1. To those of you who wrote to express your appreciation for Patrick's birthday post, I passed your thanks on to him. As my children have grown older, the publication policies around here have changed. Family life essays are often stories of my children. When they are little, there's nothing particularly tricky to navigate, but as they get older, telling their stories changes a bit. With big kids, I tend to think much, much longer before I even begin to write. Then, if I can't sit on the stories any longer, I write them, put them in draft files, and let the older child read them. If they don't want to publish, it doesn't get published. Period. It's one thing for me to share my thoughts and my feelings, it's another thing entirely to share theirs. I try to live in such a way as they know that the reason for writing is always to offer encouragement to other people and to give glory to God. My kids can (and do) read everything I write. So, it's all true, because kids are very good judges of hypocrisy or dishonesty. But, just because something is encouraging and glorifying and true doesn't necessarily mean I'm called to share it. There is something to be said for privacy, too. As my children move into social networking that seems inevitable for their generation, we have lots of opportunities to discern what's right and good out there in cyberspace and what's not. Fortunately ;-), I've made lots of mistakes in writing and in relationships. Hopefully, we will continue to learn and to share together.
2. And, I also told Mary Beth how many people appreciated the Dressing Room discovery we made. Body issue struggles, it seems, are nearly universal to some degree. Mary Beth and I continue to talk about the big topic this is. It encompasses so much: diet, exercise, nutrition, fashion, modesty. God created women to be beautiful. I believe that. I also believe He wants us to see ourselves as he sees us and to reflect that to the world.
3.I've been thinking and thinking about Jen's insights during her internet fast. I wonder how many of the pitfalls could be avoided if we stopped reading blogs. Of course, there would be no point in writing if none of us was reading. Or would there? Lots of times, I write because I just want to get "it" out, whatever "it" is. Because I don't have comments open and I avoid checking stats, I really do forget sometimes that there are readers in the equation. Like Jen, I love blogging. I think it's important for mothers at home to have something in their lives that actually gets "completed" and stays completed. Blog posts--especially those without comments--can be that satisfying sense of completion. But reading other blogs and engaging in comboxes really fuels my sense of the endless, anxious incomplete.
4. On the other hand, there is so much that's so good to read.
5. Let's go back to that teenaged thing. I think there are some myths floating around out there. People are being led to believe that homeschooling families who raise their kids well totally avoid all adolescent angst or rebellion. There is this sometimes stated fallacy that homeschooling circumvents "the terrible teens." Since this is a quick take, and I have no desire to think hard about the topic this morning, I'm not going to look at every angle. But if my own limited experience and my boatload of mail is any indication, some homeschooled teens can and do struggle. Wouldn't it be nice if moms were more open about their own challenges and less judgmental of other families hardships in raising children? We wouldn't feel so alone when our idealism meets harsh reality. We could offer hope to each other that the prodigals do come home. My mail tells me that some of the greatest pain mothers of struggling teens suffer is the pain of the alienation and even condemnation of holier-than-thou homeschoolers. Christ came for sinners. If you are a mother whose heart is breaking for your teenager, lean on Christ and not those "perfect" parents. Christ won't ever fail you.
6. This stuff is awesome (cold and flu version). I'm still sick as a dog (what does that mean exactly?), but I could live in the tub with this stuff if only life would let me.
7. Colleen is well. Many thanks to you who continue to hold her in your thoughts and prayers. My hope is that one day, she'll find her voice again here in the blog world and bless you as she has blessed me as I have been privileged to walk this painful journey with her.