Thursday, April 19, 2018

Going's On

April is a bit of a crazy month around here.  We are currently in the midst of our literacy days, which are fun, hectic, joyous, and sanity-breaking, all at the same time.  And it doesn't help that I'm sick for this one.  Which pretty much sums up my week.

Of course, there's always a story to be told in the Ocker household, so here is one for this week...

On Tuesday, I took the littles into town for Elly's orthodontist appointment.  We had other errands and ended up being gone most of the day.  At a stop for gas, all of the boys needed to go to the bathroom so I let them go in while I waited outside the door.

A little back story: Titus has recently decided to play that everyone is a bad guy.  Literally everyone.  In a joking manner, of course.  And because it's our family, I have just ignored him when he says it, just thinking, "Oh, he's playing.  No big deal.  Right?"  Ha!

As the boys were in the bathroom, a police officer walked in.  He came out before they were done.  When Wallace came out with Titus, he immediately said, "Momma, Titus was not nice in the bathroom."  Honestly, this did not surprise me.  I mean, Titus is 3 and really needs an adult voice to listen to.  But I waved him off and told him we'd talk about it in the van.

And we did.  And I felt humiliated... Apparently, as the officer was washing his hands, Titus declared to Wallace that he (the officer) was a bad guy.  Loudly.  Wallace tried to shush him but he just said it again, thinking how funny he was.

This made me feel like a complete failure as a parent.  I should never have been letting that go and brushing it off.  But I did.  And now some poor guy out there, putting his life on the line for others, was made to feel like there's another family out there teaching their children that his profession is all "bad."

If he had still been at the gas station, I would have taken Titus to him to apologize.  But he was gone. So even though I don't feel like I got to make it "right," I definitely got reminded of a lesson that I have long shared with others: if it won't be cute when they're 15, it's not cute when they're 3.

Yeah, he's going to stop playing that everyone is a bad guy.  Immediately.  😳

Thursday, April 12, 2018

William's Birthday

I was prepared for William's birthday this year.

Or so I thought.

I've been preparing for it for the last couple of weeks.  Bracing myself.  I felt ready...ready to celebrate it for the first time since he left, instead of just remembering it.  But I didn't, really.

On Saturday we held a benefit trail ride in his memory.  It went well, considering the crazy weather!  My favorite part was giving away a birthday gift to a person who shared his birthday, or the closest to.  That was fun.

We had ice cream and cooked out burgers.  We fellowshipped and gave things away.  We rode horses.  😍

I didn't sleep the night before so, of course, I crashed Saturday night.

I awoke Sunday morning, groggy and sluggish.  We had ice cream for breakfast.  We got to church early.  I was so spent that we chose not to stay for the fellowship meal.  I distanced myself from any real conversation.

And it's been that way all week.

Groggy.  Sluggish.  Difficult to pull myself out of bed.  Distant.

I don't know why I do that.  I just can't seem to plug in.

But I will.

Each time these waves crash down on me and knock me over, I get back up again.  And this time won't be as long as the last time.

People say, "Don't let grief define you."  But it does.  It should.  It is the chisel which God uses to sculpt me into what He is making me to be.  Absolutely it should change me.  It will define me.

What we have to be careful of is not taking the chisel into our own hands and letting grief change us into what He does not mean for us to be.

But when we allow Him to do His work, somehow it all works.  Not that we are perfect and smooth, but we can become strong and graceful.

I find myself stronger in faith than even before William's death.  It seems odd that all the questions, all the doubts, all the anger, would actually bring me closer to my Lord.  But He works in mysterious ways, calling me out into the great unknown, yet making me more certain.

So...

I will call upon His name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise, my soul will rest in His embrace
For I am His and He is mine.*

Happy birthday, my son.  Thank you, Lord, for the wonderful gift you gave us and the way his life has changed us.



*this verse adapted from "Oceans, WhereFeet May Fail"

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown, where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep, my faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise, my soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed
And You won't start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise, my soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters, wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wanter
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

I will call upon Your name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My should will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine


Thursday, April 5, 2018

Happy Birthday, Sherrod!

The youngest of my "oldest set" just turned 17.  Wow.  It seems she has always just been lumped in with the older girls because she has always been so mature.  And tall.  At least compared to Ockers! 😂😂😂

We celebrated her birthday on her actual birthday, which was also a class day, so of course we were all exhausted!  😁 But we're also kind of used to it, so we just roll with it!

I have no idea what was going on in this picture but it cracks me up.  Sherrod's face...

Sibling time is always fun.  Presents, too!

Maya has gotten so big!  She has passed all of her testing and is now a CERTIFIED service dog!  Woo-hoo!  She's so smart and wonderful!

Sherrod picked molten caramel lava cakes for her birthday (and homemade ice cream).  I must admit, I broke my sugar fast for THAT!

The customary birthday prayer...

I am so grateful for another year with this precious girl.  I am blessed by her tenacity, perseverance, dedication, love for the Lord, and sweet spirit.  There truly is no greater joy than to know that my children walk in truth...

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Teach Them Diligently

We had such a good time at the Teach Them Diligently Conference last week!  Michael and I were both very impressed and I felt it was the best homeschool conference I've been to.


The children had a fantastic time reuniting with some sweet friends and meeting some favorite authors.


And just some fun times:



One of the best pictures I have seen of the Christian marriage is the sculpture made by a young homeschooler in the Dunagan family for Heidi St. John.  It depicts a father, dressed in spiritual armor, wielding his sword and shielding his family from the fiery darts of the enemy.  Instead of sitting idly by, the mother stands just safely behind him, shooting the arrows from her quiver.
Have you seen a better depiction of Psalm 127:3-5?  This will stay with me.

Abby and Sherrod stayed behind.  Ugh.  It is hard to let them grow up!  But they had already made some commitments when we decided to go, so...

We are grateful to the friends who stayed busy with them, took care of them, and had them over while we were gone!  They did some trail riding and Abby learned that Finn loves sorting cows!


Sherrod and Harvey:

Many of Abby's pictures are taken from this position:


Fun on the trails...

It's good to be home and back together again!  Lots going on...today is Sherrod's birthday.  Wow!  More later...

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Girl Time

It's been a bit of an odd week around here... Michael traveling, a sweet baby shower (with TWO babies 😍), a precious, Christ-centered wedding, and an evening out with just the girls.  While the boys had a ton of fun at home with dear friends, I took the girls to see the Cinderella ballet.  We had a blast!

We spent some time downtown before the ballet and had a little silliness together.









 This is pretty typical in our house...Sarah and Sydnee with funny attitude while Abby and Sherrod are like, "You girls are crazy." 😂😂😂
 I have no idea what was going on here, but Abby looks like the cat that ate the canary while Sarah and Sydnee are giving looks.  Sherrod just goes with the flow...
 Whatever it was, was funny!

Waiting for the ballet...










Adelina was such a hoot at the ballet!  Part way into the first act she asked me when we would see the ballet.  "We are seeing the ballet," I told her.  "It's the type of dance."
"Oh," she replied.  "Well, why can't we go up there and dance?  I got dressed up..."

After the intermission came the ball scene.  She kept asking which one was the prince (from the male dancers) and which one was Cinderella (from the female dancers).  When they arrived, I told her who was who.  After the 2nd intermission came the wedding scene.  She asked what was happening and I explained.  She furrowed her brow and wrinkled her nose.  "But they just met!"  Before I could answer, she asked, very doubtfully, "Are they getting married in real life?"  I assured her that it was just pretend, which satisfied her somewhat.

We decided on the Cheesecake Factory for dinner.  I may have had the best salmon ever... And I even splurged for the caramel cheesecake!




It was a sweet and joyful evening out with my girls.  Lots of laughter and giggles.  I think I may enjoy the times all the more for the realization of how short my time with them is.  I look at these last few pictures at dinner and I remember when my adult girls were Adelina's size, looking to me for every single thing.  Now they are women and they are living their own purpose that God has laid out for them.  And even though it may not be exactly what I would have mapped out, it is precious and beautiful.  I am so proud of each of them.  And looking forward to more nights like this one! 😍