The Joys of Watching Your Child Let Go

the joys of watching your child let go

(moments after this picture was taken I experienced the joy of watching your child let go)

During our Staycation my husband and I took our children ice skating for the first time. My daughter took the longest to get the motion of it and let go of the wall. When I watched her let go that first time and skate I could not help but think of how much joy I find in watching my children succeed at something new.

From the moment the child leaves the womb they begin firsts. First smile. First giggle. First step. First word.

But it does not end there, I have experienced their first time riding a bike, their first time reading on their own, their first time writing a sentence without me to guide them.

Which lead to bigger things, their first time using the stove, their first trip walking to the corner store all by themselves, and very soon, their first time driving a car.

Yet in each first I realize I myself am one step closer to an empty nest. One step closer to days without their hugs, mornings without their laughs, nights without their company.

And so I savor all these firsts, I drink them in, I celebrate them, I take photos of them, I even encourage them.

It is such a joy to watch your child become independent to see courage take flight, to see that all you have worked for all these years of parenting bearing fruit.

Take a moment today to drink it in. To watch for firsts and to savor them.

Luke 2:19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.

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10 Things I am Thankful For This Year

With Thanksgiving being tomorrow I want to take a moment to list a few things I am thankful for.

1. My Husband

Including both dating years and marriage I have been with this man 20 years, and I am praying that I will be blessed with many more.

2. My son Thomas

My eldest child has taken up running this year and I have so enjoyed coaching him along the way. After his first race he told me  “mom I stayed behind this boy on the 5K because he kept on going the wrong way and I was afraid he would get lost” .  I tear up every time I think of that.

3. My Son Aiden

My middle child and I connect over frugality and music. I love cranking up Toby Mac when its just he and I in the car. He has me compare prices and search for discount codes before he makes any purchases, which makes my heart all a flutter with mommy love.

4. My Daughter Courtney

People always say this child looks like me but this year she  started gained her womanly curves and now she is mini me . She also has my giving heart and I love watching her create things to give to her friends.

5. My Friends

I couldn’t find a picture with all of my friends, but truthfully I am blessed to the point I don’t know if all of them would fit in one photo anyways. Without a mom around anymore, my friends mean that much more to me, they pick me up when I down, smack me down when I get too high on myself, laugh with me, cry with me, and are always there when I need them.

6. My Snail Pace Readers

I cherish every comment on the blog, every e-mail subscriber , RRS feed reader and every facebook like and comment. Not because it symbols growth but because it means you value what I have to say, and that makes me want to write more and get to know you better.

7. Family Memories

It was so great to finally see Disney World and Florida, all five of us had never been, but more important than seeing it was the memories we made. I don’t think I will ever forget the magical evening spent watching the fireworks over the castle that I had seen in my living room on TV every week growing up.

8. Spontaneous Family Time

Some of my favorite family memories are of those trips we took on a whim. Nothing says I love you more than dropping your To Do list  for a day and spending it together instead.

 

9. God’s Creation

One of my favorite parts of being a runner and a cyclist is drinking in the surrounding nature. I am in awe of much that I see and often wonder how people could deny there is a creator when they view the vast complexity of all that surrounds us.

10. God’s Provision

God never ceases to amaze me in how He provides for my family in small ways, like the hangers I have always wanted,  to big ways like  providing enough money for new tires the month before the roads begin to get hazardous.

Share your thankful list below

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Thankful: For Family Camping

This is our home away from home for 4 nights this week.

Our lives have been extremely busy these last few weeks.

School has started up again, and since we homeschool that meant a lot of preparation for me.

One of our rentals become available and we decided to try to sell it, leading to a 40 hour work week for me, filling holes, sanding, painting, shoveling mulch into neglected flower beds, and cleaning windows.

I fit those 40 hours around the schooling needs of my 3 children, by getting up at 4 am each morning to get the bulk of the work done before the kids needed me.

By Friday last week I was exhausted and did not know how I was going to get our own home ready for the house sitter, and pack for our trip by Monday morning.

Somehow,only 30 minutes later than planed, and with several piles of clutter stuffed into my master bedroom to deal with later, my family of five pulled out on our first out of state camping trip.

I am thankful. Thankful to put the hard work aside for a week. Thankful to be able to explore new areas during my early morning runs. Thankful to be able to enjoy a few quiet hours each day writing at a nearby Starbucks as the family hangs out at the campground. Thankful not to have to worry about marking school books, or teaching science. Thankful to have time to enjoy my family and slow the speed of life for just a while. Thankful that God provided the provisions for a tent trailer for my family.

My family is blessed, and I intended to reflect on just that this week, as I take time to relax.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28 ESV)

This post is shared at Finer Things Fridays at The Finer Things in Life

Thankful: My Class of Three

Last week I shared that I do not have the model students that you see in home schooling curriculum ad’s that bounce out of bed screaming “mommy what are we learning today”.

This year was no different, there were no students up before their alarm clocks fully dressed and ready to hit the books. Although this was the first year that there were no tears shed by the students or the teacher on the first day. That alone is something to be thankful for.

Which lead me to thinking would I love my children any more if they were model students.

No! Instead my husband and I would probably question if they were really ours.

I am thankful for the 3 students God has given me.

Let me take a few moments to introduce you to our class.

Sorry for the blurry sign (first day back to teaching jitters)

Thomas is in grade 10 this year. He is loving the independence that comes with high school studies. He gets to decide what order he wants to study his subjects in each day.  The first book he grabs every day is his Science book. The last book he grabs everyday is math.

Two things odd about this photo, he is dressed and he is eating breakfast.

Aiden is in 7th grade this year. He likes to whip through his school day with lightening speed. He is the child that once memorized all three children’s assigned bible verse for the week just because he overheard his siblings saying them out loud with me. When  I am giving the other children verbal math quizzes Aiden answers before they do, even though I have told him a thousand times to stop answering other peoples quizzes.  Spelling on the other hand, is extremely tough for him.

She is not a morning person!

Courtney is in grade 5 this year. She is highly distractible. She learns best while bouncing on an exercise ball, and writes best when allowed to draw pictures with her words. I often wonder if she is learning anything, then while out on errands with me she will describe in great detail something about what she read three months ago.

 I am so thankful to God for the three students he hand picked for me to have in my class.

I am also thankful for His wisdom and grace which help me through those rough first days of school each year  and all the other tough days that arise in every home schooling year.

This post is linked to the Not Back To School Blog Hop at ihomeschoolnetwork, Hip Homeschooling Hop at Hip Homeschooling Moms

Thankful: For A Change in Plans

Our New Haircuts!

 On Tuesday, the kids and I had plans to go to with friends to a local water park but the plans fell apart due to thunderstorms in our area.

Sometimes however, plans can quickly be replaced with opportunities.

In this case I saw a chance to grab some one on time with my middle child Aiden.

Chick-Fil-A his favorite!

My youngest and my eldest children are…..well…loud. My middle child, is quiet.

When we go out as a family it is always him I am afraid to lose. Not because he wanders off, but because he doesn’t say much so therefore it could be a while till I notice he is gone.

It’s his quiet nature that makes me cherish the chances I get to go out just he and I.

I can finally hear his voice, hear his opinions, find out who he is really becoming.

This boy, besides the quiet nature (so not me) is much like me and therefore needs my guidance in how to wisely handle his talents and downfalls.

He  and I  love not just listening to music, but dissecting the lyrics, which, leads to conversations in how what we listen to can effect our thoughts and behaviors therefore we need to be cautious about what we listen to.

He and I  love food,which leads to conversations in the pitfalls of over indulgence and the need for nutritional balance.

He  and I have a sarcastic wit. Oh how I wish he did not inherit this trait, the heart ache I have caused myself and others with my sarcasm is immeasurable, yet I also know it can bring others laughter when I use it right. Hopefully, perhaps, I can teach him to learn safe sarcasm boundaries quicker than I did.

Thank you Lord for the gift of Aiden. Thank you for an opportunity to spend the afternoon with him. May I never forget that out of  failed plans often come opportunities.

A man’s heart plans his way: but the LORD directs his steps. (Proverbs 16:9)

This post linked to Thankful Thursdays at The Marathon Mom, Finer Things Fridays at The Finer Things in Life

Thankful:I Can Still Drop it all and Run

I grew up in on an island surround by ocean. I was never farther than a 15 minute drive to the beach.

I spent many an evening swimming at the miles and miles of beach that surrounded my town . I spent hours collecting sand dollars and sea glass. My sister and I held crab races.

I Love the Feeling of Sand in My Toes

Then I meet a man who took me miles away from it all. For a while we lived near several lakes, and they were beautiful in their own way, but they were not the ocean.I didn’t like that I could still see the land on the other side. The sand was more like gravel than granules. The beach fronts were small, certainly not miles and miles long like I was use too.

The good news was I could still visit my ocean town at least a few times a year, it was a full days travel by car, but it was possible.

Then he took me further and further away, to the land of corn and soy beans. The lakes around here are more like ponds, actually most of them are man made ponds

It’s no longer a fulls day drive to my ocean town, now its full days plane ride, and not something our family can afford to do. I began to develop a craving to see open water, but was sad to realize my chances were slim.

One day my man, knowing my ocean sickness treated me to a surprise, he introduced me to the shores of  Lake Michigan, which have now become my ocean substitute.

The smell of the air is wrong, and I miss the salt water on my skin, yet my feet love the sand, and my eyes love to feast on the miles and miles of open water.

Its become a habit of mine to wake up one morning during the summer and announce “today’s the day”  “today is beach day”.

I wake up my night owl family, and being the early bird I am I run circles around them packing coolers and beach chairs as they wipe the sleep from their eyes.

I place breakfast in their hands and guide them to their seats before the sun is even fully in the sky, and I love every minute of it. I love the spontaneity, I love tossing the day to day for a day and remembering how to live in the moment.

Thank you Lord, for the gift of spontaneity and for the shores of Lake Michigan my beach away from the beach.

This post is linked to Finer things Fridays at The Finer Things in Life

Thankful: Humor from Humbling

A while ago long time ago. I mentioned that we are renovating our downstairs bathroom.

My husband has been doing all of the work up until last weekend, when he finally announced the words that made me giddy “the bathroom is ready for you to paint”.

I wasn’t giddy about painting, but what happened after painting, finally we would get our second toilet back.

I never realized how many times my family uses the toilet in one day, till I was forced to live with just one toilet!

I started painting Saturday. I got the whole room prepped and  primed in just over an hour. I gave the room several hours to dry and then applied the first coat of color that night before bed. Both coats had turned out fabulous.

I got home from church on Sunday ready to conquer the second coat and feeling pretty proud of my painting self! Even envisioning ” semi-professional painter” added to my name (not professional yet cause there was still the odd paint in the hair issue)…. then it happened.

God never lets me get too high on the ladder of pridefulness before He knocks me down.

I had the paint out and was all ready to go, and reached over to grab a sip of my flavored water before I began when instead of grabbing the water, I knocked the entire glass of it all over the floor.

I was just a few moments into cleaning up that mess when I felt something sticky on the bottom of my foot. I turned around to discover I had knocked over the small cup of paint I had poured for edging.

Upstairs I went to the closet holding the rags to clean the mess, only to discover on my return trip that even though I had wiped my foot off, it was leaving foot prints all over the laminate floor.

Determined not to give up I cleaned up the mess and returned to painting. The painting went very smoothly, until I removed the plastic I had used to protect the floor from spills.

Turns out that while cleaning up the mess early I had somehow put a rip in  the floor covering in  the exact spot I had spilled the paint,  and paint had seeped through and had been sitting soaking and drying for over an hour.

Knowing how hard my husband had worked to install the new flooring I said a quick “help me Lord” prayer and started to scrape off the paint.

Luckily it came all up except in the grout lines. I again sent up a brief “help me Lord” prayer and when I opened my eyes I saw a piece of sandpaper in the corner of the room.

I spent the next 15 minutes madly sanding paint off grout and repeating to myself ‘I will be humble, I shall not boast”.

Before

After

Once I had it all cleaned up  you could never tell the mess I made. There is just one small spot of paint that could not be sanded off the grout but you really have to look for it.

Which led me to thinking isn’t that just like God. He brings our sins to our attention and once we have confessed them He wipes the slate clean, and creates beauty from our ashes (or paint spills).

Yes sometimes He leaves a spot, but He leaves it there with the intention of using it to work through us to help others through the same struggles: Or to give someone the joy of laughter when you talk about the day you spilt the paint.

Thank you Lord, for keeping me in line. For reminding me I am a work in process.

“Before destruction is pride, And before stumbling — a haughty spirit.’“ Proverbs 16:18

This post is linked to Thankful Thursdays at The Marathon Mom, Weekend Whatever at Not Consumed

Thankful: For Their Messes

This is the little man that greets me quite regularly in my upstairs bathroom. I am constantly clearing the bathroom of stray pieces of Lego. I was about to express a huff of frustration about it the other day when it hit me  “one day there won’t be Lego to clear away” and although I won’t miss the extra cleaning I will miss…….

The belly laughs of a child.

The warm hugs and cuddles of one who loves you in spite of all your faults. In fact they don’t even seem to notice your faults.

The look of pride on their faces as they learn a new concept, or are intrusted with a new responsibility.

The sound of siblings playing together and getting along. (but perhaps not those of them NOT getting along)

These thoughts made me a bit less frustrated when the main entrance to my dinning room become blocked by a child all spread out with her paper and felts. Sure there are more out of the way places to draw but that day I decided to not reminder her of that. Nope that day I decided……….

To let her dream.

To let her create that dream on paper.

To let her share that dream on paper.

To let her share that dream on paper with me.

To let her share that dream on paper with me without distraction.

The stories I learned, of events that I thought were simple, that she holds as special memories touched my heart.

Dear Lord, help me to remember, that even the simple build memories. That childhood doesn’t last forever, and that these three gifts you have given me should be cherished and enjoyed each day.

Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him. Psalm 127:3

This post is linked to Finer Things Fridays at The Finer Things in Life

Thankful for the Power of my Legs

I love training for marathons, more than I enjoy the actual race day.

Why? because in my long training runs, I grow closer to God.  Out there on the roads the distractions of the day, melt away and my pride crumbles as I put one sweaty foot in front of the other for miles and miles. My world, becomes silent, its just me, my feet, and my God.

Like two close friends we chat away the miles. Sometimes I talk, and He listens and sometimes He talks, and I listen. Sometimes I praise Him for all He has done, other times He encourages me to keep pressing on.

It is because of this close time of intimate fellowship with My God that I am so thankful for the set of strong able legs He has given me. Legs that can run to him and with him. Thank you Lord for my legs.