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Monday, May 28, 2012

Fragile Strawberry Start

The other morning little Sami was up and hungry before Elli. As I sat with her while she ate her breakfast I decided to wade into waters I hadn’t yet in the two months she's been with us. She’s been mentioning her mom a lot lately, so I began to ask her about her mom. I asked her whether she is short or tall, chubby or slender, etc., and what she likes most about her mom (to which she replied, “She gives me spicy chips to eat. The red kind with fire on the bag.”) She quickly began to tear up, so I offered a warm lap and an embrace if she wanted it. She climbed onto my lap and we snuggled for a bit. I told her I know it hurts and I know she loves her mom. She cried and pressed her little self against me.

Then I began to talk about the tiny strawberry start we currently have on our kitchen windowsill. We talked about what would happen to it if we put it outside right now, when it is so little… Sami realized that the wind would hurt it, the cold would damage it, and the sun would burn it. That tiny little start is fragile and depends upon us to properly care for it and keep it safe until it is ready to be outside and on its own. I told little Sami that she is very much like that little strawberry start! She is little, she is fragile, and she needs us to care for and protect her until she is ready to be on her own. I told her how much we love her and how thankful we are that God has placed her with us for this season of her little life.

I'm not sure how much of an impression my analogy made on her, but it certainly struck me! She is so very like that itty-bitty strawberry start. She is fragile and sensitive and needs so much affirmation and unconditional love! What a challenge and joy to care for this precious little person that has been pulled out of her native soil and repotted, so to speak, in our unfamiliar soil. What happens to any plant, strawberry or otherwise, when it has been transplanted? It wilts before it adapts to its new environment. And it certainly cannot thrive until it has adapted to that new environment. This little “strawberry” the Lord has potted in the soil of our family certainly has her wilty days, but she is also showing definite signs of adapting to her new environment. I look forward to the day when we will be able to say with confidence that she is thriving. Until then, we will continue to seek the Lord’s guidance as we water, fertilize, and care for our precious little strawberry start. 

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea…" "See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven." — Matthew 18:1-6, 10

Monday, March 19, 2012

Grace Like Rain, Ice, and Snow

While I stood smiling, watching Mike and the girls having fun in the snow today, it struck me just what a grace-gift this pre-spring snowstorm was to our family. Think about it with me… a precious little person was torn from the place that she’s tried to make home for the past five months and was “transplanted” into our unfamiliar home.

Have you ever spent the night with strangers? Did you find it comfortable? Did you know where all the important light switches were? Did you know where to find a fresh roll of toilet paper? A clean towel? Was your pillow comfortable? Did you know if and when you were going to receive a meal? What if you got hungry between meals and wanted a snack? Did you know where you were expected to put your shoes? How loudly you should speak? Whether you were expected to clear your place at the table… I think you get the idea. Now try to imagine being four-and-a-half and ALONE in the home of those strangers. Nice strangers, but strangers none-the-less. Strangers with a completely unfamiliar routine and way of doing things.

Well, that’s the confusion that our new little addition has been wading through this weekend. And then along comes a big, exciting snowstorm. A snowstorm that allows opportunity for two little girls to roll around in the snow and throw snowballs at each other. A storm that allows our new little one to throw snowballs at her new Mama and see her Mama laugh, scream, and run away in mock horror. A storm that allows her new Papa to playfully throw shovels full of snow at her and her new big sister. A snowstorm that allows her to relax. To laugh. And to have some good ol’ fashioned fun.

God is so good. He knows just what we need when we need it. I am certain the storm this weekend caused a number of people some real adversity and I do feel for them. But that same storm allowed for growth and healing to begin in our home and I am more thankful to the Lord for that than I can even begin to express.

“God thunders with His voice wondrously, doing great things which we cannot comprehend. For to the snow He says, ‘Fall on the earth,’ and to the downpour and the rain, ‘Be strong…’ Out of the south comes the storm, and out of the north the cold. From the breath of God ice is made, and the expanse of the waters is frozen. Also with moisture He loads the thick cloud; He disperses the cloud of His lightning. It changes direction, turning around by His guidance, that it may do whatever He commands it on the face of the inhabited earth. Whether for correction, or for His world, or for lovingkindness, He causes it to happen.” — Job 37:6, 9-13

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

How Do I Love Homeschooling? Let Me Count the Ways...

To those who have not done it, or have not been around folks that have, homeschooling can seem downright weird. I used to be one of those! I wondered just how wise it was to isolate children by keeping them in the home instead of giving them the opportunity to rub shoulders with their peers every day. Wouldn't they become some kind of strange misfits that had no idea how to interact with their own kind? (Funny that I would think that because I was actually a bit of a misfit that didn't know how to interact with my own kind—and I was schooled in public and private schools!)

Let me tell you, my perspective has changed—a lot—since then. Why do I choose to homeschool my child now? For a variety of reasons—some protective, some religious, and some “constructive.”

1.) Protective
As of January 2012, California public school teachers are now required by law to teach even very young children about alternative lifestyles. Call me politically incorrect, but I really, really don't want my six-year-old being taught that by anyone other than her father or me.

2.) Religious
I believe the Bible to be not only absolute truth, but also historic fact and I want my child learning the history of the world from that perspective. “In the beginning” was a literal 7-day creation by Creator God!

3.) Constructive
Homeschooling is not easy. There, I said it. (I suppose that shouldn’t be a surprise, as parenting isn’t easy and homeschooling is just more parenting!) A couple weeks ago I had a run-in with my very strong six-year-old during schooling. It was not pleasant and I have to admit that I had romantic visions of sending her off on a big yellow school bus running through my head at the time. I was asking myself, “Why do I do this? This is so frustrating and I just don’t think we’re making any progress! Wouldn’t we both be happier if I just sent her to school? She would have fun being with other kids all day and I would have a nice quiet day to do just what I’d like to do!” Believe me, that really, really sounds wonderful some days.

But then God, in His grace, helped me to see what is actually being accomplished in those unpleasant run-ins with my daughter. We maybe aren’t getting her addition facts memorized like I would like while battling one another, but we are working on major character issues that I might not have become aware of if she were away at school every day. Or I might not have become aware of them until she was 12—or 16—making it much harder to deal with at that age!

It began to dawn on me just what a wonderful thing it is to have my child with me day in and day out… I know her much better than any outside teacher, no matter how caring and capable. My husband and I are much more qualified to address issues of character with our child than anyone else. And by being with her, not only in the morning and evenings but also all throughout the day, I have the fabulous opportunity to work through these character issues with her as they arise. What a wonderful gift!  

So, like Galatians 6:9 encourages, Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary,” I am fixing my eyes on Jesus as I move forward in my homeschool endeavor with determination, hope, and joy.

And, oh yeah, there’s one more reason I chose to homeschool… it’s downright fun sometimes!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Another Tooth Lost!

The offending snaggle tooth...
Yay! It's finally gone!

After I don't know how many weeks of her tooth barely hanging in there, it finally bit the dust tonight! Yay! This is tooth #3 and boy, is Little Chickie excited. She is mostly excited that her first adult tooth is more than halfway in. She feels very grown up. Oops! I almost forgot... I have a job to do... the Tooth Fairy strikes again!

Friday, January 6, 2012

A New Year

Ready or not, another new year has come upon us. The past two years for us are a bit of a fuzzy blur when looked back upon. 2010 was made up of so much waiting and 2011 was made up of so much sudden change! Years so remarkably different, yet somehow equally difficult to wrap the mind around! 

We are excited about this new year—2012. Excited that we are settled, that it holds only minimal waiting, and that it holds only expected change (as far as we know)! Waiting—to add new little ones to our nest, which will most significantly also add change!

Once again we are wading into the foster/adoption waters with the hope of an enlarged brood! We are nearly done with the application/certification/home study process, so hopefully soon we will welcome some new, albeit battle-scarred, little ones.