What Happened When We Brought Our Son Home From Preschool.

Preschool. Our son was at it about nine months. And then we brought him home. What happened?
Let me just summarise it in one word:
Transformed.
That is the most succinct word I can think of to describe what has happened to our little boy since we brought him home from preschool. It’s been two months and they have flown by. Why? Life is just easier with him at home.
Now, I’m not saying my days are breezy. Ha! Two children under three? No day is going to be breezy! I’m teaching, correcting, encouraging, disciplining, playing, chasing, imagining, cleaning, cooking, and living with them both all day, everyday. I don’t get the few hours of space like I did when he went three mornings a week. And I don’t get time alone with Rosalie now, either.
But – and it is such a big but! – we just have a totally different boy in the house. The boy who was always there, underneath, but who got confused and influenced and tired and overstimulated and put in the world before he was ready. Therefore, the boy who was more aggressive, rebellious, hurtful, less kind to his family, bored all the time, unable to play with himself or others has gone.
Instead, we have a boy who is kinder, more loving, more open, willing to be corrected, less rebellious, more imaginative, more able to play by himself, enjoying more self-directed learning. So, like I said, transformed. We have our little boy back.
Do I regret sending him to preschool? Yes and no.
What Happened When We Brought Our Son Home From Preschool

What I’ve Learned

In some ways I regret it because I have changed my stance on early education and a large reason  for this is because because of the negative effect it has had on our son.
But, at the same time, I don’t regret it because I believe God has had His hand on it all. As parents we always make our best decision with the information/situation we have in front of us. We can only step out in faith and readjust our footing as God guides us.
The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in God’s way.” Psalm 37:23
Some of the ways God has established our steps as parents is by:
  • helping us know our son more {he’s an INTROVERT, people!}
  • helping us know our convictions more.
  • helping us trust God’s guidance more.
  • helping us be more confident as a mother and father.
  • helping me be more confident in my husband’ judgement {why don’t I learn this quicker??}.
  • helping us see that homeschooling is probably going to be the best thing for our family.
God always knows what He’s doing and, when we make mistakes, if we bring them back to Him, He redeems them and glorifies Himself. I love it because mistakes then, are not ever mistakes at all. Just experiences that push us more into God’s will, and nothing can go wrong with Him.

What Young Children Really Need More Than Preschools

Today, as I was contemplating it all and looking at planning some activities at home, I spent some time in my number one favourite book on motherhood: The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson {affiliate}. Whenever I’m feeling in need of some motherly advice for a mother, I turn to her. These words just lifted me up today:

“Simply throwing children into a cultural tornado and hoping for the best gives them little chance of living up to their potential or coming out unharmed. Someone needs to take responsibility for their nurture, protection, nourishment, intellectual development, manners, recreation, personal needs, and spiritual development. Someone needs to commit time and energy into staying close to them as they grow, encouragung and correcting and teaching…

Best of all, when a mother chooses to stay home, she has the time and opportunity to craft the kind of relationship with her young children that only extended time together can foster. And from such a relationship she has a much better chance of building a strong moral and spiritual foundation in the heart of her young children, teaching a system of truth and values without the constant challenge of authorities and peers whose lives are totally different.” p.43,48

Over the last year or two God has just been placing these thoughts so heavily on my heart. I’m at a place where the idea of leaving either my children at a centre regularly on their own just doesn’t sit well with my conscious. For other people, there will be no issue with this. But, for our family, at this season in time, our children belong home with me.

So I would just love to encourage you, dear mother, that if you have a little one in preschool or school, and you just have something in your spirit telling you pulling them out might be a good idea – don’t ignore it. Seek the Lord, talk with your husband, pray and read His Word. There is great wisdom in keeping children home for as long as possible to prepare them to be with the “authorities and peers whose lives are totally different”.

Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. Psalm 13:20  << A confirmation Scripture from the Lord when we were praying about bring our son home >>

Have you experienced something similar with your own children? What do you think about Sally’s words?

Deepening a Love for God’s Word

Within the worldwide Church, we all “do church” differently. And that is something that, I believe, glorifies God. God is a God of beauty and variety, so the way we express our love for Him and how we do fellowship with each other ties into His creation of diversity. But I do believe that there is one thing that is more important than anything else: the priority of the Bible.
Belonging to a church that faithfully believes in, professes, and acts upon the teachings of God’s Word is the most important commitment of a follower of Christ. Though the way a service is run and led, the way music is done, the way communion is practiced etc. are important aspects of church life to consider – how much a church body loves the Bible tops them all.
The Bible is how we know God. It is how He has revealed Himself to us explicitly {Romans 1:17} – by His laws, the unfolding story of His people of Israel, the life and death of Jesus Christ, and the ministry and letters of His early apostles. If we did not have the Word, we would only have His creation to show us He exists {Psalm 19:1-4, Romans 1:20} and His will for us would be a mystery.
But isn’t God good to us? We can know His ways and His will because of the Word. And as we grow to know God through the Gospel of Jesus, we can love, be in awe of, honour, and be passionate about the Bible more and more.
Do you know the wonders of God’s Word? Let’s look at a section of Psalm 19 and see the work God does for us in His Word.

Psalm 19:7-13
“The law of the LORD is perfect,
refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.” {v.7}
Sometimes from the doubt in our own hearts or from the voices from the world, we can come to the Bible and doubt it. We can doubt that it is true, that it can be trusted, that it is consistent, that it is relevant. But here we see simply: the words of God in the Bible is perfect. We can trust it, even when it is confusing or difficult to accept. And, not only that, it is aliveit refreshes our souls and makes us wise. The Bible is not a stagnant book. God uses it powerfully within us through His Spirit. If, we let Him.
“The precepts of the LORD are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.” {v.8}
Not only is the Bible perfect, it is right. Our holy God has revealed to us His will so that we may know how to please Him. He is our Creator, we are His created beings. If He says something is sinful, it is. We can trust the Word to show us the way – even now, in the twenty-first century. And when we apply His truths to our hearts and lives, we are transformed. Joy and light become the way of our lives, no matter the situation.
“The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever.
The decrees of the LORD are firm,
and all of them are righteous.” {v.9}
So much of the Church’s lack of impact on our world today is because we don’t fear the LORD nor do we fear His Word. We dismiss aspects of His Word as irrelevant or wrong; and we focus more on His loving care than His holiness. We forget that God is still the holy God of the Old Testament and that, the only reason we have access like we do is because He killed His own Son for our sake. God’s Word stands true forever, and so does His character. We must revere His Word so we can revere His righteous ways. Reading His Word faithfully helps us worship and treat God the way He deserves.
“They are more precious than gold, 
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the honeycomb.” {v.10}
Is God’s Word a delight to your soul? Is it as precious to you than anything else in your life? It ought to be. It should be what we turn to more than people, more than books – even good books written by faithful Bible teachers. This is a weakness of mine, as a big reader. God’s Word should be so precious to my heart; I ought to yearn for it above any other source of knowledge or wisdom.
“By them your servant is warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
But who can discern their own errors?
Forgive my hidden faults.
Keep your servant from willful sins;
may they not rule over me.
Then I will be blameless.
innocent of great transgression.” {v.11-13}
God uses His Word to enlighten us on our sins – those that we do willfully, and those that are hidden in the darkness of our hearts. How good He is, and merciful, that He doesn’t leave us to our own devices. God’s Word is a guide for us, a healing book, a history of His great love for sinners. Use it to help you, use it to convict you, use it to comfort you, use it to give you knowledge and understanding.

**

God loves it when we love to love Him. And He loves it when His Word is as precious to us as pure gold, as important to us than any other thing in our life. If you feel lacklustre towards the Bible, or you doubt, or you just don’t know where to begin – begin with Jesus, in the Gospels and go from there. Read Psalms for comfort and beauty, read Proverbs for wisdom and truth, read the letters of the New Testament for Christian living. And know that when you ask God to help you love His Word, He has no greater delight than answering that kind of prayer! All you need to do is ask and actively read and study it.

“We must have the Word of our Lord…Our souls need food, and there is none for them outside of the Word of the Lord. All the books and all the preachers in the world cannot furnish us a single meal: it is only the Word from the mouth of God that can fill the mouth of a believer.” ~ Charles Spurgeon

You Can Slow Your Life {and your family will thank you for it.}

It’s Saturday night and we put our son to be at 5:55pm. I don’t think he has ever been to bed that early. But he was tired and burning up. His eyes were puffy with tiredness and when we said, ‘Early night tonight, buddy’, all he said was, ‘Yeth’. {Yes, he has a cute lisp.}

This week, despite ever being conscious of how we spend our days, has overtaxed our children. Compared to other families, it may have been a fairly normal week, but for us, it was busy. My kids don’t do well with busy. They tend to get a bit crazy and, at worst, come down sick with temperatures. Hence, a toastie of a little boy, in bed an hour before his normal bedtime.

And me? I don’t do well with busy either. Introverts with a tendency to be anxious go better with a slow life. So, when I make sure our life is stable and peaceful, it’s not just for the children – it’s for me, too. Happy mummy, happy campers.

Living a quiet and slow life is a passion of mine. But I’m not perfect at it. There are still weeks where we get out too much or there isn’t enough downtime at home. Sometimes it cannot be helped, but for the most part, it is possible to live a slow life.

 

Principles for Slowing Your Life Down
Keep family your main priority. When your family come first, it is much easier stripping the unnecessary away. Perhaps you’re like me {in Myers-Briggs, I’m an INFJ} and you love helping. If someone needs help, I will put my hand up. Or, when we commit to something, we really commit {and so go to the group even if it is the last thing we should be doing}. As a wife and mother now, I say no to everything that does not add to our family life. Even if it would add to my life but would cost someone else in the family, I say ‘no’. This may seem extreme, but this full-on motherhood thing is only for a season. I won’t always have this amazing opportunity to pour everything into my family. Oneday, I can do things for ‘me’. But right now, they are my priority.
Accept the different seasons. As mentioned above, there are many seasons in life, and each will mean saying ‘yes’ to some things and ‘no’ to others. We don’t need to feel guilty about this – it really is a fact of life. Limitations during different seasons are not meant to be constricting; they are perimetres for keeping the ebb and flow of daily life in check. Within those boundaries is great freedom and peace. Just like seasons of life, there are also the seasons of the year: we slow down in winter, and become more active in the warmer months. This is a natural timeline that God has made for our lives, but we have forgotten it in our modern life.

Do what makes life a joy. ‘The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.’ Reading books on the couch, cuddles close, kisses buried in golden curls, tickles with boisterous boy-giggles. This is pure joy and it is enjoying Him in the moment because His hand is all over it. Stuffing kids in cars, rushing here, stuck in traffic there, tempers rising, irritation. There is no joy there. And it isn’t what life is about. Walks in the park, make towers with blocks, reading good books, painting pictures, planting bulbs in winter soil for the spring. Glorifying Him and enjoying Him forever.

Keep your eyes wide open. Don’t just accept the status quo because that’s what everyone does. Just because busy is what our culture endorses doesn’t mean it’s good. Read our culture, read history, put everything into perspective. Don’t be afraid to be a little bit kooky. In the end, what other people think of us doesn’t matter – it’s Him we’re wanting to honour. Let us submit ourselves under His way of living for each of our own lives.

 

{Source}
There are other things to keep in mind, too:
  • re-evaluate when needed
  • keep Scriptures hidden in your heart to keep you focused on what is important for your family
  • be bold even when you feel nervous to be different
  • keep communicating with your husband and his dreams for your family
  • accept the busier moments in life {ie. Christmas} then return to slow as soon as possible
  • watch and listen to your child’s cues {they may not be able to articulate their need for more or less}
The blessings of a slow life are just enormous. And I don’t believe it is something you can regret. As mother’s, if we were constantly busy, we would look back and think: ‘I wish we had taken things more slowly; enjoyed the little years more; read more together; had more home days…’ But I don’t think, in living a slow life, we’ll look back and think, ‘I wish we had been busier.’
It’s never too late to start. It’s okay to quit clubs and extra life fluff to scale back. It may take awhile to adjust – your bodies will be used to going, driving, spending, hurrying. There will be urges you need to master. But a morning will dawn and your heart will think of the slow day ahead and be content. 
And, I promise, you will be a more patient, more enjoyable, more joy-filled wife and mother for it.

 

What is the Point of Being a Hobby Blogger?

I have been blogging on and off for five years. I’ve never been hugely consistent, which is partly a weakness in my character as well as a desire to keep my blog a blog. It still is very much a hobby of mine. But, sometimes, what a pitiful hobby it feels to be when I see what blogging is now.
When I started, most people were on Blogger with backgrounds found from friendly sites that designed *free* designs for anyone to use. People connected through link-ups and began to follow through Blogger or by email. There were no extra sites that I had to manage like Facebook {which I don’t have now, anyway}. Blogs looked like the people who wrote them: casual, friendly, welcoming, homely. It was like meeting a friend in a busy cafe for a cup of tea, or sitting with legs tucked under on a comfortable couch in their living room.
But now – well, we all know what it is like now. Everything is stream-lined and competitive and busy. Just busy. People like me, who hobby write, just cannot compete. We’re like the joggers you see running in the park with a haphazard jumpsuit we put together, puffing along and struggling but doing it – while packs of brand-clothed, smooth runners go on by at twice the speed. Don’t get me wrong – those runners have spent years working hard to get where they are. They are where they are because of all they have done to get there. But, it’s still like they are in a different league. Most good runners are never going to the Olympics.
And blogging today, and keeping up, feels like competing in the Blogolympics. 

And we have to ask ourselves – are we happy being Average Joe? Are we happy to be a good runner, just not a professional one?
Are we happy to have only a few followers, no income, no professionally designed blog, with a few quiet social media outlets, and only being able to post once or twice a week {or when inspiration hits, like me}?
When I put it like that, I think, ‘Yes, I can be happy with that. What’s so bad about that?’ But the moment I see a blog that is what I secretly would like to be like, well, stirrings of discontent make me feel like my little blogging home is a little bit of a hovel.
And then I ask myself, ‘Why cannot I not just be content with what I have?’ I have a gift of writing. I have thoughts I love to articulate, in fact, I have to articulate. I have some really lovely people that genuinely want to read my noise. My blog looks nice and has almost cost us nothing.
It’s so hard denying the desire to compete. The inner pressure I feel to do MORE with this blog when I see other blogs out there that are more and have more and are doing more. I’m not bagging them – I admire them. But I know I’m not called to be a “big blogger”. I sense in my spirit that I am to remain small, be thankful and to keep writing.
It’s in our nature to see something amazing and big and professional and want to give up. I’ll never compete, so what’s the point? And it’s an honest question to ask: what is the point of blogging when it’s not going to “hit it big”?

Well, let’s list them:

to glorify God in all we do.
to be faithful with the small.
to be content and thankful for the gifts given us.
to keep going even if it seems pointless.
to pursue genuine friendships.
to have thoughtful, encouraging conversations.
to grow and be convicted.
to enjoy life.
And there actually are probably many more answers.

So, if you’re like me, and sometimes you wonder what really is the point of being a small-time blogger, just remember: the benefits of being small are numerous, and I believe, there are more opportunities to develop depth and honesty with your readers because you have the time to do that. Also, being a hobby blogger gives me the best of both worlds: I can blog without taking away from the life I want to write about.

Are you a small-time blogger like me? Share in the comments.