For All the Mamas Experiencing Kindergarten Registration Anxiety

 

BLogKindergarten 001Hey, weary mama, the one who just got this list and now you are feeling worried, confused, stressed, and not good enough.  I want to tell you something.

Stop worrying.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Mt 6:34)

There will come a time when there are big things to worry over (even thought Jesus tells us clearly that worrying adds not one iota of anything beneficial to our lives).  Our kids will one day be faced with hard decisions, they will DRIVE actual cars that move, they will be offered drugs and alcohol, they will learn about sex from all the wrong places.  If you plan to spend some of your life worrying, save it for those days.  But today, just breathe.

I don’t know when kindergarten became this place where children go already prepared for school; when it became a place that even before the first day, pressure is being placed on parents to make sure kids know how to do this and understand that.  Kindergarten comes from a German word that means Children’s Garden.  A garden, a place where you plant the seeds and watch them begin to grow.  You feed the plants with what they need to be their best version of themselves.  They are all different,  some sprout quickly, some take a bit more time, but they all start as a seed in the ground.  They will all get there with the right amount of time, love and nourishment.

Seriously, STOP WORRYING ABOUT THIS.

I come from a place of 3 totally different starting kindergarten experiences.  My first, Jake, was reading at 4.  Reading whole books, not just memorizing pages (I know this because I would make him read them backward, with the pictures covered, and out of order just to try to trip him up).  PARENT OF THE YEAR BY THE WAY.  We used the BOB books with him because he was ready to learn and he loved them.  I could have checked off this whole list except for maybe tie his shoes and quite honestly now in 4th grade I wonder if he even knows how to do it properly.  The boy’s shoes are always untied.  He could button and unbutton his pants on his own but he frequently went to school with shorts on backward and more than once forgot to wear underwear.  He is smart, but bless his heart.  He once tried to get on the bus without shoes on, has lost at least one coat at school per year, and received his FIRST satisfactory in handwriting EVER this quarter at school. Total text book straight A student.  God made him that way, not us.

Then Will came along and we threw everything we thought we knew about school and readiness out the window.  He could not be bothered with reading, or writing, or learning anything for that matter that did not involve drums or a ball.  He hated the BOB books and pretty much refused to even try.  He may have known lots of things, but would only cooperate with sharing those things when he felt like it.  I thought he was going to go to middle school in a pull-up because he just would not stop living life long enough to go to the restroom.  He talked incessantly.  I just knew he would spend the next 13 years in the principal’s office.  But, it was time for kindergarten so we sent him.  And would you know that just like a garden, they fed him and nourished him and gave him what he needed and lo and behold that same kid who could barely write his name is now in the advanced reading group in 2nd grade.  He did spend the better part of K & 1st on “yellow” or “red” because the boy simply could not quit talking, but if I had listened to the list, I would have never sent him, and challenged him, and let God bring out the best in him because we believed in him.  He loves to write now, and to draw, and can memorize Bible verses quicker than anyone I have ever known.  He occasionally even reads an actual book (as long as it is about sports). And man is he smart – just needed to take time to show us.

So here I am.  Maddie May is officially registered for Kindergarten.  Her birthday is later than either of the boys and she won’t be 5 until June, she writes her name like this:Maddie May's Name & Coloring

Not the “correct” way.  And as you can see coloring is not exactly in the lines.

She sounds out letters with me for about 10 seconds before she is bored with that & goes from “A, aaa,  apple” to “G, ggg, zipper”.

She can’t tie her shoes – who cares, she refuses to wear running shoes anyways so she might never learn.

She holds a pencil properly sometimes, sometimes she decides to be left handed.  I think she will be fine.

She knows letters and sounds sometimes, when she feels like knowing them.

I’m just not worried about it.  For now, I am going to worry about soaking up the last few months of having a little one at home half of the day with me and all day Mondays.  I’m going to remember that this list might be an ideal that they would like to see, but mine will not be the only one who can’t tie her shoes or write her name the correct way.  I let myself get bogged down with doubt over a lot of things but I refuse to let a list make me doubt that I know my child, I know what is best for her.

We might send the brilliant child to school, or the not-so brilliant but friendly, or the barely ready to let go of mom kid.  Yours might be shy, or loud, or an amazing singer, or a natural athlete. Another might be terrified while that one is racing to the bus with his big brothers and sisters. No matter which kid is yours, you know him.  You know her.  You know if your baby is ready to go. The first day they are all at so many different stages and levels, but it all levels out to where they will thrive if we will just let them. Some will have gifts that shine right away, others may take a little longer.  Do what is best for your child, and your family, but don’t let a list cause you to second guess that God made you the mama, you are doing a great job – Carry On Mama’s God’s got you.

 

I write this with love and thankfulness for all of the teachers who have encouraged, led, and cared for my family.  Elementary school teachers deserve a special reward in Heaven.  I love you all.

PLEASE JOIN ME OVER AT www.caseyprince.me !  I posted here today since my subscribers have not all been switched over.  In order to keep receiving my blog posts you will need to subscribe there.  Thanks!

 

New Home

Hi friends!  Since I am now being hosted away from wordpress.com, I hope you will join me at my new home and follow along there!  If you subscribed here, unfortunately, it will not transfer over.

So, to keep receiving the latest posts, join us at www.caseyprince.me

Click the link on the right and add your email address to subscribe then share and comment away!  I love to hear from you.  Thanks for being loyal readers!

Casey

Why I’m Joining #192HoursOfPrayer

Originally posted March 23, 2014

Today I am honored to join a group of writers all over as we pray for a beautiful young girl following her heart and God’s call to Haiti.  I stumbled across a blog post linked to Lisa-Jo Baker’s 5-Minute Friday and without hesitation I asked if I could join in.

I love the chain reactions that happen when we follow God prompting us.

Kaitlyn, of It Just Takes One, a student, writer, and lover of Jesus announced that she will spend her spring break serving a village in Haiti.  Click here to read more about her journey.  Then Rebekah, from Three Bees in a Blue Bonnet answered God’s call to cover Kaitlyn in prayer over her journey and she posted about it on 5-Minute Friday.

I almost missed writing about the prompt on Friday because it was almost midnight before I realized it was even Friday.  I was rows and rows deep on the link-up.  I read the 10 blog posts before mine but felt compelled to scroll up a few rows where I landed (seemingly randomly but definitely not) on Rebekah’s post where she told about her call to create #192HoursOfPrayer.  It was beautiful, it was inspiring, and I wanted in.

So here I am, signing off of this post to spend the next hour in prayer for Kaitlyn.  A stranger, a fellow writer, a sister in Christ.  I will pray for her today through Thursday from 4-5pm.  I am honored to be a part of this movement, this sacred act of prayer.  If you are reading this post I hope you will pause and cover Kaitlyn in prayer.  I pray for her safety, for God’s clear direction, and mostly for hearts and lives to be changed because she followed God’s call.  I pray that he uses her obedience in a mighty way.

​Be sure to join us in prayer at #192HoursOfPrayer or follow Rebekah at Three Bees in a Blue Bonnet and ask to be added to the prayer schedule.

Check out Kaitlyn’s It Just Takes One blog and follow her journey!

And join us on 5-Minute Friday!  You never know who God will lead you to there!

Casey

Peace in the Mundane, Joy in the Counter Wiping

Originally posted March 22, 2014

It is 2:26 in the afternoon, the week of spring break.

I have company coming in less than 24 hours, muddy paws have left now dry prints all over my floors, there is a basket of laundry to be folded on my bed, sheets to be changed, a kitchen scattered with cereal boxes, bread crumbs, and bags of apples ready to be washed.  The kids are finally playing in the woods because the sun is trying to peek out of the gray sky.

I am still in my pajamas.

I have barely opened my Bible today even though 5 hours ago I sat down to do my Bible study.  I used it for reference as I wrote, but I have not reached for it to fuel my soul even though I know it is the thing I need most.

Some days I feel lost, this is one of those days.

I long for purpose, yet I sit here and write instead of clean up the mess scattered around my house.  What if today that is my purpose?  To keep a clean house, to teach my kids about tidiness and responsibility?

Am I so vain that I cannot fathom that THIS is all God has for me today?  So I search my heart for what I have to say, I question what I believe my calling might be, and I desperately seek approval and affirmation from someone who might have read a nugget of encouragement.

I like to look like I have my life together, that I am content with whatever God places before me this day or that, but to look at me today you would know that I am a liar.  I say I hate to be busy but faced with a week that is not busy at all I simply do not know how to be not busy in my day to day life.

God grant me the strength to accept that YES, maybe this is what you have for me today because MAYBE, you want to tell or teach or show me something.  God help me to lay down this vanity that says I am meant for more. Give me peace in the mundane, joy in the counter wiping, laundry folding and mopping.  Teach me to praise you not only in the storms but in the calm that terrifies me.

Joy Returning

Originally posted March 21, 2014

Every Friday I link up with the ladies on Lisa-Jo Baker’s site for 5-minute Friday.  It is 11:30 pm and I almost missed it again.  This week I took part in my own 5-minute Tuesday because apparently that is how I roll these days.

Lisa-Jo gives a prompt, then we write without edits or re-dos for 5 minutes.  Today’s prompt is JOY.  Go.


For months, they have looked at me with their sad eyes asking, “Do you think maybe one day we will move back?”  Maddie May said to her Kristen just last week, “Maybe if daddy gets fired we can move back to North Carolina.  That would be good.  I would like that.”

Heart breaks again and again.

I thought things would be different once we bought our house, once we lived in a real home again with space, and a yard, and neighbors.

But still it is hard some days, many days.

When they say, “It’s a little better, but we still want to go home.”

Oh how my heart hurts and wonders when they will love this as home, when they will look out their doorway and see a place they would hurt to leave, when they will begin to put down their precious tender roots that I love so dearly and will do anything to protect.

It is still hard some days. But then the sun comes out, and they trot off to the woods.  Big brother with his pocket knife, not so big brother chasing behind, and little sister in her polkadot rain boots.   Off they go, only to return covered in mud, smiling ear to ear, beginning to love this place we now call home, beginning to peel a layer or two off the shield they have been carrying for 20 months.

Soaking wet, covered in mud, with 3 inches of rain in their boots.  JOY, Unspeakable joy.  It is returning.

If you have a blog you should link up and join us at 5-minute Friday!

Joshua at Starbucks (Who May or May Not Exist)

Originally posted on March 19, 2014

I hate small talk.  We have established that before.  I will pour out my soul to you, ask deep, probing, make-you-uncomfortable questions, and hold a perfect stranger while she cries, but as I established here, I HATE SMALL TALK.

I love to smile, to offer a quick word of encouragement to a struggling mama or obviously frustrated cashier, but I don’t want to chit chat because it makes me feel so completely out of my element.

So you can imagine how I felt the day I was accosted at Starbucks by a cheerful barista (is that the word when it is a guy or it is baristo?)  named Joshua.  In that moment I would have rather stuck my hand directly in the hot coffee than carried on a “how’s the weather” conversation with this guy.  I had 3 hours of kids at VBS, time to kill, and a bunch of work I needed to get to.  For the record, it was not anything about him in particular, he was lovely I am sure, I just wanted to get my stinking coffee and move on.

Funny thing is, I am not even a Starbucks kind of girl.  I was only at that particular one because I didn’t want to drive all the way back to Franklin.  I rarely ever go to Starbucks, feel super uncomfortable at my lack of hipsterness when I do, and just try to keep my head down so no one tries to talk to me.  I know, I’m super friendly & very Jesus-like.

So here is the conversation:

Joshua: Hey there. What are you up to today?

Me: (Looking behind me sure he must be talking to someone else) Oh, hey.  I’m just working while my kids are at Vacation Bible School.

Joshua: Oh yeah, what do you do?  Do you like it? (All of this while smiling wildly at me)

Me: (Still confused at this conversation) Oh, um, I do contract work for a marketing research firm.  I kind of hate it right now because I’m a little bored.  But it’s a great job, I just don’t think it is what I am supposed to be doing. (As this comes out of my mouth I’m stomping my own toe wondering why on earth I am feeding this conversation because I just want it to end so I can go drink my coffee but we all know I am an over sharer and completely incapable of small talk so naturally I have to take this to some stupid deep level.)

Joshua: What is your ministry?  (WHAT THE HECK!?!? How does this guy even know to ask me this?)

Me: Well, I don’t have one anymore.  We moved here last year (and I go on and on I am sure about the move) and I left youth ministry and I miss it.  I have been wondering for the past year what my ministry is anymore.  I want to get back into ministry and I miss doing something creative.  (Again, how did he know to ask me this, is there something tatooed on my forehead?  Was my Bible showing?  I didn’t even have a big cross around my neck.  I’m wearing a bright striped skirt, flip flops and a tank top.  Not exactly “Church Lady” garb.)

Joshua: (Looking at me in a way that I am pretty sure he can see my soul, says) When you were telling me that, God gave me an image of clay hearts shattering.  But you know when God breaks something apart, He doesn’t just put it back together.  He makes it into something completely new.  

Me: (stunned) Well, um that is crazy because for the past year I have felt led to clay and can only seem to meet clay artists, and I am trying to figure out what all of that means and I used to want to be an artist and and and….

Joshua: Well, I am sure God will show you your ministry, have a good day.

And that was it.  I walked away stunned, confused, and hungry for more.  For nearly a year I had been feeling God pointing me to clay and over the next few weeks and months it would be crazier.  I would just know I was to read a particular scripture and there would be a reference to clay, I would meet clay artists, I would call my boss to tell her what I was thinking about doing and she would know I was going to tell her something about clay because she was just reading Jeremiah 18.“Come, go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. The vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as seemed good to him. Then the word of the Lord came to me: Can I not do with you, O house of Israel, just as this potter has done? says the Lord. Just like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. (Jer 18:2-6)

You know, like Joshua said, He formed something NEW from the clay.  But the day that really got me was when I was feeling especially stubborn.  I was sitting on the deck having a talk with God.  I was acknowledging that He sent this Joshua person to tell me something, He sent me scripture many times and was practically yelling CLAY at me.  But stubborn as I am, I asked for just one more clear piece of direction.  I knew instantly I was to read Lamentations 4:2.  I know, that makes exactly zero sense because one, where in the Bible is Lamentations?  And two, did He really just give me a specific verse to read?

“The precious sons of Zion, Weighed against fine gold, How they are regarded as earthen jars, The work of a potter’s hands!” (Lam 4:2)

SHUT. THE. FRONT. DOOR.

OK God, I get it.  I literally dropped my Bible on the deck and laughed out loud.  I have probably never read Lamentations other than my many attempts (and failures) at reading the Bible in its entirety.  I could not tell you if I tried who wrote it or why and I certainly had no clue whatsoever that there would be a reference to clay.  But in that moment, that one line was meant for me to read.

Clay.  The Potter.  Shattering Clay Hearts.  Making Something New.

But is it really about the clay?  I’m still not sure.  I started working with clay in the only way that made sense.  The business side of that has been slow getting going but I am not sure that is what is is about.  Perhaps it was about me rediscovering passion and creativity.  Maybe it was what I needed to open a new side of me.  Maybe it was about opening my eyes to the something new He is making.  I don’t know if I am making these clay handprints to make a living, to meet a specific person, or to revive something in me.  I don’t know if I am missing the point altogether but I gave up trying to figure things out for Lent so atleast for 40 days it doesn’t matter.

I say it all the time and I know my friends are tired of hearing it but HE IS TALKING TO YOU.  Goodness knows if He is talking to me and can make Himself heard in all the commotion that happens constantly in my head He will make Himself heard to you if you are listening.  God is not selective in who He speaks to, we are selective in whether or not we listen.  It is not always audible, it is not always easy to train your mind and soul to listen.  But when you do it is worth it.  There is a peace and a sweetness that comes when you feel God’s heart speaking to yours.

I’m not sure if Joshua is real.  I know that sounds crazy but I am genuinely a bit scared to ever go back to that Strabucks and see if he is (or has ever been) there.  It was too God directed, too obviously constructed for me to experience.  God will use whatever means necessary to get our attention.  On that day he used a huge discomfort to disarm me and make me listen, goodness am I thankful He did.

Has a stranger ever spoken truth into your life?  Has God used your discomfort to get your attention?

The Beautiful Girls in the Crowd

Originally posted March 19, 2014

On Fridays I love to link up with 5 Minute Friday on Lisa-Jo Baker’s page.  Lisa-Jo gives a prompt and we all write for 5 minutes without editing, or correcting, or over thinking it.  We just le the words flow to the page.  You should join us.Last Friday, I missed the prompt.  Ironic that the prompt was CROWD as I was surrounded by people.

I sit in a crowded church.  It is a beautiful holy space with ornate carved wood, gorgeous stained glass and an echoing silence that fills the space.  Glances around the room reveal beautiful faces stained with tears, eyes red from crying and bodies tense with anticipation at saying goodbye to the one they love.

You can feel the air stand still as every person in the room holds their breath as 3 gorgeous blonde girls, with their mother’s smiles and contagious personality enter the crowd. It is like they are absorbed into the room it is so filled with love and pain for them.

It is a crowd of people gathered for one reason.  Love.  Crowds can be loud, or rowdy, or dangerous, or uncomfortable.  This crowd is love.  They gather to say goodbye to a friend but they also gather to try, in any way possible to take just an ounce of pain away from those beautiful, hurting girls.

Days later the crowd will be gone, but the hurt will still hang heavily around the necks of the beautiful girls.  The crowd will go home, but their love will remain.  They will pray, they will cry, they will still hurt for the beautiful girls.  Life will go back to normal for much of the crowd, but the beautiful girls will remain in their hearts.

Crowds can be a place to be lost, a place to be anonymous, a place to be scared.  Or they can be a place to feel kindness, receive healing, and accept love.  When the crowd is gone, and life returns to its new normal, the beautiful girls can soak in the love left behind, to rest in the prayers being poured out over them as they learn their new lives.

This crowd was love, because what else could it have been. 

Casey

Freaking Cancer

Originally posted March 7, 2014

My girlfriend Ashli’s mama is lying in a hospital bed fighting for her life.  Just a month ago she went into the hospital with no idea how life was about to change.  Full of life, gorgeous, extravagant Rosie was told she had stage 4 lung cancer.  Inoperable. Untreatable unless she gets her strength up.

Cancer freaking sucks.

I lost my aunt to cancer last spring.  My other aunt is a survivor 2 times over.  My dad & sister-in-law both survived melanoma.  My mother-in-law is a survivor and one of my best friends just finished her last radiation treatment on Monday.  So when I say cancer sucks I mean it with every fiber of my body.  It sucks because it takes life not just of those with the evil cells, but also of those who have to sit and watch the ones they love suffer.

Rosie has lived a life bigger and more fabulous than most and I literally cannot even picture her sitting in a hospital room – I’m not sure if I have ever even seen her gorgeous face not done up & her beautiful blonde hair perfectly styled.  She is like a Hollywood starlet – only way cooler and with the sassiest kind heart you can imagine.

Cancer sucks but it does not always win.

I have many people in my life that are living proof and today I am not going to let fear tell me this is over for Rosie and her girls.  I believe with all of my heart that when we pray, we are to pray that God’s will be done because goodness knows He knows the plans he has for our lives, to prosper and not harm us (Jeremiah 29:11).  But we are only able to ask for what we know to be possible, ask him for things that we can understand and grasp.  As much as I know it is right to pray for His will only, when my friend’s mama is dying all I want to do is ask for a miracle.

So God, I beg of you, if it is your will that Rosie stays with us on this earth a little longer, let your holy spirit tell her to FIGHT.  She is tough, she can overcome any obstacle if you are with her but she can’t give up.  If this miracle is not a part of your plan, then I beg of you to surround her with comfort, carry her girls through this time and forgive us all when we ask why.  For we only understand the things of man.  The idea of a lifetime without a mama is what we can comprehend even though through your eyes you see a blink of time on Earth and eternity together in heaven.  Be with my friends, speak to Rosie, and give everyone the strength to look to tomorrow.

I love you Ash, Rosie, Morgan, and Brookie

Casey

Be a Bad Superhero (Or Something Else Unexpected)

Originally posted March 6, 2014
For years I have chronicled Maddie May’s wacked out style on Facebook to the amusement of my friends and family.  I laugh and let her dress herself because she is just a little version of me.  You see I went to private school where I wore this:
Every stinking day.  To say that I hated it is the understatement of the century.  (In an unrelated bit of irony I am looking at putting my kids in private school where they will wear – gasp – uniforms.  Trust me, the irony is not lost on mom.)  Maddie May gets her style honestly because from the time I could have an opinion, I wanted to make sure I had the stamp of my own style.  My mom called me Punky Brewster(because it was the 80’s) and because Punky’s crazy combinations had nothing on my need to accessorize.  I wondered why my parents would not allow me to cut (and dye) my hair like Cindy Lauperand why they felt the need to TORTURE me with the wretched plaid jumper and the nemesis of my childhood, those blessed knee socks.Maddie May is undoubtedly her own person, she dances to a different beat, cares not what others think of her style, and more than anything wants to be something you just don’t expect.  Yesterday, she lived that out in a way that I just can’t quit laughing about.  Her outfit posts on FB are legendary among my friends.  Here are a few of my favorites:

So what happened yesterday?  It is Dr. Seuss week and Wacky Wednesday at school.  A day to throw together all of your craziest patterns, mismatched socks, shoes, crazy layers, whatever you got.  What did Maddie May wear?  A gray and black tee shirt with black leggings and some boots.  When I asked why she didn’t want to be wacky…“I don’t like to be wacky; I just like to be me.” Touché Maddie May.

Oh to be as wise as a 4 year old.  What if we could stop trying to do and be what everyone expects of us and just BE WHO GOD CREATED US TO BE?  I challenge you all to do something unexpected today, to act in a way that catches someone off guard.  Not because you are trying to be wacky, but because you are trying to be who you were created to be.

Casey