Thursday, October 29, 2009


Davis got his Jeep a little bit muddy and...

He couldn't have been more proud!

I learned early in my Momhood that boys rarely play with their toys the way in which they were designed. When my boys were small, I would often find toys broken...split open...because a boy had been more curious about what was on the inside than what his toy looked like on the outside.

Later on, I learned that boys don't jump on trampolines...they wrestle on them. I am learning that boys don't like clean Jeeps...they like them muddy.

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Fall Weekend in Upstate New York

Hello...West Point!

Just a collection of photos from this past weekend. I tagged along with Jeff as he was the speaker for the West Point OCF Fall Retreat. Happily, my favorite Cadet was one of the awesome people with whom we got to spend time. I am very glad I went. It was an experience I will never forget. There were some divine appointments for me, and I learned a lot.

Better yet...Hello, Clayton!!!

Clayton and Jeff at the Camp with fall color in the background...great for Clayton just to ditch the uniform and be in his favorite jeans, coat, and beanie.

Camp Pinnacle near Albany was established in the late 1800's and is still going strong. We spent a good amount of time with the Cadets. I listened to Cadets from Alaska, California, and Miami. I learned that it is therapeutic for them to have someone listen to the stories they tell about their families and home... because they miss their families as much as their families miss them!

In our free time, Clayton, Jeff, and I hiked around the camp just talking, enjoying the trees, and, most importantly...just being together.

Spending time with Clayton was such a gift. Thanks, God!

Back at the "institution" as Clayton calls it and time to return to reality, for Clayton it was the history paper that awaited him, for us, the drive to Newark Airport and regular life at Hillcrest Cottage.

I was fine with the 'good-bye' thing until he said, "Bye, Mama...see you at Christmas." Then, I had to hold back the tears because
Christmas seems like such a long time away....

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

"You are My Reward"

A wise son makes a father glad,
But a foolish son is a grief to his mother.
Proverbs 10:1

Since our family switched to an unlimited texting plan, a whole new realm in my relationship with Stuart the College Freshman has emerged. He texts things like: "I love you" without me having to first say it. He fills me in on life's details, and, any mother of a son knows moms of sons are never privy to any details.

I have to also say that texting has revolutionized my shopping- with- sons experience. Last night Stuart and I spent 30 minutes shopping via texting and internet browsing. We were looking for a winter coat... the one he "didn't need" but I was patiently keeping my mouth shut and waiting until Fayetteville's mountain chill and walking to class would be his teacher. He still doesn't need gloves, muffler, or hat...I'll also wait for an Ozark Mountain arctic blast to whisper that in his frozen ear. We were able to breeze through five different stores in a short amount of time. Even though he has yet to find a coat to which he is attracted, he did order a hoodie to carry him through until something better comes along. Success!

We were eating dinner Sunday night when a Stuart text appeared:
"I am studying a parenting section in guys did an awesome job."

What mom of an 18 year old wouldn't want to read a text like that! (Although, a part of me wonders what he was reading in his Psych book, we could be being compared to hatchet murdering parents...ha...who knows.)

On Clayton's 18th birthday, he also spent time telling person (this is the difference between Clayton and Stuart)... what a great job we had done being his parents.

There is no greater reward in this life than to hear two sons tell me these words.

I'm not at all saying that our family is perfect or that my kids will never make poor choices. I am more amazed by the results than anyone else. We worked very hard and diligently with our children in the early when the teenage years rolled in...and I have one still was/is a joy, not a grief, to experience.

I know he probably read the text sent back to him with a quizzical look on his face. Only a parent could understand the significance of seeing years of very difficult work coming to fruition. Sadly, many parents will never hear these words, so I receive them gratefully with humility.

My text back to Stuart:
"You are my reward...I love you so much."

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Never Quit

I have only quit one time in my life...

one time.

It was the first beautiful Saturday in the spring of my 8th grade existence. Our neighborhood, being blessed with way over 50 kids living on several small streets, was being its usual active self. The sun was shining and the temperature was mild. Lots of bike riding, roller skating, and kick ball was happening on Pleasant Place that afternoon.

A celebration after a winter of watching Gilligan's Island re-runs.

It was the kind of day when kids coming out of hibernation want to show off the strength and growth of the past season. Somehow, I found myself challenged to a foot race around the block with the very athletic-played-college-basketball boy next door who, btw, hated my girl guts for having beaten him previously the year before.

"It's because he wasn't wearing his Red Ball Jets!" his younger sister had angrily lamented last year after her brother's defeat.

I was the reigning Queen of Speed both of my neighborhood and grade school playground. FYI: There was only one boy who I could never dominate, and he later became the State Decathalon Champion. Ironically, he, too, lived on my block, but I knew better than to engage him in a race; our contests were strictly limited to verbal sparring.

If you understand the dynamics of neighborhood contests of this magnitude, then you will know that these spur-of-the-moment challenges were highly significant because they usually occured only annually, usually in the spring. It was definitely a King- of -the- Hill mentality with the winner holding the title for at least a year or until some kid experienced enough of a growth spurt to challenge the title holder.

I remember not being happy about the length of the course, for I was a sprinter of the much shorter variety (50 to 100 yards), but the neighborhood pressure was great and around the block didn't sound very long (It was the equivalent of slightly over 400 metres).

I remember sucking wind while making the first turn (about 1/2 way) and the momentum of running down the very steep Hall Drive hill carried me only a tiny bit further.

I remember the switch in my brain that said...

"I quit".

My 13 year- old body collapsed at the 3/4ths mark, and the boy-next-door cruised his way to victory with the entire neighborhood waiting at the finish line.

My days of challenging boys to athletic contests came crashing to an end. A girl can't expect to be faster than the most athletic boys in her city forever, so I don't lament my defeat. What I lament is that I quit and did not finish strong. I could have gotten up and pushed myself across the finishline, but...

I laid on the ground feeling humiliation and defeat for a very long time.

When I finally had the strength to make my way home, the crowd had long dispersed, going back to their bike riding and kick ball games.

I wish I had finished the race. I wish I had looked my opponent in the eyes and said, "Good race."

I wish I had not quit.

I have only quit one time in my time.

It will never happen again.