West Meets East

This here distance between us. . .

Five Minute Friday
The door closes with a thud – not a nasty slam but it might as well have been because it feels that way in my heart.  So this is how we are spending our Friday night. He in there and I in here and this here distance between us is so wide and vast that it feels like we will never find a bridge.  It started innocent enough just talking and then before either of us knew what was happening we were thinking mean thoughts and then saying them out loud. What started out as a fun Friday night on the couch turned into him in there and me out here wishing for a “do over”.  I close my eyes and bow my head and I know on the other side of that wood door that feels like a brick wall separating us, he is doing the same.  We made this promise on the day we wed to never let the sun go down on our anger and this is not the first night nor the last that we will have to draw upon that promise and make good on that promise both at the same time.  Eleven years ago and many late nights later, (including one when we saw the sun rise before we resolved) and yet here we sit on our Friday night.  I remember as a new bride thinking what a great idea this promise was and I actually thought it seemed easy.  But within the first year I found out the sacrifice this promise truly was but what glue it would be for our marriage.  We can love and hate all in the same day but the crucial piece has always been ending and beginning our days with love and true reconciliation.  That is one thing I know beyond anything else about that man and about our relationship – when it’s all said and done there will be peace.  There will be love. And there will be “us”.  The door slowly opens and I hear, “You ready to talk?”. . . I nod my head and I wonder if we will put on a pot of coffee before the night is over. 

What I learned from a 2 year old today. . .

Five Minute Friday

“just focus on something. . . anything.” I barely hear my inner voice telling my real self these words of advice above the sound of my baby crying and crying and pleading with me as he asks  me , “Please mommy, please take me home!”   The smell of sweat and tears and blood and flesh fill my nostrils and I can barely see through my own tears to focus my heart on anything. If I can just focus my eyes on something, then I won’t have to look at the pain all over my boys chest and I can comfort him better when I'm not crying too. "Focus Tammy! Focus!"  Ah, there it is, a clock on the wall with a United family hospital emblem on the top. That is where I fix my eyes and try with all of my might to hold my little guys arms still, sing his favorite lullaby and settle my heart.  But my heart is too unsettled.  I am holding him now while they swab, clean and bandage up the wounds on his chest all the while I am filled with regret! A hot noodle soup bowl, a hungry 2 year old and a turned back for just a split second had brought us rushing here through the screaming and the frantic and the tears of confusion and fear from the older siblings.  Oh, to go back and make peanut butter and jelly instead. . . oh to go back and to see him slip quietly into the kitchen instead of to the bathroom to wash his hands where I thought he was. . . if I had only seen him. . what I wouldn’t give right now for a “re-do” of those 2 minutes of my day. . . but it can not be re done. . . it can not be changed. . . and the pain he will go through now can not be relieved. 
They are finished for now and I see the doctor’s face and I hear his words, second degree burns, a % was mentioned I didn't understand, protecting against infection is crucial. Levi is gripping me so tight right now, I can tell he is still terrified of all of this and then suddenly as if all is well  he hops down and in this cheerful voice he turns and first he thanks the doctor for helping him and then he thanks the nurses for helping him.  I am stunned. Still in a sort of shock from the hot soup water and the screaming and the sores and. . . from all of it and then there he goes thanking everyone he sees for fixing his “owie” and for the "bandaid".  We leave and head homeward and I am still stunned that within seconds of enduring so much pain at the hands of the doctors and nurses working on him he could offer up a word of thanks to them.  He sleeps now in the backseat.   I drive.  But my heart is heavy and feels dark. I sense the Lord telling me to offer up a word of thanks to Him and I can not.  My lips will not move and my voice will not speak except to argue in prayer. . . I tell him with the utmost respect and honesty that I can not thank Him, that I can not comprehend how last night my friends gathered around me on my birthday and prayed a prayer of blessing and protection for this next year for me and my family – how could He allow this just hours after so many saints beseeched Him on our behalf?  The Sovereign One scolds me not  but I feel held and understood as if in a tender embrace  as I pour out my complaints before Him.   He is no stranger to the parental agony of seeing your son in horrific pain and knowing that from this moment on. . . the only way is to go through it. Then, I hear Him speaking to my heart. . . He asks me to submit my heart, my will, and to offer the praise of thanksgiving just as did my son minutes ago.   Initially, I refuse again, but finally relent to submit more out of “ought” to than out of “want to” but I start with a very simple prayer of, “I thank you.” As these words, in faith, barely audible, squeeze their way out of my mouth suddenly words and emotions of thanksgiving are tumbling their way out not waiting for the last to finish before the next begins and finally I am focused, and I am filled. . . and I have learned the secret to a focused heart is through offering thanks to the Sovereign one.  The thanks does not nullify my pain in fact my heart still aches for the boy in the backseat but I know and I trust the One who loves him even more than I and who understands his pain and my own. 

A Birthday fit for an Olympian

Well, it is SO hard to believe that 5 years ago my baby boy was brought into this world! I still remember how his eyes were the color of a Colorado blue summer sky and how he slept 6 and a half hours that first night and never once has he slept less than that in a night - not even when jet lagged. MY what a gift that has been to this mama who does not do well when extremely sleep deprived. I will never forget how he discovered twizzlers shortly after turning 1 and how they are one of his favorites or how when he was 2 I found him climbing up on top of a huge cabinet - right on up the side and how as I walked into the room he said "Look mama - I spiderman." I will never forget how tender and sweet he was and is with his little brother or how he taught himself to ride a 2 wheel bike at the age of 3 and a half. I will not forget his strong, healthy hugs and how he has loved to snuggle up with a book on my lap since the time he was barely walking. I will never forget how difficult it is to keep clothes on him all day long - why the boy loves to be naked or half naked, I will never understand. I will not forget how he streaked through the hallway completely naked and threw himself down in a crucifixion pose and ordered his sister to "crucify him quick before mom comes and stops it". . . or how he loves to "get the bad guys" and sometimes likes to "be the bad guy". I will never forget the intensity of which he does life or the gentleness with which he uses with little ones. I will never forget how he would streak around without clothes on and when I asked him to put clothes on he insisted that he had put clothes on - the kind of clothes an ancient man would wear since he was pretending to be an ancient man on that day. I hope he never loses his love for people and his bright shiny smile. He can make someone feel loved and cared for faster than anyone else in the world I'm pretty sure. I love how he loves to wrestle with his dad on the floor at night and then crawls up into my lap to tell me how much he loves me. It's the day after his birthday and he celebrated in true Hudson form - wiped himself out completely! He fell asleep tonight at 6:15 after celebrating his birthday like an Olympic hero! Explanations of the pictures will follow.
He LOVES diving and looking for the rings under the water. It has become one of his favorite things to do this summer so it was fitting to make it a part of his birthday party "olympic game theme". He had SO much fun!
This was his birthday cupcake tray and an attempted group photo with his guests still swimming right behind him. We've had a sugar free summer - which in my book was AWESOME but in his book - not so much. So, when he saw the cupcakes he could not WAIT to have one, or two or three!!! (sugar free summer has backfired on me I guess) but the funny part of this picture is that he is looking a the cupcakes, not at me and his little brother is also somewhat obsessed with the cupcakes by this point in the party and is trying to swipe one right in the middle of our photo shoot! ha!
This was the "wacky jump/dive" competition. Yep - he is ALL boy!
A close up of what he was drooling over all afternoon.
and then a close up of the drool! :)
Even Levi got into the rings and "diving". Fun had by all.
And the favorite present was. . . . (drum roll please) An iron man action figure, a gold medal and picture of an Olympic athlete (he slept with both of these gifts), and a new big boy silver scooter! My little guy is 5!!! How did that time go by so quickly?!

Let the music play on. .

Five Minute Friday The music plays softly and he holds his hand out gracefully for me to take. He doesn’t use words to ask me this time, I know simply by his gesture what he is saying. The exhaustion of the day has consumed me though and the last thing I feel like doing is dancing but he takes my hand in his anyway and pulls me in. We dance silently at first and then heads tilt back laughing at the sky and the funny things that happened under it in our lives today; the funny, naked antics of our 4 year old son, the sweet tenderness of our 7 year old and the 2 year olds funny declarations at dinner tonight. The music plays and we dance. My mind drifts back to 12 years ago when he held out his hand just like he did now and asked me to look at the stars with him that night . His eyes had a special sparkle that hinted at what was to come, later that night he was down on one knee with that shiny diamond telling me how he loved me with a forever kind of love and he asked me to journey through this life with him right into forever. Looking up at him tonight, I remember how I felt 12 years ago and realize how our love has matured through the trials and triumphs of life but like the diamond, it has not dulled in it’s essence. Three beautiful children and one we never met later, thousands of miles journeyed across the oceans together and apart, through joys and losses, hello’s and goodbye’s and memories that fill and some that break my heart. It seems hard to recall a part of my life without him. Graceful, I am not. I recall too many harsh words spoken and moments when I have been too quick to anger. But he has been full of grace and quick to forgive. . . so quick to forgive. His memory for my faults has been short but his memory for my strengths has not failed. If there is anything that he is and has been it is grace-full. He has been full of grace and forgiveness when it really counts. As the music comes to a stop, we keep dancing and I am thankful for more than just the invitation to dance tonight, I’m thankful for the invitation to dance with him right into forever. There is no one I’d rather be side by side with in this lifetime or the next. Let the music play on. . . and we will dance.

A different view of our homeschool room

Just wanted to add a few more pictures of our homeschool room for the grandparents who are dying to catch a peak. There will be more of the kiddos in the full swing of school time soon including pics from their Chinese school. Today was their first day of Chinese school for all 3 of them (yes - my little guy is going to get some language time too).

Our Homeschool Year Has Officially Begun

Today was the Hunt's Homeschool Open House day. The kids started their Open House/ get familiar with the classroom, materials, teachers, rules, behavioral management system day with their morning phy. ed class led by their awesome dad! They got to explore the homeschool room, their materials, practice rotating through their centers, color a special paper, participate in a little rhythm/music class and start our Five in a Row book of the week. We finished the day with some read out loud time with an amazing book that is like a modern day "Little House on the Prairie" book. It's written by a New Zealand author and titled "Where the Lions Roar at Night". The kids LOVE this book. Even the 2 year old was begging me for "just one more chapter".
Abby using one of our math center kits - geometric shapes on felt during our "center time"
This is a picture of our new behavioral management system - found on pinterest of course. The kids work their way up the ladder and we have a special prize box they are especially looking forward to earning prizes from! The best part about this system is that I can keep it positive. We move up for the positive a LOT and I am hoping that we don't spend a lot of time on the bottom 2 rungs!!!
Hudson really enjoyed exploring our "center kits" during center time and especially loved the fine motor skill center activity of sewing his dinosaurs!! He was SO proud that he learned to sew today! Well, tomorrow is our "first day of school". I'll take pictures and try to keep the blog updated in the days to come. First day of school photos are taking place tomorrow and "A day in the life" photos will happen next week once our routine is a bit more in place. And a few more pictures of our school room will come later too! Happy New School year to you and yours!

Salt on our tongues. . .

Five Minute Friday Someone once said, "God puts salt on our tongues that we may thirst for Him. Sometimes it is tears which carry the salt." A single tear finds it’s way down my cheek, I taste the salt and I quickly wipe it away. The lump in my throat is the dam that is stopping up the rushing water and one tiny drop has sprung a leak. But it is dark out and we are walking and I don’t think she notices. A few minutes ago I heard my very own voice ask the dreaded question, “So how are you really doing? Do you feel ready to go?” I listened quietly as we walked the perimeters of our complex and as she talked about the “game of life”, the wine burgundy car that can seat 7, the official closing on their new house and good friends she’ll be reunited with when they finally make their way to Orlando. But it’s here as we walk and talk that the reality of the changes that are to come to our little community and to our friendship are really settling in. This one single tear is just one of many shed as I’ve processed and grieved the loss of their move. Through the last 12 years we’ve shared a lot of things (laughter, tears, celebrations and loss- a lot of memories) although I knew this change was coming, knowing about it has not made it any easier on my heart.
I have been blessed with AMAZING friends . . . she’s not the only friend who is amazing, but over a decade of history between us has matured our friendship and the depth of which we can share reflects the longevity of our friendship too. She's the kind of friend who cares about the heart and can handle hearing unprocessed, unrefined emotions and judges not. She hears what is said and not said both and asks about it and she prays, really prays for the people in her life. Tonight, she slaps a mosquito off of her forearm and we talk a little bit more about babies, and raising kids and ministry in and out of the home and before we know it the mosquitoes are driving us home for the night. She hugs me and we part ways and I say, “The time has gone too fast.” And she thinks I mean the walk tonight, but actually what I meant was the last 12 years. Looking back, the years flew by. We walk our separate ways, her to her family and me to mine and somewhere in between I begin to sniffle and . . . the dam begins to leak.