Archive for January 2013

Saturday, January 26, 2013

I see it's been 3 weeks since my last post.  Every time I've thought about sitting at the computer to write, all I think about is "if you don't have something good to say, don't say anything."  Winter is a hard season for me, and many of us who dwell in the Pacific Northwest.  Having so little daylight and hardly any sunshine makes me crabby.  To add insult to injury, once again, my class schedule is filled with classes that start at 8:00, subjects that, in my opinion, will not make me a better teacher of English, and instructors with world views so radically different from mine.  I dread leaving for campus every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I sit in class oftentimes with my stomach in knots as I listen to opinions spouted while implying that "everyone feels this way."  It's such a lonely place.

Enough of "Debbie Downer!"  This last week I had a bright spot that so encouraged me & left me in awe of what a personal God we have.  I received an email from a friend whose husband is a faculty member on my campus--in the college of education.  Seems there's a small group of professors and staff who have started forming "pockets of prayer" around campus.  These "pockets" are simply those believers opening up their offices for a 30 minute period one day a week where students and staff can come and pray for themselves and others.  The email gave a little background but was also an invitation to come hear a local prayer warrior encourage us and then to eat dinner together on campus.  As exhausted as I was and as much as my warm house and sweet husband were calling me to settle in for the night, I rallied and returned to campus for what felt like an "underground meeting."  I was a little nervous like I had been thrust into the role of a CIA operative.  When you are in the middle of academia and a population that is so hostile to believers, it's very natural to want to hide where you stand.  In fact, I often hesitate to even share my true self on heresometimes for fear that I will be misunderstood or targeted.

It turned out, as I had hoped, to be the most encouraging 3 hours I've had all week.  To be with like minded men and women who have a heart for the students and faculty whom I spend a lot of my days with, was a bigger blessing than I could have imagined.  My heart was parched for that fellowship and to be reminded I am not alone in this journey.  What a perfect end to an exhausting week.  


Sweet 16

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Every year I truly look forward to writing posts on my boys' birthdays.  I love reflecting on the past year, digging up baby pictures, and anticipating the future.  I wish I could say I felt the same way this year.  
My firstborn hits a major milestone today and while it's exciting on one hand, it also brings many feelings to the surface about how difficult our relationship has been for the better part of the last six months.  We have butted heads more times than I care to count and it seems as if we start the day with tension more often than harmony.  But I don't want to devote this post to wallowing in the negative--I just want to be honest.  
Knowing the ebb and flow of mine and Quinn's relationship, my sweet mentor forwarded a weekly email she receives from a gentleman whose ministry focuses on raising teens.  (Can I just say that I love that this woman is 65 and she spends her time keeping up on today's parenting even though her kids are in their 30's??)  The title of the email was "Boys to Men" and the tagline under the photo was "Angry 15-year- old boy." The article went on to explain what happens in a young man during that crucial year from 15 to 16.  It was so spot on and gave me a lot more understanding, compassion and tolerance--and the ability to see life from Quinn's perspective.  I realized that I don't have a clue what it is like to be a teenage boy in today's high school environment.  The amount of pressure he's under on a daily basis is something I can't relate to: sports, academics, social media, peers making life changing choices and feeling the temptation to do the same.  He has to practice an immense amount of self control from the time he rises to when he turns in for the night.
Here's an excerpt from Mark Gregston at Heartlight Ministries:
"Parents do a wonderful job of teaching and encouraging a young son with uplifting words and rewards for participation in every activity.  You tell him he’s great, brag on him in conversations and post his photo in your Christmas cards. Then he turns 15, and things begin to look a little different.
Life for a 15-year-old boy can be a tough time, and even more difficult when parents begin making greater demands that force him to begin taking more and more responsibility for himself.
Suddenly, it seems, he does have the weight of the world on his shoulders. Classes get harder. The pond he swims in just got bigger and he just got smaller.  His social world gets divided and distributed. He’s too old to ride a bike and too young to drive a car.  The lessons you taught him are harder to apply than first thought.  Your son’s sporting accomplishments are dissipated into an overwhelming number of other 15-year-old boys who have accomplished the same, and perhaps more.  Girlfriends move on to older guys.
You might begin to see that the pain of growing up makes your teenage son behave more selfishly.  It might make him angry because he’s getting less of what he wanted in life, and more of what he didn’t want.  He may take to “spewing” at you because there is no one else who’ll take it.  He hurts because it’s harder than he thought.  Sometimes boys retreat to a virtual world of games, hide in their room, or just crawl inside their own depression.  They may associate with a new group of kids that look like “losers” because they find that those losers feel the same way.
They might feel stuck, frustrated, and begin to lose motivation.  They might begin to use words that you only see on public bathroom walls.  They might express themselves in ways you would have never expected.  It’s a tough time.  But it’s the right time for you to help them through it so you aren’t left dealing with a prodigal at 18 or 25."
Reading this gives me hope that "this too shall pass."  Many others have walked this path before me and have come out on the other end with wonderful relationships with their adult sons.  I'm hoping it doesn't take 2 more years before I can say the same.  But if it does, it still doesn't change how much I love this boy (young man) with all my heart and soul.  
Happy Sweet Sixteen, Quinn!!!  I look forward to spending today celebrating the gift of you.