First Full Week of Camp

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This shot captures his cool exterior as he was prepping for his first full week at church camp. He’d been awake far too long the night before with nervous anticipation, and could hardly eat breakfast on the drive north. He pecs around the restaurant, then in the car vacillated between playing on his phone or sleeping – neither activity seeming to provide the right level of distraction or comfort. 

On Saturday – we picked him up and I was too amazed to take a picture – he seemed older, more confident and had made several new friends. Sure – his belongings were haphazardly packed and I learned he thought he lost his toothbrush Monday night, so we still had some evidence of his 9-ness, but the change in his actions was fantastic! 

He’s already ready to return! I pray for the wisdom and strength to be the mom he needs and to give him this same opportunity to be more independent at home. 

breathe.

I sit
cross-legged at my
regular post
on the living room floor.

Computers glow
in front of me
while the
television
keeps me company.

I pray
heart wide open from my
usual state of mind
on the cusp of something new.

Dawn breaks
ahead
while
God’s love
surrounds me.

I believe…

Not since 2004, in the glow of newly-wedded bliss, do I ever remember 3 consecutive snow days. Back then, my young spouse and I passed the time with long treks through the piles of snow, delicious meals with his folks – who weathered the storm in our small apartment for 2 of the 3 days!

Here we are, a decade later, and we are on our second run of 3 straight snow days.  In fact, the first stretch, was actually 4 days in a row with a two-week holiday break in there too!  And the craziest thing – it’s. only. January.

Here we are, having made homemade pretzels, chocolate fondue, pies, crock-pot dinners, Valentine’s decorations, we’ve rearranged and clean most of the house, done laundry, exercised a bit, read a handful of books, and watched far too many movies.  So, what’s left?  Purging old computer files and finding a few keepers, like this one from May 2011.

I believe each day is a chance for a fresh start, a moment to erase past failures and reach new goals. I believe that despite my best efforts, I always start a school year stronger than I tend to finish one. I believe my seemingly endless revisions to lesson plans and classroom goals will eventually pay off. I believe teaching is hard work and sharing that work with intelligent, compassionate, strong colleagues will make me a better person. I believe my students have as much to teach me as I have to teach them. I believe in consistency and struggle to maintain it. I believe in taking time each and every day to let go of standards, to-do lists and be fully present in our lives.

Reading this both takes me back and makes me think of what lies ahead as I come to the half-way mark of my year leave of absence from teaching.  It’s a decision and a test of faith that I have not, and never will regret ~ this, I believe.

Gratitude ~ Day 10

Seven years ago this fall, we walked into a tiny old building to attend a gathering at a new church that had recently started in town.  We had visited different churches off and on for years and always Garth loved one that I hated or vice versa.

This was different.

There was something fresh and exciting happening.  The teaching staff was young and energetic.  We were coming in on the ground level of something big.  We began attending regularly and I was immediately drawn in by the music.  It wasn’t long before I auditioned and began singing with the worship team, and became close friends with the lead singer and pastor’s wife.

Seven years later and we are still attending that same church in a recently renovated space and with a new lead pastor.  The founding pastor is still in ministry having planted another new church in a neighboring community.  I’m still singing on the worship team, and today, I’m thankful for the opportunities God has given me to grown in my faith and friendships.

Having grown up in the church, I’m familiar with many of the stories, the Sunday School songs and have been in my fair share of Christmas pageants and Easter cantatas.  Yet this faithwalk, this relationship, this dying to myself daily and following Christ – it’s different from when I was a child.  And I wouldn’t be where I am today without the guidance of those around me.  Today I’m beyond grateful for the chance to live and learn alongside some amazing people.

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Gratitude ~ Day 7

Today, I am thankful for health, healing and faith.  It’s been a tough few weeks having lost my cousin in a car accident mere weeks before he would be turning 25.  And mine is by far the only loss as of late.  The beloved mother and friend, the precious infant – and just today, we heard of another accident that has left a woman in critical condition.

I heard the news as I was sitting on the floor, sorting toys with the kids.

“Let’s pray, guys.”

Seneca folded her hands and offered to pray.

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Tonight, I am thankful for faith and for knowing that our kids are watching what we do.  I too, pray for healing, comfort for Melissa’s mother.

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