Friday, July 25, 2008

Big Changes

Big changes at the Crim house. And before any of you baby-crazy people out there go nuts, NO, I AM NOT PREGNANT! I'll leave that job up to Prego Prestrud. Four is as far as this party barge goes, and no farther, Lord willing.

But a mighty shift in our family has occured, and those of you who know us well will understand how mighty it is... the boys are going to public school.

What a journey this has been! For three years now I have schooled sweet Jay, and last year both he and Ethan, and all the while I have become more convinced that it was what we needed to do. Homeschooling is wonderful--the time with your child, the ability to see the lightbulbs go on inside their little minds, the ample opportunities to process life and faith...the list could go on and on. I have been one of homeschooling's loudest cheerleaders, and will continue to be. Though it is not God's plan for everyone, I believe in it. And by God's grace, we will come back to it.

But when a mom goes so far into her duties of mothering, homemaking, and schooling that she begins to spiral downward into depression, anger, and hopelessness; when her thoughts begin to turn dark and she wonders if her children would be better off without her; when she realizes that most of her interaction with her children is tainted by irritation, anger, resentment, scolding, and anxiety; and when the thought of starting school in one month causes her to crawl into the fetal may be time to lay the mantle of homeschooling down for a season.

Since May I have been begging God to show up in this department. Knowing that I was overwhelmed in every sense of the word, exhausted and beyond tapped out, I cried out for Him to lead, to restore me. But for 2 months now I have felt no answer--no bolt of renewed energy or determination and no release to give up yet. And as the weeks have ticked by, aware that my depression was not lifting despite the break from school, I began to become more concerned that indeed there would be no great change in the time needed. In fact, the darkness was just growing deeper.

Then came Wednesday, when God released me into a new path. The night before I had sat on my bed, crying, journaling, and begging God to deliver me from my melancholy. I now knew that something big needed to change, but asked God to show me what. The next day I ended up going over to a friend's house who, in the course of our time together, expressed to me her concern over my current state and my stubborn refusal to let go of homeschooling. She warned me not to let it become bondage and had many other good things to say. As I pondered her words and my response in my heart, I came to a point of clarity I have long been missing. The change I needed was to let my children go to school and take a time to rest. And what was before a completely unthinkable idea, suddenly was a sweet answer from the One who never forgets to answer--in His time. I knew I was free to follow a different path, and with His blessing.

Brian and I spoke the next night. It was not an easy decision for him, either, and ultimately, it was his to make. As the leader of our home, I must follow him, but I did my best to clearly explain to him my desperation and the depth of my certainty that this was the only option. He did not give his assent immediately, but over the course of the next two days and several conversations, he slowly came to agree and gave me the green light to move forward.

An enormous weight has been lifted from my chest. Along with all the many emotions I am currently feeling--sadness, excitement, uncertainty, and some fear--is the predominant feeling of relief. A new life has been given to me, and a new life is just beginning for our family--an adventure we have not yet experienced. It is hard to express my sense of relief--it is too great for words. I have hope again!

The boys took it like I thought they would: Jay cried and Ethan cried because Jay cried and then said he was excited for recess. My tender-hearted Jay expressed his sadness at not being home, and his shock at the sudden change. But by tonight at bedtime, after listening to our neighbor Lucy (who also attends Jay and Ethan's new school) about all of the fun, interesting, and delicious things that await them this year, they were both expressing their enthusiasm. Ethan wants to start tomorrow. It will be an adjustment, I know. But we will go through it together...because this Momma--as worn out as she is right now--wants nothing more than to walk this road together with her beautiful children, trusting in our gracious God to care for them when she is not by their side. I am scared about this. It is all so new for me. Will He remind them of what is right when they are tempted to choose the wrong? Will He encourage their hearts and hold them close when they are confused or scared? Of course we will do these things when they come home to us in the afternoon, but it is difficult to let them go where I will not be all the time.

So, that's it for now. I'm sure there will be more. I know our decision may be disappointing to some of you. I pray it will not be discouraging. But for those of you out there who love us and feel led, could I ask you to please give me a call sometime over the next few weeks as we settle into this new remind me that God is big, that He will be with my precious boys, and that I can trust His hand? I would so appreciate the encouragement and support of my friends during this tough--and wonderful--transition.

Thanks for listening.

Friday, July 18, 2008

False Alarms

The sirens went off here on Tuesday three times. No, there were no planes bombing the metropolis of Hudson; no, there were no tornadoes, or even wall clouds. Actually, there was blue sky peaking out from the clouds, and not one drop of rain fell all day.

When I was a kid, if the siren sounded you threw your body headlong for the basement because there was a tornado on top of your house. Now when they go off I find myself tuning them out, knowing that most likely it is only a severe thunderstorm, somewhere in St. Croix county. Thus the three sirens on Tuesday: all were storms up near the northern border of our expansive county, near New Richmond.

When this really irks me is at 3am when the ear-splitting ghoulish wail wakes up parents and children alike, sending the house into fear-induced insomnia. For a thunderstorm in New Richmond!

Beyond the annoyance of the excessive alarms is my fear that someday, when it really matters (ie when a tornado really is on top of my or your house), we might not listen. As in the story about the boy who cried "wolf!", will we just assume all is well when it really isn't, because we have heard the false cry of danger too many times? Hope not. But I keep thinking that we should go back to the "old days" when the siren sounded for actual tornado warnings, not just dime-sized hail and a little wind, and definitely not for a town that's 20 miles away!

I feel like Andy Rooney.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Into Everything


My Cait turned 18 months old today. Officially, this means she is no longer a baby. Whatever...she's my last, so therefore she will always be my baby.

Being 18 months she is also into EVERYTHING! I'd spell that with periods after every letter, but then it would be really long. Anyways, by everything I mean: the silverware drawer, the kleenex box, the computer keyboard (by the way, can anyone tell me how to get my start menu back to the bottom?), whatever is on a counter and therefore not for her to play with, leftover cups of water, pop cans, the garbage can, the drawer in the hutch that none of my other kids ever got into, the paperclip container in the drawer in the hutch that none of my other kids ever got into, the cabinet with lots of glass stuff in it, the sink, and my personal favorite...the toilet.

This little girl loves to play with water. So, if I'm not careful or if someone else in the house is not careful (and there is always someone in the house who is not careful) and the door to the bathroom is left open...we have a problem. For awhile it was enough to just keep the lid shut, but no longer; figured that one out. Now she just makes a bee line to the toilet, lifts the lid, and begins to swish away. Sometimes it's after someone flushed, sometimes not. Gross, right? Well, just wait, it gets better.

The day after we arrived at the lakehouse in Indiana I was in the upstairs bathroom getting ready. Cait was in there with me and I think another of my chitlins too, because I was distracted for a femtosecond. When I looked up I saw her next to the toilet, already mid lift-and-splash. I started moving towards her, and though I was mere feet away, I could not reach her before that little pigtailed vixen, knowing the party was over, got in one last quick little splash and then hurried to LICK HER TOILET WATER-COVERED HAND! And no, the previous user had not flushed. AAAACCKKKK! I kid you not; you couldn't make this stuff up.

So, there you have it. My eldest son ate Holsteen's dog's poop, my secondborn ate his own, and my baby is a pee-licker. How's that for mommy honesty?

Saturday, July 05, 2008

5K #4

Got up this morning to run the Syracuse 5K with my sister-in-law Cheryl. My heart was just not in it, though, and as we started up the first hill, I considered dropping out. Running lately has been a mild form of torture for me...something akin to 30 minutes of labor. Every time I start making some progress, I get sick with some virus and lose a week or more of training. So, with only 3 full 3.3 mi. practice runs before the race, I wasn't exactly in great form.

Not only that, but last night I was awakened at 4am by a little girl who couldn't find her sleeping bag and a little boy who also had an issue. The latter took quite a bit of time to remedy, so by the time I was back in bed, I couldn't quite get back to sleep very well. Result: one groggy chica this morning!

After the first mile, though, things started to get easier. Cheryl was way out ahead of me, so I had to talk to other people. That helped and I slogged ahead, reminding myself of parts of Heb. 12:1-3 as I went...

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus and run with perserverance the race marked out for us...

Perserverance. That's what it was all about this morning. Just keep going. Seems like that defines my life these days as well. So many good analogies in running!

Things got easier as I went, and pretty soon I was rounding the final corner. Then I heard my kids yelling for me and jumping up and down, and I sprinted for the line. My goal was just to finish today, but I ended up shaving over a minute off my time from last year. Still not as fast as my first race when Jack-rabbit Vonda just about made me puke from our competitive little run together! But respectable, at least.

All in all, it was fun to run and a good feeling to finish another race. Cheryl finished a full minute-plus before me, with her best time yet (yay!). And I've been reminded once again of the need to just put one foot in front of the other and run with perserverance.

Anyone up for a 10K with me this Fall?

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

My Heart's in India

I'm in Indiana-
-but I can't stop thinking about India.
Like a friend attending a birth,
Watching and waiting as the baby slowly comes.
She's almost here;
So near, the wait is almost over...