Friday, August 26, 2011

The Middle Lane

School is in full swing! Every morning I arise before the rest of the house so that I can have my own quiet time before waking up the troops. It is sacred time. By six thirty in the morning, the whole house is awake. Boys are rolling out of their beds and walking zombie like to the bathroom, hubby is dressed and standing at the coffee pot and dogs are running about waiting for their breakfast to be poured.

From this moment on, the days are lived out with structure. They seem to be lived out by the hour and minute hands on the clock. Yesterday after school I took Colby and Caleb out for frozen yogurt. Luke came home from school with a bad cold, so he opted to stay home with his box of kleenex by his side this time. As we were walking to the frozen yogurt shop, Colby asked if he could run into the pawn shop and check to see if they had any more XBox controllers. They bought their system there over the summer, but it only came with two controllers. My first response was, "Hon', no we can't today. We have to get our yogurt, go to Papa's for some football lessons, and be back home at such and such time so that your dad can take you to such and such place at such and such time." He accepted the answer and we kept walking. He didn't complain. He didn't ask questions. He just accepted it.

That's when I knew something was wrong.

We live our lives by the clock too much! We have ALL accepted it. We don't fight it. We don't argue with it. We just do it. How completely sad. Truth is, there's no better way to make time fly faster, and here I'm always griping about how time just never slows down.

I grabbed my almost 12 year old son by the shoulders and pointed him towards the store. I told him "YES... Go in, but walk in... Don't run. Take your time and make sure you don't miss anything." He smiled and he and Caleb walked into that pawn shop. They came out empty handed, but they were satisfied with the fact that they had searched.

We left the yogurt shop and headed up the street to my dad's house. He wasn't there yet, so we went to the backyard to sit in the shade on this very hot day. After about half an hour, my dad called and apologized for being late. He's NEVER late, so I knew he was probably stressed about that. I assured him that we were fine and that I was receiving the gift of sitting for the first time all day.

I had moved out of the fast lane and into the slow lane in a matter of minutes. It felt heavenly! I realized that what I was receiving was a reminder from the Lord about how He wants us to live our lives. I know all of this stuff, but somehow I got trapped in this fast lane that I have spent most of my adult life trying to avoid.

My lungs actually felt lighter this morning. I didn't have the hurried spirit in me that I have had starting at 6:30am every day. This morning as I came into contact with people, I didn't rush right past them to get to my next destination. I smiled politely and said "Good morning" to EVERYONE. It felt good. It felt right.

Life isn't about a race. It's so easy to get caught up in that way of thinking (and doing). For me, I have to deliberately focus on staying in the middle lane. If I'm in the middle lane, I'm close to either place. I can get to the fast lane if the need arises, or I can drift over into the slow lane for awhile and let others pass me by. There is a time for both. There is purpose in both.

Thank you, Lord for pointing my shoulders in the right direction. Thank you for your gentle reminders that come from my children and in a chair perfectly place in a shady backyard.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Spreading His Wings

Last night the tears fell hard, but I think that was a good thing. This morning I feel better... Clearer.

Today was the official "first day". Luke started his freshman year of high school. Like it's been pointed out to me, we didn't have a "first day of kindergarten", so today was much like that for me.... A few years late. Yesterday I was flooded with flashbacks of sitting around the dining room table with the lazy susan full of crayons, pencils, glue sticks and lined paper. I thought of the cozy mornings at home reading by the wood stove together. The memories of lunches out on the back deck or patio were fresh and seemed very new, but I knew they weren't. They are memories of a season that has passed.

Changing seasons isn't an easy thing for me. Since last winter though, the changes have been coming frequently and steadily. God has been gracious to hand them to me one at a time. I am not so blind to see that. He could have chosen to change everything all at once. He knows my limits, so He has been giving me what I can handle, one thing at a time. New home, new faces, new schools for my boys. Everything is from HIm... This I know. In that I find multitudes of comfort!

So today Luke is spreading his wings. He has his armor on and he's putting all those lessons learned at the dining room table to good use. I am still feeling just a bit teary eyed, but I know this is normal, and I will be fine. I am proud of my son. I already feel that in this new place he will grow, he will be challenged, and he will be respected and loved by many.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Turning Ten

Tomorrow morning I will wake up and my baby will be turning ten years old.

Double digits.

No more single digit children.

That's a hard idea to even try to fall asleep with tonight.

In some ways, I almost feel like Caleb should have two birthdays. The obvious one being August 15th (the day he was born into this world) and the other one being January 15th... The day he won the fight.

On January 7th, 2001 I went to my regularly scheduled OB appointment. On this day, I was supposed to hear his heartbeat for the first time. The doctor squeezed that cold jelly on my tummy and started pushing slightly, then with more force. She tried this way and that. She changed machines half way through. Then, she told me to get dressed and she would come back in. Of course I immediately knew something was wrong. When she entered the room again she sat and very sympathetically told me that it looked as if I had what is called a blighted ovum. She was unable to find a heart beat, and the embryotic sac hadn't grown at all since my previous appointment. This appointment was on a Friday and she gave me the option of having a D&C on the spot there, or waiting through the weekend to see if my body would take care of it on it's own. I asked if there were any more tests we could do. She told me to wait until the following week and if there was still no miscarriage, then she would do some blood tests to check hormone levels.

By Monday, I was still pregnant. I called and we scheduled the blood work. We had to do two separate draws with a day in between to compare the levels. It seemed like there were two WEEKS in between those draws! I still remember it like it was yesterday! Finally, on MY birthday, January 15th 2001 I received the best birthday present a woman could ever ask for. I received news that my hormone levels were still going up! I went into the docs office and she was able to find the heart beat! I was almost 10 weeks pregnant. There should have been a heart beat long before this appointment, but Caleb Ross became the miracle that many prayed for. He fought the fight and he became the warrior that he still is today. From that day on, I knew he would be different. I just didn't know in how many ways.

Caleb was by far the hardest kicker of the three. He actually bruised my tummy from the inside out! I never worried about tracking his movements because they never stopped. He kept me wondering about the little person he was becoming morning, noon and night. I prayed over that big tummy of mine waiting anxiously to meet my next little miracle. When he finally arrived, it was love at first sight. My mommy heart expanded all over again for this little tiny boy who proved miracles do happen.

Tomorrow morning Caleb turns 10. He is still the fighter he has been since that January day. He has a will like no other and I remain confident that God is going to use that will for such HUGE purpose! Caleb's smile can make a whole room of frowns turn upside down. His laughter is absolutely contagious. I simply cannot imagine our lives without him, and I STILL cringe when I think of that option I was given in that Dr.'s office on January 7th, 2001. I thank God that I was raised to have a faith that stood bigger than any human person or idea.

Happy birthday, Caleb. You might be turning ten... Double digits and all, but you will always be our "baby".

I continue to pray that the warrior side of you will be strengthened and used for the glory of God who made you, who formed you beautifully, who gave you life on the exact day... At the exact moment that He saw as perfect.

I love you. ~

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Summer Pics pt. 2

Summer's End

As I type those words up there, it just doesn't seem possible! How could we already be at the end of another summer? Didn't we just start it? Further... How could my first born be starting his first year of high school in one week?? Seriously?? People have asked him if he's nervous, and he calmly says, "No". Well, that's because his Mama is carrying all of HIS nerves in addition to my OWN!

It's been a good summer. At the beginning of the summer we made a big list of lots of things we wanted to do during these two and a half short months. We listed things such as going to Farmer's Market, fishing, being in two places at once... Even eating liver and onions for the first time (that was Caleb's idea)! We have put a check mark on almost everything. It's been a successful summer of doing a bit of everything.

This week we're school shopping, dusting off the old books, going to our last $5 movie day at the theatre and packing up for our last HURRAH camping trip with our church. This week I am enjoying my last quiet and unscheduled mornings in bed with my cup of coffee and reading materials. I will still make time for my quiet time once school starts, but it will have to be before the sun comes up!

I have chosen a few pictures that sum up our summer. If I were really good, I would figure out those flickr or piccasa collage things that people do all the time. I'm not that good... At least not for now.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Clement Richard

For the past three weeks, we have had an incredible young man from France living with us. We took him in from a summer exchange student program. When we said "yes" to the coordinator that actually came to us, we never expected to be so richly blessed by the experience. I wrote in detail about our three weeks with Clement and all the lessons learned over here...

If anyone ever comes to your door and asks if you are interested in hosting an exchange student, I wholeheartedly suggest that you say YES! The doors of your heart will be opened in ways you never thought possible.

We are so grateful for Clement. We are grateful that his parents want to share him with the world. They have so many reasons to be proud of their son!

We miss you already, our "french son". We will see you on Skype!