Saturday, February 23, 2013

Bread of Life

I have been remiss in blogging regularly, and that has been a  intentional.  I found I needed a bit of a respite from many things, and needed to rest in daily family life a little while.  We were home for a few days after returning from California, then loaded up in "Jorge",our "new" full size van we purchased last spring for a maiden voyage, of sorts.  While we have driven it around town a little, it was intended to be used for longer family trips when luggage and space were more of an issue.  I didn't take it to California because it hadn't been road tested yet, so to speak, and traveling alone with 5 kids across the frozen desert we figured it might not be the wisest move to have that be our first long road trip with it.  So we waited until Dominick was going with us to Denver.  I am super pleased to report that Jorge was fabulous!  Everyone had much more room, we didn't bottom out the van, and it was a very comfortable ride.

We went to Denver as a treat, the kids having saved to go see a Christian/Family comedian who was putting on a show there at a mega church in Loveland.  Tim Hawkins is hilarious, and we have seen him onYouTube several times.  The kids asked if we could go if they bought their own tickets, and we agreed we would pay for the hotel and gas if they would do that.  It was perfect timing, as it was around Dominick's birthday, Valentine's Day, and our anniversary of the girls' homecoming 3 years ago.  I know, we are crazy to drive 6 hours one way for a 2 hour show, but we are LaJoy's and you ought to know how nuts we are by now.

It was SO worth it!  My, how we laughed, harder than I think I have in years.  It was so nice to enjoy something like that as a family and not have to cringe because of inappropriate comments made.  He is Bill Cosby-esque in his brand of humor, something you can't find very often these days.  The kids all cracked up over the Mom and Dad references and the common things we ALL say as parents.  We must have enjoyed it even more than I realized, as after the show we were getting a drink at a local fast food joint, and a woman approached us who had been there as well.  She told us she didn't know what to laugh at more, Tim Hawkins or our family!  She said it sure looked like we were all really enjoying ourselves, and that she loved seeing all of us having such a good time.  Kenny was the most hilarious of all, as he has a real funny bone, and he was actually sliding down his seat as he was doubled over in hysterics.  He even said to me, "Mom, if he doesn't stop it, I think I'll laugh so hard I'll pee my pants!!"

If you are ever looking for good, clean humor to enjoy with your family, check him out, you won't be disappointed:  Tim Hawkins, Comedian/Musician

Laughter isn't just the best medicine, it can be the very bread of a happy life.  No matter how hard times get around here, and we certainly have our share, the laughter is what pulls us through.  We have always been able to find the humor in our circumstances, and I never take that for granted as I know what a true gift that is.   We all know hard times always come around, but being able to relax into family life and view things through a bright orange lens...or clown glasses...helps in so many ways.

Speaking of bread of life, Thursday we were busy with school, blinds drawn so we could watch a couple of videos that illustrated our science lesson, when we heard an unexpected knock on our door.  What a surprise as we welcomed in a couple of new friends who attend our church whom we hadn't ever had the chance to get to know very well.  We decided back in December they would make perfect targets for our 12 Days of Christmas prank, and the Riordan's were SO enthusiastic when two days before Christmas  we revealed it had been us leaving little notes and gag gifts for almost 2 weeks. We have done that three different Christmases now (we actually had two targets this year!), and it is really enjoyable to sneak up every night and rush away hoping not to get caught.  Well, our friends enjoyed it so much, that they had a warm cake waiting for us on the night of the Big Reveal, and we all gathered around their dining room table to visit for a bit and get to know one another a little better.  You see, we didn't really know them all that well, but they had gifted us with some summer peaches and we thought it would be fun to use this opportunity to get better acquainted.

Well, it seems the Christmas cake they made to share with us wasn't enough, in their eyes, and so here they came this week bearing a tray of wonderful baked treats and a delicious loaf of what tasted like onion rye bread.  Mmmm...mmmm!!!  A sweet note of appreciation for our winter gag accompanied their gift, and we all had our hearts warmed on a cold, snowy winter afternoon.

One of the great stress's in my life the past several months was the fear that our public homeschool program would be closing its doors.  There was a long, protracted situation with our State Board of Education which was finally resolved, and our program now begins the intense process of trying to gain charter status approval in time for school to begin July 1st.  While things will definitely be changing for us within the program, it is a great relief that we will still have access to all the terrific benefits the program has offered us. While we could still homeschool independently, and I am not longer fearful of that prospect in the slightest, the truth is the funding and academic support has been very helpful to us the past 3 1/2 years. We also would very much like for our kids to receive a standard public school issued diploma.  Now it feels like we can breath a little easier.

I have also had a little answer to prayer as well, as recently I met a homeschooling mom whom I have a lot in common with.  We met at our school, and quickly discovered that we were similar in many ways.  She has a 3rd grade daughter who hit it off with Olesya right away, as they are both super crafty and have moms who are not.  Surprisingly, she also took an instant liking to Joshie, which was kind of cute.  We have only gotten together once, but she voiced the same sort of isolation I have felt, saying just as I have almost word for word, that it would be so nice to meet even one homeschooling mom friend to have someone to talk with about what we do all day, which  no one else is even slightly interested in.  I had really given up hope, and pretty much accepted that we would spend our homeschooling years with me having no real cohort.  I am hopeful that we can manage to get the kids together a couple times a month, just so that we can chat and fill that little hole we both seem to feel.  I consider myself incredibly blessed to have non-homeschooling friends who tolerate my limitations due to schooling all day and not being able to "do lunch".  They have shown a great deal of respect for what we are trying to accomplish here, seeing it as my "Real Job".  I know many moms don't have that support and encouragement from non-homeschoolers, and for me it has been vital to keeping my own spirits up.  Well, that and being able to access Facebook throughout the day as my own sort of virtual Water Cooler to visit around! Haha!

Friendship can be the bread of life as well, new friends, old friends, topic specific friends, call in the middle of the night friends, cry on your shoulder (or you on theirs) friends, techie friends, spirit friends, they are all like a wide variety of warm loaves.

I am deeply missing choir.  I knew I would, but I didn't know how much.  I miss music, I miss the mini-sermon each hymn and anthem was to my soul.  We are doing an admirable job of finding ways to add music to our worship service each week, as many of my talented friends have found the courage to step up to a keyboard played only in private or not for many years.  Seeing them all step out of their comfort zone is a real encouragement to me.  But while I am enjoying hearing their  talents and gifts on display (and being a little jealous I have nothing to offer musically!), there is something very scared about participation in choir which has left a gapping hole in my life, larger than I could have anticipated.

The bread of life comes in different forms for each of us.  That which nourishes us doesn't always have to look the same as it does for our neighbor.

Tomorrow I will find myself leading worship at a small little church quite a drive from here.  It is in another lovely old building, long a landmark in its tiny community.  It is not something I will ever be comfortable with or good at,  but it is a privilege to be asked.  A couple of weeks ago I was liturgist at church, and Matthew asked if he could sit up in the front pew with me.  Right before worship began, he turned to me and said, "Mom, you really ARE nervous doing this, aren't you?"and I didn't deny it, saying that I actually hated speaking in public and was always uncomfortable doing it.  He said he thought I had always been exaggerating when I had said that in the past, but now he realized I was telling the truth.  

"Why do you do it then?  Why don't you just say no?"  he asked.

"Because I think it is super important for you guys to see Dad and I challenging ourselves to do things that are hard for us.  We want you to be willing to try things, to do things that are not always comfortable, even if others would back out." I replied.

Later, in the car, we all had a long conversation when Matthew brought that up in front of everyone else.  All the kids have signed up to serve as liturgist this year, not just Matt and Kenny.  Matthew explained to them how even now I am still actually uncomfortable with it.  The conversation turned in the direction of doing hard things in life and not taking the easy way out.  Angela is quite nervous about doing it, as is Olesya.  Joshua, surprisingly, is not at all...though he might be when his turn rolls around.  Kenny is amazingly comfortable with it, and has been since the first time he tried it.  Matthew is our most introverted, but after doing it a couple of times said, "I am glad you suggested I force myself to do it.  I thought I'd be scared, but after doing it I realized I wasn't after all.  I just thought I would be.  If I hadn't tried it, I never would have known that it wasn't all that scary.", as he tried to encourage the three who haven't yet stepped up to the pulpit in Sunday morning to help lead worship.

The bread of life means ever expanding, as yeast causes the dough to rise, so too do we grow.

We've had a solid winter break, and this week we are back with our noses to the grindstone.  We have a lot of material to cover for school as we anticipate a late April Westward Expansion Field Trip!  I have some reconnecting to do with friends who have patiently waited to be able to get together.  I have to take a few more bites out of the crusty Bread of Life, what a gift!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Tim Hawkins is wonderful! I think I must have read about him on your blog a couple of months ago and checked him out on youtube. My husband and I were then able to see him when he was in Kansas City last year and now I'm hoping to take the kids and my sister and her family the next time he comes. You leave his shows with the best feeling inside!