Tuesday, December 18, 2012

What really matters in the grand scheme of things

The tragedy that took place on the 14th really has me questioning some things.  My parenting tactics.  What I do and do not tell my kids.  I had completely planned on not talking to my children about this tragedy.   They are only children once. It will be all too soon and they will feel the weight of the world on their shoulder....jobs, bills, responsibilities...why add to that before it's necessary?  I also did not want my children going to school in fear.  Though school shootings are becoming more common, they are the exception, not the rule.  I knew I had a difficult time understanding Friday's events.  How did I expect my children to understand.  I had no intentions of talking to them about it unless they came home from school yesterday talking about it because they had heard friends talking about it.

And that's exactly what happened.  However, I could tell that they had few enough details that they still did not grasp the magnitude of what took place so we closed the topic up.

Then this morning happened.  Not much different from other mornings and all too common lately.  Kids picking on each other until they are in tears.  Siblings being siblings and I laid in bed (Jeremy let me sleep in) thinking, "My God!!!  They do not realize the blessings they have before them!  Here we are in a season of Thankfulness and Christmas and my kids are SO ungrateful!"   All I could think about is that in Newtown CT, there were brothers and sisters WISHING they could play with their sibling one more time and it brought tears to my eyes.  I brought my two oldest kids to the table and sat them down.  I explained that a very bad man did do what Caleb's friend said he did.  I told them that 20 1st graders died that day.  Many of them had siblings.  I tried to drive home the point of just how blessed they are to have each other.  I told them (in tears of course) that we are not promised tomorrow and how sad would it be to never get to tell your brother or sister that you loved them or to hug them, or to have them to play with.  How sad would it be to know you will never see them again this side of heaven.  I told them there are 20 sets of mommy's and daddy's who probably already had presents under the tree that will not be opened this year.  I told them I was very thankful and blessed to have them and they should feel the same way about each other.

Ironically, the rest of the morning was pretty peaceful.  I made sure they gave their little sister a hug before they left, (they often like to leave her screaming for hug and then crying because she didn't get one).  Maybe, just maybe, they'll begin to understand the value of life and family.

This should be a lesson to all of us!  Life is too short!  We aren't promised tomorrow.  Do not leave relationships undone or broken.  It's a burden too painful to carry when you do not have tomorrow to fix things!
God bless

Friday, December 14, 2012

A time for mourning and a time to remember just what you have to be thankful for!

My day started off like any other day but I knew it would be a busy one.  Tis the season!  Typically, mornings are pretty stressful here.  Especially school morning.  I have 3 kids that are each 2 years apart and they are at a stage in their little lives that they feel their purpose in life is to see just how long they can annoy each other before their target explodes!  This morning was no different.  Madison is mocking everything Olivia is saying.  Caleb is taking Madison's baby dolls from her and running through the house and Olivia is screaming at the top of her lungs, "MOOOOOMMMMMMAAAAA!!!!!  SHE'S MOCKING ME!!!!!"  and I'm going about my business, making a hot oatmeal breakfast for these little ungrateful beings who are going through a season of not only teasing the fool out of each other but complaining about everything.  Everything is too hot, too cold, too itchy, too soft, too thin, too thick, too sweet, not sweet enough etc...etc...

Olivia, my oldest, does not know what the word "hurry" means.  She can not even fathom it.  She moves about her life at a snails pace.  Truth be told, she'll probably live longer for it but I'm sure to die sooner over the stress it causes. (so kidding, I'm NOT claiming an early death!...I am however trying to lighten what will soon become a very heave hearted post). So from the time I wake them up in the morning until the time they are in the care of their school, it is an understatement to say that our home is chaos.  I've tried routine.  In fact, we still have the same routine that we've had since Olivia started kindergarten.  Shower before bed, pray together as a family, sing a song, kiss and hug, tell them to hush and go to sleep over and over and over, finally...peace and quiet.  Then my work begins.  Dishes, shower, work, editing (which is part of my work), might catch up on a show or two while editing, look at the clock, exclaim "CRAP!  I better get in bed" as it's now 3:30 am and my alarm will be going off at 6:30 AM.  Brush my teeth, climb into bed for what seems like 5 minutes, then wake up startled to a loud obnoxious meep meep meEP meEP mEEP mEEP MEEP MEEP!  I go and wake up the kids.  Tell them to get on their uniforms, belt, shoes, socks (yes I have to be specific and tell them EVERYTHING they need to put on that morning.  Especially Olivia) and then meet me at the table.  While they are doing that, I'm filling up cups with milk, water, or juice...whichever their choice is. I'm either pouring cereal into bows, making oatmeal and divvying it up or scrambling eggs and making toast.  I get this all done and set on the table and call them in.  Caleb is already picking on Madi (though fully dressed like I requested....most of the time), Madi is complaining that she's hungry and thirsty and needs to go pee. (then go!!  Just be sure you wash your hands! AND flush...in the other order!) and Olivia has her uniform shirt on and that is it.  I get frustrated and tell her once again she has 2 minutes to finish getting dressed.  5 minutes later she comes out.  Still missing her shoe and sock and looking like a hot mess!  (she's in a cast right now and on crutches so only one shoe and sock and she still can't do this in a timely fashion.)  She sits at the table and complains that her cereal is too mushy or her oatmeal is too cold....I try to gently remind her that if she would have gotten dressed in a timely manner her cereal would not be mushy or her oatmeal would not be cold.  Caleb and Madi have about finished their breakfast (if Madi even eats at all...she's always hungry and never eats much.  LOL) and the teasing begins.

Any two of them together can usually play fine together but you have all 3 and they feel it's their job to see just how long they can pick on each before making someone scream.   I make sure their backpacks are ready all while telling Olivia to hurry up.  They are finally done and have put their bowls in the sink (If I'm lucky) and I instruct them to brush their teeth and hair.

School starts at 8:00 and we are lucky to be out the door by 7:45.  Thank God we live close by!  I kiss them and hug them and tell them to have a good day and wipe the sweat off my brow...shoo...that's finally done!  Maybe the rest of the day will be peaceful with only 1 left at home.

Then there are days like today.  Days where I said goodbye to them in the same manner as usual but maybe had been harsh on them for acting up.  I don't love them any less, they've just driven me to a point of frustration and I always feel bad about it afterwards.  Thankfully, those times are much less than they use to be...then my day is SO busy and I go about my day with not a care in the world.  I drop Madi off with a family member and go eat Christmas lunch with my handsome sweet 1st grader who didn't know I was coming to enjoy Christmas lunch with him.  The look of surprise on his face was priceless and it was SO special and beautiful to me.  We eat our lunch, we talk about his day so far and then I kiss and hug him and tell him goodbye and I'd see him after school.  I went and picked up Madison and we went to target to pick up some things we needed and to get our stocking stuffers (I hid hers in the bottom part of the shopping cart....down below on the VERY bottom where you can put packs of water and large and bulky things.)  We check out and I stop and get her something for lunch. (She refused to eat earlier).  We bring it back home and it's already almost time to pick the older 2 kids up from school.  We have just enough time for her to eat and for me to get on facebook and check some work things.  I could not believe the news I was reading.  Every other post was about it and I was brought to tears.  How could anyone shoot anyone let alone and ENTIRE classroom of babies!  My son was a kindergartener last year. My baby will be one next year and it near about brought me to my knee's.  Dear God!!!  how could something like this happen?  What could possible possess someone to take the life of a child?   To add to my hurt and confusion and frustration were those folks already using this as political propaganda to outlaw hand guns.

First of all, there still may have been family members who didn't yet know their child had been murdered at the hand of a crazed maniac who was obviously suffering some sort of mental break down, depression, possession...whatever it was that told him this was what he needed to do and people are already talking politics???  Really???

Second of all, I was once one of those who said guns would not be in my home as long as I had kids.  And then....and then I was shown a loaded gun by a man who was supposed to care the most about me and had fear instilled in me and forced me to do things with him I did not want to do.  Not until I was married, and had kids...daughters did I realize my feeling has changed drastically.  Over my dead body would any man...any one period lay a hand on my child to harm them physically, sexually, or in way shape or form.  I am their mother.  It is MY job to protect them and if someone stormed into my home with then intent to take my children, harm my children, harm me,  or anyone that is in my home, they WILL be met with someone prepared and willing to fight!  The momma bear rises up within me when I think of anyone trying to harm my babies!!! 

Then you take Israel.  A country that trains and arms their teachers to protect the children in their classrooms.  ARMED WITH SEMI AUTOMATIC GUNS!!!  Guess what?  You do not hear of school shootings in Israel.  You take all of our states in our country and the highest gun crimes are in states with the strictest gun laws.

But honestly, that's a discussion for another day.  Today....TODAY, lift these families up!  This town will have a huge amount of healing to do.  having lost someone extremely close to me...I still can not even fathom.....not my babies!  I can just hear these moms and dads crying not my babies!!!  That's what I would be crying.   So, instead of worrying about our current laws and so quick to readily give up your freedoms that many men and women fought and died for, stop....stop the bickering.  Stop the fighting.  HUG YOUR BABIES!!!  Hug them tight.  I can't imagine if this had been my kids today....after having a stressful morning and maybe hollering a little more than I should have...I can't imagine having that feeling that I left with words unspoken and tomorrow would never come...I could never take those words back.  Or go back and say, " You know baby, mommy was so frustrated this morning but I want you to know that no matter what...not matter what you do, I will ALWAYS love you!!  Nothing you could do or say could change that!"  I can't imagine knowing that I didn't have tomorrow........

God help us!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Learning to be a nurturing Godly mom in an ungodly world

One thing I've always struggled with is parenting.  We aren't given a manual when we have kids and even if we were, what's right for one isn't always right for the other.  When I found out I was pregnant with our oldest, I started thinking back to my childhood.  What would I change if I could.  What would I keep the same.  What did I wish were different and what was I glad to have had?

First of all, to clear the air, my mom usually reads all my posts and I'm sure this one will be no different.  I love my mom and today, she is one of my best friends.  We had to make it through a very difficult time together and ironically, something so very hurtful brought us closer.  My mom was a great mom but there were things that I felt I missed out on that I wanted to change for my children.  I'm so very grateful she was as strict as she was...my father too.  I'm sure there were times back then that I didn't feel that way but they did a pretty good job of protecting my innocence and keeping me safe.  Having 2 girls and remembering what it was like to be a girl growing up, I knew though, that there were some changes to be made. 

When I was growing up, my daddy was the "nurturer".  Which is not common for most men.  Even those daddy's who's little girls think they hung the moon.  Very few of us daddy's girls had daddy's that talked to us when we were going through breakups or were just really sad or just needed a listening ear....but my daddy did.  A role that moms usually play, my dad stepped in and played.  Not because my mom wasn't a good mom but my mom's personality wasn't the same as mine.  Very few people have family members all with the same personality.  My mom was a busy woman.  I was the youngest of 5 mouths she had to feed and the youngest of 5 kids she had to do laundry for and clean up after.  Not only did she have the "yours, mine, and ours" 5 but she kept everyone elses kids too!  She loved and she loved big but she loved in her own way.  Looking back (and I'm saying this with ALL love mom!!!!) I fell like she was kind of burned out.  She was the second born of 8 kids and the oldest of the girls so ALL of her life, she had a lot on her plate!  All the chores that came with being the oldest born girl raised on a farm.  She was momma #2.  One of her baby sisters even told people that my mom was her mother.  hahaha!!  Then she went through a marriage that had it's hardships.  I won't go into those details but there was a lot of hurt there and a lot of trust lost.  She had daycare in her home so she could be home with her kids so in my younger years, during the day, she was taking care of everyone elses kids and at night, she was taking care of all of us and getting dinner on the table for when my dad got home, making sure everyone got their baths and did their homework so sometimes, I felt like I got lost in the shuffle.  I didn't get to be in the kitchen making cut out cookies with my mom, I was playing with and entertaining babysitting kids.  I remember my dad and my sister and my oldest brother helping me with my preschool books getting me ready for school the next year.  I remember my sister and my Aunt Becky playing with my hair, playing barbies with me, playing "dress up" (mostly just makeup) with me.  I remember my sister walking me to the park and putting flowers in my hair.  Things a little girl wants to do with her mom from time to time, I felt I was getting from my sister Lori, my Grandma, my Daddy and my brother Doug.  Again, I LOVE LOVE LOVE my mom!!!  But I did miss doing those things with her.  I don't feel we had much one one one time when I was growing up.  It was my dad that came into my room when I went through my first ugly break up to give me a hug and wipe my tear and tell me everything was going to be OK and I should stay away from those hairy legged boys anyway because they are nothing but trouble.  He told me I should wait until I was 30 to get married and he would dance at my wedding.  <3  

My parents (neither one of them) told me about...."growing up".  "the Change".  Thankfully, they covered that pretty thoroughly in 4th and 5th grade so when that time came, I knew what was going on.  My parents (neither one of them) sat down and talked to me about sex and how babies are made.  That talk was pretty much summed up like this at home...."Sex is bad outside of marriage so don't do it.  If you do, bad things will happen."  Period.  End of story.  haha.  No in depth birds and the bee's talks.  Thankfully, my home Church had a GREAT "Worth the wait" program and they also covered this topic at Youth Camp.    I pretty much knew I wanted to wait until my wedding night.....unfortunately, that choice was taken from my hands by a man that thought I was his property.

I don't remember getting to much information on finances and how to manage them.  I wasn't shown how to do laundry.  My first experience in laundry was in college.  I had watched my mom separate the colors so I knew to do it that way and thankfully, college washing machines are like laundry mat washing machines so if you can read, it was pretty self explanatory.

So, when we had our children, I learned from how I was raised what I wanted to repeat and what I wanted to change.  I know I'm far from perfect.  I have a little bit of my mother impatience (she doesn't remember getting short with us and yelling but I have a VERY trustworthy friend back up my claims and says mom is just suffering a memory issue!  ;)   ) It wasn't just her....if my dad got upset enough he would yell at you that he wasn't yelling. LOL!!!  What I wouldn't give to hear that just one more time.  It always broke the tension because it would make us laugh. It was quite funny that you can sit there and yell that you aren't yelling and not realize you are really yelling.  : P  I find myself doing the same thing. Though much less frequently now that I've realized it.  And lets face it...sometimes you have to yell just to be heard.  Have you ever hear 3 kids who are all 2 years apart going at each other at the same time or trying to tattle at the same time?  It's one loud chaotic mess and no one can hear anything.  So, I've consciously made an effort to find my happy place before correcting my children.  I try to make a conscious effort to allow them to help in the kitchen from time to time.  I've started teaching them to sort laundry (though I should have them do that more often).  I try and make an effort to pull my kids onto my laugh and let them know I love them and that I'm proud of them and why I'm proud of them.  I've even had to already have the "growing up" talk with my oldest!  She's showing signs that it won't be long and I wanted her prepared before it just happens and she took it very maturely.  One thing that little talk taught me is that when we show enough trust in our kids to hand those types of discussions maturely,  it opens up a door of communication and they are more willing to come to you with things they want to talk about.  I LOVE that! I pray that stays that way.

But it's not just our past we have to learn from and fight.  Our society! Our world!!  WOW!!!!  The things I loved doing as a child are now almost extinct! Playing dolls and barbies, building forts, riding bikes, climbing tree's!  It's all being replaced by TV, movies, game boys, PSP's, DS3's Wii's, iPods, iPhones, Computers and on and on and on. We live in an electronically crippled world. Not crippled because we are lacking in it but crippled because we rely on it too much!!  From the time Jeremy and I got married until Olivia was 6, we never had a game console in our home.  Now we do.  We recently changed the rule to no Wii on school nights because our kids fight over it! "He killed me on purpose!  She stole my penquin!" (super mario here ) and the fighting got AWFUL!!!!  I was losing my sanity!  So, I took a step back and analyzed what was going on and decided that we are really hurting our kids by letting their time be filled with games and television!  If it weren't for my hubby's adamant protesting, I'd be ok with not having a TV.  We are grown up and now how to view our favorite shows on line should we choose but our kids are only kids once.   We've been trying to make a conscious effort to kick them out more.  As in out in the yard to play! To get them in scouts and activities that will help grow their imaginations and love for the outdoors instead of turning them into Hollywood fed robots!  Learning to be nurturing is one thing....I naturally have a big heart but sometimes I expect Jeremy do more of the "coddling"  when someone needs some extra attention.  I'm stopping that cycle.  I'm going to not just be my kids mom but their friend too!  There is a happy balance.  There is a time for "momming" and a time for "friending" and hopefully they'll always see me as both but having to fight outside influences isn't always easy.

My biggest piece of advice (to myself too!) is limits and responsibilities.  For us, that's no TV or games on school nights.  If  homework is done in time, outside you go.  (this season is a little different. some of the best Christmas movies are on during the week).  Quality time is a HUGE key!!  Date your kids!  I think little boys need one on one time with mom and one on one time with dad. Same with little girls!  Have family game night!  Do things as a family.  Don't get so busy in YOUR electronics that you leave your kids to entertain themselves and each other.

If we put more of God IN and the world out, we'll be Godly parents raising Godly kids in this ungodly world!
God bless~

There's Healing in the Tears

     As usual, it's the quiet times I hear Gods voice.  It's those times He continues the healing process.  My bath time is where I have my prayer closet.  It's where I go to ponder life's circumstances and it's where I come with idea's to save the world. 

     I've always pondered writing a book.  I tried writing snippets about me and my best friend but I found it difficult to keep writing.  When I thought about why, it was really quite easy.  There was no way I could just write about our relationship because she was a very big part of EVERYTHING that's happened in my life so far. We've been best friends since births.  We are sisters from another mister...another mom too! haha  The point is, they we have not one drop of the same DNA, we are just as much family...sisters....blood as any other siblings you will find. If I were to write about "us", it would end up being a novel...an autobiographical novel from the second I was born until today.

     I wouldn't know where to start.  That all got me thinking about the fact that IF I were to write this novel, it would unveil a lot not just about me but other friends and family and I would have a LOT of people to go acquire written permission from before I could publish it. Though I know most would not hesitate, there are a few that would probably like their lives to remain anonymous.  They are very private people.

     THAT got me to thinking about the people that were once in my life that have since passed on....and the tears began.  I started thinking back to the very first time I ever experienced a deep loss of a loved one.  That was my Great Grandmother Winnie Miller.  More affectionately known as Granny Miller.  Some how, my memory retains stuff from back when I was very little.  I know this because I have fond memories of my Great Grandmother.   I remember her cooking chocolate pies, the BEST chocolate pies EVER!  She would set them in the window to cool.  They were SO yummy!!  I remember going out to the garden with her and getting some veggies for that nights dinner.  I remember her mud room where she kept canning supplies and where she did laundry.  I loved her great big cast iron (I think it was cast iron) farm sink that was out there.  But even after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, we still had an amazing relationship.  Even when she was so far gone she couldn't remember her husband.  To her, he was one of the hired hands that was hired to work on the farm.  I know that had to be difficult on him but he stayed by her side and she never went to a  nursing home.  Between him and my Grandmother and my Great Aunts, she was able to stay at home until she passed.  But even during her last years when she didn't know who we were, she and I still had a grand time.  We would "study for tests".  We would walk through fields to school.  We would recite nursery rhymes together and she was the reason I could first say my alphabet backwards. (I can't anymore...I'm sure I could but I'd have to take a while to do it! haha).

     I'll NEVER forget the day she passed away.  I was sitting in school (6th or 7th grade wood shop class) when I was called to the office.  I pretty much kept to myself and stayed out of trouble so I knew something was wrong.  I didn't know what and I didn't know who but when I was told my dad was there to pick me up, I knew it wasn't good.  As soon as I saw my daddy I knew immediately it was my Great Grandma.  I lost it.  I was so heart broken and sad.  While my mom packed for us to go to the viewing and funeral, I sat in our love seat and drew a picture.  The picture was of me and her sitting in my great grandparents recliner.  It was so hard to say goodbye to her.  One thing I learned about myself that day is that I need the viewing and I need the service for my closure. I always worry about how my kids will handle death and so far, have sheltered them from it.  But one day, it will be someone they love so dearly that I can't shelter them from it and they will learn about themselves how they best deal with death.  Some are content to stay away from viewings and funerals for fear it will be the way they will forever remember them but for me, I need that last goodbye.  That is one reason the deaths that have happened in my life in which I could not attend the services have been the hardest for me to get over.  My Grandmother Thompson.  My Uncle Lester.  My cousin Mark.

But those weren't the only ones.  While all of this is playing through in my mind another loss came to mind in which no one got closure.  I'll leave his name out for the family's sake.  I don't know that would want all that out there but he was my birthday buddy.  It was once a joyous thing.  You see, my cousins (the ones in this family in particular...do to circumstances) where more like brothers and sisters to me.  We were together more than we were apart.  So, sometimes, we'd have a birthday cake together.  But whether we were together or not, he'd ALWAYS come to mind.  Today is no different other than the fact that it's bitter sweet.  SO many fond memories of our childhood together but still a void.  Someone I loved like a brother that I never got to say goodbye too.  He went missing years ago and it wasn't too many years ago we learned that he had passed a long long time ago.  So March 13th isn't a day of celebration for me.  It's a day of remembrance....of missing him....of reflection of years past.  He had a smile you could never forget and the biggest brown eyes.  The tears started flowing at this point and memory after memory was visited.  Forts at Granny and Grandpa Hardings.  Baseball up on the hill.  Tag.  His art work.  His laugh.....

And of course, my daddy was the most difficult loss I've experienced.  I've blogged a lot on that so I'm sure you all know how I felt about losing him.

Remembering all this had me in tears.  The tears got me to thinking about crying.  There was once a time I couldn't cry.  I felt I needed to but I just couldn't. This was not long after my dad passed.  I knew I was taught that God bottled our tears but what happens when our tears dry up?  What if we have no tears left to cry?  Why could I not cry all those years? I learned that I had bottled up so much grief that I had built up a wall.  Kind of put myself in an emotional bubble to avoid pain.  Problem was, I had bottled the pain up with me.  This pain was a darkness that followed me around for years.  That is until I realized I had never truly dealt with all my grief.  I just recently started dealing with the bottled up grief.  I'm slowly pouring that bottle out and guess what's happening?  My tears have come back! Healing tears.  Tears that wash the deep wounds clean.  If God truly bottles up our tears, I fear I'll have gallons of them waiting on me.  So you see, crying isn't for the weak.  It isn't just for babies. It isn't just for women and kids.  Tears are for the healing! Tears are for the hurting.  It's cleansing the soul and the mind and the heart.  When we bottle up our fear and hurt and anger and pain we are like a blister.  When you have a blister in your finger that festers up and fills up with fluid and pain.  As long as we leave all that in there, the pain never goes away. We try and find things to dull it or temporarily take it away but it always comes back.  BUT, if you take a needle and prick that blister and let that infection out, we get relief!  The pain eases up and over time goes away!  That's how we are.  That's is how we are! If we don't deal with  that pain, it just festers up and festers up and until your release it, it just builds up more and more and pain.

So, when you  feel the need to cry, cry!  There is healing in our tears!