Thursday, November 23, 2017

Reason for the Season

Today is my favorite holiday.  The weather is usually perfect.  The fall leaves are beautiful.  A day to stop in our busy life and just be thankful.  It is a holiday to be surrounded by the family you love, but don't always see.  It's not about gifts, like so much of Christmas is.  It is about coming together to see cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and even friends.  To come together, enjoy a good meal, play a few games, tell lots of stories, and make memories to last.  This year, it is a little different for us.

 We lost G.G. in August of this year.  She lived a long long wonderful life filled with those she loved.  Those memories of her stay with us long after she is gone.  Memories of frisbee, dominoes, and skip-bo.  Memories of "just a little piece" of pie.  (which we proceeded to give her a big slice and she ate it all)  Memories of Thanksgiving with 30+ family members gathered in one place.  I knew this year would be different without her.

 Just this week, I attended two funerals:  A grandfather and a grandmother.  Two that are no longer sick and celebrating on the other side.  However, there are widows, children, and grandchildren that are left with a hole in their heart.  Those Thanksgiving tables were missing some one.  It makes me hold the ones I love a little closer.  The Bible tells us that we are not guaranteed tomorrow.   Two funerals in one week is a big reminder of that.  We have today.  And in the end, stuff won't matter.  It's family.  It's friends.  It's the love we share.

I look around today and wondered what the next year will hold.  If we will all be back to celebrate the next Thanksgiving with the family.  If that sounds morbid, I'm sorry.  But, like I said, it's been one of those weeks.  The grief and sadness I have felt this week, is just a testimony of their lives.  I wouldn't trade the tears I've shed this week because their lives mean something.  Not just to their spouse, kids, and grandchildren.  Their lives meant something to me and to my family.

Thankful....I truly am.  I am thankful for a God that loves me even when I mess up.  I am thankful for my children. And as a list runs through my head....the list is filled with people.  Yes, there are "stuff" a home for my family or food on my table.  But, most of all, my thankful list is filled with people.... and so much more than just my three kids. (although they are up there on the list!)  Our little world is so much more than the five of us.   Those people God has put in my life, they are the reason for this holiday.  They are the reason my heart is full. Those are reasons to be Thankful.  There is no place I'd rather be then gathered around a good meal looking upon faces that I love.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Taking the cover off

Life isn't always sunshine and rainbows.  Sometimes it's just barely making it through the day.  Some days are more like a tornado tearing through your life.  Then there are days when you feel like the rain will never end.  I've learned that we are all books with different covers.  Covers... can hide something you don't want others to see.  Yet, you hope that some one will want to open it up and know what's on the inside.

Covers can hide many things.  There is of course, the beauties that are only skin deep.   There are the athletes that seem so confident but struggle with believing in themselves.  There are smart ones that feel like that will fail at everything and then get too scared to try.  There are ones that are will do anything to make some one love them.  There are also the happy ones that cry when no one is looking. 

No one's life is picture perfect.  There are moments of perfection to savor and look back on.  Moments that you wish would have lasted longer.  Those perfect moments when you look up and thank God for where you are and where He has brought you.  We all love those moments.  Those moments feel like a true connection with God.  The problems of this world fade away and the good stuff -- the blessings -- are what is left.

But, we all have moments where we feel like we are on the bottom of the stairs and we don't know if we have the energy to climb them.  It doesn't matter who we are.  It doesn't matter how rich or famous we are.  It doesn't matter how old or young we are.  There are days where the effort to climb the deal with life and it's problems...are just too much.  You have been there.  I have been there.

But, what happens next is the important part.  It's not being at the bottom of the stairs.  The important part is what happens when you are down there.  Do you expect a person to fill that void your feeling and lift you up?  That is a high demand which they are bound to fail.  Or do you look up?  My strength comes not from me, but from Him.  God hears every cry of my heart.  He hears the words that are locked in my heart...the ones that only come out in tears.  I know, in those times, that He hears my heart.  That only He can help me up the stairs that seem so steep.  I know only He can see through what ever cover I'm hiding behind and heal the broken pieces with in me.  That place inside of you that you are trying to fill -- it's God's place.

I lift up my eyes to the hills.  From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
Psalm 121: 1-2

Monday, June 26, 2017

Be Still

Some days it is easy to find the blessings around you.  Those days where you feel your bucket overfilling spilling over.  When you just glow with happiness. You turn on the radio and it's that song you love that you haven't heard in a while.  Those days when your kids remember to say, "thank you" or "love you Momma." Those days were your gas tank isn't low and the roads are long. Then, there are the other days.....

The days when the stupid alarm won't let you sleep and it's only 5:30.  Or the other days when it some how lets you sleep and you only have 30 minutes to get everyone up and be at work.  Those days when no matter how hard you try, you can't seem to do anything right... and there are plenty of people to let you know about it.  Those days where you end the day not physically tired, but emotionally drained.  done. exhausted. The white flag is now raised, I give up.  Please leave me alone.  Let me curl up in a ball so no one can see me because I'm so small.  (My kids and I always loved that children's book)

There are circumstances when you try this and it doesn't work.  So, you try something else and you seem to slip farther away from the goal.  You must remember that sometimes God just wants you to stop and be still.  There are times when God wants total dependency on Him.  He lets us try things our way and wonder why it is not working.  That's when we cry out to God and ask for help.  That is the moment that God has been waiting for.  For you to turn to Him.  To realize that you need Him.  In the middle of the storm you are going through, just take a deep breath and be still.  God knows your circumstances and He knows your heart.  He is just waiting for that invitation.

"The Lord will fight for you, you only have to be silent."  -  Exodus 14:14

"Fear not for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."  - Isiah 41:10

"The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety."  - Psalm 18:2

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Summer of Changes

It's been around 24 days since schools been out.  I am realizing a few things.  The days of staying up until 3 am finishing a book are gone.  I'm old and my eyes are way too blurring at 3 am to be reading small print.  I realize that without a list of things to get done... I am way too easily sidetracked.  :D  I have done nothing of that "oh, I'll get that done during the summer" list.  I have done a lot of hiking.  I have gone to little towns I've never been before.  I have cheered at some soccer games.  I have tried Hurts Donuts and Burton's Creamery.  I have wondered in local book stores.  I've played in the Buffalo River a few times already.  Nothing fancy, but good days.

I look at my kids and I know all of it is about to change.  Joey is starting his second year of college.  Next summer, he wants to be a counselor at YoungLife camp for  month out of state.  Luke will be working full time soon.  These days of just jumping in the van with all three kids will be rare.  Soon enough, it will be just Faith and I.  Well, it will probably be me, Faith, and either:  1.  Cooper  2.  Zoe  Or a combination plus a few more.  And, well, that's okay.

Yeah, I know, I've had to get used to the whole "boyfriend" idea as well.  Look at your baby girls and know that it will happen.  Your little pig-tailed, tomboy, baby girl will soon want to wear dresses and heels.   Probably a lot sooner then you will want.  Hopefully, she will pick some one with some substance and not just a pretty face or the star of  the football team.  Faith has picked a good one.  Which, one side of me, makes me proud of her....the other side makes me worried because she is only 15.  They are just babies but they've been together almost two years already.  They have so much ahead of them -- good and bad. 
But, he is her best friend and she is his, which is the way it should be. So, we will make room for one more.  Just as his family has made room for Faith.  Faith's older brothers have accepted him and like him.  They have found things in common to talk about.  Their favorite is picking on Faith together.  :)   High school years can bring many changes as kids figure out who they really are and their groups of friends usually change.  Who knows what will happen over the next 3 years.  I am glad that they have each other as they begin this next chapter.  I've realized that the word boyfriend doesn't always mean drama, which is what I feared.  Relationships in junior high and high school are so up and down and drama filled that I didn't want any part for my kids.  I wanted my kids to grow up and figure out who they really are before dealing with that drama.  But, Faith and Cooper have shown that it doesn't have to be that way.  Will they make it through high school and college together?  They have a better chance than most.  I have no way of knowing, but I am glad he is here now. And, I expect him to be around for many more adventures. 

Saturday, June 3, 2017

My Judgemental Self

My kids have been giving a hard time about being judgemental lately.  Telling me that I am such a judgemental person.  But, I beg to differ.  I really am pretty open.  Tattoos, long hair on guys, weird fashion statements....what ever.  May not agree with having a tattoo of an eye on your bald head but if you can live with it, then so can I.  Not to get political, but I even figure that it is not my right to judge whether it is right or wrong to be gay.  I'll let God decide that.  It is not for me to judge.  The Bible says to love your neighbor.  You can't do that if your condemning them to Hell from across the street.  There is one thing that I know I am judgemental on. Girls that dress slutty.  I just want to slap the girl's momma's or ask the adults "did you even look in the mirror??"

 Okay, girls if you are walking around with a wedgie -- your shorts might be too tight.  Seriously, it doesn't even look comfortable.  Just last night there was a 15 year old with shorts like this.  No, this is not her.  I am not some weird stalker talking pictures of a little girls booty!  Geez guys, give me a break!

Oh, and we live in the middle of it all:   horror stories of people at Wal-Mart! I'd gladly see some one in the pj's compared to the lady yestereday.  I went to Wal-Mart and while driving out of the parking lot there was a fairly large lady with skinny jeans, tight low cut shirt, and 4 or 5" red high heels.  Yes, quite the combo there.  As I am sitting in the van and asked my kids if they saw the lady with the red heels, they totally missed it.  I know it's bad, but a part of me was a bit sad so we could talk about how bad she look. :D  See, yes I am so judgemental on the slutty look and I admit it.

I know it's human nature to look at other's and size them up.  Appearance is part of that.  My oldest really doesn't get it.  He wears clothes that don't match half the time and totally does not look at appearances.  I'll say something about some one walking by and he seriously doesn't even notice.  In a way, I am proud that I raised him like that.  It shows me that besides the slutty look... I'm not really a judgemental person.  Otherwise, Joey would be more judgemental than he is. (that's logical, right?)

If girls could just keep things a little more covered or sometimes looser, we could all get along.  Shorts are not supposed to be the same size as your underwear. Having your boobs hang out of your shirt might be great at a nightclub,but I don't need to see that at Wal-Mart.  Skinny jeans and 4" heels can really only be pulled off by Beyonce.  And I know this sounds REALLY old fashioned, but here it goes:  just because you have the body to pull off a bikini doesn't mean you really need to wear one.  Yeah, the whole everyone has one, doesn't work for this Momma.  Don't care.  Not going to say that everyone who wears one looks slutty, but just saying my daughter isn't wearing one.  You can look more attractive covering up a little bit then putting it all out there.  I know that makes me sound really old, but little triangles covering up my baby girl is not going to work.

There it is.  My judgemental self is out there now, warts and all.  If your one of those Momma's that let your teenage daughter wear the triangles for a swimsuit or underwear for shorts, I apologize now for the thoughts that will go through my head this summer.  Being a mom to a teenage girl is hard and we have to make tough decisions. In some ways, I guess I am more conservative than I thought.  I know that there are times, my daughter does not agree with me, but I am hoping that in long run -- she will. 

Saturday, May 6, 2017

My Baby Boy

This school year has gone by so fast.  As my kids get older, it seems to go faster.  Hoping at some point that time will once again slow down again.  The whole take time to smell the flowers kinda thing.  I have a yard full of irises, lilies, and peonies but not home very long to actually enjoy them. I am not going to complain though.  I wouldn't want it any other way... most of the time.

I have a senior again this year.  (Proof that God does have a sense of humor!  Seriously, have a 8 month old and find out your pregnant again!  hahaha.... after the tears!!)  It's is different from Joey's senior year.  Joey's there was A LOT of tears because there was the lots of "lasts".   His last time marching in the stadium for the last performance on the football field.  His last play.  His last spring concert.  You get the picture.  I was dehydrated before graduation!!  Luke's has kind of been the quite senior year.  All of a sudden and it's like what do you mean it's your last week of high school????  Wow!  I finally got a couple more senior photos done and I still haven't even got his cards printed!!

Isn't he handsome?  Yeah, I'm his Momma and I am supposed to think that.  He is my quite middle child.  My child that has taught me the most.  He has made me a better person and a better mother.  Through the years, I have learned to be strong and to fight for my kids.  The past 13 years of school has not been easy for Luke or me.  I have cried, prayed, pleaded, yelled, climbed the ladder until some one listened, and cried some more.  And, I would do it all over again.  He is worth it and so much more.  Parents don't give up.  YOU are your child's advocate.  If you won't do it, then no one will.  Don't always accept what some one in authority says.  You do what you believe is in the best interest of your child. 

We have had some wonderful teachers through the years.  They have hugged, been a shoulder of strength, and cried with me.  But, we have had some that really didn't care.  When Joey or Faith have a bad teacher, they deal with it and succeed despite the teacher.  When Luke had one of those teachers, it could ruin his whole year and affect his attitude towards the coming year.  You know your kids better than anyone else on this earth.  It's harder when the child is quite and keeps things to himself a lot, but I can't stress enough to take the time to notice their behavior and attitude.  It can tell you more than their words say when they get older.

We have made it to his senior year.   It's been an awesome year.  He finally has straight A's.  We've had a joke all year that it has taken him 13 years, but he finally got straight A's.  :D  I am proud of the person he is becoming.  Only God knows what his future holds, but God has brought us this far so my trust goes to Him.  Luke has learned a lot his senior year with a few great teachers that really care about him.  My prayer is that God will protect Luke and guide his footsteps.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Life of a Teenager

One of the facts of my life right now:  my kids are big.  That does come with some perks.  No fighting over what clothes to wear...most of the time.  No more Bob the Builder (Luke), Dora the Explorer(Faith), or Bear in the Big Blue House(Joey) playing loudly through the house.  Although, I didn't mind watching Sponge Bob.  There isn't anymore getting frantically shook at 5 am on Christmas morning.  Nor is there playing at the park and pushing swings.  okay....that seriously went to sad and depressing.  :(

It is a part life that I am slowly accepting.  The good and the bad.  As my kids grow and change, it also changes me.  When my kids were small, teenagers seemed like they were from another planet and that stage of life really intimidated me.  I am on my third teenager now and I am like "bring it!"  Okay -- not everyday.  But there are some days I can say that!! :D  And being around 10 or more
teenagers at the same time is normal now.  My boys have warped my sense of humor but if you ask them -- they gave me a sense of humor.  I get guy humor now.  Unfortunately.  First time I watched Rat Race, I seriously left and read a book.  Boys thought it was so funny.  Years later, watched it again -- I was laughing so hard I was crying.  I won't even say some of the other movies I find funny now.  It is not something I am proud of.  You would think I am really stupid.  Let's leave it as, my boys have definitely changed me.

My boys are practically grown and I am on to a different species now. I just want to take a moment and say Thank you to God.  I wanted two girls and two boys.  God probably laughed at that request because He knew these years would come.  I've heard many horror stories that once their daughter went into high school their eyes rolled back in their heads and starting spinning around possessed by something that was not their sweet baby girl.   The stories are scary and I am hoping they are exaggerated.  I am praying that my daughter stays her sweet, level headed, Jesus-lovin' self.  That not only will I love her the next couple years, but that I like her as well.  I'll be a second mom to as many she brings to me, but I don't want to be the one they roll their eyes at and makes them clean their room.  :)

I am learning to enjoy each phase of my kids lives.  Not to take it for granted.  Soon enough, they will be graduated with real jobs and families of their own.  Let's not rush into it.  The real world is not always as much fun as you think it will be.  Joey has kinda realized that since graduating high school.  Those days you wish would be over, soon enough are -- and your kids get just a little bit bigger. You wonder were the time went.  And you would like some of it back.