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When I published my post Monday, I felt some anxiety – I didn’t want to disappoint anyone. You poured your kindness on me through your comments and my heart was encouraged. I honestly have the best readers – thank you.

One of the keys to successfully parenting children from “hard places” seems to be flexibility. If we cling to what we’ve known and refuse to consider new ways of doing things, we’ll miss out on insight, healing, and joy.

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A week ago today, I stood at the bottom of the driveway and watched my children get on the yellow bus. I didn’t write about it right away because I needed time to sit with the decision. I have lots to share, but the end of this story is that I’m taking a sabbatical from homeschooling.

I'm thankful for these amazing kids!

I’m thankful for these amazing kids!

It’s been ages and ages since I’ve written a Sunday Gratitude post – not for lack of many things to be thankful for, but taking time off from blogging, first intentionally and then not-so-intentionally. I just looked back and the last time I posted a Sunday Gratitude list was July 13th – that’s just crazy.

I’m ready to get back in the groove with this simple, life-giving exercise.

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Beza’s birthday celebration today – 15!

the start of her freshman year of high school tomorrow

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My sister asked recently, “So, I read on your blog that Dimples is doing great. How is it really going?” I’ll be honest, when things are very bad, I only share a fraction on my blog. With just a bit of hyperbole, I tell my close friends and family, “Whatever I write – assume it’s ten times worse.”

In this case, I can only say, things are going just as well as I’ve written. I wake up every day amazed at our girl. Yes, her bedroom is messy, her chores are sloppy, and life isn’t perfect, but she continues to walk through each day with grace.

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We arrived home at midnight, and in our caffeine-fueled state, Russ and I stayed up until 1:00 am unloading the van. This morning came a little too early for me, but I was eager to sit down and write some deep reflections on the things I learned while we were away. Before I began, I did my Bible study and began wading through emails and messages.

Nothing prepared me for the seemingly routine voicemail from the school district announcing that the start of the school year is likely to be delayed one to two weeks due to unfinished construction projects at various schools.

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It’s Monday morning and I’m in the gray place of transition – from Whidbey Island to home, vacation to reality, and summer to school. My mind is full of lists: chore charts, lesson plans, schedules, goals for each child, dinner menus, house plans, and any number of other things.

Are you with me? Are you transitioning out of summer and back into school? I feel some panic rising, and I’m doing my best to hold on to peace. We have three more days here and it would be easy to completely waste them. I need to stay in the moment and enjoy the relaxed pace we’re living.

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Hi friends! I’m still on a break from regular blogging, but have to say I miss writing and I miss all of you. Since it’s early in the morning and everyone is sleeping, I’m making a quick visit to my blog.

Last week we had all of our big kids here together and it was very special; I don’t take these times for granted. We went for an amazing hike at Ebey’s Landing, with the trail running along the edge of a bluff high above the beach.

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We made it to Whidbey Island late Thursday night  and waited until Friday morning to unload the van. It was packed with bikes, food, sports equipment, camping gear, bags of books, K’nex, and everything we need for the next few weeks. Yesterday we made our (hopefully) only trip off the island to do a very big Costco run, and now I feel ready to relax.

Isaiah is picking Hannah up at the airport this morning; they’ll have plenty of time to catch up as they wait in the long ferry line. Sunshine is joining us fresh from horse camp. Samuel arrives tonight and the other big kids will arrive a few days later.

You won’t hear from me this week, and then only a little bit for the rest of our time here.

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This morning we are loading up the car and heading to Whidbey Island – my favorite place on earth. I have a lifetime of memories there from walking the beach as a little girl, to watching my own children grow up there. It’s amazing to me that one place has seen so much of my family’s life.

Here is the song Isaiah sang for Noah and Katie at their wedding reception; I know I’m his mom, but it really is beautiful. I shared it on my One Thankful Mom Facebook page, but I know that not all of you follow me there. If you like the song, please share it – and be sure to “Like” my FB page too!

Have a wonderful day, friends.

Lisa

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iced coffee 

my book group

new books chosen for the year (I’ll share this week)

Isaiah home for a surprise visit