Quick Thoughts

Another quick blog post because, why not? I’m sitting at my favorite neighborhood Mexican restaurant and getting work done. I have to leave the house to work because if I stay at home I will basically find anything to do other than sit and write. You’d think being a writer that I actually like writing. But I find ways to put anything ahead of it if I allow myself. I don’t really understand it. It’s like I want all the stars to align and everything in perfect order before I get down to it.

It’s weird.

So if I were home I would be dealing with the dishwasher and switching over laundry and then a quick spot cleaning of the windows and mirrors in the entire house. Then I would maybe sweep the steps real quick, wipe down a few handprints off every single wall in the house and by then it’s time to scrub a bathroom and switch over the laundry again.

When you put it like that, writing is way more fun but for some strange reason I get my priorities all messed up.

On the school front: we are coming up on two more weeks until Christmas break. It’s not too bad yet. It’s nice that kids don’t realize that two weeks is no time at all. I think when you are a teenager two and three weeks still seems like an eternity (it’s epic for small people). So it’s nice to think things won’t get super crazy until a few days before. But if memory serves me correctly (last year being my first full-time experience) it’s a little bit NUTS.

My brother Josh came and spoke to our high school students today. He did a great job. He’s an alumnus of this school as well (all eight of us went here) and something he shared really inspired me. What one thing can I do today to challenge myself? What can I do that has me pushing a little harder in one area than the day before?

I don’t usually think that way. It’s possible I actually already even do this, but I know I’ve never really thought in those terms. So now I’m thinking: what can I do today to try a little harder? Maybe really make an effort to have personal prayer (I come and go so quickly on that front!). Or perhaps pushing through in work and writing efforts, when I’d rather take a quick break (again!).

On that note: back to work! xo

Blogging Life

I just feel like writing. I’m sad I’m out of the habit. I’m working on a fairly big writing project right now and in addition to teaching and running a household and being a wife and mama, sharing my funny little thoughts has fallen off my radar.

Plus, do people even do blogs anymore?

Also, that’s not proper English. That’s okay.

But the beautiful thing about my blog is I get to say what I want and how I want and not worry about what people are thinking. And when I don’t write, it messes with my melon. I say the same thing every time I climb up onto my little writing stool and try to get the words out. But it’s okay. That’s okay, too.

It’s a form of plumbing.

Which reminds me, I need to call the plumber. Our main bathroom toilet isn’t working.

Here’s an awesome funny story I want to share:

Henry stayed home from school yesterday because he had a fever the day before. He was feeling much better, still has a hacking little cough, but we were able to spend a few hours running errands and getting him some clothes. He doesn’t fit any hand-me-downs from the brothers, mostly because he is my first child who wears the Husky version of the clothes on the market.

So we went to Wal-mart where Henry spied a pair of compression shorts that looked like those his older brothers wear. I sprung for them as a treat (and they ended up only costing $1.50 so SCORE!).

Last night Henry donned the new shorts and wore them to family prayers, which was immodest probably but there you go. So he’s walking into the front room and suddenly he notices that his new compression shorts have a pocket! One GIANT pocket directly in the front. That’s weird, he observed, but proceeded to put his hand in the pocket to make use of such a cool option.

“That’s not a pocket,” Elliott finally told Henry. “It’s for a cup.”

“Sweet!,” said Henry. “I’ll stick a cup in there and have a really giant straw and I can walk around with a drink in my pocket.”

Life is good.

Working with Our Wounds

Henry stepped on a brick the other day, doing that reckless thing all children do that all mothers say not to. He was out playing with friends, barefoot, and in the middle of a game his foot found a broken brick in a neighbor’s front yard.

Henry’s foot was dripping with blood, bad enough that my friend Susie had to drive him home from only a few houses away. It was a little scary and the cut looked terrible.

I cleaned out the wound and sure enough the bleeding stopped. Henry was fine soon after, but his foot was understandably sore.

But a few days later, the wound still looked dark and it was irritated. Henry had a hard time walking on that area, but every time I inspected the cut it seemed to be in the process of healing. I irrigated the area and cleaned it out as much as possible without digging and making things worse.

Henry spent that week hobbling around. He had swim practice, he played in a soccer game. Life went on and he seemed to be fine, but it still hurt when he put pressure on that part of his foot.

Finally one night he came out of my bathroom armed with tweezers. “I think I hear a scratching sound,” he said. Which seemed weird. Why would your foot make a scratching sound? But he couldn’t describe it any better than that.

A few minutes later, my son came to me holding two small pieces of brick. Can you believe it? He had been walking around all week with two bits of brick still in his foot! I was embarrassed and ashamed and excited and freaked out.

Of course Henry was cured — the shards of brick had been the culprit all along. He could suddenly walk without pain because the thing that caused so much hurt had been removed. Just like that, he was fine.

What an embarrassing story to tell — how could I not have known? But I didn’t, and instead of coming up with all the excuses of how this could have happened, I was mostly just happy that my son felt better. The dark “dried blood” in the cut wasn’t blood at all, it was a piece of brick that was now gone.

Henry was the walking wounded and now he was healed.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the wounds we carry. Being a human is tough work. We get hurt, we are wounded by unkind words and deeds. We carry these injuries with us and they become a part of who we are. We react out of hurt, sometimes we do things that make sense only in light of a wound known only to us.

And we deal with people who are this same way. How can any of us know the depth of another’s struggle? Can we ever truly understand what affects those people around us?

“Be kind,” goes the saying, “for everyone is fighting a great battle.”

But on top of all of this, of the reality of hurts and wounds and the sadness of life, is the truth that our God saves us and he heals us. For each one of us walking around with a shard that stays where we have been hurt, God is there to remove that for us.

God can offer us true freedom, to bring us back from the injuries that we all suffer. We spend time in prayer, we find solace in God’s love by quietly soaking up the healing graces he has to offer.

God wants us healed and whole — not because he can love us better, but because he wants that freedom for each one of us. He doesn’t want us to suffer through life.

And out of that suffering, from the healing God offers, we can learn to love those around us. In the midst of our healing, we begin to offer in some small way the love of God that the hurting world so desperately needs to feel.

God’s Provision, Henry’s Adventure

Henry is having an interesting school year. His class, which consists of three boys (and no girls) is having a modified academic year and lots of fun. Technically the boys are in 4th grade, but this year we’re calling it 3.5.

Each morning, the class does a few hours of work, and in the afternoon the boys head out with their teacher for real life adventure. Some days the boys go to a local golf course to hit balls or play a few holes. They also have a class garden and spend time tilling, planting and pulling weeds. The boys have been instructed in pellet gun safety, and have also been learning to play chess and to type.

It’s a dream come true for this mama — watching my son have such an extraordinary year. It will be a school year he’ll never forget.

The reasoning behind this unique year is two-fold: one, the boys are all very young and while they are doing well academically, their behavior has been affected by being in such a small class with other equally young boys. Secondly, their classroom experience, especially as they get older, will be positively impacted by having more classmates.

It’s a very strange and unprecedented move, at least at our school. But as a mom of five boys, I’ve always dreamed of a learning experience that involved lots of “in the field” learning.

And here we are.

The best part for me is that it’s the answer to a prayer I didn’t even know I had.

Earlier this summer, I found myself really wishing Henry could repeat a grade. I didn’t even know what grade, and I knew it wasn’t realistic. He’s a good student, there’s no need to hold him back. And with only two other classmates, pulling him out of the class was out of the question.

But I also knew, more than either of those things, that this boy of mine could sure use a little more time — time for growing up, time for “classroom maturity”. Now that I have three high school boys, I also see how fast time goes. I would rather have Henry a year older than a year younger, especially once he got to be a teenager.

I had all these thoughts and felt stuck. I had something on my heart with no real way to deal with it.

And out of the blue, we got a call from the school superintendent inviting us to a meeting. There we sat, Paul and me and the other boys’ parents, and heard of this proposal — for us to accept or decline — that would allow our boys to be a part of a bigger 4th grade class next year while having this adventure in the meantime.

In the midst of the discussion I discovered that each of the other mom’s felt the same way about their young son — they wanted that extra year for him, but couldn’t figure out how to get it.

God is rich in mercy, because of the great love he has for us. (Eph 2:4)

The great and wonderful thing about God is sometimes he can come up with a solution for us, even when we can’t figure things out on our own.

I laugh at myself so many times when I realize how I fret and muse, trying to solve the problems in our life. Especially as a mom, there are so many times when I have to prayerfully consider ways to better help my children (or help them help themselves), ways to make our home life more peaceful.

Many times God gives me the wisdom I need, using the intellect he gave me. He does that for each of us — God gave us a brain, and we have to use it.

But then there are those times when a solution seems impossible, when no matter how hard we think about something, there isn’t an answer in sight.

These are the times when I have to remember that I can give a situation to God and ask him to figure it out. This isn’t a copout — it’s a viable option! We have to work like it depends on us, and pray and trust knowing it really depends on God.

I’m so grateful for the times that God reveals his great love for me by stepping in and offering a solution far better than I could have ever dreamed.

Our God is indeed rich in mercy, and oh how great is his love for us!