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Month: August 2010

A metaphor and a prayer for the start of school …

A metaphor and a prayer for the start of school …

Today is a big first for us.

Caroline went to HIGH school.  She was picked up at 7:15 and Bill said … “our daughter just got in a car with a teenage driver”!  I hadn’t thought about that, but off she went! 
Brittany went to middle school.  One of her friends invited her and several others over for breakfast before they went to school.  They all enjoyed seeing each other and then got to ride in the car and all walk in together.  
Savannah went to fourth grade which is the first year they “switch” classes (and that totally counts for something!).   I love Savannah’s excitement about anything and everything.  She is a great story teller and made the story of Bill taking her to get a smoothie (and drinking it on the school playground) last night sound like an adventure to end all adventures.  
And Jacob started first grade.  The big time.  Real school (with a beautiful teacher that I think he may already have a crush on!).
So glad these two still have each other at school:
I was so excited for all four of them.  It didn’t even occur to me to be sad.  I told Bill … “aren’t you proud of me .. I didn’t cry.  I think I’m really growing up.”  The problem was I said that before I came home to my quiet house where every year before I had my dog to pet when the children were gone.  And well … I still miss ole Loop quite a bit.
And firsts like these always cause me to become somewhat introspective  … have I taught them enough at home, did they spend too much time watching TV, should I home school (ok, not really on that one).  🙂
But as I watched this video, I thought of what a great metaphor it was for parenting.  You can show your kids, help your kids learn … but they have to do it for themselves.  And they will be fine.  Jacob is learning and reaches out for Brittany to help him along (can I just say that I love that … love seeing him reach for her and her helping him … warms my heart).  As he skates towards the wall I yell … “you can do it … you don’t need the wall!”  As much as I want to go hold him up …. I can’t.  I have to let him skate on his own … away from the wall.
And he did great.
And I think that is so fitting for the first day of school.  Caroline can do it, Brittany can do it … Savannah and Jacob can do it.  They’ll be fine. 
I can watch and cheer and be there if they get banged up but it’s fun to watch what all they can do.

More than anything my prayer for my kids this year is that they will be a friend, have friends and be a light for Christ in their schools.  
My friend Debra shared this prayer that she found and I think it is perfect:
Here we are again, Lord. Their backpacks are loaded and their faces are scrubbed and their lunch accounts are full.
And I know you’ll walk with them, Lord. You always do. But a mom still has to ask.
Will You walk with them?
Will You whisper to them what they need to hear, when I’m not there to whisper it?
Will You please, oh please, cover their school with the protection only You can give, and will You keep harm far away?
Will You make their minds strong and ready to learn?
Will You help them understand that hard work honors the One who created them?
Will You guide their teachers, giving them patience and wisdom and creativity and more patience?
Will You bless them for their efforts?
Will You love all those children there, the ones whose lunch accounts aren’t full, the ones who feel alone?
Will You teach my children to be kind and unselfish and to love those who are different from them?
Will You point them back toward home just as soon as you can?
Lord, I give them to You today and everyday, trusting them to Your care.
And amen.

Y’all have a great year!

A new creation!

A new creation!

Another super exciting thing that happened in our family this summer was that Savannah asked Jesus into her heart!

Since family camp (where all our kids sleep in a loft together), Jacob has slept on the floor in Brittany and Savannah’s room.  I think he got so used to having people around him that he didn’t want it to end (sadly it will have to end tonight as they are all going back to school).  We finally took a mattress and put it in the floor so that he couldn’t blame us one day when he has back troubles!

The kids talk and talk and talk and talk in there, night after night.  Savannah had talked with Bill and I about wanting to be baptized a little after camp and then one night Brittany began talking to her about her salvation and after some discussion they came and got Bill and I and we were able to all pray together.  It was a sweet time, for sure.  Today she went  forward in church to make her decision public.  (If you aren’t Baptist and this sounds totally weird, feel free to ask me about it.  Basically we believe that there comes a time when you know and understand that Christ died for your sins and you want to have a personal relationship with Him.)  She will be baptized sometime soon.

Here is the new creation:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!  
2 Corinthians 5:17

We are so excited to watch the story God is going to tell through Savannah’s life!

Summer … parting is such sweet sorrow …

Summer … parting is such sweet sorrow …

Well, I’ve written exactly two posts in the last month.

That means two things …

1.  I was too busy living life to be able to blog about it.

2.   I had no computer in Tahoe or Minnesota (my in laws have yet to use a debit card, much less a computer!), and, as fancy as my iphone is, I cannot post a blog from it.  

So here we are, back in Houston and 36ish hours away from sending my children back to school.   One to high school, one to middle school and (thankfully!) two still left in elementary.  (I love still having children in elementary school….keeps me young.  Plus I have lots of wisdom and experience which really only means I know enough to keep from ever signing up for room mom again.  There are plenty of “first time moms” that are perfect for that job!) 
So, as I bid “adieu” to summer, there is a mixture of emotions … a twinge of excitement for all the new opportunities and experiences we will have this year and an ounce of regret that another summer has come and gone.  Sweet sorrow.  Sweet, sweet sorrow.

One thing we are realizing is that life is different now with a high school student.  For starters, summer ends on August 1.  At least for Caroline it did.  She began tryouts for the Stratford High School volleyball team and made it … and we are so excited for her.  It will be nice to begin school with a “group” so to speak.  She has already been busy with games and practices and the coach was less than pleased when we told him we had a 50th anniversary party to attend which had been in the works for a long, long time.  She missed one game, but she and I changed our flights so she could play in this game:

We have now joined the Booster club and our Suburban is sporting a Stratford High School Volleyball sticker.  We are legit high school parents.  Lord help us!

We flew in from Minnesota LATE on Tuesday night (more on that trip at another time) and literally hit the ground running Wednesday morning with back to school activities.  Wednesday was the high school parent coffee and orientation for Caroline, Thursday she got her books, Friday was the elementary meet the teacher, we got haircuts, new shoes, 6th grade shots, attended a first grade back to school party:

met our new Sunday School teachers, went to a couple of birthday parties, bought pencils and notepads and assorted other school supplies, had my HBU orientation … and that’s just a little of what happened over the last four days.  Four days which, I might add, where Bill was away in San Francisco on business.  And when your husband is gone on the four days leading up to the start of school … well, it kind of feels like forty days instead of four.  SO glad he is back (for two nights anyway) so he can help me drop everyone off on Monday.  He will fly out right after drop off which will leave me no choice but to go home and feel lonely.
We did want to soak up every last bit of summer that we could today.  I thought we might hang out at the pool but then read in the paper that there were heat warnings in the city and that it is close to being the very hottest August on record for Houston.  So, it was too hot to go to the pool.  Sad day when that is the case, sad day.   Instead of feeling sorry for ourselves (which mostly would have been me feeling sorry for myself that Bill was gone) we decided to beat the heat and go ice skating.  It was a nice diversion from the heat.

As we left I remembered that on every list of “things you shouldn’t miss when you have visitors come to Houston” is the Transco water tower which is right next to the Galleria.  The kids had never seen it so we drove by to take a peek.  As I was driving home I decided that was lame and we turned around and went back and got OUT of the car.  I mean, this is the closest thing Houston has to Niagara Falls and it is really neat to see and stand up close to it.  So we did.

There is a cool mist that blows off the water (kind of like those “misting” areas at Disneyworld) and I decided after the ice skating rink this might be the second “coolest” place in Houston.

We kicked off summer with a trip to Grandy and Grammy’s lake, we did camps and VBS and swim team, Bill and I climbed mountains and celebrated 20, and we traveled to MN to help celebrate a 50th.  And we ended up right back here at a Houston tourist attraction.

And I loved today.  

And I loved this summer.

And I’m planning on loving this fall.

Goodbye summer 2010 … parting is such sweet sorrow.

Until we meet again!

The Case of the Missing Blackberry …

The Case of the Missing Blackberry …

Last Thursday night Bill flew into Lake Tahoe. 

I made the 1 1/2 hour drive out to pick him up … this time with a GPS.   You see, when I flew in, I incorrectly typed in South Lake Tahoe, CA and our cabin was actually in South Lake Tahoe, NV. 
Trust me, it can get confusing .. the state line goes directly through the middle of the lake.  So, I
went on instinct,  and, defying all logic and reason actually made it to our cabin.  It was on the top
of a mountain.  It was VERY dark.  Did I mention is was on the TOP of a mountain? I had no idea I was even driving right next to the lake for a portion of it.  It was that dark.  I felt a little like Harrison Ford in “Raiders of the Lost Ark” where he knows he’ll find the ark but it took some doing to get there.

Back to my story … as I pulled up to the passenger pick up Bill calls from his cell and says … “what kind of car are you in?” and I said … “look up” because there I was, right in front of him.

And that was the last time we saw his cell phone for five days.

Now that was very bad news for Bill but very good news for me. 

I told him I thought it would show up on the way home.

I told him I thought the big guy upstairs didn’t want him to have it,  it was our anniversary after all.

And there were times …. this kayak trip for example …

when we were literally giddy that no one could contact us.  No one.  And honestly … this kayak trip was one of  THE highlights of the trip.  We had to leave our camera onshore after we were warned by the kayak rental place …”this lake is actually more dangerous than the ocean”.  (On a side note they also looked at us like we were C-R-A-Z-Y after they asked … “you do have water bottles don’t you?” and we just shrugged and said “no”.  We weren’t planning on the 3 hour tour going the way of Gilligan’s Island .. but they seemed to think it might. 

I SO wish there were pictures because we kayaked to this island  (about 5 miles round trip)…

climbed up to the castle, climbed back down, swam in the wonderfully cool, glistening clear lake and then while Bill got the kayak I went and jumped off a cliff.  SCARY but crazy fun.   By the time I actually jumped boats from all around had people chanting … “Jump, JUMP” and doing countdowns and the like … but I had to take my time.  I can’t tell you how glad I am that I did it … I only wish there were pictures.

So … back to my story … the blackberry was gone.  Bill’s company tried to overnight him one not once, but twice … but to no avail.  He had literal fires to put out as a pipeline facility that he handles media for in Georgia literally burned while we were gone.  (To make matters worse, some virus attacked his laptop and he was literally a media man with no media.  None at all.) 

We left Tahoe on our route home and stopped at the gas station where we had bought gas when he flew in to see if it was there. 

It was not.

We went to Lost and Found at the airport.

It was not there either.

Now remember … I said all alone I thought he’d find it on the way home … I just knew it, but Bill wasn’t so sure.  We prayed about it as we drove towards Reno because we assumed once we flew off it would be forever gone.

Finally we went to turn in the keys for the rental car and Bill unzipped one zipper on his backpack that apparently had gone unzipped despite the fact that he took EVERYTHING out of his backpack and shook it (you’d need to see his backpack to see how many zippers it has, but still …).  Right there … RIGHT THERE … in that one pocket was his blackberry. 

It had been there the whole time.

I knew we’d find it.

I just knew it.

Personally I think the man upstairs knew the vacation was over.
Dear Blog …

Dear Blog …

Hi … my name is Darla.   Remember me?

I’ve been gone for a few weeks …

Sorry about that.  It’s just that I needed to live some life to have something to blog about, right?

And live a bit I did!

Bill and I just returned from Lake Tahoe where we celebrated our 20th anniversary.  It was originally planned as a family vacation but then high school volleyball (eek – high school!) came into our life and said “no vacations after August 1”.  I tried a few other alternate plans but nothing worked out and so I booked myself a flight.  I was not letting a condo in Tahoe go to waste … knowwhatImean?

Bill asked if I was crazy … leaving my family and heading off to the wild West?  And I said “no” … “mama needs a vacay”.   And then one day …. even though things at work were at an all time crazy …. he said … “I’m going to meet you out there”.  And I said … “Mirror, mirror on the wall, those are the fairest words of all”.  It did not fit with his work schedule, his boss was on vacation, there were literally fires to put out in some natural gas facilities … but he left and met me in Tahoe.  As it turned out it was the week of our 20th anniversary so it worked out absolutely perfectly.

I had a day of quiet all to myself where I felt like Thoreau exploring Walden Pond.  Lake Tahoe is stunning, beautiful and spectacular.  All in one.  Mark Twain said of Tahoe … “I thought  it must be the fairest picture the whole earth affords”.  He also said … “Come to Lake Tahoe … for surely this is the air the angels breathe”.   And I know exactly what he meant.

So, back to Bill … it was all really quite fun because for three days I felt like a mom who said “enough.” and raced away as far as she could get.  For two of the three days a friend from Sacramento came over and we had a wonderful visit.  Then … and this is where it gets exciting …. Bill came out and, in my fairy tale story, I imagined him coming to beg me to come back to the family.  🙂  Of course he wouldn’t have to beg.  I love that man and my kids so much … and I had to come back to my kids because no one offered to put them on a plane and send them to us out there.

And thus began 5 days fun, adventure, excitement and beauty.  It was perfect and wonderful and fun and refreshing.  Did I mention perfect?

Anyway … lots of stories and memories (Bill brought our wedding video and we enjoyed a trip down memory lane).  But all of that to say … I married a very special man.  He loves me fiercely and I love him that way right back.  I very naively felt a little embarrassed for people when they told me upon my marriage … “you will love him more in 20 years than you do now”.  I felt a little sorry for them actually that they must not have loved their spouse as much as I loved Bill when we married.  But 20 years later …. I understand.  I get it.  And I do love him more than I ever could have imagined 20 years ago.

Happy 20th Bill … you are my dream come true.

Happy 20th Anniversary Bill! from Darla Baerg on Vimeo.