When I miss this, too.

I have this knack for missing the everything that’s still here.

Like when I was younger, I’d write my father’s obituary in my head. He’s a lovely guy, and really, it was a lovely obituary. Or obituaries? I’ve written several and have stacked them within the soft recesses of my brain.

The now is always the thing I’ll miss most.

Like last night, that dream. There my husband and I were meandering in a place I’ve never been before. He had the zippable, fold-up picnic blanket in his hand that I bought a few years ago from Wal-Mart. I bought the gray and black and red checkered one, the only one available. And then the following year they came out with the cutest blue and white pattern as if somebody in corporate was trying to stick it to me. Regardless, there it was in his dream hand, patting the side of his dream leg as we were trying to find a place to sit and hold each other.

We never found a place to sit down. Instead, I had sharp snippets of memory during this dream where I remembered our dead dog. And it was almost like we were on a grief walk, passing a concrete drainage ditch where two young hikers, mere boys, were trying to enter through a steel door, and one of them looked up, clueless as to where they were. And I had that all knowing feeling in my chest, “This is So-And-So-Ville” as if I knew it so well, I owned a piece of it and carried it in my left ventricle. We continued on, and the snippets sharpened, and there my dog was in my dream’s dream hands and she was almost the same as when the real me knew every inch of the real her. I think that’s what I learned. That I don’t really remember her so well anymore.

As we walked on, and the sharp snippets dulled a bit, there was a portion of the walk where we caught up with some children. My daughter was one of them. I looked back over my shoulder, and she was meandering and looping through the crowd, trying to find the group she originally came with. She ended up with another group because she had friends in this one, too. One of the neighbor girls walked with her. I smiled and turned back because her path was different than mine. A loose balloon, that one. Sometimes I grab the string and tug, and then other times I realize my hand is empty.

My husband and I kept walking as I imagine my daughter had floated off with her friends. I remember we kept looking around, trying to find the best spot to sit down and sit still together. We couldn’t find a spot. So we agreed to go back to the starting place, home base, which happened to be built on top of a tree.

I’m not good at dreams, deciphering them I mean. I’m hardly good at fully understanding consciousness. I had this great calling once to follow Jesus, and here I am on this path looking as clueless as that dream hiker kid. I look around, and just like in my subconscious mind, my dog is still dead. And my daughter has gone off with the neighbor kids, racing their bikes and picking onion grass from the lawns of the homeowners up and down our street. She has this grand plan to sell it right back to them. And my husband? He’s in his office, and sometimes he comes out and grabs my hand, and we walk around the stamped outline of seventeen hundred and thirty-nine square feet, just trying to find a place to rest.

And Jesus? He still loves me, at least that’s what I’ve been told.

I greatly hope He knows what He’s doing.  

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Welcome to The Clay Classroom.

I’ll be your teacher, Ericka, a thirty-something burnt out perfectionist educating the mind of an ADHD child who doesn’t like learning anything she’s not interested in.

So far we’ve covered Intro to Roblox And Meghan Trainor 101.

Things are going swimmingly.

In all seriousness, I’ve come to the conclusion this homeschooling thing is God’s secret way of growing me as well as my daughter. I’ve had to look at this girl from many different perspectives like cradling a diamond to study its facets. She’s blows my mind. She’s nothing like me. And honestly? I used to think that was a not so great thing. Until of course God held up a big old mirror to my soul, and I cringed a little.

I’m too uptight sometimes. I’m type A. I’m a little (okay fine, a LOTTLE) OCD, and always thought the best way of absorbing information was my way. I was, after all, the teacher’s pet growing up, which I won’t get into the Freudian insinuations of that notion considering my mother was my private school teacher for two years. Let’s just say, Ericka has some issues.

But what’s amazing is how God knows that. And how homeschooling has been the catalyst for healing. I’m more patient now. That tends to happen when you scream until you’ve lost your voice. Kidding. But I do see the advantages of gently addressing my child’s learning needs versus throwing up my hands and saying, “Whatever, let’s just listen to ‘All About that Bass’ one more time!”

Actually, please let’s not.

In the past three years of homeschooling, I’ve learned a few things about my daughter’s mind. She’s hilarious and very creative (she made two birds nests the other day JUST BECAUSE SHE FELT LIKE IT), she loves being read to and is a great writer even though she hates writing. She’s not too shabby at math and craves history. She loves audiobooks. She loves imaginary play.

Observing her and bregudgingly becoming okay with getting outside of the box has helped me determine the best curriculum for her sixth grade year for this Fall. After hours of obsessing, I think I’ve found our curriculum.

We’re going with Masterbooks for our basics: Math, Language Arts, Science, and History. We used their math book for fourth grade and it worked really well. The lessons are shorter, and I’ve heard (watched YouTube videos until my eyeballs bled) that it’s a great solution for ADHD kids. Plenty of awesome Christian-based learning in easy to digest chunks. We’ll aso be using them for writing and geography. I’m going with the Easy Peasy readers which contain awesome stories like Black Beauty and The Jungle Book as well as short stories by writers like Mark Twain and poetry by Carl Sandburg and Robert Frost. We’ll be using these for our read-a-loud time where we sit together while I read and then she narrates what she’s comprehended from the story. This is a great way for your ADHD kiddo to absorb info without having to read or write anything. We’ll be using Typing Club for typing and for Bible, I found this pretty sweet devotional as well as the 10 Minute Bible book that comes with her Masterbooks set. Add to that lyra (ariel arts), voice and piano, and Hands on Banking, once a week, and I think we got ourselves a curriculum! I wanted to squeeze Spanish in there but we’ll wait until seventh grade and trade that out for geography.

I’ve spent many a night re-working my Google docs sheet, trying to figure out what I think will work best. I seriously wanted to be a bit more ecclectic and not buy mainly from one curriculum publisher, but Masterbooks seemed to be a real win for a lot of the ADHD moms on YouTube. And I pretty much do whatever YouTube tells me. That’s why there’s a chimpanzee in my kitchen, threatening to maul my face.

A problem for another day.

An empty bucket makes the loudest sound.

I’ve lost my edge, I think.

I’m typically a wound up top – let me go, and I spin until I crash into the wall. And not one glorious bang but several awkward thumps that make you want to squint and look away.

I changed that this week.

I’m always perplexed at the idea of not changing. Old dog, new tricks and all that. There are some people who throw up their hands and go, “I am who I am,” and I’ve never related to that.

I am who I am…this week.

I used to think maybe I was roughly two percent sociopath. I mean, if everyone else is so uniquely and utterly themselves, why do I play into these different parts of myself like trying on wigs? But I don’t hate the thought so much anymore. Being restrained to one thing forever? Now that’s what scares me.

God sometimes is the ultimate conductor. I imagine Him watching, perfectly timing my crescendo at the ultimate point so there’s nothing for me to do but to swallow down my own reverbrations and think hard on whether or not I ever want to hear my own noise again.

What I’m saying is this: I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve let stress own me. I’m an all or nothing human being. My all? Homeschooling an ADHD child, morphing into a gym rat, OCD organizing my home, living at Wal-Mart (why? nobody knows), being involved in forty-two ministries at church (most of them I don’t think I officially signed up for, they just sort of bloomed like a well meaning but exhausting flower), and seeking out people I can pour into on the daily.

My bucket was empty, you guys.

And God sent it clanging down the well.

So, I’ve changed things this week. Did you know you can do that? You can just go, “Yeah, no more,” and make life worth living again.

I’m just working out three times a week now, not five, and reduced my exercises. I’ve come to the realization there’s no possible way my house could be more organized and refuse to freak out if I see a lone sock on the living room floor (deep breaths and all that). I’m loving and learning the ways of my child (thank you, podcasts) and getting more in tune with her needs as she gets older. I’ve broken up with Wal-Mart (we still see each other on grocery days, akward but necessary). I’m putting more intention into my church duties now that my overall plate is a little lighter and this has seeped into my personal relationships with those I’m spending time with.

You are not just the way you are. You are the way you choose to be. With God’s grace, we get do-overs every twenty-four hours. Heck, every second of the day, really. When I remember that, I don’t beat myself up. I just keep true to the “p” word (perseverance…let’s just go ahead and clear that up), and walk in step with my Lord who’s always waiting with living water.

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A fearless heart in the back of a wagon.

I’m not afraid of this world.

There was a time when I became very, very afraid. Like when I first became a Christian and it was that scene from The Stepford Wives all over again. I’d look around, and I’d see nothing but blind people more concerned for their caramel macchiato orders than the truth happening all around them.

I used to be one of those people. Hardcore.

In the beginning, it’s scary. You lose everything you know. You lose yourself, or at least the person you thought was yourself. You lose friends or people you thought were your friends. You look up, and you’re alone.

But then you remember, you’re never really alone.

I used to never feel alone growing up. Even without submitting to God, I could feel Him even though I denied it. Sure, I had horrible phases of anxiety and depression and the loneliness that seeps in came with the whole shebang. But I almost felt like someone was watching me, reading me like a character in a book.

What’s happening now all around us doesn’t surprise me. There’s no fear in my heart.

If anything, it gives further evidence of what the Bible has said all along: we are losing ourselves and taking each other with us.

It’s easy to do when you refuse to bend your knee.

I wrote a poem once called “When We go to the Butcher.” It’s about being taken and sitting in the back of a horse-drawn wagon and silently writing an apology letter to my daughter in my head. In the poem, I watch her face, her hands, the everything she’ll never get to be because the enemy’s won, and I’m helpless to save her from her fate. Here’s that poem:


WHEN WE GO TO THE BUTCHER

When we go to the butcher,

I’ll hold your hand so hard

my memory will seep

through your pores

and you’ll be looking

down on your little eyes

and little nose

and two lips glued

tight into a cherub’s smile

and you will hear my heart

at your ear

and the way it says “I’m sorry.”

When we go to the butcher

your father will be sitting

at my right and at my left,

an empty place where fear

resides, and if I could

be a something better.

we’d never be riding

in the first place.

When we go to the butcher

remember all those times,

but not just the good.

Remember me, a little

monster,

a fly off the handle,

hellish time of a girl

turned woman

turned something

turned and pickled

with fear’s empty space.

But when we go to the butcher

also know about my brave

little heart.

How courage is what lights

it a-thump.

And alights yours, too,

with my hopelessly

hopeful prayers.


But isn’t that every day though? The idea that we really have no control over anything?

Our children are not ours. WE are not ours. Ownership belongs to God alone and we are merely here to enact His will, one that trumps anything we could ever plan to do.

There’s no fear when somebody else is in charge. There’s just constant observation and a heart struggling with the reality of seeking light in the darkness.

And really, you can’t even hear the “I’m sorry” that plays on my lips anymore.

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