Monday, February 29, 2016

The backyard in February

When I taught in the public schools I referred to January and February as the third quarter slump. I definitely felt it this year even though I don't teach for money any more and even though our homeschool is on the trimester/modified year-round schedule. I didn't blog very much. I hibernated and tried very hard to not act like a bear in other ways this winter.

Thankfully winter is almost over. The weather this month has been unusually beautiful, so the boys and I have spent many afternoons outside in the backyard. I am not an outside loving type of person, but I am enjoying the sunshine and fresh air all mosquito-free right now. A supplement at the natural food store was recommended to me, so I am taking it and feel I have more energy again. The sky is blue, and my boys don't mind our bumpy backyard that lacks a swimgset or a trampoline. They are content with the water table, chalk, and sticks and rocks. I could probably learn something from them here.

We are on week twenty-nine of thirty-six of school.  I'm not sure what our long break will look like, how Bug will do without our regular routine this summer. Already I am selecting books for his kindergarten and penciling in what our days will look like in August. Bubby had a small victory in handwriting, and I am glad I switched him to cursive for awhile this year. Soccer will start in a few weeks for him, and this spring Bug gets to play baseball on a team for those with disabilities. The Hubs has a crazy and full month ahead, but we will get through it. Today I can see the light at the end of this tunnel.

 I know there will be new tunnels waiting, and we still have almost a year left of this one, but I do see the light. I feel it shining down on me as I sit in a lawn chair, not caring about the dirt that is going to be tracked in and the raw chicken I have to touch in a few minutes.  There is grace in the backyard this February.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

on martyrdom dreams and praying in the bathroom

Three or four nights ago I had a dream that I was a martyr. Normally that sort of dream would terrify me, but this time it didn't. It was a very vivid dream. My family and I were with other people in what appeared to be a high school or college classroom.  Terrorists had come in, and we were forced to lie beneath the desks with our hands behind our heads. I remember looking at Bubby and telling him it would be okay because we were going to heaven, where nothing bad would ever happen again. I remember saying to myself that this would only hurt for a second. I felt complete calm in the dream even though the situation was intense and extreme.  There were shots all around me, one by one, and then I was shot. I woke up, not in a panic, but with peace.  Even if something horrible like this should ever happen to me, I will be okay. This is not my home.

It is strange that I have peace about such a possibility, but yet today I felt weary and worn out just by the day-to-day stresses of life. A child who wanted to sass and argue and the other child who was having a hard time with activities and choices. We have seen many gains in Bugaboo lately, but it is still the two steps forward, one step back dance. I love homeschooling, but there was a moment today when I felt like driving to our neighborhood school and saying, "Have fun doing worksheets and common core, Bubby!" I doubted almost every decision of the last six and half years within a sixty minute span of time this afternoon. I hid in the bathroom for two minutes and cried.

It was there I found myself repeating one of Bubby's review verses for this week: "Casting all your anxieties on Him because He cares for you."

Do You care, Lord? I know that Your Word says You do, but I don't feel it here and now. I feel sad because Groundhog Day was this week and that is a weird day for me. I don't understand why I lost that baby, and I'm angry that I can't have any more babies, yet I am so incredibly grateful for the two You have given me. (Even if motherhood is stressing me out right at this particular moment.) I feel worried that I am not doing enough therapies with Bug, and I simultaneously feel worried that we are doing too many.  I love our curriculum, but I feel anxious that Bubby hasn't done enough cutesy first grade things and he will one day resent me for not having him make more cotton all snowmen. The Hubs' graduation from his nurse practitioner program is in December, but it feels so far away. I feel like we have been here in this place forever.  I want Your caring to look different. I miss being a charismatic. I miss an altar to pray at with someone else and for a chance to sing with hands raised without looking like a crazy-woman. I need more outlets to cast my anxieties on You, Lord, because my bathroom can be an altar on a Thursday afternoon, but I might need more than that.

I felt a little better after telling God all of that. Little changed, but I wasn't hanging onto my angst any more at that moment, and that is a start. I'm not sure why it is easy for me to trust God with the big things, but not the little things. I guess it is because I think I need to handle the little things all on my own. I don't. I can't. So the grace I am given today is the realization that I am not supposed to handle any of this on my own. And today there was the grace that He cares enough to come alongside me and take my cares as I fling them over to Him from my little altar call in the bathroom on a Thursday afternoon.