Owl's Head Lighthouse, Owl's Head, ME

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


The cat sits in the sunbeam. The dog naps on the couch. The kids are done with the majority of their schoolwork for the day, and they are enjoying a bit of free time. My back aches and there are still so many things that I need to accomplish for the day, but I am feeling blessed.

Many days are lacking this moment of quiet, but today I soak it in much as my cat does the sunbeam.

Mothering, and certainly homeschooling, are not for the faint of heart. But many times I feel just exactly that....faint of heart. In spite of this, blessings always abound. That really does not change just because I feel blessed, or I don't.

For now, though, I am so encouraged when the Lord opens up doors for me to be an encouragement to someone else. I am unworthy, yet, He allows me to work for Him and that honor cannot be seen as anything less than a blessing.

Each day we have choices that will result in either furthering the work of Satan or furthering the work of Christ. Each time that I come to that crossroads, and it is often, may I choose to work in the path prepared by my Lord......drawing others into and encouraging them along this narrow path.

Each opportunity makes the sore back and aching feet worth it. What a glorious blessing if I am allowed to give up my own plans, my own comfort, for Him.

Take me now, Lord Jesus take me;
I would give my heart to Thee.
Thy devoted servant make me,
Only Thine to be.

Use me now, Lord Jesus, use me,
As I tell of Calvary.
May Thy Spirit move within me,
Bringing souls to Thee.

Send me now, Lord Jesus, send me,
Lead me in the perfect way.
Thy command shall always guide me;
Gladly I obey.

Savior, while my heart is tender,
I would give Thee ev'ry part.
All my talents I surrender;
I am Thine, Lord, here's my heart.

Ron Hamilton

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Letting Go Of The Clutter

I had talked about it for too long. Today was the day to finally start loading up the things that have been piling up around us and send them on their way. Clutter is just one of those things that is extremely subjective. I mean, the saying that one man's junk is another man's treasure is very true. I should know....the majority of my shopping is at that fabulous chain....Goodwill.

When I see some other homes, I think, "Wow,any clutter here would stand out. Everything has a place and looks so nice." In our house it is a little harder to tell where our valued belongings end and the clutter begins. I guess that really is the essence of clutter. It grows into your surroundings like an especially virulent weed.

Usually, I can find a reason for each piece. It all has some sort of value to me. Sometimes is sentimental. Sometimes it is just my cheap side shining through. "We most definitely never know when we might need these 2x2 pieces of cloth.....my daughter is a crafter, you know." or "These Folgers coffee containers are just about the best containers you can find!" They are too....but we drink ALOT of coffee.

So as I sorted and piled and threw, I felt the draining that comes from the purge. It's hard. If it were easy I probably wouldn't have a clutter problem. I love antiques, and I have an assortment that I have either been given or have collected on my own. I have always planned to use them in my decorating, but most have sat collecting dust. I still hang on to many of them, but, today, I gave away one antique wooden box that I had found at a yard sale a few years ago. I suppose that's progress, but it feels more like scratching at a healing wound.

You see, over the last couple of years we have left much behind. We had to walk away from a home we loved and most of our treasured possessions. Those things that we carried away with us are probably held onto more tightly because it feels like its all we have left. Some of the "stuff" we have carried away did not necessarily make sense, but.....well its just the way it is.

The reality of our life today forces me to look at the clutter and consider the cost of keeping it. There is a certain amount of clutter that must come from a family of six (plus pets) that chooses to homeschool. Then there is the clutter that comes from the past; the things that we think will keep us connected to our memories. When these things stand in the way of our life, we must let go. Much as the Lord has to take away the things in our lives that keep us from serving Him freely, I must remove the physical clutter from my life.

I wish I could just do some Dorothy heel-tapping and have my clutter be gone. It hasn't worked yet. I actually had to make the hard decisions myself. While the Lord has the ability to remove the other clutter from our lives---the things that are holding us back spiritually---He usually waits for us to offer it up to Him. I can see myself holding onto the individual items of my life, standing over the bag, asking if I really need to let this one go. When I can set it down and give it to Him to do with what He wills, I will grow spiritually. My ministry will enlarge. The pieces that I turn back and put on the shelf because I don't feel I can trust Him with those parts of my life will only cause me further pain and limit my ministry.

I know that each item that was loaded into the back of the van today and taken to Goodwill leaves a little space in our life/home that is freed up to live a little better. We will reap a more peaceful and pleasant home atmosphere. Our school days will be more productive, and our time together as a family will be less stress-filled.

As the Lord brings the clutter in my life to the surface, may I be willing to lay it down. He will help me deal with the pain and the reward will be more than worth it.

"For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us
." (Rom. 8:13, 18)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Life Comes One Day At A Time

I am just a little lost and lonely today. After weeks of travel, hotels and restaurants, I am back to my little world. The one that fits into a 1000 sf rectangle, with no travel and mostly a diet of casseroles. The one in which I am hard pressed to find any space that is not occupied by someone, child or animal, where silence is only had by putting on my husband's heavy-duty ear protection, meant to be used in rifle target practice.

The organization that I had hoped to have completed in the brief moments I was home, was not done. So we arrived back here again on Monday after seven days straight of road travel. Children unloaded, husband unpacked and repacked. Within 3 hours he was gone for another week of work and I was left with, well, everything. At least that's what it felt like.

Bins of clothes. Plastic bags filled with miscellaneous items the children had collected in their extended visits with family. Cupboards, while not totally bare, seriously lacked any inspiration. The knowledge that the school year must begin shortly, caused my brain to overload. The only question it saw was, "How on earth do I get from here to there?"

Tuesday the curriculum arrived. Laid out according to child, each stack added to my sense of impending doom. I couldn't do this. In spite of all my brave words and plans, the reality of it all came crashing down. I would fail again.

The children had not changed. And the fear that I would be unable to welled within. While being away from the kids and with my husband had felt long at times, I now felt like I was awaking from a dream and that nothing had changed. Maybe my husband and I had reconnected. Maybe we had laid plans for improving our child-training methods. Maybe I had been excited about starting a new year. But here I was surrounded by stuff....and it felt very much like I was back in the last year....discouraged and needing a break.

Issues with the phone has made communication with my husband difficult, leaving me feeling more alone. I can feel the fingers of discouragement reaching around my spirit. I know their touch. And there was a time that I would have allowed the feelings to take over---depression would be the result. I refuse to give in though. Not today or tomorrow. My children need me....all of me. It would be easier to sink into a world of sleep, but by writing and acknowledging the feelings I am going to keep going.

Little by little the bins will be unloaded, the bags will be opened. The stacks of curriculum will find homes on shelves needing to be rearranged yet again. The piles of "stuff" will make it's way to Goodwill, and I will get up again, fix another pot of coffee, make another day of meals, explain two-digit subtraction, vowel sounds, and gather supplies for another science project. I will load another load of laundry, wash more dishes, fold more towels and pick up more legos. I will cry sometimes, but sometimes I will laugh.

Some days will be successes and some days will feel like failures. That is life. It is a special gift. What would I do if today I found out that I only had a short time left to live it?

Today is the day I am choosing to live. This is my life, my gift, my ministry.

"Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Do all things without murmurings and disputings:

That may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;

Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither labored in vain
." (Phil. 2:12-16)

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Notebook of Plans and Fear In the Follow Through

The weeks of travelling with my husband for work and being separated from our children has come to an end. The silence we so recently were experiencing has quickly been replaced by the sounds, and just plain noise, made by four children excited to be back in their regular environment. Today, just today, they are enjoying the "new" of being back in the "old". Tomorrow, I know, will be back to life---the one that so often leaves me feeling old and tired. Bickering, whining and general disharmony are too often the music of the days. But, today, I bask in the spirit of happiness.

Over the last several weeks we have had opportunities to analyze our life with a little more objectivity than we are usually afforded. In the midst of the grind of day to day it often becomes difficult to separate our emotions from the job of parenting. I understand that our emotions are necessary for the role of a parent, but so often we allow our own emotions to cloud our judgment. The result is confused and often whining, bickering children. Consistent discipline becomes more than we can fathom. Enforcement is lacking.

So in this parentheses of our life, my Love and I talked and attempted to refocus for the year ahead. Lord willing, we will prepare ourselves to use the energy that is low to show consistent, loving discipline, taking the time to train our children in art of good habits, and consistently modeling a life that is sold out for the Lord. These are the goals, and we have attempted to lay the groundwork by actually writing down ideas to implement.

Planning is great and something that I need to work on, but all the plans in the world will not help if the follow-through is not there. And guess what? More often then not, I am the one in charge of the follow-through. While my husband is the leader of the family, I am the one here every day. The reality of life with four children often interferes with the best-laid plans, and I end up worn-out, discouraged and far from the kind of role-model I want around my children!

So, here I am with a notebook full of ideas, curriculum in place and a great big ball of fear in my stomach thinking about all the ways that I may fail to follow through. Without a doubt it will mean taking my notebook before the Throne and asking for Divine strength, wisdom and courage to embark on another year of training my children in truth. Years of experience in my own failures leaves me humble but confident that "He which began a good work will be faithful to complete it."

Sleep tonight. Coffee and an open Bible in the the morning, and I know He will give me the strength. We will trust Him for the future of our children and spend each day asking for all that we lack. No doubt there will be many days where bickering and whining are the predominant characteristics.....hey, we aren't in Heaven yet....but I am praying for the strength to stand strong against those little whining monsters (just kidding....sort of) and train them with love and patience.

One of my favorite quotes is "God does not ask for my perfection, only my dedication." Sooo thankful for that! The Lord will bless our humble service to Him in the realm of our homes. May He use me to boost the tone of our home to one of thankfulness and love.