Monday, August 24, 2009

Middle School Already?

This morning at 4:30 am my son Zach woke me by whispering quietly, "Mom are you awake?" Well, no, not awake but somehow I ended up awake, and in my waking managed to scare myself half to death and spastically throw my arms out slapping him upside the head at the same time. It was one of those waking up moments that startles you and startles them and then everyone is startled and upset. Not pretty, especially not at 4:30am.

But that's not what I really wanted to talk about this morning...even though it was sort of a rude awakening things turned around quickly. I tylenoled him, crawled into his bed with him, hugged him and whispered in his ear how much God loved him, how he was going to do so great at school, how he had nothing to be afraid of since God had already gone before him charting his path, and would definitely come behind him making sure he was hemmed in on all sides. We stayed snuggled up like that for awhile, with me quietly praying over him as I listened to the sound of his breath even out signaling to me that he was peacefully back to sleep.

Eventually I left him and found my way back to my own bed again, my thoughts wandering over the memories of past school years and the excitement over the first day. And then I thought of Psalm 139 and how the same words I spoke and prayed over Zach also applied to me. I was reminded that not only does Jesus know every single thing about me, he also has charted a course for me, and promises to cover me all the time. There is no place on this earth that will ever separate me from God. Just like I believe that with all my heart for my children, I choose to believe the same thing applies to me and every other believer. We are always in the presence of the Lord, all the time.

Psalm 139 says, "You hem me in behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me, such knowledge is to wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain." So as much as I can't completely comprehend the truth in this statement, I choose to believe and trust that it is truth, and will hold onto it as such. I will wait for Zach and Kayla to come home from their first day of middle school knowing their path has been set before them, trusting that every aspect of their time has been charted by a loving and mighty God.

A brand new school, a brand new schedule, probably new friends, definitely new teachers and a whole new adventure awaits them...I'm okay with that because I know they are covered all the time, every single day by a God who loves them way more than I can ever begin to imagine.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Southern Manners

While driving across the state of Washington last month I reclined in the front seat of the borrowed truck Grant was driving and immersed myself in my Southern Living Magazine. Zach and Kayla were seemingly entranced by their Nintendo DS games and Grant was listening to something on the radio. The road stretched long before us, it would be six hours before we arrived in Sandpoint.

I thumbed through the magazine making mental notes of recipes I would come back to examine later and found myself at the very back of the magazine. Normally I am religious about the way I read a magazine. I always give the entire thing a cursory glance, folding pages of articles or photos that I would want to examine in greater detail later. With my strategy set, then if I need to I can set the magazine aside and come back to it later, not having to start at the very beginning again. I suppose this whole thing got started when I had kids and I had to pick things up and put them down again.
But since I had six hours to wander through the photos, recipes and articles I abandoned my rules of reading and read the back of the magazine first. Oh the horror...I know.
I jumped into a fun article called "15 Ways to Charm Her" that detailed all the ways men can impress a Southern Girl. Since I'm a Southern transplant I wasn't sure if I would relate but decided to read on and see if any of the suggestions were in fact, true for this true Northerner.

Here are a few of the suggestions that I read out loud to Grant, and little did I know Zachary was listening to every word. Check out his response at the end.

1. Stand up for a Lady...doesn't always involve a chair
2. Know that the SEC has the best football teams in the nation...this doesn't necessarily apply to me.
3. Kill Bugs...yes for sure do this for me.
4. Hold Doors Open...I love this one!
5. Fix things and build stuff...Yes, I am always fascinated by the things that Grant can build.
6. Wear boots occasionally...Um, hmm.
7. Take off your hat inside.
8. Grill stuff...and this means besides hamburgers.
9. Call us...Yes, please, even if you just saw us that morning.
10. Stand when we come back to the dinner table...doesn't mean when we are at home but it sure is nice when we are out on a date.
11. Pull out our chair.
12. Don't show up in a wrinkled, or untucked shirt.

So, one of the things I've come to love about living in Texas is how polite everyone is. How the kids all say "Yes, Ma'am and No, Ma'am" and how even some of my adult friends when speaking to an elder use the same kind of language. I love it. It might be old school but it's refreshing to hear especially when it seems like the world we live in could use a taste of good manners.

When I finished reading the list to Grant and we agreed that he does most of these things for me most of the time. And I felt satisfied that, yes indeed, even though I'm a Northern girl by birth, that maybe the South is a place that I can live and love, I heard a little voice pipe up from the back seat.
"Mom," Zach said, "Do you think I could read that article?"

I had no idea he was listening, and second of all, I had no idea he was interested. Grant raised his eyebrows at me and I stifled a laugh. "Well of course, you can...but let me ask you a question. Why do you want to read it?"
Zach reached for the magazine and smiled sheepishly, then shrugged his shoulders. His response was more to the magazine page then to me but I heard it anyway, "Well, I figure that if I'm going to live in the south, maybe I should make sure I know about southern manners, especially if that's what makes girls happy."

So, there it is. My son wants to have good manners because it "makes girls happy". Not sure how I feel about that. Of course I want him to have good manners but am not quite sure I'm ready for his reasons behind it...Girls, really??

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Getting Settled Again

I've been cleaning my house for the last two days. I keep telling myself that the house just needs a good cleaning, it's been six weeks afterall. There's an inch of dust that needs to be dusted, and floors that need vacuuming and mopping, blinds that need to be cleaned, toilets that need swishing...the list could go on and on. But today I decided it's more than that, since I seem to have this pattern of behavior every year after we've been gone. All this cleaning and organizing and throwing out is me really finding myself again after being on a traveling journey for the last six weeks. This is me exploring and reminding and settling myself into my own space. This is me working through my sadness about having to leave my family again after such a blessed time. This is me getting to the heart of my grief over not seeing them again for an entire year.

And so my house will be clean and I'll be tired and eventually the tears I'm holding in will spill over my cheeks and I'll have a nice long cry. And then, for whatever reason, I'll feel like my old self again and life will go on and I'll feel settled in my own space again knowing that the time we had was a gift that I will continue to enjoy throughout the coming year through my memories, my photographs and the anecdotes me and my family will share in the weeks to come. And on those days that I'm missing my family and wishing that we were all together, I'll daydream about the next summer and the fun times I know we will have.

Lord, thank you for the special time we had with all of our family members this summer. I am so grateful for the gift of time that you bestowed upon us and yes I'm even thankful for those challenging moments that you allowed so that we could all grow and learn more about eachother. Lord in the weeks that lie before us, I ask you to be with each one of my family members. Please reveal yourself to them in a new and different way and help each of them to know that you love them with all of your heart.
In Jesus name,

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Time to go Home

It's been six weeks almost to the day since we've been in the great state of Texas. We hopped on a plane on June 29th and have been in Washington and Idaho enjoying a fantastic summer vacation. The time has flown and we are always amazed at how quickly the days rush's over and it feels like it only just started.

Zach has already had tears tonight, and I'm sure there will be more to come tomorrow at the airport. Kayla and I are always the ones that crack when we say goodbye at the security gate and my Mom has to walk away... I hate that! I'm okay with the tears, it's the walking away part that is the hardest because all I want to do is hold on to her. Hmmm, I'm getting choked up now as I type so I think I'll move on now, I would like to put off the emotional breakdown until tomorrow.
It's been a great trip and in the weeks to come I plan to share some of the highlights with you. Until then, stay tuned, and please pray for a smooth trip home, smooth transition into our daily lives again and a that even though we will be far from our family members again, that somehow it will feel as if we have brought them home with us.