Monday, July 20, 2015

A Room To Grow

As I read this article, I realized that it will be a while before I deal with another child going off to college. I am happy about this yet I think back on the past years with no regrets.

Some things we did not know
With your first child, it's so much harder than you think but it gets easier over time, but it's never easy. I shed buckets of tears after realizing what we had just done when we came home after dropping off the first child. I was shocked as the tears just came and came. Those tears were pleas that he would be all right, comfort in knowing that you've done the best you can and just plain old release. It may be one of the few times that I've cried so much and so long.

Many things we learned along the way

  • The boy was not as finicky as the girls when it came to dorm rooms.
  • Everyone needed a trunk, combination locks, bed risers and shower caddies.
  • A lot of the items on those dorm room shopping lists are extraneous, (trust me you don't need a sleeping mask).
  • Roommates matter, but sometimes you can't control who you will get. You learn to deal with what you have until next semester.
  • Being an RA is a great way to learn leadership and possibly save on tuition. Worse case, befriend the RA.
  • Care packages are nice but not vital; do what works for you and your family. Is there more care shown than having money in your bank account? But sometimes I sent books or other knick knacks that were well received.
  • The freshman 15 can be real because of 1st yr meal plans and the freedom of being on your own; but after that, those 15 lbs may go in a different direction since the student may be on the starvation plan.
  • Having good friends in your college town can make holidays like Thanksgiving easier. It's not always cost effective to go home for Thanksgiving if you are attending college out of state.
  • Living off campus is totally different than living on campus; you will need furniture which is another expense or you will pay more for a furnished apartment.
  • Everyone needs a laptop; a Mac is worth it for the long haul but not a necessity. On the other hand, having your own personal printer is not a necessity. 
  • You don't need a full set of dishes; you can get cutlery from the cafeteria or just make sure you have a plate, a cup, a knife fork and spoon; and this can all be plastic.
  • You have to figure out your storage options at the end of each school year. This can take the form of a friends garage, a friend's place or paying for storage. I still have stuff in my garage from college students who have stored stuff with me.
  • Everyone is trying to get you to spend money; absolutely nothing is free.

We've argued, laughed and cried every year figuring out the logistics of moving children in to dorms and we have survived. We have more than survived - we have come out on the other side and are able to see our grown children growing in to the purpose God has in store for them. It was exhaustingly exhilirating. If we can do it, you most surely can.

For that is what God is like. He is our God forever and ever, and he will guide us until we die. Psalm 48:14 [NLT]

Ultimately a dorm room is a space for your children to grow. What was it like moving your children in to dorms? Did the reality live up to your expectations?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A Hot Cup of Tea

I like tea; dare I say, tea is my favorite beverage. I like all varieties of tea - from exotic to cheap. What I really love about imbibing a cup of tea is the length of time it takes to drink a cup; the heat as it flows from my mouth; the distinctive flavor; and knowing that it's good for me. Tea becomes more enjoyable when I share with a group of friends or when its complimented with the perfect snack.

The enjoyment of my tea diminishes when I attempt to use the same teabag or filter repeatedly. The first cup is great, the second one is mediocre and by the third time it's just hot water - no good.

While running the other day, I realized that my spiritual life can become like that third cup of tea - trying to reap the benefits of a fresh cup of tea by using a stale teabag. We do that - we figure if we go to church on Sunday and heard a good word - that should last us for a while. Or we figure that we're so steeped in our relationship that missing one or two days of quiet time won't matter. But it matters, as you know something is missing. Without the teabag there is no tea.

That teabag is like the Word; we are the hot water. We need to steep ourselves in the Word frequently, often, daily, hourly.  We have to sit and meditate before we can taste the benefits. Sometimes we need to be re-heated. So don't cheat yourself out of the enjoyment of a good cup of tea. In the same way, with spiritual matters take time every day, dare I say often, to spend time in the Word and learn and grow from it - don't simply rely on knowledge as it will grow stale after a while.

Joyful are those who listen to me, watching for me daily at my gates, waiting for me outside my home! Proverbs 8:34 [NLT]

Give us today the food we need,...Matthew 6:11 [NLT]

And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth. Acts 17:11 [NLT]

As someone once said, "Life is like a good cup of tea; it all depends on how you make it."

Are you cheating yourself out of a good cup of tea?