Coffee Break

I love coffee breaks! The process of the warm cup in my hand, the steamy smell wafting to my nose, and the calming of all the muscles in my body as my mind stills happens every time. It’s like an old friend coming over for a chat, but it is only me and my cup. Today I am looking over my life, my blog on how God is Good and how it all works together in my tangled life.

I know that in the blogging world, people like blogs with one theme. I love that too, and when I am in the mood for homeschooling, or current events or someone sharing their life it is easy to go there. But then you hit my blog, and it’s everything I do, think, and understand that will greet you. You never know what you will get, but you will always know where I am in life and what is going on at the time.

I realize that blogging is putting my life on display and that anyone can access it. It is quite terrifying in many ways. But I always come back to my love for God and the need to share how wonderful he is for whomever will grace me with a glance at my blog.

I know that there are many topics on my blog that make many people uncomfortable. There are those who do not want to hear about God, homeschooling, my life,parenting, teaching, my poems, or sra and sexual abuse. But I do hope that the brave that soldier through my posts are seeing that I am just a woman who lives my life knowing that whatever I am going through, God is with me.

I continue to love homeschooling. My 9th grader and I are having an enjoyable study in the executive cabinet appointees and Trump’s innauguration. My teaching English to Chinese students over the internet for VIPkids is a joy and is going well. Parenting is challenging as always. Health-wise I have been fighting cold/bronchitis/pneumonia for the past several weeks and it is really annoying. SRA healing has been quite difficult lately, unfortunately, and I struggle with how long the healing process is.

In the midst of all of these areas of my life swimming around in my head, I come back to the rock of my life: God. He calms my storm of thoughts and I remember how much He loves me and that even if I feel as though I am going through the valley of the shadow of death in different areas of my life, He is with me. With Him, I will make it out and do well.

My cup is about empty and it is time to get back to work. Thank you for being supportive of my blog and of me. I greatly enjoy my WordPress time and I hope that God blesses you in what you are dealing with today.

It’s About The Journey

The jourey may be exhuasting, but eventually you will arrive.

She shifted around over and over and over trying to find the spot of the least pain. You would think with modern technology they would have invented a more comfortable donkey. She shouldn’t complain, at least for the 68.9 miles she was riding, but she was pregnant, and very pregnant at that. Seriously, out of all the times there could have been a census it had to be now? And what was wrong with Joseph, the audacity to be born so far away? She shifted again and the baby gave a strong kick into her bladder. And now another of the already hundreds of restroom breaks! She knew that this baby was divine and all, but the pregnancy was anything but! When she got to heaven she was going to have a little chat with the Almighty about this…

We always assume that Mary was perfect: quiet in her sufferings, sitting poised even though a little hunched over on her donkey, having sweet conversations with her husband…. But we really know nothing of her jouney to Bethlehem other than she went, went into labor, and found no vacancies at any hotel… Why Was there No Room in the Inn?

What we can focus on in the birth of Jesus, is that it was  journey for Mary and Joseph. They had a road to follow, a destination to get to. God had a plan, but it was not easy. In fact,  I can guarantee you it took every ounce of emotional and physical energy that they could muster. God never gives more than you can bear, but Mary and Joseph were pushed way beyond what they thought they could bear.

Last night was Christmas Eve, and Patrick and I made it to bed by midnight. We reminisced over the years of trying to get toys together and eveything wrapped, food prepared, and everything ready for whenever our four excited kids decided to wake up. It was exhausting. We rejoiced in not having to go to bed at two or three or four in the morning. Then I said, “Phew, we survived another one!” Then I started thinking about the journey.

Christmas is not just a labor of love for a week, but for many weeks. There is money to be saved or credit cards to be charged, there are lists of gifts for loved ones, planning meals, throwing Christmas parties, attending parties, participating in the church outreaches, practicing and performing in the Christmas contada, and on and on and on. Our donkeys are uncomfortable, we get stressed and short with the loved ones we are trying to bless. The 68.9 miles seems longer and longer every year.

Such is the season, and we walk it over and over and over because we have an expected outcome. Mary’s journey led her to Jesus, cradled in her arms with the soft glow of the star resting on his little perfect face. Our journey also leads us to Jesus. Mary was crazy tired and sore from her journey, as are we. The parallels go on and on, and are a fun rabbit trail to discover.

Congratulations! You made it to Christmas 2016! Now we look at the birth of Jesus and ponder the gift that he was to the world. We may have family to spend our time with, or solitarily feel alone and abandoned with the “familiness” that everyone else seems to have. But regardless, we have all made this journey. And we will do it again next year, God willing.

The important thing to know about a journey is that there is always an end. Be it Christmas or some other journey God has you on, remember that you will get there eventually. So shift around on your donkey, try not to bite off the head of the people around you, and revel at the expected end that God has given you.

Merry Christmas! Thank you all for joining me in my blogging journey this year!

Coffee Break; Cream, no Sugar

It has come to my attention that I have not been blogging very much as of late, so I thought I would catch you up on the Life and Times of Lisa Meister. So grab your favorite mug and let me pour you a fresh and hot cup of coffee. I will take mine with cream, no sugar.

Well, technically I have cream and sugar because I have the French vanilla kind that is crazy good with a crazy amount of sugar. But I feel better just saying no sugar. I figure that I am a hypocoffeedriac, meaning that if I believe that there isn’t sugar in the cream, there won’t be.

I have already blogged about my wonderful new job in
A Fun New Job and This Time I Get Paid. What is amazing is that I live in Indiana, USA but teach in China. I am teaching Chinese children, ages 4 – 12 English. There are so many wonderful children out there that are a lot of fun to work with. I really thought that China was mostly a third world country, but these children look to be from homes very much like ours.

But I digress. That rabbit trail started with my job, so I will get back to it. I am slowly building my student base and am starting to figure out what I am doing. My kids are very smart and by the end of a 25 minute lesson, I can already notice a jump in what they can understand. I work from 5 – 9 am each morning, with prep the night before. I have puppets, cheerleading pom-poms, birthday hats and blow toys, crazy hats, and a tamborine. Aargh, I digress again.

Okay, on to a new area. I am still homeschooling my youngest. It works great because we don’t start homeschooling until 10am. She does almost everything on her own now (a trait the homeschooling community highly prizes), with me there to discuss ideas, help with math, or to try to help with science.

I am also a blogger, a great love in my life. But as you can see, I don’t have a lot of time for it right now. As teaching gets easier I will have more time again.

My oldest daughter is graduating from College next week! That’s a “Yeah!” and a “Yikes!”. My 5 pound bundle of joy is now 23. Yes, the years vanished in a smoky “poof”, but I know I gleaned all the time with her I could because I educated her at home.

I have also started writing a new book, and am trying to find big chunks of time (well, not really, more like small chunks of time) to write. I have my topic, my research, my voice and am well on my way into chapter one.

Christmas is upon us, so I am taking time to think through all that Jesus has done for me and marvel at his loving decision to come to earth as a man. This year I have been thinking through all the prophecies in the Old Testament about his coming. I’ll have to blog some about that at a later date.

There is always church, God time, teen drama, husband, and health issues that I deal with on a daily basis; heavy on the teen drama. I think that is about it.

So that about catches you up on me. I would love it if you would leave a quick reply as to how you are doing. I have missed all of my blogging friends.

My Last Straw Was Many Bales Ago

I woke up one morning with a situation I knew was too rough for me. I had been going through it for a while, and the last straw happened many hay bales ago.I was panicked and nothing was changing. It was time for a little chat with God.

It went something like this,”God, the Bible says you will not give me more than I can bear… well, this is it, so it’s time to blast out the enemy and get me out of this.” I slowly opened my eyes to peek, and I was in the same place as I was before.

There is, apparently, a divide between my definitions and God’s. I realized that with all my hay management. I wish He had written the Bible in my vernacular; it would have cut down on the confusion and made my blog more successful. I will continue the dialogue with God on all this, but it all comes down to this:

  • Ultimately, God is the one on the throne
  • He believes in my way more than I do
  • Just because He listens to me does not mean we are in agreement
  • I had betters study the Greek/Hebrew definitions
  • Get a bigger barn

There is not much I can do to help my circumstances, but there is a lot I can do to help others. When they are beyond their breaking point, I need to be their prayer warrior. I can encourage them, help them with their needs during their process, and be the light to a world stuck in the “more than I can handle” arena.

If you are in a situation where you are panicking and beyond your point of bearing, remember this: “our light and momentary struggles are nothing to be compared to the glory of God”. Now that is a bunch of words God and I can agree on.

When Appliances Hang Me Out to Dry

And now it’s the dryer!

Today it was the Lowe’s truck backing in with the new dryer. Before that it was the new water softener. Then it was the furnace (cringe). And in successive order: garage door motor, shingles for the roof, newer to us car, then another new to us car, refrigerator (shudder, shudder), computer, cell phone…  And all this is in the last year alone!

Okay, at some level this has to stop, right?  When our dryer started it’s slow, agonizing, screeching pain of death, it didn’t even phase me anymore. I think after having to get the entire roof replaced after our incredible Indiana storm where the world looked like there had been a blizzard of ice with drifts and everything, I became just plain traumatized and emotiona-less.

I will save you all the gory details of the poor, dying dryer. But I couldn’t even feel any sympathy. It gave it’s all working without complaint (mostly) for it’s three to five daily loads. My husband and I went to Lowe’s and as it was pre-pre-black Friday, they were out of many dryers. So I told the kind man that was straining to see any remorse or panic on my end, that I knew what I wanted. It was simple, really. I wanted a dryer, it had to be in stock, American made, would dry my clothes without screaming at me, and had a no-wrinkle cycle. No, I didn’t want the washing machine (seriously, I should have just showed him our house costs in the last year). I never understood why you have to buy a washer and dryer at the same time. All the poor man could get out before my husband calmed him down was that if you want a steam option, the accessories only worked with the compatible dryer ( and believe it or not, they are never compatible with other washer/dryer pairs). It took him showing us a few models that would not be available for two weeks (seriously, this guy had issues) before he finally got it. Soon it was paid for, delivered, and the old one unceremoniously dispatched.

I think my family is in appliance trauma, too. It wasn’t too many years ago that we had to replace our vaccuum sweeper with a new one. Our kids literally fell into heaps of grief (cue Job’s ash pile). We had to get a new van and they fell to pieces. When the new dryer came in this morning, my homeschooling daughter didn’t even stir from her class to go and at least look at the new dryer.

Happily, my tale ends with a few thoughts. They are in random and chaotic order, I don’t know why. But here it goes:

  • appliances come and appliances go
  • never name your appliance (sending “Fred” to the great junkyard in the sky makes it just that much harder)
  • it’s the glass half full or half empty; I get all new appliances, won’t need any of the already replace ones again for a while OR whoa, this is costing a lot of money
  • when people at Lowe’s and general contractors know you by name, it’s time to pray for a financial miracle
  • when you are having a wonderful conversation with your spouse, don’t mention the stove…
  • there is a difference in buying the smaller items (ie. bathroom fans) and getting them installed
  • Pray that your son franchises a Lowe’s
  • get a second job

A Tactical Homeschooling Error

Now that I have time to look back and evaluate my homeschooling strategy a little, I see a big mistake in my strategy: my kids are using what they learned against me!

My very godly goal was to equip them in all areas (academics, running a house and a budget, clearance shopping, etc.) so that when they graduate from my homeschool, they will be ready to walk into anything God has for them. I went into this whole-heatedly.

Most of my strategies were good ideas, some not so good, and some were downright failures. Here are some of my good ideas :

  • academic strength
  • learning proper socialization
  • creative classes to reflect each child’s interests
  • problem solving skills
  • hard work ethic
  • strong civics understanding
  • strong self identity
  • a heart after God

Okay, I feel a bit better after coming up with that list. Now my “not so good” list:

  • breeding animals in the home (pomeranians started sex-ed at a way to young age for my comfort), (butterflies, tiny silks with worms hanging off of them in the hair of my children at the dinner table)
  • homeschooling in the summer (good idea, bad implementation)
  • teaching the kids to drive by myself (okay, with a little soul searching on this one, I am moving it to the “stupidity” column)

Enough with that, I am getting a little depressed. Let’s go to the “failure” list:

  • using Abeka math for three classes in highschool even when I knew it wasn’t working for us (oh the hours I wasted trying to figure out their way of doing things when I could have just taught my kids the way I knew how to do them)
  • logic fallacies course

Those are just enough to give you the idea of where I am on this. So now onto my greatest strategy error:

Teaching my children how to back up an argument and pointing out the logical fallacies in another person’s argument.

And this is why: My kids can argue me in circles until I don’t know what hit me. Seriously. I also prepared my kids to be independent after graduating from school, and they are way too independent. Plus they are now smarter than me and have a higher vocabulary than I have.

It is just embarrassing when I have to  look up the definitions of words my daughter uses in her writing assignments. It’s humbling when the kids can run the house smoothly when you are out of town for an extended time.

If I had to do it all over again, I have to question what I would do differently. So with great reflection, here they are:

  • waited to buy the first butterfly caccoon until later in the summer when it would be warm enough to let them free
  • not buy the tadpole as it turned into a frog that we couldn’t let loose in a pond and had to buy a friend for
  • not give scissors to a toddler to practice cutting paper while I was homeschooling the other kids, resulting in a beautiful new groove on the edge of the table (who knew safety scissors could actually do that!)
  • taught each subject to suit all levels of kids instead of each child having their own and unique curriculum
  • not study logic fallacies and debate (talk about a student soaking in a subject, biiig mistake

 

I have one child left to homeschool, and she is so smart and independent that she really doesn’t need me much. Mostly she needs me to read to her and discuss ideas. So I am basically out of a job. My older kids have a good head on their shoulders and work hard, and have better ideas about life advice than I normally have. Now they are giving me advice! Argh! But it’s too late. I guess I will have to wait and give fair warning to my kids when they start homeschooling. Of course, they probably will already know that…

 

 

 

 

 

I Want to Know

We see God through the glass darkly, so let’s clean the glass…

By Lisa M. Meister

There is so much
I want to know
About my Lord
Each truth to sow

In my life
The vision clear
Open ears
So I can hear

I want it all
I’d prefer it now
I mean, why wait
Just show me how

Windex in hand
Some elbow grease
Undarkens the glass
All truth release

How much better
To follow you
When I know
All that you do

With it clear
Your face to see
What can it harm
Closer to you be

But as wise
As I think I am
I bow to you
Your greater plan

And at each kernel
Of truth I find
I marvel at it
It sparks my mind

I take it in
And try to see
To change my life
According-ly

To be better now
Than before
To celebrate
Of you adore

And to think
Of all I’d miss
If I already knew
All of this

So I come
Before you now
And concede
To your way I’ll bow

Tell me what
You’d have me know
Our relationship
Will strongly grow

Until I stand
Some glorious day
Face to face
With you I’ll stay

Okay, God, Your Point?

Why does the Bible spend so much time on what is to come?

I love the prophetic which means I read the prophetic books in the Bible over and over again. So today I finished Daniel and went into Joel. Daniel was talking end times and Joel was talking about things to come. Then it hit me: a big part of the Bible is God telling us what is going to happen before it happens. God is smarter than I am, so nothing is by happenstance, which means that everything has a reason. So I started thinking through where God was going with all this prophetic stuff.

So my mind started whirring and then the really super-duper deep reason hit me: a big part of a Bible is an arrow shooting across the time/space continuum towards our ultimate life end and eternity beginning. The human race has been told over and over and over again that the end is coming and that we need to make sure we are on the right side of the line that has been drawn.

I think God’s point is to be in a constant state of readiness for the end of the world, but even more personal is the end of our own life. Are we right where we need to be with God? Are we waiting until we know our life is almost over to accomplish certain things? Are we putting off truly following God for some crazy reason?

Every time you see an arrow, think about where your life is going. Following God will help you hit the mark every time. I think that is the point.

Take a Walk

God walked with me today. The day was not special and we chatted about nothing deep, but just spent the time enjoying each other’s company. I love spending time with Him. I love learning about Him and drawing closer to Him. Each day I want to find ways that I can get ever closer to Him.

I am never satisfied with how close I am to Him. My heart is on a race toward the throne room. I want to bow down right in front of Him and be able to see His toes on the floor. Today I did get closer to Him, just by spending time.

I love to tell Him how beautiful the trees and mountains and birds are. I tell Him how amazed I always am His creativity. Seriously, how long did it take to figure out gravity just right so all the planets and suns didn’t collide together? With all the solar systems and galaxies, it surprises me that the spheres up there aren’t colliding like billiard balls.

I thought through all the miracles, grace and mercy God has extended to me over the years. I thanked God for our new paid for and installed water softener. I thanked Him for my family and friends. I thanked Him for our wonderful church and amazing pastor and his lovely wife. They have such a passion to love on people and point them more and more toward God.

I also enjoy talking to Him about things I disagree with. mosquitos, dirty dishes and time continuums. Or ask about what was up with the platypus. Or why don’t I have a panda bear and slide when I want one so badly. I’m sure He laughs at me a lot, but I really do talk to Him about these things.

Everyone can walk with God. Everyone can talk to Him. Take Him along with you tomorrow, and just chill. You will get closer to Him than ever and have a lot of fun. I’m sure you will make Him laugh.

 

Coming Out of the Parenting Hazes

Coming out of the parenting haze and finding…

My husband and I waited two years after marriage to have our first bundle of blessings. It was amazing what God had blessed us with. Our beautiful daughter soon turned into three beautiful daughters and one handsome son. I greatly loved those years and do wish them back at times. It was what I termed “The Baby Haze”. I was blessed to be a 24/7 mom and I don’t think I ever completed one complete thought or prayer.

Next came “The Toddler Haze” which helped me to keep my svelt shape for many years. I had never done so much running, diving and trying to hold two wiggly kids at once in my life. At that point it was all out survival, as in keeping all my kids alive.

“The School Haze” was next, and homeschooling caused this to be quite lengthy. I have loved every minute of it, and learned how to instantaneously switch from explaining how to write a report to answering a Biology question, to helping with a Greatest Common Factor question, to a Greek civilization question. The haze felt much like schizophrenia.

I have graduated 3 of my precious children in the past few years, and am left with one talented 9th grader. She seriously could homeschool herself if needed.

Now I realize that the haze is lifting. My husband and I are getting to see each other again and actually spend time together in something other than parenting pursuits. We are getting to spend more and more time together, and it feels great! Sometimes I go into work with him and hang out in his office while he works and runs to class. I helped him move his office down the hall a couple of weeks ago, and we just really enjoyed each other.

I have found that the man I fell in love with 25 years ago has matured in honorable and godly ways, holding great wisdom for the time that our children will not see us as so stupid and embarrassing.

I really thought when I would start empty nesting I would fall apart, but that just hasn’t been the case. It has been gradual and I am finding awesome opportunities for my husband and me.