Category Archives: Parenting

When Family Meets Family

[Guest Blogger - College Sophomore, Rachel]

I had been talking about my family for weeks. They were coming to Jackson for Josh’s wedding which was going to be held a few minutes away from Union. I had to appropriately prep my friends for their arrival, so I passed around pictures, recited names and ages, and frantically waved my hands in excitement at any mention of parents or siblings. My friends soon learned my siblings’ names and their stories; they even knew the names of our two cats. (Who would not be present at the wedding, but were important nonetheless.)

In turn I couldn’t wait to introduce my family to all my friends attending the wedding and to show them Union, my home away from home.

Our first photo as friends!

Our first photo as friends!

In the weeks leading up to winter break, my roommate Karis and I discussed our post final/pre wedding plans. Her parents had generously volunteered to let me stay with them until I was able to move into the hotel with my family. It was so hard to believe that my best friend in college had never met my family. We had already been through so much together; it felt like we had known each other for most of our lives.

Trips with this girl are my favorite

Trips with this girl are my favorite

I got off the phone the night of the 13th, the night before my mom, Michelle (her bff), and Mamie were to arrive. “Was that mom?” Karis asked, sticking her head out of her room curiously. I loved that she was already accepting my family as hers.

I already adored her family after spending Spring break with them last semester, so of course I was thrilled for her to finally meet mine.

The second Karis got off of work, she rushed over to where my three “parents” and I were waiting. The first moments were filled with “hellos” and hugs and wide grins. The five of us then waltzed off to dinner where Karis made a hilarious first impression. We all laughed so hard I think they considered asking us to leave. A successful first night indeed!

bffs

bffs

(A few days later of course I also dragged my three jet lagged siblings out of their beds to meet her, but that’s a story for another day.)

Family! (Only missing Michelle)

Family! (Only missing Michelle)

Union has become my home away from home, and those there have become my family. I am so very grateful.

College is hard, and having someone alongside you to grow with is vital. Karis, thank you for being my roommate, thank you for standing beside me, for growing with me, and for being someone I can tell everything to. Thank you for understanding how much I love to yell, thank you for encouraging me, and thank you for always laughing at my jokes. Thank you for being forgiving and kind, thank you for accepting me for who I am, but still pushing me to be better. Thank you for being my best friend.
P.S. (I still love you more than coffee.)

xoxo

Project 365 – Day 348 (Dec 14)
Rachel

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Special Day Reboot

When the children were little, I can’t remember exactly when, Tim began the exercise of setting apart weekly special time with just one child. We called them Special Days (we’re obviously very creative and brilliant in naming our family traditions). I looked around and found a blog post written in 2004 about our family’s practice of Special Days. Oh my goodness, time has flown!

How CUTE were these kids!

How CUTE were these kids! Not sure why they were all sitting on a couch in the garage. Maybe they were waiting to be picked for a Special Day.

There has been much ebb and flow in the Special Days over the years, and sadly, as the kids got older and life got busier, we weren’t faithful in making Special Days a priority. It’s ironic that, the more you NEED to stop and savor time with your (rapidly) growing teens/adults, the LESS you seem able to do so.

With the age difference between the older children (all three in college) and the younger two (in 8th and 9th grade) spanning four years, we have the opportunity try some new parenting things, return to old favorites, and really focus on this time with David and Sarah.

“I’ve decided to restart Special Days,” Tim told me just before he left to take Daniel to California.
“That’s a GREAT idea,” I said, feeling a bit left out, Special Days were always a Father/Child activity.
“But this time we’re BOTH going to do them – one child each week,” he winked at me. He’s so smart.

So this week Tim met with David. I’m not sure what all they did (maybe Tim will blog about it, hint hint). I know they hid upstairs with a notebook, pen and a book to read. And I know they went out for ice cream afterward, so I guess it was a successful first Special Day.

The week was rapidly coming to a close when Tim asked me if I had anything planned to do with Sarah.

“Uh. Um. No” I’m sure I looked a bit sheepish.
“Did you remember?”
Those are not fair questions to ask.
“Of course. I’m totally on it!” When necessary, fake it!
“You’re empty, aren’t you?” (It always comes back to movie quotes in our family. That one was a classic, Silverado, “You’re empty, Mister” line.) I was obviously not fooling Tim. Thankfully Sarah was no where in sight.

I’m not used to doing Special Days. That’s always been Tim’s father/child thing. If he took all the kids at one time, I happily stayed home and relaxed or worked (which ever was more pressing at the time). If Tim was doing a single outing, I spent time managing/watching/teaching the other 4 children. Not to mention the fact that Sarah and I just completed our Passport2Purity weekend, and I’d exhausted all the usual fun mother/daughter activities.

“Well, how about you take her out for breakfast on Saturday,” he suggested patiently.

Didn’t I say he was smart? “Perfect,” I said with relief.

So, this morning we both slept in and then set off for breakfast at the local cafe. Of course, by the time we got up and got going, it was after 10 am and the place was packed. I guess we don’t have very many good breakfast spots in our town. Now that I think about it, my mom and I had trouble in December when we tried to take a friend out for a birthday breakfast at this same spot. We ended up walking over to Starbucks across the street and enjoying some coffee and a breakfast sandwich instead.

“What are we going to do,” Sarah asked me as we looked at the list of people ahead of us on the sign in sheet.
“I have an idea,” I said, crossing off our name, grabbing her hand and heading out the door.

Well, it wasn’t a cute breakfast place, and we didn’t have a yummy meal served to us at a cozy table, but we did get a tasty sandwich wrap and some delicious coffee for me. Hey, I can’t help it that the Starbucks is right across the street.

Worrying I was rapidly blowing my first Special Day outing, I took Sarah back home, got her some more breakfast (those little wraps are costly but not very filling when it’s nearly 11 am). The sun was shining, the house was quiet, and I was struck with a brilliant idea. I played it off like it was my original plan and not a last minute thought. Heh heh.

“Sarah, we’re going to do this Mother/Daughter journal that Rachel and I started. And let’s read this Mother/Daughter book too.”

Snuggle and read time.

Mother/Daughter Special Day time.

We snuggled on the love seat under a quilt, read through some journal entries, started the first chapter of 5 Conversations You Must Have with Your Daughter, and laughed together.

Whew, my first Special Day with Sarah wasn’t a total failure. Now to figure out what to do with David next week. I guess I might want to actually put some thought and planning into this.

Game Time!

Game Time!

Later we went for a walk as a family. Stopped by some friends’ house. Bought an adorable pink purse for me and 6 pairs of cute shoes for Sarah. Came home for lunch and an episode of Once Upon a Time. In the evening we sent Tim to church to start the registration for AWANA while we went to David’s best friend Eli’s first football game. Love family time and holiday weekends!

Shoe Score for Sarah!

Shoe Score for Sarah!

Stay tuned for more Special Day posts!

Project 365 – Day 248
Kathy

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Passport2Purity with Sarah

My sweet girl!

My sweet girl!

Sarah and I finally carved out some time for our mother/daughter Passport2Purity weekend. I’m so grateful for the ministry of Family Life and the Passport to Purity materials. They have created everything that you need to spend a weekend with your preteen/teen and to lay a foundation of communication and commitment to purity.

I still can’t believe that Tim and I have 3 kids in college this year, that Joshua is getting married in December, and this is our 5th time studying the Passport2Purity materials. Wasn’t it just last year that the kids were all homeschooling with me? And 10 years ago that Tim and I were newlyweds? Harrumph. Time is passing much too quickly, and I’m getting old!

Guy adventure time - taking Daniel to college!

Another Edgren Adventure – taking Daniel to college!

We’ve been writing since 2004, so I did a little search to see if we blogged about our other P2P weekends. Sure enough, I found a few posts. Poor Daniel, I know Tim took him off for a special weekend, but it must have been during our writing hiatus as there’s no record of it on the blog. Looks like Tim wrote a few posts about Joshua and David, and I wrote about Rachel. I love how this blog is a photo journal of our lives.

Joshua’s Weekend Part 1
Hilarious Tale by Tim
Rachel’s Weekend
David’s Adventure Part 1
David Part 2

Sarah and I decided to stay home for our special weekend and take our time going through the materials. We started out by sleeping in (LOVE summer days!!). Then I fixed us a delicious breakfast. We watched a chick flick while I gathered the necessary supplies. [Note - Family Life and CBD now carry a kit that includes all the materials you need for the Passport 2 Purity projects].

Breakfast beauty

Breakfast beauty

It was a beautiful day, and we listened to the cd’s, worked on projects, took breaks, and just enjoyed being together.

Shhh - Don't tell Tim we were eating in bed.

Shhh – Don’t tell Tim we were eating in bed.

Sarah's puzzle was a bit challenging.

Sarah’s puzzle was a bit challenging.

Mine was easy.

Mine was easy.

Great lessons about friendship – picking good friends, being a good friend, and dealing with peer pressure. Discussions about following God’s plan for your life and making sure the Bible is your guidebook. Sarah is a delight – she’s open, transparent, honest, and a thinker. She has been eagerly looking forward to our weekend together. I am so thankful for our sweet relationship. We are entering these teen years with a healthy love and appreciation for each other.

Next we set off for pedicures and some dress shopping. We bought Thai food take-out and came home for another session. I got a migraine at the end of our shopping (so frustrating!!). Thankfully some meds, lots of water, a little coffee and some rest and I felt better.

Tomorrow we’ll go through some more of the material, sneak away for a few surprise outings, and see where our conversations take us.

2011 - Birthday girls.  Where do the years go?

2011 – Birthday girls. Where do the years go?

He [Christ] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible,
whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.
And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
And he is the head of the body, the church.
He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead,
that in everything he might be preeminent.
Colossians 1:15-18

Project 365 – Day
Kathy

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I’m Glad That’s Over!

Well, David and I finished the Passport 2 Purity material, and managed to have a great time together.

Several times in the course of the more difficult sessions, Dennis Rainey pauses and tells the father and son: “OK. Pause the CD and look at your Dad, and say, “I’m glad that’s over!”

David Triumphant

David Triumphant

It was a light-hearted way to break the serious mood, giving us permission to laugh and to take a break from the intensity of subjects which (for many families) are pretty hard to talk about.

We camped near Ocean Shores, within about a quarter mile of the Pacific. We had lovely weather, but it was much cooler on the coast (and in the wind) than it was here at home. Neither of us are particularly experienced campers, but we managed to pitch our tent and build a fire with hardly any serious injuries.

There's nothing quite like a fire-toasted blueberry bagel for breakfast.

There’s nothing quite like a fire-toasted blueberry bagel for breakfast.

I really enjoyed the updated Passport 2 Purity material. It is frank, engaging, and steeped in a Christian worldview, which I deeply appreciate. I strongly recommend the five sessions (and the weekend getaway that frames it) to any parent of an 11-14 year old child.

Some of the topics were hard to address, but I think we were both glad to get them out ‘on the table’ and to open a dialog that I hope will continue for years to come.

Some of the projects didn't quite work out as intended, but we persevered.

Some of the projects didn’t quite work out as intended, but we persevered.

We waited too long to do this with David, and yet we are also glad that we have done such a good job of protecting his innocence and purity until now — in some sense it is very sobering (and a little scary) to usher him into a knowledge of sexuality that cannot be rolled back.

We spent a lot of time driving around, since it was easier to listen to the sessions when sitting ‘shoulder to shoulder’ rather than facing each other across a CD player. I never seem to tire of driving on the beach — there is something inherently fun about speeding along at 25 mph on the hard sand.

Why yes, this IS my car.

Why yes, this IS my car.

I was so focused on getting the Passport 2 Purity sessions ‘done’ that I was surprised at how fun it was for me to hang out with David for the weekend. He is really excellent company, and we have a lot in common — we laugh at the same silly things, and we think in some of the same ways. We both really relished the experience of camping and the Go Kart racing that we enjoyed on Saturday afternoon. We both like sitting around a campfire and making stuff burn, and playing frisbee in the dark. We are both in awe of the Pacific, while a little afraid of it. Neither of us is very skilled at flying kites.

David had Charlie Brown's kite, but we managed to get it in the sky, nevertheless.

David had Charlie Brown’s kite, but we managed to get it in the sky, nevertheless.

As I look back at the weekend, I’m so glad that I made the time to do this with my youngest son. It was an experience I expect to remember as one of the highlights of my life.

I think David and I really bonded over the weekend.

I think David and I really bonded over the weekend.

At the conclusion of the fifth session, your son or daughter is presented with an opportunity to ‘Make Up Your Mind’ about how they will think about dating and their sexuality for the next several years. I’m excited to see how God will strengthen David and give him the power he will need to keep himself pure until he can offer that purity to his wife, on their wedding day.

We celebrated by eating fish 'n chips and deep-fried clam strips.

We celebrated by eating fish ‘n chips and deep-fried clam strips.

Thank you, David, for sharing this weekend with me, and for keeping your heart open to my teaching and my love.

Project 365, Day 130
Tim

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Playing the Odds

In early February, I usually start some tomato seedlings. I think I wrote about this just a a few weeks ago.

I start with a bank of 72 peat disks, with a seed (or sometimes two seeds, if I’m paranoid) in each one. Then I plant them in larger pots and try to nurse them through the Spring, hoping to end up with a dozen healthy plants. I’m basically betting that I can keep a few plants alive until I put them in the ground around Memorial Day.

How many of these will make it into my garden?

How many of these will make it into my garden?

Since I start with 72, I can afford to lose or give away five plants for every one I keep. By the time I plant them in my raised-bed gardens, I have selected only the strongest, hardiest plants with (I hope) the best chance for producing a plentiful harvest.

Children are not quite the same as tomatoes, in spite of what our culture would say or do. Whatever children you get, those are the ones you plant, and those are the ones that will ultimately produce a harvest for the King. If you start with five ‘seedlings’ (as I have), you’d better do the best you can to make sure they become strong, healthy adults.

A few days ago I noticed that the peat disks on the edges were dry, and that I have lost a number of my seedlings. Also, I kept the greenhouse lid on too long, and a number of the plants have grown too tall for the container, and are now lying across other plants. Already I think I’ve lost about half my seedlings through carelessness and inattention.

Daniel was listening to his music while doing the dishes, tonight -- caught him like a deer in the headlights.

Daniel was listening to his music while doing the dishes, tonight — I caught him like a deer in the headlights.

Parenting is not for the faint of heart. My inattention to my children could have terrible repercussions. Playing the odds is not an option with my beloved offspring — I’m not willing to ‘lose’ even one.

It makes me think. I sure hope I can parent better than I tomato-farm.

Project 365, Day 78
Tim

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