A World without walls
everyday life while homeschooling overseas
My boys are extremely silly--and we have a really great time together! :D They definitely keep my on my toes and keep us all giggling!
The other day, after some reading time, I got a little silly with the smelly markers, and gave them beards and mustaches. He he he... They thought that was hilarious, so they dressed up as cowboys and we were all in the midst of a Wild Wild West adventure for the rest of the day!
Then, I was trying to come up with ideas that would get everyone to go outside and play more. Most sports here are hard for my kiddies to do, because it's usually HOT. What about water sports, though? Could I get one of those mini swimming pools? Well, I probably could, but it would attract mosquitoes because no one would ever empty it, plus my kids are BIG. So then I thought about a slip-n-slide! Slip-n-slides are sort of pricey and actually have bad reviews! Plus I don't think I'd be able to attach it to my funky hose. So, instead, I bought a huge piece of plastic sheeting, and voila! We have a slip-n-slide! They LOVE it and play on it almost every day! It's doubly nice, because it hasn't rained for like 2 months, so my grass gets a nice good watering every afternoon! Ha! They have SOOO much fun out there! One of these days, I'll have to join in. I'm just afraid I'm too old and I'll break my hip...Ha!
I've been feeling a little down. Discouragement has been creeping in as life has started to become mundane and monotonous. The heat and humidity takes its toll. It makes me feel tired and, sadly, a little miserable. So, what to do?
There are some really wonderful things about moving often and living overseas. My surroundings constantly change. The strange and different has become my normal. And that's a bit of a danger. We've lived overseas now for 9 years. We're so far out of our comfort zone, that our comfort zone has now inverted itself. Now we feel like a fish out of water in the US, in our home towns, and we feel comfortable in foreign countries! The biggest problem with that, is that everything becomes 'normal', and I stop looking around with the wide-eyed wonder that should accompany life, and instead I walk around with my eyes half-closed trying to prove that I'm NOT a tourist!
Well, honestly, no matter how hard I try, I LOOK like I could be a tourist. Plus, what's wrong with that? The earth is a beautiful place! No matter where we live, we can see spectacular things all around us! So why not enjoy it?? When we have small children, they are interested in EVERYTHING. It's SO much fun to show a pretty flower or butterfly to a child that is full of wonder. It's SO much fun to take family and friends on tours of the countries we live in, and watch their jaws drop at some of the sights, or to enjoy the look of wonder as they soak in the sites that they only dreamed they'd be able to see!! I LOVE that! So, why shouldn't I try to be like that on a more regular basis? I live in countries where people sometimes save up their entire lives to be able to visit--I should just be a tourist sometimes!
This is now my new goal: To be a tourist. Look for the beautiful things that are part of the culture I live in. Find those hidden gems that are just waiting for me to discover. Open my eyes wide and look at the world through the eyes of wonder. It IS a wonderful world! It is full of beauty, culture, and incredible feats both of man and God. These things need to be seen and enjoyed. God created this earth for us full of beauty to fill our souls with joy and to show us how much He loves us!
I hope you enjoy tourist week #1! Some are beautiful creations of people, some of beautiful nature; some show the culture, some are funny, some are somber, but all of these things gave my soul joy this week!
We are reading "Indian Captive: The Story of Mary Jemison" by Lois Lensky aloud as a family as part of our morning school time. It's a fantastic story that we are really enjoying! This morning we were reading about how they hadn't had rain for a very long time, and their corn was dying. So they sang songs to the Thunder God to ask for rains. We haven't had rain for quite a while, either! So we did our own rain dances this morning. I chanted, Andrew played the 'drum' (a 10 gallon bucket), and the kids took turns doing interpretive dances. Well, it rained this afternoon! It was a very short little rain shower. Maybe next time we'll have to make our rain dance a little longer. Or maybe I shouldn't let Josh's interpretive dance be a snoring nap on the couch...
I had an epiphany the other day. I was feeling really down. There is a lot of fighting and bickering going on in our little congregation, and frankly, it wears me out! It makes me SO sad to see these wonder people be jealous of each other--to talk behind each other's backs; to tell falsehoods about others; to 'tattle'--oh gosh, I HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE tattle tales!!! When people pull me aside and say in a whisper, "I have to tell you what so-and-so said/did...", it just makes my blood boil! It's none of my business! It's not THEIR business, either! If that person wanted me to know, THEY would tell me all about it! It's unkind and hurtful. No one should do that to anyone else. Period. There's no reason for it. I choose not to listen NOR to ever pass it on if someone corners me. I also choose not to believe it, until said person comes to me and tells me all about it.
Anyway, I was stewing about this a little on Saturday. I want to hide my head in the sand and just ignore it and see if it won't just disappear...I don't want to deal with it! Can't we just change posts and go to a different place where they don't fight or argue amongst themselves so much? It's stressful to hear tales and accounts of jealousy, hated, bickering, fighting...the undercurrents of the devil trying to come in and destroy... And that's when it hit me: This is NOT new. If I really think back on all my experiences with church--with PEOPLE--it's exactly the same everywhere! There is always jealousy, anger, cliques, fighting, etc. It's always there. I wish it weren't, but it is. It's been inside of every congregation I've ever been in--some more than others of course, and some of it has been more visible than others, but it's always there. This IS the devil trying to break up things that have goodness and the potential for GREATNESS! I can't hide my head in the sand and hope the next posting will come soon...I'm here right now and this is where they need my help. The next post will have its own set of problems, too. It won't go away just because I'm new there.
This realization brought me so much peace. Not because I'm ok with what goes on, but because He's helped me through it in the past. I know He'll help me--and them--again! I don't have to feel desperate to leave, just desperate to help, to love, to teach kindness. That's all. He can strengthen and lift. He has to bear so much more. He wants me to learn and gain experience. It's hard, but He would never give me more than I can bear.
I had the incredible, unbelievable, magical opportunity to go to Vienna. It was incredible on so many levels. Not just because I got to go with my super cute hubby all alone, but because while we were there, I got to spend a LOT of time ALL ALONE!! Oh my. Devin had training, so I tagged along. We're calling it our 15th anniversary trip (it's coming up in a few months), and we had a whole week of date nights! But during the day? The day was MINE!! I wandered all over the city and enjoyed myself more than I ever thought was possible. Oh, don't get me wrong--I LOVE my family! I LOVE my children, and homeschooling them brings me more joy than I ever thought possible! I LOVE my husband--I have the BEST husband in the whole world! But I've never just hung out with myself for extended periods of time. It was eye-opening and really wonderful. In the mornings, Dev and I would eat a lovely buffet breakfast together (CHEESE!! DELI MEAT!! BACON!!!), then I would walk him to his class. After that--the day was all mine! From 8am to 4pm I wandered. I walked past churches and cathedrals and marvelous buildings. I meandered through parks, smelling roses and watching water fall in ornate fountains. I sat on benches and pondered and wrote. It was magical.
While it's not the same, I'm going to share all the places where I sat and meandered. I ONLY took pictures of places that I spent time in, so if the picture is here, it means it has a memory for me. I looked at it and enjoyed it, instead of clicking a pic as I wandered by. I decided it was more important for me to take meaningful pictures instead of ALL of the pictures! :) I hope you enjoy my walks as much as I did...
An overview of our full week of date nights!
Our first night there, we ate in the Mozart Cafe--a lovely, elegant little cafe where there was quiet classical music playing in the BACKGROUND (not drowning out all conversation). We wandered around and got our bearings, while enjoying a lovely summer rain! :) We even got to hear some organ playing and part of a mass in a cathedral!
We went to a few museums. The first was called the House of Music, where we learned about the famous composers from Vienna and how sound works! Pretty neat place!
We also went to the Albertina--a pretty incredible art museum! Here we saw all sorts of really amazing things...and some that were a little silly...
We took a train to Schonbrunn castle and walked around the amazingly extensive and beautiful gardens! WOW! It was so pretty! We walked all the way up to see the views of the castle with the city in the background. Inspiring.
In the mornings, we walked past more incredible places as I walked Devin to his classes. We saw more majestic buildings, pondered in a park dedicated to Sigmund Freud, and check out the wooden statue covered in nails! Awesome!
Then come our last couple of date nights...My very favorite was the night Devin found a 'City Walk'! We rode a tram to the very end, then followed a path through winding paths, up a hill through vineyards, and back around. It was 11km and had some fantastic vistas!! The best part, though? It POURED on us the whole time! Ha! We even scored an awesome thunder storm!! We walked close together with Devin's rain coat covering both of our heads and talked and laughed and had an absolutely marvelous time! :) At the top of the hill, we got a little confused with some of the signs, so Devin went to ask directions at a house nearby, only to find out it was a little family-run diner! So, we got to have dinner at a totally random diner in the hills of Vienna. Neat.
Last, but not least, was our very last day in Vienna. Some very good friends (whom we spent a lot of time with during the week), told us we could go to Bratislava, Slovakia in about an hour by train! So, since our flight didn't leave until the evening, we decided to hop a train and head to Slovakia for the morning! Ha! It was really fun! The scenery there was so pretty, the town of Bratislava was very calm and quaint! And we slept the whole way back to Vienna on the train! Ha! It was definitely an unforgettable trip!
After sleeping on the train, I have to admit that by the time we got on the plane that evening, I wasn't very tired! Doh! So, I didn't sleep--I did the unthinkable: I watched movies for almost 6 hours straight. It was awesome! Ha! Our plane left Vienna a little late, and our layover in AbuDhabi was SUPER short...like an hour or less. We were just a little bit panicky! We jumped off the plane as fast as we could, knowing that our plane was boarding in 5 minutes!! We pretty much ran the length of the airport (I was wearing a skirt and flip-flops...just for reference here), and found that we had to go through another security check!!!! WHAT??!?!? Why? Seriously--we just got off the airplane on our way to another connection. Why would they possibly need to put us through ANOTHER security check? We asked the security guards if we could get through faster, since the lines were LOOOOOONG and our plane was already boarding. He pretended not to speak English. Well, we did cut a little (I admit it...we cheated...), and we managed to make it through in about 20 minutes. We were really concerned, since our plane had already been boarding for quite a while, and we'd probably have to RUN back in the exact same direction we came! Doh! So, we got through, and started running, and lo and behold, our gate was right around the corner! Hooray! We jumped in just as the last few people were passing through and they were closing the gate, ready for boarding. Admittedly, it was nice to not have to sit and wait in the airport for forever. I had lots of adrenaline pumping through me, so again, I didn't sleep much. We landed in Colombo at 10am, went home, showered, and made it to church just as they were ending! Yay! Peter saw me and burst into tears--I think he was really relieved to see me. Sweet little boy. I enjoyed myself IMMENSELY, but I did miss my sweet little kiddos! I'm happy to be home with them and jumping right back into some really fun new things this year!! :) Hooray for amazing breaks that give us strength and desire to continue on!
Who Am I?
As a Stay At Home Mom of 4 wonderful children, I have the amazing opportunity not only to home school them, but to do so in many different places! I am married to the most amazingly wonderful (and handsome) man in the whole world! Together, we seek out, every day, that Joy in the Journey that makes life exciting!
by Dan Brown
I like that the plot twists and turns a lot...and it makes you think. However, I don't appreciate Dan Brown's endings in his books. I find the endings incongruent with the rest of his stories--why make it a romance for the last chapter...
I loved this book. I'm a sucker for fairy tales/fantasy. This was so well written! I can't wait to read all the rest of her books!
I'm reading this one again. I liked it the first time I read it. I'm still liking it for the second time around. I like all of Shannon Hales' books. **Still lots of fun the second time around! I do like this book for a comfortable...