Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Power of a Yes or a No

There's a local writer, whose work I have admired for years and whose column appears on Tuesdays in our hometown paper. She's published several books and regales us with stories of her life and what it means to be a Southerner. I look forward to her column every week and have for years. I've quoted her in conversations, and only within the last year or so learned that she's only one degree of separation away.

I said all that to say this....sometimes I finish her column with a laugh, at others with a roll of the eyes and a shake of the head- unsure if she's exaggerated a touch or because I know what she's written to be all too true. There are others that linger and make me think.

Last week's did just that.

The column had to do with how the power of a 'yes' or a 'no' could change the course of one's destiny.

The columnist recounted a story from her youth. A much-planned for school trip to the Georgia coast and a chance to meet a writer whom she admired. Then her grandmother passed away the day before she was supposed to leave for the trip. We Southerners never miss a funeral, so she presumed that she would not be going. Her parents, knowing how important this trip was to their daughter and her future, insisted she go. That 'yes' changed the course of her destiny.

Long after I laid the column aside, that story still lingered. That is the kind of parent I want to be. A parent who sees what my child is passionate about and who encourages my children to follow their passion. Even if it means breaking the 'rules.'

But even more than that I contemplated my own destiny. I wondered if someone had changed the course of my life with a simple yes or a no. I pondered this on and off for a few days.

Then it came to me.

As a freshman in college, looking for work I put in applications in virtually the only two places in our small town. I'd been interviewed at both; uncertain at which I should choose, I told my momma that I would go with whoever hired me first- small grocery store or big name shoppers' club.

I got the nod from the small town grocery store, followed by the big name shoppers' club a few hours later.

Still, I stuck with my resolve. I'd go with the first one who said 'yes.'

Fourteen years have since passed and I look back and see that, indeed, the course of my destiny was shaped with a 'yes.'

So much more than a job to make my car note came from that yes. Nine years of marriage and two kids later, I'm thankful to Hope, the woman who hired me; because it was there I met a hardworking young man who would ask me to share his life.

A destiny changed in a 'yes' or a 'no.'

PS- I do not doubt for one second that God orchestrated every detail to bring us where we are today. I find it amazing and awe-some that He allows us to be part of His plans. And with or without us, His plans will come to pass. We can shape our own destiny in a 'yes' or a 'no' to His call.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

First Year Down.....

Wow! I can't believe that it's been a month and a half since I last blogged. Then again, it's not really surprising. There has been a whirlwind of activity here- VBS, a certain baby crawling all over the place, then pulling up, now cruising, several trips to the pool, and, of course, finishing up our first official year of homeschooling. All of this in addition to everyday life.

This may seem a little unusual to some, but for our family it works. We are going to pretty much school year round. That doesn't mean no breaks. That just means shorter, more frequent breaks. When Daddy's off work, no school! When we're busy swimming and playing in the summer, no school that day. Which, in turn means that in the cold winter months, we may be having school on Saturday mornings so that we have more flexibility when the weather is better. It works for us and still allows for plenty of play time.

I digress. The intention of this post was not to inform of our school days schedule, but rather to celebrate our official year being on the books. (Pun totally intended!)

Our five year old finished kindergarten Saturday, June 26! As we approached the finish line, I reminded him, 'When we finish with this, we're going to take a break.' And take a break we have! Swimming, loafing, playing, watching movies....of course, there has been a lot of book reading going on, too. So, while the book work is on the back burner, learning is still happening.

(Sidebar- We had a little graduation celebration! A big accomplishment in such a young life! Complete with diploma, cap and gown.)

There have been lots of teachable moments to me this year. My husband and I have seen clearer and clearer the hand of God at work in our lives individually and collectively as a family. We've seen God provide in ways that we hadn't imagined were possible and in ways we didn't even know we needed. He is always, always, always ahead of us and right here with us all at the same time.

I've learned my child doesn't have to do every single cursive worksheet in the book. (Hey, the kids in 'real' school don't finish every last one, either, so I am not going to lose sleep if my kids don't do a few practice sheets in there. Provided, of course, that they know the material!)

I've also learned how to let things go. Having a pristine home isn't nearly as important as toys scattered on the floor, art projects littering the table, and the breakfast dishes still in the sink. It means we have a healthy baby who has a natural curiosity and enjoys play. It means an older child is developing his creativity, and it means we have food to eat!

Basically, my priorities are getting more, well, prioritized.

Best of all, I'm learning by putting God first, spending time with Him each morning and asking for His provision and guidance throughout the day, that He will not put more on me than I can bear. He also will give me wisdom.

I'm pleased to report that we didn't survive the first year. We THRIVED! All by the grace of God. Nothing we have done could have gotten us through this uncertainty.

Sure, there were bad days and obstacles that seemed (and still seem, at times, insurmountable). But there has been more than enough grace to cover our days.

And the really awesome thing?

There's even more grace to get us through whatever challenges await.

And even more awesome than that?

There's more than enough grace to get everyone through whatever challenges await!

And, now that we have reached the end of our first official year, we are more certain than ever that the choice we've made is the right one. It's what we've been called to do. We wouldn't have joy anywhere else.

Grace. That word sums up what we live under, what we claim, what we know to be true.

Maybe we should give our little homeschool a name now that we are 'official'.

I'm thinking Grace Christian Academy sounds about right.