'Quiet Presence with Each Other'

Early in December I received an e-mail from a fellow homeschool mom and blogger. She answered a question I had asked her, and also sent along some words of comfort. Part of her reply was this:
Believe me, Susie, and I can say this from experience ... in 10 years you will not be looking back and bemoaning how little school you got done in the fall of 2009. But if you put the emphasis in the wrong places right now, you may very well look back and and regret that you didn't spend just a little more time crying, praying, sleeping, and huddling together with that precious family following this loss. While you've all been through this together, each of you has a different experience, a different story that God is writing in each of your lives. Take time to listen to each other ... help the children put all the pieces of your 37 days with Anne Marie in place ... let your children see that an all-sufficient God does not give us invulnerable hearts. What math equation or science experiment or sentence diagramming could hold a candle to the kind of teaching that just your quiet presence with each other will mean in their lives in all the years to come?

Can I presume to make a practical suggestion here? It's December 3. Put the books away and take an early Christmas break. Take the pressure off in this area and enjoy Advent and the holidays together, celebrating your daughter's life and the life of the Child who became our sacrifice. Live life fully in these days, even if for you that means crying and sleeping until noon, and resolve that a month from tomorrow you'll pick up the books again, just a little more prepared internally to resume your academic schedule. Please believe me -- it's a decision you will never regret.
That is some of the best advice I've been given, and that's exactly what we did. And it was what our family needed to do. Then after a long Christmas break, we began our schoolwork again. Some days have been harder than others, but the break did all of us good.

Last week we also went back to our Friday homeschool classes at our church. We had missed these while we were in Dallas and the kids enjoyed being back. Our pastor's wife teaches art, two fellow homeschool moms teach P.E., the father of one of our homeschool moms teaches physics and leads experiments, and two other moms teach literature. Also, three students from our group won awards in a statewide juried art show sponsored by the Fine Arts Institute of Edmond. Congratulations Christian, Nathan, and Emily!

Here are some pictures from last week:

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