Wednesday, February 14, 2018

A lovely day, indeed.

It's a bitter sweet day.

I'm fine with Valentine's Day. I don't expect any grand gestures of affection, or to be swept off my feet any time today (mainly because that's not who we are, and also because he's seven hours away on work travel), but all in all, I'm not opposed to the holiday in theory. I have plenty of people to love in my life, and feel plenty loved on most days. Most of all, I have a Savior who LOVES and pursues me endlessly, and that in and of itself is worth celebrating EVERY day.

But today, February 14th, took on a new meaning six years ago.

I haven't always been good at a work-life balance. Not that I've mastered it now, but now at least I'm more able to keep all the plates in the air at once and focus on the most important task of the hour. That hasn't always been the case. Six years ago, I made a fatal mistake that changed me. It changed who I am, who I would be, and the course of my family forever.

Work was stressful. We had an 8am board meeting on a foggy Tuesday morning, much like today. I'd stayed up the night before worrying. My board was still new to me, and I was still working through some issues I'd inherited when taking on my role at the Chamber of Commerce. I had researched, and planned, and prepped, and although I cannot for the life of me recall what issue was so pressing at the moment, I was prepared for a fight.

What I wasn't prepared for was losing the little life that was growing inside of me about three hours after that terrible board meeting. All the stress, and worry, and strategizing materialized into too much anguish for the tiny and precious being God had blessed Brad and I with just weeks before. It was the most horrific and painful experience I've ever been through.

Here's where I'm supposed to tell you that it's not my fault. And while I know that this whole experience was part of God's plan, and nothing surprises Him, I have been dealing with the guilt for six years now, and I still hold on to the idea that I could have done some things differently. Different actions may not have resulted in a different outcome, but it sure would have given me a little more freedom.... I think.

No one knew we were pregnant. No one knew when I lost that baby, except for a few of my closest friends and Mom. And because of that, no one knew how much I suffered. I wanted that baby so bad. I had dreams, and plans, and I could already feel the weight of holding her in my arms. I have no way of confirming it was a girl, but somehow, I just know.

No one talks about miscarriages. It's something that's too taboo for polite company. It's seen as depressing, and maybe a bit dramatic and often times we are supposed to act like it never happened. It's like maybe there's an expiration date on our grief, and if we have another baby, or are a few years out, we aren't supposed to be hurting still. And to be honest, I can't tell you that it hurts every day. But it does hurt today, on this day where I'm supposed to be happy and overflowing with love for everyone and everything.

So today, I'll praise my God while standing in the sorrow of loss. I'll say "Thank You" and "I'm sorry" and "Help me" and all the other things that I am constantly saying to the God of the universe who I am not even worthy to approach, but who sent His Son to die for me. What a beautiful picture of how much He loves us. What a comforting thought to the mourning mother, that I am loved, and cherished, and that a sacrifice was made on my behalf, a sacrifice so huge and incomprehensible that no more was or will be ever needed.

Just as you cannot understand the path of the wind or the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things.
-Ecclesiastes 11:5

Friday, November 18, 2016

The days are getting shorter now, and the years are flying by. Those Thompson Boys are growing, and it seems unavoidable now that they're not my babies anymore. Of course, I've neglected to write, not for lack of subject matter-- simply for a lack of time.

Lately, I've been increasingly moved by the thought that I am preparing my sons to be men. I feel so convinced about the expectations I'm setting for them, and the examples I'm showing them, and the ideas they're being show right now, and how all of it will affect who they end up being.

I want to raise gentlemen. I want to raise Godly men. I want to raise leaders, who are strong but gentle, caring and attentive. I want to raise men who serve and aren't afraid to work hard. I want to raise good souls, who know the value of other people. I want to raise responsible citizens. I want to raise men who detest apathy and who aren't afraid to look a problem in the eye. I want to raise individuals who care about their communities, and who are dependable.

So, excuse me for not updating lately. I've been raising men.

"Father, help me point them to you. Regardless of grades, and assignments, and report cards, help me to teach them the important things in life. Help me to shape their hearts, in addition to their minds. Help me to remember they're watching, God. Help them to see YOU through me. Whoever you have in mind to enter their lives when they're older, be it friends, or a significant other, God, prepare those people, too. Help those people to recognize that you are the creator, sustainer, guide and best friend. Help my boys to love you more every day, and help me to be the protector of their hearts against this messed up world. God, I know you're in control. Now, help me let go and give it to you. Amen." 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Life keeps happening. Regardless of how much I would like to take the advice of every little old lady I've ever met and slow our growing up process down, the boys keep getting bigger, and learning more, and the days, and months, and years keep flying by. I just don't understand it!

Summer is here, and we are relieved at the Thompson house. Kindergarten year for Porter has been conquered, not without its own troubles, but fortunately, with the help of many new friends and loving teachers and administrators dedicated to partnering with us and helping P get the most out of his education. Brad and I are so very, very proud of the little boy he is growing up to be. Here's a photo of him on his last day of school with his sweet teacher, Mrs. Katie Morgan. He absolutely loved her. In fact, on the last day, he told me: "Mom, next year, I want a teacher like Mrs. Morgan." Yes, son, I agree.

He's six now. He's lost all four of his front teeth, and he loves watching Power Rangers on his iPad and swimming. He is quickly mastering how to swim without floaties, but admittedly, I'm a lot more frightened about it than he is. He likes to get up early, still needs to take a nap, and has the kindest soul you'll ever meet. He asks everyone he meets if they know Jesus, which pretty much makes my heart SWELL with pride. "Do you know Jesus is Lord?" We are fairly certain he will grow up to be a preacher, a missionary or a politician... but he insists that he wants to be a pirate or a firefighter.

We've had lots of struggles this year. He isn't on the same level developmentally as other children his age, but he works so very hard and is very talented socially, making friends everywhere he goes. He is currently working with a retired school teacher in our neighborhood who helps him with reading skills, and we're hopeful he will gain some ground this summer before 1st grade. Week after next he will attend a soccer camp, and after that we will take our first ever family vacation to Washington, D.C. around July 4th. It seems that Porter has a very exciting summer ahead, but for now he is completely content to get up each day, hang out with his best friend Fischer and his best friend, Daddy. This kid has my heart, y'all.

This kid is something else. I never knew what that phrase really meant, or felt the need to use it, until I met Fischer, and now all the sudden that's the only way I can describe him. He just finished up his first year at Williams, and had SUCH a good year in Mrs. Karla's class. He made wonderful friends, his little personality kept developing, and he has gained an extensive vocabulary and inquisitive mind. He's always asking questions, constantly remembering details, and mastering impressive concepts that I am not fully prepared to explain. He is tenacious, loyal, and full of life. 

This year during t-ball season, it broke his heart that he had to watch Porter and Daddy play and he couldn't play himself just yet. In a couple weeks, he will attend soccer camp as well, and I can't wait to see him go after the ball, run, play and get in the game. I have all expectations that he will be a fierce competitor. I foresee many fun days at the ball park/stadium/field in our future. 

My boys are my reason. They are the reason I push. They are the reason I keep learning. They are the reason I keep getting up and getting dressed every morning. They are the reason I try to love their Daddy more each day. They are the reason that I strive to be a better Christian, better mom, better daughter, better sister, better teacher, better employee and better friend. 

This is my prayer. 

God, thank you for letting me be their mom. Thank you for teaching me and molding me each day into what they need. Sometimes I fail miserably. Sometimes I feel like I'm winning, but most of the time I feel like I'm only getting by because of your grace and mercy. You are everything I need. 

Thank you for Porter. Help me accept your will. God, change Porter's situation. Develop his mind. Create in him a desire to learn. Give him focus, and knowledge, and the right people in his life to keep him moving forward. Help us provide the opportunities he needs. Please give him a thirst and hunger for YOU. Help Brad and I to be the teachers he needs, both teaching him about your great love and his faith, and also in traditional education. Help us to be supportive, patient, and help us to be the advocates he needs. Change his situation, if it's your will, God. Help him to grow up and be a productive, independent and happy adult. 

God, thank you for Fischer. Thank you for his sweet smile and his bright mind. Help him to love others God, and develop in him a love for you. Help Brad and I to be the spiritual examples he needs, and help us to protect him from all the disgusting and evil things of this world. Help him to grow up to be a strong man, with morals and character and honor and love. Help him to respect authority and work hard. 


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Adventures of Kindergarten

If I could accurately put into words what I'm feeling about Porter and public school, I would have done it weeks ago. Y'all know me. But the truth is, that, for once in my life, I'm at a loss for words. With that being said, and we all know this is more for my therapy than it is for my readers' benefits, I've got to say a few things.

School sucks.

There, I said. it. Me, the lifelong learner. The perpetual student and now happenstance professor, is admitting that school is absolutely terrible. Like, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day... every day.

Porter wasn't built for school. He wasn't built to stay in one room, in one chair, in one painter's tape square on the floor for six hours a day. He wasn't created for this. He doesn't do lines well. He can't wait his turn. He literally is unable to be perfectly still, no matter how enthralled he is in whatever he's supposed to be doing. The only time he's still is when he sleeps, and even then he's the ugliest, cover stealing, snotty and drooling bed partner you've ever seen.

Porter was created to run, and laugh uncontrollably, and nap in the middle of the day. We nap, y'all. If you've ever heard his infectious, pure and unadulterated giggle, you know what I mean. He is the closest thing to innocence I've ever met. He was created to hug people with abandon, and lay on someone's shoulder, and wiggle to his heart's content. He was created for experiences. For making connections with people. He was created to WORSHIP his Jesus.

And my heart is absolutely breaking as we figure out what this monster, thief of joy, rigid, and lackluster reality of public school is going to look like for him. My mommy heart is breaking.

Now, let me stop for a minute and make something painfully clear. I've got to say that his teacher and the employees at JKH Elementary are the best. They love this kid. They help him, are patient with him, work with him. They try their hardest to teach a kid who, by all means, is pretty near unteachable. So, it's no fault of the blessed and selfless angels who are working with him that we are struggling. THEY are the only reason I haven't fully lost it and ended up in a straight jacket playing checkers with some other poor mom who can't.... AH. Breathe.

I could go on and on about the trouble we're having. I could explain the behavior issues, the potty issues, the learning issues... but let it suffice to say that we're finding this transition to public school to be the most challenging thing we've ever faced as a family. EVER FACED AS A FAMILY. I know we're not alone, but something HAS GOT to give.

So friends, if you love us, PRAY. Pray that Porter will get it together. Pray this his mommy and daddy will be able to respond appropriately, stress out less, and love Porter as much as he loves others. Pray that we can all adjust to public school and settle in for the next very long, very excruciating thirteen years. Pray for his sweet teachers and friends at school, that they will be patient and understanding as Porter finds his place at school. Pray that something will change. God can change this situation. He can fix it, and He will.

This is my prayer:

God, you gave us Porter because we were the best parents for him. I am awed and humbled by this very gift. I am so, so beyond thankful that Porter is mine. I love him more than I knew I could love, God, and I am so grateful that you chose us. Please God, I need you now more than I've ever needed you before. I know that you gave me Porter because I was prideful about intelligence and academia, God, and I'm so sorry that I took these blessings for granted. I'm sorry, and I know you have a supreme plan for Porter's life, and mine. God, you are perfect and flawless and we need you now. Please fix it, Lord. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Is summer really over?!

It's coming. Quickly, without hesitating. The end of summer is nearing and in exactly one week #thosethompsonboys will be in school.

Fischer will be starting Pre-K 2 at Williams this year, and entering school for the very first time. I am so very excited for him. I know he will have so much fun, and will learn so much from being around his peers. He will sorely miss being with his Daddy every day, but I have a feeling my smart and funny little boy will have no problems making friends and being the life of every party. I can't wait to see what amazing things God has planned for Fischer Henry this year. I am constantly praying for his sweet teachers, because they will need all the patience, humor, and will that God can pour on them.

Porter will start Kindergarten at J.K. Hileman Elementary this year in Queen City. I feel prepared. That' s a big deal, considering that I have been dreading this day for a little over five years now. I am so thankful that we've had two years at Williams FUMC Day School, and so thankful for all the wonderful teachers and his amazing therapist at Pleasant Grove that have poured into him and prepared us for this big next step in his education.

I think Porter is ready. We've talked a lot about his new school for big kids, and although I don't think it has really sank in yet, he seems to genuinely be excited for what is to come. I know we will have obstacles to overcome, and I know that we will struggle and work hard every day, but I am truly excited for Porter to move forward and learn so many new things. I am glad we know what to expect with his therapy, and I'm glad we will know so many of the sweet smiling faces at QCISD. Brad and I both have an overwhelming peace about him going to school there. God is so good and so faithful. I'm praying he will hold Porter in the palm of his hand, keep his tender and big heart protected, and help him to open up his mind and store away everything he learns. He's going to do so many great things.

We are prayed up and ready.

School supplies are purchased. School clothes are bought. We have everything labelled and laid out and we're ready to go. My head is ready. My heart is strong. 2015-2016 school year.... HERE WE COME!

This is my prayer: 
Lord, you know every need. You have orchestrated this school year and I know that you have wonderful things in store for those who love you. The Thompson family loves you, and we want to honor you in every step of our day. Lord, protect them. Provide the right friends, the right influences, and the right material that will point them to you and your will. Help us to be loving, supportive parents who teach our sons right from wrong. Lord, calm our fears. Hold us in your strong and mighty hand and if you see fit, take the tears and worries from my mind so that the boys can have a fun and happy start to their school year. You are so good, Lord. You are so kind and loving and I cannot thank you enough for what you've done already in our lives. Help us to keep honoring you all the days of our lives. 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Church. But more than that, really.

Ecclesiastes 3: There is an appointed time for everything,A time for every activity under the heavens: A time for birth and a time to die;A time to plant and a time to uproot what was planted; A time to kill and a time to heal;A time to tear down and a time to build up; A time to weep and a time to laugh;A time to wail and a time to dance; A time to throw stones away and a time to gather stones together;A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to search and a time to give up as lost;A time to keep and a time to throw away; A time to rip apart and a time to sew together;A time to be silent and a time to speak;  A time to love and a time to hate;A time for war and a time for peace.What does the worker gain from all his efforts?10 I have seen the occupation that God has given to the sons of men to keep them occupied. 11 He has made everything beautiful* in its time. He has even put eternity in their heart; yet mankind will never find out the work that the true God has made from start to finish.12 I have concluded that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good during their life, 13 also that everyone should eat and drink and find enjoyment for all his hard work. It is the gift of God.

If you know anything about me, you know I love my church.  Like, really love my church. It's not just the kind of love that I share for donuts, or chik-fil-a, or everything else that's Southern and good. No, I really, truly, deep down have a passion for First Baptist Church Queen City. The people, the spirit and livelihood of the church, the heart beat of what makes that church so special and amazing are what I love. I know that the walls and the building aren't what constitute the church, but I even love the walls and the carpet and everything in between. The stained glass.... it gets me. It has been the backdrop to my life so far. It has comforted me in some of my darkest hours. It has cheered me on as I walked down the aisle to meet the love of my life. It has met me Sunday after Sunday as I sit and stand to worship my living Savior. I love everything about it. 

I've been at FBCQC for 29 years. This is me with my first and very best friend, Mary Beth, in the nursery. We were pretty much inseparable from the day this photo was taken until we graduated high school and went our separate ways. We grew up doing life together, with church at the center of it all. Now, we're still doing life together, as we are in the same life group. We meet on Thursday nights, eat dinner, let our children play, and learn about God's plan for our lives. I am so thankful for the influence these people have had in our lives the past five years. They have helped us through so many hard days, celebrated with us in the good times, and been an encouragement to keep moving forward. I love our life group. Like, love love them. 

When I was a child, I spent the summers at the church because my Mom was a secretary there. I'd work hard all morning at home to cross chores off my list so I could come play at the church all afternoon. No one entertained us. No one worried that we would be bored, or not understand the Gospel message as presented in an "adult setting". Oh, that's another post entirely!  I spent my afternoons creating in some obscure Sunday School room, writing plays for the children's ministry,  mixing concoctions from the leftover condiments in the fellowship hall fridge and daring the other kids to drink them. I had real conversations with the church members who dropped by during the week, to prepare a lesson, or restock their rooms, or organize the music closet. Those adults influenced me, even in the small and short passing conversations. Some will never know the huge impact they had on that little girl.  Some have already joined our maker in heaven and I can't wait to catch up with them, and talk again. The youth minister used to have open gym where 10-12 students would show up and we'd play cards, foosball, or volleyball for hours. We lived at the church. I grew up at the church. Now, I'm getting the unique pleasure of watching my boys grow up there, too. Here's Fischer, my son, with Mary Beth's daughter, in the hall at church, feet away from where the photo of their mothers was taken more than 25 years ago.  Amazing. 

Nowadays my church is about introducing my boys to Christ. I've said for a while now that my most important job as a mother is to point them in the direction of the Gospel, and everything else will fall into place. We are so fortunate to have a church that focuses on the children. My boys are quickly learning what it means to be about the Father's business, and I couldn't be more proud of them. I already joke that Porter will grow up to be a preacher, because he's always sharing about Jesus, and you can just see the joy spilling out of him. I can't wait to see the plan for his and Fischer's life played out. Whether it's Thursday nights for life group, Wednesday nights for youth, Sundays for AWANAS and worship... my boys love to be in God's house, and FBCQC is the only church they've ever known. 

I started this post saying there was a time for everything, and I think the time for our church is change. In the past two years we have made major changes to our service times, said goodbye to a beloved pastor, bid farewell to our best friends and youth ministers, welcomed a new pastor, chosen a search committee for a youth minister and started discussions about homosexuality and what it means for membership in our congregation. We've seen a dip in youth attendance, maybe due to summer, maybe in the absence of a full time minister. We've seen a boom in babies born in the past five years.  Times are changing at FBCQC, and while it is personally exciting for me, it is also nerve wrecking and challenging. I know God has a plan. I know he is good and faithful, and I know that as long as FBCQC serves Him, we will be just fine.

Soon, there will be a time to celebrate at FBCQC. Soon, everything will feel normal again and we can get back to being a church moving forward. Soon, and very soon, we'll be talking about new changes, and only God knows what they will be. I'm excited.

This is my prayer.

God, use me. Use First Baptist Queen City to minister to our community. Help us to be a bright light standing in a dark world. Help us to love, like you do, like Jesus does. Help us to rest assured in your plan for us. Help me to be the kind of church member you'd want me to be. Help me to hold my tongue, be slow to anger, and quick to love. God, I know changes are coming. Help me to embrace them, and if they effect me personally, help me to seek your face and find my place according to you. Thank you for my church, God. Thank you for the people there, and thank you for the opportunity to raise my boys in your house. Thank you for my wonderful Momma, who made sure I was there every time the doors were open, and sometimes when they were not. Thank you, Lord. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

This post is not about Porter

I catch myself worrying that I'm not being fair. Many of my readers know about the struggles and challenges we face with Porter, and I'm pretty good about sharing the triumphs and celebrations that we enjoy when we have a win with him. What I don't do often enough is talk about the other kid in our house. Y'all, he's something else entirely.

Fischer Henry Thompson turned two in February. He could not be any different than his big brother. Fischer is strong willed and playful, independent and feisty. I have learned to love in a whole new way because of Fish. He is the balance to our crazy chaotic and messy world. He is, quite literally, our anchor.

Before you start thinking he's a calm, and calculated kind of guy, he's not. Most often, you'll find him running and screaming, giggling uncontrollably, copying EVERYTHING his big brother does, asking a million and one questions, and of course, falling down. But what he does so well, so uniquely, is hold everything together when the rest of us are being nutty. Porter could be crying about something obscure, Brad could be mad about something routine, and I could be stressed out and about to literally lose it, but Fischer. Fischer is most likely the one who is taking it all in, giving his brother a hug, making a silly face, making us laugh and keeping everyone in line. This kid is going places, people.

He has his own sense of style. Tons of people ask me if the glasses are real. They're not. He likes to wear flat-billed hats, cocked to the side. He likes to wear glasses of any kind, and he insists on wearing shoes... cool ones. He is well-dressed, and full of joy. I am over-the-moon about this little guy. Every time I look at him I can't help but be a little more amazed that God has entrusted me to raise these two perfect and precious gifts. I pray every day for the wisdom and strength to hold it all together for them.

Every worry and fear I have for Porter is followed by a "but Fischer...". God is so full of grace. He gave us a break with Fischer it seems. I know he's only two, still so small and new and there's still many years for him to cause us grief, but for now, he's just what our family needed.

He walked at 9 months. He started talking soon after. He has hundreds of words and is stringing sentences together. He makes jokes, and plays games, and keeps up with the big boys. He is so much of what I need on a daily basis! He keeps me smiling and kissing and hugging and running. Oh, I am so very thankful for Fischer Henry.

He wants to be just like Daddy. And I hope he is. I hope his heart is just as big, and his smile is just as contagious. I hope he sees the kindness in his Daddy's heart, and I hope he wants to be a helper and a caretaker, just like his Daddy. But I think all parents want more for their children than they have themselves. I want more for Fischer. I want him to see the whole world, experience it, change it. I want him to conquer and rise to the top and be the kind of leader that I already see in him. He is fierce. He is competitive and has a drive unlike any other. He won't quit. I love that about him.

He doesn't play t-ball yet, but he's ready. I see it in his eyes when we're sitting at the ball field watching his big brother play and his Daddy coach. He watches every move when the boys are on the field, and he is already running fast and catching balls. His swing is impressive. I can't wait to see him play the game and love the game. Oh, t-ball is a whole other blog post waiting to be written....

My sweet Fish is quick to forgive. His heart, just like his big brother's, is golden. He's cautious about new people, which is totally different than P. I can't say I blame him though, as cold and harsh as our world has become.

Fischer will start preschool this fall. For once, I can say that I'm excited for him. With Porter, I was nervous beyond words. I was worried and stressed and didn't want him to enter the big old world of private preschool. But Fischer... (see what I did there?) Fischer is ready. Fischer will dominate preschool, and the playground and honestly, any other situation he encounters. I can't wait to watch him excel! Swim fast, Fischerman. Swim fast!