Thursday, April 2, 2015

On Building a House

This month it has been three years since we took this picture of the ground breaking on our addition with my father-in-law.  We amateur home-builders have learned SO MANY THINGS the hard way since this picture was taken.  And we still aren't finished, but I thought I'd take a trip down memory lane to remind myself how far we have come and distill those lessons.   

Sunday, March 22, 2015

On Liturgy in the Home

It was Christmas morning and we were not happy to be around the tree.  I was an early teen and the details of the dissension are fuzzy, but the pall was palpable.  Whether it was sibling squabbles, work and school stress or something else, I only remember that my family could not bear to look at each other, much less celebrate Christ's birth together.  It seemed as if the tension would never end, but then my mom yelled that if we wanted to have Christmas, first we were all going to look each other individually in the face, tell the person that we loved them and give them a hug.  By the end we were all crying.  We each started with the easy person, the one that hadn't been giving us problems.  Some of the tears were a release of tension and some of them were because it was so hard to look at a person who had wounded you and forgive them.  In order to honestly tell someone's eyes that you love them, you have to forgive them.  To this day, it was one of the most difficult acts of will and obedience I've done, but mom was right and we went on to have Christmas with clean hearts.  That morning, we learned the hard way that Jesus came for our reconciliation with each other as well as with God.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

On Journaling

Somewhere in a box in our shed is my first journal.  It is probably next to the first letter I received from a friend.  (She taped peanuts to the top of that letter and no one has sent me anything quite so interesting in a letter since then.)  The only entry I remember making in my scratchy writing was one where I described my concerns with the man my aunt was marrying. The end of their marriage years later confirmed my sixth grade concerns.  

Journaling was a habit I continued through much of my young adult and adult life.  I tried to pen worthy thoughts and find great quotes in my reading, but they frequently were about boys and my mysterious interactions with them.  As I grew in my faith, the entries became like prayers, but I suppose it isn't surprising that once I got married, I started "talking" to my husband instead of "talking" to my journal.

One of the ways I made my journals more useful was to regularly look back through them.  In my heyday, I wrote almost daily, so I would look back one year into the past and read my previous entry each day.  That practice was so encouraging.  I was able to see what struggles had diminished, areas where I had grown, and how prayers had been answered. It was endlessly interesting since humans (and our mothers) are fascinated with our own lives.

I will have been married ten years this summer and sadly, those married life entries fit into only two journals instead of ten.  That is changing.  I recently heard the term commonplace book.   Some people use them to store, in their best handwriting, only meaningful quotes from their reading.  Some include those quotes, their responses to them, their to-do lists, long-term goals, etc.  I've decided to morph my journal back into a "commonplace" type of existence.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A February Daybook

Outside my window...

The snow and bitter cold are encouraging me to keep the window between me and the outdoors.

Giving thanks...

for my dad's successful surgery to repair his broken elbow.  

I am thinking...

that at least one of my kids is an extrovert.  

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Candice's homeschool day in the life (with a 1, 4 & 7-year-old)

When I decided to consider homeschooling in the middle of last summer, I researched like a crazy person for three weeks before I chose a plan of action.  I am a box-checker who despises construction paper, but loves to read.  I seemed to have the greatest affinity for the principles of Charlotte Mason, so I chose to use the literature-based Sonlight curriculum with some of my own additions thrown in.

I chose the first grade package for my daughter Hazel.  Unexpectedly, every time we settled on the couch to read about history or study the Bible, her brother Jubal was on the other side of me.  He would ask the most pertinent questions and I soon realized that I was homeschooling him too. 

The following was my day on Friday, January 23rd with some notations as what a more "normal" day would entail.

6:45 a.m.  The baby in my closet (yes, you read that correctly) woke up and was ready eat.  In an ideal world I would get up at the same time every morning and have productive time to myself.  In my real world with two children who still get up frequently at night, I get up when the baby gets up.  I struggle with serious crankiness if I don't get a good block of sleep, so I get up anywhere between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. depending on how the previous night went and when Granville wakes up.

I nurse the baby, make my bed, wash my face, put on the same clothes I wore the day before and wipe out my bathroom sink and toilet.  I do not enjoy cleaning the bathrooms and would previously let them go so long that my husband would finally clean them.  Since August, I've been proactively wiping down my sink and "swishing" my toilet when I get up.  Now I never have to deal with bathroom horror because it doesn't have time to get that bad.  (Thanks for the idea FlyLady.)  Jubal hears Granville burbling in my room and gets up to see him sometime while I'm doing all of this.  I move to the laundry room where I start one load of laundry.  Both my husband and I try to wear our outer clothes as long as possible (unless they get dirty, of course!).  It really does lower the laundry requirements and we get away with only doing five loads of laundry each week.  I generally do one load per week day.  I wipe down our main bathroom and head to the kitchen.

7:30 a.m. Since we started homeschooling, I wanted to have better breakfasts than cereal every day because I don't have to put my daughter on an early bus anymore.  I have about ten breakfast meals that I cycle through.  Some are easy and some are more involved, so I can choose based on what we have going on each day.  Thankfully, we had breakfast for dinner on Thursday night so I still have pancakes in the refrigerator.  I clean out the dish drainer, make my tea, get out meat to defrost for our dinner, set out vitamins and our pancakes and bananas.  The boys and I eat, but Hazel still isn't up.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sharing Stories

I love MOPS! In addition to being a great place to serve and grow beside other moms, it has been a place to share my stories.  You can read one of them on the MOPS blog today:

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Dishwashers and Detours

Our dishwasher broke last month (right before my mom arrived for a two-week stay).  Normally, my fast-paced husband would have an issue like that handled within the week.  However, we are in the long-term process of building a new home ourselves and I am unwilling to spend a cent more than necessary on this one.  We haven't decided what appliances we will be using, so I don't want to purchase a dishwasher helter-skelter that wouldn't work with or fit in the new space (whose dimensions change on a monthly basis).

So, in addition to the new time commitment of homeschooling this fall, I am now washing dishes by hand up to three times a day.  To say that I lacked enthusiasm when starting this venture is a severe understatement even though I knew it was the right decision. But God was at work behind the scenes as He usually is.

What happened next reminds me of the time two winters ago when my husband was driving to North Dakota for work on treacherous two lane highways.  He was in the middle of nowhere when he suddenly had a piercing pain in his back.  It shocked him and he swerved to the side of the road.  In that moment, two semis crested the hill in front of him  -- side by side.  I got to keep my husband that day because sometimes pain and detours from God have a purpose. 

The purpose in a broken dishwater isn't so readily apparent as the miraculous preserving of a life.  However, I have been noticing a difference in my evenings.  Instead of me being left behind in the kitchen to clean up and load the dishwasher while my husband spends time with the kids, he joins me.  He knows that I've already done the dishes (at least once) that day and what a discouragement it can be to see a full sink again.  Now it is a time of reconnecting and working together that we didn't have on week nights when we had a functioning dishwasher.  I won't go as far as saying that we won't buy a dishwasher when we do build our future kitchen, but I'm beginning to see the purpose in this detour.

The higher you stack, the fewer you have to dry.