Friday, 23 September 2011

Wonderfully Hard

The problem with not blogging everyday is that my thoughts are scrambled with the million and one things I want to share with you.

 Hmmm . . .  where should I begin?

Well, how about where I left off.

Elliot was being miserable, and I was distraught and exhausted.

Sounds like a great beginning doesn't it?

Unfortunately, this carried on for the rest of our week, and by Friday afternoon, I was done.  I was ready to pull the plug, and take the easy route.  I felt discouraged because Elliot was, well, being Elliot, and I was spending so much time on lesson planning, teaching, cleaning up, and coaching Zoe's school soccer team that I was unable to even think about doing something for myself to unwind, like post on my beloved blog.  With a weary body and an even more weary spirit, I dragged my butt out of the house on Friday afternoon to attend the Regional Women's Conference for my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, in Halifax with a bunch of friends.  Although this was the last thing I wanted to do because the thoughts of exerting any more energy and leaving all my chores behind only to be completed later did not sound appealing, it turned out to be the best thing I could do.  With each town we passed along the highway, I could feel my spirit lifting as I became further and further away from the concerns I left behind at home.

Ahhh!  Freedom!!

I had forgotten just how wonderful it is to spend an evening with girlfriends eating, laughing, and sharing stories to the wee hours of the morning.  It was the boost I needed after such a long, difficult week.

But, it got even better.

Sitting in the Dartmouth Chapel with about 500 women, listening to a beautiful musical piece narrating the Savior's ministry and each of the women whose lives he touched and the uplifting talks given by the inspired female leaders of our Church, I was overwhelmed by feelings of peace, love and hope.  As I looked around the room, I was humbled by the sacrifices that many of the women had made to attend this conference, and I realized that I was not alone in my weariness, but, in particular, I realized I had very little to feel discouraged by compared to the women I sat amongst.  As I scanned the crowd, I saw dear friends who suffer from illnesses such as Parkinson's or cancer, women who had in their past or even very recently suffered the loss of a child, and women whose daily lives were made difficult through poverty or disabilities.  My heart wept for each of them, but what left the most lasting impression upon me was the smile on their faces, their acts of charity, and their displays of faith.  Life is hard, and although we cannot choose many of the circumstances we are placed in during this life, we can choose whether or not we will become discouraged by them or strengthened by them.
As I drove home late Saturday evening, I felt ready to face a new week. I was ready to put the smile back on my face, and to find the joy in this ridiculously hard, but wonderful path my life has recently taken.  And I became determined to turn it into something spectacular!

By no means, was our week perfect, and, in all honesty, I did lose my cool a couple of times, but, all in all, it turned out to be a winning week, quite literally!

To encourage positive attitudes and good behaviour, I started a competition between the boys and I.  Each time they do something notable, like beating their personal best in timed quizzes on math facts, or saying three instead of free (Avery),  or coming up with new homonyms for our homonym bug:

Isn't he cute?  Thanks, Andrea, for the idea :)

they get a point, but if they give me attitude, or act ridiculous when they are supposed to be working, or give me grief in any way, shape or form, I get points.  The winner at the end of the week gets to pick out a treat and the loser(s) have to pay for it. 

And you guessed it, by Friday afternoon, I was winning by 1 point!!  I thought this would be a perfect lesson for my boys to show them that I mean business and that they need to work really hard, but the unexpected happened and they pulled two points out of thin air at the last second.  I thought it was in the bag! It was Friday afternoon, their friends were expected to show up in just over an hour, and all that was left was Elliot's most dreaded subject, Language Arts.  It was a perfect storm!! I was all ready to savor the sweet taste of victory, a Charleston Chew bought by my boys, as we sat down for our last lesson of the week.  We were talking about possessive nouns and pronouns, when all of a sudden Elliot looks at me and squeals: "Cellar and Seller!  That's a homonym!"  And a very creative one, I might add, but he didn't ask for his point.  Hmmm . . . it seemed that he had forgotten about our little competition and had resigned himself to loserdom.  So, I didn't say anything.  I fully intended to give him his well-deserved point, but I wanted to see how the lesson would go without his mind on this incentive.  Much to my shock and delight, his upbeat mood continued throughout the entire lesson.  He was engaged, working really hard, and not complaining. Then after writing a paragraph on what his dream room would look like, complete with an army tank bed and an alarm clock that sounded like the blasts from the tank, he surprised me even more.  I told him he was done, and he pointed out there was an enrichment activity at the bottom of the page that he wanted to do.


Okay, where's the camera hidden?

But he was serious!

After he was finished his drawing of the room he had just carefully described, I announced that he had gained two points for his team. 

He was honestly shocked!

Avery, we won!!  We won!!

Their victory dance!

Their winnings!

(Groan . . . The Charleston Chew was almost mine)

Oh, well! There is always next week :)

And hopefully, more opportunities to blog.

Happy Weekend!!!

1 comment:

  1. I love your Homonym bug! :) Homeschooling moms work hard! (The days I am most tired are the days I help my friend homeschool - and I go home at the end of the day!) I am so glad you were able to experience a time of refreshing in Halifax. Keep up the great work! Sometimes the hardest roads to walk are the ones where the reward is greatest! :)