I woke today to the blue skies and fresh breeze of autumn.  It couldn’t have been any better than that for clearing my heart of the weekend’s difficulties.  I had had a two day headache of the kind that makes your face swell and causes nausea.  I also became an aunt in a surprise turn of events for the fourth time!  That was more than enough to make me smile through the headache.  It makes me wonder if a mother’s arms ever stop aching to have a newborn of her own. 😉

I spent Friday and Saturday at my mother’s because I couldn’t take care of the girls on my own and John was away.  Saturday, I was feeling well enough to read and read the first two chapters of Heaven on Earth: A Handbook for Parents of Young Children by Sharifa Oppenheimer.  I can already say without a doubt that this is one special book.  I borrowed a highlighter from my step-dad and went to town.  I bought a nice notebook as the author suggests as well, and I’m going to really work through this book, taking my time.

After the accidental posting of my thoughts on women’s roles, I was relieved.  Some things are just meant to happen and having those thoughts already laid out there will help me put the following weeks into context.  I’m coming to terms with the fact that my main focus right now should not be to help my husband make money.  I can’t be scrambling to use every moment I have to myself to try to manipulate my hobbies and talents into something that will bring us an income.  My focus right now should be my caring for our household, homesteading, and the nurturing of my children.  It doesn’t mean that I’m not going to pursue my goals as a writer and Appalachian cultural preservationist, but I’m going to put those goals into the perspective of what I can do toward them at this point in my life.  There is great purpose in the role of wife and mother.  I can be completely fulfilled in all parts of my being by embracing that that is the now, and living every moment of that time with full intention.  It is a matter of acknowledging that I made a choice a long time ago that other pursuits can be made at a slower pace, or can wait until a later time.

The second chapter of Oppenheimer’s book discusses the rhythm in the household.  That is my project for the upcoming weeks.  I had tried a few months back and went at it like I do so many things – all or nothing.  (:) Just realizing that’s the day that I moved from two cups of coffee to four.  That should tell me something too.)  I’m not very consistent with the girls’ and our schedule.  It’s been better since we started homeschool, but it still varies too much, especially at bedtime.  The chapter on rhythm is so eloquently written with all sorts of families in mind from those working outside of the home to those staying at home and everything in between.

I also have to say that if you read the book Oppenheimer suggests that you can skip the first chapter that outlines childhood development if the first little segment is enough for you.  I urge you to keep reading.  It was an amazing piece of writing that helped me to put the behaviors of the girls into perspective.  I was such an introverted child that having siblings didn’t prepare me for having young children of my own.  My experience in care giving had always been in the area of pre-teens and teenagers.  I really have been clueless as to what was going on with the minds of my own little ones.

I’m starting a 40 day personal journey tomorrow (Monday) as well, which I will write more about later as I realize my last posts have been wordy.  I’m filled with hope that with God’s help I can grow as I need to grow and be healed through this journey.  I’m hoping too for diligence and willpower because I will need a lot of both of those things.

So, I’ll end with this quote from Heaven on Earth

As parents we do not know what will be the result of our choices and decisions about lifestyle, schooling and spiritual direction for our children.  All we can do is continue to educate ourselves in our decision making, and do the hard work these decisions demand.  It is not for many years that we will be able to see what indelible impressions we have made.  We just do our best day by day, year after year, in faith that our abiding love for our children will act as our guide, that love will show us the needs of each unique child of ours.

-Sharifa Oppenheimer, Heaven on Earth