Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The best laid plans of mice and men often go array....

Just checking in with you all to remind you that we are all still works in progress friends.

Today we had plans.

And usually when we have plans that means a quick toast breakfast leaving jam smudges on seats, hands and usually garments and cheeks. It means rushing to the car, frequent runs back into the house to retrieve blankets, glasses of water, left footed shoes and diapers.

You pack sandwiches because you do want to be frugal and hey, who couldn’t do with more jam smudges? You tell yourself that it is ok because by- standers will see the smudges and you will have the opportunity to tell them that those smudges did not come from STORE BOUGHT jam. No Sir. You wait. You bask in this moment. You inhale. You exhale and with a wisp of Motherly confidence you tell the not so lucky by- stander with an annoying sing-songy voice that you made that jam. You climbed half a mountain to get those precious dew covered blackberries. You tickled them with sugar. You boiled them into deliciousness. You still scratch at the scabs on your arms from being dumb enough to go berry picking with short sleeves.

You conveniently leave that part out.

And if you do not have occasion to find that lucky by- stander, you can always blog about what you would say given the opportunity. (big smile)

Ahem. Back to the van…

You tell yourself you will knit and sing Spiritual Songs with your brood while you travel to your destination.

You lie.

You end up yelling at third son for licking Fritos and promise to have Dad pull the car over if child number six unbuckles her seatbelt ONE.MORE.TIME.

Almost like knitting……

Your dear husband ends up pulling through a fast food drive through and humoring Mom who would rather drown in chicken nuggets than eat her own jam. In a moment of complete abandonment you hear Hubby order five hot fudge sundaes and you instantly feel the blood drain out your toes. I cannot comment further on this part of the day….. I think I chose to block this part of my day out.


We reach destination and begin to hope that as the mass exodus from the van begins, more children then take out trash falls out of mentioned van.

A small success.

You don lip gloss and head into the ABEKA homeschool display area of the swanky hotel. You smile the “I so have it all together-----ok really I am so frayed at the edges that I am barely hanging on, but I sure hope you don’t catch on,” smile.

You sit in the corner where the nice Representative has his company’s video curriculum showing.

“This will be fun.” I think.

I thought wrong.

We are watching the classic ABEKA Kindergarten classroom.

The chalkboard is FULL of colored pictures, charts, numbers, and a HUGE heart, meticulously drawn in chalk, with great attention to detail. The upstairs/downstairs/basement house is in the heart and she is teaching the letter “V.” Hence the “Valentine,” which she so sweetly says in her Southern accent a dozen or so times and points to her chalkboard heart.

By “Her” I mean Mrs. Bear.

She is divine.

I watch her and secretly wish I could steal her and take her home with me.

Well I not so secretly say that out loud.

And the kids look at me. One even hugs me and says, “Mom, you can be like that.”

Thanks Mrs. Bear.

So we watch and more parents gather and I am feeling like a big zero with the ring rubbed out, and Mrs. Bear gets nicer and I get more agitated that I do not have the gift of teaching and in this mess third son comes to me and says,

“Mom. I think I’ve seen Christopher Columbus.”

Second son comes and notes, pointing at the screen, “ Mom. They’re doing cursive. I didn’t learn cursive in Kindergarten…”

I look at third son and in my best Mrs. Bear voice I reply, “ You probably saw a picture of Christopher Columbus before..”

“No Mom. I SAW him.”

First daughter chimes in, “He’s dead.”

Third son proceeds to persuade his sister that he did indeed see Christopher Columbus and I amazingly find a way to excuse myself giving that afore mentioned smile to each mother I pass as I head to the other corner of the room…….

We order, we leave, we head to bookstore across the street that is going out of business.

And 20 minutes later Hubby finds me loaded with books like Pilgrim and his burden, ranging from, “Cooking on a Budget” to “Managing your own Homestead.” And it is at this moment that I wonder how I got here.

How did I get into this schlump (ok not recognized as a word by this computer, but recognized by every homeschooling Mom of littles… I digress…) where a Kindergarten teacher with 80’s hair is competing with me? Where my kids knowing cursive would make me a better Mother?


Sometimes saying things out loud shows you just how silly you have become.

Why does the world have to know how far I walked to pick blackberries for jam, or how many articles of clothing I have stored under my bed for the sole purpose of cutting into quilt squares?

I don’t know why.

I just know it happens.

And in the middle of the “self help” section of the 60 percent off books it hits me.

Not a book, a thought….. just in case you were wondering…..

“God knows.”

He knows I don’t feel good enough, sweet enough, lovely enough to teach.

He knows I try to do so much in my own strength to my own detriment several times a day.

He knows I forget that all the power and strength and help I could ever need is already at my disposal through Christ.

Who lives in me.

Who goes with me to the self help section.

Who hears me stack the cards between me and Mrs. Bear.

And knows that I need just claim HIS help, strength, peace, wisdom, strength and joy.

I walk to the front of the store to join my family who have suffered long waiting for me.

They have waited for me to set down self help books and pick up a book and read to them on long Summer afternoons.

They have waited for me to seep God’s love out of my life, my tongue and give them a little of that Mrs. Bear graciousness that I do have while walking in the Spirit.

They have waited for me to stop caring who sees, who knows and what someone thinks of me and make jam just for the sheer joy of making it.

I set book after book down on the shelves as I pass them, eyes on my family waiting at the front of the store.

I choose a crockpot recipe book.

I smile at them.

We head home.

And on the way home dear Dad sees two black bears on the side of the road and pulls over.

On my side.

To see them better.

And I hit the power lock.

And I tell myself that I have picked enough blackberries for the year.

Or two.



  1. You are such a blessing, Deena and you don't even know it. Do you know that I could read self-help books til the cows come home and I still could not write two words together with as much natural talent as God has give to you? Thank You, I love you.


  2. I have news for you. There are days that "Mrs. Bear" wants to pull her hair out, yell at every kid in her class, and walk out and get a triple shot expresso. We all feel that way. We're human. That's why we have to stay close to God. Besides, homemade blackberry jam sounds good to me right now. Love you bunches.

  3. Thank you for the reminder! I'm up to my neck in "homeschool" right now. I know there will be [many] days I will need to read this again!

    I'm learning to be flexible and seeing what the Lord can do through me. I just decided to teach my 2nd grader K4 writing since she's never had cursive. After six days of trying to do 2nd grade writing and being overwhelmed, we are changing to K4 (Intro to cursive) since we have it for our son. An idea I know didn't come from my own intellegence.

    Continue to let the Lord use you and keep you humble. (A message to myself as well.)

    Luv ya! janelle