Little Girl, Big Book

Mags is a big dreamer!

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She currently wants to learn how to install side rear window wipers. She feels kids would highly benefit from this invention on rainy days.
This dream has led her to the "research" section of the public library, learning all she can about repairing wipers in hopes of figuring out the engineering of her endeavor.

<<disclaimer: I'm terrible at letting my kids lead in learning. Mags has begged for months to go research. I've been overwhelmed and reluctant to take her. I'm also reluctant to encourage things like this bc I am unqualified and don't know how best to assist her. Although, THIS is my desire- for her to be a life long lover of learning.>>

#rothacheracademy #girlsinSTEAM

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Reluctant Reader

I *caved* this school year and allowed Iz to listen to audiobooks for rest time rather than solely reading.
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She is winding down the end of her 1st grade year and is a reluctant reader. She's always done things in her own way and in her own timing. In any other realm, I'd be claiming this trait as a victory. But when it comes to something that I've claimed as my responsibility, to educate my child, I honestly feel embarrassed. Not of my Child but of My inability to infuse her with the desire to learn this skill.
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#homeschooling comes with its own list of insecurities, comparisons, and self-made-expectations. I can say out loud to anyone who questioned my child's level of reading with research and facts about children learning at different paces, children needing tons of unstructured play time to develops, and how my main focus in homeschooling isn't state mandated standards. The #realness is, I feel shame in my perceived failure.
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Insert Audiobooks:
Instilling a love for STORY is a must for a reluctant reader to, well, wanna. We have been hunting down great stories. Classics. Sillies. Coordinating sometimes with big sis' reading list. I am starting to see fruit. The desire to know the story. The independence will soon take over the lack of confidence and she will will herself to learn this skill; like all the others this far.
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This week's story--> #judymoodyandstink The Big Bad Blackout 
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Talitha’s Awakening

I can't sleep lately. I'm believing that in this new year, God will continue to use me. The broken down old tool that I am. So, in my confusion and pain, I chose to write as a way to figure out what I'm feeling and what God's teaching me through it. I'm gonna throw out there this very rough, raw, without revision rambling, in case someone else needs this promise.

Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee in a boat. It landed at the other side. There a large crowd gathered around Him. Then a man named Jairus came. He was a synagogue ruler. Seeing Jesus, he fell at his feet. He begged Jesus, “Please come. My little daughter is dying. Place your hands on her to heal her. Then she will live.” So Jesus went with him. - Mark 5:21-24a

I've come to Jesus telling him exactly how I see He needs to "heal" my situation. I am Jairus. Knowing, believing that Jesus is the One who I need to fix life. I demand how I see fit for Him to heal my daughter. My "Place your hands on her to heal her." comes out in:::

  • Make my husband gaga for me. Have him want to help me more with my responsibilities. Make dates a more regular thing. Make our time together meaningful.
  • Make my child want to read. Let me do the bare minimum in prep but let their lover for learning take off. Let me feel accomplished with little to no work after my initial thinking through of the school year.
  • Fix foster children's issues that are exhausting. Let new placements be well-behaved. Make their case move faster. Give my family our forever child(ren).
  • Make the valley flourish. Make people care about what I care about. Take responsibilities off me. Make those we've sought to minister to come be apart. Find us leaders. Send us believers to chase you with, to renew our spirits, to energize our dry bones.
  • Give me energy. Make their more time for "me time". Give me passion again.

While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus. He was the synagogue ruler. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother (Jesus) the teacher anymore?” - Mark 5:35

I am Jairus in my demanding. I'll find a way to fix this myself."She's dead. Don't bother." I say with my:::

  • I'll find babysitters all the time. I'll complain to make him do what I feel I need.
  • I'll start a coop.  I'll add more specials to my children's school work. I'll plan more field trips.
  • I'll take on new placements with no break.  I'll try new discipline methods. I'll add chores. I'll take chores away. I'll hope for a new placement. I'll hope this one stays.
  • I'll start working here. I'll write a book. I'll blog more. I'll redo more furniture. I'll sell this and that.
  • I'll paint something. I'll reorganize something. I'll purge something. I'll craft more. I'll make more me time.

After my demanding didn't work, I become the mourners left at Jairus' house.
Why bother Jesus any more. It's already dead. Jesus missed the opportunities I specifically ask for and now I'll try to fix it myself but I know it's just d.e.a.d.

But Jesus didn’t listen to them. He told (Jairus) the synagogue ruler, “Don’t be afraid. Just believe.” - Mark 5:36

Hallelujah! Jesus. Didn't. Listen!!! He said don't be afraid. JUST BELIEVE!
I'm waiting for my next part of the story. For now. I sit with the mourners, staring at the death around me trying to not be afraid and to believe for Jesus' healing. His miracle. It feels like the 400 years of waiting the people in Jesus' day between prophets and miracles. It feels unbelievable that a fresh breath is coming. But Jesus promises: Just Believe.

Jesus) let only Peter, James, and John, the brother of James, follow Him. They came to the home of the synagogue ruler. There Jesus saw a lot of confusion. People were crying and sobbing loudly. He went inside. Then He said to them, “Why all this confusion and sobbing? The child is not dead. She is only sleeping.” But they laughed at Him.

He made them all go outside. He took only the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with Him. And He went in where the child was. He took her by the hand. Then He said to her, “Talitha koum!” This means, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!” The girl was 12 years old. Right away she stood up and walked around. They were totally amazed at this. Jesus gave strict orders not to let anyone know what had happened. And He told them to give her something to eat. - Mark 5:37-43

I'm holding tight to what God's given me tonight as my next step. I've been taught that in the waiting you just go back to the last thing God told you to do. "Driver's Ed Rules": just keep driving straight until told otherwise. He is allowing me and a select few to follow him to the "synagogue ruler's house". Many around us will be confused and sobbing. Jesus is going to take us right where he wants us- into Talitha's room. I'm trusting that this long, enduring drive will be well worth the wait when Jesus heals my marriage, my parenting, my callings, ME.

When we get there, Jesus is going to command her, sweet child awaken! Jesus will reach into death and pull her [it. all of it] back to life. She will stand and walk around as joy fills our hearts at the sight of the amazement only Jesus could bring. Then? Then she's gonna be hungry and we better be ready to work at finding her something to eat.

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January 2017 Media Sabbatical

It's been a long time coming, our family's January 2017 Media Sabbatical. I've thought about the numerous benefits from varying levels of such a thing. To be completely honest, the decision to go on a "media sabbatical" was made on New Years Eve when I saw the wording and brief description from a friend doing the same thing. While her desire to do one was a bit different than mine, her wording gave me the confidence to ask my hubs if he's be game.

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In just a couple seconds, he responded with a quick, Sure. I wasn't sure if he understood what I was asking of him and our family so I went into a detailed rant about what I was thinking. He listened and again easily agreed with a chuckle.

A week into our "Sabbatical", several things have come about but to start with I'll give you the brief rant about what our game plan for this lil vacation, reprieve, break, retreat, get-away, rest, escape, time-out, leave.

For my kids it basically meant, they would take a break from anything screen related. No movies, shows, netflix, iPad games. I still allowed facetime with a long-distance friends and audio books via the old smart phone or iPad. We've taken small breaks from these before but this time had been slightly more challenging because they just received new movies for Christmas, we've been working at the valley building a lot, traveling in the car, and just this weekend it snowed. I mean, come On! Snow, while fun to play in for 30 minutes also leads to the ideal snuggle-drink-hot-coco-while-vegging-out time.

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For my hubs and I it means no movies, shows, netflix, smart phone games, or social media. We are still allowed to call or text people and use social media for important work/church things as well as utilize audio books or YouTube to help with projects. I knew this would be a big change for use seeing as how the majority of our frugal pass times include tv shows, phone games, and social media but it's been difficult in different ways than I anticipated. I'm looking forward to this indifference with windows of unfilled time will motivated me to be more productive and inspired when it comes to our 2017 school semester.

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I've experienced lots of exhaustion. LOL In part because we've been accomplishing a lot more without the easy excuse to procrastinate. Boredom has us doing more. I am used to numbing out via social media during nap times and then vegging out with my hubs after the kids bed time with our favorite shows or a redbox movie. Taking the numbing or vegging options away have caused me to have to think all. the. time. My brain can't shut off. In the past I've had "heart issues" that required me to find a way to make myself sit and rest. I didn't used to be good at it and it was hindering my health during the pregnancy with my son. Well, 6 years later, I've learned to "rest" a little too well some days leaving me a few pounds heavier and addicted to increasing my dopamine levels via social media.

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Most of the assets were things I anticipated but I'm still very thankful for. I am able to do a few more interactive things with my children like the science kits they were given for Christmas, talk talk talk with my hubs more, we are all listening and reading more books, I'm relearning my love for writing, and like mentioned before, we are completing even more projects at home and at the valley. With Matt now working a 3rd job, the media sabbatical is helping us budget our time more wisely. I do see benefits of all the things we are vacationing from, I am thankful for this time off to see both the perks and downfalls.

Have you ever considered a Media Sabbatical? What are your thoughts, desires, or fears about it?

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Seasons in Arkansas {and in Life}

The "seasons" in Arkansas are often the center of jokes year around. They are unpredictable. Some years the icy winter may seem to never fade with a spring that may last for 2 hours before the sweltering summer takes over which leads to a whirlwind of sweating and freezing temps that swing back and forth within a matter of days.

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My kids have a hard time understanding these swings in mother natures hormonal outburst after what seems like months of one extreme or the other. Explaining to them that, although yesterday shorts and flip flops were appropriate, today they'll need boots, jackets, and hats will never get easier. As adults here in the Arkansas' climate, we've just learned that it's life and you just have to check your weather app often.

I wish it were as easy for us adults to learn that "seasons" in life are often as unpredictable as Arkansas' weather. Some years the icy loneliness may seem to never fade. Then a fresh breath of friendship lasting for only a couple hours before the sweltering heat of relational hard-work sets in. Yet, sometimes it leading to sweaty or freezing dynamics swinging back and forth.

I never would have pictured myself in the season I'm in now. I'm not sure I would have signed up for all that's going on if I could have seen what lied ahead. That's probably one of the many reasons God doesn't always just tell us; we'd avoid the rough seasons and try to make things happen on our own, unnatural.

This time 5 years ago, I didn't anticipate my week being full of mainly solo parenting 6 kids ranging from 1-8 years old, running to meetings and visitations and appointments for foster friends, running errands and classes and activities with our bios, cleaning and painting a building built by the Church we helped plant, hosting thanksgiving in my own home and trying to figure out how to see family and friends for Christmas while I sit in my guilt about how behind I am on my homeschooling and my hubs runs circles as a bi-vocational pastor and mail carrier, delivering God's word and US mail within a crazy work and family schedule.

Every time I feel like our family has found the comfortable norm of flip flop weather, a foster placement leaves, a new one comes, our building needs our undivided attention, kids have new needs, our house needs maintaining, part time jobs come and go, and my emotional sinuses go haywire trying to keep up with the changing seasons. Sorry, this doesn't seem to have a resolution at this time. No matter how many things I say no to or different things I trim from my t0-do list, I still feel like I'm being swept off my feet by natural disasters.

Anyone else in this ever-changing "season" of life right now? How do you catch your breath? Get prepared for what's coming?

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