Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Not Sure What to Say?


I love them. I always have. 

Yet, as much as I love the way words are composed on the page or in a poem or song or a blog or my very favorite- a handwritten note, sometimes, ok, often I get tongue tied. 

In my life, I've experienced the death of loved ones- grandparents, my biological dad, friends. We've walked through grief with our people- death of parents, siblings, grandparents, and various other family members. 

We here UTRTR often talk about the hope of heaven with our children. Not 'hope' as a synonym for 'wish.' But 'hope' as in the 'promise of something yet to come.' In this case, heaven. 

So, here we are, a month after walking through the most devastating loss we've ever known. The loss of a child we wanted so much, a child my husband knew about before I did. In fact, these were his words, "I looked at you last night, and I knew you were pregnant. You were glowing." The only child he experienced the same moment I did discovering his observations were correct. This child we fell in love with as soon as the first faint line appeared and grew as quickly as the faint line darkened. 

We had five glorious days of joy. I wouldn't trade the reaction of our people, particularly our fr-amily, for anything. 

The whoops. The laughter. The hugs. The squeals of delight. Oh my! As I type, I am smiling. 

One week after we'd told them about our newest blessing, we were being hugged, cried for, prayed over by those very same people who'd shared in the joy of a 4th baby for us as they mourned with us that we wouldn't meet this baby this side of heaven.

Time and again, we were hugged tightly, both of us, and told "I'm sorry," or "I'm sorry. I'm praying for you." 

And those were the perfect words. 

A few times, people told us, "I don't know what to say....I'm sorry." 

Like not having words was wrong. It wasn't. We didn't either. Those last two words were all we needed. To know that folks mourned for and with us. 

So, when you're not sure what to say, particularly after a loss like this, the perfect words are "I'm sorry." 

And it's ok to say, "I don't know what to say" (because the hearer probably doesn't have any words either but "Thank you"), but don't just say, "I don't know what to say." 

For lack of a better word, that's lame. 

 Tell them that you are sorry.  

If you want to say something like, " We are grieving with you" or "Our hearts ache with yours," that's ok, too.

Truly, nothing besides "I'm sorry" is necessary. 

And pray for those precious people in their loss.

And tell them that, too. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Reclaiming the Beauty of Learning and My Sanity

So, six years ago last month we began our homeschooling journey. 

And while I nodded my head that our school wouldn't look like 'real' school, it kinda did. 

And, sometimes, it kinda does. 

I can't help it. I do like things like worksheets for math. It saves my sanity. Mine. It is a barometer for where we are, where we've been, where we need to revisit, where we can move on to..... 

I remember thinking of the insanity of me holding a flash card of crayons with our oldest, working on colors. 


I remember thinking, "What?!? Why am I doing this?" 

So, after a time or two of questioning that part of the purchased from the curriculum company lesson plan, I skipped it. 

Instead of quizzing him as part of the plan, I decided I'd just be more intentional in using the words in conversation. (He was four, it was the color orange, a color not allowed in our house, so there were plenty of reasons for him NOT knowing this. Go DAWGS!)

Instead of waving the number flash cards at him, I decided we'd practice using the phone. So, he got the practice of numbers by dialing grands and great-grands to say "hello." 

Lots of scores on this front..... He learned his numbers. He learned important phone numbers should he need them. He learned telephone etiquette. 

Here's another one....days of the week and how to read a calendar...... I stressed out over this for about five seconds.... After all, we conquered letters and numbers....So, I did what any child of the 70's and 80's would do.

I taught him the days of the week teaching him the Happy Days theme song. 

And I bought a big, laminated calendar and hung it on our fridge. I update it with our family events, birthdays, holidays, special reminders. 

Score, again! 

Now, I'm finishing kindergarten with our second, and I'm much more relaxed. 

Instead of flash cards for simple addition math facts, I've taught her to draw dots. Wouldn't you know it? She remembers 3+4=7! And I didn't sweat it as much as I did with her big brother. 


It's not because I'm some ah-mazing teacher or mom. I'm a hot mess just like everyone else. 

Here's the difference: I've learned and am still learning to rely on a God Who is much bigger than me, Who loves these kids more than their daddy and I do or ever could, and Who is teaching me to stop stressing, trust Him, and enjoy these kids He's blessed us with.