College Update

Well, we moved Alli out about a month ago which puts Karalyn and James at the three-week mark.  While some assume Bill and I dragged our weeping selves back home and have done nothing but watch the Bachelor in Paradise on our new big screen while eating popcorn with Walter on our new couch, that is only partially true.  First, I haven’t wept once.  Not once.  I haven’t had time. And I also, I dont need to.  But back up the bus…

The morning we moved Karalyn out, my (I have said it before and I will say it again, greatest in the WHOLE WIDE WORLD) mother-in-law held my sobbing self and reminded me that it was all going to be ok.  That morning held by far the hardest moment for me, I think because it was so real.  Karalyn was leaving, Alli was switching into her permanent room, James was gone, and Andy was helping move his girlfriend.  This day ahead of us was a huge one.  And guess what?  It was fun and the girls were so excited and they came up with projects that required us to go back on Sunday.  Because of course Karalyn wants Bill to build her a curtain system under her loft so she can completely block out the world in her secret fort.  We also ended back up there Monday to help with a TV concern and at that point, we declared that we had to be done running up there or people would think Bill was some sort of gross old man college girl stalker.

Some point in that move in weekend, we wandered into Costco.  And found a couch we liked.  And a big TV.  On a whim, we bought them and set up our very first ever adult basement.  We can watch whatever we want, whenever we want.  Bill even unhooked every single XBox in our home and put them all in a basket, telling the kids to help themselves.  Here, college freshmen, take a free Xbox.  One for you, and one for you, and one for you.  And now I can run our TV remotes again.  This house is becoming mine again.  Laundry?  Never behind.  Kitchen, always clean.  Sure, dust is collecting in the girls’ rooms but since they gutted them, dusting is a quick thing now – I just wipe off the dresser top rather than shuffle 100 little trinkets and dust around keepsakes.  Is it sad?  Nope, we all still have the memories, just not the stuff.

Bill and I both started new jobs after we settled the kids in.  I am not sure where Bill works now, but every Friday he wears a nasty tie-dyed work shirt as all his co-workers haven’t noticed they are all getting old and look ridiculous.  And they are having tons of fun and he is loving it.  I am teaching Special Ed at one of the high schools – never in a million years did I plan to land where I am, but after the interview, I came home and told Bill, “I think that is where I am supposed to be.”  I was offered the job right away the next morning.  And I LOVE IT.  I love my coworkers, I love my students, I love my room.  This is my verse:

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Bill and I have fallen right back into 1996, when we could do whatever we wanted.  We have gone camping, have run to the cities, have a Duluth weekend planned, go out for dinner with friends, go to football games, whatever we want.  Sometimes, we fall asleep at 9.  Sometimes we sit with Walter on that awesome couch and watch TV while eating big bowls of ice cream.  Because we don’t have to share.  And we don’t have anywhere we have to be.

So the kids – how are they?  So many people have asked about them and I love their tribe.  I love how many people sincerely love my kids.  Lets start at the top:  James is ridiculously having way too much fun.  I think he takes classes and hopefully pays attention sometimes (see pic), but what I KNOW is that he rides bikes through campus buildings, jumps off cliffs, throws vegetables off patios (these are the snaps I get), needs me for nothing except our fire pit and willingness to open our home and cook for 40, and invites large groups of college kids to our home.  He loves Jesus and loves life.  TO THE FULLEST.  And his stream of snaps and stories make my days so good.  His hard work putting in long hours on farms has allowed him to cash flow college so he is just soaking up every moment of fun in his last 3 semesters.  And I assume he is learning some stuff.  And he is a small group leader for Chi, which is hosted by one of Andy’s high school buddies.  Life is a circle of awesome.

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Alli is, in her words, “thriving.”  She has settled into her music education track and is in band and choir and percussion and most importantly she marches with the GSMB, which is pretty much her most favorite thing in the whole world.  She is picking up the classes needed to go to OT grad school if she decides that is the path she chooses after undergrad.  So much will change in her life between now and then, so she has options.  Last year at this time, she joined a Chi small group that loved her to healthy and now she is hosting a small group!  She also still works at CCRI, serving kids and their families who need someone to come along side and support them.  It is so fun watching this woman who started a very difficult path of healing last November, being so amazing and whole and healthy.

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Karalyn often sends me snaps of her notebook or laptop open and full of notes I don’t understand.  Well, either that, or pics of herself watching movies with all her suitemates and any spares who want to enter Karalyn’s movie theater.  I wonder if she serves popcorn.  She has solidified a exercise science major with psychology minor with plans to become a physical therapist.  That will come in super handy as we age; in fact, Bill needs her right now.  Running at 43 has held challenges, but he still pumps out quick little 6-mile runs.  Back to Karalyn – deciding against med school allows her a light at the end of her perfectionistic, over-achieving tunnel.  She also hosts a small group for Chi.  Last night, she texted me, “Hey mom, can my suitemates come home tomorrow and make peanut butter balls?”  Oh heck yeah!!  So while James and his closest 30 friends pile in to the back yard (or all over the house if it rains), Karalyn and friends will be in our kitchen.  She works at Bethany still, picking up probably too many hours.  But she is so good at it!!

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Andy lives in the basement of our home.  He isn’t allowed on our new furniture.  Because he is a grease monkey.  We think he started classes.  He is still sleeping when we leave for work in the morning and he comes home later, dirty from work, so somewhere in there, we think he attends class.  He now walks around our home telling us all the electrical updates we need to make.  Like how our fixtures are dated.  Fixtures?  You are stuck on fixtures? The whole house is.  Look at the flooring and cupboards.  SO 2002.  That’s what happens when you put in the highest quality when you build – it is solid and the only reason to replace is because it looks dated.  Petty.  We ordered new plumbing parts for our master bathroom so that is exciting!  Anyway, we are slowly picking out new fixtures and having him replace outlets and he even found me a kitchen back-splash kid.  So maybe that will happen??  He spends most evenings with a certain girl up on campus.  So really, he just sleeps here.  He doesn’t even eat.  But the other day,  I saw inside his car – he eats a lot of McDonalds.  He is so my dad.

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So we are all flourishing. New lives X 6 and all where we are meant to be, filling God’s callings for our lives.  Life is good, actually great.  It is just different.

 

 

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Free Spirit

According to Yourdictionary.com, the definition of free spirited is someone or something who lives by their own rules and who lives life as he pleases.  I am raising one of those kinds.  Nothing this kid does is scripted, planned, or predictable.  We don’t know where he is going to be or what he will be doing at any given time.  We have no idea who will show up at our house.  We cant even pretend to guess if he will even get up in the morning on time to do life.  He may be home for the weekend, but can we leave him in charge of Walter?  Probs not because some super over the top opportunity might come up and he might throw all caution to the wind and chase the fun, leaving all adulting behind.

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I might say that he lives by the mantra “If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try” except I don’t know if much scares him.  He ventured west this summer for a week of real mountain biking and I am sure I don’t want to know how careful he was gently braking down the hills.  We got a snap in Africa telling us how he had a blast bridge jumping in the middle of the night. (I think he knew we couldn’t do anything about it from half way around the world so he was safe.)  He and his girlfriend climbed as high as they could up the local elevator for prom pictures because typical downtown pictures are boring.   Years ago, he decided he no longer liked wakeboarding behind our boat because he couldn’t launch high enough off our wimpy wake.  His daily snaps to me include himself teetering on some plank, 2 stories above concrete, pulling wire into someone’s new home – and he captions them “shady”.  Doesn’t every mom love when her son comes home and says, “I could have died today!”  And I wait for the day when I get the video of him sky diving.  Fear isn’t part of this boy.  AT ALL.

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Part of me is jealous.  I wish I had the guts to try some of the stuff he tries.  I wish my body would let me beat on it like he does and still stand upright the next day.  I wish I could say “nuts to it all, it is time for fun!” and throw all caution to the wind.  The other part of me wants to pull the two pieces of hair I have left right out.  The responsible mom half of me tries to teach and discipline while the fun half of me is jumping for joy on the inside because this kid has embraced enjoying life.  In a world where 18-year-old boys are supposed to man up and be serious about life goals, he has bucked the system and has decided to be serious about spontaneous bursts of crazy.   He has opened what we refer to as Andy’s B&B – our empty rooms have become weekend boarding houses for anyone who wants to be in Andy’s world for 48 hours.  His drum set is back up in his room and the beautiful sound fills the house again – and I am dead serious, I love it!  He leaves a trail of mud and grease from his garage stall to his room, gracing us with a natural tracking system.  His wrappers and dishes litter the whole house.  One never knows what toxic fumes will fill our garage when Andy’s Chop Shop is open.

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How to parent this kid???  I don’t know.  I have never known.  But somehow we got him to 18, and now some of his crazy has me throwing my hands in the air and saying “It’s on you now, so be smart.”  And then I walk away shaking my head and say, “He got this from me.”

Today, this crazy son of mine started his post-secondary adventure in the Electrical program at MState.  He is going to be wildly successful, very knowledgeable, and crazy good at what he does.  I have no doubts that this is where he is supposed to be.  I am so proud of him for gutting out high school classrooms that trapped his wild mind, for finding creative ways to pass senior english, and for playing the and I quote “boring, very unentertaining jazz” set even though his body wanted to crank out some Skillet.  He can tame himself when he has to, although his personality, passions, and giftings leave very little room for traditional.  His dreams and ideas are huge.  His hobbies are various.

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Andy is living at home with us one more year.  He is the one who promised to build a house in my back yard and live with me forever, but I am guessing this is my last bonus year with him.  When he decides to fly out of here, he will go with gusto.  So for now, I am trying to teach him how to do laundry and we may venture into how to make spaghetti.  Ya know, the stuff a kid who mostly wears greasy work clothes day after day and eats McDonalds with his permanently stained hands might need to know some day.  We are working through his natural ability to spend more than he makes, and this kid makes some serious money.  No joke.

Stay above the fray, Andy.  While your mind and body race with ideas, keep your eyes fixed on Jesus.  (Hebrews 12:2)  Embrace the unique and also know your calling and who you belong to.  Here’s to a year of being an only child.

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Its Curly Girl’s Turn!

I took a walk tonight – just Walter and me walking the hood.  I was practicing some mindfulness because this week is kicking my butt.  Moving three out in a week is not easy; physically, mentally, and emotionally draining.  I was using all my senses, trying to be fully present in the peacefulness of the beautiful evening.  I love the sound of crickets chirping in late summer, even though I hate crickets.  The smells this time of year are phenomenal – apples, freshly mowed grass, and green moldy puddles.  Taking in the simplicity of Walter walking beside me, happy as can be that he is finally getting some attention this week.  Walking passed friends’ homes. Hearing kids laughing and dogs barking.  Simple moments.  Right now, slowing down and finding simple moments is hard.

I only lost it once this week, and it was a short outburst.  Sunday, Karalyn and I spent a few hours going through her room, culling the remnants of her childhood, and boy did we find some good stuff.  PB sandwich in a baggie (from XC season?), craft kits from middle school, size 10 youth jeans (two questions – would they still fit her and when did she wear them – probably were foisted upon her and that is why they were hidden deep in the closet) and many many photo booth masterpieces from years gone by.  Going through her room was overwhelming for both of us.  We have yet to tackle her file cabinet and under her bed, although she assures me it wont be that bad.   Anyways, we had just moved Alli out, James’s pile was in the dining room ready for Monday’s move, and I sat there on Karalyn’s floor exhausted and confused by my feelings.  It came out in a short burst of “I don’t like this!!  I don’t like this at all!!!” And the ever calm Bill, who was enjoying an evening watching TV in bed, came in, put his arm around me, and said, “I think maybe you are done for now.”   And he is right – I am so done for now.  But I cant be.  So keep on keeping on.

Karalyn, it is your turn.  Your heavy lifting is sitting in Alli’s room to avoid 8 floors without the elevator when 1,000,000 kids move in on Saturday.  We outsmarted the system there.  But the emotionally harder pieces we will move are piled up and ready for their turn.  The big Bison art piece you picked out for your dorm, your fuzzy blankets, Sunny D, and massive collection of sweatpants and hoodies are all packed.

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My little 3 pound 9 ounce girl, who started us off with “Dont touch her, she is overstimulated” has morphed into our strongest child.   You know who you are, you know who you aren’t.  You will NEVER pretend to be something  you are not, you will NOT bend for anyone or anything.  You are driven, you pursue excellence.  You are your own version of awesome. In. Every. Way.

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And scattered into your very strong persona is a tender, loyal, fiercely loving heart.  Your people are cared for.  You go out of your way to be sure of that.  You organize, you protect, and you don’t apologize for your decisions.  You are black and white.  Right and wrong.  You have no time for games.  (Friends don’t put “loser” post-its on your car window, you are right!!)

AND YOU ARE SO FUNNY!!  Your quick wit and insane sarcasm makes our home so lively and fun.  Your honest no-holds approach to life situations bring clarity (He is irrelevent!  You are right!)  Your ability to find a song with lyrics appropriate for every conversation is hilarious.

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I wont worry about you at all.  I know you have already located the ice cream and dessert bar in the dining hall.  I know you are already tight with your suitemates.  I know you can figure out anything (girl just drove all over the cities on your first attempt!) and I know you will excel in anything you decide is worth your time!

May you find mornings you can sleep in!

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May you find activities on campus that excite you – unlike choir and jazz band concerts.

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May you continue to live life to the fullest.  Life has had very challenging aspects for you, but you continue to show up, and that is half the battle.

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I sure hope that in the future, I will get another text that reads “I dont know who is home, but whoever is there better heat the oven to 350 and throw in 3 corn dogs for me, I am starving.”  I will keep corndogs in the freezer for you, KP, and a box of brownies, ready for your visits home.  We will always meet you for ice cream!

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You keep being you.  I will miss you more than you know.  Saying goodbye is pretty much going to be the end of all the laughter in this home.  Ok, not really, you will come home to see Walt.   Get up there and be you.

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Saturday is Her Big Day

For 18 years, I have dreaded this month.  I knew this month would bring an overwhelming sense of loss and emptiness, and although these weeks bring those emotions to our home, our girls are feeling something much different, and because of that, I am also really excited and proud and yes, nervous and scared.  All of the above.

Saturday, Alli moves into her dorm room and begins band camp.  A week later, Karalyn joins her.  Part of me is thankful it is more of a gradual release, and part of me would like to just rip the band-aid off.  The thoughts in my mind remind me of kindergarten in a way – have I taught them what they need to know?  Are they prepared for what is about to come at them?  What does this change mean to me?  Most importantly, do they know how much I love them and how Bill and I would do anything for them?

Saturday is all about you, Alli.  As I type this, all your belongings worthy of the dorm life are packed and stacked on your futon.  A childhood sorted.  Memories kept, but the “things” discarded.  How long will I find Cheerios in hiding places in your room?  How many times will I dust the trophies on your shelf and remember the good times of high school?  How long will your room still smell like you?  Will the pigs left behind miss you? And the big one:  How long before I no longer expect the late night check-in’s that turn into hour-long talks about life?

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Alli, after everything you have gone through in the past year, and how weak rejection, ridicule and lies left you, you have come roaring back to life.  You made some hard choices that were right for you and poured yourself into others this summer.  The families you work with love you, and why wouldn’t they?  Your heart is so tender and honest.  You have made an incredible impact in lives through your choices.  In the past, you left yourself open to be hurt by others because you feel deeply, see the best in others and sincerely love others more than yourself.  And this year, you also learned how to shelter yourself by building a life that not only serves others, but also protects you.

At the spring choir concert, I finally saw my Alli back: joking, making yourself look imperfect and not caring, pointing out that others need to be kind and encouraging the members to not let their voices be silenced, and laughing ALOT.   Many around us commented on the change.  We knew you were just counting the days to liberation.  When you walked across the graduation stage and got your diploma, you not only were released from pain and negativity but walked into freedom.  You were liberated from the tools you needed to survive that place and those people – no longer needing the supports.  It was amazing to watch you declare that it was over and no longer had you in its grips.

You found friends who care about you and wont walk away from you when you need them most.  As you have learned, this is the hardest kind of friend to find.  The little boy who gave you your first preschool haircut now has provided a godly example of how a man treats and respects a woman.  You want ice cream?  Dang it, you know that guy would make sure you got the best malt in the state.  You need help with college prep?  He is right here to help.  Another big brother sat in our living room with you many nights and disputed what you had come to think of yourself.  You are beautiful. You are fun.  You are worthy.  You found a friend up on campus who knows your story and has loved you and prayed for you through it all.  She has been a trusted gift in your life.  God placed these people in your life for a reason.  He knew that they would pick you up and put you back together on His behalf.  You mean so much to HIM!  (Side note to college friends – never underestimate the impact you make on others.  All of you who spent many many nights in our home brought back laughter and fun, and your love was hugely instrumental in the healing process that was taking place here.)

So now, get up there on campus and get lost in those friendships.  Take the trips. Choose the adventures.  Dance in the rain.  Stay up late (nothing new).  Try new things. Love fiercely.  Search out needs. Laugh until you cant breath.  Sleep so soundly that your roommate hears your sweet little snore.  And because of what you have been through, appreciate what you have learned and help other girls through the same pain.

And the girl who hasn’t been found yet?  You find her. You teach her that nothing anyone says to them is true if it doesn’t line up with what God says about her.  She is fearfully and wonderfully made. She matters.  She is fun.  She is uniquely talented.  She is beloved.  Just like you.

My prayer is that you find more friends like the group you have been adopted into.  That you become so grounded that you cannot be shaken.  That your roots are deep.  Storms will come again, but I pray this time, your friends stand in the gap for you, hold you up, and surround you with love.  Those relationships are what you will find as you continue to be your beautiful self among young adults who are pursuing the same things in life.  Gone are the middle school games and before you are beautiful chapters of growth and learning who you are.

When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 1 Cor 13:11

I love you so much and will miss your sweet sensitive heart, but could not be more excited that you are heading to this new season of life.  You can always come home, but I hope you are so happy on campus that you only need me for monster bars, gluten-free pancakes, and an occasional pedicure date.  And when you do come home, I hope you bring with you the kids who need a touch of home.  Our home is their home.  They will be so lucky that their years at NDSU are shared with you.  Life long friends are just around the corner.  You are amazing!!!  Horns up, Alli.  Although we are not with you every step anymore, God is, and He is way more awesomer at this job than we are.

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart…He will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.” Psalm 91:1-2, 4, 11

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Life Lessons for my Kids…From the Farm

Rom 12:9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.

These vines use tendrils to cling tightly to the plants they are using to grow.  Cling tight to the people and experiences that help you grow closer to God, grow in who you are, and grow mentally.  Feel free to get rid of relationships that hold you back.

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Proverbs 13:20 He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will suffer harm.

I was trimming out dead arborvitae branches and accidentally took out a good one because it looked like it was the leader of the dead branch next to it.  Lesson learned: surround yourself with people who speak life.  Choose those whose influence will be positive.  If you run with the sketchy, it will be assumed you are one of them.

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Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Choose the right tools.  Some jobs require you to bring in the mac daddy but sometimes the larger tools don’t fit when the smaller tool finesses the job.   Be wise in the tools you choose to attack life.

 

And on that note, choose smart footwear.  Sometimes, you will need rubber boots: the grass is wet with dew, it has just rained, you are catching frogs in a swamp.  But for the love of all things good, don’t walk around on a sunny day in tall rubber boots just because they say “Hunter” on them.  $100 rubber boots aren’t impressive.  Dirty ones are.  Work hard, be legit, don’t be a poser.  Do spend good money on good shoes that you wear every day though – your back will thank you!

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Don’t be afraid to try things even if those “in the know” say it wont work.  You just might surprise yourself and others when you are a success.

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Protect what you find most important and I hope when you find your lifers, you realize how important they are – you will need them through life’s ups and downs.  Build a hedge around those relationships – fence out the things that can harm them.  And be a lifer for your people too.

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Look for the beauty and find joy in the every day.  Not every day will be exciting; in fact, many upcoming days will be the same routine.  Make the routine awesome.  Store up peace when you can (credit: John) and use that storage to get you through the hard days.  Because they will come.  Even pain has a purpose.

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Sometimes you will get bitten.  When you think you have built a peaceful happy purposeful life surrounded by the right people, you will still have troubles.  People will let you down.  Even the “wise” ones.  You will feel the stings of life.  In these moments, you will need your lifers.

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One last tidbit for the girls – when choosing a shade of yellow to wear, be careful.  I know your school is big on gold.  Gold is cool.  Yellow is not as much.  Mustard?  Yes.  Pale yellow?  Please, girls, pale yellow is not a good choice on anyone we know (see middle example.) Can you say washed out?  Be smart about your yellow choices.  Gold Out! Horns Up!!

 

 

 

Well Adjusted

Our family played hard this weekend!  The girls drove themselves to visit Grandma on the farm (and took Walter with them).  James attended an out of town wedding.  Andy went to Northern MN to visit family.  And we parents went to the cities for a weekend of adulting.  We were all over the place.  Yesterday morning at 7:00AM, when Bill and I left the house, the three who live here were out the door, already working (and I am sure farmer boy was too).  It is amazing the amount of growing up they are doing!!

What is really super fun and encouraging as a mom is that I am watching them blossom in their fields of interest.  James is learning exactly what he likes and doesn’t like in the field of crop and weed.  Sometimes internships teach what we don’t want to do as much as what we do.  Alli works two jobs – hanging onto 5-10 hours a week at the grocery store and also working 30+ hours supporting youth with special needs.  This job has opened her eyes to a whole new world of opportunity and furthered her deep compassion for others.  She simply loves her job.  Karalyn has just begun her job as a CNA at a different nursing home.  She will work 12 hour shifts until college starts and then continue to serve her population throughout the school year.  She is so wise, mature, and deeply loves working with elderly.  Andy works for an electrical company and is putting in miles and miles of wiring and learning about the different aspects of the electrical field and paths to success.  Each of these experiences is teaching my kids about themselves, their careers, and responsibilities of being an adult.  And each of them is flying!!

Their ability to live independently was showcased while we were in Africa.  We left them home alone for 15 days and they didn’t need us.  Two of them started new jobs while we were gone and they did their own tax and banking paperwork.  The house was clean when we returned.  They managed to eat, do their own laundry and run their own schedules.  They had friends over.  They went out with friends.  No mom and dad needed.  We have prepared them for reality.

Yesterday, Karalyn and I had supper with her roommate and her parents.  So fun – and a really good fit for both girls.  They are going to have way too much fun together!!  And then at 10PM, Alli took off to go spend a couple hours meeting a suite mate who was in town.  She had a blast too.  This is all falling into place.  Life is good.

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John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”     Living out this promise.

A Break in the Clouds

Our flight connections home from Africa didn’t go seamlessly.  A two-hour delay brought the inevitable missed connection and landed us into chaos.  We knew the crazy would come as soon as we landed in Chicago so the blissful ride over the Atlantic was our last grab at peace.

As we started our decent into Chicago, I opened my window shade and was instantly blinded by the sun.  It is crazy how eyes can be so accustomed to dark that the transition to seeing light is so intense.   (And maybe the fact that I had been in airports or on planes for 30 hours, and slept only 4 of them, played into it?)  The clouds covered the ground but the sky was so brilliantly blue above them.  At this point, I remember thinking, “I don’t want to go down there.  I don’t want to go back into the darkness.  I want to be done.  I want to stay in the sun.”

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In that very moment I felt peace.  Sure enough, chaos greeted us in Chicago.  Missed connection, stand-by tickets, crazy customs, lines a mile long, crying children, crying moms (not me) and uncertainty as our very large plane deboarded late, sending its passengers into a flurry of motion.  But in the middle of the process, I knew God wasn’t done speaking to me.

I got on the next plane home.  Bill did not.  We were exhausted.  We hadn’t slept or eaten real food for over 36 hours, we were now split up, and I left him with just his lap top bag because all our luggage would be coming with me.  So again, I sat staring out another plane window, listening to God.  I watched the clouds.  Between Chicago and home, it was partly cloudy.  I observed the different kinds of clouds, the way they moved, and then the take home message was delivered as I contemplated how the cloud cover affects the ground.  And it was then that God said to me, “I am moving the cloud cover off your family and off your home.”

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I hold to His promise.  John 1:5 reads “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

This family is rediscovering freedom, joy, fearlessness, bravery, and peace.  And in doing so, we are reestablishing boundaries that were taken and trampled in the past but now are strong.   This season of our story is one of triumph.

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