I’m thankful for . . . Part 1

**I’m going to take a little time to write a “featurette” about each of the kids this Thanksgiving season. Because, well – I’m thankful for them! And I love ‘em. How unique they are! We are blessed by them being a part of our family and we enjoy watching each unfold into the person God has created him or her to be, and we are grateful.**

First in the line-up is Jake. Simply because he was born into our family first. Jake prefers to be called Jake now. So we call him Jake. Sometimes “Jacob slips out”. He doesn’t mind. ‘Cause he’s like that. He is very forgiving and understanding. Some of his greatest qualities are his consideration and thoughtfulness of others.

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What’s he been up to lately? School. He’s facing 9th grade head on and is doing great! We knew this year would challenge him like no other has, since we enrolled him in Circle Christian School. It’s sweet, because of this year he says, “It’s hard, but I know it’s good for me. And I’m learning a lot, so it’s good!” That’s my boy, turning difficulties into learning opportunities and making something positive of it. 🙂

Now, I have to brag about him for just a moment: he’s getting superb grades. Like, “straight A’s” superb. And we’re not talking simple subject matters. He’s read books such as The Scarlet Letter (Nathaniel Hawthorne), America’s Last Best Hope (William Bennett) and Know What You Believe (Paul Little). He’s writing essays and giving presentations (including one on the Great Awakening in full costume– wig and all! I promised I wouldn’t include a photo of that. You know, he *is* 15 and all.) He’s had biology quizzes and passages to memorize and hours of algebra.

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Jake is smart but I want to say, because I’m just so proud of him, school truly doesn’t come very easy to him. So I admire how hard he works to reach such high achievements in all his honors’ classes. And the only reason I mention that is because I believe it displays part of his character. Not to say that coming by something easily isn’t wonderful, but when one truly has to work hard to obtain what one earns, it’s exceptional – it shows commitment and determination. I see that in him.

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Besides school, he’s enjoying the youth group at River Run Christian Church. I can’t say enough good things about them! He’s meeting friends (some he calls “buddies” because he doesn’t think they’ve become close enough yet to reach “friend” status – this guy gets it! Facebook doesn’t have anything on him!) He’s volunteering with Sunday School classes on Sunday mornings. He’s getting the hang of texting and loves to try keeping in touch with friends and family far away.

jake's fish

He loves to fish, has started running, and has a new pull up bar scored at a yard sale that now hangs from a door way in the house and is put to use several times a day. He’s begun collecting quotes and has a penchant for sharing them at appropriate moments, which of course, I think is fabulous. I do love some good quotes myself! He writes down his favorite songs and enjoys music, as the whole household does.

Being Jake, he has a knack for stirring up trouble with siblings and getting them riled. But one would be rather boring if one didn’t have a sense of mischief now and then, don’t you think?? 🙂 And I have to remind him regularly that he was once 7 (like his little brother), and just as much a rascal!

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I just love this kid, no longer a kid. Recently, in line at a local store, a mom was chasing down her active toddler, looking weary and tired. She made a comment about “kids!!” I turned and looked at the “kid” next to me – now taller than me, with broadening shoulders and masculine features . . . amazingly, looking like his father and mother, all in one person. And I smiled at him. My “kid” is almost grown up. And I love him more than I did the day I gave birth to him. My heart aches knowing I’ll send him off on his own — too soon! But it also soars, knowing this young man loves my Jesus – HIS Jesus. So I trust him to the One that created him and is allowing us to “borrow” him for a little while. My, how fast it goes! Yep, I’m thankful for Jake.

jake and adele

P.S. Because just one cute young man holding a cute baby photo is not enough . . .

jake and adelle

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First day of school.

What a day of mixed emotions! Jake started high school today! Actually, he pretty much started last week. But today was his official first day with Circle Christian School, a private home school academy where he’ll be taking classes twice a week. His classes are: Humanities (which includes Language Arts and American History, presented through a biblical worldview), a 3 hr. class; Biology, a 1.5 hr. class; and Algebra 1, a 1.5 hour class. Of course, his day will include a lunch break and a couple 10 min. breaks. It’s going to be a challenging year for him, based on what we see the in class overviews. I’m sure he’s up for the challenge! I really look forward to learning alongside him. He’ll have a few other subjects at home as well, altogether earning 7.5 credits for 9th grade.

Anyway, back to the mixed emotions part. It’s a complicated thing to be so proud and excited and sad at the same time. It seemed not too long ago that I was taking pictures of his first day of Kindergarten. Really, he’s the same sweet, sensitive and funny and thoughtful boy he was at 5. Just in a bigger package. We checked his height this morning; he’s grown over 1.5 inches just since April!

We’re so thankful for this young man in our family and are grateful for what the Lord is doing in his life. We look forward to seeing what special things lie in store for him in the future! We will miss him while he’s away 2 days per week, but feel much peace about where he is studying and what he is learning it makes it worth it.

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First day of 2nd grade (Jake on the left, Cole on the right); First day of 9th grade. Super cute either way! 🙂

Keeping me on my toes still at home are 4 other “Maucklets” who look to me as their primary instructor – yikes! Although there is a desk in each of the rooms upstairs (girls’ and boys’), they all decided to work near each other at the new table in the dining/school room. I am loving the way the room is coming together and it’s so pleasant to be in that I happily agreed. (More on the room in another post). Marissa called out to everyone to give her a hand moving all the chairs from the kitchen table to the dining room table (since I don’t have the chairs refinished yet). It was sweet to observe them excitedly preparing the place they were going to be working.

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We all fit around it with room to spread books out a bit. And, it doubles as a cafeteria at lunch time:

first day school 2014

Dean initially said while sitting at the table early in the day, “I’m so excited to be starting school again!” I think the enthusiasm wore off by the end school time. The kids overall were eager learners. We got a visit from a wild visitor — a gopher turtle crossing the front yard — so we took a break to observe it closer.

gopher turtle

That led me to make studying gopher tortoises with Dean and Marissa our science for the day. After all, we do live in Florida now and should be familiar with the natural habitat. Here’s what they each dictated to me for the science journals:

“The gopher tortoise grows to 10-16 inches. They are a wild species. Do not touch them. They are endangered. The females have a flat bottom shell, and the males have a bump on theirs.” (Marissa)

“A gopher tortoise has strong legs for digging tunnels and holes. It can live as long as 100 years. Other animals find safety in the holes. When the eggs are in cooler temperatures, it hatches a male. If the temperature is warmer, it hatches a female.” (Dean)

Now you know a little bit about gopher turtles, too! Just what you’ve been dying to know, huh??!!

gopher turtle first day school

(That’s one of our kitty cats right next to the tortoise)

I wouldn’t say we accomplished a whole day’s worth of school, by any means. But we enjoyed our time and put up a good effort! So that’s good enough for a first day for me.

–Beth

P.S. Jake came home saying his day was OK — not bad and not great. First days can be like that. The setting was pretty overwhelming and he only knew (more like, recognized) one other person. And it was a girl. So it’s not like they hit it off. 🙂 But he has a positive attitude about it all and I appreciate that. He’ll know plenty of other kids in no time!