Archive for December 2010

As we bid good-bye to 2010

Friday, December 31, 2010

One year ago today I sat with my journal and poured my heart out. 2009 was a year I longed to forget and the words I penned are testament to how strongly I felt. As I re-read the page, I thought "what a downer!!" I was almost embarrassed to admit those sentiments were a reflection of what was in my soul. Needless to say I was in a bad place.

"12-31-09~Sitting here before the clock strikes midnight and we begin a new year and end a decade. Holding out hope that this new one will not resemble the last. Wishing for a respite from the constant slugging away day after day to see no progress. Hoping for the end of month after month of broken dreams and sad hearts. Begging God for a new lease on life where the good times will last longer than the bad ones. Dying for a breakthrough where God puts an end to old, destructive thought patterns and breathes new life into this heart that can't take another morsel of sadness or bad news or disappointment."

I definitely don't feel as hopeless as last year and God did come through in many of the ways I asked. But it's always good to reflect on where we've been but more important to focus on where we're going. A couple days ago, my daily email from Internet Cafe Devotions was all about this very subject. As I scrolled through the message, I loved the questions she posed at the end. A perfect combination of considering the past while focusing on the future. Two nights ago I had a belated Christmas celebration with my BFF's where we went around the room and answered these questions. I won't share theirs but I'm happy to divulge mine. Maybe you'd like to do the same?

1. What was the one thing that brought you joy this year?

Watching Ian come into his own. The last half of the year he blossomed in every area of his life-socially, academically and athletically. It was heart warming to see.

2. What was the biggest challenge you faced? What were the results? Is there something you could have done differently?

Juggling school, work and home. The results were straight A's, money to pay tuition and a very messy house. I could have asked for more help from others and not felt guilty about it.

3. What were you most afraid of?

Hearing "Honey, I've been let go". I think I'm always afraid of this. Something I continually lay down over and over, year after year.

4. What was the greatest lesson the Lord taught you?

That I need to worry about what he has called me to, use my gifts the way he is asking and not concern myself with other's opinions or how I think they should be using their gifts. When something is glaringly obvious to me, it's hard when others don't have the same enthusiasm as I do. Offering grace and accepting that we are each on our own journey at our own pace is a good lesson for me to take to heart.

5. Is the Lord asking you to leave some things behind as the year ends?

Yes. Many things but the biggest one is the belief that I am not deserving of spending time and money on. The martyr role I have taken on since becoming a mother makes it hard for me to justify fussing over myself without feeling selfish. I always talk myself out of most every personal purchase because there are always so many more pressing needs in our family: tires for the car, new cleats, dentist visits, etc. I want to leave behind the guilt I carry when I do indulge from time to time.

6. Are there any changes you feel the Lord is asking you to make in the new year?

Definitely to slow down. Since 2005, I've been asking for a theme from God for each coming year. Last year it was patience and this year it is slowing down and enjoying the process-no matter what that process is. I tend to want to check things off my list and move on to the next thing. I live life in a hurry because there's always a deadline looming. I know God is asking me to take the time to do things right, even if it takes a little longer.

Finally, I wish I could take credit for this awesome quote but it was at the end of these questions and I absolutely loved it........

"As we move into the unknown wonders of 2011, may His abiding love fill you, His purposes compel you and His indescribable peace surround you."

This is my prayer for you. Amen and Happy New Year!

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Two down, eight to go!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Last Friday marked my the final day of Fall quarter 2010. Although I was only taking one 5 credit class online (American Literature-yawn.) it felt like a full load. If it was just me as a 19 year old college student there would have been no excuses or whining. But add a 15 hour-a-week job and a very active family and now you know why I've only been on here a handful of visits.

But.........I reluctantly peeked at the online learning board for one last time before I closed up shop and I couldn't believe my eyes. The grade for my final paper: 100%!!! I about fell out of my chair. Yes, I worked very hard and stressed out and yelled and screamed at every member of my family and cried about what a mistake I made trying to fit it all in but I certainly wasn't expecting that as a result. Wow. In my entire college career this has NEVER happened to me. I've had some low to mid 90 scores here and there but 100? Like I said: never.

As much as I'd like to give myself credit I do have to say that this time around I find the instructors go a little easier on their students. I know I'm much more focused than 20 years ago but I still don't think I'm doing that caliber of work. In the late 80's most of my professors were born in the 30's and 40's and their style reflected their hard core work ethic. Not that anything is wrong with high expectations but their demands were a little unrealistic. Most of my peers agree that no matter whether you were taking a 5 credit or 3 credit class, they wanted you to treat it as if it was your only one. As I noticed this summer, today's educators are a little more reasonable and realistic. They accept the fact that you have a lot more on your plate than just their class and make amends to the syllabus to reflect that. It could also be that I went summer quarter--which is always more laid back-- and now I'm at a community college where 90% of the students are commuters and part or full-time workers.

Whatever the reason is, I'll take the "A".


Ian's hitting his stride--so to speak

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Back when my middle son was 3 years old, my wise next-door-neighbor lady always referred to him as "the cat that walks alone." That pretty much summed up Ian. He did his own thing. Marched to his own drum. Wrote his own rules. He was stubborn as all get out but so tender and lovable all at the same time. As a non-conforming kind of personality I was always a bit concerned especially in regard to school and the social life accompanying it. Overall, he did fine but just average. Average was okay but I knew there was more inside his quiet little soul if he could just find his niche. Little did I know that the introduction of middle school would awaken the sleeping giant.

In the last 90 days I have seen this kid absolutely blossom. The first day of sixth grade was disastrous but day two brought a newfound confidence to take the bull by the horns and seek help from his teachers. He found favor with his science/math teacher when he learned of their shared love of mountain biking. A month later we had to give permission for the school psychologist to re-test him for some individual learning help that began in third grade. After the test, the gentleman called me and our conversation was music to my ears. He concluded that Ian had no need for extra help and was floored that he ever made it into that category. His exact words were: "you have a well put together kid. He's confident, athletic, handsome and is charming the socks off his teachers." At his conference last month, his social studies/language arts teacher's comment was: "I know you think we say this about every student but I really don't. This kid has character and is a true gentleman." Not words you normally hear from a public school teacher. My heart leapt and I wanted to hug the man. Nothing's more endearing than hearing someone praise and love your child.

The "coup de gras" , however, was when he got "recruited" for a cross country team by a substitute P.E. teacher. Ian called me from school that day and left this message: "We ran the mile in P.E. today and we had a sub and she thought I was really good and she wants me to be on their cross country team. We can talk about it later but I just wanted to tell you." When I spoke to the lady that afternoon she said: "I just saw a confidence and a maturity in him and knew he'd be an asset to the team." Ian started running with them 3 days a week and next thing we knew he was in Seattle qualifying for regionals. The following weekend he went to Portland for the meet and the top 20 finishers in each age group would be going to Alabama for nationals. You guessed it. Mr. Ian placed 8th and he'll be on a plane in one week heading southeast to run his little legs off.

If you know me very well then you also know that I hesitate to say much that could be construed as bragging. But this current chain of events called for a special post. Thanks for indulging me.