Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Choosing Gratitude

With the heralding of Spring has come many new lessons.  We went to a wonderful homeschooling conference and I have loads and loads of notes.  The other day in the midst of what felt like an incredibly stressful situation (past noon and baby not to bed, dishes everywhere, not even half-way through lessons that should be completed, two preschoolers who seem bent on tantrums and destruction on the loose and everything feeling totally out of control) this thought passed through my mind,

"Your choosing to be stressed out"  

(I can thank Crystal Paine for this line of thinking)

Here are a few of my notes:

1.  Choose your attitude towards your life/circumstances
-take ownership for your life
-I can only change myself
-I can't change my circumstances/only my attitude
-sulking/complaining won't change anything

2.  Stress is a choice

3.  Expect the unexpected

Crystal said that she would wake up in the morning and before she would even get out of bed, plan on children waking up early, milk getting spilled, siblings fighting and objects being broken,.  It totally helped her attitude when they did happen.  (Crystal only has three children and none are babies/toddlers.  Imagine us moms with more ALL the things we could think of!)

Not to be misunderstood, I must say, I don't want to change my circumstances.  I love being an at home mom, I love homeschooling, I love having five children, I love that they are all boys.  But admittedly, I struggle, and it's hard.  And even though I wouldn't change a thing (well, I'd have more babies :), in the midst of difficult situations, when the day isn't going well, when the effects of sin are felt the most, my heart's desire is to find my heart resting in the Prince of Peace.

Our basement is now finished, which we made it into a very large playroom with a rock climbing wall, monkey bars on the ceiling, and two swings!  This has been super nice and has also made our house a very popular destination for neighborhood children.  This is a very good thing, and it's something we want, because we believe we are in our neighborhood at this particular time in history for a purpose.  And we want to share our lives and our love for Jesus with those around us.  At first this adjustment was very difficult for me, managing the flurry of children in and out constantly.  But again, I had to stop, take a look at the situation, give thanks for the opportunity, and then add boundaries where they need to be.  Now we have a designated playtime which happens to be 3:30 to 5:00 each day, Monday through Wednesday.  Thursday friends can tag along on with Steve and the boys on their weekly "boys night out" and weekends are far more flexible.  We're calling our 12 passenger van our "church bus" because it's so helpful to be able to take with us when we go to the park, or to a church Easter Egg hunt, or even to a Good Friday service, the kids in the neighborhood that want to come along. This doesn't feel like "good deeds", it feels like natural life.

The boys had lots of fun at our church's Easter Egg Hunt.  They did it a little differently and gave the kids lists of particular eggs to find, more like a scavenger hunt.  This was a nice change of pace from kids racing to get around each other to be the first one to get the egg, or the to be the one who gets the most eggs.  

I find myself feeling a bit awkward in crowds of people I don't really know, but they all know each other, so when the little guys found a "secret" passage into a pine forest, I happily followed....

The whole time we were in the forest Benjamin was guarding Samuel....

"Don't get too close to the water!  You'll drown!"

"That ground is muddy...don't step there"

He was just constantly watching over him.  Helping Samuel across the creek was so cute.  I teach him that he is Samuel's big brother and he is "bigger" so he can protect Samuel.  His job is to keep Samuel safe, like a knight.  I'm seeing this here and there be a reality, which is so so good to see.

Before we left, we had a picnic and then Benjamin shared his food with a very brave little Squirrel.  He chased the squirrel around the trees and giggled with delight.  Then I got to watch a Blue Jay swoop down and pick up pieces of sandwich that the squirrel didn't eat.  I sat there on that picnic bench and my heart was full.  It is full.  May it be continually full of gratitude.

1 comment:

Meg G said...

This was fun to read. :-) I recognize your son from the nursery! And I have to tell you that I noticed your url says 'oldfashion girl.' My older daughter's old blog was titled An Old-fashioned Girl before she got married. And you mentioned Crystal Paine -- that same daughter of mine met her now husband on Crystal's blog several years ago. ;-) They chatted over blogger for over a year before meeting in person. Anyway, fun connections. :-)