You got braces bro.

And I felt like I took a little Jim Carey (a hilarious actor with a larger-than-life character) to the orthodontist.
I know you better than anyone else, but honestly, this new part of you is a complete mystery to me.

You were the life of the party. There was so much to it that I don't even know what to write. You made everyone's day. Even the head Orthodontist thanked you and told you that you were the funnest and most entertaining person they've ever put braces on. All the hygienists in the room were nodding their heads and smiling.


The event was as unusual and new as anything else has been this summer with you. You're so different than you used to be. I've said it 100 times - no one knows what did it.

Was it the move? Nothing changed socially for you here. It's not like we moved and then a new friend or friends were introduced into your life that changed you over.

Was it skating? Because I know that changes people. But you started to change when we moved, which was the very point we stopped skating for the summer.

Was it puberty? Hormones? Testosterone? Could that change your personality, character, and ways this drastically, this quickly? Maybe.

I honestly don't know what happened except that you are completely different.

Before this summer and since you were 3.5 years old, it's was if your whole self was wrapped up, bound behind your arms, hands over your face clamping your lips closed. You were loathsome and brooding. Self deprecating and opposed. When you spoke your words came from a broken, downtrodden heart. Your perspectives were pessimistic at best. You seemed scared and wounded, skeptical and leery, bossy and set in your ways. You expressly hated yourself and often wondered and asked what was your purpose.
We'll call them your "dark days".

Don't get me wrong Ezekiel, you also have amazing qualities. We have always enjoyed who you are and adored watching it all unfold before our eyes. You are wise beyond your years. Solid. No one and nothing can budge you an inch unless you say so. You are safe and sound. Honest and true. I have never worried about you jumping off of things, getting yourself into a spot you'd rather not be in, being taken advantage of, or doing stupid things. I have always known exactly who you are and what you are about. You are a unique and special blend, for sure.

But since we've moved to Blueberry Lane you have made a huge transformation away from your dark days and into the light.

You are open. You haven't abandoned the good head on your shoulders. But your arms are wide spread out in front of you and you are ready for life. You are fun and funny - cuddlier than ever. Your self esteem has balanced and you are uninhibited, unapologetic, and unburdened. It's like you woke up one day and realized there is a blank canvas before you, along with every color imaginable, and all the tools to make it into whatever you want, and you are finally painting. Wild and free.

Best of all, you love and appreciate yourself. And this has given me a joy I can't describe. After years of watching my sweet boy bite and hit himself, pull his own hair, and say terrible untrue things in attempts to devalued how precious and valuable God made you... after going down "into the well" with you time and time again, seeing first hand how much of you was being stollen and jailed by the lie that you were not enough... I can't express how it lifts my soul to see you free from all of that.

You look everyone in the eyes now. You smile and entertain. You talk. Oh how you talk! You are definitely your mother's child. You will talk anyone's ear off. It's like you've been bottled up inside for 11 years and someone just took the lid off. And fed you a thousand quarters.

I delight in the fact that I will now have to teach you proper conversation etiquette. Something I've NEVER even considered in the past because it was not relevant.

My Mom warned me to be sure I don't stifle this new part of you by teaching you how. But my sweet Mom lives too far away to have had the privilege of loosing an ear to your lips quite yet.

I remember how many years I spent and am still spending, unlearning old bad conversational habits.

Just as a parent should teach their child how to eat at the table, open doors for others, wait their turn in line, dress appropriately for the occasion, and all other manners of socially acceptable behavior, we will teach you how to have conversation.

Until now you have not had the platform for the experience of the lessons to come. And as awesome and encouraging as it is to watch, at times, your conversations roll as if you are brushing your hair with your dinner fork or butting past everyone in line at the Walmart check out!

It won't be long and you'll be using all this new found interest in others, charm and entertainment value to love on all of God's people in a way I have only dreamed of for you. And there is not anything in this life more wonderful or more fulfilling than that!

Like I say, I don't know what happened that this change has come about, but I'm so happy for you, love.

No matter the "likes", subscribers, friendships and popularity this world offers you, no matter how sparkly, enticing, or sought after you become, your value comes only from God - the One who created you, made a Way for you, and loves you unconditionally for always. That is exactly who allowed this change in you, and that is exactly who will see you through it for His perfect purpose.

I can't wait to watch!

Seventh Grade

The summer is coming to an end. No leaves have turned yet, but the entire atmosphere is working hard towards it. I can feel it. 

We're about to roll into full fledged school mode again. After three months of moving and renovating, this is a welcomed norm. 

It's certainly the first year I've ever been so cool and collected about our start. I'm usually planned beyond reality (and well beyond what is being feasible for any human schedule) with every piece of curriculum purchased, in house, and well absorbed by mid-August. I usually have each day scheduled, a list of hours, supplemental material all picked out, and Pinterest boards overflowing. Some years I've even written my own full syllabus for each class and then some! 

But since this move I've become less... me. 

There's this general go with the flow approach. Less planned and scheduled for - more taking it all in stride. One day at a time. I feel like I spent the last 30 years proving that there is no benefit to taking charge, stumping down or running ahead. This is like my "New Testament". And I'm loving it. 

So your school is unplanned. NOT unschooled. Unschooling is not for our family. But we will walk forward without urgency, not pretending we're super human and are going to be able to cram ourselves into unrealistic boxes of my own expectations. In fact, I my only expectation is progression and a more well rounded love and enjoyment for learning. That is it. 

So to Seventh Grade, here we come. Minds willing, eyes open, hearts forward. Let the games begin!