The books have been cracked open, the pencils sharpened and the dining room table is in full use. We are exiting our second week of home school and I'm happy to say I'm beginning to feel the flow of routine in our days. It's always hard to rekindle the flame those first few weeks. Saying goodbye to the ease of summer can leave an ache in any soul. We too felt the melancholy air about us as we set our alarm clocks an hour earlier that first night preparing our minds to accept the stretch and flex of the academic year just 9 hours in our future. It's funny how God plans our days to shift toward His purpose. His gentle solid truths that burst from a place we didn't write in our planner.
Like the sudden birth of a monarch butterfly we had been watching for weeks the morning of our first school day. Without warning I realized we were not starting the day with penmanship and grammar lessons. We were setting free a precious life transformed by a couple of weeks rest inside a tiny, tightly woven capsule. It would have been easy for me to think we were wasting the morning as the children relished in the excitement of our new friend. But it was worth savoring the time it took to watch her wings dry until she timidly took flight. Looking back, I don't regret these moments.
I'm learning something this year. Three things actually. None of which I set out to teach but happen quite by accident. I'll list them here for you to see.
1. Beauty and the importance of bringing it with us wherever we go. Whether in our attitude, within our home, work or garden as Miss Rumphius did in the book I read to the girls recently. We were freshly inspired to plant the sweetness of beauty throughout our days even in the simple acts of daily life.
2. Courage will be required throughout our days. Like Christian in Dangerous Journey found as he faced the ferocious fire-breathing monster. There are beasts awaiting us daily, to devour and destroy our very souls if we're not ready with sword in hand. We have not been given a spirit of timidity but of courage and strength. God is the greatest defender in our weakness.
3. Respect and honor is mandatory. A chapter from Across Five Aprils gave way to deep discussion when Jethro was scolded for referring to the president as "Ol' Abe."
"It seems that people everywhere are criticizing him. The abolitionists hate him as much as the sympathizers of the South do. People blame him for the mistakes of his generals; and they're just as bitter about his grammar, his appearance, his family. He would remember the rebuke to the end of his days. He would remember, and he would feel ashamed at the memory, but still, he would wonder. People - smart people, one would suppose since they printed newspapers and drew pictures for them - many of these people spoke of the president as "the baboon," "the ugly, ignorant, backwoods Lincoln," and other names as vicious and expressive of hate."
Learning to honor our leaders with our words is a good lesson for all of us at any age I suppose.
Celebration took place more than once these first two weeks of school. A birthday boy and a wedding anniversary were penciled into our evenings. Gifts were tore open by a spunky toddler and prayers said for the years ahead as a married team.
Two weeks has flown by as I knew it would. The leaves are beginning to change and the thought of digging out that spice cake recipe is on my mind. And in it all I'm thankful my plans don't always go as I intend. It's out of the unexpected I find God's ways to be higher and richer than my pencil marked papers - walking in them free my busied soul to fully engage in the life He's unfolding before me.
"My life passes as swiftly as the evening shadows. I am withering away like grass." Psalm 102:11