January was not what I expected. I was anticipating being home again after the bustle of holidays and settling down into a routine of regular life, including continuing to work on picture book projects and illustration.
Instead, I had my first task handed to me of mothering my sick children. From before Christmas until just a few days ago, someone in our home has been sick. There were a few days in there of wellness, where kids all went to school and I did sit down to do a little bit of the other work I am trying to do.
I am not frustrated, though. I believe that the time I spend in loving and caring for my children is the real work. I have actually been reading a lot this first month of the year, and one book I’ve just finished that was very encouraging was Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace by Sarah Mackenzie. No, I’m not homeschooling, but her thoughts on life are applicable to mothers in general as well.
God is not demanding I be successful on my own. He’s calling me to be faithful and to trust Him for the results, which may not look like what I was expecting… Faithfulness is showing up every day to do the work He has called us to. Whether or not things turn out in the end as I’m hoping they will…is not actually within my span of control.
Life doesn’t always look like our expectations, but when unexpected circumstances arise, they are not an interruption of our real lives. Those circumstances are real life. When we lean into the work of our real lives, those troubles and frustrations that we want to get away from can be seen as opportunities to grow, to press into God, and to find out that He can carry our burdens.
Rest looks like stewardship. Consider a garden… The Master Gardener has charged you to plant it with seeds, to cultivate the soil, to tend to the plants and help them to flourish… Remember your place, then. You cannot make the plants grow or bear fruit. You can only plant the seeds. You can water them, and steward them… It is only by our cooperation with the grace of God and the laws of nature that the seed becomes a plant and bears fruit.
It is our part to seek, His to grant what we ask; ours to make a beginning, His to bring it to completion; ours to offer what we can, His to finish what we cannot.
I cannot change whether or not my children catch the flu, stomach bug, and ear infections. I can do my best to be patient and remember that they need a mother’s snuggles more than I need to fold laundry, draw pictures, or build websites. This was my work this past month, and thankfully, they are feeling better at the moment!
Have you gotten off to a smashing start to the year? Do you find yourself aggravated by interruptions to your plans? Send me a message, or comment. I’d love to hear from you.
In December I had a paid critique of my book dummy by Rachel Orr of Prospect Agency and it was the best paid critique I have received from anyone. Some of those critiques are a waste of money… they cost you $50 and you receive back the bare minimum of feedback. Not Rachel, I highly recommend getting a critique from her if you ever get the chance from a conference or event.
She helped me see areas of my work that were unclear to someone just coming the project with fresh eyes, and it was enough of a boost towards future potential that I came back to my project and I am working on the dummy once more. I made some script changes, and changed the pages a bit to bring a better flow to the story. I really feel like it’s going to sing this time around.
My goal is to have my dummy finished, again, by April. I would be thrilled if it didn’t take that long, but I think I have to redo all my finished pieces as well in order to have consistancy and make the changes needed for the story.
Books I’m Reading and Recommending:
Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace
by Sarah Mackenzie
An encouraging a quick read for moms or dads, to give you a boost as you teach your children through life. This book also has sections more specific to homeschooling, but the general sections are good for any parents.
This new, revised, and first print edition of Sarah Mackenzie’s best-selling eBook version contains 35% new content! Those who have made the decision to homeschool their children have done so out of great love for their children and a desire to provide them an excellent education in the context of a warm, enriching home. Yet so many parents (mainly mothers) who have taken up this challenge find the enterprise often full of stress, worry, and anxiety. In this practical, faith-based, and inspirational book, Sarah Mackenzie addresses these questions directly, appealing to her own study of restful learning (scholé) and her struggle to bring restful learning to her (six) children.
The Last Battle
by C. S. Lewis
My kids and I have been reading through the Chronicles of Narnia and finished The Last Battle this month. It was not my favorite of the series, being darker and a bit frightening for my kids, but it concludes it all.
During the last days of Narnia, good King Tirian faces the firecest challenge to any Narnian King’s rule ever. Many Narnians think they have seen the great Aslan, but he doesn’t behave the way they had expected. The ugly Ape who guards this false Aslan allows him to be seen for only moments at a time, and says that all Narnians have been commanded by the Lion to work for the cruel Calormenes.
by Anne Isaacs (Author) and Paul O. Zelinsky (Illustrator)
A humorous tall-tale from by-gone days of early United States settlers. My kids wanted to read this one over and over.
Thundering Tarnation has a bottomless appetite for settler’s grub. When word goes out about a competition to hunt this four-legged forest of stubble, a young woman, second to none in buckskin bravery, signs up. How about baking a pie, Angel? the other hunters taunt. I aim to, says Swamp Angel. A bear pie.What follows is as witty a round of roughhousing as ever jostled the ranks of Americana. Anne Isaacs’ original text unfolds in a crackling combination of irony, exaggeration, and bold image-making. Zelinsky’s paintings respond with deft yet hilarious expressions, rhythmic shapes, and a sense of monumental motion, as benefits a heroine who can wield a tornado like a lasso, drink a lake dry, and snore down a forest. In the course of these grand shenanigans, the Great Smoky Mountains are stirred up, Montana’s short-grass prairie laid down, and Thundering Tarnation’s fate proves to have no less a reach than the starry heavens.
Until next time,