I seem to spend quite a bit of my life looking around and saying, "How did this happen?"
It's not always bad! Sometimes it's really cool stuff that surprises me, here in the land of the unexpected, which appears to be my habitation.
January's cool surprise: Andy and I are traveling to Thailand to speak at a conference for homeschooling expat families who live all across Asia.
It's a little bit ironic that I'm going to be speaking to these folks since I think I was one of the least successful homeschooling parents of all time. The fact that my kids have all done well in school has far more to do with their natural intelligence than with anything I did to guide said brainpower. When it comes to teaching children, I'm more of a cautionary tale than a success story.
Fortunately for everyone involved, I'm not going to talk about educational methods. I'm going to talk about counseling stuff, and Andy and I are going to talk about what we've learned about marriage and family through our own journey.
Again, more of a cautionary tale.
Kind of like the old Berenstain Bears books: "This is what you should not do. Now let this be a lesson to you."
When I say those words, I have this picture of of Papa Bear and his bicycle, being dragged up out of a canyon by his son's Bear Scout crew.
I don't know if we ever keep other people from falling into their own ditches, truth to tell. Seems like we all find our ditches, regardless of how well others warn us.
But I do think it's helpful at least to know that others have fallen, so when it happens to you, you don't feel so alone, and you know whose name to yell for help.
I feel like the gift to me of having fallen spectacularly into any number of my own ditches is that I have a lot of compassion for people who have fallen into theirs.
Plus, Andy and I have learned a few things along the way about the ladders that help us climb out.
There's great research and wonderful resources out there, and I look forward to sharing that good stuff.
But, beyond all the knowledge and know-how, there's one ladder out of the ditch, really: Love.
Ultimately, Love is the only thing that overcomes our shame and our fear, our anger and grief and our need to control.
Love is the only thing that can give us peace to know that we're loved just as are, and the courage to change and grow into more than we knew possible.
So, most of all, we're going to share Love.
I'll let you know how it goes!