Monday, August 27, 2012

My Quiet House

While  I'm sappy, I don't usually get teary on the first day of school.  I love my kids, but I love that we live in a country where they get to go to school and have lots of friends and get on a  schedule.

This year, after I dropped them off, I walked back into my house and felt the quiet.  And couldn't help but feel a touch of sadness.  This is Hope's last year in elementary school.  Some of our best friends have moved.  Caroline no longer has to sit in the cafeteria with the little kids--she now goes to the gym with the big ones. 

And my house is quiet.

A month ago, I would have paid good money to have a quiet house.  Next week, I will be wondering why I was so melancholy today.

But for now, I'm moved by the stillness.  Not hating it or loving it, but still overcome with some unexplained emotion.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Twas the Week Before Kick-off

Twas the week before kick-off and all through the office
The color copier was down and I was trying not to cuss.

The carts were getting full with loads of supplies,
And I was filling up my small group leader board with a few last minute guys.

Training was happening and people were getting into place,
To begin this year—to start this race.

Prayers were being prayed, curriculum was being read,
Team notes were being sent and lots was being said.

The bagels were bought and people were lining up to be fed
But I was really just ready for bed.

As I remembered all He has done and who He has brought
I started to cry and since it was me--it was a lot.

I was overcome by the incredible commitment
From these volunteers, whom God has sent.

Once again, I realized how blessed I am
To work and serve alongside such a great fam!

There was a spring in my step and joy in my heart
To begin another year, to have a new start.

I prayed for this team, these incredible peeps
And asked God to make them stay in elementary for keeps.

At the end of the day, when all is said and done,
To God be the glory for these amazing servants, each and every one!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Who's a Leader?

Some people were just born leaders and others of us have to work at it. The funny thing is, that you can’t always tell who is who, but you can always spot a good leader. We have lots of talks on leadership in the Royal house. I have a 10 year old who was a born leader—one that no matter what she says or does, people follow her. I have an 8 year old who isn’t what you think of when you hear the word leader, but people are drawn to her and she always has a big group of friends.

For years, I’ve talked to Hope about making good choices and the implications on herself and others when she doesn’t. Sometimes she’s frustrated that “people always copy her,” but secretly, she wouldn’t trade it.

It’s just been recently that I’ve noticed Caroline’s leadership gifts. They are not the knock-you-down obvious ones like Hope’s. Hers are subtle. She will be a shepherding leader and lead others from inside the group—not in front of it.

Hope had the opportunity to go to a leadership thing last week for 10-13 year olds and she shined. As I was de-briefing it with a friend, I realized that my job as her mom was to teach her how to use her leadership skills at their maximum capacity—even though I am not the same type of leader that she is.

So, I’ve been very intentional with her lately. We talked about her KidLead class and why she chose to lead her group the way she did when it was her turn (which was utterly brilliant—she allowed people to use what they were good at to help the team), about how frustrating it was when her team didn’t listen to her and they lost (GREAT conversation about how to be heard and not pushy) and about how others led (was it effective? Would she have changed anything?). All amazing conversations where she was engaged and excited to discuss.

Because her gift is so obvious, I tend to focus on her, forgetting that Caroline is in the room. Last night, I was showing her a video I had taken of the counselors engaging their groups during worship. And Caroline was on my other side, listening and soaking it in, too.

And it struck me that while my job with Hope is to direct the skills she already has, Caroline needs just as much direction and focus from me.  With her, I need to teach her leadership skills (that will look totally different from her sister) and show her how to use them with her style.

I know that sounds obvious, but sometimes you gotta hit me over the head. As we were reading last night, I felt the Holy Spirit pulling out things in the book that were for Caroline as much as Hope. We didn’t talk about them before bed, but I’m looking forward to asking questions and hearing what she caught. I didn’t start reading “Kisses from Katie” to the girls because I thought it would give Caroline leadership examples. I’m reading it because 1) I’m trying to get my girls to start settling down earlier at night and it’s either read to them or yell at them for being crazy every night. 2) The book has been sitting on Hope’s dresser for several months and she hasn’t gotten past the introduction. 3) Caroline’s been begging to read it, but I don’t think she would comprehend it very well on her own—there are a bunch of big words.

But, once again, I’ve stumbled into something that’s working for now. Not sure it will work next week, but I’m learning that my job, as Hope and Caroline’s mom, is to take the opportunities that are in front of me right now and use them—not wait for the big moment I think will come next week.

Not rocket science, but some of us are slower on the take!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

What's Love Got to do with It?

Brian and I have totally different sleep needs. I can go a week with 4-5 hours and he doesn’t last 2 days with that. Many nights, that means that he goes to bed while I sit in the living room and read a book, work or watch tv (between the heat and work frying my brain cells lately and the Olympics on, tv has won this battle a lot lately).

Some nights, our different bed times don’t bother me. But what I find is that if we do it for an extended period of time, I feel disconnected from him—even if I have spent the entire day with him. So, most of the time, I either stay in the living room and pretend not to be interested in the “Worst Tenants” show he’s watching (ok—confession—that show is a train wreck I can’t seem to turn away from!), or I go to bed when he does. It doesn’t mean we talk. Typically, at that time in the night, he has used all of his words for the day and I may babble every now and then, but I spend my energy on Matching and Scramble with Friends.

We had dinner—just the two of us one night this week. We even shared a dessert like they do in the romantic movies. And it was nice.

But I have to say, I know I’m weird, but I felt more content last night as I was laying in bed next to him, watching the Olympic swim team’s video to “Call Me Maybe” one more time now that I knew who most of them were. When I finished, Brian watched a video on zebra mussels that I pretended not to be interested in, but was actually fascinated at a couple of points. Not much talking between us, just being.

That’s when I enjoy marriage the most—not when I’m doing, but when I’m just being with him. Call me weird, or a homebody, or a nerd, but it works for us. What works for you?