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

 

 

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Womb Woes

6 02 2015

Lord won’t you help me believe what I believe….

3 beautiful children.

Shane, Larkin and Darbylynne are gifts from my Heavenly Father for me to nurture and love.

Then why am I so determined to have another baby? Why can’t I be at peace where I am? What gives…

We recently discovered we are pregnant again. Not even 24 hours into this beautiful moment and I am spotting.  Last fall we miscarried twins.

Lord won’t you help me believe what I believe……

Admittedly, with each failed pregnancy a little bit of my hope dies… I feel a loss and sadness words just can’t adequately express. So why do I keep pressing on?

Lord won’t you help me believe what I believe….

I stopped praying for anymore children this past year. After 14 failed pregnancies including and ectopic pregnancy, stillborn and some other freak anomalies…I just stopped. I think the reason was two-fold. One, the look on my doctors face. It was a look I had never seen before. I look of pity, sadness and bewilderment.  Two, I just don’t know the next step; uncomfortably numb would be the perfect label of my current status.

My doctor was always in my corner. Until last year. It hurt to see her face as I walked away.

Lord won’t you help me believe what I believe…..

My soul aches for another.  My husband and I feel incomplete. My friend Lori, who is the epitome of wisdom in times like these, reminded me that this is my journey and I need to walk it which ever way it lays out.   She is truly a gem that Lori. Always supportive and never critical.  I just wish I understood why my journey has to look like this. I wish I understood the soul aching drive to not give up. Why on earth would  I elect to keep on going? Am I stubborn? Hard headed? Well, yes, have you not spent any time with me? But I suspect there is more here than that…..is this a test of faith?

Lord won’t you help me believe what I believe…

I wish I could  just say, “I’m done” and that be it!  But I can’t. Both my husband and I have tried to elect surgery and each time we receive and resounding, “No!” .

I spotted with my daughter Darbylynne. I had a cycle for two months. I was a bit overwhelmed and shocked I even became pregnant with her after losing my son Brendan.  He was stillborn at 7 months. We did conceive again though midterm through my hubbys deployment. She transformed our marriage and our family. Transformed it into His family. His Light in the darkness.

Lord won’t you help me believe what I believe…..

I suspected something was up this last week. Heartburn, tiredness beyond compare. You know,  the tiredness that shuts you down immediately.  Lights out before bed time!  Of course my chest was sore too and then there was my cat Mae Mae. She loves my belly when I am pregnant. Her claim was the final tip that sunk the iceberg. I took three tests. The last one was positive.

So instead of hiding the news, I told some of our friends.  I asked them for prayer too. We need prayer. Too many losses; for us not to ask would be a travesty.  We also decided to tell the kids again.

So often I have heard from friends to wait. We believe we need to celebrate the life inside us each and every time. We shortchange its value in our family, if we don’t tell them.

Hope… this is what it is about. Prayer begets hope and hope is a waxing right now. Lord won’t you help me believe what I believe?

The only difference between now and the other times is I am talking to the baby. Telling to it about its brothers and sister. Corny. Definitely. Time is precious though. There is worry in my heart over whether or not this one will make it. I don’t want that to be the only feelings it gets from me.

So to combat worry, I talk to the baby.  At the very least, the baby will feel the love we have for him or her.   They will know that Shane would love to have read and snuggle with him or her.  Making him or her aware of how much Larkin can’t wait to wrestle and play cars and take them on a bike ride warms my heart.   Letting them know how Darby eagerly awaits to practice her mommy skills on them too, just brings me joy. It is all I have right now. Other than prayer.

So we will celebrate the life inside and the lives we are committed to today.

Lord won’t you help me believe what I believe… this is my prayer for today. 

Blessings,

~m

 





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.

 

 

 

 

 

 





Beautiful relationships….

5 01 2014

It has been a long battle. I fought it with my mother; fought her unwillingness to reach out and touch me when it mattered the most. Then  I fought it within my own heart. The willingness to serve my daughter in a manner in which I was not served by my very own mother.  Today was the day, the day I  broke free from my anxiety. Today was the day my heart soared for the beautiful possibilities that lay  ahead  for both my daughter and I.  We have the potential to soar and be closer than I ever was with my own mother.  We have the opportunity through homeschooling to accomplish a level of closeness and intimacy that I could only pine for with my own mother for many many years. For the past year, I have agonized and prayed over when to home school my daughter. Why? Because I learned slowly that homeschooling a child, let alone three is not for the faint hearted. When you home school, you never have a moment alone and your life is not your own anymore. When you home school you change every aspect of how you run your family. This can be so overwhelming for anyone, but add another layer of not understanding how to be a loving, caring mother and good intentions will not be enough to get anyone through the challenges of homeschooling.  I never had an example of what that should look like; how to be loving, caring and unselfish.  We learn by our examples. I never experienced it. I had a deficit going into motherhood. I knew what I experienced as a child was pretty messed up.  I desired to be better. I knew I never really understood or enjoyed my moms company. I  never really spent any quality time with her either. Quality time for her was in front of the TV or playing by myself. The real meaning of motherhood was lost on me.

Grace, forgiveness and hope are the new parameters of  my mother and I’s relationship. Forgiveness for all “those transgressions” I encountered while under the care of her and my step father. Grace to see her for child of Heavenly Father  and accept her for where she is at spiritually as well as emotionally; a hurt being from a long list of painful ugly relationships. Hope that even if she does not think she is worthy of His love, she is and will know it someday. Hope that she  too will feel the unconditional love of our Heavenly Father through the relationships of her loved ones and friends.

Beautiful possibilities...

Beautiful possibilities…

This past holiday season I observed two sweet and long time friends loose their mothers. Ironically, they were both stricken with breast cancer. Their tenacity and drive to outlive their diagnosis did not go unnoticed.  They lived life large and in a manner that glorified Heavenly Father. Their love also knew no bounds.

Rene moved mountains to care for her mother. Lisa drove miles to ensure care was received. Healing occurred for both women. Time seemed to move slowly and death was at bay. But time only alludes us of deaths presence.  When Reetha and Sarah did move on, each of their daughters took an immense amount of comfort in knowing that their mothers walked with Heavenly Father once their bodies gave out. Each of my friends knew that they would see their mothers when their time was oncoming.  My friend Heather, in all her graciousness, provided  a wonderful example of how the hope of daughter could actually save a mother. Heather came into my life with a bang and a blessing months before these beautiful women passed. She shared her story with me and it moved me………

Forgiveness heals. Forgiveness gets rid of the spiritual cancer in the victims heart.

I have not talked to my mother for two and half years.  I had to walk away because of the toxicity her and I created in our relationship. It is unhealthy to say the least. Until I could forgive her and move on, it was truly hopeless. But with Him, all things are possibly. With him the mountains crumbled and I learned to forgive.

What struck my heart so boldly the other day was how much I ached for my mothers salvation. After hearing both Lisa and Rene talk about their mothers salvations I hurt for my mother. How much I felt a desire to share my fears with her of her salvation, or lack thereof. If I were a betting woman, I would bet that she still does not know our Heavenly Father at all. My step father ruined her. He trampled on her heart, the little bit that was left after a life of pain from growing up in  foster home after foster home was gone. Being the child of a madam in a whore house did nothing to help her self esteem either. Having a drunk for a father was another important relationship that shaped all successive relationships from then on in her life.

I never really looked at my mother. I never saw her for the hurt being she had become.

Then I forgave her.

I see her now. I see her in my daughter; my beautiful baby girl within whom I have been given beautiful possibilities to forge a strong relationship based on a  foundation of love.

I am not my mother.  I am a child of the one true King. I am daughter of Lord God Jehovah,  who has been given me an opportunity to love a little girl in a manner worthy of a child of Jesus. I am given the opportunity to reach out and love a child in a manner that I was never loved. How my heart soars! How my Heart celebrates in this joy!

I never thought I was capable of loving her so much. I never knew loving her would redefine my character. I never knew loving her and my sons would save me!  I never knew that loving her would finally show  my heart that there is hope for my mother and I.

Oh how my heart fills with joy in the possibilities of both of these relationships! How freeing it is to know that I am not like her! How awesome it is that I may not know how to be a loving parent, but my Heavenly Father has imbued within my heart the tools necessary to do so. I just need to walk with Him on this journey. I just need to take a chance and reach for her hand.

When I see my daughter,  I do not see a little me anymore. I see a smaller version of my mother waiting for me to love her wholly and without reservation.

Lisa and Rene, I am so sorry for your loss. My heart grieves on a level I can’t adequately describe in words for the two of you. I am so grateful you were able to experience the true love between a mother and daughter. You honored your mothers and modeled how to love your mother in a manner I have never witnessed. I shed my fear, because of your leadership. I shed my fear because of all four women.

Thank you!

Sarah and Reatha your presence is sorely missed. Thank you for loving your daughters completely and without reservation. You gave me the example I sorely needed.

I will see you when it is my time.

~m





Life with pets….

5 01 2014

Our family was driving in the car the other day, when we all pondered what life would be like without our animals. Besides 3 crazy children, we also have 6 furry four-legged babies.  They are Tahoe 7, Jimmy Buffet 5, Roscoe 5, Daisy Mae 14, Laci 8, and Chelsea 1.  All the boys are Bassett Hounds  and all the girl are cats.  Here is a fresh look at what we encounter often…

1. No longer the proud owners of a Kirby vacuum, we would enjoy the cost of a cheaper model without going into debt for the one that would withstand all the years of hair.

2. The game of “Search for the Hair roller,” would be non-existent. Who has hair?

3. There would be enough seating in our living room on movie night, it will never look like this….

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4. The side of our house would no longer be called,”Death Valley” since Laci would no longer leave behind evidence of  her recent fresh kills!

5.  Nightly midnight play sessions with Chelsea someones poor  feet would no longer be a main concern for myself, Jeff and our son Shane; we could sleep with the door open and  sleep un-interrupted.

6. Chelsea’s daily game of “chase Daisy Mae” would decrease our chiropractic bill, dramatically.

7.  No more wondering if the weather stripping that you re-placed around your doors will survive the cats. If we had no cats, they would not be stuck outside or in the garage and leave evidence of their extreme prejudice.

8. Our house would no longer be known as the “House with the Howling Hounds”.

9.  A daily 6am wake up call would be a thing of the past. No longer concerned about bathroom leaks, we could actually sleep in!

10. The people at Mill Creek will no longer recognize us and know our eating habits.

11. The garbage men would no longer be afraid to empty our garbage.

12. The wolf pack picnic table  in our backyard would no longer be a pack gathering spot.

13. Stuffed animals could breath a sigh of relief. Jimmy would no longer be around to eat them or , legos, shoes, and anything else left in his line of fire.

14. The Christmas tree would cease to be a trapeze for Chelsea, and it would no longer loose needles since she would not be there to sleep in it.

15. The floor beneath our kitchen table would have layers of old food from 3 messy children.

16. Our house food bill would go down, as the dogs would not be there to counter serf daily!

17. Lastly, rainy days would not make mom crazy. Paw prints would not be everywhere….

So if you get a hankering for a hound or a feline there will be moments of tension I guarantee it,  but the unconditional love that accompanies them is priceless!

Blessings!

m