I’ve just started this thing and I’ve already changed my look! I had a few comments that the other page was hard to read – font to light, and green too bright. Although I liked the picture of the grass and trees (it reminds me of my favorite spot on the road on our drive to Diffa – that’s what it looks like during rainy season). I looked into changing font color and size, but it appeared to me that one has to be a computer geek to figure out how to make the change. So I did what I am always telling my kids not to do – went the easy way and just changed the presentation. I think it’s more readable.
All of my kids are in school this year. Oh, they’ve ‘done’ school all of their school age lives. They just weren’t ‘in’ school. Though their attending school didn’t have anything to do with our decision to move to Niamey, I will freely admit that it was a major perk. I am thrilled to be done with formally educating my kids. I am not the only one leaping for joy over it. They all love school. All in their own ways.
Trae is the big man on campus, and I’m not just saying that because he’s big and he’s my son. He really is Mr. Popular. I should also mention though, that ‘campus’ consists of about 100 students, grades K-12. University will be quite a shock to him! He’s president of the Student Council and is doing a great job with that. He’s involved in every activity possible, because that’s just how he is. He’s a handsome, broad shouldered, all around nice guy. And there are FAR too many girls in his class. They all either currently have a crush on him, or have in the past. All of them. This is his 2nd year at Sahel Academy. The feminine attention caused a few bumps for him last year, but he seems to be taking things in stride this year. We of course are always on the lookout for signs of, well, anything we don’t like! On top of all the activity, his grades are good, with straight A’s except for that annoying B+ in Pre-calc. His teacher said he should have had an A though, that he just gets careless. Thinking about those girls maybe? There are required community service hours and he has already done enough for all of next year and probably college as well. One of the things he really enjoys is going to the orphange weekly and playing with the children there. He plays guitar and after basics he learned from Neal, he has excelled – getting tips/lessons from any visitor he can. He loves God, can preach a pretty good message, and does great in front of crowds. Wow. This guy sounds really good on paper! I can assure you, he is just as good in person. God has blessed him with lots of gifts and talents and we pray for continued wisdom in guiding him in the path God has for him. At the same time we’re thinking about his future, I’m avoiding/denying that in just 1 1/2 years he will move on…
Tanika. Where to begin. The word that comes to mind is ‘unconventional’. That’s what she has been since the day she was born. Conventional is to be born after 40 weeks. She was born at 24. Conventional is to not survive if born at 24 weeks. She’s alive and well. Conventional is to die from a growth on your heart. Her growth disappeared. Conventional is to need an oxygen tank all your life if you survive the above. She ‘ran’ her first jog-a-thon at age 4. No tank necessary. Conventional is to cry/scream when you’re 2 years old and you fall on your face and there’s blood everywhere. She cried because she couldn’t continue playing. Don’t bother with the blood. Conventional is to do long subtraction from right to left. She tried to do it left to right – after doing it the correct way for a year. Conventional is to be afraid of new things/situations. She leaps into them. Conventional is to be afraid to share the Gospel with someone. She does it and cries when they won’t make a decision for Christ. Conventional is to speak one language fluently. She’s more comfortable communicating in her ‘2nd’ language. I could go on. I realize that God is the one responsible for the true miracle of her life, but I believe He gave her the personality she has so she could do what she does.
Homeschooling such an unconventional thinker has always been challenging. She almost never did things the ‘normal’ way. I am thankful for the experience. I must admit, I was always confused when visiting teams from the US always commented on Tanika’s maturity. I understood when they talked about what a wonderful person she was. But maturity? That particular adjective never came to mind when I thought of her. I questioned the last group as to what they saw. I now understand. Part of my problem was that I didn’t have anyone to compare her with – a test group so to speak. I was seeing her based on my own expectations. Others see her using the average American 15 year old as a comparison. The difference they saw? She thinks about deep things. Not about her next trip to the mall or the latest fashion. Even she doesn’t realize it, but her world view is much broader than the average American. She can relate to a culture that’s not her own, and accepts it without judgement. I could even go so far as to say that she fits into that culture. When she is in the U.S. she does lots of observing and not a lot of participating. She doesn’t completely understand the way 15 yr. old girls think in America. That’s not to say she’s not interested in style (she has one all her own) and makeup etc. It just doesn’t consume a whole lot of her time. In fact sometimes I insist she allow it to consume more of her time than it does. She’s a unique young lady, and quite beautiful too. Many people have made comments to me somewhat like the following. “I was really looking at Tanika and she is very pretty.” She’s adjusting well to school – though it has been an adjustment. She’s not as all out consumed with activities like her big brother, but she confesses to like school better than homeschool. She’s made some friends, interestingly the ones she is closest to are foreigners. I guess she relates better to them. She spends lots of time on homework, and her unconventional self has to work on remembering her head when she leaves a room. Although I know God has incredible plans for her life, that plan is still a mystery to me.
This is getting much too long. I’m going to save Tobi for another day.