Sunday, July 29, 2012

Retreat, Changes Ahead, and Parenting Desperation

Silence.  Sitting with my thoughts.  Loosening of constraints.  Unhurried prayer.  Sleeping until the sun wakens me.  Is this a dream or what?

Last January I attended a talk where a woman shared how important it is to get away and have time to think and reflect.  At the the time, I didn't imagine that this could happen for me, thinking of a flood of excuses.  But then an opportunity dropped in my lap.  The price was right, the location amazing, and the husband agreed!  So, this last weekend I have been hanging out at a huge victorian mansion on a lake in northern Indiana, with my own bedroom and bathroom, lots of free time, beautiful weather, and encouraging ladies to share it with.  There has been some card-playing, a little bit of Olympics-viewing, and a bonfire.  But mostly just time on my own, to take walks, sit on the dock, read, and think.

I feel so blessed to have been able to escape all of the responsibilities that I have on a day-to-day basis.  The timing of this retreat couldn't have been better.  This pregnancy has left me too tired to be able to get up before the kids and have my own unfettered, quiet time every day.  I have really missed that time to sit and think and plan.  Some of us need it more than others.  I'm in that "Need It A Lot" camp right now!  This retreat has left me feeling very grateful.  I feel restored.

Here's hoping that the fall with be smooth, the newborn will be compliant (ha ha!), and the recharging I have experienced this weekend will carry me for a long time.


May was medical-recovery-month, June was unexpected-job-opportunity (for Kevin) / soul-searching-month (wherein we discovered that it's not a bad thing to realize you like where you're at!), and July has been birthday-month.  With everything going on, the summer seems to have flown by so fast.

We will start school a little later this year, after Labor Day.  I am relieved that I still have the month of August to play in the pool with the kids and complete some projects at home.

This year we are doing something new.  Meredith will attend the Highlands Latin School three days a week.  Next year, if we decide to continue using HLS, she will be able to attend either two days or three days depending on the classes we want her to take.  This spring I really hit a wall and came to the realization that I need more help.  We decided to take advantage of this awesome school, based in Louisville, that opened a campus in a neighboring city.

A man plans his way, but God directs his steps.   I thought I would continue homeschooling full time.  But, when at the end of my rope, this opportunity opened up.  I think Meredith will benefit from attending HLS.  She will be doing her work at home two days and I will still be very involved in that, but I won't have the pressure to "do it all" with her academically.  There are pros and cons to everything, but this opportunity is a huge relief to me right now.

I am also very excited to be able to spend more one-on-one time with Clara, who simply needs more of my attention right now.  We will do kindergarten together at home.  I envision lots of read-alouds, cuddle time, and baking projects.


If you were a fly on my bedroom wall, you would notice that there are four parenting books on my nightstand right now.  You would probably also surmise that I am someone who is desperate for some wisdom on how to handle some issues I'm having with child-rearing.  Four books on parenting.  Obvious conclusion, right?

I have finished two of these books and am in the middle of the third one.  These books have given me much to think about. The one I am reading right now is, hands down, the best parenting book I have ever read.  Ever.  In fact, I am going to start telling people that it is the only parenting book they need to read.    It has already made a difference in how I handle instruction and discipline and, more importantly, it has made a difference in my heart and my attitude, which is quickly affecting how one particular child (the one who has brought me to my knees), is responding.

Most of my review of this book is already written, but I want to actually finish it before I post it.  I will let you know my conclusions and why I feel this book is so powerful, so biblical, and what I have done wrong up to this point. You will hear back from me.  Soon.



the Joneses said...

I can't figure out why you need a break. I mean, it's not like I've read these three posts and am so exhausted by what you've gotten done I have to lie down for a while. :)

(Late) Congratulations on #4! We're very happy to hear that there will be another little Koons to brighten the world.

Good for you for finding a school plan that works. It sounds like a great compromise.

I'm going on a retreat for myself this weekend, only not it a to-die-for house like that. Too bad we can't meet up and have coffee while enjoying time to ourselves.

Always glad to see a new post from you.

-- SJ

Queen of Carrots said...

The retreat sounds fabulous! And so does the school option--it will be fun for you to have time to focus on just one.

Diary of an Autodidact said...

I'm with you on the "one child who brings you to your knees" thing. Although I think I have two of those, and possibly a third when she gets a bit older.

There are just times when I have to think of Queen of Carrots' perfect line about the child who takes punishment as an opportunity to show her strength of character.

And, from one parent of 4+ to another, embrace the chaos!

Di said...

Hi Amy, really looking forward to your book review, I really like the idea of grace based parenting, but what I have seen so far seems a little too laid back and permissive.

Hope you're managing to get some rest,

Love Di xxx

Di said...

Hi Amy, sorry to comment again, but can I ask if your parenting struggles relate to a strong willed child, and that is what the grace book has helped with? Looking for as much help as possible!

Thanks xxx

Alaina said...

I am ordering that book - thanks for the recommendation!

Rachelle said...

I'm way behind on reading blogs but just read this one and wanted to have coffee with you and commiserate. I'm glad you are giving yourself a little break and really have to laugh at the whole mentality that sending a child to school for a few days a week is a break when you are home raising two more. :) I hope the pregnancy goes well and keep writing.
The book is on my short-list....