Time to evaluate

I'm enjoying a breather of a few days to catch up after a busy, busy May...and before a busy, busy June.  Next week is our church's Vacation Bible School, then a homeschool conference, and a couple of weeks with our families.  It's been wonderful to get my house clean, take time to cook appealing meals, have more time in the Word, and watch the grass grow.

As a homeschool mom, though, it's hard to put aside thoughts and plans for the coming year.  I no sooner finish one year than I'm prayerfully planning studies and schedules for the next.  And while I would truly love a mental break from it all, I'm grabbing the chance to analyze what worked and what didn't for us.

I ended this year feeling particularly drained and overdone, out of touch with myself and our home life.  Some of the outside commitments I made took more planning and execution than I anticipated.  We had to adjust our curriculum and scheduling a number of times.  Various deadlines kept me forging ahead, and I never seemed to have my week planned well for anything.  This was a year that SweetPea and I needed to do a lot of talking and processing to help her work through life.  Family health issues took their toll on our daily life, and I just lost my motivation to "get out there and get 'er done."  To say it simply, I ran out of gas.

So in looking ahead, I'm making some decisions.  I've only got a couple of years left in our homeschool journey and I want them to be good ones.  I realize that I can't control what life brings, but with the choices I do have, I want to make sure that they're well thought-out.  I've been guilty of taking on too many outside activities, some in the name of giving my daughter a well-rounded education or neat opportunities, or pitching in to run programs and events.  Both SweetPea and I have felt the inner exhaustion of not enough break time to synthesize, savor, and appreciate the full value of our experiences.  More isn't always better.

Gratefully, she and I are of the same mind.  We're going to have more of a 'home' focus (you know, the first part of the word 'homeschool'!) and leave room for the relationships and activities the Lord would have for us.  We're already feeling a gleeful sense of relief at the prospect.  I'm going to work on four things...

Peacefulness.  (Focus on following the Lord's lead and be guided by His peace.)

Intentionality.  (Think it through before I do--whatever!)

Ownership.  (Keep the control I properly should have for our time, activities, energy, and goals.)

Margin.  (Keep some space for fun and rest and spontaneity!)

And to start our summer off on the right foot, tomorrow we're intentionally and peacefully going to enjoy some margin at a lake with some dear friends!


Busy week, good week...

We think that our raccoon problem resolved itself--we haven't heard them in the fireplace for a few days and can't see them down the chimney, either.  Yay!  I suspect that the Eau de Ammonia might have convinced Mama that this was not a lovely place to raise her babies.  One evening at my desk upstairs, I heard a loud thump on the roof over me and quite a commotion, so that might have been her departure.  We've got a chimney cap on now and haven't seen any frantic little masked faces trying to stage a jail-break out the mesh enclosure.

I love the contrast of old and new growth
I'm in the home stretch with our church's VBS materials. It got to be something of a last-minute push this year again, but the Lord is helping me get it done, and of course, it's an incredible blessing to be reviewing the fabulous truths of our faith.  This year it's a Treasure Hunt theme with God's Word being the treasure.  The kids will be working on a treasure map during the week, with each day a focus on what they need to do with the Word--hear it, believe it, know it, obey it, and speak it.  Great reminders for the grown-ups, too!

Spring green pond life
I've so enjoyed some lovely walks with my family this week, soaking up the vivid spring colors, smells, and awakening world around us.  Even managed to get up really early a couple of times and accompany SweetPea in her running challenge with one of her friends (Note: SweetPea was doing the running; I kept up a nice, reasonable walk). I'm trying to get in shape with a program my Honey is overseeing, from a great book called You Are Your Own Gym.  It's deceptively easy...but I've been sore this week!

We couldn't believe it when the camera revealed what
the bumps-on-the-log were in the distance!
My beloved auntie, who suffered a stroke a month ago, is making a wonderful recovery, praise God!  She's setting an amazing example of diligence in her rehab exercises, as well as her trust in God's help and healing. She's at my sister's now for an interim period, learning how to resume the daily tasks of life.

The ubiquitous Golden Pea

A sweet couple enjoying the afternoon sunshine
SweetPea is in the final weeks of her school year, dragging herself through the I'd-rather-be-doing-anything-else (especially if it has to do with a camera!) spring syndrome.  I'm glad she has her mother's helper job to lend some variety to her days.

Truly God "has given us all things to enjoy richly"!