Sunday, October 30, 2011

From my fingers to my soul

I wish I could describe what it feels like to play the piano. I'm not an exceptional pianist. If I practice a lot, I'm pretty good. But I'm not good at reading notes, making up accompaniment, or playing a song perfectly. Ever. But I do love to play! Sometimes when I play it's like it's not even me. Sometimes I'll play an entire song and then wake up from the deep place I was in. Sometimes I like to play to clear my head, sometimes it's out of necessity, and sometimes it's just because I really want to. God created music so we could worship Him and I love playing songs that speak of Him, and the cross, and the blood.
I took lessons as a child and I hated it, but my mom made me keep taking lessons. Once I was done with lessons and I was able to play what I wanted and not what my lesson was, I started to love it. My favorites were classicals; Moonlight Sonata, Fur Elise, Claire de Lune, and sometimes Ragtime. But nothing lifts my soul and speaks to my spirit like gospel music that speak of God's love and sacrifice for me.
One of the hardest things for people to understand is that playing the piano is difficult for 90% of the people who play. It takes a lot of practice, a lot of practice, and a lot of practice. There are so many people that was a quick lesson so they can play beautiful songs. It takes probably 5 years of lessons before the average person can start playing really nice songs, and most people don't want to wait that long.
If you are taking lessons or want to, or if your child is taking piano lessons, don't give up! Keep at it, keep going, even if the songs you play are so mundane and boring you put yourself to sleep while practicing. My mom never let me quit lessons because she knew how important it is to know how to play. And every day, every time I play the piano, I thank her in my mind for making me continue, even when I would cry while practicing because I hated it.
Thank you Mom!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

What do you do all day?

It's surprising that I get asked this question, even though I have 5 children and 1 of them is less than a year old. But because we're in a special ministry I do get asked this quite often. In fact, I got asked it at the Chiropractor yesterday. So what do I do all day? Sure, I don't have a huge house to clean. I also don't have a yard to keep up, or a garden to tend. Some people assume I work on churches like my husband does and that each member of our family has a special job we do at each job site. Well, I will tell you what I do all day. I take care of my children, I clean, we do school, we take trips to the library when we can, and we play outside. My life is very similar to any other Stay At Home Mom's, but there are a few differences. What are those differences? Well for one we live in 364 sq ft, give or take a few. That's roughly the size of a normal living room plus a bathroom, but that's our home. That means that it takes under an hour to clean, if everyone is working together. It means that it also gets messier quicker. Our table is for meals, school, desk, crafts, a fort, sometimes a place to lay down and read. The counter is used as a storage area, science experiment area, table for some, food prep, buffet table, craft table. Our couch is a school station, normal couch, nap spot, doll bed, and sometimes a wrestling mat. You learn to use the area you can in creative ways. Our whiteboard for school is on the fridge, school crates are under the couch, toys and shoes are under the bed, and potatoes are in the same cabinet as the mixer. And you learn how to go to the bathroom with your eyes closed because someone is in the shower and there's only one bathroom. In a lot of ways our life is not any different than anyone else's, just the condensed version. What do I do all day? Well what do YOU do all day?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Life Goes On

Well I got my neck fixed but now my shoulder is killing me! I seriously think I tore my rotator cuff or something like that. I went to the Chiro on Monday before we left and she said I had a rib out and she could feel my shoulder joints popping in and out. She caused me some serious pain with that clicking spatula but it still hurts. I'm hoping to be able to go back tomorrow. The Conference last week was great! But I struggle with feelings of loneliness, even when I'm in a big crowd. I feel like nobody really wants me there, and it's easy for me to sit and pout because nobody is coming to talk to me. I did make myself introduce myself to different women and try to make conversation. I just never know what to say! Does anyone else struggle with this? I'm sure I come off as snotty and rude, but I'm really just unsure. I don't think I helped my shoulder my going on all of those roller coasters at Silver Dollar City! But it sure was fun. I loved seeing Noah enjoy it so much. He used to be so scared to do anything he was not in control of. I was so proud that he loved them so much. He did great at the Conference too. He found a gang of boys to hang out with, and even came to sit with us when they were deciding who was "cool" and who wasn't. He recognized that it wasn't nice talk and didn't want to be involved in it. And he only got in trouble for fighting once and other boys said that the other kid started it, not Noah. Whew! That's always a relief.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Oh, the pain!

On Monday I decided the kids and I were going to walk every morning after breakfast. We're way out in the country and it is just gorgeous here! So every morning this week we have put on our jackets, and walked down a gravel road for a 20 minute walk. Everyone walked except Elsa, I had her in a baby carrier which I thought was really handy. Unfortunately, I think this baby carrier has done a number on my back and shoulders! Every morning I have woken up with a sore back and shoulders, but this morning and I wasn't able to move my neck and head at all! My husband took me to a chiropractor and he said I definitely did a number on myself and I have to go back Monday for another adjustment, and possibly Tuesday too. It hurts so bad! I am never using that carrier again! I was trying to avoid pushing a stroller on the gravel road because that's a pain, but I think that's my only other choice.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

These are some pictures I took today on our walk. I love Fall, it is so beautiful! There was a lovely low fog, and by the middle of our walk the sun was burning it off and you could hear the water dripping from the trees.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday, Monday

I normally love Mondays. Anytime I feel like I should do something, start a routine, do a new thing with the children, I always say "I will start that on Monday." So when Monday comes around, my whole week is full of possibilities and exciting new things. But what about days like today when nothing goes right, from the moment I wake up? I couldn't find my Bible because it was left in the church last night. And apparently everyone else left their Bibles too because there was nary a Bible in our entire trailer. But then after I had already gotten up and gotten dressed to go get my Bible from the church, my Bible was found. I don't know why that was so frustrating for me. Maybe because I envisioned myself reading it right away, in my pajamas, before I even got out of bed? But now I had to read it fully dressed and frustrated? During breakfast I almost got my entire mug of coffee spilled on me. Elsa ejectile vomited across the table, including my plate of food. I forgot to get Anna a drink 3 times and sat down before I remembered. Kayla asked if she could feed Elsa some eggs, of course I said yes, but her idea of "feeding Elsa eggs" was putting a bowl filled with scrambled eggs in front of Elsa, which she promptly dumped all over the floor and then I stepped on. I decided we all needed a walk since it was a beautiful, wet morning. So we walked for 22 minutes; we saw 27 animals, some fake and some real; nobody jumped in a puddle although there were a few attempts; and Anna only cried that she was too tired for the last 5 minutes or so. It was a nice walk and I burned 50 calories. Yay me!! The rest of the morning shall not be mentioned. Let's just say, we finished school and I hope they learned something. Maybe a life lesson about why God gave us a brain. Maybe they even learned a little school. We may never know. I do know this: Mario Party 8 brings our family together! We are borrowing it right now, but we might have to scrounge up the $50 to buy it. The older kids will play a game for 30 minutes together and because everything is in short bursts, they don't get so frustrated about finishing levels and winning games. Even after today, I still love Mondays!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Staying on Top of Everything

How do you stay on top of everything a mom has to do? Sometimes I get overwhelmed with all of the things I would like to do with my children and teach them, compared to what I actually can do and teach them. It's also a time when I get a little freaked out about adding more children to the mix, when I can't seem to do everything with the ones I already have.
First there's schooling. We spend about 3-4 hours a day doing school, some more and some less depending on amount of focus and work load. But still I wonder if they're actually learning, if they're learning the right thing, should I try a different curriculum or approach for this person and subject? Will my children be the above average homeschoolers that everyone brags about, or those ones people whispered about that should go to a "real" school.
Then there's raising well-behaved children. Obviously other people are much better in this area than I am. It probably has a lot to do with my temper and my predisposition to bouts of laziness. I would much rather sleep than wake up early and be prepared for dealing with my children! It is so stressful to constantly be training and teaching the children to be well-behaved. Sometimes I feel like all I'm doing is admonishing and they're going to grow up hating me.
What about teaching them basic recreational activities like sports? My son is 9 and can't throw a ball. I don't even know if the girls have ever jumped rope, and they're 7 and 5. I can draw a pretty good stick figure, but how do I let them explore an artistic ability and not go berserk over a huge mess of glue, glitter and paper?
And of course, there are the "bragging skills", things parents like to brag over their kids about. "My daughter can play Beethoven's 5th and she hasn't had her 5th birthday yet!" or "We have a new CD, all of our children play a musical instrument they taught themselves." How about this one: "Our family is writing a series of short stories based on our adventurous life raising 10 animals and growing our own food. All the while learning every subject available and sewing our own clothes made from cloth we wove ourselves, from cotton we grew in our backyard."
How do you keep up? How do you decide what is important for your children to learn and do? And how do you stay sane and not die a young age?
I'm stressed just writing this blog post.