Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Could we Handle It?

I've learned that when we go through rough stuff, we CAN handle whatever we have to. As I read Kari's post about the contest and the comments posted in the voting I realized we commonly say things like, "I don't think I could handle that" or "I can't imagine going through that" or "I don't know how she does it, I never could". When we view the challenges of others it is difficult to see how they cope and to believe that we could cope. If we haven't been confronted with that challenge, be it death of a spouse, longterm illness, children with disabilities, military deployments, death of a child etc...we probably couldn't handle it. I believe that God gives us the ability to handle whatever difficulty He allows us to experience. If we don't have that problem then maybe we COUlDN'T handle it. But rest assured, others are not sure they could handle the issues we routinely deal with. I read Kari's blog
The other finalists are such amazing women who have gone through such difficult situations: things that I cannot imagine enduring. So, I am shocked to be listed amongst them

and had to chuckle because she expresses the same idea that many others express. We each are given a road to travel. I think each of us is on a road that has only the challenges that we can handle at that time. If my kids are happy, healthy, if my husband is here everyday and I am healthy both bodily and mentally then that is the sum total of the challenge that I am equipped to handle today. Now, if something we to change, should something difficult happen, then I believe I could handle it. Lest that sound smug or superior, let me confess that I handle nothing alone. I know it is God who gives me the strength and wisdom to get through the routine issues of parenting pre-schoolers and living on a single income, a teacher's salary. So if God allows tragedy or difficulty, He will give me the strength, grace and wisdom to manage or He will bring me Home. God doesn't cause my difficulties, but He allows me to go through them, be it death of a parent, a friend, illness, job loss, marital issues, or what have you. I am thankful for the uneventfulness of my life, believe me, I thank God each day, I also pray for wisdom and grace to deal with what life brings me. He always answers my prayers. Just not always the way I expect. My sister-in-law said she stopped praying for patience. God just gave her opportunities to practice patience and stretch that muscle. I laughed when she told me that. I ususally want the wisdom to come as some lightbulb kind of thing. When I need that knowledge it will just be there. And sometimes it is. More often I get wisdom through the experiences and challenges I have to deal with. So maybe instead of being afraid of our challenges, we should embrace them. As many of the voters in the contest seemed to say, there is always someone out there who has a harder road than we do. At least it seems harder from the outside. Maybe they can't imagine how we face our day.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

I Blame Hillary

I am a sucker for the online quiz. It's Hillary's fault. She does them occasionally and I always do those that are linked from her blog. Then I do others that link from those. I only include this because I don't know what this means. You will have to decide.

Shelly --



'How will you be defined in the dictionary?' at QuizGalaxy.com

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Aaarrgh!!!! Part 2

Who said it could get hot again? I love fall weather, especially the last couple weeks when it has been warm enough for shorts and tee shirts during the day but cool enough at night to snuggle under the down comforter and let the attic fan suck in the almost chilly air. I did not approve a heat increase! Not that anyone asked me. I really thought summer was over until Shan came home from picking up Papa John's Customer Appreciation $5.99 pizza and said the bank temp read 95 degrees. AT SIX O'CLOCK!!! I need a cool front.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Friendships fleeting

I've learned that sometimes we get defensive about our lives and choices to the point that we either want to convert everyone to our way of thinking and doing or we criticize anyone whose point of view doesn't meet with ours. In Junior High this meant making fun of those kids who were slightly different or even majorly different. This may go on through, later we add ostracism and gossipy criticism. I pray that I can impart a sense of tolerance to my girls. May they accept those around them for who they are, and respect the choices they make. I want them to understand that what is right for them may not be right for others and what is right for others may not be right for them. Different can just be different, not better or worse.

Please don't misuderstand. There are biblical imperatives that are salvation issues. But so much of life isn't that cut and dried, black and white.

In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.
Thomas Jefferson

Another Contest

Have you checked out Bluebird Blogs? She does amazing work. I would love to have a new design for the blog. Right now she is running a contest, it's my day for contests apparently, since I entered Karianna in the Mom Trap contest. Keep her in your prayers, not neccessarily that she'll win, though that would be great, but that she will be upheld through their family's trials right now.

I Nominate Karianna

Over at The Mom Trap she is running a contest to reward a mom who deserves it with a spafinder or merry maids gift card. The nominating blogger also gets one. I've been reading The Karianna Spectrum for a few weeks now and if anyone deserves a spa day or maid service it is her. She is in the throes of parenting a special needs son and is trying determinedly and admirably to stay cool while getting the bureacratic run around from local school and proffessionals in the evaluation process. My heart aches for the pain these trials are putting on her and her family. When she writes that Cat just wants to go to a new school and make new friends, I want to cry because she is caught trying to meet his needs and wants and at the same time do what is best for her son's education. My prayers go out to her and her family. I don't know Karianna, they live half a country away from me, but I want to go there and do something. Clean her house for her, take care of Sliggle so she can take Cat to an appointment, spend a day teaching Cat so he is educationally engaged while waiting to get back into school. Stay with both boys so Kari and Husband can go out. I know I can't do those things, it is an impractical pipe dream. I'm in Kansas, not California. I get angry for her when I read about the run-around the schools are giving her when I was a teacher and wouldn't have dreamed of doing that to a parent, and my sister is a special ed teacher and talks of such a different mentality in her district. We have relatives who moved to Lawrence for is very successful autism program. Like I said, after reading about the trials in her home this month, I think if anyone deserves a treat, it's Kari.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

To Do or Not to Do

I've been debating this a lot in my mind recently. I can see both sides of the issue and my husband and I have for now chosen a path. This article pushed me to respond here where I get to say what I think. Homeschooling is a very personal choice. Each family, Christian or not, has to come to their own decision about this very important issue. I resent articles like this that threaten horrible consequences to anyone who doesn't do as the writers feel is best. At this point we have decided not to homeschool. Je is in a Christian preschool, but next year will probably attend a public kindergarten. The only reason that might change is that in our district kindergarten is all day and few opt out of that. Je still naps most days. She has been really tired from just the half day of preschool three afternoons a week and missing her nap those days. We will have to see how things go as the school year progresses.

Back to the topic. I truly, heartily, and vocally support the idea that parents are the first and best teachers our children will ever have. I also believe that parents are the best able to make choices and decisions regarding their children. I rail against entities that seek to replace parents as influences for our kids. In that way, I sometimes get frustrated with public schools. This comes from my experience attending public schools and from teaching in them as well as being married to a teacher in public schools.

Every family has to decide what works for them, every year. I know myself well enough to know that I lack some crucial things to homeschool successfully, discipline, organization, and desire to do it. Maybe that last one is the most important. I just don't want to do it. It doesn't appeal to me to be solely responsible for my kids education. I am not patient enough, I worry that I wouldn't be broad enough, I wouldn't be innovative enough. In public schools I subscribe to the beg borrow and steal method of teaching. I have my eyes out scooping up ideas from everywhere for lessons. I have resources established. At home I would have to cultivate those resources, I know myself well enough to admit that procrastination, disorganization, and inertia would probably win out in my teaching, and the girls would suffer for my lack. When I taught at school, I had official oversight, regular checkups with other teachers, and parents asking for info. At home, I could avoid, fast talk and finesse my way through and the girls would suffer.

I respect everyone's right to choose what God has for their family. We feel called to the public school at this point. Christians cannot abandon society without leaving a vacuum of influence to be filled by those we would rather kept quiet. Some Christians have tried that. Our own church tried to abstain from politics in the mid-twentieth century urging us not to vote unless the candidate was a Christian and backed the Christian amendment to the constitution. That stand didn't lead to a better outcome. Now we are urged to take part in the process, not hold ourselves apart. If we take all the Christians out of schools we are left with no one to object to the objectionable. We may not be able to halt the liberal agenda but maybe we can temper it, show those not convinced that there are alternatives. I also feel strongly about my role to prepare my kids for life after school. They will have to at some point live in the world. I don't want them to confront things unprepared, and if I allow them contact with the world while I am there to provide perspective and education about them, then I feel that is MY job. So I guess I will be homeschooling in a way. We all do. I just think for our family the reading and writing is best covered by the teachers at the school not the ones at home. I invite anyone who has an opinion to post it. We all get to find God's will for our lives and must live as we are called.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning?

That is the title to an Alan Jackson song that memoralizes the tragedy of September 11. It asks where we were and give several possiblilities.

Where Were You
(Alan Jackson)

Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day
Out in the yard with your wife and children
Working on some stage in LA
Did you stand there in shock at the site of
That black smoke rising against that blue sky
Did you shout out in anger
In fear for your neighbor
Or did you just sit down and cry

Did you weep for the children
Who lost their dear loved ones
And pray for the ones who don't know
Did you rejoice for the people who walked from the rubble
And sob for the ones left below

Did you burst out in pride
For the red white and blue
The heroes who died just doing what they do
Did you look up to heaven for some kind of answer
And look at yourself to what really matters

I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell you
The difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith hope and love are some good things he gave us
And the greatest is love

Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day
Teaching a class full of innocent children
Driving down some cold interstate
Did you feel guilty cause you're a survivor
In a crowded room did you feel alone
Did you call up your mother and tell her you love her
Did you dust off that bible at home
Did you open your eyes and hope it never happened
Close your eyes and not go to sleep
Did you notice the sunset the first time in ages
Speak with some stranger on the street
Did you lay down at night and think of tomorrow
Go out and buy you a gun
Did you turn off that violent old movie you're watching
And turn on "I Love Lucy" reruns
Did you go to a church and hold hands with some stranger
Stand in line and give your own blood
Did you just stay home and cling tight to your family
Thank God you had somebody to love

I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell you
The difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith hope and love are some good things he gave us
And the greatest is love

I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell you
The difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith hope and love are some good things he gave us
And the greatest is love

The greatest is love
The greatest is love

Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day

Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day
Teaching a class full of innocent children

That is where I was. I was 8 1/2 months pregnant with Je, our first, I was still teaching then. I had to use the bathroom between every class and I think it was after second hour that I waddled to the teacher's restroom in the office, and they had the TV on. The news was reporting that planes had struck the two towers. I stopped and watched for a couple minutes, until the bell rang, and I rushed back to class. I was stunned but I had to deal with 7th graders. I didn't know how to talk to them about it, I didn't know enough myself. I went on with the lesson for the next couple classes. During my plan/lunch I had the TV on in my room tuned to the news just trying to absorb everything. I became a news junkie that month. My sixth hour came in and by then, they knew some of what happened. They wanted to talk about it and so we ditched the lesson plan to talk about it. As I look back that is the most significant thing I did during that week. I let my students ask questions and work through their feelings a little. Nouns and verbs come in second after that.

I remember having the news on all the time then. I saved the Newspapers from that week. They delivered special extra editions to school each day that week. They are in the cedar chest for Je when she is old enough to understand what happened in the weeks before she was born.

Where were you when the world stopped turning?

Friday, September 08, 2006


At Bible Study this week they gave us Smarties because we are all getting smarter. Now I am sitting here eating them and thinking about my baby getting smarter. Yes, this week my first baby went off to preschool for the first time. Last week we went to a practice day to get ready, but I stayed with her most of the time. Tuesday I dropped her off and left her there, rushing home to throw the other one in bed to get a nap before we went back to pick up Je. Je loved it. Each day she bounces into class with hardly a goodbye. When I get back to pick her up she rushes up to give me a hug and bounce to the car. She related about her day a little bit but most of it is still a mystery. She has learned about recess and snack and likes them well enough to rave about them and the curly haired girl, the birthday girls, and the little girl who cries when her mama drops her off. Next week we begin carpool so I hope our carpool buddy doesn't do that. Shan comes home each afternoon and asks her about school and gets a pat answer of "fine" or "good". Paybacks!!!! I get those kind of answers from him sometimes. I told him that you have to pick your moments, and when she is watching Bugs Life is probably not a good moment. Paybacks.