Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Wanting to be strong

I joined the gym a month ago. I've been going three times a week, for four weeks, so it's only 12 sessions.

I'm lifting weights. I want bigger muscles. I was joking about this today, about how my husband - who sits at a desk all day and hasn't exercised regularly in years - is much stronger than me. His biceps are much larger than mine, and that just isn't fair, right?

A friend asked me, "why do you want big muscles as a woman?", and I wasn't sure what to say.

I don't want to be a body builder, or look like a man. I just want to be stronger. I want to see evidence of the hard work I've been putting into strengthening my body.

This world we live in, this "westernised" society sees femininity as smallness. Women go to the gym to shrink; men go to get bigger.

I don't want to shrink. I want to be substantial and tough.

Because I'm tired. I'm tired of being battered by images and words and ideas that tell me lies.

That tell me I'm not pretty enough.

Or that I'm not skinny enough.

Or that my path in life isn't worthwhile.

Or simply that I don't count, because I'm a woman at all.

Perhaps the reason why I want to be strong, is because it will instil something of that durability into my mind and heart.

Oh, I know that I am a child of God. I believe that my womanhood is something to cherish and that I am not, nor will I ever be, a second-class citizen to my Heavenly parents. On good days, I know that the amount of adipose tissue I carry around under my skin is not a measure of my worth. The length of my hair, the style of my clothes, the cleanliness of my house -- these things mean nothing.

But on other days, I am just tired. I feel weakened by the onslaught, and I don't want to look critically at my body anymore.

So I lift weights. I focus on strengthening the muscles I have been blessed with, and I watch in awe as they respond to the challenge. I am getting stronger. My body is a beautiful orchestra that works in complex synchronicity. And when I see myself in this way, the voices that tell me otherwise disappear.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

My little boy was baptised today

A few hours ago, my second-born child entered the waters of baptism, following the example of the Saviour.

He was thoroughly versed in the 'whys' and 'hows' of baptism, and was happy to make this step in his life. My husband and I are happy he's taken this step as well; we believe it is a saving ordinance and one that will give him strength and protection throughout his life.

The service itself is quite short; usually a talk or two is given on the subjects of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost. These are great topics, but when preparing for my son's baptism, I felt a different approach would work better.

He is a big fan of the scriptures in Acts that refer to the armour of God. So I themed a short talk on that:

I glued a picture of his head onto card and added a cartoon body with some strategically placed velcro. As I talked about each part of the armour, he stuck a little picture onto himself. By the end of the talk, he was fully prepared to live a life of faith!

“Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth”

“have on the breastplate of righteousness.”

“your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace”

the helmet of salvation

the sword of the Spirit, or the word of God

“Above all, taking the shield of faith”

He really enjoyed sticking the bits of armour onto himself! Hopefully it will be something he will remember as he grows up, and in the meantime he has the chance to play with it whenever he wants now. (at least until the pieces get lost or broken, which is inevitable in this house!)

I love that kid.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

She's a School Girl!

First day of school, with her packed lunch and everything

Second day of school, in her official school logo cardigan and a cute skirt
Well, she seems to have enjoyed the first day of school, so that's good.

She spent the rest of the day literally attached to me - she held onto the hem of my skirt and I had to drag her along as I walked around the house. So..... maybe she is feeling a little conflicted? Hopefully she'll feel more confident as time passes.

I do miss her when she's gone, though.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Back to School

Last week, I sent the school applications to the county council.

Two days ago, I got a call from them saying they had an opening for my 5 year old at BOTH schools we requested.

Yesterday, we toured the school closest to our house.

Today, we decided to go for it! I spoke to the school and she is starting on MONDAY.

She has 1 school skirt and 1 pinafore. We are going to have to do some serious shopping tomorrow!

I'm kind of dizzy at how fast this change has come about. I sent the paperwork off and expected a good month or so before hearing from the powers that be. Now, within the space of a week and a half, our entire family life will be different.

I am at peace with this choice, although it's taken me some serious thought and tossing-and-turning before I've come to that conclusion. It will be ok. Good, even!

She will have something special and important that's all her own, which is something she needs. She'll get to  be her own person outside of the family. And when her brother finally gets a place (he's on the waiting list), she'll be able to show him the ropes!

I'm happy for her.

And if it doesn't work out, she can always come home again!

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Angst, and Worry, and Dread, Oh My!

My kids want to go back to school. We have been home educating for nearly 2 years, and it has been good. We have enjoyed each other's company (most of the time) and learned a lot. Our family is closer than ever before, and we have great friends. Our lives are happy, on a very fundamental level. I love it.

But the eight year old and five year old don't really remember school. The five year old has never even been to school. She in particular is very keen to try it out and see what it's like for herself. The eight year old feels like he would "learn more" in school, despite my attempts to remind him of all the things he's learned at home so far!

All this time, I have said that we should be flexible with the children; home education OR schooling don't have to be a permanent situation. So now, I suppose I need to keep my word.

My nine year old remembers school and wants nothing to do with it. When I first floated the idea to her, the immediate reaction to the thought of returning to school was a very strong NO WAY. She doesn't like being forced to learn what's on the syllabus and she doesn't like having to ask permission to use the toilet. She enjoys learning at her own pace and is probably the most motivated self learner of the bunch.

It looks like we will be a part-time home ed family now. I would love to get the kids into a flexi schooling arrangement, whereby they attend for 3 days a week. I think that would be a great compromise.

I'm not sure how this will all pan out. Maybe they will flourish in school. Maybe they will hate it. Maybe they will feel better because they aren't so different from most of their friends anymore. It's difficult to accurately find the root of their desire to school, but no matter.

They will go. I will have my first- and last-born at home during the day, and we will find many things to do together. This time of more one-on-one togetherness might be just what my 9 year old needs right now.

Deep breaths. Change and growth are good things. This will work out just fine. At least, I hope so.