Wednesday, November 15, 2006

A Story or Two this Evening

Since my oldest started basketball, what little spare time I once had is now non existent. I am so happy that he made the team, because he hasn't played a team sport since he was in 6th grade. For a while he lost motivation, and the few times he was motivated, his grades didn't cut it, so he was ineligible. He's not failed a grade, and is in his correct grade. He's fortunate, because with the lack of effort he put forth many years, he easily could have fallen behind.

However, like I've always said, he is ultra intelligent, and this year proves it. He tried out for football, and the coaches were excited at the idea of him being on the team. He has great athletic talent, and plays in the back yard every chance he gets, no matter what the sport. His main sports have been basketball, football, soccer. He plays badminton and tennis with me, as well as baseball when enough kids are around to play. He is in great physical condition, despite his love of video games, because he runs and works out on a regular basis.

So when he got excited for football, along came a school official to tell him he was ineligible due to his low marks the year before. His poor grades in his final semester of 2005-2006 school year prevented him from playing football for the 2006-2007 school year. It's an Ohio law. So, this really was a good thing, though it seemed bad at first. FINALLY, the point Rob and I have been trying to make STUCK. What a person does in their past does impact their future.
All of a sudden this child who had consistently gotten mediocre to below average grades was getting A's and B's. He had something to prove!
Years ago I saw it, but I couldn't get it through to this, my very stubborn eldest child. He is extremely capable and smart! I have told him that since he was in elementary.

For example, when he was about eleven years old, there was a news story on prior to him going to school. That night, we were taking my grandmother around town on her errand day. Josh started talking about the news story. It had really impacted him emotionally. It was about an little boy who was abandoned by his step father. Josh remembered the child's name, the step father's name, the town they lived in, their ages, and the details of the story down to a science.
My grandmother and I just looked at each other, incredulous. I had been seeing this type of thing from him since he was a toddler. However, nothing we did would get him to put this brain power to use. It was finally (thank the good Lord!) this year that he found his motivation.

I am so happy! I will gladly drive back and forth, give up a few minutes of rest here and there to keep this new Josh around! Josh has always been a very argumentative kid, but just the other day I told him to do something, he started to argue, and then stopped ALL on his own. This basketball team discipline stuff is really doing him a world of good. I am starting to see a young adult emerge here, and I am so proud.
Likewise, I have to sing the praises of my Jess, too. Monday I was having a really rotten day. It was Jess that helped turn my day around.

I usually don't get overly emotional about a lot of stuff, thanks in part to my low dose of Effexor that I take every day. I started taking in when my grandmother was sick, and my doctor says I should continue to do so until I no longer have two teenagers in the house. ;) I think he's right.

Anyway, I think Sunday was the straw that broke the camel's back. ;)

I was getting ready to take my annual Christmas card picture of the kids. I was really in a good mood. I had bought them all different colored winter hats to wear in the picture. I had my can of fake snow to spray down my pine trees with. I had my camera and tripod in hand. I affixed the camera on the tripod, and I pulled up to make sure the camera was secure. I was sure to double check, because I have to say I love my camera. It goes with me everywhere. I take A LOT of pictures. I mean, my hobby is scrapbooking, for crying out loud!

I carry my camera in a double-padded camera case. I paid around $300 for it about two years ago. I have the printer dock and the whole nine yards for it. My cameras usually wear out from overuse, so I planned to get my money's worth out of this one.

Until I picked up the tripod and tucked it under my arm. All of a sudden, my camera and the metal plate it screwed in to all came sliding out of the tripod and hit the ground with a crash. I had checked the security of the camera by pulling up, but the side locking mechanism was not locked in place. When I picked up my camera, it sounded like a rattle. It wouldn't even turn on.

I put on a smile, pulled out my old digital camera which is held together by a rubber band, and took the pictures. They turned out great.

However, the next day, the reality of the situation hit me and I started crying. I cried and cried and cried almost all morning long. Every time I tried to stop crying, I'd start all over again.

I think I just felt like I couldn't even have one thing in my life that went right. I work hard, I am disciplined about not spending money, and BOOOM...I lost my camera due to my own carelessness. I knew I couldn't justify replacing it with Christmas around the corner and bills already stifling us. Josh's basketball would cost over $300 alone. I had been inwardly fretting about that as well for weeks.

So, I finally gained my composure, but just barely. I felt like a huge lump was in my throat that I couldn't get rid of.

Then the phone call came. It was Jess' principal, a former jr. high teacher of mine. Immediately, when she identified herself, I braced myself for the worst. I usually don't get "happy" phone calls from principals. Typically, a phone call from a teacher or principal means one of my children has had low test scores or has to stay after school due to missing homework assignments.

However, this was not such a call. This phone call was what it took to turn my whole day around. I actually cried tears of joy.

The principal said that she had just had the most wonderful talk with Jess. That last year, Jess seemed angry and brooding. We had talked about that in the past, and Jess did not transition well her first year in the country school. However, the principal indicated that Jess is thriving this year, and really impressing everyone. She said Jess is turning in her homework assignments, doing well on tests, her grades are up and moreover, she is happy and smiling and open throughout the day.

Then she went on to say, "I told Jess that the Jess I am seeing is more like her mom than she has ever been. I told her that when you were in school, you were a light and a joy to everyone around you. You always had a smile on your face, and you always had something positive to contribute. This is what I am seeing in Jess now."

I choked back tears and thanked her profusely. I told her that I had been having a pretty rotten Monday, and that her words turned the day around. Deep inside, I felt at peace. I felt like at some point in my life I had made a difference to SOMEONE. That I might actually be doing something right with my children.

Soon after that, Bipsy suggested I put a new camera on one of the company's office supply accounts and payroll deduct the expense a little at a time until it was paid. Again, I was flooded with gratitude. The camera I found was less than half of the cost of my old one, and was two generations newer, with a higher mega pixels and some better features. Rob's attitude was that I was probably due for a new camera, and that as much as I used my camera, it would not be a frivolous expense.

Still later, my Aflac agent called to answer some questions I had posed to him earlier in the month.

Turns out, I have not submitted claims for wellness benefits on three of my policies for some of 2005 and all of 2006. I would have to wrestle with a mountain of paperwork that would include faxing several doctors AND Aflac, with over 5 forms per claim. However, in total, I will be receiving well over $300 if all claims went through like he anticipates.

Today Robert found out that he may be able to redirect a portion of one of his retirement accounts to pay off our land contract. We owe so very little at this point, but the staggering monthly payment is what has been crippling us. If this does work out for us, our restrictive budget will ease up tremendously. We have just a few months' left on our car payment, so breathing room may be in arms' reach.

I have spent the rest of the week with a smile on my face. Yes, I've been busy at work. Turns out, I've adapted easily to my new responsibilities and have not lost any pay in the process. I feel like God has granted me even more favor with my boss because I have met this new challenge without becoming overwhelmed. I don't have much free time at work, but I have a job and I am not feeling the stress there that I was feeling just a few weeks ago. The tension that was present has eased up quite a bit.

I just want to thank all my friends who have sent thoughts and prayers my way. I also want to thank Debbie for always looking out for me and for finding me the beautiful kitchen table. Everywhere she goes it seems she is thinking of how she can bless me. When I think of how blessed I am, I am humbled. I have so many wonderful people in my life.

I am praying for all of you, my friends, for you to enjoy the same peace that I am feeling right now. You are loved and valued. I pray you are blessed and comforted this week, able to overcome all you face with grace and love.

More later.


Holli said...

WOW!!! I LOVE hearing the stories of how God blesses us with just exactly what we need! Those are all amazing stories. I am so happy for you and glory be to God! Enjoy the new camera!

PJ said...

What a GREAT post! I am so happy for you and glad that your heart is soaring.

Elliemarie said...

Yay! I'm thrilled that things are going your way and you are so happy. And you should be so proud of Josh and Jess-what great kids!

neicybelle said...

thank you for the inspiring words! i'm so glad to see some happy entries! we're all due, don't you think? enjoy the new camera! i'm really glad to hear about your kids! isn't that nice? i'm so glad for you!