Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Why we LOVE Public Schools

Most articles/posts I've read recently have been about why people love homeschooling, why the public school system is bad for your kids, and the like.

As a family with one child finishing Kindergarden this year and another finishing Pre-K, we are a rarity in the bold statement that we 'LOVE' the Public School system. If you scroll through old posts you'll see our near tragic beginning with the school system here in Santa Fe. We went in eyes fully open - our kids will not get the attention they would get at home, much time is wasted, they won't get a chance to explore subjects they love further, they will be exposed to all kinds of stuff, there are way too many kids in the classroom for a teacher and an's all true!

But maybe our eyes see something past these limits. After all, aren't we all limited in many ways? Yet we expect others to do what we ourselves can't. You know what I mean if you have more than one child at home - one wants to learn how to spell, the other's screams drown your letters out and you stop all to find a bandaid and kiss that scraped knee; you feed them lunch only to be asked for a snack; you start a 'fun' craft that causes arguments and exasperation. We've all been there - parenting is not a piece of cake. Teaching is not either, whether at home or in the schools. That has humbled us and we have learned how to give thanks and pray for all the people involved in our children's lives. As we wake in the morning, arms outstretched to receive grace for the day, we pray that we'll give it as freely as we've received it.

Here are some things that made us LOVE public schools this year:
1. They keep us humble - we're just as marred and challenges in the schools help us see our own messes.

2. They let us encounter all the wide variety of people God made in His image - it makes us Praise Him.

3. Our children have learned how to share their faith....tactfully and lovingly and prayerfully.

4. We have walked alongside people just like us - broken, with every day anxieties, with wonderful gifts - and we have prayed and loved as we walked.

5. We have walked alongside our children and got to teach them the ways of God. When they come home with attitudes, behaviors, words that we don't believe are pleasing to God we get to love them through it and help them walk as Children of God, forming strong identities secure in who they are in Christ.

6. We got to have lots of play dates and love on lots of 4 and 5 year olds, give hugs, make cookies, learn to clean up, laugh, sing, dance, provide safety and security, give out treats and treat them as our own - not projects to be converted, but souls to be nurtured and loved well, just as we are by our Father.

As the school year ends, we give thanks - we have been given wonderful gifts, opportunities to grow and learn and humble ourselves and pour out a bit of the kindness we drink from deeply and daily - the Living Water.

Monday, April 18, 2011

When happiness bleeds out...He is in the sorrow too

Sometimes life is unfair. A good friend of mine lost her baby.

Sometimes the call to embrace here and now drives a sword deep.

Bandaid ripped harsh just reminds that the sword wound needs better healing. But healing of wounds so deep stings, aches, bleeds.

I've been counting my little gifts - manna from heaven.
How do you count loss? Sorrow? Even when it's not your own?

This is her story.
Happiness made dimples in her cheeks when she held the pregnancy test with a little plus sign.
She's lost babes before.
Maybe this time will be different.

Then happiness drained away, red like crimson, bleeding out life. Tears trying to wash away sorrow. The sword opens the wound again. Life bleeding out, heart bleeding out, joy bleeding out. Memories never to be made, babe never to be held, laughter never to be heard...not in the here and now anyway.

"I'm sorry" is all I can say, tears washing my face. I wish I had something comforting to say, profound, healing. "I will pray..." Right. He heals. He comforts.

Here and now sometimes dark like a cloud covered sky, unfair. Mustard seed living heart beating strong in my womb....mustard seed heart draining from hers.

Tonight Scripture bleeds out into my heart. Word healing wounds. I remember even as I tell my babes about Jesus this holy week - life bled out, heart bled out....for me. But, joy remained.
"For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross, scorning it's shame" (Hebrews 12:2)

Manna from heaven - even in sorrow.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Blessing upon Blessing

Rays of light blazing into my still closed eyelids and I turn away from it, reluctant to bid dawn good morning. This morning is still, the wind has ceased to sing it's melody.

The deep, steady breaths of my Pastor husband are the only music that reach my ears. I take them in, thankful. Joyful. Humbled. There were many days, years ago that I wandered laying in a dark room alone, who could ever love one like me. Doubt filled heart defined by what I'd done wrong. Blessings come to those who do right, yes?

"Maggie.....I like you." he had said one summer evening.

Surprise on my face. I tried to keep it cool. "I like you too" was all I could say.

"Maggie....I don't have to look anywhere else. God has led me to you." - the echoes of a humid Fall afternoon.

Stunned. Really? You must not really know me very well.

"Maggie...I love you." - the sound echoed in my head over and over by November.

All I wanted to do was run and hide, but love bid me stay. Years later, hearts bare, uncovered, naked. He loves me still. He chose me. Still stunned I give thanks.

Husband's breath is interrupted by little feet coming closer. They hesitate just for an instant but the excitement that has gripped this boy child cannot let slumber stop him.

"Mama, it's Christmas!"

I force those lids to open and I see the picture of joy. Smile stretching wide, happiness making dimples in the round cheeks, hands just wanting to grab onto this joy that has surprised him this morning.

There it is! My personal picture of joy. I smile, heart happy. "It's not Christmas honey, it snowed. God gave us a gift - snow."

"Mama, it's pretty", he embraces the gift that's fallen from above. I embrace the gift of giggles together at dawn with my son and we offer thanks for blessing upon blessing.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Melting under grace

Not too distant mountains, covered under a blanket of snow bid me come.

Boots on. Coat on. Gloves on. Ready.

I expect my feet to find soft powder underneath. Crunch. Crunch. What is that? It shouldn't make that noise. I take another step. Crunch. Not soft. Ice! Under the paper thin layer of blissful powder it lurks - unwanted, uninvited, cold - ice. Can't make a snowman. Can't make pretty snow angels. Can't drive. Can't run lest you fall on the sharp rocks underneath.

The sun has graciously decided to show it's face, warm, smiling. It will make it all better. I wait for the bus on the street corner. As far as the eye can see down the road, the ice underneath slowly morphs into thin vapor, tossed around by the breeze. Goodbye ice.

It reminds me of my heart. Word falls, but it is met with a crunch instead of soft soil. Boy child needs help with a buckle, but is met with icy words from his Mama.
"Mama did wrong boy child. I'm sorry."
"I 'orgive you."

And the ice on my heart melts just a bit and morphs into vapors of healing grace. Words come, uninvited but so welcome...
'Grace, grace, God's grace, Grace that will pardon and cleanse within,
Grace, grace, God's grace, Grace that is greater than all my sin.'

Monday, January 24, 2011

Hidden in the bench

We have a bench at our house. If you dare to open it, you'll find magic inside. There is a world hidden there that comes to life when little hands sneak in that brings joy and laughter, hours of fun and adventure. You can fly off to Neverland or find yourself in a hidden cave lit by pixie dust, or you can dig deeper and fly into unchartered space. This bench is magical. It can make all your dreams come true - it can make you a princess or a prince, a hero or a villain, a dancer or a firefighter.

But tonight, the bench is closed. Our imaginary friends tucked deep inside, laid to rest till dawn. And the bench transforms. It is for me, to kneel and trust, to watch and wait, to wrestle with head bowed and praise with arms lifted high. Tonight on this bench I meet the one who has made it all - all the adventures, big and small; all the highs and all the lows, and I'm thankful...

Thankful for the creativity of my children that teach me to live life fully, for another day in the comfort of a home, for the amazing grace that flows through the lips of my babes.

"What's one thing you like about Mom and what would you change?" I ask. Any adult would pause, think it through. Not so with a child.

"I wouldn't change anything about you Mom, you're the only Mom I have and I love you." the reply flows swiftly, gracious, merciful, a healing balm to a sinful soul.

"You wouldn't change that Mom gets angry?" sin ever so up close and personal.

"No, you get angry when I do something wrong and I say 'I'm sorry', and you say 'I forgive you'. I wouldn't change that."

Tonight, I'm thankful....that daily the Words of grace flow down to my heart and I get to drink deeply till the soul's content from the well that will never run dry.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Under my skin

Children laughing, playing, loving.
Children bickering, hurting, falling.

A clean house. The realtor might call so it must be in order for showing.
"It's not my house." Cleaning away nonetheless.

Juice spilling. Books off the shelves. Legos covering the rug. Chewed up carrot found it's new home on the train table. Peas went into the belly, the pod chewed up and spit out on the floor. Wait, that's a whole lot of pods under the coffee table.

A messy house. Mama's angry. Mama's not kind. Children feeling guilty for being children. Mama's wrong.

Mama's messy. Mama's bickering. Mama's hurting. Mama's falling.

Mama says 'sorry' to her babies. They love her anyways. Just like Jesus.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

He's not asleep on the cushion...

The heart is anxious. "Breathe."
The room seems smaller. "I'm near."
Misunderstood...again. "I understand you."

Sometimes when it rains it pours, right? It's so easy to forget God's past faithfulness and get lost in the middle of the storm that's raging. Where is He? Sleeping on a cushion?

Sometimes He doesn't get up and say 'Peace, be still' to my raging storm, sometimes He says "Peace" to my heart. No, not sleeping. The room still feels small, the heart anxious. But I'm not alone...