Friday, February 10, 2017

Middle School: Girls, Glenn Miller, Socks and Idiots {or just one Idiot}

I am determined to write a few words this morning.  I lose my practical head when I get to teach at Bible Study so I got to do that Wednesday morning and last night and presently, the laundry machine is spinning, the dishwasher is humming and I've got TWO pots simmering on the burner.  AND for a few more hours, I have NOWHERE to go.  A home day.  I love it.

Watermark Middle School Small Group-- and their leaders.  Grateful for each one.
Jeff and I are chaperoning the last middle school dance tonight.  I've been wanting to serve in some way at the other two—just to get a pulse on what these things are like— but we've been out of town or something.  So tonight, Jeff is a "Special OPS Dad" in the hall and I am checking tickets at the door.  Last night Brighton came in our bathroom— and uncharacteristically for him— he beat around the bush trying to ask this question.  "Are you going to embarrass me?"  Oh, I had fun with that one.  But seriously, does he really want me to act like I don't know him?!  I told him he might regret that if I wind up being the coolest mom there handing out Altoids to all the kids who forgot to brush their teeth after their quick dinner before the dance!  I also wanted to ask him, "Are YOU going to embarrass ME?"  Fair, right?  But somehow that question sounds so much worse turned around on him.  If I am parenting him the way God leads me to, his choices have nothing to do with me and therefore, his actions should NOT embarrass me.  Oh the thought struggles of parenting.  It's a fight to keep those TRUTH thoughts front and center moment to moment.

His binder..... oh. my. word.
Oh, B and how I love him.  Jeff was out of town a couple of weeks ago and so I was doing the afternoon/evening Ubering solo— and y'all, side note, it's a THING.  I am not sure how parents make this happen day to day all over the world and we aren't all in a car pile up somewhere.  My kids have one yearly activity {ballet for J and the sport in season for B} and one 30 minute piano class. When we were homeschooling it was easy to consider that just another one of their classes.  Being in school 5 days a week has made all of the running around a little trickier but we are still at it.  One of the positives of this that I am savoring right now is CAR TIME.  It's when most of our talking happens and lots comes out driving around- sometimes I think more than when I try to plan it over a favorite snack or meal.  When Julia begins driving herself to and from school and ballet, I think I will truly begin to miss her.  So I am not complaining about car time—it's GOLDEN—  I am just shocked by the extent of it!  Coming back from the side note— it was just Brighton and me in the car and he said, "Hey Mom, when we get home, can we just sit in the den for a while and talk?"  Umm, yes.  I LOVE easy questions-especially the ones I can say yes to!  He asked me if I wanted a fire and if I wanted to go ahead and fix my coffee. Then he asked Alexa, "Alexa, play 1950's Jazz Music."  And we sat down by the fire and talked to the sounds of Duke Ellington and Glenn Miller.  I let him go with it wherever he wanted- took my hands off the wheel.  Much of it was funny but some of it was very serious— and some so heavy I was wishing Jeff were there to spread out the load.  Most of the heaviness comes from his story— and when I say "heavy" — it's all good but it's heavy to him and therefore, me because he's still making peace and sense out of all of it.  I am so proud of him for communicating with me his heart and pushing through to the hard questions and even trying to be sensitive to me in the process.  I love my 13 year old boy who hasn't stopped talking since he was 2.  I pray this never stops.  Breaks are nice, but you know what I mean.
I feel for the young man on the right....  Middle School is hard.
So the funny thing I wanted to tell you is that he said he was learning some things about girls— and you never know where this is going but this was light, thank goodness.  I needed some light.  He said some guys told him that with girls, you need to LISTEN to them.  Novel, yes?  And which "guys"?  And why did they latch on to this?  "REALLY listen", he said.  He said there were two problems with this.  I couldn't imagine.  First, he said, "Mom", he held his hands out like he was reading a paper, "it's like they are reading a 20 page essay.  They go on and on and on."

2nd problem? And this will prove to be his biggest.  I'm his Mom.  I know.

 "I like to talk, too."

Brighton has his own essay going on.  So yes, this will be interesting to watch as he moves through these years.

I’m chalking this little trend up to the strangeness of Middle School.  Please.  PLEASE.  
I didn't plan on this being all about B but last thing, for now… last year in 6th grade, he did a report in his Science class on fungus and he chose — with my subtle directing fueled by hygienic motivation— athlete's foot.  I think the boy had nightmares from the pictures.  Thursday morning, second day of track he doesn't get up— after being awakened by us 45 minutes before at his request —because he has managed to break two alarm clocks in a one year period.  So basically he rolls out of bed and into the car.  To add to my regrets of motherhood, nothing was sweet or life-giving about yesterday morning.  I was just stupid with my words.  ANYWAY.  Half way there, he realized he didn't have his socks.  If you have a kid in a school with a uniform, you know that socks are really a big deal— socks AND their shoes.  "PLEASE bring me socks, Mom!!  PLEASE!! I CAN'T GO WITHOUT SOCKS FOR THE REST OF THE DAY!!!"  This kills me.  I hate when they ask me to do something and I have to stand my ground and say no.  {He should have gotten out of the bed when I told him to.  Right?  45 minutes would have been PLENTY of time to think of socks.}  True to character, he made one last ditch effort as I drove away— completely ignoring my apology for the idiot I had been in the 5 minutes I saw him before we picked up the neighbor.  Of course, I struggled all day NOT taking his socks— completely wasted energy on my part.  However, it may have been worth it to hear him obsess over how badly he needed to get to "that foot spray" Jeff had gotten for him.  He could hardly think of anything else.  He had borrowed socks from the "snooze you lose" bucket in the locker room…..oh my word.  Can we just NOT think about that for a minute?  He DID say he turned them inside out before he put them on but he couldn't get to "that foot spray" fast enough when we got home. This morning, he left with socks.

He’s certainly my favorite 13 year old boy and I marvel at his changing self.  
I know Middle School is tough.  For 7th grade, the “Eyebrow Incident" will forever be seared in his memory but I also know that it's prime time in our kids' lives.  Big things are happening within themselves and it makes my brain hurt worse than a carpool schedule thinking about it.  When that happens, may it drive me to PRAY— to pray for what's going on in their hearts and minds and to ask consistently for Jesus to mold and shape them--AND ME.  I can't speak any better regarding these prayers than my friend TJ did in her post this week.  This mindset and these prayers are critical if we want to make it through these parenting years— without the idiot label AND with a great relationship with our kids— who are growing up faster than we could have ever imagined.

Thank you, Jesus, for loving them even more than we do.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas Letter 2016




I keep telling myself that one of these Christmases I am going to use the "outtakes" of the Christmas pictures for the card.  All of our yuletide greetings would be a lot more entertaining. I have pictures of us at the beach where in one take we are all serious with the discipline face, complete with finger cocked in scolding position and in the next frame, all smiles and joy-ever- after-Hallmark happy.  This year as I was setting up the tripod I broke one of the legs off and it became a very short tripod so this year we are all sitting DOWN— and because now our kids are older, they sit still just fine- no vice grip on the toddler arm-  and we are finished in like 15 minutes. {Hang in there, young mommas.  Your 15 minute session is on the horizon.  Quicker than you can imagine.}  Still, one year I am going to send you a really funny card.

We officially have two teenagers in the house this Christmas.  So far, so good and so very different than even just one year ago.  Inches have been gained, tweener pounds have disappeared, toys have all but disappeared, bathroom drawers have lots of new things filling them, conversations have changed, and sleep has become a hot commodity for them both- and if they sleep late enough, you're down to 2 meals— brunch and dinner!  It's astounding the rate at which all of this happens— and NO ONE prepares you!  It's all very normal - heels, razors, make up, zit cream, phones, cologne, homecoming…. but it hits you before you, as a mom, are ready for it.  {These are the things people don't tell you—- and it makes me wonder, what else are THEY not telling us?!}

Julia and Brighton made the switch to our public school district this year which was definitely bittersweet.  Bitter— losing the time we've had at home together for the last 9 years, the flexibility of our schedule and leaving a university model school full of incredible families, friends and staff.  The sweet part— MY KIDS ARE IN SCHOOL FIVE DAYS A WEEK!!!!!!!  EVERY morning they go.  The consistency astonishes me.   Seriously though, it has been an easy transition as the Lord provided them with friends WAY before we made the switch.  Both are in classes with people they have known since they were toddlers and have made brand spanking new friends who I've never met and maybe won't ever— which is strange for moms like me coming from a homeschool/small school history.  But as I said, so far, so good. The decision has felt right since the summer and we have had a great and interesting time learning the ways of public school.  Dinner conversations are quite fascinating some nights.  I am impressed by the availability of the kids' teachers and their willingness to help.  God has His people everywhere-strategically— and I pray we are fulfilling our role.

Julia continues with ballet spending about six or seven hours at the studio per week.  Her movements are lovely and graceful and I really love to watch her dance. Brighton plays the sport in season.  His football practice started at 6:45 am every school morning so that was new to him but he stuck it out and we saw him improve and contribute the second half of the season.  And I've always said- and it's a favorite thing to me about him—  he's worth his weight in gold on the sidelines.  They are still taking piano…..  and I know there will be a year I won't be able to type that but so far, we are hanging on. : )

Jeff and I are doing great.  I married a good one, for sure.  All of my overreactions in parenting are tempered by his steady voice telling me everything is going to be okay.  We find ourselves scratching our heads in confusion at times but then we find ourselves praying to the One who knows and loves our kids better than we do.  Only God can shape their hearts and grow their desire to love and serve Him.
"The thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices, For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn."
Jesus brings hope- the THRILL of hope— to our weary selves.  Bask in the glorious celebration and morning of Christmas.  He makes all things NEW.  We love you.

Friday, December 9, 2016

A Reminder from Julia to Me to You



The Spirit of Christmas
  by Julia, age 10

I love Christmastime with its festive lights and colors. It comes only once a year with trees and Santa Claus and reindeer and wishes of good cheer. 

People fill the stores— traffic jams and long, long lines are the stressful part of Christmas this year, but on Christmas Eve the presents come unwrapped and joy fills the air.

And you hear the story of the years gone by when the story of the Savior fills the ears and we remember the real and the true meaning of Christmas. 

Not the lights or the tree not even the presents but how Jesus came to save the world and love us all the years. So please, remember the beautiful story of that Midnight Clear.


She wrote that on Christmas day 2012— had to have been while in Soperton and I wonder now what all was going on when she penned it.  Was she still anticipating our big Christmas at Nana and Papa's or was it over and she was reflecting?  I don't know— a mere four years later— but I love it.  I know it's not terribly original.  It follows the same pattern of other poems and songs- even movies and conversations we've had as a family, but at 10 years old, it was original to her.  Those thoughts were stored within her somewhere and they came out like that.  She was beginning to get it.

And I'm still "getting it".  Just last week, I had to pull myself away from all of the Christmas boxes littering the house to check my heart regarding my own mental to do list that no one else could see but me.  I had to let go of any expectations I had of anyone but myself and decide to enjoy preparing the house for Christmas………….until the outside garland lights wouldn't come on.… and then Saturday when the tree lights wouldn't come on. Y'all — I think if we looked close enough-somewhere on that little white tag of clear lights on a green electrical cord, it would say, "Made in H-E double hockey sticks".  Seriously.  They are so beautiful and cheery but maybe after 5 years, they turn diabolical or something.  They stole SO MUCH time from us last weekend. I may not know traffic jams, really or even terribly long lines, but I know the distractions of Christmas.  I don't even have to leave my house.

And that's why I zero in on my two favorite phrases in her little poem—  "the story of the years gone by"  and "[Jesus came to] love us all the years" .  That's what I want to be distracted by….  THAT story and THAT love.  Wouldn't it be so wonderful to get so caught up in the story of Christmas that we just plain forgot to buy the presents?  Or make the candy?  Or send out the cards?  Just take a minute to turn the world around — we live so upside down, don't we?  Imagine if we had to really work at remembering to buy and wrap presents instead of why we are celebrating, why God sent Jesus to us — in the flesh— the fullness of time {Galatians 4:4} bursting forth this part of the plan when time could hold it no longer.  "The time came for the baby to be born." {Luke 2:6}  Emmanuel.  God, here, with us. He has come as closely as He possibly can.

It is THE story of the years to remind us year after year that He came to save us and love us all the years.

I don't want to miss any of it.  I don’t want to miss any of Him.  I’m so grateful for all the years.

Let's let that be a little distraction for us.


Friday, November 11, 2016

A Letter to a 13 Year Old Boy: Brighton’s Birthday Letter 2016

Dear Brighton,

When you were three— blonde hair flopping around your darling face with those bright eyes— it was hard to imagine you grown up.  The days of Thomas the Train and Matchbox cars seemed endless as does now your need for clean clothes and showers. Your long self fills your bottom bunk and somehow this fall, you have almost caught up to mine and Julia’s 5’7” frame.  I’m okay with that, but your sister won’t be.  I don’t think she’s noticed yet.

You are thirteen— a teenager.  I forgot to ask you if you were a “real teenager”.  When Julia turned thirteen 21 months ago, you were quick to tell her that 13 wasn’t really a teenager-- saying that the 13th year was just for pretending, but 14 would be the real deal.  We’ve barely had time to talk about your becoming a teenager—- and YOU are the kid that would really have something to say about such an event.  A couple of friends of ours came over the night before and gave you a “charge” so to speak.  I wanted to push my way in and hear all of it but I didn’t.  It was “men” time and you will just have to tell me about it.  I am grateful for kind and strong men in your life who love you and want to see the best of you in the years to come.


So what does a momma have to say to her, now, teenage boy?  I’ve been thinking about this for a while because I have read many amazing letters through the years.  But only I know you like I do and I want my words to come from that place— knowing you as a mother knows her son. Most of that will be just be between you and me.  I can’t let all my secrets out about you right now, can I?  Some of those things are for me to know and me only.
You needed a haircut and you were resistant to pictures for the very first time.  So.........I’ll try harder next year or make your daddy do it ; )
There are many things that can be said to a 13 year old boy— and I will probably say most of it at one point or another because I am like that— wanting to cover it all, trying not to miss anything important, using lots of words.  And I know how much you LOVE that.  However, only one thing is needed— a vibrant, growing relationship with Jesus, the One who loves you more than I do and the One who holds you in the palm of His hand, and the One who has plans and purposes for your life that I know nothing about,,,,,,,, yet.  This one things covers a multitude of conversations.  But to send you from our home, loving Jesus with whole hearted devotion, committing to following Him all of your days, serving Him with courage and integrity— what more could I ask for?  And if I care about anything else a whole, whole lot, I need to check my own heart.

You're spiritually minded.  It’s in your head.  I think a lot has descended into your heart but much is still in your head.  You think about God and, right now, you want to do the right thing. You are quick to admit wrong and quick to ask for forgiveness.  But like many of us, especially your momma, very slow to change.  You’re 13 so I know we still have much foolishness to wade through— spur of the moment bad decisions, words you’ll wish you’d never said, grades that won’t reflect your capabilities, girls who aren’t for you, actions you’ll wish you’d never put your hands and feet to— it’s all part of growing up.  All part of learning as you mature.  But of course my prayer is that those things will never satisfy, that they would come up empty and disappointing— and that the consequences would be an effective teacher to steer you back to wisdom and not have to follow you the rest of your days.

I hope you will find much satisfaction and FUN in days well chosen, days well lived— that seeing the difference is more obvious to you than when someone takes your Halloween candy.   ; )  Instead of feeling hemmed in or trapped, I pray you would feel the freedom you DO have and run free and clear in the space laid out for you— and that you would feel that the boundary lines have fallen for you in pleasant places.  And Brighton, this is where you’ll find blessing.  That word is real- “blessing”.  It is thrown around a lot, but when it comes to God and “blessing”, it’s a big deal.  With obedience comes blessing.  It may not be the blessings for which you are hoping, but over the long haul- living faithfully before the Lord and WITH Him, there is blessing-- like you will never know anywhere else.  And I am as sure of that as I am knowing where your Halloween candy is. ; )

So, that’s the page, darling, that anything else I could ever say is written ON.  Having that kind of relationship with the Lord—that’s the piece of paper I’d write any other advice on.  Without that relationship, nothing else will work or matter a hill of beans.

Even with the relationship intact, much temptation will come.  And remember, temptation is NOT sin.  Only your response to it has potential for sin.  This is where your strength has to kick in— those muscles of courage and bravery we’re trying to have you exercise because Brighton, there will be situations where YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE choosing to have courage and say, “no way”.   This may make you feel amazing but it might make you feel like a lame-o, stupid loser for a short period of time.  But remember, “I wish I had chosen to do the wrong thing”  SAID NO ONE EVER.  You will never regret a right decision, my son—one that is in line with the Truth.  It just won’t happen.

I wish I could take Proverbs 2, make a delicious pizza, hamburger or nachos out of it and make you chew it up and eat it — if that helped me get it INSIDE OF YOU.  Maybe an IV would be more effective?!  Take this to heart, sweet B.  These are words of life.

My son, if you accept my words
 and store up my commands within you,

turning your ear to wisdom
 and applying your heart to understanding—

indeed, if you call out for insight
 and cry aloud for understanding,

and if you look for it as for silver
 and search for it as for hidden treasure,

then you will understand the fear of the Lord
 and find the knowledge of God.

For the Lord gives wisdom;
 from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

He holds success in store for the upright,
 he is a SHIELD to those whose walk is blameless,

for he GUARDS the course of the just
 and PROTECTS the way of his faithful ones.

Then you will UNDERSTAND what is right and just
 and fair—every GOOD path.

For WISDOM will enter your HEART,
 and knowledge will be PLEASANT to your SOUL.

Discretion will PROTECT you,
 and understanding will GUARD you.

{CAPS mine-- all words that a momma loves.}

That Proverb goes on to talk about the “wayward woman with her seductive words” and how her path leads “down to death” and causes them to forfeit the “path of life”.  Don’t forfeit the “path of life”  by giving into your curiosity for a few moments of pleasure.  Death comes in many ways and you want every part of you to be ALIVE as you go out into this world to DO and BE all the God calls you to.  Guard yourself, B.  Be fierce about it. {You will hear this again— and again. And you will be okay with it because you love me.}

I see glimpses of the man God is making you to be, Brighton.  If I can wade through the dirty clothes, your papers everywhere and the things you just can’t seem to keep up with, I see a young man capable of leading, serving, loving, and making a significant difference in the world around him.

You have what it takes, B.

I am so very proud to be your mom.  

A picture of the 6th grade school picture 
Basketball was REALLY fun last year-- you guys won lots of games.

And came in SECOND! {Thus the TWO fingers}  You guys wore your MEDALS to school.  Yes. You. Did.

This might be the only night of the year that the two of you get along.... Christmas Eve

This is the first of many pictures that I want you to remember that YOU ARE LOVED by MANY.  You have a strong support of family AND friends around you who want the very best for you.

The Badlands-- NPT 2016
Stinker--
You are so proud of your cousin RJ and Hunter’s boyfriend, Jason.  Some of this is random but most of it’s theirs that you laid out.
Cousins.  You are the baby and you are loved.
This guy loves you too-- and he doesn’t HAVE to!  
Saturday morning AFTER the late night sleepover...  Good friends.

Young Life Camp-- Wyldlife-- 2016
This one HAS to love you but I think she would anyway. ; ) {Rough Riders!}

You’ve spent a lot of time checking your muscles this year.

Yes-- this means love.
New experience with Daddy
It’s “the smile” we get for pictures these days...


More love.


Teaching beach family -- You can’t see me!!!

Your first “Dallas Experience”-- girl drama and lots of hard work

Rough Rider game with friends
Fort Worth family-- known all your life

First football camp-- with Luke-- known him since babyhood too.
These moments make a momma happy.  She can’t help but yank out her camera.  No matter how she talks to you, B, she LOVES YOU.
You did a big new thing this year-- you started public school!!  And YOU LOVE IT!  And the coolest thing-- look who the first people you saw that first morning were-- life long friends.

More friends you’ve known all your life-- after school Costco run



It’s been a great year with lots of memories-- but I want you to remember these people.  It’s the relationships that will mean the most to you through the years.  Be grateful.




LAST YEAR- 2015
THIS  YEAR- 2016

Goodbye 12. Hello 13.


P.S.  Things to note:  shaving adventures, 6:30 am football practices, saluting after a deflected pass {no sir}, dabbing, lost baby belly, brand names {ugh}, loves cafeteria food, bow ties, your response after Julia left the house for homecoming with Nate's family {"Nothing like that has ever happened to me before.}, camp out DRAMA-- will add more as I think of them.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Time, Homecoming and Humble Pie

I’m faking fall by my fake fire this morning. The 95 that hit us yesterday was no joke for October.  Tomorrow looks promising but who really knows.  I’m ready to burn some real wood and wear something besides July clothing.  Who’s with me?

A songwriter I met several years ago used to have a tag on her webpage— “writing when I should be sleeping”— like that was a normal thing for her.  I will give up a few things, but sleep is not one of them.  So for me— I should be studying for my next time to teach but here I am writing because I want to and I really love to process things this way.

A couple of years ago my friend posted her 9th grade son’s homecoming pictures— a large group of girls and boys all dressed up and looking very “grown”.  I thought to myself, “No way will Julia be doing that in 9th grade.  It’s too soon.  How do we know this will turn out well?  Who are those kids anyway?”  Something like that but basically {in South Georgia talk}, “There ain't NO WAY she’s going to homecoming in 2 years.”



And there she is two years later at homecoming with a kid I had never heard of before Friday.  It’s a great story but one for a back post later for the family books— and not to embarrass either party.  It was a late ask —for good reason— no real fault by our new friend, Nathaniel.  All I know is that Friday morning I called and ordered a nosegay for Jeff to give to Julia because she had made homecoming plans with girlfriends and 2 hours later I was calling the florist to change it to a boutonniere.

So, the young man…. before all of you freak out that we let her go with a “stranger”….. THIS is what friends are for—times just like this when you REALLY want to say YES to your daughter but DO NOT have the critical information you need.  And if you don’t live here, Fort Worth is just a big small town.  All it took was a text or two and the kid had stellar reviews blowing up my phone.  {The funniest part of the texting is that BOTH MOMS I texted knew about the “ask” before I could inquire about the boy.  Their sons had already texted them to tell them Julia had been asked!}  Then, to hear my friends speak of his family— I knew Julia would be well taken care of — and the best part, she’d spend the evening with some of her closest friends.  It was all just super sweet.

We’ve known the Jordans for quite a while and mirrored school experiences.  Glad Julia got to make this transition with Audrey.



Hudson rode to Bossier City, LA in his infant carrier when Julia was born.  He was barely 3 months old.  
What happened during the two years of “ain’t going” and “going with a stranger”?!?  Two years.  That’s what happened.  I remember clearly the summer before 7th grade and how I felt I still had like a 10 year old in Julia and then thinking only 4-6 months later, “Whoa. Wait a minute.  You certainly aren’t 10 anymore.”  Lots happens when our kids sleep. I wrote a sappy post on that before.  It feels crazy when you “miss” it.  It really is like you turn around to answer their question and when you see their face, you stare and forget what the answer was.  All you can think is “WHO IS THAT? HOW?!  Just how?”  And not only the physical changes but emotional/mental as well.  They are capable of processing things that they weren’t able to just 6 months ago.  You get to a point where you are like, “Yes, it’s time to have that conversation. I hate for her to have this knowledge of something so horrific, but it’s time.”   A different level of exposure to worldly things is in order.  They ask more questions and we can answer them more fully.  The best part of all of it is, they can grow in their knowledge of the Lord, WHO HE IS and, hopefully, the value of walking with Him.  As we answer questions and help them process the things they are beginning to notice around them, we can go deeper into the things of God because now, they can understand it more fully.  Only they can choose whether or not to embrace Him and His ways.  Our job is just to keep putting Him out there— walk and talk Him out in front of them.  They get to choose.  

Just how I can’t stop this aging process happening ALL over my self, we can’t stop it with our kids and it’s not healthy to try.  As my kids have more freedom and get permission to do things that are completely out of my control and protection, I am figuring out that they probably know about 90% of what they need to know to make good decisions. We’ve already taught them this — since “littlehood”.  Right?  The context might change but not the principle.    

So you sweet young mommas that stop by here from time to time, you lay that foundation for your sweet littles because they grow and become bigs— bigs who need to be bolstered from underneath and held up by the Truth that won’t change, bigs who will be making decisions out from under your watchful eye.  We are raising our kids in years that things are changing so fast I don’t even try anymore.  They NEED the security of Someone who never changes and the Words He gave us that don’t change.  Our kids can be a voice of logic, reason and wisdom in a world of foolishness and spinning opinions but they need someone willing to put in the time to help lay this foundation beneath them.

And YOU, sweet momma, are just the one for the job.  

I’m at it with you— not there yet, but in the process with you.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Rocking My World


No one else knows, but September is almost over and I don’t have a post on the books.  My mom let me know a couple of months ago I wouldn’t have enough to make a book this year.  At least someone is keeping track!  What she doesn’t know is that I have done a lot of “back posting” — another way to say it is that I have been cheating blogger.  I love that feature— wish Instagram had it— but then it wouldn’t be very “insta”, would it?  But it allows me to put things in LATER that I want in the family book.  It’s mostly been events or vacations — and really, THOSE are the things the kids enjoy.  All my words?!  Oh my gosh— nope, they get ENOUGH of those during the week.  Pictures.  That’s what they love seeing.  So here I am, with a day left in the month and determined to post SOMETHING in real time.

So what is “rocking my world”?  You know, I just gave it that label this week.  I know people have used that expression for a while but it’s really the best way I know how to describe this thing.  Last summer, I lost “my store” with the pharmacy I work for after nearly 20 years.  Not my job— just my store.  I don’t even think I’ve told Jeff this— too embarrassed at the time— but on the day I knew I wasn’t scheduled there again, I cried on my way out.  I mean, I don’t just LOVE my job.  I am grateful for it but my heart is at home.  However, I have been there almost EVERY week for the last 20 years.   I have seen babies born and go off to college.  I have seen more sweet elderly people die than I care to count— and seeing their spouse a week or two later is heart- wrenching.  So, I cried.  There wasn’t a big to do— which I am typically not a fan of— but somewhere in my sentimental spirit, I wanted someone to recognize it.  It was the very first store in the DFW metroplex and the corporate big wig {now retired in Trophy Club} and I opened it together.  The company flew 6 of us to Des Moines to train for a week so we could open the district here.  Ok, sniff, sniff — enough about that.  It’s been a year and I am so over it.

What I am NOT over is this—and this is what is rocking my world—  I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT EIGHT HOURS OR WHAT STORE I AM WORKING IN WEEK TO WEEK.  NO DAY TO DAY.  {I typed in bold and caps so you wouldn’t misunderstand me.}  Granted I only work 8 hours a week but it’s a chunk and I never know when it’s going to be extracted from my seven days.  So when I say “day to day”, I mean, I’ll be driving Julia to school at 8:20 and I will get a text on my phone offering a shift for the afternoon/evening.  Very rarely do I know the day before anymore.

Here are my conversations with people— “I’d LOVE to hand out Chik-Fil-A to the boys before their game Tuesday night but if I get called into work, I’ll have to bail.”  “I will do carpool on Monday and Wednesday but if I get a shift, I’ll need to switch it around.”  “I really want to come help with the coach’s surprise party after practice, but if I don’t show, it’s because I went to work.”  “I’ll see you Thursday at prayer unless I get a shift last minute.”  “Yes!  Let’s meet for coffee!  I’ll text you as soon as I know if I have to go into work.”  “I’ll be at your son’s football game Friday night if I don’t have to work.”  Don’t you want to be my friend?  Lame-O.  Seriously.  If reading those got on your nerves, I PROMISE you, speaking them day after day is like watching a used car salesman commercial 25 times.  Misery for me.

First, perspective.  I had a GREAT, predictable 20 year run.  I have a good job that pays well.  They have not fired me and I can still work 8 hours a week. {So far.} I do not have to get vacation approved.  Yes, I could look for a different job in pharmacy —- a few things that deter me— my retirement plan, learning a new computer system {can you say “lazy”?} and the pay is good where I am.  I am not looking at this point but maybe after several more months of this, I will.  Who knows?

I had no idea though, what this unknown 8 hour disappearing chunk would do to my thought processes.  I don’t feel I have one anymore- a thought process. I am a planner and I am not doing much planning. Until I get that shift, it’s like I am going hour by hour.  I absolutely LOVE a Monday shift because then I know the rest of the week is “stable”.  Pieces of it won’t go missing.  There are, of course, the non- negotiables for our family— what we will miss and what we won’t, and then there are times that are just too complicated for someone else to cover for me if Jeff isn’t available. So imagine a week ahead of you with stable pieces— things that you will NOT miss no matter what and then everything else is like driftwood floating on the surface waiting to be claimed.  I’d like to say I am getting used to it, but I am not.  However, I am figuring it out trying my best to make it work for my family.

To say the least, it’s been a year long exercise in flexibility— and that may be RIGHT where God wants me.  Oh— and also loss of control of my schedule.  The more I write, the clearer it’s all coming to me.  He totally has me right where He wants me. He is strengthening my weakest muscles— flexibility— and hindering me from exercising my ugliest strength— control.  All of a sudden this feels a lot different.  Father, help me to submit with humility and joy.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

8 Days In


I didn’t get her picture before we left so I asked her to take a selfie since I knew there was no hope of a picture since I was dropping her off.  


This is so normal, I know…to drop kids off at school and come home to an empty house— a QUIET, empty house.  But FIVE days a week.  It’s really amazing.  Only 8 days in, I don’t know the full extent of the “amazing-ness” but everyday, I find it hard to believe that they will leave again the next day too.  And only 8 days in, I really can’t tell yet exactly how different I am going to feel.  I think mid October, maybe I’ll know?  All I know, it’s a very big deal.

The first week was good for both of them.  Julia had a couple of schedule snafus but other than getting lost like every other freshman, wondering what to wear and not being able to locate her locker for a week, she really enjoyed it.  This isn’t easy— brand new school, HIGH SCHOOL, 6A school {very large}, a handful of friends— I think she’s {I want to say ‘killing it’ but can a 45 year old say that?  Without people thinking, “she’s trying to talk hip”?}I think she’s doing swell.  Ha!  Anyway.  I am so proud of her.  God loves my girl— way more than I do and He’s using other people to show her that too.  Another mom offered to get some freshman girls together at a yogurt shop last Sunday just to give Julia more familiar faces to see in the halls.  When I thanked her later, she said, “Today was my pleasure and a glimpse of God’s love for Julia!”  My heart is full.

Get this— NO DRESS CODE.  Nada.  Zip.  It’s really hard to believe in 2016 but there’s not.  Julia left today in running shorts, long sleeve T-shirt and running shoes.  Second day for that look but she’s worn “real clothes" the other days.  I had no idea what she’d want to do.  Last week when she came down in above said outfit, no make-up {she doesn’t wear much but NO mascara or gloss) and her hair in a bun, I knew she was O-KAY.  Made me happy that she was comfortable in her bare and beautiful 14 year old skin.  For now.  Will continue to pray.  For lots of things.

Brighton didn’t have football practice on the first day of school so I didn’t drop him off until— another “get this”— 9:30!!  I’ve heard of this but wasn’t sure I really believed it.  But it’s true. And the sweetest thing that happened on day 1— There is a group of girls I have known since right before Julia was born and many of our children overlap in ages but hardly have ever schooled or even attended church together.  Two of my friends in that group had kids starting at McLean too. As I was inching down the street to drop him off, we saw one of the boys {and his mom} so B jumped out and I called Kellie to tell her B was running up behind them.  When they got to the front of the school, our other friend was there so they all got to go in together and walk each other to their homerooms— after Kelly explained to B what homeroom was.  And she was able to take this picture.  Again, my heart was full.

Thanks, KB, for taking this picture!
Back to the 9:30 drop off.  We only got ONE morning of that.  Football practice drop off is 6:30!!  Hello morning.  He’s rocking the alarm clock and ready to go. On time. Our Golden Retriever went without breakfast a couple of days as B was getting used to this new dark-thirty schedule {Gabe had lunch though when we realized}.  Gosh, I know B’s tired.  I told him this morning that this would be easier once they played their first game.  I watched him get out of the car this morning— in the dark— he was barefoot, carrying his shoes, glorious bed hair and too many pieces NOT in his backpack and sure enough, he left his lunch in the car.  I’m not sure if the left lunch was by design or not because, guess what?  He has an affinity for cafeteria food.  Of course he does.  Carbs and cheap meat are his favorite food groups.  I am not sure what we are going to do about that.

By about Tuesday last week {SECOND day of school}, he said, “I can’t believe I get to go back tomorrow!”  He truly loves it.  I went to his open house last night to meet his teachers— and some of his friends- and I could just tell, he LOVES it.  Going into situations like that for him are very natural and energizing even.  Not one atom in his body is introvert.  He thrives with all the people and all the interactions.  Now, let’s see if his heart and grades thrive. {So many prayers to pray!}



I cannot end this without a bit on pick ups/drop offs/carpool.  This was a brand-spanking new frontier for me.  I had no idea.  Really.  I am SO impressed with my friends who have done it for YEARS and not ONCE complained.  I am totally inspired.  The first day, it rained, so Monday night my friends assured me it was “pick up on steroids”.  But even then, I knew I needed to do something different.  Every day I have tried new routes and new times and I think I’ve got it.  Ballet started this week so I am trying some new streets for that and the piano time slot might be a lost cause but I am going to try really hard tomorrow.   Carpool is a BLESSING— surprised it isn’t mentioned in the Holy Scriptures somewhere.  To AVOID pick ups is the way to go so you really want to make carpool work.  However, you get to know the kids which is the upside of it being your day to drive.  Just say yes.

But did I mention I come home to a quiet, empty house FIVE days a week?  I can do crazy pick ups, no problem.

           

Yes, I do miss them.  It took me until Friday but B got out of here early that morning without my seeing him and about 2 o’clock, I thought, “I miss him”.   I went into this with my eyes wide open.  I know what I had with them for nine years.  TIME.  Lots of precious time.  We interacted all day and interacted fully all those years.  Some was ugly and some was GOLDEN.  Putting them in public school, I knew that would be gone. It is a sacrifice made.  I know I am missing a lot.  And I am okay with that— on the days I remember the Lord led us to here.  I have to trust Him with their time— to mold and shape them into who He has created them to be, to allow circumstances in their lives that drive them to Him, to develop more compassion for a larger sphere, and to begin to understand our world’s culture and how to interact IN it but not OF it.  {Prayers!!  Please!!}

Seriously.  Can all of that really happen in middle/high school??!  Who knows.  I think it’s a good starting place.  My heart is full of gratitude to a good and faithful God who loves my children way more than I do.