Saturday, February 28, 2015

Shepherding a Child's Heart

What I'm thankful for - a couple weeks now of peace with my teenager. We're both enjoying each other for the moment and not clashing over every little thing. I have no wisdom to share for how this pleasant stage has been reached other than I've been praying a lot! 

What I'm struggling with -occasional moments of fear/anxiety (this is unusual for me): some completely irrational, and others stemming from trying to juggle a half-time job with home school. It's possible to do this - I've been doing it for a year and half now. But I still have the same doubts I've shared here before: did I take on too much? Are both sides weaker because I can't give either my 100%? I keep thinking about sending the girls back to school for the next school year, how they'll benefit from the structured schedule and increased interaction, and I'll benefit from having more time to make money (and an opportunity to shop at other places than at Wal Mart and Goodwill, or travel more). But then God reminds me about the long term benefits of time with my children vs. time to make more money. Here are a few beloved verses I keep coming back to:

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me (Phil 4:13)

He will supply all my needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:19)

 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? (Matt 6:25-27)

What God is teaching me - ways to have rich communication with my girls. I'm in a mom's Bible study where we are deep into scripture and reading Shepherding a Child's Heart. This is actually my second time through this book. The first time was about 6 years ago. Now I'm in a totally different stage with my girls, so when my friend Heather suggested she needed to go through this book again (because she's in a different parenting stage too), I jumped on board. It is so worth it studying these principles over again. Our goal should not be changing our children's behavior on the surface, but reaching their hearts.

Where I am in the Word - "His Glory" is my theme this year, so I've been studying verses on God's glory. Interestingly, the first mention of God's glory isn't until Exodus 16:7. So much more to share from my study I'm going to put it in its own post.

What I'm anticipating - a new-to-me car.  My car is 9 years old now, and we've been keeping our eyes open for a replacement but everything is just so expensive. We finally found a 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan with only 34,000 miles for $10,000. It will take $2,500 to fix it (it was in a side impact collision, only the doors and door divider were damaged). Because B. can do some of the work himself, its about a 3k savings!

What I'm reading - Besides re-reading Shepherding a Child's Heart, by Ted Tripp, I've been reading "Of Other Worlds" - essays by C.S. Lewis about stories and writing and his own books. Every page holds something both wise and delightful for my writer's heart and my Christian heart.

I'm reading On the Banks of Plum Creek with the girls for school, and Mara, Daughter of the Nile (because we've been studying ancient cultures, including Egypt).  I read On the Banks more than any of the other Little House books when I was a child - I'm sure I read it at least four or five times. I remember almost all of the story, but what I'm discovering re-reading it as an adult is Laura's marvelous descriptions of nature. As I've learned from living in Wyoming, the beauty of the prairie is subtle, and the sky is itself a dramatic landscape... what's surprising is finding these powerful, stunning descriptions in this young children's book,and reminding me of C.S. Lewis who said something along the lines that the best children's books are the ones you love as much as an adult.

What I'm writing - I've heard back from two of four agents who had either all or part of my young adult manuscript. They both gave me a compliment but "passed," one saying they wanted more characterization, the other saying they didn't connect with the characters. So I've been working on developing my characters more in that story, and also in the middle-grade story I'm writing for my girls, using writing exercises. See What's Inspiring Me below...

What's inspiring me - morning writing! Yes, you heard that right, a few times I have started writing early in the morning, even though I am NOT A MORNING person. What makes this work is that I don't do any structured writing: just free writing. Whatever spills out of my head while still in a sleepy fog (while I'm still in bed, even before my first cup of tea). I read somewhere that the best free writing comes when you've just woken up, or coming right out of a dream. I've also tried this waking-up-writing with a few character prompts (e.g. what are your character's worst fears; what's one moment in his/her life they wish they could change; what's one quality about them that other people don't like; one quality that others do like) - and I was surprised and pleased with the results. Maybe it's because while I'm still in a  sleepy fog my subconscious is closer to the surface? 

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