Do you wanna build a snow man?

In the midst of all the packing, one special little lady was turning 5! And though I haven’t posted the last couple of birthdays, this mama loves to celebrate life! So we did. I packed boxes, and planned a simple little frozen party for our girl. 

 
Some would say, “what were you thinking?” I even asked myself that a time or two. But in the end we had a blessed day of friends and family and the prep was all worth it. 

Thanks to Pinterest and other creative Mamas we were able to have loads of cute frozen themed foods.

   

  

  

  

  

  

  

 

And a party is not a party without games. First the kids created their wands (for bubbles).

 
Then an impromptu “snow” fight. 

   

  

  

  

  

 

Somewhere is this mix was pin the nose on Olaf, but I was spinning so the only pictures I have are the girls coloring Olaf. 

  
Yes that is a permanent marker that sweet E is trying desperately to get away from my youngest!!

And then a snowball toss

   

  

  

 

A race to build Olaf

   

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

 

And lastly, the piñata. We thought “how hard could a bunch of little kids hit?” It will be fine for someone to hold it….. 

   
  

  

        
Let’s just say, “no adults were harmed in the holding of the piñata.” But we came way to close for comfort. Ha!

It was a great celebration. These celebrations are my favorite of all life’s toils. Celebrating the blessing of life gives me overwhelming joy!

   

Here we go

  

Here we go again! It’s moving time for this mil family. Seems I have this thing down to a science. What gets boxed and broken down first. What dishes are absolutely essential. And so on and on. 

Today was a day full of box packing and cleaning. Patched a few walls. Disassembled some bunk beds. Packed some more boxes. Bathed, fed, and played with the kiddos. Packed some more boxes. 

Seems like there couldn’t be any more boxes to pack but wait… There is! Ha! 

Just a few short days before the house is empty and we have a slow week of recovery before we hit the road. Can’t wait! Not to leave, but for this part of the transition to be over. 

Moving is the time of life when you find out  just how strong you are. It’s a reality that slaps you in the face. When to-do lists are piled high and time just keeps zooming by. 

BUT no time for dwelling on that, I have boxes to pack! 😛

Just wanted to document this “oh-so-fun” time in life so that my grandkids will believe my heroic stories later! 

Peace

its crazy how ending one chapter in life can bring so much peace in another. Now that the hectic pace of school is over, life is easing back into a restful flow. 

Even still, this family is on the move again. For many, this would bring about turmoil and stress, yet I am overwhelmed with peace. God-graced peace! 

In this season of life I have learned that the joy of the toil is not measured in my expectations. Far from it. My joy stems from places so unrelated to what I see. Rather, it wells up from a deep place in my soul that feels held. Protected. Predestined.

Peace is joy. Joy is comforting. 

It’s funny when life looks like this…

 (Party planning in the midst of packing)

I feel like this…

   (Our serene surroundings)

Only God can give a peace like this. Only in Him can we experience a lack of fear that allows us to walk the path he has placed before us. 

Years ago when I named this blog I could not have know just how God would show me the joy in my earthly toils. But He has. He is. And I am so thankful. 

9 months ago…..

No, this is not a surprise pregnancy post….ha! Though that may have been easier than the 9 months that I am about to describe!  9 months ago (approximately), we began a journey/adventure that flipped our family upside down and backwards!! It has been the most exciting, rewarding, and trying experience for our family. We made the decision to school outside of our home. Now for most families this would be no big deal. Just a natural progression of life. For us, however, it was life altering. It opened our eyes to a whole new world. One full of packed lunches, carpool lines, uniforms, and oh so many early mornings!  I have always been one of those moms that prided myself on being prepared. Ready for the daily challenges of having multiple children. What I did not (and could not) have planed for was the awkward year of having two in school children and two out of school children and a 30-45 min drive to school with a noon kindergarten pickup. Wow! Was this Mama not prepared!!  Ok the complaining stops here… It was definitely a struggle motivating myself to drive back and forth; finding ways to entertain and educate my young girls in the car while explaining why we spent so much time in the car. I can’t lie, some days I wanted to give up. Some days I wanted to throw in the towel and stay at home under the covers with my four cuddle monkeys and never leave. But we didn’t.  Instead we prayed. We rested on weekends, pulling back from activities to nurture this one beautiful gift God had given, and we stuck it out.  9 months ago, I was a free-spirited, unstructured homeschool mom sending my boys to a classical Christian school for the first time. I was unsure what to expect. Oblivious to our unpreparedness (is that a word). Now, I am fully convinced that this year was exactly what we needed to mature our homeschool ways. I am not advocating all homeschool moms send there kids to school to better there homeschool techniques, I am just saying what it do for this young mama.  We were blessed with a community of educators that nurtured the heart and mind of our children AND their parents. Every step of the way I grew in my knowledge of how to grow their hearts academically and spiritually. I grew in my knowledge of a true classical CHRISTIAN education. I will be forever thankful for that. Forever thankful that the Lord saw fit to place us near a growing school during our time of growth. Thankful that our children had a place of consistency during one of the craziest years of our life (but that story is for another day).  9 months ago we started a journey that created countless joyful toils and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Ahhh It’s happened!!

 

So I always knew this day was a possibility…my husband and I have had numerous talks about the “S” word.  

 

SCHOOL, that is! We talked about all the elements that contributed to a quality education for our youngins’. Not simply the caliber of the curriculum, but the focus of said curriculum. We knew that whatever, wherever and however they were taught, they would need to know that all things are centered on our Great Creator, GOD, for whom we live! Well, up until this point, we decided that the best place to provide a GOD center education was at home. However, this last year we moved to a new location and another option presented itself. 

 

As we were exploring Classical Christian Co-ops, we happened upon (I don’t believe in coincidence) a Classical Christian School that had just opened in our area. Regents School of Charlottesville was starting enrollment for its 5th year. We began to think about the option of “sending” our children to school. We were blown away by their Christ-centered mission and enthusiasm to highlight our mighty Creator in all academic endeavors. 

 

Weeeeeeeelllllll, long story short, after assessments, and children meetings, and parent meetings, and prayer, and financial meetings, and prayer, and principal meetings, and prayer……..

 

Our boys had their first day of SCHOOL!! I admit, I was a mess! I held it together after a strong hug from my oldest son and some kind reassuring words, “Mommy, its going to be okay!” (Ayden)

 

I knew it was. I knew/know the Lord has lead us to a wonderful community of parents, teachers, and administrators who are truly concerned with the heart of our children (as much as we as parents are). I have been so blessed to interact with them thus far. I am so excited to see what this year holds. But alright, enough of that, heres’s a glimpse at our first day as organized go-to-schoolers. 

Their First “First Day of School” Goodie boxes (A little tradition I want to start to build their excitement for the first day of school. It was meant to be similar to the “kinderkone” tradition for german children, but with a little help from the grandparents…lets just say, we got a bit carried away.) 

First day of school 2014

 

Their first day taking their bookbags off the hooks.

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Their first wake up call! (And yes my two HUGE 5 and 6 yr old share a twin size top bunk! That is by their choice. We tried separating them and they won’t have it)

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Their first “before school” breakfast.

 

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Their first “first day of school” photos.

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Ayden’s first time hanging his bookbag up on his assigned hook.

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Adyen’s first time sitting down for his penmanship lesson.

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and then standing up realizing he doesn’t have to start yet. =)

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Ayden’s first “goodbye sister” hug.

 

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Azel’s first time sitting on the classroom rug for a little before class play.

 

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Azel’s first time looking at the camera begging Mommy to please leave and stop embarrassing him. 

 

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 Okay, maybe I was a bit obsessive! But this was the first time that I was leaving my kiddos (other than children’s church) to be educated by a third party. It was nerve wrecking. 

At the end of the day (kicking myself for forgetting to photograph) they had big smiles on their face. They enjoyed their first days and are excited (even though exhausted) to go again tomorrow. I am equally excited (and exhausted) but most of all I am joyful! As we walk through the many toils that this life has to offer, I am reminded everyday of my God’s unfailing love and protection. I am reassured of this and rest on it as we enter into this new chapter of SCHOOL!

A need for patience…

So normally I would spend my time uploading adorable pics of the many blessings in my life, but lately I just feel the need to share my thoughts. So here she goes….

I recently returned to the wonderful world of customer service and while I love the many opportunities I have to brighten someone’s day, I have found myself struggling to restrain my disdain for those that give no thought to anyone else.

As an obedient follower of my Savior, Jesus Christ, I realize that I am called to love the unloveable. That’s a tall order for some. Now mind you, I simply have to provide customer service not make lifelong relationships here but my own self-centered righteousness says they should know better therefore I am justified in my opinions, right? Not quite.

Anywho, long story short, tonight’s reading lead me to Proverbs 11:27, “He who seeks good finds good will, but evil comes to him who searches for it.” While this tidbit of wisdom could have many implications, in my current situation I definitely feel the leading of the Lord to go back to that place of peace and remember that none are perfect. Just as I too fall short of kindness at times, so do they.

It is funny how rudeness has a way of bursting one’s personal bubble. For so many years I have been in my small bubble; my friends, family, and associates were all those individuals that I had chosen to interact with. My perspective is being rocked now that I have no say over who I encounter or serve.

It is humbling to see just how picky or selective I was and how unloving I truly am. But by God’s Grace, growth is coming.

Praise God for these daily toils and the joy they bring!

A review at my private posts…

Below is a post I wrote a while back and saved privately. I felt the need to share it as I bring my blog back up to date…it is amazing how God works in our lives. What we think are our lowest moments truly become the gems of this life. They truly make this life of toil as joyful as it can be. When the need for Grace is great it is appreciated that much more!

“Recently I wrote on a popular social network that I would begin another blog. It would be called, Schizophrenic Mama, and the voices in my head would be those of my four children. Though at the moment this seemed to be comical and fitting for the day, it was the truth of my feelings. My aching heart and tormented mind are overwhelming me. I am suffocating under the voices of my children, expectations of family and the call to a higher servitude.  My heart cries out who am I? What am I doing? Why am I doing it?

Is this what a midlife crisis feels like? If so, am I really old enough for that?

But then the Holy Spirit reminds me that this is my sin. It is confusing my worth in Christ for worldly status and value. That is NOT my measuring stick…so why does it weigh on me so heavily? Why am I questioning my significance and direction? Is it doubt? Unbelief? Insecurity? All of which are my thorns, but why do they seem so overwhelming now?

Loneliness…

When you are on an island, alone, even the smallest task is magnified. I remember hearing a saying “Many hands make for light work.” I don’t recall where, but it has always stuck with me. It has never held any relevance to my spiritual life; or so I presumed. However, much like manual labor, our spiritual well – being is supported by many hands. We are not meant to walk alone.

I have been alone with my thoughts. Alone with my desires and daily duties and I have driven myself crazy without a spiritual friend to help snap me back from the great abyss of self-centerness.”

As many of you know, my family of 6 relocated last year. It was such a joyous ocassion. We were finally going to be near family.  Our children were going to be near their grandparents! (A luxury both my husband and I did not have when we were children) We were excited beyond measure. What could be better?!

Well, little did I know, or appreciate at the time, but I would be leaving behind the only Spiritual family that I’d ever known. God had put such a hedge around my husband and I that we were not even aware of the warfare that was taking place. However, once we left it became all too clear…

I didn’t want to admit it. I blamed everything and everyone  for the issues that began to arise. It took a bit of time before I stopped and acknowledged the situation.  We were no longer bricks in a firm building but rather the loose sand that still needed to be blended into the cement. We were vulnerable. Reading my thoughts above reminded me all too well of what that felt like, but the smoke is beginning to clear. It is by God’s grace that I can boast in His goodness, His faithfulness, and His ability to bring me through my lowest points for His glory!!

Anywho, before I get to rambling I will close this post! I am definitely excited to be above the waves for a bit and share some pieces of my journey. More to come…