Monday, August 28, 2017

Wild Goose Academy - our adventure in home education

I had a friend tell me once that you should never reveal the name of your baby until he/she actually arrives, as this will save you from hearing all those stories about your baby's soon-to-be-name.

"Oh, I knew a ________ back in grade school. He would beat little kids up for their lunch money."

"Oh, that's my cousin's name too! Well, at least it was before she joined a commune and became Butterfly Sparkle Princess."

Et cetera.

The idea was that no one tells you these stories once your little bundle of joy is staring them right in the face. Makes sense to me.  And I guess you could say we took the same tack here...

Welcome to Wild Goose Academy!

The "classroom"

The lesson plans

New books, new binder, new pencils

We are here!
Today was our first day of school - and I couldn't be more pleased with how things turned out. That might be due in part to low expectations (I just didn't think the wee girl would be cooperative) and it was definitely due to reading this blog post last night (so well timed, one could only say it was from God... especially when this morning I found out we had (not enough) eggs and the little dude was running a slight temperature. How in the world did she know?!?)

But whatever it was, no one could be more surprised than me at how willing the wee girl was to just jump right in: Morning Time - pray, sing, read. Check! Get ready to go play - then play. Check! Run an errand, come home, have lunch, put the little dude down for a nap. Check! Make lemonade - measure, count and add. Check! Read our first chapter of Farmer Boy, do an oral narration... ok the narration was a little like pulling teeth, but it's our first time, so check! Extra credit: make a bookmark for our book. Check!

Ok, that makes it sound like I'm happy because we checked things off a list and that's not entirely accurate. I'm really happy because the wee girl was so happy. All. Day. Long. When I shared this with him, my husband pointed out, "Well, she got a whole day with Mommy," which stopped me in my tracks. Doesn't she always get a whole day with me? (And then some?) But no. She doesn't always get days focused on her. Today was special because I was focused on doing things with her (and if I didn't know it already, then I learned it today - quality time is totally her love language).

What my husband also reminded me of was one of the reasons why we wanted to home educate in the first place: family relationships are important and we want to cultivate those relationships through the time we spend together. When I first articulated that value, I had thought about it purely in terms of sibling relationships - I want them to love and take care of each other - but I had totally forgotten the parent/child relationship benefits from this as well. *smh*

I know not every day will be like today. (In fact, I'm fully prepared for tomorrow to be everything that I feared today would be - minus the lack of eggs part. I fixed that during my errand run today.)

But I will celebrate today. I will be (already am) thankful for this beautiful start to what I hope will be a year full of discovery. And I will ask for the wisdom and guidance to make more days like this one happen.

I think we're going to have a good year.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

The Lord Will Provide - My Sunday Best - 08

I'm sitting here on my bed typing this up, listening to my little dude pound the wall with his... feet? Head? Hands? I'm not sure, but whatever he's using he's doing so with great force and gusto. Much like in this picture below:
So please forgive me if, at the moment, my only thought is "Lord, please provide at least an hour's nap so we may all have an enjoyable evening."


Skirt: it was a maxi skirt that I picked up at Costco... seems to get shorter every week
Shirt: Old Navy Maternity
Shoes: just some flats from Target
Bump: 29 weeks

We had a guest priest from India today, here to do an appeal for the missions work that he's a part of back in Calcutta. We also brought our lovely niece with us to Mass too, and at one point she looked at me and asked (in hushed tones) "Auntie, what language is he speaking?" (Me: LOL!) His accent was a little thick, but I think the novelty of it helped keep the kiddos quiet (well, it was that or the extra coloring materials their cousin brought with her) because I was actually able to listen to most of the homily today!

The Gospel was the story of the Caannanite woman, who's persistance and iconic line about even dogs getting the scraps from their master's table, made Jesus exclaim "O woman, great is your faith!" Father used this line as the jumping off point for talking about other people with great faith - notably St Theresa of Calcutta and also Abraham. The story that stuck with me was Abraham's. In Father's retelling of Abraham obeying God's command and offering Isaac as a sacrifice, he said that Abraham's only prayer through the whole ordeal was what he also told Isaac, "The Lord will provide." Abraham didn't tell Isaac, "God has asked me to kill you and I'm just not going to do it." Nor did he say, "Sometimes God asks us to do hard things. And right now, even though I love you greatly, I'm going to offer you as a sacrifice because I love and fear God more." He only said, "The Lord will provide," and continued forward with the plan.

Who can say what was really going through Abraham's head? The writer of Hebrews posits that Abraham must have believed that even if he killed Isaac, God would raise him from the dead (Heb 11:17-19). But I wonder. If it's true, what Father said, that the only prayer on Abraham's lips for the 3 days he journeyed to Moriah was "The Lord will provide," well then, that sounds far more like a desprate cry of the heart to me. And in those moments of desparation - where all I can do is say the same prayer over and over again - you can be sure I'm not using my spiritual imagination to think up ways that God can answer my prayer. I'm just hoping beyond hope that He *will* answer my prayer before it's too late.

The closest I've ever come to that kind of desparation was when I was in labor with the little drummer above. It was a natural, unmedicated labor that was becoming far more intense (for me) than the labor that I experienced with his sister. Close to the end, I had what I can only describe as an epiphany, "We're not both going to make it through this. One of us is going to die."

(I will pause here to mention that midwives are very familiar with this kind of talk from laboring women - and in fact, they take it as a very good sign that labor will actually be over very soon. So everyone present was prepared and ready to go for that last important push.)

But back to me. In that moment, I knew I had to choose: either I give up and my baby would die, or I push through and I die. To me, there was no third way. And I remember (wildly, desparately) thinking "God I hope your offer of eternal life is true... because I so want to see this baby grow up."

Father's encouragement was that when we make that sacrifice, God will meet us there and say to us what he said to the Caannanite woman: "O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish." (Matt 15:28)

I don't think Father meant for this to be some version of a prosperity gospel - where you can "sacrifice" something in order to gain something better from God - as his examples of Abraham and St Theresa were profound enough to (hopefully) discourage that kind of thinking. Rather I think he was acknowledging the spiritual reality that God meets us in our moments of desparation and confirms what we madly hope in faith to be true: that God does actually love each one of us and desires life - real life - for us all. We may not know what that's going to look like, but if we can trust Him, we know it will be good.

Join Rosie over at her place - she's canning and freezing and basically making hay while the sun shines - oh, and she's the one who hosts My Sunday Best too. It'd be good to say hi. :)