Saturday, June 16, 2012

Everyone Needs a Cheerleader

Growing up I did not have the best relationship with my dad. At age 12, I was convinced that he wanted to "ruin" my life because he wouldn't let me walk the streets with my friends at 10:00 at night. He was sick a lot (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome). I didn't understand. I had very high expectations, and he failed to meet them. He really didn't stand a chance against my idealism. My dad has not been the perfect father; he has messed up, he "ruined" my life when I was 12, and sometimes I didn't honor him as a child. Then I grew up. I cannot remember when it was that I realized that my dad wasn't perfect and no longer expected him to be. I think it started somewhere around age 15. I was less concerned with myself and my own agenda, and I began to see my dad. I began to understand his love language; I began to notice all the little things he did for me; I saw the years of protection and love that he had covered me with.  I learned a little more every year, and now, nothing but gratitude and honor swell in my heart whenever I think about my father.
My dad is a dreamer, so I suppose it is natural for him to recognize that in me. We spend hours on the phone, and he listens while I hash through some of my dreams and fears with him. He listens so well that sometimes I have to ask, "dad are you still there?" And the reply is always the same, "yes, I am just listening to you." Our conversations are not always all me talking. Dad doesn't talk often, but I can get him going for hours if I ask the right questions. Then I listen while he shares his dreams of sailing, traveling, and serving others.

The reality is that my dad has not supported me in every dream I have ever had (like the $500 ice sculpture I felt like I needed at my wedding...yes I can be extravagant and forget practicality very easily). I remember his very words, "I am not spending $500 on melting ice!"Oh I see the wisdom of it now.

And college...I wanted to attend a college that was far out of our budget. My dad discouraged me and showed me very practically how much debt I would gain each year. Then he helped me find a college that we could afford, and again....I see the wisdom of it now (I just paid off my college loan 5 years early YAY).

 Recently my dad was diagnosed with adult onset diabetes. It is in his family. He has a strong will and can control it with diet and exercise, but he also needs to take insulin pills. When he called me to tell me, time stood still for a moment. I knew it was possible, but I didn't expect it. I didn't want to think about him being sick. My dad has always been one of my biggest cheerleaders (although I am not so sure you would want to see him in a mini skirt with pom poms). He is a tremendous encouragement in so many different ways. It doesn't take much to show someone you care, or that you are listening to who they really are. Sometimes it is just a quick one line reply to a blog post, or a 2 hour phone conversation, or a letter in the mail. Sometimes it is a word of encouragement. I have seen my dad offer all of this to so many people throughout his life. He has a tremendous gift and shares it with the world. I cannot imagine a world without my father, and I thank God for the blessing of who he is to me.

Now that I am a mom, I mess up, and I have nothing but grace for my father (and my mother).  They sacrificed, they gave up and gave to. Take this Father's Day to tell your dad thank you. Life is very short, and moments fly by too swiftly. Become deliberate in telling your loved ones how dear they are to you. Dad, thank you. I appreciate you so much, and I store up much of what I learn from you. You are my dad, you have become one of my dearest friends, you are a delight, and I love you. Happy Father's Day!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Confidence: A Turtle Story

Driving home last night, I passed a large, what looked like a large rock, on the side of the highway. This "rock" appeared to have a tail and at least one leg. I whipped the car over to the shoulder, and cried out, "Kids! I think that was a real LIVE snapping turtle, and I think she wants to cross the road!" (I would not have known this had we not taken a class just a month prior at the Maine Wildlife Park. We learned all about how the mama turtles will cross the road in order to lay their eggs).

 Photo Credit (because I was too busy saving a turtle to take pictures).

 Imagine the excitement that filled the car as I turned around and pulled up right behind her. She was so still; we weren't sure if she was going to cross of if she had already crossed so we waited. Then she made her move, and I freaked. Oh no! This is a 50 mile an hour road. "Kids we need to save this Snappy Turtle." So I did what any sane mother would do, and I pulled my car onto the highway, set my flashers, told the kids to stay buckled, and I got out. As soon as I got out of my car, she started moving more quickly (afraid of me or maybe she knew I was helping) right into the oncoming traffic lane. Here again, I reacted in the most calm, civil manner. I started jumping up and down like a monkey, waving my arms, and shouting, "Stop! There's a turtle in the road; she needs to lay her eggs!" The car was not slowing down, so I inched my way toward the center line, all the while jumping, shouting, waving my arms, and yelling as loud as I could (as if the driver could actually hear me). The motorist finally stopped, and the little turtle continued on her way.

I turn around, and there is a long line of cars behind mine so I did what any awesome mother would do, and I give the entire line a big cheesy grin and double thumbs up, run back to my car, hop in, and drive away. My kids were so proud, "MOM! YOU WERE AWESOME!" We saved her, and that meant the world to them. Kaylynn, being my sentimental one, says, "Mom, we need to name her: Trust, Confidence, or Faith." Kalli pipes in, "I like Confidence."

We named her Confidence.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

It's Nice to be Known

Mother's Day...why am I always blogging a month after the fact?

 Every year on Mother's day I am blessed by my children's intentional love. I am always given breakfast in bed (made by them so it's usually toast, cold cereal, and a banana), and they treat me like a queen for the day. Alan does too, of course. This year I felt something more, something bigger. It did not come in the form of store bought gifts or flowers or even homemade cards (although there were plenty of those). It was this:

I just found this a couple days ago.On Mother's day I was given royal treatment (really they acted as though I was an invalid). I was not allowed to do cleaning, no cooking. The kids and Alan took care of everything. This is Kaylynn's handwriting. One week before Mother's Day she wrote out this schedule so as to guarantee that I did not have to do any chores for the day.

They speak my language; the language of sacrificial love. The language of intentional gift giving. Not that I mind doing chores, in fact, I love serving my family in this way. My children took something they know is important to me and gave it back.
I especially like the "get up at five o'clock with dad."

I love getting to know my children, and I love being known by my children. 

What are some ways your children know you?

Friday, June 8, 2012

Old Homeschool Days

Kites flying, worms wiggling, pie in the face, birds of prey, compasses, learning entrepreneurship, Dino-encounters, bees, and more. Yes, this was our last couple of days. We spent some time in Bridgton, Maine (a beautiful little town) with hundreds of other homeschoolers enjoying Old Homeschool Days! We played with old friends and made new friends. We had picnic lunches and breaks in between classes to play tag or swing. Community. I love it!

Kite making and flying (this was a big hit)

Homeschooling is not always a bed of roses (even though it might appear that way on this blog). The first morning of Old Homeschool Days started with breakfast and chores as usual. Then my announcement, "today we are going to Old Homeschool Days! We are going to make kites, have a picnic with friends, do some ciphering and coding, and have a great time! You will all LOVE it!" Instantly, Jeremie replies, "I don't want to go.....what are we going to do....just sit around and make kites and...." Then Kalli falls right in line behind him while Kaylynn is jumping up and down yelling, "YES! YES! This is going to be so much fun!" Can you tell which one is my outgoing one? While Cami parrots everyone, I make the executive decision, "we are going."

 Pie Eating Contest

At the end of the day, all the children are asking, "Do we have to leave? Can we stay just a little longer? Can we come back tomorrow?" My two middle ones are reluctant and cautious when trying anything new while Kaylynn will do any and all new activities. Sometimes we give them a little push, and sometimes we let them make the decision. It is good for them to be stretched. In the end, they all enjoy themselves, and I enjoy watching them grow, learn, make new friends, try new experiences, and grow in the confidence of who they are.

Building a Vermicondo

There are still two days left of Old Homeschool Days in Bridgton, Maine. If you are close (or even far away) and want to check it out, you can visit the website Old Homeschool Days for more details on classes offered!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Celebrating My Son

My son

Now 7

Party full of friends

Full speed ahead





Strong willed



Wrestle Mania

Life full of Passion

Today he is a ninja, yesterday he was a gentleman at a tea party, the day before he was an explorer. I embrace this stage of his life as I watch him imagine, grow, serve, and run with such freedom and excitement. What a blessing he is to our family. Happy Birthday, and I pray that this year is full of new explorations, exciting discoveries, and lots of love!