Tuesday, January 17

Mrmmpfh

So, early morning ballet class is a bad idea. Should've seen that coming. But I got a few miles in before the rain came, and Jacob had a good class. Plus, there is joy in Alabama, now. I present to you:


YES! We now have Circle K. More importantly, we now have Circle K coffee.

The other day, we were cruising down the Parkway and I saw there'd been changes to the Kangaroo (a local convenience store/gas station chain). I saw the sign. I saw the circle. My mind, however, was scrambling to process what this meant. (With many stores being fairly regional, you grow accustomed to the ones in your area. And to the absence of the ones from other areas.) This beauty hails from Arizona. I haven't seen one in years and years. Cognitively, it was like seeing a Rainbow Foods grocery or a Kings grocery. Or maybe even a Brontosaurus. Here.

*squee*

That was enough to salvage the morning. And perhaps every early morning in town from here on out.

Be encouraged!

~Dy

Monday, January 16

The Quiet

While all the teens were out of the house, I had a chance to do a Big Clean. I'm talking buying-organizing-things-and-fresh-kitchen-towels, culling-debris-and-old-socks, get-the-outsides-of-the-windows clean. It was glorious. Having a tidy home might stave off empty nest syndrome for a good six months. I love my kids, and I do miss them when they're gone, but there are just so many of us, with such diverse interests, packed into a tiny home. Serious 21st Century Family in a 19th Century Settlement. I'm thankful, I am. But it's refreshing to me when our home feels *nice* and not just *make do*.

The crane festival was fun. You can tell the kids are accustomed to going places in the off-season, though. They were stunned that the Wildlife Refuge could even hold that many people and still have room for the birds. We lasted about an hour and a half before the kids suggested we go home, craft there, and come back one day when it's quieter. We agreed.

We're late to the game on making slime and thinking putty, but we're making up for it in spades! (So. Much. Glue. Gosh.) I figure we'll hit the hardware store for glue-in-bulk, and once the kids get the hang of it, we'll snag some tins from American Science & Surplus. So, heads up on gifts from the Littles this year.



I haven't heard much from James on his weekend getaway, but he did text me at one point to say that the speakers were good and he felt very rejuvenated.

1, I'm glad he's feeling rested and energized.
2. I'm glad that's something he's attuned to and looking for. Yay.

John and Jake got back from their backpacking, showered, and collapsed. But not before I joyfully pointed to the now-repaired washing machine and suggested they let the wash be cleaning while they went limp. (The 21st Century has a lot going for it.)

Today, we're back at it, full schedule. Zorak is home for the day because today is MLK Day. We will watch Dr. King's speech, and remember that this is why we live the way we live. Judge each man on the strength of his character, not the color of his skin. That dream is not dead. In spite of the reports to the contrary, as I listen to the children I'm fortunate to know, I am encouraged. There are kids out there who get it, who care, and who will make such a difference in this world we all share. Character matters. Encourage it. Cultivate it. Reward it. Let the generations coming up know how very much it matters. We do not give up just because a battle is hard won, right?

Be encouraged!

~Dy


Sunday, January 15

Whoa, that's crazy!

We're down to only two for the weekend. One of the Bigs is at a youth conference with a friend and the other two are somewhere in a WMA in Tennessee. It's so quiet. It's also not nearly as weird and confusing having two *now* as it was when we only had the first two. Experience helps so much!

We're going to go see the cranes and hang out with friends.

And do a week's worth of laundry. (The pump on the washer went out last week, and although the service and pricing at RepairClinic.com was fantastic, as usual, the shipping took its sweet time. It was weird and uncharacteristic of them. But on the up side, we had a substitute mail carrier, so he actually delivered it the day it came in instead of just pre-emptively popping a "sorry we missed you" note into the mailbox like our regular carrier does. That means we got it yesterday and got a head start on it! Woop-woop! Even re-treading clothes, we crank out a lot of laundry, and it was getting gnarly in here.)

Between loads, we'll get the property tidied a bit, since it's going to be 71 degrees today. Tick abatement doesn't wait for Spring around here! In the words of my favorite Auror, "Constant vigilance!"

Be encouraged!

~Dy






Saturday, January 14

On Encouragement

Encouragement is something we all need. It's something we crave. We don't all necessarily want it in the same way... For example, I have one child who loves some high fives and goofy accolades from friends, acquaintances, strangers on the sidewalk - he's pretty much willing to be encouraged by anything... and another who is much more encouraged by a quiet positive comment that can't be heard beyond the two of you, or by receiving a note or a card, than by anything loud or likely to draw attention her way. Both are receptive to encouragement, but they are not encouraged by the same thing.

I wonder if we sense that aspect of it, but don't quite know how respond to it. I know I struggle with "knowing" how to be encouraging. I hear friends express a desire to be encouraging. It's often accompanied by a semi-apologetic self-deprecating half-laugh. 

It always catches me off guard coming from them, because I hear it from some of the most encouraging, uplifting, strengthening women I know. These are the women who I trust with my most precious things: my children's struggles, my own fears, my worries. I trust them with my hopes, my crazy ideas, my broken nature. They are the ones I know will actually pray when they say they will. They mean it when they say they'll help with anything. They extend good faith and assume the best when there are disagreements.

(And if you're thinking right now, "Wow, Dy, you are one lucky gal!" Well yes. Yes, I am. I don't know how it happened, and I absolutely don't deserve it, but I'm not about to point it out to anyone who could fix it differently.)

I don't claim to know the answer, but I would venture to suggest that being encouraging isn't a thing in itself. I'm starting to believe that just by being in relationship with others -- real relationship, where you share your lives together, and you know each other -- your presence and interaction are, by their very nature, encouraging. 

When you know whether someone feels better by laughing or sitting quietly, and you care about them, you learn to bring that to the table (or, if you're me, at least try to be calm and quiet if that's what they need) when you come to them. But really, the fact that you're *there* is the root of the encouragement. You're traveling along with them, not expecting them to go it alone. It doesn't have to be perfect. You don't have to be perfect. Just be there. Be willing. That is so encouraging.

Be encouraged (and encouraging!)

~ Dy

Friday, January 13

Ballet for Fun and Fitness

After watching The Nutcracker, you may remember Jacob announcing he would lurve to take ballet.

Well the director of the school called back and invited him to come visit a class. He did, and he loved it. He'll only explain it as, "It's hard and it's fun and I-am-so-not-flexible-at-all and Oh-I'm-going-to-have-amazing-legs-if-I-stick-with-it! I love it!"

So he signed up, and he'll be in dance (between ballroom, which he doesn't want to drop, and ballet) for nine hours a week. But he's thrilled with it, and looking forward to the challenge.

He's got his Space stuff - National Space Society, Space Camp, math. And now, he's got his dance. He's a happy kid.

And, I guess you've gotta love it. I don't know. But it's encouraging to me to see the kids pursuing hard things that make their souls soar.

It's fascinating to see how each child has such different interests and energy. I'm forever thankful that each of them knows he/she has support and encouragement to pursue whatever weird rabbit trail catches their attention. 2017 is shaping up to be a pretty interesting year!

Be encouraged!

~ Dy