There’s a feeling of spring in my heart, and it’s only partly to do with the greening up I’m seeing outside in my neighborhood.  I stumbled on this creek on a walk yesterday afternoon and marveled at the green when just last week, the grass was still dead. Ugly. Brown, like the state of my heart just last week.  But after God sent me on a U-Turn, I feel refreshed in my spirit.  My efforts to be a more encouraging mother are paying off, but I can’t take the credit for it. Anything good in me comes from the Father who made me and who picks me up, brushes me off, and gets me back on the right track again. So, to God be the Glory!  Thank you, Lord!

The blessed, wonderful news is that I have helped my daughter find fun and much-needed margin in her at-home school day by tweaking the way she does her assignments.  Math, the subject that historically has caused momentous break-downs and a torrent of tears, is now done together.  I sit down with her and work the problems out on my own paper while she is working them out on hers.  Yes, I am flashing back to my Pre-Algebra days, only for me it was in  8th grade rather than 7th.  I’m actually a little surprised how quickly I am remembering *some* of these concepts, such as finding the slope of a line and collecting like terms.  She does her work, and I do mine, and then we compare answers.  If there’s a discrepancy, I check the answer key.  (Well, actually I check the answer key for every problem because I am OCD that way.)  So when it took us 80 minutes to do 29 problems, I knew WHY it took so long because I did the work, too.  This has made my own attitude about math become more sympathetic.

The dimensions of a pasta box are 14 inches by 1.5 inches by 3 inches.  What is the surface area of the box?

Phew!  That is a multi-step problem!  Give me x,y,and z any day of the week, but please don’t give me too many questions that require me to picture an object in space.  I have a spacial disability.  Seriously.  I have to literally draw the box (but don’t ask me to draw it flattened out…can’t do that!) before I can visualize how to solve the problem.  It’s a good thing I have a great 13-year-old teacher!

For the rest of the school day, I set the timer for each subject, and I gave her a break in between each subject.  This strategy worked last week and again today because she was finished by 2:30. Whoo-hoo!  She has had some “me” time this afternoon, and her smile makes my heart happy.

I asked the Lord to help me be an encourager, to help me speak light into my daughter’s life and to stop being such a perfectionist. He has given me plenty to encourage.  In fact, last night I was so encouraged-out that when I went to bed, I had no words other than a plea. I am on my knees, pleading for wisdom, for my girl now has had an encounter with a Mean Girl. This is her moment to show godly love, to smile with grace and to forgive.  It’s her moment to pray for those who hurt her.

But the Mamma Bear in me wants to call the Mean Girl on the carpet.  I even wrote a post about it yesterday afternoon because the whole story distressed my heart.  But the Holy Spirit stayed my fingers, and I did not finish or publish my rant.  Instead, I will pray that Mean Girl will become Friend. I will pray that the Holy Spirit will give my daughter words to say…that she will give a gentle word to turn away wrath.  And that the Lord will bring her into relationships with these precious girls in her school.

A bloggy and longtime friend of mine has found the phrase “Simple Focus” to be her words to live by this year.  I believe God is calling our family to Roots.  Roots digging down deep into Him and deep into relationships with others. May His will be done, indeed!  He’s already done a very DEEP thing in sending me on a Parenting U-Turn, and I am already seeing the fruit of this change in my heart in my daughter’s life: she’s sleeping better, eating better, confiding in me, hugging me…she even told me today that I was the best mom on the planet.

Must have been the peanut butter cookies!

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