30 Day Challenge

5 02 2015

We are back here again. Sighs…

Glued to the Television. Sickness claimed our lives for a few weeks, and as usual we became accustomed to sitting in front of the Tele- wasting time. No more. No more!!!

We are over all the sickness now. We should be able to get right off the couch and carry on, but it is never that easy.  We all have some form of ADHD in our house and TV is ADDICTING!! When we are done with our daily routine of schools work and chores the first thing we want to do plop and play! No more! NO MORE!

I played with this idea a few years ago when we started homeschooling. I actually took the TV to Goodwill and gave it away. My children were traumatized and crying as the volunteer timidly backed away from the rear of the car. I felt like a horrible mother.   Things will be a bit different this time.  I don’t feel horrible. I won’t be giving this one away. We are going to leave it right in front of us. We are going to break this habit and find some more positives ones, like reading, playing games and getting outside. There are just too many other things we would be doing instead of sitting in front of a box watching other people’s lives go by; fictitious people at that.

I am the first to admit I have very little discipline, especially in regard to this particular vice. Most of this is about me, but some of  it is also about teaching my children how to discipline themselves. If my hubby and I don’t model how to do this, who will teach them? I want them to be able to recognize when they need to pull back if they are too involved in an activity.  I want them to not only recognize they need to limit themselves but I want them to have the confidence to do it as well.

Panic. Deep breath.

Anxiety is starting to creep in. I feel pretty jittery just thinking about cutting the cord to the TV.  I love my Downton Abby, Once Upon a Time, Modern Family and Supernatural. I have watched Law & Order SUV for 15 years too.  Deep Breath.  I can do this… I CAN DO THIS! I can show them that it does not need to run their lives!!!

I am not sure they will get all that from one 30 day challenge, but I am going to try. After all Rome wasn’t built-in a day and neither are life lessons.

~m

 

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Columbia: Our home.

13 08 2014

We love the military life.  One of the downfalls of this lifestyle the moving.  PCSing, which is short for Permanent Change of Station, brings about many challenges.  So often we find ourselves alone in our new surroundings because we move all over the world.  Family is typically too far to help and it is in our best interest to make friends quickly.  Friendships usually come last because we are so busy.  I know many families come and go to Fort Jackson so I thought I would help out a bit by sharing some of the places we have utilized at one time or another.  Maybe this will help you explore the area we currently call home. Here are my top 5.

1.) The all important Hair cut.  I know you are itching to get one too. I bet you have not had one since your last duty station either.   I bet you are ready to cut it yourself!  DON’T DO IT!  The list of what we have to do is HUGE when we move.  I know you have been busy girlfriend.  I know how you feel…… So here is a big heads up!  Go see Chrissy Lupina at Salon Bella.  It is right outside the main gate on Forest Drive; 10 minutes on a bad day of traffic.  Seven years ago, another military spouse passed her name along and I have not looked back since!  I know a hairstylist is an extremely personal thing.  I know we have all kinds of crazy emotions when it comes to a stylist.  Chrissy will not only give a 20% discount for being military, she will also not do anything crazy unless you tell her to.  She is cautious and a great girl to talk to.  Her daughter works there too and if you want wild and crazy hair… like my daughter.. she will help with something crazy!  Remember the movie Steel Magnolias?  Well stepping into her parlor with all the ladies feels a bit like that.  She loves you, dotes on you, and if you need to bring your kids, she will gladly allow them in the salon!  Can I get an amen?!?

My hubby was deployed twice in between assignments at Jackson and we home school as well.  So when I  head to the salon, my whole crew comes in tow. Debbie also trims eyebrows and other things. I like her tool! Enjoy!!

Here is Link to her website: http://salonbellasalon.com

2.) Dentists.  Not our favorite place to go, but a necessity nonetheless.  We always have trouble finding a good one when we move.  So I have two recommendations for you.  One for the children, and one for you. Forest Drive Dental, who is our new dentist for our kids, can do both mom and kids if you prefer.  Dr. Dover is once again located right outside the main gate down Forest Drive, located directly across from Shandon Baptist Church, so you can check that out too.  Many people are patients of a few of the larger dentists in the area  and we have tried some of them.  Not only is Dr. Drover cheaper than many others, but she does believe in utilizing alternate therapies.  My younger son Larkin needed 10 cavities filled and it cost me about $250 less than any other dentist.  She also did not do the 3 “recommended” root canals on baby teeth!  Dr. Staci Gaffos is another great dentist located of I-77 and Two Notch Road.  I prefer him because of his patient staff.  They are willing to jump through the hoops I needed in order to get my bit splints.  I grind my teeth and they help with that process.  Tricare will pay for them, you just have to know the process and have people dedicated to make that happen.  He does!  His number is 803-788-360. Call an make an appointment today.

 

3.) Therapy.  With the state of our military and the expectations as well as burdens placed on families, this is a must.  Lake Psychological Services is just another hop, skip, and jump out of the main gate again..  Take I-77 to Two Notch, which is the gateway to the North east of Columbia.  It is a half mile off the freeway.  If you are having problems in your marriage, this is a way you can get your spouse in without their command knowing.  Take them into the session with you.  She also runs a Bioneurofeedback clinic.  It is an alternative therapy to medicine for depression, mild autism, ADHD, epilepsy and anxiety.  The Neurofeedback clinic is not covered under Tricare, but it is worth every bit of the out-of-pocket expense.  Coupled with talk therapy, which is covered under Tricare, great strides can be made in these treatments.  I am living proof of its benefits as are both of my boys. There are plenty of therapists in her office besides Dr. Lake.  My hubby, who is the active duty spouse, has seen Wendy Davis as well.  They also have a psychiatrist on staff.  Many a military spouse have received help from this office.  I have yet to hear anything negative.  Call Sam, who is the office manager, he will walk you through the authorization process.

The link to their office is as follows: http:://lakepsych.com

 

4.) Chances are if you are heading to a therapy office, you should pop in the EFMP office on Fort Jackson too.  It is located right off Strom Thurman Boulevard on post.  Mrs. Cheryl Jackson is a godsend.  In charge of the Exceptional Family Member Program, she will do every thing in her power to obtain the services you need for yourself and/or your family members.  My family and I have benefited immensely from the love of her and her supporting staff.  Go to the Fort Jackson main website page and scroll on the tab marked Garrison, then scroll on the “Exceptional Family Member” link.  Once you get there, they will have a EFMP resource link on the left corner.  In the guide contains links to all the support organizations in Columbia.  The EFMP Resource guide was the brain child of another former military spouse.  She understood what it was like to move from installation to installation and not have any idea what was offered in lieu of support services for families with special needs.

Here is the Fort Jackson website: http:://fortjacksonmwr.com

 

5.) This last little tidbit is for those who have little ones at home.  Head over to Northeast United Methodist Church in north-east Columbia.   The drive will take about 20 minutes from Fort Jackson.  One of our ministries of our home church is a military MOPS chapter that meets twice a month.  Mothers of Preschoolers is a national support group for mothers with young ones.  Grab your little ones and head on over.  There is a large group of military spouses there willing to guide you in pretty much any aspect of motherhood.  Plus you get two hours of alone time from the kiddos!  The other two weeks a month the church has a mother focused bible study.  There is child care for this as well; it is the same day and time as MOPS (just the alternating weeks).  Lastly, on the first Friday of each month (during school months), the church has a First Friday movie night for kids.  It is two hours alone with hubby, or by yourself too.  The cost $2 per child with a $5 family cap.  Head right down the road to Sandhills Mall and enjoy some window shopping, desert or even a quick dinner.

Here is the link to the churches website: http:://www.neumc.com

Get your engines started and enjoy exploring Columbia. There are a few other aspects I will be writing about additionally in some following blogs. Public schooling, private schooling and homeschooling are big concerns for military families.  Many families in the military prefer to home school and I will discuss that too. Many businesses offer discounts to military families and I can let you know what we have found. Churches will be the next focus. Columbia has pretty much any denomination for being a small southern city.

Blessings!

Michele

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





Possession

7 08 2014

Possession is nine tenths of the law.
We have all heard this at one time or another pertaining to various objects or things we own, especially in disputes over them. How does this apply to our children though? Sitting here in car pool line for VBS , I just can’t let go of something my dear friend Lori said in an earlier conversation.

“Nobody has the right to be around your children. You decide who has the privilege. You are the gate keeper to that access.”

I never took that honor seriously until I started homeschooling. Who we associate with, who we spend time with, sends a silent but unequivocal heavy message to our children.

Heavenly Father commands us to love our neighbor. Jesus asks Peter three separate times if Peter loves Him. Each successive time Peter confirms His love for Jesus, He commands him to tend to His flock. ” Feed My Lambs”, ” Shepard My Sheep”, and “Feed my sheep” (Tyler 2010) Jesus expects us to love one another. Heavenly Father expects us to accept people where they are at too. Ponder those words for a moment. How do you model loving your neighbor to your children? What type of boundaries do you set for loving them? What do those boundaries look like?

I am noticing a disturbing trend over the years. Parents do not seem to be modeling any boundaries for there children. There seems to be a Laissez-Faire attitude towards parenting. Children don’t just pick things up, they need guidance and nurturing.

Our neighborhood has provided many opportunities to love our neighbors with boundaries. Homeschooling placed this at the forefront of our discussions many nights at the dinner table. We live In a lower middle class area, with high crime. Break ins occur frequently. Theft of Christmas and Halloween decorations occur yearly! Neighbors do not take care of their homes like they should and this just encourages those with bad intentions even more.

Access to playing with our children for some of my neighbors is strictly monitored. Some are no longer permitted access any more either. It has to be this way, as Heavenly Father placed it on my heart. Sexual predators are everywhere. Many parents here don’t give a thought about knowing the neighborhood children at all. Many parents do not take the time to even introduce themselves to other parents either. I am not that parent.

Over the past few years, several of my closest friends have dealt with some sort of sexual abuse in their neighborhood or home.
The last 24 hours, I have been on my knees praying for a sweet friend and her daughter. Her daughter refuses talk about what happened to her. All the signs are there. She had been sexually abused somewhere in her short life. Her anger runs deep. She hides her suffering quite well.

This has to be acknowledge and nurtured…..No matter how painful, because any type of abuse, especially sexual is generational. Generational. It will repeat itself. Parenting mindfully is a lot of work. Memories of my own deep dark secret crept up during this time. I never told anyone about my sexual abuse. I shoved it down and hid it. Unlike so many children, I walked away and did not allow it to define me. A neighbor, someone trusted by my parents, inappropriately touched me. These incidents, coupled with a recent one involving a neighborhood child and my daughter reset all our family boundaries.

A little girl in our neighborhood inappropriately touched our daughter. Thankfully I walked in on it. After a long conversation with her mother, my gut screamed denial on the all ready over worked and over burdened neighbor. But my first concern is Darbylynne. Not pleasing her mother or saving her child. Cold hearted as this sounds, I will not allow this happen to her.

Sexual abuse scars the soul. Those scars heal very, very slowly. No longer do I trust people so freely. I have no problem accepting people where the are at, but they will not have access to my children until I know they are safe to be around. We will meet the parents of our neighborhood children, or we will not play with them. Getting to know a bit about them is paramount before my kids are allowed in their home, or even having their kids in ours. I used to feel sorry for those less fortunate than myself and go overboard in my classroom and in my neighborhood to help others. I would sacrifice to help others, I still help when am able but I will not sacrifice my self or my children. There are healthy ways to help others.

It is not a right to be in our lives though. It is a privilege.

I urge you to step outside your four walls and be an active participant in your neighborhood. Your children need you. They need to see you care about their friends. They need you to model how to love your neighbors with healthy boundaries.

Blessing,
M

Zan Tyler, Tools for Cultivating Your Child’s Potential (Anderson, IN: Apologia Press, 2010), 45





For whom do I speak?

16 07 2014

Matthew 10:20

For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

I have messed things up. I have hurt people’s feelings. I have spoken with my heart though and relationships are messy. I have loved others as I am called to, even when it makes no sense for the outside looking in. I have made mistakes. I am a sinner.

Living transparently with His guidance is tough. It is not cut out for the faint hearted. But nothing ever worth its salt is ever easy and if we rely on Him He will get us through it. He says so in Psalms 91.

Unfortunately, too many of us hide behind our fears. Heavenly Father wants us to speak and act boldly. He encourages us to follow Him even when it makes no sense, He expects us to act even when we are overwhelmed and not at the top of our game. Sometimes people and their issues happen to get in the way, because relationships are messy!

I have been afraid to blog because of my fear of what others may think. This was a very difficult hurdle for me to cross over, let alone to admit too. To you my dear reader, I owe you an apology. To my Heavenly Father, I ask for forgiveness from straying from the path He placed before . I had a fearful heart. I was afraid to execute. I ask for His and your grace.

You see this past few years,I gave myself so completely and thoroughly to what my Heavenly Father called me to do.. I forgot that an attack from the other side was emmnant; attacked I was too.

One of the things that hinders my journey is my lack of knowledge on how to have healthy relationships. The mistakes I made caught up with during my time of focus hurt my relationships after. My other hindrance, which is low self esteem, was hijacked by the other side on top of that. So I kept hearing accusations whenever I returned to our current church. I kept feeling shame. Other peoples actions just magnified this situation. The other side used this to keep my relationship with Heavenly Father in a state of fear. I was unable to focus on my task at hand because of the noise I was hearing at church. The other side used my unhealthy relationships to make me feel even more unloved, unimportant and unwelcome at a place I used to love and cherish. For a child of narcissistic parents, this state of mind created another level of heartache. Whenever things fail in my life, I go to place where it is always my fault. This is how I was trained. There was never forgiveness from either my parents. It was all about them.

My relationships at church suffered also because of others humanness. The blockades to heavenly father continued to grow. It was just a matter of time before I stopped attending. Many other things played a part in this decision too, but coming out of it, I realize how beautiful my current friendship are now. They are transparent friendships, which led to spiritual growth and also emotional growth. Authenticity leads to transparency and many people today can’t handle authentic, transparent Godly relationships. Stepping away from some unhealthy ones, lead me to develop healthy relationships with boundaries for the very first time!

I have been told what we do in our family is not christian, it is Wiccan. I have been told I am too passionate. I have been told I am too pushy. I have been told that I may not be at the right church by one of our own pastors as well. People I once respected hurt my heart more than I could adequately describe. But I see now, this was not just about me, but also others.

For someone with my family history , these things ate at the very essence of my soul. My shame for the woman I became at this point was doubled while my husband was gone. But I pressed on.

My Native American heritage is mostly unknown to me. But what I do know and practice could be nothing further from anything dark. I know my heart for The Lord is beautiful and radiates. I am His to command. For the first time ever, albeit small, I understand what it like to be discriminated against for my heritage.

Two years was the length of time it took to come to terms with this situation.
Two years but worth every minute.

What I learned from all of this is walk strongly and boldly for Heavenly Father. Transparency, authenticity are the fruits of the spirit we are to share with one another no matter what the rest of the world does. There will be times when you are misunderstood. There will be people who will judge you. Despite your best efforts to be a follower of the great white spirit someone will always judge you. It will hurt. It may tear your soul up for a time too. Don’t give up though. He will be with you and He will love you despite your fears. Remember too that those in church with you are sinners as well. Otherwise they would not be there.

My prayer for you is walk, speak and act boldly every day for Him!

Blessings,
m





Streakin Shearins

20 10 2013

We are so hung up on clothes.  I am raising my children to be nudists.  Just ask my neighbors and my friends.  We bare all as a family.

Jeff had to of known something like this was coming.  It has always been hard for my army man to let go; to just fly like the wind. Raised Baptist, I have floored him a time or two during our relationship. The first time this happened was when he slept over. Yes we were one of those couples that slept in a bed and  did not have sex. My guy is just not that way…now  me on the other hand…..well….let’s just say I am well versed in sexual gratification. I digress  though, as that is a topic for another day.

We were studying late one night and he slept over. Well for those of you that do not know me, I am an exhibitionist and I prefer to sleep naked. Always have and always will. The red on Jeff’s face when I disrobed to sleep that night was well priceless!

Flash forward to a few years, with 3 beautiful children, and he is presented with an amazing opportunity again to be free. Who would have thought his wife would dare him the ultimate dare?  All three children love  the opportunity to be naked… yup… I have had enough time alone with my babies to encourage them to be as free as I am.. My hubby has been deployed 4 times, what else could I have done?  I implement my grand vision. I want to take the world over one nudist at a time!

So, he came home from Kuwait and we went to Beaufort, SC. We rented a house in St Helena. Located on the most serene, private part of the marsh, how could I resist? We both just woke up. The kids were fixing breakfast when I did it. I dared him to run around the house (outside) naked!  He gave me that “your crazy ” look. He hemmed and hawed. All the while, I egged him on. I mean I lived with this man for 14 years. I know what buttons to push!  The next thing I know, all three children were racing around and around the house; butt-naked.  After that first day, it became a daily activity after breakfast. The Shearin Streakers were born!  My children even tried to see who could run the most laps around the house!  Crazy, I know!

So what is the purpose of the story? Why expose the Shearin Secret Society?

These past few months, I have been evaluating my relationships. Many thing ran through my head just like a ticker.  Was I being the best friend I could be for each of my friends?  Was I honest in a loving way, a manner worthy of Him? Did I owe some friends an apology for some hurt feelings?  Did I need to better  myself in any way?  As I rolled these questions around in my brain, I kept coming back to two words; vulnerability and transparency.   How did these words play into my friendships………Was I vulnerable enough and transparent enough  with my friends, in  manner Heavenly Father would find worthy? I prayed and realized I needed to grow a bit more. I realized I was not.

Heavenly Father expects us to be our most honest and most transparent selves with our family and friends. He expects this in all of our relationships.  He wants us to lean on Him for direction, and comfort, but He requires we be active participants in all of our relationships. We grow  from every interaction within these relationships too.  We learn what personalities we can handle in our lives, while we figure out our strengths and weaknesses.  We learn our boundaries through a foundation of HIM.  We bring glory to Him when we are not only transparent with HIM in our prayers, but in our relationships with others.  Of course, we will run into some problems. We are humans and deal with humans.  Nobody said it would be easy to be vulnerable or transparent. In order to be Light in the darkness, we need to expose our selves. We need to open up our hearts to others and become vulnerable.  In order for the Light to emanate from us, we need to be transparent, just like all of us running around naked in Beaufort, SC.   Mind you, I am not encouraging you run around naked at this point in your neighborhood. I am just asking you to consider stepping outside your comfort zone with Heavenly Father at the Helm. Allow yourself to vulnerable and transparent in your relationships. He will do amazing things with you, I promise!

blessings,

m





Old Glory

10 11 2012

As we approached the Clemson road exit, we all notice the stars and stripes on the hill top at the Hyundai dealership. We missed our exit and I now know why. It was lit up like a Christmas tree. Majestic. Serene. Peacefully reminding us of its presence. At the same time we stopped, we were listening to the Celtic Wom
en sing “you lift me up so I can climb on mountains… you lift me up “. In that moment, we all marveled at the beauty of the size of that flag standing proudly before us. It was like we had a front row seat at a concert. The waves of the colors gracefully allowed the wind to caress them as they moved throughout the crisp night air. The movement was mesmerizing. Larkin could not believe the size of this awesome flag. He kept saying over and over…. “Mommy that is a huge flag. Have you ever seen one so big?” Shane said, ever so quietly in the back,”I wonder if they ever felt this way during the American Revolution. I wonder if they ever thought it looked this beautiful mommy.” A tear ran down my cheek. “Yes it is big Larkin. It is beautiful Shane…” Darby , the three year old, was next. She whined.. in a very sad, teary, and shaky voice,” I miss Daddy so much mommy. I miss him so much. I need him to come home”. I angled my hand back from the front seat.. and held hers for a long time… a long long time…we all sat quietly…I said,”I know baby. I know.” That moment in time, I will treasure in my heart. For one moment, we all felt the beauty, the tranquility and the awesomeness that our national flag stands for…..For one moment, I was so proud of to be a military wife. For one moment, we all felt so much gratitude for our daddy Jeff and those who fought in wars before now, while feeling the loss of him in our home.. Thank you to all the families who serve in armed forces. Thank you to my hubby for standing guard when so many would choose otherwise. I am forever grateful, as our my children