Monday, September 16, 2019

luckily, there is no body cam footage of my poor life choices

Yesterday, Addison and I were sitting on our couch taking in our
gagillionth episode of  Live PD: PD Cam.

For those of you who don't know, this is a show filmed completely
from the point of view of police officers' body cameras, dashboard cameras, or helicopter cameras.

I used to watch romantic comedies.
Now I live with teenage boys and watch shows about people getting arrested.
I am hoping my sons are picking up some life lessons here.

Don't do drugs. Or get drunk. Or steal guns. Or run from the law.
Always keep your pants on. Always.
It is amazing how many folks wander around in a state of undress.

The episodes are riveting. You are getting to see the valiant work that these officers
do on our behalf and the danger that they constantly put themselves in to protect
and serve their communities.

It is also riveting because the people breaking the law...have no common sense whatsoever.
I bless their hearts left and right.

"Why did he do that? Bless his heart."
"Can't she see that she is making it worse? Bless her heart."

You can't help feeling for them and their families.
You know that their impulsive decision making is wreaking havoc on their lives.

And because I become a part of whatever medium I am watching,
I try to coach them as they are making their horrific, poor choices.

"Stop hitting people!"

"Sweet mercy days! Why would you swallow all your drugs?"

"Don't flee the scene!" ( I am picking up police lingo on the side.)

"Just stop lying! He knows that is not your car!"

One of my more stellar comments yesterday was,

"Why are you so dumb?"

At this comment, Addison turned to me and said, "Mom, every person on this show is dumb."

To this I said, "Well, Jesus gives us brains and He wants us to use them."

He raised an eyebrow. "Mom, I am pretty sure that it doesn't say that anywhere in the Bible."

He had me there.

There is no commandment: Thou shalt not be dumb.

There is no verse reading: For heaven sakes, use the brain I gave you. Verily.

If there was, you should know that I have broken those commands a-plenty.

I just haven't had all my poor decisions filmed on a body cam...
and I will not be allowing drones in my living room any time soon.

What I do have, however, is a memory that tends to play back every poor decision
I have made on a regular basis. It's disheartening.

Worse than a 30 minute episode of PD Cam.

I tend to be fantastic at making poorly thought out, selfish choices.
My impulsive decisions can tend to wreak havoc on the ones I love most of all.

But here is the beautiful thing I am focusing on today.

I can't change the bad decisions I have made in my past.

But I can lean into the grace of Jesus and His goodness, going forward.
The crazy thing? Jesus' doesn't hold my sins against me.

He doesn't condemn me.

He has thrown open His arms to me and said,
"I love you so much. Let me forgive you for that giant mess you made.
And save you from yourself. Does that work for you?"

It does.
He is my help. And my shield.
He is going before me.
Making a way so that I don't have to make the same poor choices I did before.

With forgiveness and hope,
He is inviting me to trust Him to complete the good work He has begun in me.

Grounded in love.
Trusting His truth.

He leads me on His path of righteousness.
He transforms my thinking so that I can walk in His way.
He is making me into a new creation.

He is doing the same for you.

Bless our hearts.

Friday, August 30, 2019

My baby is gone, you guys (I am referencing my first born...not a Motown top 40 record)

So we left our oldest child Jack at Azusa Pacific last Sunday in Los Angeles...
and flew home to Idaho.

He is officially in college. Thousands of miles away.
(It's only hundreds of miles but it feels like I went with thousands.)

Jack is living with strangers. Eating cafeteria food. Talking to people I have never met.

He has been gone for 5 days.
5 days.

It seems so weird.
My whole mothering life...the past 18 years...
the world has impressed upon me the importance of NOT LEAVING MY CHILD.

Don't leave him in the grocery store or they will call CPS.
Don't leave him late at school or you will pay a late fee.
Don't leave him at the library. (Ok. Maybe leave him at the library. It'll grow his brains.)
Definitely don't leave him in dark places late at night. There are murderers out there. Somewhere.

I took all those things to heart. Especially "the dark places late at night" one.
I have watched way too many Forensic Files episodes.

It was and is my job, as mom, to keep that kid close.
Let him know he is held and loved.
Let him know that he is protected and safe.
Let him know that whenever he calls, I am RIGHT THERE.

Then last Sunday...the world changed its mind.
(And if you don't leave are a clingy weirdo.)

This is cruel and unusual punishment, folks.

Does the world think this mom's heart can make a monumental shift like that 
over a Welcome Weekend at college? Think again.

I get it. Jack is a young man.
He is ready to fly.
He needs to spread his wings without mama bird hovering over him.

I am a WORLD CLASS hover-er.

My heart, my life, my schedule...has been tethered to Jack's for almost two decades.
We have been doing life in tandem since I first stared into his wide bright infant eyes.

And now I don't even know what snacks he is eating.
Do I sound like a stalker? Don't answer that.

So I am working on letting that love-worn tether fall...
the one that held me so close to the ins and outs of Jack's days.
Because...he has outgrown it.

I am slipping out from under that close halter of young motherhood so that Jack can soar.

It feels a whole lot like grief.
An unravelling of what once was.

Our second son, Will, was talking to me in the car the other day.
He mentioned something about his school and tears sprang to my eyes.
My voice caught in my throat when I tried to answer him.

He looked at me, shocked. "Mom, are you crying?"
"I miss Jack."
"Mom, you can't just start crying out of nowhere. We weren't even talking about Jack.
We were talking about school. You have to give people some warning."

I told him very serioulsy, "I hope you know that you are never leaving for college."
Will just shook his head and patted my knee. "Oh, Mom."

I know that Will is already planning his escape. But I am choosing to live in denial.

This whole thing about growing little people up and then flinging them out into the world...
far away from's super dumb.

It felt completely normal when I was the child taking flight all those long years ago.
I ran with great joy towards my college years.

But as the parent? If feels like someone (the college president?) is saying,
"Let me just rip out your heart right out. Okay. Now go back to Idaho."

Leaving your people is the worst. Because you like them so much.

I know in the depths of my soul that this is just the first of many leavings.
The first of many changes and frequent adjustments.
But one thing that will not how much I love Jack.

My friend, Marie France, says that I am still his mom. I can love him just as much as ever...
my job description has just changed.

The unravelling of what once was...yields the knitting together of what will be.

New ways of staying connected. New joy. New challenges. New hope.

I know that I will be fine. (even with bouts of surprise crying)

Jack, with all the shifting and growing and changing, will be more than fine.

(Regardless of the fact that I am no longer privy to his snack choices.)

Jack is hemmed in on all sides by the One Who loves him most of all.

It is His job to keep that kid close.
Let him know he is held and loved.
Let him know that he is protected and safe.
Let him know that whenever he calls, He is RIGHT THERE.

There is no one who can hover like He does.

So I am going to let Him.

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.