The Governor’s Charade

12 02 2015

COMMON CORE

Last Friday, my children and I were on an educational field trip to see Governor Herbert address the state school board in Salt Lake City.  We were learning how to use civic rights to free speech and expression.  I had hoped to influence the establishment to not renew the federal waiver (NCLB/ESEA) and hoped to influence them to consider withdrawing from Common Core and all its data-and-teacher-control-tentacles.  We also wanted to spread the good news:  that Mia Love’s H.R. 524, if it passed, might help enforce states’ constitutional rights to control education locally.

There we stood holding signs outside the door of the state school board meeting, my children and I:  “Vote No on NCLB Waiver” and “We Support Mia Love’s H.R. 524  (the anti-common core bill).

We couldn’t go inside the meeting because 1) one of my children is very young and noisy,  and 2) there…

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Know thyself…..

11 02 2015

” The unexamined life is not worth living” Socrates

No question here, for those that follow Heavenly Father, He is a distinct individual. His distinctiveness is shown throughout the whole bible in the form of what he abhors (sin) and what he finds good (love). He sets himself apart from us through his distinctiveness. As we become closer to him, though prayer and time with His Holy Spirit, we develop our own distinctiveness but with His worldview.

The defining of himself, is how he sets boundaries.  He is the example. As we walk this journey with him, we learn through Him the importance of defining our own distinctiveness.

Distinctiveness. Boundaries. Knowing thyself.

So what do I really know about me?  What have I taken the time to ponder and reflect on about me?

Have I engaged myself and examined my behavior? Do we as individuals take the time to do this any more?

Ponder. Contemplate. Think……

At this point in my life, I learned a few things.

I place a high value on communication in my relationships.

For years, my thoughts and ideas were synonymous with my parents.  In order to survive my house, they had to be. I had no idea of  “self” but through them. Research shows that children of abusive parents barely have any idea what boundaries are because those parents never knew them or taught them.  Those same children have a hard time also expressing an independent thought. Experiencing a double edge sword; they have no idea how to positively, effectively communicate in the midst of being unable to set up their own boundaries.

Through recent experiences, I learned people who have a difficult time communicating and placing the art of  it on a low list of  priorities are not people I wish to engage.  Harsh. Yes. But, relationships are built and strengthened with shared experiences. Just like our relationship with Him is through prayer and shared Holy moments. The Holy Spirit does not live in church alone. He is everywhere.  Taking the time to dwell with our friends bonds us together whether it is positive or negative. We need people to walk the trenches with us. We need others to teach us. How else do we see Heavenly Father? Communication goes a long way in creating boundaries and setting limits. Communication teaches us. Molds us. Defines us. Gives us Distinction.

Conflict avoidance is not a part of my genetic makeup.

This goes hand in hand with communication. People have come and gone in my life who avoid their responsibility in conflict resolution.  It is a part of my genetic markup to resolve conflict. Ask Heavenly Father. It is in His book!

Conflict is a part of every day life. We are all different and will inevitably have conflict that needs resolving. Avoiding it, hurts all parties involved and goes against the very nature of Heavenly Father.  It is His wish and desire that we embrace our differences, get in the trenches and work out our conflicts. We do have them  even with Him!!!

Have you ever prayed in earnest for something and heard, “No.” ?

 

Heavenly Father gave us a plan  for conflict resolution (MATT 18:15-20).  As we been a knee and pray each day, we are expected to take the time to discuss (with Love and Truth) any concerns we have with our brother or sister in Christ. Typically those that avoid conflict in one area of their lives, avoid it in all areas.

Sit back and observe those that do……

You can see conflict avoidance in the parent /child relationship, with their spouse and in their work environment. Not in my house. Not with my spouse. Not with my children. Not with my family.

This is another boundary for our family and my friendships. If we befriend someone who has a hard time telling their children no, we will not continue that friendship. “No”, sets limits. Heavenly Father sets limits. MATT 5:37 states,”Let your Yes be Yes and let your No be No; Anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” Set limits. Say No.  

Honest Vulnerability entangled in Loving truth.

Honesty. Vulnerability. Loving Truth. Each one has its own distinctive quality. Honesty is synonymous with morality, integrity and righteousness. Heavenly Father loves us and allows us the opportunity to repent of our sins and seek forgiveness. He allows others the same. He is honest with us as we embrace His Holy Spirit. He honestly deals with our transgressions whether we are ready to hear it or not. Is this not what friendships should do too?

Vulnerability refers to a child like faith. It says, ” I will allow you to hurt me, to show you His light.” Take a leap of faith with someone.

Loving Truth gives us the tool to say. ” I love you but this behavior is not acceptable for our family/ for our friendship/ for my work environment.”  Be loving in your truth,  no matter what it entails.  Be receptive to the words from Him whether from him or through others. Be willing to teach and  to be will to be taught. This is the foundation for boundaries.

Let your yes be yes, and your no be no. Define yourself though His Spirit and Word.  Take a leap of faith.  Learn about you, through Him. Allow others to help you learn. Be receptive. 

Know thyself…...

These are things I have learned about me. The execution is not always glamorous, but growth inevitably occurs.

What have you learned about you?

Blessings,

~m

 

 





Ignorance: The Human Disease

14 08 2014

Beautiful!

takingthemaskoff

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“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift. We will not solve the problems of the world from the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.” -Albert Einstein

Robin Williams didn’t kill himself, stigma killed him. It kills many people like him everyday. Here is how:

STIGMA, that is the reason people do not ask for help. STIGMA is the reason people do not go to the doctor and say I’m depressed, or I’m an addict, or I do not feel things like anyone else. Who wants to say that I feel all these intense emotions? When you know what the result is going to be. What we will do is we will give you medication. We will tell you to change, to just feel…

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





Mindfully spending time…

21 07 2014

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Recently our family ticker has focused on the theme of mindful parenting. For myself, it started a year ago with Heavenly Fathers insistence I become more mindful of who and what I spend my time on. For those of you who are unaware, homeschooling is not all about eating bons-bons throughout the day.  It can be a logistical nightmare if you do not learn how to effectively juggle.  You learn, and I might add very quickly, to juggle housework, schooling, spouse time, and the ever important personal  time to prohibit crazy mom syndrome from appearing,  all while juggling activities for  each childs’ individual needs.  It is not an easy feat.  Through this process, I became extremely  mindful about what we did as a family and as a school.   These lessons came crashing down pretty hard on my hubby all at once when Larkin needed him the other night.

Homeschooling is still new to him as he was on his 4th deployment when we experienced our first year. He missed so many things. During this past week off work, our son Larkin, who is shown in the above picture, broke out into another rash.  So often I submit my tired body to the cause of motherhood and whenever nurturing is needed, I jump in head first. Natural instincts kick in during times of stress. This time was different. My son requested his father’s presence until the medicine kicked in for the hives. He wanted Jeff to sleep with him and snuggle with him. This was new territory for both of us.

My hubby and I were never ones for co-sleeping with our children. I changed when we had Darbylynne.  It went into over drive when Jeff deployed.   I needed her with me because I missed him immensely. She was still small and I was lonely.  Additionally, the kids and I started weekly slumber parties.  Sometimes we would read or play games. Sometimes we would invent stories and often times we would pray together.   Now we are constantly asked if they can sleep with us. We even take turns snuggling with them and sleeping with them  in our bed or theirs.

After Jeff and Larkin’s boys night,  my hubby realized  how much the boys needed him. He felt it in his heart.  Keep in mind, I have been praying for this realization for Jeff for two years. I have told him repeatedly how much they need him.  He never felt it until now. It never really sunk in how much they loved him and looked up to him until Larkin expressed a need to be with him.  Over the last few days and series of conversations, this realization has evolved into the idea that what we give our children and what they need are two very different things. Sound familiar?

Three years ago we were paying for the best local private school in the area. I was volunteering and doing all the right things for our children; things that we perceived they needed in order to be successful in this world. The one thing we were not doing though, was spending quality time with them. Rushing from activity to activity was keeping us busy, and we were not mindful of what they really needed, which was our time.  By our actions we were telling our children that the things we do were more important than time we spent with them. Homeschooling forced us to be more mindful of whom we associated with; it forced us to examine what morals we wanted installed in their character. It forced us to reexamine every aspect of our parenting. Character become one of two focal points in our homeschooling education program; mindfulness of Heavenly Father was the other.

We are asked to spend time with Heavenly Father daily and weekly in prayer. We are asked to cultivate a relationship with him. Relationships take effort and time.  Doing things for our children is not the same as spending time with them.  It is in spending time with them, we learn about their personalities and we are able to guide them through their lives. Children need guidance from their parents. They need to be shown how to be Christian men and women in a fallen world and that takes effort and mindfulness on the parents part.

So many parents do the right things and forget to spend time. Society suffers because of this. Prison population is on the rise. Gang membership is on the rise. Teen pregnancy is on the rise as well.   So many parents do not have balance within their own lives to even notice the children they have given birth too. They are too worried about paying the bills and doing their job to even realize the gems they have right in front of them. They leave it to the schools, the neighborhood and the church to raise their children. Trickle down economics does not equate with raising children.

I am not boasting that our family way is the best way to accomplish mindful parenting and I certainly not saying that our way is the correct way. But what I want to challenge you to consider  are you spending enough down time outside TV, play dates, schoolwork, doctors appointments, activities and life in general with your children?  My husband had a great father, but he has no memories of spending quality time with him. He has no memories of sharing intimate thoughts or emotions with him either. He was expected to understand what manhood is without intimate guidance from his father, as was I when it came to motherhood.

I do not want this for my children. I don’t want to wake up one day and realize that I do not know them intimately, know their quirks, their fears or even what makes them laugh. Heavenly Father expects us to be transparent in our relationship with him as well as intimate too. You can’t be intimate with your children if you do not spend time with them, just like you can’t be intimate with Heavenly Father if you do not make time for Him either.

I really close friend of mine is about to lose  her father in law. In talking  with her yesterday and sharing her story with my hubby, all three of us came to some pretty deep conclusions. Our hearts ache for this situation.  This  man, who will be leaving  this world, knew  he fell short with his children. He was given the gift of more time with a  dilapidating disease.  He did nothing with it though. He never moved into a more intimate relationship with either of his sons.  So as his sons go to see him off, he leaves this world knowing he failed them and this causes baggage. Baggage that could potentially keep him from a beautiful life with Heavenly Father; his soul is in pain when it should be a beautiful time to rejoice. My soul grieves for all the loved ones involved here. I am not sure about you, but when I go see my Heavenly Father I would prefer to not leave behind any unfinished business.

My prayer for you today is you become more mindful of your time and who you are spending it with. I pray you find balance in your own life not only as a parent but also with your spouse.  I pray you are more mindful with how you spend time with your children. Lastly,  I pray they become the focus of your life after Heavenly Father.

Be at peace,

~m

 





Raising a Modern Day Knight, By Robert Lewis

29 05 2014

My husband created a contract for our two boys last year when he arrived home from his 4th deployment. The content of this book inspired him to “raise the bar” on character education in our home. One of the things I learned my first year of homeschooling is how important character education is in the development of our children. The mastery of any subject,  which is not limited to math and science, will come. A person’s character will determine their success.  It also determines what type of contributing member they will be in our society. How armed do you wish your children to be?  Each child moves at their own pace both spiritually and academically. But when character issues rear their ugly head,which of course they always do,  they need to be addressed immediately and many times over and over again throughout  the course of their lifetime.

The contract he created reads as follows:

Strength and Honor:
Strength: In mind and Body and Spirit.
~Mind– through school, reading, studying; be a life long learner.
~Body – through exercise, eating healthy, hard work, fun, rest; maintain a healthy balance
~Spirithrough prayer, church, Bible Study, fellowship; seek God always

Honor: God, Others, and Yourself.
~God – Love Him, Respect Him, stay close to Him, let others see His love through you.
~Others- Respect (give it /expect it), be honest, show kindness and mercy, love one another
~Yourself– Be confident, speak and act boldly; be responsible for your actions; hold fast to your integrity

For the next few weeks, I am going to prayerfully discuss each sub topic. Despite my limited knowledge of the Bible, I know we will learn something with each new blog together. I allowing Heavenly Father to work out the details. He does it so much better than I do.  I hope you will join me on this journey. My only question I have for you dear reader is which one should I start with first, Strength or Honor? Thanks for your input.

Blessings,

~m





Another miscarriage.

25 05 2014

It happened again. This time I had the honor of no notice; no warning signs at all. I went right into labor for almost 7 hours Monday night. It continued for the next few days until I had a DNC.

I do not want your pity, nor do I wish any sad looks in my general direction. Because I am afraid of that,  I am actually scared to show my head in church tomorrow. Why? I mean how silly to not want to go to church because I miscarried again. Reason being, with every look of pity, I am reminded of the loss that I experienced. I will see it in other peoples eyes. How do I combat that? With every “I  am so sorry”, I am reminded how much my faith is challenged each time it happens.

I am not angry. I am grateful for the time I had with my little ones. Even at 2 months the body changes. With twins it changes even more. I gained 15 pounds. I tried so hard not buy any maternity clothes. I finally broke down the week before because my bras were actually so tight they were hurting my back. But Heavenly Father has reasons for everything and it was time for them to go home. The last time it felt this bad was when I lost Brendan at 7 months. Heavenly Father may have not stepped in and stopped it but the blessings on the other side were tremendous. It took awhile but we had Darbylynne. I finally had my girl.

Another challenging part to all this is acknowledging my birthday. I am 44 today. We have been trying for 12 years to complete our family. One more. Just one more.This is where our mindset has been for a few years…. But for the first time, I am not sure I want to try any more. I will pray on this, but not yet. I am just too numb to do it right now.

It feels incomplete when we sit at the table. We are one short. Our family is just too small. Maybe it is time to consider adoption….This is the best way to describe why we kept trying.

But I am not sure we will try any more. Plans are in motion for my hubby to get fixed. Prayer is the focal point right now.. at least it should be.. but I just can’t go there yet. I can’t ask for His wisdom right now because my heart aches for the children we have lost since we started.