Part 2 on facing fears

This fall, I also faced another really big fear — college algebra. I am taking online classes in order to get my bachelor’s degree. Each class is a semester’s worth of work that I complete in 5 weeks. That is a very fast pace. This fall, I was scheduled for algebra 1 and algebra 2. I was very nervous about it. I am good at business math, consumer math, accounting, etc. Algebra was not my strong suit in high school. But I have been teaching my children at home for a while now, and I have taught algebra to my high schoolers. I worked very hard in algenra 1. Some weeks I spent 24 hours on school work. At the end of the five weeks, I had an “A” average. WHEW! So I started algebra 2 feeling pretty good about myself. Well, week 1 started, and I worked my tail off to get the work completed that week. And I had trouble with a few concepts. In researching a topic for a discussion question, I found that some of the concepts were for calculus. YIKES! I finally made it through week 1. Then, I came to week 2. It was as difficult as week 1, and at one point, I was wondering if I would make it out of algebra 2. But I mastered week 2’s concepts and passed the weekly quiz. In week 3, I spent a lot of time working on the concepts, but I was catching on faster. So I felt like I was on the downhill swing of things. Made it through week 3’s concepts and quiz. And my average was stil an “A.” In week 4, I knew that I had a 2-week Christmas break coming up. I did not want to lose any skills over Christmas, and I did not want to practice over the Holiday. So I decided to do two week’s worth of work in one week. Yep, I was going to master week 4’s concepts, pass the quiz, and take my final exam in one week. God sent a snowstorm, and I was able to spend a lot of time online doing math. I met my goal, and I passed week 4 and my final. My average was still an “A.” Had my two-week break, and this week I jumped back into week 5. It has been very low-key. I have had few requirements to meet this week, and it has been nice. I am enjoying it, since I start statistics next Tuesday.

I met my algebra fear head-on, and I mastered it. Thank you, Lord, for Your enabling!

Finding my joy…..

After losing dear family members, I lost a lot of my joy. I am normally a “half glass full” kind of person. But I was pretty low last summer. I was also very sick with poison ivy. One night I could not fall asleep sue to the steroids I was taking. So I lay in bed and prayed all night long. And God just moved in that night and brought so much healing to my hurting heart. I felt like I was a new person the next day. Of course, I have hard days every now and then, but for the most part, I have found my joy again. My joy rests in the Lord and my relationship with Him.

Facing Fears

The past year was a journey for me in so many ways. There were places where I grew. And there were places where I faced fears. The biggest fear that I faced was in singing a solo in the church Christmas play. When we started practices back in the fall, I stepped away from the director position. I felt the Lord leading me to do something else, and I felt that He wanted to use someone else as the director. So I was happy to just be a part of the choir.

At the first practice, we handed out parts. And my husband got the part of the dad. So naturally, I got the part of the mom. Two of our children played the parts of our children. During the first run-through, it was suggested that someone sing the song, “Mary, Did You Know?” As I was sitting there, God spoke to me and told me that I was going to sing that solo. I gently reminded Him that *I* don’t sing solos. And He kept after me, and I finally obeyed and said yes.

So I told a few people that God told me to sing the solo. It was met with surprise. So I started practicing with the guitarists at church. And then I practiced in front of the choir at play practice. In our church, most of the membership is the choir. My first attempt was met with surprise and clapping. I told them that part of my grief therapy over the past year has been music. I have been singing along with my iPod a lot. Mostly I sang in my home office while working. God was working in me.

So with many more practices, I grew nervous each time in anticipation of the actual play performance. The week-end of our play, we had a big snow. So big for us that there is still snow in places in January. So our play was post-poned for a week. And I had a whole week more to anticipate the play.

The night of the play arrived, and I did pretty good at the beginning of the play. I  got my speaking parts right. Then I sang my solo. And as soon as I sat down, I forgot everything in my brain. There was NOTHING there. And we get to a big part in the play where I have a conversation with my son, and I can’t remember my part. My husband tried to show me where we were in his copy of the script, but I could not figure out where we were. So he saved the day and jumped back in with his part.

My daughter taped the performance, and it will not show up on You Tube. But it is very funny for me to watch it. I laughed as I watched myself get flustered. And I didn’t do too bad with my solo either. But I learned to not have a speaking part after God calls me to sing a solo. I have proven that my feet are definitely made of clay, and I am not perfect. I will never be perfect until I get to heaven.

Still chuckling…….

Time of Reflection

The new year lends itself to reflection. And as I have been learning to go about our normal life and routine, I realized that I am doing that with parts of my heart missing. Those who have gone on before me are in a better place, but I still miss them. And that has brought about a “new normal” for me. Each day I concentrate on what is important for that day. In the past year, my children have needed me to meet more emotional needs as they are coping with the same losses than I am coping with. I love how God moves in and brings healing. And I love the precious memories that I have of my loved ones.

Great week following a hard week

Hello,

This has been a great week for our family. Two of our boys were baptized on Sunday. Last week was a hard week for us. We lost two family members from two different sides of the family. One of them was our piano teacher, too. We also had an elderly family member who fell and broke his hip. We are thankful for our health this week, and we are thankful for the two who were baptized on Sunday.

Not the end of the year, but …

Since I have been rather relaxed in writing in my blog this year, I thought I would do a recap post. I think I need to dub 2009 as the year of change for me. But I will go back to the end of 2008 first.

One of the biggest things that has happened in my life in the last 12 months was the loss of my grandfather. He and my grandmother helped my mom raise me and my younger brothers. So his diagnosis of stage IV kidney cancer in Novermber of 2008 was a blow to me. We cared for him at home with the assistance of hospice, and he went to his heavenly home on December 13, 2008. This was one day after his 87th birthday. What a blessing he was to many, many people.

January of 2009 is a blur of winter sickness and the beginning of an evening phlebotomy class. After many years out of school, I returned to college for a continuing education course. I found that I could still learn new things and be successful as a student. I finished my course in March of 2009, and I became nationally certified in May of 2009.

In the months from January through early June, I also was a caregiver for a great-uncle. I had help from many family members. He had a stroke at the end of May, and he went to his heavenly home in early June. I also starting working on my bachelor’s degree online at the end of May.

June and July were quite busy with acitvities, my office work, my school work, and various odds and ends. I contracted a really bad case of poison ivy, and I decided that I did not have time to devote to working out and losing weight, but I was going to do it anyway. So I started some lifestyle changes. I had made some smaller modifications prior to this, and at the end of November 2009, I am 39 lbs. lighter. I just started a 12-week challenge with some dear friends. So I hope to have great news at the end of the challenge.

In July, I also lost my paternal grandmother. She was a dear saint of God. I had a mini-breakdown for about a week after her passing. Somehow, losing 3 family members in 7 months can really work on a person. But through that I found that my faith was stronger than ever. And I learned to give it all over to the Lord even more.

August 2009 brought on a new chapter in our lives as our daughter began college. She has been my faithful right-hand person for many years. And I had to make some changes to just about everything in order to learn to do things without her help. I have had to re-do the chore charts a few times, but the boys and I have adjusted. And I have learned that I do have a few cooking skills. :-)

In September of 2009, I added a new activity to our homeschool. We joined a bi-weekly co-op. I am teaching a science experiments class to 3rd to 5th graders. It is a blast. And my boys are enjoying getting to know more homeschoolers. We all needed some fun and social acitivity to our lives. I was also appointed as an administrator of my great-uncle’s estate. He had no children, and this was my last promise to my grandfather that I would take care of his brother.

October of 2009 was busy and enjoyable as fall settled in. We had a great time playing and enjoying our co-op days. I was also learning how to get a lot of work done in very short amounts of time. :-) Each day has its section of things to do, and there is not a lot of time in between activities.

November brought in even cooler weather and more beautiful fall colors. It also brought a new challenge for me in school. I started my algebra 1 course. It was a short, five-week class. And it was intense. And I discovered that I can do math as well as write. Now, I am into week one of algebra 2, and it is definitely working my skills out. I have also had a MAJOR computer crash and server move for my website. I am hoping it will be live and working properly very, very soon. (read that as tonight!) Thanksgiving was a bittersweet time for my family. We rejoice in the blessings of this year. And we miss those who have gone on before us.

I am looking forward to December. We have our church Christmas play. And I am singing my first solo. This is a big fear that I am facing. So far I am surviving the play practices. But the night of the performance will definitely be one to lay before the Lord. I am looking forward to spending Christmas with my family. And I am thankful and blessed that I have had a year of growth and renewal in 2009.

May God bless you!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I know this is late, but I wanted to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. I am thankful for all my many blessings this year. God has been so good to me and my family. We have enjoyed more time together as a family this year, and I am thankful that despite some of the trials of the year, we are closer than ever. For some reason, trials and tribulations either bring you closer to force you apart. I am thankful for being closer as a family.

Off to workout and get my Saturday morning going!

Thankful Friday

Hello! Sorry for my long absence from my blog. Much has gone on in my life this year, and I have spent a lot of time thinking about the things that are important to me. The main things that are important to me are God, my husband, my children, my family, and my friends.

One thing I have discovered about my focus is that I can be very tied up with using my computer all day and all evening until bedtime. I have good reasons for being online. My business is an online business, and I am going through some growing pains and learning some new technology. My education in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree is online. Many of my friends and family are online.

But my husband and children are in the here and now. Do I want them to think they are always competing with my time while I am on the computer? Of course I don’t.

I have had time these past few months to work on a new schedule for us. My daughter is starting a new phase in her life as a full-time college student. That has changed the dymanics of our household. I am needed to do more tasks on a daily basis. I have trained the boys to take on new tasks. And I have let them see that mom can still cook and clean when necessary. So, while it was nice to have someone who did a lot of these tasks for me, it has been nice to jump back into some of the things that keep me involved in my family.

Also, I have considered my role with this blog. I enjoy writing and sharing. But I also have to keep certain boudaries in place. I do not want to write something that would potentially embarrass one of the children one day. I don’t want to share so much that my family’s privacy is compromised. I like sharing and getting to know people trhough their blogs. But I want to keep to certain boundaries.

Many of you know that we suffered a major loss in our family last year. We have also lost two more family members since then, and another family member has received a very grim diagnosis. So I have had a lot to process and work through. I have learned to make priorities. It is easy to get carried away online and look for the next big reward. It is easy to let a stat counter make you feel better or worse about yourself. And really it does not matter in the long run, if I am neglecting my primary jobs as a wife and mother.

Add to all of this some major technical challenges and a few intenses college courses and I have just not had time to write in my blog like I used to. But I miss it. So I am going to try to write more often in my blog. I am on Facebook, and I like the quick and easy format of posting and reading posts in one place. But I also like relationships that I have in the blog world.

With that, I am thankful for my God, my family, and my friends. And I am thankful for the different ways that I have to communicate.

Looking forward to a wonderful Thanksgiving,