Saturday, May 23, 2009

I went on a field trip with the 5th grade (and Sam) to Pamplin Park where the Battle of Petersburg took place. What a great place for a field trip. The original earth works are still there, and they have made it into an interactive museum about the Civil War. We were there all day, and the kids were fascinated. They learned how to prepare rifles to shoot, what a slave wedding was like, how they punished soldiers, what they wore, and on and on. The Confederates were trying to hold this position to keep the Union from taking the railroads in Petersburg. The sharp spikes are in front of a large trench and then a high wall to prevent them from coming over. It didn't work. Grant came through and marched on to Appomattox. The students learned so much about the war. I'm thankful for the people who work so hard to make history come alive for everyone.
Ben has one more track meet on Tuesday. He's been running the 400. He apparently removed himself from the 800. Hmmm. Soccer is winding down. We just have a couple more games. On Thursday, one week after baseball had concluded, Fred said he was getting bored being home every day, so he was going to football lifting. I guess it's good that he has so much to do. It was so nice just being home this week! I know there will come a time, very soon, when the boys will be clamoring for something to do, but it's so nice to enjoy the time now!

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Some pictures of the fun.

There is a song by Switchfoot that goes, "This is your life. Are you who you want to be?" For a while, when I would hear that, I would answer, "NO". I'm just not. Yesterday I got to be the person I want to be, for just a time, and it was wonderful. Fred had his birthday party yesterday. He had some friends over, and we all played outside. I played volleyball, I shot hoops with Chris while the kids played badminton. I got to sit and enjoy our beautiful piece of property. I had good conversations with teens that I love. Everyone was included, even the brothers. I didn't allow my back, or the fact that the last two days had been overwhelming and not at all how I needed them to go to ruin the "now". I just did it. I just enjoyed it. I lived in the moment. After everyone left and we were de-briefing with Fred and getting ready for bed, it hit me.... I got to be who I want to be. I hope and pray that I can move on from there to become who I want to be rather than just glimpse it occasionally.
I praise God that Fred has good friends and who want to come to his home. The rain held off until just before the end. Everything was ready even though plans changed A LOT. God is good.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

My mom sent me this beautiful essay about moms. It's a little long, but worth it! Enjoy your day.

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?' Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this? Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.' I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England .. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe . I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: 'To Charlotte , with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.' In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great cathedrals we have no record of their names. These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.' And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.' I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.'

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree. When I really think about it, I don't want my child to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, 'You're gonna love it there.'

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women. Great Job, MOM!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


An excuse for not blogging:

Tomorrow's schedule so far is as follows:
Fred--baseball game
Ben-- track meet
soccer game
Sam-- guitar lesson
soccer game
chorus concert
Pete--soccer practice
Chris--softball game
Not sure how all of this is going to work out. With rain in the forecast, things could be much easier. Now, to decide what we do and what we don't!

Monday, May 4, 2009

May Already!!!!

So May is here. My cherry tree went from a buzzing white cloud to vibrant green. Our cars were green, Chris's desk was green, there was a green haze on everything last week. Then the rain came and washed it all clean. It's been raining for days and will continue. Praise God for this gift, and for the golden finches in the grass this morning.
We have been running full tilt. Ben, Sam and Peter ran in the Great Train Race in Fredericksburg yesterday. It rained all night, but stopped by the time we had to be there at 7. Then it stayed dry until after Peter's heat at 9:30! They ran a mile through downtown Fredericksburg. My friend was telling me that it's the largest children's race in the nation. It was a lot of fun. Our days are filled with practices, lessons, homework, and more practices. Monday, for example, includes Ben's track, Fred's baseball, Sam, Peter and Ben's soccer. This week also includes 3 baseball games, a chorus concert and 2 track meets. I don't know how this will all happen, but it will. Before this all started, I realized that I couldn't continue to "do spring" the way I'd always done it. I get completely stressed out over all of the running, feel guilty over the lack of time spent on homework, and obsess over who will have to stay home alone all evening and who needs to go to which brothers' game. This year I knew I would end up burned out and either sick or in pain if I tried to keep up. As I prayed about this, I felt God nudge me. I needed to stop trying to fit other things in during the day. I needed to not volunteer for ANYTHING! I needed to determine to enjoy their games and their practices and the time in the van with them. And, I needed to trust God to work out the schedule. So far, I have only had one day where I spazzed out over the schedule, and since then I don't look ahead. Also, I've seen God open doors and make ways where there wasn't a way. For example, when Fred was to be inducted into the Honor Society, Peter had practice, which we could skip. Fred had practice, but it was after school and before the induction, but Ben had a game. Chris didn't want to leave Ben at the game alone, but neither of us wanted to miss the induction either. Chris was going to go to the game and try to get the coach to bring Ben to the high school after the game. As they were on their way, I got an e-mail saying all of the games at the park where he was playing were cancelled. They were working on the sidewalks and didn't want anyone there! Amazing! So we both got to go and I didn't have to worry. There have been things like that each week. I am bolstered in my faith and my trust. God will provide each day. So as we speed toward the summer, I know that whatever happens will be alright. This is a much better way to go through spring and life!