August 2012


The end of August and I feel a little sad. The end of summer and I feel the loss. As the leaves fall and the grass dries and the sun’s visits get shorter and shorter, I mourn just a bit. The way you mourn what has been loved. Summer’s funeral is near and this year I remember her in eulogy.

Summer was a sweet friend. She arrived fresh and green and full of promise. She offered long, hot days with very little wind, and nights of booming thunder and crazy skies of streaking light.  She was days of busy friendship, and days of quiet aloneness. She was a picture of transformation, captured gratefully, photo by photo. She was boys with all their cape-wearing adventures. She was baby birds and baby goats and baby grasshoppers and growing up.

She was flower and fruit and harvest.

She was loss and sorrow, and she was starting over.

She was plans carried through, and plans left unfinished.

She was what she was meant to be. She was a season in my life. She has filled my treasure box with memories and she will not be forgotten.

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The wind blows the first of the dry yellow leaves from the trees on the day they come to visit, and the stinging dust annoys as we wander through the pasture to visit goats and chickens. But it’s good. Good to visit and reconnect and drink coffee and eat peanut butter marshmallow squares at my kitchen table while the boys play music, and play games, and slowly for some and more quickly for others, remember their friendships.

Anne and I talk.

And we decide to do it. We decide to take time over the next year to blog together about this homeschool thing we’ve been doing. This long-term, to the finish line homeschool thing that has dominated so much of our hearts and minds and time for so many years.

Anne is a researcher. She’s thoughtful and careful and as her oldest son enters high school years, she’s thinking about the time that is left. Making the most of it and finishing well.

My oldest is beginning his last homeschool year, and I’m thinking about many of the same things.

So we’ve decided to write about it. A little scary and intimidating, as all beginnings are. But I’m excited, too. I think this will help me be more intentional about this last year with my oldest son, and the last few years I have with my other children. I hope it will help this not-so-organized and somewhat scatter-brained mom to do my best with the time I have. And maybe encourage some others along the way.

I hope it will be a blessing – to my family, to Anne’s family, and to those who stop by to read and visit with us about this final lap.

I’m anticipating that there will be some great moments along the way. I’d love for you to join us!

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As Anne and I begin to set this thing up, we’re deciding on a blog name and such. If you have any suggestions, oh how we’d love to hear them.

I am cleaning closets. Digging around in memories, and parting with some of them. It isn’t easy for me, but it isn’t as hard as I thought it would be.

I am selling stuff and giving away stuff and generally making space in my life. It’s come to feel a bit like I am moving out the past in order to make room for the future. Because, you know, things change.

I remember buying those Magic School Bus DVDs. They were some of the first DVDs I purchased, and my kids were not old enough at the time to view them, but they were a good deal, and I had a feeling. I had a feeling that this would be the kind of thing the kids would enjoy. And they did. For years and years and years.

I advertised our Magic School Bus DVDs on our local facebook garage sale page. Along with The Never Ending Story, and all those Disney movies, and the rest. They sold just like that, and when I dropped them off at all those homes where the babies were still babies, I thought about how quickly it goes. About how quickly the things planned for the future become the past.

Today my friend Anne is coming for a visit. When Anne and I met, Carter was a nursing babe and my oldest children were still monkey bar climbers and swing swingers. Anne and I met in a playground, and we’ve been friends since.

Soon, she and her three boys will arrive, and while the boys play, we will talk about the past and how it has been. And then we will talk about the future. About all those years of homeschooling coming quickly to an end. About how to make the best of the time that is left, and about finishing well.

We’ll dig around in the memories a bit, and we’ll see if there might be some things tucked away in there that might be of use to some newer moms, moms just starting out or moms thinking about homeschooling or moms finding the thought of homeschooling all the way through high school a bit intimidating. And about whether there might be some kind of book or blog or something there to write about.

Or maybe we’ll just drink tea.

My babies, just a few short years ago.

Sunday afternoon, a friend and I sat in a couple of big chairs on my deck and talked. It wasn’t about the weather or our favourite teams. He did comment on how pretty the flowers were, but that was in passing as we shared our hearts.

We talked about life, our grandkids, our parents, and some of the things we had learned over the years.

I was in awe that on Friday he had surgery to remove a brain tumour, was released from the hospital on Saturday, and that we had worshipped our God together on Sunday morning.

We sat around our table that Sunday and shared a meal together, and as the rest of the folks continued their visiting inside, we were able to sit on the deck and talk. He kept assuring me that all of the things that had happened over the past couple of weeks were about much bigger things than him.

We did not dwell on the what ifs, the negatives, or what the treatment plan will be like. We both wiped away a few tears as he talked about God’s goodness, and about how his kids had been such great supports, and that without them all of what had taken place in the past couple of weeks would not have been possible. He especially appreciated his wife and her love and support.

As I reflect on that Sunday, I am thankful we were able to share communion and eat a meal together, but I am especially grateful for deck talk.

If you walk through my back yard, swinging a pail, this is the greeting you will receive.

Yesterday, my husband and I made a quick trip to the city to run some errands for a friend. We found her at the hospital with her husband, who is ill. Her relieved hug and her God bless you were precious.

Yesterday, when my husband and I returned from the city, the boys greeted us with hugs and stories of the day. Gifts.

I am blessed daily with greetings that count. With a dog who wriggles out of his skin when he sees me. With goats who nuzzle my face when I milk them. With friends who care and say so.

Greetings are important, I think. Maybe more important than we realize.

I love the biblical greetings, the grace and peace be with you greetings. I love the sense of belonging and community that happens when I walk into a local store or coffee shop and I’m greeted by name. I love meeting a friend for a visit and sharing those initial renewing-aquaintace minutes that include a hug and those breathless how are you and what have you been up to questions.

My prayer, friends, is that today you will share greetings that are meaningful. That you will know the care and concern of a hello that is more than a rote Hey or How’s it going? That you will brighten someone’s day by greeting her in a way that let’s her know she has been seen.

It’s a little thing. But it’s a big thing. You know?

It’s early and I’m barely awake when he charges into the kitchen.

Bring your phone! Bring your phone! You need to take a picture!

And the thought actually does zipline through my brain, the thought that it is a crazy new world we live in, this world of phone/cameras and such. Yes, I’m old.

But the urgency in his eleven-year-old voice propels me out the door and into the yard and I gasp with him at … the glory of the sky.

We stand and gaze and I click off a shot of I don’t know what because I forgot my glasses in my hurry. But later, when I look, I am joy and grace and peace. And I thank him and I thank Him for the reminder to stop and gaze and be amazed.

May you be amazed this weekend, friends.

(I have this thing about using my own photos on my blog, and I couldn’t find anything on topic, so here’s a picture of our little farm.)

I’ve loved the word kingdom, but I’m a realist. It will leave us, I know. It will go the way of words like emergent or evangelical. It will fall out of favour and will be replaced – recycled, upcycled, repurposed? – with something new and bright and catchy. I will miss it when it goes.

I’ve loved being part of the kingdom. I’ve loved talking about kingdom work and kingdom life and kingdom whatever. It’s been a good ride.

What will the new word be, I wonder. What word will some cool pastor with carefully-coiffed bedhead and untucked shirt and the newest old-looking jeans … what word will he launch from the pulpit and write a book about that will bring fresh new meaning to this idea of, you know, living with God?

I’m thinking the ending of the kingdom will coincide with the departure of other words, like missional and community. They’ve been good words, too. But the kingdom – that’s the one I will miss the most.

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