The End and the Beginning

I’m pretty excited!  I submitted a post to another web site, and it was accepted, and published today!  If you want to take a peek at what I submitted, here’s the link:

The End and the Beginning.

It’s a hard part of my story, so it’s not really “celebrating,” but it was a huge corner that I had to turn to get to where I am now.  I guess you could say there’s belated celebrating?

 

Bumps in the Road

I’m sure everyone knows that the journey towards any big goal, such as a black belt, is usually not a straight, easy path.  I’ve been finding that while my spirit is willing and excited about the progress I’ve made, my body has limits that “speak” loudly from time to time.  Two weeks ago, I wrenched my knee, I think while executing a roundhouse kick improperly.  I quickly figured out how to walk, stand, and sit so my knee didn’t hurt.  Stairs took a little longer.  Eventually, I discovered that my injured knee could bear weight while straight, but that it hurt to bend it with weight on.  So I moved like an elderly, fragile woman when it came to stairs (an exercise in humility…).  Bend the good knee, move the injured knee to the appropriate step, bend the good knee again…..

I also found “the proper form” to execute squats and lunges, as well as to hold a specific standing position, which made my knee feel stronger (thank you T Tapp!).  I chose to push my next testing date back, so I could concentrate on getting strong, and on having more time to practice, so I could show mastery of proper form during the test itself.

How to get back on track?  I had to do a couple of things.

First, I took time to reevaluate the goal.  To me, the goal of a black belt symbolizes a measurable way of getting more physically fit. I know the goal of being healthier and stronger is a good one!  Any worthwhile goal deserves my best effort, no matter how many challenges and setbacks I encounter.  Thank you Churchill for the simple words:  “Never, never, never give up.” 

Second, I found it important to try to figure out how I hit that bump (roundhouse kick), so I don’t have to make that mistake again. Proper form helps. Turn that grounded foot before throwing the kick! One very cool part of Tae Kwon Do lessons has been that I’ve been getting better acquainted with my body, and finding out that I can do more than I thought. I just need to challenge myself! And be careful to use proper technique and form…

Third, I had to modify my game plan a bit, to figure how to navigate around or through the soreness to prevent injuring the knee again, through trial and error.  I sought out ways to strengthen my knee.  I choose to spend several minutes a day doing those exercises that will help make the likelihood of injuring that knee again a bit smaller.

Finally, I realized there’s nothing wrong in being flexible in the timing of when the goal is completed. I’m not a rigid deadline person anyway, but I do sometimes need to let go of disappointment that my timetable needs to be pushed back.

I don’t want to be discouraged.  I don’t want to let this bump in the road stop me for keeps. In a way, I’m glad this incident happened, to help me think through the “why” and “how important” aspects of my black belt journey….  

 

Aside

Last week was a confusing week of joy and sadness.  

The Lord gave me noticeable reminders that this is indeed a transition time….On Sunday, we moved our oldest son to a dorm at his college, after he had lived at home the first semester.  I’m so excited for him, since my own dorm experience was fantastic.  But I’m sooooo going to miss him!  He has kept me updated on some things via texting, so there’s not a complete void of his voice, but his presence, his laughter, his playfulness are not here every evening anymore…

My second-oldest son is a senior in high school, which is totally transition anyway.  To think otherwise is denial.  I’m enjoying our interactions and watching him enjoy his friends.  His laugh captivates my heart.  So I’m savoring it now, each time I hear it, while I can.

My third oldest son began his driver’s education process, with the classroom component last Tuesday night.  And he keeps asking me, with a mischievous smile, when he can get his own phone.  He reminds me that it would be convenient for him to keep me updated on where he is and with whom.  Sigh.  I KNOW, son, really, I do!

And last Thursday morning, I couldn’t believe the way my youngest son sounded.  His voice had dropped an octave, overnight.  Yes, it still goes back to the “usual” voice from time to time, but his new voice is increasingly evident.  I won’t be hearing any “young boy” voice in the house anymore; only the voices of young men.  Sigh.

I have LOVED the journey of being the mom of these four amazing young men.  They have captivated my heart in different ways; made me proud and delighted; turned my hair gray; shared their joys and hard moments with me; brought me joy in seeing them grow into being who God created them to be; and brought amazing depth and growth into my own heart.  I want to savor each moment, each day, that I have with them; give them undivided attention when they have something to share with me; somehow let them know what an incredible gift each one has been to me….

So my mother’s heart is in major conflict, seeing the changes, savoring the “now,” while feeling sad that the “now” really is only for a time.  It seems that each stage of life is a receiving and a letting go.  May my eyes be open to the gift of “now,” since I’ll have time to be sad when they’re gone….

The Power of a Well-Timed Hug

It happened last Sunday night.  I was late getting dinner started, which is never a good way to begin to feed hungry boys and men.  It was only burgers, which should have been simple.  My husband kept making suggestions of more toppings to put on the table for the burgers, which was half-full of my college son’s stuff.  I asked the college son and another son for help in clearing off the table so I could get the table ready.  Each trip from the kitchen to the dining room loaded the table with more stuff.  And my son was still sitting there, with all his stuff, on the table I needed cleared.  I still haven’t figured out why, but I have almost a fear of being a nag, so I felt powerless to do anything, since I had already asked for help once.  Almost frantically, I kept on loading up the table with more things: dishes, silverware, glasses, toppings for the burgers, buns, the home-made fries I’d made…..thankfully, my husband grills, so at least that piece of dinner was not on my “to-do” list.

And so I gathered my courage.  I asked.  Again.  “Hey, buddy, I need the table now to get set up for dinner.  Will you please move your stuff for me?”  

“How soon do you need the table?”

“I needed it five minutes ago, when I asked you to move your stuff the first time,” spoken as gently as a frantic mom could get out the words.   

So he moved a grand total of himself and his computer, leaving a few piles of other things behind on the table.  I felt like I became a blur, rushing from one place to the other, trying not to mix up my son’s piles of stuff in the moving, setting the table, finishing chopping and prepping toppings for burgers.  Looking back, I wonder if this is what Martha felt like….at the time, I could only think of all the things that still needed to be done before the boys could eat.

My youngest son must have sensed or seen the feelings of panic I emanated about this time.  “Hey, Mom, it’s okay.  It’s only dinner,” he said.  He took three steps towards me, wrapped his arms around me, and, boom!  Instantly, I became putty.   I felt understood.   I felt comforted.  And I felt incredibly loved.  It was a timeless moment.  Time both stood still and existed for longer than I could measure.  I had all I could do to keep from crying with relief and yes, a holy joy.  Jesus with skin on showed up in my son for those few seconds, assuring me that I was not a nag, but a beloved daughter, that I was acceptable just the way I was, that all was indeed okay like my son had said.  More than okay.  In fact, all was very well.

First Step in TKD

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Five weeks into TKD lessons, and Jon and I tested (and passed) our gold belt test. I broke my first board. Talk about a rush! The instructor commented on how much he has seen my balance improve (and he’s right) in these short weeks. I’m finding that in becoming a part of this dojang, we (my son and I) are actually becoming part of a caring, generous-hearted community. Quite the experience!

Big Changes Coming

It has been a busy, fun summer. I can’t believe school starts in just over a week. What changes am I facing?

The end of my “role” as home school mom.

The beginning of seeing what’s next on this roller coaster of life. I want to get caught up on photo albums and baby books. I want to declutter the house. I keep reading of the value of decluttering, and will let you know what I find, as I work through the process.

Beginning Tae Kwon Do lessons with my 15-year-old son. Who would have imagined this change the year I hit the big 5-0? Not me! But having a specific time I HAVE to exercise has made a big difference in follow through, as well as having someone who wants to do it with me. There is power in partnership….

And I’m finding that creativity is bubbling as I ponder what I want to think about, walk through with the Lord. For now, I’m writing down the big brush strokes, and looking forward to time to delve more deeply into these topics.

I’ve been asked to consider being a small group leader in a women’s Bible study at my church. I’m so looking forward to girl time! Living at home with all boys (even a male dog, guinea pig and parakeet), with only a shy girl parakeet for feminine bolstering has taken a toll….worth the cost, but I am definitely ready for girl time!

A sweet lady from church has offered to show me her system for keeping her house sweet and clean.

An amazingly generous friend has offered to help me get my house looking great (and the whole back side of the house…dining room, living room, and kitchen…shows her talent). I’m so excited to see what happens in the front room when we get a chance to look at it together!

So even though I will miss having a boy at home with me, I am seeing more reason to be excited about what’s next all the time!

Time.Is.Valuable…..Even Mine!

I had a light-bulb moment yesterday. I finally realized that a big part of why I don’t choose discipline over how I use most of my time is that I have believed the lie that my time has no value. Little background….

Once, I had four boys at home to home school. I felt valuable, needed, a team player. I KNEW what I was doing was important. Now, I’m down to one at home, and he is mostly an independent learner. So he doesn’t need me in his schooling very much. I made the mistake of equating “how much I’m needed for school” with “how much I’m needed, overall.” Ergo, I saw myself as having very little value. Period. Wow. So I had to go toe-to-toe with those lies, one at a time, to recognize the truth.

First lie: I’m only valuable to the degree that I’m needed as I home school. WRONG! I have value, because I am created in God’s image. I am His image bearer. I have the capacity to become increasingly Christ-like, to the degree that I yield to Him. This means love, purpose, creativity, and HOPE, among other things. I have lots to offer, outside of my teaching abilities. I am a PERSON, with many facets, not a “role.” The truth is that God has good plans for me, as I move from home schooling to whatever He has next for me. It’s not just an end of an era, but a beginning of another era. I wonder what good works He has in mind for me in this next “stage” of my life?

Second lie: my time has little-to-no-value. Time is one of the biggest gifts God gave me, and how I invest it now, really matters. I can be building up His kingdom in what I do. I can be caring for His temple. I am expected to be a good steward of all He has entrusted to me, spiritually, emotionally, physically…. this includes everything. Thankfully, I only have to do one thing at a time.

I think there are other lies tangled up in there somewhere, but I’ll soak up these two truths and operate out of them. Too much to focus on is not helpful, for me, anyway.

May you enjoy the gift of time—it is a gift, or why else would it be called “the present?”