I Stand in Awe!

I am always thankful, but some days I am overwhelmed by God’s goodness to me.  After praying for my children, grandchildren, and other extended family and friends I am just in awe.

I lost my mother to cancer when I was 19 and she was just 40.  She actually passed away 20 days before my 20th birthday.  She and my dad were married 17-years then divorced.  My mother never knew anything of any of her grandchildren.  For the longest time, I feared dying at a young age myself.  I don’t know why.  I am now 56 and I no longer have that fear.  I actually haven’t had it for a very long time.  When I came to know Jesus and was adopted into HIS family, I realized that my days on this earth were in His hands.  My earthly heritage was not necessarily my heritage anymore.  My parents’ paths were their paths and my path is determined by God and meant to give me hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).

I have had the incredible blessing of being married to my best friend for almost 25-years.  I have seen four children to adulthood and have been present at the birth of two of my six grandchildren (three of them are by marriage).  The one biological grandchild whose birth I did not witness, I am now raising.  My first grandchild was born when I was 40 and I not only got to be present at the birth, but I got to throw my daughter’s baby shower.  I’ll never forget the day of the baby shower because I was in awe of God’s goodness that day as well.  I was acutely aware of how my life was NOT going the same way as my mother’s and I was so extremely thankful that I was there, sharing in my daughter’s life and celebrating the impending arrival of my first grandchild.  That was 16-years ago and I remember it clearly.

Life is fascinating!  Just yesterday I was riding the bus to Huntington Beach with my brother, almost every day, to go body-surfing and hang out at the beach.  Young (thin), energetic, barely a care in the world.  Now, here I sit.  Older, wider, nowhere near the beach, praying for children and grandchildren, in awe of my blessings.  I know I’ve made a lot of mistakes and my children have entered the world with some issues, but they didn’t enter adulthood motherless and even if that doesn’t mean as much to them – it means the world to me.  My youngest brother and sister were 8 and 9 when my mom passed.  They grew up not really knowing her and they are not unaffected by that.  My heart breaks for children who grow up without a parent or parents.  It is always difficult to lose them, but growing up without them seems particularly difficult to me.

Some of my prayers for my children are for salvation.  They don’t all walk with The Lord.  Some of my prayers are for healing.  I have loved ones who are ill and/or injured.  God’s goodness doesn’t mean a perfect life or always getting what we want.  He never promises that.  What He does promise is to never leave us or forsake us.  He is always with us through whatever He allows in our lives, and whatever He allows is for our good for one reason or another.  Reasons we are not always aware of.  I don’t know why He took my mom at such a young age and left me and my siblings motherless.  I don’t know why He didn’t leave MY children motherless at a young age.  I don’t know why He has given me blessings that make me happy at some times and blessings that challenge me and make me cry at other times.  God is not to be put in a box or even fully understood this side of eternity (I’m not sure about the other side either), but He IS to be trusted, glorified, and worshipped because He is always good, and He is worthy.  My life has not been perfect, or an easy ride, and not everything God has done in my life has been pleasant for me.  It has, however, been good.  As a sinner deserving of nothing good, I am in awe of God’s goodness toward me.

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The Beauty and Frustration of Homeschool

Homeschool is a beautiful and frustrating thing.  I homeschooled my grown boys for elementary school and now I’m homeschooling my granddaughter/daughter.  She is in 4th grade and we’ve been doing this since 1st grade.  Kindergarten was an eye-opening experience for me on how the public school system has changed just in the short time my boys have been out of it.  Seven years earlier, my youngest son attended the same school for fourth grade that my daughter went to for kindergarten.  It’s one of the top rated schools in our district and seven years ago I was very happy with it.  Unfortunately, we had several incidences with my daughter that left me a bit rattled.

On one occasion, my daughter had a small accident and was sent to the nurse’ office without an escort.  While she was gone, the teacher moved the class to the cafeteria.  My daughter returned to the classroom to find no one there.  She knew that they would go to the cafeteria eventually, and she knew the way there, so that’s where she went and fortunately found them.  Another time, the teacher took the kids to a small park across the street from the school.  My daughter and several of her friends slipped away and took a “shortcut”.  They got in trouble for that, but the fact that they were able to slip away unnoticed was more than a little disturbing.  Also disturbing was the time my sister picked my kindergartener up for me, and was not questioned by anyone.  She walked up, took my little one by the hand, and walked away with her.  No one said “Boo” to her.  My sister had never been to that school before and there’s supposed to be a protocol for anyone other than a parent picking up.  I had instructed my sister on what to do, but apparently the protocol is not enforced.  I was fuming about that one.  There were a couple more incidents like that and when I finally spoke to the principal about it, she was more than a little indifferent.  I spoke to the teacher as well, and as much as I like her, her answer was a cop-out in my opinion.

I don’t care how many students you have, you make sure you have them all before you move them and you don’t let kindergarteners walk the halls by themselves.  What if some bully of a 4th or 5th grader happened upon her and decided to be mean.  I shudder when I think of how many times I could have lost my daughter due to negligence on the part of the staff at her school.  Those experiences coupled with some of the education techniques I did not agree with, led to our decision to homeschool.  It’s been an interesting journey.  We have a lot of freedom and I am challenged on a daily basis (she does not like math), which is a good thing.  It keeps me on my toes.  I love the look in her eyes when she finally gets something that’s challenging her and I want to cry when it takes her four hours to do one math paper and I’m prodding her the whole time.  I am always looking for ways to not get burned out as well as ways to challenge my 4th grader and nurture her creative spirit.  If you have any suggestions, I am very open to hearing them.

Pinterest is a fun place to find ideas.  What do you do to keep your frustration level down and the “love to learn” level high?

When You’re Tired …

Let’s just be honest.  Motherhood is tiring!  Even if, unlike me, you’re a young mother – you still get tired.  In reality, it’s not just MOTHERhood.  It’s WIFEhood as well.  We don’t just take care of the kids.  We take care of our husbands, our homes, our social lives, our kids, and more.  We basically run the family.  I speak from a stay-at-home mom perspective these days, but I was once a working mom and it wasn’t much different.  My husband helped some, but the majority of the responsibility for the home and kids still seemed to fall on me.  And that’s okay.  I happen to be of the camp that believes that is as it should be – for the most part.  Or maybe I’m just such a control freak that I needed it to be that way.  But I digress.

So, what to do when you’re wiped out and the work’s not done?  Here are just five ways to keep yourself energized and/or recharge your batteries on the fly.

#1 – Push Through

That probably seems harsh, but sometimes it’s what needs to be done and quite frankly, I think we’ve become a bit soft in this area.  I’ve often heard the saying, “Put your big girl panties on and deal with it”.  I believe that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.  My grandmother and great-grandmother were pushers and they were some of the strongest women I’ve known.  If it needs to be done, just do it and get it over with, keeping a restful reward as the carrot at the end of the stick to keep you motivated.  You may find that 10th wind kicking in while you’re doing it.

#2 – Know Your Limitations

Having said to “push through”, at the same time you don’t want to push yourself to the point of a breakdown.  That does no one any good.  If you are so exhausted that the thought of pushing through drives you to tears, STOP.  Take a tea/water/coffee break and sit down for a few minutes.  An hour if necessary.  Sit and watch your kids play.  Read a few passages in Psalms – out loud is even better, if you can.  Or just close your eyes and breathe.  Push the reset button.

#3 – Stay Hydrated

It is SO important to our energy level to stay hydrated.  As soon as I start feeling fatigued or start to get a headache, I know I haven’t had enough water.  That is my first go-to when I feel my energy draining.  Drink, drink, drink … water.

#4 – Keep Your Blood Sugars Level

I know how it goes.  We get so busy taking care of everyone else, we forget to take care of ourselves.  The first thing on our to-do list should be a healthy breakfast (more than a cup of coffee).  I’ve started keeping overnight oatmeal jars in the fridge, full of healthy super foods like flax and chia seeds, and plenty of berries.  I keep plenty of nuts and other fruits around as well for the rest of the day.  I try to eat a little something every 2-3 hours; a handful of nuts, an orange or apple.  Something to keep me going that doesn’t take a lot of time, especially on my busier days.  Neglecting your health is the same as neglecting your family.  You can’t take care of them if you’re sick.  Make sure you’ve eaten today.

#5 – Catch some Zzzz’s

At least 7-hours worth.  A good night’s sleep is paramount to maintaining a sufficient energy level throughout the day.  When I was younger, I would stay up well past everyone else going to bed in order to get some things done that I wanted to do.  It’s a common mom practice.  We get more done when the house is quiet and no one is in our way.  Unfortunately, that can rob the next day.  Especially if you’re like me and don’t function well on minimal sleep.  Pushing ourselves to the brink by not getting enough sleep is neither productive nor healthy.  MAKE yourself go to bed at a decent hour.  You should certainly be tired enough to sleep.

There are lots of other things you can do to get your energy level up when you’re sagging; take a walk outside, dance, do some jumping jacks with your kids (kids love jumping jacks for some reason), take a nap when the kids take a nap.  Or, some advice another mom gave me years ago – take the kids to Chick-Fil-A and let them play in the play area while you just sit and be.  I’ve done that a few times.  It works.

Bottom line, Mom, is this:  You have a job to do that requires lots of energy.  Do your best to take care of yourself so you will be at your best, able to love and care for your family to the best of your ability.

Blessings!  😊💕

A Vital Season of Motherhood

I had such an interesting day yesterday.  I’m not sure I’ve had one quite like it since my kids were young.  Three of my four grown children called on me for help of one kind or another.  I won’t go too much into detail out of respect for their privacy, but some of it was quite draining, emotionally.  The strange thing about it was that while I felt a little drained emotionally, I wasn’t as drained as I thought I should be.  Let me try to explain.

In my mind, my formerly co-dependent mind that is still being renewed, I was really trying to be wrung out from the emotional drama, if you will, of each of my children’s situations.  My mind was trying to “react” the way my old self used to.  However, what my mind was trying to perceive was not the truth.  I had more than enough energy to deal with what was being thrown at me and my child (whichever one I was talking to at the time).  THAT is a God thing.  That was God’s strength and energy, and peace that passes all understanding.  It never ceases to amuse me when I can “see” the flesh and the spirit going in different directions – my mind trying to react dramatically, and the spirit of God keeping me calm and energized, and at peace amidst the turmoil.  It’s just SO awesome!

I love my children dearly, as most moms do, and I always thought that once they were grown parenting would be so much easier.  Amazingly enough, it’s not!  Now, I get to watch while they make poor choices and suffer the consequences, or be attacked by the world and have to work it out for themselves.  I am honored when they come to me for help or advice, yet I know that in the end they will make their own choice and it may not be the choice I would choose for them.  I get to deal with that.  I get to watch them walk out into the big, wide world – sometimes far away from me – and take any control I ever had over their lives with them.  When they were little, I could steer them away from impending danger or simply deflect anything that was coming at them that would cause them harm.  They were under my wing and protected.  I don’t have that control anymore.  Now I pray that they are under God’s wing and protected.  Which is far better protection anyway.  It’s not always easy though.

Sometimes I feel like I’m just not strong enough to endure the heartache of watching my children become subject to the pain and anguish of this world.  Not just since becoming adults.  We all know it starts early – as soon as they start to venture out.  That first day of school, their first friend, their first crush.  It has always been my goal, at least since coming to know Christ, to help them to be independent of me and dependent on God.  Now that they’re grown it’s time for the rubber to meet the road.  For all of us.  For them, for their dad, for me.  It’s time to actually LET them be independent of me and dependent on God – fully.  God is so faithful, and He keeps me strong when I feel like falling into a heap of weariness and heartache.  He reminds me that I am still their mother and I am still useful in their lives.  As long as I have breath in me I can contribute the most powerful things I have to give – love and prayer.

My kids may be grown, but yesterday confirmed for me that it doesn’t mean that being “Mom” is over.  It just means that the role of “Mom” has changed and with God’s help it can be a vital season of motherhood.  😊👩‍👦‍👦