The Perfect Day…

Oh I had such plans for Monday. Zach, the Eldest, was off to his new tutorial for this year. He was to be immersed in Treasure Island and General Science.

The others, well, we were headed to this wonderful branch of the local library where there is a walking a trail a beautiful children’s area with loads of light and windows and colors…and story time for the Princess.

There would be time for our joint activities; time to discuss Bible and history, time to read the books we would find.

There would be a visit to the coffee shop and time to grab a bite before we picked Zach up and skipped our way home rejoicing in our stories of the day.

“MOM! Maddie just puked all over the iPad!!”

That was the announcement almost half way to the tutorial.

Yep.  The rest of the drive, if you had caught a glimpse of us, was spent with three boys hanging their heads out the windows to avoid gagging themselves.

Rather than traipsing through the trails around the library followed by hearing a story accompanied by violin music (seriously!), well, we visited the doctor with Maddie in a diaper, Crocs and vomit in her hair.

Yep. I was that mom.

Tuesday morning we redeemed the day. This is our second tutorial day. Seriously, I do homeschool…I just have some help. We had a great start to the day. Maddie was feeling wonderful, everyone was cheerful and we were actually on time for this first day of tutorial. Zach would be done early and we would spend the afternoon catching up on what I had studied with the other boys the day before. We would read and study at a hip coffee shop while Maddie stayed with a friend.

We jumped in the car….to find the battery dead.

Yep. It is better than the previous day. I was able to get the car jump started from our portable charger and got us to the tutorial on time. Still, it was not the day I had planned.

This is something that happens whether we are home school moms or public school or private school…or no kids or kids out of school. Life happens. The only difference with home school is the kids have to learn to adjust to the schedule and figure out how to get the work done around the obstacles; I think that is going to turn out to be a decent life lesson.

Zach and I still ended up at a pretty cool coffee shop able to study.

sayers

While we were there a man came in I knew, someone who is involved in Christian circles. He had someone else with him I didn’t know, and this other person told me he felt strongly he was to encourage me.

He said he had this image of me juggling many things and the encouragement he wanted to share was simply that I was doing it well. Not to stress.

It’s been awhile since I’ve been in circles that talked that way. It’s not that my friends don’t encourage each other…we do. It’s not that my friends don’t share when something is on their heart…we do.

But I do not very often speak to strangers when something impresses on my heart about them. Maybe I’ll do so a little more often after this strangers kind words.

We came home to a meal that had cooked all day…chugging along through all the distractions and disturbances of the day. Life is like that. Bumps, distractions and disturbances, but there will be that underlying current of comfort and consistencies we cling to.

Our faith. Our focus. Our disciplines. We can roll with the frustrations and we can even laugh and adjust when the foundation is stable and we can still come around the table knowing who we are and knowing as well that there is One who knows our name and knows just when we need that word of encouragement.

We are remembered. We are known.

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A morning walk of thoughts and … squirrel!

I love mornings that start well. Sets the tone for the whole day…and maybe it is also that extra spring in the step of a Friday.

I was up early, the sun is shining (again…after a day of storms). Yes, the birds are chirping. I was able to get my mile walk in this morning before the kids were up (I walk around our cul-de-sac so they can find me if they need me. Don’t call social services).

As I was walking I was struck by something, as usually happens. This is my time to pray, and I realized that in the space of one lap, 1/3 of a mile, I went through the following topics:

Thanking God for the gorgeous morning.

My health…good.

My kids…which led to thoughts and prayers and out their spiritual life and about homeschool. Which led to thoughts and prayers about curriculum and tutorial choices for next year.
Those thoughts were interrupted by thoughts about the one boy yesterday who just.could.not.finish.his.work.

Refocus, and prayers for my dad and mom as they continue in the journey and tedium of dementia.

Which led to thoughts about family. Trip this summer.

That led to thoughts about finances. Which was interrupted by thoughts about things I’d like to do.

That was interrupted by the fact that I was out of breath for the moment…financial thoughts always make me walk faster.

Then I thought about friends I would like to connect with soon…and prayers for them.

All…in the span of 1/3 of a mile.

My thoughts jump. They interrupt themselves and distract my focus.
Squirrel!

We’ve all been there. It was still a good morning and time of prayer…but I had to fight for that focus. Back to the boy who couldn’t finish his work yesterday. He was distracted, he was fidgety and he just couldn’t get it done. Mostly his reading.  We are such a fragmented people, and so inundated with competing demands for our attention.

We have just one more month of school and we will have completed our first year. There have been some great things and some areas where I know we need work, but there is one area that keeps coming back to me….

Be still and know that I am God.

Be still.

Focus.

Taking every thought captive to obedience in Christ

This is not something that simply happens to us. Without discipline, my thoughts are all over the place. Without discipline the school work does not get done. Without discipline…it is difficult (impossible?) to contemplate and meditate and focus on God. To be still and know that He is.

That is the area that underlies everything for me in the homeschool venture. To provide the space and the atmosphere and the encouragement…and the requirement…that my kids learn to be still, to silence the distractions, to take their thoughts captive. Maybe only for five minutes, maybe for an hour…but to learn this discipline. They need it to progress in their studies, but they need it vitally in their spiritual life.

I remember reading Thomas Merton responding to a letter where someone said it must be easier to be quiet and spend time in contemplation when you are a hermit. They were desiring that space for solitude and contemplation, and Merton responded that if we cannot find silence and solitude in the room with the television and the distractions we will go crazy in the cabin in the woods. Our thoughts will weigh down on us and distract us and frustrate us. We have to learn the discipline of being still right here…in the midst of all the noise.

I have to admit it took a lap or two before I settled in to prayers that were focused and not jumbled. Thoughts that were held longer than a fleeting moment. Now as we sit down to start school…the reminder is there. Learn to focus. Hold this thought in your mind…don’t be distracted.

Discipline.

Capture your thoughts and do not let them capture you.