What you see is what you get
School's begun for us and we decided to bring things all the way back to the kitchen table where we see eyeballs almost every moment of the day.
No one's hooked-up to anything and the only action is that of sharpening pencils.
From thousands of dollars' promises to educate and mentor to time being the only real expense for this Mom who would rather be cleaning something than sitting in a hard kitchen chair.
But mouths have gotten harsh and hearts were wandering too far from this core group of lovely so here we are.
Happy Friday friends.
Don't for one minute think that this smells of "Little House on the Prairie" and we are now fostering sourdough.
Well I take that back.
In the middle of the first week of school we lost our water for enough time to realize that "Little House on the Prairie," wasn't as magical as we think it was.
When my teen told me that she "dipped her cup into the water barrel" to brush her teeth before bed we all just laughed ourselves silly and thanked the Lord for city water.
I'm amazed at all of the messages that wandered back to me regarding not loving homeschooling.
Some have even thanked me for voicing what they feel, almost like it made them feel normal.
I get it.
That's the whole purpose of this blog by the way.
And besides not having water in the faucet for a few days, this first week of school has actually been my favorite in a long time.
I know right? Leave it to me to say I despise something and then turn around and like it again.
But here's the thing.
What if the reason I like it is because it's on my terms this time?
Or because it's only THE FIRST WEEK?
The world may never know.
Here's another thing.
When we heard the crew was going to be together for two solid days before they disperse again to college and such we found some money in the couch and did the things we wanted to do together.
To remind our brood that they are OURS and we are THEIRS.
To wrap them up in Mama Santa's pizza and give them the opportunity to share what they believe this year holds for them.
And to give them the opportunity to have pop with one whole refill.
(That was for... ahem, Abi.)
We walked downtown Cleveland because we love it and ate melting pastries while trying to get just one good family picture.
The next day we tried to get everyone off of work in just enough time to catch an IMAXX.
I ran to the dollar store to snatch up all the movie-style boxes of candy we like and in the van on the way gave the first pick to the person who could share how the Lord has been working in their life.
When some of the older ones realized the good candy was disappearing they had a bit of spiritual revival and shared what God has been teaching THEM.
There's real power in Swedish fish.
In the opening of our Science center showing I realized that NERDS make a whole lot of noise.
And that box is like Mary Poppin's purse.
You've been warned.
We love us some IMAXX.
And this one was about people who help kids get out and explore all the amazing national parks God has given us.
One particular touching section was about teachers who work with kids who are hearing impaired.
There are these amazing headsets they wear with backpacks that alert them of the bird noises and such around them.
Really, REALLY awesome.
There was this amazing young woman.
"In 46 days, 11 hours, and 20 minutes, Jennifer Pharr Davis hiked from Georgia to Maine—a total of 2,181 miles. That time stands as the women's record for fastest thru-hike on the Appalachian Trail." (Outsideonline.com)
I BARELY hiked a few miles of this trail and just about died.
Okay I jest but really........
Not only is she one of the best hikers I've ever heard of, but she said something in the movie we saw that day in the science center that just stuck to my bones.
When I mentioned it later to one of the kids they smiled and said, "I KNEW you'd pick up on that, Mom."
And here it is.
She said she packed a lot of things she needed for those 40 something miles a day, but what she didn't pack was a mirror.
I get it.
Who wants to worry if their messy bun's looking cute in the middle of the forest?
But what shook me was how she described not being able to reach for that mirror for personal reference.
She said that she enjoyed seeing herself in the eyes of all of the people she met along the trail.
She felt attractive, beautiful and just plain lovely by watching people react to her words, her "vibe" and her personality.
You've been there, haven't you?
You have an interaction with a store clerk, a cashier or someone and leave the store feeling wonderful.
You are happy, peaceful and all smiles.
Then you catch. a glimpse of your fading make-up, disheveled hair or weird-fitting shirt and well, good feeling gone.
What a gift it must've been for Jennifer to go from interaction to interaction and keep hold of the sweetness from encouraging someone else.
Sometimes when I'm alone for too long I begin to wonder what I'm really adding to this wonderful life we've each been given.
But stick me in my Sunday school class, in front of a group of ladies or staring at the faces of my last three schoolers and I see the things that God has given me to encourage others.
Each laugh, smile, and nod remind me that this is a space specifically created for me to use for his glory.
It's a space where I am neither too much or not enough and it's grand.
I got what this hiker was saying.
She enjoyed disappearing for a good while into only what other people saw in her.
I remember someone telling me that when I smile my eyes smile too.
For the life of me I only saw my smile scrunch them up and that right eye almost close.
THEN I saw that exact thing in my daughter's eyes.
Each of them smile all the way up to their eyes and I adore it.
What kind of a world would we live in if we lived seeing ourselves in the lives of those around us who love us warts and all?
I think that's what's happening around this kitchen table lately.
No wonder we're over here havin' a little personal revival and all!
I'm enjoying who I am in the eyes of these kids.
And that's really a special thing to me.
It makes school a whole different thing.
I'm still not a fan of teaching, but I am a fan of them.
I'm a fan of how I look in the eyes of my husband, and the place that God has given me to really enjoy that sweetness.
See yourself in the eyes of those who love you, friend.
What you see is what you have right there where you live.