Thursday, November 12, 2015

The F Word.

Photo Cred: My Spouse. 
While watching a movie, I heard a word that caused me to cringe and look at my girls. You know. I wanted to see if they'd heard the word.
They did.
And they know how I feel about it.

"What did he say?", I asked.
"Nothing.", the Little Sister responded.
"What did he say?"
"The F word."
"What was it? Why won't you say it?" I was grinning. I knew she wouldn't say it.
She struggles with it a little bit.
If I'm honest, I do, too. I struggle with the thought of it paralyzing my girls.
But, we pray against it.

The quote?
"Fear will be your enemy."
-Pabble in Disney's Frozen.

The F word: Fear.
Fear, specifically being frozen by it,  is a major theme of that movie.

I don't know if "fear will be your enemy" but it is certainly of your enemy.
Fear is also a major theme of many of our lives.
I see too many people living in fear and they don't even know it.

Honestly, we don't have to look far to find something to fear:

The ocean
Driving in the rain
Driving on the interstate

Then there are those social fears, the ones on another level:

Missing out
Our kids getting hurt
Not measuring up
What other people think
Not being enough
Our kids failing
Our kids hating us

I'm pretty sure I have a fear of my kids having a fear.
Is there a name for that? I want to feel justified in this one, though?
Is that allowed?

Here's why I'm justified:
Fear is contagious.
Parents, we can pass that junk right on to our kids.
We have to get that.
We can pass our fear of snakes on to our kids.
We can pass our fear of dogs on to our kids.
We can pass fear of embarrassment on to our kids.

If we aren't guarding against it, we can leave an eye color, a few quirks, and a heritage of fear.

Listen. For a while, I had this thing about horses. I could reason through it, it hadn't reached the irrational point, but I was so super nervous around horses. I just knew I was going to be kicked. I'd not had an episode that I know of or anything like that. I just had this fear I was going to get kicked square in the ribs by a horse. So, ya know what I did? I put my girls in horse lessons. I had to sit in the car for the grooming & care part of the lesson, because Meghan would get right up in a horse's private business. Wrecked my nerves. I couldn't be in the barn with my child nose to business-end of that 1500 pound animal. I had to sit in the car. One time, I happened to be in the barn while a horse was on the cross-ties and reared back and came down full-force on Maddy's 7 year-old foot, then kicked her instructor in the head. No joke.
After knowing Maddy and teacher were okay, I told them,
"I have to go now or I'm going to snatch my kids out of here and never come back."
And, for whatever reason, that was the end of it.
Victory in Jesus.
I've since been nose to business-end of a horse and been just fine-- after a shower. Because gross. We've gone on many rides as a family and I'm totally good. Win.

<<Side story that is so true and indicative of my exponential crazy level: When my girls were little, I wouldn't let them watch Veggie Tales: Where's God When I'm Scared?. I swear to Cher. They had never been afraid of the dark?! I didn't want them to get it in their heads that was even a thing! End of crazy-but-true story.>>

That being said, where other people would never have a second thought about their kids on a horse, I've never had a second thought about my kids and the water. I die a little when I see "big kids"- whatever that even means- wearing flotation devices in the pool. Or when I hear people talk to a child under 36 inches about not going to the "deep end". Good grief! At that size, it's all the deep end! I don't think a thing about my girls on the paddle boards or scuba diving or snorkeling. Meghan got to see her first shark on her check out dive when she finished her scuba certification! It was the coolest!

This week, we made a major decision to allow Meghan to come back to homeschooling after beginning the year at a local (wonderful) Christian high school. She had enough school to know that home's cool. Heh. She was succeeding in all the ways, academically and otherwise. She lettered in Varsity Swim. Still, she was able to recognize how efficient she could be at home, leaving her free to pursue her interests. Once she made the final decision, she was steadfast. She owned it, telling her little friends, some of her teachers and administration. She never wavered. Fearless. And, I don't fear for her future. God's got her back more than I do. And His is the power in her. She's gonna be alright. She's gonna be more than alright. Victorious.

If fear is allowed to grow, we could live defeated.

We would still be loved and cherished.

Loved and cherished and defeated.
Loved and cherished and paralyzed.
Loved and cherished and frozen.

Let's not do that.

I'm going for 
loved and cherished and victorious.

Another Spouse photo.

**This is an updated post.**

Thursday, October 1, 2015

En Vogue and Homecoming Proposals

It's Homecoming Season for high schools and colleges across America.

I loved Homecoming as a high schooler. I think I went to one dance with a group of friends and then all the rest were with Spouse and our crew. I don't remember a whole lot about them. I imagine there was plenty of En Vogue and Snap! and, Lord help us, Billy Ray Cyrus to burn a calorie or seven we didn't need to burn.
Go ahead, take a dance break. Free your mind. The rest will follow.
Also, I know every single word to that song and don't remember it being so racial! Ha!

Anyway, I've always loved homecoming and dances.
After Meghan was born, Spouse & I took our first date night to chaperone the 8th grade dance at the school I had been working as a substitute teacher. That crew still remains to be my favorite graduating class and to this day I am distraught I can't find the video of all of them singing "Something Like That". (Their 10 Year Reunion is this weekend and I'm dying.)
In 2008, while working for a non-profit focused on promoting healthy lifestyles for teens by delaying sexual activity, my super friend and I chaperoned the high school homecoming dance and ended up being invited by 25+ students to go to dinner with them and take photos.
Is this the cutest bunch you have ever even seen?
Look here. I'm not saying we were celebrities or anything,
but our cheeks hurt from all the paparazzi. I kid.

Yes. We did this. Truly. You have to know that to pull this off,
we had a fantastic relationship with the school
and the students and were welcomed.
It was truly the favor of the Lord.

Just for fun, I had to include these.
These two couples are married now. Good gracious.

All that to say that I have always loved the HoCo Season.

Until my child is now in high school and there is
homecoming and dresses (she doesn't love dresses)
and hair (she wears her hair down or pony only)
and plans (um, who's in charge here)
and boys (and a dad, let's not forget).

But, that's not what gives me pause for Homecoming.
She's going with a good friend and she'll rock a cutesy dress.
I'll have someone else do her hair and she won't argue and she will love it.

I've seen this trend building for the last few years and it makes me concerned for our young men! Listen. There are so many areas in which I support raising the standard for young men.
We need to see more young men with a strong work ethic, ambition, and integrity.
Yes, let's raise the standard! (Moms of girls, who's with me?!)

This, though, just makes me nervous for these boys!
I blame the Pinterest.

Who's smellin' what I'm steppin' in?

It's the Homecoming Proposals

Granted, some of these are just so cute. Whoever did the first maybe 1,000 of these personalized proposals were probably thoughtful, romantic little pioneers and I want to hear all the cool stories! Of course, these aren't just limited to Homecoming, so let's hear them.

But, beyond that, I'd like some thoughtful dialogue about it because here's what I see:

A product of the "text generation". 
Is this further reducing the amount of real voice to voice communication for young people?
There is something to be said for the actual nerves and sick stomach that come with looking
 someone in her eyes and using words from your mouth
and asking her for a date or a seat or help with homework problem 13.

More pressure.
As if that's not enough pressure, this could add to it.
It takes so much for a guy to ask a girl out. They are risking a hard blow to the gut.
For these guys to have to get artsy and creative and make a sign for social media's sake is just too much. People will know you are friends (recommended) or dating because you will show up at the dance together. There will be pictures then. Does it all have to be a dadgum production?

The moms are doing it for them. 
I know this is true at least some times. The moms are doing the Googling ideas and buying poster board and stencils and candy and bears. Now, I love it when a young man goes to his mom for help with sort of thing. It's sweet. It shows he knows he's out of his pay grade and he needs an expert. Sure, go help him gather supplies. I'm talking about the helicopter mom who's orchestrating the whole thing and driving the Sharpies. He needs to drive the Sharpies, Mom. Or at the very least enlist a good artsy friend to help him out.

Y'all, we haven't even gotten into the Homecoming Mums in Texas.
That was an education. Hashtag Texas Forever.

I know Anne Shirley wasn't talking about Homecoming when she said,
"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers."
but this is just fun.
It just doesn't have to be so much everything to be fun.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Back to School Countdown: 9 Days to 9th Grade.

This back to school season has been especially big around here. 
Our little homeschool is in a MAJOR transition.
In fact, we are planning to have our official homeschool door open only two days a week this year. The Little Sister is going to a homeschool/hybrid school three days a week and The Big Sister at high school. If someone would have told me last year that I would barely be considered a homeschooler this year, I would've spit Diet Coke.

Still, it happened. The Big Sister started her first day of high school today! I am so excited for her! Just like kindergarten, she walked right on in with confidence, even though I know she was a little nervous. Who wouldn't be!?
Different than kindergarten, though, she didn't tell me, "Mom, you're talking too long." Ha! True dadgum story. I only had a quick second in the drop off line today, though. 

Anyway, like I said in my last post- SUNDAY, cause I'm all feast or famine on this blog- 
this is our first First Day in seven years. 

This means it's a Big Dog Deal! 

Traditionally, we don't do traditions well in this house. We aren't big on doing much on a repeat. Not for any reason other than spazzy parenting. I'm not a Pinterest Mom or the mom who makes a celebration of things. I mean, we are good for an ice cream to celebrate or "Hey! Let's make cookies!" 
But, this is a really big deal, and I wanted to commemorate it for her. 
So I got this idea for a "9 Days Before 9th Grade Countdown". 
First Day of High School.
I made her take her pic at the boat dock.
Here's what you have to know about me: I'm pretty ENFJ/ENFP. Translation: I love my people. I love the idea of doing super cool things for them. I have the troubles when it comes to the execution. I mean, really. I'm an idea person. Big picture. Not so much on the details. 

So, I lowered the bar. 
Melissa go unda the limbo stick. 
For real. Like crawled.

There's this other thing: I like to make gifts out of things we would normally buy. Parents miss out opportunities to cultivate gratitude by not getting "credit" for certain purchases. It also makes the purchase of school supplies a little more pleasant and it becomes a gift! 

Anyway, I did this Countdown and I'm posting it here for you, Reader With Bad Handwriting; for you, Mom Who Doesn't Know What Mod Podge Is; and for you, The Budget-Conscious-Gift-Giver.
This is for the "blogger" (I use this term loosely when talking about myself) who doesn't know how to set up dramatic, pinnable photos. 
The Pinterest-Challenged Mom who loves her kid. That's who this is for. 

I'm here to show you how it doesn't have to be perfect to be meaningful and appreciated! It really doesn't!

Here's the Countdown. 
Nine Days Before Ninth Grade:

9. Warrior Princess embroidered pocket-tee.  
"Daughter of the King= Princess
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! 
And that is what we are! 1 John 3:1"
This is a pinnable photo if I ever saw one!
The blurred out part is the name of the school. My friend over at Sew Dazzlin' Designs made this custom tee. I just love it and so does the Big Sister. I have to confess to you: I got a little prideful about this purchase. I ordered it like three weeks ahead of time like a responsible grown up. Shut up, YES, I DID! It was sitting in the packaging box for about two weeks before this little fun thing started! Unprecedented!
I can be a PREcrastinator! Obviously.
This is the picture of my whole table with spilled salt on it.
Slightly less pinnable than the photo above.
8. School supplies. 
"Best School Supply Wisdom:
'Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your path straight.' Proverbs 3:5-6 
You may forget what goes on these pages, but never forget these words: Trust the Lord!"
You'll notice that I used the same gift bag for 9 straight days.

7. Tide Pen.

"Sister, You will make mistakes. But your mistakes won't break you. 
Here's a Tide Pen for some of them...for all others, there's Jesus...and your mom."

Tide Pens are all the rage for high school. You can Google it.
This is not even a sponsored post. Ha.
Also, this is probably the truest of all the notes. 
Mistakes are inevitable. Amen?!

6. Warrior Shirts (Uniform requirement.)
"'The Lord is with you, Mighty Warrior.' Judges 6:12
An angel delivered these words to Gideon 
and I am delivering these words to you. 
You ARE a Warrior Princess! And the Lord is definitely with you!"
I'm a photographer, but you probably can't afford me.
5. #DoWork: A few more supplies
"You are such a diligent student! I am so proud of the hard worker you are!
'Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.'  Colossians 3:23-24
Also, some sweet friends got in on some of the note-writing.

4. Taste.
The one when I'm obviously not a Bible Scholar.
"'Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.' Psalm 34:8
This is totally out of context & has nothing to do with lunch! But enjoy it! Ha!"

I'm not even sure if this is funny or pathetical. (I made that up.)
But, I got her this lunch box with a bird on it. 
So I still consider that a major win. (I don't love the birds.)

3. Beauty Supplies
"'Let the King be enthralled by your beauty honor him, 
for he is your Lord.' Psalm 45:10
You are beautiful and He is your Lord."
This is not up for discussion.
Listen, I'm not pushing these extraordinary standards on my girls, 
but we like our special hair products and mascara.  

2. A Little Chocolate Goodness to Think About...
Yah. I had a moment. Sorry to the coaches.
"'Whatever is true, 
whatever is noble, 
whatever is right, 
whatever is pure, 
whatever is lovely, 
whatever is admirable- 
if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- 
think about such things.' Philippians 4:8"

I think chocolate is all those things, yes? 
Hashtag theology. Hashtag hermeneutics.
Protein bars & Butterfingers. We diversify.

1. The Last Day Before 9th Grade.

"I pray you love Jesus and His Word.
'In the beginning was the Word 
and the Word was with God 
and the Word was God.' John 1:1"
Do you know how hard it is to get a Bible to stand up vertically?
Just curious.
This was really so easy and doable. 
It's true because I did it. 

Bottom line is I wanted to do two things: 
Get "credit" for buying school supplies -I'm not really sure what this says about me- 
and make a fuss over her first First Day in a long time. 
We won't be doing this each year, I can assure you! 

Her first day was just grand and she said, "I felt like I had always been there."
It felt familiar to her. Love that. 
That's the Body of Christ becoming more evident to her. 

The 7th Grader will get one, too, but she doesn't start school for a couple of weeks. 

Do you do anything special for "Back to School"?