Well, I tried… The Victorious Update

Last week, I wrote this

Since then, we got busy. Band practice is daily. Two of the three schools have orientations AND open houses to receive schedules. There was a little schedule drama and we had to switch from a thin freshman locker to a wider band locker. There were extra shots and so much paperwork I feel it’s my duty to insist that a few trees be planted. There are school supplies! Oh my word, my laundry room is buried in school supplies waiting to be delivered. We’ve also been enjoying Nana and Papa’s company this week. We’ve made it out to one museum but our crazy schedule has pretty much meant hanging out at the house with whichever Stiff happens to be home at the time. Lucky for us, they are pretty easy guests. All this to say…we are the week before school busy. It will only get busier next week when school starts and we add soccer and cross country and art club to our crazy schedules. 

With all that crazy, I didn’t do a great job promoting my plan to sponsor kids. I often get so wrapped up in an idea I jump in with both feet and never think what it will be like once I’m in the water. So, from my stat counter I know that the Victorious post reached more people than my usual post. I’m just going to have to be okay with that. There were no comments and I was so looking forward to passing that book on to someone else. I’m going to remind myself that it’s like the Starfish Story.

And today, I’m okay with that. 

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The Kidnapping

I would like to report a kidnapping.  This morning at O dark thirty (that means about 5:15 a.m. Grandma) these sweet girls showed up at my house to steal my daughter. I must be a horrible mom because I allowed it to happen. 

It’s the last day of band camp. Can I get a Hallelujah, AMEN!!! She made it! We made it! Dare I say it? She actually LIKES it!!! How far we’ve come in a couple of weeks. This morning she was whisked away in the dark with the other freshmen. These sweet girls snuck in her room, woke her up and got her ready and out the door in under 10 minutes. Bless them. I’ve never been able to do that. 

This morning Arleigh will be initiated into band. There are games, races and some other fun stuff. They’ll eat breakfast and then the last day will start. 

I’m so so happy for Arleigh. She has friends. She knows people. She’s learning her way around the school. She has a better head start at her new school then some of the other kids that have been in the same district for much longer. I think this mama just found her some aloha.

Go Spartans! 

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No SolicitingĀ 

Funny title since the last two posts have been pushing you toward sponsoring kids. Yikes! 

From the moment we arrived in Virginia, we’ve had solicitors coming to our door. One day I was in a HUGE hurry. We had appointments for back to school physicals. I know the guy thought I was fibbing. Then we spent almost an hour with a student selling educational products. Really pricey educational products. I told him it wasn’t in our budget. I told him what seemed like 500 times. Arleigh said I was starting to sound irritated. Maybe it had to do with the fact that I was IRRITATED! Sigh. An hour in the sun discussing why I need to buy something for my children’s future. I love feeling like a disgraceful, selfish parent. Good times. Those are just two instances…

It was wearing on me. I decided to do something about it. 

  
It’s not exactly friendly but I thought a little humor might help. In other news… Thank You Pinterest! 

Now… I’m off to finish Jack’s room. Don’t forget Monday’s post. I have exactly zero comments. šŸ˜” I really want to send Beth’s book to someone. 

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Life Is Not Fair

One of my children in particular is notorious for telling me things aren’t fair. She’s right. Just yesterday, I couldn’t find the summer homework that she completed that I agreed to check. I had no idea she had to turn it in. So 38 honors algebra problems needed to be done again on top of heaven forbid, reading another book. My poor children suffer a lot having me as a mother trying to keep up with all their stuff. Bless her heart. She had no idea I spent the morning reading about child soldiers. She had no idea that spouting off her “It’s not fair!” mantra would cause such an enraged reaction from her mother.

She’s right. Life isn’t fair. It will never be fair. I love my children equally but there are moments when one needs more. Sigh. Life isn’t fair. If it was my mother wouldn’t have suffered so much in the past two years. My daughter knows her mother’s reaction to such a statement is almost always, “Suck it up buttercup. There are other things that are worse.” (I’m also aware I don’t heed my own advice. It’s a problem.) I think perhaps our perception of what is suffering is off. I complain about not being able to find “the church” for my family but I’m not be persecuted for my faith. I complain about fixing a meal when I’m tired but we HAVE FOOD. I complain about our schedule. I don’t live in fear for the lives of my children or wonder where I’ll get clean water from EVERY SINGLE DAY. Sometimes I need a reality check. Here’s one…

This is Martin.

Photo by Jeremy Cowart 

When Martin was just 12, we was hiding in a tree when his village was attacked by a vicious group of LRA rebels. He was found. He was abducted. He lived through violence and psychological torture. He was given a gun and forced to live as a soldier, at 12. TWELVE. One of his worst memories is an ambush where he was forced to kill a close friend who was also a child soldier. 

Martin was eventually rescued and reunited with his family. His father had passed away. Remarkably, through therapy he now knows this wasn’t his fault. He’s found a way to forgive his captors and more importantly himself. He is a leader for peace in his community. You can read more here

If you didn’t read my post yesterday, click here. For just $38 a month, you can make a difference. That’s a cheap dinner out for my family. I can hear it now. That’s no big deal for you. Actually, it costs lots to move. Arleigh’s band is costing more than all four kids’ piano per month. We lost our COLA (cost of living) when we moved here and lots of things are nearly as expensive. Bria’s soccer fee cost more than all three girls soccer in Hawaii. One child’s PE uniform here is going to cost me $68. Thank you fall weather for needed me to purchase sweats. PE uniforms in Hawaii cost me $24 and that was with extras. I’m officially in the market for a part time job just to help cover the expense of kids and still have the ability to pick them up and drive them around. I am in no way saying that $38 a month isn’t a sacrifice. It clearly is. I’m only saying it’s worth it. 

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Victorious

I honestly haven’t seen or spoken to my friend Bethany in maybe 25 years. We attended area wide church functions together as teenagers. I recently reconnected started social media stalking her on Facebook when another friend told me about her book, The Color of Grace. Stop for a second. I can wait. Click that link and download that book right this second. I can wait. You can thank me later. 

What I remember most about Bethany from way back then is that she was always smiling. It radiated out of those big blue eyes. Her story…well, seriously you just need to read it. I want to give her a hug, cry with her and tell her how proud I am of everything she’s done. 

You see, Bethany is… well, I’m just going to cut and paste the about the author for you. 

With a PhD in counseling psychology and a master’s in clinical social work, she is a leader in the specialized field of war-affected children rehabilitation with worldwide organizations such as the United Nations and the Global Trauma Recovery Institute. With more than twenty years of experience in the field, Bethany maintains a small counseling and coaching practice in Nashville, TN. She and her husband, Matthew, reside in Nashville, Tennessee, and lead the work of Exile International together.

I can’t begin to do justice to a description of Bethany Williams but I read one of those Facebook stories the other day that might help. A woman was dealing with a divorce and her grandmother knew she was having a hard time. She put three pots of water to boil on the stove. In the first one she dropped carrots. In the second one she put in an egg. The third had coffee beans gently placed in the rolling bubbles of the boiling water. The carrots when faced with the extreme adversity of the temperature and the water turned to mush. The fragile egg hardened it’s outside and thickened it’s interior so that it wouldn’t be so fragile. The coffee beans…well they took on the water and transformed the adversary into something rich and beautiful. So what will you be? Do you turn to mush? Do you look just as you did but become hard to protect yourself or do you use the hardship to make something even better? I can tell you what Bethany did. It was so much bigger than the coffee beans. It’s spreading across the world. 

This morning, I woke up. I knew I wasn’t meeting my running buddies. Bria was curled up next to me. So I said my morning prayers, admittedly a little too quickly, grabbed my iPad and opened Facebook. This was the first thing I saw. 

 

 
 This was a letter written by a child to one of the former child soldiers. You might want to read it again. I’ve read it more than once. 

Yesterday I was having a pity party. My poor new car…good grief. I’ve been whining about our search for a new church and the fact that I no longer live in Hawaii. Funny how God puts me in my place. This morning, I looked up Exile International, something I kept thinking I needed to do. I read about the projects and the Hope Initiative. I want to be Bethany when I grow up. I have a little tribe to take care of right now. I can’t hop on down to Nashville and work for her, although if we ever move back to Kentucky I will always offer. 

I sponsored a child this morning. Didn’t call Ray first or worry about the money we’ve been spending on the move, and band and soccer and cross country and kids in general. I just did it. I want you to do it too. If you do leave me a comment. I’ll have a drawing for Bethany’s book that I will personally send it to you. If you already ordered it and would prefer, I’ll send you another book I love about missions, Red Letters by Tom Davis. If you want extra entries, share this post. Email it, Facebook it, Tweet it. Whatever. List those out in your comment. I’ll draw a name on Sept. 1. 

This is not a hardship. Tell your kids you’re giving up your Friday night pizza. Maybe I’m the only one that spends $30 on a pizza because mine eat so much. Don’t go out to eat once this month and you’ve covered the membership. You eat peanut butter for one meal with your family and this is what happens…

“Your sponsorship will provide education, food, healthcare, trauma counseling, peace building/leadership development, and spiritual care. 100% of your donation goes directly to supporting your sponsored child.”

All this from the click of a mouse. Let’s take a minute and spread peace. 

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It’s Official: My Aloha Is Gone

Ugh! I replaced my beloved Mom-mobile with Aloha when we left Hawaii. To say that was upset about selling that van is an understatement. I felt like I was giving priceless memories to a swarmy used car salesman. That’s basically what happened.

Low and behold a bright and shiny new SUV can into my life. Aloha was love at first sight. Then I nearly collided with oncoming traffic when I couldn’t see over dog crates and neglected to yield. I’ve been super careful. Extra steps have literally been taken when I park her. I was her more, won’t let the kids eat in her, you get the drift. 

Sigh. It was bound to happen. I was quickly taking the three youngest over to a neighbor’s so Bria and Hanan could swim. Jack was yelling “WHY!?!” Per the usual from the back. In spite of an afternoon out, Bria and Hanan were bickering. I was pulling out quickly from my not usual spot thinking, “I better watch that side…” when it happened. My bumper kissed a tree. Who am I kidding, I’m not sure if it was the bumper or the tree but one of them took it on the chin.

Bria is melting down in the back seat. She was probably suddenly aware that the noise was stressing me out. Jack was laughing nervously. Hanan was trying to remain calm. I was somewhere between cussing a blue streak and melting down in tears. 

My bumper is scratched but there are no dents and it could’ve been much worse. That’s what I keep telling myself anyway. 

I think the older I get the worse I am with transitions. All I could think about this morning is how nice it would be to have the sting of the hot sun on my shoulders and the cool water rushing over me. Forget the golden streets. I’m pretty sure heaven has white sand and turquoise water. 

Ray keeps telling me that I should be grateful for the three years we had instead of pining for more. I’m am forever grateful. I also know what I’m missing right now. I never backed out of my driveway into a palm tree. 

Oh well. This too shall pass. Right Mom? Maybe one day I’ll go back.

  

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