And Today’s Awesome Award Goes to….

Today, this weekend, this week, this month, this year…the Awesome Heroes Award goes to my parents. YAY!! Who paid for a romantic weekend getaway for my husband and I in the mountains while they came and took care of the kids all weekend. 

 

Yeah. Try and top that!

 

The purpose was for Andy and I to be able to get away, reconnect, rest, and de-stress. 

 

It worked. 

 

I left Friday afternoon, literally running to get in the car and drive away before the kids got home from school. I came back today, ready to push my sleeves up and get back to work. 

 

We stayed at Jonathan Creek Inn at Maggie Valley and had a room with a Jacuzzi. Which is kind of a funny story in itself. My husband and I have been trying to stay in a room with a jacuzzi since our honeymoon, and then for our following anniversaries, and we have been thwarted every time. On our honeymoon, because we were in Wisconsin, and we are not planners, and thought we’d just drive till we felt like stopping and then get a hotel room, with a jacuzzi…except unbeknownst to us, our wedding day fell on the day of a Green Bay Packers Game and every hotel in the entire state was booked up. Then on the next anniversary, we were all set to go have a romantic getaway, but then a close friend was in a tragic accident and we were at the hospital on our anniversary. And then, we had a lot of kids and gave up trying to do stuff like that. Until a couple years ago, when I finally had a room booked and a babysitter lined up. Then I got appendicitis and ended up spending my anniversary recovering from an appendectomy. 

 

So, we finally got our jacuzzi suite.  Yay!

 

We took a drive around the mountains and went on a hike through the woods. We watched sappy Hallmark movies in our room (another first, we don’t have cable and have never seen a Hallmark movie, it was hilarious making commentary with my husband). 

 

And we talked. We talked a lot about our new living situation. With three new children, we are having to make a lot of adjustments. And we are getting tired. It’s one of those things where you know that you can do this, but you’re going to have to be smart about how you go about it. 

 

We talked about how we can pace ourselves and make sure that we are getting the breaks that we need. Talked about how we need to keep some strong boundaries in some different situations. We plotted and planned. 

 

And we just enjoyed being out in nature and being together. I enjoyed not having to cook any meals or do any chores. 

We especially enjoyed saying, Hey, Let’s go do this! And then we would just walk out the door and go do it. Amazing. No thirty minutes of getting everyone ready to go. We just Walked. Out. The. Door. 

 

I’m going to be honest. Taking on new family members is hard. Really hard. But, God has been faithful. He has provided: everything we physically need, and even a mental and emotional break. And he is continuing to provide wisdom as we learn how to walk this path. And it’s worth it. It was great to come home to a house full of smiling, happy children. Each one beautiful and amazing in their own way. 

 

When Life Doesn’t Turn Out the Way You Expect

Making plans seems to be part in parcel of being human. We have this life laid out in front of us and we feel an urgency to do Something with that life. Everyone around us tells us that we need to be doing Something. We ask little children, What do you want to be when you grow up? We pester our teenagers as soon as they enter high school…What do you think you want to do after high school? College? Which one? What do you want to study? How about the armed forces? Does that sound interesting? Or tech school? You can make good money being an electrician! Have you ever considered going into teaching? 

 

People just can’t leave us alone about our “futures”. And so, naturally, we make plans. We have this life in front of us, we must plan. 

 

Some people make a plan very early in their life and then they follow it, step by faithful step, until they have reached their end goal and entered into the life they always wanted. And we all shake our heads in amazement and say, Yep, I knew they could do it, they’re just that kind of person. 

 

Then there are the people who just can’t settle on any plan. These are the ones that go to college and change their majors five times. Or maybe it’s the ones who pursue job after job, but can never stay in one place for too long. And we shake our heads at them. You just need to get a plan and stick to it!

 

I think for most of the rest of us it goes more like this. We make a plan and pursue it. Then something happens, we discover while student teaching that we really don’t like being around kids. Or maybe an unexpected financial burden arises that keeps us from going to that flight school we always wanted to attend. Or a personal tragedy, a death in our family, awakens a previously unknown desire to enter the medical field or become a hospice nurse. 

 

We all waver and bend as life shoves us this way and that, following whatever road seems to be the right one at the moment. Always making plans. Not always accomplishing those plans. 

 

I am familiar with plans not turning out the way I thought. At the age of 17 I thought I would study piano, become a piano teacher, get married in my mid-twenties and have 2 children. 

 

Yeah. That didn’t happen. (For those of you new to the blog, I dropped out of college after 2 years, married at the age of 20 and have 10 children.) 

 

Some people say that God has an exact plan written out for our lives and that it’s our job to sit still and listen and wait for him to reveal this plan to us. Other people say, God gave you gifts and talents for a reason, pursue those gifts and talents and God will use you wherever you go. I, of course, love to walk the middle road. I’m sure that God has a plan for me, but I don’t think it’s his habit of sharing the details of that plan. Instead he uses our gifts and talents to direct us. He uses earth-shattering events to redirect us. He uses simple self-awareness (hmm, I actually really hate this career) to direct us. He uses people in our lives who build us up or tear us down to send us in search of new paths. He uses whatever he wants to get us where he wants us. And there is a lot of peace in that. I saw an awesome meme the other day:

stupiditymeme

Plans come and go but God is constant and nothing surprises him. I’m going to keep making plans, keep pursuing them…But perhaps it’s not the destination, the fulfilling of the plan, that is so important, but rather the journey along the way. 

 

 

 

Everyone Needs a Manifesto

Today I have been focusing on piano. Piano teaching to be exact. In the fall I will be teaching piano lessons at our church’s homeschooling co-op which meets once a week. I will have four students this year. I had two students last year. I am slowly sticking my toe into the waters of Piano Teaching. My end goal is to teach lessons from my home when all my kids are in school, hopefully focusing on the home school crowd who have the flexibility to take lessons during the day instead of during after-school hours. We’ll see how it goes. In the meantime I am slowly feeling my way forward in the realm of teaching. I have been looking at all kinds of different piano teaching curriculum. Reading reviews. Watching tutorials. I am also brushing off my own piano books, starting to set some goals for myself in learning new pieces and brushing up on my music theory. 

As I’ve been doing all of this, it occurred to me that I should write a Piano Teacher’s Manifesto. Kind of a written statement of what my goals are for teaching piano. I’ve been jotting down different ideas today, trying to figure out what is important to me and what isn’t important to me. I think I can boil down my ideas into two key points. 1. I want to share the joy of music: expose kids to all kinds of music and hopefully pass on the wonder and delight I feel when I listen to music. 2. I want to make music accessible to them: give them the skills they need so that they can participate in music and also let them realize they can enjoy and participate in music no matter what skill level they are at. 

Once I have a manifesto then I have a measuring stick. When I consider different curriculum I can ask the question, Will this curriculum enable me to fulfill the goals of my manifesto? When I plan out my lessons and recitals I can always be making sure my methods line up with my goals. A manifesto is a very useful tool. 

It occurs to me that I should have manifestos for other areas in my life. Like parenting. What are my goals for parenting? Teach my children to know and love the God of the Bible.  Teach my children how to love and respect the people around them. Teach my children how to become responsible citizens. All the parenting methods I use, all the decisions I make should be lining up with those goals. 

How about a manifesto for my online presence? Something to regulate how I act on Facebook and my blog and anywhere else I might show up. How about: Be respectful and kind at all times, reflect character that is pleasing to God. If I was tech-savvy, I could somehow make a little window pop up every time I’m about to hit POST or COMMENT…Is this content Respectful and Kind and Pleasing to God? I would have to hit the YES button on the window before I could go ahead and hit enter. 

Ok, I’m on a roll now…How about a manifesto for my marriage? Let’s see. All my words and actions should have the purpose of encouraging and building up my spouse and promoting unity between us. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a little voice reminding you of that manifesto every time you opened your mouth to speak..”Is this going to encourage him? Is this going to promote unity?” 

Anyway, I’m having fun with the whole idea of writing down my goals so that I have some direction when I need to make decisions. Maybe I’ll expand this to a House Cleaning Manifesto, Money Spending Manifesto, and Book Reading Manifesto!