Some Doin's

So. It is the first day of summer, if you live by the school calendar, as our family does. Yes, I know that some other calendars say that summer won't start for several weeks, but the people that publish those calendars don't live in Texas. It is summer -- school is out, it's 100*. Summer defined, end of discussion.

I have been away for a very long time, I know. And if you're reading this, you probably stumbled upon my blog by accident, because my regular readers have long given up, choosing to watch their grass grow instead of waiting for this blog to be updated. I hope to get back here a little more frequently, but now that everyone is out of school the battle for computer time begins at my house.

Much has happened in our lives that kept me from here, partly because there were moments that the questions surrounding our lives were all-consuming in our minds, but unable to be topics of discussion, much less a blog post on the www. So, let me see if I can hit some of the highlights of our recent past:
  • I quit my teaching job -- yesterday was last day. And the question usually follows, "So what are you going to do now?" Well, ... I'm waiting for the Lord to tell me that. As my politically incorrect 10-year-old tells people, I'm going back to being a 'housemom'. And that will be part of my task. The greatest struggle for me now is NOT to cram a bunch of stuff into that time, and let the Lord lead me where He wants me for that time. I don't do that well, but I'm learning.
  • Shortly after we agreed on that decision, Troy finalized on a different job at ACU. His new official title is "Director of Career and Alumni Development for the College of Business Administration." Fancy-schmancy title, no? He started May 1 and is still 'learning the ropes', but it seems to be a good fit. We feel amazingly blessed that Troy has gotten a new job that requires less travel, seems to be a better fit for his personality, is (still) surrounded by wonderful co-workers -- and our family didn't have to move and start over! We are very thankful
  • We got a hedgehog. SO much to tell about that -- she's just the cutest -- that I will probably save most of it for its own blog post, maybe even in installments. We got her around the time Troy started his new job. Her name is Stickers. She has just a little bit of an attitude, so we call her 'Sassy Huffle-ufagus', too. (which brings up the realization that NONE of my family knew who Snuffleufagus from Sesame Street is -- I have completely failed as a mother...) She (the hedgehog, not Snuffleufagus) is featured in a video here.

That pretty much sums up the BIG stuff, and really that is plenty, but it's been your usual end-of-school-year excitement from the teacher AND parent perspective, Riley finished up his soccer season, we had awards receptions and ceremonies, field days and enrichment days, final exams, and end of school year celebrations. Lots going on, and that's just us.

Last week, as many of you heard news of the horrible tragedy in Steven Curtis Chapman's family, my family's new friends, the Dobbs, were agonizing over their own tragedy. Lots of questions, precious few answers, but I keep coming back to, 1 Thessalonians 4:13 that we who call on the name of Christ grieve -- and grieve DEEPLY -- but not without hope of seeing our loved ones again. What a blessing in Christ. And some friends are rejoicing in the amazing healing power of our Lord. Just much to think about in this rushed season of life.

I plan to be back in less than 3 weeks (woo-hoo!) and fill you in on all sorts of trivialities in my life. Until then, be blessed.


Glimpses of Grace

More, this time from my OWN department of obvious information: Parenting is hard. If you've been a parent for 30 seconds, you have that figured out! Whether a parent by birth or adoption, just getting the child into your arms is a LOT of work.

Lately I have thought about the stages of parenting. The diaper and pre-school years are boot camp. You are pushed to your physical limits of frustration and exhaustion, wondering why in the world you signed on for this gig, with giggle fits and jelly hugs to remind you. In later single-digit years, you're on a little bit of a roll. Maybe as if you have received your assignment after boot camp. You have some drills to ready you for combat, but for the most part you've got a little bit of a respite from the physical demands and mental exhaustion of boot camp. Later, I have come to realize, you get sent for combat duty.

My children are currently 10 and 12. We are on combat duty. Not combat with the children, of course (though somedays we forget who the enemy is). Combat against the lure and attraction this world offers, fighting against what "everyone" is "doing" or "thinks is cool" or "gets to see" or thinks is okay. I feel like I have come into a time of parenting when I must stay on high alert at all times, listening to each piece of conversation for teachable moments, reminding moments of Whose we are and Who we believe, as well as what's really important. Most times I feel waved away like an irritating fly, or just as understood as Charlie Brown's teacher. And I confess to a mother's constant struggle: worry. I try to pray instead of worry, but I worry a LOT about how this war will end up.

Recently, however, the Lord has allowed me tiny glimpses to be reminded that His grace extends to parenting. I have been reminded that He can take my pathetic little widow's mite of parenting skills and turn my little blessings into wholly His. And, of course, the temptation when I'm not worrying, is to tithe some of His glory and be prideful that any of this is because of things I have done. But the reality is that anything the Lord does with my children is in spite of me, not because of me. So, for now, I am ever-so-thankful for the glimpses of His grace I see in my growing children. I had to put it here to remember -- and remind me -- that this parenting business, this combat duty, doesn't rest in my hands. When I try to make it into a work of my hands, it will fail. When I place it firmly in HIS hands, He will make it (and my children) into a thing of beauty far more than I can.

If the LORD delights in a man's way, he makes his steps firm;
though he stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand. Psakm 37:23,24


Fun, Not Necessarily Accurate

This is very funny considering I really can't STAND to wear flip flops. I have just a little touch of autism, you see -- okay, sensory perception disorder, maybe -- and don't like things between my toes. Or loud noise. Or any clothing whatsoever touching me post-7 p.m. (yeah, I saw you look at the time stamp and wonder... FLANNEL PJ's, that's what!!!) Or earrings that are a little heavy. Or contacts that are a little too sticky. (Most of my quirks/ bothers are worse the tireder I am. Now that it's May and I'm teaching, I'm pretty much done with noise, clothes, and jewelry by about 5 p.m. Two more weeks and I'll be doing good to make it through the school day). Okay, maybe this isn't fun anymore. Sorry to alert you to how disturbed I am. I'll stop for now...

What Your Flip Flops Say About You

You are a very sweet and sensitive person.

You connect with other people easily.

You're the type of person who feels bad about killing bugs.

You hate to see anyone - or anything - in pain.

Your ideal warm weather place: Thailand

Edited to add: I also evidently have horrible vision problems the tireder I am, and cannot for the life of me decipher what these whacky word verification letters are! I'm on my fourth try now and it doesn't even look like the English alphabet to me... (fifth...)
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