Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Teleporting to the Heart


I recently did something I've never done. It caught me totally off guard, made me a little nervous,  and floored me with it's awesomeness. And yes, I googled later. Don't laugh.

I have great kids. Full of heart and spunk and uniqueness, each one, but also tenderness, compassion and love. I don't care how awesome your kids are, though, they will ALL give their parents a hard time. As a parent, you can only hope you're not completely screwing them up. You don't wish for them to go through hard things, ever, or make the youthful mistakes you made. We all had to forge our own way, though. To get to where we are today. It makes us who we are today.

As a Christian parent, you also hope that your child chooses to also follow God, to be a believer, to pursue a relationship with the Savior. I can see God active in each of my children's lives and hearts, but some days I worry about one more than another.

One night at bedtime, as I was partaking in "the ritual" with one child, the only child who requires a tucking-in ritual, also the same child who gives me the most grief and gray hair, he asked me, "Mom, when will I be born-again?"

Uuuhhhhmmmm... What? gulp. wow. Wasn't expecting that. 

and......YAY! 

Uh...uh...uh.... Now what do I say??? 

So I just told him that it's not like the same as when you are born out of your mom's tummy. It's more something that happens in your heart, when you ask Jesus to come live there.

How does he get there?

You say a prayer and ask him to come into your heart.

You mean, like, does He teleport there?

Bwahahaha. Um, I think you watch too much Dr. Who, son. But yes, it's kind of like teleporting. It's just a feeling that you get. You believe, you know, that he does, and that's called faith. 

I asked him if he knew what born-again means and we talked about that. He asked how big your heart is and I explained the fist/size thing, but that that's not where Jesus lives, really. He lives in our "feelings" or our mind.

It was interesting.

And then he just looked at me.

The kid who never stops talking was silent.

*Can you say 'pregnant pause'?*

Maybe it makes me a crappy Christian, but I have never actually led anyone in that prayer. Oh gosh. Help! I'm not prepared. How do I do this? Will I do it wrong??

Realizing that this was my cue and the time was now, I asked him if he wanted to pray that prayer. He nodded assuredly. And so I led him in prayer.

Let's just say, I wasn't expecting that. But WOW!

Kids will certainly surprise you. But so does God. With this child, he thinks a lot about going to heaven, about being with angels and having wings. He thinks about what it's like in heaven, what he'll do there. He makes me realize I have biblical homework to do about end times stuff. :) When we were talking I also said that God makes him special. That how God speaks to him will be special to just him, and what plans He has for his life are special. Because of struggles he has had, I said that even our parts that we may not always like, God created for just a special purpose.

And that's true. He creates us as we are, even the parts that we see as negative characteristics, God has purpose in those. This fact, that there is purpose in everything, is something we as parents need to realize, and give to God to help those areas grow to bring glory to Him. We need to call the good things out, speak them into life, which helps those blessings grow and come to pass. Those things that seem insignificant? They aren't. Because God made them. And we have NO IDEA how important they just might be.

The even cooler part of the story is what happened the next morning.

He's one that likes to be the first one up or the first one dressed. (Consequently he's also the one who takes thhhheeeeee looooonnnnnggggest to do so.) Well his sister, excited for an activity at school that day, was up and dressed before everyone. He got really upset and started to fall back on old habits, saying "I'm stupid. I'm the stupidest. I hate myself."

Normally this frustrates, angers and saddens me. That morning, I just looked at him and said, "Kid, GOD doesn't think that at all. Those are satan's words he's trying to put in your head so don't you believe them."

He just looked at me and said. "OK." And that was it. It just clicked.

Blow. Me. Away.

Halleluja!!!

You have no idea how many times I have struggled in hearing those words and getting him to stop saying it. But now he had God in his heart and that was all he needed. Still blows me away to think about it.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Soup and celery and friends.


I'm feeling a little under the weather this morning. A nice hot pot of Creamy Chicken Wild Rice Soup sounds heavenly to me on this dreary, cold and rainy day. But I'm out of celery.

---

I think I went about 10-15 years not really having any friends. I mean, I had "friends," people I knew, people from church, people from bible studies, the occasional roommate, coworkers, etc, but no real, close, emotionally or in vicinity, friends. That was tough. Really tough. I'm a person who needs people, feeds off people, draws my energy from those around me. Largely extroverted, and definitely a verbal processor, it was challenging to me emotionally and spiritually. I met my husband during that time, which helped, but he, being highly introverted, and a guy, and my spouse, did not fill all the needs I had for true, deep, honest, real and raw friendship. Then I had five children. And I live in a small town away from all my other "community." Talk about isolating.

Even before I met my husband, I prayed and prayed for friends. I dated "the wrong guy" for two years too many just because I was lonely. I had lost the intimate, and in some cases any, connection with friends from high school and college, and while my year in Spain helped form new connections and span the bridge, I was still alone. I thought even God had abandoned me. I cried out so. many. times. but felt like my cries were not being heard. Why was I suffering? Why was I alone? Why had everyone, including God, abandoned me? What was wrong with me? I longed for a partner, but yet had to watch all these younger kids pairing up and getting married, some even starting families. My heart cried out in desperation.

So husband and five children in a small town where everyone knows everyone except me, I don't know anyone except my neighbor who was busy with her own large herd of children, another mom "phone friend," and thru my awesome church, I had found enough community and connection that it staved off the extreme loneliness and desperation. I made a few connections, however superficial, with other preschool moms, so that helped too. I still dreamed for that friend who lived "next door", who had kids of similar ages, who I could hang out with in our pajamas for coffee, or do laundry together, watch my kid in a pinch, take walks with, just live life together, share our faith together. While I dreamed of it, I didn't crave it the same way I had. The problem is that we're all so busy. No one, adults with families and jobs and lives, has the time to invest in building that kind of relationship and intimacy. It's hard enough to work on our marriage relationship and family relationships that we often don't have the energy, and so many people build up walls creating this image of a perfect life that they have a hard time being real. But I'm not a beat-around-the-bush person. I will tell you honestly what I think, and honestly what is going on in my life. I just don't have time for all the bull-crap. 

Then, two years ago, something happened.

I met TWO people. Both completely separately, both completely different relationships. And it is definitely a God-send.

One friend has boys. And she trained for a 5K with me. We occasionally have drinks at one house or another, laughing til the wee hours of the morning. We talk about faith. We kid-swap. We get real. I can be honest and blunt and I love love love that she's honest and blunt too.

The other friend has girls. She's also the Girl Scout leader and does and AWESOME job at it. We fill our bored and lonely SAHM hours talking on the phone while doing dishes. We scheme. We do "dance mom" together. We carpool. And kid-swap like crazy. She is creative and spurs me to create. We laugh and joke. We talk about tough stuff.

Not to devalue the other friendships I have, because those are important too. What they contribute to my life, and I to theirs, is very important and has it's own special place. But the proximity factor here allows for us, my two home-town friends, to share life. To help each other out. Because as I stopped to get cough drops for a child at the gas station, I ran into one friend who lost her phone. So she used my phone to call the other friend (who does daycare for her) about an early drop off. And since that other friend was in town, I called her later and asked her to pick up celery for me, and she then asked if I could watch the other's kid since she was going to be late. So I ran down to her house to alert said friend and get the child, and we all three ended up meeting at my front door. I love this. I love my life. I love my friends. I fell so utterly blessed and I thank God daily for these two awesome women.

And now I am going to go make some wild rice soup with that celery. With a smile on my face.


Friday, March 7, 2014

A completely uneventfully great day

We had a good day today.

That's noteworthy enough. :)

We have had a rather long string of pretty bad day, busy days, challenging day, nothing accomplished days, which don't make for good days. At least 2 weeks of them. I'm so glad for the change. Not sure if the stars aligned or all our meds are finally working or if God just knew I needed a break. Whatever. Hallelujah!

After the hubs and I had some things that we "discussed fervently" for 5 1/2 hours yesterday, I woke up to a love/encouragement/apology text. That's a pretty good way to start the day, which I might add I have been doing at about 6:30 lately. What the heck? Is it just the sun getting up earlier or an effect of my happy pills? Today I decided to get up (different from merely waking up at that hour and still laying in bed as long as possible) and make some chocolate banana bread muffins for the kids lunches. Mmm... Also a good way to start the day.

Then I did some random stuff like order contacts and put away dishes, make lunch and start supper. I had taco salad (whoop whoop for good choices), and start our supper of country style pork ribs, seasoned last night. I have not had any desire to cook or clean lately. Bad days really zap the life out of you, but today I had a little zest for that, and it felt good. Such a better feeling than throwing on hot dogs or chicken nuggets last minute. Again. For the 5th day in a row. And since I knew we were going to be gone after school, I got the ribs in the oven early so when we came home all we had to do was pop them back in for a quick warm up, boil some potatoes, heat some corn, and viola! Delicious, home-cooked meal. For once. 

The little Mr. so graciously helped me wash dishes today (did an ok job washing the dirty ones and a fantastic job washing the clean ones). Having had so much fun, he didn't want to miss out on the opportunity to help me clean the bathroom. Well, jump right in, little fella. Right in to the bathtub, that is. The place he's been avoiding like the plague for the last month. He thought he was washing the tub. Little did he know he was getting clean too. Ha!

After school, despite a slight delay from the child who typically causes delays, we did a Girl Scout cookie booth at the mall where we sold reasonably well. It was kind of miraculous, even, considering I had both little boys with me with not much to do but sit for 2 1/2 hours and they behaved quite well. That deserves it's own hallelujah. Once home, everyone was calm. Tired out? I don't know. But there was no fighting, no noteworthy tantrums to speak of, and the only drama was a little incident with the cat, but since I wasn't completely drained of the will to live, I actually had the energy to give a little love and pamper owies. Hugs and band-aids make it all better. Sometimes moms need to give that just as much as kids need to receive it.


You know? It was nothing exciting. And I kind of liked that. I thought that was a story worth telling.


Saturday, March 1, 2014

Everything is Awesome!


As parents, we are faced with many choices. Some easy, some difficult, some obvious, some that should be obvious, some that are a gamble.

My girls headed off to Disney On Ice with Girl Scouts today. This overbooked mama would have LOVED to accompany them, but sometimes we have to say no, even to good things. Choices. However, I didn't want to leave the boys jipped out of all the fun (sometimes they get the short end of the stick), so I decided to take them to see The Lego Movie.

In case you are unaware, the theme song for the movie is called "Everything is Awesome!"



On the way home, Dillon felt that some injustice or great disappointment had occurred him and began to make up his own lyrics to the song.

Oh, the choices. Laugh or cry moments. I chose laugh. Because crying is lame.

As Dillon began to sing "Everything is Stupid. Even Mom is Stupid," Lucas retorted with "Everything is fine. Everything is Okay."

Ha. Gotta love how the universe balances itself out. And yay for my little man sticking up for me.


Saturday, February 22, 2014

Selfish Mommy


I'm having one of those parenting moments where I feel truly selfish. And yet, I feel justified, 


and HORRIBLE.

I have a child who is challenging. And then half of the time he's really challenging, and about five percent of the time he's oh-my-gosh-I'm-going-to-tear-my-hair-out-I-don't-know-how-to-parent-or-survive-this-Lord-help-me-breathe challenging. Right now is one of those moments. Ok, that's probably exaggeration. Maybe it's just a "really" challenging one, but in the thick of it, even those plain old challenging ones have a desperate quality to them.


My selfishness comes in not wanting to give him a hug. (gasp!) Not hug him. As a lesson, that you don't get to say unkind things and then expect that it doesn't effect others. As payback, for saying unkind things, or things you don't mean just to hurt someone (me). And, because who wants to hug someone that just said something mean to you?

Yes, I am the adult; he is the child. At least technically. But should I "reward" unacceptable behavior with a hug? No. Is a hug a "reward"? uh.... Probably not. Should I offer grace and forgiveness? Yes. Should I love him even when he's "unloveable"? I'm going to step out of my selfish shoes and say, yes, especially then. But those other thoughts are still swirling around in my head. Giving him a hug is not topping the list of things I "want" to do right now.

And so he's blubbering away. Causing a real commotion, keeping siblings awake, spurring them to beg forgiveness and mercy on his part. I am unmoved. He comes downstairs, following me. I try to talk to him about it. Try to reason, to help him see, to understand, to empathize with others. To apologize and mean it. He doesn't, clearly. He says it again. And then is upset when I, again, state that I won't give him a hug, good night go to bed.


Yes, it's true. I'm a mean, awful mom not worthy of the title.


Sometimes this job sucks. It's very pushy-pully with the flesh, and working one's "kinks" out. MY kinks. Ugh.

I text a friend. Sure she'll back me in my unloving behavior. She doesn't. Whaaaa????

Damn. I really am being "the worst mom ever."

sigh.

sigh again.

He stands here. Crying. Complaining. That he's cold. That his feet are getting tired. So would I just give him a hug already?

But you don't like me. Why don't you go get a hug from someone you like?

Because I want one from you.

But I don't want to hug you after you say mean things to me. 



We argue like this for a while.



Finally, I suck it up. And give him the lamest, most half-assed hug ever.

It is enough for him and he goes to bed. Satisfied.

Satisfied that he got a hug/love? Satisfied that he won? Satisfied that his nightly routine was completed? What?

I can't let it go. I feel defeated. frustrated. angry.

What did I just teach him? Anything? Selfishness? That words hurt? That there are consequences? That we need to think about what we say or do? That if he just pesters mom she'll eventually give in? That I really am mean?


UGH!


I think I've just proved to the world how completely imperfect and awful I am. I'm sure you feel much better about your own mothering or humanism. You're welcome. 

Join me tomorrow for another installment of encouragement in the form of "at least I don't suck as much as that mom." (Oh, you know you have those thoughts sometimes. It's ok. Go ahead and admit it. I won't tell. ;) 


Truth: parenting is hard.

Another truth: it really pushes you as a person and forces you to grow, uncomfortably. Much like marriage. *cough cough*

Point to consider before becoming a parent: If you like being comfortable, stable, and not pushed, do NOT become a parent.

Another point to consider: there is no such thing as a supermom, as a perfect parent, as this idyllic mom who does everything well (or at all) all the time. No one can juggle that many balls, or have all the answers, and never have one fall, or make a mistake, or lose your voice from yelling so much cool. Seriously. It's a fantasy. A fallacy. NOT REALITY. And no one likes the mom who pretends she is that. Because it's a tough standard by which to compare oneself and no one likes to feel inferior. Personally, I all for transparency. So just lay it all out there for the world to see, scabs, bruises and all. And hopefully no one will call Child Protective Services on you. :D




Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Whooooaaaaa!


WHOA! I just looked at my blog, and boy, my posting habits last year were pathetic. Eleven for the whole year. That's awful.

I guess it's a indicator of 1. life is busy, 2. sometimes life is hard to blog about, and 3. well... it's a continuation of the life being hard bit but more like, you're worn out from all that busy hard stuff, to talk about all the awesome fun stuff that goes on. You feel like saying "Whoa! Slow down. I need a break." And some wine. Lots and lots of wine.

Right now, we are knee deep in dance stuff and it's about to get even busier. Both girls are in dance again, plus Koko is in competition dance this year. I should tell you I, just tonight, put faux hair pieces and fake eyelashes on my daughter and it freaked me out a little. WHOA! I've never even worn fake eyelashes. Girlfriend wears them like a pro. I should not be surprised.

Hopefully we are back in the swing of going to school and can get back with some kind of steady rhythm. I feel like we've just had one big "vacation" since Christmas. We've had lots of "snow days" (due to extreme cold temps and wind chills mostly - big whoa for the weather), plus last week they had two days off for end of semester. All equaling 6 days in a row at home, stuck in the house because of bad weather. I was MORE than happy to send them off today, even if it was two hours late. Only to dive into a day of errands, which included getting a spur of the moment (and FREE!!!) biofeedback testing, and subsequent supplement and diet regimen. I got home late this evening and realized, whoa! No dairy? No (non-sprouted) grain? FOR A MONTH?? WHOOOOOAAAA! How did I get signed up for that?? (I'm seriously considering having some oreo's right now and dealing with that all tomorrow. No?)

I had a pretty tough summer with the kids. We were not able to plan any vacation getaways so instead I tried to get the kids involved in some activities: tae kwon do, swimming lessons, dance classes, etc. combined with a few trips to a water park. What it did was made for a lot of driving. Fun, but there were some pretty rough moments in the car, as I have at least one kiddo who doesn't do that kind of confinement well. Combine that with some serious parenting challenges (especially from said kid), and this mama ended up on Zoloft. It's a funny thing about depression. No one wants it. But once you are willing to acknowledge it and get some treatment? Boy! So. Much. Better! I wasn't suffering from anything severe, but just like the life was zapped out of me, and the word "overwhelming" surfaced a lot. That and I was VERY irritable. As I described it to my doc, now I "just feel more even." In looking back, I've probably needed some help for a few years. Better late than never, I guess. I think hormones and aging also play a part in it, in addition to stress etc. (I turned FORTY this year! Whoop whoop! Oh, and that's Fabulous Forty, thankyouverymuch.) And my doc isn't one to want meds long term. She says 6 months, I'm thinking a year. We'll see. I am just now feeling like I'm recovering from last summer, and I don't want to wean from medication just to dive into the most challenging part of the year for me. Maybe next January. :D

Part of our parenting challenges have been in addressing some ADHD. One with the AD and another with the H and AD. My beloved eldest son has long struggled in school, and this year, in fourth grade, the challenges became undeniable as the ever widening gap became stark. It's a tough thing to "want" to put your kid on amphetamines, (because WHOA, first thing I read online was about recreational use of his med) but his response has been positive and clearly it was needed. His teacher has been very good at communicating with us. Thankful for great teachers. Now I just need to deal with the other child's issues, which will be the most time and energy consuming. But hey, it already is. :P 

My little Huggyface is getting so big. He's not a baby anymore. He's a big boy. Trust me. He'll tell you quite adamantly. But it's like, whoa. Slow down, little buddy. Mommy (daddy too) isn't ready for you to grow up so fast. Daddy keeps trying to convince him he doesn't need to speak in full sentences yet, or with such a wide vocabulary. It's not working. Just this evening, after I put the fake lashes on his sister, he said, "Oh, she's so adorable." haha. Really?  sigh.  Too funny. He's also quite the talker and will tell you some amazing tales. 

He also shared his first joke this morning. Wanna hear it?

Ready?

Now remember. He's 3.



Why was the kitty in the road?

Chicken butt!!!



Ahhhhh. I love it. I laughed. Pretty amazing for a 3-year-old to get the concept of a joke, and humor. And he also got the "why did the chicken cross the road" concept in there. Whatever. He is a guaranteed source of amusement.

And my little Cheeks, who isn't so little anymore, will be SEVEN! in a couple hours. Not sure what the plan is for her birthday. I don't think daddy will be home either (boo work, but blame the weather). A friend party is in the works but that will be a couple weeks off due to scheduling issues. As in, a FULL schedule. 

Boy. Time is flying by. Kids are growing so much. I miss having babies, but I am discovering how to enjoy this older age a little more. They're easy kids to love. Hopefully I'll be blogging all about them more this year. I guess, time will tell.





Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Season of Thanksgrumbling


**In searching for this graphic, I found out something very cool about this verse. It's listed word for word in the Bible several times. 1 Chronicles 16:34, 2 Chronicles 20:21, Psalms 106:1, 107:1, 118:1, 118:29, 136:1 and Jeremiah 33:11. That's EIGHT times. Wow!

I'm sure you've all seen the barrage of "thankful" posts on Facebook. The ones where, for the 30 days of November, people post what they're thankful for. This is a great practice, ...  that completely bugs the crap out of me. Maybe to me it feels like bragging? That I'm so bah-humbug I don't want to hear about all the good crap in someone else's life? That I'm not very thankful? Or maybe that I think people should do it in private? All year long? I'm not sure exactly what about it bothers me. I've thought about it. It's probably all that stuff. And I'm sure it points out a blemish on my own heart.

You can probably imagine my delight when reading through my lovely little devotional this month, each day - again - focusing on being thankful. I've been having to put in a MUCH more concerted effort to concentrate and get through these two little paragraphs. But I'm persevering. Sometimes. 

Strangely, *cough cough*, it's a lot easier for me to recognize these things in someone else, the Negative Norman's and Nelly's, than in myself. sigh. I guess the self-improvement continues. :)   Haha! Yeah, totally joking. The self-improvement will go on for  f.o.r.e.v.e.r  over here. (and I'm totally ok with that. I think.)

So when I read this little passage, I instantly thought of someone (or two) I know. After reading it about 12 more times, I think, it "could" be for me to consider and apply, too. ahem.

A constant focus on adversity defeats (you). (You) walk through days brimming with beauty and brightness seeing only the grayness of (your) thoughts. Neglecting the practice of giving thanks has darkened (your) mind. ~Sarah Young**


Let me repeat that: A constant focus on adversity defeats you. Hm. Ok. Yeah. I can see that. In me? Oh.... well. Yeah, I guess. "Your day is brimming with good stuff but you focus only on the bad." Pshhh. I don't feel defeated. Oh, wait. Yeah I do. gulp.

I was talking on the phone today, grumbling, about how people want to rush into Christmas and almost rush right over Thanksgiving, with the sales, putting up the tree, yadda yadda. Why can't they focus on the good of this season? On being thankful, on being with family, on extending a generous hand or invitation, on eating good food and relaxing?

Wait. Did "I" just say that? Why can't "they" focus???

I have a lot to be thankful for. Healthy, happy children, a loving, hardworking husband, a warm home, cars to drive, safety and protection, a cat I like even if he does pee on everyone's shoes (shhhhh. don't tell the hubs.) and money to pay the bills and cover all our needs. I have great parents, brothers I have grown to love as adults in ways I never thought possible as a child, great friends, a community of fellow believer people - friends - who send me cards of encouragement **IN THE MAIL**  when I have down days. Lots. to. be. thankful. for. I guess my speech needs to reflect that. My children need to hear my speech reflect that. I.... I need to hear my speech reflect that. And I need my dismal, critical, down in the dumps outlook to take a back seat.


Amen to that! ^^^ 

And a big thanks to those friends of mine who "let me" to see not only the speck in their eye, but the log in my own. ;)

 **Jesus Calling, November 26, please pardon my "alterations".