Category Archives: Life as a MOM

OVERCOME RESTLESSNESS

As my (once) favorite season settles in, I am finding to be off-season, off-my-game, and restless. It is so crazy because once I would have loved fall, but this year feels different. I do love the beauty and the leaves. Right now I LOVE not even looking at the weather because the worst thing will be rain. I do not have to calculate if I can get to an appointment or to work. I am not liking the restless feeling…

Restless because winter is just around the corner. I am just not mentally or physically ready for that season. People are mentioning flurries this weekend and I will not lie I could throw up!!! I use to be invincible and drive in anything. That of course was 1. when I had 4wd and 2. I didn’t have children. It is ironic because I have never wrecked in the winter, but the possibility consumes me. Now that I have great car 9 months out of the year, it changes my opinion of snow… and it doesn’t help that our road maintenance has become worse over the years.

Restless because of school for Mary. It is the end of the 9 weeks and well, I know how that works, and so does she… so we will likely butt heads… I will try to help but it will just make things worse… there will be tears shed by both of us… I will get frustrated and so will she… I try to offer guidance, but it’s not what she wants/needs to hear (just like her mom!). We both need something, that neither of us can offer each other, the creation of more time!

Restless because of school for Sam. I had Sam’s I.E.P. meeting and wrote a blog because I just needed to pour my heart out after feeling defeated (but didn’t share as a link on facebook because I wasn’t seeking sympathy – OVERCOMING Mama Defeat – https://sherisoulsearch.wordpress.com/2014/10/27/overcome-mama-defeat/). When as a mom you fail to find your child’s “niche” to learning it hurts. Though the cyber school is very helpful and accommodate as much as they are allowed, the system still tries to put our son in the same category as everyone else and makes him BELOW AVERAGE, when in reality he truly is so unique that the current school systems just don’t know how to rate him.  He is so much more than “average”. I feel defeated because I need to do more for him.

Restless because I know there are relationships in my life that I have not been fostering and mentoring the way I want. I so love to be an encourager, and lately I haven’t had / made the time for that. And to be completely honest, I have not even had the energy for. I think I am emotionally spent and that leaves me empty for the ones I want to make deposits into their lives. Honestly, I am a little restless over some people that have really disappointed me, and the energy I allow them to drain from me instead of just letting go.

Restless because projects have gone undone that I had thought I would have completed. Simple things like a couple small Bible studies online. I have even fallen behind in the few simple chapters to read, and I really wanted to stay caught up – UGH!!! Actually I have many books just waiting to be read, but that doesn’t fall onto the radar. I have bigger projects, but honestly, I am so restless that I have even fallen behind on my calendar (ask Mary, she will tell you how bad that is!). My to do list is a series of post-it notes stapled to sheets of paper. I am in the firefighter mode of putting the fires out one day at a time.

Restless because I have let my health take a back burner, and that is truly a problem. It is preventing me from the energy I need.  It caught up with me getting pneumonia. The ironic thing, with my new work schedule, I am actually getting real sleep, so I am still not sure how/why. If I forget how my health is, I am gently reminded because it is insurance renewal time and my labs and weight and BMI are written several places. I said to someone that this past Sunday was going to be the start of Operation take care of Sheri. Which means compliance with my diabetic monitoring (which I stink at), my medications (I struggle to even remember to take the antibiotic they gave me), and with rest and meals. A few days late, but I did pretty good today with meals, meds and glucose monitoring. But I didn’t like what I saw. I think I live often in “if I don’t see it / don’t look” it won’t really exist. Unfortunately, I seem to have that mentality with several areas – I guess that is called DENIAL. My constant state of residency – the State of Denial!

Restless over some decisions I feel I need to make. However, to make them I need to get my ducks in a row – or at least all the notes off of napkins, post it notes, back of receipts. It means I need to focus and stop throwing the things in the air to juggle and figure out what happens when they all land. Again DENIAL that plates won’t eventually break when they start landing on their own.

Granted there have been several things that have added to the restlessness…. Changes in my work hours and responsibilities, my recent bout of pneumonia, and some changes in my personal schedule I didn’t anticipate/ dictate (school, meetings, etc…).

I have heard from friends who are feeling similar. So what’s a girl to do? OVERCOME! I need to find the positives in the middle of my restlessness and focus on those things – Phillipians 4:8 is a great list to focus on: whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.

Pour into myself, so I can pour into others. Read the books.. listen to my online sermons and podcasts… create a great playlist… spend the time sorting my post-it notes… talk a walk and enjoy the beauty (and stop focusing on what comes next – SNOW it is a four letter word anyway – LOL).  Make the one project I have been pondering over!

Start my day positively – go straight to the verse of the day instead of the facebook posts overnight – well, except for pictures of Gracie, because she is just a positive start no matter what!!! Get back into my morning moments, because they really helped to set my tone.

Get out of denial, face my lists, and prioritize people over things.  Help to renew other spirits. The great thing about winter, is decreased work and decreased running.  May I prepare now to be ready for the hard season.

I was going to post this blog this morning, but then things got a little crazy, Sam got the flu, etc… and then I read the PERFECT VERSE on Nicki Koziarz (of Proverbs 31 ministries) Facebook page… Psalm 37:7 “BE STILL and REST in the LORD; Wait for HIM and patiently lean yourself upon HIM; Fret not….

 I am most likely restless because I am NOT resting in HIM!!!

 

I also must mention that exactly a month ago my blog was about overcoming discontentment. Looks like I have more learning to do!

OVERCOME Perfection

This was not my intended blog today, actually I didn’t plan on writing until a friend today posted a blog that struck a cord, the days before a friend gave me a little gift that struck a cord, and the day before a friend posted a blog that struck a cord (about a woman who posted a picture in her kitchen and she was flooded with comments of what she could do to update her home). Today my friend posted a blog from Proverbs 31 Ministries about perfectionism. I started to type a comment and realized it was entirely too long of a comment, because it is an ISSUE with me. PERFECTIONISM is an issue with me! I want people to see me as the one who has it all together – juggling jobs, home schooling, a mom, a wife, etc…
So which area do I address that has caused my “perfect” world to crumble.
Mary – oh we have a beautiful intelligent daughter. She is smart, talented, respectful, caring, etc… yep the PERFECT daughter. I think of the areas that I have unraveled when perfection didn’t happen. When we did public school, and she would run late, I would turn into an ugly monster. I would YELL about being late for school and she was making me late for work, etc.. She would walk into school already defeated and I would drive to work mad and honestly probably my driving reflected that. As my day would pass I would feel horrible and when I picked her up her day was horrible. I want to think it didn’t take long for me to catch on, and I never did it again, but I know I did. However, I eventually I woke up. I worried that people would think I didn’t have it all together – her lateness made me look imperfect. One day I just said I wasn’t going to be the crazy yelling mom in the mornings that had her starting her day horribly and dealt with it differently. I even got to the point on a few school days that I wrote the reason for lateness it was “just one of those mornings”. Unfortunately before I caught it, my perfectionism (or worry that people thought I was perfect) cost us many bad mommy/daughter days and ate away at our relationship.
Sam – oh we had the perfect family. A daughter and a happy healthy son. Then there was the doctor visit that said they didn’t think he was perfect and had Aspergers. I thought she was crazy and when I got the paperwork to fil out for an evaluation, I felt every child could fit in the category. Our son was perfect. He was happy, healthy, and loving. Well, long story short, the string the doctor pulled eventually unraveled and I can close my eyes sitting in the office as they told me what I already knew. (and yet I still cry when I remember that day). So, I had to choose, which I had done some before then, that “a label / a diagnosis” was not going to define him. I remember the first I.E.P. meeting when they laid out all of his weaknesses and I wanted to throw up, crawl in the corner, and let them keep kicking me. I remember the second I.E.P. meeting where I took the I.E.P. and highlighted it with how what his strengths were and how they were trying to define my child was not who my child was. Sam is the perfect Sam. At the beginning of every year, you often get a little piece of paper with a few available lines to tell about your child. Well I would attach a detailed letter of how our Sam was the perfect Sam. I have had lengthy conversations with people / teachers / professionals over his ability not his weaknesses. How the system is broken, not my son. He doesn’t fit into the “perfect school system” and “perfect standardized testing”, not because of Sam, but because of their testing! I am no longer the mama wolfe cowering in the corner because my son didn’t fit the perfect classroom/ system. Unfortunately, I wasted time trying to make him fit, before I realized he was never meant to!

My house – so, I want the “perfect house”, but my house is not it. I would say it was only close to being perfect the first 3 years of marriage and then I broke 3 vertebras in my back, my mom and grandma passed away, I had two high risk pregnancies with strict bedrest, have worked full time, have had 2 nephews move in / out, had 2 children we were told we would never have, etc… Yep life has happened. For YEARS I would have never let people in our home. It would ruin the vision of me. I have had on rare occasion people call and say they were coming and I would do a mad dash to get things on the surface cleaned. If it is the holidays, there will be 2 rooms reasonably cleaned and things hidden (only to try to remember where I placed them). For years, I have worried about what others think of my house and it has caused anger when people point out the many flaws. I want to scream my house is not your house. Granted my house doesn’t quite fit my vision, but I have made huge strides and have some great goals and plans in place. At the end, will it still need work – YEP, but I just ask for grace until complete. So slowly, I have allowed Mary to have friends over and say please warn them the house does not define who we are. We live in crazy but tons of love. It is a work in progress, but I want our house to be a house that people / teens can come to and feel love and fun. We have had a youth meeting and Mary had a group over this past weekend. My goal for perfection has cost me many times the laughter of people filling our home! The teens gathered around my imperfect table (chewed by our dog who was a puppy) with the orange carpeting (yes orange carpeting), dishes in the sink, tacos on the stove, mismatched plates, and all I noticed was the laughter. Sam and Jim did a nerf war in the house and I never once worried about anything that might break in the battle. Sure, the teens may think our house is crazy, and go home and tell their parents, but I think they left feeling love, laughter, and friendship and not worried about the orange carpet. I think about the time I left a friend sit outside while we talked because she was a newer friend and I didn’t want her to think less of me. It was Ellen – and for those who know Ellen, she loves unconditional! My desire for perfectionism has caused me anger toward people who criticize me/our house. Cost me years of not letting people in, when in fact those people should love me for me, not for my home. Does it mean I should leave it at this state of crazy – nope, but I am working on that progress. Until then, I hope to fill the places not filled with furniture and toys and stuff with laughter and love and acceptance. My friend gave me a plague that read “Good moms have sticky floors, dirty ovens, and happy kids.”
I may need to do a part two on my marriage, my body, my childhood, etc. (LOL).
Yesterday I made a apple pie, and it has bee YEARS probably over 10 years!!! As I rolled out the crust it was far from perfect but hey the bottom crust no one will see. The top crust a little better, but still not perfect. There would have been a day I would have thrown the crusts away and started over. But yesterday, I thought of the verse in I Samuel 16:7b “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” My family would not look at the crust and say I won’t eat the pie because the crust doesn’t look perfect. My real friends will not look at my home and think less of me for it (and if they do it is time to reevaluate friendships). People who really know me don’t look at my imperfect body and think anything less of my heart. Oh the price of perfection, but it is just judging on the outside and worrying about what others will think. May I always pause and look deeper!
p.s. for those thinking this is an open invitation to come to our home, it is; however, in order to still prevent cardiac arrest, a little notice is appreciated (I am an imperfect work in progress).

OVERCOME with lessons at the beach (part 1)

While sitting at the beach and during my time there I wrote down lessons I learned and/or observed and want to remember.  In my life I get so busy I forget things that made me pause.  This list is in no particular order and I will elaborate on some and some speak for themselves.  Some are amusing and some deep.  Mind you my list was written on a few sheets from a list from a friend (Thanks Jamie) and my pen is still full on sand and I can’t click it back in.  I am keeping the original lists as a reminder of what is important and tucking them away in my calendar, so as the year gets crazy I can reflect back to the moments at the beach.
1. When you get knocked down get back up for the next wave.  Sam loves to “wrestle” the waves.  They would knock him down and he would get right back up.  He did not lay there and cry or complain or get frustrated.  He stood back up ready to fight the next wave.  How many times do I get knocked down that I sit and complain or whine or have self pity.  Lesson learned – get knocked down – get back up – to keep fighting. 
2.  If you don’t get back up you will drown.  The other danger of not getting back up is the waves will keep coming.  They are not going to stop just because I am down.  Just like life… It isn’t going to stop just because I need to have a pity party. Life goes on and I can choose to lay there getting crashed by the waves of self-pity and get deeper in over my head or get up!  I can choose to drown in my mess because I don’t resolve to just get back up!
3. Never underestimate or undermine someone’s self-confidence.  Shame on me for people watching and busting on people’s swim suits (okay except for the man in the speedos with flames – speedos are just WRONG).   I am great about judging people in their suits because for some reason I believe you should be covered, especially if a certain size. And you can say that is prejudiced, but keep in mind I am a very large girl.  In reality I should be impressed that they have the self confidence to wear that suit.  That they truly don’t care what others think about them.  Instead of me who wears something to cover as much as possible and generally all dark colors.  This year Mary even wore a two piece suit, and as much as I wanted her to cover more (because she is 15 and beautiful), I was proud of her for having the confidence to do that.  There would have been a day she would not have been that secure in who she is! 
4. Don’t instill fear where fear does not exist.  This is a tough one.. Every year at the beach I hold my breath as Sam goes in the waves and goes deeper and deeper without hesitation.  This year I resolved to let my fear go because it didn’t exist in him.  How many times do I stop my children and myself because of fear.  How many things have we missed out on as a result?  How many grey hairs did I add to my head.  The other ironic thing is I say I trust God, BUT fear is a sign that I do not.  This year on day one I watched as Sam mastered the waves with a smile – some he went under, some he went over, and some he let him full force.  As a result of letting go of the fear I was able to watch in awe instead of fear and hands over my eyes (and missing the moment).
5. Don’t waste time on what is NOT important and/or can’t be changed – this especially includes worry.  How many times do I worry about things instead of dropping them at God’s feet and letting them go.  How many times do I sit in worry instead of getting up and doing something?  At the beach I briefly starting thinking of things that were stewing in my mind, my to-do list, work issues, etc… and realized by worrying about those things I was robbing myself of that precious time with my family at the beach.
6. Don’t waste other people’s time – it is important too!  I find myself getting people wrapped up in my trivial issues.  Or to be very honest, wrapped up in my complaining, gossip, etc…. I am robbing them of important time. 
7. If you are going to wear a suit – get wet.  I use to be the parent who just sat at the beach and watched my children.  I am the parent who often doesn’t even pack a suit at a hotel with a pool.  Last year at the beach I was great at digging holes in the sand.  This year I resolved I would be an active participant not just the picture taker (although I juggled both this year).  Every day I was in the ocean, digging holes, and I even swam in the pool.  I can get consumed with the fact that I am still fat.. consumed with what I want to do (I.e. read) or I can build memories (and holes and castles).  My family knows my size and well no one else really matters (see #3)
8. Church is where ever God is! We routinely go to a physical church on Sunday mornings.  However, my two Sundays sitting at the beach watching the waves just coming so far up the sand and stopping by HIS DESIGN, was like church in 3D!  That time at the beach refreshed my soul and spirit.  Hurricane Arthur developed while we were there and the night before warnings were out, the beach was cleared of many items, and I walked down to the water and took a video.  The waves crashing one after another and stopping at my feet was magnificant.  I met God at the beach… and need to work on meeting him more (like sitting on my porch listening to the birds) and not just the motion of Sunday mornings in a structure.  Because to be honest, on Sunday mornings, my mind is not always willing / open to truly “experience church”.

Okay… I have many more things on my list, but many things to accomplish today… so part two lessons from the beach hopefully tomorrow!

Blessings in reflecting

It has been a few weeks since we returned from vacation and last Wednesday, I text Jim asking if he was ready to go back.  I told him I could be ready by 5 pm to leave.  We chuckled because as much as we would love to, life isn’t that simple.  But I literally started working the day I returned from beach and felt like the running has not stopped.  Dental appointments, work, speech therapy, occupational therapy, etc… I have been surviving in the one day at time mode.  Which, is fine in some areas of life, but not so great when running and juggling work and family and self.  Guess where the juggling fails?  Generally first self, then family, and last my work.  I know that is NOT how it should be, but can honestly tell you that is how it goes.

The beautiful thing about the beach is it places everything into perspective — live a simple life with minimal “stuff” for one week as a family.  There is no work to focus on.  Only things to deal with is admiring God’s beautiful creation AND our beautiful family.  I was able to focus on the positive qualities of my husband without all the daily demands – like him swimming in the indoor pool with the kids, making sandcastles in the sand with Sam, taking Sam into the deeper water, defending our family when we were not being recognized at a restaurant, and never loosing his cool (except when defending our family).  I was able to focus on letting Mary be a little more responsible and loosening my control, and that is FAR from easy.  I was able to focus a lot of time with Sam because Mary didn’t really need me and Jim gets in his “beach zone”.  We built big pits for dinosaurs with tunnels and waterfalls.  We hung out at the playground areas, etc…  I was also able to reconnect with my best friend from childhood and her two sons.  Amazing times!

But even life at the beach was not perfect, even though I so wanted a perfect vacation.  One issue consumed parts of my first days there.  It takes a lot to get to the there with me, because I am usually one who believes suck it up and move on… or figure out in the big picture it isn’ that big of deal… or no one is going to steel my joy because then they win.  But I let it.  I let something that was out of my control take control over my thoughts.  I let my disappointment from someone else’s choices consume me.   Let’s just say communication is imperative in life.  I finally exploded and let it all out and chose NOT to let it consume me and our vacation.  I was in a beautiful place with my wonderful family, but my mind and heart was overshadowed at first.  When going on vacation, it is important to leave bad and heavy luggage and life issues at home!

The second issue was with a slap of reality.  I know our son’s quirks, but it is not until I see him with other kids his age that the quirks are magnified.  Unfortunately, in the wrong groups, those quirks are magnified to kids and he becomes a target.  Almost daily I became a bouncer in some sort of situation.  I so wanted to let my guard down and believe that bullies just didn’t exist at the beach.  One day a little boy, who reminded my of Sam and his quirks, started talking to him and they were doing great re-enacting Sponge Bob… until the bigger brother came along and was really mean to his little brother and to Sam.  Well, that quickly ended.  The day we were at the pirate ship and it was four boys who thought they could push him in the sand and he could always be “it”.  Sometimes I would just feel the tears trickle.

A couple things stood out at the beach for me.  The one day as Jim and Sam built a sand castle they were a little too close to the tide and it would come in and wipe out parts of the castle.  Some days that would have led to meltdowns, but that day, Sam just kept building with his dad.  The foundation of the castle remained intact even as the waves crashed in and knocked a wall down. I PRAY that our family will always be that firm foundation for our children.  When the waves of life come crashing in on their hopes and dreams, that the foundation we have created stands firm in their lives.  I pray that we can be there to help them rebuild the walls time and again.

Another lesson was my search for shells.  I love the broken ones just as much as they are usually smoothed out from crashing in the sand time and again.  Most of my shells I found were broken, but beautiful.  So many times, I want the perfect life without the crashing waves and without getting rammed into the sand time after time.  I definitely hate to watch my children endure bullies who crash their spirits and ram them time and again.  However, I PRAY that the waves do not leave scars on me or my children, but build our character and make us smooth and beautiful.

Of note, I did find one huge perfect shell one day.  I had seen the shell but initially thought it was a crab (we saw a few of those too), because I had never seen that large of a shell in the ocean in Virginia Beach.  When I realized it was a shell, I kept my eyes open and tried a couple times to capture it, including getting wiped out on my face once by a wave.  It disappeared and then Sam and I went out in the water and as we were out past the waves crashing I felt something large under my foot (of note yelled thinking a creature).  Then realized it was a shell – the very one I had my eye on. Amazing!  When I was looking for it, I remember how many other shells I let passed by and they may have just been as beautiful.  How many times in my life do I get so focused on one thing / end result / solution, that I may in fact miss something even more beautiful / better / perfect for my life?

The last lesson for this blog is that even the smallest of prayers are heard.  I mentioned in my last post that sometimes I feel like asking for prayers when others are going through so much is hard.  Anyway, Sam had decided to take 2 Spidermen to the beach and we dug our huge hole with tunnels, etc… When it was time to go back to the hotel, he realizes he is missing one.  Okay… it is fourth of July, the beach is packed people to people, and he has NO idea where he lost it at first.  After the melting down, he explains a tunnel we had dug had crashed in.  Jim and I dug frantically and never found him. Back the room was a broken heart boy, a frustrated dad, and a defeated mom.  I even prayed while digging that we could find it.  I was prepared to order a new one and have shipped to the hotel (no parental judgment about just teaching him a lesson to take better care of his toys).  I had been the one who told him they would be okay to bring to the beach and felt horrible.  I also sort of felt defeated because my prayer was unanswered at that time and God, I believe, knows exactly how hard it is for Sam.  The next day, Sam had NO desire to head to the beach, but eventually gave in.  As we were setting up our tent, I looked over to the left and thought I saw something red in the sand.  I walked over and brushed off a layer of sand and found SPIDERMAN! (of note, I found my big shell that same day and Jim said we should have gone to play the lotto – lol. To me, finding Spiderman was better than winning the lottery!).   I learned He hears our prayers… and knew exactly how and when to answer… I need to learn to work on my mustard seed faith!

So blessed to go to the beach… and so blessed to reflect on that time.  Until next year (unless I can convince Jim otherwise)….

Comparisons must end

It has been forever it seems… not that I have not had anything to say, just haven’t taken the time.   Unfortunately, I have lately just bottling them in my head.  Hopefully this is a start of the release, lol.

On Friday, Samuel had a dentist appointment and I put on Facebook to pray for him.  (p.s. thank you to all of those who paused and prayed).  I really hesitate asking for prayer, and rarely will directly for me.  Here is my issue… all of my life, except for maybe a selfish teen years, I have always looked at my life in comparison to someone else.  For instance, though my mother was handicapped, I could justify I had nothing to complain about because at least I had my mother.  After she passed away, I could justify I had nothing to complain about because at least I had her through college.  So asking for prayer is hard, when I have dear friends fighting cancer.  I feel like my problems are so much smaller and insignificant.

This week a few things prior to Friday, really added to my epiphany.   I read a couple blogs about the comparison thing.  One as moms, we compare ourselves to the “perfect mom” who does all the great Pinterest ideas, the homemade gifts, etc. and feel inadequate.  It is funny because I had a friend this week say she even used me in a reference about being a good mom, but that is because I have somehow figured out how to do it all by giving up sleep, lol.  Of note, I use to believe I could be the perfect mom.  With Mary, we did the handmade Valentines every year, her cakes for school were made from scratch, etc.   However, there are many times as I slip in my car and drive to work that I just cry and think of how bad I have messed up being a great mom.  The guilt sometimes is huge, but tucked away nicely when I need to put on the “its all okay” face.  The other blog I read was about how people paint their lives as perfect on Facebook and how we just want to unfriend them, secretly.  We don’t want reminders of how messed up and imperfect our lives truly are.  Again, I felt a little guilty because almost everyday I put up a blessing list.  To the outside world, it maybe perceived as I have a perfect life with a perfect husband, perfect kids, and perfect job, etc.   However, I have intentionally chosen to look at the blessings and not the burdens of my day.  For me, it changes my mindset and also, makes me realize that my “problems” are insignificant next to the person fighting for their lives.

It does not help that I am a nurse.  I complete insurance reviews on many people when I work.  In fact, last night as I typed a few of them, I cried and could not imagine being in their shoes.   I also try to say a prayer for that person as I type and also anytime I hear the helicopter landing or an ambulance, etc.  I don’t know the people, but I do know they could use a prayer and they have just served as another reminder of how blessed I am.

However, over time I have tried to do the same with my children’s problems.   With Sam, I somehow “understand” his meltdowns.  I guess it is because I don’t understand how he processes things in his mind, but I have read many reference materials that completely make sense and are consistent.   I can’t say to him your problem is nothing because other children are dying from cancer, he just will not “get it”.  So, since he can’t get the comparison, his problems I understand are a big deal.  However, with Mary, I often will say, you don’t know what they are going through… can you imagine if you were in their shoes… just be thankful that you have xyz.  It isn’t that I am trying to minimize her problems, although maybe I am, but trying to get her to see others have a harder life.  However, she completely has a heart of gold and completely gets the pain others are going through.  She loves doing things for missionaries for starving children.  So, since she “gets it”, I expect her to be like me and minimize her issues.  Stuff them away and put on the “it’s fine” face.   Comparisons are tough stuff for me!  One day a couple/several months ago, Mary was going through a rough spot.  I wanted her to walk in someone else’s shoes… I wanted her to put on her “it’s fine face”… I wanted her to minimize her problems and feelings… She said something at one point that just stuck, something like “Though other people may have bigger problems/issues in their lives does not make my problems/issues any less important.” OUCH!

Back to nursing, it was hard at times taking care of someone with a “Small problem” after just leaving the room of someone fighting for their life.  Another thing is the person who says they want to loose 10 lbs and I just think to myself you should be in my shoes and needing to loose about 90.  I have honestly said to people if you need to feel better about yourself stand next to me.  It is all about comparisons.  But when I do that, I fall into the category of the people who always have a “BIGGER” problem.  We all know someone who always has a worse story and love to share it with you.  For instance, I hated asking for prayer on Friday also because it is just “a dentist appointment”.   Although, I have quietly gotten angry when people do not understand what a big deal a dentist appointment is for Sam and they undermine the issue.  But is exactly what I do everyday of my life as I underestimate my needs, Mary’s issues, etc…

So on Friday as I drove to the dentist with Sam, both of us with some tears, it so hit me.  I serve a Heavenly Father who thinks just like Mary… though other people may have bigger problems, mine are just as important to him.  He wants to hear my little whisper when I can’t find my keys… He wants to hear my crying out when we are walking into the dentist office…  He wants to hear from me about all my blessings and problems and not just wait for the “big stuff”.   All the while, He still hears the screams of my friends with cancer, or the wife of a dying husband, or the family who just lost their home, etc..  Problems and misunderstandings happen when I compare… when I underestimate or over estimate.  Instead, I just need to remember that to that person, that problem is just as important, because to my Heavenly Father they also fall equally at His feet.

Teaching about Life

I posted a picture today on my Facebook that I saw several days ago and cried.  Maybe it was because of the timing of the picture and Sam just celebrated his 10th birthday.  In case you missed the picture it said ‘I couldn’t wait to teach him about the world, Instead he taught me about life!”  And I still sit here and cry when I read that.

When we had our little girl I thought the stereotypical ribbons, dresses, tea parties, Barbies, dress up, dance…. And well she fit into so many!  I remember her dressing in her princess dress up clothes to go to visit my work on my days off, often complete with a crown and a wand.  And over the years, she has turned into an amazing young lady who still has “girly phases’ and others dresses in her dad’s camo coat and a hat with a pony tail.  Though I taught her about the world, she taught me to look at life differently.  She just completed a research paper for school on what she wants to be when she graduates.  A young lady on a mission and the beginning of well thought out plans,

When we had our little boy I thought the stereotypical ballgames, riding bikes, boy scouts (after all Jim was a troop leader when we didn’t have any children), etc.  But Sam’s drum sounds a little different.. it is trains, Godzilla, dinosaurs, action figures  – which are all “boy” things, but no sports, no bikes.   It isn’t something I usually discuss or dwell on, but there are days it is hard.  I often say I am thankful he isn’t into things because it simplifies my life, which is partly true.  The other part by being grateful for the positive makes the negative hurt a little less.  When I have to help him do things that other kids at 10 can do for themselves, it scares me a little and stings a little because I don’t know what his future will be.  I talked yesterday to someone yesterday about how it was just a couple years ago that he could finally express if something hurt.  I watch him struggle with speech and little things that come so easy to most.  I guess only time will tell.

But one thing I know for sure, that through Mary’s eyes AND Sam’s eyes, I have learned a lot about LIFE!  Mary and I have some GREAT conversations about her view and my view on things.  I love to take the devil’s advocate role just to make her think outside of her world.  I also have a bad habit of being a people pleaser / peace maker (probably a whole separate blog) and have seen myself try to push that on her.  Well, she isn’t so much either of those anymore and has become ‘Mary” instead ( =    Anyway, she recently said something to me and it was the light bulb moment for me  with her… it went something like this ‘Just because my problems /issues don’t seem as big as someone else’s does NOT make them any less important.”  (or something very close).  In life, and in nursing, I learned the customer is always right.  Life isn’t about outdoing someone else by having a bigger problem.  Nor, should it be about undermining someone else problem as being less than mine.   She is definitely teaching me about life as she navigates hers, and though there are times I wish she would conform to my thoughts (less arguing), I am so thankful she has learned to just be ‘Mary”.

Sam has so taught me about life… about the power of being 100% honest because he can’t conceptualize a lie in the black/white world.  He has taught me not to take life so seriously, but to laugh about the little things.  He has taught me that even Sponge Bob has great phrases that can fit nicely into socially acceptable phrases.  His memory is amazing and serves him well to survive in the world.  He has taught me how simple things are not always so simple and should never be taken for granted.  It is okay to meltdown as long as you pull yourself back together and continue on!  His imagination and how he sees life is brought out in pictures, expressions, or building of a new adventure.  There is never just one use for an item, but a hundred if I just “think outside the box.”  Just yesterday with all the rain we have the big puddle formation.  He found a ‘family of rocks” and brought them into our garage as “guests”.  He carefully laid out a paper towel for each to sit on.  That family had races to the puddle and then came back in to dry off and keep warm.  As he talked more, it became a lesson to me on family and how he views family.  There would have been a day I would have been so busy with getting the garage worked on that I wouldn’t have really listened.  Samuel was teaching ME on what is important to him – family, warmth, safety, and fun… All with four little rocks (and then when Melissa came for Mary, he found a fifth rock).

Both our children have taught me about life by beating their own drums and dancing to their own music…Sometimes we are in rhythm and sometimes a little off-key.  They teach me to be ME and shut out the world’s expectations.  I am learning to believe it is better to STAND OUT than try to fit in.  I can dwell on the expectations I thought would happen, or live a better life with a better plan God had for me.   Though the future is uncertain and at times scary, it is more important to Intentionally LIVE in the moment…

Living a Testimony

Our Bible Study last night was on Hannah and there could very well be several blogs come from just that one study.  But in our conversation, we got talking about testimonies.  I mentioned how I am always fascinated by the strong testimony of the person who has overcome drugs and/or alcohol, living on the streets, etc… to a life walking with Christ.  I mentioned how my life in comparison did not really have a “testimony” in that sense because I was raised in a Christian home, have been in church since probably the first Sunday after I was born.  I have never been addicted to drugs or alcohol.  I dated my husband, who is also a Christian, for five years, got my nursing degree, got married….

On the outside, Hannah looked like she also had it all together – married, a husband who loved her more than all the other wives, etc… But, inside she was a mess.  In fact, she cried and prayed so hard it said that some thought she might be drunk.  She was honest with God and poured out her heart for the longing of a child.  I remember those days when everyone else around me had children, and yet we could not.  Despite infertility treatments and every test known to man, we were left childless.  On the outside, I kept working and helping to take care of mom.  We went to church.  I taught Sunday School.  I just couldn’t understand why God didn’t see us or didn’t answer my prayers.

Well, just as with Hannah – God does see me!  The study talked about that God was just waiting for a GREATER STORY.  Sometimes that story is in the waiting.  The story is when we get honest with God and not worry about our outward smile.  It is so funny, in hindsight, although I am often guilty, of putting on that fake smile to God, to my friends, to my family — the smile that everything is okay.  My friends and family may be fooled, and may appreciate the smile.  However, God knows me and my heart.  While talking, one of the amazing women there mentioned that infertility could be part of my testimony.  After I left the Bible Study I really thought about that.  I really do think God allowed our years of infertility for His glory, and of course, looking back it is easy to say that now.  Had He not waited, we would have missed out on the Greater Story – Mary and Samuel.

But then I got to thinking even more… my daily life is my testimony.  When I step out and say I am a Christian, my everyday actions are pieces to my testimony.  Last week we buried our Grandmother and at her graveside a man spoke up about Grandmother’s life.  How when he showed up at her doorstep, she welcomed him in without question.  Her testimony was her daily life.  Her testimony lived until her last breath.

So, what does that say about me?  I am not a “words of affirmation” person, but I do want my reputation to be my testimony.  Today I went through one of my work evaluations and it felt good to hear my strengths (so much for not being a “words of affirmation” person – lol).  My work ethic is part of my testimony.  It means being honest and working 100%.

Being a mom is part of my testimony. So part of my greater story is a beautiful teen daughter, but with that comes mommy/daughter melt-downs. How I handle them are parts of my testimony. The other part of my greater story is an amazing son with Aspergers, but with that come challenges.  How I handle them are parts of my testimony. Do I speak their love languages consistently? Do I praise Him despite the rough times as a mom, or only when things are going well.

Being a wife is part of my testimony.  Do I lift him up or tear him down?  Do I speak his love languages consistently?

Being a friend is part of my testimony.  Do I remember the little things for them?  Do I let them know I am thinking of them?  Do I honor their secrets?  My friendships are a piece of my testimony.

I don’t need a “big story” to be my testimony… I just need to live out the greater story He gave me.  Live it with greatness… Live it with gratefulness… Intentionally make my every day, my every action, my every word be part of my testimony.