New Year’s Resolutions?

bad day turtle2016 is already here! Where is time going? “Slow down, Time!” Each year as time goes by, I have decided not to do a New Year’s resolution. Why? Because I don’t want to fail. I have enough stress, enough struggles, enough loss, and enough pain that I never think about setting another goal which I might not reach.

I was driving down the road the other day as the Christian radio announcer spoke out the alarming number: 8%. Of those who set New Year’s resolutions, 8% are able to fulfill them. Really? Really! Why is it that such a small number of people will achieve their goals? I think it comes down to the fact that we are sinners. We sin. We fail. We try to depend on ourselves; we strive for perfection; we try to do it alone, instead of looking to the Lord for strength, hope, love, peace, joy. Those who do not know Christ have no power over sin and failure, loss and then shame.

Shame and failure: that may be the real reason that I don’t set New Year’s Resolutions normally. Last year, I just set a goal to be joyful. Yep, you guessed it. I was NOT one of the 8% and felt shame that I did not achieve that “simple” goal. I had given myself no grace and no “half-way.” I either had to be joyful each day or I was a failure. I didn’t even write about my year and what I was reading. I stopped reading the encouraging book. I relied on myself and I failed. I have not set resolutions in the past, because when I did, I knew I would fail.

However, the first week of January of 2016, I decided that one who does not set some sort of goal, she will never achieve anything! Maybe I needed to rely on God for the outcome, get over my perfectionist tendencies (at least some), and set a goal to work toward.  Thinking about what I would like to achieve, I realized I wanted to be healthier, in better shape, more focused on my boys and the Lord, more learned. In a word, I wanted to move toward perfection. EEK! It sounded like failure just thinking through all those things. But, after some prayer, here is what I have decided.

  1.  I know. I know. You are thinking FLOSS! Her goal is to floss? Well, yes it is. Our teeth and gum health will reflect our total health. I had a dentist who used to jokingly warn me, “Only floss the ones you want to keep.”  So, my first goal is floss, but notice that I did not write floss daily or floss 3 times a week. Grace, dear friends. I will floss when I think about it and let me confide in you, I have already flossed more this month than all last year (though it has not been daily)! I am already in that 8%. 🙂
  2. Copy Scripture. This could get really big and almost ugly if I let it. But instead, I looked at the books of Ephesians and Philippians, and they both had the same number of verses in the books. I love both those books in the New Testament, written by the Apostle Paul. So, I started copying 4 or 5 verses a day and reading what I had written before that day. I am finishing the first chapter of Philippians today. When I finish the book, I will start on Ephesians. When I complete that, I will start with Philippians. No stress. Just copywork for the spiritual heart and mind! 🙂
  3. Move more. Again, how can I go wrong, right? 🙂 Yet, I want to be intentional about moving–park and walk to the store, run around with the boys, work out in the evening, move around while teaching or cooking, dance in the kitchen. But, I don’t have to do this daily or a certain number of times each week. I just want to intentionally move more. This month I added to my calendar that this goal might look like “lifting 2 times/week.” Each month I may decide to do a mini goal but maybe not. I have not been able to lift twice this week, and I don’t want the shame of not accomplishing it. I might have to do that before I go to sleep…or I may just give myself grace to do it tomorrow.
  4. Be intentional about the boys is my last goal. I am learning that it is the little things that matter. I was becoming annoyed that the boys’ clothes were all over their rooms, not in drawers. WHY? After some time I realized that they believed the clothes would not all fit into the drawers. At the change of the seasons, I put all the clothing into the drawers so I knew they all fit. How then is it that after a couple of week the clothes no longer fit?! Parent Realization #309: The boys did not know how to properly fold their clothing so the clothes turned out too wrinkled and “large” to all fit. Each week, I wash the boys’ clothes in separate loads, and they fold their own clothing and put it away in their rooms. Last week the boys each had their loads, and I went through folding lessons again (ahem). Showing them again how to fold jeans and long sleeved shirts. Paying attention to the details really does make a huge difference. And guess what? All the clothing fit in the drawers!

As this month moves into the next and the next, I hope to be flossing, moving, copying, and paying attention to the details of my boys’ lives. But no matter how many goals I am meeting for myself (or not), I pray that I will continue to be leaning heavily on the arms of my Saviour and Lord: Jesus Christ. If I am in His arms, I cannot go wrong. And maybe that was the trouble with the past, the shame and feelings of failure. I wasn’t resting in His arms and His love. I am His child and He loves me just as I love my children, unconditionally (flossed teeth of not).

Love your boys. Love your family. It will be what they remember & is a goal worth achieving!

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Who we are NOW…

I feel like I need to update everyone on photos and information about us! I looked back and it had been two years…eek. Sorry. So here are the new photos. Thanks to Jada Houk who took all the photos published here. She is not only a wonderful photographer but a wonderful person! She makes the boys feel so calm and like they are doing a great job modeling.They always have such fun with her. Thanks, Jada!

Without further ado…

Here is The Engineer: He is now 11 and will enter middle school…um, yes, Mom, he has arrived!

Engineer 2015

Next is Farmer, Jr. He still wants to be a farmer like Dad! He is now 9.

Farmer, Jr

The Cowboy is just now 8 and may be moving toward Farmer, Jr Jr 🙂 and away from being a Cowboy. Though he was dressed up and playing cowboys just today…so you never know.

The Cowboy 2015

Finally, Our Dancer is 3 and still dancing and singing up a storm!

The Dancer 2015

We sure love our boys and we are enjoying our time with them! More to come soon on what we have been doing lately. 🙂

Love your boys and enjoy the end of the summer!

I am doing the best I can

 CleaningLady

“I am doing the best I can!”

 I say this often.

I mean it often.

Or, do I?  Am I really doing the best I can?  Yes, most days I am doing all I can– in my own power– to help grow these four little boys into men.  But it isn’t enough.  I am failing.

One day I had a realization.  I am not enough.  You heard me.  It’s true. I am not enough.  I don’t have the patience to home educate them.  I don’t have the love to listen to any more stories about LEGOs or blocks or whatever they are building today.  I don’t have any more energy to clean, wash, bathe, or did I mention clean anything else!  I don’t have enough.

Luckily, I don’t have to have enough of anything.  The Lord does.  So, now when I hear myself say this little phrase, I stop.  I am learning to rethink it.  I need to remember that I must rely on Him, the Lord Jesus Christ, to do it.  Doing the best I  can is not the same as falling into His arms, so He can work through me and do the best.  I am nothing without Christ and so I need to live as though I am in His arms, letting Him do the living, loving, and growing of these little men. When I hear myself say these words.  I stop myself, right where I am, and pray. I thank the Lord that He is enough and that He is working through me.   I must stop MY doing and let Christ do it.

Do the best you can today and let the Lord work through you! 🙂

What do you do when you feel you are not enough?  I’d love to hear about it.

Oh, and love your boys!

Leesa

My Day Off from the Boys: What I did while the boys were out

My Day Off from the Boys: What I did while the boys were outtrainThe other day my husband, The Farmer, took The Engineer, Farmer, Jr. and The Cowboy to a train show a couple of hours from our home.  They left before The Dancer and I got up and were gone most of the day.  A whole day without big boys to do whatever I wanted to do was here.  I could do whatever I pleased and have no one to ask me for things (The Dancer does not talk much really).  When The Dancer took a nap, I would be completely FREE to do whatever I wanted for myself and no one else.  I had the crazy feeling, “This is what it would be like if they went to school each day and I was just alone with The Dancer all day, by myself, with no other boys, just me and The Dancer, except during nap when it would just be me, alone.  I could go potty with no audience.at.all. This is going to be GREAT!”  (Yes, I know that I think in run-on sentences but don’t we all, really?)

So, what did I do…let’s see, what did I DO…what DID I do? This is where you are thinking, “She sat on the couch in her pjs and did nothing all day long!”  Actually, I decided I was going to take all the Christmas decorations down with no extra help and put them back into their bins. This is what NEEDED to be completed, so I bit the bullet and got started.

So, this day “off” I

  • brought down the bins from the attic with “non-Christmas items” and unpacked them
  • chased The Dancer away from these items; answered him when he asked where his brothers were
  • took down and started to pack the Christmas items back into said bins; thought about the boys & prayed for them
  • chased The Dancer away from Christmas items; answered him when he asked where his brothers were
  • gave The Dancer a snack; thought about the big boys again, missed them, & prayed for them again
  • packed more stuff in the bins
  • cleaned and put up non-Christmas items; called The Farmer to ask about the boys
  • stopped for a tea break and read a chapter of my book while The Dancer played cars at my feet
  • danced with The Dancer to music on the radio; prayed for The Dancer and his someday wife; missed my big boys
  • organized The Dancer’s clothes as he was moving up a size; answered him when he asked where his brothers were
  • packed up The Dancer’s clothes that were too small to pass on to a family member
  • thought about the boys again and yes, prayed for them again and for The Farmer that he was doing okay with them

On and on went my day, but while I got many items checked off my list, what I really did on my free day was miss my boys.   It isn’t that I am not a whole person without my boys.  It is more about the fact that I enjoy them.  I want to be around them.  Don’t get me wrong: there is fighting and arguing and melt-downs, and then there are problems with the boys too (he he).  Seriously, though, I want to be near them to train, teach, lead, and help them to grow into the men God wants them to be.

It was a good wake-up call for me as we are heading back into the second half of our home educating year and the winter blahs are upon us.  I do love my boys and I want to be with them.  Of course, outside time for them is a must (without me) to run off their “boy energy” as The Cowboy would say.

I wrote this post for myself, as much as for you, the parents of boys, to remind us that this is such a short, short time before our boys are moving on to jobs and life away from our homes.  ENJOY the time.

This year, my New Year’s Resolution is just that: Enjoy my Family.  I am often so very busy that I am checking off lists and making new ones.  I forget sometimes that I am doing everything for my family.  I do love them and I need to focus on enjoying the time with them.  We are never promised tomorrow with them.  Even when tomorrow comes, though, and it is followed by the tomorrow after that, soon next year and the next will be here.  Time truly is fleeting and time with our boys is short.  So this year, I am going to enjoy the boys!

Hope you can find a way to enjoy yours this day and tomorrow, too!

Enjoy the boys.