Fortunately for my kids, I'm more on their side than his on this issue! I don't want to get up at the crack of dawn during the summer, and I don't want to spend my every waking hour cleaning. So, Chad and I have come to an understanding. I make sure the house is picked up regularly and dishes and laundry are done, plus one or two other chores that have been put off until a convenient time (like summer!), and he doesn't complain if the kids watch extra TV or sleep downstairs on the pull-out couch. I've made it a point to assign certain chores to my children as well as myself, and I follow up to be sure they've gotten done. He accepts the fact that we have the summer off but he doesn't. Poor guy has been putting in some serious overtime at work because of coworkers' injuries and vacations! His normal days off are Tuesday afternoon - Thursday night, but lately he's been working Wednesday mornings and even overnight a time or two. This does result in some extra money coming in…..which nicely balances out the fact that we're short my teaching income during the summer. We haven't even had a chance to take the camper out yet, and it's already heading into the second week of July! Hopefully we'll get away for a couple days before too long.
Dale has had the summer off from schoolwork so far. He was supposed to be getting his English 10 PACES finished (which we had thought were done but then discovered were only halfway completed!) as well as beginning tutoring in Algebra I PACES, but, upon further investigation, we found we needed to order the remaining English 10 PACES---and we're still waiting on the math as well. So Dale's gotten more of a summer break than we anticipated, but it's been nice for him not to have to be bent over the books all the time. I've had two meetings with our principal about Dale's schooling, and we've mapped out his academic schedule for the next two years, including summer school. This next year will really make the difference for Dale. If he can really push himself and pass some necessary classes, he can take it a little easier his senior year. We've sat down and talked this whole thing through with him, and he understands how important it will be for him to stay on top of his studies in order to graduate on time with his class. Hopefully he'll get the tough classes out of the way this year (math, science, history) and be able to breathe a bit easier next year.
We've also implemented a more rigid exercise routine for him. It does Dale no good to sit around all day, even during summer break, causing him to be extremely unsteady and fall more frequently. During the school year, he gets up and moves around at the end of each class hour; we've been reminding him to get up and walk around the house more. He's been going through a series of exercises (strength, squats, etc.) each morning since about March, and we noticed a difference when he exercises regularly. Now, we've added some afternoon exercises, ones that work his leg muscles and add strength and stability. This not only improves his balance and confidence but also goes toward his needed Health/Fitness credits for his diploma (since he cannot be part of the regular P.E. classes). Please pray that these exercises will help Dale gain back some of the muscle tone and steadiness he lost since last summer.
Many of you know of Dale's struggles with anger and bitterness in the past year or so. This is an ongoing battle for him, one he faces every time he tries to stand and every time he hears of a youth activity or school function that he cannot participate in. There are times it seems he's handling his emotions well, and then there are times it is obvious that he's still withdrawing from our Heavenly Father out of hurt and anger. He hears stories of others who have struggled and knows they had to choose to trust God no matter what, but he is unwilling to make that choice himself. He feels that God was unfair to take away his future and leave him like this. None of us can truly know what Dale feels like or how hard it is for him to daily, hourly realize that life is moving on without him. He doesn't get to make plans to go out with his friends or mow someone's lawn to raise money for Youth Conference or get his driver's license. He's facing the reality that everyone is growing up and buckling down to graduate in two years' time and then heading off to college or the military, and he's just trying to get a piece of paper. There are no college plans for him, no saving up to get his first car, no liking a girl and wondering if this high school romance will last. Dale is fighting every day just to still believe God loves him. He knows what the Bible says, that God is love, but he is so angry about his situation that he does not want to accept that. I feel that, if Dale accepts that God loves him and still allowed this awful thing to happen, then Dale has to accept that everything else is true---that we are here for God's purpose and that that purpose might have nothing to do with our plans for our future. Dale was more than willing to go to church and tithe and read his Bible and pray AND become an inventor (his desire), but he's not interested in going to church and tithing and reading his Bible and praying and being a living example of God's answer to prayer. He honestly may not see God's plan for what it is until he reaches Heaven, but I hope and pray Dale gives in and gives up to God before then so that he might still lay up treasures in Heaven. Please continue to pray for Dale as he learns this terribly hard lesson, to trust God.
Our Katie graduated from high school one month ago and is now on the hunt for a job! She's put in applications seemingly everywhere and has had a couple of interviews; now she just has to wait and see what God has for her. This is really hard for her (and her dad!), but she made the decision to wait on college and save up money first while still serving Him faithfully, and God will honor that. It's just so hard to be waiting around, hoping some employer will call!!! Please pray with us that she'll get a job soon.
Our daughter Ashley got to go to Youth Conference the end of June with our youth group. She came back exhausted but full of stories of the fun they'd had and the sermons they'd heard. Praise the Lord for a church and a youth pastor who believe in leading our young people toward God and not just having silly, fun activities. I know how important my youth leaders were when I was growing up, and I'm so thankful that my children have had godly leaders to help us guide them as they grow. Ashley also got to spend some time with our oldest, Amanda, who is now living in the Santa Clara area! They got to have dinner together and hang out for a bit and catch up on sister stuff. Ashley was so excited about that! She's going to be a freshman this year…..where did the time go? She's already freaking out about volleyball and classes and all!
My Emily is no longer in my class. (Sniff!) She is entering fourth grade in the fall and will not be in my classroom any more---at least, not until after school! What a blessing to be able to teach my own younguns. Emily is excited about growing up but not as thrilled about moving on. She's so accustomed to being the baby that it's sometimes hard for her to accept the fact that she's actually getting older. However, I think she's going to be just fine!
I feel like I don't thank you folks enough for all you have done for our family and meant to us over the past few years. Your prayers, your kind words and thoughts, your gifts and loving cards have all made such an impact on our lives. Many of you we will never get to personally thank this side of Heaven, but please know you are much appreciated and loved. God bless you all! Enjoy your summer!
Psalm 61:2 "From the end of the earth will I cry unto Thee, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the Rock that is higher than I."