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.

Bison

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.

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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.”

light

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.

The Animals of Africa

I can’t wrap my brain around our 15-day vacation yet.  Not enough to find words.  Many have asked about what we saw, so today, I will just post a bunch of animal pictures.  As I find words, I will write.  Clearly the things I learned are still finding home in my heart and when that happens, I will share (some).

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Valuable

 

 

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This is a Bible verse we have all heard.  Sometimes it seems like a solid line of crap; sometimes, we just cant feel like God has a plan for us at all.  Or maybe if He does, we don’t like it.  Or, I don’t know (“speaking for a friend” here of course) being the mom of kids who are searching for their way and hitting stumbling blocks, being in the mom position sucks worse.  I can’t fix things.  I can’t smooth the path.  What I can do is remind my kids (ooops, I mean, my friend can remind her kids) that their identity is not found in any earthy accomplishment or relationship.

So kids, who are you?

First, you are fearfully and wonderfully made.  Psalms 139:14   Take that, Satan!

Second, you are loved.  I have loved you with an everlasting love. Jeremiah 31:3  Boom!

How deep the Father’s love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

Third, you have value.  Matthew 10:31 Have no fear, you are worth more than many sparrows.  (Really, God, you couldn’t have given us something more than sparrows to compare our worth to?  I know, I know.  See Luke 12:6)

And lastly, and most importantly, you are His children.  And trust me when I say as a parent, “Don’t mess with my kids!”  As a child of God, your Father orders his angels to guard you in all of your ways. Psalms 91:11

Romans 8:28 And we know all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.

Trust that God has your very best in mind when he determines your steps. Proverbs 16:9 says so.  Sometimes the path is hard, but armor up, and press on.  Great things await!

Mixed Emotions

I haven’t blogged for a while.  Not because I didn’t want to, but because every time I have started, I haven’t been able to find words – and for me, that is a pretty big deal. The past weeks have brought many lasts:  last proms, last last band concert, last jazz concert, last theatre awards, last academic awards, last AP tests.  We have begun the wonderful celebration with our friends, being invited to over 80 grad parties, where we sit with the other parents, split in half.  Half of each of us struggles with our lasts and our impending “loss” while the other halves are so excited to watch what our kids can do when they spread their wings.

James left us yesterday.  We were gifted a bonus year with him when he opted so save money and live at home his sophomore year at NDSU.  Having him home was beautiful.  He is such a rock solid kid who was needed here this year, and certainly God knew that when he planted him here for 9 extra months.  But his time with us is done, and he left the driveway yesterday packed for a summer at his internship.  His leaving ripped open my heart for a while.  And then when I got myself pulled together, I witnessed how much his sister loves him as he held her in his arms and she cried, knowing huge changes are coming to our family.  Huge wonderful changes.  And even wonderful changes can be hard.

I have had so many days lately when I am so very very proud of my children.  Yes, their high school accomplishments are great.  Yes, their awards and accolades sometimes floor me.  Mostly, way more important than those things, are the words I have heard and read about my kids lately, the character I have seen shining in each of them, the way they are loved and love their friends passionately.  For those things, I am so happy.

However, for the fact that pretty soon, I wont be part of the day to day of these kids, I just don’t know how to be okay with that.

In Genesis 22, God asks Abraham to sacrifice his only son Isaac.  To sacrifice is to surrender a possession as on offering to God.  Abraham was all “Ok, tie the boy up and lets do this. God will provide.”  Where is my trust like that?  All I am doing is sending my kids out to be adults.  Watching them take the first steps of independence.  Allowing them the freedom to become who they were created to be, in fact, encouraging them to do so.  So where is my trust that God has them placed where He wants them, forging ahead to do His plan, and covered them with His protection?  God is simply asking me to surrender them to Him and trust that He has them.

Sounds so easy.  I am working on it.

This is our Dead Week

I didn’t pick up a sub job today because, well, because it is prom week.  You may be thinking “Prom week?  Seriously?  Cant work because her kids are going to prom???”  I wish it was that simple.

A few years ago, I happened to be sitting in a Booster meeting when the subject of Post Prom came up and of course I did what every good Booster mom does.  I sat quietly and didn’t volunteer.  Seriously.  I was so proud of myself.  But that quiet “pretend I cant do this” act didn’t last long and somehow I got myself roped into not only serving on the committee, but being the chairperson, which also meant poor Bill was the treasurer. Our house has been 100% committed to Post Prom for five years.

Now, you may be thinking that my committee is a powerhouse of 45 members who share the load and the work is light.  Think again.  My extremely committed, over-worked, stressed, anxious committee of about 6 moms is working super overtime this week to shore up all the details for an event that keeps 400 students safe the night of Prom.  Yes, you heard me.  This core group of women have shown up at monthly meetings all school year, planning, scheming, and now are pounding the pavement shoring up details for this event.  If our high school has 600 juniors and seniors, that is 1200 parents (biologically speaking) and these 6 women represent a mere .005 of the parent population. (I am good at math.)

I want to give a HUGE shout out to my girls – the crew who have raised $80,000 over the years I have been chairperson.  The crew who have given up their open nights, their storage space, their mental health, and mostly, and this is huge, their enjoyment of prom day.  Instead of being 100% present with your sons and daughters, I know you are all thinking about the details of Post Prom, planning contingencies, drowning your bodies in caffeine knowing not only are you about to stay up all night but are already running on empty because of dead week.  I appreciate you all so much.  I appreciate the friendships.  I appreciate knowing I have you on speed dial.  I appreciate the texts this week “What do we need to finish last minute?”  I appreciate knowing I don’t have to worry about the areas you are in charge of because you have this mastered.  We have kept our kids safe, and provided them with many excellent memories.  THANK YOU!!!  Next year at this time, we can be planning summer vacations instead.  Can you think of a fundraiser for that?

Now, I have to take four Advil and start running around town marking stuff off the list.

Volunteer

What?  Monday isn’t a skip day for you?  Well rest up somehow, we have Post Grad to plan.

As the World Turns

“Watch the weather,” I texted.  “Big snow storm coming.”

“I will buy a dog sled team if I have to.  I am coming!!” was the reply.

Last weekend, my childhood besties and I spent three days in the beautiful south, and by beautiful south I mean the Twin Cities where it snowed 22″.  What’s a girl’s weekend without some sort of adventure? In years past, it has mostly been massive shopping sprees, but this year, it was shoveling, running through snow barefoot,  and sitting on the deck in the hot tub (while sporting winter hats) jamming to the 80’s music play list one of our brilliant 8th grade sons made.  Who is responsible for the genius level of children the three of us are raising? We are of course – best moms in the history of ever. Our kids know what is right.  This was seriously needed time for forever friends.

Grad party plans are underway.  Invites went out this week.  Sorta.  The ones that are hand delivered went out.  I still haven’t addressed a single one.  Seriously.  Cant get my mind to go there.  But the centerpieces for the tables have been started.  My kitchen island has morphed into a crafting center.  Which is perfect because I cant be expected to cook without counter space so it takes the pressure off my culinary expectations.  Anyways, we have decided that no one cares to look at a million pictures of kids at grad parties – guests are there for free food, lets be honest.  And they are hoping someone they know is there so they can sit and visit while pretending to look at pictures.  Well, good news for you.  Karalyn is providing much better entertainment for all our guests this year.  You wont have to pretend you care what the kids looked like at age 7, 12, 14, etc.  Relax, have a bowl of mashed potatoes, and enjoy.  That is our goal.

Speaking of mashed potatoes, I have the second round of frozen mashed potatoes ready to reheat today for testing.  The first batch was too runny.  We have to get this recipe mastered so I can begin the task of 120 pounds of peeling and mashing.  That’s the number we landed on  – anyone have feedback on that?  Is 120 pounds of potatoes enough for 350 people? I mean, Alli could eat 5 pounds by herself but she is abnormal and this is a grad party where people wont eat as much as normal.  I guess we wing it and I will let you know how it turns out.

Karalyn became an FCCLA State Champ this week – dont even know what FCCLA stands for, but she had to wear real pants and for that, I am so proud of her!!  She had a great time at the competition and I think that is mostly because she missed some school.  Lets be real, senioritis is a real thing.  For moms too.  I got an email this week from a fellow mom saying she has senioritis and is so over high school – I replied with a hearty “Amen, preach, sister!”

And then my kids came home with their blue grad gowns.  First of all, what are they made of?  They smell so nasty.  But mostly, oh I had to swallow a big lump and look away when they put them on.  And so we killed two birds with one stone – “Take them off and hang them up right away.”  Win win – I no longer have to see the “kids” in them, and they can start airing out.  Seriously what chemical is that????

Andy tested out of a summer class this week – I guess when the results matter, he is fully capable of prepping and succeeding.  Now his summer mountain biking trip is back on.  And THAT is all that matters to him.  Well, that and Doritos.

A while ago, I mentioned that five kids live here.  We have a spare.  He also is a senior, graduating and leaving our home this year.  Yep, lets just go for the gusto.  He took the first steps towards enlisting in the National Guard this week.  We are so proud of his decision!  Soon, he will know his summer and fall plans!

Also this week, our family got our first tattoo.  I say “our family” because it was a group thing, sorta.  I mean, it is only on Alli’s leg, but Bill had to bite his tongue, Karalyn had to see live video (she was at her FCCLA thing) and I had to hold her hand through the inking process.  I was prepared for childbirth-like squeezes but Alli was a champ.  She said she would have never had the composure to do this a year ago.  She is a strong, determined little fighter these days.

James woke up today to a little confirmation from God.  A sizable scholarship landed in his account.  When you aren’t quite sure about your path, but you are on the right one, just wait for God to reassure you that you are in His will, doing what He wants you to be doing.

It has been a full week of small and big moments in our home!  The reality that this chapter is ending very soon is kicking in big time.   This upcoming week is full of senior prom prep and the academic banquet.  So very many fun memories will be made in the next few days – soaking them all in and enjoying time with these young adults.  What a gift to watch them all starting to spread their wings.

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