Friday, November 24, 2017

Leaving The Farm

I've sat down to write this post a handful of times. There is so much I could tell you I suppose. I could tell you about the conversation the Cowboy and I had over Mexican food back in June and how he asked me if I might be willing to move to TX. I could tell you how simultaneously my heart lept and sank,  how a warmer climate and a fresh start sounded glorious, and how leaving our community sounded almost unbearable.

I could tell you how my dad (who lived in his own house on our farm) joyfully agreed to move. I could tell you how the Cowboy's boss agreed to let him keep his job, or how we didn't even have to put our house on the market, because a friend caught wind of our possible move and gave us an offer that was perfect for the both parties. I could tell you so many things, but what I want you to know most is this:

Obedience in and of itself IS success.

I think about this often when life doesn't feel good.

Sometimes you find yourself doing things simply because the Lord has asked you to do so. You have no idea how it's going to turn out, but that doesn't really matter.

The Farm has been a glorious and treacherous place for me. I've brought three babies home to this place, created traditions, loved well, and fallen hard. There have been countless folks who have gathered around our farm table, who've shared meals and conversation, joy, loss, struggle, and sorrow.

I have loved the nights on the couch with my Joey, watching the first snowfall after the kids were all tucked in their beds. I've taught 4 of the six to read under this roof, all those days of listening to them tediously sounding out each and every letter, only to find them years later hiding under their covers reading things I never imagined they would be able to read.

There have been pillow fights and real fights, lots of laughter and an equal amount of tears.

The Farm was also the place that housed my heart through the postpartum depression I had after our Solomon was born. These walls have watched me majorly succeed and majorly fail in my mothering.  I have soul has barely made it through the past seven winters. There's been great beauty in this place and great pain this place. I wonder sometimes if all the places we find ourselves in are like this, full of both the beautiful and the broken?

The truth I am coming to find more and more is that this is not my home. The Farm is not my home. The places we're going, the places we've been, they are not my home. I was made to be living in eternity with Christ. And until I get there, I have one thing in mind__ to make HIS name great in the way I live my life, for HIs glory, and my joy.

On our last Sunday, during testimony time, in our little country church, I mustered up the courage to share a bit about this move. I talked about Jesus and how wherever we are, He will always be what our life is all about. And then I went on to share the verse I have spent the past seven years clinging to. And as I began to speak it out loud from memory, my kids, unprompted, joined me__ there we were, our little tribe, together in unison, proclaiming what we believe with our whole hearts this life to be all about__ "I eagerly expect and hope, that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage, now as always, so that Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain." {Philippians 1:20-21}

As we embark on the next leg of our journey my prayer is that this may be true of the Clark family.

I feel a million things about this move; some excitement for change and all things new, and some sadness over not living intricate, daily life with the some of the most real, authentic Christ followers I have ever met. But in all honesty, it doesn’t really matter how I feel. What matters is simply this: that Christ walks before me, and beside me, always. We can’t base life decisions on feelings. We must base them instead on a joyful obedience to whatever the Lord makes clear for us to do. We're here, in TX, and we're taking it one day at a time. 

Friday, August 25, 2017

End of Summer Video

Summer {Part 2} from Kacy Clark on Vimeo.

password: summer2

Summer 2017 from Kacy Clark on Vimeo.

And here's the first half of the summer in case you missed it...

password: summer

Friday, August 18, 2017

Beginning Again {Year 8 @ The One Room Schoolhouse}

I've never struggled to find motivation for school as much as I have this year. I've pondered what to do with the little kids, as they are both in the thick of their mischievous stage, clearly unable to practice much self control in anything, and far from being any kind of self sufficient. What do mamas do when they are trying to engage with their big kids, when their little kids are loud and full of opportunities for growth (also known as interruptions)?

Our oldest is starting JUNIOR HIGH {What??}. Our oldest daughter is in need of some focussed and purposeful pursuit in math and language arts. My fourth grader is diligent and self motivated and I know she'll have no trouble getting through her studies this year. And our middle boy needs to dive head first into learning to read. The task before me seems somewhat daunting, and on the verge of impossible probably because, in a dozen and a half ways, it is impossible.

I've cried a river at the thought of all that beckons me in this task of facing another homeschooling year. Then of course, in His unfailing faithfulness, The Lord met me this week in three tender, sweet ways.

 On Sunday, our pastor shared a story of a man and his boy who set out to hike 1000 miles. There's way more to the story than what I'm mentioning here, but my pastor told of two things that allowed these men to accomplish such a task.

First, they knew that there was a 100% chance that they would run into hardships, and they decided ahead of time that they would accept them for what they were and they wouldn't let those hardships prevent them from finishing the task that they had set out to do. Secondly, quitting was not an option. They would simply put one foot in front of the other until they walked their last step.

Truthfully, his sermon had nothing to do with homeschooling, but for me, it had everything to do with homeschooling. There are years that are just going to be straight up hard. And that's ok. Hard is inevitable, no matter what path I choose. But I want to determine that the hard won't be a means for me giving up.

The second thing The Lord reminded me of was the sweetest little blog post that I have read dozens of times over the years, but it has never ceased to remind me that this homeschooling gig doesn't have to be complicated. Rather, it needs to be full of 4 simple cornerstones...

1. A Continuum of Constant Learning….

Live your life. Invite children to join in! Education is a continuum of everyday life. 
Read together.  Pray together. Sing together. Work, bake, garden, chore, clean, sew, fix, build together. No artificial demarcation lines between schooling and living. Just live a one-piece life. Just live authentically and holistically.

2. Contagious Creativity

Explore! Be awed by His world! Restore Wonder! Be a creative, thinking, exuberant person who spills with the joy of learning.

When we are awed by something — we can’t help but pass it on. It’s our natural tendency. And if we are in awe of God — we become natural, unstoppable, top-notch teachers. A zest for learning and life and our Maker will be creative and contagious–the children will catch it!  Simply be awed!   

3. Curiousity
Read, read, read. . Fill the house with library books. Play classical music. Post the art of the masters about the house. Go for walks in the woods. Learn a new language, a new culture, a new poem. Write! Everyday set out to discover again and again and again. Simply live curiously. The whole earth is full of His glory! Go seek His face…

4. Consistency

Consistently pray. Consistently read. Consistently keep the routine. Consistently live an everyday liturgy. Consistently celebrate each moment!
Children thrive in routine. So do households. Have hardtops: times that you fully stop to pray, to read, to write. Regardless of what isn’t done, what isn’t finished. Make a full stop, do the needful thing, then return to meals, laundry, household management. Simply consistently be consistent. 

When I remember these four cornerstones, I feel less overwhelmed with all the details. It helps to keep my eyes on the big picture.

And the final way the Lord met me this past week was through a little book that I stumbled upon last summer. I gave my copy away to another homeschooling mama, but a lovely friend, gave me a new copy a few days ago and I have sat on the couch with a candle burning, the rain falling outside, with a cup of tea in one hand and this rich, little book in the other. Teaching From Rest is a book every homeschooling mama needs to get their hands on. Here are some of my favorite quotes__

"Surrender you idea of what the ideal homeschool day is supposed to look like and take on, with both hands, the day that it is. Rest begins with acceptance, with surrender. Can we accept what He is sending today?"

"Rest is trusting that God's got this, even if I'm a mess, even if I'm not enough, even if I mess up everyday. Because I do."

"God never demands that we produce prodigies or achieve what the world would recognize as excellence. Rather, He asks us to live excellently__ that is, to live in simple, obedient faith and trust. He asks us to faithfully commit everyday to Him and then do that day's tasks well. He_is_in_charge_of_the_results.... So, That writing assignment on the plan today? Do it well. That math lesson that your child struggles over? Sit down next to him, and do one problem at a time, slowly and carefully. Smile a lot. Lavish him with love. Because whether or not he becomes an excellent writer or a proficient mathematician is not your business to worry over. Your business is that single assignment today and loving him through it."

"Remember your true task.

Surrender everything.

Bring your loaves and your fish, even if you think them completely insufficient.

They are insufficient.

You are insufficient.

But His grace is not.

God is not limited by objective reality.

His yoke is easy and His burden is light."

I am asking the Lord to help me remember these things as we begin another year here at the One Room Schoolhouse.

I am one forgetful woman, and by golly, I just want to remember__ God's got this.

He's really truly got this.

I am called to diligence and love, consistency and grace, awe and wonder and joy! Lord help me to GO FOR IT, and keep my eyes wide open to see YOUR faithfulness always at work in this place.

And so we begin another year.