This is the week of homeschooling which I am tempted to skip writing about. The week I took no pictures on my phone. The week our schedule was totally disrupted. The week I got take out one night and served hot dogs with macaroni and cheese another. Mornings we slept too late and mealtimes with arguments and afternoons frantically cramming in school work and other activities.
Looking back, I can see the bursts of sunshine in our week despite the storm clouds. We had some fun times. We learned a lot. Particularly me.
You see, I’ve been at this thing for 8 years now. I should know the ebb and flow of homeschooling somewhat. However, this week I had to remind myself of some of the basic ways to stay the course when I desperately want to scream, run or both.
If you are a Christian, you already know the verse about drawing near to God. You already know what I’m going to say, so your eyes are skimming down to the next point. Please hear me out. Reading your Bible is important. Prayer is vital. Going to church to worship and meet with other Christians is a boost to our walk.
However, you may have had a week like mine. You’re just exhausted and you don’t know what to do next. As wonderful as those things are, sometimes we need to just draw near. Put aside all the learning and growing and disciplines for a moment and just rest.
I believe it was Amy Carmichael who said when she was a child, she would lie in bed at night and just talk to Jesus. She would pat the side of the bed next to her and invite him to sit there and chat with her. When I was a child, I pictured myself curling up in His lap and just being with Him. Even now, I picture Him right next to me as I struggle through my day. When tears threaten, He is there to whisper as He did long ago to a group of weary fishermen, “Peace, be still.”
Get Active Outdoors.
You must know that running isn’t my thing. In fact, it wasn’t my mother’s or my grandmother’s thing. It kind of seems like a new thing among moms my age who love to sport bumper stickers with numbers like 13.1 and 26.2 on them. I’m truly happy for them and their passion, but I just can’t seem to make it mine.
While passion is perhaps too strong a word, I found that running around a tennis court is far more enjoyable than clocking time on a FitBit. One evening, when both of us were to our limit, I met my sister there and we hashed out the frustrations of our day with our tennis rackets.
However, twice this week, when attitudes were less than perfect at breakfast and starting Bible class was just going to make things worse, we took a walk around the neighborhood instead. It seemed to clear the air, and we felt so much better when we got back. It worked so well that I even tried it one evening alone.
Enjoy Small Pleasures.
Saving things for company or for a special occasion makes me sad. Life is a special occasion, and none of us knows how much time she has to enjoy it. I set the table with roses from my rose bush and my best china, silver and linens this week just because. We didn’t even have that great of a meal, but it was more fun to eat on the pretty dishes.
Those candles that have been gathering dust forever because they are too pretty to burn? Well, I’ve been burning them. I light my candles, turn on David Nevue on Pandora and tuck myself into bed with a book until I start to fall asleep.
Put on perfume every day. Buy good quality chocolate and savor one small square a day. Wear clothes that are comfortable and beautiful. And always…..always buy the best coffee you can afford. If you live to be 100, life is too short for mediocre coffee.
Do Something Just for Fun.
While I love to learn things while I read, sometimes it’s fun to read a book just because it’s a great story. I have to play the piano to keep up my skill for my students’ sake, to set an example for my kids and to prepare songs for church. However, this year I got some books that were just fun to play. I forget about honing skills, and just play them because I enjoy them. Maybe that’s why I’m playing tennis some. Forgetting the outcome…..just enjoying the process.
Invest in Someone Else.
Three times this week, in the middle of my biggest pity parties, God sent someone along to prod me. I was able to speak words of encouragement and comfort, testify about my Jesus or just help them with something they needed. By the time our exchange was over, it felt a little silly to keep worrying about my overwhelm and my concerns. Focusing on other people is always a good plan of action to prevent too much focus on our problems.
So, the count is 3 weeks down and 33 to go. I’m taking a deep breath, lighting some candles and getting ready for another go. How about you?