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.

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.

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!