Saturday, September 24, 2011



  [ik-strawr-dn-er-ee, ek-struh-awr-] 
beyond what is usual, ordinary, regular, or established:extraordinary costs.
exceptional in character, amount, extent, degree, etc.;noteworthy; remarkable: extraordinary speed; anextraordinary man.

The kids and I are heading into our fall mini-break this next week, and we have a plan. Yea, I know, we LaJoy's always have some wacky scheme up our sleeve.  We are going to take a special road trip.  You see, we have a teddy bear to deliver.

A special friend of ours from church is in Houston being treated at MD Anderson for cancer.  He is there for two and a half months, and he is alone, as his wife has responsibilities here she can not leave behind.  We were talking about ways we could help Mr. Chuck feel cared about long distance, and the kids committed to sending him letters every week while he was gone.  Joshie brought out one of his favorite teddy bears and said he wanted to send it to Mr. Chuck to keep him company.  I sort of half jokingly said "I wish we could deliver it in person!", and thus the idea was created for the LaJoy Love Road Trip.

I was asked the other day why we are doing this...driving two days down, staying there for two days, and coming home two more long days.  I was taken aback for a moment as I wasn't expecting the question, and offered up some lame sort of answer that was completely unmemorable.  Not that it has to be a memorable answer :-) but I hadn't give it much thought to articulate it well.

Why drive all the way to Houston to essentially say "Hi"?

I thought about it a lot later, and realized there really is an underlying reason, one which I realized I feel quite strongly about.  This may sound just as "lame" as my prior answer, but the fact is, it doesn't have to make sense to anyone but us.  So here it is, in a nutshell, Cindy LaJoy's personal mom motto:

In order to raise extraordinary children into extraordinary adults, you have to do extraordinary things.

Dominick and I want to raise extraordinary kids...who become adults who will go beyond what is usual.   It is our hope that they just might grow up to be a tad different than the world around them, that they would somehow stand apart from the fray.  For us, it is not necessarily about "success" at all, but about values.  But that means that we have to be outside the norm and go beyond what is usual to model that for them.

We want to raise children who will have an extraordinary work ethic, not often found in the youth of today.  That is why they see their Daddy working from before sunup to sundown to take care of his family.

We want to raise children who will have extraordinary patience as they walk through a world in which delayed gratification is long passe.  That is why they see us trying our best not to use credit on a daily basis.  That is why they saw us wait years and years without giving up for the girls to finally come home.

We want to raise children who have an extraordinary desire to ponder the Big Questions of life, who know God intimately, who have a role model for living in a Jesus that they have heard about over and over again.  That is only one reason why we regularly attend church and are part of a faith community, for what is found in the fullness of congregational life can make up for the deficits we, as their parents, have.

We want to raise children who have an extraordinary sense of service.  That is why we offer our time in multiple directions, and that is why we go as a family to our church's road cleanup and work days.  It is why we have done everything from leading Cub Scouts to serving on our public school homeschool program board to being a Court Appointed Special Advocate for kids in foster care to serving on church committees and council to using our car wash business as a freebie for local sports teams to assist with fundraising and much more.  We want them to be the ones in their communities someday who make a little bit of a difference, who step up to the plate, who participate fully and recognize that service also makes a difference in themselves.  People who think outwardly instead of focusing solely on themselves are always the happiest folks.

We want to raise children who dream extraordinary dreams and have enough confidence to know they can achieve them.  That is why we dream out loud and then try to make it happen.  That is why we say "I wonder if we could somehow come up with a way to take all of us to Washington, DC and NYC and really see all that we are studying!".  That is why we say "Heck yeah we can take on 2 more kids...somehow we'll find a way to raise them!", that is why we pursue our own dreams of owning our own business, or going through ministry training.  That is why we have a 12 year old son who says to us "I want to get my pilot's license before I graduate high school." and is already pursuing it.  That is why we have a 13 year old daughter who says "I want to be Amelia Earhart and Florence Nightingale...and maybe a few others too!".  That is why we have a son who can't read at 12 years old and yet never gives up until he succeeds.  That is why all five kids are dreaming of a trip to see London when they all begin to graduate...and that is why if they really want to do it, they will make it happen without any doubt.

We want to raise children who are extraordinary in their sense of welcome.  That is why we open our home to all, it is why we have friends from all walks of life, all faiths, and with as much diversity as we can manage to muster in Western Colorado.  It is why we welcome unconditionally those of all ages and call them "friend", it is why we could care less about sexual orientation or race.  It is why we are not disturbed by disability or infirmity.  God says to love all...and we take that seriously.  Loving from afar is not what Jesus modeled, loving up close and welcoming all is what he practiced, without reservation.

We want our children to know what extraordinary forgiveness is, and to practice it.  That is why, when we screw up, we go to them and seek forgiveness from them.  It is why we can fly halfway around the world and be rejected, and yet still find a way to forgiveness and untold joy.  It is NOT easy, this forgiveness path.  It can be hard and require great internal work to turn away from our natural inclination to cast aside those who have hurt or harmed us in some way. 

Most importantly, we want to raise children who know what extraordinary love is, and boldly proclaim it.  That is why we use the word liberally with those we care about, that is why we hug often and forgive easily.  That is why we try to go out of our way to show it in many ways, even to strangers.

And THAT is why we are taking our fall break and creating a memorable reason to get out of Montrose for a bit...THAT is why we are going to drive to Houston and back in 6 days.  Extraordinary love put into practice.  Someone we love is alone, and we have that teddy bear and a few hugs to deliver :-)  I can't think of any better reason to go.


Anonymous said...

A "lame" answer--love is never a lame answer, and you eloquently and extravagantly express and live and share that.

You are doing an extraordinary job of raising extraordinary children and leading some very ordinary folks like me to strive to attain our own extra ordinariness.

Have a joyous trip,share your love. I am sure Mr. Chuck is looking forward to your arrival with eager anticipation. Return safely.

Love wins.

Anonymous said...

I am a long time reader. I live in Fort Worth. I could put you up for one night (and feed you) if you go through here. I can't find your email or I would email you the details.
Fran (grandmother to 6, including 2 adopted from China)

qmiller said...

Love this! Wishing you extraordinary travels!