Saturday, September 27, 2014


     Middle school is truly happening.  The good, the bad, and the it all is in one story.
     Taylor came home the other afternoon and asked as we were heading to jiu jitsu practice, "Mom, am I handicapped?"
     I answered, "You're handicapable, Taylor."  (Our joke following a piano recital when a student mentions this PC term as the appropriate way to describe blind people.)  I continue, "Taylor,  by the world's standards you are handicapped.  By God's standards, you are exactly the masterpiece He created and knew He would create."  Topic dropped, and we were off and running for the rest of the evening.
     Fast forward to bed time...
     Taylor told Lauren and I that someone called her handicapped at P.E.  She continued, "It's OK though because my friend Thayna called them idiots, and I yelled out, 'I heard that.'"  She kept telling us about the other students on her football team sticking up for her telling the kid, "She's blind not deaf."  The whole team was on Taylor's side against this one ignorant child.
     As I was soaking it in and wanting to punch this kid in the nose (which is probably why kids don't want their parents on the middle school campuses often), Lauren chimed in, "Taylor, you should've just told him you are handicapped, and that's why you get to go to the front of the line at Disneyland."  I loved hearing this interaction and loved that these kids stuck up for Taylor even through the heartache as a mom hearing this was what she had to go through this day.  It stinks being different, especially in middle school when most kids just want to blend into the crowd.

     I also got to thinking about all the ways I am handicapped and God lets me to the front of the line anyway.  He's gonna let me right into heaven because I've got my "ticket."  I asked Jesus to forgive me and be my Savior.  I'm in.  I'm handicapped every time I'm asked to share our family's story.  He gives me courage and strength to share His words anyway.  I'm handicapped when I lose my cool.  He forgives me anyway.  I'm handicapped when I make a stupid comment or judgment just like this kid.  He shows me tenderly the right way to see others. Handicapped...and handicapable!

Friday, September 19, 2014

A Little Bit of Softball

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;  In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.  Proverbs 3:5-6
     Lauren has taken the plunge into travel softball, and as her family, so have we!  This was not a decision that came quickly or lightly.  It was thought over, prayed over, and cried over.  Lauren has always played soccer in the fall and softball in spring, but in thinking forward to high school (just a year away), she decided to hang up the soccer cleats and pursue softball for a full year.  
     We had planned to have her on a specific team with a specific coach with specific kids...a coach we knew, a coach whose style we liked, kids we chose and loved, and a team where Lauren would most likely get lots of playing time.  Did you see all that??? We chose, we chose, we chose!  Somehow none of that worked out...BUT Lauren's long-time coach pursued her!  He told us flat out she'd get minimal field time for tournaments. 
     We said, "Thanks, but no thanks!" 
     He said, "Think about it." 
     We said, "Yep, we did, and no thanks."
     Lauren went to a try-out, and little did we know, most of the teams were previously formed this was just a formality.     Every time we prayed about what to do with Lauren, a phone call from this coach would follow...literally 3 times in one week!   Finally, we all agreed to give this a shot for six months.  (We all did, but there were many tears over our plans...well thought out ones I might add... not working out from a couple family members.)

     Here's are some of the crazy things:
1)  Lauren is LOVING her 6 times a week workouts...sometimes 7  AND she's asking Mike to take her to them!
2)  The facility from which the team works out is run by a man whose daughter plays for a local Christian college. 
3)  Even crazier....that local Christian college wears jerseys from this guy's facility! 
4)  Even crazier still...we had just been introduced to that college's assistant coach...who attends our church!  She asked Lauren to sign up for their fall camp because they are often looking for great players, but even more importantly great hearts!  My girl has definitely got heart!!! 

God sees our tears, He's got bigger better plans, and He's in the details of everything.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Running the Race with Confidence

    “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him."  Jeremiah 17:7

      Taylor gets to run relay races once-in-a-while at jiu jitsu.  The other day I was watching and kind of laughing at her idea of trusting her sighted guide.  Taylor's running is "protected"  with her body moving forward but with a very tentative trust between her and her guide.  I'll have to get a picture of what it looks like because it's like she tries to go forward but her upper body is stiff and tilted backward.  The bottom line is she isn't fully trusting her sighted guide to lead her at a running pace.  She's great when they're jogging, but sprinting is a totally different story.
     Of course, I had a moment when I realized my walk with Jesus is much the same.  When things are cruising, I am much more trusting to take Jesus's hand and have Him lead me.  BUT, when the pace picks up and circumstances are out of my hands, I am much more hesitant to take Jesus by the hand and really run with Him.  I want to, but I'm afraid.  I loved seeing it in action!  I also want to grab hold of Him and really go for it... trusting He's really got me in the palm of His hand.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

First Day of School 2014

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."  Matthew 6:33-34

     I have been excited about having both girls back on the same campus for a long time!  Just thinking about one PTA meeting a month, one place to focus my efforts, one set of calendar's all very freeing in a way.  I've been conflicted with the "no more elementary school kids" thing for a while but thought I'd be over it quickly.  Not true...
     Yesterday was my first day of school with my 3rd grade class.  Being a teacher is so much fun, and we get the same "First Day Jitters" as the kiddos.  (Great book I might add too!) Yesterday flooded me with emotions as I walked out to greet my class and saw all the parents mingling, watching their kids from afar or trying to peel them off their own legs, while the kids kicked and screamed their way to the Kindergarten or 1st grade line.  I was sad realizing that wouldn't be the same vibe on the middle school campus for my daughters' first day of school.  It was my first year not having an elementary schooler, and I felt caught off guard  (not the best way to start my own school year with a fresh set of eager faces).
     Today, was HUGE!  Not to anyone else but me...(or maybe to all those moms across the country whose youngest was starting middle school today too).
     Taylor starts her day about 40 minutes earlier than anyone else to receive her Braille tutoring.  Her teacher is amazing and wanted to start on the first day of school.  I thought this would be fantastic, and I'd even get to see Miss Jamie before the new year officially got underway.  Instead, I drove to the curb, got the girls out of the car and loaded up with backpacks, P.E. clothes, and all Taylor's additional materials (cane and BrailleNote) to start the day.  I was just about to take a step toward campus when Lauren says, "We got it, Mom.  I'll walk Taylor to class.  I know where we're going."
     "Um, OK.  Bye.  Have a great day.  Love you!"  That's what came out, but inside I was thinking, "Um, nope.  I'm going to meet Miss Jamie, make sure you're at the right door, and wait until a student or two arrives...then I'll leave before you are completely embarrassed by your MOM... But today is my day too!"  (How glad am I that that didn't come out????)
     I was so proud and scared and nervous and excited at the same time.  They are becoming more independent.  That opened up a whole other can of fears and anxieties I didn't even realize were there.  Why am I thinking about next year and the years ahead when today had enough to worry about?
     Another thought came to mind a little later in the day.  God...He prepares us for what He wants us to accomplish. He doesn't throw us out there right away.  He prepares us one step at a time for what will be growth and opportunity for growing...if we just take those little steps one at a time.
     The last view of the girls walking hand-in-hand today was breathtaking.  I saw a beautiful picture of them working together and walking together.  I also saw how God gently guides us alongside us to take those steps into new adventures.