Merry Christmas to all!
I pray the Lord keeps you and blesses you in 2011. He has certainly blessed and kept me and my family this year. I am so thankful His love for me isn't conditional, based on my actions and weaknesses. Not that I haven't been disciplined a few times. Ok, a lot of times. :)
I am trying to adjust to life being a working mom after 11 years of being a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom. I will never regret our time at home and still believe God called me to it. For 11 years I was able to be my husband's help meet in the areas of keeping meals prepared, seeing to his personal needs such as having his laundry clean, budgeting, shopping, house-keeping, and caring for and educating the children. I am now called to be my husband's help by providing a steady income. I do miss our homeschooling; I miss the days of snuggling on the couch with a great book...building models in the kitchen...nature walks and field trips and co-op classes with friends. But I also feel good knowing I can help financially and free my husband of some of the burden he has carried so long as our sole provider.
I began housekeeping in July of 2010 and actually enjoyed it. It is hard work, very physically demanding, and sometimes emotionally draining as I tried to learn what each mom wanted done. I plan to continue cleaning a few of my regular homes as I merge into my new job with the school system as a special education teacher's aid. I could write a book on residential cleaning; I learned that much in only 6 months and still have so much to learn. It is good money but not the most steady job. Still, it helped when I needed it and I was glad to have some alone time to think and just do something mindless. I hope to post on tips for starting your own cleaning job, in case there are other moms trying to find some work that can fit into their schedules.
I was pleased to get the job as an aid. I was especially pleased to pass the parapro test with a very good score. I always say I am not all that smart, but I am a pretty good test-taker. And that's the honest truth. But maybe 11 years of schooling three different grade levels also paid off. I have always said if I couldn't homeschool, I'd love to be a preschool teacher, kindergarten teacher, or maybe an elementary social studies teacher. Who knows what doors this might open for me. I've even toyed with the idea of finishing my degree. I'll just have to hop on the train and ride it out.
As for my new job I am a little nervous but excited. I enjoy teaching and so if I couldn't teach at home, it was only a matter of time before I found myself in a different classroom setting. Knowing I am on someone else's time frame makes me much more thankful of the spent homeschooling and setting my own schedule based upon our family's needs. To all my homeschooling friends---enjoy, enjoy, enjoy! I can't tell you how much I DON'T do mornings and that has to be one of the worst parts of my working outside the home (think waking up while it is dark and cranking the car on mornings when the temperature is 27...brrr!). I also miss our daily devotions. I have still not mastered the art of a family quiet time on school days and that is a true shame as a Christian mother. On the other hand, public schooling gives my kids a chance to meet and make new friends and be part of some activities we couldn't do at home. I think they needed to see life on the other side to appreciate the sacrifice their father and I made for them all these years. I was so looking forward to homeschooling my daughter into godly womanhood; she is strong-willed and needs some extra training but is such a beautiful person. I am glad that my sons got so much Biblical training but I feel she is getting cheated. I'd love to hear ideas from public school moms about getting in some meaningful, daily Bible study when you're schedule is already bursting at the seams. Meanwhile I take every chance I get to teach her to be obedient to us and God.
I have no idea what God is doing in my life right now. A popular contemporary song says, " Whatever You're doing inside of me....it feels like chaos, but somehow there's peace." I have really experienced the "peace that passes understanding" this year. I have truly been through some valleys and yet, I'd feel this indescribable peace. And mercy. And love. And gratitude. And blessings. Not that I haven't felt worry...and fear...and sorrow...and emptiness. Christians can get weighed down by the burdens of this world, too. But underneath it all, I have hope. I know I am God's child, a daughter of the King of this universe who owns "the cattle on a thousand hills"...He cares for me and knows every trivial detail of my life.
I have a plethora of verses I have been posting around the house to encourage me. I got that idea from a friend who has scripture verses written and painted on the walls of her home. Such a blessing to me! I'd go to clean and perhaps was having a horrible day and just the right verse would be there. I'd read it and be moved to tears because I knew God was speaking to me through His Word. So many prayers sent up...so many prayers answered...many more to come I'm sure. Thank you Lord, for Your patience with me!
Jarred is feeling better and will be able to return to work in January. I know he is ready.
Nick is growing every day and really is becoming a man. He has been my right-hand man this past year and is a big help at home. Its hard to believe he is 15 already. He is ready to take his permit test. I think I'll die. :)
Adrian is really coming out of his shell. He can crack some comebacks with the best of them now. He's still my sweet boy though; easy to please and not very demanding. That is a breath of fresh air for me.
Ashleigh is six going on sixteen. She is sweet, prissy, and very girly. And did I say emotional?? Girls sure do change moods easily. Raising boys might be a little easier. Ask me again in ten years. ;)
Only a few more days until my 17th wedding anniversary and the New Year. I have no way of knowing what the new year will bring but whatever it does, I can't wait to experience it with my friends and family.