Monday, January 22, 2018

Something To Be Said For Slowness

One of the best sounds in the world - as a mom and an educator - is the pleadings of children saying, "Just a little more?  Please???" after I reach the end of a chapter.  Tonight it was especially urgent because we're reading Sarah Witcher's Story by Elizabeth Yates, where a young girl, Sarah, gets lost in the woods and the entire community is searching for her.  We had already stretched the book over several sittings and their emotions had just about had it, I think.  So, of course we read just enough to know they were going to find her and then everyone could manage to sleep.

In the this competitive and high traffic world, we all just want to do well, to feel normal and not get left behind.  So we try to do more, go more and ultimately be more, but then we forget how much is gained in the slowness.  The one curriculum that we have used consistently since J started is My Father's World and, like a lot of homeschool curriculum, read aloud books are a standard practice.  My sensitivity to pressure (of any kind) causes me to get caught up in worry about to-do lists and doing enough.  So things like reading together takes time that the shameful side of me says could be used to clean something.  But of course I know better.  Having my big 7 year old and the whippy 4 year old clinging to me out of fear and excitement about the fate of a character in a book is far more valuable and steadying than a clean sink or organized closet.  This thing we're doing as parents - shaping their hearts toward the world and toward God is such a huge thing.  When your back aches and eyes droop from the exhaustion of it all, it is easy to forget what it's for.

Another thing that this year has brought has been more puzzles.  Nobody is pregnant in our house, no huge renovation projects are in process, and it's just too cold and dark after dinner to do much else.  So, our brains are getting a little exercise and our pace is soothingly slowed.  There's something to be said for slowing life down a bit. :)

Monday, January 15, 2018

How is your January going?  The race car is smiling most of the time and we're so thankful for that!

Monday, January 8, 2018

Be the Helpers

I have this really great friend who is probably my most favorite person to just cut to the chase of life with.  Small talk and polite hesitation just isn't something we usually do and certainly not her way.  Her super power is to say just what she thinks -especially in regards to the important matters of life - and not be bothered by any awkwardness that ensues.  I'm not really talking about rudeness, just more like the true friend love that knows you may regret this horrible choice you are about to make.

I, on the other hand, hate confrontation.  I despise awkwardness.  Even on TV!  The Office is a favorite of Mr. Butler and I's, BUT sometimes Michael Scott's ridiculous awkwardness is just too much for me.  And it's not even real.  So, I have always avoided the straight-talk kind of conversations unless someone else is asking my opinion.  As I get older, I have some regret about not being more willing to try to help others when they are clearly going in a foolish direction.  One of the privileges of knowing people for over 20 or 30 years is that you get to see the results of early life choices and it is evident now that those adolescent events are so shaping and unfortunately condemning if left uncorrected. 

Why am I talking about any of this?  I want to encourage you to always be a helper.  Moms and Dads, teach your kids to be helpers.  Teenagers, the way you treat others - especially those in your peer group - will change them for better or worse.  In the chaotic moments of adolescence, I know you feel like it's every man for himself, but in 20 years you'll see what kind of effect you had.  Will it be meaningful and good? Or was it hurtful and negligent?  Every man is responsible for their own actions, of course.  But haven't you seen all the hurt and dysfunction that many, many children - maybe even you - grow up in?  Maybe love and attention from you or your family could change their life? 

Something I've decided to work on is my ability to do good in spite of discomfort or awkwardness.  I'm really bad at it - like brain racing, blood pressure spike, and just foolish talking - but I'm hoping that the pregnancy/new mom brain will start to improve and I can be more purposeful with my words.  There's always going to be tragic ends and self-inflicted pain and suffering, but I think we can save some.  And I think that matters.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Hey 2018: Let's CRUSH IT!

  After the heavy challenges of last year, Mr. Butler and I both have been looking forward to starting fresh in 2018. We've grown closer together. We have dreamed more together.  And I'm generally just happier with him than ever!  One of my favorite things about him and our relationship is his ability to make me laugh.  I can be a stick in the mud and he is the best medicine for me.  Our first major conversation of 2018 is a perfect example.

So, selecting a word to inspire and guide you over the course of the year is s trending thing to do these days.  Around 1:00 AM  Jan. 1st, on our way home from singing in the new year, I asked him what word he would pick for us for 2018.  Mind you, he's amped up on caffeine and he's extra funny that way.  He's driving and looks at me straight in the eyes long enough to say "CRUSH IT" with a super serious face.  It was ridiculous, but cute.  I said, "That's two words.  Try again with only one word."  He thinks for a minute and then with a good '80s style motivation in his voice he says, "CRUSHIT! One word!" with a fist pump in the air.   Ridiculous but I laughed hard.

So, for now we are attempting to CRUSH IT in 2018.  I'm implementing some better chore routines for the kids, working to be more disciplined with my lesson planning and writing time, Mr. Butler and I both have some major weight-loss goals we're working on, trying to replenish some savings that 2017 depleted, and overall maintain the good things in our life (aka our circus!).  Thankfully, my best friend is pretty awesome and tries to keep this girl from taking herself too seriously.  I don't always listen, but he's good for the soul anyway. :)