Jun 11, 2017

Today, I asked Eli to bring me one of the laundry baskets from my bathroom.
A few seconds later I heard the pitter-patter of something making its way down the stairs.  I looked over and found a white laundry basket settled at the base of the staircase.
"Eli.  I intended for you to bring down the white laundry basket WITH the laundry in it".
He said "you just said laundry basket, not the basket and the clothes that were in it".

This.
This is what I'm working with here.

Jun 10, 2017

Recently a student from the Department of Defense school at Ramstein Air Force base gained attention for an amazing accomplishment.  He was accepted at three of the U.S. service academies and a handful of other highly competitive Ivy league or prestigious universities.  Getting accepted to one is a huge task, all three is crazy.  I read the article about him and was quite impressed by his accomplishment, however the only detail I remember from the article was an excerpt from his Harvard application essay.  He is an "Air Force Brat" and lived most of his life overseas. In the essay he wrote about a paradox in his life: "the curse of being a stranger everywhere, and the blessing of being a stranger nowhere”.
I was so moved by this one short description that so appropriately describes the social aspect of military life.  A stranger to everyone and no-one.  Home is everywhere and nowhere.  
Somewhere in the past month between being sick, recovering, supporting baseball players, and cleaning my car out, Matt reached his one year milestone of working at that smiley-face company.  One whole year.  Unfortunately, it went by completely unnoticed and without any appropriate celebration. Matt was actually out of town on the date and then by the time he got back, it was old news.  However, it is a big milestone for our family.
We are finding our place.  Those words "we are currently stationed at ..." have left our vocabulary.  We are not here because the Army told us to be, we are living in the green, rainy bliss of the Eastside of Seattle by choice and by God's provision.  My local Target is nestled in the valley between two mountains (they are tiny mountains but they have mountain in their name so it must be true).  I walk out of that store and see those mountains, or fill up at the gas station and see the sunset over the lake, or walk through the halls at Eli's school and catch a glimpse of the hang-gliders launching from the mountain that raises above his school football field and catch my breath... I LIVE HERE.
Last weekend I was in California for my sister-in-law's baby shower and skipped on over to my family's church for a prayer service.  At one point the pastor told everyone to pray for the church.  Within seconds my mind flipped to my church in Sammamish.  And later he asked us to pray for our schools, and "my" students that I work with at Eli's school flashed before my eyes.  Lastly, he told us to pray for our city, and the words Issaquah and Snoqualmie came to my lips.
Am I finally home?
We have known for years that we wanted to retire here in Washington but this move to the Eastside presented a lot of challenges.  Half of my heart was still in Olympia.  I wasn't fully ready to accept this city as my new home.  There are dozens of cities that we could live in that provide reasonable commutes for Matt, and we constantly question which would be best for us.  Over the past few weeks we have started seriously thinking about how we want to move forward in the coming year with regards to buying and selling homes.  So many things are pointing to us staying right here on the Eastside, along the I-90 corridor.
Who knows how long it will be for, but right now, there is no place that feels more like Home.

Jun 9, 2017

I did not succumb to the great illness of 2017.
It was pointed out to me that my last post on here alluded to the fact that I may not pull through, however I did fully recover and returned to the land of the living.
My apologies to those who were waiting for an invitation to my memorial service.
I'm alive and I'm doing quite well!

It is Friday, so that is a good thing, and my vehicle is clean.
This is a big deal.
Every year baseball season threatens to completely destroy my vehicle. This baseball season was the rainiest season since that time Noah's mockers were trying to launch their Drought League at the same time that God rained down his fury in the great flood. This made things particularly rough for my poor truck-van.  After one particularly ridiculous game we threw the easy-up awning and all the umbrellas, raincoats, and other gear in the cargo area, and by the time we got home an actual lake formed in the back from all the water dripping off the gear.  It was rough.  Between muddy feet, turf beads, and random acts of snack spillage, the vehicle looked 6 years old instead of 6 months.  Today the sun was shining (for a few minutes) and I took advantage of the moment to pull out all the Washington Floormats (rubber ones built to catch all the water), vacuum TWICE, and then cleanse all the plastic and leather surfaces.  I'm so pleased to announce, it appears the Toyota beat Baseball this season!  I am victorious.

Today is also a fabulous day because G is making dinner.  This isn't a new thing.  He typically makes dinner three times a week.  I am particularly excited about him cooking tonight because he is using one of our HelloFresh meals.  I wish I were getting paid by the afore mentioned company to tell you how pleased I am with it, but I'm not.  I'm sharing this good news for free. Hello Fresh is a grocery delivery program that has revolutionized my life.  We pick three meals for four people and have them delivered on Mondays.  Each meal comes with almost everything you need to cook it and fabulous instructions that include pictures.  If you are still stumped, you can log on to their app and watch little videos.  It is true that if you break down the per person cost for the delivery it is dramatically more expensive than if I went to the grocery store and bought the ingredients, however, the cost is totally worth it for me because: Gabe cooks all the Hello Fresh meals and we try new recipes every time which broadens our palates.  It is a win for everyone except our bank account.  I am so happy that I don't have to worry about meals 3 days a week and I'm raising a dude that will be confident in the kitchen.

Lastly, today is a good day because we are a mere 7 days from the end of the school year and my kids have rocked it.  There were days, oh there were DAYS, but in the end they have pulled it all together and Team H is almost ready to pack away another school year.

We are blessed in the good times and bad, today just happens to be a good one.


Apr 14, 2017

Fallen Ill

I have fallen ill.
I spent Sunday recovering from a traumatic pasta event from the day before and by Monday morning my stomach was happy again, but I was in full swing chest cold mode.
Not the way I wanted to spend Spring Break.
I have had more naps, cups of tea with honey, sleepless nights, and pure fogginess in the past 5 days than my entire life up to now.  I think, but then again I'm hopped up on meds and I don't know if my math skills are sharp.
It isn't a snotty nose, stuffed up cold, it is a my chest feels like its being sat on by an elephant cold.  At one point last night while I lay on the couch coughing violently I was sure I had lung cancer or black lung.  I sifted through 40 years of memories trying to recall if I had ever been exposed to coal dust or other carcinogens that might cause a sudden onset of broken lungs.
This morning I pulled myself out of bed or off the couch, I can't remember where I was, and rallied enough energy to take the Toyota in for its first check up.  Following that, I was feeling enough of a burst of energy that I went to the nail salon to repair the disaster that appeared on my 3 week old manicure.
Around 1pm, that is ONE O'CLOCK in the afternoon, I got a text from my oldest child asking where I was.  To which I replied "you just now realized I was missing?".  And he in turn replied with "I just figured you were still sleeping".
That is the kind of week it has been.  If I am not hacking and coughing on the couch, I'm passed out in bed, or at a baseball game.  This morning was the first time I wasn't doing any of the three.  Instead I was doing my best not to infect all those poor people at Toyota service center or the nail salon with this toxic lung thing I have going on.
On my way home from my adventures I stopped by my local grocery store to find some more drugs.  I decided that my issues are not getting better because I am using a generic form of Musinex instead of the real deal.  So today I bought all brand name, high potency drugs, and more tea, and I was looking for that vapor rub stuff that my mom used to put on my chest but I couldn't find it.  I think it is probably illegal now, because the truth is, the only reason why that stuff worked is because your chest flesh was smoldering and so you forgot that you couldn't breathe properly.  It is probably for the best that I couldn't find it because on the way home from the store I got in such a coughing fit that my nose started bleeding.  A sensitive nose mixed with that jar of menthal-magic is probably not a good combination.

PEOPLE, do you understand how bad it must be when you cough so hard your nose bleeds?

The family is taking great care of me, the boys are obviously "letting me sleep" and Matt is making sure I don't concoct some toxic mixture of theraflu and fake musinex.



Apr 6, 2017

Pretty Pretty Princess also known as P3 was officially downgraded a few years ago due to some traumatic parking lot incidents. Today she has fallen from grace.
P3 is now Bad Luck Chuck, or Chuck if you don't have time to say all those words.
Another parking accident. Someone slammed in to Chuck's front bumper, and drove away without so much as a note.
Chuck is a magnet for parking drama.
Is there some prize for the most accidents while at a dead stop?



Apr 5, 2017

Tonight Eli was reading the high school regulations for behavior at a school sponsored dance and Matt and I spent a solid 10 minutes entertaining ourselves as a result.

I suppose I should give some context to this.

Today at work I caught a kid with chew in his mouth in the classroom.  True story.  He walked in to class with a big wad of chew in his mouth and spit into the trashcan as I was walking by.  I could spend a few hours dissecting that part of the story but we'll save that for another day.
The kid took a nice walk of shame down to the dean's office and then came back to class a bit later, minus the mass of mouth cancer.  I was surprised to see him back.  So you can just chew tobacco on campus, in CLASS these days with no concern or consequence from the administration?

I was curious what the school policy was on the use of tobacco while writing an essay in school, so I asked Eli to look it up.  He didn't locate a specific rule about tobacco but he did find out that drive-by shootings, murder, and unauthorized use of laser pen-lights are prohibited.  He also found a section on the types of behavior that is prohibited at dances.

As Eli read each prohibited act Matt and I provided a demonstration.

Any inappropriate backside dancing (ankle/knee grabbing, bending over more than 90 degrees, etc.)
Inappropriate touching, fondling, excessive displays of affection.
Removal of shirts, pants or necessary articles of clothing
No on the floor dancing or lap dancing
No front to front dancing with legs up or legs intertwined 
No violent, “mosh pit” style dancing 

We couldn't properly demonstrate the front-to-front dancing with my legs up around his waist because he has a bad back right now and that would have probably laid him out.  We did have a wicked rendition of ankle grabbing while bending over 90 degrees - could also be called "tying my shoe to music".  I had no idea that was a thing until today.

As Matt and I were dancing fools in the kitchen we could hear Eli grumbling about how dumb we were, but we noticed a huge smile on his face and the fact that he kept reading off more and more dance moves for us to act out.  Ha!  

It was probably the most entertaining part of our night.  Closely followed by forcing all the boys we brought home from church (four) to sing along to the B-I-B-L-E song, This Little Light of Mine and our favorite, a Veggie Tale Classic, Cebu.

Just a regular Wednesday in the Hernandez house.

Mar 29, 2017

The boys got in a little kerfuffle tonight.
I'll spare you the detailed play-by-play.
In a nutshell, someone grabbed, the other punched, there was running, screaming and slamming.

It is Wednesday and we should have been in the car on the way to youth group by this point, but instead I'm hashing out the things we learned in Kindergarten "ask nicely", "keep our hands to ourselves", and "no running in the house" among other things.

After a lengthy chat with each of them pointing out the choices they could have made to avoid the drama, I gave them an opportunity to redeem the night.

"Write three things you like about your brother or things you enjoy doing with your brother and you can go to youth group.  If you choose not to write three things you can spend the evening in your room with no electronics".

One chose to write, the other chose to be stubborn.

The little angel that started the drama to begin with wrote this:

Things I like about my brother
1. playing games together
2. learning from you
3. "accidentally" breaking the rules together

Though he wore a scowl on his face, I read each statement to the stubborn brother.  I read them slowly so they could sink in, or just to annoy him, not sure which.
Then I told that stubborn one that one day when I'm dying the boys are going to be responsible for deciding what to do with my stone cold body and I hoped that they could do it without fighting.

I'm not sure why I  threw that in at the end but I went with it.

They love each other, they just don't realize it sometimes.


Mar 28, 2017

I was in the Amazon brick and mortar bookstore in Seattle this past December with a friend.  We roamed around for a bit, marveling at the sight of an actual bookstore.  Neither of us could remember when we had been in one last.  I have borrowed or purchased all my books online for the past few years, so I really have no idea when I last flipped through the pages of pretty books on shelves.
I felt compelled to purchase something, I mean I was there after all!  Upon the recommendation of my friend I bought a book of devotions based on Psalms.  I'll spare you the title because last time I suggested a daily devotional, things went wonky in my life for a bit.

I have thoroughly enjoyed this book.  Each day's reading includes at least 3-4 verses from a Psalm, sometimes more, a brief commentary and a prayer.  I have a history with the author of this book so I had a feeling I would love it, and I do.  I also really appreciate that the actual verses are there and not just a reference and that it is a significant chunk of verses not just five words.

A few days ago I read Psalm 39:1-13.  It s kind of a complaint letter of sorts.  We've all been there right?  Except my complaint letters or prayers are never quite as eloquent as King David's.

The commentary from this particular day struck me.
"God not only allows his creatures to complain to him he actually records those ills in his word."
Mind blown.
If you believe, as I do, that the scriptures included in what we call the Bible are ordained by God himself then you must realize that God was the big editor-in-chief of the manuscript.  He got to decide what was included and what was not.  He totally could have left out these passages where his people are pretty mad at him and giving him a piece of their mind.
This is the little tidbit that blew my mind.  God allowed these complaints to be recorded in scripture for all humanity to read.  Derek Kidner writes "The very presence of such prayers in Scripture is a witness to His understanding.  He knows how men speak when they are desperate."

God wants a relationship with us, not just when we are happy, or scared, when we need direction or we are thankful for his blessings, he wants to hear from us when we are mad at him too.  The inclusion of people's anger is like a permission slip for us to vent to God as well.  So cry out in your despair.  Its Biblical.


And here's an unrelated gem for you today 
"I halt in pace - yet I creep to the throne of grace" George Herbert.


Mar 27, 2017

H

If you have been to either of my homes here in Washington you were greeted by a slew of Hs.
That is intended to be plural H, as in multiple wall decor that depicts the letter H.
How do you type that? Hes looks wrong, Hs looks wrong, H's is wrong because the H isn't possessive.  Anyway, there are a lot of that letter in my entryway.
A few of those H items were purchased by myself while on vacation somewhere, a few from around town, and some were gifted to me.  I'm always on the look-out for an interesting H to add to my collection.

Today, I got the most interesting H of all time.

I went to Costco, bought three things and came out spending $3000.  Or maybe it was 10 things and $100.  What difference does it make really?  The point is that place sucks the money right out of my wallet.

I purchased ribs for dinner tonight, a few loaves of their delicious country style fresh baked bread and an assortment of things I probably didn't need.

Tonight I was heating up the ribs and sliced in to that bread to also heat up.
I could serve the ribs and bread cold, but by heating them up it makes it appear that I care about my family and what they eat for dinner.

That's when it happened.  The H was delivered.


I am not entirely ok with this.

Mar 22, 2017

In The Storm


Last summer my girlfriends and I were spending the day in Asheville, NC.
We roamed around the shops, sampled some sweet treats, and just enjoyed a lazy day discovering the city.  Late in the afternoon the skies started to get dark and thunder could be heard in the distance. 
We started to make our way to the car attempting to avoid getting drenched.
A few seconds of rain and the sky opened up and dumped on the square block we were standing in.  The streets quickly became swift moving creeks as the downpour of water was exceeding the capacity of the city drainage systems and all hell was breaking loose in the sky.  Lightening and thunder lit the sky and shook the earth.
We didn't quite make it to the car!
Lucky for us, we happened upon an awning the hung over the front door of a jewelry shop.  After a few minutes of giggling under the awning, the shop owner came to the door and let us in.  We were soaked, and soaking his very fancy marble floors.  He disregarded the inconvenience of opening up the store, and allowing us to make a muddy mess in the doorway to give us sanctuary.

Yesterday I was flipping through some pictures and came across one that I took of the 7 of us ladies huddled together in that jewelry store and three things jumped out at me:

1. There is joy when you are waiting out a storm.  None of us wanted to be standing there, freezing cold, dripping wet, in this poor man's shop.  But we were together.  We laughed, told stories, and marveled at the chaos going on outside.
We will have storms in our life.  They too, can be less inconvenient if we wait them out with awesome, supportive, encouraging, fun people.

2. Know when to leave.  It wasn't going to stop raining for a while.  While we appreciated the jewelry store owner's hospitality, we could stay there in the shelter forever.  Two of us borrowed the man's umbrella and headed out to get the car, to bring back to retrieve the others.
We can't stay in our figurative shelter forever.  We have to enjoy the break, gather the tools and head out.

3. There is time to get to know the jeweler in the storm.  As we stood in the entryway of a jeweler store under construction we had a lot of dead time on our hands.  We used that time to get to know the one who gave us shelter.  He told us the history of the store and celebrated the success it had in the town.  We all walked away with an appreciation for the family business and the man's willingness to rescue us.
When you are in a storm, get to know the One who gives you shelter.


Mar 21, 2017

Next Stop: MONTANA!!

I'm super excited for our family's big move to Montana!  Rolling hills, raging rivers, mountains in the distance and the big open sky.
I have a growing to-do list before the big move.  I'll list them here in order of importance.

1. Find a job in Montana.
2. Convince Matt that he wants to move to Montana too.
3. Figure out what cities are in Montana. (Maybe that should be moved up in the order of importance? I should probably know what cities are there so I know where to find Matt a job)
4. Learn to fish and/or hunt.  (I think that's a requirement in Montana.)
5. Buy a house.
6. Take a self-help class to try to stop loving: the ocean and going to MLB and MLS games
7.  Re-consider Montana

I had a bad day today. 
I've been at the high school for almost 3 weeks now and I think it is just a little too much for me.  The kids there...I honestly have no words to describe the complete disrespect they have for teachers, each other and the fact that they have been handed a free education. A free education.  Free books, free instruction, and resources galore and they squander what has been given to them.
I should clarify that I only work with a select group of students who have been designated to have some form of learning disability.  So they are probably not an accurate representation of all the students at the school, but when you have a so much negative surrounding you all day for 3 weeks, it is easy to feel like "everyone" is horrible.  
I walked through the office today and saw a student sitting with her service animal.  It was a pit bull.  A PIT BULL.  To top of the odd sight of a pit bull with a service animal vest on, the pit bull had on a metal muzzle.  The kind kujo wears.  
The world it crazy.

Its time to move to Montana.
Maybe in Montana high school kids don't sit back on their phones all day doing nothing in school.  Maybe there isn't adequate enough cell reception for them to be on their phones.  Maybe there isn't a task force that busts a drug ring at the high school, maybe kids don't talk openly in front of adults about getting high, and maybe they are thankful for their education and actually use the brains they were given to try a little.

Or maybe not.

But at least it doesn't rain for a million days straight in Montana.  
I am done with the rain, 
and done with the high school kids.  
Someone give me a baby to hold and a sunny day or this woman is going to lose her mind.


Mar 14, 2017

Say "Uncle"

I'm super ticklish.
Despite my very best efforts to exert all my mental energy to resist squirming and flailing around when tickled, I simply cannot.
I remember when I was little people would be relentless with the tickling.
Now that I'm 5'10" and took that "Women's Self-Defense" class in college, I'm a little better at fighting off my attackers, and only the brave come at me with tickle fingers.

The frustrating part of being tickled is getting people to understand when you have really had enough.  Saying "no, stop" doesn't really help because I typically say those words right from the get-go.

Remember when people would say "Uncle"?  That was like the key word that you really mean it now.  No more joking around, you need them to stop, you give up.
I suppose that worked for me for awhile, but I remember "I have to pee" tended to work best.

I was listening to an old friend's sermon yesterday morning and he was talking about a particular time in his life when he was going through a difficult time.  In his case, in a matter of a few months he lost three people that were very dear to him.

He asked himself if there was a key word he could say to end all the sorrow.  "Can I cry Uncle?"

I have been there too.  I remember the final weeks of my Grandma's life when she was withering away in my mom's living room.  Going through tough times with Matt, or my kids, or work, or when there is pain in sickness and loss.  There are times when you just want to scream out that key word that makes everyone say "oh wait, she's serious now, this is enough".

My friend's message reminded me of something I just needed to hear.  Not for any particular reason, just a reminder.  We don't have to yell "I have to pee" or "Uncle".  We have something far more effective, far more powerful, we get to cry "Jesus".

I wasn't there but my mom told me that in my Grandfather's last hours on earth he simply uttered the word "Jesus" over and over again.  I give up, take this from me.

There is power in the name of Jesus.  The challenge is not to wait until we no longer have breathe to utter the words.  To call on that name in the midst of our trials and allow him to bring us out of our despair.

Mar 13, 2017

I do not like the Monday following Springing Forward.
There is not Springing in my step.
My body is confused.
It is dark again when I leave for work which makes me want to crawl back into bed, even if I wasn't tired.

Yesterday afternoon I was tired from having Sprung Forward so I took a nap, then drank some coffee to wake up from said nap, and then couldn't get to sleep until late because my body was jacked up.  I always say "the best way to start my day is to get good sleep the night before".
Not really, but thats just truth right there.

Following a rough night of not sleep, this morning I hopped out of bed, late, because I hit snooze, woke up the kiddo who also resisted the early morning alarm clock and went downstairs.
I was welcomed by the joyous scent of coffee.  Matt programed the coffee pot.  Yay Matt!!

I pull out my favorite travel mug and pour the deliciousness in it only to hear a crazy popping sound. Yikes!  The mug was cracking in my hand.  Thankfully, the sleepiness in me didn't prevent my ninja fast response and I was able to pour the coffee from the exploding mug into a new, far inferior, drinking chalice.

I spent about a minute mourning the loss of the only travel coffee mug I use.  I hate plastic mugs.  I have issues, I know.  I want to drink my coffee out of a ceramic mug.  No plastic lids, just a nice ceramic mug that fits in the cup holder and doesn't spill.  Usually.

Following the tragic loss I skipped out to the car to take Eli to school.  He can ride a bus but sometimes I'm nice and if it is raining, which has been for the past 1000 days, or if he has a bunch of stuff to haul with him, like all his baseball gear, I will drive him to school.  Today, despite the fact that I was frazzled by my mysterious mug destruction, I loaded him up and headed off to school.

On the way home I noticed something odd on my windshield.
A CRACK?!  Are you kidding me?
Was there and earthquake last night that only damaged my coffee mug and my car windshield?
When I got home I sat in the car, gazing out upon my once perfectly clear windshield and watched the rain fall on the crack that so conveniently is traveling straight up the center of the windshield for about 4 inches before turning toward the driver's side.
Curses.

I came back in the house.
Defeated by the morning cracks.
I started to ask myself "what else can crack today?"  then I thought better of throwing that out there.

Mar 10, 2017

It is possible I could write an entire blog on texts between me and my elder child.

The highlight of today:

"can I have two of your sounders tickets?"

"Why?  You hate soccer"

"I know but can I give them to K as bday presant"

*For authenticity I have typed the message he sent exactly as he texted it to me, complete with grammatical errors. Sometimes I refuse to answer a text until it is spelled correctly with proper use of ending marks and such.  Today I was so caught off guard by the ridiculousness of his inquiry, I let it go.  And I was slightly proud that he used the proper spelling of "your".

There was a long pause before I responded, so he must have figured out he was going to have some more explaining to do.  This was actually a bad thing for him because his explanation was as ridiculous as his request.

"Cause if I liked them some ticket would be mine can I give like two to K"

Sometimes I wonder if English is his second language and he has an entirely different one in his head that he can actually use properly.

My response:

"That's going to be a no."

I took a screen shot of the conversation and sent it to Matt.  Matt's response was perfect.  He said "that dude is crazy.  Like actually crazy"


Just to clarify:  the kid thinks that because he may have been invited to go to one or two Sounders' matches he should be entitled to take the tickets he isn't going to use (because he doesn't actually like the sport) and give these tickets to a friend.

There are so many absurdities here I'm not quite sure where to start.

I want to appreciate that he wants to give his friend a gift, but I'm just not there.  I mean really, wouldn't everyone give each other amazing gifts if you didn't have to use your own money to pay for them?
Why in the world does he think he has some ownership of our two season tickets?
I don't think he was being rude.  I honestly just think he's clueless.  I'm not sure which is worse.

"Ok I'm that case can you grab a like amazon gift card or something for me for him"

I didn't respond.
I feigned an inability to understand this giberish.






Mar 9, 2017

About Not Posting

Sometimes there are just so many things to say you don't know where to start, maybe you stutter through in fragmented phrases or maybe it is just easier not to say anything at all.

Not posting anything on this blog probably speaks more than anything I could have written over the past month.

February had 28 days.
Really?
It seems simply impossible that so many things took place in my life on that one small page on a calendar.

February was like that tube at a fair where you step in and money is blowing all around and you have one minute to grab as much as you can.

I grabbed some good things.  I spent some great quality time with my mom, my niece, a sweet friend and a fabulous week in the UK with Matt.  I had some peaceful alone time on snowy walks in the neighborhood and on the cobblestone streets of Cambridge.  I saw some great shows, ate some good food, and had lovely days snuggled with my younger kid, hanging out with our UK family, meeting people Matt works with and rooting for my older one as he tried out for the HS baseball team.

I got rich in February.

Then the air in that tube stopped blasting and all those other bills started falling.  There has been a lot of arguing with the boys, frustration causing all parties to nearly burst.  It's hard sometimes to figure out which battles to fight and which ones to let go.

At the end of the game I guess you just hang on to the bills you caught and try not to think about all the others that got away.

Taking a deep breath as we are now over a week into March, with tons of travel plans for Matt and the boys knee-deep in baseball.
With both ids playing this year I'm definitely putting some miles on the new ride and a lot of wear and tear on my rain-boots.




Jan 31, 2017

This past weekend I discovered that my oldest child lied to us about where he had been with some friends last weekend.
In the grand scheme of life, it isn't a big deal, and quite honestly it isn't far off from anything Matt and I may or may not have done when we were his age.  The sad truth for Eli is that if he had asked permission, we would have granted it.  The biggest issue of the whole situation is that the kiddo took a giant stab at the trust we had placed in him.  And trust is something that we speak about often in our home.  We have expressed to the boys that we want to trust them, but our trust in them is dependent on their actions.  Do they show me I can trust them or do they show me that our trust would be misplaced?
I think there is probably a time in most parents' lives when their child flips the switch from being totally trusted to having his every move and claim scrutinized.  My other child flipped that switch at like 4 years old.  He's a shady one.  This guy was the one I relied on to tell me the truth, good or bad.  I know he hasn't always been honest with me, but he also isn't characterized by lying.
So now we enter this chapter of our lives where we have to work really hard to balance giving the kids the chance to have fun, be with friends, and grow into themselves with guarding them from putting themselves in difficult situations.  In a nutshell my job just got more difficult.  Though I haven't been turning a blind-eye up to this point, I have been more trusting than I feel I can be in the coming weeks, months, years, decades....
Parenting teenagers is hard.  Thankfully, I have a few things working for me, and them.
1. We have given them a solid foundation of strong moral values.  They know right from wrong,  I don't have to tell them.  This doesn't mean they will make the right choice, but there is no doubt in my mind that they know when they are making a poor choice.
2. We have a crowd of witnesses praying over them.  Before my kids were born my peeps became their peeps.  They were prayed over, they are being prayed over, and will continue to be prayed over until the end of time.
3.  The power of the Holy Spirit trounces their ability to hide things from me.  I'm not suggesting that God will reveal every little thing they do wrong to me, but I do know that I found out about these shenanigans because something inside me told me to unfold a simple bit of paper I found on the ground.  I pray that the stirring down inside of me will help me bust the kids when they need to be found out!

Jan 30, 2017

I was reading a blurb in a travel magazine the other day and came across these words
"getting lost is often a precursor to uncovering great things"

The words were so sweet to my soul.

I think I've read something similar before.
Worded differently, it is probably hand-painted on some wood sign and sold on Easy for $30.
I know I've also written something about it before as well, probably often because I get lost a lot.

Those who know me, know that I love to travel.  I love to find new places and experience new things.  Sometimes those places are right in my area code, other times they are far more amazing places and require a passport.

As I read those words about getting lost suddenly a swath of memories rushed over me.  I remembered the many, many times that I have been lost while exploring a new city.  Turns out the times that I was lost, and the times that things didn't work out just as I planned are often the times that I remember most fondly.  I learned things in those moments I didn't expect, I was challenged and overcame obstacles that I didn't plan to encounter, I saw things I would have never seen if I had never ventured off course.

After the memories of that time in Spain and near disaster in Switzerland faded to gray, I thought about a deeper, less literal meaning to the words.

How often have I discovered great things when I "got lost" or found myself on a different path in my life?  Even now there are areas where I feel completely lost.  I need to remind myself that perhaps in this season of roaming around lost I might just uncover some great things.

Jan 28, 2017

I just completed the last full week at the school I've been working at since the end of October.  I thought I would be relieved when the position ended, perhaps excited to have the chance to be picky again about when I work and when I stay home, meet up with friends, or binge watch trashy shows.  However, it turns out I am incredibly sad.  Over the past three months I have learned so much about the 60 students I work with each day and have grown to love them and the teacher I work with.
To make matters worse, they share the same sentiment toward me.  The teacher I work for actually tried to work something out so that I could continue to work with her instead of the person I've been filling in for.  She and I are a great team, we balance each other well and I keep her on track because she's a bit scattered at times.  I've tried to be encouraging to her about the return of her regular assistant and suggest that the person's focus will be different now that she has moved through the difficult circumstances she was in earlier in the year.  I don't think she's buying what I'm selling.
We've kept my final date quiet, as it really isn't relevant to the students until the time comes for me to leave, however, yesterday in passing a few of the students learned that my last day would be Tuesday.  Each of the students that heard I was leaving expressed sweet messages of sadness to me. A few said they would miss me, but the rest were more focussed on the question of why I had to leave.  Somewhere along the line these silly kids forgot that I was only there temporarily.  I think we all forgot that this was a temporary situation.  We let ourselves get attached and ignored the fact that our time together was limited.
I don't know if I was placed in this position to help open the door for a job in the future, to teach me some lessons along this journey, or if it was simply for me to have a positive impact on the lives that I touched in the the time that I was there.  Whatever it may be, Tuesday will be a tough one for me.

Jan 13, 2017

The Better Plan

I have a relatively new iPhone. This phone was the first phone in a very long time  that was purchased for me brand spankin new. Almost all of the phones I have ever used have been Matt's hand-me-downs. So receiving this phone was a big deal. I kept it super clean and shiny, protected it like a precious newborn baby, until last summer when I was at the lake in North Carolina and my hydroflask's lid popped open and baptized my phone.
The following 24 hours were touch and go.
Miraculously, after a running through a series of ailments, the phone was fully functional two days after the incident.
Everything was going well with the phone until I updated to a newer operation system and the battery decided it only wanted to function though 50%.
I turned into a wall-hugger. Always plugged in.

Lucky for me Apple just issued a recall on the battery for my phone.
I took it in, hopeful that they would replace the battery for free and life would return to normal.

Unfortunately, upon initial inspection they discovered my phone "may" have had water damage. The tech advised me that if they opened the phone and found damage in the guts of it then they wouldn't be able to change the battery. I would either take my phone back as it is or pay for a new one.
Gasp!

I had to wait two hours to get the results.
I prayed. Yes I prayed for my phone.
I prayed that God would hide the water damage or dry it up so that the would replace the battery for free.
Although, I knew the water incident probably shortened the life of my phone, I didn't want to buy a new one since it was still working.
Upon my arrival back at the store I was notified that yes instead my phone must have endured water damage at some point. The very hip and kind 12 year old tech guru asked if I wanted to take my old phone back or buy a new one.
Frazzled and frustrated I finally agreed to pay for a new phone.
I guess God isn't handing out two miracles for this phone.

As the tech genius began the transaction to replace my phone, she looked confused. I sat there wondering how she can take apart a phone but not figure out how to run my credit card.
Then she looked up at me completely confused and said "well this is your lucky day, for some reason the system is giving you a new phone for free".

I snatched that new phone and ran out the door like I stole it!

On the drive home I thought to myself, isn't that just like me.....
My goal was to have a fully functional phone at no cost to me.
I wanted to settle for a water-logged phone with a new battery.
The better plan was a whole new phone for free.

Maybe you are frustrated because the help you think you need isn't coming, but just hang on because God's plan might just be better than you imagined.

Jan 5, 2017

Geriatric Gym

I joined a gym.
Not any of the big named ones that come with a big price tag, I'm too cheap for that.
I have joined a real gym before and had great results come from working out there, but that was way back when I didn't have a job and I could take advantage of all the gym amenities while the kids were in school/preschool.
I joined a Community Center that just happens to have a "fitness room".  It was a mere $50 for three months.
What a deal!

I need to lose weight and I'm not talking like "oh look at this extra 5 little pounds I need to shed".  I'm talking this girl might need to buy new jeans.  Jeans are expensive.  More than the cost of those 3 months at the "fitness room".  So, I decided it is time to get serious.

I thought I could just power through the frigid temperatures and get my booty out for a run to burn some calories. Yes I could.  And I tried.  But I would like to express that it is extremely difficult to run on icy/snow when it is 22 degrees outside.  I think I probably burned as many calories shivering as I did jogging.

After nearly face planting a few times and the fact that my snot was frozen to my upper lip.  I decided it wast time to pay up, get inside and run off this blubber in the comforts of a world class fitness center.

By world class, I mean "economy".

The equipment is perfect for my needs.  There are 5-6 treadmills, a few elliptical, stationary bikes, spin bikes, all those complicated looking weigh lifting machines, and there are some hand weights and exercise balls and such as well.  The whole fitness area is quite small but so far in the few days I've been there, there has been plenty of room to get in, get on a machine and work off that baby fat.  Fine, my "look I'm 40" fat.

The best part of the community center fitness room is it is conveniently located about 2 miles from my house and the fitness room itself overlooks the pickle ball courts.

Yes.  Pickle ball.

This should have been a clue to me about the age group of the users of the fitness room.

So far, everyone that I have seen in the fitness room is old enough to be my parents or grandparents.  I was running on the treadmill Wednesday morning when I heard a strange sound over the blaring music in my earbuds.
What is that noise?
Oh just two ladies working out on the indoor track moving along with their walkers.  No kidding.

I'm not complaining.  I feel really great about myself when I run 4.5 miles in the same amount of time it took the walkers to knock out .5 miles.  It is, however, quite comical.

I could have purchased a membership to the local rest home and had the same crowd working out with me.  They are probably wondering what in the world I'm doing there.  Most of them wear full on track suits, like the velour or swishy kind, and some wear jeans.  I showed up today in my hot pink capri running tights and a hoodie.  I'm listening to music on my bluetooth earbuds that are magically connected to my iPhone, while they have newspapers and novels to read while walking on the treadmill.  My favorite sight yesterday was watching the guy next to me step off of the treadmill every time he turned the page in his newspaper.

If you are ever in town and want to join me at the geriatric gym feel free.  They have day passes.


Jan 4, 2017

Tonight on our way to church the boys engaged in an epic battle. There was name calling, face making, tongue sticking outing, and crossing over the imaginary seat line. It was pure crazy. At one point I gave up telling them to stop fighting and I broke out in a full-on evangelical prayer. I asked God to change their hearts and heal the wounds that were causing the argument.
As I was at a stop light praying the Holy Spirit to bring on down some fire, G was in the back seat telling me to stop praying for him and Eli was acting out my prayer in ridiculous gestures.
I threw them out of the car at church and yelled "I'm not coming back for you until you find Jesus".
Ok so I I didn't actually do that, but I wanted to.
I sent Eli in to church and had a long talk with Gabe. I'm pretty sure his brain was filled with words of hate and frustration and he didn't hear a word I said even though he was looking straight at me.

I came back to get them, despite my internal threat to leave them there forever.

I received a text from Gabe that said "mom could you please text me when you get here? Thanks"
What?? This from the same kid who threw a pair of gloves at me last night and nailed me in the face. A please and thank you? I'll take it.

When he arrived at the car he was skipping and had a huge smile on his face.
Matt said "what's up with that attitude change?"

He had tears rolling down his face when we dropped him off.
I suggested he was so perky because he probably ate a dozen cookies.

He got in the car and Matt asked how many cookies he ate. He said "2".
Hmm that seams reasonable.

Then he hit us with the bombshell.
He said "I'm soooo excited. I know what I want to spend my Christmas and allowance money on".

Matt and I looked at each other.
"What?"

He said he wanted to pay for his friend to go to winter camp.

Sometimes God grabs hold of you and turns your mourning into dancing.
He left the car frustrated with his brother, and returned excited at the thought of spending his own money to pay for a friend to go to camp.

I should have joined him in church tonight because I could use a dose of whatever they were teaching!