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Birthday week is almost over

IMG_9369We celebrated Caroline’s 13th birthday this week.  Yes, mothers who told me when my kids were little and I was dying with boredom mixed with mundane, yes you mothers, you were right.  The time goes INCREDIBLY fast.

IMG_9370IMG_9377This is the first Halloween we had only one kiddo with us.  So Ashley, our babysitter, came. She handed out candy and Matt and I walked around the hood with D girl.

IMG_9411It was lovely. And sad. And happy. And time is moving way too fast.

IMG_9426October closes its doors for another year tonight.  November rings in and we will continue this march of life we hold dearly in our hands!

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Revisiting high school

I’m getting ready to head to Kenya soon.  I have the privilege of meeting with several of Biblica’s Regional Directors of Africa.  Have I told you before that I love my job!?!

While in Kenya, I have the opportunity to Rift Valley Academy; my high school.  It will be 20 years since I left that place.  As Caroline and I were driving to soccer today, I was telling her about my trip.  She said, “Mom, you’re not going to cry are you?”

I will never forget the day I left RVA for the final time.  We had celebrated four years of amazing friendships. After graduation, we’d be scattered literally around the world.

rva fieldWhen I think of RVA, vivid memories come to mind.  Chai every morning after Chapel, singing the Kenya National Anthem in Swahili outside by the flagpole.  Freezing cold days in the summer, huddled around small space heaters.  Popcorn and crepes for lunch because the dining hall food was terrible.  Well, except for French fry days and Sunday lunch.  Running loops around the campus in the early morning hours.  Playing racquetball on the courts.  So many hundreds of hours laughing in the dorms.

rva gymFor me, an 8 pm curfew as a senior was no big deal.  We had each other to make our own fun.  We were taught the value of hard work.  We had chores every day.  To this day I cannot let a bed be left unmade. RVA taught me so much about friendships, communication, God, love, hope, culture, life.

So I’m going back.  To walk the paths again, this time as an almost 40 year old.  This time as a mother of three.  This time as a woman who’s finally lived longer in the USA than in Africa.

This growing up business is hard stuff.  It’s hard to watch my kids go through it and it’s hard to keep going through myself. But when I stop and reflect on the many amazing things that have happened in my life, I am so thankful that I get to live each day.  It’s a good life.

Not caught in the goop

We have arrived at Crazy Time. Each year three of the five of us have birthdays.  Throw in Halloween, soccer, basketball, and international travel and we are heaving by the time November 2 hits.

20141011_161025_AndroidThe weather around here has been AH.MAZ.ING.  Seriously Colorado has delivered the BEST fall we could want.  Warm days, cool nights, lovely orangey leaves and no snow.  I am crossing fingers and toes that my North Face down jacket won’t have to make an appearance until January.

I have also transitioned from a consultant to a employee, taking me to Kenya in a few weeks.  I haven’t been there since 1994!

20141017_153053_AndroidAll this living has made me stop and think.  As part of Caroline’s confirmation homework, we as a family have to read the homework with her.  I have “cheated” a bit and listen to the chapters while running.  It amazes me that every time I hear something, I glean a thought I didn’t have when I read the same thing.

Caroline fielding ballI am so thankful for this busy time in our lives.  Each day the schedule changes. Matt and I recently looked at each other and said, “You know what, we are thankful that our schedule is NEVER the same. That means that we are living full and rich lives.”

Our kids are growing up before our eyes.  I am taking every single cuddle and sweet high pitch compliment from Desta, knowing that the preschool years are rapidly drawing to a close.

Tobin DefenseConversations with the olders are hard.  We speak of life gut awful things like a classmates mom’s having cancer and peers getting pregnant.  We have to talk about sexual assault commercials and guarding hearts.  Our kids have to grow up so fast these days.

We also get to cheer our kids toward greater things–soccer games, basketball (I LOVE that we have one player in our family!), math facts, pumpkin patch field trips and Halloween costumes.

It’s easy to get so muddled in the mess of life that the glory and good gets lost.

I’m not letting that happen today.  No, today is a day filled with the gift of family.  It’s filled with hard work and reward.  It’s pumpkin bread and chocolate chip banana muffins.  Life is good!

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Friday List

It’s the first full week in October which means the race is on.

20140924_174720_AndroidTwo kid’s birthdays, fall parties, international travel for work, basketball and soccer season, band concert, school field trip…

Yep, it’s been a full week.

Today’s list includes hook ups to a few other lists.

  • I’d always wanted to attend an Oprah weekend.  After reading this, I feel  like I was there and saved myself $1000!  Hysterical.
  • Everyone seems scared of Ebola.  This article helps set the facts/myths straight.
  • I’m Tobin’s room mom this year.  Working on the fall party.  With a thousand allergies and a very tight budget, we’re doing this and eating this.
  • This song has been on repeat during my work hours.  I cannot get enough of the words.

  • Once again, Athleta comes through. These jeans are AMAZING.  and the price, winner!
  • I’ve started this new kettlebell routine this week.  I cannot lift my arms.
  • Her list is great.
  • Tobin ALWAYS asks for pie instead of cake for his birthday.  This pie made it on the table Wednesday night!
  • We’re making these this weekend.  Colorado has headed from summer to winter excluding fall.  I need fall colors around here!
  • I bought this oil at Whole Foods last week.  I cannot stop wearing it.
  • Her blog continues to inspire. Why do we make fun of things without first understanding? Cultural sensitivity at its finest!
  • This quote has been on my mind as I plan and think through our kid’s big birthdays this year…celebrating some HUGE milestones in their lives.quote

 

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The 3 to 5 year theory

I’m headed home after a blitz trip to North Carolina. Celebrating my parent’s 45 years with SIM was a blessing and honor.  I was able to catch up with childhood friends as well as many “aunties and uncles.”

The morning of the ceremony, I had my speech prepared.  When I stood up front of all those who’ve walked this road with my parents; many having direct influences in my life, I became overwhelmed with emotion.

I am proud to say I did get through my tribute to my parents, though there was some snot blowing, warbled voice and long pauses throughout!

I had the privilege of spending some extended time with a family friend.  Eighteen years ago, while traveling for the mission, she was involved in a terrible car accident.  Her story is amazing; from how the Ethiopia people gathered around their car for the entire night, sleeping next to them to offer protection to how God allowed the light to remain just a bit longer to get a plane in to fly her out.

We talked about the surgeries, the recovery, the rehabilitation. I listened, amazed by her profound story of courage and hope.

Of the many things she shared, a few things stand out.  One in particular I’ve been mulling over in my brain.

As she began the painful, arduous therapy of living forever in a wheelchair, losing her ability to walk, they were told this.

“It takes 3-5 years to create a new normal after a life changing event.”

As she said those words, the first thing that popped in my mind was DESTA.

Desta first yearLosing your first parents, being placed in a new home, new language, new culture.  Being flown halfway around the world forever.  This is a life altering  event.

Here we are, 5 years later, feeling like breaths are finally being taken.  Five years later, laughter is more often heard than anger.  Five years later, routine is established.  While not perfect, while still struggling with bumps along the way, we no longer live in each moment, waiting for the Jekyll/Hyde roller coast of emotions to show.

20140924_175326_AndroidWe live in a world of RIGHT NOW.  We want everything to work out quickly. We don’t like pain and we certainly don’t like chaos. 

What if we lived in light of those therapist’s words; understanding that life altering events need to be slowly rewired?  

20140924_171909_AndroidAs I sat on the plane listening to this poor single mother absolutely frustrated with her loud one year old, I remembered those first day with Desta.

I wondered how she felt as she was placed in new arms; smells unfamiliar, touch different, even formula tasting odd.  Her whole world was turned upside-down.

For her, five years is not a long time.  It’s laden with layers of baggage, things she never asked to carry but has to.

I think we’ve all done a pretty stellar job of learning a new normal.  I’m no longer hitting myself up the side of my head.  I am no longer going to speak defeat and doubt.

Instead I am going to remember where we came from.  I’m going to celebrate how far we’ve come.