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Archive for November, 2010

Restlessness

Child climbing

Image Courtesy of AndiH

Today, my 12 year old son gave me a narration of a portion of Charlotte Mason’s Ourselves, entitled, “Esquires of the Body:  Restlessness and Rest”  (Part 1, chapter 3).  The concepts are very simple, but incredibly profound considering many of our society’s problems today.  She often gets ideas right on target for today in spite writing 100 years ago!  In the Charlotte Mason realm, we often say she was ahead of her time.  It always impresses me to see the truth in this.

Below, I have shared with you the ‘Restlessness’ portion of my son’s narration.

Restlessness is one of the most helpful esquires of the body. It doesn’t want you to sit around and do nothing for too long.  Even babies have lots of restlessness.  If you see them awake, they never want to lie still.  They are always flopping their arms around and making noises.  So, restlessness keeps us healthy and it is good not to sit around for too long.  It is not that we should never sit around, we just shouldn’t be spending our whole day resisting restlessness.

(12 year old son’s note:  Sometimes when I am downstairs playing video games, I get all fidgety and actually can’t stand to sit down anymore.  Mom’s note:  After playing video games, his body goes berserk and we need to make sure he has a healthy outlet for his restlessness!)

Restlessness can sometimes be a hard master. You shouldn’t overdo your activities because sometimes you will start to not be able to stay doing one thing at a time and will always have to be doing something different.  Basically, people just give in entirely to restlessness and can’t concentrate.

While he was narrating to me, I was in awe of the timeliness of Charlotte’s words.  What happens when we have a bunch of children who have given in entirely to restlessness, through continual exposure to entertainment, combined with expectations of constantly resisting restlessness by sitting at desks for hours at a time?  We get a nation of children who must be drugged to keep them inactive.  What happens when children continually resist or are forced to resist the natural restlessness in their bodies (combined of course with modern ‘food’ — and I use the term loosely here)?  Childhood obesity.

Charlotte Mason is my hero.

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I wrote the beginning of this post awhile ago.  I haven’t had a chance, or even exactly the words to finish it until now.  I hope you enjoy it.

It is time. Baby Arden is now 17 days old.  Leaving the blue chux pads in our bedroom won’t make the midwives come back to help me bring another sweet baby into our lives.

Leaving the labour massage oil on my dresser won’t bring back the surges that mean we will soon greet a tiny, new family member.

Those horrid, but necessary, mesh panties?  The peri bottle in the bathroom?  Neither will leave my womb emptying again of the soft baby nest, 9 months in the making.

The Birth is all over.  It is time to pack up The Birth Box.

For me, The Birth brings so much more than just a new baby. It is such a special privilege, so full of beauty, excitement and wonder.  It also seems to open wide a wound I continue to carry even into my adult life no matter how many times I offer the questions to my Saviour.

Am I special?  Do you love me?  Who am I, anyway?

During The Pregnancy, I am the special person. The midwife appointments are all about me.  She tries to find out every detail about me — my body, my emotions, my plans, my hopes and dreams.  Out in the world, everyone is extra nice to me.  People are always asking me how I am, offering me the best seat, letting me park in special parking spots at the grocery store.  A mama could get pretty attached to treatment like that.

But, being pregnant is just the lead up to the ultimate confirmation that I am important, I am chosen, and I am loved — The Birth. The Birth concentrates all of that attention into a few short hours (or a few short minutes if it is a quick one!).  It is like being a princess on her wedding day…and doesn’t every little girl dream of being the princess?

The second The Birth is over, already the attention is divided. Now, I am still The Special Person, but in the words of my sister, “You are still special, Christine.  Just not as special as him.”  😉  Thanks.

My precious Lord does not intend for me to live as a princess. That is not what he was here for and is not what I am here for.  While it feels good for a while to be attended and doted over, the shallow level it keeps me on separates me from the abundant life He has intended for me.  The life of serving.  It is mostly not glamorous and it goes mostly unnoticed.  It is everyday, not ‘special’ to anyone around here, but the irony is that each act of serving, of taking myself out of the princess role bring me closer to being like The King, closer to being The True Princess.

The True Princess wipes spit up from her newly donned dark-coloured shirt.  The True Princess chooses love over anger when her children frustrate her.  She cleans garbage cans, wipes little bums, throws another load of laundry in and tells her husband she loves him.  No one turns down her sheets or draws her a bath when she is tired.  She presses on when it seems too hard to press on one more minute.  Why does she do this?  Why doesn’t she just give up?

Because she is not here for herself. She is here for them.  She is here for The King.  Each act of serving makes her own identity clearer and that realization, the clear-seeing, brings joy, fulfillment and the intimacy she longs for.

While The Birth is the ultimate focus on me, I am grateful that The Baby is the ultimate focus on others.  Never have I been called to lay aside my own wants and needs as I am in the first year of life with a new baby.  Each minute is an opportunity to sacrifice as I serve someone else.  I find the more I embrace the serving, the more I embrace the wonderful feeling of knowing that this is exactly what I was made for.

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.  Mark 10:45

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Yesterday, I was having an awful day. It is not a regular kind of bad day, where I am just crabby or tired or frustrated.  This was one of those despairing days where I question my whole life, where I think I have ruined my husband’s life, my children’s lives and my own life.  Everything is hopeless and too hard and I just can’t carry on one more minute.  It was a day where I just want to run away.  Far away.

Instead of running away, I called a friend. This friend always understands me and never judges.  She also always says the most wonderful things.  I know she is in the trenches with me because I have had the honour (and I really mean honour) of similar phone calls from her once in a blue moon, though I suspect she has her act together more than I do.

After she talked me down from the ledge for 20 minutes and changed my desperate sobs into a few good laughs, I was able to take a deep breath, hang up the phone and face the rest of my day.

A short while later, I opened my e-mail to find she wrote me most wonderful prescription which I now share with you.

Hot ChocolatePhoto Courtesy of julesjulesjules

Prescription for a Day off Homeschooling

  1. Recognize that no matter what you try to accomplish today, it will turn sour!  LOL!
  2. Immediately turn on a movie for the littles and middles (maybe even two).
  3. Make tea, find chocolate (a must!!).
  4. Find knitting or what ever else makes you feel productive.
  5. Pray, pray, pray.
  6. Don’t feel guilty; tomorrow will be better.
  7. If it’s not, repeat first 6 instructions!

Isn’t she great?! What would I ever do without her?

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Sometimes I like to read through older entries in my prayer journal.  I really enjoyed reading the entry I made one month ago and, while it is usually intensely personal, I thought you might enjoy reading this one, too.

October 2, 21010.

Today your baby is due, Lord.  The one who squirms and wiggles within my womb.  The one whom you have placed within me and allowed to share my body these last nine months.  Our time together as one flesh will soon be over.  We have only days left.  I will miss our connection.  I will miss the way I know it is so effortless to care for and nurture and protect this dear little life.  The next step will be harder, less selfish.  Our baby will still be completely dependent on me, but there will be many more decisions to be made, decisions that go way beyond simply caring for my own body.  In fact, some of those decisions will be in conflict to caring for myself.  I will be called to sacrifice.  I will be called to give of my time, my sleep, my comfort, and my body.  You have been preparing me these months, causing my heart to swell along with my belly.  You never leave me without everything I need to do what you purpose.  I have the strength and health and you also the deep love and commitment you have given me.  I have learned it from you.

Lord, you love so deeply and sacrificially.  You never fail and you never give up.  You never grow weary of caring, of providing for me.  Truly, what do I possibly ever have to worry about?  I am always under your protection, your care and your provision.  Thank-you, Lord.

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