Things I Learned in September

Things I Learned in September

If I had to use one word to describe the month of September, it would be transition.  We have been on the road a lot, gone through a week of debriefing at HQ and have slept in at least eight different beds.  Currently, we are settling into a house provided by one of our supporting churches here in Texas.  It is a fun little house in a great location.   Once again I am linking up with Emily at Chatting at the Sky for the things we learned in September.

Here is my list.
1.  Homeschooling teens takes time.  The last time I homeschooled, the kids were in 3rd and 6th.  Now they are in 8th and 11th.  Both of the kids have tough classes this year and need more help than I thought they would.  We spend our days talking about US History, physical science or physics, and figuring out math problems in PreCalculus and Algebra I.  I am math teacher by trade, so the math is more fun than work.  Since they are older, I am actually grading things whereas when they were younger we just learned for mastery.  This takes more time than I thought it would.   Homeschooling has been a challenge but I am enjoying the time with the kids.  Hopefully, we will settle into a better routine now that we aren’t doing school in the car.

2. I knew I would have some cultural transitions coming back to the states but I didn’t think about how many I would have.  We have been in the south, the midwest and even on the west coast.  Each section has its own pace of life and how they do things.  It is fun to realize that all of them except maybe the west coast are a part of who we are with a dash of Central Asian culture mixed in.

3. Food in the states is expensive especially when you have to eat out.  I guess part of it is that I am also buying more food since my kids are now teenagers.  For groceries, I am getting some help from friends on food coops and such so I hope to be spending a bit less on food.  If you have good suggestions on how to do that, let me know.

4. Food portions in the states are huge which is nice for sharing and spending less money.

5. It’s good and healing to laugh.  When we were in Iowa with my mom, the kids went up against mom and I in a game of Peanuts (similar to dutch bliss).  It was a competitive game full of uncontrollable laughter.  Later in the month, we were in Oregon with friends we had served with overseas.  My favorite part of our time there was just laughing together over each others’ stories.

6. Our family is really enjoying biking together.  Even though it is a pain to haul four bikes around on the back of the Expedition, it is worth it.  Here is a picture of all of us starting off on an annual bike ride in Iowa that is honor of my dad.  This is our first time we were able to participate.

7. Hard conversations are good.  Our debrief week at HQ went well.  One day we spent the morning with a therapist who just talked with our family about our life in Central Asia.  It was healing but hard to talk through things as a family.  Overseas sometimes you get in survival mode so being able to talk through issues and feelings will make us healthier and more able to serve.  The therapist was great making us laugh, letting the kids eat as much candy as they wanted, and asking tough questions.  On his suggestion, we are instituting a family meeting once a week.

8. Home is where my family is.  I knew this but was really reminded of it this week.  We are always asked where home is.  This is a complicated question.  I grew up in Iowa.  My DH grew up in Tennessee.  Our kids were born and raised in Texas until we moved to Central Asia.  So we feel parts of home in many places but feel all at home when we are all together.

9. I am not really a writer, but I like to blog as a way of sharing or documenting what I am learning.

10. Big City Coffee in Boise, Idaho was our favorite eating place in our travels this month. Mexican hot chocolate, fresh fruit, quiche and scrumptious scones were just a few of the things that we tried.  If you are ever near by, you should stop in and see for yourself.

Can’t wait to read this week what everyone else has learned.  Blessings, TJ