Monthly Archives: July 2011

A Week in the Life…

This week was eventful and uneventful…

My mood ranged from ecstatic to forlorn… stressed to carefree, and disappointed to satisfied.  You could say it sounds like I’m a mom, but I can’t monopolize the roller coaster, as anyone could have a turn…I will share some of my week, in hopes that you can relate and share yours with me.

I finished a book (Weird) and started a new one (Heaven is for Real), and went to my women’s group study to watch a Beth Moore video, and fellowship. I made it to a few business appointments that went well, and learned some things about the community where I live.  I participated in lively conversations about homosexuality and christianity, as well as government and morality, and didn’t loose any friends in the process.

One of my kids needed lots of reassurance, and one needed hope, one needed cash and they all needed time.  I visited a doctor, and a hospital, and watched my sons be brave.  I met a “new” potential girlfriend, that I actually really liked, and I had a couple soul searching conversations about the future.  My daughter surprised me with her new tattoo and then I had to social network my “approval” of it…

I ate really well this week, and was rarely alone.  I had a few fabulous lunches, with good friends, and even a date night with my handsome man.  Some marvelous live music was part of the week, from a jazz band to an oldies band. I even attended a birthday party, and made some new friends…

The homeschool expo was in town, and I got out with just a few purchases… my bag was less than 10 pounds… I think.  I visited a non-profit that deals with homelessness on levels that I’ve never seen.  I gave a few dollars to a jobless man sitting on a corner.  Both experiences convicted my heart, and made me reflect on the billions of blessings I have.

I prayed, studied, cleaned, cooked, shopped, banked, and did some laundry. I even tweeted, texted, emailed, facebooked, checked in, and linked in…The bills got paid, and the account is balanced, although my desk is still a mess, and my file pile should have it’s own zip code.  I watched some stupid tv, and some not so stupid…mostly stupid.

I did enforce some rules, and debated some negotiables… I lamented over my youth when physical exhaustion took over, and I lamented over my children’s youth… because they are just so dang grown.

I entered a weight loss contest, and finished a huge project that has taken months of my time… and now, I attempt to blog.

I’m sure I forgot something, but I’m too tired to reflect any longer.  My life is good, and I don’t take it for granted.  Even when the trials come, I know how blessed I am and my gratitude list is long… Really.

How was your week and what are you grateful for?


Boys…

My home was bubbling over with testosterone this past weekend.  It normally has high levels, with my husband, 20 year old, and 13 year old, but I usually have my daughter around to even the atmosphere a bit.  This weekend though, my daughter was gone, and my eldest son was in town for a visit.  It was 4 to 1…

For those of you with boys, I’m sure you can smile in the familiarity of what the day was like.  But for everyone else, I will give you a top ten of how you know when you have 4 “man-children” in the house…

10.You hear random rowdy booms and bangs…then silence.

9. A full gallon of milk will dissipate within 10 hours.

8. The aroma of sweat will linger…

7. The aroma of cologne will linger. (this is not better…just different)

6. The reverberation and fragrance of bodily functions will be frequent… followed by laughter and hitting.

5. There will be many challenges and competitions…ping pong, foosballl, golf, darts, spit, bodily functions (yes, this gets a double mention)… just about anything.

4. WRESTLING, WRESTLING, WRESTLING.

3.The television will continually find it’s way to ESPN, no matter how many times you try to switch to TLC…

2. You will prepare an abundance of food, and you won’t have leftovers…

1. You will bask in the blessing of the “mom hugs” from your young men, that are now bigger than you, and you will love every minute of it.

Do you have a house of boys?  What’s your favorite part?


Serious Saturday…Have you ever visited a jail?

Have you ever visited a loved one in jail?  I have.

Here is my experience from this side of the glass…

 Jail is a place for all types of “criminals” no matter what the severity of their crime.  They are separated into different areas, but it’s all the same building… So, all of the visitors are in one area, waiting.  Some are going to see a drug dealer.  Other’s are waiting to see someone who can’t control their anger, while others are waiting to see someone who tried something, once, and got caught… The list of crimes is long and diverse.

The waiting area is a somber place to be.  There is always a mom or two, holding a little one, or two.  You can find people of all ages, races, and economic levels.  They all look different, except for their expressions.  Sorrow is the common ground.  No one looks happy to be there, and some can’t even suppress their tears.  No one chit chats, (which is hard for me, even when I am sad) Most folks don’t even make eye contact.  There is an overwhelming, oppressive cloud of hopelessness.

When the visiting time approaches, everyone must go through a metal detector, and then walk down a really, really long hall… The hall that I have walked seems like a mile long. Everyone walks fast, and silently.  The only sound besides the echos of the shoes hitting the floor, is the occasional sniffle.  Then you reach the window, sit in the hard plastic chair, and pick up the phone to speak to your loved one, from the other side of the glass.

I can tell you that it is not pleasant.  It’s a desperate feeling of total helplessness.

The few times that I have visited someone in jail, I wept, not only for the person I love, but for the realization that this is the place Jesus would go first if he were here in the flesh.  He wouldn’t stop by my church, he would be at the jail.  He would put his hand up to every window, and offer hope.  He would walk through the walls, and take each inmate in his arms, and offer them comfort and peace.  He would forgive them, and carry them though restoration, if they would let him.  Because He loves them.  Just as much as He loves me and you.

As hard as it is for us, on this side of the glass, it’s a million times harder for most of those that are now trapped by their own mistakes.  The consequences of breaking the law are long , difficult, and expensive.

Let’s not deceive ourselves that we are too good to be in jail either… How many on this side of the glass, are living out the consequences of a sin or lie, that keeps them in bondage?  Many people are trapped in a belief that keeps them in a mental prison, where there are no visitors…

The good news is that there is always hope.  Praise the God who allows all things, and always offers grace.  He is always there, with his arms open wide, waiting for us to come to Him.  Whether you are in a jail cell, or mental bondage, or just loving someone who is, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matt 11:28)

“Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” Ephesians 3:17-19

When you have the love of Christ, there is no more bondage, no matter what side of the glass you are on. Really.

If you need prayer for a loved one, or for yourself, I would be honored to do so…


“tough”

Have you ever made your kids do something that they really didn’t want to do, even though it killed you to do it?

The first thought that pops in my mind, is that dreaded, “all night cry.”  The night where you have finally reached your limit of jumping up to find a cute baby that just wants to play or be held… You went in the room, told the baby that you loved them, then, left them there… to cry it out, while you sat on the other side of the door, crying it out with them.

According to the internet, the term “tough love” made it’s debut in 1977.  Any phrase with the word “tough” in it, just doesn’t sound good… tough crowd? tough luck? tough meat?…You get the point.  It takes a word that otherwise would be wonderful all by itself, and makes it…tough.  In the world of parenting, it can mean almost unbearable.

I had to make my kids do a couple of things this past week that they had no intentions of doing on their own.  All of my children are grown, or almost grown, so I can’t implement the handy dandy, “because I said so” closing argument.  They are old enough to reason, understand, and have the opportunity to submit peacefully with full disclosure.  Don’t get me wrong, we certainly allow for discussion, but disrespect is punishable by law.  Anyway, it is always a tough situation when these times come around.

Why do we do it?  I don’t mean to sound like a cliché’ but it really does hurt us more than it hurts them.  It breaks my heart to see one of my kids forced into doing anything, especially when I know it is for their own growth and good.  I’ve come to the conclusion though, it’s just not the pain of seeing them upset, but it’s the “forcing” that is the heart breaker…it’s the desire to want them to trust us and seeing the lack thereof.  Wouldn’t it be fabulous, if every good thing we wanted our kids to do, they agreed, and went forth with a smile and a grateful heart?  I’d have had a lot more kids…

I don’t mean to write another post about discipline, but “tough love” falls under that category.  When you follow through in those times that seem the hardest, it is discipline, but discipline more for the parent then the child.

Scripture has much to say about it too; in one of many places we see a great section in Hebrews 12:5-11

5 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,

   “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”

 7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

I can only imagine how much it grieves our Father in Heaven to “tough love” us.  He loves us so much, he provided a way for all of our sins to be forgiven, but He did not take away the consequences of those messes.  We must always keep that in mind, not only for our children, but for us as parents.

I have hope in the possibility that my offspring will be grateful someday.  If not, I’ve at least given them plenty of subject matter for their therapy sessions.  Really.


Am I really a grown up already?

I spend a lot a time talking about parenting, and how my kids have grown, but last night, while watching my 13 year old try to take out his new contact lenses, I got a sudden “chill” of realization that I’m grown up. Maybe remembering being a teen wrestling with my own new contacts caused this “familiar” revelation… I don’t know if you know what I mean, but every now and then, out of the blue, I realize that I am a real adult, and it’s weird.

We spend our childhood wanting to be older, and our teen time wishing the years away.  Then one day, all of a sudden, we notice we have responsibilities, debt, and lots of lists…   Do you ever stop and ponder that for a second, or am I just on my own with this one?

I remember watching the premiere of MTV, now I watch the news, and care. I remember big hair and bell bottoms, and mocking my little brother for wearing parachute pants.  Now, comfort trumps style, always.  We really did come in when it got dark and no one was worried about it.  Now, I always know where my kids are playing, and I check on them periodically.  Kids talked on the phone, and didn’t mind being connected to a wall.  Now, the art of actual talking is fading into the land of abbreviations.  We used to wear our “Sunday best” to church and liked it.  Now, it’s all about looking relaxed, because apparently, Jesus loves us no matter what we are wearing.  Too bad a potential employer doesn’t share that philosophy… Fast food was a luxury, and dinner around the table was the norm… Really…My kids think fast food is a way of life.   I used to dream that I would marry Shaun Cassidy and I loved Donny & Marie… I married someone way better than Shaun, that exceeded my dreams, and no one has yet to replace Donny & Marie… Life just seemed easier.   This world that my kids are growing up in, is a very different place than the one I experienced.  I like to believe that this generation is made for such a time as this.

Sometimes I feel like it happened so fast!  When did I become this “responsible” parental kinda girl in this seriously material world?  I think I’m just too young to be this old… But then I look around at all my blessings, shake off the “chill”, and smile, because I am. Really.

Carly Simon put it this way-

I remember a time, rompin’ through the woods

Sun against our skin instead of clothes
When we felt hungry we would eat, when we felt glad we would dance
And whenever we felt drowsy we would doze

It was so easy then never takin’ any stands
It was so easy then, holdin’ hands

I remember a time when our fears could be named
And courage meant not refusing dares
I remember when we took such cares to step never on the cracks,
No only on the squares
Or else we’d be abducted by the bears

It was so easy then never makin’ any plans
It was so easy then, holdin’ hands

And now we are grown, with debts and regrets
And broken hearts and sentimental schemes
Now every tender failure seems to overthrow old dreams
Love can lead a normal woman to extremes

It was so easy once, holdin’ hands without a plan
It was so easy once holdin’ hands
Just holdin’ hands

 


Serious Saturday…I Cried Today.

I cried today.

It all started while visiting a church this morning, and seeing that the first 3 rows on the left, were reserved for the deaf.  We sat behind those seats, and I watched with grateful eyes, as the interpreter signed the songs, and the pastors message to the inhabitants of those rows.  It was angelic, and touched the deepest parts of my heart to see people worshiping the Lord through sign language.

This might have touched you as well, as signing is a beautiful language, but I think it touched me because my youngest child has progressive hearing loss.

My son has spent 10 of his 13 years on the planet visiting the Children’s ENT of Atlanta.  He has had a couple sets of tubes, beginning at age one.  He has had his adenoids and tonsils out, not at the same time I might add.  He has had a “strep” abscess removed and another that dissipated through IV medication and a week in the Children’s Hospital.  He actually has a myriad of other health issues, but none as visible as his hearing aids.

The doctors have tentatively diagnosed him with “progressive hearing loss”.  What that really means is that they know he has lost many levels of hearing, progressively, and they assume he will continue to follow that pattern.  We have endured many tests, and are about to see a Genetics Doctor, to undergo more testing.  The cause for this hearing loss is still a mystery.  So, we go to the audiologist every 3 months for hearing tests and adjustments, and we see the doctor every 6 months, wherein we ask the same things and he gives us the same answers. There is nothing they can do about the ringing in his ears.  They don’t know why this is happening, and he could loose all hearing ability at anytime.  Or not…. Really.

We have gotten very used to this routine.  Almost numbly used to it.

When we were told that the time had come for hearing aids, I cried a lot.  Then I prayed, and gave it all to God.  Peace came over me like a wave, and I have been strong ever since.  That was a year and a half ago.  Today, out of the blue, I saw those radiant people, who could not hear the music, but were praising God with their bodies and hands, and I cried again.

A good friend of mine asked me once, why I wasn’t mad at my God for my sons health issues.  I cannot be mad because I know there is more to this life.  My hope is not in the flesh, but in the Spirit and the Spirit is eternal.  Being mad at anything you have no control over is also a waste of energy, and will steal your joy and hope.  I felt sad today, but not sad in a mad kinda way, but in a realization that my son might have to connect with God on a different level than me.  A level that I don’t understand.  Apparently, as a mom, that can make you cry… Do I ever wish that this cup shall pass?  Yes.  My prayer is for hearing restored, but if it’s not, I know I will be OK and so will my son. Really.


For the Dogs…Top 10

I’m a better parent than a dog owner.  Really.

At first glance into my home, you can clearly see that my kids have it way better than my dogs. But just in case you never get a peak into the pathetic lives of my canines, I will honor them in this weeks top 10…

The top 5 ways my kids have it better than my dogs…

  1. My kids have free roam of the house. My dogs can only inhabit 3 rooms.
  2. My kids get to ride in my car all the time.  My dogs only travel to the vet when they are sick or need a shot. (I hate the slobber marks they leave on the window)
  3. I serve a variety of meals to my kids. The dogs get Purina Lamb & Rice. Everyday, twice a day. (if no one forgets) 365 days a year.
  4. My kids decide what they wear, for the most part.  My dogs wear whatever cute or ridiculous outfit that suits my fancy…
  5. My kids can use the bathroom when they need to.  My dogs have to wait till I feel like getting up…

The top 5 ways my dogs have it better than my kids…

  1. My dogs can run around in the yard all day.  My kids have responsibilities.
  2. I bathe my dogs in the “big” tub.  My kids bathe themselves. Period.
  3. My dogs can sleep all day if they want to.  My kids get up in the morning. Or else.
  4. Dogs invented the “puppy dog” look, and it always works for them.  My kids… not so much.
  5. If my dogs have an accident in the house, they get yelled at. Maybe.  If my kids have an accident in the house, they get grounded, and possibly an appointment with a specialist.

So, who do you really think has it better?