The Finish Line

The Finish Line

If the 2015/2016 school year was a marathon, I walked–or limped–the second 13 mile stretch.

tried to keep on the road, but had very little hope of victory.

Then, out of nowhere, I found the will/energy/ability to sprint that last two tenths of a mile of the race. Who knew I had it in me? I never would have guessed that in the 26.2 miles of the journey, I would shine in the last .2?

I am honest about my struggles, but sometimes I do get things right!

It began with Jared’s Prom. A local high school senior, partially paralyzed by a tumor related stroke, was told by his school that he could not attend his senior prom. It was very obvious, very quickly that would not stand. The community came together and Brighten A Corner threw him the prom of a lifetime a few weeks later…



Then my little family put our heads down and started gunning for the end of the school year.

First, there was HISTORY DAY.

We had costumes put together. They were ready the day BEFORE history day. They were cute! The girls studied their characters. Their characters were interesting! Erasmus and Catherine the Great are now people we are quite familiar with! History is such an important part of learning and character development.

I got the end of the year assignments organized. Ryan completed timeline pieces and Shakespeare puppets.


Reagan got A’s on a majority of her finals. Jake was across the country developing his ability to work hard. “Just finished my thirteenth day in a row,” he said. Doing construction. Hard to believe that is the same kid who never got out of bed on time and spent centuries hours and hours playing video games. Hard times sometimes redeem themselves.

We have a tradition of hosting a last day of school swimming party. This year the last day of school for Ryan was on a Thursday. Kids were finished at noon then would come here. We keep this gathering simple. BBQ chicken, watermelon and chips are the menu. Before they come here the kids have an ice cream social at school so we don’t need more sugar…






Two days earlier, on Tuesday night, Reagan came to me asking, “How would you feel about having the graduation party here?”

She knew the answer before she asked. Of course, we’d love to host the party! Thursday night…after the party for the 1st and 2nd graders.




We sailed right through! Carl and I are getting pretty good at this. We had the second party supplies set aside and organized…so we just picked up trash, washed a load of towels, and viola! Graduation…race home to throw bean dip and chicken wings in the oven and a good time was had by all.

We crossed the finish line, victoriously! (And napped at length the next day.)

He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

ISAIAH 40:29-32



Summer Adventures

My kids.

They are so precious and they are growing so fast.

Last summer my youngest and I went on an adventure. A friend (who I connected more with on Facebook than I did in high school) was getting married. She was elated…after years of praying and being faithful her day was coming. I wanted to be there.

My hubby? Not so much. And our middle was off to church camp the day AFTER the wedding so the 7 hour journey to get her on the bus the next morning seemed exhausting to think about, ESPECIALLY for a guy who had no desire to be social.

So my peanut and I hopped on the road together…


She was an incredible traveler, never complaining in the 7 hours it took us to get to Anaheim. (Which should be a 4 hour trip.) We stopped at McDonald’s, took a deep breath, and hopped back on the road. The traffic was intense. God and I chatted as car after car speeding recklessly by made me face the fact that I have some issues with fear…that’s another discussion.

By the time we reached San Diego and our hotel–almost ten hours after we began–I was so relieved and tired I pulled into the valet parking without even asking how much it was. (Good thing. Not cheap.)

Ryan and I snuggled in our glorious hotel bed and slept soundly, EXCITED about Sea World the next day.

She cracks me up. She is feisty and determined. She loves to laugh.

Once we got to Sea World, she became possessor of the map.



Remeinder…she can’t talk. She doesn’t yet read. But doggone it if she couldn’t navigate our way through Sea World following that map, perhaps even better than I could.

This was a unique experience for me. As a mom of three kids, spending precious time, away from home, with just one little person was a gift. My son is now grown and on his own. My girls are so different. Reagan, my middle, is incredibly bright and transitioning into a mature, free thinking, not-quite-a-kid anymore. Our “easy” one, she is diligent and academic but she tends toward a bit of melancholy…

Ryan, my youngest, has special needs. She can’t talk but has some words, some signs, and finds many methods of making a point. She can’t yet read and we are painstakingly learning what numbers are and what value they have. Her run, really isn’t. She smiles often. She spreads joy, but rush is not in her. She just can’t.

So. This. I could follow her, at her speed, to her appointed point on the map and let her enjoy.

She wanted to go here:


Oh my.

First, I dislike heights. Second, there is NO WAY I can send her up by herself. It is not a reality in our life. So, because this was a YES journey all about her, up we went.

Sea World Net

She looked at me, pointed between her legs and I had to say, “Sorry, kid, keep going.” Up was really the only option, but it was hard work. 

Let’s just be frank with one another, I am not in shape. My thighs are mushy and my belly does not look great over the top of my jeans. I am fighting not to have to get larger clothes, but the fight is not going my way. This stupid structure at an amusement park was like a long, long day at the gym.

I pulled my way up, up, up the rope net and climbed through the tunnel. Once at the top, a father was also entering the landing from a different direction. He gasped, “They should warn you about this thing. My back hurts, my knees hurt and I have broken a sweat.” He was a dozen years younger than I was, tanned and fit. I was not sympathetic.

“Your wife is clearly much smarter than I am,” was all I could mutter.

We climbed and crawled until we got back on solid ground, and although I knew she had wet her pants, I didn’t care. Changing her clothes was a distant second in priority because…this:





I love a character photo. After, I bought her a new shirt, we changed and went on our way.



We ate ice cream, watched penguins, cheered the dolphins, walked, walked and walked some more.

I wouldn’t trade this sticky, messy, hard world of mine for anything. Days like this illustrate in vibrant colors the unique beauty of my preciously imperfect life.