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Merry Christmas

Dear Friends & Family,

Welp, it’s been a year. Let the sarcasm and sass commence… (consider yourself warned).

We got one graduated in June by the skin of our teeth. As an educator, I feel both victory and defeat. Certainly God was kidding when He gave me 3 boys who don’t love and excel at school like I did. We practically dragged him across the finish line.

Ethan’s first day of college at Ohlone involved his leaving just a few minutes before the first class, completely calm, as his mother freaked out wondering why he was perfectly fine showing up with no pencil or textbook or awareness of the parking situation when he got there. I may or may not have melted in a puddle on the floor.

The first semester ended with my asking him,

Me: Do you have finals today?

Ethan: Nope.

Me: Are you sure?

Ethan: Let me see… (checks his phone) Oh, yeah. I do….

Like, for real? This is a thing? A way to go through life? My anxious self had a tiny panic attack as he calmly left for work and planned to “study” right before the final. It’s a good thing he’s an excellent employee at O’Reilly Auto Parts and has more money than his parents. It’s why we keep him around. I thank God for his amazing girlfriend Ciara who keeps him in line and gives me a break from the daily care and feeding of my son.

Ben outright told his history teacher he didn’t plan to stay in school this year… that he would be doing homeschool soon. That was how we started his junior year of high school. We end this first semester on our knees, praying for miracles that he will pass algebra and physics and English and just about everything, really. BECAUSE WHY WOULD YOU ASK YOUR ENGLISH TEACHER MOTHER FOR HELP WHEN YOU’RE FAILING. That would just be crazy. I’ve stooped to new levels of lowness as I blatantly offered to write the damn essays for him. Lucky for him, his heart for ministry (feeding the homeless on Saturdays and being involved in Young Life) and his mad art and music skills allow him to still live here. Now, if we could get him to clean his room so the rat would move out.

Oh Zach. This is the kid who tells me every few minutes how much he loves me. It’s annoying, really. Because this is how it goes:

Zach: Mom. mom. mom. mommy. MOM?

Me: WHAT?????

Zach: I love you.

Repeat scenario 10 minutes later.

At 9 years old, he’s now in 3rd grade and dying to start his own You Tube channel. He loves all things MineCraft and Xbox and YouTube. Going outside gives him a rash. You’ll find him creating and building detailed thingies in Mine Craft or pretending to be a YouTuber MineCraft commentator, telling you everything he is doing to create said “thingies” in the game. I have no idea what’s happening, except he talks a lot of tech stuff. Well, he just talks a lot in general. He can’t NOT talk. Like all day all the time. He wakes up talking. This is why he will be a great commentator for video games or sports… or a lawyer. Talking is his favorite.

I’ve tried to explain to him that some people just don’t talk before noon. aka his mother. He has no concept of this. But the rest of the Harris men are slowly teaching him.

Jeff began his new journey with a new church Cedars (a merging of our old church InRoads and another local church). It’s been a rough beginning as all new things can be, but he seems to be finding his groove as he trains home church pastors and steps back into preaching on Sundays occasionally.

I took a sabbatical from life this year so I could take time to refocus. I’ve spent this fall rebuilding my website (to be launched soon) as a speaker, writer, and editor. While I love all of those things, being a freelancer is lonely. I write this Christmas letter from my tiny office/closet, which Jeff so lovingly calls my “cloffice.”

Jeff and I will being visiting Russia in January. I’ve already scheduled the appointment with my shrink to up my meds. Flying is kind of not my favorite - but worrying about going down in a ball of fire is. So if that happens, help a sister out, and make sure my kids are well cared for. And maybe see if you can get them to do better in school. In honor of their mother.

Just keepin’ it real.

Love you all. May you have a blessed 2018.

Jodi, Jeff, Ethan (19), Ben (17), & Zach (9)

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