Note: A moving and personal review of After the Snow Falls posted today at The Musings of a Book Addict. I’d be honored if you’d take a look.
Okay, so not everything is going perfectly. Never happens to you, right? But in the midst of it, I’m still thankful. Thankfulness, in fact, is really the only way out of a funk, because a tub of chocolate ice cream will only end in regret.
I’m blogging in the middle of the night because my littlest one has been up and down for the last three hours, unable to sleep. This post will hit North America Monday evening, in the afternoon, but it’s already the wee hours of Tuesday morning here.
Sprout seems to have this problem when JavaMan is away. But I reminded her to capture the bad thoughts that are bothering her and put them in jail (our version of 2 Corinthians 10:5) and fill her heart and mind with praises. I heard her saying it out loud a few moments ago, and I think, perhaps, she might finally be asleep.
We all have struggles with focusing on the positive, don’t we? With keeping the necessary perspective? With capturing those bad thoughts and putting them in jail to let our thoughts be taken captive by the One who loves us best?
So I will continue to be thankful. I have so much to be thankful for. I’m counting to 1000 gifts along with Multitudes on Mondays:
200. The duvet. I know I mentioned it already, but it snapped cold again here over the weekend, and I am freshly thankful, especially since JavaMan is not here to warm me up!
201. The heater for the kids’ bedroom. So thankful JavaMan had the foresight to bring it. Who could have known we’d need it this long? It’s usually much warmer by now.
202. A return to homeschool! We began again today. We started small–just History, Math and Chinese–but it was wonderful to begin again. I moved the heater upstairs and we huddled in our not-quite-organized cozy little homeschool room.
203. Our children’s love of homeschool. Everyone was glad to get back to things. I asked Sprout to do one page of lessons in her Math-U-See Primer and she did nine with absolutely no coaxing! On Sunday, our kids spent some time with some other children, one of whom was homeschooled, and two of whom attend school–one a Chinese school and the other an American school. When my son found out that two of the girls went to school, his response was, “Too bad. You’re missing out.” Moments that make a homeschool mama proud.
204. Our homeschool room. I’m completely aware how extremely blessed we are to have a room we can dedicate to homeschooling. It’s wonderful! Since we have the top floor of the building, there are these wonderful slanted ceilings and a great window above that lets in all kinds of natural light. It’s a wonderful place to spend the day.
205. My wonderful husband. I can’t think about our lovely homeschool room and not give kudos to JavaMan for finding the best apartment ever. People expressed concern that he was apartment-hunting alone, but I had every confidence he’d do an amazing job. I was not disappointed. 204. My wonderful children. I was fighting the sniffles today–probably a result of getting a little too cold running errands the other day–so my son tucked me in and rallied the troops. Everyone settled down well and went right to sleep, and I put in at least four hours of sleep before wakened by Sprout. I love them all.
206. Pajama day. It was really cold out when we woke up this morning, and the apartment was really cold too. We declared it a pajama day and stayed cozy all day long. We went nowhere and did nothing but homeschool and eat–all in the cozy room upstairs with the heater. Some days are like that around here. It’s homeschool perk.
207. The promise of sunshine. No matter how bad it looks, things can change. Though the wind has been howling around the house for a day with rain, and at one point sleet, fell from the sky all day long. The sun is supposed to be out in the morning and will warm the house up again.
208. People’s prayers. In yesterday’s post I vented a little, and a reader promised to pray for me. I know there are others who remember our family daily–JavaMan’s grandmother for one (right, Nanny?). I am never alone or forgotten.
209. The joys of language learning. How to characterize language learning? It’s elating when you communicate your meaning, it’s exhausting when you’re constantly reaching for words in the other language, it’s fulfilling to realize you’ve taken a step beyond where you once were, and it’s humbling when a moment after someone compliments your skill, their next sentence is incomprehensible. But on balance, it’s satisfying, and little by little, I know I’m getting there.
210. A return to routine. We’ve started back with homeschool, and I spent time on Monday working on meal plans. I’m hoping after this week that life will resume its normal order.
211. A week of adventure. I’d planned to get back to homeschool this week, and we are, but wouldn’t you know it? It’s a school holiday in China Monday Tuesday and Wednesday. And with JavaMan being away, I promised the kids some adventure. We plan to do a few special things this week–look up some old haunts, that kind of thing–so I could keep their minds off his absence. We stayed inside for the nasty weather on Monday, but starting Tuesday, the adventure begins.
212. Memories. As we’ve unpacked the things that were left here, it’s been interesting to see the things the kids remember–especially Sprout. She remembers all her little possessions, all the things about our life together, but few of the places we’ve been. But it’s been fun to hear Pumpkin and Sweetpea relive some of our memories, and remind me of some we’d forgotten.
213. Rediscovery. You know how some parents rotate their children’s toys? We packed all ours away for almost two years and have had the joy of watching them get everything out all over again and play with it. When we moved here originally, Sprout had just turned two, so some of the things we pulled out are clearly not age appropriate now, which is a little sad, but for the most part, their rediscovery has been a joyous one.
214. The promise of things to come. I’m in touch with the publisher of After the Snow Falls about how to get my hands on the proof copy of the print version. I don’t have an exact date yet, but the process is beginning.
215. Fulfillment. I’m excited to see the lessons evolve for Hold the MSG. This is something I dreamed up a long time ago, and it’s exciting to see it finally come to pass.
216. Skype and Facetime. We’re a long way from friends and family back “home.” It’s wonderful to have a way to communicate with those we love. 217. Togetherness. Long ago, I expressed to my husband the desire for a big family. I’d read a magazine article on families and family sizes and decided that big family culture was for me. I had no idea that our path to that family would involve three miscarriages and two intercontinental moves, but all the things I desired about big family culture–the togetherness and interdependence, the focus on the family and its values and not flying off to soccer practice with one child while the other one is across town at ballet class or gynmastics–we have all that with our wonderful, wacky life. I’m thankful for what we have.
218. Healing. The question of my wholeness after those miscarriages came up in a conversation we had with someone in the past week. Although there are moments that loss still catches me off-guard, I am confident I will see those children someday, and I have healed from the loss.
219. Sprout’s reading. I think in all of the busy-ness I have failed to announce this, but our little girl is growing up, and she’s reading. She’s still working her way through Headsprout, and she hasn’t quite finished 100 Easy Lessons, but she’s reading and she’s spelling, and a whole new world is opening for her. I’m excited for her. Hard to imagine that when we moved here originally, she was barely talking! Especially when out of nowhere she pulls words like “hypothermia!” (Thank you, Jonathan Park.)
220. We have been so blessed. We went into the homeschool room Monday, and all three kids found a book or a game and began to play or read on their own. Thanks to the generosity of others who passed them on, we’ve ended up with so many books we literally have our own little library. Pumpkin has made a to-read list so long I’m sure he’ll never run out of things to read, just in that one small room!