Reality Check!

It only takes about one week of school before the idealistic plans I have for my family’s morning routine go up in flames, and I am brought back to earth. Today — on the 6th day of school — the fire started. And it was a doozy, my friends. 

When my alarm went off at 6:00 this morning, I hit the snooze button twice. In. My. Sleep. (that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it). When I awoke 20 minutes later, and remembered that I was supposed to attend a tea for new moms at the school, panic set in because I actually needed to squeeze in a shower before getting the kids out the door — THAT was the death of any hope of having a peaceful morning with my family, and my feet hadn’t even hit the floor. (Not that I don’t shower on a regular basis. I’m just saying that there have been days when the demands of being a wife and mom have taken precedence over my personal hygiene. I hope someone can relate.) 

So I jumped in the shower, confident that at least my daughter would wake to her own alarm and get herself dressed, leaving me just enough time to get my shower in and throw on some clothes. But she also slept through her alarm. So when I climbed the stairs at 7:00, everyone was still asleep. 

I woke Taylor first to get her moving. She is my only indepenent child who can actually button, snap, and tie all articles of clothing, so starting there is always a good strategy. Then I woke Zachary and told him to start putting on his uniform while I ran downstairs to make sure Kory had started breakfast. Fortunately for me, he had. He is a great dad. 

Then, I flew back up the stairs to check on Zachary who was yelling from his room that he couldn’t find any of his uniforms. This was strange because I ironed a week’s worth of them on Sunday and set them on his bed to be put away. He didn’t do that. Instead, during a valient effort to tidy his room, he assumed they were dirty and threw them all in the dirty clothes. Fail. Back down the stairs to iron the chapel uniform…again. 

Once everyone was dressed, I got them downstairs for breakfast. Oatmeal with blueberries in it. Delicious. Except not to Taylor. She does NOT like what happens to blueberries when they are placed in warm oatmeal. (Kory forgot — poor guy.) She refused to eat her breakfast. Tears actually ensued. 

We opened the pantry to find something else to give her. But since we were out of milk, bread, eggs, and bacon there was little to choose from. So we gave her a Muscle Milk protein shake and some saltines. Yummy. 

While Kory was talking Taylor off the cliff over her breakfast, our youngest, Reed, who apparently is related to Stretch Armstrong, took his breakfast and created abstract art…on his back. Thankfully, we had not yet dressed him. Kory stripped his jammies off of him, wiped down the high chair, and spoon fed him the rest of his breakfast. 

But remember Zachary? We had dressed him and, bless his heart, he managed to spill the blueberry enfused oatmeal all over the front of his chapel shirt. THE ONE I JUST IRONED TWICE. The other one was in the dirty clothes with all of his other clean uniforms, so I fished it out, got the ironing board out again and went to work. I think tomorrow, we’ll eat in our jammies. And I won’t try ironing for the whole week again…waste of time! 

Finally, we got into the car. I turned on a Christian radio station to help lift our spirits, and we began the drive to school. After a few minutes, I turned the radio down and asked Taylor to lead us in prayer since our wheels-off morning hadn’t including anything spiritual. 

But as she began to pray, I found myself stuck in the same left-turn only lane I have been forgetting every day for a week now to avoid. So while Taylor prayed for a peaceful and calm day, I put the pedal to the metal of my red minivan and darted out into traffic so that I could get into the next lane. She actually stopped mid-prayer and said, “whoa…what was that?” I ignored her. 

Finally, we made it to school, at which point I realized I was driving on fumes. I didn’t have my cell phone, and my wallet was on the kitchen counter at home. Geeze. The ride home would harken back to one of my all-time favorite Seinfeld episodes where Kramer decides to drive as far as he possibly can without getting gas. It was funny when he did it! It was NOT funny when I had to do it! 

But I did make it home. And when I walked into the house, I finally breathed. And then I did laugh. The scene we had left was something right out of a movie. No family could possibly be this messy. Except we were. And we are.  I let it go.      

I have a friend who has wisdom beyond my own at least three-fold. We are both Christians, and we are both attorneys. But her kids are grown, and I always treasure her perspective. At lunch several years ago, during a discussion about the busyness associated with raising young children, she shared with me that her definition of “maturity” is “the constant lowering of expectations.” Those words stuck with me, but I believe they have only recently begun to take root in my own heart and soul. 

To be clear — my friend is not saying that we should live lives of mediocrity. She is a dedicated member of her church, she is an amazing wife and mom, and she is a successful attorney. But what she is saying is that it’s liberating to recognize our imperfections as we strive to live a life of contentment in light of God’s grace. 

So that is what I’m trying to do, particularly amidst life in the “daily grind.” I have high expectations for myself as a Christian, as a pastor’s wife, as a mom, and as a professional. And I have high expectations for my family. But I am also trying to let go of things that have no eternal significance, focus my energy on the things that do, and embrace God’s grace as the path that leads to a life of contenment. 

And that is my prayer for my family and for each of you.

As a new blogger, I have been encouraged to include photos with each of my posts. But who has time to take photos when the task of getting kids ready for school is about to take you down? So I snapped this photo later in the day because it was simply cute. Why are they wearing tails, you ask? Because that’s the way we roll!

What idealistic plans are you learning to let go of?  This mom of three would love to learn from your experiences!
 

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The First Day of School

It’s Officially On! 

For those of you who know us, you know that our family has been in transition through most of 2013. For those of you who don’t and are curious, you can catch a glimpse of our “back story” by clicking on Our Story. Though we have been in our new home and Kory has been serving our new church since the beginning of July, our new reality hasn’t seemed real. Until today. 

Today, another school year began. But this year, we didn’t walk the familiar hallways we have for the past 5 years. We didn’t say hi to friends we missed over the summer. And we didn’t stop by the classrooms of our children’s old teachers to give them hugs. 

Today, Taylor and Zachary began a new school year at a new school. One that we are HOPEFUL we will love. One that we KNOW, over time, will become familiar. One that we are CERTAIN will bring many new friends into our lives. And one that we BELIEVE will offer the very best teachers, at the very best times, for our children. But today…I am homesick. And I am struggling with conflicting emotions that make it difficult to celebrate all the wonderful excitement that a new school year brings. 

Daddy and son at Meet the Teacher for Kindergarten. Where has the time gone?


When we arrived at Meet the Teacher, we visited Zachary’s class first. He was a little apprehensive. Sweet Taylor said, “It’s OK Zachary. I’m a little nervous too.” But when we arrived in her classroom, she was cool, calm, and collected. She even made a new friend!


Why is today, more than any other day since we moved, so significant? I suppose it’s because it is a tangible reminder that when we decided to accept this new ministry position, we didn’t just put ourselves through a difficult transition. We dragged our children through it. Today, that reality has stirred up in me an indescribable compassion for what my children have been and will continue to go through during this season of change, and it makes me sad. I want so badly to protect them. But I know that I have to let them walk into this new environment and figure it out for themselves. Being a parent can be heart-wrenching, can’t it? 

But what troopers they have been! When we were in the midst of trying to sell our old house, Taylor diligently helped me get ready for showings. She even put coffee out for the realtors and prospective buyers. (I don’t think they ever drank it, but she’ll never know.) And when I thanked her for all she was doing, she told me that she knew God was calling us to this new season of ministry and that she just wanted to be helpful. Wow. Tears flowing, even as I type. 

When we moved away from the old neighborhood, and left all of their friends behind, Taylor and Zachary joyfully played with each other while all the children in our new neighborhood were on, what seemed like, extended summer vacations. Taylor and Zachary kept themselves busy, never complained, and waited patiently for all the unpacking to get done — well, they’re still waiting for all the unpacking to get done, but that’s another post for another day. I swear those boxes are multiplying like the rabbits in my backyard! I’ve promised the kids that there are better summers ahead and that by next summer, all the boxes will be gone! 

And even this morning, as we walked into an unfamiliar school, where they have no friends and don’t know a single person, they were joy-filled, excited, oh so brave, and ready to begin a new school year with open hearts and minds. I am so proud of them. And I am so thankful for them. Little do they know, but through their resiliance, they are bringing healing to my broken heart and hope to my soul, and they are reminding ME that everything will be OK. The lessons we learn from our children!

The kids get lockers in the 3rd grade at our new school. Needless to say…she was excited about that! It is now stocked with a dry-erase, a mirror, wall-paper, a shelf, and some lip balm.


 

This was taken before my tears began to flow. I bawled like a baby when I kissed him goodbye and left the room!


After drop off, I attended the Boo Hoo Yahoo coffee for Kindergarten and Senior moms. Two moms spoke to us — one from each grade. When the Senior mom took the podium, she told us that she wasn’t supposed to be there, and that she was supposed to be at another school in the state of Georgia. But 11 years ago, she explained, her husband came home from work, and said that his employer had asked him to move to Texas…in 2 weeks. 

She went on to describe the heartbreak she experienced in the days that followed her husband’s news. But then she talked about God’s goodness and faithfulness, and she told us that all the plans she had conjured up for her family paled in comparison to what God has offered since they moved to Texas and her children began attending this school. She closed by saying that there was no doubt in her mind her family was exactly where it needed to be these last 11 years. 

Well, that hit close to home. Not that we have moved out of state, but we have experienced significant change in 2013 — change that has required us to buy a new house, serve in a new church, and attend a new school. I could relate to her story because I did have long-term plans for my family, and they did not include any of this. 

But as I sat there, taking in all she had to say, there was no doubt, in that moment, I, too, was exactly where I needed to be. Crowded into this chapel, with this group of women, clutching my Starbucks in one hand and my Kleenex in the other, and hearing words of encouragement from a mom who has traveled ahead of me the path I am traveling now. I am so thankful for her words. 

God is good. All the time. And everywhere. No matter where we are. No matter what we’re going through. This is something I have always known, but something I have come to appreciate on a deeper level during this season of life that has involved so much change. We have had to let go of so much in order to embrace something new. But God has provided in the biggest and the smallest of ways. Today, it came in the form of wise words from another mom. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow will bring.

Our first-born at her desk. Her classroom is themed like a Starbucks. It even smells that good!

 

This was taken just before we entered the classroom. I wish I had gotten a picture of his back-pack. It’s as spiky as his hair!

How was your first day of school?