January 28, 2015

Confessions of a Stay at Home, Homeschooling Mom of 2 Who Isn't as Extroverted as You Think

  • I am not the perfect wife and mother by a long shot. I'm not good at keeping the kitchen or the bathroom clean. Clean laundry sits in baskets for weeks. I can't even tell you the last time I actually mopped the floors. We were home from Christmas break for two weeks before I turned on a vacuum. My sink is usually full of dishes (and I have a dishwasher.) But, I must remember that, even though I fail at many things, my home is warm, there is food on the table, and clothes on our backs. Oh, Lord, help me to get better in my areas of weakness and use those weaknesses to draw me closer to You.
  • School around here isn't perfect. There are days we don't ever even get to "actual" school work. Some days we are just barely eking by to get through to the end of the day. Some days, I live for bedtime. But, I must remember that most days, I can't wait to dig into history and science. I can't wait to hear my kids quoting scripture and see the creative things they draw. Many times they learn more in those every day moments than they'll ever learn in books and worksheets. Oh, Father, help me to see the joy in each moment. Give me an excitement for school as it leads us closer to You by studying the world You've given us. Let each day be one that is full of the wonder of You!
  • Being really honest, there are days I just wish I could go to work. To spend a day with adults doing real things that make a real difference right in the moment. I want to have moments of my day focused on something other than housework or things I don't do well. I want that satisfaction of knowing others are counting on me and need me to get things done. (Selfish, much?!?!?!?) To be known as someone other than "Sophie and Ethan's mom." But, then I remember that this dull, long, ordinary work I do in my home does make a difference, even if I never see it. I am reminded that there are many parents who grieve not being able to spend more time with their children, so I must be grateful for the time I have with them. Oh, Lord, help me to see the joy, beauty, and importance of the ordinary, every day tasks You've given me right here in my home. Help me to find my identity in You, not in what I do, where I go, or the people I am around. 
  • As many theatre and music people (at least that I know) are, I am nowhere near as confident in real life as I may appear on the stage (which is why I am so much better at playing lower-level, shy characters.) I would stay in my house at all times and never leave if at all possible (and if Gran Rio would deliver.) It takes all of my energy and effort to mingle and be part of a crowd. I love that so many conferences are now streaming live so I can watch them at home and not have to sit in a crowd of thousands of people in order to participate. But, then I realize how much I am missing out on not diving into relationships with people. What joy and excitement I am missing. Oh, Lord, give me Your strength to overcome fears and doubts so I can build genuine, meaningful relationships with those around me. Help me to be able to be a viable part of community that takes care of each other, loves each other, and strives to share You with all we meet.
Oh, Heavenly Father. Mold me into Your image. Change my heart and mind. Give me a hunger for Your word and for time with You that can't be quenched or overshadowed by other things. Father, help me to see the joy and importance of each moment that I consider ordinary and You call ordained. Oh, Lord, help me to be content with You and You alone.

January 18, 2015

Thoughts on Cruising

We just spent a week on a cruise in the Caribbean. It was glorious. Fun. Exciting. Breath-taking. Heart-breaking. Guilt inducing. Eye opening. So many things.

While I missed my sweet kiddos, it was so mice to have that week with my husband. We rarely get that much time together without children (as most parents.) Since we homeschool and Kevin works at home, we spend LOTS of time together. It was nice to pull away and just be the two of us for awhile. What a gift I've been given in my husband. He is a hard worker and loves me even when I know I'm very hard to love. We had fun this week laughing, relaxing, and enjoying this beautiful planter God has made. He pushed me to keep going on a difficult obstacle course that included walking on several high wires, climbing in trees, and zip lining (I so wish I had pictures to prove I did this, but none of us really had any free hands to do that, so you'll just have to trust me!) I really wanted to just quit and wait for everyone else to finish, but he kept encouraging me and I made it (and I didn't even fall!)

It was also fun to spend time with family. There was lots of laughter, and even some ugly crying (that's what the Hazelwood family does best!) Supper times were truly a time of fellowship, testimony sharing, and just getting to know each other better. It was so fun.

It was also more scheduled that I imagined it would be. We were up early every morning to be able to do all that we wanted. There was no sleeping in on this cruise! Totally not expecting that!

This trip was also heart-breaking and guilt inducing as my eyes were opened to just how privileged and wealthy I am. The crew and staff on that boat work so hard and long, every day, spend months separated from family, and barely make enough ti send back to their families. I know there were times I should have asked to pray for them or tried to serve them in some way, but I didn't. It was difficult to realize at each port that we were living it up and just a few miles away whole families were going to bed hungry for lack of food and money. All the while, I was doing nothing to serve them, love them, or help them.

On the plane ride home we had about 15 or so current or former Cardinals baseball players with us (including Ozzie Smith.) I am embarrassed at the at the "fan girl" I became for a group of people I don't even know and, for the most part, had never even seen before that trip, simply because other people say their are special. It reminded me of a quote I read in Wherever the River Runs by Kelly Minter. She talked about being captivated by the grand and bug without even knowing it. That's totally what I was doing. Oh, Father, forgive me for the times that I choose the big, bold, and worldly over the humble and godly. Help me to dwell on that which is noble, pure, and right. Lord, draw me to You. Give me a hunger for You, Your word, and Your people. Help me to declare You to my children and all I meet. Lord, keep my eyes, heart, and mind focused on You alone. Use that focus to make me the wife, mother, friend, church member, and human You desire me to be.