it is changing.  Just like the seasons, just like age, just like life, our purpose changes.  It grows and changes as we learn, grow, or change.

Change in our journey or direction.  Change in our roles or our age.  Change in our hearts or attitudes.  Sometimes those things are planned, we can see them coming.  Yet other times, they come with the twists and turns on our path, seemingly out of nowhere.  Sometimes we are in control of it, sometimes not.  Sometimes we think we are in control, but we really aren't.  Sometimes we have it figured out, while other times not so much.

Priorities are a big part of this.  What are you priorities?  Where do you place value?  What do you make a priority?

Those things will determine what you fill your day, your week, your month, your year with. 

Even making space for, well space or margin, downtime, and rest can be a priority, can be scheduled, can be put on the calendar.

So what am I going to put on my calendar?

For those, like me, who are does, planners, list makers, and such I have love to keep it going, even when I would be better off taking some downtime.  I am learning this about myself and being more aware and in tune, as well as honest about what I truly need...even if it means to take a nap or to rest.  But it isn't always easy for me to put those as a priority.

So as I dig deeper, make some decisions, set up routines & schedules, and create rituals I am taking a closer look my roles, my priorities, my goals.  Looking at what works and doesn't, what needs to change, and more.  I am also looking at what works in the best interest of each of my roles and where I can use my gifts and talents best.  One thing I know for sure is I love to write, I always have.  So I want to make writing a priority.

I am not looking at this as I can do it all, I want to do it all.  I am looking at this as,  where can I find a better flow that works with the path I am on, the person I am meant to be, my roles that provides a balanced harmony.  And through that flow, through that balanced harmony I can bring my best to each area, letting myself grow where needed, keep learning, finding that natural flow & rhythm that this next season can bring.

What will the next season bring for you?  Where are you placing your priorities?  What will your flow and rhythm look like?  How will you blend your roles?

Monday, September 9, 2019

What are you looking forward to this week? This month?
It's feeling like Fall near us, though tomorrow they are saying 80, but then back into Fall type weather. I have been out of town since last week Wednesday. For us, it feels like we begin our school year this week in September. Getting ready, gearing up and now we put it into action. August cruised by, almost too quickly. I am hoping to settle into a slower pace as September continues, setting some new routines and schedules, finding a flow in my own daily rituals.

This feels like a good time to reassess, recalibrate as needed. What has been working, what hasn't, what needs to change. What do I need to do, change? Where do I need to grow, want to grow? Where do we need to change things up for the kids? What does my marriage need?

I have finished planning out the home school school year. Though we do go year round, we officially start this week adding in more subjects, different activities, and so on. I need to add the info and plan to the lesson plan book. But we have it figured out.

I am taking this week myself to dig in deeper, listen, discover my flow for Fall.

I am looking forward to new adventures, digging in deeper, and discovering or rediscovering. What that looks like and what that means I am not sure yet. I want to take time to see how the past 8 months have tied into my year's word rejuvenation. For September I am focusing in on ease.

What does this look like? Where do I need to find more ease?

Where do you need to find more ease? What does this look like for you?