Friday, May 25, 2012

Matching Fail

This is not the post I wanted to write.

It just isn't.

On Monday night we were informed that our family was to be presented at a orphan matching meeting in Lesotho. At these matching meetings the government brings all the approved dossiers and the orphanages bring the files of the orphaned children. The Social Workers then go through the lists and make matches. Sounds simple, right?

Not if all the correct paperwork isn't done.

So after a nervous couple of days (is this for real? are they out there? could our family be different already? are they safe and healthy and whole? do they have enough food?)

And some more nervous thoughts in the quiet moments of my days (Oh no, are we ready for this? what is the timing going to look like? where is the money for travel going to come from?)

Finally, we received word that the meeting happened as scheduled but no new cases were presented because the appropriate paperwork on the children was not complete.

This is both good and horrible. It's good because the government is making sure correct procedure is followed, hopefully protecting these little ones.

It's horrible because there are many eligible orphans waiting in institutions for a forever family and the hold up is PAPERWORK! Children in need of love and food and protection and good night kisses and family have to wait longer because someone doesn't know how to fill out the paperwork (at this point it's a bit difficult to keep my anger in check).

So long story short: meeting fortold, hopes risen, meeting happens, no matches, hopes dashed, difficult days follow.

Friends, this is an incredibly emotional, roller-coaster sort of process. I can't really compare it to anything else. A friend who is also in this said that it was a little like being sure you are pregnant and taking a pregnancy test and getting a negative. But more hurtful.

I don't have much else to say. It's just tough.

I know that my God is watching over my kids, I know his hand is around our family on both continents, I know that this will work out in his perfect timing, I know he is in control.

But that doesn't make the emotions any less real. It doesn't keep it from hurting. It's just tough.

Peace (at least that's what I'm aiming for)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Looking into the Future. . .

Hey there! Welcome to the Simple Homeschool readers. I'm super excited you're here!

I've been thinking/planning/researching school for this next year. Seriously, it's one of my favorite things: making book lists, researching curriculum choices, thinking ahead into next year and all the great things we'll learn this year. 

Right now, I'm planning on teaching a 3rd grade boy, a 2nd grade girl, and a Kindergarten girl. Also, as part of my planning, I am thinking about our in-process adoption and making plans for if our kids come home sometime during this next school year (which at this point seems highly unlikely). Our homeschool is a blend of Classical and Charlotte Mason with a whole lot of life thrown in.

For our core, I use Tapestry of Grace Year 3, which I love because I love history and whole-learning. We will be studying the 19th century which covers imperialism, South America, the Westward Expansion, the Civil War and the beginning of the Industrial Revolution (Oh, the learning, Oh, the books!) I use this as a base for all my kids and it covers history, geography, writing, reading,and lots of projects. 

Also together we will do science and Bible. I am leaning toward NOEO science for this year in Chemistry. My son is begging to do some chemical reactions! For Bible, we're going learn about missionaries as we "discover" different places in the world. However, I'm still looking for good books on them! 

And of course, everyone takes math. I've taught Singapore Math for all their years and really like what we've got going, so we're sticking with that. I've really liked Getty-Dubay handwriting. So all three will have that at their appropriate level. 

For my 3rd grader I'm adding Easy Grammar. Just 'cause. 

For my Kindergartner, she's so anxious to have her own workbooks. So she'll have handwriting, math, and Explode the Code. I'm also going to do a modified Five-in-a-Row with her. I want to have that cuddle time for as long as I can!

Finally, I'm spending a good deal of time mentally preparing for the time when life changes when we (prayerfully) bring home new siblings. To prepare for the trip to Africa and the adjustment times, I'm preparing lists of learning games and projects for the older three. I'm going to purchase/create a unit study on Africa and a bulk of our learning (outside of workbooks) will be processing the realities of our trip and learning all we can.

Through all this, we'll read. Lots and lots of books! 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Because you can worship anywhere. . .

I can't dance.

It's sad, but true.

In fact, I've never had the chance to dance. Well, sorta. The conservative school I attended forbid dancing (we got to sit through banquets), I didn't go to concerts, I've never been to a club. And at all the weddings and functions I've attended in my adult life, well, there are always VERY interesting people to talk to!

This is not to say that I don't want to dance. I do! In fact, I have a hard time not responding to music. I think I look a little (or a lot) silly sometimes. For example, when I dropped the kids off at gymnastics this afternoon, there was some music on. And it was fun music. And I pretended to dance to it. And someone commented that it was "nice." And I promptly stopped all pretend dancing.

Honestly, I am moved by music. But by now, I feel I'm too old to dance without looking like an idiot. So I will keep my sweet moves in my head. Unless I am with a group of children who love it when people look silly--then I am in my perfect element.

However, I am becoming more convinced and ready for Heaven in this one way. There, at the foot of the throne of my King, I will be able to throw off the constraints of this world and dance for Him!

What in the world would inspire this?

This weekend, my daughters participated in their annual ballet recital. They dance in the little kid's programs at Hearts in Step Dance. And HIS is unabashedly and unashamedly Christian in its focus and practice. So this weekend, I was invited to dance in the presence of my King. I watched as girls (and one brave boy) danced for Jesus. Some laid their crowns before him, others lifted their arms in praise, a few just stood there and stared into the crowd. It was so sweet and pure. It was a holy time.

In that auditorium, I watched as Olivia danced the proclamation that:

"I am a true princess, a daughter of the King,
I have a royal Purpose, 'cause Jesus is my everything."

I watched Katie and her small class dance to the song Blessings. Their teacher told them that their dance to Blessings was so that they could be a blessing to someone. And these girls took that to heart.

And every year, the program ends with "The Revelation Song" and a stage full of dancers in dresses the color of the rainbow. And the words echoed by the movement transport me to the throne room of God where we will all, one day, proclaim

"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty
Who was and is and is to come.
With all creation I sing
Praise to the King of Kings,
You are my everything
And I will adore you!"

As unexpected as it is, almost every time, I am transported beyond that auditorium, pricked by the presence of the Holy Spirit, and worship. It is a sweet, Holy time.

And my girls are pretty great too!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Whatcha Reading?

I was looking around for something to read the other night and realized that I have many books with bookmarks in that I am currently in process of reading. And because I feel that if I am to share who I am on this blog, I should share what I am reading. 

This morning I made a count of those books that I am actively in the process of reading. That means these are books that I pick up in the morning, during a coffee break, in the bathroom, for devotional reading, for learning, or for whenever. Truly, I don't think I have to create an excuse to read books, just create time for it. 

So here's the books I have actively read in the past week

  • Flunking Sainthood by Jana Fleiss (a lighthearted read about how hard it is to follow certain age-old spiritual practices)
  • Lyrics Alley by Leila Aboulela (a book I picked up at the Festival of Faith and Writing. I like it, but can't articulate why, yet)
  • Celebration of Disciple by Richard J Foster (This is one of those books that I have tried and tried and tried to read before but to no avail. I'm pretty sure God had to wait until this time in my life for me to even desire a life like Foster lays out. Wonderfully written, practical, and accessible--I am being moved and changed by the challenge of these words).
  • The Mormon Mirage by LaTayne C. Scott (if you know much aout me, you'll know that I am fascinated by Mormon history and theology. I have been given an excuse to dive right it--and I have enjoyed re-learning! With this book, I truly appreciate the love and respect that she offers her handling of Mormon history and Doctrine.)
  • The Soul Tells a Story by Venita Hampton Wright (This is my: why-is-my-writing-life-tied-to-my-spiritual-formation-and-what-do-I-need-to-do-to-grow-in-that-area book.)
  • Crazy Love by Francis Chan (Hey, I got a free download of this book. And I respect Francis Chan. Only one chapter in, but I'm ready!)
  • Elements of Style by Strunk & White (everyone needs to brush up on their grammatical rules. I use this book to do so. However, as I was reading a chapter last night I realized that I had no idea what the authors were talking about. Oh well.)
  • and today I started reading The Girls who Went Away by Ann Fessler (This is a non-fiction book about what is called the Baby Scoop Era in the Us from the end of WWII until the passing of Roe v Wade where young women who became pregnant out of wedlock were essentially forced to hand their newborns over for adoption. Heartbreaking. Eye-Opening.)

This list does not include the books I am in the middle of with the kids (The Hobbit and The Secret Garden), nor the books on my bedside table or book basket that I have started and set down (Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxes [which only have one chapter left so it is inexcusable] and Don Quixote [which is truly hilarious] by Miguel DeCervantes) nor the many that are on the mental list of things I want to read. 

So what do you think should be next on my list? I'm open to suggestions

P.S. Half the Sky is already on the Nook waiting for me. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

On Purpose Thankfulness

Today is one of those days: where I am tired and whiny in both my private thoughts and speech. It's annoying to others and to me. So I am trying very hard to be thankful, knowing that sometimes my true attitude follows the actions of my mouth. With that in mind, I am listing the things that I have noticed this morning that have given me a moment of beauty, thankfulness, and have been a reminder of God's great grace for me. .

  • Kids laughing together on the trampoline.
  • The lilacs that are in bloom. I love lilacs!
  • The clothes hanging on the line and that I had *almost* enough clothespins to hang them all.
  • The realization that I have more pictures of myself as a young child than I had previously thought. 
  • Eric made it to the bus on time. 
  • A day warm enough to wear shorts.
  • The promise of a meal that I don't have to cook in the company of good friends tonight. 
  • A second cup of coffee fixed just the way I like it.
  • A committee I have been on for the past two years completed its task last night!
  • I successfully re-purposed an ugly old wreath into a front door decoration that makes me smile every time I look at it. 

I'm going to hold onto these. If I add any more to the list, I will be doing it just to add more to the its or because I feel I should (you know, I should list my thankfulness for healthy kids, a great job for Eric, a home for us to live in and food to eat, all of which often go without saying). 

And to temporarily remedy the whiny, I'm going to go cut some of those blooming lilacs for my dining room.