Thriving on a love for learning – for life!

Monthly Archives: April 2012

Seeing our 7-year-old’s blood come out of her head after her 8-year-old brother accidentally hit her with a golf club was all I could handle. We were just taking a break with a healthy lunch on the patio, and this miss-hap put us into an official frantic state.

Thank goodness my husband has had enough military survival training that he responded calmly and carefully so that our daughter also quieted down. When I caught a glimpse of my worried and stressed face in the mirror I knew that I also had to mellow out for the good of our sweet baby girl.

And so we did. I surrendered to my overwhelming moving “to do” list that has all but freaked me out, to just sitting in the bathroom with our child. She soaked in a warm tub and I read her a book about butterflies.  “Metamorphosis” we repeated, as we read a beautifully illustrated book about butterflies.

Ah yes, we are going through our own sort of metamorphosis. The problem with the human one is that eating until we go to sleep doesn’t make us more beautiful. In fact that’s just another task set before – to cleanse and let go of some weight before we hit the hot country (aka bathing suit climate).  Oh, how do we do it? I feel the stress so intensely consuming me that I can barely wake in the morning, I have tingling in my limbs, and I cannot think straight during the day. I’m sad when I see me friends – when I’m in our life, both at school and at church, and realize that I won’t be spending more time with these people.  I’m sad when I realize how much I haven’t done while here in Alaska during our three-year tour due to the “someday” mindset.

At the end of the day, our child’s pain put it all in perspective. The butterfly’s life paints a beautiful picture of our journey to uproot from Alaska and move to North Carolina. In many ways, this is a metamorphosis.  I pray that we become a more beautiful version of ourselves.  I am thankful our daughter is well and that God is preparing the way.

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It’s happening – the surface of the road is becoming exposed.  The temperatures are climbing above freezing.  We’ve had sunshine for over two weeks. We’re ditching our jackets – and it’s beginning to thaw!

“Break Up” is what this period between winter and summer, when everything is melting and messy! Streams and pools of water can be found moving on every flat surface.  And, they’re freezing at night to leave clear, icy and very slipper spots everywhere.  It’s impossible to keep a car clean. Just driving down the road, one’s car becomes blanketed with thawed snow that’s now a shower of mud.

Even though it’s spring I’m still wearing my insulated winter boots – because they’re the only shoes that give me good traction on these slippery spots. And when I’ve tested this – I’ve fallen.  I do appreciate how simple one’s wardrobe is in Alaska – sticking to one pair of boots, pants and jacket for over 6-months at a time.

We officially became the owners of a like-new 2004 truck.  To be in it is to see our summer, cross-country (and international if you include Canada) move take shape.  As we become unleashed from winter’s grip, I feel suddenly filled with joyful anticipation that the new adventures will bring us.  For instance, I’m looking forward to sitting outside and not being freezing cold, as even our past two summers have proven to be.  I’m looking forward to the simplifying that happens when we prepare to move.  I’m looking forward to being together with our family and extended family. I’m excited about seeing how God has prepared the way for us.

It’s 4PM.  Two calls from our son (whose 8) – he’s changed the plan – and not participated in the cross-country ski program after school. With his saddest voice, he begs me to collect him. Of course I will, how could I have peace with anything else?  Indeed, we will greatly miss the beautiful gifts of our life – like cross-country skiing at school.  Just for today, I am grateful to see the road once again.

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Written on 4-10-2012

As a Mom, witnessing progress in our growing children is exhilarating. Today I begin in gratitude for the shift in attitude.  I am thankful for cheerfulness, for willingness, and for obedience.
“To thine own self be true.”  Today two of our kids chose to wake early so that they could pursue what mattered most – for our 8-year-old son, it was watching Scooby Do.  So he happily got up with me at 6:30AM, played piano, did his chores, dressed, and did 10 minutes of homework.  For our 10-year-old daughter, this meant pleasantly getting up (vs. angrily), getting herself dressed in a timely manner and having a whole hour to focus on completing her school homework and her piano practice.  Ah, what peace there is in self-perpetuated cooperation!  Our 7-year-old daughter was the last to get up, but when she did, it was with a joyful heart and a focused spirit of readiness (no tantrums of resistance or toy playing at the last minute).  She too managed to fit one chore in as well.

As for myself, I was able to have a meaningful devotion, tea time with God and my journal, sweet kisses with my children, practice piano (I, too am participating in the upcoming recital), walk a mile on my treadmill all-the-while conducting some Mommy-business on the phone, and sending the kids to school with fresh, hot and balanced breakfasts and lunches.  Of course the very best part of the morning was the spirit of joy that embraced us all – and stayed with us until we kissed goodbye!

What a relief it is to have had a happy morning – one void of arguments, disagreements or bad attitudes. Whew – the progress today is energizing and encouraging.  Today the answer to prayer was seeing my oldest in particular, joyfully take responsibility for herself – complete her homework, piano and be on time – with no stress!  All things are possible with you, God!

Our God is a God of details as our beloved Jan Decker reminded me the other day. His Word instructs us so clearly.  This week Jesus’s word in Luke has been powerfully guiding me as we prepare to travel on new waters.

Thank you God, for progress – and for the hope it brings.

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The truth is I cannot add more engagements to my calendar. The dare is to try. The truth is I am exhausted. The dare is just one more thing. The truth is my energy is so tied up, that there is very little to share.  The dare is to think I can do more. The truth is I cannot. The dare is to eat ice cream before dinner (at my third event for the day). The truth is it wacked my blood sugar levels and immune system.

Ironically it’s in the dare that I feel the fun often lies. It’s in the “why not…”.  But the truth is, freedom only comes in my own honesty.  Those around us temp us to play truth or dare.  While the dare is often entertaining, it’s the truth that we must own.

Today I pray that our children will see that their father and I aspire to live a truth-lead life and that they will naturally be discerning – and set free by their truth.  I pray that I will have more trust in being truthful with what I am capable of doing during this countdown timeline for moving.

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” -John 8:32

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Blog 4-15-2012

There is nothing like making long “to-do” lists, backwards calendar planning and on-line house hunting, just before bedtime, to make one feel very tired upon waking, if not overwhelmed. The reality of how much there is to do in the next seven weeks has nearly taken my breath away.

Today I begin feeling sluggish and older than I’d like in my 44-year-old body. Having gotten off track with my fitness plan in February, I am now feeling the repercussions… Things were only made worse by discovering beautiful photos of our family – in Italy, 10-years-ago, and our now, 10 ½ year-old daughter saying, “You sure looked better then.” Whew – talk about a reality check. Have I changed that much? Am I actually that mature person I used to look at as such a “seasoned” person? Has that blissful look on my face been diminished from life’s experiences? Finally, have all these moves gotten the best of me?

Throwing my anchor in for the day with my tea time with God (which our oldest supported by making me a cup of tea), I am encouraged by a book I “randomly” found (for free) at a local book store. It’s called “After the Boxes are Unpacked” by Susan Miller. As it turns out, this book is exactly what I need. More importantly, Miller has provided very poignant scripture to encourage the process.

“And the Lord will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire in scorched places, and give strength to your bones; And you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.” – Isaiah 58:11

Like a person traveling in a desert, my thirst is quenched by these words today. I am encouraged to believe that God is guiding us – even on this move away from Alaska, which has been Heaven on earth for us. I am reminded that it is He, not our geography, who ultimately gives me strength. Today I surrender to where we are, and lean upon His understanding, not my own. God doesn’t make mistakes and we are “tagged for the right destination.”

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As we move forward towards our departure from Alaska date, I am becoming clear that what is hardest about this transition is not all the work that is involved, but rather the enormous amount of letting go which is required. Each day I am faced with more activities, trips and opportunities to connect with others that I must say “our time is up – we cannot” to – and that’s really hard.

Leaving a land, people, and a lifestyle we have come to truly love and be at home with just isn’t a happy thing – it’s hard. There is grief, lots of it. There are emotions that equate to loosing someone you love. Each day, as we focus on what we must do, I am faced also with the anguish of our life ending here.

Yes, we are blessed with the fact that on the other side of this ending, there is a new beginning waiting for us. But before I go there, I have a lot of emotions to reconcile. Unmet expectations with family members is at the top during this emotionally vulnerable stage.

Like with grief of a lost loved one, the pain of moving cross-country is deeply personal and touches many unseen places. It’s here in this devotion, that I am strongly pulled into love. I share this today because it helps redirect my focus today – on God’s love and on His abundant provision for us. I choose to be in love and to surrender the rest.

“We have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” -1 John 4:16

“Dwell on that thought – God is love. Dwell on My actions on earth. See in them love in operation. You, too, must put love (God) into action in your lives.
God is love – no judging.
God is love – no resentment.
God is love – all patience.
God is love – all power.
God is love – all supply.”

-“ 365 One-minute Mediations from God Calling”, 2008, John Hunt Publishing, Ltd.
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While quickly making breakfast and lunch for the kids – after a late night to bed because we entertained guests last night, I stopped to pray for breakfast – and to share God’s word with our children. Delighted my heart was when I heard our 8 and 10-year-old enthusiastically respond to my call out of “Ask” – “and it will be given to you”, they cheers, “Seek” – “and you will find” they said, and finally, “Knock” – “and the door will be opened,” they naturally shouted out.

What a great way to start the day – with cheerful and affirming fellowship around the breakfast table together.  The kids chanted the Luke scripture before I even read it. Where had they heard it before?  Well, I was delighted they knew this much.  Our 7-year-old said, “I don’t know that.” I said that I didn’t know it at seven, either.

With the few pressing minutes we had before the school bus arrived, I stressed that God calls us to participate in asking for help and that He can only help us when we do ask.  Then I reminded them of a recent, specific answered prayer that our oldest had around her science project – which won 1st place!  His words encourages us to keep showing up – and to keep focusing on what it is that we most want.  Our God is a God of details. He continues to impress this upon our lives with answered prayers.

As we moved toward the pressing deadline of moving across the continent in 7 weeks, I surrender the details to God and ask Him to help me prioritize them at this time.  I also let go of more external events so that I can simply enjoy the spectacular beauty of these shining white-capped mountains that are literally in our back yard. Oh how I love Alaska! And, I very specifically ask, if not beg, for clarity on how to find balance between the stress of uprooting and transplanting our life and connecting with extended family members.

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who ask receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” – Luke 11:9

p.s. I did take a photo of our stunning backyard mountain view to share for inspiration but was unable to upload it. So, I take this request, too, that I will learn how to be more electronically effective. Where can I take a class to learn this?