December 30, 2010

In Need of some Ideas

Well, I am back again to admit that my trying to stick to a schedule without being anal about it is still a dismal failure!  But, I am determined to find that happy medium.  I have decided to turn to all you wonderful people out there for some ideas:

--So, I need to get into the routine of getting up earlier and getting the day started with Bible study and exercise.  Honestly, Kevin and I don't go to bed all that late because I can barely stay awake past 9, but I still find it hard to get up and get going before the kids are up of a morning.  How do you all do it?  Right now, I honestly think that 6 a.m. is about the earliest I can do, but the kids are up between 7 and 7:30, which doesn't leave time for the two things I want to get done before they get up.  Any suggestions?  What works for you?  I also feel like it's important for the kids to see me reading the Word and studying and praying, but haven't totally figured out how to do that and be able to actually focus on the studying at the same time.  Sophie asks question after question, so it's hard to get through anything, which is why I want to try and do a decent amount of time with that before they are awake so I can actually focus on what I am doing!
--I worked some this semester with Sophie on her "homework"...we did a journal pretty much every morning and we did various worksheets most days, but I want to be a little more scheduled with it.  Is it best to try and do a little of each subject each day or just do one or two subjects per day?  I don't want her hating school before she gets there, but she really does enjoy doing the work.  My two big goals I have for her before summer are to be able to read a clock (not the digital kind) and tie her shoes.  She is already doing really well at sounding words out when reading or writing them and I am pretty sure she is better than I am at math!  I am going to start reading some short chapter books to her, one chapter at a time, to see if she can remember and follow the story when she's never heard it before and she's not reading the whole thing at once.  Any suggestions on books?
--How can I keep Ethan engaged/occupied/not feeling left out while I am working with Sophie?  I try not to do more than about 20 or 30 minutes at a time with her because that's already longer than her attention span (big apologies to her Kindergarten teacher next year!), but I don't want him to feel like I am just tossing him to the side.  We did get him a desk/easel for Christmas to put in his room so he can have his markers and paper and coloring stuff in there, so hopefully that will be a bit of a help in this area.

Hope this made sense!  Look forward to hearing a few responses...and thanks in advance for the help!

December 22, 2010

I have no title for this post...

So, when I was at my mom's a few weeks ago, I borrowed a few books from her, hoping I would get the chance to read them.  They were all pretty short, and during bath times, naps, etc, I have actually been able to read all three of them!  Yay!  I just finished the last one today (between Ethan's puking episodes) called Rachel's Prayer by Leisha Kelley.  After reading it, I am pretty sure this is a series and I now feel that I must look into it further so I can read the other books...pretty sure this one isn't the first one and now I need to know what happened in the other books!  Anyway, this book is set in IL just as the US has entered into WW II.  However, this family lives out in the country, has no electricity and none of those frivolous things of that time period.  As I was reading, it was really hard to think of it as the 1940's because everything seemed so Little House on the Prairie to me.  It got me really thinking!  They were growing all their own food, sewing all their own clothes, all their neighbors were truly family, and I actually found myself envying their lives!  What in the world!?!?!?!?!?  Then I got to thinking....for a vacation some year, I wish there was a place where the family could go for a week and each day of that week we live just as they would have in a different era.  Monday could be the early 1800's, Tuesday the late 1800's, Wed. the early 1900's and so on.  I think it would give a good few of what our early Americans felt like, and I think it would be a real eye opener to all the blessings we truly have today.  I'm not sure I could make through one entire day, even as they lived in the 40's, because there are just so many things I can't do, but it sure would be fun to try!!!!!  Not much depth in this post, but thought I'd just share what I was thinking!

December 16, 2010

Surrender

In the car the past few days I have been letting the mp3 player (that's right, the ole 2001 Escort has no CD player, but does have a tape player that I can use to play the mp3 player...I am soooo old school!) run randomly through all the songs.  It's pretty fun that way because you never really know what's next.  It drives Sophie crazy, but it's pretty fun to bounce from The Chipmunks to TSO to Passion to last year's children's choir musical!  Anyway, I digress.  As I was saying, I have been letting the music shuffle and there was one song that came on a few times that made me cry every time I heard it.  In fact, I have cried every time I hear since the very first time I heard it.  The song is "Surrender" by Barlow Girl.  (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=at9z-ewIhOo&feature=relatedthink ) I the song is from 2004.  The first time I heard it was in TX while hanging out with some college friends about a year after we'd all gotten married.  The album was fairly new and Q and Lauren introduced it to me on that trip.  When it got to that final song, all three of us just sat and cried!  We all had so many dreams that we had been clinging to that it was just apparent weren't going to happen, for one reason or another and that song just overwhelmed us with the reality of it all.  This song still hits me so hard, even today!  There have been so many "dreams" that I have had my heart and mind set on and never once did the thought cross my mind to prayerfully ask God if those were the plans that He had for my life.  Until now, every time I listen to this the yearning to do more with theatre is what always hits me.  But this time, I was struck with my kids and the dreams and plans I have for them.  Am I willing to give that up and let God be the one who directs their path?  If He calls them to the wilds of Africa to serve Him, am I ok with that?  If He calls one of them home before ever being able to drive, am I ok with that?  More than anything, do I truly desire for God's will to be done in their lives, regardless of what it means for me personally?  Can I really and truly release them into His hands and completely trust that He is in control and He will lead them down the paths He has for them, whether they are good or bad in my eyes?  So many times I feel like I am ok with that for myself, but to think of letting my kids go just scares me.  But, I must be willing to let go and release them into God's hands, while at the same time allowing myself to be held and guided by Him so He can use me in their lives until the time they move out of the house or He calls them home.  I mean, I start to freak out just thinking about Sophie being in school next year making friends I won't know, learning things neither I nor the teacher taught her, people picking on her, not making the team, not getting the role she wants in the school play...and these are such minor and earthly things.  Do I spend as much time agonizing over her spiritual state?  Do I spend as much time seeking the Lord, asking Him to show me how to seize each teachable moment He gives me so that my children will be rooted in Him, ready to face that world of school when it comes?  Ahhhh, I think I am about to have a stroke just sitting here thinking about it!  My prayer for today:
Lord, calm my anxious heart!  Fill me with Your peace that passes all understanding.  Show me how to place my children in Your hands, while at the same time being the mother and protector You would have me to be for them here on Earth.  Give me the strength to praise you in every battle, every pain, every tear, every blessing, every report card, every tough decision, every loss, every moment, big or small.  Lord, show me how to be a wife and mother that leans on You for wisdom and strength.  Help me to be a woman who hungers and thirsts after you in all areas of my life!  Help me to realize that all plans and dreams need to be taken to You and sifted through Your hands!  Help me to let go of things that hinder my or my family's growth in You and help me to grasp tightly those things that will draw myself, my family, and others to You!

December 14, 2010

Musings, Ramblings, and Questions

Seems like it has been forever since I sat down to write a blog.  There have been many times that I have wanted to, but never really felt like there was anything to say.  Many times I had something to say, but didn't have the time to sit down and write it.  Of course, I also didn't write those thoughts down anywhere, so they are lost in the abyss of my overly crowded, yet somehow empty brain!

I think I have said before that our small group has been doing "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan.  It has been a good, tough, exciting, scary, full of questions journey for me.  I mean, I always think that I need "me" time...time to just relax with a book or watch a movie or just have 5 minutes of not thinking about anyone or anything else...but is this true?  Is that really how God would want me to spend my time, even 5 minutes of it?  I mean, we see Christ taking time away from other people, and yes, he did rest, but pretty much anytime we see him going off to be alone, it's in order to pray and get closer to the Father, not to have "me" time and not have to help or think about other people.  And I always like to think that I have done enough, given enough, it's now someone else's turn.  But, is that really possible?  I mean, if Christ is our example, He gave all He had, including His life, shouldn't I be willing to do the same (though giving my life wouldn't bring salvation to anyone, that's not what I am trying to say).  I mean, if I truly believe that God is sovereign and can do and provide all things, then should I not be willing to give everything I have (which isn't really mine in the first place) with the faith that He will provide what I need when I need it...and if He doesn't provide it, I probably didn't need it.  I mean, when you look at Shadrack, Meshack, and Abednego (not sure if those are spelled correctly), you see them standing at the fiery furnace, without their spiritual mentor, and they look it head on and say, "King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us[c] from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” They were fully trusting in their God, no matter what the end result may be.  Believe me, I am far from that!  I am much more worried about my safety and the safety of my family than I am about declaring Christ to the world.  I guess the biggest question that this book has left me with, and I am praying through everyday, is where is the line between being wise and using the brain God gave me and living a life full of faith that no matter what, God is in control and has all things in His hand?  How do I live with wisdom and faith at the same time? 

Very excited about Christmas this year.  As I said in another blog post, we decided to do less presents and to choose items from the Samaritan's Purse catalog as a way to teach the kids how to be giving and loving and less self-centered.  It has been very fun and I can't wait to do it again next year.  I am also very excited about finding a way to do something like this at least once a month.  God has really shown me that my kids will never learn to be giving, loving, and unselfish if they don't see it in us first!  Of course, this is a little out of my comfort zone, but I am praying that God will grow me in that.

I am also looking forward to seeing family this Christmas.  Because we are so involved at church, we don't see either side of the family nearly as much as we would like to.  But, this year, I think we'll get to see pretty much all of my side of the family (though we'll be missing Uncle Mel and Aunt Marlene who just moved to Hawaii...but we'll be celebrating 10 years on 20130, so maybe we'll head over for a visit! ;)  I am very excited.  There will be lots of kids and lots of noise, which I don't always do well with, but I will do my best to put aside the claustrophobia and enjoy time to see all the kiddos playing together!

Well, it's time to get dinner going, so I better stop writing for now.  Hopefully I'll get better about writing more consistently in the future!

December 04, 2010

Back in Time...Again

Just ran across this a few days ago and it brought back some fun and sweet memories.  I have been helping this week at HLG with a little make up and what have you for their production of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.  Oh, what fun it is to be back in a theatre dressing room again!  And, what fun it is to see the next generation of HLG theatre students carrying on the legacy that was handed to us.  And, they are probably doing it even better than we did!  How encouraging.  Anyway, you may have read this already.  I wrote it back in 2003 (I think).  I never deamed I would see or help with the students about whom I was writing!  Hope you enjoy!!!

I stepped into the back of the theatre, my eyes wide with awe. The walls, floor, carpet, stage; everything oozed with character. It was the most marvelous place I had ever seen. I turned to my family and declared, “I want to get married here!” Well, that didn’t happen, but I had no idea that day what a huge part of my life the Orpheum Theatre at 5th and Broadway in Hannibal, Missouri would become.



I came to HLG as a wide-eyed freshman in the fall of 1997. I had no idea what I had gotten myself into when I signed up for a scholarship with Kimberly Weast, but it didn’t take long to find out.


I had only been there a week when I was introduced to my first Set Day. Set Days occurred every Saturday at the Orpheum Theatre from 8 a.m. until Weast decided it was time to go. After a brief tour, it was off to work. It was on that very first day I was introduced to the task that would become mine every Saturday for the next 3 years: cleaning the paintbrushes! That was also the day I learned one of the most important rules of working at the Orpheum: always turn on the faucet when you go to the bathroom. It’s better for all involved!


That Saturday was just the first of many Saturdays spent at the theatre. I cannot even begin to count the thousands of hours I must have spent there in my three years of HLG theatre. There were weeks at a time we wouldn’t leave until 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning. But it was always worth it when you saw the set finished and the curtain opened for the first time. All the hard work paid off when you saw the gleaming faces of little children enjoying their first ever theatre experience.


It was there at the Orpheum I made friends that will last a lifetime. The memories are too numerous to even be able to put on paper. I walk into the Orpheum and it all comes alive again: the paint fights, late hours trying to build a bigger than life-size jukebox, the terror of having to do my first kissing scene, the pride when you stepped back and looked at a finished set and knew you had helped to accomplish it, the joy of watching children’s faces light up as they cheered on the Nutcracker, watching the door just fall apart right in the middle of a show, and making friendships that have lasted even to this day. And it all came from a building with a leaking roof and parts of the wall falling off.


I’m so excited about all the Roland Fine Arts Center will offer Hannibal-LaGrange. I cannot wait to see the new level to which the Theatre Department will be able to rise. But I must admit there is a little part of me that will miss the old place. I still tear up at the mere mention of its name. It may have been old-fashioned and a bit out of date, but the memories I made and the lessons I learned there will stay with me for the rest of my life. I have no idea what the future holds for the Orpheum, but I know that it will live on forever in my memory. The end of an era has come and it’s time to say good-bye to that marvelous theatre that captured my heart the moment I walked through the door.


How? I must admit I don’t know. I watched it fill up for the final concert and it was almost disheartening. It was full of people who had no idea what a special place it was. It was full of people who were just longing for it to be gone so they could move on to something better. I took one final walk through the old place. I walked through the balcony and sat for a moment looking at the stage. I went through the “pit”, reliving all the wonderful memories of times spent there. It brought a tear to my eye to see that my handprint was still on the ceiling from my freshman year. Though it breaks my heart, I know it is time for the old to step aside and make way for the new.


The Lord has truly blessed HLG with the Roland Fine Arts Center and the Parker Theatre. New friendships will start and new memories will be made by countless numbers of HLG theatre students. There are paint fights to be had and enough unexpected moments for everyone. Though the view may be different, students will still be able to feel the anxiety of opening night and the joy of performing for hundreds of little children enjoying their first theatre experience. There have already been many students who have walked through the back door to the Parker Theatre, their eyes wide in awe at the most marvelous building they have ever seen. They cannot begin to imagine what a huge part of their lives that building will become. But one day, many years from now, that student will know how I feel as they stand there for the last time to say good-bye. There are no words to describe it. Unless you’ve been there, you can’t understand it. I will always cherish the old memories I have of the Orpheum, as I hope future students will cherish the new memories they will make in the Parker Theatre.