Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Wow, it's been awhile, hasn't it?

Sorry I haven't posted in awhile. I've just been crazy busy, with the ending of the summer & all its' glorious activities. Now, today is the official first day of the 2011-2012 homeschool year for the kids at Kenny Christian Academy. We've gone over what our goals are for the year, what our schedule will be like, what will be expected of us, etc. So far, so good, but we haven't ended the day yet! ;) In all seriousness, I have learned today that my attitude greatly affects my kids attitude toward homeschooling. If I'm all cranky & miserable it makes sense that they will be too. (Bad attitudes are contagious, aren't they?) So, my major goal for the year, in addition to teaching the kids & helping them actually retain what they're learning, is to have a good attitude every morning. If I'm cranky, I'm gonna "fake it till I make it" and lean on the Lord for understanding, wisdom and patience. Are you a homeschooler? If so, have you started teaching yet this year? What are your goals, for your kids & for yourself?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Sometimes our dreams can change...

Sometimes our dreams can change. That makes sense, doesn't it? After all, the life I lived at age 20 is very different than the life I'm living at age 42. I have different opinions and thoughts and feelings because of the experiences I have had over the years. My dreams before marriage and children were very much about me,  how I could make my mark on the world. I never could quite figure out what it was exactly that I wanted to do with my life, although I knew there were a few options. I had always been told by my teachers that I was a good writer, especially with fiction. Then I realized I had a knack with kids, so I decided to study Early Childhood Education in college. I kept failing Math, so I ended up dropping out of school and entered the workforce, first as a daycare teacher, then as a group home counselor. I really liked that job, until I became a mother. Then my priorities and dreams started to change. I would literally cry every time I had to leave my son and go to work. It felt so unnatural to be away from him. I would tell myself that it was ridiculous to feel this way. I was a modern woman, right? I could have it all...career, marriage, kids...all on my own terms. But I felt overwhelmed and empty. I felt like I was doing something wrong, really wrong. When I found out that I was expecting twin girls (by now my oldest son was 4), I knew in my heart of hearts I wanted to be a full time stay-at-home mom. My husband was very supportive of this and actually wanted that himself, so I left my job. That was in 1999. I have been a stay-at-home mom ever since, also homeschooling my children. Looking back at the dreams I used to have, it seems as if they were for a completely different person. I guess they are. I still get the occasional fantasy about being a world famous novelist or having my own daycare center or wonder what it would be like to get back into group home work again. But not only is that no longer my dream for myself, I sense it is not God's dream for me either. By being home full time and homeschooling my kids, I have been able to educate and nurture them in a way I wouldn't be able to otherwise. My oldest son has Asberger's Syndrome. When he was diagnosed, the psychologist we worked with said that he probably wouldn't have learned nearly as much if he had been in a traditional school setting. I may never draw a salary, but I do work. In addition to caring for my family in a full time capacity as a homemaker and homeschooling, I am also involved in a few of the ministries of my church. I am helping my husband expand our older teen group and I have just taken on the duties as the church librarian. The desires of my youth have been replaced by the dreams my heavenly Father seems to have for me, and they fill me in ways I never would have imagined before. Instead of feeling useless as a housewife, I now feel empowered as my husband's helpmeet. Instead of feeling like I should rack my brain trying to figure out how to bring money into the house to supplement my husband's income, I am learning to become a good steward of what the Lord provides for us. It seems that at this particular time in my life, God wants my focus to be on Him, my family, and our ministries. Maybe someday He will have something else He'd like to add to that, but I am confident in what He wants for me right now. If I never publish a story or a book, if I never earn another penny, it doesn't matter. Right now I am living God's will for my life, in obedience to Him. My life is full of possibilities. Yes, I will always be a bit of a dreamer, but my dreams these days are radically different from what they used to be. I want to serve my God the way He wants me to serve Him. I want to be open to His leading and fulfill His purpose, not my own. I still have my selfish moments and times that I get the "I'm-only-a- housewife-and-nothing-but-a drain-on-my-husband-and-society" blues, but then God always does something that shows me I'm doing something right...a spontaneous hug....sharing a song or a joke....an unexpected call from my husband just to say "I love you"...and the feeling of peace and contentment that the greatest of all my dreams has come true.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Zone Cleaning?????

In all the years I've spent as a full time homemaker, I have not yet mastered the housework part. I have to admit that cleaning the bathrooms just doesn't list as one of my top priorities when I'm homeschooling 4 kids! But I do recognize that it still needs to be done, along with all the other exciting household tasks (ie: dusting, laundry, etc.) and I need to get organized & stay organized! I have been drawn to the many different cleaning/organizational gurus out there, like Flylady, but I haven't been completely sold on the idea of Zone Cleaning. Now I see the benefits of having a workable plan in place to help me get done what needs to get done. I have a teeny weeny attention span when it comes to doing things that I'm really not crazy about doing, so staying motivated to clean & organize my house can be, ummmmm...shall we say, challenging? I've decided to give Zone Cleaning a try, but with a definite Theresa Kennyish special twist: I'm going to make it into a game. Yep, that's right, I'm just a big kid, and I need to make it fun (or at least tolerable) to hold my attention. So, here's my plan. I'm going to divide up the house into zones (thus the zones for Zone Cleaning...see, I'm getting the hang of it already! LOL), but, sorry Flylady, no "dressed to the shoes" for this girl, it's barefoot all the way, baby! After all, I'm in my home, I want to be comfortable (I'm sure you can picture the whiny tone in my voice, sorry!). So, after I have my zones labeled, I'll decide which zone gets to be lucky Zone #1 (could it be the kitchen? Bathrooms?) and make a schedule. To do this I'll be using index cards, which I will place on my kitchen bulletin board to remind myself what zone I'm working in. I've decided that Zone #1 will be the master bedroom, so that will be the card I'm working off of. Now, the rule is that I'll need to work on at least one task in the "featured zone" in addition to my daily cleaning tasks (ie: cooking, laundry, etc.) and must complete the current zone before working on the next zone. Hmmmmmm....sounds complicated, which just might keep me interested. Do you ever find yourself tricking yourself into doing tasks that you just don't feel like doing? What kinds of things work for you? What kinds of things don't? Well, even if I don't end up sticking this Zone Cleaning thing out, it should make for an interesting experiment! Join me on the amazing adventure of cleaning & organizing my home...if you dare! *insert maniacal laughter HERE*

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

New opps coming up!

Well...it looks like there's going to be a couple of changes in my life coming up: #1: My husband & I are "taking over" the older teen group (grade 9-12) for our church. Instead of meeting once a month in conjunction with the younger teen group (grade 6-8) it will be a separate ministry that meets once a week during AWANA time on Wednesday nights. We will still be doing our game nights & events with the other group but the instruction will be specialized for the older kids. I'm really excited to be serving with my husband in this way! We are partners in a Sunday School class for mixed adults (women, men, young, old, married, single, etc.) and have worked together as a team in many ministries over the years so I know we'll work great together. Can't wait to get started!!!! #2: I have been asked by one of the older ladies in the church to take over the library. This is right up my alley, as I am crazy about books!!! This is my kind of job and I feel really honored to take on this position. I just hope I do a good job! So......what's coming up for you this fall? What's God laying on your heart?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Finding my niche

Hi, there!  I'm Theresa Kenny, a 42 year old SAHM of 4 that is currently finding her niche and embracing her role as a happy homeschooling homemaker. Before I was a full time homemaker I worked as a group home counselor. It was a great job & I loved the people I worked with, but once I became a mother, I began to feel my heart torn into 2 different directions: liking my job but wanting to stay home with my child. When my oldest son was 4 years old and I became pregnant with twin girls, my husband and I decided that it was time for me to become to stay-at-home mom and homeschool our kids. That was back in 1999. Now my oldest son is 17, my twin girls are 12, and my youngest son is 9. I love being home with my kids full time (well, MOST days! LOL) and I really enjoy teaching them, helping them with their different and unique learning styles. For example, my oldest son has Asberger's Syndrome, which brings us a few challenges, but by working one-on-one and at his own pace, he has done very well over the years and will graduate next summer. I realize that as a Christian I need to teach them Biblical principles and character development as well as the core subjects, things that will follow them into eternity. To be completely honest, sometimes my biggest obstacle to appreciating the life the Lord has given me is myself and my own insecurities. I did attend college but did not graduate, which has always been a source of shame and regret for me. I often feel useless compared to the career women around me, as if I have nothing of value to offer other than clean laundry, a fairly picked up house and a decent meal. My husband often tells me how much he appreciates what I do for our family but I sometimes feel like the stereotypical housewife that drains her husband's resources. Are you a full time homemaker? Do you ever have struggles like this? Do you sometimes feel as if you're floundering around, trying to find your niche within the life God has given you? I think that this will be a daily struggle for me, as I try to figure out how God has gifted me & how He wants me to use those gifts. It should be quite a journey. :)