This and that.

It's Tuesday!
A new week has just begun.
What will happen? What surprises are waiting around the corner? Who will we see? What will we learn? Who will we encourage, enjoy, comfort, challenge? And are we full of Scripture and praying without ceasing to prepare us for any calamity that comes our way?
Prepare us for what is to come, Lord, good or bad so we can praise You in both the celebrations and the sorrows.

~~~ School planning for the 2017-18 school year is in full swing.
History ✓
Science ✓
Math ✓
Reading/Spelling ✓
Writing/Grammar ✓
Bible ✓
Classes for Micah and Luke ✓
Life Skills ✓
Daily Disciplines (for Teacher and students) ✓

Last week, someone at the beach asked me, "When are you starting school, Michelle?" I replied, "I have NO idea!" But deep inside I knew it was time to pull out all of the curriculum, books, and lists and create a plan. Honestly? I was dreading it. But once I shifted my thinking away from summer and toward school, excitement replaced apathy and I had a great time!
Last year was the most difficult year I have ever experienced as a homeschooling parent. Academics, emotion, behavior, learning struggles ... I was barely able to keep my head above water. Though I did not sink to the bottom of the sea or hop the first plane to Timbuktu, I did not respond to the trials well. I isolated myself, let stress suffocate joy, and ate my way through the hard moments.
Not this year! Consistent time in the Word and prayer, daily walks with the kids, healthy eating, time with friends and older woman who will encourage me and make me laugh, and relaxed, light-hearted evenings with my husband and children will be my source of strength September through May.
I have no idea what the new school year will bring, but the Lord DOES! So I am choosing to rest and relax in that truth!

We have a birthday tradition at the Eastman home. The birthday child sits in the zebra chair for all of their photos. We take one with each sibling, one with me and Dennis, and one with all of the siblings together.
It is automatic at this point - everyone knows where to sit and when - so I just snap photos while everyone rotates places.
This year, while Dennis was viewing the slide show for Ellie, he laughed out loud when he saw these three photos.
We call the 1st photo (upper left) "Bodyguards."
The next one (upper right) "Sibling Serenity."
The bottom photo is called, "Reality." (note the facial expressions of the teens!)

~~~ Josiah and Isaiah will participate in flag football in the fall, so Micah and Luke have been 'hired' as coaches to get them into shape. They take them over to the college in town to pass, catch, run routes, and treat them as though they are trying out for a Division I team. Josiah and Isaiah return home red-faced and drenched in sweat, yet they energetically grab their water bottles and throw their cleats into their bags with glee when it is time for the next practice, so they must not think it is that bad! We'll see how much their work pays off at the first game!

~~~ The littles continues to enjoy Charlotte.
I took this photo to remind me of this part of rabbit life.
We give her parsley, a large carrot, and a slice of fruit throughout the day.
Charlotte has four large incisors, yet Ellie feels the need to hand-feed her parsley. Every.single.day.
Me? I throw the clump on the bricks and walk away. Clearly, Ellie has a greater level of compassion for God's creatures!
I found this in the refrigerator yesterday.
It says: "Calebs. Don't Touch and I'll know when you do Isaiah, Ellie, Josiah."
Apparently Gatorade's claim to be "fierce and intense" is a reality!
I wasn't sure if I should rebuke the boy or give him a high-five.
In a house of eight, five of them being siblings, nothing edible is safe. Especially a neon-green sugar drink! And thievery is not foreign to this house!
(Note: I went with the high-five.)

~~~ The Lord has been so gracious to provide Dennis and me with several wonderful interactions with others. Whether it is a 20-minute conversation on a sandy beach, a young adult pouring his heart out on our couch, sisters in Christ laughing and praying together, hours of discussion with a mentor, or friends talking and laughing with us until we cry ... we are thankful. And we know we are blessed.
Our prayer is that we will provide as much kindness, hospitality, joy, thoughtfulness, and love to others as they offer us. How much we appreciate and NEED the body of Christ!

Enjoy your week, everyone!

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