Sunday, August 25, 2013

Stretching (Phil 4:13)

First days of school have come and gone without a tear shed by me.  It's not that I didn't care about these milestones, but I was okay with them.  I never had that, "my heart is being ripped out of my chest" feeling . . . until today.  Today my first-born son (7 years old) competed in his first triathlon.  When I registered Jon for this summer's triathlon with the Y, I thought it was a good idea.  Jon was open to this opportunity and started the Y's training program in mid-July.

A few key things to note - Jon first rode without training wheels in April of this year.  Yes, I am aware that this is a wee bit late and we have our reasons (live on a busy street, steep driveway, etc., etc.) for this.  Regardless, starting in July, you could find my husband teaching Jon how to ride his new mountain bike every Saturday morning.  Let's say Jon was unsteady at best and fearful and prone to run into objects at worse.  To be honest:  I was very nervous.

Then there is the swimming.  Jon fancies himself a good swimmer, but he has a lot of work to do.  Frankly, he struggles in the pool with the crawl stroke and breathing to the side.  He will take a few strokes, stop, lift his head up and breath, and then continue crawling.  I saw many children using this same technique.

So, here it is today, race day.  We arrive at the YMCA at the lovely hour of 7 am.  Though I saw signs of hesitation and fear from Jon, I began to realize what a big deal this was for him.  Had I pushed him to do this?  Was I wrong to encourage him to give this a go?  I could read his little face and see the fear.  We talked about Philippians 4:13 and how that assures us that everything we do, we do it through Christ's love and power.  As the tears fell a little down his face, he confessed, "I'm scared, Mom."  

RIP goes my heart.  Seriously, I want to sweep him in my arms, profusely apologize for having him do this and leave.  Yet, I knew that was not the right thing to do.  Had he REALLY not wanted to do this, we probably would have given him a pass.  But being scared was not really reason alone to not do something for which you have spent weeks in preparation.  Thankfully, I could hide my tears behind my sunglasses.  I hugged and encouraged him.  And then I sent him on his way.  

He completed the swimming without too much trouble, which pleased me.  I knew the running would be easy for him.  But between the swim and run, Jon would have to ride his bike.  I saw him struggle to get started and even fall.  RIP goes this mom's heart yet again.  Praise God - and with the help of some wonderful volunteer, Jon got going on his bike and did indeed finish the bike portion.  You have to see the pictures - his face says it all.  You can see the look of focus and sheer determination on his face.  He was going to do this no matter what.  I could also see the relief on his face as he finished the bike portion and walked his bike to the transition area.

Finally it is the run and, at this point, we know that he's got this.  I can finally breathe.  He finished and is beaming with pride.  He said that when he doubted himself, he prayed and also thought of Daddy's words, "You can do this, Jon.  Don't give up."  And this kept him going.

This post is about Jon and his overcoming some big obstacles and fears, yet I do feel compelled to add something about me here.  When I have been confronted with tough things that require me to s-t-r-e-t-c-h, I have sometimes given up.  And that gave that doubting voice in my head more volume and took up more space in my head than it ever should have.  And to see my son not giving in to that doubt and fear, well, it was just all I could not to burst into tears.

Phillipians 4:13 (NLT) "For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength."

Thank you, Lord, for giving my son courage and showing him he can trust You in all things.  Thank You for using this experience to show me the beauty of bravery, being scared but doing it anyway.  Today, both my son and I grew a lot.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

School Bus Fun

I really enjoyed being a room mom last year for Jon's kindergarten class.  I liked it so much that I'm once again room mom for his class.  And also I share duties with another mom for Josiah's TK class.  It's not all that much work - send some emails, coordinate class parties (but not necessarily plan them all) and other duties.  I love getting to know their friends and serving the teachers.

A few weeks ago, I felt like Super Room Mom.  On Thursday, I was a parent chaperone with Josiah's class to see Skippyjon Jones (a story about a cat with big ears who thinks he is a chihuahua0.  It's a fun read with lots of "Spanglish" interspersed.  Josiah was as excited (maybe more?) to ride on a REAL school bus to the theater.
And just so I got my fill of riding on school buses with lots of children, the next day you could find me in yet another bus with about 30 first graders.  This time I was heading to Jon's teacher's working farm for a field trip.  It's sweet that my boy is proud of his mom and enjoys having me around.  I find that kids really like when adults want to get to know them.  So, I have some sweet "friendships" with a few of his classmates.  The girls are especially huggy and sweet.

A friend of mine took this picture of me as we were departing the farm heading back to school.  A picture says 1,000 words.  "Help!  I've been on school buses with kids two days in a row!  Save me!  Save me!"

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Better than a best friend - a lot

Being a mom of two boys is really special.  I love them.  I love how they look at me and how much they really love me.  They were how the Lord chose them to first teach me about becoming a mommy.  Yet, I had a deep longing to also have a little girl.  Maybe it's because I love my own mom so much and remember sweet times with her as a child.  Whatever the reason, this mom wanted her a girl.  And praise the Lord, a little girl I have.

She's only two yet I swear she's going on 16.  Like the times she dramatically announces that a certain pink shirt is, "boooooooooooooooring!"  Or when she's in trouble and she sweetly tells me, "You so pretty, Mommy."  I am over the moon about this hot mess of a girl.  Seriously.

One of her favorite things to tell me is that I am her best friend.  I love how she lets me know that she loves me.  I also want to set the stage for years to come.  I actually do not want to be her best friend.  Best friends don't usually shepherd and guide girls into becoming honorable, godly women.  Best friends are fun and they aren't much interested in developing character.  See, that's the job for me, my husband and a good number of wonderful people in her life.  I don't want to trade in my mom card when she enters her tweens so that we can be best friends.  She'll have plenty of best friends.  But I'm her only mom.

Listen to our little exchange and her sweetly repeat, "Better than a best friend - a lot."

Election Day

Grief is a funny thing.  Well, actually it’s not funny at all.  Before last August, it had been over 20 years since I lost a close family member.  It’s now nearing the one-year anniversary of my grandma dying.  It feels like yesterday that we received the call from my sister that my grandma had fallen in her little assisted-living apartment.  At 91 years of age, obviously I knew that she was very advanced in age.  But, this was my grandma.  My super spunky, can-do-anything grandma.  Surely she would be okay.  Well, she was not okay and we lost her a week after she fell.

Like probably most people who are missing someone they love dearly, I often think of my sweet grandma.  I can tear up in a nanosecond and I just ride the wave of grief.  Truly, it feels like a wave that takes over.  Thankfully, it’s relatively quick and within a few minutes, I am back to the present and not hurting so bad.  It’s kind of a lather-rinse-repeat thing.  I just do this over and over every couple days/weeks.

So, Tuesday I exercised my civic duty (aka – I voted) and literally had my breath taken away.  I walk to the table and am asked by a lady in her 70s for my name.  You see, my grandma worked every election.  She loved it.  I can just see her now - taking names (literally) and making sure no one broke any rules.  Goodness, Grandma was all about being fair, not cutting in line and overall rule adherence.  

Working election day was one of the many things she always did (just like how she always gave blood).  I loved this about her.  So, back to election day this week - when asked for my name, I had to swallow hard and regain my composure because I had started to tear.  She must have thought this run-off election was REALLY important to me.  What she didn’t know was that I am a granddaughter who really (really) misses her grandma.  

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Titanic Party!

April 14, 2012 - 100 years after the famous "unsinkable" Titanic sinks. It's a tragedy that resonates today and is fascinating to so many. And to my six-year-old son, this piece of history is near and dear to his heart.

I don't recall being all that interested in the Titanic. But my son's enthusiasm for this failed ship is contagious. I'm drawn to the stories of the passengers and one cannot help but wonder how they would respond in a time like that. So far, my favorite hero of the Titanic is John Harper, a 39-year-old widower on the ship with his young daughter. After securing her to a life boat, Harper spent his last hours sharing the good news of Jesus Christ. I've added a book about him to my reading list, The Titanic's Last Hero: Story About John Harper.

So, this occasion needed to be commemorated with my family and a party was had tonight. And have a party we did! Check it out!

Family came prepared to the party - life jackets AND the iceberg.

Cake by my friend, Rachel - she is amazing!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Hot Mess

Once again, I find myself missing the blessings of a blog. I don't really think all that many people read it and that's cool with me. It's just so neat to look back at our times together as a family and smile. I often say about taking pictures - most people don't like to have their picture taken and/or don't want to stop what they are doing for someone to snap a photo. I get that. BUT it's later when such snapshots of time become precious. In August, we had a family memorial to celebrate my grandma's life and to be together as we mourned. Having family photos over the years was SUCH a blessing and a treasure for us to see. And goodness knows, this momma be takin' some pictures!

All this to say that I want to capture some of the fun and sass of Miss Thang. She was named Ms. Thang by her Aunt Dees even before Rachel was born. Little did we know how well that name would fit her. She is sweet, loving, tender and kind - AND a hot mess!

Below are some funny Ray Ray-isms that are too cute for me to forget.

1) On the subject of bathrooming, she has decided, "Pee pee is good. Poo poos not good." Not sure why but maybe because when she was potty training and would poop in her undies, well, I was not too pleased.

2) She speaks of tomorrow by calling it, "Ta-later" and if it's raining, don't forget your "rain-brella."

3) She likes her make-up and is often looking for her lipstick. Hmmm - must get this from her Aunt Lorri!

4) When in trouble, she sweetly coos, "Oh, Mommy! You're my best friend!"

5) When angry, she says, "I not happy to you!"

6) She has decided it's fun to be a baby and sometimes I do like to play along. Right now, I am often referred to as Momma Bear and she is, naturally, Baby Bear. At times, she will make a weird kind of coo/whine which is her baby talk. It's cute.

7) We think of her like Goldilocks because she likes everyone else's bed. You can often find Rachel reading in any available bed. And she acts like she owns the place and that she is in HER bed.

I could go on and on. I do love my girl so so much.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Look out, American Idol!

There are some gifts and talents the good Lord has given to me. I'm not particularly awesome at any of them but my efforts seem to pay off and sometimes people say nice things to me about it. For example, I love to take pictures and sometimes people like what I capture. And I'm a decent scrapbooker (thanks for my scrapbooking best friend, Kim). So, I have some skillz but not that many nor that amazing.

Certainly, no one has ever said that I could sing. Okay, I lied. My mom likes for me to sing "You Were Meant for Me" by Jewel and "Part of That World" from Little Mermaid. Other than my dear mum, my singing is not particularly enjoyable to anyone but me. I'm okay with that.

There is a particular demographic that I am finding actually likes my singing. My kids cannot go to sleep without a few lullabies. I happily oblige. It's very sweet and just like I had hoped it would be when I was dreaming of being a mom.

I thought only my kids liked my singing. But, today I found 17 other kids who enjoyed it. In fact, they asked for me to sing again! For real.

The scene - I'm the special guest reader in Jon's class and we read to the kids for 30 minutes. That's a lot of reading. We read from The Jesus Storybook Bible (prodigal son story), a Valentine's book about love and Jon picked "The Prince of Egypt" from the class library. I'm reading along and get to part where Moses's mom sings a final lullaby to him. To myself I think, "Seriously? I have to sing?!? No one told me that it was guest reader/singer!"

I give it a go and it's not good. But when I see the kids, they have the sweetest smiles on their faces. It's like I'm tucking them in or something. We get to a stopping point and I'm asked by numerous kids to sing it again. And I did. Oh my stars.

So, this is reason #584,212 that I love kids.