Tag Archives: parenting

I have a secret

I have a secret

I have a secret. Well, some people know about it, but it’s not something I tell everyone, nor is it something I discuss. Hardly ever. I can’t talk about it without detaching my self first, and sometimes that’s too difficult. It’s a pain that aches within me, and can be the fuel for sadness and anxiety if I let it.

My oldest son is a drug addict.

He’s not in recovery, yet, or in a program, yet. He doesn’t have any “chips” or long-term success stories to inspire you or give you hope. Right now, I don’t even know where he is. I do know that he’s been using again, and doesn’t look healthy. I know the people that have seen him lately, say that he doesn’t make much sense, and is in the worst shape they have ever seen him… I am just happy he is still alive, because as long as he is, there is hope, and that word “yet” is still alive…

He has been an addict since high school, when he took a friends’ prescription to help numb the pain of losing his father to meningitis. He came home from school that day, and told me! He begged me to take him to the doctor and get him that medicine, because he felt so much better! I did call the doctor and took him in, to only find out he not only took someone else’s meds, but he took more than the prescribed amount. He was basically high and hooked on the feeling.

Thus the secret nightmare began. Self-medicating for any issues that were just too dark to deal with became the norm… He has disappeared more than once. We put in a security system to keep him IN the house, not to keep intruders out. He has been in jail, and in programs. He has seen a variety of counselors and doctors. He has been on a plethora of medications as well, and still…

I’ve realized a long time ago, that there is nothing I can do. I can’t love him more, give him more, or say the magic words. I can’t make him listen, or work, or receive the help that has been offered. I can’t even make him remember the good – the happy, and the blessings that have, and still do, abound in his life. The only thing I have in my arsenal is prayer. Nothing else.

Prayer, to a control freak like me, seems so futile sometimes. Especially when I have been doing that – every single day of his life. It feels like no one is listening! Things get worse, not better! I have yelled and screamed at God. (He can handle it) I have laid on my face in puddles of tears, begging the Lord to save my son – from the grip of drugs and from himself, but still…

How do I cope? What do I do in those pits of despair? I read. I read the Word and meditate on God’s promises. I sit at the feet of the King of Kings and I trust. I let my tears fall into God’s hands, and I know he cares for me, and loves my son even more than I do. I remember too. I remember all the good….the smiles and laughs, and all of the good memories. I remember what my son’s sober smile and laugh are like, and I remember all of his many successes – the hugs and the deep talks and even the good tears. I also remember God’s obvious hand in our life over the years. (I have posted about these before)

I don’t know how people do this without God. When all earthly hope is lost, how can people still hold on the power of their own will? Isn’t that what is weak in the first place? I can let God grow my faith, and rest in Him, knowing that He is sovereign. Even over OUR prodigal son.

My oldest son IS a Child of God.  That’s the identity I pray he will walk in…

Drug addiction is a major epidemic in this country. It’s something that people don’t like to talk about, but keeping it in the dark is right where evil grows the best. I don’t want to give evil anymore help.

My son will be 32 next month. I will be praying for a birthday miracle.

Let’s pray together, shall we?

Thank you.

 

 

I’m a Mom

I’m a Mom
I’m a Mom

I’m a Mom. My children are all grown now, except for the baby, but he’s half way to 18, so I am working on letting him go too. I am also finally a grandma! We are even expecting a little boy this month. (I’m just too excited to function sometimes!)

I was praying for my kids this morning, and was overwhelmed by the love I have for them. I was also overwhelmed with gratitude for the honor it has been, and still is, to be their Mom.  I was also reflecting on how blessed I have been to have raised my children, and all of the memories that come with that…. So, I thought I’d share.

Raising kids has been the most challenging, rewarding, heart breaking, joyous, painful, growing process of my life. Just when you think you got it, a new level opens and it’s brand new.

IMG_5851Babies were tuff, but OH so amazing!! Even the long nights, when I thought I was going to pass out (and I did a few times) I just couldn’t get enough of watching them grow. Those “firsts” will always be remembered. I learned pretty quickly to not rush those things. Everything comes in time.

Toddlers were exhausting, but a constant source of smiles, giggles and exhaustion. Even when they were stubborn, it was fabulous watching them grow and figure out what they were capable of. I didn’t have any trouble with my weight when they were in this stage! I think my favorite memories from this time was when they would be so defiant, but then just want to cuddle, and learning new words and trying to express themselves.

Elementary age was more of the same, just on a higher level. I never tired of answering questions and explaining all that peaked their interests. Children are little sponges! That’s a saying for a reason… I homeschooled off and on over the years, and being such a big part of that growth truly inspired me. A child’s mind is a blank slate, where the things they see and hear will be forever written. I always took that very seriously.

Middle School – OK. This is the only time period I really didn’t like. Maybe because I have 3 boys, but even for my girl, this period seems to be the most challenging. Kids in this space are really trying to figure themselves out – and where they fit. They are usually pretty gross too…. At least, mine were. (are – hahaha) If anyone has ever considered home schooling, this is the age. It’s the time where you can have the greatest impact – instead of their peers. They are still yours! They still need you, now more than ever! I think many parents start to pull away during this period, when it’s really the time to pull in. It’s definitely the time to be the keeper of your word – to have clear boundaries and to know what hills you are willing to die on. Prepare for this, and don’t give up – that’s my advice. I’m just glad we all survived.100_9244

High Schoolers…. Well. Honestly, I loved this too. It was probably harder on me than them, as I know parenting is a runway into adulthood… you are near the end of that runway and preparing them is at the highest level. I wanted to do so much more for each of them, when I knew I shouldn’t. I remember my daughter could only have 4 saves a year – that is, 4 times I would run whatever it was she forgot to wherever she was…. After the 4th time, whatever the consequences were to forgetting, she would have to suffer. It killed me!! I think there were a couple of years she got 5 or 6… Now, as a college graduate, she is much better at remembering… but I’ve come to think forgetfulness is in the DNA somewhere…

IMG_7369Consequences. That’s the hardest part of this whole parenting thing – and it becomes even bigger when they are in college and on their own. I think most parents IMG_5635want to protect their kids from unsavory consequences, but in doing so we stunt their growth.

Responsibility is learned, not assimilated. Kids have to see it and experience it in order to do it.

Now, as I “parent” adults, it’s a constant exercise in self-control. Not telling them what to do. Not trying to help – unless asked. It’s not checking on them everyday or expecting them to include me in everything. Agh. It’s about faith, and trusting God, and even just trusting them. It’s easier though, when you have seen it coming and have traveled the “run-way” with your kids. Praying is the biggest influence we have, and it is what can keep you focused on what matters.

Being a Mother-in-Law and a Grandma is also a whole new ballgame! I want them to leave and cleave, and grow together.11061253_10153213821815561_6693171734193154490_n

IMG_7099I did my best to teach my kids dependence on the Lord instead of me. I won’t always be here, but He will be. I will mess up, (and OH have I ever) but He won’t ever leave them or forsake them. He created them. Not me. He sustains them. Not me. He has a plan for their lives and it’s way better than anything I could have come up with.

It’s so cool to see my kids living their lives now. I still remember those “firsts” like they were yesterday, but seeing them launched into the life God has for them, is just A-MAZing.

My top 10 things to remember in parenting? (I wrote a while ago on the Top 10 Ways to Parent a Teenager)

Set clear boundaries – don’t be wishy-washy

Be proactive not reactive!

Remember it’s a run-way. There’s a process to a launch!

Consequences and trials grow us/them more than anything. Really.

God loves them more than you do.

Responsibility is taught…

Always, always put your spouse first (after God)… it makes the nest a much happier place when it is finally empty. (getting a dog helps too..)

Pray. Pray. Pray.

Pray with them from birth – all the way through. Never stop praying for them and with them when you can. Pray for their challenges, their victories and most importantly, their hearts – pray for their future spouses too! It teaches them that God is in everything – and he hears and answers. That’s the best lesson we can teach them.My kids

I am so far from a perfect parent – I learned the most through the trials though, and for that I am grateful. Really.

What was your favorite time?

Xo

 

 

Youth Sports…

Youth Sports…

Our 17 year old is about to start the spring baseball season. His goal at this point is to prepare for college ball..  We have set some goals and boundaries, and he is well aware that there are no guarantees, but the journey will be fun and rewarding in and of itself.   Having 3 boys and an x-sports reporter husband, we know ALL about sports around here, and we have participated in a few… but baseball is numero uno.

We have had our kids in recreational sports, travel leagues, and on school teams.  My husband has been a team manager, assistant coach, and spectator.  I have even subjected myself to the role of team mom, and, inadvertently learned how to keep a score book, which has resulted in a crippling dent to my sideline sociability.  We all have run score boards, sold BBQ tickets, candy and coupons, and have done our time sweating to death in a concession booth.

Recreational sports programs are a unique, cult like experience.  You have your super stars, and your not so super stars.  The jersey number is sacred, and you know who’s there by the decals on the mini vans and SUV’s in the parking lot.. There’s plenty of nepotism and partiality.  Every good ballpark has their share of screamers and cussers, as well as angry and bad parents.   Over the years, we have been pretty blessed with some awesome families on our teams… for the most part.  I can tell you that many “player drafts” take the parents behavior and support into full consideration.  No one wants the “banned” or trouble parent, even if their kid is a pretty good player.

Last year, our team was delayed for our field time, because a player in the game before ours lost his temper over a tough call.  The player tried to hurt the umpire, then, once ejected from the game, and the park, his father hit him in the head which resulted in the boy returning the favor, but with his cleats – thus, the authorities were called.  Really?   We have seen players purposely trip, hit and push other players, to only be rewarded by their coach.  Years ago, we even witnessed 2 coaches that were on the same team, get into a full blown fist fight in the dugout… in front of about 22 ten year olds and their families.

With all of that being said, having your children play recreational sports can be a very fun and rewarding experience.  Seriously.  Your kids can learn to be a team IMG_9668player and a friend. If your coach is good,  the players will understand the actual game that they are playing.  They may also realize that working hard and setting goals is good, and they can hopefully learn to win with humbleness, and lose with dignity. Unfortunately though, the trend of prideful, out of control parents, kids, and coaches, is becoming more and more common.  That is not fun or rewarding …for anyone.  Good, responsible adults seem to be the minority and bad examples are being set.

We need a reset, and it all starts at home.  First, know that whatever your priorities are as a family, will set the foundation of priorities for your kids… If  sports take precedence over going to Church, don’t be surprised when your kids grow up and keep that standard.  If the sports schedule deems higher importance over the rest of the families schedule, don’t be surprise if your kid thinks they are more important… If parents encourage, and remember that all the players, on both teams, are just young people, the mean trash talk should dissipate… Sports can be awesome, but it’s even better if long term perspective isn’t lost.  Set your boundaries and goals ahead of time. That will save you from reactive parenting and issues later.  Trust me.

There are hundred’s of thousands of kids playing sports all over the world today.  Less than 1% will actually make it to the big leagues.  They are kids.  The shaping of their character is far more important than how far they can hit a ball.  Teach them to play, and give it their best, but let’s put sportsmanship first and skill second.  Remember, it’s just a GAME that begins when the umpire yells, “PLAY ball!” Really.

A Letter to the 22 year old me.

A Letter to the 22 year old me.

I wrote this a few years back, and while revisiting it this morning, I tried to think of what I would add… I have a 22 year old daughter right now, so it makes it even more of a reality than just a post of reflection.  I think I will add just a couple; 🙂

 

I’ve seen some blog posts lately that were the letters from the authors to themselves at a much younger age… The, “if I knew then, what I know now” wisdom posts.  So, to be a “follower”, and to impart some learned lessons, I thought I would have a go at it too…

At this ripe old age of 44, I can look back at myself at 22, and see a completely different person.  I’m actually amazed at the work God has done in my life thus far! If I could write a letter to myself at 22, I would say;

Dear Jennifer;

I know you feel like you have the world on your shoulders, and you can handle it.  I know that you think perfection is expected in this life of ours, and I see how you strive for it in almost everything you do. You worry too much, and care too much about things that aren’t going to last…  You clean too much, and expect too much from everyone around you.  The time spent trying to earn approval and love is in vain my friend.  So, to save you a few wrinkles, and a couple of prescriptions, I have some advice…

God loves you. Period.  He created you, and cares for you like no other.  He really is all you need – I know that sounds silly, but when you spend time with Him, you will see… All peace, comfort and joy – as well as acceptance, can be found in Him… So, open that Bible more, and get on those knees… heck, start talking to Him all the time!  HE hears you all the time and He cares… Don’t be too shocked when He answers you either – expect it.

Humans were never meant to be “your everything”… No man, woman, friend, parent or even your children were designed to fulfill you completely.  The only person that will complete you is Jesus Christ.  The sooner you grasp that, the easier the let downs and heart breaks will be.  No one is perfect, and don’t expect them to be.

Marriage isn’t about warm fuzzies and romance all the time.  It’s about commitment. It’s about remembering that the word love is a verb, not a feeling.  Your marriage can be more than warm fuzzies and romance, if you have Christ in the middle of it.  Seriously.  When you can pray with and for your spouse, it takes the marriage to a new level.  When you share the spiritual, as well as everything else – everything rocks…  When conflicts arise – and they will – take it to Christ – It’s pretty difficult to harbour resentment and anger when you hold hands before the Lord together… Really.

The Bible is relevant! Anything and everything is in there!  It really has instructions for life, from the Creator of life!  Don’t ever think you know more than the one who created you… His ways may seem restrictive sometimes, but it’s really for your own protection! You’re greatest blessings will come out of obedience… I promise.

The grass is never greener.  Just water yours and plant some flowers… Then yours will not only be greener, but it will be prettier and smell good too.

Pets are a full time commitment.  Dogs are even a bigger one…if you can’t feed them well, afford the vet or have time to walk them, don’t get one… It’s not fair to them or to you.

Don’t wait till you can afford kids to have kids.  That will NEVER happen.  When you finally have the kids, your priorities will change, and you will be amazed at how you will spend your money.

Enjoy your children when they are little! Don’t rush the walking and talking thing!  (Potty training – you can rush) Don’t hurry your babies through, and wish for them to grow up fast… I know it’s hard in the middle of the night, but try to relax and just ENJOY it.  This all will be gone in a flash – and parenting young adults is WAY harder…

You really don’t know it all.  I promise, you will be embarrassed when you get older and see how much you really didn’t know, but thought you did… Really.

Don’t drink too much.  It’s really a waste of good money and brain cells.  It doesn’t make you cooler or more popular, and it can be pretty dangerous for you, and for others.  Money is better spent on clothes, books, coffee… missions…

Life is short and no one makes it out alive … Try to think ETERNALLY.  What kind of legacy are you going to leave behind? Stop thinking you have plenty of time to do those “grown up” things… NO one is promised tomorrow.

Cherish Every Day.  Every single morning is new shot. A do over. A brand new shiny opportunity to try again.  Actually, every minute is new too.  We never get one back – time is the one fleeting thing that can’t be bought, borrowed or stored.  You have been giving this minute right now…

Everything matters.  People matter most – more than jobs, houses, entertainment, technology, sports and even shoes… When the stranger in the coffee isle starts telling you her life story, listen, because she matters.

Self control, patience and humbleness are a few of the greatest qualities you can have, so strive for those… It will bless your life, and be a blessing to others.

Wear sun block.  Just do it. Trust me.

Communication.  This is the key to all relationships. Knowing when to be quiet, or share the truth… Don’t assume someone knows your intent.  They rarely ever do, even those closest to you.  Be clear or be quiet – always.  This issue has never been more prominent than in this age of texting.  A text message doesn’t convey emotion, no matter how may emoji’s you use.

Date Intentionally.  Whether it’s intentional for marriage or for just friendship… those are the only 2 acceptable reasons.  Know someone’s spiritual identity, friends, family, temperament and goals before you even kiss… saves you from kissing too many Mr. Wrongs.  Sounds near impossible in todays culture right? Well, you were made to stand out, not blend in…

Last, but not least, Pray. Pray as often as you can.  The more comfortable you are talking to God, the easier it will be for you to hear Him answer you.

Growing up isn’t that bad.  You’re going to like it. Really.

 

What would say to the 22 year old you?

 

 

 

 

Everyone relates to the Prodigal Son…What about the Dad?

Everyone relates to the Prodigal Son…What about the Dad?
Everyone relates to the Prodigal Son…What about the Dad?

I read plenty of blogs and books about forgiveness and grace and how the Father’s arms are open wide.  I also read posts about hope for children as they grow and how everything will be ok. Really?

But what if you are in the position of the Dad in that story.  (Luke 15:11-23) What if your child is still out there in the pig pen, even though you did the best you could. How do you get to the place of daily living and being ready to open those arms when and IF they return?

I love that picture of love, grace and forgiveness for the returning son.  I am a true recipient of it.  I was in the mud and the muck and my heavenly father lifted me right out of it.  (Ps 40:2) I don’t even remember running to Him – He was just there, pulling me to himself, washing the grime and shame right off my face.  He beckoned me and I went.  Without that daily grace and love in my life I just know I would curl up in a ball and never function.

It’s that unconditional love that I have been given that stirs the desire in me to share it with everyone, especially my children.  I want to be that person, patiently waiting with open arms, filled with love and grace.  But what if that child doesn’t want it and what if they never come?  And what about those times I just don’t think I can?

Nothing in life guarantees that the sweet toddler you can’t get enough of will grow into the adult you have envisioned.  The reality is, they will grow up and be the person they want to be, and God will allow trials and consequences to grow and shape them.  (James 1:2-4) You can love them till it hurts and it might not make a difference for a very long time or seemingly never at all.  How then do you have hope and patience?  How do you get through those times of blaming yourself, fear or regret?

One of my favorite verses is Phil 4:13. “You can do all things through Christ, who strengthens you.” We can do all things. We can love when it seems undeserved. We can bite our tongues when all we want to do is scream.  (Col 3:12-13) We can pray continually and feel the flood of God’s peace fill our hearts and minds when all seems lost. (Phil 4:6-7) We can rest in the real hope that God is sovereign, and He can and will take care of everything, either in this world or the next. (Rom 8:28) We can cast our burdens on Him, and He will take it. (Ps 55:22) We can be that person, with open arms, without judgment, when the prodigal returns.  Even if that child doesn’t return, we can cry out in the stillness of pain, and know that God is God and that can still be enough.

Find your peace and hope in the eternal Abba Father that is worthy of it. Love your children and enjoy the moments you have with mother prayingthem. It’s the closest example we have of how God loves us. Just never forget they belong to Him first, last and forever.   We can do our humanly best, and even our worst, and God is still in control.  I believe that’s how the Prodigal Son’s father did it.  His hope was always in the sovereign One who made us all.

One of my favorite quotes is this: “Everything will be ok in the end.  If it’s not ok, then it’s not the end.” Fernando Sabino

Sometimes the end takes a very long time to get here and sometimes it’s here in a flash. Either way, it’s never quite what we expected.  But, if we’ve spent time dwelling in the awareness of the ever-present God, and we’ve learned to acknowledge Him in all our ways, when that end finally does arrive, we will be ok… And what a celebration it will be!…Really.

 

Top 10 Ways to Parent a Teenager

Top 10 Ways to Parent a Teenager

my gangAfter parenting 4 amazing kids, for almost 30 years, I thought I would share some of the toughest things I’ve had to learn (and am still learning) through the process…

Top 10 Ways to Parent a Teenager

  1. LISTEN and ASK questionsChill questions. Casual. Don’t act like Sherlock. The point is to ask questions that usually require something more than a grunt, and hopefully you’ve been listening and can come up with one that they will want to answer. A great place to attempt this, is at the dinner table or while they are trapped in the car with you. (This is tricky, and requires much effort and patience on your part.  Don’t get discouraged, it will get easier)
  2. Set guardrails a/k/a boundaries and rules with set consequences.  Rules or, as I like to call them, non-negotiables; such as lying, cheating, disrespecting you, getting a zero on a report card… I don’t know what yours would be, but I’m talking about the issues you will fight to the death for.  Those are in stone and set your family’s standards.  Everything else is a guardrail, which you discuss, explain and can possibly  alter under circumstances.  If these are in place, then you are parenting  proactively instead of reactively. (much easier for day to day drama) Really.
  3. Hang out with them.  Have a date night. A shopping trip or, a breakfast out.  Something my gangthat you regularly do with your kid – that’s different than the daily grind.  Be intentional.
  4.  Know your Social Media.  No excuses.  If your young person has any kind of an internet identity, then you better know what it is and how it works.  Period.  Take a class if you have to, but it’s the INTERNET. The ENTIRE world in the palm of their hands.
  5.  Know your kids internet passwords.  They don’t have a right to internet privacy. Seriously.  If the government and all the interfaces they are using, know their passwords, and activity, so should you – you, the parent and the person that is supplying all of that electricity, wifi and phone service.  If you both understand the internet, this point is valid.  Check their social media. Now that you know it, and have the passwords, every now and then, do a check.  Kids need parents and accountability.  Otherwise they wouldn’t be kids.  Man up and just do it.  It’s not invading their privacy.  Now reading their diary/journal is a completely different story. Leave that alone.
  6.  Make your home a place they want to be… and their friends.  Find a used ping-pong table or a basketball hoop.  Always have snacks in the pantry and something to drink in the fridge other than milk and water.  (Please don’t think I mean you should have all the latest video games, and let them do whatever they want)
  7.  Say, “I’m Sorry.”  Be an example of learning from your mistakes.  Especially when you lose your temper with them! Even if they have pushed you over the edge, freaking out is never a good idea. So, when you do freak out, (assuming you’re like me) be sure to tell them you’re sorry.
  8.  Encourage them.  They need it. A lot.  Encourage without sounding like you are babying them. Avoid pinching the cheeks and telling them how cute they are… especially in front of their friends.
  9.  When (not if) they mess up, and come to you, or even if they don’t come to you, never motmobsay, “I told you so.” Don’t even say, “I was afraid that would happen.” Consequences will be hard enough when they hit the wall.  Having you there to listen and love will be much better, and will set the foundations for the impending friendship that you just might have with them someday.  I’m not saying save them from consequences – Don’t do that.  That’s how they learn and grow. I’m saying to love them through it.  They already know they messed up. They don’t need us pointing that out again and again, or telling them what they should’ve done.  This would be a great time to implement #1 …
  10.  Pray with them. Pray for them. Share the Word of God with them in a real way.  It’s not the Churches job to train your kids up in the Lord.  It’s yours.  You can’t be too busy.  You can’t put busyness before that.  If you do, don’t be surprised when they grow up and are too busy for the things of God.  What you make priorities in your life, will probably be theirs.  I know… Ouch.

Parenting teens is hard.  They are emotionally driven, hormonal, men/women children under our stewardship! Thank God we have all of those sweet memories of their first steps and loose teeth to remind us how much we love them!  They are not always going to like us, and will most likely even tell us that they hate us.  (which usually means you’re doing something right) They are full of passion, ideas, hope and energy.  God help us.

This list is far from complete.  I could have made this a “Top 100”.  These are just the ones that were the hardest for me to learn.   I didn’t even address dating! That’s a blog post all unto itself. Really.

What would you add to this list?

 

Top Really’s for January

Top Really’s for January

Looking back at the first month of 2013, these are the top things that caused me to say my ever popular word… “Really?”  Whether it was said from a happy place of excitement or from shock at an unbelievable situation, or just flatly stating an undeniable fact… the word fit the bill.  Now You decide…

 

My son is engagedengagement ring

My other son is engaged.

I’m going to be an instant “grandma” to 4 amazing kids…

My daughter is talking about pledging a Sorority

The gun control debate…

Politics…

Nicki Minaj is on American Idol…he's driving!

Pop Culture…. Just… pop culture… sigh.

My youngest just got his driver’s permit (!!!)

I feel 25 in my head…most of the time, and can finally admit it.

I named my GPS Marsha… so I can say it 3 times in a row whenever she is “replanning”… (Does anyone even get this? Or am I really lamer than I think)

Fringe ended… forever.

I’m more nervous about my puppy’s training school graduation, then I was about my kids… (How am I going to get her to “stay” for 30 whole seconds??)Good bye Sybil

The Downton Abbey death… (OMGosh!)

Seeing the full moon… (I know… this isn’t a “new” thing, but every time I see one, I can’t help but to be in awe of it and our Creator)

After not really having a sweet tooth my entire life… I now dream about ice cream and milk shakes…

My pants are too tight…

 

What made you say “Really” last month?

Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and things that go bump in the night.

Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and things that go bump in the night.

I wrote this post last year – and for the record, I still hold to it… BUT, I will add, that my youngest son is named after Saint Nicholas Day, and we have always told the kids the actual truth about who the man really was – a wonderful saint of a man, that loved and cared for children, in the name of Christ… you can keep your traditions, with out lying or trying to convince your children to believe in the lie… the truth really is fun… I swear.

* Spoiler Alert (if you believe the above are real, do not read this post)

There are many “acceptable” lies that some parents tell their children.  The 3 biggies are: Santa, The Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy.

I honestly never gave these things much thought, except the Easter Bunny… As a Christian, I always had trouble making the leap from Christ’s resurrection to a giant egg- leaving rabbit, but that’s not my point today.

 It seems that many parents in America don’t have a problem telling their kids that a big fat man, a giant bunny, and a fairy, will sneak into their homes, in the dark of night, and leave surprises.  Some parents even drag their kids to the mall, stand in line, and put them on a strange person’s lap for a picture….  When I put it that way, it sounds kinda creepy, doesn’t it?  I’ve had parents tell me that it’s fun!  It’s tradition! It’s harmless and kids love it. Seriously?

I used to leave reindeer snacks, cookies, and carrots out for our annual intruders.  I never even really minded that my kids didn’t have to thank me for their gifts cause they were from Santa, and he wasn’t there on Christmas morning.  If you are a parent that has had your kids write thank you letters to Santa – kudos!  I tried… but then forgot, and my kids didn’t remind me.  Those dang kids.

It all changed one day back in 1997, when my darling daughter had just turned 5. My second child told her that all of these American icons, where not real.  She came to me, and asked if it was true.  I sat down and confirmed what her stinker brother had said.  She looked right at me, with big blue, tear filled eyes, and said, “Mommy, why did you lie to me?”  Really.  My heart broke.  I told her all of those great reasons, and she said, “but mommy, it’s not fun. it always scared me”.  After that, we had a family meeting and we found out that all of our kids found it a little scary, and they never really understood thesanta sees you when your sleeping connections… Santa/Birth of Christ, Bunny/Christ resurrection or Teeth/Fairies… At the time, I was expecting my fourth child and the kids informed me that, if we planned on “lying” to the baby, they would not participate.

That was the end of the mystical characters in our home.

It has served us well, even though some of my friends have been annoyed with us.  Especially when my kids told their kids the “truth”…(sorry)  Through all of that though, it was probably one of the best changes for our family.  Christmas is now 3 gifts, a “myrrh” is something for their bodies, a “frankincense” is for their minds and a “gold” is a treasure that they have wanted.  We still do the stocking for our country tradition, and we fill them with small fun things.  Easter is focused just on Christ, but we still will participate in a good egg hunt on occasion, and we have had a photo or 2 with the Bunny…just for fun.  When the kids lost a tooth, they just handed to me…and I handed them some cash…lame. I know.  You can judge me all you want next time you are waiting for your kid to fall asleep, and then spend 15 minutes digging under their pillow looking for a tooth…

We are always honest with our kids, even in the name of fun.  We leave the make-believe to their imaginations…. If you are a die hard traditionalist, good for you.  But if you ever want to come over to the less stressful side.. I’ll be waiting. 😀

I have also written a post about the, “Merry Christmas” vs. “Happy Holidays”… if your interested, read it HERE.

I would love to hear how YOU handle the holiday!

Growing then Going…

Growing then Going…

Having a baby right before my sweet sixteen was traumatic at the least.

I remember thinking I could handle anything – even a baby… until labor.   I had to be induced, since I was 3 weeks passed my due date and the baby was already over 8 pounds!  I headed to the hospital, stopping for some McDonalds french-fries and a hot fudge sundae (because they go together), I checked in and was prepped for giving birth… I remember being so embarrassed in that little hospital gown, and having the nurses just poke and prod where they needed to.  I was scared out of my mind.  I ended up going through induction all day, to only have an emergency c-section by dinnertime.  I was lucky to be my doctor’s very first horizontal incision…  15 staples across my abdomen… whoo hoo!  Back then you did not go home after 24 or 48 hours. I was in for over a week.  I also shared a room with 5 other new moms.  Visiting hours were the law, and no one could spend the night with you – not even the baby.

My biggest concerns back then were not about how to raise my beautiful baby boy, but more about how much pain I was in, and how long was it going to last… I worried about the scar it would leave, and if the daddy would still love me.  I had no thoughts about the future of this little boy, just thoughts of love… I loved him more than I could have even imagined.  I just knew that Love was all I needed to be the best mama ever, and with my heart just bursting with it – I knew everything would be ok.  That was over 28 years ago, and I remember it like yesterday…

Well, I wish I could say that just loving your child was that simple.  I soon learned that love was more than a feeling.  It was sacrifice.  It was putting your own desires aside for the sake of another.  It was about protecting and even discipline.  Oh how I hated putting him in time-out!

As he grew, I grew.  We experienced a lot back then.  Some things I would like to forget altogether, but I know that the sum of my life now, is the addition of all the experiences I’ve had, both good, and bad, and I am kind of OK with how that turned out…

I am still considered pretty “young” most of the time. Especially in groups of women who have adult children.  I know I still have much to learn… but I can tell you what the hardest part of parenting as been so far… It’s letting go.  It’s having all of those mommy moments and then letting your kids go and just be who they will be.

I love being a mom, even when my heartbreaks, or I am frustrated beyond words.  Nothing I have ever experienced has brought me closer to God, or more dependent on Him than parenting.

Oh, to parent an infant or a toddler once again…. Sigh.

Don’t rush it folks… it will be gone sooner than you think. Really.

 

Answered Prayer…Yes, it happens.

Answered Prayer…Yes, it happens.

My last post was about fellowship, and how important I think it is… That got me thinking about an even deeper fellowship, which is the glue that holds me together… Which got me thinking about a time when I was desperate for fellowship with a friend, or family member, and God made it clear that it was only time for Him.  I then thought I should share that story with you…

My oldest son has had many challenges in his life.  Much more than the average person for sure, and that has made life just a little bit more difficult for him and for those that love him.  This week we celebrated his 28th birthday, so we have come a long way!  We have some scars, but we also have some faith and we have clearly seen God’s hand in many of the trials we have endured.  I am very proud of the man he has become…

When he was 17 he had gotten into some trouble with the law, and had gone to jail for a short period of time.  This development had come after a long line of struggles and I was really exhausted.  On the morning of his court date, I had to drop two of my kids off at school, and one off at a friend’s house.  I had been sick, and I had a doctor’s appointment scheduled for that morning as well.  I dropped off all of the kids, and was heading to the courthouse when it all just overcame me.  I needed to talk to my husband.  I called him and he didn’t answer.  So, I tried my mom.  She didn’t answer.  I called 3 of my friends.  None of them answered.  At this point I was crying and asking God where the heck everyone was!!  I got on a roll and just started screaming at Him.  I threw my phone across the van and really let God have it.  Why? I kept asking Him.  What am I supposed to do?  I told Him that I needed peace and direction!

I got to the courthouse and my son and his lawyer were outside the courtroom.  I was informed that within the hour we could all go home.  I had my doctor’s appointment, and I was still pretty upset, so I told the lawyer to drop my son off at the house, and I left.  He obviously had it under control.

I arrived at the doctor’s office almost 30 minutes late.  The nurse told me that I would now have to wait to be “fit in”.  So, being emotionally exhausted, I agreed with the terms and found a seat.  About 30 minutes later, I was moved to room on the far left of the building.  I sat in there for about another 20 minutes.  Then they came and moved me to the far right of the building.  I sat in there for about 15 minutes.  Then the doctor walked in the room…

I didn’t know her, but it was a big practice, and I was a “fit in” so I wasn’t alarmed that I wasn’t getting my regular doctor.  She seemed sweet enough at the introductions, and I immediately felt at ease.  She kindly took my hand and asked me what was bothering me.  Well.  I burst into tears and started telling her my parenting woes!  She encouraged me, by asking questions and really looking like she cared!  I ended up spilling the whole story in about 5 minutes.  She then took my hand again, looked me right in the eye and told me that she had gone through the same thing with her son a few years ago.  She then shared her story, and offered lots of advice, books for me to read for comfort and peace, and she even told me about a place that my son could go if he really needed to.

The nurse kept popping in and smiling and looking like she wanted to say something too.  The doctor asked the nurse to bring lunch to her, because she didn’t want to end our conversation just yet.  When the nurse came back, she asked if she could share something too.  She then told both of us that she used to be just like my son.  She told us how she felt and why she did some of the things she did.  She even told us what she thought when her parents tried to help her.  She then told us her beautiful story of redemption and transformation.

Well, after all of that sharing and crying, it turned out I had a sinus infection too.  I got some antibiotics, a list of resources that would help me with my son; some hugs, and headed home.

I left there in complete awe of my God.  He answered every single question I screamed at Him, just a few hours before.  He used those stories to give me hope and peace, and even an action list – which is important to type A’s like me.

A few weeks later, I called the doctors office to thank her.  I was told that she was not there.  She was just a friend of one of the doctors, who just happened to be in town that week, and was filling in that day because they were short staffed.  She was gone.  Really.

She was there, in that office, for just that day.  God knew what I needed, and even the questions I had, before I had even thrown my phone…  If that’s not an answered prayer, I don’t know what is.  I also realized that I had waited an awful long time to see the doctor.  Kinda like waiting on the Lord.  What if I had gotten impatient and left?  God’s timing is not the same as ours, but sometimes it’s pretty close if we just wait…

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

One of the resources she recommended is the book “The Power of a Praying Parent” by Stormie Omartian.  It has brought me much peace over the years.

The place she recommended was the Paul Anderson Youth Home for Boys.  We did end up having our son stay there for a while – and I can also recommend it!  It is a wonderful place, truly anointed by God.

Do you have a God story to share?  Are you still waiting on the Lord?