Tag Archives: college

Still Stepping Those Big Steps

As I sit and write this, there is a lot I should be doing. Laundry, dishes, paying bills – tasks that need to be completed before the clock strikes the time to leave on another trip to Texas to see my two freshman Bears (sic’em!).

I have lost track of the times I have been to Baylor this year.

If I sat and thought hard enough, I would remember the whirlwind drives that have become very familiar.

If the same car took all of the trips, it would know its way without my direction.

Lots to be done. But nothing seems as pressing as this writing.

Two years ago around this time of year, I wrote a blog post titled, “The First College Tour,” a misnomer as I had not been on the first college tour. In that post, I shared about how hard this whole “growing up as a parent” seemed.  Watching the little people that I had – at times – hoped would grow up faster than they were so that they could tie their own shoes or use the bathroom without needing constant supervision as they became adults-in-training seemed so hard.

And it still is!

This continuum. This big deal.  This turning of the light switch from “my kids” to “my adults in training.”


And wonderful….

They have navigated a lot. They have had to do so – they chose to attend school thousands of miles away from home.

I can’t believe that you let them go so far away…

Famous words spoken by so many including me.

What was I supposed to do? Lock them up?

I have always said that I wanted them to fly, and they did.  And they are.  And sometimes the road is really bumpy.  And sometimes, even though it is far away, I have to go to see them.

They just left two weeks ago.

Yep. They did. They left.  Again. So much leaving.

  • The beginning of the school year
  • At the end of my surprise trip in October
  • After a wedding
  • At the end of Thanksgiving break
  • At the end of Christmas break
  • At the end of spring break (just two weeks ago)

I think I could make it until the middle of May now, but I am not going to have to do so.  I get in the car this afternoon, and 48 hours from now I see them.

Next year could be different. Maybe I can go to Texas fewer times.

I doubt it.

And it doesn’t matter.

What matters is that I can say, “See you later!” and mean it because I will see them later.

There will be summer, another break, another trip.

It all seems so final on graduation day, on moving day, and every time we say, “Goodbye.”

But it’s not final.

It’s just not.

It really is, “See you soon!”

All of this is just training for the future.

Some day, they will not have stuff stored at my house.  As I typed that, I realized that I still have stuff stored at my house in Grand Forks.   I should probably get that….tangent….

The point is that some day things will look much more permanently changed than they are now.  I have watched others go through this as they have prayed their children through college, marriages, divorces, job changes, and moves.

The changes that come because children grow is hard….for their parents….

I have cheered and teared through every moment of these big steps this year.

And I know for a fact that I will do the same for many years to come.  Every day that they fly, I learn a new way of doing life.

This change seems so sudden, but we have been preparing for it for years.  The first time I put them on the church van to go to summer camp 200 miles away from me was training for today.  The first time they went to the mall with their friends – and no parent along! – was training for today.  The first time they took the car for a drive without a parent in the car was training for today.

While it appears that we – the parents – are training them in each of these instances, there is a very real truth that those circumstances trained us as well.

Plenty of books on parenting exist. None do justice to the way that it really feels when kids leave home.

This is not some cheesy sentimental post.  Really – it’s not.

I want to be serious about the fact that we have to let them fly, to let them go the direction that God takes them, and to let them learn the lessons that we all learned through success and failure.

So…mom, it’s ok to feel like you are still taking big steps…they are big steps…just keep taking them…


Filed under Parenting, Relationships, Thoughts

Advent, Apologies, and Joy

I have never experienced Advent in the way that I am experiencing it this year.

Each ticking off of the Sundays of Advent brings me another step closer to seeing my children return from their first semester at Baylor University – TOMORROW (God, weather, and roads willing).  To be a little cheesy, this mama bear is ready to have her cubs around for longer that 48 hours.  I am so proud of them, and I feel that we have all adjusted as well as we could have given the apple cart upsetting that we experienced in August.  I look forward to some relaxing times with them in our old stomping grounds of Minneapolis as well as our new home in Bismarck.  The time between Thanksgiving and today has dragged along, but I am sure that the next four weeks will fly by.  *sigh*

Each ticking off of the Sundays of Advent brings me another step closer to the end of our first semester at the University of Mary.  Seriously – wow! We have really changed our ministry focus and have loved every minute with the students here. This unique experience as Protestants in a committed Catholic environment has stretched and grown us in ways that we did not know could happen.  The dialogues that we have had with students and faculty have been amazing.  As I see it, we are here for two purposes: to be in dialogue with brothers and sisters from other denominations and to provide ministry in the Protestant traditions for those students and staff of those traditions.  This is transformational – can you imagine a Protestant university hiring a Catholic priest to minister on that Protestant campus? I am still in shock and so grateful.  I am really digging our new gig.

Advent is a time of reflection as we await the arrival of the Christ child.  In my reflecting, I have realized that sometimes I hit “publish” on my blog posts without thinking it all through.  A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about this new call on our lives, and I need to share an apology – or maybe just a clarification.  In the post, I wrote about sitting in Mass one Sunday evening and thinking that I am not “here” for the Catholic students sitting around me in the service.  After I hit publish and shared the post on Facebook, one of the Catholic students whom I would count as a dear friend made a comment.  It was not her comment that made me reflect but just the fact that she and I are in fellowship that forced me to re-think my words.  Who am I to limit God’s call on my life?  I am  here to minister to whomever and with whomever God brings into my life. We are here to be the hands and feet of Christ, to love any who comes into our lives, and to share the love of Jesus with whomever will listen.  So – I’m sorry. Deeply sorry.

Two days ago was the Advent Sunday of Joy.  My college English writing students who paid attention enough to know that we do not capitalize words without reason to do so would be upset that I wrote Joy instead of joy; however, it just seems like joy should be capitalized this week.  Maybe I should shout it – JOY (by the way, to those who follow me on Facebook, that lady is still sending me emails in all caps.  Seriously.).

JOY! Yes, this Advent week reminds us of the joy that our souls find because of Christ’s arrival on Earth.  As the song says, “No more let sin and sorrows grow.”  With Christ’s arrival on Earth, all of what was known about God’s kingdom was turned upside down and changed forever. Jesus – Messiah – arrived to save us, free us, bless us, and reign in us.  He came that we could live abundantly.

When we look around us, life abundant seems hard to find some days.  Death, divorce, disease, and discord seem to be winning the fight.  We should probably get off of our computers, log out of Facebook accounts, leave our houses, and go find life.  It is out there waiting for us to live in the same way that we wait in Advent.  And the joy that we seek will rarely be found where we think it will be – fame, career, or wealth.  Instead – in the same unexpected way that Jesus – the King – was found in a humble stable, JOY will likely be found in humble ways of serving others and looking beyond our own wants.

Advent reminds us that we remain in waiting for the second coming of Jesus.  All of the discord that we combat by seeking joy will end when Christ returns and reigns forever as King of King and Lord of Lords.  We will wait…and wait…and wait.  While we wait, we will seek joy through service to God through serving others.

Each year at Advent – this year at Advent – let us remember that Christ came so that we could have life.  As we wait to celebrate Christ’s birth, let us remember that Christ came for a purpose.  As we wait, let us remember that Christ is coming again.  Amen.




Filed under faith, Relationships, Thoughts, Travel