Sunday, September 2, 2012

Who knew?

So, who knew?  I know I certainly didn't.

My cool kid after our fun picnic today

You may ask, "What in the world are you talking about? Who knew what?"  

Who knew that I'd have so much fun being the mom of a teenager?  I mean seriously, I didn't have the best experience being a teenager myself, so to actually enjoy having one of my own has taken me by surprise.  I thought that maybe it had something to do with the hormonal surges of teen girls in their over-the-top drama and emotional roller coaster rides. But my son has some teenage friends who are boys (gotta watch how I word that....), and they don't seem to have the same type of relationship with their moms as my teenage boy has with his. And there is much drama involved. So it can't just be a girl thing that I experienced. 

Can I say "it's a parening thing" without sounding like I'm aware of doing something right that other parents haven't? Because I don't know that I have. Done something right, that is. I feel, every day, that I'm totally messing up. Royally. And utterly. 

All I can say is that it's gotta be a God thing. Because I don't have the first clue how to raise a teenager, let alone a regular child. I don't ever recall receiving a handbook called "How Not to Mess Up Your Kid and Turn Him Into a Monster Teen" when that little person pushed his way out of my body. In fact, I may have actually handed over the handbook called "How Your Life Changes in Ways You Never Imagined When You Have Kids" because nothing could have prepared me for the twists and turns my life has taken once that little person plunged into this world. And right into my heart. 

And altho he's not so little anymore, he's kept his place in my heart for 13 1/2 fun and chaotic years. 

Just when I think I've gotten it all figured out, I'm derailed and caught completely off-guard with yet one more challenge.  I mean really, how do you handle the fact that your now teen son wants to spend almost every waking moment hanging out with his friends? After spending the first 12 1/2 years hanging with his mom? Wow! That was something I knew would eventually happen, but so soon?  After all, he's still just a baby, right?  OK, I know....he's not a baby in the world's eyes, but he is in mine. I can still perfectly recall the day he was born, for goodness sakes!  What happened to the last 13 1/2 years?  Where did they go? And why do they go so fast?  If his life was a racecar, these last 13 1/2 years would have broken all land speed records. Gosh, they would have broken the sound barrier, for crying out loud!  (ok, I'm going back and perusing this to make all the necessary edits, and I've realized a good old "no pun intended" is required here)

But to have fun while on that ride is an understatement.  

So here's the story behind the reason for posting:

Yesterday while I was home enjoying my day off, my kid was hanging out with his friends at the baseball field near our home. Whenever he's out and about, we always keep in touch by text, and yesterday was no exception.  Our normal texts range from "I'm home" to "You're such a dork" and everything in between. So to get an unusually silly one from him isn't, well, all that unusual. I don't even remember what we were texting back and forth yesterday while he was with his friends, but he decided he needed to call me. Now to get a phone call from him is more unusual than getting a silly text, so I knew I better answer. And to be honest, I don't even remember what he asked me, but I do know that he called to ask me something and thought it important enough to call. As I was just about to tell him "I love you" (yes, believe it or not, he actually does still tell me that....every.single.day.....many times) he had hung up....WITHOUT saying it himself. So I texted him and told him he didn't say "I love you" and that the next time he has to say it really loud so everyone can hear him. He basically blew me off....at least for a little while. But then he texted to tell me to go out onto our deck. So I did. And I heard "I LOVE YOU!!!!!" in what sounded like my son's voice, traveling far across the 1 1/2 blocks from the park to our deck. I busted out laughing. Not because it surprised me, but because it didn't!  It is just something he would do, and obviously did. 

Now, to say that this made my day would be an understatement. The fact is that it probably will have made my entire week by the time this week is done. 



Another story behind my reason for posting is a post from a fellow blogger (Sarah Mae) about failing as a mom. She talked about how it's so easy to become distracted and neglect our kids while our faces are turned away from them, peering instead into a book, a computer, the tv, or any other number of things that steal our time away from our precious children and the priceless time we need to be spending with them.  This really struck a cord with me because I had been thinking about this very thing over the last several days. I had wanted to cut out some of my time-wasters, and spend that time instead peering into the face of my child. OK, so he's not so much a child anymore....but you know what I mean.   

I want to cut out computer time mostly. At least when he's around. If he's gone (or sleeping, as he is now), then I do what needs to get done, then get gone....off the computer.  I don't want to look back after he's left home and say "I sure wish I would have turned off that computer more often."  So I made the announcement on that good old fashioned blog thief (refer to a previous blog post), that I wanted all my mom friends to hold me accountable.....if they discover that I'm online for more than 30 minutes a day, to give me a "nudge" to shut 'er down. To pay attention to my kid. To go be a mom!  Shortly after posting, I received a comment from a friend that said "If I were you, I would drop us like a bad suit and INHALE this time with your son!"  AMEN!  It was all the confirmation (and perhaps, permission) I needed to do just that. 

So that is what I did today. My kid came home for lunch (from the previously mentioned ball field), and for the next hour I stayed away from anything with a screen, and INHALED the time with my son.  I went online to find a nice picnic area near us, and found the perfect spot. So we headed over to get some crispy fried chicken from SunMart (because I had just heard on the radio that you can't have a picnic without crispy fried chicken), along with some am-A-zing potato salad, potato chips (that was my kid's choice, not mine...I figured we had enough potatoes in the salad), a couple of cans of softdrinks, and headed out to our new, favorite, *secret* picnic spot. And it was good. 

Very good. 

I love having a teenager!





Does it get any better than this?  :)

 







Tuesday, June 12, 2012

My Truth About Father's Day


 
I'm having mixed feelings about this Father's Day thing. Being a single mom, and having grown up without my dad, it's not a subject that I know how to address with Josey.  I mean, I get Mother's Day.  I can still celebrate that day as a single mom.  But Father's Day? How does that look?

We actually just brought this up last night at about 11 pm.  We were on our way home from spending the evening with friends, and while there it was mentioned that it is Father's Day this Sunday.  While still in our vehicle, Josey says, "To me it's just another day."  Wow! Where do you go with that?  All I could say was, "I know how you feel."  But do I? We have talked about many things, but I don't know that we've actually had a full-out discussion about what Father's Day means to both of us.

Don't get me wrong, I love my dad.  It's just that I didn't even meet him until I was well into my 20s. So by then, the whole Father's Day thing was a non-issue, a day that I just didn't celebrate...EVER.  Sure, I had my share of step-dads....but I can't say that either of them were a real father to me.  Sure, they were authority figures....kind of.....but the love wasn't there. I had called my first step-dad "Dad" up until I found out he wasn't my real dad. I was four. Then I didn't know WHAT to call him.  "Dad" just didn't seem to apply to him. I always felt like an inconvenience to him....certainly not like a daughter should.  Even when I thought he WAS my dad.  Then my 2nd step-dad....are you KIDDING me????  I had tried out the "Dad" name once, maybe twice, but it didn't fit him either. So he was always called by his first name by my brother and me. I think I was more afraid of him than anything. I obeyed him out of fear of what he'd do as punishment, rather than respect. I don't think I had respect for either one of them.  I'm just amazed that I have respect for any male figure in my life, just because of the lack of earned respect for my step-dads. What I wanted growing up was to know my dad. To be the apple of his eye. To hear him tell me "It'll be OK" whenever I was afraid. To laugh with me. To hold me. To tell me that I'm lovely. To carry me on his shoulders and be strong for me.

photo from babyloveletters.com

Then suddenly, there was my real dad. My birth father. Suddenly, he was "Dad".  When I called him "Dad" it just fit. Perfectly.  Then just as suddenly that he came into my life, he was out of it. Because of difficult family circumstances, he was gone. I've talked to him on the phone twice and seen him once in the past 9+ years. The hug he gave me when I saw him in January of this year was something I have longed for, needed, desperately, for oh, so very long.  Then, again he was gone. I love him and miss him desperately, and want him in my life. It's just that I don't know what that would look like, or how to even make that happen.  He lives in another country, 8-10 hours away, so it's not like I can just stop in and say "Hi...I'm here!" any old time I want.  Altho I know if I could, I would. And he'd probably welcome me. But it's just getting there, both physically and emotionally, that is the difficult, and painful, part. I'm just so afraid that he'd turn me away. Tell me things that I don't want to hear. Not tell me things that I want and need to hear.  Like about my brother. I so very much want to know about him. VERY much!  But that's a whole 'nuther matter altogether....a subject for another day.  Today I'm talking about dads.

OK, then there's Josey's dad.  Josey has not heard from him in over a year. And truthfully, he doesn't want to. Even tho I know he'll never say it, I can see it on his face every time his phone rings that's he's terrified that it will be his dad asking to see him.  TERRIFIED!  He just asked me yesterday too, "What should I do if my dad shows up sometime?"  And we had our discussion about that, to keep him safe. To make him feel safe, to ensure him I would keep him safe.  His dad just has not had the best track record with making him feel safe. Josey has always called him "Dad", but he said that he felt more like a buddy than a father. And I know Josey desperately wants a father figure in his life.  He needs a father figure in his life.  It's just that right now, it's not his dad. Maybe one day when he feels safe again, feels secure in knowing he CAN feel safe around his dad, he will want to see him again. It's just not now.



Until then, I make sure he feels safe. I will be the best mom to him that I can be. And I will do my best to be there for him when he needs me. To cheer him on. To tell him he's got what it takes. To tell him he's the best kid this side of heaven. To be strong for him. To tell him it will be OK when he's afraid. To hug him, and get hugs from him. To celebrate Mother's Day with him, and Father's Day too if that's what he wants.



And for both of us, for now, and for always, God is our Father (Matthew 6:9). HE will pick us up when we fall (Psalm 37:24).  HE will tell us it will be OK when we're afraid (Psalm 27:1). HE will tell us we are lovely and have what it takes (Psalm 17:8).  HE will be the one to tell us He loves us (Jeremiah 31:3).    HE will never EVER leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). HE will be the One to guide us, to hold us (Psalm 139:10).  HE will be strong for both of us (Psalm 118:14).


And Dad, if you're reading this....Happy Father's Day! I love you!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Giveaway at The Little Things

Head on over to The Little Things blog for a chance to win this adorable little bonnet!  Follow the link....

The Little Things

Have fun and good "luck"  ;)



Saturday, May 19, 2012

Worthy



This is a "poem" I found while searching thru the many wonderful things at The Market a few weeks ago. I don't know who the author is, or I would give her credit for writing it. All I know is that it caught my eye (and heart) and has become my "motto" of sorts for this season of my life. So much so that I decided to paint it on canvas. It was and is part of my healing that God is doing on my heart.

As some of you may know (or not know, whatever the case may be), I am doing a small group Bible study with a group of lovely, beautiful...and worthy....ladies. It is based on the book "Captivating" by John and Stasi Eldredge. If you have not read this book, and your heart is in need of some good, old-fashioned healing, this is a MUST READ!  Aside from the Bible, it has been the most life-changing book I've ever read!  God has been doing a supernatural work in my heart over the last several (10) weeks, and I am going to be a bit saddened when this small group is over (this Wednesday). I have gotten to know some very beautiful women, some pretty broken women, thru this group, and I hope to continue the relationship I have formed with them thru it. We have talked about some pretty intense and shocking things, but have also witnessed some pretty intense and shocking healings by doing so. We've had plenty of opportunities to laugh with joy, to cry many tears, and to eat some pretty amazing food. Not to mention watch an even more amazing God heal not-just-a-few broken hearts.

For me to even write about this is just a small witness to what God has done in my life. I would never have, in my entire walled-up life, revealed anything so personal in such a public way. All my life I have kept my heartbreak and self-inflicted wounds to myself, or at the very most only revealed them to a very few carefully chosen, trustworthy friends. Or at least, who I hoped were trustworthy. Sadly, over the years I've come to realize that in my desperation to befriend someone....anyone....I have not always made the wisest choices in selecting who to reveal my heart to.

Just a sampling of what God has done thru this small group is give me a love for my mom that I have not ever experienced. Yes, I know what you're saying or thinking...."didn't you love your mom before this?"  In a word, no.  At least not in the way a daughter is "supposed" to love her mom. I think I tolerated her more than anything. There was a period of my life that I wouldn't even refer to her as mom, but would call her "mother" instead. As tho she were just the woman who gave me birth. Then eventually my tolerance turned to pity. I could tolerate her because I felt sorry for her. Maybe it was all part of the process of healing, but it was still difficult to actually love her.

And now, by the grace of God, I can actually say that I LOVE her!  I actually miss her. Yes, she's alive, but she lives several hours away so I don't get to see her but twice, maybe three times a year. We do talk on the phone occasionally. But since she has learned how to text, we do that almost daily. And almost daily she tells me she loves me. Which, by the way, used to irritate the heck out of me!  But now when those texts come, I cherish them. If I am able, I will text her back that I love her too.  It used to be that it was difficult for me to even to do that, as if I would question myself "Do I mean it today? Or is today one of those days I don't feel like loving her back?"  Oh, what a LIE from the pit of hell!  Now when those texts come, and when I reply with my "ILU2"...I totally, 100% mean it. THAT in itself is a miracle that could only come from a God loving me.

Another thing that God has been doing a work in my heart with is how I love other people....mainly, women. I have always had a compassion for people who are hurting. But if it wasn't evident in their lives, I often would resent them for having what appeared to be a "perfect" life. They had a husband who loved them. They had healthy children. They had abundance when it came to finances. They were healthy. BUT if they ever complained about anything that was less than what I deemed "perfection" or told me about how God has blessed them, I resented hearing about it. I would think in with my hardened heart, "C'mon, really? Your husband irritated you today? At least you HAVE a husband. I would do anything to have someone to spend the rest of my life with and to help around the house....even to irritate me."  Or "Please don't tell me how much you spent on that. When I barely have enough to buy milk and bread, and all we've had for supper for the past week has been generic cheerios or Ramen, I really really don't want to hear about your brand new vehicle that you paid cash for. And let's not even get into what bills have yet again gone unpaid."  I won't even begin to tell you about the litany of lies that bombarded me when discussing their health. YES, those thoughts did cross my mind while you told me about your life. YES, I did resent you and your blessings.  So much so that I couldn't handle being around you. I distanced myself from you. And "you" could be any number of my friends reading this. And for that I want to deeply and sincerely apologize. In my self-absorbed world, I considered your excitement in telling me what God was doing in your life as a way to make me jealous. To rub it in my face. I couldn't, or wouldn't, be happy for you. I realized it was another LIE from the father of lies. And I HATED that...that I resented you...that I pushed you away....that I would even think that stuff about you.  Please forgive me!  I truly enjoy hearing about you and your life, and I love what God is doing in it! If it weren't for you, my heart would never be full. I love laughing and crying with you. I love talking with you and learning about you. I love that you trust me to tell me these things. And I love YOU.

I have so many things to be sorry about, to regret, to dislike about myself. BUT God is so much bigger than all that pettiness. He deems me worthy. He has sent Jesus to the Cross to cleanse me of all unrighteousness, and that includes all my regrets, my sorrows, and all my heartbreak. He went to the Cross not just to heal me physically, but spiritually, mentally, and emotionally as well. I know there are so many other areas where I need His healing touch, but in His mercy He is doing a little at a time. I think I would be so overwhelmed if He did it all at once. Ugh...can you IMAGINE????  But I'm a work-in-progress, and I'm growing and being renewed day by day. And thankfully, His mercies are new every morning....GREAT is His faithfulness.

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."  ~2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Pirate!

OK, so my son just said to me while deciding which Pirates of the Caribbean movie to watch, "You must like that series."  Yes, my son, I do. I don't necessarily like all the goulies and such that are in them, but I love that era and all that goes along with it....pirating, swashbuckling, rescuing damsels in distress...Oh wait! That's knights in shining armor isn't it? But I enjoy a good "Knight's Tale" (another of my fav movies), as well.

Maybe it's because I like how these adventuresome men, although tough and rough on the outside, with all their carefree attitudes and ne'er do well lifestyles, they really are good at heart. They DO rescue their "damsels in distress" when those said damsels are in want of rescuing.

Maybe because I sometimes feel like a damsel in distress....OK OK, so it's most times that I feel that way.

But as I sat down here at the computer trying to think of something to blog about, I'm sitting here NOT watching the movie, but just listening. I am able to actually LISTEN to what is happening instead of just seeing with my eyes and becoming distracted by Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom in all their swashbuckling glory. It came to my attention one particular scene that reminded me of something that seems to surprise so many people, including myself. It's the part where Will Turner and Captain Jack are fighting for the first time in the blacksmith's shop.  Jack has taken some ashes and blows them all over Will and kicks Will's sword away as he grabs his own gun. Will looks at Jack with a bewildered look on his face and says, "You cheated."  To which Jack replies, "Pirate!" 

Like "duh....what'd you expect from the likes of me?" 

photo from www.imdb.com

As I was able to listen, not only with my ears but also with my mind and my heart, I knew what I was to write about.

So many times we are surprised and often bewildered at the troubles that come our way. But really, if you think about it, SHOULD we really be all that surprised?  After all, Jesus tells us that "the devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy...."  We forget all about this when something terrible happens, and it's like we're telling the devil, "You cheated."  And the devil is saying "Pirate!"  Like "duh....what'd you expect from the likes of me?"

**Let it also be noted that pirates sing a song that goes something like this: "We're devils, we're black sheep. We're really bad eggs."

And now is the scene where Elizabeth is captured by those two ruffian, clumsy, oh-so-likable pirates. As she is about to be pulled out of the closet, she immediately tells them "Parlay!"  And isn't this what we, as believers in Christ, are supposed to tell the enemy of our souls? "Parlay!"  Let's take this to the King and let Him decide what to do with us. After all, it's His jurisdiction we are under. HIS Blood!  You dirty, rotten scoundrel have no right to place your hands on me....I belong to the King of kings! 

I never would have thought that God would speak to me thru a movie, let alone a movie about dirty, filthy pirates. But it's amazing what we will hear if we open our ears, our hearts, and close our eyes to the distractions that are swirling around us....and distractions they are.

We long for adventure. We long for a Rescuer. But there is only One who can fill that role in our lives. No pirate or swashbuckler, no matter how heroic and handsome he is, has shoes or a HAT big enough to be the Rescuer of our souls. Of our hearts.

So the next time the enemy throws troubles and trials your way, and you are surprised that this is happening to YOU....instead of saying "You cheated," you can say with boldness "Parlay!" And because the enemy is also under the jurisdiction of the King, he is obliged, nay DUTY-BOUND to take you to Him. And the King of kings will grant you the pardon you request. He will unbind your chains, ease your burdens, and make you as white as snow. 

photo from stephtmomof3.blogspot.com
Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;
 though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.  Isaiah 1:18

The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me because God anointed me.
He sent me to preach good news to the poor,
   heal the heartbroken,
Announce freedom to all captives,
   pardon all prisoners.
God sent me to announce the year of his grace—
   a celebration of God's destruction of our enemies—
   and to comfort all who mourn,
To care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion,
   give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes,
Messages of joy instead of news of doom,
   a praising heart instead of a languid spirit.
Rename them "Oaks of Righteousness"
   planted by God to display his glory.
They'll rebuild the old ruins,
   raise a new city out of the wreckage.
They'll start over on the ruined cities,
   take the rubble left behind and make it new.
You'll hire outsiders to herd your flocks
   and foreigners to work your fields,
But you'll have the title "Priests of God,"
   honored as ministers of our God.
You'll feast on the bounty of nations,
   you'll bask in their glory.
Because you got a double dose of trouble
   and more than your share of contempt,
Your inheritance in the land will be doubled
   and your joy go on forever. 
Isaiah 61:1-3 MSG

Monday, April 23, 2012

change....or stay the same?

Do you like change? I always thought I did, but I'm finding it more difficult to deal with as I get older. I used to thrive on change. Between the day after I graduated from high school in 1987, and the last time I moved, which was in 2003, I think I moved at least 25 times. At LEAST! 

Altho I disliked some of the reasons for moving, and the packing and unpacking generally wore me out, I loved being in a new home. I enjoyed finding new places for all my stuff. I enjoyed exploring newly discovered nooks and crannies where I could store "more stuff".  I moved so often when I first left home, that one apartment I never actually got all my stuff out of boxes and never even moved into my bedroom, before I was moving once again. I just enjoyed it...well, at least the result of moving. Not the actual moving itself.

I was always the one, when someone would come to me complaining of all the changes being made to their job, their home, their children, their LIFE, I was the one who always encouraged them, "Change is good. It's boring to stay the same."  I wanted more change in my life. Now? Not so much.

But change is good, right? At least some change is good. But why do so many people, including myself these days, resist it? Is it because, even tho the change will improve your quality of life, you're so used to what has always been that the new seems so....scary?  So weird? So....hard?

Even Jesus talked about this. In Luke 5, while He was telling a parable, He said, “No one tears a patch from a new garment and sews it on an old one. If he does, he will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old.  And no one pours new wine into old wine skins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wine skins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wine skins. And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, ‘The old is better.’”

What is He saying here, exactly? The best explanation of it that I can find at the moment was found online at bethimmanuel dot org. It says: "The new garment is the Gospel/Grace/Kingdom/Church and the old garment is the Old Covenant/Law/Judaism. No one tears a new garment to patch an old one. Grace and law do not mix."

Grace and law do not mix.

How does this have to do with change? I think it has everything to do with it. Without grace, we stay the same. We continue to live in bondage, in fear, in desperation, with no hope of seeing what our lives could be. Without grace, I would still be living my former life, without life. Without grace, I would not have the power to change. I so desperately want to change. But it's so....hard. Difficult. Scary. Weird.

With the law (in other words, the curse), I have no hope of change. All I would see is what is obvious and in front of me. The same things, the same pain, the same "stuff" in the same places, the same nooks and crannies it's been in for....EVER.


"Yet, O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our Potter, and we all are the work of Your hand." Isaiah 64:8

God uses change to mold us, to form us, to shape us into the person He wants us to become. Even the bad changes in our lives, God uses for creating good changes in us. Without clouds, there is no rain. Without rain, there is no growth. Without growth, there is no power. Without power, nothing changes......and in the big picture of life, everything stays the same. And that's just boring.

In our little family of two (3 if you count G, 6 if you count the fish!), there are some huge changes coming our way. Unfortunately for you, I am not at liberty to say what they are....yet.  I can only say that they are from God, and He knows what's best. Am I at all anxious about these potential changes? You bet! But I'm also very very excited. I don't know exactly when they will happen, but I know they are inevitable....and God's way of molding me, forming me, shaping me into the person He wants me to be. Now, to learn about PATIENCE....ho hum....

So, get out there! Make some changes....in your own life, and in the lives of others. I can guarantee you will never say the words "I'm bored!" ever again!


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Who knew?

So, who knew?  I know I certainly didn't.

My cool kid after our fun picnic today

You may ask, "What in the world are you talking about? Who knew what?"  

Who knew that I'd have so much fun being the mom of a teenager?  I mean seriously, I didn't have the best experience being a teenager myself, so to actually enjoy having one of my own has taken me by surprise.  I thought that maybe it had something to do with the hormonal surges of teen girls in their over-the-top drama and emotional roller coaster rides. But my son has some teenage friends who are boys (gotta watch how I word that....), and they don't seem to have the same type of relationship with their moms as my teenage boy has with his. And there is much drama involved. So it can't just be a girl thing that I experienced. 

Can I say "it's a parening thing" without sounding like I'm aware of doing something right that other parents haven't? Because I don't know that I have. Done something right, that is. I feel, every day, that I'm totally messing up. Royally. And utterly. 

All I can say is that it's gotta be a God thing. Because I don't have the first clue how to raise a teenager, let alone a regular child. I don't ever recall receiving a handbook called "How Not to Mess Up Your Kid and Turn Him Into a Monster Teen" when that little person pushed his way out of my body. In fact, I may have actually handed over the handbook called "How Your Life Changes in Ways You Never Imagined When You Have Kids" because nothing could have prepared me for the twists and turns my life has taken once that little person plunged into this world. And right into my heart. 

And altho he's not so little anymore, he's kept his place in my heart for 13 1/2 fun and chaotic years. 

Just when I think I've gotten it all figured out, I'm derailed and caught completely off-guard with yet one more challenge.  I mean really, how do you handle the fact that your now teen son wants to spend almost every waking moment hanging out with his friends? After spending the first 12 1/2 years hanging with his mom? Wow! That was something I knew would eventually happen, but so soon?  After all, he's still just a baby, right?  OK, I know....he's not a baby in the world's eyes, but he is in mine. I can still perfectly recall the day he was born, for goodness sakes!  What happened to the last 13 1/2 years?  Where did they go? And why do they go so fast?  If his life was a racecar, these last 13 1/2 years would have broken all land speed records. Gosh, they would have broken the sound barrier, for crying out loud!  (ok, I'm going back and perusing this to make all the necessary edits, and I've realized a good old "no pun intended" is required here)

But to have fun while on that ride is an understatement.  

So here's the story behind the reason for posting:

Yesterday while I was home enjoying my day off, my kid was hanging out with his friends at the baseball field near our home. Whenever he's out and about, we always keep in touch by text, and yesterday was no exception.  Our normal texts range from "I'm home" to "You're such a dork" and everything in between. So to get an unusually silly one from him isn't, well, all that unusual. I don't even remember what we were texting back and forth yesterday while he was with his friends, but he decided he needed to call me. Now to get a phone call from him is more unusual than getting a silly text, so I knew I better answer. And to be honest, I don't even remember what he asked me, but I do know that he called to ask me something and thought it important enough to call. As I was just about to tell him "I love you" (yes, believe it or not, he actually does still tell me that....every.single.day.....many times) he had hung up....WITHOUT saying it himself. So I texted him and told him he didn't say "I love you" and that the next time he has to say it really loud so everyone can hear him. He basically blew me off....at least for a little while. But then he texted to tell me to go out onto our deck. So I did. And I heard "I LOVE YOU!!!!!" in what sounded like my son's voice, traveling far across the 1 1/2 blocks from the park to our deck. I busted out laughing. Not because it surprised me, but because it didn't!  It is just something he would do, and obviously did. 

Now, to say that this made my day would be an understatement. The fact is that it probably will have made my entire week by the time this week is done. 



Another story behind my reason for posting is a post from a fellow blogger (Sarah Mae) about failing as a mom. She talked about how it's so easy to become distracted and neglect our kids while our faces are turned away from them, peering instead into a book, a computer, the tv, or any other number of things that steal our time away from our precious children and the priceless time we need to be spending with them.  This really struck a cord with me because I had been thinking about this very thing over the last several days. I had wanted to cut out some of my time-wasters, and spend that time instead peering into the face of my child. OK, so he's not so much a child anymore....but you know what I mean.   

I want to cut out computer time mostly. At least when he's around. If he's gone (or sleeping, as he is now), then I do what needs to get done, then get gone....off the computer.  I don't want to look back after he's left home and say "I sure wish I would have turned off that computer more often."  So I made the announcement on that good old fashioned blog thief (refer to a previous blog post), that I wanted all my mom friends to hold me accountable.....if they discover that I'm online for more than 30 minutes a day, to give me a "nudge" to shut 'er down. To pay attention to my kid. To go be a mom!  Shortly after posting, I received a comment from a friend that said "If I were you, I would drop us like a bad suit and INHALE this time with your son!"  AMEN!  It was all the confirmation (and perhaps, permission) I needed to do just that. 

So that is what I did today. My kid came home for lunch (from the previously mentioned ball field), and for the next hour I stayed away from anything with a screen, and INHALED the time with my son.  I went online to find a nice picnic area near us, and found the perfect spot. So we headed over to get some crispy fried chicken from SunMart (because I had just heard on the radio that you can't have a picnic without crispy fried chicken), along with some am-A-zing potato salad, potato chips (that was my kid's choice, not mine...I figured we had enough potatoes in the salad), a couple of cans of softdrinks, and headed out to our new, favorite, *secret* picnic spot. And it was good. 

Very good. 

I love having a teenager!





Does it get any better than this?  :)

 







Tuesday, June 12, 2012

My Truth About Father's Day


 
I'm having mixed feelings about this Father's Day thing. Being a single mom, and having grown up without my dad, it's not a subject that I know how to address with Josey.  I mean, I get Mother's Day.  I can still celebrate that day as a single mom.  But Father's Day? How does that look?

We actually just brought this up last night at about 11 pm.  We were on our way home from spending the evening with friends, and while there it was mentioned that it is Father's Day this Sunday.  While still in our vehicle, Josey says, "To me it's just another day."  Wow! Where do you go with that?  All I could say was, "I know how you feel."  But do I? We have talked about many things, but I don't know that we've actually had a full-out discussion about what Father's Day means to both of us.

Don't get me wrong, I love my dad.  It's just that I didn't even meet him until I was well into my 20s. So by then, the whole Father's Day thing was a non-issue, a day that I just didn't celebrate...EVER.  Sure, I had my share of step-dads....but I can't say that either of them were a real father to me.  Sure, they were authority figures....kind of.....but the love wasn't there. I had called my first step-dad "Dad" up until I found out he wasn't my real dad. I was four. Then I didn't know WHAT to call him.  "Dad" just didn't seem to apply to him. I always felt like an inconvenience to him....certainly not like a daughter should.  Even when I thought he WAS my dad.  Then my 2nd step-dad....are you KIDDING me????  I had tried out the "Dad" name once, maybe twice, but it didn't fit him either. So he was always called by his first name by my brother and me. I think I was more afraid of him than anything. I obeyed him out of fear of what he'd do as punishment, rather than respect. I don't think I had respect for either one of them.  I'm just amazed that I have respect for any male figure in my life, just because of the lack of earned respect for my step-dads. What I wanted growing up was to know my dad. To be the apple of his eye. To hear him tell me "It'll be OK" whenever I was afraid. To laugh with me. To hold me. To tell me that I'm lovely. To carry me on his shoulders and be strong for me.

photo from babyloveletters.com

Then suddenly, there was my real dad. My birth father. Suddenly, he was "Dad".  When I called him "Dad" it just fit. Perfectly.  Then just as suddenly that he came into my life, he was out of it. Because of difficult family circumstances, he was gone. I've talked to him on the phone twice and seen him once in the past 9+ years. The hug he gave me when I saw him in January of this year was something I have longed for, needed, desperately, for oh, so very long.  Then, again he was gone. I love him and miss him desperately, and want him in my life. It's just that I don't know what that would look like, or how to even make that happen.  He lives in another country, 8-10 hours away, so it's not like I can just stop in and say "Hi...I'm here!" any old time I want.  Altho I know if I could, I would. And he'd probably welcome me. But it's just getting there, both physically and emotionally, that is the difficult, and painful, part. I'm just so afraid that he'd turn me away. Tell me things that I don't want to hear. Not tell me things that I want and need to hear.  Like about my brother. I so very much want to know about him. VERY much!  But that's a whole 'nuther matter altogether....a subject for another day.  Today I'm talking about dads.

OK, then there's Josey's dad.  Josey has not heard from him in over a year. And truthfully, he doesn't want to. Even tho I know he'll never say it, I can see it on his face every time his phone rings that's he's terrified that it will be his dad asking to see him.  TERRIFIED!  He just asked me yesterday too, "What should I do if my dad shows up sometime?"  And we had our discussion about that, to keep him safe. To make him feel safe, to ensure him I would keep him safe.  His dad just has not had the best track record with making him feel safe. Josey has always called him "Dad", but he said that he felt more like a buddy than a father. And I know Josey desperately wants a father figure in his life.  He needs a father figure in his life.  It's just that right now, it's not his dad. Maybe one day when he feels safe again, feels secure in knowing he CAN feel safe around his dad, he will want to see him again. It's just not now.



Until then, I make sure he feels safe. I will be the best mom to him that I can be. And I will do my best to be there for him when he needs me. To cheer him on. To tell him he's got what it takes. To tell him he's the best kid this side of heaven. To be strong for him. To tell him it will be OK when he's afraid. To hug him, and get hugs from him. To celebrate Mother's Day with him, and Father's Day too if that's what he wants.



And for both of us, for now, and for always, God is our Father (Matthew 6:9). HE will pick us up when we fall (Psalm 37:24).  HE will tell us it will be OK when we're afraid (Psalm 27:1). HE will tell us we are lovely and have what it takes (Psalm 17:8).  HE will be the one to tell us He loves us (Jeremiah 31:3).    HE will never EVER leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). HE will be the One to guide us, to hold us (Psalm 139:10).  HE will be strong for both of us (Psalm 118:14).


And Dad, if you're reading this....Happy Father's Day! I love you!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Giveaway at The Little Things

Head on over to The Little Things blog for a chance to win this adorable little bonnet!  Follow the link....

The Little Things

Have fun and good "luck"  ;)



Saturday, May 19, 2012

Worthy



This is a "poem" I found while searching thru the many wonderful things at The Market a few weeks ago. I don't know who the author is, or I would give her credit for writing it. All I know is that it caught my eye (and heart) and has become my "motto" of sorts for this season of my life. So much so that I decided to paint it on canvas. It was and is part of my healing that God is doing on my heart.

As some of you may know (or not know, whatever the case may be), I am doing a small group Bible study with a group of lovely, beautiful...and worthy....ladies. It is based on the book "Captivating" by John and Stasi Eldredge. If you have not read this book, and your heart is in need of some good, old-fashioned healing, this is a MUST READ!  Aside from the Bible, it has been the most life-changing book I've ever read!  God has been doing a supernatural work in my heart over the last several (10) weeks, and I am going to be a bit saddened when this small group is over (this Wednesday). I have gotten to know some very beautiful women, some pretty broken women, thru this group, and I hope to continue the relationship I have formed with them thru it. We have talked about some pretty intense and shocking things, but have also witnessed some pretty intense and shocking healings by doing so. We've had plenty of opportunities to laugh with joy, to cry many tears, and to eat some pretty amazing food. Not to mention watch an even more amazing God heal not-just-a-few broken hearts.

For me to even write about this is just a small witness to what God has done in my life. I would never have, in my entire walled-up life, revealed anything so personal in such a public way. All my life I have kept my heartbreak and self-inflicted wounds to myself, or at the very most only revealed them to a very few carefully chosen, trustworthy friends. Or at least, who I hoped were trustworthy. Sadly, over the years I've come to realize that in my desperation to befriend someone....anyone....I have not always made the wisest choices in selecting who to reveal my heart to.

Just a sampling of what God has done thru this small group is give me a love for my mom that I have not ever experienced. Yes, I know what you're saying or thinking...."didn't you love your mom before this?"  In a word, no.  At least not in the way a daughter is "supposed" to love her mom. I think I tolerated her more than anything. There was a period of my life that I wouldn't even refer to her as mom, but would call her "mother" instead. As tho she were just the woman who gave me birth. Then eventually my tolerance turned to pity. I could tolerate her because I felt sorry for her. Maybe it was all part of the process of healing, but it was still difficult to actually love her.

And now, by the grace of God, I can actually say that I LOVE her!  I actually miss her. Yes, she's alive, but she lives several hours away so I don't get to see her but twice, maybe three times a year. We do talk on the phone occasionally. But since she has learned how to text, we do that almost daily. And almost daily she tells me she loves me. Which, by the way, used to irritate the heck out of me!  But now when those texts come, I cherish them. If I am able, I will text her back that I love her too.  It used to be that it was difficult for me to even to do that, as if I would question myself "Do I mean it today? Or is today one of those days I don't feel like loving her back?"  Oh, what a LIE from the pit of hell!  Now when those texts come, and when I reply with my "ILU2"...I totally, 100% mean it. THAT in itself is a miracle that could only come from a God loving me.

Another thing that God has been doing a work in my heart with is how I love other people....mainly, women. I have always had a compassion for people who are hurting. But if it wasn't evident in their lives, I often would resent them for having what appeared to be a "perfect" life. They had a husband who loved them. They had healthy children. They had abundance when it came to finances. They were healthy. BUT if they ever complained about anything that was less than what I deemed "perfection" or told me about how God has blessed them, I resented hearing about it. I would think in with my hardened heart, "C'mon, really? Your husband irritated you today? At least you HAVE a husband. I would do anything to have someone to spend the rest of my life with and to help around the house....even to irritate me."  Or "Please don't tell me how much you spent on that. When I barely have enough to buy milk and bread, and all we've had for supper for the past week has been generic cheerios or Ramen, I really really don't want to hear about your brand new vehicle that you paid cash for. And let's not even get into what bills have yet again gone unpaid."  I won't even begin to tell you about the litany of lies that bombarded me when discussing their health. YES, those thoughts did cross my mind while you told me about your life. YES, I did resent you and your blessings.  So much so that I couldn't handle being around you. I distanced myself from you. And "you" could be any number of my friends reading this. And for that I want to deeply and sincerely apologize. In my self-absorbed world, I considered your excitement in telling me what God was doing in your life as a way to make me jealous. To rub it in my face. I couldn't, or wouldn't, be happy for you. I realized it was another LIE from the father of lies. And I HATED that...that I resented you...that I pushed you away....that I would even think that stuff about you.  Please forgive me!  I truly enjoy hearing about you and your life, and I love what God is doing in it! If it weren't for you, my heart would never be full. I love laughing and crying with you. I love talking with you and learning about you. I love that you trust me to tell me these things. And I love YOU.

I have so many things to be sorry about, to regret, to dislike about myself. BUT God is so much bigger than all that pettiness. He deems me worthy. He has sent Jesus to the Cross to cleanse me of all unrighteousness, and that includes all my regrets, my sorrows, and all my heartbreak. He went to the Cross not just to heal me physically, but spiritually, mentally, and emotionally as well. I know there are so many other areas where I need His healing touch, but in His mercy He is doing a little at a time. I think I would be so overwhelmed if He did it all at once. Ugh...can you IMAGINE????  But I'm a work-in-progress, and I'm growing and being renewed day by day. And thankfully, His mercies are new every morning....GREAT is His faithfulness.

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."  ~2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Pirate!

OK, so my son just said to me while deciding which Pirates of the Caribbean movie to watch, "You must like that series."  Yes, my son, I do. I don't necessarily like all the goulies and such that are in them, but I love that era and all that goes along with it....pirating, swashbuckling, rescuing damsels in distress...Oh wait! That's knights in shining armor isn't it? But I enjoy a good "Knight's Tale" (another of my fav movies), as well.

Maybe it's because I like how these adventuresome men, although tough and rough on the outside, with all their carefree attitudes and ne'er do well lifestyles, they really are good at heart. They DO rescue their "damsels in distress" when those said damsels are in want of rescuing.

Maybe because I sometimes feel like a damsel in distress....OK OK, so it's most times that I feel that way.

But as I sat down here at the computer trying to think of something to blog about, I'm sitting here NOT watching the movie, but just listening. I am able to actually LISTEN to what is happening instead of just seeing with my eyes and becoming distracted by Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom in all their swashbuckling glory. It came to my attention one particular scene that reminded me of something that seems to surprise so many people, including myself. It's the part where Will Turner and Captain Jack are fighting for the first time in the blacksmith's shop.  Jack has taken some ashes and blows them all over Will and kicks Will's sword away as he grabs his own gun. Will looks at Jack with a bewildered look on his face and says, "You cheated."  To which Jack replies, "Pirate!" 

Like "duh....what'd you expect from the likes of me?" 

photo from www.imdb.com

As I was able to listen, not only with my ears but also with my mind and my heart, I knew what I was to write about.

So many times we are surprised and often bewildered at the troubles that come our way. But really, if you think about it, SHOULD we really be all that surprised?  After all, Jesus tells us that "the devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy...."  We forget all about this when something terrible happens, and it's like we're telling the devil, "You cheated."  And the devil is saying "Pirate!"  Like "duh....what'd you expect from the likes of me?"

**Let it also be noted that pirates sing a song that goes something like this: "We're devils, we're black sheep. We're really bad eggs."

And now is the scene where Elizabeth is captured by those two ruffian, clumsy, oh-so-likable pirates. As she is about to be pulled out of the closet, she immediately tells them "Parlay!"  And isn't this what we, as believers in Christ, are supposed to tell the enemy of our souls? "Parlay!"  Let's take this to the King and let Him decide what to do with us. After all, it's His jurisdiction we are under. HIS Blood!  You dirty, rotten scoundrel have no right to place your hands on me....I belong to the King of kings! 

I never would have thought that God would speak to me thru a movie, let alone a movie about dirty, filthy pirates. But it's amazing what we will hear if we open our ears, our hearts, and close our eyes to the distractions that are swirling around us....and distractions they are.

We long for adventure. We long for a Rescuer. But there is only One who can fill that role in our lives. No pirate or swashbuckler, no matter how heroic and handsome he is, has shoes or a HAT big enough to be the Rescuer of our souls. Of our hearts.

So the next time the enemy throws troubles and trials your way, and you are surprised that this is happening to YOU....instead of saying "You cheated," you can say with boldness "Parlay!" And because the enemy is also under the jurisdiction of the King, he is obliged, nay DUTY-BOUND to take you to Him. And the King of kings will grant you the pardon you request. He will unbind your chains, ease your burdens, and make you as white as snow. 

photo from stephtmomof3.blogspot.com
Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;
 though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.  Isaiah 1:18

The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me because God anointed me.
He sent me to preach good news to the poor,
   heal the heartbroken,
Announce freedom to all captives,
   pardon all prisoners.
God sent me to announce the year of his grace—
   a celebration of God's destruction of our enemies—
   and to comfort all who mourn,
To care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion,
   give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes,
Messages of joy instead of news of doom,
   a praising heart instead of a languid spirit.
Rename them "Oaks of Righteousness"
   planted by God to display his glory.
They'll rebuild the old ruins,
   raise a new city out of the wreckage.
They'll start over on the ruined cities,
   take the rubble left behind and make it new.
You'll hire outsiders to herd your flocks
   and foreigners to work your fields,
But you'll have the title "Priests of God,"
   honored as ministers of our God.
You'll feast on the bounty of nations,
   you'll bask in their glory.
Because you got a double dose of trouble
   and more than your share of contempt,
Your inheritance in the land will be doubled
   and your joy go on forever. 
Isaiah 61:1-3 MSG

Monday, April 23, 2012

change....or stay the same?

Do you like change? I always thought I did, but I'm finding it more difficult to deal with as I get older. I used to thrive on change. Between the day after I graduated from high school in 1987, and the last time I moved, which was in 2003, I think I moved at least 25 times. At LEAST! 

Altho I disliked some of the reasons for moving, and the packing and unpacking generally wore me out, I loved being in a new home. I enjoyed finding new places for all my stuff. I enjoyed exploring newly discovered nooks and crannies where I could store "more stuff".  I moved so often when I first left home, that one apartment I never actually got all my stuff out of boxes and never even moved into my bedroom, before I was moving once again. I just enjoyed it...well, at least the result of moving. Not the actual moving itself.

I was always the one, when someone would come to me complaining of all the changes being made to their job, their home, their children, their LIFE, I was the one who always encouraged them, "Change is good. It's boring to stay the same."  I wanted more change in my life. Now? Not so much.

But change is good, right? At least some change is good. But why do so many people, including myself these days, resist it? Is it because, even tho the change will improve your quality of life, you're so used to what has always been that the new seems so....scary?  So weird? So....hard?

Even Jesus talked about this. In Luke 5, while He was telling a parable, He said, “No one tears a patch from a new garment and sews it on an old one. If he does, he will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old.  And no one pours new wine into old wine skins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wine skins will be ruined. No, new wine must be poured into new wine skins. And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, ‘The old is better.’”

What is He saying here, exactly? The best explanation of it that I can find at the moment was found online at bethimmanuel dot org. It says: "The new garment is the Gospel/Grace/Kingdom/Church and the old garment is the Old Covenant/Law/Judaism. No one tears a new garment to patch an old one. Grace and law do not mix."

Grace and law do not mix.

How does this have to do with change? I think it has everything to do with it. Without grace, we stay the same. We continue to live in bondage, in fear, in desperation, with no hope of seeing what our lives could be. Without grace, I would still be living my former life, without life. Without grace, I would not have the power to change. I so desperately want to change. But it's so....hard. Difficult. Scary. Weird.

With the law (in other words, the curse), I have no hope of change. All I would see is what is obvious and in front of me. The same things, the same pain, the same "stuff" in the same places, the same nooks and crannies it's been in for....EVER.


"Yet, O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our Potter, and we all are the work of Your hand." Isaiah 64:8

God uses change to mold us, to form us, to shape us into the person He wants us to become. Even the bad changes in our lives, God uses for creating good changes in us. Without clouds, there is no rain. Without rain, there is no growth. Without growth, there is no power. Without power, nothing changes......and in the big picture of life, everything stays the same. And that's just boring.

In our little family of two (3 if you count G, 6 if you count the fish!), there are some huge changes coming our way. Unfortunately for you, I am not at liberty to say what they are....yet.  I can only say that they are from God, and He knows what's best. Am I at all anxious about these potential changes? You bet! But I'm also very very excited. I don't know exactly when they will happen, but I know they are inevitable....and God's way of molding me, forming me, shaping me into the person He wants me to be. Now, to learn about PATIENCE....ho hum....

So, get out there! Make some changes....in your own life, and in the lives of others. I can guarantee you will never say the words "I'm bored!" ever again!