Day 16: Summer

Tonight they made it home safely along with 69 of their church friends from their service trip to Mexico.

They worked really hard in the hot sun, building houses for 4 days. It was demanding work and they received an IKEA like manual instructing them how to put the homes together. They didn’t get to use power tools and instead cut wood with a hand saw, mixed concrete by hand and learned how to pound nails straight into the planks.

They slept in crowded tents, used stinky outhouses for toilets and helped bathe each other using buckets of cold water that they kept having to refill.  This wasn’t a glamorous trip and it cost a lot of money to participate. And did I mention they had no cell phones with them for a week? They survived. 

And guess what? They didn’t complain. They are tired and sore and happy to be home and thankful for the experience.

I am thankful that our church provides these volunteer opportunities for our youth, so that they can learn to be of service to others, to sacrifice their time and comforts to be giving and loving and in return, they benefit too in so many ways. Juliana walked into our house and said we have a big house! Their perspectives on life are hopefully changed by seeing how other people live and by working hard, side by side with their peers for a few days, sharing a God moment.

I am thankful for the advisors who cared for our kids and treated them like their own and for the deeper relationships that were strengthened through this shared experience.

Life is good!! Love is love is love is!! One Love. Love this life.

Day 9: Summer

Caravan 2016 – Mexico


Our high schoolers left first thing this morning with their caravan, heading to Mexico for the next week, on a mission trip to serve others and to work side by side with their peers and advisors. I am scared, excited, happy, proud, anxious, grateful, in awe, and mostly thankful. 


I am thankful that our church believes in our youth and provides opportunities for them to practice our values in a loving environment. I am thankful for the plethora of advisors and volunteers who are dedicated to loving and supporting our youth and who give up their time graciously to be an active part of their lives. This trip takes a lot of work and preparation and dedication on so many levels. It truly is amazing to feel the synergy and I am proud of my kids for choosing to participate and am thankful to be part of this community.

Please send your good thoughts and prayers to keep them safe.

Our future is bright, BeLoveRs.

Happy Father’s Day. 

xoxo

Happy Together

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My teenagers came home tonight from their service trip, after being gone for a week, and I could not be happier.

I cried when I saw their faces again and I know it’s only been a week, but it’s symbolic of what’s to come in the next couple of years, I know.

They are growing up and are independent, needing me in different ways. I love these compassionate and thoughtful humans and am so happy to have them back with us again. I loved coming home together, sitting around the table, eating ice cream and hearing their stories about their journey and experiences.

I am thankful they had such a great time and are safely home again.

nAMaste

Life’s Moments

Do you ever feel like sometimes life stands still and you actually get to stand back and take a snapshot and really see a moment?

Do you know what I’m talking about? 

Every so often, I feel like time stands still and I have clarity and can really see and be present in that exact moment. 

Today I had one of those.

Christian returned from his Caravan journey and it was such a touching and meaningful moment, that I almost missed. I was scheduled to play a finals USTA tennis match tonight at the exact same time of his arrival.  Before he left, I had asked him if he minded me missing his homecoming because of this big game, and of course he said no.  He knows how much I love playing tennis and that our team has been doing very well. As the week went by, I was feeling worse and worse about my selfish decision to play, even though I knew my team needed me. I was so torn. Then on Thursday, I ran into an angel at Charlie’s sports camp, who asked me if I was going to be there for his arrival and I told her my story. She said I really wouldn’t want to miss this moving experience and from that moment, I knew I couldn’t play.  Luckily, the night before last, I got an email with our team lineup and there was a backup player available to cover anyone who might have an issue.

I had an issue. I had mom guilt. I couldn’t play anymore. I knew I had to be there for his arrival and couldn’t be two places at once. I wanted to be there to greet Christian and to see his face and to hear his story about his journey, first hand. Luckily, I was given a pass.

I have been anticipating his arrival all week. Today I spent a couple hours deep cleaning his room, kind of like in preparation for his arrival, as if I was having a guest come over. I think I was nesting, just like what you do before you have a baby and you want everything to be just right for the baby’s arrival. Just this time, it was my big baby’s arrival back at home again.

I wanted to do something nice for him, so I decluttered, dusted and created a clean space for him. Juliana made a welcome home sign and hung it on our garage door that said, “Welcome Home, Christian.”  We were anticipating his arrival and were so excited.

We were at church, when the Caravan crew arrived. They opened the doors and the kids and all the advisors came in and walked past us seated on the benches, to the front of the church to their reserved seats, while we sang and clapped and I cried. I kept crying because I am overly emotional and feel so deeply.

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I cried for several reasons.

I cried because I was happy to see his face again.

I cried because I was so proud of him.

I cried because I couldn’t hug him right away and wanted to touch him.

I cried because I know he grew up this week and had a life changing experience without me, which is great and wonderful and perfect, but I still felt like I missed out. I am attached and am in the process of detaching as moms should do. I just didn’t know that this was happening right now. But now I do, and I’m ok with that.  Just weepy. 😉

I cried because I was fully aware that he is growing up and becoming more independent, doing exactly what he is supposed to do. And that means that my role is changing. I felt the transition tonight. And I cried for that too. Moms of grown kids – I know you get this. I’m just beginning. I get it.  I am feeling it and it’s really ok.

I am so thankful that I ran into Colleen and she guided me to be there for the homecoming tonight. Thank you, Colleen.

I am so thankful that we belong to such a great church community, filled with love and teaching my kids to be loving and giving and providing this wonderful service opportunity for them, that is also helping them to grow up with grace. 

I am thankful that Christian is home again and that he had such a remarkable experience. I loved hearing his stories about the people he met, the work he did, and the friends that he made.  

And my tennis team, they won tonight!! I stopped by at the end of the match and was able to witness our final win in a tie break, with the lady who took my place and my partner. They all understood me and get it – they are moms too. And we’re all in this thing together. Thank you Gloria and Reid – for being great captains and for supporting my last minute change of mind. You are the best!!

Life is good!