Thursday, February 25, 2010

New seasons.

I'm reading a book at the moment called: Raising your Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka. So far besides learning about my children I'm actually learning more about myself. Which is pretty interesting as when we started this year I felt like this was a year that we, as a family would start to learn many new things about each other to strengthen our bonds. I felt like the Lord was saying we need to take time to really learn to accept and love one another for our strengths and our weaknesses.

So guess what? I'm about six chapters into the book and I've discovered I'm the Spirited one! Now if you're like me, I need to avoid labels. I know that I must not hang onto a label and say:that's me, that's how I'll always be. You see I believe that because I know Jesus, His changing life is in me. So I believe that because He is my Saviour He came to set me free from all bondages (labels, mindsets etc.) that tie me down and don't allow me to walk in His ways. It's up to me to choose to let go or not! When I read a book like this my eyes are often opened to two things-where I am as an individual and what the Lord has already done in me.
In the past when I did personality assessments it was pretty discouraging for me when I came out as a melancholy person or perfectionist personality. Being the melancholy perfectionist my immediate reaction was: Oh no, I'm always going to be this way! But then I got to know Jesus more and HE started showing me: I love you for who you are, you have a purpose and I can teach you to be more like me using what you see as your weaknesses.
So as I'm reading this book and I discover that I'm the spirited introvert instead of my old reaction I have to choose my new one: It's ok to be me, God made me this way and HE can complete the good work HE started. Thank you, once again My Lord, that you are the master potter!
I know that I haven't gone into detail about the book, basically I wanted to share that it is a tool which is helping me to accept myself, my husband and my children for who we are as individuals. Having explained all of that, now I can tell you about our new routines.

Last year was a year of letting go of routines and learning to not let them rule me. I needed to learn to trust that God knows best and that HE can lead us onto the path that we need to take. So, when this year started I was still feeling like we shouldn't be following any curriculum of sorts but I was feeling that I'd like to have some sort of input for the kids. I've always loved the idea of exploring our world outdoors and feel it's really important for us to know about the world we live in. I've also always believed in starting where you are and building on to that. By this I mean: explore your immediate environment before you start learning about the rest of the world. So with this principal in mind I had a strong desire to start taking the kids to explore Simon's Town-a very historical navy "town" nearby filled with lots of interesting museums and shops to visit.

the navy docks in Simon's Town

I still want to spend time in nature so once a month we're visiting Simon's Town and as often as possible we'll be out in nature. Besides discovering our world all of us are discovering new interests. Jenna started ballet this year-she is loving it! She says she always wants to be a ballerina. She has also been attending a club especially for little girls called The Princess Club. Once a week they meet to have a tea party, bible lesson and play games with the other girls. These two activities have taken care of her need to "do things on my own mom, you don't need to come with". Wow, when did she grow up? It all happened when she turned five!
Michael has started Play Ball. I love watching him participate. He is such an enthusiastic little boy who knows exactly what he wants to do, so it has been great to see that he can in fact follow another adult's instructions :-)
And me? Well I've started pottery and pilates! After the holidays my husband and I realised that I needed more me time. (Something which I have discovered us introverts need a lot of from reading the book-and I'm going to try not to feel bad about it!). I had been doing dancing and running a year ago but due to finances and time constraints etc. I had to give both up. So I am in dire need of exercise and I also felt I needed to release my creative side. It was my intention to take a Wednesday morning to myself for the pottery classes but when we got back from holiday to no maid and then found one and then lost her and found another(!), we haven't quite settled into that routine yet.

My husband is the only one now who needs to start something new. Or rather rekindle something old-we're hoping that he'll be able to start painting again, just finding the time has been impossible between his work and setting up a website (about oil painting) at night. And then of course he needs to find time to get to gym!

busy little hands: they love to help dad

So having let go of routines last year I found myself having to juggle activities and when they would happen during our week. The Lord is so patient and knows me so well though. When we were deciding who would do what when, it just so happened that each activity couldn't start in the same week. This gave me (the slower to adapt one) time to settle into our new routine. As the weeks have passed we've added one new activity a week!
This meant having to sit down again and plan a routine of sorts. Remembering that I shouldn't let the routine rule me and allowing for flexibility if my plans don't work out has been a lot easier than in the past. Slowly, slowly I'm learning to let the Lord be my Shepherd and to trust that HE will lead me to the quiet waters our family needs.

Jenna turning five has also brought about a few changes. She started the year begging to go to school-oh my! I realised that it was partly because friend's from church were starting Grade One and partly for her need to do her own thing. Since starting ballet and Princess Club she hasn't asked again. I am well aware now that this could be a question that is asked at the beginning of each new year, but I think that the Lord can use this in a positive way like He has this year. After prayer and chatting, my husband and I had to evaluate if we were still walking on the road that the Lord was wanting for us. So for this year we still feel that our children should be at home with me and not attend pre-school.
Jenna is also one of those children who catches onto new concepts quickly. She has always loved books, the computer, dvds and physical activity in abundance. She has taught herself to read-but is yet to realise fully that she could actually pick up an easy book and read it independently. (it's so sweet to watch her as she reads something and then proclaims:"I can read it mom, didn't you know?") She recognises letters and numbers above pre-school level and has the ability to write and transcribe most words she uses. Having a child who learns like she does can be a joy to watch but at other times it is quite pressurising for me. Knowing that a lot of her friends are starting more formal learning-even some of our home school friends- made me feel like I wasn't doing enough for her (silly how I let other's influence me, I know!) But once again after waiting, we are finding new ways for her to take little steps forward without putting pressure on her or myself to follow a school-like schedule.
We still feel that it is important to focus on relationships and to let our children enjoy as much free time to play as possible. As she was asking for school though, I thought I'd feed that desire a little more this year and started a journal with her. Every now and then we chat about something she'd like to write/draw about and she does it in her journal. We're reading longer chapter books and playing maths or reading readiness games too. (Of course this all has to be done when our little man is having his nap!)
Together we all have a bible reading, sing songs and at least once a week we try to have a crafts day.
Our weeks are actually so full now there's no time to ask: "Can I go to school?"
Of course there's still co-op, park days, library visits and friends to play with! I promise we do rest here ;-)

enjoying co-op with our friends

So as we take our steps forward, albeit slowly, we're learning more and more about each other and how to love and accept our individual personalities. If we are spirited or not, most importantly our goal is learning to LOVE as Christ loves us.