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!

Post-election Feelings

I didn’t vote for Donald Trump. I feel like I want to declare this to the world. Not that it matters of course. He’s in and that’s that. And I’m going to be honest when I say I’m agitated and annoyed by all the demonstrations, the flag burning and protests. He’s in because half of the people who were willing to come out and vote, well they voted for him.

I won’t protest him, but I didn’t vote for him either.

Where I’m at right now is choosing hope. I’m choosing to believe, until I’m given evidence to the contrary, that perhaps he’ll rise to the challenge. Maybe this man who was elected to lead our country, well maybe he’ll figure out how to do that. Up until now he’s been a caricature of a human being — brash, rude, unkind, downright scary. I didn’t choose this, this doesn’t represent my beliefs or what I want in a political candidate.

And that hurts. Because I have people I really love who are scared and frustrated and hurting at the results of this election. A lot of our country is upset, scared that rights will be taken away, scared about what the future holds. A lot of bad stuff was said about a lot of people.

The worst part of all of this is how I’m lumped in with a group of Trump-supporters who come across as uncaring, unfeeling, rude, brash and unkind. I don’t want to be associated with this group. I don’t want to be a part of joking about a wall being built (it won’t be built). I don’t want to be a part of telling people to go back where they came from.

I want to be a part of a political group that loves people — that is pro-life, ALL LIFE, that cares for the poor, that cares for the businessman, that offers healthcare without it killing doctors in private practice.

Mostly, I want to be identified with people who spend their time doing good instead of putting other people down. I’m tired of the divisiveness. I’m upset that I’m lumped in with this group, but there doesn’t seem to be another place for me to go.

Ten Things

1. The reason I now blog in bullet form is I’m less overwhelmed and if I get interrupted I know exactly where to pick back up.

2. Summertime is all about being interrupted.

3. No, seriously. This epiphany came to me last night when I couldn’t figure out why I felt like my skin was about to peel off my bone structure and then it hit me: I NEVER (in this season of the year) get more than 25-30 seconds of quiet. And that’s why I have formed a zillion bad habits like watching Dr. Pimple Popper videos instead of doing anything constructive because I am almost always on the verge of starting something new like getting a drink of water for someone or heating up another round of lunch.

4. I’m NOT COMPLAINING. And also, it’s possible this was the theme of last week’s blog but I’m not using up any of my precious quiet time to double check. Is this a recurring theme? My bad.

5. The thing that actually inspired me to sit down and write in the first place is that we are leaving on vacation tomorrow and I’ve ingested enough caffeine that I’m actually on my game and getting things done. Don’t even ask what came over me because normally I attack the day before vacation with something more like trepidation and deep loathing. I always think packing is going to be SO FUN and it never is. The bigger question is not why packing isn’t fun but why I ever even entertain thoughts that it would be.

6. So here I sit eating the last shards of a chocolate bar I found in the fridge and drinking up some wine because everyone knows you can’t leave such items unattended when you go away for the week. I’m eating and drinking and waiting for the next load of laundry to switch over.

7. My friend Keri was in town yesterday and she made a joke about how she wished I wasn’t teaching because it killed my blog, me going to work full-time. It was sweet of her to still read and to care, but it got me thinking — what, exactly, killed my blog?

8. The truth is the blog was dying (and hopefully I’ve semi-resucistated it) before I entered the work force. I think the thing that killed it was my boys getting older and no longer having non-stop publishable entertainment. I still have non-stop entertainment, but most of it I can’t write about. If only my boys would blog…

9. Did you see my Instagram video? I’m finishing the last of my $2.97 vino and taking everyone’s advice — next time I’ll treat myself to the good stuff. Only $6.99 and up, from here on out.

10. Peace and LOVE.

Never Alone: An Update

Yesterday I posted a one-minute inspirational (ha!) video that basically featured me hiding in my van and ruminating on how to be alone. How selfish can you get?! Very.

But let’s be honest — all rosy, happy motherhood feelings aside — it’s tough to never be alone. It’s tough to always, almost all of the time, have someone about to walk into the room where you are (when you are not already with these people beside you) and ask a question or need help or want you to remove the claws of someone’s hands that are attached to his neck (if this doesn’t happen from time to time in your household, #blessed are you).

And even if you operated with a clear sense of how this will not always be the case, how babies grow up and leave the nest and it won’t always be the case — well even if you can see how one day they will all be grown and gone it doesn’t change the fact that today they are all here and up in your personal space and it’s tough. Just a tad.

I’m not saying it’s drudgery or not a complete honor to be My Kids’ Mom. Motherhood is a vocation! I love it so much!

maria

But there are also those times (and you can speak freely here, we are in a safe zone) where it’s a challenge. It’s tough. You get tired. You want to do right by these children, to love them and care for them and lead them to Jesus and see Jesus in them and, and, and — you just can’t do ALL THE THINGS every single hour of every single day.

And that’s where hiding out in your parked van in the driveway of your home comes in as a logical, loving solution to nutting up on every single loving, beautiful child in your path.

So there I was, sitting in the van. And I wasn’t freaking out because I recognized in advance that the time had come for an Extreme Plan. I needed space, a few hours to myself because I didn’t want to freak out. I wanted to catch my breath before I had to be resuscitated. Big difference. Huge difference.

So I did something radical — I shipped the kids off. Up, up and away. I realized that in my arsenal, I had the tools I needed to stay happy and sane — I had an almost-eighteen-year-old son with a drivers license and a firm sense of responsibility. So I sent those children off to the pool. I gave them money and suncreen and said, “go enjoy yourselves!”

And they did! They left and partied and they came home SIX HOURS LATER.

They came home so many, many hours later and they came home to a mother who had been given that many hours to tackle the slime in her home, to take back the house, to stop feeling like she was living in absolute squalor because the sink in the upstairs bathroom looked like a tribute to Mary Kay (nope, that sink is not supposed to be pink).

I cleaned and I cleaned and I cleaned. I did all the things and I felt “on top of it” and then I watched that video of me hiding out in the van and thought “what was THAT all about?” Because that’s how good I felt afterwards — like I didn’t need to hide from people. Because I had gotten the break I so desperately needed.

Don’t be ashamed if you feel like the walls are closing in on you. Nobody will doubt your love as a mother, your commitment to your children and to your vocation. You ARE Wonder Woman, after all, because you are strong enough to admit that being perfect means not being perfect. (I saw that in my latest Southern Living last night and turns out it can apply to motherhood AND home decorating).

Peace out, my homies. You got this.