Sunshine and shadows

This week reminded me of a summer day in Colorado...beautiful sunny skies with puffy white clouds passing in patterns across the blue, bringing a chill shadow to us below, then losing to bright sunshine again.

Sunshine...School went well this week, SweetPea and I working to make sure we got the academics done while juggling all sorts of 'other' outside things.  Besides drama class on Tuesday, Friday brought a full plate with art class, school, and a sleepover here with a couple of SweetPea's dear friends.  How I love the sound of happy laughter in my house!  And it helped to have nice, mild weather all week and not be shovelling or scraping ice or bundling up inordinately.

While SweetPea's drama class spent a couple of hours blocking a scene, I snuck away with a friend I don't see very often to poke about in some fun shops. We discovered some new spices we can perk up our dinners with, and oh-ed and ah-ed our way through the loveliest flower shop I've ever seen.  It was all artificial flowers, but it looked like a dazzling English garden at its summer peak.  The day was mild and clear, and that 'girl' time was a perfect refreshment to my soul.  A homeschool mom ought to do something like this regularly!  (ahem)

Shadows...I had a lot on my heart this week, praying for quite a few friends and families dealing with very heavy issues...a friend's young daughter who has had a year's remission from a rare form of cancer in her skull has had a reoccurance and is facing weeks of chemo and radiation...another dear friend is dealing with a serious health diagnosis...extended family with pneumonia and surgeries and injuries and complications...job needs and financial needs...many things that need God's miraculous intervention and mercy. 

And smaller stuff, like a nasty computer virus that has our main computer dead in the water and the frustration of seemingly wasted hours my dear husband is putting in trying to figure it all out.

So all week I've been saying, "I can't, we can't, You can!  I'm choosing Your rest while I trust You to work.  The battle is not ours, but Yours!"

And I remind myself:
"Commit your way to the Lord--roll and repose [each care of] your load on Him; trust (lean on, rely on and be confident) also in Him, and He will bring it to pass."  Ps. 37:5 (Amplified)
A good week ahead...


This and that

Every day this week I've wanted to post but it's been one thing or another...and sometimes the 'another' is I-need-to-sit-with-a-cup-of-tea-and-gather-my-brains!

Drama took center-stage this week (no pun intended).  SweetPea's Tuesday afternoons are now filled with her drama class, a neat group of kids she knows doing a semester of dramatics with a Christian outfit, wrapped in a comedy version of "Robin Hood."  My composed and proper daughter will be performing the antics of a bumbling, social-misfit, klutz of girl, the daughter of the Sheriff of Nottingham--complete with a couple of pratfalls.  Should be interesting!  Over the weekend we attended a play by this same group, a fund-raiser starring the leaders themselves.  Pretty funny and quite amazing to see what they could do with good acting and minimal props.

Second on the distraction list this week was a dream-come-true for SweetPea, the acquiring of a DSLR camera.  The treasure arrived on Friday, which was a good thing--she could play with it all weekend and have some semblance of focus (no pun intended) on her studies by Monday.  Right.  Silly mom, what was I thinking?  I'm now trying to think of clever assignments for school that will piggy-back on this Distraction...a compare/contrast essay on manual vs. auto focus?  A report on the acronyms and cryptic vocabulary associated with digital photography--ISO, BSS, raw vs. what, not-raw??, bracketing??  A psalm to the extreme goodness and generosity of the Lord??  Yes!

Thankfully we're all well once again and able to enjoy the wonderful warm-up we've had this week.  Monday I had a Valentine from God--birdsong!  That is huge.  Seems early, for which I've been inwardly shouting.  What might they know about spring that we don't?... 

Lots of prayer needs this week that have been on my heart, too, big ones.  Mostly friends and family contending with serious health issues, but also the greater picture of our messed-up world.  How incredibly thankful I am that we have the revealed love and will of God in His promises, and the place of trust that provides for my troubled heart.  Everywhere I'm hearing the call from Christian leaders to press in to the Lord, let our confidence and power come from that never-ending place of intimacy with Him.

I'd love to recommend a wonderful parenting resource for all of you who have teens.  A group of us moms did this as a study together a couple of years ago (thanks, Sandy!) and I dug it out again to refresh myself on what I'm supposed to be doing as a savvy, Christian parent and fall short of.  It's called Age of Opportunity by Paul David Tripp.  I love how his focus is helping our teens develop a whole heart for God, instilling the fear of the Lord in them, helping them to judge themselves by the Word, and living victoriously in the anti-God world they live in.  He gives a lot of practical strategies and an astute understanding of the inner workings of a teen's mind and motivations.  I've certainly felt the sting of personal conviction where I've failed, yet with renewed hope that the Lord is working in everything--success and failure. 

Pressing on in His grace, thankful for unnumbered blessings.  A good week!


A silver lining

What's white and cold, comes in fluffy mounds, kids love it, and you can have too much of it?

No, it's not ice cream.

I'm staring out at our third 'occurrence' of it this week, piled coldly on top of every tree and bush, looking lovely and seasonal and, well, sort of defiant.  "There's more where I came from!  You just think spring will be here in a few weeks...Punxatawney Phil is only a rodent.  What does he know?  I am the Snow, I cover all."

Ahem.  No, I'm not really morbid, just feeling a bit confined.  The white stuff has defined our life this week--church cancelled, quick-get-to-the-grocery-store before the next round, too cold to walk, not too cold to shovel, and shovel, and shovel.  Daydreams of warm beaches with silky white sand, the smell of green things, and hot sun on my head interfere with school and pots of hot soup.  Flip-flops, sunscreen, iced tea, and crickets...sigh.

But back to reality.  The confinement has actually been really good for me--I've steeped myself in high school planning and praying, a much needed exercise.  I sense the Lord leading us to a more out-of-the-box approach for SweetPea's last three years, so with little distraction I've been able to read or reread some good homeschooling books to lift my vision a bit.  I'm loving Senior High: A Home-Designed Form+U+La.  Barbara Shelton brings you back to the spiritual reasons we homeschool and encourages you to truly follow His lead--bravely--and not settle for the safety of a pre-scribed plan.  After a semester of frustrations on many fronts, I've concluded that both of us are chafing at the constraints of someone else defining what our studies should look like.  It worked wonderfully in the elementary years, but now that she's beginning to discover some of her God-given interests and abilities, I think it's time to customize the system a bit!

I'm rereading A Thomas Jefferson Education by Oliver Van DeMille (wow, if you were public-schooled, you ought to read this!), and The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer.  This last one is specifically for the classical homeschool model, but I have found some wonderful stuff in it, not the least of which is a great reading list for high school.

Anyway, I feel a bubbling of excitement in me of new things, of adventure with the Lord, of seeing in actuality the promise of homeschooling at its best for SweetPea's best.  God is able, is He not?  I don't have to pull this off myself, I think I just need to get out of the way and let Him lead.

Yay!  Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.


It's a heat wave!

Considering that in the past 48 hours it was down to -15, this feels positively balmy.  I must be some kind of wimp, but I just don't like to be cold (that good old Arizona blood in me, I guess).

But we haven't suffered.  God has kept us warm...
...kept me in hot tea...
...given us beauty to look at...

...and something to dream about...
It's been a good week.