Monday, May 29, 2017

Why Alert?

Forging Extraordinary Men who influence their World for Christ...that is the Alert motto.

We've been asked....

Why did we send our son to Alert?  

What is the purpose?


I answered each of these questions to the best of my ability...but now that my own son has walked through this journey....I feel I can answer more confidently.

First, our family is an Alert Cadet family.  My husband runs the NH 1st Bravo Cadet Unit.  I have seen great benefit for my husband and boys....they are excited to go, serve and work hard.  They have learned many character traits in their training.  Other dads have come along side all of them with great wisdom and support.  They now have a heart to serve.

It has given our boys a place to try their leadership skills, learn about good character in a place where they can be taught, evaluated, and encouraged.  How cool is that?
Because my hubby is a part of Cadet, we've been to the International Alert Academy in Texas and met leadership of the Alert organization and some of the men coming out of the program.

We saw their character strength, their heart to serve and amazing confidence....who wouldn't want those things for their sons....but we also saw these men sold out to Jesus.  

Our own sons saw the difference in these men and wanted to go to Alert.

We spoke with staff, former Alert men...we've done our home work.

So....from a mama's point of view....I've narrowed it down to 3 "C's" of Alert that were important to our family.

Christ 

The most important thing was Alert pointed our son to Christ.  He was required to get into the word daily and journal how the Lord was speaking to him.  He had to memorize the entire book of 1 Peter....have you read that book?  All 5 chapters?  

Alert had a Chaplin working with these boys to help them walk out with their own faith...not mine, their dads or our families.  They made it their own.  The Chaplin also was a part of their other training and walked alongside them in some of the harder challenges.

They prayed over our boys....they lived and walked every day with our boys.  They knew their down falls and pushed them and challenged them in the areas they needed to be pushed.  

But... more importantly, they knew who would ultimately make the changes in their life...Jesus Christ.

Character

Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity
1st Timothy 4:12

Honesty, integrity, hard working, boldness, self controlled, all of those things....Character was the one thing that originally drew us towards Cadet.  

Character is the thing our boys noticed in the Alert men.  

Character training is a huge part of our home schooling.

It is something we value...Alert men have good, strong character.

Camaraderie

This may not seem like a big deal to most...but Darrell was in the Army.  There is a special bond for those that walked that path and we knew this would be an outcome of this experience but in a much different way.

We've been around Alert and Cadet enough that we know there is a great connection to the men who graduate.  They stay connected ....to the staff and to one another.

This is a wonderful gift to have though life....it will give them an accountability partner to go to who has been trained in solid, Christ centered thinking...a good thing.

Now....there are many other reasons to send your boys to Alert.  It is a huge package for our boys to give them skills in thinking outside themselves with a big piece of humbleness...we even joked at home that is where he is going to be made into a man but I am thinking there was a lot of truth in that statement ...forging extraordinary men.

We are proud of what our son has accomplished through Alert Basic Training and are excited to see where he will go next with the next phase of training.

Don't you want your sons to be extraordinary men who influence the world for Christ?



Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Mount Kearsage

It was a beautiful day.....

What was more beautiful is that we had nothing on our calendar...the first day in weeks.

Quite unexpectedly, we all decided to jump into the van and go climb a mountain....seriously.

We met Michaela and drove to the base of the mountain...it was early afternoon when we arrived.

We set out with 12 Lowman's and 2 dogs...the black flies were intense....really intense.  We started the climb and realized that Jacob was going to need assistance just about step of the way.
 
Ben stepped up to assist me in getting him up...it was physically challenging for all 3 of us.  We were also carrying packs.  We soon handed off Jacob's to one of the girls who don't have survival packs yet.  He balance was much better without it.

It took us two hours to get to the top...2,900 feet up.  This kiddo didn't give up.

We had a few mishaps here and there with some of the other kids but it all worked out.

We were exhausted by the time we reached the top but the views were....
 spectacular....

you could see far...

really far.  

Lakes, mountains, roads, farms....such a beautiful site from the iconic New Hampshire views.

This boy as well as the rest of us we're excited to be up here.  

We had some snacks, took pictures, and before starting the decent down.  We were tired...really tired and we had to get back down on the steep trail.  

Ben was tired but he stuck close by....Kiara and Sara stepped into help Jacob.  Despite a few slides, we made it down.  It took us another 2 hours....it was good.  

Team work is what made us successful....it was a beautiful thing to see our kids stepping into this role willingly.  It was so cool to hear them cheering him on.

The benefits....It gave Jacob so much confidence.  The next day he learned to ride his bike...something that he had been working on and had the scrapes to prove it.  I believe he found the confidence somewhere on that hike.

I am sure it won't be the last hike but grateful we have a few days to rest up!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Unexpected Barn Time

They call this love....


We had a wonderful day at home today....we raked the flower beds out, pulled all the bikes out of storage...the usual kind of spring things.


We worked hard....really hard.  We hoped to have a camp fire tonight but our horse Liberty had other plans for us...


I snuck out to have some horse time this afternoon.  I was out in the pasture to find the top part of Liberty's eye lid hanging...it's kind of gross.....the vet is on the way.  I was told to not let her rub her eye on anything as it can do more damage.  


Got it.


Now we wait...enjoying the quiet munching of hay and the occasional nicker to the kids playing.


I am sitting in her stall with hot tea and my iPad while my kiddos run around playing outside because...that's what love is.

The vet came.  She is all sewn up now....a good thing!

Spring

This spring is just rushing by....our son Ben keeps saying..."Mom, I can't believe it is May already.  How come it is going so fast?"

We have been extra busy this spring.  Lots of appointments getting Sara and Jacob settled.  Exciting things are happening on this front and we are grateful for that!

Jacob recently was evaluated for his special need that required AFOs....he had braces on each leg to help support him as he walked.  The doctor took them away...he said he just needs to get strong.  The smile on our boys face was huge.  It was the very thing that made him different before....not able to attend school before coming home.  

He has not looked back.  He is running in the woods, going on hikes, playing with his sword...and watch out..he shows no mercy in his sword fighting!  He has gotten so much stronger since he came home and is up for about any adventure we offer him...usually with a huge grin and a lot of excitement!

Sara has blossomed too.  She has settled in and we have discovered so many things this girl can do.  One of the most amazing is her English.  She is reading and speaking amazingly.  We just had to encourage her.  

She is also really good at Shuttlecock....a Chinese game we ordered off of Amazon.  She loves beating us at Chinese checkers and learns strategy quickly if it is a new game.

These two kiddos have been a wonderful addition to our family and we are so grateful for them.  It truly is a beautiful thing.  They have bonded with the other children too...like I said...it is beautiful!

So many people have said they are afraid of older kid adoption but I will just say out loud...it has been an amazing journey for our family that we would not hesitate to do again.



Some other updates....

Jason is still at the International Alert Academy.  He just finished an Endurance Hike of enormous proportions.  It is not for the faint of heart.  The one week he was most concerned about...Survival week became his favorite of the whole adventure so far.  We are very excited for what the Lord is doing in his life.  This mama can't wait to give him a big ole hug!

The older boys have also helped do yard work for some folks in our church.  Those boys worked hard and have been asked by someone else to help them out....I keep telling them it builds good character and is good for Alert Cadet volunteer hours....both good things.


The rest of us at home have been doing the usual spring activities...yard work, getting the horses moving, finishing up school and doing projects here and there.  We've also had some fun days in there too.  Our days are busy, we fall into bed each night but it has been a sweet time in our life....settling in.

Life is good....thanking the Lord for what he has done and what he is doing in our lives.