Sunday, February 2, 2014

the start of school

we came home from our visit with nana and were welcomed by the beginning of a new school year.  surrounded by students we became students ourselves.  this year was the first of having both girls in school.  i cried a little.  we continue to learn from home, exploring  the ways in which we can integrate learning and passion, providing opportunity to discover who we are created to be and how our desires are a reflection of the Lords hand in our lives.  we play outside.  we read together.  we make messes with art and fill our minds with math equations.  and there are struggles, broken pencils, tears over misspelled words, and the occasional eraser that ends up flying through the air...usually toward another's head.  but we are able to do it together, we are able to share in this life together.  and i count it a blessing.

we also continue to learn with our co-op group.  a group of four to five families who have chosen to learn from home.  we meet once a week.  we learn together.  we learn in community.  we learn in love.  each family loving all, teaching all, learning from all.  we are able to show our children what it looks like to care for others and grow in relationship with each other.  they watch as we host, prepare, provide for and care for others.  they learn not only during their lessons but in each and every action that goes into it.  and i count it a blessing.  

Monday, December 2, 2013

visiting nana...

its become tradition now.  a little holiday time.  on the island.  with my mama.  i kinda like it there, the island, the ocean so close and family around.  we go to give scott the freedom to do his job well at the beginning of each school year.  we go and explore the familiar sights and smells of the places i grew up going to.  fort rod hill, taylor beach, wittys beach, ogden point.  all places with memories, all places i wish to share with our girls.  so we explore, look under rocks, take walks, eat pizza at the lagoon.  maybe my most favorite is the lagoon.  the pizza stained lips and cheeks, building forts from washed up logs, the annual photo of my mama with my girls, the wind, the salty ocean smell.  it makes my heart skip.  until my mama offers dairy queen, usually at nine at night, and i say no and crush her heart and dreams.  

my mama is a woman full of kindness.  she offers a lot of it.  kindness.  to our girls maybe most of all.  and i give thanks for that.  she loves them well, she loves us all well, with an open home she provides as much as she can, and i believe she would offer us the world if she could.  for real.  

this year my favorite day happened in the blink of an eye when water accidentally escaped from the bucket penny was using to water the grass and fell helplessly onto my mamas back.  she gave me the eye, the stink eye and disappeared inside.  to dry off i assumed.  but she did not dry off.  instead she emerged from the back door carrying a kitchen pot full of water and a smile that reached across her face in a girl like manor i had never seen before, and i ran.  i think we all ran.  and screamed.  we may have wasted more than our fair share of water that day, her grass i am sure has never been so green, and i can say with full honesty that i have never seen my mama in such a way.  from head to toe they were soaking, not an inch was dry.  i had my camera...

our adventures continued, beacon hill park and odgen point.  swings, climbing trees and rocks, walking the break water, building forts, and soaking in moments together.

and then there was the big surprise.  a horse carriage ride through town.  they were nervous, beyond excited and thankful as they rode behind sweet ruby through the streets of victoria.

and the classic trip to fort rod hill.  never a disappointment.  how can it be when there are underground tunnels with rows of shells to touch, dance shows (where some people sing) with winners and judges, lighthouses to explore and rocks to climb.

a little backyard marshmallow roast.  always a win when your name is penny.  might be her most favorite thing to do.  when i tuck her into bed, be it summer or winter she always whispers in my ear, "mom, when can we go camping and have marshmallows?"  i always answer, "soon buds, soon."

Thursday, November 28, 2013

the swamp

we find ourselves in a unique position living where we work, working where we live.  we are surrounded by wandering souls, those who are transient while we remain still.  we grow together for a short time and invest in each other.  i cry sometimes.  i hurt when they leave.  each individual has an impact on us, as a family, as individuals ourselves.  we love them, they change us, challenge our thinking, and bring new issues to light.  they play with our girls, visit their sticker shop, participate in their games, get down on their hands and knees to have races.  they sit on our couches, share their stories and a cup of tea, they eat with us.  we share with them, we let them see who we are and invite them in.  we have a door that is always open, couches that are always full, a tea box that needs to be refilled often and hearts that will never be the same.  we are full of joy.  this is life where we live, in this community, with these people.  they are not just students to us, they are people who continually shaped our hearts and eyes.  we give thanks for them.  everyday.

there are a few that share these experiences, these understandings with us.  they live beside us, with us, sometimes i feel that they almost live on us.  we don't mind being squashed.  we call ourselves the hallway family.  cause we are.  family.  we don't always knock on each others doors before we open them.  we borrow flour and eggs, sometimes without asking.  we have different opinions.  we can't imagine doing life without each other.  i think it would be lonely.  quite.  we manage on little sleep because spending time together is more important than going to bed.  

and then they invite us to be apart of their family, because they say we are family.  their mom allows our girls to call her grandma and their dad allows them to call him papa.  they are included in family boat rides with the grandchildren.  we are included in family meal times.  time is divided evenly on the tube, including our children.  i cry sometimes.  because i am so thankful.  thankful that our children are so love, so desperately loved well.  thankful that they have people who are so willing to pour into them without knowing them.  willing because we matter to their children.  they love us because their children love us.  and then i cry again.  because its how the family of God works. 

the swamp, as the girls call it.  its the place we can experience the love of a family we don't actually belong to, though to be honest i don't think we know that.

we are thankful for friends, for the community the Lord has placed us in.  we are thankful for the nights we spend together and the way we grow together.  beyond thankful.  we have this chance to teach our girls to serve, to have open doors and open hearts, to love others as family, because really, we are.