A little late for a calendar post to ring in the New Year, I know. To be completely up front with you dear reader, as I endeavor to be, I’ve been struggling to write lately. Struggling to focus. Struggling to find energy and inspiration. Struggling, quite honestly, to find . . . words. There’s a problem I don’t encounter too often.
The first two weeks of 2021 for our little family have been . . . eventful . . . to put it positively. To start, my husband and I have been feverishly house hunting (even in pitch dark and with our two kids in tow) since everybody’s brother decided to make our lovely corner of the world their new home town as well. I can’t begrudge them that. Then my parents came down with coronavirus on New Year’s Eve, and we live about a thousand miles away and can do absolutely nothing to help them in their recovery. Being helpless is my favorite. Isn’t worrying wonderful? Oh, and the world continues to lose its ever-loving mind and spiral out of control. Happy New Year!
Better LATE than LAME
I believe that delay can sometimes be good. And in fact, delay can often be divined I think. A strange phenomenon in my life is that I often find myself rushing to accomplish something that just refuses to come together under my own hands and time table. So stubborn are the forces against me in these moments that I have to just throw up my hands and surrender control (something that does not come easily to me) and accept to come back to it later. It is in these pauses, these delays, these moments (or days) where I have agreed to do nothing that somehow everything changes. These are the moments when somehow, it all just mysteriously, organically, spontaneously comes together. Perhaps you know this “phenomenon” well.
I’m hoping that today’s post proves just such a *delay* and for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with me. I have promised you a calendar for your kids; a calendar for them to fill in, to customize, to color, to record the weather, and to look forward to birthdays, holidays and special events. With that, I had planned on including a festive, seasonal poem to go along with each month as well. What fun!
Well, fun just turned out to be fleeting. Every time I sat down to work on this calendar project over the past couple of weeks, I kept encountering a strange feeling of lack. The word “empty” kept resounding in the recesses of my mind. Inadequate. Lukewarm in fact. And so . . . I waited . . . and stalled . . . not even really knowing why. I simply couldn’t shake the feeling that this calendar just wasn’t good enough yet. Not for today and not for the year we have ahead of us to navigate with our children, dear mamas and papas.
The seasonal poems I had carefully (and laboriously) collected, fell flat even before I’d formatted them to the calendar. Somehow the words in these lovely little poems seem absurd through the lens of the current cultural climate and the year we have ahead of us in raising up our little salts-of-the-earth. For truly, that is how I see our role as Homeschool parents, now more than ever. We need to be giving our children only the best, most useful, most wisdom-filled skills, experiences, and words we can possibly get their little hands and minds to hold. And quite honestly, I don’t think we can afford to waste any more time!
And so, after a divine pause, the answer became clear: our 2021 kids’ calendar needed some . . . revival renovations. In the end, Longfellow, Frost, and Dickinson just didn’t measure up to the truth, conviction, hope, and wisdom of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel.
The calendar is now finally complete. It still features verses to go along with each month of the year, many of which are indeed seasonal and poetic. But some significant transformation has occurred. The poems I had previously selected offered beauty; but the verses of scripture hold so much more than that: truth, hope, wisdom, strength, mercy, prophesy, faithfulness, and redemption . . . to name a few. What was coming up empty I now believe to be overflowing. I should have realized what was missing from the very beginning! The grass withers, the flower fades, BUT THE WORD OF GOD WILL STAND FOREVER. It is only fitting that the Creator of time Himself should be the crowning centerpiece of our calendars that merely mark the days until Jesus’ return! Poetry may be pretty, but scripture is sacred.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
He who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, He who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm—
He will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
Psalms 121: 1-8
This year, let’s change the way we keep a calendar with our children. Instead of merely “marking off” days as we approach different “fun” days of the year, I invite you to join with me, rally with me, commit with me to “marking until” —watching and waiting—with our children for Christ’s return; endeavoring each and every day to serve, honor, and know our Creator, Savior, Redeemer more. I don’t know about you, but I need a daily reminder that GOD is king. That GOD will rescue. That GOD will overcome. If we need these reminders, our kids may be desperate for them, or worse . . . they may be lost without them. Let us cling to the word of God with our children and raise them up to hide His word in their hearts so that they will not depart from Him when they are grown.
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap. For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth. Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.“
Luke 21: 33-36
~KIDS’ CALENDAR of Verses to Navigate a Volatile World~
1.) Choose which version to use with your child: I have included two versions of the same calendar in the pdf links below. One is a standard format, including the months, days of the week, and number dates already printed. The second version is purposefully left blank as a curricular tool for the child to fill in, or stamp in as we are doing, with the months, days of the week, and number dates.
We found these awesome calendar stamps made in the USA here.
2.) Print entire document double sided onto white cardstock (woven linen is our favorite).
3.) Punch & Bind: use a mini hole punch along the markings provided. Use a double strand of twine and a large-eyed needle to bind. Pull thread through each loop leaving enough on either side to tie, and snip as you go. Next, tie each double strand into a slightly loose tie and knot on each loop, leaving just enough slack to turn the calendar pages with ease. Trim.
4.) Customize with your child, day by day, week by week, or month by month: allow your child to color or paint each month’s picture either all in one go or the first of each month. Help them to fill in, stamp in, or sticker in birthdays, holidays, special events, etc. You may also allow your child to draw in, stamp in, or sticker in the weather each day for a great natural science activity.
5.) Read, recite, and copy each month’s verse. Daily, weekly, or bi-weekly, read the included memory verse of the month with or to your child, having him or her recite it back or copy it from time to time.
Here they are!
I didn’t have words this week. Even now, my tongue is still fumbling around in my mouth and in my mind. But over the past few days I have experienced an inexplicable peace and a hope in the midst of all that is going on. God is still with us and for us and will one day conquer all sickness, all evil, and death. In the meantime, I am trying to practice that when I am speechless . . . to be still and invite God’s words to fill the void of my voice. What should we teach our children when we don’t yet understand ourselves what is happening in this world? What should we say to them when we don’t have words to supply? We can say nothing and instead offer up the words of God which will never return void.
For He never sleeps,
He never slumbers,
He is ever-watching,
both now and forevermore.
Dear friends: stay strong, stay true, stay with GOD.