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Posts from for 05/17/2014
A little wit, a little struggle, a lot of Jesus
By Tresta Payne on May 16, 2014 02:59 pm
I just dropped my children off for homeschool testing. For the next 3 hours they’ll be filling in bubbles hopefully and chewing their number twos, and I’m nowhere to be seen.
It’s the time of year when we tally up our progress, or lack thereof, and I feel like I’m the one being tested – this mom with little education and even less patience and I wonder if my kids are nervous. I wonder if I’m nervous for them, or for me.
It will be a month or more before the results come back.
Honestly, I don’t usually fret much about testing because I know what my kids know, what their strengths and weaknesses are. I know what we’ve covered this year and that the test may be over stuff we did last year, or not at all, and that’s fine.
I know that my youngest will tend to read words wrong and skip important ones and he could probably do really well if I were there to help him along, but I’m not.
I know that my kids are smart in their own way and some of them are really good test takers, some of them have smarts that don’t show on a multiple choice exam, and some are just really great artists right now.
But still, it’s a test. And we need to do well on tests, right? Surely that would prove we’re meeting certain guidelines and doing what we’re supposed to. It might even prove something to me.
I am always wondering and praying and hoping that we are doing the right thing.
I’ve been struggling with deadlines lately. I write once a week for our local paper’s online mom’s section, and every Tuesday my phone pops up this reminder: NR article due today. Some weeks I have two articles due – one for print, one for online.
It stresses me out.
I rarely meet the deadline and get the words and the pictures in by 4 p.m. Most weeks I’m taking advantage of grace and stretching the limits, because if my article doesn’t post till Saturday…does it really have to be in by Tuesday?
I procrastinate a little. I google and research and make coffee. I fold oodles of laundry. I pray and I finally write and I hope that something comes together, and by the skin of my teeth (what? is that?) and the grace of God, I make it each week.
I’m a free-wheeler and freedom-lover who needs boundaries, deadlines, and tests. If I didn’t have those parameters to work in, I’d be even more of a mess.
As much as I chafe at having to test my kids for the state’s satisfaction and having to get words written on someone else’s timeline, there is nothing really wrong with the accountability and the stress of it.
That’s right. There is nothing wrong with a little stress. Sometimes we work too hard to make life stress-free, for us and our kids.
Our older kids did track this year and my mommy-motto was: Embrace the butterflies – they make you run faster.
When it was 55 degrees for weeks and then all of a sudden the Oregon sun came down in 90 degree rays, I tried to convince them that the heat also made them faster.
Maybe Jedi mind tricks don’t work, but my desire is that none of us would be afraid of those hard things.There is a lot to be learned from pain, mistakes, and the stress of being tested – by the state or your peers or God.
We have to decide inside. And then we have to allow certain boundaries and deadlines to give us the freedom to do what God inspires us to do. Freedom that sometimes pushes heavy on our backs and forces us to get the work done.
My three hours is up.
Tell me how you do with deadlines and limitations and stress.
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By Tresta Payne on May 08, 2014 11:48 am
I’m so thankful that there is not one ideal personality that pleases God most.
I spoke with a group of moms yesterday about the differences in all of our children, be they step-children or biological children or adopted children. Every person is fitted with a unique personality and there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to communicating with, disciplining, encouraging, or training them.
Try as we might, and I have, there’ll be no squeezing all of one’s children into a mold one has made for them. Child #2 will not be like child #1, etc.
I remember blissfully reading stories to my firstborn. She would sit and listen contentedly to all the words, point at the pictures, and then ask for another book. I would put board books in her crib so that if she woke up “too early” from her nap, she could entertain herself with books.
Child #2 had to be strapped into his highchair with a tray of cheerios in order for me to read to him. I sat close enough to show him the pictures, but far enough away that he couldn’t grab The Pokey Puppy and chuck it like a live grenade. He wasn’t a “tough child” or any more difficult than his sister; just different.
I have often tried to be different, in a different way than I already am different. I have tried to be more outgoing, tried to be more excited, tried to be more small-talky and brave about meeting people and less self-aware and timid. It hasn’t really worked very well, or at least it hasn’t stuck.
Honestly, there are things about me that I attribute to personality which are really just sin, and Jesus and I are working on those things. I’m working on making fewer excuses and listening better to the still, small voice that prompts me to be more about others, less about me. I don’t know what the technical line between Personality and Habitual Sin is, but I know it must be somewhere between being content to be alone and never wanting to make a mistake in front of others.
It’s odd that I could be truly content to be alone and also prefer to be alone because I make a lot of mistakes, and that I write words and publish them for all the internet-browsing world to see. I have written less lately, for several reasons, but one true conviction I’ve listened to is that waiting for perfect words to encase imperfectly finished thoughts is futile and debilitating.
Maybe my desire to dazzle in my work is actually hindering my ability to do move forward in my life. ~ Emily Freeman, Chatting at the Sky
Sometimes my personality feeds my sin, and maybe the opposite is also true.
The one thing that settles me when fear shakes the picnic blanket out from under me: there is no formula or list or stone-tablet-way to be more pleasing to God. There is no way to be more saved or more Christian or more acceptable to a perfect God who sees Jesus when He looks at me.
If I had 15 more children they’d come with at least 15 more personalities, and at the sight of each one I would think that is my child. And sure – some personalities are more compatible with others. Having a child with a decidedly opposite personality from yours can make you work harder in that relationship, but I’m pretty convinced you would still scratch the eyes out of anyone who tried to hurt that child. In a godly sort of way.
So for now I’m laying down that desire to be perfect and just resting in my child-hood. I’m resting in the security of being perfectly loved, though imperfect. And when I say, “for now” I probably just mean this very moment when I’m about to hit publish, because I know myself and I know that peace with imperfection comes in waves.
I’m riding this one out, though, hoping it’s more of a layer on my life and less of a wave.
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