Thursday, August 31, 2017

$8 Entertainment

There was a garage sale a couple blocks over this past Saturday, and the boys split the $8 cost for a small trampoline. There was a time I would have said I don't want someone else's junk junking up my yard, but these years with my kids are too short to be a no-saying mom all the time. Eight bucks for fun and exercise and happy boys is a pretty good deal, and not a bad way for them to spend a little of their summer earnings.

'Course, they don't use trampolines for regular jumps. I like that about them.


Annual Donut Dip

So school has started and I’m tired already! The new schedule has kept us moving all day and into the evening, adjusting to early mornings is hard for us non-morning people, and I’ve taken up a running schedule for another race this fall. I remind myself that education and the ability to work hard are a privilege, so I am embracing this shift once again. Oh, and play is a privilege with remarkable benefits, so I am working that into our weeks as well.

We had our third annual donut dip on Monday before the school day started. No one needed to be anywhere till the ten o’clock hour, so we had a bit of time to ease into the week’s obligations. Jon was even able to join our escapade for the first time.

As this new-ish tradition goes, we head out in the morning at the end of summer for donuts and an early morning dip in the sea. No wetsuits or fanfare allowed. We get up and go.

With bed heads and sleepy eyes, we go straight into the morning fog and the Pacific waves to welcome a new school year together. A box of donuts makes it cheery and celebratory. (Michael opted to stay dry and warm, which worked out for me 'cause now I have pictures.)

Jacob didn't wait for his gang. He was the first one in while the rest of us took a moment for our sugar high to kick in!

A sugar high makes us do fun things...

In my opinion, this is a happy way to mark new beginnings.
Or just to start the day...


We are currently in the middle of a heat wave. It hasn’t been too bad for us on the coast, but I’ve still spent the better part of two days in swimwear: swimwear to work by the pool yesterday afternoon, then swimwear under a dress at Andrew’s practice, swimwear to drive across town to pick up others from various locations (wishing I’d changed), swimwear in the kitchen making an easy dinner, swimwear for a night run into the ocean with the kids, and wet swimwear again in the car as Olivia racks up her last few night driving hours before her driving test. I’m in swimwear again today ‘cause it’s forecasted to be the hottest day yet.

Here are a couple quick pictures one of my younger boys snapped before heading out for orientation and packet pickups at our charter high school last week. Guess who wasn’t looking forward to this event?

Two in high school now. One is taking half her course load at the community college. This strikes me as surreal.

I have been praying much about what it means to parent teens. This is not a responsibility and privilege I take lightly.

I don’t want to be Mommy to them. Our relationship must not be what it once was, where I  primarily protected them, made decisions for them, and provided necessary control in their lives. Those days need to be passing. They have passed. Mommy instincts can be quite strong though; my desire to bring them up into independent, capable, and confident individuals doesn’t come by way of codling or through over-protection and mistrust, so emotional reaction must be tempered with thoughtful and prayerful dependence on God. A more mature, faith-filled motherhood is needed now, because parenting well will come by letting them go out to practice what they’ve learned up until now, claiming belief as their own, and understanding that we all learn through failures and successes.

Mostly, we learn from our failures.

I am learning to have enough humility to embrace failure, to see that healthy individuality and the expression of gifts and strengths is a process, sometimes more like a journey on a bumpy road. I want to give my kids the freedom to become who God designed them to be, freedom to step out and discover a life that is their own. It will look different from mine, it will look different from what I might guess, maybe different from what I hope for. But they are not here for me. My kids are not projects for me to turn out according to my pre-determined plan. They are not here to satisfy me, or to bestow upon me accolades. They are not here to mirror me... not my ideas, dreams, beliefs, plans, or anything else.

I don’t want to impose on them emotional dependency, the kind that communicates without words that my happiness or their success is dependent on them pleasing me or measuring up to some standards of performance. My love for them is not dependent upon their behavior, their grades, or the degree to which they can please me. This is a type of emotional abuse that brings about adults that are emotionally stifled, that don’t make and own their decisions (or the outcomes of those decisions).

And yet, these kiddos of mine are teens and not yet adults. Contrary to what many parents in our society do, this is not a time to remove all input and hope for the best. No, it’s a time to press in relationally. Control is no longer the primary factor in parenting, but influence through compassionate, humble, persistent, and accepting friendship.

How do I do this? How do I let go AND press in?

I am asking the Lord to show me daily. I know that he will supply for all of my needs, that he has promised to guide, and he will grant the grace I need for each day, each moment, each circumstance, each question, each trial, each failure.

I remind my kids frequently of their individual worth, that they were created by a loving God who’s expressed will it is for them to belong to him forever through salvation. I tell them they were lovingly and uniquely designed with a purpose for living, that their lives are meaningful and precious. I remind them as well of their responsibility and position before Holy God, that there is hope and freedom for living fully now and in the life to come.

This hope and freedom is not of me or through me or because of me. Only God. This is clear to a believing mom, but practically speaking, many don’t live this out in relation to their kids. Many of us stay stuck in the little years, parenting in a way that holds our children back and demands allegiance to ourselves rather than to God.

My love is strong for my kids, but that love cannot be the focus of our relationship. The vast and unimaginably deep love of God must be OUR focus and hope.

Because… the fullness of all things are made complete in Him alone.


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

One Fine August Day

School is starting to rain down on our party! High school orientation was yesterday and Olivia's community college classes have begun. One more day for us of semi-summer, and we'll be in full swing by Thursday. I wish I could pretend to be more excited about it, but I'm not good at faking.

I've got lots of summer beach pictures to cull through; these were from earlier this month at a favorite long boarding beach. Andrew and I are still trying to plan one more afternoon there, somehow.

I told Olivia today that I often have blogging in the back of my mind, sort of like an action item I'd like to get to, if possible. It's always at the bottom of my list though. I told her I'd rather experience life than relive it. And if I can't join in the fun, I'd still rather enable and facilitate others in having a good or productive time. So I may never get to posting all the summer pictures, but I will try. That's why I am putting up way too many for one post again...

Tonight, the older two are at youth group. Jon is picking up Jacob from practice/scrimmage, then the younger two are spending the night with a good friend, and Jon and I are going to head out for a late evening date. I've got moments here, so words will be brief!

Waiting in line to get into the state park. Always worth it.

This place is a Mecca for VW cars and vans.
(See last year HERE)

We park right on the beach, which is so convenient with the boards and gear we tend to bring.
(I'm not sure if there's a potential for privacy issues if I have our license plate number visible online, so I blurred it out! My photo editing skills could use some help.)

Paddling out moments after arrival. No time wasted.

Jacob, far left on the red board, with the big guys waiting for the big waves.

Olivia and Andrew riding out tandem style.

Sweetest guy to look back and wave me throughout the day. They know I'm always watching.

Hopping up to a stand and riding...

My zoom lens in insufficient to take pictures when they are too far out catching bigger waves, but many times they ride in close enough for me to capture them.

His happy dance after catching a good wave and riding long.

My birthday suit. 
Er, um, I mean the wetsuit I got for my birthday this year!

Thanks, Jack, for the capture! I wanted a wet suit so I could swim and board with all of you! It's been a really fun summer out in the waves with my favorite people!

My older kids spent more of their time reading and sleeping on the beach, not just playing.

The younger two come in only to eat or to switch out their gear.

Always together.

"Driving" in!

Riding backwards.
His face says, "Do you see me, Mom?"

I never notice his tongue sticking out in concentration, except in pictures!

Low tide discoveries...

Sea cucumber ink

Party wave

Sunset wave

Time to pack up.

We took a short walk down the beach before heading out...

...and discovered that a shark had been swimming by the beach that very day!

Beach talks with Andrew.

The closing of a good day.
It's a good day when no one is eaten by a shark.