Friday, August 28, 2015

Dipping My Toes in the Water

Yesterday was a big day for me, and it had little to do with the craziness of the kid's schedules.

I started working again.

It's been 16 years since I've had a paying job at an actual place of business. (Blogging has been fun and all but it has never, as much as I might have wished it would, paid any bills for me.) The last time I had a job I was on my feet at a restaurant while pregnant with #1 and I resigned in August  of 1999 in anticipation of spending my days as a SAHM.

16 years is a long time, yo.

While my current gig is only part-time, I fully expect it to blossom into more work in the coming months and years. With #1 turning 16 and taking over some (all?) of his own driving to and from events, and college expenses looming in the near future, it was time.

My current position is a part-time teacher at the Encounter school at my church. I am teaching Communications and Social Media/e-communication from now through most of September. Yesterday was my first day and I was so nervous! Mostly because I hadn't been in front of a class like that in so long but also because the material that I had been given can be super dry and boring if you're not careful. Not to mention that it was written for business and I needed to alter it for a college/ministry setting! I have spent many hours this summer reviewing material, searching YouTube for the perfect clips, and finding fun ice breaker games to help ensure that the classes that I teach are fun and informative.

Did I succeed? Early feedback says yes. I'm going to hold off on my final self-evaluation until my month is up, but I certainly feel much better about my preparation and delivery after class yesterday.

I don't know exactly what the future holds but I'm believing that God has given me this first step and is opening the door for more. I can't wait!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Grace in Small Things #2


I need a little Grace and Gratitude today. 5 things that I'm appreciating today:

1) Cloud cover and potentially rain. We had a little earlier but we need a lot. And so does the northwest. But for now I'm going to be thankful for the clouds that are blocking the burning sun.

2) My Libby. She is the Best Dog Ever.

3) A roof over our head and food in the cupboard.

4) Football. High school games start this week, youth games and NFL in 2 weeks. I desperately need a day of football to clear my head.

5) My Bible. It never fails to give me an attitude adjustment.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Can I brag on my awesome kids for a minute?

I spent a little time this morning catching up on a few of my favorite blogs and reading about being a parent during your child's senior year got me a little teary. I mean, it's only 2 short years until #1 is a senior, and only 5 years until we're empty-nesters. 5 years, people. 5 years ago my kids were a junior in college, a 5th grader and a 3rd grader.

Whoa. Let me back up a little. Teary. That's where this was going.

When your kids are little and you're knee-deep eyeball-deep in diapers, snot, and chicken dino bites, it seems like those days will never end. (I mean, we know they WILL, there just isn't much light at the end of that tunnel. Maybe the flickery end of a firefly, but certainly not the sunrise bursting through. Because time.) I'm telling you right now, don't let this middle time go. These middle years when they can wipe their own butts (thank God), handle their own social schedules (rest in peace playdates, I won't miss you), AND have a deep, meaningful conversation about literature with you? These are the priceless years.

Remember when I was telling you about our remaining summer schedule? Let's dive into things a little....

My #1 is a music guy. He has been playing the piano and saxophone for 4 years, joined the marching band last year, and put together a jazz band that is now playing around town. He decided a couple of years ago that he wanted to do something music related for a career. When we were registering him for high school and getting him into the honors classes that he needs, we started looking at colleges and universities so he would understand how classes that he takes now will help him get into the schools that he wants to go to. In that process we decided to look at Berklee College of Music's website as a comparison to an in-state school, compared to an out-of-state university. (That whole ball of wax is a different post. Different day.) While clicking around we found that Berklee offers summer camps, some of which are offered here in LA. His sweet little brain started to churn and by last spring I found myself clicking "Pay Now" for a week-long song writing camp. (One of the things he likes to do in his free time is compose. Yes, I said compose. Music. I know.) That was the week that I had to drive back and forth to Santa Monica each day, twice a day. (Yet another post. Y'all don't even know.) At the end of the week, after working with instructors, playing Open Mic night, and writing and performing a new jazz tune, they asked him to return for the second week of the program, focusing on Performance. And? Offered him a partial scholarship. Long story short, (Yeah, right. Who am I kidding?) #1 is turning into an amazing musician. He has great musicality, even more drive, and we realized that week that we're not just being proud parents (which we totally ARE,) but that he really IS talented and has enough talent and drive to make this music thing happen. People in 'the business' told us so. We don't yet know where it will lead but I've got the best seat in the house for watching it happen. The best part of it all though? I get to see great concerts, mostly for free. Be jealous.

#2. Oh, my #2. Tank, Bruiser, Giant. He's the football kid, remember? Back when he was just a wee one, maybe 5 or 6 years old, he pointed at the tv and said "That's what I want to do when I grow up." He was pointing at a Saturday afternoon SEC football game. I was able to put off tackle football until he was 7 and there has been no turning back since. 4 different youth leagues, dozens of coaches, 7 seasons, a private coach, 2 summer camps, and countless loads of "OMG THAT IS THE WORST SMELL EVER" laundry, we are in a critical season. Believe it or not, the 8th grade year is when a football player begins his journey to college recruitment. (Yes the NCAA has bunches of regulations but if you really, really want to play this is the best year to get started on your 'resume' of game films, among other things.) For years, my husband and I were your typical sports parents-He tried to push him, I just wanted him to play for the love of the game, ("There's plenty of time to get serious! He's only 8!") We, thankfully, landed somewhere in the middle: just enough push for reality, just enough relaxation for it to be fun. This year? He's KILLING IT on the field. He is being coached by a man (and his staff,) that believe in this: #1 in life is Faith, #2 Family, #3 School, #4 Football. Also on the staff is a coach from a well-respected local high school varsity team. Connections, and all. His dream is to go to a large, prestigious, PAC 12 school, and he's got the grades to do it. I'm really looking forward to this season as my big boy grows into his man-sized body and plays out his passion on the field. The smiles when he comes off the field at the end of the night are worth every stinky sock, every stinky year. Now don't get me wrong, I have realistic expectations and a D1 school plus a scholarship are lofty goals but even if he ends up at a D2 or D3 but still gets to play the game he loves? It will be ok with me.

These kids. They are driven. More importantly though, they are incredible human beings. #1 is loyal and has a strong sense of commitment. #2 is quietly strong and when he finally has an opinion on a subject, it is well thought-out and mature. They both have a faith that is strong and a self-identity that is pretty solid.They are both sweet and loving and compassionate.

So, I'd say that we are pretty proud parents, and things are going pretty well so far this school year!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Lame

March. My last post. Things have been pretty crazy around here. I'll catch you up on some things, others I'll leave out. I have lots I want to write about but the first post after such a long absence is always awkward. Klunky.

We finished the second class at church. Really good. This class focused on healing from the big hurts in your life, learning how to forgive, and learning how to ask for forgiveness. In April I attended a women's retreat at the same camp that my kids have gone to for about 15 years. It's up in our local mountains and really beautiful. I'm glad I now have the perspective to understand what my kids talk about!

The 6 weeks following the retreat? All unblogable. Probably some of my worst days ever, for lots of different reasons.

My parents came for a lovely visit. As usual, too short! The first few weeks of summer for the kids were relaxing. We didn't do much but that was by design because since the 15th of June we haven't stopped moving. For real.

The short version of the rest of the summer: June 19 leave for vacation, June 20 arrive at campsite in Colorado. Leave June 29, home midnight June 30. July 1 clean and return motorhome. Pack the boys for their next trip. Deliver luggage July 3. Boys leave July 5. Boys return July 13. #2 reports to football camp in San Diego July 16. Pick up #2 on the 20th. #1 goes to music camp every day from July 20-24, driving into LA. (Up to 2 1/2 hours each way, depending on traffic!) Then all of the local stuff starts: marching band camp, football, register at school.

I'm tired just reading all of that and it's not over yet.

So there's your nutshell version of the last 4 months. There are way more fun things that I'd like to write about so I wanted to get this out of the way. Please, please tell me what you're doing this summer? Tell me what your kids are doing or where you went for vacation? Write whatever you want in my comments. I miss you. I miss our conversations.

Let's get back to this, shall we?

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Topsy Turvy

I know I haven't been around. January. That's pretty lame. I'm so sorry. I have been having my world rocked in an amazing and wonderful way. More on that in a moment....

First, I owe you the follow up on the colonoscopy thing. All of the polyps were clear of cancer or anything else. Phew! My 'difficult' colon was the reason that I ended up waking up-the procedure took about 3x as long as it normally does! Ultimately everything was fine, so I'll take it. Thank you for your prayers!

If you follow this page on Facebook or are friends with me there you know that I've been taking classes at our church. These have been great classes, seriously SO GOOD. The first class focused on who we are in Christ, and the second one is about healing from sin: the hurt from the sins against us and the hurt of the sins that we've committed against others. In a nutshell, it's all about being a disciple of Christ. Really knowing what it means to follow him and understand the crazy authority and capacity for love that we have when we are in Him is GAME CHANGING. For real. I've learned more about God, more about myself, and what direction my life is supposed to be going. All good stuff, I assure you. I've learned about prayer, about how to let God's words soak into your soul, and more.

I will be sharing more, I'm sure, but if you have any questions please let me know! Shoot me an email, or leave a question in the comments. I'm not afraid, and you shouldn't be either.

Interestingly enough, HD is doing the classes too and having an equally radical experience. It's also doing wonders for our marriage. For real. When was the last time that you had a conversation with your husband about what God was speaking to you about? It changes you.

I hope that you'll stick around to learn more. I promise that this is good stuff. I hope that my writing can do justice to the great things that I'm learning, and more importantly internalizing. It feels good, and I want you to have it too!