prepare for INCREASED commitment

For many people January 1st is the New Year.  On the calendar, it is a NEW year, but in our home, the NEW year is the start of school.  I specifically purchase my calendar to run July to July to accommodate the school year.  New things can be very exciting (like my new calendar) and also very scary (like taking on home/cyber schooling).  But, for me, there is nothing like a new notebook, new pencils, a new sharpie no-leak through pen, highlighter, white out, etc.  (can you see my obsession).  But I especially LOVE a new clean calendar empty and waiting for new opportunities. 

There have been many new things around our home… new truck, new car (which I still love), and new school.  All have taken some adjustments to get use to.  But new things don’t come without a cost.  For us the car/truck payments are really just an exchange for the old vehicles we had (although Jim’s had been paid off for about 6 months).  The interesting thing for me is how the new car has changed even family dynamics.  For instance, last week the kids needed a hair cut and Jim would have passed on even going, instead he agreed to go, drive us, and we even stopped for Dairy Queen afterwards.  We went out on Sunday after church to Hilltop, etc… He drives it to work usually instead of the truck – partly to save $$$ on gas (big difference) and also it is more comfortable.  It has it’s price, however, as Mary is use to riding in the front a lot more with control over the radio… LOL!   The other amazing thing is that is mutually kept clean – a huge feat for our family!  It has only the essentials in it (baby wipes, umbrella, GPS, chargers for phones, and first aid kit) versus my old way of thinking taking everything “just in case” (food, coats, blankets, office supplies, magazines).  Definitely no regrets about the “new” cars and realizing the value of a 100% whole-hearted family decision – priceless!

The new school comes at the cost of learning a different way of doing things – instead of dropping off the kids and letting someone else be responsible for the day and I reinforce in the evening.  I believe our children’s teachers in the past would confirm that I was very involved in their education.  I knew what was going on at school, reinforced lessons, etc… For Samuel especially, there were daily communications of what was working and what was not.  This new cyber school is going to be great for both children, I believe because it truly works with Mary’s strengths (advanced classes, opportunities to advance, learning at your own pace, etc…) and Samuel’s weaknesses (decreased writing, increased videos – which is how he learns, and one-on-one education with online teaching and me).  Not everyone supports the new teaching that we have chosen for our children, but the last time I checked, there were not the ones ultimately responsible for their learning.  The interesting thing is that very few people even understand Cyber school and MOST do not even really KNOW how our kids work/learn.  I would go out on a limb and say there are many parents who don’t even know how their own kids learn!  As long as the four family members (plus the dog – lol) support the decision, the rest of the world can keep their opinions.  Definitely no regrets about the “new” school and realizing the value of 100% whole-hearted family decision – priceless!

Some other new things are several new books on my Kindle and two hardcopy books.  The first hardcopy was purchased at an adventure to Barnes & Noble with Mary.  I can see us taking some field trips there (Samuel also loves it for the books and the train set he can play with).  I love books and magazines.  I like to explore books there and add to my Amazon wish list and purchase as able.  I love to read!  Actually, I have come to learn that we all are readers in our family.  About 2 years ago, Jim was gifted a new Kindle.  I was quite surprised when he started downloading books and reading as in our married life, I had never really known him as a reader.  When he got the tablet, I got the Kindle and though I never thought I would love an electronic reader, I quickly fell in LOVE with it!  And despite Jim’s upgrade to his IPad, he still reads.   Mary loves to read everything from ghosts to true stories to some fiction.  Samuel loves books and can’t wait to create our family library!  Anyway, back to the books – the hardback I bought at B&N was on clearance and the title caught my eye “The 7 Words that will change your life”.  It is my kind of book to make me really look at life – I am sure it will be a blog topic once I get it read (of note: it was cheaper in hardcover there than I could get at Amazon, which is rare!).  The second book was pre-ordered from Amazon – Mitch Albom “The Time Keeper”.  I have all of his books in hard back and wanted to add to the amazing collection.  (I started it last night).  I have also downloaded several new books to my Kindle – most were free – but added about 5 books by Christian authors that I paid for because I love the authors, loved the reviews, and love to read about ways to improve my life.  Several of my friends have read 50 Shades of Grey Series and love it – I even posted on one friend’s site about Mary’s first sight of the books on our B&N field trip.  Mary asked about the books and I explained “From what I understand they are books that she would not want to have a conversation about (note: rule in our house is if you read or watch it, then it is open for conversation) and that she wasn’t allowed to read for a VERY long time.” LOL.  I have had brief moments where I have contemplated the purchase of them out of curiosity, but at this time if I only have limited time to read, I will stick to what I know I love and feeds my mind/soul.  The value of a 100% committed family to reading – priceless!

Our family also made a critical new decision last year when I changed my work hours to evenings on weekends.  Church was always important in my life as a child and Jim and I never missed going together before we had children. I eventually went to work every weekend because of children, thus leading us away from the church (along with other issues).  When I went to evenings, the first thing I said to Jim was to pick a church and we as a family would follow.  He chose a church and as a family, we all agreed.  The people in the congregation were very welcoming.  It was small enough to be comfortable for us and just enough kids that Samuel was not overwhelmed.  Being “new” wasn’t always easy, but the beauty is not being stuck in the mindset “it’s always been done that way.”  This fall, I embark on a new adventure at church.  In the past, I have always been the Sunday School teacher for the kids or nursery duty.  My heart is being lead to the women of the church.  I believe that women do not encourage other women enough.  I think many women have lost their focus, are overwhelmed, over committed, and often unsupported.  Jim has accepted a new role at the church as deacon.  Mary is active in the youth group.  Samuel enjoys junior church.  Our church is having a “Back to Church” Sunday on September 16th and then starting a NEW Sunday School in October, and though it will be hard with little sleep, I believe most Sundays we will be attending.  Our family going to church together and all being actively involved is a priority.  It is a message we teach to our children about priorities. The value of a 100% committed family to church and a Christian lifestyle – priceless!

The new school year has huge opportunity written all over it for the Wolfe den – I prepare for the increased commitment… (to family, to church, to faith – as an individual and as a family). 

There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when circumstance permit. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results. – Unknown

Individual commitment to a group effort — that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work. – Vince Lombardi   (I would add what makes a family work!)

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