Rock Star Determination


It took 23 days and Juliana just passed Algebra 1 with a high B grade.

I am impressed and feel happy for her. She set her mind to something, figured out how to make it happen and did the rigorous work. I know she feels happy that she’s done and that she accomplished her goal after working very hard. I think having a goal and working hard are secrets to happiness and she is proof.

She went to class for 6 1/2 hours per day and then came home by 4 pm to rest for a short while before studying and preparing for exams for the next 2 to 3 hours most evenings over the past 5 weeks.

Algebra is a challenging subject to learn and you have to stay on top of the lessons because they are interconnected. If you fall behind, it’s very hard to catch up, especially when you’re covering about a week and a half’s worth of work in a normal class during one day of a summer school class. It was so cool to work with her and see how she was processing the information that was being taught and how she was able to apply what she learned.

This took determination and will power and stamina and focus and sacrifice.

She had to get up early every day and sit in a hot, crowded classroom and focus and learn for 6+ hours. She did it and didn’t give up. She did however have to give up her free time and time to play tennis and just to relax and sleep in like teenagers do and hang out with her friends. But I think she’s ok with it, although I don’t think she wants to do summer school again if she doesn’t have to.

It’s really fun watching her grow up and mature and go after what she wants. I enjoyed supporting her vision and facilitating the process, working with school counselors and principals and even the school district to approve her dream, and spending so much time together in the car and studying together most nights. I think we really bonded over Algebra – that seems weird, but it’s true, believe it or not.

I am proud of you Juliana. Can’t wait to see and hear what you dream up next. Congratulations on your success!!

Sweet Rewards

We are working hard this summer. 

Juliana is taking an intense summer school class that is 6.5 hours per day. When she comes home, she typically has 1 to 3 hours of review work. That’s a lot of time and sheer willpower to stick with such an intense program and I admire her tenacity.  

We are setting morning alarm clocks again and making lunches and driving long distances to and from class. Luckily this too shall pass. 😉  

Christian is away on a service project with our church in Oklahoma. In May 2013, Oklahoma City was ravaged by a series of tornadoes. Our youth and advisors are working on projects of clean up, rebuilding, and working alongside the Red Cross and other church groups to service this devastated area and help the local people. I miss him so much and am sure he is learning and growing and experiencing something great. The youth are not using cell phones or technology this week, which makes us definitely disconnected and makes me long for his return even more.

Jeff is always working hard to provide for our family and is facing extra long commute times traveling through Silicon Valley. It feels like it has gotten much busier.  I have been in the car more during rush hour with the kids and have had a glimpse of what his long days just might be like. I am grateful for his dedication.

Charlie started sports camp this week and is spending the days being very busy playing, like a child should, and making new friends. I am so proud of him for being able to go into new groups and to make new friends quickly. Today he asked for pen and paper to get his new friend’s email address. I love it!

While the kids were gone, I finally had time to get to the gym again and to volunteer at our resale shop. I had some time to reorganize our garage and to pick up the house a bit before heading back out to do the carpool run. I think this counts as work?!?

So, after all this hard work, we decided to stop for our favorite summer time treat, Rick’s Ice Cream in Palo Alto. This is the creamiest, richest, smoothest ice cream I have ever had. They have so many yummy flavors to choose from and feels like a good old-fashioned ice cream parlor. The last time we went there was two years ago before we moved to Amsterdam and met up with our new friends that were also moving there. The visit today brought back great memories.

How was your day? I hear that happiness comes from working hard and being giving. It’s also sometimes exhausting, but usually meaningful work is. And maybe that’s where the real sweet reward comes from, feeling like we have a purpose. Hmmm…