/> Raising Angels: September 2009

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Tonight I was putting Max to bed like I always do. I turned the fan on, turned the light off and held him just like always. I sang "Jesus Loves Me" same as always.

But tonight, he moved my arm and slipped his under it. He reached to my back and with that sweet, sweet, little hand started patting it.

There are no words.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Looking for Guidance

We leave Saturday for a week at the beach with my parents, who so generously allow us to tag along on their vacation every year. Needless to say, with grading, planning, teaching, doing the kids' make up work, and life in general, my mind was on full tilt today.

On the way home from carpool number three of the day I found myself dreaming about my time at the beach where I will be driving not one carpool. Then I thought, with all that time, I could bring all my school work and get a jump on the next week's plans. On the other hand, I thought wouldn't it be nice to leave it all behind and just veg out a little.

One option will make coming back home a bit more peaceful and the other will give me one week of peace. Which would you do?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Dead Hair?

We had our parish priest over for dinner tonight. During our conversation he happened to mention to Aiden that he used to have red hair, just like he does.

Aiden gave him a once over and, looking at Father's presently grey locks, asked, "So is your hair dead now?"

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Loaves, Fishes and Lasagna Noodles

Tomorrow night we are having our parish priest over for dinner. I had a plan that involved making a dinner that I could make ahead of time because I have a field trip with my class tomorrow and will be gone most of the day.

When I checked with Nelson about the budget, he asked me to wait until tomorrow to shop. That totally threw me off my game. Tomorrow I have time to clean up the house, not clean up, shop and cook. Sure I could have cleaned up today, but let's face it, when you have kids that's pretty much a pointless activity until the day of the event.

As I ruminated over how in the world it was all going to come together, I began to see that my attitude was not helping things. After all, I could readjust my menu. I could clean today and try to keep it that way until tomorrow night. Most importantly, I could pray for peace and trust God to work it all out.

When I got home from teaching I walked around the kitchen not knowing quite what to do. I finally decided that at the very least I could get out my recipes and make my shopping list to expedite that part of tomorrow. As I began to scour my pantry, refrigerator and freezer I began to find a few of the things I needed. Hmmm...maybe I could prep half of the meal. By the end of my search I had found every single ingredient I needed to make the main course and salad dressing, as well as the dessert

I stood in my pantry literally cheering. The boys at home gathered to see what all the commotion was about. I requested a high five from Dawson and Max and shouted, "Thank you Jesus!" I was so excited I even called my mom and shared the good news with her.

As I hung up the phone I realized I was shaking. Tears came as I thanked the Lord again for His goodness. I stood there realizing how much God loves me. I did nothing to deserve this blessing and yet He gave it to me. In fact, I didn't even ask Him for it. He just read my heart and did it anyway.

To anyone without faith, the events of today would be merely circumstantial. At best, some may say I was really lucky. But for me, what happened today was nothing short of a miracle. It was God's providence showing itself in a tangible, undeniable way.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Few Photos

I have enjoyed my front loading washing machine since we moved in. Today I realized that two of my guys love it a lot more than I do.
In other news, Aiden got to attend his very first Tiger Cub meeting last night and he was beside himself with excitement.
After watching Mackenzie and I head out to Little Sisters for the past three years, he was so proud to be heading off with Nelson. I can't believe we've entered the world of Boy Scouts. Time marches on.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Interval Training

Tonight my training group had the dreaded interval training scheduled. This involved a 1 mile warm up; followed by 4 one mile intervals and then a 1 mile cool down. These are designed to increase your speed. You are supposed to run at a fast pace for those four miles but the kicker is that you have to try to keep each of the one mile intervals around the same pace. It is not something any runner I know looks forward to.

We did tonight's run at a track which was 1/4 of a mile so we had to do 4 laps to make a mile. When we took off for the warm up mile I made a mental decision. Instead of dwelling on the fact that I had only done interval training once before and it was 5 miles total not 6, I decided to take it one mile at a time. Not rocket science I know, but a mental battle to fight nonetheless.

When we took off for the first speed mile, I told my running partner, "We only have to make it four times around. That's it." She agreed with me and off we went. We finished that mile much faster than either of us had planned and we were tired. We took our two minute stretch and got set to go again.

I looked at the long track ahead. Only four times, I told myself again. I don't have to think about the fact that it's really 4x5 times around. I just have to get around it four times right now.

I continued this method of thinking until I finished the cool down mile. To my surprise, I not only did the second mile faster than I had planned, but I managed to keep it really close to that pace for all four of the intervals. I don't know how I did it, but I was elated. I am making such big strides (pardon the pun) and it feels great.

On the ride home it occurred to me that if I looked at life the same way, I might be more peaceful about things. I don't have to think about everything ahead of me. I just have to think about what's going on right now.

And while I think that God wants us to see the finish line and know it's there, I don't think He wants us running the whole race every day. All He asks is that we put our shoes on and get out there. We get to the finish one mile...one lap at a time. It not only gets us where we're going, it helps us to have fun and grow along the way. Enjoying the journey, the fruits of our labors, is what makes the finish so much sweeter.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Ah, You Got Me!

At breakfast this morning the topic of birthday celebrations came up. "Dawson, are you going to have your birthday at Adventure Crossings or Monkey Joe's?" Aiden asked him.

"Hold on a minute," I said desperately trying to squash this $150 conversation, "we don't have all our birthdays at places like that. Sometimes we have them at home."

"If we have enough money, can I have my birthday somewhere?" asked Dawson.

"It's not about the money," I explained. "We try to save those big kinds of celebrations for special birthdays."

"So...” Mackenzie slowly observed, "are you saying that ALL of our birthdays are not special?"

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Well...Kind of

"What's a chore?" Dawson asked innocently this morning during conversation.

"Oh my gosh, where did I go wrong?" I lamented aloud. "Do you really not know what a chore is?"

"Hey!" piped in Aiden. "I know what a chore is Dawson. A chore is something you don't want to do."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Just Wondering

I've always wondered how working mothers do it. Now that I am one, I still don't know!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

One Person's Trash is Another One's Treasure

Last week as Max's therapist was leaving she asked me if I had a little slide that Max could use. The ladder would help build his strength and sitting and sliding would help with his balance.

That's not something I've ever had and when I told her that she suggested putting it on the Christmas list. I knew those things are not cheap and I got a tad overwhelmed at the thought of pouring a big chunk of the Christmas budget into one item.

As I was walking her out to her car I looked across the street and saw that my neighbor had a slide just like the therapist had suggested. It was in her front yard right next to her trash can.

I ran back inside and called to ask her if she was throwing it away. Her husband had taken it apart to try something that didn't work and it was just too dirty to put back together.

I asked her if she minded if I took it and tried to put it back together. When I went over to look at it with her it was truly filthy. I actually thought about leaving it with the trash. Was it really worth the effort it was going to take to get this clean enough for use?

I'm happy to report that after borrowing a pressure washer, we have a slide that according to the therapist "is just perfect for Max."

And just like that, God provided. In fact, He provided before I even asked. He gave me something bigger and better than I would have purchased. He didn't have to do it, he just did. He could have made me wait, but He didn't.

Through one friend's generosity, I experienced a miracle.

Monday, September 14, 2009


This summer we took on quite a few nature projects...beyond just our regular bug catching adventures. The most exciting by far was our venture into raising tadpoles that we caught from a friend of my mom's.

They start as the tiniest little things.

Then they grow the tiniest little legs.

Along the way they provide hours of viewing pleasure. I have to admit that one more than one occasion, my checks on these little guys turned into 15 minutes of just watching them. They were really quite fascinating creatures.

Before we knew it, they began absorbing (yes, they absorb them...they don't just fall off) their tails and growing front legs as well.

After a few of them hopped out of the container and never came back, we decided it best to let them go back into the wild (our local swamp). So Saturday, we packed the frogs and remaining tadpoles plus one extra friend and off we went.

They were really quite cute and we were kind of sad to see them go.

We were quickly distracted from our loss by the sight of this big guy on the hike back to the car. Well, at least until the topic of whether or not alligators eat frogs came up.

Of course when we spotted this, we knew our little guys may or may not make it in their new habitat.

By the time we spotted this guy, it was kind of like, "Frogs? What frogs?"

Friday, September 11, 2009

Heroic Action

Tonight before dinner Nelson asked us to go around the table and each say something that we're grateful for.

"I'm thankful that Mama's a teacher at my school," said Aiden on his turn.

I knew right then how sweet that thought was. Thinking about it further I am reminded that this is such a precious time in my life. It is busy and demanding and exhausting, but also wonderful.

You see I am a hero in these parts - not because of what I wear, how much I weigh or even the things I know. I am a hero simply because I spend time with these precious souls and, although they are too young to verbalize it or even realize it fully, they understand on some level.

They not only like that I'm with them, they want me to be here. In their eyes I can solve most any problem, heal most every hurt, and fill most every need. They see me as the person I hope to be regardless of who I really am. They love me unconditionally and follow me fearlessly.

I recognize this as a sweet gift...one of the moments in which God allows me to see the bigger picture. Getting back into teaching may be one of the hardest things I've had to do in awhile, but it might also prove to be one of the smartest decisions I've ever made.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

First Day Of School

Since my mind is going nonstop this week and I've got that deer in the headlights kind of feeling getting back into teaching, I thought a few photos could fill the space today.

The only way I got them to pose for this that morning,
was to agree to let them do this.
Now that she's a fourth grader (did I just say that?), Mackenzie gets to move up the bleachers for assemblies.
And Aiden, well, he's pleased as can be that being a first grader means he gets to stay at school all day with Mackenzie. "That's six and a half hours!" he told me that afternoon.
Unfortunately, I was too busy being nervous about teaching as well as getting all the memories recorded for my kids to bother taking one picture of me matching them that morning. Oh well, maybe on the last day...if I make it:)

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Going Back to School Has Taken On a Whole New Meaning

I got a call late last week. It was the call of desperation from the high school principal at the kids' school asking me to consider teaching a class this year.

Let me tell you just how God works. About two weeks ago, after discussing our budget, Nelson and I decided that it would be good for me to do something to help out financially. I could not wrap my mind around a job that required me to leave my babies. I was researching free lance writing, online teaching and the like. Nothing jumped out at me. Truth be told, I didn't want to work.

Then I got the call. The request was to teach one class, a class that I taught for 5 years...8 years ago. It just so happens that it was my favorite class to teach. I made a call to my dear mother, who just happened to have retired Saturday, and she graciously agreed to not only watch my two little guys, but to come to my house to do it.

Coincidentally, I'm getting to the end of The Purpose Driven Life. The last few pages have focused on using your God-given talents to build His kingdom. People who work at this Christian school know that it is just as much a service as it is a job.

It was just too perfect to say no. God had dropped this opportunity in my lap and smoothed out all of the details. How could I say no? Now I will be doing something I love (teaching), while serving God as well as helping my family. This is not a job opportunity, it is a gift.

This morning however, it did not feel so much like a gift. I was nervous - stomach turning, hands shaking nervous. I am not nearly as prepared as I want to be. I walked into my class and the desks were still stacked on top of each other with no chairs. I had no roster and didn't know most of the students. And, after my hour long class, my shirt was wet. I had forgotten how hot it is in that non-air conditioned place.

But all of those things were not what was making me nervous. It was more a fear of how I am going to fit this into my life. Teaching as a single and newlywed is TOTALLY different than teaching as a mother of 4 still pretty small and needy kids.

What I know (and am relying on) is that when God calls you to do something, He gives you the grace to do it. So I'm looking forward to a year full of adventure and lots and lots of GRACE!

Saturday, September 05, 2009

It's the Thought That Counts

Both Mackenzie and Nelson were out having fun tonight so it was just me and the three little guys at home. I decided it would be okay for us to do something a little fun too so at the last minute I called out, "Boys, go get your shoes on!"

"Where are we going Mama?" they chimed in unison.


They jumped around a minute and then disappeared. I scooped up Max, got my purse and called for them but got no answer. I called again but still nothing. Finally on my third try, I heard a faint, "We getting a surprise for you."

Dawson ran into the garage waving his little wallet, a huge smile on his face, and shouted, "I'm paying!" He then pulled out a shiny nickel and handed it to me joyfully.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

My Point Exactly

I took the kids out for free ice cream cones today. There were many, many flavors from which to choose. As we all stood there in front of the sign, I read the options.

Mackenzie and Dawson decided the moment they heard the flavor they wanted but Aiden was taking a bit more time. He looked at the pictures displayed and pointed to one saying, "I think I want this one."

"That looks like cherry buddy and that's not one of the choices today," I told him.

"Where are the pictures of the other flavors? I want to see what they look like," he explained.

"Aiden, it doesn't matter what they look like," I tried to convince him.

"But," piped in Dawson, "it matters what they taste like."

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Oh, Those Lazy, Crazy, Days of Summer

I had big aspirations at the beginning of this week. This is our last week of summer so I had visions of starting to buckle down - work on getting bedtimes in gear, starting a few mornings early and the like.

Monday morning half of the crew was still at the breakfast table in pajamas when Max's therapist arrived at 9:30. Last night, after dinner, Nelson went out to the garage for some work and the boys and I followed. The weather was cool, the bikes were going - it was too much fun to call anyone in.

Today Mackenzie received the game Uno. So after the gang mulched the yard and I went for a run, we sat around the kitchen table and played. It was after 9:30 when we got them to bed.

Suffice it to say that I have changed my philosophy. In a mere 6 days it will be back to the grind of schedules and carpools and bedtimes. We'll deal with those things when they get here. Until then, we will milk every last moment of this wonderful summer together.