Thursday, May 15, 2014

To Jack: Your first year as a teenager

My dearest Jack,
You are 13 and finishing 7th grade.  For the first time in your life, you are testing the boundaries.  It has been a good year of growth and learning for you and I.  But I admit, I have been a little baffled at times with you.  It is a big thing to see your oldest child learn to maneuver life in a new way as a teenager.  And it is really scary as a parent, not because YOU are bad or scary, but because I have been a teenager, too.  I want you to know things that I didn't know and I am afraid that you will not listen to me and that you will have to learn these things yourself.  I have trouble letting you learn things the hard way because I ABSOLUTELY adore you and I never want to see you hurting or in trouble.

This year you got in trouble at school for the first time.  You decided to leave a school play with a friend and wander around the school.  You knew this was disobedient, but you had no idea what a big deal it would be to your teachers and principal!  The long and short of it was, you cared more about what your friend thought of you at that moment than honoring God.  We spent a lot of time praying and talking together with Daddy to come to that conclusion.  I remember, OH SO WELL, how important it feels to want to be accepted and liked.  I still want to feel accepted!  I am praying that as you spend more and more time with God in His word and prayer that you will love Him so much that you will live for an audience of One.  This is freedom!

The very best thing about the big ordeal at school was how shocked your teachers and principal were that you were involved.  This showed Daddy and I how trustworthy and honorable you have been in class.  There were at least five teachers who saw you leave the play, thought about approaching you, but didn't because of your character.  On the one hand, we were a little dismayed that now they may think differently of you.  But I talked to each one of them, and they assured me that this was just a lapse in judgment and that they still respected you very much.  We are praying every day that your behavior will continue to earn their trust and respect.

You had this negative incident, and it was a big deal for sure!  But overall, you have had a great year.  I have watched you sit or stand at the kitchen table and become a very diligent student.  You set goals for making good grades and you work really hard to achieve your goals!  You are beginning to see how your actions now will effect you in the future.  That shows a great deal of maturity.  You are working out your salvation and learning how to apply what you know to your life.  Your best quality is that you are humble and quick to apologize.  God says he loves a "humble and contrite heart".  Every one of us are sinners, only a portion of us know how to admit it and seek repentance.  This trait will give you so much joy and growth in your walk with Christ!  Another great thing about you is your humor.  You keep us smiling and laughing and we love you ability to keep things light around our house.

Oh Jack, you have no idea how highly we think of you.  We are so very proud of you, son! You have no idea how much we pray for you.  We so deeply desire to see you love Jesus and do your best for him.  It is a really hard thing to make foolish mistakes and have to live with regrets.  Trying to give you the freedom to stand on your own to feet and taking the risk of seeing you fall is the hardest thing I have ever done.  Please don't get made or frustrated when I hang on too tightly.  I am praying for discernment and wisdom all the time, but sometimes I still make the mistake of hovering.  I am determined to improve in this area.  But even so, please trust me and do your best to be obedient and respectful.  God promises such great things to young men who do so and I want those things for you now and in the future.  You have such an amazing, exciting adventure ahead as you follow God!

You have brought joy to me every day of your life.  You are an amazing miracle, my friend.  I love having conversations with you and getting a glimpse into God's beautiful design for you.  Your mind is so complex and intelligent.  And you have such a huge heart with so much ability to serve and love! I am excited for every year ahead.  Bring on 8th grade!
You spend a lot of time at the kitchen table with an open Latin or Math book!  This investment will definitely pay off!

You are one of the funniest guys I know.  (Goofing off at Hobby Lobby!)

"How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to YOUR WORD. I seek you with all my heart, do not let me stray from your commands."  Psalm 119:9-10

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Update on New Year's Resolutions

1. Read a chapter daily in the Bible and another book from my book list, at least. I am enjoying so much more time in God's word.  I am so thankful for the sweet season leading to Easter to get me back into a more consistent time in the Word!
2. Use my camera often. Blog at least once a week. Little by little...
3. Go on some type of date, even for coffee, with my husband once a month, at least. We are REALLY enjoying our time together.  Date nights are so much easier now that we live in the city!
4. Take one of the children somewhere special once a month. Each child gets four special dates.  Lydie and I had a shopping and lunch date.  I would love to find some time alone with the boys soon!
5. Follow my fitness plan. (Use my fitband to follow plan. 40 week challenge) I have hit a bit of a plateau.  I have lost 35 pounds since Dec. 26th and hope to lose 16 more.  I am still exercising 5 or 6 times a week at the Y.  And I have continued to eat healthy.  I have struggled lately to drink the water!  But I am committed to pressing on until I reach my goal!
6. Be intentional with extended family relationships. We have enjoyed the beginning of birthday season and Easter together!  And soon summer will come and provide a lot of time for fun memories to be made!
7. Spend more "fun time" with friends. Join a Bible study. I have enjoyed some fun lunch dates with my "school besties".  I am hoping to develop some friendships at our new church this summer.
8. Try 4 big art projects this year.  This area will be neglected until I get to my ideal weight, probably.
9. Complete at least 5 house projects.
10. Complete all papers for level 1 classical education certification. I completed two papers, two to go!

My sweetheart

A few pictures before a date night.  The most AMAZING thing about living in the city is more date nights!
Time together is such a blessing.  I cherish every.single.moment. with this man!
I convinced him to try sushi and he loved it.  We have to wonderful sushi restaurants nearby.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Simple Truths

I saw in Lydie's Bible her little sticky note by the picture of Jesus on the cross that said,
"Jesus Loves Us."  That about sums it up.
Sweet girl's Bible
I try during the week of standardized testing to complete several Easter crafts.  This one is a favorite:

"We love because He first loved us."
What a special season of worship and joy we have had this year!  God has been so gracious to draw us deeper into our faith and love for Him.  I am overwhelmed with His love for us!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Our family pictures on Easter afternoon

Our children with all of our nieces and nephews
Our family
Ben, Kim, Zoe, Clay, Megan (Kids, age 10)
Mom and Dad with all of the children (I accidentally erased my only picture of Mimi and Papa with the children!! And my sister-in-law's Mom, Gigi, is also not pictured!)
Rick and Chelle with the kids (ages 12, 11, 8)
My darlings

Lydie, age 7

Josh, age 11

Jack, age 13
We had a sweet afternoon at our house with 15 of our favorite people.  Grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins all came over to celebrate with us on this special day!  These family gatherings are some of our most cherished memories together!  I am so thankful for God's work in our family!  He is risen!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Easter at our house:: Celebrating new life!

"For anyone who says yes to Jesus
For anyone who believes what Jesus said...
Then God will give them this wonderful gift:
To be born into NEW life
To be who they really are
Who God always made them to be-
Their own true selves-
God's dear Child." 
~excerpt from The Jesus Storybook Bible~

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Mom and Dad's birthday celebrations

My mom turned 70 and my Dad turned 67 this month.  We had a special night to kick-off Mom's new decade at my brother's house.  It was simple and quiet because my Mom does not do well with loud, crazy, or noisy.  I think she enjoyed the evening.  The children definitely enjoyed celebrating their Nana and Poppy!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Spring Break Staycation

We crawled across the finish line of winter quarter and into spring break.  Wow, it has been a busy, cold winter!  As always, and even more so, I am so eager for spring.  I struggle to enjoy the season of winter every year!  We had some beautiful moments, though.

I had a list "a mile long" of neglected projects and fun ideas, too.  Unfortunately, Jack got strep throat mid-week.  So we had some fun times but some things had to be cancelled.  The home time was disappointing for the children, but such a blessing to me!  When you are a teacher who LOVES homemaking, you can hardly ever get enough time at home.  So I was secretly excited, but hated that it had to be at the expense of Jack being sick and the children's foiled plans!

Anna, Greyce, and Lydie had a lemonade stand!
It was so adorable!
This is what made me completed projects list!
Organized, cleaned closets....CHECK!
Organized pantry....CHECK!
Organized and clean frig....CHECK!
House deep cleaned....CHECK!
Put away winter clothes that were too small....CHECK!
Spring clothes that were too small were taken to charity or consignment....CHECK!
New spring clothes were bought....CHECK!
Lydie's Easter dress was bought and sent to monogram....CHECK!
Car was washed, organized, restocked with essentials....CHECK!
Framed some favorite photos to add to some rooms....CHECK!
Basement was organized....CHECK!
Laundry all caught up and put away....CHECK!
Goals were made for house projects this summer....CHECK!
And finally I am so thrilled to have....PAINTED MY POWDER ROOM!
Thankfully my sweet children made some fun memories, too!  We used a gift certificate Joshua won as a door prize a while back and went to play mini golf.  Also, our cousins came and spent the day and the girls made a lemonade stand.  This project was darling!  We rented a few movies and the kids played all kinds of games.  We saw grandparents on both sides for lunches.  And we met cousins and went to a new movie and the dollar theatre.  The children really wanted to have friends over, but it didn't work out. I think they still had fun.

It feels so amazing to begin spring organized, without so many things I need to attend to.  I am hoping to enjoy my family, friends, students, and our new church this spring.  I am looking forward to these last eight weeks of school, our Easter party, and warm weather!
"April hath put a spirit of youth in everyone!"
William Shakespeare