Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Small Steps, Big Plans

I can't say that the path I'll take will be the one I'm eyeballing- but it's the one that makes my heart flutter wildly with excitement.

I've always had a desire to be a nurse- or a caregiver of sorts- since I was a little girl.  A while back, I started the pursuit toward Nursing School, and it seemed like it was going to all work out.  Something happened in the application process, and I never heard word back from the school or financial aid.....  I decided to take the opportunity to reevaluate my options; eventually coming to the realization that I don't have enough respect for our current medical field to make it a career.  I closed that door completely- thankful that I didn't waste time pursuing a career that would not fulfill me.

Along side the possibility that I would one day like to be a nurse, I've had an inward desire to possibly become a psychiatrist, or counselor, or something related to that field.  After being under the special care of a thorough and holy spirit driven counselor myself, it's been clearer and clearer that I would find a fulfillment doing the same thing with my life.  Counseling the broken, and the wiery, with help from the holy spirit.

In addition- years ago, I found that American Sign Language had made it's way into my heart's desire.  I've been trying to learn as much as I can on my own for about 5 years.  I can finger spell, and use very basic signs to communicate if ever given the opportunity.  I practice here and there with my girls, teaching them what I know, along side watching Signing Time and other DVD's that offer sign language instruction.

Blend the two heart's desire: Counseling and American Sign Language, and suddenly today (while we were watching Little House on the Prairie and eating Cheez-Its)  it seemed like the Lord dropped the most randomest thought into my head,  "Counsel using ASL".   WHOA!!!  Wow.  I got so excited with the idea that I grabbed my computer and starting Googling.  There is- in fact- a college in GA that offers courses for ASL interpretation.

How hard would it be, do you think, to be deaf, and in need of counseling? How much harder would it be to find a Christian counselor that could communicate with you, with out having to read lips or write on note pads?  From experience I can tell you; it's hard enough to find WISE COUNSEL from a Christian standard...... how much more of a challenge would we have if we couldn't hear the counsel?

Like I said- who knows if that is the path that The Lord will walk me down.  It's just a thought.  Just an idea.  I've had many of those lately.  This one makes me happy.  More than happy.  Humbled.  Amazed.  Excited.  Inspired.  Fill in the blank.  Give me a thesaurus and I could fill this page.  Just the IDEA gives me immediate JOY.   Wheeeee!!!!!!!!

As a side note: I keep hearing "2 year plan".  As in- we need to make a "2 year plan" for our family.  Putting the girls in public school (GASP! It still hurts to consider it) for the next 2 years would open up a door for my husband and I to figure out what careers we would like to pursue.  The "school" I would go to (technically, it's not a school, but a ministry) will take 2 years.  The college I would attend that offers ASL courses to become an interpreter would take 2 years.  The marketing degree that I've looked into takes.... mmmhmmmm... 2 years.  It's unlikely that I would do ALL 3 in the next 2 years- not impossible, though- but the ministry I would delve into would be the #1 on my list.  ASL Interpretation would be #2.

I've had a desire to write full time, hoping to one day become a published author.  I could take creative writing courses to help me pursue that dream.....?

There are so many options!!!!!!!  Options that would be interesting, and fulfilling....  options that I don't want toss aside, options that I want to hold in my hand and say "Lord? Will you choose for me?  Your plans are greater than my own!  Here I am.  Use me!"

I'm still praying about school for the girls.  I'm getting closer to realizing that it's likely we will send them to public school... and realizing that God has bigger plans for my life than I could possibly imagine.  I'm realizing that I have GOT to choose small steps, and let Him walk me through each one, so that I can- at some point- step into the plans He has for me.

I Trust Him.... I Trust Him Not.... I Trust Him??

  How many times has this  blog been my ventilation on the subject of homenschool?  (More. Than. I. Care. To. Count!!!)

Torment is my new word when describing the agony that I experience in the varied (hard-to-handle) circumstances that I have been dealing with.

But tormented I've been..... especially on this subject.

I haven't seemed to reach a peace when raising the question- to home school or to public school?  I've pained, and agonized, and lost countless hours of sleep trying to figure out what it is that our family will be doing in the upcoming school year.

Over and over, I've heard the Lord say "Trust me, Amber.  Trust me."

"LORD!!!!  What do you want me to trust you with????"  Do I trust Him to give me the ability to home school?  OR!?!?  Do I trust Him to take care of our precious girls as I walk them down the halls of the public school system?

Torment.  Verb. to worry or annoy excessively: to torment one with questions

Tonight- my dear husband spoke a harsh truth to me (and himself): 
"You want to take care of them, and protect them (he motions his arms as though he was holding an armful of laundry), and you're unwilling to trust God to take care of them..... You gotta trust Him, Amber."

This lump formed in my throat; and it's yet to disappear.  Trust God? With my kids....?  I do.  Of course I do.  Don't I?

I thought that I had this, sort of, miraculous Faith.  I thought that I trusted the Lord fully, and completely, and truly.  Is He really asking me to trust Him with my baby girls in THAT way?!?!?  IS HE really asking me to turn them over to Him.... sacrificially (so-to-speak) already????

My husband is right.  I have been too afraid to trust the Lord to take take care of my (HIS) children.   
Our plans our NOT our own.  Our plans are basic guidelines.  Not necessarily specific instructions.  (Lord? That's a tough concept to grasp.  If our plans aren't ours.... what's the point of planning????)

I've had clear convictions about keeping our children outside the public school system.  We tried it- that one time... remember?  Kindergarten.  Kyla.  What a disaster!!!!!!!!  It was awful, and it reconfirmed my convictions to keep our kids as far away from the public system as possible- and after Kindergarten- most especially that SPECIFIC elementary school.  

And now?  As I type this- it seems as if I am being asked to put my kids directly into the lions den, but not JUST the public school system, that. specific. elementary. school!!!!!  Really, Lord?  Really?  Are you sure?!??!

Am I sure??  Am I hearing Him correctly?  *Sigh*    It just doesn't sound right.... I would have peace wouldn't I?  I would be able to breath, wouldn't I?  

I've prayed.  And I've cried (and cried, and cried, and cried).  What, Lord?  Please- please give me clarity.  What do I do? 

One thing that seems to be consistent, though?  I'm not "geared" to home school. That is,  I'm not gifted in the  department of juggling school and parenting and house work and marriage....    I've not all together given up on the hope that God can merge me into a "home school mom" one day.  I'm not there, now- which is where I want so badly to be- but we're talking about GOD here- He can do anything.  I may, one day, flourish as a "home school mom"/"master juggler".  One day.... one day.... I'm crying out as I write this..... maybe one day I can do it.  And be good at it.  And be a blessing to my children as they bless me.....  One day.  

I want to trust Him fully; with everything.  Not just trust Him with myself (which is the easiest), or my marriage, or my finances.... but also... with my children (the hardest).   

I'm humbled and saddened that I've spent  all these years in a bubble- not realizing that I haven't trusted The Lord with the most precious gift He could have possibly given me.  I feel like the Rich Young Ruler may have possibly felt when Jesus asked him to sell all that he owned, give it away- and follow Him.  

It would be easier for me to give away every single material possession I own that it would be for me to hand over my children......  What a blow straight to the heart.  

I know He's not asking me  to do anything obscure.  He's simply asking me to trust Him with the thing that is the most precious to me.  Easier said than done.  Sadly.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Me, Too.

Little girls love their princess dress-up-clothes, they love ponies, kittens, and dancing ballet.  They love their pretend make up, special hair bows, new dresses, and fancy shoes- but most of all- they love their Daddy!

A long, long time ago- (when I was a little girl)- that’s what I loved the MOST.  My daddy(s).  (Plural)

I was a lucky girl!!!  I had TWO Daddies.  Two (great-amazing-awesome) Dad’s!!!!

From the time I was 8 years old, when my mom remarried, I grew up with 2 father figures.

My  Daddy.  And my step-dad, Dave.

Both held  a special place in my heart, just specifically for each of them.  They still do, as a matter of fact.    I grew up a Daddies’ Girl (plural).

Both Dad’s taught me how to drive.  I still remember focal points that each Dad gave.

Daddy always said to “stay off of people’s butts, and take it easy on the brakes”.
Dave always said to “hug the curb, and focus on what the road signs are telling ya.”  

Seriously.  Two Dads teaching a young girl how to drive.  Both were (extremely!!!!) patient.  Both kept their cool when I royally screwed up, and both showed pride in their eyes when I finally scored the big D.L. (drivers license).  This chick has MAD driving skills now-a-days, let me tell ya-what.!!!

And to this day- I love driving.  Always have.  Always will!!!!

Dave taught me how to mow the grass. He may have thought I was a bit off my rocker when I would follow him outside when he hopped on the mower, and beeeeggggg him to let me do it.  One day, he broke (maybe a little tired of my nagging?), and handed me the push mower.  Perhaps he thought I’d give up on pestering him once I had to push the (non-self-propelled) mower around the apple trees in our back yard while he tucked a hand towel in the back of his shorts  and drove  on the riding-mower.  I didn’t back down. I pushed and pulled and shoved that red Craftsman in and out of that tree line.  I didn't mind a bit.  I enjoyed the hard work, but I also think that somehow, I knew that he just wanted me to prove to him that I was serious about wanting to mow the lawn, and not just wanting to play around.

I pushed the mower all around the trees, and bushes, where the riding mower couldn’t go, and excitedly waited on him to finish up.  I was CERTAIN he’d say, “Good job, girlie!” when he came to the back yard to fetch the push mower and put it back in the garage. And he did. “Alright!!! Good job, girlie!”

 The next time around- I got to sit on the “big-rig”.  The riding mower.   He showed me how to “follow the lines” he had made, he showed me where the reverse was, and how to turn the mower off when I was finished.  He warned me that if I “got off the mower, it’d turn off” and even took the time to explain WHY it shut off if I lifted my butt off the seat.  He told me to “keep it slow” and then he went in the house.   He trusted me to do “his job”.  And sure enough- when I was finished, he said “Alright! Good job, girlie. Thanks.”    It wasn't just his words. He was sincerely proud of me; and what girl doesn't get a fill-up in her "love tank" when her Daddy's eyes glimmer and his dimples deepen with an amused grin showing the pride he has for his daughter?

To this day- I still enjoy mowing the lawn.  There is a satisfaction that comes with having a well-manicured yard.  Dave took the time to instruct me.  He showed me how do accomplish a task that seemed interesting to me.  He didn’t write me off.  He didn’t assume that “because I was a girl” I couldn’t (or shouldn’t) mow the grass.   He listened to what I wanted, and did what he could to meet my needs.

Daddy taught me how to play Badminton, Yahtzee, Spades, Rummy, and Horse Shoes.  He taught me how to swim, and how to hunt for crystals in the creek below his house. We went to his house every-single-weekend,  and each weekend he did something special with us.  In playing Yahtzee, ( were really young) he taught us how to add numbers.  There were times he got frustrated, “NO!!!!  6 + 6 is NOT 11.  That’s 6 + 5 remember??!!!”  I didn’t realize it then- but he was educating us inside our fun-filled game.

I love Math, still. It was a subject in school that didn’t seem to overwhelm me as much.

Daddy would take us to the lake when we were really little, too.  He would make us stand outside the water while he waded all along the “beach” area looking for “drop-offs” so that he could give us the “boundary” we had to swim in.

Being the ever-deviant-child that I was, I tended to often wander outside that boundary.  It was twice that I almost drowned, and twice that my Daddy saved me.  After the second time- he insisted we learn how to swim.  Knowing how much we loved to hang on to him while he swam around in the “deep end”, Daddy would bribe us.  “OK baby, if you can dog-paddle to me- I’ll let you hang on to my back.”  He was a sneaky, sneaky Daddy- because we would paddle, and paddle, and paddle, and before we knew it- we were way out in the deep end before we could lunge onto Daddy’s neck.  All the time- he was slowly backing up- forcing us to swim harder, and stronger, and making certain that we could hold our head up above the water.

I love to swim.  I love the water.

Each Dad had this permanent mark on my life- each creating a specific characteristic in me.

My Daddy insisted I take care of the car I drive- checking the oil, and transmission fluid, and driving it carefully, and taking caution with all of the functions of the car. (Don’t blast the air conditioner, it’ll ruin the fan- keep the bass turned down low so you don’t blow out the speakers, easy on the transmission- wait until you’re completely stopped before you put in in reverse/drive/park.)

Dave recounted the importance of saving energy- (Close the fridge- think about whatcha want before you open it up.  Turn the lights off if you’re not in the room.  It shouldn’t take you 45 minutes to get a shower.  Wash your hair first- then hurry it up, and get out.  Put a full load of laundry in that washing machine before you turn it on (girlie!).)

Daddy showed me how to shop wisely, simply and cheaply.
Dave taught me how to make Mess-In-A-Pan, and how to love Italian Food.

Both took the time to answer questions that I had about any-given-random subject that I brought up.  It was rare for either of them to say “I don’t know.”  

It was my Daddy that walked me down the aisle when I got married, but my wedding wouldn’t have been complete with out Dave there, taking pictures, and video, and smiling his big-white-Italian grin when I stumbled a lil’ bit walking up those stairs to the podium.

And tonight, on Father’s Day, when my heart is so broken because I didn’t get to see either of my Daddy’s- it was both of them that were in the center of my crocodile sized tears.

I miss them both so much.  Each live within an hours drive of my house.  Daddy is a homebody- and works harder than he should, sweating more than I'd like for him too in the welding shop that he works at. So? It's rare that he takes the time to wander outside his comfort zone of his couch and his TV to make the trip over here.  Dave works strange, long hours- much harder than he should as well- closer to Atlanta;  much further away.  If he has a day off of work, it's rare- and on his day off, it's best for him to rest.  

I had planned on Daddy  coming over this afternoon, to celebrate Father’s Day.  I even mustered up the courage to light the (scary) grill so I could cook a good meal for both him and my husband.  I made potato salad, and grilled chicken and fish, looking forward to Dad bringing the traditional Birthday Cake and Ice Cream in celebration of my 7 year olds belated birthday.  He called 30 minutes before time to stop by and said he couldn’t come over; his car over heated on the way to my house.  It wasn‘t his fault.  It was an un-preventable situation.  My crocodile tears flowed, none-the-less.  I miss my Daddy.  The voice mail he left said that he missed me, too.

I texted Dave this morning to tell him Happy Father’s Day, explaining that I would call him when the chaos died down at our house.  In the middle of the chaos- with in the fact that there wouldn’t be  any chaos- I forgot to call.  He messaged me at bedtime in response to my original message,  and said “I love you, too Little Girl.”  Crocodile tears formed as I messaged him an apology, and told him “I really  miss talking to you.”  His response simply read,  “Me, too.” and it sent the crocodile tears flowing. I miss my Dad !!!  He missed me, too.

Being a Daddy’s girl is a forever thing.   It doesn’t disappear once you become an adult.  There has always been, and may always be, a longing in me to see and spend time with my Daddy(s) (plural).

At (almost) 30 years old- my Dad’s are still soooo important to me.

I will be forever and ever, thankful for both of them, but mostly thankful that my Abba Father thought so much of me that He'd set it up so that I would reap the benefits of having two Daddy(s).

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Wrong Side of the World

Waking up on the wrong side of the bed couldn't possibly compare to where I'm at right now.  It seems as though I woke up on the Dark side of the world.  I'm not myself today.  I wasn't myself yesterday.  What happened to me?  I was ok.  And now I'm not?!

I can't claim to be dealing with the ever-popular excuse for being a total *itch and say it's PMS.  I'm post-M-S, as a matter of fact.  I have no answer.  I feel lost.

I wish I could take back every foul look that I shot at anyone with in eyesight, and every angry word that I spoke to anyone who spoke to me.

My husband rescued himself and our girls from my wrath by leaving the house while I finished up what I had to finish up- cooking, cleaning, cleaning, a little more cleaning- and a little more cooking.  Everything seems to be completely out of order.

How to I crawl back over to the Lighter side of the world? How do I make everything better?