Category Archives: identity

Where am I From?

I went to a blogging conference last weekend. http://www.thesitsgirls.com/ It was a little overwhelming, and exciting hanging out with a hundred other bloggers, and learning about things I didn’t even know existed. I had to really define my goal and reasons behind blabbering to all of you on a regular basis, and I think I did.  I definitely have my work cut out for me if I truly desire to share my life, help others, and point toward God with my stories and experiences.

One of the break out sessions focused on writing.  They gave us a template of the poem by George Ella Lyon, Where am I From.  Wow.  Several of the ladies filled theirs out in no time, and then shared them with us!  I was only on line three by the time we were supposed to be done.  I don’t know what that says about my creativity, but I was truly intimidated.  Being the good mom that I am, I printed a copy of the template and gave it to my son to fill in as a writing assignment.  He did it faster than me too.  Really.

The session leaders suggested that we put our poems in our next blog, so, now that I finally finished mine, I am sharing.  I asked my son if I could share his too, and he said, “I don’t care.” So here you go. A two for one from the Motmob.

From me:

I am from homemade clothes, from gardening, canning and religion.
I am from the single family home with the mattress, blankets & cuddles in front of the fireplace and corelle dishes that really do break.
I am from the strawberries that hide in the weeds, till my fingers ache.
I am from creativeness, sarcasm and the wringing of hands from Mom and Dad and Mommom Ruth.
I am from do it yourselves, the strong willed and the always right.
From Heaven is real and there’s never enough money.
I’m from Philadelphia and Ireland, beanie weenies, PB&J and mashed potatoes.
From the 500 Ford Galaxy that got pushed up the street at midnight for a moon lit drive on the beach and from being grounded for sneaking out and stealing the car.
From the ship yard, the seamstress, the lawyer and sunday school teacher.
I am from memories stored in boxes and albums, of every scrap of paper and photo from the past, that will be moved from attic to attic until there is nowhere left for them to go.  I am Jennifer.

From our 13 year old son:

I am from blenders and cereal bowls from Imacs and Bibles.
I am from every kind of ball there is.
The cinnamon stick in every room.
I am from the 18 rose bushes.  The cherry blossom tree whom long gone limbs I remember as if they were my own.
I’m from 3 gifts on Christmas and going out to lunch after church. I’m from Mom & Dad.
I’m from cleaning up a mess and leaving the dogs outside and from sneaking a cookie.
I’m from not wanting a gift from Santa, but from my parents and never swallowing my greens with water.
I’m from Jesus loves me this I know and from getting a back scratch.
I’m from Atlanta, Italy and Ireland, chicken puffs, green beans and Friday night pizza.
From my Dad getting hit with a high heel by his mom because he broke a china glass.
The bunny ears behind the head, the box of toys under my bed.
I’m from a great family who loves me and I love them, from baseball to ballet, my family is awesome.

After all my thinking about my life, I think this was a fun exercise after all.  If you would like to do one yourself, here’s a link to a blank template: http://www.swva.net/fred1st/wif.htm and here’s a good one for your kids: http://www.scholastic.com/content/collateral_resources/pdf/t/Target_I_am_from%20poem.pdf  OR you can share some of yourself on the comment section below…. I would love to see where you are from.

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Serious Saturday…The Warrior

What is a warrior?  The dictionary defines it as 1. One who is engaged in or experienced in battle. 2. One who is engaged aggressively or energetically in an activity, cause, or conflict.

So, what does that mean?  A warrior knows the battle field and has a plan. A warrior is pro-active and reactive.  He is engaged in the battle completely, mind, body and soul.  A warrior knows the enemy.  A warrior has a good support team, and through constant communication, is making sure he is equipped with the right weapons and information.

In the Bible, God says in Psalms 127:4 Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.

According to this verse, parents are warriors.  Our children are arrows safe in our quivers. We take the twig, smooth out the knots, and sharpen the point, making it “ready  to launch” at the target of their future.  Wow! How do we do that?  How do we, as parents, prepare our kids for their futures, and, more importantly, for their own battles?

We must be primarily pro-active verses reactive. Are we involved in their education and interests?  Or do we just run them around, and try to have quick conversations between activities, homework, and friends?  Are your children’s teachers, coaches, and friends the biggest influences in their lives?  Are we just passively trusting in all of the activities, and people to shape them?  If this is your routine, keep reading…

If you are a parent, then you have been called to be a warrior.  The enemy is seeking to devour them. And you. (1 Peter 5:8) We have been given the battle plans, weapons, and armor in The Word, and we have the best support system in the universe through Christ. (Eph 6:10-18) We can be in constant contact with the creator of life itself, who has already defeated the enemy we face.  Do our kids know this?  Above all the lessons we can teach our children, these are the most important.  You will not always be able to be there for your kids, but Christ can.  You can’t completely restore them after they have been defeated in a battle, but Christ can.  You will not always have the perfect words to say to them… but The Word will always be perfect.

So, what advice can I offer?  After raising 3 kids with the 4th in middle school, I have had many failures and victories.  But keeping with my warrior theme, I will admonish you to teach them about Christ first and foremost.  Don’t think that an hour or 2 a week at Church will adequately counter the culture war zone we are living in.  I think about how many hours a day or week that they are exposed to things that aren’t on the target, and I am pro-active to the opposite.  Reading and discussing The Word and praying together daily is our smoothing and sharpening process.  Make the quiver a place of humility and grace.  Raising children is a battle.  It’s like one of those World Wars that last for years…There will be victories and miracles, as well as epic fails, and sorrow.  It’s an honor and a blessing to be called as a warrior…now go act like one.

 


My Birthday

My birthday was last week.  Let’s just sit on that for a second and think about your own birthday.  Are you one of those who lie about their age or never wants to tell anyone?  Or do you just smile and blurt it out to anyone who asks?  My mother-in-law is 39, even though she lived though the depression and has great grand-children. (I’ve been advised by my counsel the ramifications of that sentence. I’m hoping her sense of humor has grown with age)

I must admit that I have always been shy about my age.  Not because I’m old, but because I’m young.  Crazy huh?  I think it comes from having children so young, and having that “you’re tooooo young” response.  The 2 weeks between my son’s birthday and mine was always the time I prayed that no one would ask my age, because if they did the math, they would figure out that I was 15 when I gave birth, instead of 16…like 16 is so much better? Anyway, I’m 43 and you’d think I’d be over it by now.  I am for the most part. But I still have my days.

I wanted to add a top ten list to this post about birthdays.  I thought the funniest list I could come up with would be “top ten worst gifts from your husband” but then I thought that wouldn’t be fair, because my husband has only given me a few really bad ones and this year, with the help of my daughter and friends, he outdid himself. So, given the awesomeness of this year’s celebration, even if I know the helpers did all the work, I don’t want to throw my man under the bus, so I will go with the “top ten ways you know you’re getting older”…

  1. You can’t focus on conversations in the car if the radio is too loud. (or even on in some cases)
  2. The radio is always too loud, unless you’re alone, and you’re trying to stay awake or you’re really in a praise and worship mood, and then you don’t care who sees you singing your heart out at a red light.
  3. Dinner and a movie are rare date nights, because after the dinner, you’re full and ready for bed.
  4. Eating fast food really does make you feel like crap.
  5. Jumping out of bed in the morning is a thing of the past.  Now you stretch, snap, crackle and pop before you roll on out.
  6. Your friends are not all getting married and having babies, now your friends kids are graduating, getting married, and having babies.
  7. You’ve realized that recreational and school sports are just games.  The outcome will not permanently affect anyone’s life.
  8. You realize that PBS & the History Channel do have some good programming.
  9. You check the weather forecast regularly. (although I still don’t know why)
  10. You’ve realize the importance of listening, sharing and patience, and that time really does fly, and you don’t want to waste any of it.

So there you have it.  I know this list could really be a top 100, but I can’t sit here all day.  I love growing up. I don’t even mind the gray hair coming in.  God was so sweet to put these verses in His Word for us;

Proverbs 16:31 (NIV) “Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life.”

Isaiah 46:4 (NIV) “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”

Isaiah 46:3b-4a LB I have created you and cared for you since you were born. I will be your God through all your lifetime, Yes, even when your hair is white with age. I made you and I will care for you.”

If you have something to add to this list, please do!  Thank you for reading and may you be blessed, whatever age you are…


What’s in a Name?

What’s in a Name?

Have you ever thought about what’s in a name?  I’ve been thinking about this lately, because I’ve found myself missing mine sometimes.  Not that I have felt a void, or a longing, but I noticed that when I hear it, I get one of those “oh! hey! that’s me!” kinda feelings.  If you’re not sure what I mean by this, let me explain…

We all come into this world nameless. Then our parents dub us something that they have either pondered and prayed over, really like or has some special meaning to them.  Sometimes it makes me wonder though, when I see kids named Apple or Blanket…  Anyway, my name is Jennifer.  It is of Welsh origin and it means, “fair and smooth”.  It’s ranked #6 in popularity, which should annoy my mom, as she named me this thinking it was unique. Although, maybe she was the trend setter, as it hit it’s peak in 1970, taking the #1 spot, just a few years after I was born.

By the age of 5 I had decided that the playful shorter version of my name, Jenny, which I had been called regularly, had reached it’s limit.  Since I was headed to Kindergarten, I was too old for such a cute identity and I was to be known as Jennifer from that day forward.  And so it was.

Fast forward 10 years and a new name had been bestowed.  I am now also know as Mom.  It was a pretty awesome day to say the least.  I loved it.  I could hear it all day long!  I think I cried the first time my son actually said it.  Those emotions were just as strong when I birthed the next three.  The name Mom is the bomb.

Marriage brings a new name into the mix as well.  I must say though, the first time I was called “Mrs. Mottola”  I looked for my mother-in-law, then realized it was me.. and I liked it.  I am proud to be my husband’s Mrs.

I have several other names now too.  My husband calls me “Honey” a lot.  I answer to “Hey” and “Ma’am”  although I prefer “Miss”.. the kids in the neighborhood call me Miss. Jennifer.  My friends usually call me “Jen” or “Hey Girlfriend”.  I like these names, and the identities that accompany them.   I’m sure there are other things I have been called, some nice and some not-so-nice.  The point is, names are not just names.  They are titles. Identities. There is power and emotion behind them.

Lately when I hear, “Jennifer”, it has reminded me that I am me.  It’s the title of my identity.  I am a child of God, a sinful human whose been rescued from herself, who loves deeply and cares too much, who’s passionate and strong willed and has a mix of gifts and talents that God has given me. No one ever had or ever will have the exact DNA as me.. or as you.

Sometimes I think having so many titles can keep us so busy fulfilling them, that we can forget who’s at the core.  Have you forgotten who you really are? My name is Jennifer.  It’s nice to meet you.  Who are you?