Sunday, August 11, 2019

the state that I'm in....that would be Idaho

So just a few things have happened in the 4 months since the last time I posted here on the blog...

1. My second year of teaching came to an end.
2. I decided that I will be returning to writing and editing full-time in the coming year.
3. Our oldest son, Jack, graduated from high school giving one of the commencement addresses
(Breakdown proud and torn all at the same time. I can feel him getting ready to fly.)
4. My dad, Richard Foth, interviewed Jack and had him read his poignant & funny address for his podcast, Known. Take a listen.
5. Our church plant of 14 years came to an end with a wonderful celebration of friends & family.
(Breakdown #2 - we love those people like crazy)
6. After pastoring since his late teenage years,
 Scott took a full-time position as a content marketer with a tech company.
7. With parental help, we bought our first house.
(Breakdown #3 - their gift of generosity wiped us right out!!!!)
8. We packed up all of our earthly belongings in two pods.
9. We said good-bye to all of our amazing friends and family in the Bay Area.
10. We left Jack with friends in California so he could work until he starts college in August.
(Breakdown #4 - leaving your kid in another state is THE WORST)
11. We drove for 4 days...with our cat and my parents' house in Colorado.
 (Breakdown #5 - dogs and cats staying in your hotel room is trying to the soul)
12. We recovered for a few days, left our two youngest, Will and Addison,
with my parents and drove to Meridian, Idaho.
13. We signed our lives away and got the keys to our house.
(Breakdown #6 DREAM COME TRUE)
14. We began to unpack our new home, getting acclamated to our new city.
It feels new and weird and good. All at once.
15. A week after we arrived, my parents drove up with Will and Addison.
Will christened it by repeatedly jumping off of the stair landing to the floor below.
16. Scott started his new job, jumping in feet first. He is pretty amazing. And cute.
17. I registered the boys at their new school. The reality of the move is setting in.
(Breakdown #7 Leaving good friends is heart-wrenching. Making new friends can BE HARD.)
18. My parents helped us get settled, instructing us in the ways of homeowner's, a.k.a.:
what it means to manage your own sprinkler system and mow your own lawn. 
19. My folks left promising to return in September to help with planting. THEY ARE THE BEST!
20. I re-broke my middle toe. I DON'T EVEN WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT.
21. We attended our new church pastored by our friend Mike, with Will and Addie.
(Breakdown #8 Starting at a new youth group is daunting. Making new friends can BE HARD.)
22.  Scott's parents drove up from California bringing Jack with them.
This is what I felt like when Jack walked in the door.

23. All 3 boys convened in Jack's room for brother time.
(Breakdown #9  I love it when my boys love each other.)
24. After 4 days, Jack flew home to finish up work and hang out with friends
 before leaving for school in 2 weeks.
(Breakdown #10  I am finding out I can't handle my kid leaving me.)

This is what I felt like when I dropped Jack off at the airport.


I am realizing that this journey of re-settling is going to be just that.
A journey.
Excessive and possibly unwarranted mom tears.

In the next two weeks, Will and Addie will start a new school.
We will all fly to California to see Jack off to college.
And I will shake the dust off my teaching shoes, don my writing cap, and
start writing...again.

I feel like I am wearing someone else's clothes...
like I don't quit fit in with this new life yet.

I don't know how to mow lawns.
Or get to the nearest Starbucks yet.
I don't have Idaho people and my California people feel far away.
My old website has been taken down for a revamp.
I am still figuring out what new direction to take my writing in.
And I keep feeling like I should be lesson planning and grading. (Teaching PTSD)

But here is the thing.

Jesus is on the move.
This whole journey has hinged on miracle after miracle.
There is no way that we would be here right now with out His
unsurpassed, upending love.
He has us in His palm. He is leading us. Guiding us.
Setting our feet on a firm path of Idaho soil.

He knows who our people will be.
He knows that I long for my boys settle in and flourish.
He knows I am excited to write.
He knows that Jack is getting to spread his wings and fly.
He knows that Scott is being challenged and loving growing in a new setting.

He knows.
He knows.
He knows.

And I for one, am ready for the journey.
I am hoping you will come along for the ride.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Launching Young Men into the World (and other reasons why I keep tearing up in the car)

This week my youngest, Addison, turned 13.
Will, our middle son, will turn 16 in less than two months.
And two days ago, my oldest, Jack, turned 18.
13. 16. 18.

As a wise woman once said...."Holy Toledo."

They are getting so big, these boys of mine.
And therein, lies the rub....
The bigger they get, the less they are mine...
the more they are their own.

Earlier in the week, I was driving Jack to play practice,
and the tears began pouring down my cheeks.
Mostly because the space around me was quiet enough for
my subconscious thoughts to pierce through the chaos that is my mind.
Jack looked at me, surprised and said, "Mom, are you okay?"
With a crumpled face I looked at him and said, "I'm going to miss you, Jack."
He put a hand on my shoulder and said, "Mom, I am going to miss you, too.
And its okay. I will still visit you."

Jack will be going to college in 5 months.
I have said it out loud and now it is real.

My Aunt Mary had 7 boys.
She said that when they were very small
it was as if they were held in the center of her palm with fingers closed,
sheltered, protected, nestled in her care.
As they got older, her hand opened, fingers out, palm flat,
giving them a solid place to spring from, ready to fly.

Jack is ready to fly.

But deep in my soul, I have an urge to scrunch up my flat palm, squeeze it tight
and make Jack stay. Just a little bit longer.

This is the thing.
I have always thought my boys were the most beautiful boys in the world.
(As all moms the world over do.).
Getting to be these boys' mom has been my most life altering, heart wrenching and glorious work.

I can't imagine my day without the beauty, the joy, and strong presence of Jack.

But I despite my deep inclinations to hold Jack so close,
I am choosing to keep my palm flat...and steady.
Just like my parents did for me.
They let me go and discover the world on my own terms.
I had their love and strength and wisdom backing me,
but they let me fly and fall and fly again,
always believing that Jesus would guide me and hold me close.

I don't want to hold Jack back. I want him to soar.

He needs to be shaped and stretched.
He needs to form his own decisions and his own faith.
He needs follow his own path, discovering the world, both its beauty and it ugliness.

The ugliness part?
That is hard for me to reckon with.
But navigating the ugliness, in the world and in ourselves, that is what makes us grow.
It shows us our desperate need for Jesus. For love and mercy. For goodness and hope.
I know that Jack has to learn what we all have learned...
that when the darkness surrounds him,
when life is disappointing,
when he fails himself or others,
when he falls and has to get back up,
when he is tired and disillusioned and wanting to give up,
there is grace, unending abounding glorious grace, to be found. Enough for each day.
He can know that Jesus is there with forgiveness and strength to hemming him in on every side.

My prayer (HELP HIM, LORD) is that in the midst of this world's ugliness,
Jack finds himself to be a bringer of hope and beauty.
A conduit of laughter and wisdom.
A Jesus follower that shapes the world around him with love.

Because I believe the world needs a good dose of Jack.
God has crafted Jack's heart and mind in a unique way.
I see his care of others. His belief in himself and his friends.
I see the way that he is able to take a complex thought and break it down
so it is easily understood by those he is helping.
I see how his laughter and goodness build others up.
He has a way with words and can bring almost anyone around to see his side of things.
He is trustworthy and generous and loyal and crazy smart.

So. Here I am. I am realizing that in order for Jack to fly? I have to let go.

Loosing the strong ties that have bound me to Jack? That is where the tears come in.
I have been holding on tight. Super tight. Crazy Tight. Couldn't hold on any tighter.

Because his journey is absolutely not going to follow that path that I would make it follow if
I were the one calling the shots.

I know this because I am a control freak and I have tried to make my own journey follow
the path that I thought it should follow and it totally didn't, and hasn't. Not even this week.Which is completely frustrating and exhausting. Trying to control every minute detail of my life wipes me out.

So Jesus is once again using my kids to show me that I need to...


So I am going to.

I trust Jack. And I trust Jesus with Jack.

And I cannot wait to see

Saturday, February 9, 2019

i am not dead...just teaching middle school...and other big Aughtmon news

It has been about 5 months since my last post.
Being homeroom teacher for 25 6th graders has seemed to edge out my blogging time....
just a smidge.

But I wanted to make sure that you all know that I am still alive and kicking.
And that in this season of learning and growing and navigating a new teaching gig,
that the Aughtmon crew is in the midst of a ginormous transition.

In the way that Jesus does, He has us embarking on a new path.
After much prayer and pow-wowing with our church in these last few months,
Scott and our leadership team have determined that Pathway will be coming to end
in June.

After 14 years of loving and teaching and stretching and being together,
this season is coming to an end. Over the next 5 months, we will be
launching our church family into finding new church homes.

And now I am crying into my keyboard. Because we all love each other like crazy.
When Scott announced it to the church in December, we all had a good bawl together.
You can know that this group of people are THE BEST!
So we will be having a party to celebrate all that God has done in and through these folks
for our last gathering. I am sure there will be lots of tears mixed in with the joy.

As for our family, we are being launched into a new season of....
not quite knowing what is next.
It is funny how we can think that we know who we are and what we are and
where we are going and then realize how amazingly little we know about almost everything.

But here is what I do know. Jesus knows.
He knows our next steps and our straightest path.
He knows that I like to have a plan and I get a tad anxious with THE UNKNOWN.
He knows that want my boys to feel safe and loved during this shift.
He knows that I want Scott to feel supported and encouraged during this transition.

(Let's be honest. Scott is doing almost all the supporting and encouraging right now.
Because that is who he is! I am mostly eating a lot of chocolate.)

You may be thinking, "Sue, aren't you freaking out?"

I have a Ph.D. in Freak-out-ology.

But with these past two years of my transition to teaching,
working as an project editor instead of a writer,
moving from our beloved home of 11 years to a tiny house,
moving from the tiny house to a city 40 minutes away from family and friend,
and getting ready to send Jack off to college this fall...
I am thinking....I am tired of freaking out.

So I am moving towards a place of faith. Of believing what I can't see.
Of reaching out to my people in my dark moments and asking for prayer
when I can't sleep or have heart palpitations or get lost in worrisome thoughts.
Of leaning into Scott and his love for me while we wrestle with next steps.
Of encouraging my boys to know that if we trust Jesus, He will make our paths straight.

Jesus always does.
He always brings light and clarity and hope.
(Usually way later than I am hoping for...I tend to get impatient.)

So I wanted you all in on the journey with me. Because, you are my people, too.
In these last 10 years of blogging (10 YEARS, YOU GUYS!!!)
your words of  encouragement,
the sense of solidarity your sisterhood (and brotherhood...come on, I know you guys read, too)
has lent me,
and companionship you have offered me on this crazy life journey...
have been both monumental and instrumental in my own life.


So I will keep you posted about what is coming next.
As soon as Jesus tells me....