Thursday, May 31, 2012

Still in school……



It always happens at this time of  year….

I see all the pictures, hear about all the parties, and listen as all my “public school” mom friends talk about the ceremonies and awards their kids get when they “graduate” at  each grade level.


Don’t get me wrong-

I LOVE to hear about all the accomplishments that these sweet kids achieve.

I love to see the pictures of the end of school parties and all the teacher gifts given from the ideas on Pinterest.

I adore seeing the “graduations” and the smiling teachers with their students.

I love it….I do.

But…..there is always a “but” isn't there???  I am broken after all.

But…It is always at this time of year that I feel THE MOST inadequate.

It is always at this time of year that I COVET all the awards ceremonies and certificates given to students that were NOT on a paper towel.

I try not to….I really do.

I try NOT to feel guilty when my “graduating” 5th grader doesn't get to run down the hall of his elementary school and get high fives from everyone.

I try….but I fail.

I fail because as much as I WANT it not to matter…..I am  at times still yucky inside.  I can’t help but feel like it MUST be something that still needs growth inside of me.  It must be a lesson I still need to learn.

It still SEEPS in.  I feel like I didn’t do ENOUGH.


I know that in  the decision to homeschool is also the decision to not NEED outside validation.

In other words….

When I decided to homeschool I made the decision that I wasn’t going to NEED someone else to tell me that my kids “graduated”.

I didn’t need a state-test to tell me that my kids were “on track”.

When I made the decision to homeschool I made the decision that the kids would NOT get awards and certificates or have “last day” parties.

I made that decision KNOWING that our “school” would look different from public school.

And for the most part I am ok with what “our school” looks like.

I am learning to be ok with our “graduation/last day party” going something like this:

Me(opening up the back door after lunch): “Happy Summer guys! School is out.   You all just moved up a grade.”

The kids(while cleaning out the chicken coop and picking up pine-cones): “Cool!  Can we have a popsicle?”


I am learning that my life is where it is because there are still “lessons” I need to learn.

I still need to learn that I don’t need that outside validation.

I need to learn that because I am doing my best and putting in 100%…God is pleased.  I know that I am doing my best and my best it good enough.

I need to learn that it doesn't take a “report card” to know how well my kids are doing…. I see their work everyday.

I need to learn that we don’t need to have a “last day of school party” to feel like we CONQUERED it…..because WE CONQUERED IT.

I still need to learn NOT to covet all those things that give me that “comfortable” feeling…like REAL certificates and student-of-the-week awards.

As much as I want to feel so independent…

As much as I want to NOT care……..

As much as I want to just be carefree about it.

There are still parts of me that let those awards and certificates make me feel inadequate…

That is where my “lessons” are.

I need to learn that my life is my classroom …and maybe-







Thursday, May 24, 2012

Imagine if……..


EVERY YEAR as we come to the close of the school year…we all get “summer fever”.

Summer fever in our house = bickering, arguing, whining, resistant children.

Oh..who am I kidding???  It equals those SAME kind of mommy/teacher.

And sometimes….





“You guys should appreciate each other…NOT ARGUE!  You have each other …THAT is a gift.”

I say that phrase 1000’s of times.

Not an exaggeration…1000’s. Seriously.

And most of the time they DON’T HEAR ME.


the other day when they went at it again….


They bickered. They fought. They argued.

So I said, “You guys should appreciate each other…NOT ARGUE!!! You have each other…THAT is a gift!  BUT- YOU don’t VALUE each other!!! So from this moment on….YOU, Sheba-DON’T HAVE A BROTHER named Malachi. And YOU,Malachi- DON’T HAVE A SISTER named Sheba! You are not allowed to speak, look, or play together.  Imagine your life WITHOUT EACH OTHER.  From THIS moment…YOU DON"’T HAVE EACH OTHER!!!”

They looked at each other in SHOCK!!!

And then something changed….It was like they could feel the LOSS of each other.

Malachi didn’t say much….he just sat stunned.

But Sheba……..he little face turned BRIGHT RED and the tears started welling up in her eyes. Before I knew it she was CRYING.

Her sweet little soul LOVED her Bubba….maybe even more than she KNEW.

I sat down next to them and explained that sometimes when we are around each other sooooo much…we push each others buttons, get on each others nerves, and aggravate the CRAP out of each other.

But …




We ARE each other.  We are soooo inter-twinned in each others everyday lives that we HARDLY EVER get a chance to feel what it would be like if we WEREN’T around each other……

then we we do imagine it…….

We are HOLLOW…because it takes every single piece to make a whole puzzle.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

the struggle

If you have kids you KNOW.

You know that as they grow they CHANGE.

And sometimes…….

things stay the same.

Sometimes you think when they are OLDER they will grow out of “this” or “that”.

And…Sometimes they do.

But- Sometimes they DON’T.

Malachi is “one of THOSE”….

when he was 2 we thought, “Oh….he will grow out of THAT.  He won’t be so emotional and crazy forever!”

Then he turned 5 .

And I remember thinking, “Oh no…he still does that.  But he is ONLY 5.  We will get it “under control” by THEN.”

Now he is 8….and he is LEARNING.

He is learning that he  has to be in CONTROL of is mouth, body, and emotions.

He is learning that being OUT OF CONTROL is not a “good look” for him.

He is learning that sometimes you don’t get what you WANT…

but you get what you need.

In his defense…

That is a hard lesson for all of us.

We all come into life with a  natural tendency to feel ENTITLED.

We all feel out of control and selfish sometimes.

Those are the things that are TRAINED OUT of us.

Those are the things that we have to FIGHT AGAINST.




Sometimes -

those are the things that are buried deep in us we ALL have in common.

Friday, May 11, 2012


He was stone faced when I walked into the room.

His eyes glassed over with what he hoped were invisible tears…

He was taking out his frustration on his keyboards.

“3 little birds” had never sounded so HARSH.

I sat down in the cold chair next to him….seemed fitting.

He didn’t even notice…or so he wanted me to THINK.

“Zeek, you HAVE to talk to me. Even when you are mad. You can’t shut down and NOT TALK.  I will always be here for you.  No matter what you feel or SAY.”  I said in a desperate tone.

It was new for both of us.

He was growing….changing.

His “feelings” were bubbling.

He finally turned to me and said in a CRY-TALK sort of way, “WHY would I TALK, when NOONE will LISTEN???”

I sat stunned.  How is this happening??? 

I guess NAIVELY in my MIND I just figured we had “more of a connection” than that.   LOL .I figured that the children I have would cling to me forever.  I just KNEW that I would always “be cool” to them. Don’t judge….I am the MAYOR of “Denial Town.”

I carried them…I birthed them…I teach them…I watch them grow…

And then I LET THEM GO????

I was planning on something a little more “live with me forever” stylee.

And then …..

they started to seep personalities of their own.

they started to have their own thoughts and opinions.

they started to speak or NOT SPEAK their minds.

And I couldn’t ignore the



TRUTH any more….

My life is about to change.

My kids may not ALWAYS be my best friends…..but I pray they know I am ALWAYS there for them.

My kids will not ALWAYS do what I tell them to…. but I pray that they will know the big stuff when it counts.

My kids will not divulge to me EVERY little secret….but I pray they come to me with the ones buried deep in their souls.

My kids might not always TALK to me…..but I pray they know that I will always LISTEN.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Silent blessings….


Sometimes I life we wait and wait …for something HUGE.

we spend our time waiting for some MAJOR sign or life experience..

we wait for that AH-ha moment to “make us realize”  or teach a lesson.

Then…sometimes because we are so busy and consumed in our heads that we miss those simple LIFE LESSON OPPORTUNITIES that God presents.

As parents it is sooo easy to do that.

It is so easy to get wrapped up in the EVERYDAY.

Places to go

Things to do

people to see

errands to run

bills to pay

kids to teach

animals to feed

dishes to wash

clothes to fold

a husband to tend to

life to live

Life can be full of endless distractions.  It is so easy to get SOOOO  caught up in “the grind” of our “first-class American lives” that we forget what is really important.

We have a tendency to be spoiled and forget fairly fast how GREAT we have it.

It happens to me all the time.

Apparently, it is something I need to learn bcs I am reminded of it A LOT.


Yesterday, Shasha had her first performance with the Saint Augustine Ballet at the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind.

It is a WELL KNOWN school we have here in Saint Augustine specifically for those who are deaf and blind.  Children travel here and RESIDE on campus away from their parents just for the opportunity attend.

Ray Charles went there. So cool.

As I walked onto the campus thru the beautiful trees and buildings, I couldn’t help but notice the SILENCE.

It was so quiet and calm…

Then I walked thru the doors of the auditorium and the first thing I saw was a teacher. He said hello in sign language and continued his silent conversation with another teacher.  As a matter of fact …there were teachers all over the entrance…in silent conversations.

Then it hit me…..There was a reason for the silence.

There was a reason that there wasn’t the “usual” school sounds of a bustling campus.

These kids couldn’t hear or see…some BOTH.

As I stood at the back of the room and watched as a room full of deaf and blind children watched/listened to my daughter dance onstage….

I understood.

Sometimes silence is exactly what we need.

Sometimes it takes silence for you to be able to SEE CLEARLY.

As the teachers led the kids out of the auditorium they filed past me in a sort of strange caravan  of different ages and abilities. No screaming, no talking, no chattering. Just silence and sign language.

It was as if God had put me in a place that was SOOOO QUIET…I could HEAR my blessings.

He put me in a place where I could SEE those blessing manifested in front of me.


Sometimes we go about life only seeing the BIG THINGS, only appreciating the MAJOR stuff  in life.

Sometimes we go around and take for granted WHAT we see everyday…

because we CAN SEE everyday.

We may not realize the beauty of NOISE in our day…because we can HEAR everyday.

It was an amazing experience to be able to watch as these kids lived their lives.  Lots of them were far from their parents or any family….in silence or darkness…trying to navigate a world that is INEVITABLY hard for them…from the start.

And they were LIVING…appreciating a BALLET put on by students their age…who COULD SEE AND HEAR.

My heart was filled.

Filled with silent blessings…..RINGING in my ears.