The Joys of Being a Mom

I L.O.V.E. being a mom! There is no greater blessing in my life than seeing my five children do anything and everything that children do. I love clipping a hundred little fingernails and toenails every couple of weeks. I love watching each one develop and grow. I love to hear them say their prayers before meals, at bedtime, and various times throughout the day, and I love being their homeschool teacher. I could go on for pages listing all the joys of being mom to Shayli, Sharayah, Shanel, Shaw, and Shafer, but I’ll just summarize by saying that it is the hardest, yet most rewarding thing about my life.

We had a wonderful Mother’s Day lunch at our house this year with my mom, dad, brother, his wife, and their daughter. It was such a blessing to attend church together and capture a few great photos after the service. I always love it when Mother’s Day rolls around each year, because it provides a special day to remember all those amazing women in our lives who have mothered us or our children in some way. I recall to memory nursery workers, Sunday school teachers, school teachers, coaches, neighbors, friends, and church and family members who have sacrificed their time and resources to nurture our lives.





We surprised the kids this month with going on a camping trip! We got a little creative and planned a scavenger hunt team activity to reveal the news. There were 13 clues and items that they found in various areas in our backyard. Then they had 10 minutes to figure out what the message was from the exercise. It was so much fun to see them read a clue, then search for each item which then had another clue attached to it. It took about 30 minutes in all, but they ended up with a stack that consisted of a flashlight, toothbrush, matches, bug spray, Bite/Sting kit, a bottle of water, a pack of Hershey’s chocolate bars, a bag of marshmallows, fire sticks to toast marshmallows, a Bible, fishing bobbers, etc. I thought wrong when I thought it would be an easy guess that we were going on a camping trip. They guessed everything but that…go figure.

They screamed with excitement when they thought they had finally nailed it—“We are spending the night in the Mickey Mouse Treehouse!” Then we said, “Good guess, but no!” At the last minute, the word camping emerged and we told them. They were shocked! Even though I had grown up camping throughout my childhood, Kevin’s vacations did not include such excursions. What an adventure this was going to be to spend 5 days with 89 other people from families in our new Chattanooga Classical Conversations group (homeschool co-op).

We had a blast at the Harrison Bay State Park Group Camp! Not only did we meet lots of new friends, we had an exceptional week of weather and spiritual renewal. The kids absolutely loved the entire experience, especially all the bike riding. Even little Shafer fared well as we took an air mattress for him to sleep on and his regular feeding tube supplies and medications. We were so thankful there was an outlet in our screen window cabin. Even though it was rustic, it was one step up from tent camping!


















The day we got home from our trip, we quickly unloaded the van and car (I still can’t believe our van held 6 bikes, a scooter, coolers, food, bedding, recreational toys, fishing gear, etc…Kevin is a master packer...) and began preparation for Shaw’s graduation party. Since Shaw was homeschooled this year, we didn’t want to take away the experience of participating in a K5 graduation like his three sisters were able to do. So, we created our own little memory with a short ceremony with friends and family. What a big boy Shaw was for his special night! After receiving his diploma, he recited the Presidents of the United States and closed our time together with the sweetest prayer. I couldn’t be more proud of Shaw for a fantastic first year of school.









The next day (Saturday, May 18), Shafer began to complain of severe abdominal pain. He began to spike a fever, so after several hours of monitoring, Vanderbilt made the decision to have him seen. We know this drill well. We proceeded to pack a bag and arranged for the children to be cared for and off we went. After five hours of X-rays, ultrasounds, labs, IV fluids, and antibiotics, Shafer was admitted to T.C. Thompson’s hospital due to a kidney infection. So, here we were with a second hospitalization less than a month apart.

The memories of days gone by flooded my heart and it was a difficult stay. But, in usual Shafer style, he began to make a strong recovery. His pain levels lessoned and we saw marked improvement as God’s people continued to pray for his healing. The urine cultures came back and identified the specific bacteria causing the infection. We were discharged to go home with the proper oral antibiotic and with a smiling, eager boy wanting to see his siblings. Shafer seems to still be doing well. We will go to Vanderbilt for a follow-up visit in June, so pray for good labs and a great report.

We have officially ended our school year and thank the Lord for such a blessed year together. Even though I wouldn’t have chosen to homeschool, the Lord led us here through the sweet spirit of my daughter, Shayli. I am so grateful for her attentiveness to the Holy Spirit. I can’t imagine what we would have missed had it not been for her discernment and leadership to guide us here. We are going to go another year with this plan, and are looking so forward to all the great experiences in store for 2013-2014. Until then, we are going to take a much needed break from school and enjoy some other things this summer. 

My prayer is for God to surround each of your families with love, peace, and comfort as you make it a priority to fully be in the moment with your children. There's no greater calling than to be a mom, so do it well. Your rewards will be great in heaven, and your heart will overflow with unspeakable joy while you are here on earth...

All my love,
Shafer’s Mommy


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