Monday, September 29, 2008

Our house is so far away from our church and Dwayne's work, yet with it, God is teaching me that he knows exactly what he is doing with my life. We had to move all the way here to even afford a home when we were looking a few years back. Real estate in New England is unbelievable, so we thought God was holding something back, not letting us afford something elsewhere, something in the more affluent areas. But, this location keeps proving to offer so many things that are important to me, in particular. God has used our home to prove to me that he cares about the little dreams I've silently and sometimes even doubtfully sent up to him through the years.

Living here, I get to teach fitness classes at the local YMCA while Norah plays with other kids in the day care for free. It must be one of the best YMCAs in the country and it is only ten minutes from our house. I've wanted to teach fitness classes since my first step aerobics class as a teenager. I also get to work for one of our community's newspapers whose office is about five minutes away; another job I wouldn't have found unless I'd moved here and writing is something that I've wanted to do and even prayed about since I was a pre-teen. I wasn't sure how I could ever be mom and work in the ways I wanted to or why I even had the desire to do all these things at once, but, by living here, God has helped me make all my dreams come true in a way only He could orchestrate.

When I think like this, I am reminded of the song "No Sacrifice" by Jason Upton. He sings to God, "To You I give my life, not just the parts I want to. To you I sacrifice these dreams that I hold onto." And, when God handles my life with such care, I realize, "This is no sacrifice" and say willingly, "Here's my life."

Sometimes I think I have struggled to give my dreams to God because I thought if I gave them away, I may never see them come true. Or, I thought that if God made my decisions for me they'd be the kind I might not be able to live with. But, I think it may actually be that God asks for our dreams so persistently and earnestly because He just wants to help us make them come true.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

One of the most rewarding parts of being a parent is hearing (and then laughing) at the things your kids say. It rained all day one day last week. Looking out the window, Norah said, "I think I know how it's raining. Maybe God is throwing the rain down. Maybe God has alot of hands so he can throw the rain everywhere."
Tonight, on the way home from church Norah asked, "Do you know who the very, very, very first Americans were?" "Who?" we ask, expecting her to say, "Native Americans," since that is what she is learning about in K4 right now. But, instead she said, "Adam and Eve." Her dad and I just laughed. As patriotic as we are in the Boulden household, that is just taking our American sensibilities too far. Unfortunately, we had to correct her.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I took a photo of a doodle Norah made on what we all affectionately call her "Draw Thing." She called this work "My family at my family birthday party." Some of her more recent pictures of me show a bigger trunk, or rather, a very large circle above my stick legs. Also notice how big her dad's head is. Too funny.
These are a few more projects we've done this fall while we learn about the first Americans. Norah's holding a Native American rain stick. The Indians made theirs out of a hollow cactus stalk, spikes and pebbles. We made ours out of a paper towel tube, straight pins and dried rice. (You know you are home school family when you celebrate finishing another roll of toilet paper or paper towels because you always need the tubes!) She's also wearing an Indian vest made from, yes, an Outback take-out bag, a head dress made from scraps of paper and a drum made from an oatmeal container. I'm not crafty, so this unit is killing me. But, you can see that Norah is having a ball and is fascinated with Native Americans now, so who cares what I think!

This was an optional project suggested to go along with Norah's K4 home school curriculum: a diorama of a Native American campsite. The curriculum provided the Native American figures for us, but it would be easy enough for other families to find Indian clip art online. We collected the materials together and worked on this in any spare time we had for about three days. As crude as this looks, it was not easy to make!

Of course, I had to help Norah cut and glue the biggest pieces to make the background, etc., but I let her do as much of it as she could and make as many decisions as possible about the colors and design. You can't see it, but Norah colored the Indian girl's hair green and that makes her "the prettiest." And, the tree is pink because it is "fall." To all this I say, "Okay..." This model is her new favorite toy.

During her DVD school's story time, she is hearing stories about a little Indian brother and sister and their daily adventures. In one of the stories, the two siblings went berry picking. I left Norah alone for a few minutes the other day and came in to find that, in addition to the puppets we made together, she had made two free standing berry bushes to add to the set, so her "kids can go berry picking." I was very proud.

And, even more recently, she has added a second fire pit "just for the kids" (with sticks and rocks she gathered when her dad was cutting the grass), horses (from her doll house and other toy sets) and snow (from torn up cotton balls she got out of the bathroom), all entirely on her own!
The weather was so nice we kept the windows up all day. I turned the music up and it helped me stay motivated and get the wood floors mopped in half the house, something I haven't done in at least six months. I'm not the least bit charismatic during worship services, but I love to sing to the Lord and dance around when I do housework. God reminds me of the things he has taught me through the lyrics of the songs and sometimes, a song will take me back to where I was when I first heard it. I am often overwhelmed because God has been so faithful to walk with me. It has been almost fifteen years since I started following Jesus! What an adventure it has been!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Norah and I just finished her phonics page for today. One of the twenty or so words she had to read was "less." She noticed it had two s's on the end, so she asked, "Why?" (Phonetically "les" would still sound the same as "less" and she seemed to realize the second s was just useless.) I told her I didn't know why there were two s's, then said, "Well, maybe 'less' wanted more." She actually got my little joke and we had a good laugh over it.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Today is Norah's fourth birthday. Dwayne and I just keep saying, "I can't believe she's four!" Even though she's only a day older than she was yesterday, she just seems so much older all of a sudden and that makes us feel so much older ourselves. I've had my eyes open her whole life, watching her almost constantly, but I still feel like I've missed too much, like time is moving too fast for me to see all I want to of her. I just want time to slow down so I can savor these years even more! I am thankful that I am able to be home with her. I think I'd go mad if I had to be away from her to go to work everyday. These years are so precious and they are passing too quickly. At this moment, I am sure that anything I could earn from a career would pale when compared to the reward of pouring my time and talents into her.

Monday, September 8, 2008

I've been doing Phonics with Norah pretty intensely the last few days. We will practice for a while before nap times or bedtime. She isn't eager to practice, never has been, so I let her choose to go on to bed or practice Phonics. She always chooses Phonics!

We are using Handbook for Reading published by Abeka. She is further along in the book than ever before and is reading simple words and sentences without any help at all. I am very excited, since reading, in my estimation, is one of, if now the most important skill I will ever teach her. She'll be able to teach herself anything else as long as she can read about it.