Fish Photo Bomb

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Katie, eager to show off her newly minted Wikki Stix mask, asked if I might want to snap a photo. Not to be left out of the fun, Millie’s Wikki Fish decided to swim in as well. And that’s pretty much how this day rolled.

The boys are spending the weekend with a sweet, sweet couple and the 5yo girl they are fostering. I was a bit surprised by how conflicted I actually was when I dropped them off. I really only anticipated being relieved to have a little break for the weekend, and believe me, I am, but I still felt this weird, “When would you EVER drop any of your kids off with strangers for the weekend?” guilt. Alas, and sadly, the boys are SO trusting because they’ve learned to be and they were shy, but they didn’t question the situation. We did hug them about 4 times and I promised I’d be back on Sunday to pick them up before church. Here’s why they are away for 48 hours:

We’re heading to Tulsa super early tomorrow morning (okay, super early may be a slight exaggeration, but we have to leave at 7:45 on a Saturday morning and it’s going to feel super early…) to participate in the Walk and Roll for ALS Awareness on behalf of my mom. There are a lot of unknown variables to this time and it seemed best to have the boys stay elsewhere. Then we will dash back to OKC to prepare for the Veritas 8th grade class Oral Presentation Night. Once again, not the best environment for two preschool boys, particularly two who have been on the go all day and not napped as would have been the case had they been with us all day. Then on Sunday morning we will participate in the kids’ one mile run at the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. Remember that bit about unknown variables? Just seemed to make more sense to pick them up afterwards.

As it is, the six of us are enjoying what is perhaps the first Friday night we’ve had in 2013 with just the six of us at home, quiet, on a Friday night.

Blessings.

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I cried in church yesterday.

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So we sang this song in church yesterday. Or at least everyone else did. I started to, but as you can see below, it actually went down a much different way for me. I attempted to put down what was actually going on with me instead of singing right next to each line below:

Through the love of God our Savior, all will be well (Uh oh, am I going to cry now?)
Free and changeless is His favor, all is well (Yep. I think I am going to cry now.)
Precious is the blood that healed us (God, please, I really don’t want to cry now.)
Perfect is the grace that sealed us (Do I really believe this? *tear*)
Strong the hand stretched forth to shield us (Where’s that hand? I need some shielding here. *more tears*)
All must be well (It’s a lie. All is NOT well in my world.)

Though we pass through tribulation, all will be well (*sobbing*)
Ours is such a full salvation, all is well (All is NOT well)
Happy still in God confiding (Where’s the happy? I’d like some happy.)
Fruitful if in Christ abiding (Where’s the abiding? I’d like some abiding.)
Steadfast through the Spirit’s guiding (Where’s the guiding? I’d like some guiding.)
All must be well (It’s a lie. All is NOT well right now. *buried head in Craig’s side and sobbing*)

We expect a bright tomorrow; all will be well (I’m not expecting a bright tomorrow. I’m expecting a really sad tomorrow.)
Faith can sing through days of sorrow, all is well (I can’t sing. I’m sobbing. Do I have no faith?)
On our Father’s love relying (Where’s the relying? I’d like some relying.)
Jesus every need supplying (Where’s the supplying? I’d like some supplying.)
Yes in living or in dying (Where’s the living? Inside I’m dying.)
All must be well (I don’t think it’s a lie, but I’m not buying it right now. All is NOT well.)

It’s a strange thing, emotional stress. I generally feel like I have a pretty high stress capacity, but once I start to feel it, I feel it with crying. Crying in public. I hate to cry in public. That’s why, when we started to sing another song after taking communion, I got up and bolted right out of there. A gal can only take so much crying in public.

I’m grieving over the loss of the known, the ordinary. I’m grieving over the struggles and sadness my parents are facing. I’m grieving over the uncertainty to come. It does not feel like all is well right now.

Urgency never goes away

In less than 12 hours we will be going through a home study as one of the next steps in preparing to become foster parents. I’m nervous because I really don’t have a good idea of what to expect and we have plenty of closets and drawers that should be upended, cleared out, and reorganized, but I simply haven’t had the time to do that yet this fall. The laundry is mostly all clean right now, and it’s all been sorted/folded, but it’s all sitting on our guest bed right now awaiting the right moment to grab some kids to go put their clothes away. I can’t really remember what it means to “baby proof” a house, so I’m sure we don’t have everything done that needs to be done. In fact, I’m kind of looking at tomorrow to provide us with the checklist of what we have to do to get signed off on the home study. Crossing fingers.

Aside from the nerve wracking home study, there really are a thousand reasons why pursuing foster care just doesn’t make sense for us at this moment in time. My mom is struggling with her ALS diagnosis and I want to be as available as I can to help in whatever way is needed there. I’m also on the hunt for a part-time job to help pay for some of the needs we have. I’m also continuing to homeschool our kids three days/week. Oh, yes, and I still need to attempt to keep this house in order, prepare meals for my family, and be emotionally present.

Are we completely crazy? I know a lot of people think we are. Maybe we are.

Earlier last week we had three dead trees cut down in our yard. As part of a pretty significant language barrier breakdown, the trees did not get hauled away like we thought was going to happen. Instead, they continue to sit in a heap in our front yard and we’re scrambling to figure out what to do about it all before we get turned in by a certain neighbor who apparently likes turning us in to the trash police for various infractions.

Our front yard feels very much like our life right now. Moved by the urgent, we act and then are left to deal with the consequences. It’s so anti-everything we’ve trained ourselves to believe is the proper way to live.

But that’s kind of the way foster care works. Nobody plans to have their kids removed from their home. The agencies don’t get an email that says, “Be sure to keep next Wednesday open because Baby Jane Doe is going to be taken from her home and she will need a temporary place to stay.” Nope. I’m pretty sure things don’t happen on that kind of schedule there. It’s going to be more of an “act on the urgent, sort out the ramifications later” kind of existence.

And you know what? Urgency never goes away. So we can say we don’t want our lives to be dictated by the urgent, but sometimes I just don’t think you can get around it. I’m thinking right now the key for us is how to manage the urgent in the midst of the everyday ordinary chaos we’re already got going on.

Because if I have to choose between a predictable, calm, and dust-free existence that says emergency foster care is someone else’s problem or our current state of the opposite of that that says we believe children belong in families, not shelters, even if it means our family, even if it means in the midst of everything else, then I’ll choose the chaos and the uncertainty.

I’ll choose it every time.

I post the easy

It’s Thursday night. The house is silent. I am alone with five others. They are sleeping. I am glad.

What did one introvert say to the other? Nothing.

*groan*

I am a jobless writer. That which I want to say I can’t. Or I don’t. Or I won’t.

So I post thoughts about a plethora of things that don’t matter.

Because I like to write. Except when I have to think about really hard stuff. And then I don’t like to write.

Katie drew the dancer on the driveway. I didn’t even see her do it.

And now it’s raining and she will disappear.

The dancer, not Katie.

And the rain, we’ve needed it for so long. So long.

But the disappearing dancer makes me sad.

And I can’t really say exactly why. Or I don’t. Or I won’t.

Instead I post the easy.

It seemed easier to write about stuff with the kids were younger.

Anecdotal stuff. The stuff of life.

They are growing up. We hurt each other with our words, with our actions.

And the stuff of life now is that we sin. We forgive and we love. We cry.

It’s not so easy writing about that.

I respect my kids’ privacy.

And so the things I used to say I really can’t anymore. Or I don’t. Or I won’t.

Instead I post the easy.

And my mom, with her ALS.

I don’t like to think about it. It hurts too. stinking. much.

So I run. I really, literally run. I run so I don’t have to feel pain or endure the chaos for 45 minutes because all I can think about for those 45 minutes is how much I hate running.

And yet I love running because it makes me forget everything else.

And I can’t really talk about that here. Or I don’t. Or I won’t.

Instead…I post the easy.

Some True Stories

I really dislike dieting. *cough, sputter* I know. Surprising, right? I usually last about 3 weeks on any given hard life-style change endeavor and then I go right back to what’s easy and comfortable. There was a point around 2007 where I stuck with a weight loss program for about 3 months and lost about 18 pounds or so. And then came the fall (in both senses of the word) – fall cookies, cider, parties, Halloween, birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, EVERYTHING. I didn’t gain those 18 pounds back by the end of that year, but eventually I did gain them back and I added an additional 16.

That’s where I found myself at the beginning of this summer – frustrated and heavy in both heart and clothes.

So now here I am, just a few days shy of the 3 month mark since beginning the Shaklee Cinch Program. I’ve lost 18 pounds. And…I’m tired of trying.

Also, I just officially finished Week 10, Day 3 of the 9 Week Couch-to-5K program. When I finished the program with three weeks left until my 5K, a friend suggested I go back to week 7 and do 7, 8, and 9 again. She’s a runner and I trusted her opinion, so that’s what I’m doing. Today I did 2.77 miles at a 12:36 minute/mile pace. But…I’m tired of trying.

This week we launched our Night and Day Retreats for our Rhetoric School and Logic School students. I’m in charge of the food, but it’s all campy, so we’re talking grilled hot dogs, chips, grapes, and S’mores plus a whole plethora of goodies the kids are bringing with them from home. We just finished the first retreat (for the Rhetoric School) yesterday and we start the second one (for the Logic School) tonight. I’m telling you that to tell you this: I did not do well during the first retreat. I can say no to preparing the stuff and I can say no to bringing it into my house. BUT – if it’s right there in front of me and I’m handling it for several hours, I really REALLY have a hard time saying no. Grilled hot dogs? yes. S’mores? yes. Cider? yes. Chocolate Covered Krispy Kreme Donuts? yes. (yes. and yes.)

So let’s just say that my weight loss has stalled a bit since Friday. It’s right HERE where I want to just give up, give in, and embrace the easy.

But then I look at the photo above and I remember how good hard feels after you’ve done it. What you see in the photo above is a 45-foot tall climbing apparatus with a zip line attached. You see my 8yo, my 10 yo, my husband, and myself all at the top of this thing. Climbing it was NOT EASY. Not for me, at least. I was wearing sandals which is so not protocol. I’m no wilderness staff, but even I know enough to know that. But up I went anyway. I followed my 8yo who motored her way up like she’d been practicing in our backyard for years. She chanted to herself, “It’s just a ladder. It’s just a ladder.” After her went my 10yo who was super freaked out by it and really almost came back down. To the side, some 25 high school kids stood cheering her on, telling her she could do it. And she did. Then me. Shaking on the inside. And on the outside.

So it was hard. But it was good. And we were so proud of ourselves and each other for having done it after we did it.

Then this morning I stepped on the scale and faced my hot-dog and Krispy Kreme-induced reality. It was right at that moment I had a choice to make. 3 months, 18 pounds, fall is here. I’ve been here before. I know what it means. And every ounce of my being was screaming NO while I laced up my tennis shoes. And every bit of me was telling me I had too much to do today (true) and was too tired from the first retreat (also true) and that I deserved one more donut and a lazy morning in bed…Not. True.

I went outside and did the hard thing. And here’s what’s funny: In spite of my weight loss stall (slight gain), apparently I’ve still been losing in the inch department. After doing the 5 minute walk portion, I started to jog. And the yoga pants I’ve been wearing all summer started falling down. Silly, right? I thought I just hadn’t tied them up, so I tried to do that while jogging and holding my phone (I don’t recommend that move…) – I did what I thought was tighten the strings and tied them up again. I continued to jog and my pants continued to fall down. I ended up completing a 1 mile loop around my block with one hand on the waistband of my pants to keep me from flashing the neighbors, dashing back inside the house, changing into another pair of pants, and then completing the program.

When I came back in, I remeasured myself and realized I’ve lost an additional 5.75 inches since I last measured.

My resolve is back. I can climb the pole. I can say no to S’mores. I can keep jogging even when I REALLY don’t feel like it. Because I remember what it feels like after I did the hard thing and stepped off the platform – I did it. It was awesome. And knowing what I knew at the end, I’d totally go back and do it again.

 

Something Good, Something Bad

First,  the good. Remember the scare we had with Eagle Lake Camp? I’d love it if you would watch this video. Such a testimony to the hand of God working to save a place that has been so significant in so many lives for so many years.

And now, the bad. Last Monday, my mom, Moleta King, was diagnosed with ALS (otherwise known as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease). For what are probably obvious reasons, the implications on my family, particularly my mom and dad, are huge. We are all in a semi-dazed state of mourning right now. Sadness, anger, denial – you name it. At this point in time, I do not know how much of this I will process here online. There may come a time when it seems appropriate to do so, or it may seem more appropriate to keep those things completely private. Either way, somehow it will impact what happens here online. I’ve always processed thoughts and emotion in writing. I haven’t always done so online, so it may be that I return to a paper journal for such thoughts.

But one thing is for sure – I wanted you to know so that if you believe in the power of prayer (I do – see the link and video mentioned above), then I’m begging you for prayers. Pray that God would heal my mom and strengthen my dad. Those are the simple sentences I cry myself to sleep with at night. Please God. Heal my mom and strengthen my dad.

Thank you.