Ever feel like your whole world is going to the dogs? That's how things have been for the last day or two for our family. Dale woke up this morning to find himself unable to walk without jerking pretty badly. He sat down on the stairs only once but fell getting into the van to come to school and then twice just trying to get from our van to my classroom. His legs have steadied a bit since then, but we are still having to take things more slowly. Katie has been sick since Sunday; it seems to be a combination of ailments, none enough to require medical attention but plenty to make her miserable (stomach, intestines, and worse!). Emily has acquired a small lump on her foot which defies explanation.......she may very well be making more of it than is necessary, for she is definitely a drama queen, but we must all pay attention or suffer the consequences! Chad has been feeling under the weather as well---allergies, a head cold, and just plain being tired, as one can expect when working two jobs to support a family of seven. Dale, Amanda, and I seem to be the healthy ones for now; I'm sure we'll have our turn being ill later! Actually, not Dale.......he rarely gets sick, not even with contagious things like chicken pox or strep throat. He has more than made up for all his missed sick days, though, over the months since August 5th!!! ;-)
We have no therapy today since Dale's physical therapist's son is undergoing the surgery I asked you all to pray about. It's kind of nice having three "free" days in a row---no need to go anywhere but school and home, no watching the gas gauge needle sink toward the "E" quite so quickly. Plus, extra almost-uninterrupted time at school gives Dale a feeling of continuity with his schoolwork that helps reinforce the lessons taught that day. He has worked hard at English, math, science, and history since Monday, taking a couple of quizzes and gearing up for the next tests in these subjects. It's good to see him doing so well; even though it takes Dale two or three times as long as someone else might to finish a full lesson, I know he is retaining the knowledge and will be able to remember most of it at least for the test---and for life!
We are all pretty excited about the fact that there are only five-and-a-half weeks of school left for us!!! We usually start the last week of August and take fewer breaks during the year, so we tend to get out of school the end of May/ first week of June. My Emily is "graduating" from K5 this year; she has gotten so big and grown-up......for the most part. Next year will be Amanda's senior year of high school. She's already thinking ahead to her last year in volleyball, her senior trip (which they are predicting will cost quite a bit!), college, etc. I am nowhere near ready to lose her yet; she'll have to pry my fingers off her arm to get on the plane for college! Ashley is moving into the sixth grade, so this will be her last year in the elementary. Dale is headed for eighth grade; Katie is going into tenth grade. WOW! My kids sure grew up fast! People always say, "Treasure each moment with your kids because they'll soon be grown," but it's easy to ignore that when they're young. And then, as they grow, we get busy with life and forget to capture those memories. Now, with Amanda facing adulthood, I wish I could rewind the clock a few years and relive those precious moments. And, if I don't stop myself now, I'll wind up crying all over the keyboard and then the computer expert will have to try to dry it out and it'll wind up frying the connections and my boss will get mad because I ruined their computer and we'll be kicked out of the church and have to go live in Timbuktu...........maybe I should just stop! :-)
Speaking of precious memories, Amanda and I made one yesterday that I'm sure she would really rather I just forget! She had gone to an elderly lady's house to clean and had called me to pick her up when she was done. She climbed into the car covered in dog hair---it seemed that little Angel Pie had shed all over her clothes. I told her to wait until we got to Safeway (my husband needed coffee) before attempting to brush herself off, lest we carpet the van's floor with white doggie hair. The instant Amanda stepped out of the van, she began trying to rid herself of the dog hair; this proved more difficult than she had imagined. These little while hairs were stuck all over the front of her shirt and skirt, and they refused to be gently removed. She began using more force, swiping at her clothes and picking off the hairs one by one before deciding she needed to use a more intense method of removal. Amanda grabbed a couple of fistfuls of skirt material and began shaking her skirt violently to dislodge those stubborn hairs still attached. Needless to say, she was not concerned about modesty at that point; her desire was to get rid of the dog hair at all costs, not even aware that her violent skirt-shaking was displaying quite a bit of leg to general view. At this point, I realized that a man had exited the store and was approaching us. My hope was that he would walk on by to his car.......unfortunately, his car was parked right next to ours! He stopped and peered around the corner of his vehicle, trying to see what had captured my attention and getting somewhat of an eyeful at the same time. I tried to discreetly get Amanda's attention. "Mandie, MANDIE, MANDIE!!!" She was intent on her task. Finally, I said, "Mandie, we have company!" Her head snapped up and she dropped her skirt quick as a flash. She tried to pass it off casually, saying, "Oh, I'm so sorry," and moved to get out of his way. The man was a kind gentleman who simply replied, "That's all right." We quickly walked to the store entrance---or as quickly as we could since she was mortified with embarrassment and I was convulsed with laughter!!! She saw the funny side of it as well, which was good since I couldn't stop laughing through fully half of the store. I'm sure her face was beet-red, but I couldn't tell because I was laughing so hard I was almost crying. Even now, writing this, I can't help but chuckle; it was truly a funny occurrence. I teased her afterwards, saying, "That's the last time you'll ever ignore your mother, huh?"
God is so good to us at all times. There are days when His hand is evident and it's easy to see His goodness. There are days when it seems like He is silent and the world around is dreary. But, just because the weather changes or our spirits droop or circumstances pile up doesn't mean His character has changed; He is always good and will forever be. If I can't see His face clearly today, I can trust He is still there. If His blessings come fast and thick, I will store up my thankfulness so that I will still thank Him when His hand is seemingly removed. We have a wonderful Heavenly Father Who delights in us. He is, simply, good.
Proverbs 3: 5 - 6 "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths."