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He fills the longing soul with good things. Ps. 107:9

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Image+-+<b>Eat</b>+<b>a+frog</b>.jpg

Sometimes it's called procrastination.  Or just being busy.  Or having priorities straight.  There are lots of reasons we have frogs hanging around.  We put off the things we dread most.  Or the ones that seem the most daunting, or not as urgent, or not as necessary, or things that will be frustrating or require special tools - or  whatever. 

Anyway...I have a whole list of frogs staring me in the face with their beady eyes.  And I've started chewing.  Kinda rubbery and bitter, to be honest.  But I made a huge dent in one this morning and victory is sweet. 

And it really does seem to be true that it is helpful to eat your frog first thing in the morning.  I'm a "morning routine" girl, and I know there are certain things that I need to get done every day in order to maintain any semblance of order around here.  

BUT

These days, my "morning routine"  actually takes all morning!  Make bed...dress...kids to school...breakfast...dishes....clean kitchen...laundry...feed and change babies...naps  and so forth.  What (in other stages of life) could be an hour or less morning routine for me is actually, discouragingly, an all-morning thing.  So I have adapted my every day routine philosophy.  Sometimes, you need to postpone some of the daily stuff to get something done for tomorrow.  

In other words, my plate is fairly full with the basic tasks of meal prep, laundry maintenance, daily cleaning, etc.  If I'm not careful, I get so busy keeping up with the daily tasks, I never get around to the "future" stuff.  Things that help keep the future smoother...like deeper cleaning, sorting and decluttering clothes and toys, keeping clothes sizes updated and culled for 6 kids, planning and working ahead on projects, deadlines and events that are coming up.  

So I have worked "future" tasks into my daily schedule, but life has a way of happening.  And kids, dishes, laundry, meals and church have a tendency to fill in and overflow the space.  

And then I find myself facing about a hundred thank-you notes that are getting embarrassingly late.  Or the deadline on troubleshooting that computer problem gets frighteningly close.  Or the season threatens to pass without me doing even one of the fun decorating projects I have planned.


So what's a girl to do? 

 Leave the laundry.  Eat the frog.

The laundry will get done.  I promise.  Everyone will eventually start whining that they don't have any underwear.  

But frogs have a tendency to grow into large monsters.  Or to hop away forever.  Or both!

Some frogs aren't big looming  BULLFROG projects.  Some are those little pesky tiny green tree frogs - like a daily task that we tend to put off in the mornings that sortof follows us around all day.   Feeding the dogs on a muddy day.  (I'll clean a hundred toilets and sort all the closets to put off going out there in the mud.) Or maybe exercising. (Everyone knows the hardest step is the one out the door.)  Or getting online and facing the budget numbers head on. (It's so much easier to swipe and pray.)

Catch the frog.  Pin him down.  Hold your nose.  Eat the sucker.  

Here I go.




... your job to <b>eat</b> two <b>frogs</b>, it's best to <b>eat</b> the biggest one first





Have You Had Your Frog Today?

Image+-+<b>Eat</b>+<b>a+frog</b>.jpg

Sometimes it's called procrastination.  Or just being busy.  Or having priorities straight.  There are lots of reasons we have frogs hanging around.  We put off the things we dread most.  Or the ones that seem the most daunting, or not as urgent, or not as necessary, or things that will be frustrating or require special tools - or  whatever. 

Anyway...I have a whole list of frogs staring me in the face with their beady eyes.  And I've started chewing.  Kinda rubbery and bitter, to be honest.  But I made a huge dent in one this morning and victory is sweet. 

And it really does seem to be true that it is helpful to eat your frog first thing in the morning.  I'm a "morning routine" girl, and I know there are certain things that I need to get done every day in order to maintain any semblance of order around here.  

BUT

These days, my "morning routine"  actually takes all morning!  Make bed...dress...kids to school...breakfast...dishes....clean kitchen...laundry...feed and change babies...naps  and so forth.  What (in other stages of life) could be an hour or less morning routine for me is actually, discouragingly, an all-morning thing.  So I have adapted my every day routine philosophy.  Sometimes, you need to postpone some of the daily stuff to get something done for tomorrow.  

In other words, my plate is fairly full with the basic tasks of meal prep, laundry maintenance, daily cleaning, etc.  If I'm not careful, I get so busy keeping up with the daily tasks, I never get around to the "future" stuff.  Things that help keep the future smoother...like deeper cleaning, sorting and decluttering clothes and toys, keeping clothes sizes updated and culled for 6 kids, planning and working ahead on projects, deadlines and events that are coming up.  

So I have worked "future" tasks into my daily schedule, but life has a way of happening.  And kids, dishes, laundry, meals and church have a tendency to fill in and overflow the space.  

And then I find myself facing about a hundred thank-you notes that are getting embarrassingly late.  Or the deadline on troubleshooting that computer problem gets frighteningly close.  Or the season threatens to pass without me doing even one of the fun decorating projects I have planned.


So what's a girl to do? 

 Leave the laundry.  Eat the frog.

The laundry will get done.  I promise.  Everyone will eventually start whining that they don't have any underwear.  

But frogs have a tendency to grow into large monsters.  Or to hop away forever.  Or both!

Some frogs aren't big looming  BULLFROG projects.  Some are those little pesky tiny green tree frogs - like a daily task that we tend to put off in the mornings that sortof follows us around all day.   Feeding the dogs on a muddy day.  (I'll clean a hundred toilets and sort all the closets to put off going out there in the mud.) Or maybe exercising. (Everyone knows the hardest step is the one out the door.)  Or getting online and facing the budget numbers head on. (It's so much easier to swipe and pray.)

Catch the frog.  Pin him down.  Hold your nose.  Eat the sucker.  

Here I go.




... your job to <b>eat</b> two <b>frogs</b>, it's best to <b>eat</b> the biggest one first





* Repost from the Archives


A thought for today: 

My mind and my heart want to zoom ahead and see the future.  I feel impatience creeping around the edges of my mind and heart.  I like to know what I’m up against…to be able to plan things out and prepare specifically and make lists and dream specifically.

My Mama and I chat about economies and investments and interest rates and I feel so antsy that today is hands-down one of the best times to buy a house for many, many years.  I've seen the wisdom of small, safe financial steps.   I want to take action!  Be proactive!  But God has us happily planted to wait for His new direction.  No new action necessary.  David comes home from long days of research and writing to tell me he has finished another section of his dissertation (another dead guy checked off the list), the end of a long journey getting nearer.  And I want to rap on God's window and remind Him - just in case He's forgotten..It's time!  We're ready....Poised to take the next step of our journey.  Years of praying and listening and waiting. 

But God draws back no magic curtains revealing new roads.  He gives no long-awaited long-term direction.  

He simply reminds me – today – to take care of today.  To be faithful to that specific area He has called me to Come Up in, just this morning.  

 To keep my focus on  keeping our home and creating peace and safety and purposeful teaching and firm diligent training….to maybe just, for right now, focus on finishing the floor-mopping and folding those 10 loads of clean laundry that have been piling up during a week of back-to-back activities.

He reminds me to of how far I have to go.....to let Him discipline every area of my own life and mind and time.  To be faithful to the everyday priorities that He has forged in me with such time and care.  To be kind and understanding and real.

He reminds me to prepare in every way I can for this baby boy that is growing inside me.  To pray with diligence and passion for the spiritual protection and strength of my children and husband.  To be a happy and present and discerning and supportive wife.

He reminds me to continue – quietly and faithfully -  in the small bit of outside-the-home work He has given me – to training a handful of young musicians and saying yes to the right amount of small ways that I can reach out to others.  

He reminds me over and over - gently but firmly and faithfully - to learn to find power on my knees.  To be becoming the kind of person that I want my children to be.

Goodness - With THAT list, it boggles the mind that I would even have the energy to THINK about tomorrow!  : )

I believe in dreaming and preparing and looking ahead.  But today, Abba has said to me….

"Silly Sarah - Look to today.  Be steadfast in today.  Let Me take care of tomorrow."

He’s Gentle and Faithful and Wise like that.


Today Before Tomorrow*

* Repost from the Archives


A thought for today: 

My mind and my heart want to zoom ahead and see the future.  I feel impatience creeping around the edges of my mind and heart.  I like to know what I’m up against…to be able to plan things out and prepare specifically and make lists and dream specifically.

My Mama and I chat about economies and investments and interest rates and I feel so antsy that today is hands-down one of the best times to buy a house for many, many years.  I've seen the wisdom of small, safe financial steps.   I want to take action!  Be proactive!  But God has us happily planted to wait for His new direction.  No new action necessary.  David comes home from long days of research and writing to tell me he has finished another section of his dissertation (another dead guy checked off the list), the end of a long journey getting nearer.  And I want to rap on God's window and remind Him - just in case He's forgotten..It's time!  We're ready....Poised to take the next step of our journey.  Years of praying and listening and waiting. 

But God draws back no magic curtains revealing new roads.  He gives no long-awaited long-term direction.  

He simply reminds me – today – to take care of today.  To be faithful to that specific area He has called me to Come Up in, just this morning.  

 To keep my focus on  keeping our home and creating peace and safety and purposeful teaching and firm diligent training….to maybe just, for right now, focus on finishing the floor-mopping and folding those 10 loads of clean laundry that have been piling up during a week of back-to-back activities.

He reminds me to of how far I have to go.....to let Him discipline every area of my own life and mind and time.  To be faithful to the everyday priorities that He has forged in me with such time and care.  To be kind and understanding and real.

He reminds me to prepare in every way I can for this baby boy that is growing inside me.  To pray with diligence and passion for the spiritual protection and strength of my children and husband.  To be a happy and present and discerning and supportive wife.

He reminds me to continue – quietly and faithfully -  in the small bit of outside-the-home work He has given me – to training a handful of young musicians and saying yes to the right amount of small ways that I can reach out to others.  

He reminds me over and over - gently but firmly and faithfully - to learn to find power on my knees.  To be becoming the kind of person that I want my children to be.

Goodness - With THAT list, it boggles the mind that I would even have the energy to THINK about tomorrow!  : )

I believe in dreaming and preparing and looking ahead.  But today, Abba has said to me….

"Silly Sarah - Look to today.  Be steadfast in today.  Let Me take care of tomorrow."

He’s Gentle and Faithful and Wise like that.




Photo by John-Mark Kuznietsov on Unsplash



"Cherish your visions.
Cherish your ideals.
Cherish the music that stirs in your heart, 
               the beauty that forms in your mind,
                      the loveliness that drapes your purest thoughts.

For....if you but remain true to them, 
                                  your world will at last be built."

- James Allen, As a Man Thinketh.

Vision



Photo by John-Mark Kuznietsov on Unsplash



"Cherish your visions.
Cherish your ideals.
Cherish the music that stirs in your heart, 
               the beauty that forms in your mind,
                      the loveliness that drapes your purest thoughts.

For....if you but remain true to them, 
                                  your world will at last be built."

- James Allen, As a Man Thinketh.
And so...just like that...another summer ends.

We get home from church and tumble out of the van to scatter clothes and bodies to rooms all over the house, just to end up again in the kitchen....eating frozen pizza and no-bakes and drinking hot chai tea with ice cubes.  And there are kids scattered everywhere...in diapers and underwear and pjs and church clothes, sitting on counters and climbing on stepstools and laughing and just being.  And we sit and stand and eat and listen and laugh and sing - taking turns choosing songs - from West Side Story to LaCrae to Gummy Bear to God's Property.  And the boys make up a game in the music room while the girls hang out in the kitchen and it is a slow and loud and beautifully quiet way to end a beautiful summer.

And then we settle and pray and read and brush and tuck.  And my heart knows that these are the very best times.



Summer's End

And so...just like that...another summer ends.

We get home from church and tumble out of the van to scatter clothes and bodies to rooms all over the house, just to end up again in the kitchen....eating frozen pizza and no-bakes and drinking hot chai tea with ice cubes.  And there are kids scattered everywhere...in diapers and underwear and pjs and church clothes, sitting on counters and climbing on stepstools and laughing and just being.  And we sit and stand and eat and listen and laugh and sing - taking turns choosing songs - from West Side Story to LaCrae to Gummy Bear to God's Property.  And the boys make up a game in the music room while the girls hang out in the kitchen and it is a slow and loud and beautifully quiet way to end a beautiful summer.

And then we settle and pray and read and brush and tuck.  And my heart knows that these are the very best times.




So I mentioned that my extended family went camping together.  It was wonderful.  And exhausting.  But totally worth it.

I loved moments like these:












But the STUFF!  Granted - it was a huge group of us, with 6 tents and around 18 people.  But there was a freakish amount of stuff.  Just saying.


And as peaceful as tents look....getting 4 boys to settle down and go to sleep with all the diapers and bugs and drama and anxiety and mud.  It's a thing.  Not a peaceful thing.  An 11:00pm I'm-pretty-sure-I'm-ok-if-we-never-do-this-again thing.





So now, after about 10 years and years of my little quiet pity party moments because we don't camp anymore and our kids are missing out and what awesome family experiences we could be having.  

I'm like..."Wait a second.  Maybe an air-conditioned Priceline hotel with white sheets isn't so bad. Maybe it's time to sell the camping gear.  I'm tireder than I used to be.  And we have more kids than we used to!"  

And David is all...."I'm planning a huge camping trip for next summer out west to like 45 National parks!"   

AND 
"Let's make a list of all the things we need to be shopping for."  

And I'm like...."10 days of camping sounds terrifyingly exhausting."

And he's like "It's in my blood now. I've already bought the maps." (grinning sheepishly cuz he knows all those years I've tried to get him to go camping...)

 And I'm like  "Great." 


Be careful what you wish for, girls!




Photo by Matthew Sleeper 

My Love/Hate Relationship with Camping


So I mentioned that my extended family went camping together.  It was wonderful.  And exhausting.  But totally worth it.

I loved moments like these:












But the STUFF!  Granted - it was a huge group of us, with 6 tents and around 18 people.  But there was a freakish amount of stuff.  Just saying.


And as peaceful as tents look....getting 4 boys to settle down and go to sleep with all the diapers and bugs and drama and anxiety and mud.  It's a thing.  Not a peaceful thing.  An 11:00pm I'm-pretty-sure-I'm-ok-if-we-never-do-this-again thing.





So now, after about 10 years and years of my little quiet pity party moments because we don't camp anymore and our kids are missing out and what awesome family experiences we could be having.  

I'm like..."Wait a second.  Maybe an air-conditioned Priceline hotel with white sheets isn't so bad. Maybe it's time to sell the camping gear.  I'm tireder than I used to be.  And we have more kids than we used to!"  

And David is all...."I'm planning a huge camping trip for next summer out west to like 45 National parks!"   

AND 
"Let's make a list of all the things we need to be shopping for."  

And I'm like...."10 days of camping sounds terrifyingly exhausting."

And he's like "It's in my blood now. I've already bought the maps." (grinning sheepishly cuz he knows all those years I've tried to get him to go camping...)

 And I'm like  "Great." 


Be careful what you wish for, girls!




Photo by Matthew Sleeper 




Photo by Ksenia Makagonova


I come from a family rich in educators.  Last weekend my extended (Wolf) family went camping together.  A highlight was sitting around after breakfast, sharing our teacher ideas and plans for the coming semester.  We laughed together as we looked around the table and counted the teachers.  Eight out of 10 adults present were teachers.  I hope I never forget our conversation - taking turns telling what classes we are teaching, what we are excited about, asking questions and sharing practical and philosophical ideas.  It was lovely.

Every year, when fall rolls around my teacher blood starts churning.  I itch for a new planner, and a new classroom to decorate and ALL THE NEW BOOKS!

So I cozy up to my computer and drool over continuing degree programs and I spend long hours poring over my personal planner (full of teachery stuff like laundry and dishes and appointments.) Sometimes I submit my name for more information from an institution of higher learning or two - and the subsequent year of dodging their phone calls and emails.

And every year, I look at the tuitions costs, look around at my babies, re-evaluate my season, simmer down and go back to the laundry.

But this year, I'm not so sure I can simmer down.  I've printed out two course plans, I've sheepishly entered my information into the blanks for "more info".  I have decided that I will pretend money isn't even an issue and that I'm not already balancing a full plate or two.

I do not believe that my kids are done needing me after they start kindergarten.  I do not believe that in 2 or 3 years when baby Carson starts Kindergarten that my mummying job will be over.  But I do feel like there is a bend approaching in the road.  There are rocks, too, in the road.  But the trees are blazing autumn along the sides.  And I am chomping at the bit.

There are so many ideas rumbling around in my head - ideas that combine my passion for family and parenting and training and trauma and pastoral care and counseling and neuroscience and theology and mentoring and community and the church.  And how it is all connected in the most intriguing and necessary ways.  My picture is getting clearer.

There are tears burning behind my eyes right now.  Tears of excitement and frustration and passion.  And I will settle down to reality and get back to the laundry....but I may have to take a step towards the direction my heart is tugging.  Just one class, maybe?

For now, I decided to come back to blogging.  I have things to share.  Things to figure out. Things to think.  So here we are.

Teacher Itch and the Bend in the Road




Photo by Ksenia Makagonova


I come from a family rich in educators.  Last weekend my extended (Wolf) family went camping together.  A highlight was sitting around after breakfast, sharing our teacher ideas and plans for the coming semester.  We laughed together as we looked around the table and counted the teachers.  Eight out of 10 adults present were teachers.  I hope I never forget our conversation - taking turns telling what classes we are teaching, what we are excited about, asking questions and sharing practical and philosophical ideas.  It was lovely.

Every year, when fall rolls around my teacher blood starts churning.  I itch for a new planner, and a new classroom to decorate and ALL THE NEW BOOKS!

So I cozy up to my computer and drool over continuing degree programs and I spend long hours poring over my personal planner (full of teachery stuff like laundry and dishes and appointments.) Sometimes I submit my name for more information from an institution of higher learning or two - and the subsequent year of dodging their phone calls and emails.

And every year, I look at the tuitions costs, look around at my babies, re-evaluate my season, simmer down and go back to the laundry.

But this year, I'm not so sure I can simmer down.  I've printed out two course plans, I've sheepishly entered my information into the blanks for "more info".  I have decided that I will pretend money isn't even an issue and that I'm not already balancing a full plate or two.

I do not believe that my kids are done needing me after they start kindergarten.  I do not believe that in 2 or 3 years when baby Carson starts Kindergarten that my mummying job will be over.  But I do feel like there is a bend approaching in the road.  There are rocks, too, in the road.  But the trees are blazing autumn along the sides.  And I am chomping at the bit.

There are so many ideas rumbling around in my head - ideas that combine my passion for family and parenting and training and trauma and pastoral care and counseling and neuroscience and theology and mentoring and community and the church.  And how it is all connected in the most intriguing and necessary ways.  My picture is getting clearer.

There are tears burning behind my eyes right now.  Tears of excitement and frustration and passion.  And I will settle down to reality and get back to the laundry....but I may have to take a step towards the direction my heart is tugging.  Just one class, maybe?

For now, I decided to come back to blogging.  I have things to share.  Things to figure out. Things to think.  So here we are.

“I notice that Autumn is more
the season of the soul than of nature.”
Friedrich Nietzsche


Photo by Cala


I love autumn so much.  When I walk outside and the chilly air hits me, it actually baffles me how much instantly happens inside me.  Melancholy.  Excitement.  Longing.  Comfort. Memories.  Futures.   (It's all pretty confusing, come to think of it. I should stay inside more)   It carries the promise of the Christmas season.  It ushers in coziness.  In our family, that means fires, hot chocolate, cuddles on the couch under blankets.  It means dark mornings and dark evenings.  Which is great on weekends and awful on school days. 

One wonderful thing it does for me is reminds me to make our home a haven.  Reminds me to sit and snuggle and read and taste and smell. 

And as crazy as it is around here in these months, it reminds me to slow. 






Season of the Soul


“I notice that Autumn is more
the season of the soul than of nature.”
Friedrich Nietzsche


Photo by Cala


I love autumn so much.  When I walk outside and the chilly air hits me, it actually baffles me how much instantly happens inside me.  Melancholy.  Excitement.  Longing.  Comfort. Memories.  Futures.   (It's all pretty confusing, come to think of it. I should stay inside more)   It carries the promise of the Christmas season.  It ushers in coziness.  In our family, that means fires, hot chocolate, cuddles on the couch under blankets.  It means dark mornings and dark evenings.  Which is great on weekends and awful on school days. 

One wonderful thing it does for me is reminds me to make our home a haven.  Reminds me to sit and snuggle and read and taste and smell. 

And as crazy as it is around here in these months, it reminds me to slow. 







Photo by Adarsh Kummur


I was looking out my kitchen window at some beautiful autumn leaves and bare branches.  And thinking of what we hear so often about autumn being the season of letting go.  And how beautiful that is, to let go.... blah blah blah.  Letting go of things is painful and hard and most of us don't do it very gracefully, to be honest.  We ugly cry and thrash around a bit first.  And by we I mean me, of course.

Pretty sure the leaves don't choose to let go.  The wind and the rain and the chilly changes knock them around until they just fall.  And die. 

They die.  They lay there and get covered up and turn back into dirt.

But I was actually thinking more about what happens after the letting go. After the beautiful letting go and the ugly dying.  There is barrenness.  Branches and twigs all sharp and gangly and naked against the vivid blue and murky grey autumn skies. 

Next is Winter. 

And frankly, if you live in Indiana, you never know WHAT in the world winter might bring.  It might snow once in October and then not again until February and snow its brains out until Easter!  And I'm not even exaggerating - can I get a witness from the Hoosiers? 

And the whole time, the branches are barren and ugly and worthless.

And I thought about how sometimes I feel like gangly branch - barren and ugly and worthless.  Sometimes there are those seasons, you know?  And you dream of sometime having the new bright green bursts of fruitfulness popping out all over.  But right now you're just....kinda hanging in there and not really accomplishing much?

Sometimes that looks like:
Dishes and laundry and laundry and dishes.
Being displaced.  And not in a fun way.
Having things removed from your life.
Losing relationships.
Losing loved ones.
Losing health.
Death of dreams.
Sense of failure.
Loss of identity.
Feeling stuck.

You can fill in the blanks.

So what in the world are we supposed to do during the harsh loneliness of winter?

1.  Hang in there. 

Be the best naked branch you can be. Do the next thing. Take the next step.  Be present.

2.  Focus inward. 

Winter is a powerful cycle for nature.  It allows new life that simply could not happen without the freeze.  I want to allow these winter times to draw me inward, to the steadfast work of my core.  Looking after things and putting them into place.  Letting quiet set things right.

3.  Rest. 

It gives me great comfort to think of the quiet, frozen winters of life as seasons of rest.  I love harvest in the Midwest.  There is a flurry of activity that is thrilling and exhausting.  (In our churches, homes and the fields around them!)  I really believe that in God's great economy of rest, sometimes he brings seasons into our lives that are meant to be quiet and restful.  But we perceive them as failure or boredom.


Autumn thoughts on winter


Photo by Adarsh Kummur


I was looking out my kitchen window at some beautiful autumn leaves and bare branches.  And thinking of what we hear so often about autumn being the season of letting go.  And how beautiful that is, to let go.... blah blah blah.  Letting go of things is painful and hard and most of us don't do it very gracefully, to be honest.  We ugly cry and thrash around a bit first.  And by we I mean me, of course.

Pretty sure the leaves don't choose to let go.  The wind and the rain and the chilly changes knock them around until they just fall.  And die. 

They die.  They lay there and get covered up and turn back into dirt.

But I was actually thinking more about what happens after the letting go. After the beautiful letting go and the ugly dying.  There is barrenness.  Branches and twigs all sharp and gangly and naked against the vivid blue and murky grey autumn skies. 

Next is Winter. 

And frankly, if you live in Indiana, you never know WHAT in the world winter might bring.  It might snow once in October and then not again until February and snow its brains out until Easter!  And I'm not even exaggerating - can I get a witness from the Hoosiers? 

And the whole time, the branches are barren and ugly and worthless.

And I thought about how sometimes I feel like gangly branch - barren and ugly and worthless.  Sometimes there are those seasons, you know?  And you dream of sometime having the new bright green bursts of fruitfulness popping out all over.  But right now you're just....kinda hanging in there and not really accomplishing much?

Sometimes that looks like:
Dishes and laundry and laundry and dishes.
Being displaced.  And not in a fun way.
Having things removed from your life.
Losing relationships.
Losing loved ones.
Losing health.
Death of dreams.
Sense of failure.
Loss of identity.
Feeling stuck.

You can fill in the blanks.

So what in the world are we supposed to do during the harsh loneliness of winter?

1.  Hang in there. 

Be the best naked branch you can be. Do the next thing. Take the next step.  Be present.

2.  Focus inward. 

Winter is a powerful cycle for nature.  It allows new life that simply could not happen without the freeze.  I want to allow these winter times to draw me inward, to the steadfast work of my core.  Looking after things and putting them into place.  Letting quiet set things right.

3.  Rest. 

It gives me great comfort to think of the quiet, frozen winters of life as seasons of rest.  I love harvest in the Midwest.  There is a flurry of activity that is thrilling and exhausting.  (In our churches, homes and the fields around them!)  I really believe that in God's great economy of rest, sometimes he brings seasons into our lives that are meant to be quiet and restful.  But we perceive them as failure or boredom.




City
by kayla fry

Photo by Molly Porter
She loved the city. She loved the burning in her legs as she rushed down the street. She loved the way her scarf never stayed where she tied it. She loved the buildings leaning in around her. She loved the lights of a million cars zipping past her and a million windows without curtains letting the cold office lights shine out into the even colder darkness. She loved the way each light made a dozen more shadows. She loved the wind that stopped her breath. She loved the screaming, wheezing, shouting, screeching, deafening noise that never stopped, never for a second. She loved the feeling of others’ shoulders pushing and suffocating and moving against her and never stopped, never for a second. She loved the feeling of not being able to speak, to think, to breathe, to do anything other than move and never stop, never for a second. She loved the city, the city that rushed and stayed and leaned and shone and shadowed and stayed and screamed and wheezed and shouted and screeched and deafened and pushed and suffocated and moved and spoke and thought and breathed and moved more, the city that loved, and never stopped, never for a second.
.
.
.
Written at BCWC by Kayla Fry.  10.7.17

City



City
by kayla fry

Photo by Molly Porter
She loved the city. She loved the burning in her legs as she rushed down the street. She loved the way her scarf never stayed where she tied it. She loved the buildings leaning in around her. She loved the lights of a million cars zipping past her and a million windows without curtains letting the cold office lights shine out into the even colder darkness. She loved the way each light made a dozen more shadows. She loved the wind that stopped her breath. She loved the screaming, wheezing, shouting, screeching, deafening noise that never stopped, never for a second. She loved the feeling of others’ shoulders pushing and suffocating and moving against her and never stopped, never for a second. She loved the feeling of not being able to speak, to think, to breathe, to do anything other than move and never stop, never for a second. She loved the city, the city that rushed and stayed and leaned and shone and shadowed and stayed and screamed and wheezed and shouted and screeched and deafened and pushed and suffocated and moved and spoke and thought and breathed and moved more, the city that loved, and never stopped, never for a second.
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Written at BCWC by Kayla Fry.  10.7.17


Autumn is in the air!



 

One of the pictures Kayla took for Competition next week


OUTSIDE MY WINDOW::
We are having the most amazing thunderstorm right now.  Sheets of rain, whole-sky flashes of lightening.  It's awesome.  I even let the boys come down after bedtime. They wrapped up in blankets and we snuggled on the porch swing.  

WHAT I'M LISTENING TO::
Storm outside, Dryer running, Odyssey playing in the boys' room.

WHAT I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO/DREAMING OF ::
Buying a farm!

THANKFUL FOR :: 
The comfort of knowing God says no when it is best.
and
A very productive day of cleaning.  I worked the kids extra hard this morning, so we had pizza and movie night tonight!

PONDERING :: 
I was eating breakfast this week with some friends at a retirement center. I noticed there are two kinds of people:  Happy ones and Negative ones.
I want to be a Happy One.

REMEMBERING :: 
Tonight we read about fireflies.  I am remembering the amazing, sparkling display of thousands and thousands of fireflies at my parents' house. 


READING ::






TO LIVE THE LIFE :: 

Image result for quotes on spiritual growth
TOWARDS RAISING HUNGRY LEARNERS ::
I am excited about learning with my kids.  I have been working on planning things together - attending events, classes, etc. - that allow us to learn more together about things we love to do. More to come on all that!!

A FEW PLANS FOR THIS WEEK::
I can't remember what's happening without my calendar.  I have doing a lot of decluttering, so I'm hoping to continue that.  My focus has been very sharpened by some recent events, and that always helps.  I need to go through and sort the mountain of stuff waiting to be donated, sold, etc.

I also plan to do some:
Freezer cooking for May
Monthly Mvelopes Budgeting for May
Make our "Summer Fun" schedule
Finish projects & send Kayla off to ACE Student Convention (maybe join her...)
Begin writing my sessions for a retreat coming up.

A QUOTE I LOVE:

Image result for quotes about rain

Daybook :: April 29


 

One of the pictures Kayla took for Competition next week


OUTSIDE MY WINDOW::
We are having the most amazing thunderstorm right now.  Sheets of rain, whole-sky flashes of lightening.  It's awesome.  I even let the boys come down after bedtime. They wrapped up in blankets and we snuggled on the porch swing.  

WHAT I'M LISTENING TO::
Storm outside, Dryer running, Odyssey playing in the boys' room.

WHAT I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO/DREAMING OF ::
Buying a farm!

THANKFUL FOR :: 
The comfort of knowing God says no when it is best.
and
A very productive day of cleaning.  I worked the kids extra hard this morning, so we had pizza and movie night tonight!

PONDERING :: 
I was eating breakfast this week with some friends at a retirement center. I noticed there are two kinds of people:  Happy ones and Negative ones.
I want to be a Happy One.

REMEMBERING :: 
Tonight we read about fireflies.  I am remembering the amazing, sparkling display of thousands and thousands of fireflies at my parents' house. 


READING ::






TO LIVE THE LIFE :: 

Image result for quotes on spiritual growth
TOWARDS RAISING HUNGRY LEARNERS ::
I am excited about learning with my kids.  I have been working on planning things together - attending events, classes, etc. - that allow us to learn more together about things we love to do. More to come on all that!!

A FEW PLANS FOR THIS WEEK::
I can't remember what's happening without my calendar.  I have doing a lot of decluttering, so I'm hoping to continue that.  My focus has been very sharpened by some recent events, and that always helps.  I need to go through and sort the mountain of stuff waiting to be donated, sold, etc.

I also plan to do some:
Freezer cooking for May
Monthly Mvelopes Budgeting for May
Make our "Summer Fun" schedule
Finish projects & send Kayla off to ACE Student Convention (maybe join her...)
Begin writing my sessions for a retreat coming up.

A QUOTE I LOVE:

Image result for quotes about rain


All day long  -every Thursday - I listen and I teach and I demonstrate.  And I say the same things over again.  Every week.  And they ring in my own ears...lessons for my own busy life.

You need to breathe on purpose.
Your posture seems like a small matter to you, but it matters more than you realize.
If you let the tension creep in here, it will affect the beauty and impair your freedom to move.
When it's too hard, break it down into baby steps.
Practice it slow first.  You can't play it well unless you can play it slow.
Hands separately first, then together when you've mastered it.
Your piece is only as strong as the weakest link - Isolate, analyze &  fix the hard places!


But today I hear myself saying this one again and it sticks - playing back and back and making me uncomfortable.  "If this doesn't become YOURS - if you don't decide that you want to make this piece sound good, your mamma can't make you do it.  She's paying way too much money for that.  She's wasting her money if you don't decide you're going to do this right."

They pay a high price - these moms and dads.  Money and books and some of them even the time to be attentive to practice and to ensure discipline.  But kids are kids, and sometimes it doesn't sink in and practice is put off or not done with gusto and discipline.

And so I try to balance law and grace as a teacher....enough law  for the proper fear and respect, but enough grace to avoid burnout.

I think today about the price that was paid for me.  Am I doing it justice?  I am not under law that requires me to earn the price He paid.  I cannot.  But it does require a certain proper response.....that response being everything I can muster.  Am I playing this grace-music half-heartedly?  Taking His forgiveness and this peace and this freedom for granted? 





Learning from teaching


All day long  -every Thursday - I listen and I teach and I demonstrate.  And I say the same things over again.  Every week.  And they ring in my own ears...lessons for my own busy life.

You need to breathe on purpose.
Your posture seems like a small matter to you, but it matters more than you realize.
If you let the tension creep in here, it will affect the beauty and impair your freedom to move.
When it's too hard, break it down into baby steps.
Practice it slow first.  You can't play it well unless you can play it slow.
Hands separately first, then together when you've mastered it.
Your piece is only as strong as the weakest link - Isolate, analyze &  fix the hard places!


But today I hear myself saying this one again and it sticks - playing back and back and making me uncomfortable.  "If this doesn't become YOURS - if you don't decide that you want to make this piece sound good, your mamma can't make you do it.  She's paying way too much money for that.  She's wasting her money if you don't decide you're going to do this right."

They pay a high price - these moms and dads.  Money and books and some of them even the time to be attentive to practice and to ensure discipline.  But kids are kids, and sometimes it doesn't sink in and practice is put off or not done with gusto and discipline.

And so I try to balance law and grace as a teacher....enough law  for the proper fear and respect, but enough grace to avoid burnout.

I think today about the price that was paid for me.  Am I doing it justice?  I am not under law that requires me to earn the price He paid.  I cannot.  But it does require a certain proper response.....that response being everything I can muster.  Am I playing this grace-music half-heartedly?  Taking His forgiveness and this peace and this freedom for granted? 





(This is a post from the archives waaay back that never got posted)





I mentioned that I had started this book awhile back...and then got distracted.  Meanwhile, David read it and immediately wanted to implement some of the ideas.  However, I wasn't entirely on board mentally and that made it hard to implement effectively.  I hadn't read the whole thing, and we needed to have some more conversations to refine our ideas.  I am feeling more and more "on board" as we have narrowed some things down and my brain is more in gear.

Basically, we have implemented a "strike" discipline system for targeting certain behaviors and habits.  Each child has 3 target behaviors or habits.  If they violate the goal, they get a strike.  After 3 strikes something very bad happens to them (Rosemond is big on the punishment being bigger than the crime. It has to hurt bad enough to work.)   Currently, the punishment here for 3 strikes is complete loss of all electronic privileges for the next day.  (What?! No listening to adventures in odyssey during breakfast with the other kids?!  Oh shock! Oh horror!)   Another option is going to bed directly after supper (not our current choice because of schedule and logistical challenges of being consistent.)

 As I read things, I tend to read with the critical voice of others in my head.  (i.e.  “If you would just SPANK them with a switch or paddle more you wouldn’t have any negative behaviors to target!  Train them like you train a mule and they will always obey without hesitation”….etc.)  And perhaps there is always room for criticism if reading with a tunnel vision mindset, but it is proving to be a valuable tool for us for several reasons.  I have found myself in that mode before (with multiple little ones) where the only thing I could think of to do is spank bottoms!  Certainly a good and biblical option, but there are so many other creative and sometimes more effective ways of training that can leave spanking for some heavier things (in our opinion:  disobedience, rebellion, lying).   

One of the big things this system is helping me with is focus.   I tend to get overwhelmed by all the things I want to "work on" with my kids.  It seems to be a never ending process! Sometimes I feel like I’m slinging mud on the wall trying to fix everything at once (and wearing us all out) instead of purposefully & strategically targeting a specific behavior or habit until it is conquered. Issues like:  Saying "yes ma'am" and “no sir” without being reminded,   not leaving their room until it meets the clean standards we have set up, always speaking kindly, coming directly back to me if they need assistance to complete a command, using self control when a sibling is driving you bonkers, picking up after yourself, keeping a good attitude (including facial expressions and body language),  not dawdling during chores, etc.   This system is helping me to be able to focus with more purpose on the target behaviors we have chosen, knowing that consistency is the key and we will soon be able to move on to new things on the target list.



Rosemond has also helped me to remind me of the ever-present most important thing:  stay calm & be consistent!  And to think my way around some other ideas….you don’t always have to discipline the same offense with the same punishment.  You just have to discipline consistently.  And…you don’t have to do the punishment in that very moment (except for younger years when they need immediate results).  Rosemond says, ‘Do what you can, when you can.’   This has helped.  If a kid is unkind to their siblings at a busy time (before church or at the store, for instance) when we can’t exactly administer a discipline, later when everyone else is doing something fun or when they ask to do something, we can say….no…you were very harsh with your brother yesterday at the store, so you won’t be having that privilege today.

Another thing I really needed was the “alpha talk” talk.  Be matter of fact.  Speak what you expect – with authority - like you mean it, then walk away.  Short and sweet, administer without emotion. Less explanation.  Fewer words is better.  Not exactly my forte.  : 0 But I am listening and learning.  : )
As with any reading, you have to read with a sifter in hand.  Sift out what doesn’t apply to you and keep the good nuggets that can help you to think better.  Some of this book is about severely out-of-hand or rebellious children.  (A good tool to know about when a friend or someone at church or school comes to you desperate with a rebellious child.)  Not all of it applies to us, but there is enough good to be gained and applied in our own way.

Another good book (our first Rosemond book) is the Six-Point Plan.

The Well Behaved Child

(This is a post from the archives waaay back that never got posted)





I mentioned that I had started this book awhile back...and then got distracted.  Meanwhile, David read it and immediately wanted to implement some of the ideas.  However, I wasn't entirely on board mentally and that made it hard to implement effectively.  I hadn't read the whole thing, and we needed to have some more conversations to refine our ideas.  I am feeling more and more "on board" as we have narrowed some things down and my brain is more in gear.

Basically, we have implemented a "strike" discipline system for targeting certain behaviors and habits.  Each child has 3 target behaviors or habits.  If they violate the goal, they get a strike.  After 3 strikes something very bad happens to them (Rosemond is big on the punishment being bigger than the crime. It has to hurt bad enough to work.)   Currently, the punishment here for 3 strikes is complete loss of all electronic privileges for the next day.  (What?! No listening to adventures in odyssey during breakfast with the other kids?!  Oh shock! Oh horror!)   Another option is going to bed directly after supper (not our current choice because of schedule and logistical challenges of being consistent.)

 As I read things, I tend to read with the critical voice of others in my head.  (i.e.  “If you would just SPANK them with a switch or paddle more you wouldn’t have any negative behaviors to target!  Train them like you train a mule and they will always obey without hesitation”….etc.)  And perhaps there is always room for criticism if reading with a tunnel vision mindset, but it is proving to be a valuable tool for us for several reasons.  I have found myself in that mode before (with multiple little ones) where the only thing I could think of to do is spank bottoms!  Certainly a good and biblical option, but there are so many other creative and sometimes more effective ways of training that can leave spanking for some heavier things (in our opinion:  disobedience, rebellion, lying).   

One of the big things this system is helping me with is focus.   I tend to get overwhelmed by all the things I want to "work on" with my kids.  It seems to be a never ending process! Sometimes I feel like I’m slinging mud on the wall trying to fix everything at once (and wearing us all out) instead of purposefully & strategically targeting a specific behavior or habit until it is conquered. Issues like:  Saying "yes ma'am" and “no sir” without being reminded,   not leaving their room until it meets the clean standards we have set up, always speaking kindly, coming directly back to me if they need assistance to complete a command, using self control when a sibling is driving you bonkers, picking up after yourself, keeping a good attitude (including facial expressions and body language),  not dawdling during chores, etc.   This system is helping me to be able to focus with more purpose on the target behaviors we have chosen, knowing that consistency is the key and we will soon be able to move on to new things on the target list.



Rosemond has also helped me to remind me of the ever-present most important thing:  stay calm & be consistent!  And to think my way around some other ideas….you don’t always have to discipline the same offense with the same punishment.  You just have to discipline consistently.  And…you don’t have to do the punishment in that very moment (except for younger years when they need immediate results).  Rosemond says, ‘Do what you can, when you can.’   This has helped.  If a kid is unkind to their siblings at a busy time (before church or at the store, for instance) when we can’t exactly administer a discipline, later when everyone else is doing something fun or when they ask to do something, we can say….no…you were very harsh with your brother yesterday at the store, so you won’t be having that privilege today.

Another thing I really needed was the “alpha talk” talk.  Be matter of fact.  Speak what you expect – with authority - like you mean it, then walk away.  Short and sweet, administer without emotion. Less explanation.  Fewer words is better.  Not exactly my forte.  : 0 But I am listening and learning.  : )
As with any reading, you have to read with a sifter in hand.  Sift out what doesn’t apply to you and keep the good nuggets that can help you to think better.  Some of this book is about severely out-of-hand or rebellious children.  (A good tool to know about when a friend or someone at church or school comes to you desperate with a rebellious child.)  Not all of it applies to us, but there is enough good to be gained and applied in our own way.

Another good book (our first Rosemond book) is the Six-Point Plan.
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