Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Morning Rotations

To say I have been discouraged with getting the hang of schooling with a toddler would be an understatement.

Last year when we fully switched to the WholeHearted learning model, we began experiencing the freedom and joy which I believe every homeschooling mother and family can know.  Joy returned to our learning experience.  Along with the joy came freedom in our days.  My ministry of discipleship to our children is homeschooling them.  We use real, whole books to learn, along with living real life together.

That being said, there are some parts of school (which we call the disciplined studies) that require practice and they require my full attention to teach.  Having a precious toddler running here and there and needing me was stretching me too thin to feel we were accomplishing the things we needed to be getting done.  That left me feeling like a failure.

God has given me this directive to educate our children at home.  He has filled our table with the blessing of a lot of children.  And yet...I did not know how to manage it all and the result was a discouraged mama.

Monday I found a darling lady named Sarah who made a video.  In the video she said something that sparked my attention.  She mentioned the idea of morning rotations with mom.  She has six children herself.  She schools three, and the other three?  A three year old and two year old twins.  Needless to say, she is speaking from experience on how to handle the load.

This is genius.  For morning rotations, you have each older child take a turn at watching the toddler so your focused attention can be on teaching the one on one stuff.  It is such a simple concept.  Each older child gets a turn at watching the toddler and your hands are freed to do the one on one teaching that needs to get done.

These pictures are every mother's dream scenario. 

With incorporating morning rotations, this is becoming our every day reality, even with an active toddler running around.  Little darling loves to climb on the table, find a writing device, and go to town on any paper and surface she can find.

Who me?  Yeah cutie, I'm talking about you!

We are experimenting with times the older kids can handle watching their baby sister.  I think a good starting point is 15-30 minutes a session.  Break and let mom be on duty, then settle into another rotation.

Sometimes I am the queen of forgetting to, you know, PRAY and ask God to give me specific wisdom on how to keep going and what we need to do to change and get back on track.  I get discouraged on how I feel we are failing and I let myself stay stuck for a bit.  So I pray and tell God that things are hard and I feel like I'm failing, but I don't think to ask if He would show me something specific to try. 

This week God was gracious to lead me to an answer to the problem I'd forgotten to pray about. 

He also reminded me that I go without so many things because I fail to ask.

Lesson learned.


If you want further encouragement on managing the schoolroom, check out Sarah Mackenzie at Amongst the Lovely Things.  Not only is Sarah the cutest thing you've ever seen, she is bubbly and full of wisdom.

(p.s. Just as I was about to press the publish button my phone rang.  It was my dear friend calling.  She has been praying about my discouragement with me.  She was standing at the stove stirring her apple butter and I was able to share with her that our prayers have been answered, that I found a solution to the problem.  So much goodness.)

Friday, October 2, 2015

the ONE thing that changed our marriage and rescued us

The night before, I had moved my pillow and a comforter to the couch so I wouldn't keep him up with my coughing.  Mid-episode of The Pioneer Woman I finally drifted off to sleep, it was the middle of the night.

I woke up to a kiss on the cheek and a Salted Caramel Mocha, and out the door he went for a day of work.  Our day went on as usual.  There was no big fanfare.  We threw burgers on the grill for dinner and topped them with bacon, cheddar and sautéed onions.  The six of us sat around the table and ate on paper plates.  After dinner we all ended up in the driveway enjoying a perfect fall evening.  The kids rip-sticked and shot hoops, the baby found a left-over bracelet from our yard sale and held her arm straight out in front of her so it would not fall off her arm as she toddled around.  We sat in camp chairs and talked.

There were no cards, no gifts, no diamond rings, no fancy trip.  It was us and a Thursday that carried on like the one before and the one that will come again next week.

But, even though it was business as usual, yesterday carried an infusion of celebration with it.  It was one of the best celebrations I have ever known.  Our day held contentment.  It held gratefulness that we have lived to tell about 15 years of commitment to each other.  Some years, this day has found us with a strained relationship, the hard times.  But this year our friendship and love are in a settled place and that is a gift more valuable than any store-bought thing.

If I could say there was one thing that has shaped our marriage more than any other it would be this:

Prayer.  Pray about every little tiny thing that is in your heart.  Keep praying and keep asking.  Trade in the fussing for prayer.  When the years come and go and you still don't have your answer you keep on.  Don't walk away from it.  You've been praying for seven years and things are still the same?  Keep on.  Don't you dare stop.  The work is hard but you keep fighting in prayer.
He may be a jerk and you may be angry but keep doing the hard work of trusting that God can give life to the dead places. 
Even when you go to bed alone and feel like you are stuck in a prison of marriage, keep on.  Don't stop praying and believing God can be trusted with even the most broken things. 
When you take one step forward and two steps back, keep praying. 
And when you see him blossom before your eyes because he has changed?  Celebrate. 
When you see yourself becoming a woman who is night and day different from the one he said his vows to? Rejoice. 
When you realize that contentment is defining your days and laughter has returned to your home?  You thank Jesus that He can restore anything.  You remember that He can be counted on.  Remember.
A good marriage does not happen by accident.  You show me a man and a woman who have a thriving marriage and I will show you two broken people who have hung in there and fought in prayer until the change came.