SummaryAmy Pawlusiak, mother of five, is preparing for the new school year by counting her blessings. And there’s more to be grateful for than one might realize.
I sit at the dining room table, surrounded by shiny new workbooks, notebooks, and packs of pens and pencils, and start sorting through lesson plans.
I have barely begun when I hear my cellphone buzz, so I turn to my computer. The emails from our homeschool group, coaches, clubs, and church are pouring in with reminders of upcoming events—all telltale signs that a new school year is starting.
It is overwhelming.
Summer Was SO Nice
I loved the summer! It was so nice to not have to worry that my son wasn’t finishing math as quickly as I’d hoped. I didn’t have to be frustrated that my other son was shirking his reading assignments because I was too busy chasing the toddler to stay on top of him.
It was good to have this time to recharge! No books, no schedules, just making some play dates and seeing the local parks and museums. I’ve been enjoying it so much that it has been difficult to feel excited and expectant for the new year to start.
I am just not ready for summer to end yet.
As often happens when I’m a little down, I took it to prayer and read my Magnificat. I read something extraordinary from the Servant of God Madeline Delbrel.
She said, “The Lord will only give us his cross, that which unites us completely to him, if we have with all our strength and for love of him sought to receive cheerfully the sufferings, cares, and disappointments of our human lives” (emphasis added).
I thought to myself: I might have to carry these crosses God gives me, and I understand that life isn’t perfect, but suffer cheerfully? I don’t know if I can do that.
I Can Find a Grain of Dust to Offer to God in Joy
Luckily, because I’m a bit stubborn and I got stuck at the word “cheerfully,” the Servant of God continues to explain,
“The Lord can crush us under his cross, a cross that he disguises so that we do not recognize it and are constrained to howl and fight back against it (that would be ME she’s talking about here!), but this must not prevent us from searching for one tiny grain of dust that it might be possible for us to offer him with joy.”
Offering God something with joy, finding the things we are grateful for in the midst of whatever we are going through, really made me start to think about my despondency at seeing summer slip away.
So, I began to do what so many have told me to do in prayer; I began thanking God. It made me think of the things I can be grateful for when starting a new homeschool year, even when I’m not ready for it, much less want it yet.
1. I Have a HOME to Homeschool In!
Thank you God for giving me a HOME to homeschool in!
I’m a pessimist by nature, and I often find the glass half empty. It’s easy for me to see that my house could be bigger, or that this or that needs to be updated or changed. But, today, I looked at my dining/homeschool room and realized how blessed we are to have it!
How wonderful it has been to be in this home, with these children, and to have this time together. I began to feel so thankful for my home that I began to cry, because it led me to think of how many people in the world have no home, or are homeless right now because of religious terrorism.
Thank you God for this home. Thank you for letting us homeschool here so we can teach the Faith openly and safely.
2. We Have an Amazing Faith to Teach and Share with Our Family!
Thank you God for giving us the true Faith
Thank you God for giving us the true Faith, in the Catholic Church, and for the curriculum that Seton and other groups now offer to me, so that I can teach my children. I could not teach them if these books were not lovingly made by the many people who have been down this path before, and now have created materials that benefit my children and make it easier for me to teach.
I looked at those shiny new workbooks again and found myself opening them up and looking through them a bit more to see the inspiring pictures, the stories of the saints, and the constant reminders that our faith and our God are truly wonderful and amazing!
3. Our Families Made Us Who We Are
Thank you God for my family. Thank you for these five children who have inspired me to go beyond whatever kind of person I thought I’d become, to be the person I am today. I would never have chosen to be self-less, but my children place in me a love and desire to give them all that I have, and all that I know to be good and holy.
Because of them, I am homeschooling and making amazing friendships with other families that are deeper and more eternal than any I ever would have made had I chosen a different path in life. I am so thankful to God for guiding my life, even when I wasn’t sure I could ever do all that He asked.
4. Our Spouses Are Awesome!
Thank you God for my husband. Without his support and his constant desire to be an integral part of our family and to ensure that we have all that we need, we could not have chosen this path at all.
If he were a different, more worldly man, I would not be homeschooling at all because he might not see its benefits or its necessity. I’m so thankful that God has placed him next to me on this journey. I could not do this alone. I think many of us out there can say this about our spouses!
5. I Am Healthy Enough to Homeschool
Thank you God for my health. This past week I endured a virus that took away all my energy and made me feverish and achy for two days. I hate being down, and I can not imagine what many men and women must go through on a daily basis.
So many people have physical issues and yet are still able to do what they do for their work and families. I’m so thankful that despite often feeling tired, I am healthy and able to do the work that needs to be done for our family so we can homeschool.
I have a long prayer list of people who are going through different journeys of health problems and sicknesses, and I am so thankful that, at this moment in time, I am healthy. Thank you God for the health of my children, and the health of our entire family. One day it might be me asking for those prayers, but today I am able to pray for others.
It’s the Obvious Things We Forget to Be Thankful For
Okay, maybe these seem like the obvious things to be thankful for, and maybe they even seem a little trite.
Yet, if you think about it, you can so easily forget about them. I did. In the rush of life, you won’t remember how awesome your family is, because of something your child did or didn’t do that day.
And you will forget that your spouse is awesome, because the dishwasher is still full, and they forgot to pick up the milk on the way home.
So, make up your own list, with your own words, and put it in your own prayer notebook.
Then, look up at your amazing homeschool household and praise God! Another school year is starting!
We have SO MUCH to be thankful for!