In my life this week:
I'm cleaning out closets and cupboards, preparing for my mother's visit and for my 90-year-old father-in-law's eventual move in here. He's in rehab after a fall that injured his shoulder. He lost overall strength and stamina and can't stand up on his own right now, but when he's strong enough to take a van ride from Florida to Ohio, my husband will pick him up.
Some friends will work on selling his house. His neighbor is considering buying it for her own elderly parents. Real Estate is moving slowly in his area (outside of Tampa a few miles from the Gulf), so the neighbor's interest is God's provision.
While my plan was only to clean and straighten closets and cupboards, the hamster's Friday night escape prompted deep cleaning under beds and furniture as well. This will be one clean house and hopefully hammy will show up or leave telltale signs of his hiding place (before he chews wiring and cords).
While I type, I'm listening for hamstery sounds.
After this, his second escape, he gets our large, escape-proof aquarium for a new home. No more handy dandy hamster cages that can't outsmart the rodents they house.
I'm also going through our hundreds of paperback picture books, deciding what to give away. There were far too many and they're so crowded in the shelves the girls don't reach for them; they reach for library books instead.
In our homeschool this week:
We schooled until August and have 4.5 weeks of vacation left. The boys still have to read for 45 minutes a day and read their Bibles, and Paul still plays the piano.
I also started the boys on The Message this week by Eugene Peterson. It's not the same as reading the Bible, but it's an excellent devotional for middle-grades children. I want all my children to read it at least once.
The girls and I are reading Mrs. Piggle Wiggle and some picture books, and I'm listening to Mary read easy readers so she won't lose ground in reading.
Homeschooling Tips or Advice to Share:
Do some deep cleaning and purging of clutter before school starts so the state of the house won't distract you and sabotage your homeschool consistency. I believe consistency is the most important predictor of success for homeschooling families.
My Favorite Thing This Week:
I've worked so physically hard this week that I'm straining to come up with a favorite--it wasn't exactly a fun week. Knowing how nice and trim our home will look when I'm done is what keeps me going.
I do remember the children charming the socks off a man at the post office and vice versa. He joked with them freely and they all giggled and giggled. When we got back in the van Miss Beth said she wanted to marry Tom (who was about 50ish). We know his name because Miss Beth introduced herself and her sibilings, and then Tom said, "Well, it's nice to meet you Beth. My name is Tom."
Then later when they were describing Tom's antics to Daddy, the boys referred to him as "a guy at the post office", to which Mary took offense. She said, "His name was Tom!"
My Kids' Favorite Thing This Week:
They schemed up a game in which they auction off rocks & pebbles, pretending they're precious stones. I gave them all the loose change I could find and they had a wonderful time playing this with a neighbor boy for a couple days. My four year old has been scouring drawers and cushions for more loose change.
Things I'm working on:
I'm working on praying about difficulties when they first hit the scene, instead of stressing first, praying second. Emotional energy drains out of me liberally when I forget to pray first. But when I give it to God, he's faithful to guide my steps and keep my mood steady and positive.
I never used to think about my emotional energy in terms of conservation techniques. The extent of my exhaustion and crankiness at the end of the day is directly related to how my body responded to discipline problems, everyday messes, and whatever else landed on my plate. The events were not the problem--my response was.
I can choose to kneel and pray and conserve (and even renew!) my strength, so that even at the last moments of the day, when I'm praying with kneeling children, I'm doing it with my whole heart, not wishing for everyone to fall asleep already because I. can't. take. another. second.
I want to finish well. Start well and finish well.
I'm also working on teaching the children the power of our words. Words do have power--to destroy or to build up. At the dinner table we say three nice things about the person sitting across from us, and the next day to the person at our right, and the next day to the peron at our left. We do the same thing after there's an argument--exchanging three positive and specific things we like about our housemate. By specific I mean they can't just say their sibling is nice--they have to describe what makes them nice.
I'm Grateful For:
My Jesus, my marriage, my four blessings, for being a keeper at home, for having the opportunity to bless my father-in-law and care for him in his lasts months and years, escorting him to the throne of grace from my home, not an impersonal nursing home where scripture is not read and love is not practiced.
I'm praying for...:
...family, friends, church, my own heart growth, my growth as a keeper of the home, my children's someday-spouses and marriages, sibling relations, neighborhood families, upcoming visits and changes to our daily life.
Quotes to Share:
The impression that a praying mother leaves upon her children is life-long. Perhaps when you are dead and gone your prayer will be answered. D.L. Moody
The mother's heart is the child's classroom. Henry Ward Beecher