Aiming Arrows

Musings of a Mommy

First Day of School 2012

Another day to celebrate a beginning.  This time it’s the first day of first grade!

My confident first grader with a wee bit of nervousness sprinkled on top I think.

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What’s he doing here?  Good question.  It had something to do with his way of making himself smile well for the picture.

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Wow.  These two can pester each other, but oh, their love.

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You may remember Graceanna’s reaction last year when we pulled away from the school leaving Gunnar to start kindergarten.

This year was a bit different.

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I’m glad we didn’t have this:

Instead, we had this:

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There was no jumping for joy.

There were questions about when we could go get Gunnar and if he would play with her.

So, it wasn’t like a party but it certainly wasn’t some horror film either.

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Good Grief!

Good Grief!

We’ve all heard this expression, and maybe even said it out of frustration, but have you ever thought about it?  Can grief really be good?  I’m not talking about the kind of everyday irritations but instead the soul wrenching emotions that we feel when we encounter loss in our lives; loss when we wave adios to dreams and hopes or when our health deteriorates and especially when we say goodbye to our beloved friends and family.

What are we to do with the crazy – wrapped around and won’t let go – kind of emotions that we experience?  What are we to do in the midst of grief?

I met Erica McNeal several years ago when we worked at our church together.  Our lives have continued to cross and circle especially through our stories of adoption.  I’ve loved watching their family grow but it’s not been an easy journey.  Erica has also battled cancer numerous times and said goodbye to their daughter shortly after birth.

In Good Grief!, Erica tells her personal stories of grief and writes a bit about the nature of God in light of suffering.  My favorite chapter of the book is called Breaking It Down.  In this chapter she writes about a practical exercise she uses to wrap the multitude of emotions around the scriptures.

“I have found throughout the years that breaking down my stress biblically allows me to stay focused and grounded in God’s Word. Doing this also gives me the gift of talking my worry and anxiety down, by focusing on the positive aspects of what is happening in the midst of my difficult circumstances. It allows me to stop focusing on everything that is scary and negative, while replacing my fear with peace.” – Erica McNeal, Good Grief! 

Erica’s book is also a great resource for the family and friends of the one suffering under the weight of grief.  Have you ever had the feeling that while you were trying to offer comforting words they were actually hurtful?  I know I have.  In Good Grief!,  Erica explains why some words, clichés, and platitudes are hurtful.  She also helps the reader learn healing words and phrases.  And, finally, instead of saying “call if you need anything,” she arms the reader with ideas for practical ideas for serving our loved ones.

So, is grief good?  Well, not grieving when your life circumstances demand such a response is definitely not good!  You can help make the grieving process a positive, albeit very difficult, experience for your loved one by creating an oasis in the midst of their turmoil.  So, grab a copy of Good Grief! How to Create an Oasis When Life is a Desert and visit Erica at www.ericamcneal.com.

Keep reading for the multitude of giveaways Erica is offering this week only!!!   June 11th – 16th.

Purchase an eBook, soft cover, or hard cover copy of Good Grief! and just send your receipt to goodgriefgifts@gmail.com. Each person who sends their receipt will:

1. Have up to 5 opportunities to win one of the following daily thank you gifts:

a. $45 Carrabbas Gift Card

b. $45 Outback Gift Card

c. $50 Amazon Gift Card

d. $50 Best Buy Gift Card

e. Signed Hard Cover copy of Good Grief! and a Signed copy of The Hour that Matters Most from Les and Leslie Parrott

2. Receive a free downloadable podcast of my talk, You Are Not Alone.

3. Receive a free downloadable recording of the Intro of Good Grief!

4.  A free PDF version of my book Monday through Friday of next week for anyone who purchases a copy of Good Grief!

Purchase 10 or more copies of Good Grief! and email your receipt to goodgriefgifts@gmail.com to receive a six week Good Grief! Small Group Discussion Guide! As soon as I can verify your receipt, I will send you the pdf.

Her New Bike

A purple retro bike with white wall tires has joined the ranks!  This time it’s a big girl bike for Graceanna.


Grandma and Poppa surprised her with this last Christmas gift hours after we tossed the bows and wrappings from earlier in the day.  She was thrilled!


Tonight she practiced a little more on her bike.  It’s challenging to break the habits learned on a tricycle!


I always have to fight back giggles when we try to get her helmet over her various hair-dos.

Sweet Boys

I watched as two small boys held hands remaining tethered as they bounced along, backpacks jumping high and low.  Part of my heart being carried away with them.

One boy, mine.  The other, our dear carpool friend.

Innocence and expectation and hope radiated from them as I watched them go.

I squashed my desire to freeze the moment with my camera as I know some snapshots are for my heart alone.

Through slightly misty eyes I clicked my seatbelt and began to pull away.

Then, I saw them stop.  Still holding hands but not moving or talking.  They were mesmerized and captured by the sight.

Three much older boys were preparing the flag and flagpole.  Awe and admiration now radiated from the faces of the two small ones.  Likely, they were dreaming of the day they were responsible for the flag.

When the day comes that they are sending the flag up the flagpole, who will be the subject of the affection?  Only one will be worthy of these precious hearts.

New Necklace

Brrrr!  It’s cold outside today, but the light coming in was beautiful.  Since my girl was in a great mood to show off her new necklace I quickly grabbed my camera.

It worked out nicely that her outfit just happened to match her necklace.

Happy New Year

What a beautiful day to start the new year!

Last night we celebrated at home with just the four of us.  Graceanna was asking to go to bed about 8:00 but Gunnar made it to the end of The Incredibles about 9:00.

Today we were up early ready for church and one last day of fun before Gunnar goes to school tomorrow.

I just love this dress on Graceanna.  She seemed to love it too!  She was bouncing around like a rubber ball!

Photo courtesy of Steve’s iphone.  I’m not sure what’s going on with this goofy smile-ish face.

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Love it when my babies love on each other.

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Happy New Year 2012!!!!

First Day of Kindergarten

Gunnar’s First Day of Kindergarten

The day we have been anticipating finally arrived!

Surprisingly, our boy was not up and dressed at the crack of dawn.  We actually had to wake him up and coax him into action.

My sweethearts.

We arrived at school and Gunnar headed straight to his classroom.

He has 2 teachers this year plus an aide who has a fabulous reputation like the teachers.  Parents can’t tell us enough good things about this group of teachers.

The first thing the class did was sing a welcome song.

Then, each child was introduced, and given a name tag.  After we saw Gunnar get his name tag we headed out.

Graceanna felt like this.

I’m pretty sure she won the award for “most tears and loudest crying” on this first day of school.   She cried, “I want Gunnar” all the way out to the car and the whole way home.

I felt more like this.

Happily, in no time, it was time for us to go get Gunnar!  The back seat fighting commenced as usual which was a bit of a comfort to me seeing that some things stay the same.  I reminded Graceanna how much she missed Brother and also told him about her many tears.  This produced immediate reconciliation and hand holding….  A different kind of comfort for me.

Gunnar’s report of the day:

1 – We went to the outside playground!

2 – I played with a new friend.  I don’t know his name, but he sits at the red table (green was also reported).  He wears a watch!

3 – I sit at the orange table.  There’s only 1 other boy at my table.  He was not nice to me.  I told him to “stop.”

I found out several other things when I questioned him:

1 – They learned classroom rules.  The only one he could remember initially was “always obey the teacher.”  He remembered another one later, “never talk when someone else is talking.”

  2 –  I really wanted to know if  the snack we packed was similar to the other kid’s snacks.  It was.

3 – I also wanted to know if his water bottle was ok.  It was not.  He said he didn’t use it because he thought it was the wrong kind when the teacher described what they should have.

Ugh!  Thinking about my baby not having any water with his snack, left me feeling like this.

Gunnar said, “It’s ok Mommy.  I took a drink when I got my snack and when I put it away.  I just left my bottle in my backpack because I didn’t think I was supposed to have it.”

That’s my boy.

Adaptable.

Not bothered by the little things.

Ready for an adventure.

Comfortable and confident.

He had a fantastic day and is so proud to be in kindergarten.  I’m sure I will have a great day tomorrow, but the emotion of today has just about worn me out.  Let’s hope Sister has a better outlook tomorrow too.

Oh.  And, it’s a guarantee that my boy will have the right kind of water bottle tomorrow.

 

The Pool!

Bethany Fashion Show & A Give Away

I love Bethany Christian Services!  Our two children came to us through Bethany so of course I’m crazy about Bethany, but I also love their outstanding dedication and ministry to birth moms.  There will always be women who need the option of adoption for their unplanned pregnancy, and there will always be couples who can’t have children biologically.  Bethany is the hands and feet for the God designed provision of adoption.  Bethany is meeting a need and making a difference in the lives of people in Arkansas, so I’m so excited to tell you about an opportunity to support this non profit that is so dear to me!  One function of the Bethany Board is fund raising.  To that end the board members are hosting a Brunch and Fashion show in Little Rock which is where the Arkansas Bethany headquarters are located.

Who are the models you ask?  I’ll give you two hints.  #1  They are five years and two and a half years old.  #2 Their names begin with G.  (Of course, there will be other models too, and I’m sure they are just as cute as these two!)

The event is just over a week away!  Please call right away for your tickets!

(Keep reading for information on the give away – a  free photo session.)

Now for news of the free photo session:

For the first TWO people to call Bethany and buy tickets to the Brunch & Fashion Show, I’m offering a completely free photo session!  So many of you have supported us in our adoptions.  As I was thinking of how I could thank you my photography hobby came to mind.  Even though I’m just an amateur photographer I want you to know this gift comes from my heart and I think we can come up with some images you will enjoy!

Tickets are available online but in order to be counted for the free photo session you must call Bethany and you must tell them you heard about it on my blog.  They will then give me your contact information so I can get in touch to set up your session.

Some specifics on the photography session:

  • I will give you at least 20 images on a CD for you to print, use in your scrapbooks, post online or whatever you desire.
  • So that it doesn’t get to hot for us, sessions need to be scheduled and completed before June 11, 2011.
  • I prefer to shoot outside but can do inside especially if you want a newborn session.
  • Please remember I’m an amateur, but I love photography and I’m so happy to give you a keepsake for your own precious family!

First Soccer Game

Our First Soccer Game

Ever

The sun was shining and the breeze was warm.

Gunnar even kicked the ball.

He kept his eye on the action.

He earned the red star for his defense.

He’s handsome in his uniform.

He did not act goofy on the field.

The thing I loved the most was that he never stopped smiling.

Our sweet boy had a big smile on his face from the moment he put on his uniform, running down the field, eating oranges at half time, and congratulating the other team.  Speaking of congratulations, I think both teams scored about 2 goals.  What a perfect beginning for our family’s involvement in sporting events.