Parenting Boys is Not for the Faint of Heart

Hiking at the Grand Tetons

Yesterday was a big day for my son Sander and Megan’s son Kimball.  They went to Colorado snowboarding with Megan’s husband Chris and our sister Kendal’s boyfriend Rob.  The boys (not the big ones) have never taken a trip without us except for camping….what will they do without their moms?  I know exactly what they’ll do:  have fun.  We won’t be there to worry over them and nag them.  I’m sure they’ll miss us, though.  That’s what I keep telling myself.

As excited as Megan and I are for our boys, we’re nervous to let them out of our sights.  To give you a little background on our boys, Sander is 16 and Kimball is 14.  But they act like they’re really 9 and 7.  They are a lot alike and get along great when they’re not fighting, that is.  They both have ADD, love sports, junk food and pop, and basically don’t like to use the good sense that God gave them!  We’ve always said that the boys’ guardian angels are amazing and overworked.  They are our button-pushers too, if you know what I mean.  It’s a good thing they’re cute because…..um, never mind.

A year and a half ago, our parents took all 15 of us on an RV trip out west.  Our destination was Yellowstone.  As we researched Yellowstone, we kept reading about the danger of thermal pools.  So Megan and I were nervous wrecks the entire trip!   We kept fearing the boys would go off the path, fall into a thermal pool and vaporize.  It didn’t help that in our cabins, there was a book that was called Death At Yellowstone.  What kind of dummies read that the day before exploring the park?  That would be Megan and I.  Let’s just say it didn’t put our minds at ease!  Now here’s a little background about Megan and I:  we’re worriers.  For some reason, our minds automatically go to the worst possible scenario.  Despite our strong faith in God, we have a problem fully trusting Him.

Grand Teton National Park

We know that God loves our kids even more than we possibly could.  It’s true that bad things happen, but God doesn’t want us to waste our lives worrying.  When I was pregnant with my twin boys, I was in the hospital for three weeks on bedrest.  It was a scary time and I worried that the boys would be born too early.  My Mom sent up a quote from a calendar that said, “Died a thousand deaths, but buried only once.”  Wow, that was written for me!  Worrying does not add hours to our lives, instead it robs us.    My favorite verses in the Bible are Philippians 4:6-7:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

Another verse that is so helpful in remembering to trust in God, Joshua 1:9:

“Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

boys at the Grand Tetons

And one last verse…because you can’t have too many!  Matthew 6:26-27:

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or stow away in barns; and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

boys at the grand tetons

When we start to worry this week (I mean IF), we’ll cling to these verses.  I’ll try to stop worrying about the boys on the chairlift together, wrestling, getting separated from each other, attempting a 360…….Ok, I’m a slow learner!

Here’s a link to another post about anxiety.

What’s your favorite verse to combat worry?

Mardi

Gardening With God

I always admired the way my mother knew the names of each flower, shrub, or tree she planted.  This seemed no easy task to me, because she planted A LOT.  Her yard was (and still is) beautiful and bursting with blooms in a variety of colors from spring through autumn.  After I got married and built a house, my yard was a blank canvas.  How scary, yet exciting.  My Mom took me to Lowe’s and helped me pick out shrubs and flowers for the front of my house.  As she helped me plant them, I thought to myself, ‘I sure hope I can take care of these.’  Well, weeds grew before I knew it in the new garden and I became overwhelmed.  My garden didn’t look like my Mom’s, and I didn’t enjoy the work as she did.  So I prayed to God and asked him to help me with my garden.  I asked God to let me glorify Him through my garden and to enjoy the work as well.

The next March, I began pouring over two gardening books:  one about annuals and one about perennials.  My appetite was insatiable.  I learned the names of many plants and whether they were sun or shade tolerant, etc.  So many possibilities, so little time!  God gave me the hunger for the wisdom, so to speak, and then the desire to put it into practice.  That summer my Mom gave me a garden stone that said, “Expect Miracles.”  How fitting for my new garden, which miraculously was really pretty.  My garden is never finished and I add, change, and move things around every year.  I think that is what God is doing with me.  I am not “finished” on my spiritual journey, nor does He expect me to be.  God is continually refining me and growing me into the person that He desires.  I get frustrated that my garden is not always how I want it, just as I get frustrated with my spiritual journey.  Why can’t they both be easier to attain?  Just as weeds constantly grow in my garden, sin creeps into my life.  I have to be ever-vigilant and stay on top of “weeding” out the things that God and I do not like.

Gardening has brought me closer to God.  I remember the prayer I asked Him almost twenty years ago asking for His help in something so minor as gardening.  He planted the seed (no pun intended!), and by the next spring I was rearing to go.  God showed Himself to me in every beautiful bloom.  Several years ago, I planted a young Kousa dogwood tree.  I knew that it would not bloom right away, but I anxiously waited for a few springs, hoping to see a bud.  One summer night (two years after I planted the tree) I was feeling down.  For some reason, I looked at my dogwood tree and saw blooms for the first time!  I felt tears of joy spring to my eyes, not just for the blooms, but for feeling God’s presence.  God knew how badly I wanted that silly tree to bloom and what mattered to me, mattered to Him.  He also chose that moment to show me His love and faithfulness.  What a gift.  I have reminders all over my yard of His love and faithfulness.  Sure some things I plant die or don’t turn out like I expected, but I never give up.  Praise the Lord, He never gives up on me either.  Through Him, all things (and people) can be made beautiful.

“I am the vine; you are the branches.  If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

Mardi

Back in the Saddle

I took my first ride of the season yesterday, and boy was it fun.  Mardi and I are fair-weather riders, so needless to say, we don’t put many miles on Colin and Angus between November to April.  We also have these kids that like to make us chauffeur them around everywhere, so sometimes it isn’t always easy to find the time.  Either way, it seems like there is always some reason I don’t ride as much as I want to.  I probably shouldn’t have yesterday either…my three kids all had friends or neighbor kids over, so I left my poor husband to look after about seven (or was it eight?) kids by himself.  Nevertheless, I took advantage of his generosity and headed to the barn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m not gonna lie, I still get nervous riding sometimes, especially after a few months off.  Something about getting on a 1500 pound animal that has a mind of his own, and has been known to freak out at imaginary monsters on the other side of the fence.  Mardi and I didn’t even start riding until our 30’s, and sometimes I wonder what we were thinking!  Wait…I know.  We pictured ourselves moseying along a trail on a horse with nerves of steel, who never would dream of spooking.  Well…that was just plain naive.  It’s gonna happen sooner or later.  And it has.  Even if you’ve had way more successful rides than scary ones, it’s so easy for your mind to go back to those scary times when you put your feet in the stirrups.

Gotta love the English tack and western boots…classy.

 

Riding has definitely shown me how rewarding it can be to step out of my comfort-zone.  I have never considered myself adventurous or brave, and I’m still not.  But I saddle up despite my fears because it’s too fun not to.  And I don’t want the what-ifs to control my life and steal my joy.  What if I fall and get hurt?  What if something happens to one of my kids? What if we start a blog and nobody reads it and it’s a total failure?  I could go on forever.  But that isn’t what God wants for us, thankfully.  He reminds us over and over again in the Bible not to live in fear.  Here are two of my favorite verses about conquering fear and remembering that God is with me wherever I am…even on the back of a horse!

 

And what if I don’t fall…or fail?  What if I put my trust in God and do my best and just enjoy the ride?