1. J and I took a little 20 minute walk around a local wetland area while waiting for Andy to finish meeting with a client a couple of afternoons ago. It just off the frontage road, new a highway overpass, but still it is beautiful – although you can hear the cars and trucks zooming by. J went there on a field trip with his 5th grade class, so he gave me lots of information – snails and freshwater shrimp in the water, snakes in the grasses (ewww!), that kind of stuff.
We saw some birds I am unfamiliar with. They are pictured below. The males are bright yellow, on their heads, but the birds are not shaped or sized like finches. The females have less color on their head and necks, and are a bit smaller. I got a photo of each, although the one of the female is of a lower quality than the male – she does have a bug in her mouth but I’m not sure you can see it very well in this particular photo – hurrying before she flies away are not my best photography strength.
All in all, a fun little quick outing together into God’s beautiful creation.
2. First week of no school went better than I expected in many ways. J was pretty responsible at home, and had some social opportunities as well – including going watching the Transit of Venus and camping with some friends from Bible Study this afternoon. He also had one opportunity to work for someone else (for pay), which is something he really wants to integrate into his summer.
Only area I’m concerned about is he needs to earn his overnight camps this summer by doing chores off a list I’ve made that gives him points. These are pretty big, unusual project type chores like moving a pile of dirt into a raised be, cleaning out part of the outbuilding that has been ignored for years, that kind of stuff. A certain number of points are needed for each camp. He’s procrastinating (not unusual for him) about getting going on those, and I will be sad if the ultimate consequence is he doesn’t get to go to camp, but I’m going to stick to my guns. (By the way, when I say “I” here please know that these are things that Andy and I have talked about and we are on the same page here). It may be that the best way for him to learn is to fail. Painful to watch as a parent, but it isn’t about my comfort level, it is about him developing the character needed to be a godly and productive adult when he grows up.
3. I am pleased that over the past week I’ve been able to do some scrapbooking for the first time in many months. I don’t want to make it sound like a spiritual experience or anything, but it does me good in my soul to tinker with ink and paper and the like. I think God just made me to have this interest and pursuing it is part of pursuing who He made me to be. Not that I want to put this interest above responsibilities or make a idol out of it, but to appreciate that He gave me this gift when he knit me together is important I think.
I’m generally pleased with my results (one of which is above) – I had expected to be rustier in my skills and creative ideas than I actually am. I’m certainly out of touch with what is “stylish” or current in the scrapbooking world, but that doesn’t bother me much. I won’t be running out to buy new papers or embellishments since I have no place to store them, plenty of old supplies, and no budget for such things at this time. I’m just grateful that I have enough to do the craft without needing to purchase for awhile.
Funny thing is, here I’ve crafted for the first time in a very long time, and yesterday I ran into a wonderful woman (Vickie) who used to take classes that I taught at the scrapbooking store before it went out of business. And she naturally asked me if I’d been doing any crafting. It was great to be able to say “yes” although she was shocked when I told her it was a renewed activity. I think she said something like “I didn’t think you would ever have a dry spell.” He he he! That made me feel good and confident in my creative skills.
4. I need to increase my running frequency. I’ve only run a couple of times in the past two weeks. Not good! I’ve got to get out there and keep up my schedule. I really need to pick another race and do a full on training schedule for it so I have some structure to the expectations.
Meanwhile, Andy is signed up to be part of a team to do a triathlon half-Ironman in late July. He’s doing the running leg, our friend Daniel is doing the biking leg, and a young woman they only know through the internet is doing the swim. It is funny because these two over-forty guys got paired up with an early 20’s girl whose name is Keaton – she’s a college student at MSU who used to swim competitively in high school and wants to get back into swimming for time. Daniel thought Keaton was a boy’s name and was shocked when he called her and she was not a he. And she is so young. They really feel like they’ve got to pick up their pace to do justice by such a young athlete. Makes me laugh! Daniel went on and on with her about how he and Andy were married with kids and real family men to make sure she wouldn’t get any ideas. It should be pretty interesting when they actually meet her in person.
And J has been running at least a mile a day this summer. Hoping to increase his distance in the next couple of weeks.
5. I am really appreciating the chance to work with Andy. Don’t mean to brag, but it is such a good thing for us and our relationship – at least I think so. Sure, we butt heads from time to time on different approaches to things, but really we get along very well, and the work gets done so much better than when we didn’t address it together. We have different styles in some things, but for the most part we can deal with that. It is just nice that we are a team so very much of the time. I know not all couples can work together, but I am so glad we have the opportunity to because it makes being married even better.