I thoroughly enjoyed these past two weeks. They were absolutely wonderful.

However, it is time to get the Jolliffe-Haas family on a schedule. Quintin’s December 20th arrival was perfect timing because it allowed him to have some “down-time” with Jose and my self. Now it is time to ease him into the structure and schedule of what life is actually like in the Haasienda.

Saturday night we were invited for a New Year’s dinner with the Carter family. At one point in the conversation, Jose said, “I always kept thinking that basic and advanced training was ‘next year’ but now it is actually this year.”

The night before, while having a great New Year’s Eve family dinner with with the Lockharts at Tumbleweed, Valerie looked over and said, “This is a year for changes with our family.” Valerie was referring to the graduation of Jackson and Jose, as well as their impending departures for college and military training.

Val & Mike Lockhart, Joyce & Rob Carter, and I all have children graduating this June. Our lives will not only change when our children graduate, but our structure and schedules will greatly change.

I don’t know what the future holds for Quintin, but it does look as though he is gearing up for a life of music. And with Sophie Lockhart as his self-appointed manager and agent, Quintin will be kept very busy with music. My niece, Sophie, a 15 year old with a true servant’s heart, has been a God-send with Quintin’s arrival as she is eager to get him as involved in music as she is – and that is a good deal of involvement.

Now, I will assist Quintin with scheduling, and finding structure in his new home and school. Fortunately, his foster parents in New Mexico were fantastic at setting this pace, and now I will fine-tune this next chapter.

This morning I planned the entire day, anticipating a fully structured afternoon once the boys returned from church with the Lockharts.

Well, God had other plans…

I ended up meeting Mike, Val, Jackson, Sophie, Jose and Quintin at Wendy’s for lunch at 12:30pm. By 2:00pm, we were wrapping up a fantastic conversation. Mike, Val and I have always had tons in common, but it seems these past few months have intertwined our worlds a little more with Sophie’s growing passion for music, and the impending graduation and departure of our two 18 year old sons.

The boys and I ran an errand, and upon our return home, Jackson and Jose headed to the gym, and Sophie came over – not for lessons – but to spend the afternoon with Quintin. I looked over the list of what needed to be tackled so that the school and work week could get off to a good start, and decided that it could all wait. I took a two-hour nap. Upon waking, Jose had already left for work, and the sounds of guitars floated up from the basement.

The list…

Well, I decided to bake the lasagna from a student’s family. An hour later, Sophie, Quintin and I sat down to home-made lasagna and garlic toast. We drove Sophie home, ran a quick errand, and returned to find Jose already getting a start on de-greening the Christmas decorations.

I prepared to busy myself with all the prized breakables – nativity scenes, Father Christmases, clocks, snowmen, etc. – but I caught a glimpse of Jose and Quintin removing all the ornaments from the tree. I stood watching the duo defrock the beautiful tree, and listened to their comical banter. I was glad I ignored my list of things to be accomplished for the afternoon. It did not ruin my day that the decorations were not down before Jose left for work; however, it did deeply enhance my evening.

As I snapped a photo of the two taking down the beads and ribbons from the tree, I thought ahead one year…

“Will both sons, or even more sons, be joining in this particular moment of family fun?”

“Will Jose be in Afghanistan serving our country?”

I decided that I would not think ahead. I did not wish to waste the moment at hand. And what a fun moment we had!

Quintin turned in by 10:00pm, and Jose came into my study to talk. During the course of our conversation, he said, “I realized that I can’t put off moments with you, with Quintin, with Justin, and others I love because in six months all this will change.”

To top that off, my 18 year old son said, “It is amazing how much I really do listen to you and apply your advice.”

Had I stuck to my schedule and structure this afternoon, I might have missed a set of truly wonderful moments.

Tomorrow we will hit the schedule and the structure… but by golly, we will not miss those moments!

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