23Jul

Onion Week

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Andrew and I just got back from vacation and now it’s Wednesday. So, you can imagine how that feels… like every other Wednesday of the year. How quickly that glow from vacation fades as soon as we step back into the crumbs and missing hamsters.

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Andrew and Pops engage in hamster hunting.

(Oh, yes, at 9:30 pm the night we returned home, we were disemboweling our stove vent to remove the wayward hamster who spent the week on vacation within the walls of our house. The highlight was when Andrew tipped her out and I grabbed a pair of kitchen tongs to scoop her into a shoebox. Welcome home, everybody!)

So I before I lose my mind or that tiny little bit of vacation glow, I wanted to write out what I learned. Because while Andrew was super responsible and went to his work conference, I sat by the pool and let somebody else supply the food while I read, wrote, cried, and prayed my way through the days. I had my own mini-homeschool mama conference poolside. (Best. Conference. Ever.)

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Nachos, books, and sunshine. Perfect day.

On any vacation, it takes a day or two just to relax and recover from life, then a day or two to read and think, and then, on the last day or two, I can usually articulate to Andrew The Lessons Learned. It’s like peeling off layers of an onion, day by day, looking for Truth. Here’s  what God patiently and gently reminded me of/taught me during Onion Week 2016:

  1. This work we do matters. This isn’t just teaching math and writing for the sake of teaching skills. No matter how we educate our kids, in or out of the home, we are molding and shaping the culture of the next generation. For a sobering and soul-bending kick in the seat of the pants, check out Jenny Rallen’s article “Teaching in the Land of 1000 Hills” in the Circe magazine. The first two pages took my breath away. This job deserves my full attention, not distracted half-efforts.
  2. Embrace my freedom as a homeschool mom and remember that I run the schedule, it does not run me. With co-ops and learning therapy, there are a lot of things I CAN’T control in our schedule. But I still have the right to say “no,” to call an audible on behalf of the children or myself. If we need a day off, I need to take it and not let the calendar bury me in guilt. Vive la liberte!
  3. Choose relationship. Every single time. Choose beauty. Choose to smile more. (Check out Sarah Mackenzie’s article in the Circe Magazine for more on this. Plus read basically everything she says in Teaching From Rest.* If you don’t have this book, buy yourself a print copy and mark it up. Trust me.)
  4. He who calls is faithful. Every year. Every week. Every crazy day we loop through. And I can lean on Him. I don’t have to do this alone. I can rest in His grace and His ability to change hearts, change lives, change little brains when I cannot.

1 How firm a foundation you saints of the Lord,
is laid for your faith in his excellent Word!
What more can he say than to you he has said,
to you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?

2 “Fear not, I am with you, O be not dismayed,
for I am your God, and will still give you aid;
I’ll strengthen you, help you, and cause you to stand,
upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.

3 “When through the deep waters I call you to go,
the rivers of sorrow shall not overflow,
for I will be with you in trouble to bless,
and sanctify to you your deepest distress.

4 “When through fiery trials your pathway shall lie,
my grace all-sufficient shall be your supply;
the flame shall not hurt you; I only design
your dross to consume and your gold to refine.

5 “The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
that soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no, never, no never forsake!”

-John Rippon

Somewhere in all of my reading, I ran across the lyrics to “How Firm A Foundation” and it struck me as such a poignant summary of everything I want to remember, everything I want my kids to believe about God when my work as their teacher is done. We’ll be studying this hymn together as a family this year, I think. And if I could get it tattooed on my eyeballs, that’d be great, too.

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What Rested Parents look like

So, did you have an Onion Week? An Onion Weekend? What did you learn on your summer vacation?

P.S. As always, it took a village to keep up with our little village while Andrew and I got away. The kids went to Family Camp in different locations and had a marvelous time. They learned a lot about themselves, too, like how much manual labor they are capable of and how many times they can jump in the lake in one day. Everybody learns during Onion Week! Thanks to Aunt Dee, Uncle Noah, and Gran and Pops, who made it all possible.

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*affiliate link to amazon included. costs you nothing and keeps the squirrels in our server fed.

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Boogie Night

It was with great rejoicing that we married off Sister 2 a few weeks ago. She married a fantastic guy from the UK on 4th of July weekend, so our family is doing our part to heal the breach between the two countries. 😉 And also to terrify his very British family about the sort of people he’s married into. We gave ’em a good ol’ Alabama wedding, complete with 100% humidity and sparklers. Yee-haw!

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I was honored to be included as a bridesmaid. It is truly one of the great privileges of my life to watch my younger siblings grow up and to be so much a part of their lives. I mother and cluck and cheer at all the big and small moments in their lives. They roll their eyes a lot, but they don’t doubt that I love them, either. The honor of having sisters, heart friends, is like nothing else and I am so thankful they let me tag along.

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Aubrey pointed out that we’ve come a long way from the days when they were all in my wedding. I’d say so.

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After pulling off two weddings in two months on the family property, our entire clan was ready to Par-tay. After the fireworks over the lake (totally magical and I resisted the urge to sing the Star Spangled Banner out of respect for our British brethren), we launched into a dance party that went well into the night. The best part? My kids were right there in the middle of it.

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Like any good homeschooling mama, I made sure they were adequately prepared to perform the necessary wedding dances: The Electric Slide, The Chicken Dance, The Cupid Shuffle, and the Whip/NaeNae. We practiced for several weeks. And I was tickled pink to see them jump right into the fray when the dancing started. Finn even managed some pretty precious kicks during the Cupid Shuffle. Very precise, very focused. He wrinkled his forehead and gave each kick his full concentration, like the little Professor that he is.

Willa can Whip and NaeNae like nobody’s business, and Adam, who says he hates to dance, boogied and did the robot like a wild man… Right next to his ridiculous mama, who forgot she was middle aged and paid for her dancing sins with achy joints for days afterward.

Because we were all spiffed up, I did try to get a proper family photo.

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But the crazy version we took is much closer to our actual truth:

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I love these people fiercely and I was so happy to get to celebrate with them for an evening. I smiled so much my face hurt. And so did my feet…

 

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