The Rowe Tribe

The Rowe Tribe

Thursday, February 11, 2016


I sought the Lord, and he answered me
    and delivered me from all my fears… Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
    Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!  Psalm 34:4, 8

February 10, 2016:   Just this evening I learned on social media about the death of a friend’s son, a friend from long ago in another state, right after my husband and I had married and moved to the mid-west.  We had lost touch with this family over the years but in the past few, had reunited online.  His death took my breath out of my body, made my chest feel hollow, and the air sucked out of my lungs as if I was unable for a few seconds to actually breathe.  First of course is an instant denial; this cannot be real, followed by the sickening realization that yes, indeed, we live in a fallen world where bad things happen to good people, where death and disease blossom, and just sometimes, we become initiated into a club we did not want to join but are forced into, never by choice. 

This is the third winter in a row that I’ve known of the death of a teen and known the teen, either the teen himself, or his family, all boys.  How is it that I’ve been holding my breath, waiting, thinking that there would be a death this year too, but because the others were in January, I thought we were “okay”, past that point; the cycle would be broken? 
Today, February 10, is my oldest son’s 18th birthday. 

Every single day I pray for his safety; I beg the Lord to spare my child and keep him in the palm of His hand when he walks out the door.  But other mothers do too.  And, what if the palm of His hand is the palm of His hand in heaven and no longer here on earth?

Our son is a senior in our homeschool high school and it’s nearly driving me mad. 

Some days are giddy, light, and fun and others, well, all I can think about is that he’s leaving me and that’s the last thing I want him to do and the very thing I want him to do.  Why such a conundrum?  This bittersweet adventure: first you do everything you can to teach and train and create independent thinking kids.  You clap for first steps, praise first words, skype new skills to the grandparents but at the same time, the clock is ticking, ticking away every precious step, word, and hour. 

We pour into our children and all of that is a process.  Learning to ride a bicycle, throw a ball, perform a grand je’te, laugh, first smiles, drive a car, all of this is simply letting them go. 

Eighteen years ago and possibly right at this very minute, this baby son of mine who came into the world with a whopping big weight and an even bigger whopping huge head decided that letting go was his priority.  No sooner had I put him up on my shoulder to burp after a first nursing than he took both arms, pushed against me and reared back.  Totally unexpected.  Of course he flopped forward as I quickly recovered from my shock and gently cradled him.  I shouldn’t have been surprised.  

Up on all fours ready to crawl at four months but crying because he wasn’t moving forward, teaching himself to read at the age of three, telling me to be brave and that he’d be there when I returned at age eight as I left to deliver my sixth child,

wanting to build fires, chop wood, help dad with everything, learn technology, read more books than I could keep up with, being so brave and courageous walking into a high school to play sports not knowing a single person, and standing in front of a legislative committee giving a testimony completely unprepared to do so.  All of his life has been this process of go, go, go.  And someday he will go. 

Tolerating it is the only word that comes close to how I feel.  Encouraging it at the same time seems like a juxtaposition but it’s exactly where I am.  We want them to mature, grow, make decisions, choices, think of others, be kind, compassionate, moral, and above all, saved by the blood of Jesus.  We want them to be able to hunt, kill, and eat, in other words, fend for themselves by the time they are “grown”.  But at the same time, our feelings want to pull back and pull in; let them be young enough to sit on our laps one last time for a story.  There are times when it seems even on the good and fun days that there will always be a baby on the lap, plenty of chances for little people time, but it is not so.  The days are fleeting and the time is now. 

Don’t let anyone rob you of these precious years.  We still have a little one in diapers

and this older one looking forward to graduation, but the time passes so quickly.  Unfortunately you will not know it until they are grown and then you wonder.  

I’m not sad about that; we have lived life to the fullest these past eighteen years.  My husband and I showed up for parenting.  We have no regrets.  If I had it to do over, I wouldn’t change a thing.  Ok, a tiny bit, but not hardly much at all.  The ride was fun but unfortunately it didn’t last forever.  But even though we’re getting off this ride in the park of life, a new ride awaits, one that’s fast and furious, fun and adventurous, but at the same time filled with a different set of bells and whistles, an exciting prospect. 

For our friends who lost their son, their ride has stopped; it stalled out in the middle.  It should not be this way and my heart cries out to the Lord for them, for only He can heal and comfort.  It is a wake-up call to us all:  The days are long but the years are short.  Live the dream, love the adventure.  Time is fleeting and flies through our fingers like a well-greased string.  If you haven’t started really living with your babes, do it today; do it right now.  Whatever it takes, change it, fix it, start it, end it, make it happen.  When you get to the end of a stage, the end of your homeschool career, while it will be odd and different, and maybe a little bittersweet, at least you will be comforted that you gave it your all and you will have no regrets.  

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Happy New Year 2015

This post, minus all the pictures except the family one at the end, was originally posted on the SCHEA (South Carolina Home Educators Association)
on Sunday evening, January 4, 2015.... 
Happy New Year to You and Yours from SCHEA....
It's that time, whether you've already started back homeschooling or not until next week, when the routine starts back and all that it entails. I have to confess that I am scared. I am still reveling in that pre and post Christmas bliss
when we slept as late as we wanted, 

had no sporting events to zip from to and fro, had eggs for supper if we wanted to, 

decided on a whim to watch a movie, read a book, walk on the beach, 

get together with cousins, or tackle a household project (we did many).

The time that Hubby/Daddy had off work

for 3 weeks was precious, and work issues, difficult math, foreign language, and Biology labs, simmered completely silent on the back burner. No, I'm more than a little scared. We have issues to face this month: health concerns, college decisions, new groups, decisions about our future, finishing that difficult math and biology labs, and more. My homeschool is not perfect, my marriage is not perfect, my children are not perfect, and goodness knows my house is not perfect and I am far from perfection. But I don't have to be scared and my life doesn't have to be perfect, because my God is perfect and He carries me through any weakness and trial I have. 

He will carry you and your family too. His strength will show through all my weaknesses and affect others. That my friends is called Grace. Grace that is greater than all my sin. Because when I am weak, He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me and mine and you and yours, the Bible tells me so. That Grace is enough. Our family wishes you a Happy and Healthy new year full of learning about God's grace and just how He can Bless us when we are only obedient to Him.

Blessings on a New Year....

The Rowe Tribe

Kelly Rowe, SCHEA Board Vice-President

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Front Porch Musings

What's truly important?

I reflected on this tonight as I talked with my Daddy about two of his close dear friends passing away at the ages of 95 and 91.5.  Last Sunday I spent time on my parent's front porch in the mountains watching my father work in the flower beds, listening as he told me about Mr. Johnson and his health woes; how he would not be able to be cared for any longer at home by his bride of 71 years.  We did not know during that conversation that Mr. Johnson had just passed away.  Then tonight my Daddy calls to tell me that he took Mrs. Johnson to the emergency room last night and sat with her as she had trouble breathing and that she passed away there, at the hospital, just one week after her husband. 

I looked up their announcements and sent the links to my dad.  What long lives, what service to read about -  what they've done, where they've been, who they impacted.  And I wonder?  What will my children say and think and read about my husband and I?  I knew this couple well; still have (thanks to my mom) the adorable plate set they gave to me as an infant because of my birth.  Mrs. Johnson attended one of my children's first birthday party not too long ago.  But what is their legacy?  What is mine?  What is yours?

Today, another Sunday, I sat on my friend's porch, not in the mountains this time,

but in their shadow, and I wondered again, is this it?  Is this what matters?  In the hustle and bustle,

does it come down to this, so simple?  Yes, it does.  It comes down to the breeze that calms you, the October-blue sky; the children playing football while laughing (with 11 boys around, what would you expect?), the girls holding the kittens and the rabbit, and the baby chasing the little kitty.

The muted sounds of the 2 men who shoulder the responsibility for these clans ambling in conversation down the porch a ways, and the ebb and flow of our own mental wanderings, 2 mamas of many, sometimes barely above a whisper, as we contemplate and share our words gliding and bobbing up, down, around, like a boat gently gliding in the water. 

We are sharing in the "good life".  It's not so unattainable.  Were my lesson plans done?  No.  Was my house perfect?  No.  (Still isn't).  Is the brochure for my board done?  No. Is my Convention of States calling up to date?  No. Have I started my Isagenix diet yet?  No. Am I caught up on emails?  Never.  Do I know exactly what tomorrow will bring?  How could I?  Why should I?

But I do know this.  I know Who holds the future, I Know Who holds me in the palm of his hand.  Today I was carefree.  I am praying earnestly tonight and in these early morning hours for that same spirit that was with me on the porch, to be with me when the children fuss (because they will), when I run out of milk (looking like by lunchtime), and when "the thing" happens that seems to break me, whatever that final straw may be. 

Oh, Lord, I pray, instill in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within in me.  Cast me not from your presence Lord.  Because I want my own to capture the spirit of the legacy I want to hand down.  I want my own to read, not just words in an announcement, but "in between the lines" ... Life and how to have it abundantly.  I want it not to say, Survivors Include, but rather to say, Those who have been left behind, but who are coming home with their Mama someday.... Because I want to sit on a front porch in heaven in the shadow of the Almighty and watch the children play and know I made the right and best choices.  I want to take the spirit from the front porch glider today and apply it to everyday.  That's what's truly important.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Emotions, Can You Trust Them? ~ October 3, 2013

Of course the answer is no.  It is October the 3rd today, 5 years ago today, it was Black Friday.  Then there was no football, no teenager, no #80 to cheer on...
 But...You go go go, push on with an everlastingness...
 Time is fleeting; it slides through your fingers like a well-greased string.  Push on - push on - push on - is the pulse of your life. 
 You evade that which you can see but are blindsided by that which you can't...
 Emotions are topsy turvy in the grand scheme of life.  They can be “all in a day’s work”.  The busyness keeps us on our toes, keeps thoughts and feelings at bay.  School, grocery shopping, making 100 ham biscuits, tea, macaroni and cheese.  Making sure these football players get fed...

 So they can keep the pace and push forward towards the goal, the prize...
 achieve the near impossible...
 I am making sure they ALL get fed...
 getting little boys to soccer...
 praising Elizabeth for her resourcefulness and sweet spirit...

 yet no time for something seemingly simple, like haircuts. 
 Smiling at the baby on a grocery store outing where the only cake she likes in the case is the one with the “bootball”.  “Bubby” she says.  “Bootball, Bubby.”  She is living such a different life as the youngest than her oldest brother.  As they all are, she is spelled JOY.
 thanking Sarah Kelly for her help...
 Reminding our children how friends stick together and make life easier and better...

 In all the times of life, the emotions are there and of course they should be.  Jesus had them here on earth; every emotion or feeling we could possibly had, he did; he shares in our joys and sorrows, literally.  I am not ashamed of feelings, no one should be. 

 At times, we are going down, we know we are going down, there is no stopping no matter how hard we try but we push on and continue to go down because it is in us to push on, to trust in what we cannot see or feel or even wrap our heart  around.  This is the real life. 
  This is faith.  But we get back up, sometimes when we are unable.  We know what lies around the bend, though not always, but yet, we do.  Eternal life is just beyond our reach but someday we know it is coming, when we go down, get back up, and push on, it will be within our grasp.  It will be our time.
 There is no emotion like the ones you don’t feel; those you are numb to.  They are there, physically in your neck, the stretch of your face, but they are foreign and untouchable.  I am weakened from little sleep,  focused all the day, pushing through, moving through motions, knowing it is coming.  But I do not know what it is. 

 A game I watch.  I watch my oldest, all JOY to me, watch him fall, get back up, push through again.  Listen to the crunch as they slam him.  Watch him slam two down to stop their goal endeavors, watch him force the ball from another.  

 Watch him fall, slow to rise.  Hold my breath.  Pray. Pray. Pray.  Then again and again.  Watch him not rise the second time.  Watch in slow motion, no breaths again.  Then I stand.  I am the only one standing, not so I can see but so I can be closer to God.  God are you hearing my prayers?  The helmets begin to come off in their hands.  My sister’s hand on my side as I only stand.  My husband, extremely still and quiet.  My heart thumps out of my chest; I can almost hold it in my hand.  Slowly he rises with help.  As he limps across the field with help, I hear his name, someone shouting to him while all around me is clapping.  Someone shouts and cheers for him.  I realize later, it is my voice shouting for him - encouragement and others joined in though it does not seem to come from within me.  They all know he is mine as I do for when another falls, we all hold our collective breaths and pray.  Praises spoken to the Lord.  A brief rest, only one play, then back in the game, the game of life.

 A mom texts tonight just to make sure he is okay. I read it to my husband.  All have gone home now.  The 15 member fan club in the stands tonight for Number 80, all have left except the 9 that live here.  The boys have all gone home.  The 6 batches of popcorn have mostly been eaten.  There is the remains of second dinner strewn around, for these boys eat again since it is available, laundry the granddad was folding, popcorn on the floor.  But the conversation around the house was exciting stuff and memories are made, those that cannot be taken away by any emotion or feeling.  There is only a badly bruised leg, a bruised and swollen thumb, and one exhausted son, I tell her.  But he is fine.  What could have been is kept at bay and he is okay.

She is so glad she texts back.  I sit on the chair in our bedroom, my husband, is in the bed, we talk now.  Quietly we remember when it was not fine.

We all came home tonight and there were 3 little boys, all in red shirts playing football in the yard at 10 pm.  We watched, it was fun for them and us.  Scott was amused but at some point we had to go retrieve them.  After all, the neighbors might want more sleep than us.  Those crazy home schoolers they’ll say.

It is now quiet here.  

But we talk about the 2 boys who would have been running with them , the ones who should be running with them.  The ones whom we would have watched at some point do with their lives things that make us hold our breath, stretch the emotions out and away.  They are not here.  I am spent now, completely have nothing else to give.  We say how we would let them play in the yard all night if those 2 boys could come back to us.  We remember and are lost in our thoughts of a small 9 oz. 9 inch long son, one named Jonathan, the gift of God,whose soul was already with our Father in Heaven as we saw his lifeless body on a screen 5 years ago today. 

The tears come now but just as suddenly as they come, they are gone.  These emotions, you cannot trust them.  For this son, will never feel pain, rejection, disappointment.  His mother will never have to hold her breath, watch him play a sport with one eye open, or stand and pray for him to rise from a field.  He is as safe as he can possibly be along with his brother Peter and 2 other siblings, so young we have no knowledge of their gender.  There are many many more days with these blessings of JOY in our home, many have passed, but more are coming and more emotional times and more prayers and entreaties for them all.  May the Lord continue to give us the strength to press on and through all of it.  May He give us rest on the bench and quietness from our labors, may He grant us peace in the hard times and joy in the mornings.  Bruises and swellings I can fathom; those I can take on this day.  God will take care of all of us, those He is holding close to Him here on the field of life and those in His arms.