Sunday, May 31, 2009

Garage Sale Revelation

After a very successful garage sale, we loaded our unsold items into the back of the van and headed to a consignment shop.  Hoping to make even a couple bucks, I dropped off about ten items for them to price & make an offer.  As the busy Saturday afternoon had them backed up, we headed to our favorite lunch spot for chicken nuggets and Sprite.  I returned 30 minutes later and roamed the store, checking price tags to better estimate the offer I was about to receive.  They called my name and when I walked up to the counter, I was told the following:

"We're declining all your items due to the clothes being more than a year old, and the styles being too mature."

I respond with a bubbly "Okay, thanks" but exited with a self-pity frown in my heart.  They could have offered me a dollar for all items and I would have been thrilled.  "Too mature"?  Ouch.  Granted, there were several items I had worn in high school and I hadn't worn anything since pre-Brad (2003), but I thought Gap jeans were timeless.  Someone rummaging through the Goodwill racks will be pleased with my donations but I found myself chewing on the experience this morning during worship.

God showed me how He takes our battered, rusty, and broken leftovers and responds quite contrary to the logic of the human heart.  I saw this provoking picture of how my soul was approached by Savior without much hope for a purpose or a future.  Our culture tells us that we're just like those used clothes - old, irrelevant, without the right style or fit for Someone of significance.  It would only "make sense" for us to be rejected by those who make us think their apparel has been deemed valuable and therefore, fit for service.

But God takes the donation - the gift, the sacrifice, the very ordinary offering - with wholehearted joy and acceptance and then places those items in the "Neiman Marcus" of His kingdom.  He places price tags on our calling, our personality, our abilities and says they are beyond value.  He displays our used and abused, our old age or our inexperience, our lacking or our over-qualification in a room with benches, where people can roam around us like a museum.  Art deserves to be displayed.  Beauty must received its recognition.  The Glory of God is bright shining when we are admired as His redemption.

Jesus, redeem not only our souls but the very garments that make us who we are.  Take what we believe is unusable and make it purposeful.  Swirl your creative powers around the ugly, torn, and worn places of our heart and make us radiant, as we wear the priestly, royal robe of Jesus.   

Friday, May 22, 2009

Zoe & Colby Update

Zoë Faith will be four(4!) in August.  I have several moments throughout the day when I just stare at her face, hair, or legs and find myself amazed at how she's growing. She is beautiful.  Kind.  Highly intuitive to people's needs. She insists on drinking out of cups that are dry on the outside.  She is willing to try any kind of food.  She says most words correctly but still says stuff like "crockoach" for cockroach and "chicken-layf" for Chick-fil-A.  

Her favorite things right now are dinosaurs.  She saw some kind of show at my parents' house(Dinosapian?) and we promptly visited the library and checked out a stack of books.  She reads them in bed every night and asks questions like "Do dinosaurs yawn?" and "Do dinosaurs go potty?"  She is brilliant!

We entered the "why?" phase about a month ago.  I was literally thinking to myself one afternoon Maybe we'll just bypass that "why?" phase parents always talk about.  God knew my patience, selflessness, and intelligence would all need some improvement.  It started about five days later.  

At a recent seminar we learned about delaying children's formal education and focusing on work ethic and things like gardening, sewing, baking, cleaning, and cooking.  While we had been preparing to teach Zoë to read, we have changed our focus to more important things - being a girl of character, learning how to love & take care of others, and discovering the greatness of Christ.  

She serves her family by making beds, emptying the silverware basket, and helping mom wipe the counters. She's involved in anything that results in cupcakes!

Now on to Colby Man!  What a little bundle of mischief and love!  He turns 17 months today which means 1.5 years is just a few weeks away!  I think time must warp more and more with each kid.  It goes by so quickly!  

Colby learned to walk pretty early so he's the resident expert when it comes to speed and agility.  He moves fast around corners and especially to escape from big sister.  We bought him size 6.5 WIDE tennis shoes a few weeks ago and he is putting them to good use.  He gets all kind of compliments and attention from strangers when we run errands - they just love his big blue eyes!

His love language is touch so he will regularly just come over and put his head on my lap, pat Zoë's shoulder, or succumb to sleep by snuggling & cuddling.  Brad and I appreciate his spontaneous affection.

He waves hello and goodbye to everyone, blows kisses, and has mastered shaking his head "no" as we try to guess what he wants.  He wants to talk so desperately when words like "dada," "mama," "dat," and "row" (roll) don't communicate very much.  

I just finished up a book called "Boys and Girls Learn Differently" and was so relieved to have someone explain the differences.  While Zoë had dozens of words by this age, Colby has a small list.  Did you know that a girl's vocabulary is 99% comprehensible by the age of 3 while a boy's vocabulary doesn't reach that level of comprehension until 4-4.5?!  More than a year difference!!  (If you have a firstborn girl, you need to know this if you have a boy come along...)

Zoë and Colby are each others' best friend.  I like to believe this will last forever - they'll always be our first two kids, they will watch us learn how to parent boys and girls, and laugh at our struggles in raising more than one.  I love seeing them advocate for one another, carry amazing levels of sympathy - Colby cries if he accidently witnesses Zoë's spankings, and learn the "one another" at early ages.  Sharing is most of the time difficult, hitting happens, and they usually think yelling or tattle-telling is the best way to resolve conflict.  They will each serve a purpose in our family, community, and the Kingdom - where no one else would find success.  

They are created in the image of God.  They have eternity in their hearts.  They are vessels of the Good News.  They have beautiful feet and they are seated at the right hand of God.  They will follow Jesus when it's easy & say "yes" to Him even when it's hard.  They are my iron: sharpening, challenging, and pushing me to refinement.  And I love them with a depth that only Christ can carve.  

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

An Affair & An Apology

First, my apologies for letting nearly three months go before updating the blog!  I am still functioning in the cyber world but have neglected this site.  Forgive me, dear blog, forgive me.

Let me share with you a journey that started just a few months ago regarding our children & their education.  I've been wrestling with the idea of home schooling for about a year or two.  When we were pregnant with Zoe we felt strong conviction to send her to public school.  Brad and I had great public school experiences and I couldn't (sometimes still can't) imagine myself as a mom being at home with all our kids, all day.  I admit: I have been long looking forward to the day when I could send one onto the school bus and have a lesser load to carry for seven hours.

< God has His way with Heather's heart and plans. >

I have started reading like crazy about home schooling & education.  I have an insatiable thirst for all things regarding how children learn best.  How boys learn.  How girls learn.  Brad is loving my affair with books because it's increasing my authority as a mom & leader in the house.  He is trusting me more as I show responsibility & humility and lay my opinions & fears aside.

It is NEVER too early to start preparing & researching for your child's education.  

If you are going to send them to public or private school - GREAT!  Just make sure YOU are making the decision, not the state, not your friends, and not your experience.  If you are thinking about home schooling, challenge your motives and get advice from moms who have been doing it!  I had a serious reality check when a mom describe her home-schooling journey as one that lasted 24 years.  Geez, does that come with a retirement plan & benefits?

Here are my recommendations if you are not sure where to start:

1.  Pray & surrender to God.  He is the best teacher & educator and He certainly knows your child the best.  Entrust the future and your plans to God as if you were a complete fool with no wisdom or intelligence about you.

2.  Start reading.  Below is my book recommendation list for now.  I have another pile sitting by the front door that I got from the library.  (P.S.  All moms must have a library card & use it regularly!)  

Here's a breakdown of how often I would suggest reading a book, based on your child's age:
birth - 1 year: Read one book on the subject before their first birthday.
1 year - 2 years: one book every 6 months (that's only two a year!!)
2 years - 3 years: at least one book every 4 months
3 years - 5 years: read up on the subject every two months
By the age of five, you will have read a ton of books & will be very well informed!

3.  Ask questions.  Lots and lots of questions.  Talk to moms who send their kids to private school.  Ask how they are learning, what they are learning, and about the overall experience.  Ask a mom who does homeschooling to join her for a morning.  Learn while your child is in the car seat & you will be ready when they are tying their shoelaces. 

4.  Visit this website and listen to the radio interview.  We went to her seminar last month and our lives have been turned upside down.  Our home life has taken a 180 degree turn and we have seen:
- behavior improvement in Zoe
- creativity and desire for reading
- a level of peace and tranquility in the home I had no idea was missing

Home Sweet Homeschool, Sue Maakestad
Better Late Than Early: A New Approach to Your Child's Education, Raymond S. and Dorothy N Moore
Boys & Girls Learn Differently! A Guide for Teachers and Parents, Michael Gurian
The Organized Home Schooler, Vicki Caruana
School Can Wait, Raymond S. Moore and Dorothy N. Moore
...more to come!