Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Put to the Test ... Again

Our ladies at church have been working through a devotional booklet studying the fruits of the Spirit. It's been a good study. My problem with it, however, is that when we finish a particular unit (we do one per monthly meeting) I am always presented with a test in that area the very next day. Last night's study was on the fruit of gentleness.

Here was my morning. The alarm clock went off at 5:30 as it always does. I didn't leave my room until 6:30. I have a lot of trouble getting up when I'm pregnant. 6:30 sounds like its still on the early side, but my kids usually get up between 6:30 and 7. When I got up all 3 boys were already up. The boys started out with a lot of energy, very loud and with lots of giggles. I cooked a big pot of grits for breakfast. I asked Jeremy to divide out the grits while I woke up Lydia and did some other stuff. Some kids like no cheese, some like cheddar, some like American. Since Dad doesn't do this very often, everyone's cheese preferences were all messed up, sending the kids into fits of whining and complaining.

The kids have an 8:30 time frame to finish breakfast and do their morning chores. Lately it's gotten to be more like 9 or later before it all gets done for one reason: playing. It's a habit they're having a lot of trouble breaking. They didn't finish in time, so punishment followed. They kids sat down to start school and Ethan couldn't find his arithmetic book. He said it was in the van. (whyyyy? why is it in the car) Josiah had the keys that morning, locked the doors to the van and lost the keys. Ethan and I spent the next 15 minutes looking for the kids and never found them. We were interrupted by the sound of my Scentsy warmer being picked up by Josiah. It was full of scented wax. Ten billion times we talked about it being a no-no. He picks it up, spills wax everywhere: the wall, the furniture, the laminate floor, the white base boards, his clothes, and a pair of shoes. Talk about a mess. The boys, knowing that I'm distracted, start playing instead of doing schoolwork. Josiah starts his 18-month-old tornadic mess making. After a lot of work, half an hour with a hair dryer, and some tears (pregnant hormones?) I got the mess up. We finally located the keys too.

Although it may sound like I'm looking for sympathy there, I'M NOT. As I explain the story it really doesn't sound all that bad. Just a typical homeschooler's morning in a home with a variety of ages in the house. Probably has happened to a million other homeschool families. The point is this: after a lesson last night in gentleness, the Lord gave me a small test in what I was taught. Once again I failed miserably. I can do well in being meek, gentle, good, peaceful, etc. as long as all is well. If I have a few minor problems, I'm usually still good. But let a few of those minor problems build up, and top it off with a big one (the waxy candle mess) and Mrs. Sweet Mommy is long gone! Of course in the midst of all the turmoil I didn't see it like that. After my calm spirit had returned I thought, "I bet the Lord was just reinforcing that lesson in gentleness."

I have a schedule in my house to keep things on track. What I can't seem to do is to understand that every day is not going to go by the schedule. In fact, most days probably aren't. Schedules are excellent tools in my opinion. However, it is more important for my kids to see mother calm and peaceful under stress. Once of Bill Gothard's character qualities that I had never considered until I read his list was flexibility. Scheduling the day has helped us tremendously, but in that as to be flexibility, endurance, and gentleness. My schedule can't be set in stone. I understand that in our routine that can seem trivial and mundane, God creates situations to mold us. Something as small as cooking dinner can be an opportunity for learning more about Him.

A Scripture that keeps ringing in my mind is James 1:19-20:

...let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

I think of this Scripture a lot in raising kids. I want them to desire the righteous of God to be on them. Worketh means "to bring about." The wrath of "Mom" will not bring about God's righteousness in my children. If I am swift to hear and slow to speak, it will be easier for me to be slow to wrath. We as moms and wives set the spirit of the home. If we're wrathful, it'll spread. If we're calm and gentle, it will likewise spread.

This was my morning ladies. How was yours?

9 edifying expressions:

Kimberly said...

Sunday as I was getting up out of a chair some muscle in the hip area was tweaked...Yesterday I was directing life from the sofa... Hubby stayed awake all night as to give one of the boys continual sips of liquid {he's had a fever and a weird cough for too many days} he's working from home today and my son has pneumonia {a knew one for us} Bright spot: the hip is feeling better. We really like Bill Gothards charactre traits, not a single trait is left out, especially like that the opposite of that trait is given also. This week has been full of tests for us.

Bobbin Aubins said...

I have SO been there, and it does seem to come when I am working on certain area's of my life! So often my Mondays are those days:-) I have started using my schedule again and though it isn't followed to a "t" it is there and really does help our live be smoother!
I just realized you have a Lydia too! How old is she? Mine is almost 2 (May 5)!

Bobbin Aubins said...

Okay I see how old your Lydia is, I just read your info on the side bar! OOPs:-)

Zsuzsanna said...

Uh oh. On this post, you lost me when I got to

"...while I woke up Lydia..."

One of my main parenting pillars is: NEVER EVER wake a sleeping child. Unless there is something really urgent, like a house fire.

:) Hope you get some rest to make up for all the chaos.

Elizabeth said...

Zsu,
I'm not too strict on wake up times with a 4 year old, that's to be sure. Problem here was that grits get hard like cement when cold. Grits are our typical Tuesday breakfast and I didn't want her to miss out.

Wednesdays I guess too I'd wake her up. Breakfast that day is usually eggs and toast and she won't eat cold eggs. (bleh, and I don't blame her. haha)

Katerina,
Yup, Lydia turned 4 in February. :)

Kimberly,
so sorry about your sickness. I do not enjoy sickness one bit. I too like that the opposites are listed in Gothard's traits. It seems to help put the good trait in better perspective.

Bobbin Aubins said...

So how do you make grits? I have never made them, but someone brought them when I had my last baby for one of the meals. They had some cream and berries to go in it, I would love to try something like that, but don't how. I'm guessing that they are near the oat and such in the store?

Elizabeth said...

Grits, if available in your area, are usually shelved with oatmeal, cream of wheat and other hot cereals. They come in a few varieties. Quaker makes instant and quick cooking, which are done in 5 minutes. I have gotten traditionally made grits before, which include more of the germ. Since they take about 30 minutes to cook, people don't like them as well, and they can be hard to find in stores.

The most popular toppings in grits are cheese and/or butter. I've never had anything else but these things.

If you can't get ground corn labeled grits, you can substitute fine-ground polenta (I think). The taste will be similar, but not the same. I usually just make mine with water. The amount of water will vary. If you have no package instructions, then just keep adding water until you have a porridge-like consistency. It'll get think and plop out and make yucky burns, so once it starts thickening be sure to turn the heat to med-low.

You'll need less water than milk, but using either is okay. If you choose a broth, it becomes a preparation more like traditional polenta. You can add whatever you like to it. A friend of mine used to like maple syrup or fruit jelly mixed in, but I didn't like it. Just be sure to eat them as soon as they're cool enough. The starch in the corn makes them hard, sticky, and GROSS when they're cold.

Hope that helps.

Bobbin Aubins said...

Thanks! I am gonna try this out soon. I will let you know how it turns out:)

Deborah said...

Oh, I have many mornings like that....but I gave up trying to get up early long ago! We've been homeschooling for about 24 years, and I'm not a morning person... the nice thing about homeschooling is we can start at the time that works for us. Don't be too hard on yourself, sometimes we need these lessons a few times to 'get' it...I know I do!