Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Change of Focus...

Three weeks under our belt and I have to be honest, it hasn't been easy.  The actual school work hasn't been difficult, no tears over math yet, and my sweet chicks have been agreeable for the most part.  It's the mommy/teacher part that is struggling.  God has been impressing upon me several things about myself, not necessarily comfortable things; in fact, they rather sting.  

I've been reading through Job which is not one of my favorite books of the Bible.  Usually, I'll read Job's passages and skim over his friends' responses because who wants to read such discouragement.  But as I've gotten almost half way through the book, I find myself relating, not to Job, who was an amazing man of God, but instead I find myself being a reflection of his friends.  Critical... judgemental... wise in their own eyes... a literal know-it-all...  It's a miserable place to be.  I was so convicted by an article that's been floating around Facebook called, "Mom vs. Mom:  The War I Didn't See Coming."  She breaks it down to two main weapons:  imitation and judgement.  We (pointing my finger directly at myself) spend so much time comparing ourselves with other moms whether it's concerning how we educate our children, how we feed them, how we discipline, how we clean... the list goes on.  But if we don't measure up to someone else, we then look for the judgement.  We point fingers because somehow that removes the guilt and puts us back on the pedestal or at least in a safer place.

This past week, our verse was Ephesians 4:32, "Be kind to one another." (abbreviated)  My girls have struggled with applying this to each other, but understandably so, because their mama is struggling too.  As a child, I had a weird fear that people could read my thoughts.  I know... weird.  But think about it.  God knows our every thought.  In Psalm 139:2, the psalmist cries out to God, "You know when I sit and when I rise; You perceive my thoughts from afar."  If this is true, which I firmly believe it is, then why do thoughts of judgement and comparison crowd my thoughts day after day?  


My focus... my focus is no longer on Him.  That is when those thoughts consume my mind.  A mindset such as this cannot change overnight; it must confronted daily, not alone, but only with my Lord by my side.  I found this lovely printable with the words of Elisabeth Elliot.  It sits in my bathroom, nestled among sea shells in a basket.  It has become my prayer each day, a reminder to keep my eyes only upon Him, and a challenge to encourage other mothers and wives in the journey we walk side by side.  

May your weekend be peaceful, full of forgiveness and love for your loved ones.  

May your focus be brought back to Him where there is true forgiveness.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

A New School Year Begins

Ready or not, school began again this past week in the Middleton house!  I don't think that I'll ever feel completely ready as each new year comes.  The books were ready (not completely reviewed by the teacher), the school room was cleaned up (still upstairs, but that's ok), and the girls were excited (at least, for now...).  Their new school supplies were not as thrilling this year, but I didn't want a lot of extra stuff that we just didn't need.  The girls were appreciative as always though.  Principal Daddy wasn't able to be there for our first day, but left a great note on the chalkboard for them to see when they woke up.

Sophie constantly amazes us with her energy and attitude.  It rolls like the tide.  You just never know.  We'll  do some basic ABC's, numbers, and shapes with her this year, nothing formal.  I hope to incorporate her big sisters helping her at times throughout the school day to allow more one on one time with each of them.  When she grows up, she wants to be a ballerina (she was wearing her tu-tu at the time, of course!)

Naomi is our little mystery.  She has the sweetest heart and would give anything for someone in need.  We are still figuring out her learning style and pray through each day, taking it all step by step.  Right now, her goal in life is to fly airplanes and take care of children.

Chloe is growing up way too fast.  I now feel out of my league as a teacher!  Her love for reading keeps the roads hot from our house to the library, where she now has her own library card (a prized possession!).  I am looking forward to studying more American History with her (and the two younger ones), relearning the 50 states & their capitals, and finally learning our nation's presidents.  Chloe wants to be a zoologist when she grows up.

Our girls 100%!

Not every part of the first day was peachy keen.  
Cleaning up legos can be soooo hard!  (Did I mention attitude?)

I am not fond of science, so I picked one that I wanted to study this year. If the teacher is excited, then the students will catch the same enthusiasm.  (I hope...)  I really am excited to study Astronomy (with a Christian perspective) through Apologia.  The girls have their own notebooks and seem to enjoy it so far.

Trying to make the first day as fun as possible, we made tie-dye shirts with sharpies during rest time.  They were so much fun!  Here's a great tutorial!  Bowling came later, thanks to free kids bowling and coupons!  Both of these were on our summer bucket list, but we just never had the time to do.  Better late than never!

Our first day was far from perfect.  Patience waned while irritation stepped in at times.  Coffee was greatly appreciated, morning and afternoon.  Even a cat nap was accomplished for mom towards the end of the t-shirt dyeing.  Overall though, we made it and I am still so thankful for the opportunity and strength to teach my girls at home.  It is an honor, a choice, and a calling by God for our family (at least for this year) that I do not take lightly.  I couldn't do it without my husband's support and constant encouragement.  

Morning by morning, His mercies are new... 

Saturday, August 10, 2013


(free printable!!)

Whether it's a walk around the neighborhood or one last walk on the beach, make it beautiful...

Whether it's ice cream bought on sale right out of the freezer or at your favorite ice cream shop, make it beautiful...

Whether it's exploring around the backyard for frogs and lizards or gazing at creatures only found in the ocean, 
make it beautiful...

Summer is almost over.  School starts Monday.  
Today will be beautiful...