The Dangererous Position of Neutral

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Recently, my kid’s school had its annual Thanksgiving feast and my daughter was not present.  Not because she was sick or had other five year old obligations.  But because I decided to keep her home.

Now before I continue I want to say that I love her school.  I love that she gets to experience both a school environment and learning with me at home most days.  I love that she gets to pray for others, learn about God and all his amazingness, and still learn how to read and spell at the same time.

But just because she is enrolled at a particular school or even public school doesn’t mean that I agree with absolutely everything that is taught or celebrated.  That would be negligence and ignorance on my part as a parent.  And recently one of those disagreements came up.  I sat down with her teacher, shared my views and opinions, was respected for my decision, and the show went on.

Growing up, I remember learning about Thanksgiving, Pilgrims and Indians, and the heroism of Christopher Columbus.  I remember dressing up in feathers and sharing fake turkey and corn during school plays.  I remember thinking that it was so amazing that a man could discover the Americas despite the doubts of his own people.

Then somewhere along the line I learned that almost none of the things that shaped my perception of Thanksgiving or discovery were true.  Yes, Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue and accidentally landed on various Caribbean islands.  But homeboy never actually set foot on North America.  So you can see the confusion as to why learning of his discoveries was so important.  And that’s not even touching the atrocities that came along when he found land, including slavery and wiping out populations with disease and murder.

On the other hand, I believe that our country and our world is coming to a precipice on how we react to cultural issues.  On one hand, there are groups of people screaming for justice, understanding, and equality.  On the other, you have those who feel these groups are being too sensitive and should understand that certain phrases, names, or traditions are just that.  And traditions never offend, right?

Well as a mother and a human, I felt like I needed to take a stand.  I didn’t feel the need to picket, protest, or angrily share my views and why I felt Christopher Columbus should not be celebrated or made part of a school assignment.  But I did feel the need to step away from what has become the norm and teach her that understanding the who, what, when, and why behind tradition is more important than the tradition itself.

I explained to her teacher that just because you or I may view someone’s offense as being too sensitive or not seeing the positive aspects of a Thanksgiving feast doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t acknowledge that hurt.  Because somewhere in that hurt is validity.  And whether I agree with it or not, I will make an effort to understand.  And once I understand, I will make the decision to teach my child that all traditions are not necessary and some of them may even be harmful.

Dressing up as “Pilgrims and Indians” may seem harmless, but there are echoes of discontentment that run deep in Native American culture that are dying to be heard.  Whether it’s cultural appropriation, cartoonish images, stereotypical war cries heard at football games, or the names of sports teams.  Each of these things has a history that I dare you to explore further.

And even if you decide these histories have nothing to do with you and bear no importance in the course of your life, at least acknowledge the weight they carry for others.

An Ode to the Lazy Daters

This post first appeared on Modern Ruth Project…go check it out!

The lazy person claims, ‘There’s a lion out there!  If I go outside, I might be killed!’ – Proverbs 22:13

Ok.  So I know that I’m supposed to be talking to all the single ladies.  All the Ruth’s out there waiting on their Boaz.  But for some reason I feel led to address the men first.  The guys.  The brothers.

Because if you were to Google the term “Christian dating,” “being single while christian,” or just plain old “dating,” 99% of the returned results would be geared towards women.  As if we’re dating or getting married to some invisible, non-existent species.  Or worse yet, that men are in no need of dating advice.  Which would be false.

But here’s what really grinds my gears.  I know so many incredible women who are being taught and inspired to wait.  To wait on God.  To wait on men to pursue.  But for some odd reason men are not being taught to actually do the pursuing.  Or even just the approaching of humans of the opposite sex.

Many times when you go to singles events at church, it looks more like a desert safari than a room full of grown people itching for a date.  Men on one side staying as far away from the imaginary entrance into the lion’s den of female hunters on the other side.

And that analogy may seem a bit far fetched, but you get what I’m saying.  Many men are fearful.  They’re afraid of rejection.  Afraid they might get ‘hurt again.’  Afraid they’ll look like a fool or less of a man if they put their pride on the line to pursue a woman intentionally.

Well you know what?  You might get rejected.  You might get ‘hurt again.’  And you will have to lay your ego down in order to let God take the forefront in your relationships – over and over again.  But don’t let the laziness or fear keep you from the great things God has for you because you’re afraid.

Because in the arena of dating, when you step outside of your comfort zone and take chances to get to know women God has placed in your life, it may not exactly be a confidence builder.

She might cut you with her words.  She might shoot you down with a nasty glance and a mean side eye.  She may not answer that text in a timely fashion.  But it is still your responsibility to take the risk of being rejected, cut, shot down, and sometimes even wait on her as long as you’re walking in obedience.

Now to my ladies.  To my Ruth’s still waiting on their Boaz.  Do not take that man’s fear as your opportunity to pounce.

A man who is too afraid to ask you out or take that chance in just saying hello doesn’t need to be coaxed out of his man cave of trepidation.  That’s where the ambiguous ‘friendgirls’ and ‘textlationships’ live.  And we all know how those stories end…Or how they go on forever and ever with no end in sight.

God did not call you to become less of yourself so as not to threaten the timid.  You were called to be dangerous for the Kingdom.  And the man who is not scared to take on the challenge and privilege of loving you will be drawn to, not fearful of your purpose.

So whether you’re trusting in the wait or following God’s lead in the pursuit, you can know for certain that there is no such thing as immunity from challenges or human rejection.

Faith is the epitome of freedom but it is not safe. There are lions out there, and you will learn a few lessons in humility.  But staying in the confines of fear is not an option when you walk with an almighty God.

Stay bold my friends…

Roz

You are what you fear.

I was sitting at home, casually perusing through Facebook when I noticed a pattern on my feed.  All of my friends were posting photos of their date nights, snaps with their husbands for a night on the town, and those strange mirror selfies while getting dressed up for dinner.

My first thought was “Seriously?  Why are all of these people going out on a weeknight? Ugh!  Don’t they have to work tomorrow?  It’s after 9:00 for goodness sake!”

Me second thought after realizing it was Friday, and therefore perfectly acceptable to do such things past 9:00pm was “Wow. You’re getting old.  You should get out more.”  This thought was quickly forgotten as it was almost my bedtime.

My third thought?  Fear.  Absolute fear.  About what, you ask?  I’ll let you take a guess.  Better yet, maybe you can just answer yourself.  When it comes to your singleness, what’s the biggest fear that you have?  The biggest fear that most of us have?

That we’ll die alone, never having known the pursuit of a godly man.  Or even just a sane man with good credit, a solid career, and all of his teeth.

Continue reading this post on Modern Ruth Project…

10 Things I’ve Discovered While Homeschoolin’

Oh my.  It has officially been 1 month since we started our homeschoolin’ journey.  Some days are great and run like lard in a hot pan.  And some days are incredibly trying with me attempting not to lose my mind, patience, or my salvation.  Amen.

Regardless there are some things I’ve discovered in these last 4 weeks that hopefully will accomplish a few things: (1) allow others to understand more about the best decision I’ve ever made for myself and the Monkey (2) encourage others to consider which education options are best for your own little Monkeys, and (3) to remind myself to keep going on those days where I want to dangle her safely from a medium height balcony à la Michael Jackson.

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So back to this whole list thing.  I probably could’ve listed waaaay more than 10, but I feel like after 10 you all would probably stop reading.  So would I.  Plus 10 is a nice, round number.  And here we go:

1) Education is about developing, grooming, equipping, and celebrating each child’s uniqueness.  Not bending their abilities and talents to fit uniform standards.

And this applies to public, private, and homeschool.  Not one of you is safe.  I even find myself trying to fight the standards that others think she should be fitting into on a daily basis.  When it’s noon on a school day and we’re at the grocery store I get stopped by at least one person wondering why she’s not ‘in school.’  Correction.  She is.  And we’re learning about the nuances of nutrition, monetary transactions, counting, reading, social skills, and the importance of planning.  Things I wish I had learned in school, but was stuck to a desk for 8 hours in the day.  And, again, I turned out fine.  But being able to take school outside (literally and figuratively) has been amazing and shown me the strange and amazingly unique ways that my child thinks about herself and the world.

2) Spending this much time with your kid(s) makes you love and appreciate them so much more.

My kid is the best darn 5 year old on the planet.  No joke.  She’s funny, athletic, bossy, loving, and has an old soul.  She likes weird music like her mommy and her favorite song is Paradise City by Guns N Roses.  She doesn’t like to brush her teeth but understands how bad breath can hinder her social life.  She cries uncontrollably during sad parts in movies and is an empath at heart.  I knew these things prior to our homeschooling time, but not to the depth that I do now.

3) Spending this much time with your kid(s) makes you want to be by yourself more often.

I feel like this doesn’t need a blurb or an explanation.  See my post on Heaven in Duluth for more inspiration.  Or reference the Michael Jackson dangle.

4) Some homeschool days are the best ever.

I feel like superwoman.  Like I can conquer the world.  Or like Leo doing his happy strut.

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Like I can get the laundry, cooking, homeschooling, and work done at the same damn time.  And then…

5) …Some homeschool days are just plain bad.

She has a complete, nuclear meltdown about a broken brown crayon.  Or that I put her bracelets in the wrong jewelry box.  Or that we have raspberries instead of blueberries for lunch.  Or for no reason at all.  Like.  AT.  ALL.  These are all true stories, by the way.  Just in case you couldn’t tell.  Then there are the shining mother of the year moments where I snap about the complaints of “We’ve been doing this for 10 hours!!!”…when it’s only been 5 minutes.  Which leads me to number 6…

6) In Kid Time, 5 minutes is equivalent to 6 hours, 39 minutes, and 17 seconds.

So when I’m trucking along in math work, with my Leo Happy Strut, thinking things are peachy, and it’s been…21 minutes!…and she starts to whine.  I have to take a step back and realize that it’s just been an ETERNITY in KinderLand.

7)  Kids crave independence more than we give them credit for.

If I had a penny for every time she screams “Let me do it!” I could be homeschooling AND retired.  And if your kid is a human, I’m sure you hear this a lot, too.  But do you listen?  Do you actually let them do it?  Or do you try to pull a ninja “it’s already done” move before they notice their opportunity has passed?  Don’t feel guilty, sometimes that ninja move is necessary.  But every once in a while, let them actually do it.  As long as it won’t kill or maim them.  Notice I didn’t say hurt.  Because sometimes kids need to fall, bump, bruise, and pick themselves back up in order to learn their best.

8) Those cheesy homeschool planners that you can download from the internet are amazeballs.  Get one.

I mean, really.  Like most things I was skeptical.  I asked myself, “Do I really need to plan out each homeschool day?  I mean, let’s just go with the flow, dude.”

Yeah, no.  We went ‘with the flow’ for exactly 1 day before I caved.  The Flow was more like a muddy monsoon.  So I found a .pdf planner online, sent the print order to Staples, used a coupon because I’m cheap, and walked outta Staples with my homeschool planner and Leo Happy Strut.  And just to make it extra nerdy, I got it bound with the clear plastic front cover.  Like a BOSS.

Now, if a homeschool day is an epic fail, at least I know it wasn’t on the schedule.

9) Make time for community.

I hesitated with this one for a while, and for a few reasons.  First, I am unashamedly introverted.  Also, I had a lot of fear.  Fear that they would judge me for being a single mom.  Silly and unwarranted.  Fear that I would have to participate in small talk, that they would notice I wasn’t exactly participating, and it would make all interactions awkward.  This didn’t exactly happen.  Fear that I would forget every grown person’s name and resort to calling them “Such-and-Such’s Mom.”  This has happened.  Repeatedly.  I am sorry.

10)  Homeschooling has completely changed our home life.

I never thought I’d say this, but I realized it when explaining to another parent the benefits of homeschooling:  Since I’ve started homeschooling, we have more time.  When she was in 5 day-a-week daycare, I felt like we were always rushing and I was constantly stressed about working and trying to stretch what little time we had.

Clearly, we now have more time with each other.  But, overall, we just have more time.  Yes, I still work, but I work a little less.  And because I know that I only have two-ish days to get work done, I work more efficiently.  I don’t waste time on things that don’t matter.  I worry less about things that didn’t deserve my time in worrying about them anyway.  I’m more present, physically and mentally.  And I’m starting to take my dreams, my dreams for my daughter, and her dreams for herself more seriously.

Regardless of what your situation is, I urge you to consider how homeschooling might change your life.

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All the feels.  End sappy moment.

Until next time, keep hope alive my homeschooling friends.

– Such-and-Such’s Mom

What are some things/myths you all have discovered about homeschooling?

And so it begins…

So today was Monkey’s first day of Kindergarten. I mean, really. Time is flying in the most annoying and awesome way.

Here’s documentation that I’m getting older and so is she:

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As a mom, people never tell you that it would be possible to feel multiple simultaneous emotions all at the same time at any given moment regarding the same person.  For instance, this morning dropping her off at school, I felt both excited and scared. Relieved and terrified. A little sad and incredibly proud.

And also…..wanting to choke her for not brushing her teeth when I asked and in awe of how cute she was in her uniform. Or irritated at her snails pace of getting ready while also admiring her laid back approach to everything life. I envy that.

But when all was said and done, the only thing that was a constant during all of this, and has remained since I embarked on this journey…is an overwhelming sense of peace.

Peace that I made the right decision. Peace that I am walking in God’s will. Peace that I am doing the right thing for myself and for Monkey. And peace that I will not fail.

And not surprisingly, a lot of folks have been asking what in the world made me do something like this in the first place. The questions have been non-stop. And understandably so. Some out of concern, some out of curiosity. But, regardless of the motives they always understand completely in the end.

I’ve explained these reasons in previous posts, but never explained where and how this incredibly insane thought originated in the first place. I’ve presented my experience in numbered list format, because apparently people like lists. So here you go:

1) I was praying in my prayer closet. Yes, I actually have a closet that I go into to pray. I write prayers on the wall. I talk with my Father. I listen. I cry. I cry out. I smile. I complain. I repent. I express gratitude. And so on and so forth. If you are a mom, or a human, I recommend you get one. It is the only place on planet Earth where I can meet Him face to face without distractions.

2) I was praying about something completely unrelated to homeschool. Possibly sprinkles and unicorns. Or maybe it was bacon and doughnuts. I hear there’s an impending shortage.

3) There was a pressing, heavy thought of homeschooling. Not an audible voice.  No thunderbolts and flashes of lightning.

4) I ignored it because….well just because I thought bacon was more important at the moment.

5) I couldn’t get the thought out of my mind for days. At that moment, I knew I was ducking and dodging on purpose. Don’t do that. He’ll just keep pestering you.

6) I researched and Googled because that’s what good millenials do.

7) I found a couple schools and Googled some more.

8) I doubted.

9) I went to some open houses, and felt peace. Overwhelming peace that hasn’t left since.

10) I gave in and decided I didn’t know more than the One who created me. Still not sure why this is so hard for humans.

11) Monkey had her first day of school today and I in no way regret steps 1-10 or doubt God’s hand or his presence in every aspect.

12) I might feel differently about 1-11 after tomorrow because it’s our first actual homeschool day. Yikes.

Doubting God

5-ways-to-stop-self-doubt-in-its-tracksI have to admit that I am scared.  The new school year is quickly approaching (Monkey’s first day is August 23d!) and I feel like I am ill prepared to take this on.  I’m scared of failing to educate her the way she deserves.  I’m scared of failing financially in my business and then having to take a more full-time position and therefore quit homeschooling.  

And here’s a kicker….I’m scared of succeeding and not being able to handle it well.  With humility, grace, and gratitude.  Even though that may seem like a silly notion, I’m sure you all can relate.  You know the situations where you’ve been praying fervently for something, waiting  patiently and with expectation.  Then it finally arrives and you either feel like it’s too good to be true, so you ignore or deny God’s hand in the circumstances.  Or you start feeling yourself a little too much, forget to give God the glory.  Or somehow forget to keep seeking God in your success and things eventually fall apart.

Either way, I have to shake off this fear.  I have to walk in confidence that His promises are not empty.  And it is hard, but not impossible.  It is a moment to moment, and sometimes second to second decision to choose trust.  Even in the process of writing this post, I’ve volleyed back and forth between the two extremes – choosing to stand in belief or fall victim to giving up.

But one thing I can say is that I’ve never seen Him fail.  Ever.  Even in those times where I felt abandoned or was caught up in how things “didn’t work out,” I can look back and say He was there, with me every doubt-filled step despite my emotional misgivings.  The times I thought my world was falling apart were actually just opportunities for me to return to the path He had set rather than trying to carry on in my own, destructive ways.

So for those of you who are waiting on something, whether big or small.  Or are discouraged because you feel like you are alone or that He’s forgotten about you, I beg you not to let your emotions win.  Not to let your lack of control during these times determine how you will proceed.  Not to let your lack of patience result in settling for less.

And even if things don’t turn out the way you thought they would, or the picture didn’t quite develop as quickly as expected, that does not mean He has failed you.  Because “The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake” (2 Peter 3:9).  Not because he’s trying to punish you, but because He knows best.  If He didn’t He wouldn’t be God.

So what will you choose today?  Trust and surrender?  Or fear and despair?