It’s Your Call

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Walking through “Las Piedrotas” in Tapalpa, Mexico. Can you see the little munchkins waiting on me up there? 

Sometimes answers are like walking out of a cave into the bright sunlight. An instant warmth and sense of deep awareness.

Other times it’s more like waking when it’s still pitch black outside, an then watching as the shadows slowly disappear, and the sun takes its’ rightful place in the sky. Blackness fading away to grey and finally a bright yellow of newness and understanding.

Yep, sometimes the answers come very clearly, very forcefully, there is no doubt. But many times, or should I say, most of the time, my answers come with a little insight here and a little more there. Like a sculptor that methodically chisels away at a block of marble to release the masterpiece waiting beneath its’ surface.

I’m dealing with one of those right now. The second method. The slow elimination and determined chipping away. You see, I know there is a God. I know He is there. I know he listens when I pray. I know He answers. But just as any loving parent, I believe He knows that we cannot just be given the answers to all of our questions and problems. Sometimes He answers immediately and clearly. Sometimes he leads us and guides us almost just as clearly. And sometimes I think he says, “It’s your call”.

I detest this answer. I don’t want to make the call. I don’t know that I’m ready to make the call. All by myself? All on my own? But am I really on my own? No, not really. He’s my Father. He’ll tell me what He thinks, but not directly, not obviously. I must search. I must listen. I must quiet my soul in order to hear.

That is what I’m in the midst of right now. It’s actually a question I ask myself every year. Am I still sure that we should be homeschooling our children?

For the first few years, I really felt a calling. I KNEW it was what we needed to do. As our journey embarked I soon discovered that our first child would have significant struggles in any other school setting, which added confirmation to our decision.

Then a few more moves, a few more children, a few changes of employment and a plethora of changes to our homeschooling….I felt I was starting to “get it”. I felt like we could make this work. I felt a culture forming that I craved. I smiled. We can do this.

But as I just told a dear friend who is struggling with the same decision, for different reasons…Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. And just because you shouldn’t now, doesn’t mean you can’t later. There is a plan and a time for everything.

A couple years ago my husband started making the steps and changes necessary to be completely self-employed. At the beginning of this year we made the final and complete leap into the world of self-employment. This means he is working from home whenever he is not attending meetings, giving trainings and/or travelling. It has mostly been a gradual change and we thought that we were figuring it out. I have always tried my best to help with my husband’s work when he was an employee and now even more as we have a family business. But I admit, I am both hesitant and ignorant. Sometimes I just don’t know what in the world I am doing! I really don’t want to mess something up that is that important. Other times I feel like if I put too much into it than I’m neglecting my responsibilities as a mother and teacher. It’s always been a difficult balance, for me.

Over the past few months I have been reflecting a lot on my priorities in order to create a good balance and decide where I need to make improvements. It was amongst this journey that my husband asked one day, “Are you sure we are supposed to be homeschooling?”

At first I was a bit flabbergasted. Though not involved with the process much, he has always been very supportive of my endeavors.

Unfortunately, I continued to react with my natural responses to his critiques….defensive mode on….How dare he… After all we’ve been through? Does he not see I’m trying my best? Doesn’t he see that the kids learn better this way?

Wait….wait for it…ok, now reflection hits….but this is my husband. My eternal companion. My best friend. What if he’s right? What if I’m doing something wrong? What if I need to have my focus elsewhere?…..

Well, very long story short, by the end of the day I was an emotional mess. I have since been spending the majority of my thinking time grappling with this subject. I’ve searched, pondered and prayed….even fasted. I feel my answer is….It’s your call….not really what I was looking for….definitely not the easy route. I have already been guided. For the moment I’ve decided to finish the school year and come to a final decision by our summer break.  I know the answer will come. Hopefully it’s before I become a habitual insomniac 😉

To all of you who’ve struggled with this, or a similar decision….what helped you?

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Just Another Day in Paradise

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Have you every heard this song? It was one of my favorites as a romantic teenager thinking that one day when I was in the stage I am now I would be blissfully happy. 

Now that I’m in the married, stay at home mom, little kid stage I’m not blissfully happy. You know why? Well, it’s really just the wording. To me, the word “bliss” denotes ignorance and the “rose-colored” glasses type effect. On the contrary, I know exactly what I chose. I chose this life and as any number of parents out there will tell you: Marriage and Parenthood is not for the faint of heart. This is hard work! If you want a job that will make you feel like you have no idea what you are doing and that you are always on your toes….well, then get married and have some kids (I recommend in that order too). But you know what I am also happier than I ever imagined I could be! It’s not bliss, but hard-earned deep-down happiness!

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As I was trying to do laundry the other day and my water heater went out (for the 3rd time in the last 3 months) and as I was pulling out and disconnecting the washer so I could get to the dryer and see what in the world was wrong with it too, I started laughing as this song, “Just Another Day in Paradise” popped in my head. My husband was on his way home to find me and the laundry area drenched (did you know that some houses have TWO water turn offs?) and a pile of dirty clothes scattered through the house cause a three year old knew her mommy was trapped behind the washer. But you know what? We were all happy!

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Last week the song came to mind again as my girls came dripping and muddy through the house after playing in the rain. Then again a few days later when my son  “accidently” blew up a water balloon in my face. I couldn’t help but think of it again yesterday as we were doing our traditional “interviews” with our kids and our three year old came and jumped on the couch with Mommy and Daddy and flipped upside down putting her dirty feet on the wall and then jumping on her Dad and saying “I farted!” and then giving him a big hug and saying “Good Daddy!”

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The thing is, pretty nearly every day something messes up my plans. Pretty nearly every day there is a question or concern that I’m not sure how to answer. Pretty nearly every day I fall asleep if I sit down for more than five minutes. 

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BUT…..Also, pretty nearly every day my son makes me laugh with his crazy laugh that he gets from his latest jokes. Pretty nearly every day my oldest daughter nearly chokes me with a huge hug and looks at me like I’m the greatest mom ever. Pretty nearly every day my 3 yr. old daughter brings me “flowers” from our yard (well, sometimes the neighbors too). Pretty nearly every day my baby girl gives me a goofy grin while breastfeeding and lets the milk dribble all over as if to say “I love you so much, Mommy!” And pretty nearly every day my husband gives me a look or a touch that gives me butterflies and makes me fall in love all over again.

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No, it’s not easy. I become frustrated, angry, irritated, hungry, exhausted, and sometimes just break down and cry. BUT, I am also becoming more thoughtful, caring, patient, humble and downright happy. Each day really is another day in Paradise.