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Posts Tagged ‘perseverance’

Loving the Birds

Photo credit: BrandyCorc

Photo credit: BrandyCorc

It’s been a joy to watch my oldest daughter’s love of birds blossom over the years. Every day, she counts the minutes until she can get outside.

In the fall and winter, Myra stands by her feeder holding birdseed, and the little chickadees swoop down and eat from her outstretched hands. It took amazing perseverance and patience to earn their trust—but she did. One sweet little bird would recognize her away from the feeder and land on her shoulder as she walked through the forest.

In the spring and summer, Myra scours the forest for nests. She checks on them daily and quietly observes the chicks’ growth. One day, as I was walking on the driveway, Myra waved me over. “Do you see the baby?” she asked with glowing eyes. A puffed up, nearly mature chick, bumbled around while the mother watched from a nearby tree. “There are three chicks, and their mother calls to them so she knows where they are.”

As much as Myra rejoiced over the chicks that matured and flew away, she mourned over the ones that didn’t. We learned that a third of wild birds die within their first year, and most of those die within the first few weeks.

Sometimes she was able to give a little help. One evening, our cat caught a young, new-to-flying bird. Myra was able to rescue it unharmed, but the little guy was in shock, so she kept it in a dark box overnight and then set it free in the morning.

Later that day, Myra found a robin chick that had fallen from its nest. We talked about putting it back in the nest, but the nest was too high, and the tree too narrow for us to put a ladder against it. Myra and Melanie watched the bird for several hours to see if the parents would care for it on the ground. But the parents didn’t, and the bird was getting weak.

She brought the bird in and then began the work of keeping it warm and fed. The little guy needed to be fed every couple of hours throughout the day. We’ve raised chicks successfully in the past, but this little one died after two days.

“Myra,” I said as I held her, “I’m sorry that it died, but I’m proud of you for all the hard work you’ve done to care for this chick. It definitely would have died if you had left it on the ground, and you gave it a chance. It just wasn’t meant to be, honey.”

I realized that I could learn for Myra’s perseverance. It takes strength  and courage to keep on loving and being vulnerable after experiencing hurt. But love…is always worth it.

 Myra

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I had been ignoring the situation for far too long and it was time to face the facts: the children were not doing their chores properly. Crevices under beds, dressers and bookshelves were crammed to spilling over. It was time to do a major cleaning.

I felt frustration welling up within me as we overturned toy boxes, pulled mounds of junk from beneath beds and unearthed all kinds of long lost treasures and unidentifiable objects. And yet, I knew it was not the fault of the children. Where did they learn to shirk cleaning jobs in the first place? Wasn’t I choosing to look the other way when they would run down the stairs declaring they had cleaned their rooms in only 3 and a half minutes?

“I just can’t do this,” I inwardly complained. “I just can’t keep a house clean.” As soon as the thought entered my mind though, I realized how ridiculous it was. Obviously I am physically capable of doing the job, and I’ll fly at it wildly once in a blue moon, so what exactly is the problem here?

I wrote a post once entitled What’s Wrong With Me? where I poked fun at my “disorder” – Organizationally Dysfunctional. It was probably beneficial, as I was facing my faults and coming clean, but even there I was saying, “There must be something wrong me. I can’t do this.”

The problem is perseverance and consistency, which I’ve always recognized, but I didn’t realize the why behind the problem until today: a lack of motivation, a vision and a plan. I persevere in homeschooling though it is often very difficult and exhausting. I persevere because I see how important it is. I have a vision that helps me to overcome the difficulties. I need a vision for housekeeping. I need to catch hold of the fact that a clean home saves time and energy. It brings serenity and peace and is a way that I can serve my family and God.

Over the years I have tried to rationalize the idea of paying someone to clean my home. “I’m creative,” I would think to myself. “I can come up with a way to make money so that I can pay someone else to do the housework.” But I realized today that It’s not the housework that is the problem, it’s my attitude. God wants me to overcome my weaknesses, in His strength and wisdom.

So I still need a plan, but I know I need to start by checking up on the kids and making sure they do a thorough job. It will only take me a few minutes every day and it will be teaching them the importance of doing a job well. And I could use a little accountability too, so I’ll check in with you in a week and let you know how it’s going. 🙂

~Rachel

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No doubt about it: being a homeschooling mom is hard work! What can make the job even harder is the fact that much of society is trivializing the role of mothering. Few people today value the position. Mothers are told that they are wasting their talents, suffocating their personalities, and forfeiting their futures. But is this really true?

I won’t try to speak for others, but in my own life the opposite is true. My talents are being used to bless the lives of the people that I love most: those of my husband, children, family and friends. My personality is tempered and realized fully as I have ample opportunities to die to myself and find true joy in living for others. Instead of forfeiting my future, I am investing in it, with the love poured out into the present. I am raising children intentionally, realizing that their lives will affect the lives of others for many years to come, and that they are in fact eternal.

Though I know all these things to be true, I still face times of doubt, fatigue and frustration. One thing that I find tremendously encouraging is the fact that I have dear friends who have homeschooled many years, whose children’s lives testify to the fact that homeschooling can have awesome results. I also try to read books, magazines and blogs that uphold the value of mothering and homeschooling. But I think the most important thing is the need for a vision.

It seems to me that most things that are really worth doing in this life are wrought with trials and difficulties, and the reason why people persevere is because of the belief that what they are doing is of eternal value and will have far-reaching consequences. The same holds true for raising and homeschooling children: knowing what my vision is can help me to see beyond and live above the daily trials and challenges I face. Having a vision can enable me to face the most difficult obstacles with joy, knowing that the outcome is more than worth the effort.

My vision is to raise up children who will be a light in the darkness, who will see the value of putting others first and caring for the needy. It is to raise children who have an unquenchable thirst for learning and discovery, and are equipped with the ability to find the answers that they seek. I want them to have the courage to stand for what is right and even to take risks when risks are called for. I want them to be diligent, purposeful and decisive. I want them to be wise in the face of adversity. And when it is time to send them out into the world, I hope that they will change it for the better as they interact with those around them, like ripples on a pond. That is my vision.

At times I marvel at the years of preparation needed to climb Mt. Everest: the training, the risk, the unbelievable hardships and trials and even suffering involved in reaching the goal. If others can overcome such obstacles to reach the top of a mountain, then, with God’s help, I can overcome the daily trials of raising children to impact the world for generations to come!

This post was originally a guest post on the Hip Homeschool Moms website.

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