June 25, 2015

so much has changed - but God hasn't

so much has changed over the past six months

My oldest son is a high school graduate. He has a full-time job with a local landscaping company and loves it. He comes home every day dirty and drenched in sweat and happy. No more books. No more tests. No more projects. He is free to be outside where he is happy. He has aged out of Boy Scouts which has been his safe spot for the last four years. He is now a Boy Scout leader. He has his own bank account, pay check, his own Jeep (1991), and is happy... He is content in a way I have never witnessed before. He still is "Alex", but he is a happy Alex.

My daughter is a junior in high school now... That is weird to see in writing. She performed in several choral shows and loved each one more the the last. She ended the year with a 4.3 GPA and loved her classes. She claims to be a nerd and seems pretty proud about it! She lives to babysit and would do it every day if she was asked. She still claims to have no idea what she wants to do as a "grown-up", but knows that she wants to be a mom. She will be a great one. She has been friends with a sweet young man for a while now and they have decided to date... This teenage stuff is hard on a mama. So proud to see her growing up, but it tugs on my heart strings to see her growing up. She got her braces off, her tongue clipped, decided to stop straightening her hair in order to embrace the natural curl, and tried out for the select choir for fall (and made it!).

My youngest son will be in the 4th grade in three weeks. He finished the year doing amazing work. He stresses over perfection and gets frustrated if there is anything that he can not do perfectly. He will forever be a nerd. When asked if he would like to try out for a local sports team, he replied "Mom, I tried running once. It isn't for me. I am more of a library kid, a nerd. And nerds make all the money." He keeps me laughing. He continues to be the amazing 'lil professor. He has always wanted to be a zoo keeper/chemist... however, several days over break he went to SAS with his daddy to work. He has decided that SAS is amazing and that he may want to work there with his dad. I happen to know that  would please his father like nothing else! 

Scott is as busy as busy can be. He works too many hours for SAS... He is the Asst Scoutmaster in charge of Advancement for Troop 400. He is head of the parent committee for Pack 400. He is also the District Chair over Advancement for all of Mawat Scouts. Don't forget that he is also the lead singer and drummer for the band Double Shot... I see him every once and awhile, but he is usually sleeping when he's here!

then there is me...

In 1983, I decided that I would be a chorus teacher... In 1993, I got my first paying teaching position. I loved it. I taught high school. Then I taught middle school. After having a couple of kids, I started teaching preschool... I spent 32 years wanting to teach and 22 years actually teaching... But in March everything changed. In March, I started a new adventure. I never wanted this job, looked for this position, or would have believed that it would happen the way that it did... But in March I started working for a company that I had known of my entire life... My grandparents were members of the Woodmen of the World... They attended monthly meetings and potlucks. They had life insurance and other financial products. They loved it. Quite by accident, I was approached to work as an administrative assistant for a local representative.... I did not really put my best foot forward. Think of Erin Brochovich... I was offered the job... It is filled with terms that I do not understand. Every day I learn a little more. I am able to do more on the computer. I meet and talk with more interesting people. I am impressed with the community service and involvement. I am finding that I love it. I miss the friends who I had worked with for so many years... It is very different to go from working with 28 close knit ladies to being in an office with two men... I miss my friends and have gone through a type of mourning that loss that I did not believe would be so intense... I was sad to see them slowly taper off, stop calling or responding to my calls... however, in the end, I have learned who will continue to stand with me. I have learned that I am capable of more than I ever thought. I have found that I love working in an office. I can see where my OCD and organizing skills can really come in handy. I am a glorified secretary, and I love each day of it. A lot has changed for me. My job description is completely different. I am in an office for the first time ever. I have never worked in a male dominated office. I am focusing in new directions and excited about the future. 

so much has changed over the past six months but so much is still the same

My kids continue to fight hard and love hard. My husband is a hard worker, a consistent provider, and faithful to the core. We love our small group and the support that we have received over the months. Our dogs continue to bring us so much happiness and cause us to fight over who loves them the most, even though everyone knows that the dogs truly love me the most! I continue to strive to keep relationships current and positive... I am learning more every day and loving it all.

so much has changed - but life changes constantly

I think I get into a patch of "woe is me" and get lost in the change and turmoil... but God is faithful. Hindsight is always perfect. His Will is perfect. All of the change over the past 6 months has been positive. Some change was brought due to personal growth. Some change was brought due to bad choices. Yet, my God can take all of it and turn it around and use it for my good. He is teaching me not to have an anxious heart. He is enough... 

so much has changed - but God hasn't

and HE is all I need

December 24, 2014

List for Santa

I was an only child while growing up - I do not remember ever making a Christmas list... I never wrote down things for my parents or grandparents... I am sure someone asked me at some point, but I have no memories of a list. I would sit on Santa's lap even through my teenage years, and I always told him one or two items that I wanted...

Christmas was the BEST time of year. Some how even without the list, my parents, grandparents, and Santa all got together and gave me the best presents ever. I only have fabulous memories surrounding Christmas. It was the happiest time of year. I was always blessed, surprised, excited, and happy.

Fast forward

I have done my best to try to give my children these same experiences. My children have never really written down a list either - but Christmas is that magical time where I listen like crazy - I try to find that one special "Oh My Goodness" gift that they never expected to really receive. There are years that money is very tight, but I have sold something of mine or shopped online/thrift stores/craigslist in order to try to make sure there is something special under the tree. I let my kids ask for three things... We have always said that Jesus received three gifts for His birth, and so we do the same... but I always get more.

I drive my husband crazy at Christmas. I desperately want each kid to freak out Christmas morning... It is a goal of mine. I always did as a kid, and I want memories for them too. He doesn't seem to understand. I could honestly care less if there is a single gift for me - my gift is watching every one's faces when they open the gift to see it was exactly what they wanted, or it is exactly what they ever knew they wanted but see it is perfect... It gives me chills. I don't sleep the night before... at all.

This year has been tight. We have gotten a car for the teens, but it needed a lot of work. More insurance, more things needed fixing around our 40 year old home, health needs, costs from having a senior, and other random expenses that have sprung up unexpectedly have put a damper on my Christmas blessings for my kids.

But, my teens don't seem to care. They have focused more on the "what can we eat" and "who can we see" and "can we do this" thoughts. I ask what they want for Christmas, and they say they know money is tight and the gifts are not important... it blesses my heart, as it hurts my heart.

Then my youngest son who is nine says, "Mom, I was thinking about what I should tell Santa I want for Christmas. I live a really blessed life. I have everything I want and that I would ask for... so I think I may just ask for dog food and puppy chew toys for the dogs at the shelter who no one wants for Christmas."

All my life Christmas has been about making sure that each person in my family is  given something amazing; the game station that they had no idea I could afford, the outfit that was sold out, the movie that just came out, tickets to that show at DPAC that was the best day of her life...

It seems that this year, my children decided to teach me to put different things on my list.

This year I just want to be with my family. I want to laugh, hug, joke, eat, and love....

I bet Santa can fill that order... I will be waiting all night tonight to see!

December 13, 2014

Memories from Ornaments #2

My Granny was pretty cool. My mother's mom was my longest living grandparent. I knew her the best. She wasn't always my favorite (I was a Papa's girl), but I loved her dearly. 

When I was little, I gave her this ornament for Christmas. It was on her tree each year. When she was no longer able to put her tree up and did not want others to put it up for her, I was given the ornament back along with a few of her very old ornaments. Now, this ornament hangs on my tree every year. 
I think of her at each glance.

My grandmother was a hulk. She was a very strong woman. She experienced hardships that I can only imagine and repeat in stories. Often I can get down on things in my own life and whine about how difficult life is - but when I think of her childhood, the beginning of her marriage, her raising four children with next to nothing, her family relationships, her old age, her failing health, and her last years being spent in a nursing home... I am reminded that she was so very much stronger than I.

Several of the ornaments on my tree are pretty... or cute... or gifts from students over past years. However, I love a good "memory" ornament... We have a set from the country of Jordan when Scott was there on a mission trip. We have one that was made for me by a childhood friend when I was 4. We have one that Scott made as a young child. Of course, we have a ton from preschool years that all three children have made. We still use the star on the top of the tree that my 17 year old made when he was 2...

My tree is a mixture. 
A mixture of textures and colors.
A mixture of happy memories and sad thoughts.
A mixture of giggles and belly laughs.

I could sit and look at it in the quiet of the evening with a tall cup of hazelnut coffee and a snuggly blanket...

I love Christmas.

December 11, 2014

Sonic boom can't do it

My oldest has been struggling in the mornings... Like all good parents, Scott and I want him to grow into an amazing adult. We want him to get up without help... 
Set the alarm, sleep, hear the alarm, turn it off and get up

This is not happening.

For months, I tried everything. Loud alarms. Multiple alarms. Alarms across the room. Alarms inches from his head. Cup filled of cold water thrown in the face. Phone restrictions.

You name it.

But for some reason, this week I started thinking. He isn't being rebellious. He is apologetic and just as upset as I am. He WANTS to get up. For the first time ever, he wants to go to school. His grades are amazing. 
He is doing things at school that he enjoys.

So why is he not getting up?

I am so thankful for his doctor... I called her office and did not get her voice mail. She answered! As awesome as she is, it still catches me off guard... She took the time to listen and ask questions. She didn't offer suggestions until hearing it all. She sensed my concern and never mentioned that I was crazy or called my son disobedient... She ordered blood work immediately.

I am so thankful for Sonya Glavin.... At SAS, we have a full medical facility to use. They are wonderful and truly care. I have been scared of doctors for most of my adulthood. I have avoided them like a middle school boy avoids a shower... but my Dr Glavin is different. From the first moment on the phone, someone hears my concern and finds me an answer. Then my wonderful doctor offers ideas and suggestions, but also reassures me that I am not crazy (any more so than normal).

So far the tests are coming back that my son is fine. He struggles with several issues, one being OCD. It seems that Alex has habituated himself to loud noises while sleeping. He doesn't hear them. See, he doesn't hear the alarm, and hit the snooze - He sleeps through them for over an hour of constant noise. It is amazing to watch. It is actually quite scary. We have moved a smoke detector inside of his room... but when asleep, he does not hear it.

We are trying a new technique for awhile to re-train his brain... Each morning, I now silently enter his room. I gently rub his arm and then whisper "get up, Bud"... So far, both mornings, he has woken up immediately, smiled and gotten up and headed to the shower. 

It is the weirdest thing. 

A sonic boom can't do it

but my whisper can

Memories from Ornaments - #1

 Many many years ago, in the world of an angry little girl, a story was told...

When my daughter was 5, she got very angry with her brother. Yes, most siblings fight, but this time was different. She was so angry that she said hurtful things. Yes, most siblings do, but this time was different.

My daughter looked at her older brother and said, "I wish you were never adopted. I wish you were still in Russia and had never been brought into my family."

I was floored, shocked, and hurt. Since I am adopted, I tend to overreact when I hear comments like this... People don't always think about the words they use, I have experienced a lot of ignorant people over the years since I have one adopted son and two biological children.

So, I sat her down... I had planned to punish her, but off the cuff I changed my mind.

"Jess~ It is time that I was honest with you... See, we told Alex when he was five, and now you are five so it is time. You are adopted. When you say ugly things to your brother, you are inflicting pain on all adopted children. You hurt me and you hurt Alex, but now you need to know that you are hurting yourself. Yes, we flew on planes and took a train and a bus to get your brother - but we had to ride on a spaceship to get you. You were adopted from the planet Hogbath in the galaxy Ummmdidd. (I know that is ridiculous - it was off the cuff). You were a lizard princess, and we had to teach you English. We loved Alex before we ever knew him, and we loved you before we ever knew you. See, God knew that Alex would be our son. He prepared him for us and our hearts for him. Then, God knew that we needed a daughter, and He prepared you for us and our hearts for you."

she was floored - she looked at me trying to figure out if I was lying or what - the story seemed far-fetched, but I am completely convincing - she was not sure

I dropped it. Three months later, I was chatting with Leslie. As women do, we were talking about labor pains, deliveries, and comparing stories. I said something like "when I was pregnant with Jessie - " but before I could get another word out of my mouth, Jess ran into the room

We laughed until I cried.

That Christmas, Leslie and her family brought this ornament to my Jessica. On the belly of the bejeweled lizard it reads, To Jessica, our favorite lizard princess... We laugh every Christmas as we put it on our tree.

We have talked about it for 10 years now.  It reminds me of so many life lessons... Be careful what you say because words can hurt. God did choose my children for me, one in my heart and two from my belly. Adopted children are planned, chosen, and wanted in this family. All three of my children are adopted by God and loved by me... I thank Him for entrusting me with three of His little wonders.

October 12, 2014

...Preschool Teacher....

I love my job

I could say that the money is amazing and the benefits are incredible...
yet, that would be seriously stretching the truth.

I could say that I get paid to sit on my butt all day and do nothing...
yet, that would be untrue.

However, I can say that I work with some great ladies. Most of my closest friends in Durham have come into my life through my job. They are hard working women who love their families, enjoy their job, and make me laugh almost daily. They make me smile. They let me vent about life. They challenge me and hold me accountable. They pray for me when I ask. We go to lunch, meet for suppers, hit thrift stores, and have even vacationed together.

I can also say that I love hearing the stories that my students bring me each day... "Daddy snores when he is on the couch", "Mommy, drinks and watches movies all day", "I have a pet elephant that sleeps with me", or "my dog pooped down the air vent this morning"....  My kids crack me up. Their innocence and candor are invigorating. Their timing is perfect.... On a day that I am sad or tired, a student will remind me that they love me, or compliment my shirt (which is the exact same as every other teacher on staff) and bring a smile to my lips. On a silly day, my students will laugh at my crazy socks, Halloween costume, funny songs, or crazy way I dance during class. The reasons I walk into my job each morning are all between the ages of one and 5 years old...

I have a lot in my life to be thankful for - Today, I am choosing to remind myself that many will get up Monday morning dreading their work day... I will not have to do that.

I love my job

September 18, 2014

God thought differently

In the spring of 2005, I had a thought... I have always loved to argue. I always want to be right. I feel the need to fight my point... so, I wanted to go back to school to study law. I started making plans to go back to school... I saw dollar bills in my future.

but God thought differently

Early in the year, I traveled to Thailand for a wonderful mission trip. I felt like God was getting ready to change some major things in my life. I was sick on the trip, but some of the food we ate was scary looking. Several people got the tummy bug, so I knew that I had caught it as well.

but God thought differently

After years of infertility drugs, our adoption of our firstborn, and then our surprise birth of our second born, I had finally convinced my hubby that it was time for him to go get a vasectomy. Our family was good and complete. My kids were in school, so I could go back to work/school. We were done with diapers.

but God thought differently

Eleven days before the scheduled vasectomy, Scott found a pregnancy test under the sink. We joked about how we would never need it again. However, we said we shouldn't throw it away because that would be wasteful. So as a joke, the next morning I took the test knowing it would be one line, and then I could toss it.

but God thought differently

I was quite mad. My life had been perfect. I knew what I wanted and where I wanted our family to go. I had my future planned out, and this little surprise was not in the plan.

It is hard to think about these facts. As I look back over the past nine hilarious years with my professor, I can not believe that he was not planned... well, planned by me.

God had Caleb Walker Sublett in His plan. He knew that I needed a brilliant young 3yr old to explain to me at 6:15am one morning that platypus have electro-reception and can move around in murky waters similar to how bats fly at night. God knew that I would need a little one to compliment me daily and intently mean every word he spoke. He knew that Caleb would amaze and humor people every where he visits. God was aware of the teachers who would marvel at his vocabulary, yet be enamored by his charm. God knew that one day in third grade, Caleb would sit several of his friends down at recess so that he could explain to them that Jesus loved them so much that He had sent the Holy Spirit down as Living Water.

God thought differently

God knew that I needed Caleb. I had no idea.

I need to learn from this... I am so flippin' hard-headed. When things do not turn out the way I PLANNED, I need to step back and know that it has happened to me before... and God is sovereign. He knows what He is doing. It may take a few years, but I will be able to look back and see that even though He thought differently that HE WAS RIGHT.

My little one was born 5.5 weeks early. He was 5 pounds and so little. He was long and skinny. He was deaf from his birth to just before Christmas (that is an entirely different blog and a huge miracle story). He had to stay in the hospital a week in order to get strong enough to come home. He came into this world so tiny and frail... but God knew differently - Caleb is a strong kid with a tender heart. He is passionate and smart.

I needed a professor in my life.... so God gave me Caleb.