Monday, February 22, 2016

On a Mission - Week 24 - the eyes of a parent

"To effectively serve others, we must see them through a parent’s eyes"

These past few months have been eye-opening to me.  

When I began last September to think about living my life like a mission for the next 18 months, I never imagined I'd end up working full-time to effect some of the changes I've been aching to see through all my years of volunteering in the schools and at the food bank and with SHEDCO, our local economic development committee.  

And yet, here I am.

It is humbling.  Because I feel so grateful to have been given this moment in time, this work, in this place that I love so much.  And humbling because people are trusting me to make things happen that I've only talked about.  Humbling also because I feel so tired, so beyond myself so often and yet every morning, almost every single morning, the joy is there, the strength is there, the little bit of light around the edge of the door.

“You need to know that the Lord hasn’t called you because of anything you have done. In your case, it is probably in spite of what you have done. The Lord has called you for what He needs to do through you, and that will happen only if you do it His way.”

I'm never entirely sure I'm doing it the right way.

I keep checking in, trying to listen and hear if I'm getting off track.  In some ways I am wobbling.  I'm not balanced with my time at home.  Relying too heavily on the order and supplies I've laid up in years and months past.  Expecting too much of my wonderful sons -- who are so often rising to the challenge, rising above it.  They are a delight to be with and an immense help in keeping our home running.

I keep having to remind myself that this isn't Emma J's program, that it doesn't matter if someone else needs the limelight, it doesn't matter what the politics are, or the rules and regulations we need to work with.  What matters is that our students realize they live in a lovely town, that they can make something great of their lives.  

We've started bulletin boards around the school highlighting Successful Graduates showing the wide variety of shapes success can take.  I love seeing students pause in front of it, taking its message in.  I love changing out the bulletin board, moving a new story in.

"Something wonderful happens in a missionary’s service when he or she realizes that the calling is not about him or her; rather, it is about the Lord, His work, and Heavenly Father’s children." 
I look in the mirror at the end of the day.  My face is tired.  I look into my heart at the end of the week when I have to drive Fritz back to the airport once again.  My heart is lonely and weary.  But something seems to come over me when I finish my morning laps at the pool and put on my school clothes and drive into the parking lot right behind the big yellow buses.  My work is good and full of daily joys.

I'm more aware of the goodness of others who surround and support me.  Fritz whose daily calls keep his voice in our ears and his concern and watching care in our hearts.  The friend who plans a monthly visit during my lunch time, bringing me chocolate cake or raspberry jam of her own making, because she doesn't want to cut into my time at home in the evening with Young & Mijo.   Neighbors who help me see that my own boys get to the places they need to be safely and on time. Teachers at the schools who keep an eye out for my boys, knowing they are going through a challenge of their own, missing their dad and his jokes and laughter, dealing with a busy mom.

"This expanded perspective will open our hearts to the disappointments, fears, and heartaches of others.  But Heavenly Father will aid and comfort us . . . We need to have eyes that see, ears that hear, and hearts that know and feel if we are to accomplish the rescue"

I'm reminding myself to take more time to delight in the good around me.

Not only the supporting love of my family.  Not only the help and kindness of my friends.  But also the blessing of doing this work itself.  There are young people in our midst who are rising above unbelievable challenges.  It is amazing to see their power, their hope, and their ability.  And I am humbled to be given this chance to be a witness of it.  To witness their rising.  To hear them speak with dawning hope and determination.  To think I get to be a part of this for at least this moment in time.

"Only then can we begin to comprehend the true worth of a soul. Only then can we sense the love that Heavenly Father has for all of His children."

quotes from Dale Renlund,"Through God's Eyes"

Friday, February 19, 2016

On a Mission - Week 23 - these hills are your friends

Before he left my weekday world to begin his long commute, Fritz and the boys helped me set up this border of hills -- they are the ABCs of College Readiness

This is my work.  And I love it.

All day long I stand here at my computer (yes, stand) scheduling the computer labs, scheduling the state testing, entering test scores to fulfill essential skill requirement, analyzing data from test scores, calling & emailing local universities, calling & emailing local businesses, arranging field trips, arranging college visits, arranging the coming career fair, arranging the late bus for Homework Club, arranging schedules upon schedules and scheduling arrangements.  And while I'm at it, students come in who have questions about 
  • how do I get the computer to print?
  • how do I get to my teacher's Google classroom?
  • how do I get my assignment to appear on my teacher's Google classroom?
  • how do I get a job?
  • how do I apply for a job?
  • are there jobs here in town for after school?
  • are there jobs for people who don't have cars?
  • are there jobs for people who don't have experience?
  • what college would be a good one for me?
  • what would I study if I want to be a ____ ?
  • can I get a scholarship?
  • how do I get a scholarship?
  • is it too late to apply for the scholarship?
  • how do I fill out the FAFSA?
  • how can I fill out the FAFSA if my parents refuse to give tax info?
  • how can I fill out the FAFSA if I am homeless and don't know where my parents are?
  • what is the FAFSA?
  • is it too late to fill out the FAFSA?

It is not too late, but you better hurry!
It delights me to no end that I have answers for them.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

On a Mission - Week 22 - hearts afar

It's time now.  We've postponed as long as possible Fritz' new job and the accompanying long commute.  Four days on then home for each weekend.  We're going to become so very well-acquainted with the airport at PDX.  Good thing it's the world's best -- or at least the nation's.

Not that that somehow seems to help, now that this moment is unavoidable.  But if we can make this work, we can keep our home balanced on its hillside. And people do this all the time.

Meantime, we have a goal to hike together every month all year long.  In December we hiked up around Pittock Mansion.  It snowed that day, lightly, in a snowglobe sort of way.

We peeked in the windows at the Victorian Christmas trees and the grand woodworked staircases, through the scullery windows into the servants' realm.  The gate lodge you can tour for free, which we did.

And which seemed even more delightful, because more imaginable, the life we could see ourselves living there.  We bought old-fashioned cinnamon candies at the gift shop which warmed our mouths for the walk back through Forest Park to our car.

In January we hiked Oxbow State Park. We knew then that Fritz would be leaving us (Though not really leaving. Home every weekend.  It still feels like leaving) which made him seem all the more dear and our time with him all the more priceless.

Now it's February and we're hiking on Mt Hood.  There is snow here, though none at home.  But where he's going there will be plenty of snow.  We're being helpful, helping him to acclimate.

We're finding it a bit hard-going.  Unsure of our footing.

What we will do without him.  We don't ask ourselves that question.
We know what we will do.  Go to work.  Go to school.
Do homework and laundry and grocery shopping.

Nothing will be  all that different.

He holds my heart in his hands

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