Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Where is this going?

I started with the change for very different reasons than where we headed this week. I wanted to go to a more theological view to express where I was at spiritually and what I was dealing with in my walk. I thought I would or could find spiritual peace as I put it all out in journal form. On my first entry on Sunday I did just what I wished for by talking about my reflections on the sermon and dealing with my own weakness in the faith. In response to a couple of comments, I decided to go somewhere different and explain things in a different way. Where today went with comments and such is not where I intended for this road to go. I am here for spiritual peace. I love deep discussion but in no way want to cause any division amongst the children of God. Luckily, my biggest "debater" this week is a great friend and understands my method of "speech."

Even as early as last night when I received a very sarcastic and derogatory comment by an Anonymous sender, I questioned my decision to make this change. However, I can find peace in this in some way. I have very thoughtful commenters of varying doctrinal beliefs. I have friends that find peace in what I write by knowing they are not alone. So, I will carry on. But, I feel I must write a disclaimer.

These are my views as I feel the Spirit has revealed them to me through His Word. I am not a violent religious extremist although I do believe there is only one God and one Truth. I do not participate and/or encourage any type of violence. I believe in religious liberty with my whole heart because I realize one day my freedom may be taken away. I am open to dialogue with differing opinions and faith. I will post all comments unless they are offensive or threatening. I am not easily offended so if you do not find your comment, you were probably out of line.

May this pilgrim's progress continue...

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

What Is Love?

When I thought about this post, I couldn’t help but imagine Night at the Roxbury. You know, “what is love, baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me, no more.” Sorry, that has nothing to do with the post, I just can’t get it out of my head.

Anyways, this post was prompted by some responses on my Righteous Judgment entry. Throughout the past few years, I have heard it said a lot. “Judge not, lest ye be judged” and “love your neighbor as yourself.” All of this is scriptural and can be found in Matthew 7:1 and Matthew 22:39. I do not deny what the scripture states. I do, however, believe these scriptures have been misunderstood.

For example, if you continue on in Matthew chapter 7, you will see that once you remove the plank from your own eye, you will see more clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. It never states the speck should not be removed but that we should see clearly ourselves before addressing the issue at hand. Too often scripture is misread to mean we should never judge and as I said in my last post, there is a righteous judgment.

Usually in response to words such as these, we get hit with the “love your neighbor as yourself.” I guess my question is this, what exactly does love mean? Most people believe we should “agree to disagree” when it comes to issues of doctrine. Jesus is portrayed as a peace-loving hippy. Does this image contradict what Jesus said in Matthew 10:34-36 when He said, “Do not think I came to bring peace on earth, I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.” Is this the same Jesus that threw up tables in the synagogue with His wrath and spoke “woe to the Pharisees and scribes,” calling them hypocrites and fools? Would Jesus’ actions be considered loving today?
“These people draw near to Me with their mouth,
And honor Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.
And in vain they worship me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” Matthew 7:8-9

Loving on today’s terms means letting your neighbor believe what he/she chooses and accepting there is no definitive truth. If your neighbor is walking into death, do you love them by warning them of the danger or do you let them go their own way to not offend them?

As a loving sister in Christ, I believe that it is important for the body of Christ to be unified. I believe if I see a brother or sister wavering or going down a road that does not seem to be The Way, it is loving if I use God’s Word to speak to them. I, too, will accept this discussion if I am the one that appears to be on the wrong path. Jesus tells us “many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.” In a culture where Christianity is easy, I believe it is pertinent that we test all things against scripture. There is only One Truth and until we find it we should be ever seeking. I understand that all people believe their way is lead by the Holy Spirit, but we should always test it against scripture. There are deceiving spirits and how do we know we have not been taken captive?

I have prayed continuously that if I am being blinded that God will allow me to see. It’s not a matter of being right or wrong, it’s a matter of ensuring we are serving the One True God. By becoming complacent with the god we believe in, we just may be serving an idol in our head instead of the God of the Bible. Will it be the complacent that in the end the Lord will declare to, “I never new you, depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.” In His name, these same folks prophesied, cast out demons, and did many wonders. (Matthew 7:22-23)

If we believe someone is following a false doctrine, it is not loving to let them be led astray. “Beware of false prophets who come in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.” Jesus spoke these words and on more than this one occasion warned us of the dangers. Paul was dedicated to warning fellow believers about false doctrines and to not be carried away as children “tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men…” (Ephesians 4:14)

Paul told Timothy, “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears they will heap up for themselves teachers and they will turn their ears away from truth, and be turned aside to fables.” (2 Timothy 4:2-5)

I just cannot grasp how we love our neighbor by turning our backs when the wolves may be carrying them away. And I’m saying this to you, too. If you think I am being led astray, then get your Bible out and show me who God is; because that is the most important thing, to serve the One True God. I can have faith in anything, but if I don’t have faith in the true God, I have nothing.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Righteous Judgment

As I decided to trek out on this spiritual journey through my blog, I was left in limbo as to where and how I would start. I think about God and His Word a lot. It’s the topic of conversation on most days between my husband and me, as well as my closest friends and me. But when it’s coming down to sharing this out here, I’m not sure where to start. There is so much to say as to where I have been already, how do I jump out here without first showing you the pieces that came first? I wanted to tell you our story and how we arrived at where we are at spiritually, but that seems too long. I wanted to make a statement of faith, but then I felt like I would need to tell you our story…so again…too long.

So as I sat under conviction during this morning’s message, I thought what a fine place to start. The sermon was about self-control, sinful anger, and righteous anger. Many people are quick to say we should not judge. There is even scripture to support it. However, there is also scripture to support righteous judgment. Now have you, this form of judgment is rarely used, but it’s still true to the Word.

For example, we are warned time and time again in the epistles to beware of false prophets. Without judgment how would we know what is false? We are warned to discern spirits and to not be deceived. Again, we must make judgment. Anything that is contrary to the Word of God is up for judgment. (John 7:24, I Corinthians 5 and 6.)

I was just speaking to my husband this week about a “thorn in my flesh,” if you will. Because of our beliefs we have been cast out and isolated from many of our friends and family members. They’re nice enough but there is an awkwardness that is frequently sensed. I am not much for small talk. Usually if I want to talk, it is about much deeper issues than the pair of jeans I bought last week or the cars we drive or the homes we live in. But when you take the walk out into the “Christian world”, people don’t really want to talk about God or scripture. I find most people to be complacent with the god they know and don’t really care to search scripture for the One True God. If God is someone contrary to the idol in their mind, they don’t want to know what scripture says. So, we arrive at my thorn.

When the pastor mentioned this morning about righteous anger, I thought of the scripture “be angry and sin not.” I am angry most days because of the superficial religion of Christianity and that people can so effortlessly call them selves Christians yet not know one thing about the God they say they serve. I am angry because we are outcast yet not one person that casts us out can tell you what we believe. And if they have an idea, they cannot use scripture to explain to us why we are so wrong. I get bitter about other persons’ self-righteousness and how they neglect to see their own sin. Sin is so common they cannot see it as sin. A pastor I listen to on occasion made a statement and this is not verbatim but was something like this, “we look like the world, we act like the world, and we sound like the world but do not know it because we do not know the Word of God.” This resonated with me so much, not only for myself, but also for those around me. This is what I see as righteous judgment. I’m angry because these people who call themselves Christian are sinning against God and cannot see their sin. They are serving a false god and call themselves Christian. The superficial religion makes me angry.

And then I start to think, am I angry because they are sinning against God or am I angry that they are casting us out? If this is the case, my motivation is wrong. My righteous anger is no longer righteous but sinful. When I really meditate on this question, I must say it is a little bit of both. I so desperately want them to see God the way I see God. I want them to see their sin the way I see my sin. I want them to see our need for Christ and our depravity as humans. Then and only then do we see His glorious sacrifice. Then and only then do we truly believe in God. This is true belief; when we see ourselves as rotten, filthy rags and see that we have no righteousness in us and the only hope we have is in the work He did on the cross. I want them to see they are not good people just like I am not a good person. (Romans 3:10-11…well, the whole book of Romans.)

And at the same time all of that emotion is going on, I am bitter and I am mad. Why won’t they just listen to us? Why won’t they just talk to us? Why won’t they just discuss this with us? Notice all those “us”es? Where is God in that? We’re no longer pointing at God for glory, we’re pointing at us. We contradict what we believe by saying why won’t they listen. We say we believe the Spirit does this work; yet, we try to force them to see. And we can’t. Only God can make them see. (John 6:44-66)

I do praise God for my friends with different doctrinal beliefs that can discuss these things with me. I see in them the same drive to know God. I see in them the same conviction over sin and the true sense they know why they need Christ. The only difference between us is I say Christ 100%, and they say Christ 99.9%, us .1%, right? (Saying this with a grin because I know who is going to get that.)

I pray to God for understanding and for righteous anger. I pray that my sinful anger can be controlled and that I seek God’s glory in all things.

Friday, December 25, 2009

A Blackberry Saved My Marriage

You read it right; a blackberry saved my marriage. Well, sort of. It has been three years this month since aliens babies took over my body and I haven’t had it back since. December 2006 I found out I was pregnant with Ms. Lil. When she was 10 months old I could see the end of nursing and the reclaiming of my body as my own. No such luck. Two more months of nursing and nine more months of pregnancy is what I faced. My body would not be mine…not just yet.

Now that we have reached the light at the end of the tunnel, Nate and I can look back and see what a chaotic road are marriage has taken for the past year. We reached points I never thought fathomable and today, I still cannot believe we were there. There were days when I just wanted to quit. There were days when I said, “I quit.” There were days we both were not sure if we would make it to the day our little boy was born, much less forever.

As the pregnancy surged on so did my hormones. I could see into the pregnancy that I would probably be at risk for postpartum depression. I was angry. As he dealt with my hormonal issues, Nate became more and more distant. The person I once could relate to became a mere body living in our home. He, too, went into a depression over the arrival of our new little one. His main focus was his daughter. His life revolved around her and he didn’t want someone else disrupting it. More than once I told him, “You know your going to have to love him, too.”

And sure enough, when the little man came, so did the depression. Looking back, I’m not sure if the depression was caused by exhaustion or if exhaustion caused the depression. Either way it was a hard, hard road. Not only was this road hard for us, but also we had to virtually face it alone. We knew we had to pick up the pieces because the thought of hurting the stability that little girl had crushed us.

We both went terribly wrong when “she” came before “us.” And then it was “they” came before “us.” We realized we were going to have to pull it together and something had to change. The first step was for me to get myself out of the funk. I needed more rest and some time for myself. Little man couldn’t quite figure out how to sleep so three or four times a night, I was up with him and up all day with her. Luckily for me, Nate stepped up and took JJ at night even when he had to work the next day. The marital bed had been split and so the two of them camped out in the family room. With him losing sleep and the state of our marriage, he too began to fall into a gloom. With all of this on our back, there were days, I lost it. I really lost it. If you are a woman who has dealt with postpartum depression, you know what I mean when I say, “I lost it.”

And then the blackberry came. Understand, when we decided for me to stay home, we made certain sacrifices and one of those was no Internet. With nearly all of my friends spread all over this little country I found very little time to communicate with them and when I said good-bye to my computer, I said good-bye to most of my friends. Not only that but my family is three hours away and his is over an hour away. (When I said we were at alone, I meant we were at it alone.) So, we decided to get back on board with the rest of the world and made some adjustments to make it possible. Nate bought me my very own shiny Storm. With this little contraption, I began to find myself again. I ventured out and reconnected with some long lost friends. Finding Michelle... swung into action and I finally had a way to let it all out. And not only did I reconnect with old friends, I found some new ones along the way.

As I nested myself back in with the rest of the world, my depression melted away. I found energy. My anger and resentment towards my husband was gone. Nate saw me happy again and that made him happy. We began to talk to each other instead of at each other. We began to realize we needed to be a priority, not only as individuals but also as partners in life. As that depression melted away, it was easier to step out the door. (Not easy with two babies in tow, just easier than the past few months!)

We use to always say we thought we loved each other more than other couples do. For several months and almost a year we couldn’t say that. I am so happy to say, we are there again and probably stronger.

As we were talking the other night, Nate said it may be a “mirage” but he thought we were doing pretty well. And then he said, “Thank God for Blackberry.”

I know I’m supposed to be getting into some theological stuff…but we laughed when he said this the other night and just knew I had to blog about it!

Note: That little man that wreaked so much havoc on our lives is such a blessing to not only both of us but everyone he is around. His smile can light up a room. He is truly a gift from God.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Losing Michelle...

Can you say epiphany?! All great thoughts…happen in the shower. For all my bloggy pals and blog readers, I think about you all a lot. I think about what you’ve said and what I’ll say and what she said he said. Just ask my husband. He gets to hear about it.

So, I was in the shower today taking my sweet and merry time. JJ was in his swing hopefully going to sleep and Lily was in her bed hopefully continuing to sleep. If they weren’t sleeping, who cares! I’m in the shower! And we all know how I feel about showers, right?

Shall we go back to the thinking? I was thinking about some recent folks I have encountered (in real life as well as the blogosphere), blogs I have read, and goals Nate and I have for our family. For several weeks now, I have had the urge or felt the push to go towards a more theological approach to my blog. I just was not sure how or if it was too deep. I have readers from very different perspectives. There are Christians, believers, atheists, and even a pagan or two. (Yes, I term Christians and believers as two different things sometimes…more on that another day!) When I first started blogging, I did not follow many Christian blogs, or at least blogs that blogged about being a Christian. Through Tony C, I found Abundantly Living and Fire and Grace. And through Abundantly Living I found Psalm 104:24. I really enjoyed reading their blogs. They were really thought provoking and I wanted more. So, I journeyed out on a blog hop and found some other great blogs I mentioned a few days ago.

Anyhow. As I was showering, I thought to myself, “Where should Finding Michelle… go?” Wait a minute… let me take a detour.

If you recall, Tony C is whom I turned to when I decided to start a blog. (Read about that here. It's kind of funny!) And once again, his words echo in my head, “Your name is important. Take your time and think about it.” Well, geez, Tony! I don’t take my time for anything. If I get it in my head it’s done within a few hours if not minutes. Just ask Nate. He’ll tell you a story about how one day he was pressure washing the back deck, and when he turned around I had over half the rails knocked off. What can I say I wanted new deck railings! And then there is the time he came home and most of the carpet in the house had been ripped up and thrown out. Like I said, I’m not much of a time taker. Anyways, Finding Michelle…was fine for what I was going for. And still is…but back on track.

As I was showering, I thought to myself, “Where should Finding Michelle… go?” And then it all hit me. The purpose of this blog was to find myself outside motherhood. It was to be an outlet and a tracking of my journey to reclaim my identity. And in my head all I could hear was “deny self, deny self, deny self.” And then it all came together for me. Did God use motherhood as away for me to die and for Christ to live in me? When I became a mother, most if not all of my worldly affections were put aside. I let go of my image. And for a woman, her image cracks up to a lot of other worldly affections whether it be exercising, shopping, and/or other hobbies.

So here I am trying to find Michelle when I really need to be losing her.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” Matthew 16:24-25

Sunday, December 20, 2009

My Husband Left Friday

I can honestly say I knew what I had before it was gone. Did that make sense? What I’m trying to say is the opposite of “you never know what you had until it’s gone.” I’m talking about dear ol’ Nate, my bubby, my Nay-Nay. This has been one LONG weekend without him. I’ve had a great opportunity to reflect on all the reasons I love him being around.

Before this weekend, I knew all of this. And before this weekend, I have tried my best to never take it for granted. My Nay-Nay is a rare catch and I’m so happy to call him my own.

It all started Friday. We had plans to go to his mom and dad’s for dinner with the babies. At 1:00PM it started to snow, but no big deal, plans were still on. By 3:30PM, plans were off. At 5:15PM, he called to say he was not coming home and I knew what that meant. He works for the local electric company and when the weather gets yucky, they are there to make sure folks are getting their power back on. And when it snows, that means it could take days. On Friday, I knew it might be Monday before I saw him again…and it almost is just that. He got to come home Saturday morning for a quick nap and was back to work at 2PM, home at midnight, back out by 7A, and still not home. Luckily, he works in the office. The guys actually working out in the field don’t go home at all until the power is back on. Enough of that…the blog is about him not his work!

I “aggravated-ly” missed him Friday when I had to rush to get the kids fed, the dog in out of the snow, the dog cage cleaned out, and the kids ready for bed all alone. (Thankfully, my neighbor came to hang with the kids while I got the dog and all his “stuff.”) I missed him with my heart Saturday evening when I was cutting up their spaghetti. It was an “awww…” moment.

You see, he is so my partner when it comes to the kids. When he comes home I have dinner ready. He helps fix the plates and get everyone at the table. (And he always cuts up the spaghetti for them just right.) After dinner, he plays with the kids while I clean up. And when I nurse and put JJ to bed, my Nay-Nay is there to hang with Lily. Then, while I clean up toys in the family room, he gives her a bath and puts her to bed. Not to mention all the things he fetches for me and catches for me while I run my evening routine. On the weekends, which this was, he also cooks breakfast and lets me chill with the babies; something I never do during the week because of my morning routine. If we don’t go out, he also will cook lunch or dinner AND clean most of the mess.

Needless to say, some things got left behind this weekend. My normal cleaning routine was a little skewed because if I did all I normally do, a two-year old and an 8 month old might as well have taken care of themselves! Cleaning the kitchen took longer because my Brutus thinks he has to climb on everything. As a result, in between the cleaning of each dish I was fetching a screaming baby from wherever he just fell from. I swear, the bruises on either side of his head are making way for his horns. I am so lucky that my two year old is completely self-entertaining and calm. She would quietly play while I got the baby ready for bed every night. She got stuck with Mommy for bath and bedtime. We would say our prayers for the lineman out working and all the people without power. Tonight, I had to make up a song about Jesus and Daddy helping people that were cold. How funny!

Once she was in bed each night, it came to the time that is supposed to be ours, but he wasn’t here. It was lonely both day and night. Even when he works during the week, we still eat lunch together every day and talk on the phone several times. There was none of that. My companion was gone and I was lonely. At night when he is home, mostly the TV is on and I’m on the computer, but we’re still there together. We talk about TV, blogs, God, family, what irks us, and the small things that made us happy that day. We talk about our relationship and the kids and what we need to work on to be godlier as a family.

And that’s what I’ve missed the most, our talks. We talk about everything. He listens to my jabber even when he has nothing to say. He listens about my day and what so and so said and what so and so wrote in a blog and what happened at gymnastics and what I read that day. He listens because he knows how important it is for me to get it all out of my head.

And to drive the point home, today he told me, “I’m surrounded by all these people here, but I feel so lonely because I’m not with you all.”

And in 45 minutes, he’ll be home. Thank you, God. I’ve really missed him.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Blog Hopping

I have found myself with a lot of time on my hands this weekend. My dear husband has been working hard to get the power back on for thousands around the county due to the snowstorm this weekend. I really miss him and want him home. But, there is a lot more people out there that need him more than I do right now. So, I have decided to do a little blog hopping.

Last night I spent some time digging in some blogs I already follow. So, if you track your hits and some old posts are getting hit…it’s me!

For some reason, I lost my blog feed (or whatever it’s called) for The Suburban Jungle for the past couple of months. I’ve been spending a little time over there for she has a wealth of information. Angela can seriously by $100 worth of groceries for like two bucks! Wow. She has info on eating healthy, saving money, fitness, and the list goes on. Stop by and browse around. You won’t be disappointed.

For my more serious side, I’ve been hanging out at Tony C Today and Fire and Grace. I don’t necessarily have the same views as these guys; but, I like the way David is so blunt and to the point. And since I knew the C-Man back in the day, his humor cracks me up. I think it’s because I can totally envision his mannerisms and facial expressions when he’s telling a story. We were great friends back in the day and I am so happy that we’ve reconnected through the blogosphere and Facebook.

A couple new blogs I’ve been following lately are Raising Olives and Raising Arrows. They, too, have a lot of great information, especially if you are interested in homeschooling. Their stories are wonderful stories of faith in God. I’ve spent a bit of time at Raising Arrows and have truly been moved by their strength. She has left me in tears over and over. What amazing honesty and faith!

I’ve decided to spend tonight blog hopping. And this is what I’ve found…

I decided to join the Christian Group on Mom Bloggers Club. I just glanced around for something interesting and found a discussion on “Authentic Christianity ‘where is it?’” Well, right up my alley. I follow to the person that started and was so convicted by this post HERE! So, go over and visit Suzanne and Christina, you’ll be blessed.

I also found and enjoyed:

A Dancing Barefoot Christmas

Journey of Grace

Mom’s the Word

And now I’m sleepy and out of Sweet Sixteen donuts.

I went through A LOT OF BLOGS!!! More than those few I just mentioned… I just picked out the one’s that really caught my eye.

Good. Night.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Dig A Little Deeper

Lily's first trip to the movies turned out to be an awesome time. I am pretty sure she cared more about the popcorn than the movie. The Princess and the Frog was an awesome movie about understanding what we need over what we want... a lesson we could all take in this day and age. I wanted to share one of my favorite parts of the movie. We had the joy of having two bus loads of seven and eight year olds to share the movie theater with. When this song came on I couldn't help but smile as the kids started clapping in beat. What a good experience for my little Lil.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Reflections on Parenting, Part 3

“My immediate concern has to do with the fact that nearly two generations of children have been raised according to psychobabble. They call themselves things like Generation X. I call them Generation E, for entitlement. They cannot distinguish between what they want and what they truly need, so they consume indiscriminately, everything from food to entertainment. They have little tolerance for frustration or ability to delay gratification, so they lack frugality. What they want, they think they deserve to have. They believe they deserve problem-free marriages, so they will not be married long if at all, assuming the institution even survives the deconstructionist onslaught. They believe obligation is a one-way street that flows in their direction, so they will not be good neighbors, employees, or citizens. My description does not apply to every single child of the entitlement generation, but it applies to too many. More than anything I am concerned that few among today’s young people will sacrifice for any good greater than themselves, and not for long at that. I am concerned that they will grow up and look to government to provide the same entitlements their parents provided, the same free ride. But I am most concerned that few of today’s young people will be willing to take up arms to defend freedom when and wherever it is threatened.” (John Rosemond, Parenting by The Book)

The above is an excerpt of the Afterword. I find what he has said truly sums up our generation. I cannot add or take away from anything he has said. I believe the direction our country and families are headed speak for themselves in support of what Rosemond stated. I cannot tell you how many thirty somethings I know who are not only living at home but also do not have jobs. More and more adult children are depending on their parents. So, what has led to this entitlement mentality?

Does it start with the change in discipline that happened two generations ago? Does it come from the fact that our no is not no and our yes is not yes? Are parents no longer forcing their children to face the consequences of their decisions?

I believe parents have lost leadership in their homes. Rosemond focuses on the word “discipline,” or “to make a disciple of.” Going back to scripture, Christ lead His disciples, just the way we should lead our children. We lead our children with “the rod.” But, we must understand this rod is used for guidance and as a symbol of authority. As parents, we must be confident in our leadership. This is something I struggle with daily. I have been so bombarded with the wrong way to do it; it’s sometimes hard to find the right.

Since coming into adulthood, I have had time to reflect on my own childhood and the way I was disciplined. Coming from a divorced family, I had two paths to follow mostly my entire life. I had a road paved with consequences and consistency. On this road, I was taught responsibility and resourcefulness. The leaders in this home were compelling and commanded my attention. If I fell off course, the consequences were very uncomfortable and created lasting memories. “No” was “NO” and I knew it. Had it not been for this road, I may have related more to the above quote than I already do. On the other road, I lacked respect for authority. It was inconsistent and weak. The leader was not confident in her role. The leader on this road used threats and bribes; rarely obtaining the results she desired. “No” was always “maybe” and I could always push it to a “yes.” This is the road where I learned about my sense of entitlement. The most interesting thing, the strong leadership road NEVER used corporal punishment. The other road always resulted in corporal punishment, even into my teens. The corporal punishment always happened in a rage and always ended in guilt for the leader. Lacking on both roads was God. Due to the most important Being that should have been in my life lacking, it took several years to find a balance in the person I would become as part of Generation E X.

I pray that God changes the hearts of the many parents who do not see the need for proper discipline or see the need but cannot find it. The majority of children I see are on the same road. A road with a parent that is not confident or consistent. The child leads the parent by manipulative and deceitful behavior. I cannot pray enough that God gives us the confidence we need to raise our children in His way.

The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame. Proverbs 29:15

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Reflections of Parenting, Part 2

When I first began debating the option between staying in the workforce or going home to take care of my family, I found this article that was supposedly in Good Housekeeping in the 50s. (I really think this is a hoax…BUT…) It was called the Good Wife’s Guide and you can see a copy of it here or look it up. Believe it or not, I more or less subscribed to this philosophy. Well, there are few exceptions and it does make me laugh a little. It was against everything I was raised to believe, but it was what I felt was tried and true to help a relationship survive. I had no problem with showing my husband that he was important to me. Fast-forward that two years and here I am, a micromanaging, mother-first kind of person. Well, I’ve been working on that and you’ll see how throughout this post.

Going back to Rosemond. (Remember, Parenting by The Book?) His chapter on Parenting as One Flesh really brought me backs to the day when I said I was going to be the retro-housewife and the June Cleaver of 2007. After explaining how parents’ roles have changed due to what he calls Postmodern Psychological Parenting, Rosemond gets into the mother of the 50s compared to the mother today. The mother of the 50s just like the article said, was a wife first, parent second. Before Dad came home, mother would have tidied up not only the home, but also herself. The goal was to make sure Dad came home to the woman he married, not the housekeeper or his children’s mother. The relationship between husband and wife came first. He refers to creating a boundary around the marriage and the marital bed. With this being done, the parents operate with one mind when it comes to parenting issues. Now, however, parents are more likely to be one flesh with their children. (Leading to the so-called helicopter parenting I spoke of in Part 1.)

And, just a side note, look at how the role of the father has changed on television. Since the Cosby’s, what father have you seen that wasn’t portrayed as bumbling bafoon? With my sarcastic nature, I have realized how others could assume I do not respect my husband. This is something I have had to get in check. I have also made a conscious decision to NEVER allow someone to refer to my husband as my third child. He is not a child. He is the leader of this home.

When Rosemond started referring to “Til Children Do Us Part,” I could totally relate. He explained that a lot of couples become child centered after having babies. They pay more attention to the children than they do each other. Basically, they do all things with their children more than they do with each other. I felt, especially after one pregnancy, getting pregnant when I was still nursing and had a baby on my hip, nine more months of pregnancy, and a very difficult three months of depression after JJ, we were not going to make it. If we weren’t there already, we were definitely on our way to becoming two fleshes. The kids were the reason we were together; but then again, if had not been for the kids, we may not have had the problems we were dealing with. It was especially hard for me with the constant hormonal changes. It took a lot of soul searching and a lot of letting go of the babies to turn to each other again. Thank God we are there and willing to go even further if we have to. (Remember Mommy’s Day Out?)

I breathed a sigh of relief when I reached Rosemond’s explanation of “seasons” of childhood. It was a relief to know we were still in the Season of Service. My job was to be “checking, feeding, carrying, changing, comforting, fixing, fetching, and so on…” And good ol’ Nate was to be there to be my “parenting aide” to get through this season. It would have been comforting to understand that before all the problems! We are heading out of this season with one and still hanging in there with the other. For us, I think the major problem was when we were in the Season of Service with TWO at the same time. We were both emotionally, mentally, and physically drained. I also feel comfort now that Lily is heading out of the season of service; I am beginning to gradually introduce her to the fact that I’m not her servant for life.

It’s going to be hard in this world. The new “good mother” is to serve her child for life. I was just explaining to Nate how judged I would be for trying to instill independence at an early age with so many mothers going above and beyond the call of duty for their older children. I am ready to face whatever to increase the possibilities of having a child who becomes a caring, productive adult with God at the center of his/her life.

For those who don’t know, my thoughts of parenting have always been in line with John Rosemond’s, even before I read anything he wrote. I enjoy reading what he writes because it helps me to understand application a little more and I just love reading about parenting. To each his own, right?

How about you? How many of you feel your vows should have been replaced with “Til children do us part”?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Reflections on Parenting, Part 1

After several months of debating to buy and waiting on BFF to finish her reading, I finally got my hands on my much-coveted Parenting by The Book by John Rosemond. Rosemond uses biblical principals to outline how parents have been lead astray and away from the Bible in child rearing. Rosemond explains the change occurred in and around the 1960s when parents stopped listening to “Grandma” and started listening to folks with letters following their names.

Rosemond hits the nail on the head about the frustrations and anxiety parents raising children today are facing. I love it when he describes how parents are confused about everything. “…when to toilet train, how to deal with tantrums, how and when and even where to put their kids o bed…discipline… feed the children… talk to the children...” He’s exactly right. As a parent, I see in young children, teens, and young adults how something about parenting has gone terribly wrong. We are left confused not knowing where to turn but knowing the current way is not doing so hot. And here we are with the “Tower of Parent-Babble” of parenting books to decipher what the right way is to parent. Rosemond lays out some critical issues in parenting that he always goes back to biblical principles.

Due to the Tower of Parent-Babble, there has arisen this horrific focus on “self-esteem.” Even Christian parents believe in guarding our children to protect their self-esteem. Rosemond does a great job of explaining just how self-esteem is a form of idolatry and is extremely harmful to the child. (He goes on to explain a development of self-respect that comes from humility and serving others.) Self-esteem leads into a loss of manners, manipulative behavior, and a disregard for others.

Before reading the book, I had become familiar with the “esteem” issue from various sermons I had listened to. It really made sense that self-esteem was exactly contrary to what scripture teaches. Jesus told us to deny ourselves and to follow Him. (Matthew 16:4) My previous meditations on self-esteem helped to have a good understanding of where he was coming from in the book. Being raised in the world of self-esteem AND having a psychology degree, it’s very hard as a parent and a Christian to do what is right with the child. Already we find ourselves worrying about Lily’s future since she is so passive. We don’t want her to get ran over or have any anxiety issues. Biblically, our thinking is wrong. Lily needs to be humble and slow to speak. Grandma was right when she said is wasn’t polite to show off and we can get too big for our britches. There is nothing I can’t stand more than a kid (mostly teens and pre-teens) that brags on and on. Well, yes there is, the parent who brags right behind him/her. And here I am, praising her all the way for every little milestone. Please, God, help me to be humble to teach them humility. Pride is such a rampant and natural way.

Anyways, back on track. Parents today don’t want to admit their two and three year olds misbehave because they are inherently sinful. Heck, they don’t want to admit their teenagers are inherently sinful. They want to contribute it to development. Instead of meeting the behavior head on, forcing the right behavior, and then teaching the difference between right and wrong, parents are trying to modify behavior (like with a dog) and/or explain the behavior off as something psychological the child is dealing with. If we tell them they are wrong or they've sinned, it might hurt their self-esteem. Christian parents are forgetting about what the Bible teaches about the fall of man. I guess when you have to face that your child is born to sin, you must admit that you too have the fallen nature. This is a hard thing for many folks to grasp.

Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. Psalm 51:5

Rosemond also goes into how the parents are over-involved in their children’s lives. I completely agree. The best examples of parents being overly involved are when the parents are going to school to defend their kids from being corrected or being bullied. This type of behavior is apparently going on into adulthood with parents going to colleges and working things out for their adult children. And then, the helicopter parent gets REALLY involved and calls for job interviews for the child. Rosemond gives an example in the book of employers having problems with hiring younger adults. The younger adults 1.) Have no respect for authority, 2.) Have a sense of entitlement, and 3.) Have parents calling in due to bad job performance ratings. (These three were taken from different excerpts in the book and are my own interpretation.) This is really hard for me to imagine. I was very independent from the time I turned 16, maybe even before. But hey, I see it in some of the teens I’m around. Parents, especially mothers, are enabling their children by being “too” there for them.

You know, when you think about it. This is what we have all around us. People, adults and children alike, who think the world has something to owe them. There is no respect, responsibility, or resourcefulness. What do you think? Do you think the self-esteem error era has something to do with it?

I have a lot I want to say about this book. (I have a lot to say about a lot of things. Thanks God for blogs!) I really want to get into what Rosemond says about the roles in the family and his take on discipline. So, look for Part 2 and Part 3.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

God Let Me See

As I reach for a double dose of caffeine this morning, I am still rejoicing over the experience God gave me last night. I am so convicted and so broken. My eyes are open and I can see how far away from God I truly am. It’s easy to feel close to God when you are surrounded with worldliness and shallow Christianity. Last night I met with a group of women who are truly amazing and they give all the glory to God.

My entrance into this group came from an interest in homeschooling. A friend of a friend suggested that I come to a Mom’s group that meets once a month and just happened to be at her house this month. I was very on board from the beginning due to my search for other Christian women to be a part of my life in some way.

As the night began and all of the women arrived, the diverse group was somewhat quiet and reserved. On this particular evening, the forum was open and there was no specific topic. I listened as the women spoke back and forth about their homes and their schools. My insides leaped for joy as I listened about their daily times with God as a family, about their children glorifying God in all they do, and about not having excuses for sin. When the hostess asked if I had anything on my mind…well, you know me. Of course, I had something on my mind; I had many things on my mind. And she really set me up when she said it could be about anything… worship, family…whatever. I shared the walk and the struggle we have had to find people who wanted to speak about God and how we felt so alone. I shared how hard it’s been to separate when we are drowning in the world. I shared how in awe I was to hear and see a group of women be such examples of the role women have in Christian families.

And then it began…God blessed me and blessed me and blessed me through this group of women. My heart ached from conviction as I listened to their stories of tragedy and how they rejoiced in what God is doing in their lives. No matter how hard the circumstances were they faced, they acknowledged God’s sovereignty and how they cannot doubt what God is doing…even through the death of their own children. Their prayers were so honest about our selfishness and wickedness.

Through their conversations and prayers, I realized how I hold my children as idols above God. I realized how my role within my family is very far from where God wants me to be. I realized how my housework is more important than my time with God and leading my children up in the way they should go.

I found a group of women where my spirit can find rest. I found a place where God is the conversation and I don’t feel awkward because talk is of clothes and homes and stuff.

Thank you God for how you used these women to convict me and open my eyes. Forgive me for my evilness and my vanity. Thank you for allowing me to have the ability to see who I am…

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Nate finally blogged! Watch out!

As I mentioned last week two weeks ago, Nate was supposed to do a little guest blogging for me. He finally took some time to give my blog some time. He apparently wanted to do a little story of us of his own and decided it was too personal. And apparently, he decided to use my blog as a pedestal to declare to the world his annoyances! So here goes…hold on…and prepare to get a preaching!

I had previously written a different blog post. It quickly became more personnel than I intended; therefore, it will be shelved for now.

For this guest post, I will rant a little about nothing in particular and whatever comes to mind. Also note while reading this, I will quickly judge myself on the same topics and no one is harder on me than me.

1. This is a big one. Please stop telling yourself and everyone else, “I celebrate the birth of Christ.” Come on people. I will not got into deep details about pagan roots and biblical definitions of Christmas other than to say things esteemed in this world are not of GOD. How exactly does one celebrate God on his alleged birthday? How does one honor God on this day? Apparently buying presents for kids, parents, friends, and co-workers honors God. Try doing what Christ told the rich young ruler. Go and sell everything you have and come follow Me. I bet Christ would see that as honorable but only if done in a humble spirit. There is even self-righteousness in the good deeds done this time of year. Yeah, sure your intentions are to help someone out in need but why not do it privately? Why must we insist on telling others the good we have done? It really bothers me when a church Sunday school will buy for a family and then bring the family in front of the church and make a spectacle of the whole ordeal. Why? Is God unable to see a good deed if not verified in front of the congregation? I will tell you why this takes place. It makes the giver feel good. The family is probably a little embarrassed but so wanting to give their kids a nice Christmas with toys and such that a little humility is warranted. And don’t we feel proud of ourselves for donating $10 to a family with little money and no food and then go home and gorge on more food than an army could eat and give presents to kids who have everything they need and say a fat-cheeked man with a beard brought them. Praise God…. Listen, I am not stating that I am the vision of giving. But I also don’t do something for myself that is worldly and over indulgent and justify the action by doing it in Christ’s name either. If you would really consider your actions and motives this Christmas you would come to the conclusion that Christ is in fact not the “Reason for the Season.” His name is rarely spoken of, we are swapping presents with believers and unbelievers alike, and we tell our kids that a man with God-like characteristics is bringing them presents. Ask a 4 year old, what the meaning of Christmas is? They will tell you it’s “Christ’s birthday.” Then tell them Santa isn’t coming. We are reading the Word and fellowshipping with believers. Tell me what they think Christmas is about now. Heck, tell a 15 year old they will be getting no presents and gauge the reaction.

2. While we’re on the subject of the children, let me get off the subject of Christmas. An 8 year old does not need a cell phone. We can try and justify this many ways… “They need to call me when they get done with practice” or “they are always on my phone and running up my minutes.” If a parent constantly needs lead times and notices to arrange transportation for their children then either one or both of them are too busy. Try just saying, “she doesn’t NEED a phone, I just wanted to get it for her.” Then admit she is spoiled.

3. And finally. Men, stay at home with your family. Put down the golf clubs, lay your fishing rod down, lay off the work and come home and spend some time with your little ones. You will not regret it. I see so many dads who can’t help but spend all their spare time playing and working. (And I’m not speaking of the occasional fisherman or golfer. Because I know sometimes we do need a break.) You will have all the time you want when your babies are grown. I bet you will not regret one minute you spent with them. Your friends, if true, will not disown you. The children cherish every minute spent with them. My golf game has suffered, I haven’t a clue where the fish are at the lake… and I could care less. Seeing my little boy roll in the floor and my little girl do something completely random could take away the blues from any day I had. You want stress relief? Then push a 2 year old on the swing and check out that smile. You want to go to a happy place, pick up a 7 month old who smiles ear to ear simply because you picked him up. Your mere presence means the world to them. Be there. When I die I would much rather someone say he was a loving father (and mean it) than to say he was a 3 handicap golfer or he dominated the local rodeo circuit on Douglas lake.

Wow. Random.

Let me fill you in a bit and maybe sum things up. All of the above are hot topics of discussions amongst Nate and some others lately or things that weigh heavy on his mind. Every December I think we face this in some way or another as a couple. We see things that a mere few others see. People seem to be blinded by the world and what the world has to offer. We, as a culture, have become so desensitized to sin that it has not only become normal, but acceptable. As a Christian, it is hard to watch those who claim to be Christians drown in the worldliness. We find ourselves so confused and broken-hearted that they cannot see. But then we must remind ourselves, they have not been given an ear to ear or eyes to see. (For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it? I Corinthians 4:7)

We understand that not all those who claim to be Christian do not live this way or follow this same path. We just do not know many that are not on that path and we find ourselves very alone. But then we praise God, because we know God has us on the right path to Him.

Enter by the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many that go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way that leads to life, and there are few that find it. Matthew 7:13-14

(BTW- I'm pulling for the other blog post to get finished because I know you'll like it!)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The First Step is The Hardest...

Pant…pant…GASP! I can’t breathe! In lieu of stretching, I decided to blog for accountability. Even though, I didn’t wanna do it, I got myself up on the old Sole E55 today and elliptical-ed my way through twenty minutes of pain. ridiculous! I have never, and I mean ever, been this weak.

I would say out of shape, but even in days when I had strength and six-pack abs, my second hand smoker lungs could not even grace the track for a mile. As much as I loved freedom upon moving away from home, I embraced a love for cardio. And I mean heart pumpin’, blood sweatin’, cardio. LOVED IT! It took a lot of hard work to build up the strength to make it through long runs and two-hour “Grosso” Tae kwon do workouts. But I did it…and now it’s gone…

Not only have I lost my cardio, I’ve lost my strength. What have these kids done to me! My arms feel like jello, there is cottage cheese cellulite in places I didn’t know could have it, my stomach looks like an old rotten potato…and at the risk of too much information… (edited...becuase it really was too much information!) Now that’s just wrong.

So with all this said, I have a plan. Yes, a plan. I’m going to be a lean, mean, Momma Machine. This month, I’m merely going to focus on regaining minimal strength. I will start with cardio and add weights when I feel I have been consistent. Once this is established, what my body has not already forced me to change, will be changed on my diet. I feel that when you work out, your mind and body sometimes force you to make some nutritional changes, such as more fluid intake.

It’s never too early, so let me share my New Year’s/Beginning in December Plan: (some of this does not pertain to just physical health and is no particular order…
  1. Simply, start working out at least 5 out of 7 days.
  2. Drink more water.
  3. Eat less sugar.
  4. By April 2010, resume training for my second-degree black belt.
  5. Run the CASA 8K on June 12, 2010.
  6. Spend at least 6 months out of 2010 not pregnant, nursing, and/or both.
  7. Spend more time studying scripture.
  8. Find a church family.
  9. Pray more as a family.
  10. Spend at least one night a month with my husband without babies. (Not enough, but a start.)
Totally did not know that would come out with a nice even number of 10. And a side note, I have never had even one New Year's resolution before.

Here’s to accountability!

Friday, November 27, 2009

A Pagan Christmas

Since my husband has not completed his duty of guest blogging for me, I decided I must truck on until he is ready. So...

Excuse me while I lend you a bit of my serious side…

Each winter season, I am completely amazed at some of the statements made around the holidays. Usually these statements consist of “Jesus is the reason for the season” and “let’s put Christ back in Christmas.” Well, this year, Tim Wildmon, the President of the American Family Association has topped my list of “here’s your sign” awards.

I recently received an email from my BFF that she forwarded to me from her MIL. She knew she could get me going with this one! Thanks, again BFF… you know what I love!

Apparently, because of this video:

The AFA originally urged families to Boycott Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy. If you can’t understand the lyrics, let me quote:

Two, Four, Six, Eight, now's the time to liberate
Go Christmas, Go Hanukkah, Go Kwanza, Go Solstice.
Go classic tree, go plastic tree, go plant a tree, go add a tree,
You 86 the rules, you do what feels just right.
Happy do whatever you wanukkah, and to all a cheery night.
Go Christmas, Go Hanukkah, go whatever holiday you wanukkah.

Mr. Wildmon and his folks were upset because Gap had the nerve to compare Christmas with the wiccans winter Solstice. And they quote in this mass email, “Solstice is celebrated by wiccans who practice witchcraft!” They go on to say that “Gap also encourages you to ‘86’ or ‘dismiss’ traditions and ‘do what feels just right.’ Find more about it here.

This just bumfuzzles me. I am almost sure that Mr. Wildmon is probably a very educated man to become the president of the AFA.

I visited the AFA website and went to the “See who’s Naughty, who is nice” page posted on November 13, 2009. Upon looking at the comments, people truly believe the reason for the season is the birth of Christ and actually coin the day a Holy Day. A Holy Day!
See more here.

Most of my readers know this, but let me give a very brief lesson for those that do not know. Christmas is not the day Christ was born. Christmas was originally exactly what is so absurd to the AFA and other “Christians” all around… pagan. Period. Constantine amalgamated pagan traditions and the Church in the 4th century to create peace and keep control. Those pagan traditions consisted of yule logs, evergreen trees, mistletoes, etc. I will not bore you with the details… look it up. See for yourself where Christmas came from. I promise you, it’s not the book of Luke. This is not my opinion. These are facts.

Note: The AFA has not yet determined whether to boycott these stores because Gap responded that the word “Christmas” was used as well.

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed himself into an angel of light. 2 Corinthians 11:13-14

But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. Matthew 15:9

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Love Awards

More awards! It's so great to know that someone reads my blog! (Besides my husband and Tony C!) I've received two more awards! I received the Lovely Blog Award from Two Normal Moms, Alley and Lela. They have a great blog and a great way of keeping it real! And then today, much to my delight, I received an I Love Your Blog from Dealightfully Frugal. (Actually, "Deal"ighfully Frugal, but code won't let me use that and link to her url! She has a great blog that offers enlightenment and some tips on great deals.

Now...I have a major cold and am recovering from a splitting-almost-a-migraine-headache AND I have about 962 blogs to read to catch up, I'm not going to give the blogs out to the fifteen or so people. I'm going my own way, I want to give the awards out to some blogs I recently found and enjoy reading. So hear goes....

The Lovely Blog Award and I Love Your Blog Awards go to....

Everyone have a great holiday! Off to be busy, busy, busy!!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

I love you, Nate!

In celebration of our upcoming anniversary on Saturday, I thought it appropriate to share a little love story, our love story. We like to think our story is a great picture of the way God works in our lives. It’s about how God will take the wrong path you walk to get you to the place He wants you to be.

I have to set up our story, with a little story of my own. Before meeting Nate, I had relocated to the area moving me two hours away from my home and my family. I moved to the area because of a “boy.” I could say this was a stupid decision, but it was the best of my life. I was in an insecure, unstable relationship that would change me in so many ways. The relationship began to unravel before I ever arrived in my new city. The week before I went, I recall expressing to a co-worker, “It doesn’t matter if this doesn’t work, God wants me there for a reason.” I chose not to back out on the move. In the back of my head, of course, was the hope that this relationship would survive. This family, the “boy’s” family, blessed me in so many ways. The single mother of the three children had been in a battle with cancer. It began with breast cancer and moved throughout her body, including bone cancer, lung cancer, and brain tumors. I spent many weekends being support for my friend, his siblings, and their mother. I spent many nights in the hospice house until the loss of this amazing woman. After her death, the relationship inevitably died as well and we went our separate ways.

After this relationship, I spent much of my time in and out of meaningless “relationships” and built walls around my heart and lived my life with my cold, cold mind. I had found a job upon graduating college and was living the life of a single twenty-something female. I was an independent woman with no intent of settling down any time soon. A friend I met through work mentioned several times she wanted me to meet her brother. Her idea was that we would be good “party buddies.” Months went by and timing did not allow us to meet.

In March 2003, God’s plan rolled into place just as He had planned. I met Nate on Monday while he was in town for a job interview. He would be graduating in the spring and was making a stop by my town for a possible job offer. We met for lunch and went on our way. He was pleasant, actually, quite pleasant. I laugh about the ride back to work. His sister called and told me she wasn’t sure what I did but he was ready to marry me. That made me smile. Little did I know, within the next five days, I would have my life laid out for me.

He called on Wednesday and I saw him again on Thursday. He had come back in from school to have some medical tests completed on Friday. We spent hours talking and laughing…and believe it or not, I felt a twinge in my heart. The next day at work I received a phone call from his sister, she told me if I didn’t hear from him for a few days, she wanted me to know why. The doctors had just found a brain tumor.

That was my moment. That was the moment, I knew. God put me in his life. There was a reason God placed me in my previous relationship and that was to be able to deal with this now. After taking some time to deal with the news, Nate allowed me an opportunity to “get out” as he called it. I knew I was there for a reason and I wasn’t going anywhere. Over the next couple of weeks, tests were run and the doctors searched for answers. The biopsy itself was too risky. And then it happened; by the grace of God…it was gone. There was no explanation. The tumor never came back.

This traumatic event is what linked us. But, contrary to my belief was not the reason we were together; it was just my sign to stay. In a short period of time, the walls around my heart came down. Within eight months we were married and began our life together. Over the course of the next year, we would challenge each other’s beliefs in God and salvation. Through these challenges, we came out very different people, with a very different God than we had served before. We met people with the same beliefs. Each step of this road and each step of our roads before each other, God used to get us to a place of spiritual support we never knew possible.

Six years later, I am amazed at the husband and spiritual leader he has become. I have watched him grow and stand up as the true head of our home. I am amazed at how God changed me to be submissive and respect my husband as I am called to do. (And unless you know me, you may not understand what a feat that is!) Our walk has been hard, especially through three years of pregnancy. Our faith holds us together through it all. We truly see how God’s hand has been on us the entire way.


I love you more than I can show you. I thank God for your honesty and humility. Thank you for always being who you are. Please don’t stop hugging me, because I really need it. I love you for giving me the breaks I need when you come home. I love you for playing with the babies when I don’t think I can do it any more. I love all your quirks, mispronunciations, made up words, and how you can’t say “th” and instead say “f.” I can’t wait to see what the next year holds for us… let’s hope not another baby yet… I would like a break!

I’m expecting a guest post from Nate later in the week… we’ll see how that goes! BTW- this picture was taken several years ago. I chose the picture because this TOTALLY embodies our daily relationship and why I've been pregnant, nursing, and/or both for three years. He really gets on my freakin’ nerves with the breast grabbing!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I survived Mother's Day Out!

I cannot believe I made it! I survived my first day of Mother’s Day Out! I must say, you have no idea what an accomplishment this is for me. And if you don’t, you are about to find out. This has been tumultuous and I feel as if I have been running the neurotic train for about twenty-four hours.

Let me preface by saying, Lily was never without me for the first eight months of her life. She would never take a bottle and nursed every two hours for many, many months. Even after those first eight months, the amount of time she was away from me has been minimal. Her Nana has always been the person to keep her and due to being an hour drive away, that has not been frequent. (Although, Nana does do her best to see her babies when she can!) I never planned this; I just could not cut the cord when it needed to be. Now, JJ is a much different story. He is fine. I realize he will survive and can easily go my own way.

I believe Mother’s Day Out is a wonderful program and much needed. In addition, there is the Parent’s Night Out one Friday a month. Nate and I both agree we should take full advantage of this due to our distance from any support we might have and our great need to reconnect without children in our presence.

So, I have everything set up and am ready to start. Lily and I go out to buy her a very special new lunch box to take her goods in. I continue to explain to her just what we are preparing for and that Mamma Llama is always there, even if she’s not right here. She usually just looks at me and says, “Mommy bye bye.” As she shakes her head no.

I decided today would be a great day to start since, CASA for Kids needs a little help with a mass mailing. I would be just down the road in case there is an incident. So, we’re set.

When I went to bed last night, I swear, I thought I was contemplating labor again. My heart pounded and my mind raced. Just the thought of walking down that dreaded hall way was so terrifying. I knew I could make it though. I just had to!

This morning was a great treat for a mommy who has NEVER had to get herself, a baby, and a toddler ready to actually be somewhere that mattered. And this being, feeding them breakfast, changing clothes and diapers, packing two diaper bags, lunches, comfies, and my own purse. Luckily, I did have the bags packed and clothes ready the night before. To add to the stress, I had to get eye shadow and lipstick off Lily that she managed to continuously get into through out the one and a half hour I had to accomplish this feat. I managed to be out the door by 8:34 A.M. The twenty-five minute drive really did not mesh well with my nausea that would not go away.

We made it and JJ was dumped off just fine. I knew he would be fine. So, we move onto Lily. We get her settled, I tell her bye as she plays, and head out the door. 1…2...3…here it comes. I can hear her crying for me and I just keep walking. My hands are shaking and I have to sit down to write my check, which may have totally been written the wrong way. I’m tearing up and really don’t know how I’m going to make it. I can do this, I think can, I think I can.

I get to the parking lot and call Nate since I’ve missed his call already. He hears me crying and he….LAUGHS!! He laughs at me! Now come on.

My shaking did not stop until well into putting several letter packets together. I have to say thanks to the lovely Missy for keeping me company during this tragic event. They said they would call by 10:00 if she had not stopped crying. No call. No call. I called them. No answer. Mrs. Meri finally calls back and she’s OK. She’s cried on and off, but she is OK.

It’s 11:30 and I head to pick her up. If I go early, I can get the details, right? I find JJ sitting in a high chair eating Cheerios grinning away. He could care less. I leave him there while I go to check on my Lil. There she is…she looks at me…and carries on. No running to me. No “Mommy’s back!” Just stays put.

Whew. We made it.

Now let me add, Nate called like five times during this whole process. “Have you heard from them?” “ Have you heard from them?” And he laughed at me!

Want to know more about CASA? Check out the National Website and for you locals, CASA for Kids, Inc serves Sullivan and Hawkins County. Most Juvenile Courts around the country have programs and it is well worth your time to support abused and neglected children in the court system!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Alpha Mom- I AM NOT!

With a little inspiration from Theta Mom, I decided to do a little research on Alpha Moms vs. Beta Moms. From my initial perspective, I feel that I am a Beta Mom with Alpha Mom tendencies. After doing a little research, I find myself extremely slightly offended. Beta Moms are referred to as Slacker Moms? EXCUSE ME! I am no slacker. I am, for lack of a better term, balls to the wall day in day out. I’m a stay at home mom who has enough going on with diaper changes, scheduling, and feeding x 2 to not make a big deal out of placing my children on waiting lists at the most prestigious pre-schools. I prefer to take what’s easy and go with it…because no matter what, it’s not easy.

With my Alpha Mom tendencies, you’ll see me checking out Kindermusik classes, but realizing how silly it really is to spend the money, especially with only one salary coming in. I’m sure they would learn with sign language and musical engagement, but Beta Mom tells me, they’ll learn it eventually anyway. As an Alpha Mom, you’ll find me cutting out and coloring letters, trying to pound the alphabet in my little one’s head. But as a Beta Mom, you’ll find me allowing her to rip it up and let her baby brother chew on it. Alpha Mom was pumped up about gymnastics starting when Lily turned two and became disappointed when she could not focus for forty-five minutes. Beta Mom realized we don’t know what the day will unfurl during the terrible twos.

During my “research,” I found several Beta Mom blogs, along with a few Alpha Mom articles. The most interesting article was from USA Today. I was reading this article on the way to my parent’s home for the weekend while the little ones were sleeping in the car. I found through the article that I believe my own personal battle between Alpha Mom and Beta Mom is that I’m a high achiever but am very anti-superficial…or should I say materialistic. I know that may sound offensive to some who are more on the trendy side… but let me clarify. I would love to be trendy and appear to be pulled together. I actually covet those characteristics, but in my core… it’s just not me. So for me, it turns into materialism and very fake. I actually have a friend that I met through online social networking. This wonderful mother-do-it-all-er is what I would seriously consider an Alpha Mom. I only know her through online connections, but she has everything perfectly put together. Her children are always perfectly coordinated according to the date and holiday. She’s on top of communication with her friends, has time for a small side business or two, and is perfectly pulled together and coordinated herself!!! Gasp! She literally only sleeps like three hours a day. (Yes, H.M., this ones for you!)

So, anyways, I’m still thinking that I’m a Beta Mom, because I’m not the most trendy, I’m not working hard to move to the top of my job, and because I allow my kids to eat chew, and poop mud. They’ve been licked in the mouth by dogs since they were newborns. And I just don’t care. So, in my mind, there is the stamp of approval… Beta Mom Approved. This article I’m speaking of explains that Beta Moms are coming up against the Alpha Moms in a movement to say, “Chill out!”

On this car ride, I’m explaining to my dear Nate, exactly what I am doing. And in all honesty, mocking the aggravation that Alpha Moms must be going through. I mean, really, “Chill out!” So, I read him the description of an Alpha Mom.

Me: “Alphas are educated, can-do types whose organization skills bring corporate mentality to their parenting and a technological agility to their problem-solving.”

He just looks at me… and then says… “You are riding down the road, tethering your laptop to your blackberry and looking at blogs about parenting?”

I’m not sure if that was a question or a statement. So, I go on.

Me (quoting the article again): “Beta Moms have it together sometimes. They may forget to send back permission slips or lose track of their turn for team snacks.”

We look at each other and laugh. I would NEVER forget a permission slip or snacks. Actually, I would have it 1. Scheduled in my blackberry with a reminder, and 2. Do the most creative snack I could think of!

How funny! The more I look, the more I realize, I’m not the cool, chilled-out Beta Mom. I’m the overbearing, stiff-necked Alpha Mom! And the more I think of it, the reason I let my kids eat, chew, and poop mud is for the sensory experience. It’s the same with the dog-licking thing. Everything I allow or don’t allow my kids to do has something to do with how they will learn or experience something from it.

The article goes on to speak about how these high achieving mothers are used to being able to control things, but run into a problem with their kids. I think they sum it up greatly when they say that we can’t control how our kids turn out by what we do, but that “parenting is about finding out who your child is and fostering their growth and development as individuals.”

So, with that said, I’m going to go google how to not be an Alpha Mom…

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Lemonade Award

Don’t we just love awards! I’ve received my second from Maddy Brand. Thank you! The Lemonade Award is all about attitude and gratitude. I may be representing a little more attitude than gratitude! So here it is. I’m nominating 10 blogs I think have great attitude and gratitude. A couple of the recipients I chose aren’t much of the award receiving-awarding type…but I wanted you to know I appreciate the great attitude and gratitude you share in your blogs! Take it or leave it! It’s up to you.

The rules for this award:- Put the Lemonade logo on your blog or within your post.- Nominate at least 10 blogs with great attitude or gratitude.- Link the nominees within your post.- Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog.- Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award.

This award is being passed on to:

Abundantly Living

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Drop The Towel and Smile

For those of you ladies that have not yet had a baby, understand this now, showers are wonderful. Showers are orgasmic. Enjoy them now because after babies, showers will never be the same. In the early months, you may be happy to even take a shower once a month every couple of days. When showers do happen, baby will probably be in tow. I used the bouncy seat until I found Lily climbing off the side of it. I then used snacks and high chairs. I occasionally would close the door and open the cabinets; that keeps them busy, but results in a small additional clean up. Sometimes I would use the cage crib. At any rate, showers and small babies or children can be a task. The more you have, the more creative you must be. You find a love for the weekends when you might get a nice shower and possibly enough time to shave your legs for the year.

This was one such weekend. Baby Bear was asleep for his morning nap. Papa Bear and Little Bear were playing with baby dolls. Everything started out fine. I was enjoying the hot water and the steam. (Like I said, it becomes almost orgasmic when it happens so infrequently.) Suddenly, through the shower door I see Papa Bear and Little Bear creeping in. I obviously know something is up. The door opens and there stands Little Bear with a tall cup of cold water. She loves to throw cold water on my feet when I shower. I have no idea where she got this idea. Ahem. Anyways, she throws it on my feet, I fake scream to let her know it’s cccooooold and carry on. However, Papa Bear is not finished. He opens the door and I manage to dodge another big cold cup over the head. I don’t mind reminding Papa Bear, “I’m getting myself ready for tonight so if I were you I would think before you get anything started.” Doh! That one gets him. After saying something about that being cheap he walks away head down and tail between legs. Of course, this is not before I must endure at least one cup of the H2O. It was COLD!

Sigh. Finally, I proceed with my orgasmic shower. As I’m finishing up, I see Papa Bear and Little Bear approaching. I decide to dry off in the shower to keep myself safe. I wrap up in the towel and when I open the door what do I see? None other than Papa Bear with camera aimed and Little Bear with camera phone in hand. Now come on. All I ask for is a little peace once a week. He’s obviously upset about the towel wrapped body. I go on and remember something I wanted to tell him.

Me: So, I was talking to my mom…

Papa Bear (holding the camera with a sheepish grin, eyes darted to the left and up.): uh huh...

Me: Listen to me! Quit thinking about whatever you want to scheme about and listen to me!

Papa Bear: What! I am listening, you said….

Me: All I ask for is a little time. Is that too much to ask?

So, I drop the towel and smile. He gets the picture and him and Little Bear go their merry way. I enjoyed those few moments of peace preparing for the day.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Biggest Lie I Ever Told

This is so funny. I find a creative writing prompt for “The Biggest Lie I Ever Told” and sit giggling trying to think of the lies I have told through my life. I was thinking this could get funny and it actually gets embarrassing.

In reality, I am not a good liar. I can’t do it. I remember doing it when I was younger… not really lies, but not telling the whole truth. Is that considered a lie? I hid stuff. Personal stuff. Don’t we all? If we were completely honest, people would know just what we really are. So, I didn’t tell one, but lived a big fat lie when I was nineteen or twenty. This was a life-changing lie for me in more ways than one. I hurt someone very special because of this lie and wished more than anything the roles had been reversed. I found the pain of hurting someone was more than I could bear. Now, honestly, this was not the first time I hurt someone. I have more secrets in my past than I care to share, but this was someone I truly cared about. This was the lie that led me to the life of no lies and complete honesty. Well, sort of. Nate just learned he has to ask very specific questions if he wants to know the answer.

I really want to think of a funny lie… but it’s just not there. I think of my friend, SneedSnoopandF*, and think, surely all the funny stuff we did, there had to be a funny lie in there somewhere… nothin’; other than the big fat lie. Why are lies so serious? Nate lies all the time to be funny. I have to tell people constantly that he’s not telling the truth… even his own mother. I can seriously be in the room with the person he is lying to if they’re on the phone with him, and know by their expressions that he is lying.

Lies aren’t always bad are they? Sometimes we lie for the good of another. I can think of one such lie… let me reminisce back to 1995 to a not so bad lie. I apologize now if this is a little mind numbing… I had to think of a lie I could actually tell about!

A couple of students at CHS had a sports engagement to attend that conflicted with a certain Algebra II test in Mrs. Reyes class. B.D. and L.C. approached me for a little help with test in hand. I wasn’t sure how they got the test, but just knew they had to take the test early. So, I approach my good, valedictorian bound friend, Unspoken, with said test and we decide to work the problems out. And yes, she knew it was the test. Well, we hand it back to the pair and the day goes on. We take our test and of course score none other than 100… not because we had the test… we always made A’s. Shout out to Mu Alpha Theta! Anyways, when I had finished the test T.M. wanted some help, so the genius I am whip out the previous “cheat test,” (that I’m not really sure now how I got back), and hand it to him. Well, apparently, this causes a chain effect of pass the test back. Goofball R.H. has been sitting there for an hour staring at his desk and suddenly is writing like a squirrel eating nuts. Well, we all know Mrs. Reyes ain’t havin’ it! She goes over and picks that blasted pre test right up. Whose handwriting is all over it? None other than valedictorian bound, Unspoken’s handwriting. Oh dear! So, it’s my time to become the hero. I take the heat. I say I got a copy of the test, without saying from whom, and let Mrs. Reyes know, Unspoken had no clue it was the test. Everyone’s home free, all 4 or 5 of them, except for R.H. and me. This resulted in a big fat 0 for me, taking my A+ average to a big fat C! I had nothing to lose. Unspoken, she had a lot of hard work towards a big goal to lose. We giggled about it on graduation night when our Calculus class smiled for a pic with Mrs. Reyes. She had a good speech. Where is Unspoken now? Working at the university in the Big City. Wonder if she ever recalls that day? See, lies aren’t always bad…

And if you’ve met me since 1999, you can bet you’ve got the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth… unless you didn’t ask specifics of course.

And if you happen to read this Unspoken, I'm sure there are grammatical errors. I'm self conscious just thinking you may be reading it! :)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Spare the Rod

(Addendum: Yes, I’m placing an addendum at the beginning. Nate told me to wait a day to post this. He said it sounded angry. With respect for his opinion, I deleted some things to soften it up a bit. But guess what, I am angry, this isn’t my normal tone for my blog… but sometimes we’re angry and the blog is a great outlet… carry on and ignore the anger. By the way, I don’t see the anger in the post.)

I’m not sure where this is going to go and I don’t know where to start… all I know is…this has been one hellacious trek up the hump to Wednesday and I’m looking forward to the ride down. Be prepared as I may rant. The stress of this week has given me a headache for three days. That headache, does not work well with the stress going on in my head. It is a VICOUS cycle.

My week started Monday with repercussions of participating in Halloween, which is another story for another day. Landing me on Tuesday with parenting issues that make me crazy! And here we are on Wednesday with a bunch of reflecting bungled up in my head.

Parenting has always been a big thing for me, even before I was a parent. I had my own issues growing up with my parents, I worked with parents and children in family services, and I watched my friends and family members struggle along raising their little ones. It is no secret; Nate and I even considered not having kids for a long time. We didn’t want to give up our lives and children these days seemed too out of control.

There are certain behaviors that many kids today are getting away with that we find completely unacceptable. Before we had children, we said our kids would not behave the way others were behaving. We still stand by it today… it is just a little harder right now. I stand with the school of thought that children are born evil. They do not have to be taught to be selfish, deceitful, foolish, or flat out little liars. They’re born this way. This is our nature. This is who we all are in our core. That’s why we need a Savior. I liken the raising of our children to God’s disciplining of His children. We are on the wrong path from the beginning and His loving rod leads us to the right path… and occasionally whacks us when we fall off that path. He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly. Proverbs 13:24

So where is the love parents? What are we doing! We are so messed up in this culture that regards self-esteem instead of esteeming God that as parents we are lost in what is good and Godly for our children. We were raised in this culture of high self-esteem. We’ve been taught that spanking and discipline will harm our children. What God says is conflicting with what Dr. Phil and an entire world of experts says. We are teaching our kids that if all your friends have it then you will too! We’re teaching them to not respect authority by challenging their teachers that Little Johnny would not do that! There are no consequences for behavior. I swear! Through all this preaching, I’ve come to the conclusion that the failing economy and the rate of foreclosures can all be chopped up to BAD PARENTING!

That is so not where I was going with this. I was going to rant about how hard it is to do the right thing for your child’s future instead of what’s easy today. But, it needed to be said, so I’ll leave it there.

I read a lot about parenting because like I said, we feel kind of lost in how we were raised and how God meant for it to be. I’m often shunned for my structured sleep and eating schedules and my desire to provide my children with stability. (I’m a semi-Baby Wiser!) I never get it, because that’s what they need. I want to do what’s best for my kids, not “what didn’t hurt us.” That’s why I suffered through the process of breastfeeding for a year even if it meant no freedom for me. We’re home by 7:00 most nights, because they need their sleep. And now that the time for discipline has begun, I’ll do the same thing…sacrifice and consistency. It’s not about what makes them happy today, but what is best for them in the long run. Permissive parenting is evil, and I pray that God does not allow me to fall into such a way… because it would be so much easier than doing it His way.

It’s hard to sum this up; I could literally go on for days about this stuff. I knew from the beginning parenting would not be easy. Not only would it not be easy, but also it would be the hardest job I ever took on. Another life is in my hands. The decisions I make today affect who she is in eighteen years, oh crap, sixteen…. Time’s running out! Can we prepare her to be the responsible, mature, respectful, humble, God fearing, independent adult we want her to be?

Maybe I should have her hearing checked…

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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Hypocrite

Halloween 2009 is upon us and I have become a complete charlatan. For years now, my husband and I have made the decision to withhold from Halloween and Christmas activities for religious reasons. Halloween is so obviously pagan, I believe it needs no explanation. However, Christmas is a little more deceiving by having “Christ” placed so strategically in it’s name. It’s hard for me to believe, first, how many Christians don’t know the pagan roots; and second, the number of Christians that know and do not care. I will attempt to not get into other folk’s choice to celebrate or not, and just deal with mine.

People always told us when we had kids our opinions of the “holidays,” not Holy Days, would change. I’ve always been pretty adamant they would not; I’m like a stubborn bull. Christmas was easy. I find the entire holiday to be so deceitful and such a lie. Besides commercialism, there are the pagan roots, the lie of Santa (fake God), and the worldliness and selfishness it so adequately embeds into our youth and adults alike. To me, Christmas can be summed up into a great idol. So, like I said, it was easy.

However, for some reason, just three months before, I was almost in tears on Halloween. This just did not make sense to me. As we drove through our neighborhood, I recall seeing all the kids trick or treating and having so much fun. All I could think was how much my baby girl was missing out on. I struggled so much with this day; it took me by complete surprise.

So this year, I thought to myself, “Let’s give it a try.” The entire time I was out buying candy and costumes, I was watching over my back to see who was watching. It was like I was buying crack in the streets and didn’t want anyone to see. I managed to get out of the store with no questions after seeing two people I know. Since the minute I bought the stuff, I felt so convicted and like an utter hypocrite. I was eating my words and this is something I loathe. Loathe, I say.

We managed to get through the night tonight. We’ve had fun, got hyped up on candy, and managed to not offer any animals or humans for sacrifice. It’s still hard, but didn’t I have such a pretty kitty cat?

We’ll see about next year…