What I Learned During the Holidays

Fresh off a vacation in which computer time was extremely limited (how ’bout non-existent?), we find ourselves back at home where both laptops are awaiting repair.    Translation?  There are five people vying for the one computer that has access to the Internet.   To put it mildly, I’m learning just how plugged in my family is.   Of course, work takes precedence over all the other fun items, but even that becomes difficult when you have at least one child standing over you saying, “Are you almost finished?”   (Heavy sigh).

In case you’ve not had enough of goal writing, declarations, and reflections (LOL), please be sure to head over to Amy Bayliss and A Woman Inspired for their 31 Days of Online Ministry Event.    There are some great ladies committed to helping us all in the areas of blogging, praise, encouragement, prayer and parenting.    Some of my faves include intentional parenting with Karin at Mommy Matters, Lisa Boyd’s WordPress help (boy, do I need that one!), and 867-5309 Jenny’s (any 80’s fan will immediately appreciate the reference) tips on the use of social media.  

I have asked a question of several business women, especially other working/ home-educating moms, regarding the use of social media, and the implications to being a good steward of time: how are you using these tools to develop your business?   I got very few, if any, responses—hmmm.    One angel was kind enough to introduce me to Hootsuite, a tremendous help in being technologically savvy and present via these tools without becoming a slave to them. Jenny’s first post regarding the use of social media was with respect to Philippians 4:8.   I love this perspective as a starting point.

Karin’s thoughts on intentional parenting have been enlightening as well.  I loved her post on the daily blessing of the children.    What intrigued me most in visiting her blog this time around, however, was the post regarding what she learned in 2010.   I concur with her that 2010 was a year that I’d just as soon not have had, although I know that it was necessary for our growth.   It seemed at times that we were being torn apart at the very seams, and I had to often remind myself of a statement a pastor once made: the Lord will increase your faith by almost destroying it.   

With limited time, I won’t be able to pen all that I learned in 2010.    I thought instead to focus on what I learned in the last month/ during the holidays.    I learned that…

1) Knowing what you believe, and acting consistently upon what you believe, can cure a lot of frustration and angst.

2) I’m nowhere near as technologically savvy as I think I am.

3) The heart of a child, expressed in even the simplest form, can absolutely melt yours.

4) The secret to breakthrough is to worship the Father, especially when you don’t feel like it.

 5) I need to invest in a new camera.

 6) Dogs LOVE “old school” Christmas specials.

7) Having stated #5, the love of family radiates past how it is captured.

A Day in our Lives


I’ve been trying to pen a “Weekly Homeschool Wrap-up” for a couple of weeks now, but my mind hasn’t been able to compartmentalize enough to make the various sections sound  like something other than garble.    I think some part of the problem is that everyone except me had some variation of a cold on last week.    Being the only well person in the house is a challenge unto itself; although the kids fought mightily to complete their work each day, I felt as if I was teaching three children through a dense fog cover.    I was a hot-tea-making, supervising-the-hot-bath-taking machine, and so time with my thoughts was a rarity.    Time with my thoughts and a pen was all but out of the question.

Given that my wrap-ups went MIA, I thought to pen my heart during this season where many moms are beginning to homeschool for the first time, needing hugs, encouragement, and votes of confidence.    Nada.    So, what to write about?  The bit of progress that I’m most excited about is the ability to school with a now 13-week-old puppy and boast of a reasonably smooth day.   So until those other thoughts formulate into something that wouldn’t be too embarrassing to share, I’ll go with a straightforward day-in-the-life post.    They never get old.

I’ve been getting up about an hour before the kids, allowing me to catch up on mail, do any remaining pre-school (as in before school since I no longer have preschoolers anymore) activities, and primarily, getting breakfast together.   By this time, my husband has served the puppy her morning meal, she and our older dog have barked at all the kids on the way to the bus stop, and she is back in her cage until I come downstairs.   Hubby’s left for work by this time.

Once the kids are downstairs, I work with our youngest.   Right now, at least, I can count on the puppy for an extended morning nap.   If it happens before we begin school, I follow the “normal” order: I read to her, then she reads to me, then math and phonics before her first break.   If the nap is yet to come, we postpone my reading to her until the puppy is napping.    Reordering my day around the puppy allows me to be most flexible when she is most active—kind of like a toddler, you know?   Anyway, with the latter order, I’m standing and moving around, if necessary, while the puppy is active.   There are days when the youngest will actually want to read with the puppies in the backyard.    She is my one “outdoorsy” child who likes to get out when the weather allows.

As an aside, we’re 233 pages into The Wheel on the School.    The wheel finally made it onto the school.

 The youngest is on a break at this point, and I get some quick chores completed—folding of clothes, cleaning breakfast dishes,  preparing fruit for mid-morning snack, etc.    Then it’s one-on-one time with our son, reading to one another.    He wrapping up William Carey, a “Christian Heroes: Then and Now” biography from last year’s studies, and I’m covering The Story of Christianity.   We also share our notes from logic (How to Read a Book), apologetics (Know What You Believe), and/or character (Ourselves), dependent upon the day (see our homeschool schedule).

Our youngest comes back to the table.   Most of the time, the puppy is still asleep!    We read some more (These Happy Golden Years) while she works on handwriting.   Then she completes grammar, history, and/or science, again, according to the schedule.

By now it’s lunch time.   I piddle between chores and work, and oh, yeah—I eat.  

After lunch, we all join around the table for Bible.   We continue the journey through the Psalms.   Today we covered Psalms 125-126, and talked about the Israelites returning to their home after being exiled for 70 years.    In the midst of all that they must have been feeling, there was one thing that remained: God was still their protection and the restorer of all that was taken from them.    Wow.  I wish I could have brought the energy and sense of awesomeness to the lesson that the passage deserved.   We are also memorizing the 34th Psalm.

Following our Bible study, the youngest runs off to play while the older two and I enjoy the Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.    By the way, the puppy’s awake by now, and I usually put her outside so that I can read in peace.    After we’ve completed LOTR, I let her back in and have the youngest and/or our son watch her while the oldest and I work together.   The oldest is wrapping up Antony and Cleopatra from last year (that abbreviated summer break is wreaking a small amount of havoc on our schedule!), and we’ve just begun Virgil’s Aeneid together.   She’s not looking forward to what she’s read is a continuation of Homer’s Iliad. “Why can’t they just play ‘paper, scissors, rock’ instead of all this fighting?” she says, laughing.

Minus any leftover work from the morning to complete, or preparation for the days ahead, the school day is over.    For me, it’s a solid 8-9 hours of work between kids, lunch, and chores.   Then there’s work, and whatever projects are happening.    The puppy is also very “puppy-ish” by now until about 9 p.m. when she settles for the night.

Well, those are our days.   At least until next week when dance season begins.    Oi, vei!

Big Brother and Little Sister




But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.    Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.”


Ruth 1: 16-17