Saturday my family was invited to the home of some new friends of ours from our homeschool group. They were hosting a gardening class with a couple of Master Gardeners, a veteran gardening neighbor and some other amateur gardeners like myself. I had the best time visiting and sharing with other folks of the same mind. We talked on everything from gardening, to politics, religion, homeschooling and child rearing. Even though we didn’t agree on it all, it made for some good conversation. I was even the second to last to leave.
We are creeping up on the close of our seventh year of homeschooling. There are times I wonder if I’ve taught my children anything, but one thing I know for sure, I’ve learned so much. I’ve learned that I can teach them things all day but if they don’t know how to learn things on their own and develop a love for it, then I’ve failed. I’m a goal setter, planner, scheduler and very task oriented. My to-do list will become my idol if I’m not careful. What homeschooling has taught me is to chill out. See on days like today a science experiment inspired Reese to keep exploring what he could do with magnets.
. The crazy scheduler/planner inside of me was thinking about the spelling curriculum that needs to be completed before summer break and how we’re behind in math. However, I know I need to let my children pursue their interests, it’s how they learn to learn. So I sit back, relax and enjoy watching them learn and listen when they excitedly show or tell me what they’ve discovered. This is just one of the many joys of homeschooling. The spelling will get completed and the math will get caught up, but not now, because we’re learning.
This past weekend we took a road trip to the Abiline area of Texas to visit my husband’s parents. My mother-in-law told me it’s considered “Big Country”.
I live along the coast surrounded by huge Oak and Pecan Trees, lush green grass fills yards where kids run barefoot almost year round. While in the “Big Country” my son ended up with a barefoot full of stickers and my daughter stepped on a cactus and the needles went through her shoe. I personally love the Texas Hill Country and long for it when I’ve been away too long. I adore the rocks and hills and clear rivers that rush through it. But this “Big County” is a place I haven’t visited much. At first glance it’s…well, it’s ugly. Brown grass, scrubby mesquite trees, cacti and dirt everywhere. During our hikes around my husband’s family land and adjoining property I discovered something…something beautiful.
When I began to look more closely I was surprised at the beauty I found in things like that, and like this.
Then I began to think about the book I had just finished, One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp where she talks about finding beauty in the ugly. Life is hard sometimes, but God has beauty strung throughout the ugliness that happens. It’s there, just not at first glance. It’s like this “Big Country”, you have to look a little harder to see it. In the midst of having loved ones all around me going through various trials, some unimaginable, some overwhelming, lots of broken hearts and confusion, I can hold onto God. Through all of the ugly I can’t forget to stop and look at the beauty because it’s always there, I just have to take the time to look for it.