Friday, August 30, 2013

The Nightly News

I heard a radio program the other day encouraging Christians to follow the news. They talked of the importance of knowing what is going on in our world and being able to engage in conversations with others about it. They talked about listening to or reading "the news" from a variety of perspectives, both those from a Christian worldview and those from a secular worldview.

The topic resonated with me, because quite frankly, I don't have a clue what is going on in our world. Oh, I hear murmurings about conflicts or other world happenings, but when it comes right down to it, I would have a hard time conversing with anyone about what is going on outside my neighborhood.

So I decided to start DVRing the nightly news.

I figured we could fit twenty minutes of news-watching into our typical nighttime routine, between a Parks and Rec and Jimmy Fallon.

It's been an interesting experience. Honestly, it has been gut-wrenching at times. The story of the gun-man entering a school in Georgia made me panicky (thankfully no one was hurt). The images from Egypt and Syria have been disturbing. I have teared up and felt nauseous all within the span of a few minutes. I have questioned whether this is something I really want to watch.

And then as the twenty minute broadcast moves on, I hear stories of heroism. Stories of people working together in community and by the end of the newscast I have been reminded of the good in people, along with the bad and evil.

A part of me would like to stick my head in the sand and forget that bad stuff happens. Who needs to be reminded on a nightly basis, right? But a bigger part of me wants to know, to pray and remember in the midst of ALL that happens, my God is sovereign. He sees the good, the bad and the evil and He is in control and working in the midst it.

How about you? There are so many avenues to keep up with world happenings these days. Do you and if so how? I'd love to know!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Tackling the Paper Piles

Back to School is in full swing and with it comes the MOUNTAINS of paper. And with five kiddos in elementary this year, when I say mountains, I mean it.

I don't remember for sure where I got the idea (as with most things, it is not original with me), but when Mya started school, my school binder started with her. 

This handy book sits on my desk and contains all school-related papers that I feel a need to hang on to for reference throughout the year. School calendars, Lunch Menus, Bus Routes, Class Room Policies, etc. I have a folder for each kid (labeled by room code) and when papers come home that need to be kept, this little binder gives them a place to go to. 

Another way I try to keep the paper under control, is by dealing with it immediately. While my kids inhale an after school snack, I sift through their back packs. Most of the papers go straight to the recycle bin, if I kept even a fourth our house would look like something from the show Hoarders. 

Every once in a while a picture makes it to the bulletin board or is taped to our book shelves for display. If an item has special significance or is just too cute to pitch, it goes in that child's school box. Then at the end of the year we sift through each box and determine what to keep and what to pitch. Again, it gives the paper a place to go. A place that is not my kitchen counter.

These simple systems have been instrumental in keeping the piles of paper that come with elementary kids under control. 

What are some ways you keep the paper piles under control? 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Six Months

Yesterday marked six months since Zak joined our not-so-little tribe. 

Sometimes when I look at his face I can't help but marvel at how he came to be ours. What a wonderful, amazing twist God wrote into our lives last spring when He made it abundantly clear we were to adopt again. Zak is my miracle child. 

His transition into our family has felt incredibly seamless, but even so, I have noticed in the past month or two our little boy opening up to us in new ways. While he has always allowed us to love on him and freely given us smiles, it is only recently that he has started to instigate affection. 

Last week I told him I missed him while he was at preschool and he responded with an "I missed you too." A month ago he would have just nodded with understanding. 

It's hard to put into words, but I see an increased level of connection in his eyes. I believe he is starting to realize what a forever family is, and that he truly has come home. 

Adoption is a miraculous act and I am beyond blessed to get to experience it up close and personal. It is a constant reminder of my own adoption by my Heavenly Father when I choose to see it. It has stretched me and grown me like nothing else.  It has taught me about love. And, it has brought two amazing little people into my life, a son and a daughter. Part of our family. Forever.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Hello school


That was the sound of a huge sigh of relief as we settle into the new routine of school. It's been a bit of a crazy week.

Starting with curriculum night where I had to figure out how to be five places at once. Slight exaggeration. The actual number was three (5th and 2nd just happened to be scheduled at the same time), which followed the two Kindergarten classrooms I ran back and forth between.

Followed by the first day of school. Five kids, three buses, two Kindergarten open houses, one tired mama.

Six o'clock is the new wake up time and it is kicking my butt.

The start of preschool came yesterday where I put one excited four year old on yet another school bus. Which left me alone in a very quiet house.

The night before school started I felt the melancholy rushing in. Nothing reminds me of the brevity of life like the start of a new school year. Fifth Grade, Second Grade, Kindergarten, Preschool. My days of having little ones around my feet are numbered. And after ten years with little ones, it IS a change.

Ready or not, it's the beginning of a new season. Bringing with it good and bad and new. Leaving me to give thanks for the good, learn from the bad and embrace the new.

Friday, August 02, 2013

The Passionate Mom

 In her book, The Passionate Mom, Susan Merrill takes an in-depth look at the story of Nehemiah through the eyes of motherhood. She calls and encourages moms to be more perceptive, patient and passionate while taking on the task of parenting well. One of the core messages of this book is a call to intentionality. It is also filled with practical stories, tips, and resources that will help any mom become more intentional.  

Overall, I learned from and was motivated by this book to take my job of motherhood more seriously, planfully, etc. 

However, sometimes when I read parenting-type books I get the feeling that if I follow a certain formula, or do specific things or pray a certain way, my kids will "turn out" just fine. This is obviously not true. Although I do not believe this is what the author believes or wants the reader to believe, at times I got that feeling while reading this book. 

But, if you can keep from falling into that kind of mindset (when reading this or any type of parenting/marriage/self-help book), this book has a lot of good information that every mom can benefit from.