Friday, November 25, 2016

Giving Thanks

"I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you."  ~ Philippians 1:3

Thanksgiving Breakfast

"We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you..."  ~ Colossians 1:3

"We always thank God for all of you, remembering you constantly in our prayers."  ~ I Thessalonians 1:2

"We must always thank God for you.."  ~ 2 Thessalonians 1:3

Little Man stroking his uncle's head! 

My mother in law had ALL of her children around her this Thanksgiving! 

The balancing game - totally made up and spontaneous!

God is so good - this year Thanksgiving came at the perfect time for me, personally.  While I have always been extremely thankful for my family, this year I have been struggling to be thankful for our current family dynamic.  Our adoption story is not, on the surface, wonderful or beautiful.  I know that in God's economy it is absolutely miraculous, but here in my economy, in my home, on a day to day basis, it is hard and messy and ugly and painful.  Daughter H is a very angry person, and while she has valid reasons for feeling angry, she doesn't yet know how to handle her anger and it often erupts onto me and various members of the family.  Each of the boys responds to her anger differently (daughter G being away at college means she deals with this the least now), and therefore our family dynamic is much different than it used to be, and different than I thought it would be at this stage.  

Most of the time all of my physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental energy is required for the here and now of daily life, and there is a large part of me that has been reluctant to spend time "looking back" for fear it would make me discontent with "now."  So I have just not allowed myself the time to grieve what used to be.  I did that this week, before Thanksgiving.  Just let myself feel all the sadness that has been hidden in my heart for a long time.  The regret.  The longing for things to be different.  

When Thanksgiving morning came, I woke up at 8 to get the turkey in the oven, and I felt refreshed. Cleansed.  Ready.

Holidays are complicated for us since daughter H joined our family. So many emotions are churned to the surface for her, and those emotions often bleed out to the rest of us.  I won't say it was "easy" to navigate this Thanksgiving, but it was easiER.  

Daughter H's emotional baggage will always be part of the backdrop of our lives, and helping our other children navigate it will be a full time job for the foreseeable future, but she and her baggage are part of God's plan for our family.  Our dynamic is meant to include her.  It is hard and messy and painful and amazing and mysterious and beautiful.

I am thankful. 

Friday, November 18, 2016

Our Week in Review

This is a bit of a photo dump, as it includes highlights from the last three weeks.  We were thrilled to have daughter G home from  college for fall break, and she brought her room-mate with her!  We had a fun and delightful weekend together.  While she was home we did our annual family tradition of painting little pumpkins for Halloween.

Daughter G is in the house!!

Her room-mate (in red shirt) is a sweet heart.

The finished pumpkins!  Don't we have a great variety?

Little Man did an impromptu science experiment when he found a caterpillar in the folds of some corn leaves, when shucking corn on the cob for supper one night.  He asked if he could create a habitat for the caterpillar and watch it turn into a chrysalis and then a butterfly.  We weren't sure if it was a butterfly caterpillar or some other type, but we were excited for Little Man to try.  In fact, in the pumpkin photo above you can see his caterpillar habitat in the jar behind the pumpkins.  He put fresh leaves in the jar each day for the caterpillar to eat, and we tried a variety of other food scraps as well.  We put water on a cotton ball for it to drink.  Not sure it ever used that, but we wanted to cover all our bases!

I wasn't sure what was going to happen to this little caterpillar, but lo and behold, after about three weeks it turned into a chrysalis!  And then one day about a week later we suddenly realized there was a little moth in the jar!  It successfully "hatched in captivity!"

Little Man watched it for another day and then let it free in our back yard.

Sons G and L, with another friend, have formed a band, and they practice in our music room every week.  So here it is, getting used!!  I love that our music room gets used so much.

We have been having such lovely fall weather.....this has been a common sight the last couple of weeks!

On November 11 we went to our local Veterans Day Memorial Service.  We were the only school aged kids there, since it was during the day.  I am so glad for the flexibility of homeschooling!

And last but not least, we packed an Operation Christmas Child shoe box this week.  Other years we have been able to pack more, but I'm thankful that we could do ONE this year!  One box is all it takes to make one child somewhere in the world supremely happy.  (our main gift was a deflated soccer ball and a ball pump).

We finished reading The Sign of the Beaver and started The Witch of Blackbird Pond this week.  The usual math and science and grammar and composition happened.   In history we are wrapping up our study of the origins of the original thirteen colonies and about to begin the lead up to the Revolutionary War.