I am always amazed at Mcree’s upper body strength. Yes, I probably unfairly compare him to Gress who is quite a slim guy while Mcree sports more upper body muscle. We will be at a playground and from up above I hear his loud voice yell, “Mom, look at me!” We have always affectionally called him Monkey and that seems to be quite fitting these days!
I set goals for Mcree for the first 9 weeks of school, and just set more for the next 9. I always set goals that require me to push him a little beyond himself. And so far he has surprised me with what he is capable of learning. Yesterday he learned the bible verse John 3:16 (in a day…which I thought might take a week) and these next weeks I wanted him to be able to write #s 1-100 on his own. Today he knocked that goal out of the park. There was a little grumbling and puppy dog eyes when he got to #40 but I kept pushing him and he was clearly proud of himself by the end. The storm delayed us a bit but hopefully by next week he will start reading words.
We don’t follow what the school system deems necessary for each grade. Rather we look at each of our kids abilities, struggles, and what motivates them…and we make a plan on how to individually teach them. If they struggle with one thing..we stick with it until it is learned. And if they succeed in something else, we fly through those things until we get to what is next. I have to check my heart when someone tells me their kid is doing something well beyond what my child can do. I am not creating kids that operate like machines. I am shepherding their hearts to create wonder with the world around them. I am helping them to see their gifts and to use them to help others. And hopefully in the end these kids will be smart, caring, loving, polite and adventurous people that shine God’s light wherever they go.
Before the boys arrive home from their boys camping/shooting/mule riding/campfires/freely exploring trip with Daddy and a few dads and their boys, I wanted to sit and reflect on my sweet time with this little girl. RARELY do I just get time with just one of my kids. And when I do, I get to relish in their sweet personality. Last week Gress and I went to dinner after his sailing school. Just us. I got to see what made him laugh. I got to see his manners, his heart for thinking of me. I appreciate how much he loves to just “be” no matter where he finds himself. They are different when they are alone. And I love that I get to study those parts of them.
This weekend time was Mabry was special. She is so fun to be with. We went for a walk on the beach one night. She climbed rocks, ran through the tide pools and headed straight for the ocean, unafraid of the surf taking her down. We hung out with neighbors, planted plants, snuggled in the mornings and over a movie and shared meals and giggled. We went for a bike ride, played in the park, and spent every minute together. What a gift it is for the two of us to be together…. just us….for days on end. We do miss the boys…as in evident by the amount of times she has asked where they are. But I am thankful for this sweet moment in time! As she ran off to the far end of the beach, I was reminded of how quickly they become “free” of us. Drinking in these rich days!
There were some really sweet moments amongst all the roar of the neighborhood generators running after the storm. With the cooler weather, the boys camped out in the backyard most of the week (and even invited their neighbor buddy to camp out..who had never camped out in his life!). The cackling and giggles were pretty hilarious and they had a blast.
Mcree also lost his top tooth. That was the only night he didn’t sleep in the tent because we were worried the tooth fairy would have a hard time locating the lost tooth! HA! I thought he was pretty cute before but now I can’t stop smiling at how adorable he is!
These boys have worked hard raking and hauling branches to the street. Gress pretty much has his mule license and drives, backups and dumps things like he’s a pro. He has been really helpful to the neighbors in helping get their yards cleaned up. For some reason it’s way more fun to help others than work in your own yard! I think we are all still recovering from exhaustion. Looking forward to feeling normal again!
What a gift it was for my mom to come hang out with the kids while we headed to Dallas. Lucky for all of us we got a walk on the beach before we left. Wow did she get more than she bargained for. She got extra kid time and I am sure the raking she did as a result of the hurricane created new muscles for her! She was a machine helping us get back to normal after the storm! I think we were all a little disappointed it didn’t work out as planned but honestly we were all more humbled that we survived such an adventure! Thanks for going along for the ride mom!!! We were so thankful for you!
It’s easy to look at all the destruction from the hurricane and be overwhelmed but honestly there was so much sweetness that connected so many people because of it. Neighbors gathering in front yards sharing meals together (some neighbors who haven’t talked in over a decade), being able to love on people that were physically and mentally depleted, having the energy to keep going and keep helping when there shouldn’t have been an ounce of strength left. Meals brought to our house by loving friends who not only wanted to check on our mental status but who also wanted to ease the burden and feed our hearts and stomachs! Our community was drawn together as we freely entered yards and homes for those in need. It was as if the wall had been dropped and we were now connected in a way only this event could have created.
I don’t want those connections to fade, I don’t want us to only enter beyond the walls when the tragedy strikes. One of the greatest commandments is to love your neighbor. Dreaming of ways to do that and keep these connections growing!
Written October 11, 4 days after Hurricane Mathew:
If you would have asked me a week ago how I thought these next 7 days would have turned out, never would I have expected any of what happened.
Wow, am I humbled.
I could sit here and hash out the details leading up to staying through the category 2 storm. There are so many. And so many moments and quiet pleads for God to protect us. I was thankful we made the decision to turn around the next day in Dallas and fly home. Rad and I missed our getaway a decade in the making (not really) but we made up for it this week in the moments that drew us close. Rad and I have always done well in extreme adventures together. This one is at the top of the list.
My mom was visiting and we decided together to weather the storm. Despite county wide evacuation, our adventurous spirits wouldn’t let us leave. It was one of the scariest things I have witnessed. Each hour brought fear (threat of storm surge, eye of the storm passing over with 80mph sustained wind and 100mph gusts, and the tail of the eye changing the wind direction and snapping and dropping trees all over). Thankfully the kids slept the whole night. It was pitch black outside and with the wind the sound of a train speeding by, we had no clue what was happening all around us. I was reminded of God’s power to calm the storm and my prayers were to move the trees away from the house. The sight of the sunrise was a relief and the destruction was evident.
Our God is bigger than the storm. He is bigger than the things we lose, or the mess that is left in its path. All that matters were the people I was with and that He got us through. Our house was unharmed…and so were most of our neighbors. PRAISE THE LORD! To drive through our island, it brings tears to your eyes that he spared our lives. The destruction is unreal.
Living through something like that, you realize how precious life is. And how our stuff is just stuff. Some of that stuff brings us more joy than others. And some stuff we have is a symbol of a dream fulfilled. One of the things we loved was lost in the storm. Our sailboat flipped at the marina and is a total loss. Oh how that was a hard sight to see. What a lesson in letting go. We won’t let that get in the way of realizing how Amazing our God is and how he gives us great gifts. Those memories on the boat are forever etched in our hearts!
We were still without power when I wrote this but what matters is we were safe. We have life. And we have our family and sweet neighbors and friends to get us back to normal. We have learned a lot through this and hope to let that be reminders in the future!
I’m leaving on a jet plane with this handsome fella. It has been 9+ years since we got away together. We are headed to a marriage leader training seminar in Dallas. It will be full days of trainings but ya’ll…I can actually finish my conversations with him and hold hands without some little person demanding their latest need. We can sit and stare at each other. We can just be a couple for a few days and nothing else. What a gift. We are so thankful for Mimi who will be in the trenches with the kids. Hopefully the kids will be on their best behaviors and she will get some sweet quality time with them.
As the song goes, “leaving on a jet plane…don’t know when I’ll be back again.” Just kidding Mimi!
This photo was taken during our dating days! Thankful I get to go on a long date with him!
Mcree is silly, and joyful, and loving, and smarter than he acts. He has been fun to teach. And honestly he makes teaching easy. He does giggle a lot and he has a curiosity to keep going and that makes him a great learner. We are finishing up learning our letter sounds and he is about to embark on reading in a week of so. Everyday I find him searching through his book counting down the lessons until he gets to that first reading one. He is so very excited. Oh the journeys of homeschooling. I remember teaching Gress to read and us both crying because we were so overwhelmed. I’m thankful to know what not to do. But as I have learned, every child is different and lucky for me this middle child is making my job pretty good right now.