Sunday, November 25, 2012

A reflection of my year

Well, it's that time of year! I sat down last night and wrote my annual Christmas letter. Maybe this year I will actually get it out. LOL!

This year has been really crazy for our little family. Some of it was crazy good, some was crazy bad.

Until May we had been plugging along as usual. Then things really picked up for us.

In May O found his new passion/activity, tae kwon do. He fell in love with this sport instantly. Really... what boy would not look forward to going to class where you get to kick, punch, roll and swing sticks (the sticks are actually called Bahng Mahng Ees and they are not allowed to be used on his sister... EVER!)? He has done well with TKD. At home he will ask for us to pull up the videos of his forms so he can practice. In six months he has worked his way up to a green belt! Also, he went to a competition a month ago and did well. He was first up in his group for forms and kept his composure through all the moves. He tied for third in his forms and afterwards he told us he needs to work his kicks and next time his form will be better! Wow! He placed third in sparring. The week before in class he would stand there and let the other kids just hit and kick him. But, at the tournament he had his opponent dancing around the ring. I'm so floored how this little kid can compete with kids two and three years older, and hold his own. This boy has my heart! I love his confidence, his passion, his love. And he's only five years old. I look forward to what he brings to us in the future.

In May, K scored a main role in Seussical The Musical Jr. She really put a lot of pressure on herself for this play. She's still so small and petite, and her voice is still little. Her worry was that she would not be heard from the stage. The shows went well and she was happy with her performances. During her time in this play hubby and I decided her dedication and love of acting warranted us looking at agents for her. I found one on recommendation and amazingly this person signed K. K has no experience with film acting so this was amazing. We LOVE Mrs. B. I feel like she has K's safety in mind. She even understood when I turned down an audition for K after getting the script (I was not comfortable with the content). It scares me to the core to have K involved with this industry. K auditioned for an award winning acting troupe this past August and earned a spot! They only took 25 kids and K is one. She is one of the youngest and fights her hardest to keep up at each rehearsal. But, to see her face when we pull into the parking lot on rehearsal days is priceless. She lights up...glows! How do you tell her no? She loves this with all her heart. I know this child is going far. She's patient and knows it too. In her words, "One day I'll make it big! But, the glory will be God's!"

For hubby and I May was normal enough. Then, one day he was tasked with running the figures at work to see when the money would run out. BIG writing on the wall! He was let go in July. It was hard! He had worked for that company for almost 9 years. When he was first hired, he had hopes of retiring from them. This economy is hitting everyone hard and he was not immune. Once again God had us covered. It took hubsters five weeks to be hired with a new company. Here's the kicker...he would not have applied for this position if he still had his last job! The new job is quite different. He now has a commute, travel and all the trappings of a big company. However, he has some great benefits. He is also getting to see many places he would not have normally seen.

Me? I'm plugging along. Many times this year I have felt like I was barely treading the water to stay afloat. There were many times I felt like I was sputtering and gasping for air. But, God had me. For each time I felt like was was being pulled under, I would be lifted a little bit higher. Many times I have to remind myself that God will not give me more than what I can handle. I have handled some big stuff in my life (my brother's death, Katie's scary birth, Owen's health scares). But, at the end of each one I am a changed person. Changed for the better. I can honestly say this year has changed me in a big way. I will not enter the next year as the same person I was this year. God took me and molded me some more. He made me a better person. He made me realize just how much I love my hubby and kids. Because, at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is the love I have for my family and from my family.

That my friends is my wish for all of you. Let yourselves be molded. It is not always a fun process but the end results are so worth it!

Because I'm their mommy and you are NOT!

I wrote this a few weeks ago and just found it in my drafts folder. Posting it now. :-)

The title for this blog post comes from very disconcerting experiences lately. Why is it other parents feel they are fit to judge what we do, or why we do what we do, as parents?

Sometimes I feel that because I homeschool, I have an instant way for "those who judge" to judge. But, I'm finding the reverse of this too. Many of my friends who public school, are being judged that they are allowing someone else to "raise their child".

Now, I'm finding this questioning of my choices for my children, going over into other areas of our lives too. K got an agent. Yep! You read that right. I researched, and I found one that came recommended by people who knew her. We LOVE K's agent. It's been a great experience and we hope it continues to be that way. (Shhh... don't tell anyone; but, I am petrified of messing something up with the agent. I break into a cold sweat when I have to do paperwork. Haha. It's like doing something for the principal when you're in school.)

K was very lucky to be in an industrial (commercial for use within the company) a few months ago. Well.... I was telling one of my friends about it afterwards and how much fun K had. My friend looked at me and asked, "Oh! So are you guys going to do the whole Honey Boo Boo thing now?" OK. Momma bear was out! But, then I thought about it. Our culture almost encourages this type of thing. My daughter loves acting. She loves the art of it. She works at it, practices, takes classes and refines what she does. At eight years old she is so dedicated it's amazing. However, this day and age people seem to loose sight of the art of acting. It's all about the quick rise to fame and fortune. That's not us. I feel so sorry for those who would think that about us. I feel bad for the people who are so quick to judge what we do for our kids.

I don't think any of us are immune. I know I catch myself thinking at times, "Oh wow! I can't believe they are doing that with their child." It would be so much better if we could stop and remember, we are not that child's momma.

I'm the proud momma of two very loud and loving kids, two kids who have joi de vivre, two kids who I love very much. Because, I'm their momma, I have prayed over every choice I have made for them. Everything I have done, has been for love.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

STOP!!! Listen......

One of my favorite Bible verses is Psalm 46:10: "Be still, and know that I am God;"

Wow! After all of my posts about my kids activities, winding down of the school year, getting curriculum ready for next year, auditions, plays, recitals, etc. I began to wonder if I had taken the time to be still. Last Sunday afternoon it slammed into me. In my head I heard "Be still".

Since then it has been a bit easier to be still. Things are winding down. But, it shouldn't be like that. I should remember to be still each and every day. I'm sure I can find the time to be still, to allow myself to be re-centered and focused on His word. I read my Bible and pray each day. However, I don't allow myself the time just to be still and absorb, soak and just enjoy myself in this time.

I also need to remember to be still at other times as well.

When my kids are bickering? Be still. Instead of immediately raising my voice, I need to be still and remember to love.

When school work doesn't go like it should? Be still and remember to focus on what's really important. My children and their precious hearts and souls.

When I am overwhelmed by all I have to do? Be still, and remember, He's got it covered.

When I am worrying about my husband's job situation? Be still. No matter the situation we are facing God knows about it already and He knows the outcome. As one of His children I need to be still and trust my heavenly Father.

Today I will remember to be still and trust in my God. Will you be still?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The arts and how they teach life lessons

Even though we are on break from school the learning always continues.

K and O are involved with the arts through music classes and theater. K also like to dabble with photography and has a great eye for it. I LOVE the fact that my kids are creative. There is no other way to describe them. :-) They get it honestly as their momma is a flute player and also teaches the flute.  The arts add so much to the education of young children. It fosters creativity, multi-tasking skills, self confidence, and also music helps with math!

But, the arts also bring a big lesson in "real life". The kids learn quickly everything is not always fair and based on skills or talent. It's hard on us as parents to explain why this part went to that person or why the part was taken away even though they earned it. I have seen this many times over this year with my flute kids. One child had a blind audition for her chair placements in her high school band. As a sophomore she was placed in first chair through this audition process. Eventually the band director made her relinquish several solos to the senior because the senior was older. Yes... not because she was better but because she was older. Another student was penalized because the director believed her vibrato wasn't good enough. As a trumpet player he may not get what a flute player's vibrato should be. But, due to preconceptions about flute sounds he penalizes the better players for this. Once again not the kid's fault.

K has heard no a couple of times this year about roles in plays. One in particular really crushed her and she thought that she wasn't good enough. This role was one she had dreamed and prayed for for several weeks. Several peers and parents built K up to think she was a good fit for the role. The director chose another child. When K read the cast list it was like watching a flower wilt and wither. She looked at me with tears in her eyes and said "Well I guess I am not good enough....". Oh how that breaks a mom's heart. I can honestly tell you it's probably harder on me as the mom than her as the child. Next year I add O into all of this.

Now... all that being said would I ever keep my kids out of music or theater? NO! NO! NO! What they gain is all too valuable. I watched K audition today, and for the first time she was not nervous at all. There was no tugging on the hem of her shirt! Woo hoo! This confidence will translate into all areas of her life. She is poised beyond all belief and not afraid of situations that require interaction with large groups. Her music classes are teaching her so much too. Seeing fractions for the first time this year she recognized them to be like the time signatures in her music! So fractions became a lot less scary! Yay for that one. O has also benefited. He was recommended for speech therapy classes last year. After a year in drama class he has learned many vocal exercises, and practiced diction enough that he can now be understood by everyone around him 98% of the time! What an improvement!!!

Then there's the benefit of watching your child on stage. They blossom! There's no other description. Both of my kids are so happy to be performing. You can see it on their faces. There has not been one performance to date that I have not had to hide tears. (I don't even know if my husband knows if I become a weepy mess at these performances.) These are the tears of joy for my kids and their happiness. For when they blossom it is worth all of the heartache they may have endured to reach that part. All of the music, dance and drama mommas out there know this. It's breathtaking to see your child so happy!