Thursday, February 26, 2009

Mother of Mine (Even the title affects me)



We watched this movie the other night.

It was very moving. Almost indescribably wonderful, but I will try to describe how it made me feel. I understand why it won so many awards.


It made me somber and reflective for days.



Plot (copied from IMDB):

During World War II, more than 70,000 Finnish children were evacuated to neutral Sweden to avoid the conflict. "Mother of Mine" tackles that painful patch of history in a tale of 9-year-old Eero, a child who increasingly feels abandoned by his biological Finnish mother and yet not attached to his Swedish surrogate mom. When he is returned to Finland, his confusion intensifies.

Unlike the kids of Narnia, these war children did not become Kings and Queens and converse with talking animals of the Kingdom. Instead, they suffered much confusion and betrayal and perplexity during this time.

Could I have let my child go? I really think not. I think I would keep her with me, away from the unknown. Away from the arms of strangers, strange men. Forced labor. Abandonment.


However, I can not judge the mothers who agreed to send their children off to a safe country. Off to the arms of caring people who offered security and temporary guardianship. Three meals. Education.

Because if my country was being bombed and yet I felt the urgent need to stay and try to keep my crops alive or my business profitable, my loving arms will do nothing when explosions hit. My good intentions of safety will not protect her from artillery.

I'm glad I don't have to make the decision. My heart goes out to all those who did.

I enjoy subtitled movies and am used to hearing usually French, German or Spanish. This film is set in Finland and Sweden and I loved listening to the languages of both countries. I couldn't differentiate between the two at all, though.

The child actor in this film can only be described as brilliant. My favorite actress was the surrogate mother. She did an absolutely fabulous job in her character and I found myself in her at times.


This film spoke to my heart as a mother. This mother harbors guilt and sadness from a fatal accident her biological daughter suffered at 6 years old. Heartbreaking.
However, it's obvious she loved her daughter with such power and passion.
I can relate.

It spoke to my adoptive heart as this mother took in a child that wasn't hers. Found him to be foreign, not meeting her hopes and her original assumptions, regretting the whole agreement.
I can relate.

It spoke to my spiritual heart as this mother overcame her confusion, expectations and selfishness and found peace, kindness and, ultimately, love for this child.
I can relate.

This was more than a movie to me. It gripped me on an emotional level. Even though it left me somber, it allowed me to move from somber to warm and tender. Not toward my children as I have already moved there with them...but to myself.

It brought me to my knees and thanked God the He chose me. ME. to be the mother of
Amy
Yolanta
Katie

"The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me." Psalm 138:8

He must have real confidence in me because I lack it in myself at times. But I trust that because they are all three here, God will help me bring them up so that they will affectionately say
"I love you, Mother of Mine."

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

8 Things (to pass as an updated Blog Post)


1. Spent Thursday through Sunday at Cannon beach with my husband. Luxuriously wonderful.


2. Am nursing 3 girls back to health as they are all suffering from a cold.


3. Giving my husband routine back massages as he threw it out doing yoga on the Wii.
(snicker snicker).


4. Reading the book Searching for God Knows What by Donald Miller. I was only mildly fond of his other book Blue Like Jazz but I'm enjoying this one more.


5. Homeschooling 3 brilliant children.


6. Training for a half marathon that's coming up in May.


7. Longing to blog but haven't felt all bloggy and wordy lately.


8. Ready for summer.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Stanfords

My husband and I had a belated Valentine's dinner last night.



Have you ever had one of those times where if it wasn't for being with someone you're totally in love with, it would have been a horrible experience?



It was actually quite comical how horrible things were. I mean:




  • The service was lacking big time.
  • My drink had a huge 'something' floating in it.
  • We had to use the force to get our server to remember we were in her section.
  • I sucked my water glass dry and had nothing to drink with my Spicy Cajun chicken for way too long.
  • Our dessert came on a dish that looked like it was picked up up off the kitchen floor it was so dirty.
  • The dessert was actually awful and we had one bite and almost gagged. She took it off the bill for us.
  • The entire process was quite literally 2 hours long. Just for the 2 of us! In the bar.

But you won't hear me complain too loud for I was with my cute husband who made me laugh almost the entire 2 hours. One time I almost had water coming out my nose!
And we had a gift certificate given to us by my lovely parents, so it only cost us the tip.



I brought my leftovers home for Yolanta who loves spicy food. The girls were having a grand time with Great Aunt Shanny who let them have 2 helpings of dessert.





It's all about perspective.

Had we been in grumpy moods we probably would have been a little bitchy about the whole thing and it could have ruined our night.



But it was a free meal, free babysitting, a night out with my spouse and lunch for one of my daughters today.



"Be happy, young man, while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your your youth." Ecclesiastes 11:9

Sunday, February 15, 2009

First Valentine's Day

We are still enjoying "The First" of lots of things around here and Valentine's Day '09 was super fun.

The new girls really had no idea what V-Day was, but they were enamored with all the hearts and roses and pink things they've been seeing at the stores for the past month or so.


I did my best to explain it, but I gotta admit, I went the "love day" route more than St. Valentine route. I'm so commercial!


We spent hours cutting out hearts and mailing cards out to cousins and using glue and glitter...whoa boy. Messy. :)


They have the best dad in the whole world who lined up flowers and chocolates for his 4 girls. I grew up with 2 sisters so the three of us and mom all got flowers and candy every year. Dad would line them up on the piano bench or the coffee table and had a special card for us. Man those are some awesome memories. Now we're creating the same ones for these girlies!


We then spent the rest of the Saturday up on the Mountain for inner-tubing!


I don't have very many pictures of our time on the Mountain because the camera died soon after we got there. Shoot!



Having/Making fond childhood memories is so important to me. Every day I think "Gasp! This could be a memory they never forget!"


Or, "I hope this is a memory they will treasure forever."


I have tons and tons of happy memories and remember my childhood as "Happy".




We didn't even have a lot of money but I'm quickly learning now that I'm a grown up, that one doesn't need money to be happy. It's the people. It's family. It's the traditions that are set. The smiles and songs that pass the day.






These homemade cards made by their father will be kept forever. Aren't they out of this world the cutest most special things you have ever seen!?











Here is Amy playing the piano and riding a horse.






Here is mine. Kissing!





Here is Katie's holding balloons.
Here is Yolanta's shooting archery and playing soccer.












Amy after a slide!









Yolanta having just finished a slide.
All you need is love.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Maid Marian. Or cupid since it's almost Valentine's Day.

The big girls take an Archery class on Tuesday's and here are a few pictures of today.
We've rounded up a few other homeschooled kids and created our own class.
You see that little Meez character on my sidebar? Well she (me) is supposed to be shooting the arrow and it flies off and then hits her (me) in the rear...she then takes it out and shoots it again.
But the Meez Nation website has a glitch where it only allows a few seconds of each animation and it dorkily chose THESE seconds. The seconds where she is taking the arrow out of my fanny! Why didn't it show the seconds where I'm poised ready to shoot the arrow?
Oh well. It's a free program.


Amy poised and ready.

Oh yeah, baby! Bulls-eye!


Yolanta, poised and ready.

Uh-huh! Bulls-eye!

Katie. Just being cute. She's a little too little to practice.


My nephew...who ALSO got a bulls-eye! (sorry, don't have picture of it, but trust me. He did)

Me. I did NOT get a bulls-eye. I barely got the target. I think 2 of my arrows hit the hay that the target was on, but not the actual target.

The other arrow hit the white part of the target. You know, the part that doesn't get you any points. Or the part that wouldn't kill Bambi if I were to be that type of person.

But admittedly, I haven't been taking lessons like the kids have. This was the first time in my life ever shooting.

Perhaps the Meez character isn't too far off of how it would be like if I really did go out in the woods and try to shoot a bow and arrow. It would come back and hit me in the rear.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Why I do what I do

Part of parenting for me, is to train up my child in the way she should go, so that when she is old, she will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6).

Parenting also means for me to teach my girls how to keep the way of the Lord and do what is right and just (Genesis 18:19).

And not to be forgotten, to love one another (1 John 4:7).

And a super fun goal, is to show my girls how to worship the Lord with gladness, and to come before Him with joyful songs (Psalm 100:2) !

When my first born got past that cute infanty stage and entered the
walking
hitting
whining
screaming
defiant
stage, also known as pre-school age, I took training her up very seriously. Meaning, very purposefully (hi Tiff!).

I didn't allow for
walking away from me when I asked her to come to mama
hitting anyone or anything
whining when she wanted something or didn't get what she wanted
screaming or any other tantrum
or a defiant attitude towards her parents.

There were consequences almost every single time. I'm sure I was lazy or soft or unaware or undisciplined some of the time. But I really did (do) try to be on top of those naughty behaviours to correct them.

Those consequences were countered with love, and joy and happy happy happy all the rest of the time she was (is) living.

A large part of the reason why I keep my daughters home is because I want to help shape their character and mold their value system from a home that honors Christ. I feel this can best be done during the bulk of their waking hours (of course).

I don't believe in letting kids figure out how to handle conflict on their own. This is a brute test that inevitably leaves the bigger, stronger kid the victor.

Untaught kids learning from untaught kids how to justly resolve any kind of conflict or disagreement is just plain crazy. I want to teach my kids what to do in difficult situations so that when they find themselves harried with a problem, they will know what to do. Or at least have an inkling of the right thing to do.

I try to be around my kids most of their play time with each other and with friends so I can be astutely aware of their reactions, tones of voices, behaviors and general direction their little spirits are headed.

But how do I know when to let them practice what they've learned? When do I let them remember their teaching and instruction? After all, I don't plan on keeping them home forever! Who'd want THAT? No one.

I came across This Article when I read This Blog.

These 5 points help address some of the things I've been thinking about:

1. You, the parent, are responsible for teaching all social behavior the first time.

2. You then are responsible to coach the child on future occurrences of that kind of behavior as a way to prod his memory as to the original coaching idea.

3. As the child grows older and occurrences of this situation come up again, it is your job to wean yourself of helping/coaching so as to give more and more responsibility to the child for
(a)recognizing the problem;
(b)remembering that he once did have answers to it from the initial teaching and subsequent coaching;
(c)correctly applying what he learned in the past to the present situation.

4. A point comes when it is actually good for the child to experience the (painful) outcome of his choices because he has already been coached numerous times and sometimes he must experience life directly in order to learn.

5. It is always possible for you, the parent, to re-evaluate the rate at which you are either jumping in with the coaching too quickly or not quickly enough and change the level of help you are giving at any one time. As long as you re-evaluate this regularly, you are in a win-win situation. Even screwing up leads to a win, because the re-evaluation teaches you something and it allows your child to learn from the situation—and from your re-evaluation itself.

I like these 5 things and they confirm my conviction to be with my children during the time of their life that they are learning crucial life skills. They further confirm my belief that even as they grow into these pre-teen years, I will have much to learn in order to ensure I'm teaching my kids how to experience, handle and live life fully. I will rely heavily on Him. For each year is new territory for me!

Having adopted a 4 year old and a 6 year old, I will be challenged on how to guide, mold and nurture children who were brought up in an environment very different than what they would have experienced had they been born in my home.

This responsibility of raising children to love God, be productive citizens, have a moral compass that proves virtuous is exciting for me. It is my calling as a mother. I don't take it lightly. There are lives and souls at stake!

Of course, I will not make their choices for them, and they will in the long run follow the path their free will takes them.
I believe that with God's help and my husband's help, I can set them before the path that will lead straight in to God's arms. Will they take it?

Hopefully the love and purpose they are given in their childhood will cause them not to even want to deviate from righteousness or test the boundaries of destruction, but to stay strong in good character and virtuous living.

For I have not greater joy than to hear my children walk in Truth (3 John 1:4).