Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Pulled At

I feel very tugged upon, lately, and I don't know if that is a good thing. Oh, not from the Lord. When He does it, it always ends up being a good thing. I mean from other people in my life, and from expectations and desires for me and how I spend my time. I am involved in alot, I admit. I didn't really think it was "too much" until just recently. Maybe its a by-product of the homeschooling, how more of my day has to be focused on certain things than it used to be.... perhaps I just have to learn to even out my juggle with this extra ball in my hands. Perhaps I should give it more time to adjust.
We are making alot of important decisions for the health and future of our Elephant family, and I would honestly appreciate any prayers you can find time to say on our behalf. Things are just tough all the way around... hard choices to make and stick to, and necessary changes to see through to the end. Some of it eases tension, some of it increases more.
But the more I think about where life has me lately, the more I just desire to simplify. Maybe I am over-committed, I don't know. Maybe I just need to drop a couple balls here and there to make things less rocky.
I just know I don't like to feel the pull of other people's ideas of how I should spend my time, and what should fill my days. My number one "job" is my children (notice I did not say "focus" that is Jesus) so I know I have to do my utmost to be committed to them above any other activity.
Which leaves the choice of whether or not to have any purposeful "me" elements to my life. I know the whole "take time for stuff you enjoy" mantra. And I do try to. Yet it does seem that theres a definite squeeze on how much time I have for anything "for me"... I am willing to give up alot of "me" things, activities,and time for my children.
Its not like ignoring my husband. I make it a POINT to spend time with him daily.We are growing closer each day. But less of "me" and more of "us" and "them" is a fair trade off for me. When the kids are grown, I will still be here, waiting for "me" to catch up, after all.
 Maybe I just need to have a bit more self sacrifice...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Elephants and Elders

Today we had my older brother over for his birthday. Its always fun when he's here, since the Elephants are crazy about their uncle. Its also always fun when he turns another year older than me...  :)
I'm proud of the way that my elephants behaved... well, thats only half true. I'm really proud of Pink Elephant. She understood "eat all your vegetables and you will get cake".. and happily complied, with a "please may I have some cake" the minute she had finished the veggies.
Blue Elephant, not so much. After much reminding and prodding and tons of resistance, we finally told him he would not be getting cake. (and yet he did STILL have to finish his veggies).. Blue Elephant was NOT happy about that.
Tough as it was to listen to the whining and the crying and the disappointment of BE not sharing in his uncle's cake, it was the right thing to do. We told him if he didn't eat them, he couldn't have cake. He hemmed and hawwed and made funny faces with beans sticking out of his mouth (which I can NOW laugh about since he is in bed!) but he knew he was disobeying. And he knew the consequence. Yet he persisted. He tested the limits, and questioned our authority over the matter, and we answered him.
It was hard, and I was sad for him with his disappointment. But I have to say, I was rather encouraged when my brother stole a moment to tell us in private that he was proud of us for staying the course and not backing down and giving in.... its always refreshing to have someone see that we are really making an effort to parent with a purpose in mind: turning out decent kids that will grow into decent adults!
Missing cake won't make BE an angel, nor will it teach the "actions have consequences" lesson once and for all. I'm certain we will be repeating THAT like a broken record, right up til the time he leaves for college....
The Elephants do need to know that they should (and will) show respect for their elders, and mind what we say.
Call me a mean mommy for witholding the treat from a disobedient Elephant. After all, it was a special occasion, and he shouldn't have to miss the fun, right?
Its okay if you feel that way, I'm cool with that. No cake for you, either. LOL. J/K.
I'm not looking to be my elephants' best friend. I'm looking for teachable moments each day in their lives that show them the benefits of obedience, and the rewards (eg:cake) that are in store for them through it.
It's a short step from understanding this obedience to our earthly Fathers and applying it to our Heavenly Father. Sure we can choose not to "eat our veggies" when God asks us to obey through the tough parts of life, but in doing so, we miss the "cake" of deeper blessings that He could be giving us through lessons learned and stretched faith.
I for one am very, very fond of cake.
Be it the cake in celebration of my OLD-ER brother (heehee) or the "cake" of blessing from the Lord.
Discipline and "veggies of discomfort" are a part of life, both literally and spiritually. But the rewards of obedience are SO worth it!!! :)
I'm pretty sure the next time the "veggies and cake exchange" comes around for Blue Elephant, he will be cleaning his plate! After all, an Elephant never forgets....

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


It's a monumental day here at the Elephant house.... Pink Elephant happily started her first official day of PreK... she ran inside without a hitch, leaving me the only one with a lump in my throat. Blue Elephant began his very first day of Kindergarten!  Going off of some good advice from another homeschooling mom, I made just as big a deal out of his first day as I did for PE's. They got their pictures taken, and last night we made special "first day" necklaces out of pasta and yarn. (I don't think I can get away with them wearing them when they hit middle school, but this year they donned them with smiles!)
BE is a willing and involved student. He wouldn't last a day with other kids in a normal classroom, though. At least, not at this age and maturity level. He was skittery and took alot of reigning in to keep him focused. But I knew to cut him plenty of slack... its not everyday that a four year old takes on Kindergarten, and its not every day that his teacher was the one that changed his diapers! ;)
BE and I have had a blast today! We talked about the letter "I" and the sound it makes, the definition of a community, the numbers 1, 2, 3... ( the curriculum isn't going to catch up to BE's level till late in the year) and the concept that God created everything in the world with a plan in mind.
My BE is capable of adding and subtracting, basic reading, and writes all letters in fairly good print. I wonder if I went overboard with him before we even pulled out the curriculum? But then again, I stop and remind myself; this precious elephant is only 4 years old. His brain is wired differently from other kids his age, sure. But he still has all the time in the world that the other kids do to accomplish 13 years of education. We might be "slowing it down" for awhile at the start of this year, but I think its good for BE to develop a "I can master this" concept toward school in general, so that when things do start to become a challenge, he already believes he is up to the task of learning!
I am proud of both of my elephants today. My little Pink Elephant was so confident and brave and excited! And I know she is having a blast... God really blessed us when He led us to the preK where both our elephants have attended. Still, my heart aches that my littlest elephant is old enough for the world of PreK. Didn't I JUST give birth to her, like yesterday??
We have a Kindergartener, a Preschooler, and (gulp) a teacher living in this house, now.
I started today with fear and trepidation regarding becoming an "official" school teacher... and after day number one of my teaching "career", I can definitely see where God's Hand of help was guiding me! Thank you, Lord, for the blessing and opportunity to help my child with his education. May I never take for granted that I am helping to shape a little elephant for the future!
I LOVE my elephants! :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

when I grow up...

When I grow up, I want to be just the way I am. Okay, maybe like 500lbs lighter than me. With better teeth. But, other than that, I want to be like.... me. Shocking? Maybe. Now that I am old (insert eye rolling for those older than me that keep telling me I am young, yet).. I realize that I am who I am, and doggone it, this is just me.
I find I am alot like the coconut. NO stop the "nuts" jokes now, people. Ahem, as I was saying, I find I am alot like the coconut. Have you ever met anyone who thinks coconut is "just okay"? Nope, me neither. Either you really like it, find it delightful and enjoy it, or you think its gross, annoying and gets stuck in your teeth.
I find to the rest of the people in this world, I am alot like the coconut.
That Bonny girl? (oh, OKAY... "lady"..) Yeah, she's just weird. I don't understand her. She's too loud. What a strange sense of humor. I don't like her. She's too opinionated. She's just harsh.
Oh! Bonny? Yes, I LOVE her, she's such a sweetheart! Gives the best hugs... so friendly, always looking to help out.
Where or when have I ever met anyone who has said "Bonny is alright. I think of her as a pretty nice girl, she seems okay."  ??
I've been told I am "extreme"... (hey, I've also been told I'm mentally ill... no, really, they were mean enough to really mean that!) that I just dont have a middle of the road kind of personality.
Well, I find this to be true. But I'd like to know this...
What is so doggone terrible about being somebody who lives life with passion?
When I have reason to rejoice, I rejoice. I can cry at things that make my heart swell with happiness.
When I have reason to mourn, I mourn. I can cry at things that deeply hurt my heart.
I move through my life with genuine, deep emotion. When things are good, they are very very good. When they are bad, typically, they ARE horrid.
What is so incrediably noble about the art of a "fake smile" in a situation? What's to be admired about hiding out and crying only in secret?
Are we not to be who we are? When did being yourself, for the world to see, become undesireable?
Transparency has a tendancy to make other people uncomfortable. I get that. So, since I do not cover my life with a "front" or a "mask" I guess that is why I make some people incrediably uncomfortable.
Will I be changing who I am or how I go through my life for the sake of a handful of people who "just don't understand me"?? Uh... nope.
When I grow up, I want to live life to the fullest. I want to be able to look you in the eye when you ask me how I am and tell you 'Life is wonderful!" if it IS. Or, "Life is really hard right now, and I am struggling." If I AM! When I grow up I want to be genuine. I want to be transparent. I don't ever want to be afraid to "feel".
If I have offended you, then you are probably among those who just dont get me as a person. I'm sorry. :)
But as I grow up, I am gonna keep the personality that I was blessed with, and I am gonna be me. After all, if I were trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ Jesus. It is my aim to let my life and actions please Him above all else. :) 
Whenever I see that I am a coconut, I remember that Christ is like one too... Jesus? Yeah, you either adore Him or you can't stand Him.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Read Any Great Parenting Books, Lately?

Ha ha. Me, too. And me, neither. Now, lest I be chastised right out the gate (oh, who am I kidding, every move I make offends somebody, somewhere).. I have given multiple books a fair shot. The problem is that they are all saying the exact opposite from eachother. Spank. Don't spank. Show 'em who's boss. Let them lead the way. Be easy going. Be firm.
With all the contradictions out there, and still the same children to raise, what's a girl to do?
Take it day by day, I guess. Each day brings its own challenges, its own events, and its own struggles. One day its little Miss Sunshine and Mr Happy Pants the next its Crabby Face and Pouty Pants....
I admit, my own moods vary from day to day (some people would tell you that I am just down right neurotic, but they are the haters, just sayin'). and I should expect that my children's moods will, as well. I can totally allow for that. What I can't allow for is house rules being disregarded just because BE and PE dont "feel" like obeying that day. Respect is a huge must in our house.
We say please and thank you, yes ma'am and yes sir, excuse me, and I'm sorry. Did I get that idea from a parenting book? Nope, just old fashioned manners.
What happens when the kids disregard the rules? Well, now that is what is currently being tweaked at our house. How will we choose to respond?
All the "best" parenting books in the world cannot provide a fail-safe method for raising great kids.
But I really love what my friend told me the other day "the only book that is 100% accurate is the Bible, so go with that". 
And it is that concept which I will strive to remember.
-Ephesians 4:14-16 NLT