Wednesday, March 28, 2012

"Let the memories begin"."

We took our kids on vacation last week. We went to Disney World, Sea World, Lego Land, and the Kennedy Space Center. Yes, in case you are wondering, there is an excellent chance we were out of our minds when we decided to do ALL that in 9 days (2 days in the car (10 hours each way) 4 for Disney World, and one each for the rest. NO REST DAYS)
Since there is WAY TOO MUCH to try and record it all accurately, I have put together Cliff Notes for you. Keep these handy in case you ever attempt to do something so totally fun, and crazy, with your own family.
*Deciding to choose practicality over fashion, Faith and I wore our tennis shoes the first day, even with our cute summer outfits. By the end of the day we were still limping because our feet hurt, plus they were HOT from being cooped up in shoes the whole day. The rest of the week we wore sandals. Our rational? “If our feet are going to hurt anyway, we might as well wear our cute shoes!” We both stand by this decision, even after 6 days of sandals.
*You have to wait AN HOUR in line to have your picture taken with the popular characters like Buzz Lightyear or Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Choose less well known characters, like Chip and Dale. “Who cares about Mickey Mouse, kids? Look! There’s Chip and Dale! Aren’t they cute???”
*The rides that say “YOU MAY GET WET” and the areas of the bleachers that say “Splash Zone! There is a chance you may get sprayed” are not being truthful. They should say “You will have water dripping from every surface of your body, guaranteed!”***If you ignore the “you may get wet” warnings and go on the rides or sit in the splash zones anyway…
1. No one will stop you if you strip your kids down to their underwear and wring water from their clothes.
2. Some of the bathrooms have high powered blow dryers, and it’s totally fine to dry clothes in those. It only takes 20 minutes per item. Shoes take longer.
3. There are no underwear stores in any of the parks. SO unless you want to let your kids MOON everyone while you are wringing out/drying their clothes, they will just have to wear their wet underwear for the rest of the day. You could be bright and pack them a spare pair…if you can fit it in your bag with all the cameras.
4. None of the above tips apply to yourself or your spouse. I tried to get Heath to strip in the middle of the theme park and let me wring water from his clothes, but he declined. He is, however, the reason we KNOW there are no underwear stores inside…he looked for one all day.
*They height checking people are NAZI’s!!!!! If your kid’s hair brushes the line, but their scalp doesn’t hit it, they won’t let them on the ride. So make them wear heels, or the thickest shoes they own, and tell them they can either have comfortable feet or they can ride the rides, and you don’t want to hear whining either way.
*In  the event you forget the above shoe rule…a pair of socks balled up and stuffed inside tennis shoes beneath the heels will work quite well. Don’t let them walk around before you have them measured though. Kids wiggle their feet nonstop, and the socks will slide down in their shoes. After finding an out of the way spot to do the stuffing, just hoist them on your back and pretend they were too tired to walk, then set them down ON the measuring stand to be checked. Remember to smile at the NAZI checking heights. That may be a good day to wear extra makeup and fix your hair, too. Batting your eyelashes and laughing at the right moments seem to help distract from your kid standing on a stand on his tiptoes because you stuffed 2 inches of socks inside his shoes. It might work without the flirting…that’s your chance to take.
*The food is pretty bad. The first day you should lie and pretend it’s good so you feel less guilty about spending $40 on lunch…but after that, just chalk it up to the whole experience, pay a ton of money, and eat the nasty food. You don’t have to keep saying its good all week. Not even the kids believe the lie after the first day. Or you can starve…your call.
*There will be LOTS of little kids on leashes. Those parents must think this is preferable to a stroller with a seatbelt, but I disagree. I am pretty sure a stroller is the way to go. Yes, you have to leave it some places and carry the child, but it beats choking your kid while dragging them away from yet another gift shop…you end up carrying them anyway, and making comments like “I am getting mad now. I am going to spank you.” My internal response to this comment? “OF COURSE YOU’RE MAD! Your child is kicking you in the stomach repeatedly because they wanted to walk into that gift shop and you pulled on their CHAIN to keep them from it!!!!!” Luckily I remembered my brain to mouth filter when packing for the trip, so I didn’t say that out loud. By the way, the stroller is pretty good cover in the event you DO have to spank the child. Not that I know this firsthand. It’s just speculation. CHOOSE THE STROLLER PEOPLE!
*If there are barf bags on a ride, and you are thinking “I’ll be fine. I only get A LITTLE motion sick,” …you may make it through the ride without barfing, but the nasty food you eat the rest of the day will be even nastier in your stomach. And the underwear stores that they DON’T have inside must also be the stores that sell Pepto…cause nowhere else does. I guess they figure if you’re dumb enough to ride the ride even after seeing the barf bags…you deserve to feel sick all day. It probably would have cost $20 for one Pepto tablet anyway.
*No matter how exhausted you are at the end of the day, once your kids hit the hotel room…they go nuts. It’s possible the hotels are in cahoots with the theme parks, because the only thing that makes you want to go back to the park the next day is the need to get OUT of that room. I am thinking they put something into the vents…like speed or something. It doesn’t work on parents though. We still feel like passing out. I requested that the coffee station start offering high-powered narcotics with the coffee…I think they thought I was kidding.
*Even if you eat NOTHING green the whole week (which you won’t, because the entire place is void of vegetables) your kids poop will still be green…maybe that’s the color the SPEED is that they inhale while in the hotel room. Maybe it’s the color poop turns from dehydration (“No, I am not buying you a drink. They cost $7.50! There is a water fountain over there! Hurry, just one sip, we gotta go get in line for another ride.”) Maybe it’s from needing to use the barf bags but managing to hold it in. Yes, I realize this is a gross tip, but you will be glad to know it, I promise. It’s better than the shock.
 I could go on forever, but I won’t. Some of the things are just funnier to learn the hard way. (insert evil (and slightly sympathetic) laugh here.) 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

failure...and perfection

I hate to fail.
When I was 11 or 12, I got up to start my normal school day and my mom informed me I had a history test. I was unaware that it was test day and I was unprepared. I remember begging her to let me take it the next day so that I could study, but she remained steadfast. I can still feel the pit of dread in my stomach as I sat down…That test is the one and only B grade I ever received in school. I cried. Not just a little sniffle, but REAL tears of total devastation. I felt like such a failure.
I played city league basketball when I was around the same age. My dad was my coach and my best friend Tara was on my team. What could be better than that, right? Except I was REALLY BAD. The only thing I was good at was running down whoever had the ball (I was pretty fast). Even then, once I caught up to the person, I had no idea the correct way of getting the ball from them, and I would either foul them or just stand there dumbly…I did not play again the next year.
I took gymnastics for several years as a child. When I was 6 I was pretty good at the uneven bars. I think that’s because I was strong, and the uneven bars are all about upper body strength. As I got older, though, I got tall, and gymnastics isn’t really a tall girl’s sport. As soon as I realized I was only mediocre as a gymnast, I quit. It wasn’t really my passion anyway.
 I failed my driving test twice. That doesn’t count as an F grade, by the way, because it wasn’t in SCHOOL. The first time I failed it was on parallel parking. I guess a lot of people fail on that, so I decided not to beat myself up over it. The second time was not my fault. My dad taught me how to do a three point turn…but he taught me the way he learned in Kentucky a million years ago, and apparently it’s not the way they do it anymore, at least not in civilization…and so I failed again. I had to actively restrain myself from beating my dad up over that one. The third time I took the driving test I was perfect.
When I as in first grade I got first place in a science fair competition. I even beat out the 3rd graders. A few years later I entered another one…but I didn’t get first place that time. That was my last science fair entry. It was my least favorite subject anyway.
I was a fast runner, as I said before. I loved to race…but only if I was sure I would win. I wasn’t interested in racing someone who might beat me. My brother was also fast, and Daddy would have us race in the front yard, just for fun. Except it wasn’t fun for me, because sometimes my brother would win. We traded back and forth for years on who was the fastest, until the year he grew A LOT. As I had fewer inches to haul, I was faster from then on. I LOVED to race him then!
Obviously, I hate to fail. Coming in second is the same as failing in my mind. It took me a while to come up with all of these examples of my failures, partly because I try and forget my imperfections COMPLETELY, and partly because I don’t do that many things I may fail at. I INTENTIONALLY avoid anything I might not DO well. I didn’t finish college because I didn’t want to study for as many hours as I would need to in order to make all A’s. The two semesters I did take…I had a 4.0. I am pretty sure I haven’t picked up a basketball in 20 years. I am VERY sure I haven’t tried any tricks on the uneven bars in a couple decades. Obviously I have to drive, but since the failures weren’t really my fault…I can let that one slide. My husband is the science teacher in our house. And as far as running goes…I am gonna say it’s because I am getting old that I don’t race anyone anymore.
I have decided that this is is a major character flaw. What’s the big deal about SUCKING at something? I am always telling my kids it’s okay not to be perfect. “Just keep trying and have fun!” …except I DO NOT want to do that myself. I want to win, I want to impress, I want to be perfect.
Can I share a secret? I AM EXHAUSTED!!!!!!!!! Keeping my house perfectly clean, my yard perfectly groomed, my children perfectly mannered, my days perfectly organized and running smoothly, my marriage operating flawlessly, my quiet time with the Lord happening with perfect regularity, my stomach perfectly flat, my cats perfectly using the toilet, my KIDS perfectly using the toilet…it’s a lot of work.
It’s too much work, in fact, which is why most of it doesn’t happen. My house is FAKE clean. It may look nice when you first walk in, but if you open a closet or drawer…you can guess what will happen. The front yard is very nicely groomed, but the backyard...I’m not telling, and you are not allowed back there. My children…well, they are children. They never do ANYTHING right all the time. But they know the lecture about how to behave in public BY HEART. My quiet time is often anything BUT quiet, and sometimes it’s a two minute prayer of desperation while I am hiding in my bathroom. The cats, and the kids, do NOT always use the toilet perfectly…but we’re working on that. I work tirelessly (sometimes) to flatten my stomach…but I have had four kids, so it’s mostly a lost cause.
And all marriages fail to operate flawlessly sometimes…probably a lot of the time, because there are 2 flawed people involved in a marriage, and flaws do NOT create flawlessness. But you want to know another secret? When I realize I am failing in a certain area of my marriage, when my husband kindly informs me of something I am doing that hurts his feelings, or something I am failing to do that hurts his feelings…I usually go into a room by myself and cry my eyes out. And then I spend weeks agonizing over what a terrible wife I am and making mental lists of all the things I will do differently so I never fail in that area EVER AGAIN. I do all this even knowing I will most certainly fail to be a perfect wife again sometime in the near future.
I know I am not perfect. I KNOW IT. I am awful at all things electronic…AWFUL. And I am a terrible dancer. If you haven’t already seen the video (posted by my husband) of me and my daughter dancing in our living room…that video is proof of my imperfection, because you have NEVER seen a worse dancer, I am sure. I only agreed to dance with her because I thought no one else would ever see it, and my kids think I am a great dancer. They might need glasses.
Sometimes I am a bad friend, sometimes I am a bad mom, sometimes I am a less than perfect wife, housekeeper, daughter…you name it. I have been bad at EVERYTHING in my life at one time or another. So why can’t I just accept that I am flawed, and move on? The people who love me accept me, and love me even though I suck at things sometimes...
The Lord loved me even before I admitted that I suck at being perfect. He loved me, died for me, and took my failures even before I admitted to being a failure. He accepts me even while I am still failing. There is a verse (I can’t remember where it is, because I SUCK at remembering references) that says “Even when we are faithless, He remains faithful.”
I always fail…even though I hate it. My whole life was a failure from the start because I couldn’t be perfect. And no one expected me to be, not even the Lord. He knew I would fail, and so He sent Jesus for me. He sent Jesus to TAKE my robe of failure, filthiness, sin…my ugly dirty robe of humanity. Jesus took it from me, and GAVE to me HIS robe of righteousness, of royalty, of perfection. When I accepted HIM, I acquired perfection. Not because I had earned it, not because I could EVER earn it, but because OF HIS GREAT LOVE AND MERCY TOWARD ME! All my striving for perfection, all my trying, all my failing, all of my worthless efforts, there is NO REASON FOR THEM.
In HIS eyes, I am perfect because I am HIS.
It’s quite a relief to know I don’t have to be perfect at everything. No, it doesn’t mean I am going to stop cleaning my house, or toilet training my cats and kids, or trying to make my stomach defy the laws of nature. I guess I am just hoping that admitting my failings will help me (and maybe you) accept that it’s OKAY to fail, that it’s OKAY to be imperfect. HE DOESN’T MIND. He loves me in spite it, He loved me before I admitted it, and He doesn’t even see it anymore. When He looks at me, He sees that I chose His Son, and that is enough.
So, if you think about it, there is essentially an A+ next to my name in the Lamb’s Book of Life, written in the blood of Jesus. Not because I earned it, but because I accepted it.
I’m probably going to spend the whole day thinking about that A+ and smiling. I do LOVE a perfect grade, after all.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Judge For Yourself

I read an article this morning by a fellow mom, and she was talking about her judgmental attitude towards mothers BEFORE she had kids. Oh, how I laughed. How many of us NEVER did that before we had kids? How many of us saw the mom in Wal-mart with the screaming children, watched her ignoring them completely while pushing down an aisle, and DIDN’T think “Lady, you are really missing the mark on how you are handling this.” ??? If you never had that thought…you win a prize. Warning, the prize is forfeit if you are lying, as I suspect you are. You don’t want the prize anyway. It’s a broken McDonald’s happy meal toy that I tried to throw away but the boys saw it in the trash and demanded that I let them keep it. So, all of you who have won the broken prize from out of my trash can, I feel a challenge growing inside me to GET you to judge like the rest of us judge. Here are a few things that happen within the 4 walls of the Martin household and are judgment worthy. I DARE you to make it through all of these without gasping and thinking I should be horse whipped.
* I forget to feed my kids breakfast sometimes. I GET BUSY- cleaning up the toys so we can start school without stepping on every lego we own, or getting everyone dressed because we have to return movies and pick up diapers and milk AS SOON as we finish school, or folding laundry because otherwise I won’t have any underwear to put on any of the naked butts running around, or drinking coffee and blogging…you get the idea. I get busy and I forget that I didn’t feed my kids breakfast. Not that it’s anything spectacular on the mornings I DO remember to feed them. It’s usually cereal, or toast and a piece of fruit, or a nutrigrain bar, and on Sundays its “eat that cheese stick and have a doughnut at church.” But still, a mom should NOT forget to feed her kids. It’s pretty basic. It’s probably the #1 thing in the mommy handbook. FEED CHILD REGULARLY. The worst part of this confession is yet to come. Are you ready? When 10:30 comes and one of my kids says “Mom, I’m hungry. What should I eat for breakfast?” I usually laugh…and then say “You don’t need anything. It will be lunch time in an hour. You can make it till then.”
* When one of my kids has a night time accident (they are wearing pull-ups, so it’s usually only a problem when their father lets them drink coke or juice too close to bed time and the pull-up can’t contain all the accident)  I go into their room and stare at the bunk beds for a few minutes, check to see how wet the sheet actually is…and as long as it’s not so bad that it will still be wet at bedtime that night, I turn on the fan to dry the sheet and leave the room, promptly forgetting that anything happened, and deciding instead that those sheets are plenty clean. If this happens more than once between washings, I will pull the top sheet up and tuck it in, and the kid can sleep on that one for a week or so. Bunk beds are a pain in the butt to strip and remake, people. If you have never done it…I have a couple at my house you are welcome to come take care of.
* I allowed my kids to watch Transformers. Yes, I heard all the comments made by all the parents about the innuendos , cursing, and off color content. I even heard a lot of the talk BEFORE I let them watch it…and we still watched it. I totally agree with many of the complaints, by the way. There was a lot of stuff (especially in #2) that I would be uncomfortable watching with my parents. But my kids didn’t know what most of that stuff meant. They are sheltered home school kids. All they cared about was seeing Bumblebee rip the head off a Decepticon. The drug references and cherry popping comments went right over their heads. By the way, this particular confession is giving me the urge to watch the movies again.
“Hey, kids! Want to have a Transformers marathon while eating lunch?” …… “What do you mean you haven’t even had breakfast yet?”
* Sometimes I let them take showers and when they argue about not wanting to get out, I leave them in…I figure when the water turns cold, they will start shivering and get out themselves, so what is the point of fighting them on it?  It takes a while for hypothermia to develop anyway.
* Once my daughter fell off an exercise machine at a store (which she wasn’t supposed to be on in the first place, but I let her try it out) and turned her ankle. She cried and said her ankle really hurt. I told her I was sorry, I knew a twisted ankle hurt, but if she could just walk it off it would feel better. 2 days later it was still hurting her so my husband made me take her to the doctor…it was cracked.
If you have made it through these few (and there are OH SO MANY MORE) confessions without judging me…well, you’re the only one. I am officially judging myself.
All you judgment free people deserve a prize. A real prize, not the broken trash can one. What have you won, you ask??? A fun day in the Martin household, hanging out with the greatest kids a mom could ask for, folding their laundry, fixing them meals, and changing their sheets. It would be great if you could arrive around 10, because they will be getting hungry by then, and stay until it’s time to put them down for naps. That is when I will be returning from my shopping trip, because I hate for you to have to sit in a quiet house while they sleep, and I will take that burden for you.
***Disclaimer (so that my husband doesn’t feel the need to erase this entire post): I don’t so these things ALL THE TIME!!! My children are actually healthy, happy, and moderately well adjusted. Hang on, the baby has snot running into his mouth…never mind, he wiped it on the couch.
I hear the shower cutting off, so I better go make sure there are only blue lips, not black fingers and toes. And after that, I gotta check the sheets of a certain bunk bed…can’t remember if I can pull the top sheet up or if I did that last time and I actually need to strip the bed today.
If you want to come over later, we will be watching Transformers. Don’t judge me.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

wood burning stoves and cold toes

Have you ever been going about your day and suddenly something triggers a memory from your childhood? That happens to me a lot, and it has gotten me thinking. But first, in case you don’t know what I mean, I will explain my most recent episode of “life déjà vu.”  
The other day we trekked to our school room to start school. (I home school my kids. Well, the two that are old enough. Faith is in 4th grade and Clay is in 1st.) The bonus room over our garage has been transformed into our very own school house, complete with alphabet cards on the wall, a bulletin board for hanging A+ papers on, and a dry erase board for teaching new math concepts. (No, there is no chalkboard. Just saying the word chalk makes me shiver.) The door to our school house had been closed all night so the cats wouldn’t go in there and use the bathroom or chew on books, and when we entered the next morning it was FREEZING! Now, mind you, we have central heat, and the vents in the school room were opened, but for some reason it was dang cold. Maybe it’s because the attic access door is in that room, maybe it’s something about air circulation…I don’t know. All I know is- BRRR!!!
So, after shivering a few times, we sat down to start school anyway, and I had a flashback.
I was home schooled as a kid. There are five children in my family, of which I am the eldest. (that sentence structure is courtesy of my dad, since it sounds exactly like something he would say) My mom homeschooled all five of us from kindergarten through 12th grade, 21 years in all. (High five Mom, you are amazing) We always had a school room in our house, with the exception of my first year when it was just me in school and there was no need for a whole room. We lived a lot of places, moving around the country with my dad’s job, but we always had a school room. We even lived in one house where 3 of us had to share one tiny room in order to have a room to BE a school room, but we ALWAYS had a school room. Most of the houses we lived in were OLD too. For some reason my parents were drawn to the really ancient houses. You know the ones I’m talking about. Where the wind whistles through the windows, and the floor is slanted, and the builders thought that dirt between the cracks of the walls counted as insulation, and if not, the mice would certainly keep things warm for the people living inside. Where there was originally one bathroom, with a big tub but no shower, and over the years some other sucker lived in the house and added a bathroom with a shower, but there was no good place in the floor plan so they stuck it off the dining room. The houses where if it were going to dip below 32 degrees, you had to leave all the faucets dripping (in the kitchen, the old bathroom, and the tack on bathroom) so the pipes didn’t freeze solid. Somehow my parents always ended up moving us into one of those houses. Maybe it was their love of historical things, maybe it was that the old windy houses were always on lots of property and they loved the wide open space, maybe it was that the old windy wide open space houses were so darn cheap, I don’t know. All I know is, if there is a big old drafty house on some land 20 minutes or more from a gas station or convenience store, we probably lived there once.
You see where I’m going with this. Our school rooms that we always had in the old houses that we always lived in…our school rooms were ALWAYS FREEZING. A converted bedroom, a closed in sun room, a den, wherever we set up our desks and books, hung up our alphabets and bulletin boards and (shiver) chalkboards, that room was always cold.
The school room in the last house we lived in, where we finally settled after many years of moving around, had an old (of course) unused fireplace in it. It had once been a den…actually, it had once been nothing, and was added onto the original house to be a den…but the fireplace had been closed off for some reason. Well, since there was no insulation in the walls, except for the dirt and the mice, no matter how high we ran the heat it never got warm in the house. To try and keep us all alive the first winter, my dad had a wood burning stove installed in the den/school room, in the old fireplace. He would stoke it at night, and the fire would burn almost totally out by morning. So we went to bed warm…sort of…but we woke up cold. I mean, puff and you can see your breath, freezing. Mom or Dad (or me or Daniel) would stoke the fire first thing in the morning, and we would close all the doors to any room we wouldn’t need to use that day (the living room and dining room (they had French doors separating them from the rest of the house) , the bedrooms, and the bathrooms.) to keep the main part of the house warmer. (Don’t get me started about how cold it was in the bathroom when you needed to use it. We kept a little space heater in there, but it took a while to warm it up. You would have to stand there dancing around from cold and from the need to pee, and it was never certain which urge was more pressing, the need to use the ICE COLD toilet or the need to keep as many layers of clothing as possible between your body and the 40 degree air)
Where was I? Oh, yeah, stoking the stove. So, after all the doors had been closed off to the unneeded rooms of the house, we would huddle in front of the wood burning stove and let the heat keep us warm until it finally started to spread into the rest of the room. Sometimes we ate our breakfast standing there, listening to Mom read the Bible, shivering. Eventually we would have to start our school work and we would venture into the cold room to sit at our desks. We were wearing socks and slippers, but the floor was always cold (no mice living in the floorboards, I guess) and so sometimes Mom would let us slide our desks closer to the stove and prop our feet against the side of it, where it wasn’t too hot, but would keep our toes from getting frostbite.
This is what I recalled with perfect clarity in my own cold school house the other morning. Sitting in front of an old wood burning stove, in an old room of an old house, reading my math lesson, or listening to one of my little sisters read sentences like “See Jane run,” with my fluffy sock-clad feet propped up against the side of the only heat source we had.
The memory made me smile and wish I had an old wood burning stove in my bonus room/school room that I could drag my chair over to and prop my feet up on. (Which is impossible, my husband would say, and against fire code, I’m sure, and anyway, we have insulation (not dirt and mice…or not only them) and a good furnace.)
This recollection got me thinking, as I said before. Why is it that the thought of that stove sparks warm, happy childhood memories in me? There was NOTHING warm about that actual event in my childhood.
I think it’s because time has a way of sanding off the rough edges of our memories, and letting us see them in a different light. As a kid, I am sure there was shoving, and arguing, and wishing for warmth while we stood beside that stove, but as an adult, I remember my cold feet as an opportunity to snuggle next to my siblings in front of a fire. Weird how that happens.
Some days I see my kids, and my house, and my hair, as an absolute mess with zero chance of recovering, and so I don’t even try. Instead we curl up to watch a movie and eat popcorn. (The dirt in the house adds to the insulation, after all, and the popcorn crumbs will attract the mice…and there’s more insulation for us! My childhood proves this to be true.) As I am sitting there in the mess with the rats nest hair (please God, don’t let there be rats nests anywhere else in the house), feeding my kids popcorn (followed by cookies) for lunch, I usually feel like a failure.
But I don’t have any memories of a messy house from my childhood, even though I am sure it probably was messy sometimes. And I don’t ever remember looking at my mom and thinking “Whoa, she needs to do something about her hair.” I remember reading books together, and cooking together, and watching old movies together, in a perfectly clean house with a perfectly groomed mother.
When my husband gets home late from work, I wonder if he will get to spend enough time with the kids…but I never remember my dad  getting home late from work, even though I am sure he did sometimes. I remember him playing games with us, or working puzzles with us, or talking to us about the Bible, and about geography, and about the kind of people he hoped we would grow up to be. I have no recollection at all of feeling like he didn’t spend enough time with us.
Here is what I have decided. My childhood was perfect. (even though it really wasn’t, no one’s is) Someday, hopefully, my kids will feel the same. They will see their childhood through the rose colored glasses that only time can give. They won’t care that we eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches almost every day for lunch. Instead, they will smile that we always had homemade strawberry jam. (I say this from experience because I have this exact same reaction to this exact same memory) They will no longer be irritated that I made them do chores. Instead they will feel blessed that someone taught them how to run a dishwasher and a washing machine. They won’t complain about us MAKING them sit and listen while their daddy reads the Bible out loud. Instead, they will feel grateful that their dad took the time to instill the importance of the Word in their hearts.
So on the days I feel like a failure (which is at some point nearly every day) I am going to go sit in my school room with the attic access door open until my feet get really cold. Then I am going to smile and remember the wood burning stove, and forget all the rest. Because someday, Lord willing, my kids will do the same.