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Posts Tagged ‘family’

There are few things as moving as witnessing some one show genuine love for others. Big hugs, and sturdy greetings with sincere eye contact. The receiver wears an expression showing how much it means to them to be loved as they are.

In my adventures this weekend, I was blessed to witness such an exchange and it was beautiful. I spent the evening observing and processing, while inwardly scolding myself for being such a goof when introduced to quite a few people that I did not know. Nothing quite like standing there awkwardly after giving my name, while the others are standing there waiting for some polite conversation to occur. This was one of those times where I wished I had a t-shirt or memorized phrase to spout off something to the effect of: please excuse any weird behavior. I am an introvert trying to cope with a new situation and/or human interaction.

Lately God has been bringing back to my heart the desire to love people, build relationships, and serve them in whatever way possible. I am not talking about the pretty, everything is perfect type stuff. I am talking about the beautiful, messy, walking with imperfect people toward a perfect God journey. I am talking about Mother Teresa in the slums of India loving lepers and helping people die with dignity, and Shane Claiborne becoming “family” with the people in a not-so-pretty neighborhood in Philly.

Honestly, I don’t know where He wants me to go with this or what He wants me to do from here. It scares me a bit, like the anxiety of going up the sharp incline of a roller coaster. I don’t even know how to go about it when I struggle to interact with people. I don’t know if it will be something I will just discover and do one day, or whether I will be a part of a team that could help me in the areas I am weak in. Sometimes it can be so terrifyingly exciting thinking about it! I am thankful that He is the one orchestrating it, because I have no clue how its all going to happen.

All I know is this I want to serve God. I want to serve others. I want to love people, not just say it. Family is my main core value and I want others to feel the sense of family, especially those who don’t quite fit in. If I could do anything with my life, I would serve others full time, whether it be local mission work, helping local churches or smaller non-profits. When I think about all those things, it makes me both happy to know where my heart is, but sad I am not there yet. I am in a place where I don’t know where that fits into my current life, especially as a single mom of 3 kids. There are times I feel so discouraged because it feels impossible, yet I feel excited to have a goal to attain even if I have no clue how I will get to it or what it will look like.

So for now I keep praying, hoping, and learning as I go. I know God has this all mapped out, and will guide my steps. It gives me a peace know that its ok to go through all these thoughts and feel overwhelmed and excited all at the same time. My prayer is that in the end, it will be yet another small chapter in the big story of God big love for us.

 

 

 

 

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Difficult Decisions

It seems like my life is never the way I plan it. Every time I turn around, God seems to have other plans. Sometimes I take it well, and just accept it, and other times I just cry through it, very unhappy about the turn of events. Even with my disappointment, I still say something like this aloud to myself, “God, I am NOT at all happy with this, but I trust that You are good, and You know what is best.”

Just last week I was so excited to be starting back to school. But a couple of days into it, I had a very sinking feeling that this may not work.  I knew it would be hard, but I had no clue that it would be such an emotional thing for me.  It had only been 2 years or so since my last classes, but my life had changed so much since then. At that time I was a full time student and not working. Now I have a full time job that is emotionally draining (and physically at times too).

Sunday night I was reluctantly checking my next part of my English assignment, and it hit me all at once. All I could do was shut off my laptop and cry. It’s not that the work was too hard, but it was so many things. I LOVE to write, but I hate to write for assignments. My joy had become my dread, and it hurt. Then I realized that even at this early part of the semester I was quickly spending so much time on assignments. I sat in the living room or dining room for hours working hard to do my work with my headphones in my ears. My kids would be watching tv or playing outside, and I hardly said anything to them before they went to bed. I would work all day in a very draining (yet rewarding) profession, and barely have time to make dinner. Then my own relationship with God was suffering as well. This was not at all what I wanted, and not what I wanted for my kids.

I prayed about the whole thing. I wanted to spend more time with my kids during these challenging years. I wanted to concentrate on doing better at my job. Finally, I wanted to make sure that God stayed a priority. I knew by the feeling deep in me that no piece of paper and potential of more money would be worth my kids or my relationship with God.  I knew without a doubt what I had to do.

After some careful research, and considering what this could do to my future financial aid, I decided to drop my classes. I cried off and on, because part of me felt like such a failure and idiot. I felt bad because I felt I had let a lot of people down that were cheering me on. Yet, the burden of what going to school was placing on me was gone, and I knew without a doubt that I was walking in obedience to what the Father wanted from me.

I know I will have some struggles financially for quite some time, but it will all be worth it in the end. My kids will know that I love them and want to spend time with them.  My other “kids” at work, will get the love and support they need from me. And I get the opportunity to spend more time with God, and eventually get back to serving soon.

This life is too short to live with regrets. I spent many years regretting not going to college, but God has a way of showing us a greater way.  Over the past few years, He has shown me what is important, and it’s not always what I had dreamt for myself.  He has given me clarity in my life, and I am ok with it! If I never go to college again, I am finally at a point where that does not matter to me. Now, God may open the door later on, and then I may take it. But IF that doesn’t happen, then I know I will not regret it. When I look at my 3 children, and know that I actually have time to talk to them and hang out, I regret nothing.  As they grow up, I will not regret missing a moment.  and the more I get to spend time with God and read His word, I do not regret a second of it.

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Lately, every chance I get to go to that little old house, I am flooded by the echoes of the place I took for granted so many years. Each time, I wonder if it should be the last time I get to go there…and each time I see it slowly fading away. Within the walls, the whispers of lives lived can be heard. From celebrations and mournings, giggles and arguments…tell of the joy and pain of family.

Lazy summers spent lying in the cool clover patches watching the cotton clouds float by, while the strange smell of earth and pool water filled my nostrils.Then there was the feeling of cold moist concrete on bare feet as we dared to run down the sidewalk to jump into the pool, when the adults weren’t looking. Even now, I can see my younger self turning the front porch into a stage and my little brother and I chasing a portly blond Chihuahua until we are out of breath. Walking into the old shop I close my eyes, and imagine back when it was full of tools and wood…and the hints of sawdust, oil and paints still hang in the air. I remember those summers spent digging through the box of wood scraps, hoping to find the perfect pieces for building swords.

All these things (and so much more), I hope to remember for as long as I live, even if they bring tears to my eyes. One day, I hope my home, no matter where it might be, will bring similar memories to my kids and their kids. I pray that they will have memories that will bring to mind all the things about love and family as I do. There is such joy in these things, even as I mourn the changes of life. God, help me to not take anything for granted again.

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This week was the much anticipated kick-off of the new series, Time Travelers, in Toon Town . The whole series is about media and how it can affect us and what the Bible has to say about it. It was so awesome to see the kids so pumped about it, and personally most of us serving were excited too.

One of the things that amazed me was how much the kids had to say about media.  I served in 4 services and most of the small groups I lead had so much to say. The one that wasn’t as talkative (well at least in answering specific questions) still had some interesting input.  One of the things I learned was that I probably need to research tv shows more, because I had NO clue what some of the shows were! (mainly because we do not have cable or even basic channels at home.)

I have been thinking on what all I observed while serving yesterday. Several of the kids knew some of the stuff that they were exposed to was not good for them (whether it was super scary, violent, sexually inappropriate, bad language, etc). It came down to what the adults happened to be watching while they were around and not so much what the child was allowed to watch during their tv time.

I found myself having to really watch how I say things, so that all the suggestions I gave the kids would still allow them to honor their parents/guardians. The kids’ first reaction is to go and turn off the tv or tell the parent straight up, “Turn it off, that’s bad!” or whatever else came to mind. I gave the kids some options that gave them the power to protect their heart from the bad stuff, with the hopes it will help them cope with any environment that exposes them to stuff that might not be the best thing for the kids to see. Some of the suggestions included: asking their parents nicely to turn it or talk with their parents about what they learned, find something else to do like go their room and play or put some headphones on and listen to good music, etc.

All of this really hit my heart. I ached in my spirit, seeing all these kids who wanted so much to do the right thing and watch what they hear or see. These kids want to please God and grow in their faith. I saw the pain behind their eyes, when they shared that they were scared by certain shows or movies and they don’t like to hear the bad words or see stuff that is inappropriate. For the most part, they knew what was good or bad media, but seemed at a loss as to what to do because they felt like sometimes they didn’t have a choice.

I wish that parents could see this side of their kids more often, to see them from perspective that is a little different. I know that these parents love their kids with everything they got, and never want to hurt them. As a parent, I know this is hard to see with my own kids, it often takes someone giving me a different way of looking at things…

Kids (especially those in elementary school) are very literal. They have problems discerning reality and fantasy, even if they tell you they know the difference.  They will often believe whatever someone (especially a trusted adult!) tells them. They also struggle to understand why the grown-ups in their lives do stuff they can’t do. So many times they hear, “because I am an adult” or whatever.  They are very black & white when it comes to moral issues/rules. It’s either right or wrong and if there happens to be a gray area, they struggle with understanding why. The excuse that “kids are resilient” is not entirely accurate. So many times we  adults say that so flippantly. Whatever a child (or person of ANY age) exposed to WILL affect them in some way, whether good or bad.

I am not telling anyone what show to watch or music to listen to…that’s your choice. But consider what you are potentially exposing your kids to. I used to listen to a lot of different music and watched a lot of stuff, but there came a point where I knew something HAD to change. I don’t know exactly when I realized that it wasn’t cute for a kid to be singing the song on the radio that was blatantly about sex or hurting someone. I wasn’t even that interested in changing what I listened to at that time, but I couldn’t stand for my kids to be repeating some of the lyrics! So I started being super careful what I listened to around them. That eventually became a whole lifestyle change for me, and at the very least my children were changed for the better because of it. Sometimes the best changes in our lives come from what we do to protect our kids. At the very least be willing to listen to your kids when they tell you something that they are exposed to is bothering them. My oldest daughter does this frequently, I used to get mad at her, but then I realized God was using her to change me 🙂

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So this is another new year, with new hopes, goals and dreams. I have to say that I am pretty excited this time around, and I love the anticipation that comes with it. I have not always felt this way, but thankfully God is still healing me 🙂

Yet another thing I love about LC is the way fasting is encouraged at the first of the year. What a wonderful way to give God our first! So many people participate in so many unique ways. Last year I did a vegan fast (because being in Oklahoma I LOVE beef and chicken…lol) it went well, but this year I felt pulled in a different direction. I will be fasting from social media (mainly Facebook and Twitter) for 21 days. The more I think about it, the more it makes me sad to even think I need to do it…meaning I spend way too much time on it. Anyway, so I am eager to see what God will do with it .

I am not really into resolutions, and try to make changes as needed instead of saying all this stuff that I will do this year. I know that sometimes life gets in the way or God steers in another direction and I want to allow for that. So I think just some good ol’ fashioned goal setting will be ok with me. So maybe you consider them resolutions, but with goals it seems more achievable in my mind. So here are some goals for this year. I may not start right off on some of these like some would do with resolutions because I tend to feel overwhelmed after a little bit. But it’s my overall prayer that God will help me accomplish these things and more in 2013:

Grow in God – I know this may sound cliché or cheesy, but I truly want to grow in my relationship with Him. My prayer is that God will restore the passion that I once had, but that it would be more mature. For the past few years I have not spent as much time studying the Bible like I feel like I should. I chose to concentrate just on reading it , trying to build better habits. This year it’s time to dive in and study study study.

Become a better spiritual leader for my kids-  This is an area that I am not entirely comfortable with, to be honest. I have a lot of “old fashioned” values, one of them being that this is a position for a man. While that is ideal, it’s up to me as a single parent to do the best I can.  I have spent the past few years angry and bitter that I was forced in to this role. Now it is far past time for me to move on from that anger, and guide my children to grow closer to God. This is going to take a lot of work and prayer, but I know God will help me one step at a time

Eat Healthy/Get Active – While this is the normal topic for this time of year for millions, I really want to break all my bad habits with food and exercise. It’s been a tough adjustment this past year going back to work after staying home for 5 years, and now I am feeling the blahs of bad eating and not getting some exercise in. I have done well here and there for a few months at time, but I want lasting lifestyle changes, not some fad diets. My goal in this area is to get my family and I eating more “real foods” and far less processed foods. I have wanted to make this transition for several years, and health-wise I need it more than ever.

Set aside time for other hobbies and interests– I have no idea how I am going to work this goal out, but I know God will guide me! I want to read more books (and finish them!). I want to write more, not just blogs, but do poetry again and work towards developing other writing skills.  There are other things like at least finishing that scarf I was knitting on (my first project and so far only knitting project) and cooking more.  Sometimes I feel too tired or distracted to do those things…so I am hoping the reduced time on the internet and eating healthier might help 🙂

 

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It seems that every time I leave from my Grandma’s I have to fight tears for the next hour or so. I can’t tell you how hard it is to drive away to her frail body standing on her porch watching us drive off. I can hardly remember a time she wasn’t standing there when we left, the only difference then was a taller, stronger (physically), and younger Grandma. Even now, I am crying, because I know all too well that as old as she is, she has few days left. It could be tomorrow or in the next year or two, but not many more.

I find myself wanting to spend every day I can, even if I have to hear her read all the side effects that her meds may cause, or even if I have to hear the same story 15 times. To hear the nuggets of our family history and the ups and downs of her and Grandpa’s 50 year marriage are priceless. The look of pride on her face when she hears how far I have come in the last couple of years means more to me than anyone can ever know. How my heart aches when she hints at how lonely she is, or when she confesses she ventured out for a drive (even though I know full well she probably has no business going alone anyhow). I can’t tell you how much I dread losing her, but know that one day I will see her, and she will be the stronger, healthier Grandma I remember alongside my Grandpa who has been waiting on her to join him up there.

The elderly have a special place in my heart. I used to be annoyed when I was a cashier in high school, when an old person would take forever or chit chat my ear away. I had lessons to learn though losing my Grandpa to cancer, watching my Grandma stay by his side almost every second, and working as a CNA at a nursing home and home health. It was there God showed me how to truly serve others, while preparing them for the next phase of life, physical death. Here are these people, piled into nursing homes, alone at home, where ever, and they are forgotten. These people have AMAZING stories to tell, wisdom to pass on, and love to give if we would only stop long enough.

Our lives are truly not that busy, and we should not be making excuses. Yes, it’s emotionally draining, and it’s going to hurt to see them so frail. But my oldest daughter’s observation makes my heart warm, “Grandma sure likes to give BIG kisses on the cheek!” I am so thankful that my older 2 will be able to remember their Great Grandma clearly, and my youngest will probably have bits and pieces of memories, but most of all they will remember her love for them. I hope when I am old that I will have as much love for everyone as she does, but with one difference to not be so alone.

People, Life is too short. I know that there are several of my friends who know this too well. I don’t care how old your loved ones are, this moment could be their last. Don’t wait to spend time with them. Don’t wait to listen to them. And most of all don’t forget the elderly. Spend time with those you love, and not just your kids. Never grow too old for Grandma’s big hugs and kisses either, because I sure haven’t…

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August 26, 2009

Howdy all! I pray your day has been blessed so far!

Yesterday, hubby started school 🙂 He said it was a good day, full of walking lol. We juggled some stuff financially and he was able to get his books taken care of. We are still waiting on the student loans to come through, hopefully by the end of the week, but at the latest next week (or so they say).

We found a roofer, which is giving us a great deal. God really worked it out perfectly, and it turns out that we know the owner of the roofing company, a pastor of a church we used to attend for 3-4 months (and he DID remember us!). We are waiting to hear from the insurance company, on whether we can get them to cover a little more of the costs. We can’t have the roofer start until we hear back, and it turns out the adjuster fellow that is over our case just happens to be on vacation this week :-

We haven’t got our water heater replaced yet, as we are waiting on the money to come in from the student loan. It has days where its leaking like crazy and days it hardly leaks at all. So I am praying that it lasts until we can get it fixed! We are thinking about having a family friend take care of it for us, and hopefully that will save us about $1000 (at least we are hoping so!)

We are hoping that at least one of the garnishments will be stopped. The other attorney had said something to ours and I think we are getting that all worked out. It will either be something like $100 month or we are making an offer to settle for a lesser amount if we pay in a lump sum. As far as the DHS thing, the attorney for DHS has not been returning our attorney’s calls (Big surprise there…not!). Apparently the guy is NEVER in his office, sooooo, we are stuck waiting.

Like I mentioned before, we got James’ glasses taken care of, but no sooner did we get those fixed…then Abby broke hers. Fortunately, she only needs them for reading type activities, and she can see ok with out them. So we can put that off for a little while longer.

Overall, God is taking care of all the things that are stressing me out! Praise be to God!

After some encouragement from hubby, I am taking SAM-e again for my moods. I stopped taking it about a year ago (oh my goodness, it may have been even longer than that!), I don’t really remember why, but part of it was cost. Let me tell you, I have been struggling a lot lately with mood swings, that have been VERY hard on me and those around me. And this is day 2 on the SAM-e and I already feel somewhat better. I am not as edgy and a little more relaxed. While doing some price comparing on some vitamins and supplements I was taking (until I ran out!) I found out I could get a 2 month supply for the price I was paying for a 1 month supply at Walmart at a website. Its all worth it, especially if it helps my mood 🙂 Here is a list of stuff I am (was, and will be taking when I get them ordered!) a multivitamin, odorless garlic (mainly for my high cholesterol, and also helps ward off illness!), probiotic, cod liver oil, SAM-e. I have noticed that when I was taking the other items (not the SAM-e), I was not as sick, even when the kids were sick. That is a great bonus:) I am looking to order more of the cod liver oil and probiotic that I usually do, I am thinking that the older kids could probably take those things to help boost their immune systems 🙂 Oh, and hopefully I can gain some energy so we can start eating better 🙂

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