Sunday, April 1, 2012

The "Whew, what a Week" Edition...

Outside my window... The beautiful, sunny spring weather continues.  I actually broke out the capris and flip-flops this week!

::Listening to... Quiet.  Michelle and James are playing nicely, Elizabeth and Papa are napping.

::Giving thanks for... Sunshine.  Opportunities for personal growth (Fun, no.  But good for me, yes.  So I'm thankful for them anyhow.).  Vitamin C tablets.  Another month of language school down. A chance to take a train trip to another city - getting out and doing something besides going to school and coming home.  Time spent with new friends.

Kiddos enjoying the train trip to a neighboring city.
::Pondering... I am realizing more and more that language learning requires a healthy dose of humility, diligence, and selflessness.  Humility: If I am going to improve my French speaking, I have to speak French.  And I am going to make mistakes.  I am not going to sound like I have my act completely together. This grates against everything in me.  I don't like making mistakes, and I like people to think I have my act together.  Diligence: Last week, I posted about feeling like the "honeymoon" was over.  While we are still enjoying the experience of living in Europe, we are also realizing what a difficult task language learning while caring for a young family is.  There have been days this week that I just didn't want to do anything, and some days that I gave in to that temptation to waste time rather than use the little pockets to make progress towards a needed goal.  I need to stand firm against that temption and keep plugging along doing the next thing, and then doing the next thing, and then doing the next thing after that.  Selflessness: Life here is a juggling act.  There isn't enough time in the day to do it all.  Sometimes that means making tough choices between what I want and what is best for the whole family.  I'm beginning to realize that perhaps part of the reason that God has brought our family to this place at this time is to refine these rough edges.  Fun, no.  But needed, yes.  I hope and pray that the experiences we have this year and the lessons we will learn from them will grow us to be more like Him and prepare us to serve Him in ways that we would not have been able to before.

::Living the Educational Life... We should have wrapped up our 4-week term on Friday but due to sickness and travel, missed a couple of days.  So we will wrap things up Monday and Tuesday and then take the rest of the week off.  Even with the on-again-off-again nature of the past couple of weeks, I am still really pleased with how our schooling is going.  Stay tuned for more school-related posts in the next couple of weeks.   As far as my school goes...well, it goes.  I enjoy my classes, but am definetely realizing how much that I still don't know.  It's discouraging sometimes.  (See thought on humility above.)  It is also very hard to find time for outside study time.  (See thoughts on diligence and selflessness above.)

::Preparing in the Kitchen... Nothing special.  But we did have our first European sidewalk cafe experience this week. It was interesting.  (See thought on humility above.)  But now we've done it and I don't think it will be as intimidating to do it the next time.  Also learned that French coffee is not for the faint hearted. =)  Good thing I like my coffee good and strong.

Michelle enjoying her fancy water glass.

::Following These Links... The Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival and Handbook of Nature Blog Carnival were both inspiring this week.  I also recently came across this new (to me) blog - looks to have some good ideas for tackling language study as a family.   Look forward to incorporating some of these ideas into our home (perhaps will help with my lack of outside study time too?!)

::Turning Pages... I am reading the autobiography of Patricia St John, missionary, nurse and children's author.  I love biographies.  When I'm done, I'm thinking to tackle one of these suggestions from like-minded friends on the SCM Forum.

::Finding Rhythm... Well, rhythm was a fail last month.  But Monday starts a new schedule.  In some ways the ever-changing schedule drives me nuts, but I guess a positive spin on that is the new schedule = a fresh chance to try something different in the hopes that it will improve our family life.   I was home from church again this morning with Elizabeth who has been running a temperature, and took some time to evaluate the negotiable and non-negotiable items in our life, so hopefully that might help things out too.

Looking at the river in the neighboring city we visited this past week.
::Finding joy in...Funny things the kids say and do.  Signs of spring all around.  8 years of marriage!

::Kiddos this week... So, we didn't do school everyday this week.  On the days that we didn't, Michelle made up some school work for me (math and copywork).  She is also writing her own "Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka" book.  I love her creativity.

::Praying... For wisdom in evaluating my priorities and using my time well, and senstivity to the Lord's guidance as I go through each day. And that we will be able to make some French friends, so we will have more opportunities to practice speaking French outside of our class times.

::Planning the week ahead... Hard to plan in too much detail until we get our new schedule on Monday, so we'll see.  We will wrap up Michelle's school term, which means I'll take some time to evaluate and plan how we are going.   I want to find a local "field trip" of sorts too.   And maybe (maybe?) I might be able to find a way to have a personal retreat.  Haven't since sometime back in January...or even December?  Can't remember.  Besides, those sidewalk cafes are all calling to me...

::Capturing a moment... Playground Time with Papa

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