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Archive for August, 2009

“True education is… a spiritual process.  It is the nurture of a soul.”  – R.L. Dabney, “On Secular Education”

 

I am not the first person to be convinced that God has a sense of humor.

For example, He created this:

And… equally as funny, He decided to have me homeschool my children.

BUAHHAHAHHAHA.  HA HA.

HA.

Me.  The really, really, really, REALLY impatient one over here in the corner, waving her arms wildly with the deer-in-the-headlights look on her face.  That, and occasionally hitting her head against the wall.  Depends on when you look.

Don’t get me wrong.  I know this is what we’re supposed to be doing right now.  I know that by sacrificing a paycheck, we are investing not only in our children’s academic development, but also (and more importantly) in their spiritual development.  We’re doing that whole Deuteronomy 6:6-8 “thang”, and I know it’s all going to be worth it.

(she reminds herself as she begins to bang head repeatedly on kitchen table)

The thing is, I am not a patient person.  It doesn’t take much to put me over the edge.  My sweet, wonderful, adorable, almost-5-year old child can do it like a pro.  All he has to do is respond to my direction… by staring blankly into space, twirling his pencil.  “Let’s practice writing your name.”  “Okay, Jonah… let’s write now.”  “Come on kiddo… this is easy for you.  You do it by yourself ten times a day without me even asking you to do it.”

Twenty minutes and three (yep, three) letters later, and I’m looking for a really high window ledge.

Let me clarify:  This scenario doesn’t happen every day.  Thankfully.  Praise Jesus.  I mean, that kid does amazingly well 90% of the time.  Math?  Simple for him, and he loves it.  Reading?  Great, and in short enough spurts, we get the job done.  Music?  Not a problem.  I’m unbelievably proud of him.  Usually.  And he’s just too cute when he’s into school:

My excited learner, doing his favorite subject: MATH!

My excited learner, doing his favorite subject: MATH!

But his total disinterest — sometimes progressing into crazy whinyness (is that even a word?) —  probably happens about once a week (and usually involves handwriting), and when it does, I might as well throw in the towel for the whole day.  Because the alternative is losing my patience… and my temper… and a bit of my mind.

But this is how God works, isn’t it?  You pray for strength, and He puts you through a trial wherein you must lean on Him for strength.  You pray that you would follow His will, and He throws you into the proverbial fire wherein His will is clear, but oh so difficult to follow.  You pray for patience, and more often than not He leads you into situations wherein the exercise of patience is impossible without Him.

I get it.  I get it.  Really, I do.

It doesn’t make it any easier, but I get it.

I know that educating my children isn’t just about THEIR spiritual development, about nurturing their little souls.  It’s also about mine… my spiritual development, my soul.  It’s about how God is refining me, growing me, sanctifying me.  And bringing me closer to Him, so that I’ll not only accept His teaching, but I’ll do so with joy.  With praise.  And yes, with laughter.  ‘Cause frankly, it just has to make you laugh… that He would take someone as woefully inadequate, as ridiculously impatient, as me… and make me teach handwriting to a four-year old.

So I’ll continue to pray for patience.  Even when I know what’s going to come my way as a result.  And I’ll take the laughs when they come.  Thankfully, they come pretty often.

No, I’m not the first person to realize that God has a sense of humor.  And I’m learning to laugh with Him.  🙂

-Nikki

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Boden, my sweet giant of a second child, starts acting up like crazy.  Fussing, whining constantly, hitting everyone and anyone, throwing very hard things at very soft people.  

I believe it’s a behavior/heart issue, so I proceed to discipline accordingly.  For about a week.

Last night, I complain about the problems I’m having with said previously-adorable child to a dear friend of mine, who has four children.  Her first response?  “That’s not like him.  Is he teething?”

I think, I forgot to think about that.  I grab him.  I stick a finger in his mouth.  I feel swollen gums and incoming molars… four of them.  I cringe.

Boden then receives ice cream, Tylenol, and lots of hugs and kisses from a very loving, very guilt-ridden Mommy.

And I decide to let it slide the next time he throws a ball at my head.

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Boasting is the response of pride to success.  Self-pity is the response of pride to failure.” – John Piper (via Twitter)

For as long as I can remember, I was always advised to reach for the stars, to be all I could be (in the non-Army sense).  I was supposedly (or so I was told) the “smart child”, the one who was meant to cast off the perceived shackles of small-town life and be more… more accomplished, more financially successful, and thus more happy (yes, I know that’s not grammatically correct).

So I left my small town.  I went to a high-ranking university in the city, graduated with all the honors I could handle, attended a top law school, and got the plum job with the big law firm.  And I’ll admit, I had more than one prideful moment when I actually believed all I’d been told about myself all my life… that is, until it came crashing down courtesy of a blip (or in this case, a non-blip) on an ultrasound machine.  But more on that in a later post.

At that point everything changed… and God rather abruptly led me down another path.  I traded business suits, high heels, and cafe mochas for comfy jeans, cowboy boots, and a nursing bra.  No more fancy job, big salary, or published papers.  Now instead of advising employers, I teach children; instead of litigating cases, I mitigate disputes among our three little ones.

I’m at home.  That’s it.  No recognition, no paycheck, no glory.  Just a bit of spit-up on my shoulder.

And I’ll admit, I’ve had more than one prideful moment when I wanted to throw myself a big huge pity party.  At least then someone might notice that I used to be somebody.  That is, if anyone even showed up.

This period of transformation — an ongoing sanctification process — has been tremendously difficult at times.  I have railed against obscurity, languished at the thought of not being recognized.  But I’m learning, and growing… and letting go, thanks to more than a little help from Above and alongside.  Because I’ve now got a new job and a new title, one in which there’s no place for perfection or pride.  My old self — and my selfish pride (at least in part; I’m still working on it!) — has been cast aside and replaced with a new moniker: “Servant”.

And that’s okay.

Actually, it’s more than okay.  It’s wonderful.  It’s just what I needed.  I’m a better, stronger, more-reliant-on-God person because of it.

This is my life.  I chase Starrs for a living… wee little Starrs.  It’s not glamorous, it definitely doesn’t pay much, and it’s often harder than I ever imagined it could be.  But it’s where God has put me, and looking at my wonderful husband and beautiful kiddos, I know I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I am somebody to them, and frankly, they are the only ones who matter.

My Three Starrs

My Three Starrs

Now, why He had me go to law school and incur some six figures worth of loans before teaching me that lesson… well, that one I’m still trying to figure out.  🙂

-Nikki

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“You are not, in fact, going to read nothing… if you don’t read good books, you will read bad ones.”  -C.S. Lewis 

For many, many reasons, I have been hesitant to enter the blogging world.   I don’t have enough time (I DO have three small children, after all).  I don’t have the energy (see previous excuse).  I’ve turned into a flake multi-tasking genius, my mind taken over by visions of spit-up and poopy diapers, my ears filled with a variety of whines, cries and tears.  Perhaps I might be a bit lazy.  Perhaps.  

But the most important reason?

I don’t feel I have anything to add.  Nothing.  Nada. Zip.

Nothing of substance or importance, anyway.  I’m just another mommy out there, dealing with being at home, schooling at home, cooking/cleaning/staying sane at home.  Mommies like me are a dime a dozen.  Anything I could/would/might say here has been (or will be, I’m sure) better said by someone else.  Someone more profound, like this dear lady.  Someone more beautifully poetic, like her.  Someone more crafty, like this gal.  Someone funnier, like her (and him).  Certainly someone with more God-inspired wisdom, like this amazing man.  And deeper experience, like this family.  And, come to think of it, a better vocabulary.

But after much consideration — and a substantial bit of prodding from certain family members who will remain nameless for now — here I am.  Here goes nothing.  Really.

But just because I’m starting a blog, I’m not about to stop going to those places where I get inspiration and hope, since that’s where all the “good stuff” is.  We’re all going to read something, and I’d rather that “something” be from beneficial, wonderful books/blogs/sermons/etc. rather than pointless drivel.  So, that’s where I have turned for my blog “theme” of sorts:  to others, particularly to those who already have shared in some way their stories, experiences, theories, and thoughts in a way I can digest, interpret, and hopefully learn from.  So, here’s my promise to you:  I’ll try to begin each post (or at least as many posts as possible) with a quote — or at least what I’m learning — from one or more such beautiful folks… so we can hear from them and learn together.

Hopefully I’ll be eloquent… or at least readable.  More likely, I’ll be half-asleep and just sharing about the little things that make life sweet, or difficult, or particularly itchy on a given day.  Yes, itchy.

Having said that, welcome to my little world.  I look forward to getting to know you.

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