Friday, August 30, 2013

Taking it One Day at a Time

Today we finished our 2nd full week of school and I consider it a miracle that we survived.  My days since beginning school have not been spent sipping coffee with friends at the local Starbucks nor have I been able to tackle the mounds of laundry or the garbage dump that I think was once our basement.  I rather have found myself spending these precious moments alone crying out to God on behalf of my kiddos.  Begging Him to make His presence known to them in their lonely days. Pleading for Him to bring loving friends into their lives and desperately asking Him to allow them to catch a glimpse of brighter days.  To say that this transition to a new school environment has been difficult would be an understatement.  We have all felt the agony of the pain of change. The routines, the procedures, the curriculum, the rules, the students, it all has been beyond overwhelming.  I have ached with a hurt that only a mom could know as I have watched the 3 people I love the most in the world step out of my van each morning and enter a place where they feel somewhat invisible and lost.  It is not because they are going to a school that is not wonderful, in fact they are in a place surrounded by some of the sweetest people I have met since moving to CO.  They each have some of the most amazing teachers I have ever known who shine the light of Jesus in every word and every action.   But it is more that they are the new kids and being new is hard despite ones age.

This whole transition has literally plunged me into a state of deep introspection about this journey called life and choices along the way.  The simple act of changing schools has caused me to wrestle with some issues that I think I have struggled with for a long time.  A topic better saved for a solo post but for now sit here contemplating the massive role of being a mommy and the incredible responsibility that accompanies that title.  

Until that baby enters your life, you walk a path of where the decisions you make effect only you and perhaps your husband or wife.   Those forks in the road of your journey are monumental and life impacting but if you somehow head down the wrong road, it sure is easier make a u-turn and change directions when other people are not involved.  And then the family expands, little ones are added to the pack and suddenly those choices bring with them more weight when as a parent you think about the impact certain decisions have on those lives you now control.  It is a heaviness that has weighed on me in the recent weeks as we have made some tough decisions to take a new direction in the lives of our children.  And as we have endured a difficult first few weeks of school the natural response is to second guess the decision and thus question even more.   As a wife my greatest desire is to be a source of encouragement for my husband, to submit to his authority as the spiritual leader of our home and to love him unconditionally.  As a mom I equally long to encourage my kids and provide for them every opportunity to grow into the men and women God wants them to be while passionately loving them along the way.  Those great desires carry with them many facets of responsibility and for moms those duties can be at times overwhelming. We are faced every day with decisions that can greatly impact the trajectory of our children’s lives.  What are we to do when those choices collide with the hopes, desires and dreams of other members of the family?  What happens when we move in a direction only to realize we are heading the wrong way and that u-turn could possibly break their hearts?  I have to say that there has been more than one time I have wished for a crystal ball to help me know what is the right thing to do.  There is no crystal ball and I cannot know the future.  I simply have to take each day that is given and walk in faith that God will show me the way I should go, order my steps and when I make a mistake He will honor the attitude of my heart and His grace will be sufficient for ALL of our needs.  My neighbor recently posted this quote on Facebook and it so resonated with the emotion of my heart:

"Behind every great kid is a mom who is sure she is screwing up."

 I was reminded earlier today of that old hymn “One Day at a Time Sweet Jesus” and have decided that it is going to be my anthem for this year…..

One day at a time sweet Jesus 
That's all I'm asking from you. 

Just give me the strength 
To do everyday what I have to do. 
Yesterday's gone sweet Jesus 
And tomorrow may never be mine. 
Lord help me today, show me the way 
One day at a time. 

I pray that what ever you are facing today you will take it one day at a more and no less....just a day!
First Day Photos

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Year in Review 2012 -2013

We are just a few days away from the first day of school.  The kids have a nervous excitement as they anticipate traveling a new direction this year in school which is a topic for another post.  In order to start afresh I am going to do a year in review post.  I didn’t take a ton of photos this year but will try to bring things up to date as best as I can.

This past year found Cody in 10th Grade, Grace in  4th Grade, Emily in 2nd  and Joshua, well he started Kindergarten which lasted about a week and then we moved him back to his preschool class.  Cody, joined me at my school trying the hybrid, early college type High School, Grace and Emily remained at the same school that they had been in for 3 years and Joshua headed to a local public school which was a very disappointing experience.  He finished up the year in his preschool from the previous year.  All were incredibly blessed with wonderful teachers who loved them lots which is always an answer to this mama’s prayers.  We didn’t do much in the way of exciting things due to my working like crazy.  The highlight of our year was spending Thanksgiving with my family.  My mom, dad, sister and her family flew out and spent the unseasonably warm holiday with us.  It was so much fun to spend this time together as a family.  We enjoyed a white Christmas that was a super quiet one.  And by New Year’s I was ready to have some friends over for a party which was tons of fun. We had not hosted anyone in our home in a very long time so I was thrilled to entertain once again.  Winter wasn’t too bad this year except for the fact that it seemed to last forever so when we were still wearing winter coats and snuggling by the fire in May, this warm weather girl was not a happy camper.  We celebrated birthdays and manage to squeeze out memories that I know we will always treasure. 

You know when you find yourself is a rainy season of life all you can think about is when will this end.  You are convinced that there is nothing good to be absorbed from stormy times but as I reflect this morning I realize that while this previous year wasn’t the best there were lots of moments to treasure.  So here is our year in review…..

First Day of School 
2012-2013 School Year

Miss Newton

 Mrs. Vandewalker

The Birthday can she be 10 years old?

Emily on Pioneer Day

Now this is an example of my comic relief....He is like this ALL the time and loves to dress up in his sisters stuff.  This is "Hula, Hannah Montana, Cheerleader"

Daddy Daughter Dance


The Birthday Boy

Celebrating Medieval Day

Emily's Birthday at Trampoline World
Her best friend Isabella

Family Celebration
Grace Plays the part of Martha Washington on Patriots Day

And this was taken in May.....yes May in Colorado

After reviewing my photos I realized that Thanksgiving and Christmas need their own post so....more to come!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Celebrating 16 years with my #1 Son!

On May 22nd we celebrated our #1 son’s 16th Birthday.  In all honesty it was far from a super 16.  Partly because his birthday always seems to fall during the week of final exams and it is really hard to celebrate when you have end of the year tests looming on your birthday.  But mostly, this past year has been a tough one for my big boy.  In order to protect his privacy, I don’t share a lot about my oldest son.  He is a typical teenage boy and even though I get very little traffic on this blog he doesn’t want his mom broadcasting his life to anyone even if it is just to my mom, sister and best friend.  Nevertheless, I can say that growing up in today’s world is downright hard for kids.  There are countless vehicles for the enemy to attack our sons and daughters in ways that debilitate them emotionally.  They are faced with temptations and pressures that force them to comprehend things that I didn’t encounter until I was an adult and for kids who are fragile or who naturally struggle with self-esteem issues, life can be brutal ,  a minefield loaded with explosive hurts and unexpected confrontations.  Then you add on the pressure of succeeding  academically, throw in the need to build a resume full of activities in order to look attractive to a college and for a kid who doesn’t fall naturally into these things, it can be a rough road to adulthood.

And so as we celebrated his 16 years of life we remembered the promises of God that He will never leave us or forsake us. And that 16 years ago when God performed the miracle of placing our son in our family He did so with a beautiful plan for his life.  He embedded within our son characteristics, gifts and talents that would give him the ability to serve God and do great things for Him.  There are many times that I wake in the middle of the night and go into my son’s room to perform a middle of the night blood sugar check and as I watch him sleep I am reminded that when you peel back all the layers of confusion hurt and anger, he is simply a little boy who like most of us longs to be loved, accepted and to feel that he is important and valued by others but more importantly that there is a purpose to his life and the future awaiting him is exciting.

Like never before, I have been reminded of the fact that Satan is a liar.  He is the author of the confusion.  If he can get into our minds and cause us to believe that we are worthless and without hope then he has taken major ground in the battle for our souls.  He wants us and our kiddos to live in desperation.  As a mom of a teenager, I recognize the importance of pouring truth into my son…whether he wants to hear it or not I need to speak words of life that build oasis’s of hope and encouragement in  the recesses of his mind.  So that when the lies come and he feels like he is in a barren land of dry nothingness, he can run to that refuge of the waters of truth given to him by Jesus through the voice of his mom.   In thinking about this, I was reminded that when my son was small and would experience a hurt he would come running to me and I would scoop him up and love the hurt away…..that’s what mom’s do.  Well now that he is older, he doesn’t run into my arms when he is hurting so I need to deposit my seeds of comfort into his mind so that I can mentally love the hurt away.

Reminding my son that he is precious not only in the sight of the Lord but in the eyes of his parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends, my mom and dad put together a birthday celebration for him when we were visiting in FL.   It was a fun time and it warmed my heart to see him smile.  Happy Birthday to my #1 son!!!!!!

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.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Being OK with an Imperfect, Messy and Chaotic Life

I can hardly believe that summer break is almost over and in 2 ½ weeks the kids will be back in school.  Part of me is very sad to see the lazy days of summer come to an end but then there is a degree of excitement at settling back into a routine and having some moments to myself in the house to finally get my organizing projects done.  I wanted to try to catch up with some blogging by doing a few back posts from last year but in doing so I have found myself dwelling in a state of conviction with regards to social media/blogging and its purpose in my life.  It all began a few weeks ago when I posted something on Facebook and my 16 year old saw it and asked why I posted about “being thrilled with my new blinds”.  I had to admit that I really didn’t have reason other than I really loved finally having some privacy in our family room.  But why did I feel the need to tell people on Facebook, I didn’t know.  Then a couple of days later our pastor challenged us to strongly consider our motives for Facebook/Twitter posts as well as the reasoning for blogging.  I took some time to read through my posts and considered what was behind some of what I was saying:
  • Did I somehow feel the need to vent a hurt, frustration or that someone had just made me mad?
  • Was I feeling insecure about myself or my family and felt the need to bolster my ego by exaggerating an event through words or pictures.
  •  Did I feel the need to broadcast every event of my day so as to let everyone know just how full, exciting and perfect I wanted my life to seem.
  • Or could I have been trying to fill a void caused by loneliness by posting so as to draw attention to myself, receiving comments and/or “likes” hoping to make myself feel significant in some way.

All of which I am ashamed to say were true. For me and many others social media has become a platform to satisfy a need to feel important and has given us all yet another mask to hide behind.  A venue to create a persona that we live perfect lives with perfect husbands and perfect kids.  We are incredibly spiritual, have homes that look like they are right out of a Southern Living and cook meals that would rival anything on Food Network.  And so, we now don’t have to look next door to try  “keeping up with the Jones’s” we merely just log onto the computer.    I have witnessed what a seemingly innocent post can do to a fragile teenagers self-esteem causing him or her to feel that their life could never measure up to the grandiose lives that others profess to have but it is not just teenagers who are caught in this web of emotional destruction.  Grown men and women (myself included) walk through life feeling devastated by the thought that everyone around us is living a better life than we could hope for.  Dissatisfaction overwhelms us and why are we surprised that anti-depressants are the most prescribed medication in United States.

What was I to do with this conviction?  Should disconnect from Facebook and close my blog.  I seriously considered doing both but then I was reminded of Ephesians 4:29, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs that it may benefit those who listen.”  Considering this scripture not only in my verbal conversations but in those written online conversations can be helpful in keeping myself in check with Facebook and Blogging.  Does that mean that I can’t post something funny that our Joshua says, write a blog about how proud I am of my kids or post pictures of my home decorated for Christmas?  I don’t think so because personally I love all those things.   In fact there is a great joy logging onto Facebook and seeing photos of my friends and family or reading something hilarious that a friend did.  Being so far away from many of them it helps me stay connected….it is edifying for me.  But I do think that prior to posting something I  need to consider if it is wholesome and building someone else up and complaining about my plumber is not exactly edifying.  So, it is my hope to strive for wholesome posts both here on my blog as well as on Facebook that will create a balance between documenting the journey of our family in our very imperfect life and building up a reader through encouragement, laughter and joy.  And so in honor of making posts real here is a photo of what my kitchen looks like this morning.  This is our life….imperfect, chaotic and messy and I am OK with that so whatever your life looks like today, I hope you feel OK.