Getting Ready for School

** I'm writing directly to you from now on. If and when you get a sibling, I will write directly to you both. I prefer this personalized format much better. **

Today, we cleaned and organized your toy room, lego-land bridge area, bedroom and closet. You did really well helping me sort a billion legos into their correct bins, choosing which clothes you would like to keep, and trying on jeans to see which you've outgrown. You never complained once, and we cleaned for hours. You even asked me if there was anything you could do well after I dismissed you to play while I worked out the final touches. You're so considerate and sweet. I am proud of your hard work!

We also went into town for your dermetologist appointment. Your only two moles have been on watch for years and it's time to have them removed. One of them is a bother and the other is a concern. Your dermatologist was very considerate of your feelings on the matter. It was nice of him to tell you that the reason he was asking how you felt about them is because he respects your opinion. We made the appointment to return and have them taken off. It is never fun to have any kind of surgery, no matter how minor, but this brings relief knowing these moles will not be a problem anymore in the future. 

After that appointment, we went shopping for school supplies. This was the first "school supply" list we've ever fulfilled, and knowing it could also be the last, I made sure to enjoy it for all it was worth. It was so fun to watch you pick out your stuff. I should have known that you would want all black and grey for colors. If those weren't color options, you chose blue or red. We also picked up a pair of black and grey tennis shoes for you. 

You talked about some of the things you are worried about in going to school. Mostly you are afraid you won't be smart enough, and that no one will like you. I assured you that most kids are a little scared about going back to school even when they've been there before, and that it's normal for you to be nervous. As for how smart you are, I have tried to explain to you that you're academically very well equipped for fourth grade public school. I can't seem to convince you though. You'll just have to see for yourself. With your standardized test scores placing you between 5th and 12th+ grade, you're the only one worried. ;)

I reminded you that God called us to do this as a family, and that sometimes we don't like or want what He asks of us - the way Moses didn't like what God called him to do with Pharaoh, and Jonah didn't want to go to Nineveh. But that we can always trust that it will be for His good purpose, and that he will guide and protect us if we walk in His will. Our obedience will bring blessings, and all we have to do is listen, follow, and watch God do amazing things. I wrote Jeremiah 29:11 on the chalkboard for you, and we went over it. 

"'For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"

Once in a while I get a little nervous about how I'm going to feel dropping you off the first few days - watching you walk - letting go of something that has always been ours until now. I don't worry about you. I know you will love school. Maybe even a little too much. And I don't feel sad to see you spend the days away from me. It will be good for you. But Homeschool. Loosing Homeschool for this year… I've said it 1000 times, Homeschooling has been the greatest, most fulfilling thing I've ever done. And not to have that, with you, this year, will be tough for me. I'm sure. 

On the other hand, I remember when Miss Emily's, Theo came piling in the door from school while we were visiting years ago. She and I unloaded his backpack of worksheets and remnants of his day while he settled in for some playing. I LOVED it so much. I thought for a second how fun it would be. And I love when you come home from summer school for the same reason. 

I can't wait to hear all about your days, your friends, teachers, classes, see what you are learning about, spy on your homework-doing, unload your backpack! I SO want to be able to come with you to school, maybe as a fly so I wouldn't embarrass you. :)

I'm very excited for the fun little changes this will bring to our lives, even with some of the challenges it will present. I feel ready for it all!!! 



I know there are a lot of parents who keep their kids from video games. They allow very limited access, and they are all well within their rights to do so.

Maybe it's because we're gamers. Maybe it's because we only have one child and he's a techy with a techy Daddy. Maybe it's because we don't feel the same about mindless television watching as we do about our child learning how to code through Project Spark, program, design, build and create through virtual worlds. To Greg and I, Minecraft is a glorified version of Legos we wish we would have been born into. Why would we take that from our son? 

We don't feel that computers are going away, and we believe it is our job to instill good sense and the important skills needed to maintain balance. People are naturally addicted to computers for one reason or another. It caters to everyone. With Zeek, we use the gaming aspect as our pallet for recognition, proactivity and self-control. 

Having prefaced with that: 
We let Zeek and Kaila play a lot of Minecraft together. They are apart all year long and it is their favorite bonding tool. The first week Kaila was here, I believe they clocked about 36 hours total. No lie. And we don't regret it one bit. We told them they would first have a week of scheduled days with Minecraft interwoven throughout. We told them the second week they would have a break for a couple of days and then they could play for 2-3 hours a day depending on how they were doing with reading, math, and enjoying other pastimes together. 

The last two days began our second week. We didn't let Zeek and Kaila play any video games at all. They laughed and played, swung and spun, hopped and skipped, giggled and fell in the warm green grass under the perfect clouds in a beautiful summer sky. They sat in circles with their friends, FACING each other, talking and sharing, leading, planning and following. They made messes and cleaned them up. They played board games late into the nights. Got that giddy night laughter they couldn't stop, rolled their heads back, holding their sides in stitches. They learned better who likes what, who can be persuaded and who stands firm. They stopped once or twice to remember their Minecraft game - dreamed a little - longed a little - even whined and complained some. But we stuck to our grounds and they forgot all about it as they returned to their real-life creative imagination games, exercising their minds and bodies, bonding as family and friends, turning red in the faces with more smiles and laughter than any of us should be missing out on this summer… it was nice to see. We will surely miss our Kay-Kay. 



I'm thinking about this coming school year. We are just one month away from your first day of public school. I know you are apprehensive and a little worried about what it will be like, what will happen to you, who you will be in this new school setting… but I know you, and I know you will enjoy this experience.

Homeschooling has always given us the opportunity to customize your education based on where you are at. Because we're your teachers and your parents, we have learned well the patterns and flow of your learning curves. It's our job to know when you are approaching new territory or are ready to move up to the next step. Whenever you're on the brink of something in particular, we make sure to meet that need and provide the right things to help you grow in it.

This normally happens in the form on something so subtle you haven't even noticed it in the past. Like when you started to sound out the "mmmm" in the upside down "walmart" from your position in toddler spot of the cart- three year olds don't usually learn to read, but we slowly offered you the beginning of your reading lessons after that day, and you were a beginning reader within a couple of months. And when you started writing stories in your spare time - stories that we knew kids would love to read - then you scored at a 12th grade reading level in the second grade standardized state testing - we put you in the fifth grade entrance level of Institute for Excellence in Writing, to broaden an area that we could see you were hungry and ready for. And even when you struggled in math, with Math-U-See, and we bought the entire 1st through 3rd grade Miquon program, half way through your 3rd grade year. We started you in book one, first grade, so we could strengthen your math foundation before moving up. This is what we do. It's the biggest and best part of our privilege as homeschoolers, tailoring your educations to fit you.

I won't for one second pretend that God wasn't the reason we even looked at the idea of putting you in public school this year, because He's the only way we would have ever considered it. We are homeschoolers, through and through, and still consider ourselves to be so.

But in the second that God made it clear you would be in public school this year, I began to become filled with understanding and joy for this provision. Despite my own hopes, dreams, wants, and plans (I did have your entire 4th grade curriculums and schedules planned already) I could see our year in the public school begin to take shape.

I know that you have come a very long way in a short time this year. You have shed a lot of inhibition, insecurity, and uncertainties about yourself. Since you were healed and freed from the things that held you back, you have become very strong, solid, and powerful in your perspectives, character, and beliefs these past few months. 

With this, we realize that you are ready for things that can not happen in our home. You're ready to call the people who teach you, just "teacher", and not also mom and dad. You're ready to be responsible for yourself in a way that we're not capable of providing for our only child in the middle of the country, having no other kids in our neighborhood. You're ready to be in a safe place with a multitude of different but familiar faces, everyday. You're ready to learn the responsibilities of being in a subculture, becoming socially accountable for yourself, and how to represent you, your belief system, and our family.

We are expecting that this will be a one year change. As far as we are planning, we will return to homeschooling from home next year. But I do believe that this year will be a much needed, welcomed time of learning life and personal growth for you in a very special and intentional way.

Not to worry, God's got you in His hands and His plans, and you are going to shine! 


All for Him

As we've surrendered ourselves and our life to God, asking Him to guide us in His will this past year, He certainly has. We are not a picture of what we set out to look like. Our intentions, goals, and desires for the future are completely different than what either one of us had thought or even dreamed of before now.  

To begin with, we, who were perfectly pleased with being a family of three, have been working for the past 10 months toward adopting a child. This month, Greg and I will sign our final certification papers and we will officially become a family in waiting! 
This did not happen lightly or easily. There was a process to getting my previously very broken heart back up and healthy beating in this direction again. 
In hindsight, it all seems so simple - but there were truly moments of concern, fear, and doubt for me. I expected to go through a lot of things I've heard other adoptive moms talk about experiencing on their roads to adopting their children, but I have not. Looking back at this year from here, I can see God's hand kneading, softening, and molding as He worked out every detail of this process with and for us. He is amazing, and we are so blessed. His plans and ideas are so much greater than ours. 

Secondly, and even more out of the norm for our family, we have enrolled Zeek in public school for his 4th grade year. NOT something we ever planned for or imagined in 100 years. Ever. But God laid His will out and there was absolutely no doubt. This already was and is. We just had to follow the road up to it.   
In what seemed like no time after, there were prayers and conversations, followed by research and phone calls, followed by more conversations and a tour, followed by more prayer and a willing enrollment from this otherwise 100% homeschooling family. 
Who are we and where did our old selves go? :)

Finally, I am in the process of getting a job outside of the house. In the past couple of years I have felt a calling to work with seniors in their own homes. I did not know when or how this would come to fruition in my life, and I honestly assumed it would be when Zeek was older, or even graduated. But I was open to entering some kind of ministry that would allow me to serve in this way. I had even tried a couple of doors to no avail. I never imagined it would be in a work setting as an employee. But again, after a series of undeniable messages from God, I applied for a position as a senior care provider for a local company, only to learn that they have a Christian foundation are very excited to welcome another believer to their company. I have not received an official hire as of yet, but this process is also underway. 

So, in the course of a year, we went from where we were, which I can barely remember who, why, or how anymore - to an expectant family waiting for a child, a homeschool family in the public school system, and a stay-home-mom and homemaker, working outside of the home she's made. 

And I could cry for the joy that overwhelms me in this life being transformed from ours to His in such substantial and indisputable ways.

Only God. 

"If you cling to your life you will lose it, but if you give up your life for Me you will find it"
Matthew 10:39

"Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." 
Psalm 37:4