Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Third Week of August

Monday, we started our first official week of homeschool.  (Did you know that the spell checker does not consider homeschool a word?  I think I feel discriminated against.)  Will has started soccer practices, but school starts next Monday.  

What this has meant in practical terms is that we're in sort of a dual existence, the already and the not yet, if you will: mornings are for school, afternoons and evenings are for summer.  

For the last couple of nights, the three younger kids have slept in a tent in the backyard; last night we had a cookout with s'mores; today we went to a movie at the library and got ice cream afterward; tonight they had a water battle.    

This is part of our back yard, in full summer glory.

The weather has been dreamy.  Today's high was 80.  

The sunflower seeds Sam sowed in May have grown into plants as tall as the garage now.

Summer is going out in a blaze of glory.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

RPI 2012

A few weeks ago, 
our family went to the Reformed Presbyterian International Conference
in Marion, Indiana.

This is a conference that I grew up attending every four years and it was something we looked forward to for all of those four intervening years.

So, it was fun to go again and see old friends and even older family (sorry, couldn't resist) as well as young family members.  This time was extra fun to watch my own kids make friends and have a great time that week.

Sister Katie and her new husband were there for a few days and made a splash with a memorable performance during the talent show.

One evening, we had a Copeland family reunion with cousins, cousins, and cousins!  

Some of the time, we just hung out, waiting for the next big event, usually lunch or supper.

Here is Sam with his cousin, Ian (far right), and a new friend, Sam, from Kansas.  (We went to college with his parents!)

Here is Micah with his friends, Nathan and Maria.

And here is Johanna with her friend, Abigail, from Indiana.

The main speaker was Joel Beeke and his talks on personal holiness were so helpful.  It was a pleasure to sit and listen to him for an hour every morning as well as attend several worship services with RP pastors in the pulpit.  

And the Psalm singing...

Well, if you haven't heard 2,000+ RPs singing the Psalms, I can't describe it.  At the least, I can say it is memorable.  

We are thankful we got to go and look forward to going back in four years!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A Clean Slate

I realized tonight that when I clean my house, all of my faults and failings come and stand over me and jeer.  

Not just the faults related to housecleaning. All of them.

Somehow my failings in housekeeping (and they are legion) seem to invite every other messy part of my life for a "sit on Anne" fiesta, or whatever the opposite of a pity party is.  So by the time I have been at it for half an hour, I'm ready to throw in the dust rag, kick the cleaning bucket, and, since I can't beat 'em, join the dust bunnies.

 At least the vacuum commiserates with me when I say, "I suck." 

I know all the psychological tricks which are supposed to make me work happily.  For instance, dirty dishes mean I have many mouths to feed and many mouths are a blessing so washing dishes should feel like a blessing.

Well, I'm sorry but it doesn't.  If feels like what it is.  An effect of the fall.  

Now, please don't think I spend a significant amount of my life obsessing over this.  I don't.  And my kitchen floor can attest to that.  But when I do tackle more than whatever is required for mere survival, this crushing weight of failure lies like a heavy mantle of wet wool on my shoulders. 

And then when I have friends and sisters-in-law who actually seem to enjoy housecleaning?  It gives them a sense of accomplishment?  They can't sit down until everything is spotless?  Huh?  Does not compute.

Believe me, I want to be like that.  I could use a little more OCD in my life.  I want to be this woman:

Actually, I'd rather be this woman: 


At least the first one looks like she's happy to be cleaning and that's what I need, rather than feeling like a failure as a wife, a mom, a homeowner, a person, a human being before I even grab the squirt bottle; feeling like my friends and neighbors and family must be shaking their heads, either in condescending pity or plain old disgust. 

And then when my kids are terrible at cleaning their rooms and cleaning up after themselves all over the house, who is to blame?  


Yes, John could pitch in and he does, but really for better or worse, I'm the main home keeper so it falls on my shoulders.  

I'm an averagely intelligent woman, not more than averagely slothful, and I really do love living in a clean home. So why is this so difficult?  

I think it must be because, deep down, what I really believe is that

For instance, think of all the good books waiting to be read (or written, for that matter).

So, anyway, when you come to my house, come to see the people; we're all reasonably clean and rather nice usually and we love to talk.

And when there's crud on the bathroom mirror and ground in something in the living room carpet and you have to move a pile of clean laundry off the couch, don't be surprised.

Start folding.