Tuesday, September 13, 2016

I was Once a New Yorker

It was the first day of our home school co-op and I had the sign-in sheet ready for when all my kindergarten students arrived. The first day of classes is the best! There is so much excitement buzzing through the air. I love meeting my students and welcoming them and I love meeting the families that are strangers to me now, but by the end of the year we will be close sisters in Christ.

One woman walked in with her grandson and quickly leaned down to write her signature on the form, but before she left I asked her if she could write down her phone number as well. She began writing, '516-' as the area code, I stopped her and asked her if she was from Long Island, New York. She jumped up with a smile and inquired, "How did you know?" I told her that I was once a, "718- area code!' We hit it off and began talking and talking!

Throughout the day I bumped into my new found, New Yorker, friend and we would stop and share our life stories and encourage each other. Of course the first thing I asked her was, "What brought you down here?" Immediately she told me that her daughter was just diagnosed with cancer. She told me that she prayed and believed God was calling her to come down and help her daughter and take care of her grandchildren. So, in obedience to God, she sold her house, packed everything up and moved.
I was shocked.
I was breathless.
After hearing this story my mind filled with hundreds of questions for her and so I asked every one!

"Did you just leave your job?"
Her calm and confident response was, "Oh, no, I am an independent Avon consultant. I have a whole network in New York and now I'll just start one here!"

"So, is this daughter that has cancer your only child?"
Again she responded with a calm, no worries answer..."I have four children-two are still home with me. One is 14 years old, the other 12. " She continued, "I felt like God was asking me to home school my children, so when we moved here we didn't need to look for a new school."

"So, your grandchildren AND your children are signed up at the co-op?"
"Yes."

"So, are you volunteering to help teach, be an assistant, in one of the classrooms?"
"No. I will be teaching the kindergarten class in the afternoons."

Each time I walked away from her, the more I was filled with awe. She left everything for her daughter and grandchildren. She believes and is confident that she can build up group of clients here in Hampton. She is also confident that she can teach not only her children, but the kindergarten class.

My head was swirling. "Wow!" I thought to myself, "I was once like her." I was once a New Yorker. I had dreams. I had visions. I had strength. I had hope. I had courage. I had an, "I can do it!" attitude. It had me thinking...I'm not sure if I have it any more. Being in the south has changed me, and, after mulling it over, I can't say that I like what it has done to me.

 When I came down here it didn't take me long to see that I didn't fit in. I talked fast, walked fast, and said my opinion openly and freely. (For those of you who do not know, that is not how they do it down in the south). They talk slower than I did, walk slower (no one is in a rush), and well, opinions are not spoken- they keep that to themselves, (except when it's time to gossip).

I have been hushed, kicked under the table, given the evil-eye to the point that I now just hold my tongue even if I have something inspired from the Lord.

I feel like all my dreams have been kicked out of me too. I actually listened to a pastor give a sermon on how we should not have ambition! He said that ambition is self-centered and ultimately it can hurt people. I sat there burning inside. Anything we do can be turned into a selfish act, so yes, while ambition can be motivated by impure or for selfish gain, there is good ambition too. Ambition to use our gifts to bless others is not a bad thing.

 I've also noticed that no one seems to chase after their dreams down here. It's like they talk about what they'd like to do and be and 'wouldn't it be nice to' and so on, but I don't see people putting their hand to the pump, as they say, to get it done. I don't feel the 'chutzpah' down here.

I don't know, maybe it's not the south, maybe it's the crowd I'm hanging around with. Maybe they have all been depressed for so long and have given up on life that it's rubbed off on me. I have to be honest here. Here comes my opinion. Don't kick me or hush me... I hate this 'no dreams', 'no goals', 'no fire in the belly' lifestyle. And to be further honest, I hate the fear too. I hate it. The fear of living. The fear of failing. The fear of rejection. "Well, my grandmother never did it, so I guess I won't either." God has put us here with gifts and talents to share with this world and we should be using them.

I was once a New Yorker, or am I in there somewhere? I still have dreams, but I don't talk about them anymore. Honestly, for the last five or more years I have felt like a horse behind the starting gate, pawing the ground, grunting for the gun to go off, just ready for the release of the race. I want to run. I want to be free to dream and go after it.

Maybe one day I can feel free to be me, a New Yorker, and still live in the south. Here's hoping!

Father,

Help me forgive others for stiffing me. Help me to forgive myself for allowing others to control me and change me. Help me to forgive myself. I have much regret over letting my dreams die. Forgive me for being afraid and not trusting you.

Lord, I want to do and be all that you have created in me to do. Change me Lord, for your Glory!
Love you always,
Ellie

I was Once a New Yorker

It was the first day of our home school co-op and I had the sign-in sheet ready for when all my kindergarten students arrived. The first day of classes is the best! There is so much excitement buzzing through the air. I love meeting my students and welcoming them and I love meeting the families that are strangers to me now, but by the end of the year we will be close sisters in Christ.

One woman walked in with her grandson and quickly leaned down to write her signature on the form, but before she left I asked her if she could write down her phone number as well. She began writing, '516-' as the area code, I stopped her and asked her if she was from Long Island, New York. She jumped up with a smile and inquired, "How did you know?" I told her that I was once a, "718- area code!' We hit it off and began talking and talking!

Throughout the day I bumped into my new found, New Yorker, friend and we would stop and share our life stories and encourage each other. Of course the first thing I asked her was, "What brought you down here?" Immediately she told me that her daughter was just diagnosed with cancer. She told me that she prayed and believed God was calling her to come down and help her daughter and take care of her grandchildren. So, in obedience to God, she sold her house, packed everything up and moved.
I was shocked.
I was breathless.
After hearing this story my mind filled with hundreds of questions for her and so I asked every one!

"Did you just leave your job?"
Her calm and confident response was, "Oh, no, I am an independent Avon consultant. I have a whole network in New York and now I'll just start one here!"

"So, is this daughter that has cancer your only child?"
Again she responded with a calm, no worries answer..."I have four children-two are still home with me. One is 14 years old, the other 12. " She continued, "I felt like God was asking me to home school my children, so when we moved here we didn't need to look for a new school."

"So, your grandchildren AND your children are signed up at the co-op?"
"Yes."

"So, are you volunteering to help teach, be an assistant, in one of the classrooms?"
"Yes. I will be teaching the kindergarten class in the afternoons."

Each time I walked away from her, the more I was filled with awe. She left everything for her daughter and grandchildren. She believes and is confident that she can build up group of clients here in Hampton. She is also confident that she can teach not only her children, but the kindergarten class.

My head was swirling. "Wow!" I thought to myself, "I was once like her." I was once a New Yorker. I had dreams. I had visions. I had strength. I had hope. I had courage. I had an, "I can do it!" attitude. It had me thinking...I'm not sure if I have it any more. Being in the south has changed me, and, after mulling it over, I can't say that I like what it has done to me.

 When I came down here it didn't take me long to see that I didn't fit in. I talked fast, walked fast, and said my opinion openly and freely. (For those of you who do not know, that is not how they do it down in the south). They talk slower than I did, walk slower (no one is in a rush), and well, opinions are not spoken- they keep that to themselves, (except when it's time to gossip).

I have been hushed. Kicked under the table. Given the evil-eye to the point that I now just hold my tongue even if I have something inspired from the Lord.

I feel like all my dreams have been kicked out of me too. I actually listened to a pastor give a sermon on how we should not have ambition! He said that ambition is self-centered and ultimately it can hurt people. I sat there burning inside. Anything we do can be turned into a selfish act, so yes, while ambition can be motivated by impure or for selfish gain, there is good ambition too. Ambition to use our gifts to bless others is not a bad thing.

 I've also noticed that no one seems to go after their dreams down here. It's like they talk about what they'd like to do and be and 'wouldn't it be nice to' and so on, but I don't see people putting their hand to the pump, as they say, to get it done. I don't feel the 'chutzpah' down here.

I don't know, maybe it's not the south, maybe it's the crowd I'm hanging around in. Maybe they have all been depressed for so long and have given up on life that it's rubbed off on me. I have to be honest here. Here comes my opinion. Don't kick me or hush me... I hate this 'no dreams', 'no goals', 'no fire in the belly' lifestyle. And to be further honest, I hate the fear too. I hate it. The fear of living. The fear of failing. The fear of rejection. "Well, my grandmother never did it, so I guess I won't either." God has put us here with gifts and talents to share with this world and we should be using them.

I was once a New Yorker, or am I in there somewhere? I still have dreams, but I don't talk about them anymore. Honestly, for the last five or more years I have felt like a horse behind the starting gate, pawing the ground, grunting for the gun to go off, just ready for the release of the race. I want to run. I want to be free to dream and go after it.

Maybe one day I can feel free to be me, a New Yorker, and still live in the south. Here's hoping!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

First Day of Home School!

Here we are about to take on another year of home schooling!
My oldest is dual enrolled in college, my next is a freshman in high school,
two are in middle school, one is entering the third grade, and my baby is in first grade!


We are READY
and 
EXCITED to be 
TOGETHER
each day, 
every day
 for the whole school year!


This blog was inspired by the many pictures I've seen floating around the internet of moms jumping for joy for the new school year to begin, while their children are looking sullen in the background. I think it's quite heartbreaking that we are a nation rejoicing that we hand off our kids each day to someone else, a stranger, to raise and teach them. Truly, there are pictures of moms celebrating that they will not see their children eight to ten hours a day. Don't misunderstand me, I totally understand those that feel lead to put their children in school and I believe that in doing so they are answering the call God has for their lives, but to jump for joy on the first day of school that their children are leaving them, is disheartening. 

I get it, I do. Motherhood is hard and no one, especially me, will argue that, but to rejoice in not being a part of their day, well, to me that is just sad. And it wasn't just upsetting to me, I showed my two oldest children the scores of pictures that moms had taken of themselves jumping for joy that the first day of school had arrived and my daughter commented, "They don't know what they are missing."

So, when I told my children that I would like to take a "First Day of School" picture of ALL of us jumping for joy, they quickly joined me-even my sixteen year old! 

I'm not sitting in judgment of anyone who isn't homeschooling their child/children, or those who took the pictures I spoke of, but rather, taking a moment to say, 'Children are a blessing' (Psalm 127:3-5) and I think we should really keep that in the foremost of our minds and pray that we see them as a blessing and treat them as if we really believed it! 

So, for all of us moms who are homeschooling, putting our children in private or public school, I pray blessings on your first day back to school and on the year that lies ahead! May you be anointed by God to complete the tasks He has put before you. May you be comforted and filled with wisdom by Holy Spirit when the homework gets hard, projects are due, grades are lower than you hoped. May you be at peace that He will give you the wisdom you need to train and lead your children through the tough times that school can bring. May you rest in knowing that you can trust the Lord to bring you through and rest in knowing that you are not alone in your parenting. May you see each one of your children as a blessing from the Lord, forgiving and forgetting past hurts or disappointments and begin this new year with a new hope for a better year and a deeper relationship with your children. Blessings! Blessings! Blessings! on a new and wonderful school year!



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Monday, May 2, 2016

On the Banks of Plum Creek

We are reading the next book in the Wilder series,
"On the Banks of Plum Creek" and loving it!
Today we read how Laura and Mary used Ma's buttons
to make a "Button String" for Carrie. 
Well, I retrieved my old button box, 
that was given to me by my grandmother, 
and allowed my children to 
make a button string.
We wanted to see how much fun a button string
 was or wasn't ;) 

 First, we chose just the most beautiful buttons...
 it was tough work!
 Then, the 'stringing" began.


We learned that you can swish the buttons back and forth
to make a lovely sound...or
twirl it round and round.
It was a small craft idea taken straight out of the book.
The kids had a good time creating and even experimenting
 ways that would fascinate a baby! 

Saturday, April 30, 2016

A Bouquet of CUPCAKE Flowers!

My daughter and I watched this amazing video on a 
Immediately we knew who to make it for, my sister-in-law or to my daughter-her aunt.
My daughter asked me, "Can I make it for her?" 
I thought, "Wow! she wants to make this by herself for someone else!"
"Okay!" I said and we began creating the plan to accomplish such a task!

My daughter, who is eleven years old, baked all the cupcakes,
and assembled them with some of my help.

She made the icing and carefully
considered the four different colors of icing she wanted for the cake.
Then the piping began!


 She is an amazing perfectionist!
She had four different bags of icing going at the same time!
Some were in the refrigerator, while she used others, and
at other times she would put the bouquet in the fridge to make sure
the original flowers wouldn't "wilt."
This was a two hour process!
 I stayed by her side the whole time, coaching, encouraging,
taking pictures and being so proud!

DONE!
 The part that she couldn't wait for-
presenting her cake to her special auntie!
 And for my daughter, whose love language is physical touch,
no thank you could have made her happier!