Faith

Score One for Mom!

I was in the van driving one of my kids somewhere.  It was just the two of us.  We were quiet, not talking much.

I took a deep breath and then asked, “So, how am I doing?  Am I good mom?”  I wasn’t fishing for compliments.  I really wanted to hear his opinion.

“Yeah, you’re a good mom.”

“Do you think we are too strict?”

“No, not really.”  Then, after a moment of thought he added, “It’s just that other parents aren’t strict enough.”

I took that as a compliment.

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Sunday Celebration!

Sunday is a day of rest.  A day to be devoted to God and family.  At least in my book.   We go to church, then I really try to keep it a nice, simple, family focused day.  In honor of the Lord’s Day,  on Sundays I will be posting something spiritual, positive, and/or thought-provoking.  It may be a video, quote, scripture, or something else.  I hope you enjoy.

Today’s Sunday Celebration is a video with Steven Curtis Chapman’s song “Fingerprints of God”.  It’s not the official video, but it is sweet.

Have a great day!

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September 11: What did we learn?

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For almost any American over the age of 15, that date September 11 will never be the same. It will never be just another day on the September calendar. It will (and should) always remind us of that dreadful day in 2001, when our world changed.

At that point in time I was the mother of two. My oldest son was not quite 3 and my oldest daughter was 10 ½ months old. I didn’t have to worry about getting kids off to school and making sure homework was done. Those were the days of diapers and baby bottles. My husband was the only leaving the house every morning, and he was/is rather self-sufficient. They were, for the most part, innocent times.

That morning I sat in the baby’s room/guest room watching the morning news on TV as I gave my daughter a bottle. Although an extra TV was in that room, my children didn’t watch much. Back then I was careful about monitoring the content and how much TV they watched. It was pretty much only on in the morning while I fed the baby and waited for the weather forecast.

I left the TV on as I walked out of the room to say good-bye to my husband at the front door. I’m not sure what I did then — probably went to the kitchen to get some breakfast, the bathroom, or maybe changed a diaper — but it was several minutes before I returned to the TV. When I saw the look on Matt Lauer’s and Katie Couric’s faces, I knew something was dreadfully wrong.

I then noticed the live image of a smoldering skyscraper behind them. I listened long enough to get the gist of what happened. I then put the baby in the crib and got my son into that room and turned the channel to PBS Kids for them. This was the first time I ever used the TV as a babysitter. I needed them to be occupied while I went into my bedroom next door, shut the door, and turned on the TV. I needed to get informed about this and I knew I wasn’t ready for the little ears in the house to hear.

As I watched and listened with horror and fear, my first reaction was to pray. Not only did I pray for the victims of this terrible mess, but I prayed for those who caused it. I prayed for whoever would rationalize that this was a valid means of communicating their message, or making a point, or…whatever. I prayed for those who would support this kind of violence, knowing that somewhere in the world there were people celebrating this massacre. I prayed for their hearts to be converted and for them to know the same loving, caring God that I know.

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As the day unfolded – more plane crashes, more suffering, more deaths – I wondered what kind of world my kids would be growing up in. Was this the new norm? Was this the start of a new war, one that would be played out on American soil? Were we in physical danger? What is happening to our world? Was all hope lost?

No, all hope is not lost. Where there is faith, there is hope. I truly believe, that although our nation gives the outward appearance of little faith or belief in God (thanks a lot, Hollywood), the bulk of us have faith. I saw that hope and faith in the weeks following 9/11 as a new patriotism swept across the country. I heard it in the voice of my two-year old as he sang “America the Beautiful” while walking down the hall. People supported one another. We prayed more. It was OK to show your faith and to talk about God openly. Despite all of the tragedy and loss, hope survived. We survived.

I fear things have changed now. That sense of patriotism and unity has faded. Our country is divided in so many ways. It saddens me and scares me. We are divided on politics, race, theology, life issues, and much, much more. Where is that spirit of unity we found after 9/11? Now, more than ever, it is important to keep that faith and hope alive. With the President seemingly tossing a coin to decide if we will enter into another war, we need to continue praying as a country. We need to continue to support one another. No one expected 9/11 to happen. But as a country we came together in hope, faith, and love. If or when something else tragic comes our way, are we in a position to cope in the same manner? I certainly hope so.

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I Wear Many Hats

It’s no wonder I never get anything done. I just spent all morning on the computer and on the phone making appointments, returning phone calls, updating the calendar, etc. Apparently, today I am wearing my Secretary hat.

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Simply saying I am a mom can sound misleading. I wear many hats. This morning alone I have already donned the hats of a Taxi-driver, Hairdresser, Cook, and a…um…hmm…what do you call someone who dresses a partially asleep kid so she won’t be late for school?

Each year I seem to be obtaining more and more hats. Some I’m not sure I am ready for. This year I added a Mother of a High School Student and My Son has a Girlfriend hats to my hat collection. When do I get the Lottery Winner hat? My hat collection may be large, but I can make room for that one.

Even with the addition of new hats, I still continue to wear the same old ones over and over again. Cook, Taxi-driver, Housekeeper…How is it that I can simultaneously wear so many hats and have so many duties, yet feel like my vocation is so mundane and redundant?

There is one hat that I mustn’t forget. This morning I was a bit cranky. Everyone and everything were getting on my nerves. The morning routine was getting to me. I knew the problem was me. Instead of just being sucked down into the muck (and dragging the rest of the family with me) I made sure I was wearing my Child of God hat. This is my most important one! I admit, that on occasion it starts to get a little lop-sided and starts to slide. At times, it might even appear that I’m not wearing it at all. But this hat is special. I slipped out of the front door to sit on the porch for some quiet time. Just a moment of prayer did the trick. It really changed my attitude. By the time the family came out of the door to get on the way to school and work, I was able to count my Blessings…1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

From time to time, I may feel frustrated and angry that I have to wear so many hats. It’s at those times that I need to straighten up my Child of God hat and remember that I’m not in this alone and be thankful for the many roles that I play.

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“So, What are You Going to Do Now?”

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If you are a Facebook friend, you probably saw my Facebook post a couple of weeks ago about my kids all being in school. If you missed it, here is it:

People ask me, “So, Karen. What are you planning to do now that all 5 kids are in school?”

I’m thinking about ninja training.

Well, I have decided to forego the ninja training. I checked the local yellow pages and there are no ninja training academies in the area.

Instead, I am going to start a blog.

Why, you might ask? I am tired of talking to myself. I might as well type it all out instead of narrating in my head.

What will my blog be about? Stuff, I guess. Family and home life and the direction I would like those to go. I would like to write about attempts to make my chaotic and cluttered life and finding calmness and tranquility. It looks easy in print, but reality is another story! Right now calmness and tranquility seem a long way off, but you have to have some goals, right?

We have five kids. They are truly great kids, but parenting is challenging nonetheless. We have no family close by to help out and I am a weak person and hate to ask others for help (I know, it’s a character flaw, but I’m working on that). We have long outgrown our three-bedroom, one-bathroom house, but for now, we need to make it work. This can cause for many a stressful morning as kids are getting ready for school, my sweetie is getting ready for work, and I am searching for missing shoes, all the while shouting, “Brush you teeth! Brush your hair! Socks! Shoes! Why aren’t you dressed yet?????”

My husband and I have also been dealing with the issue of aging parents. Out of respect for their privacy I won’t go into details about those issues, but we do try to help out as much as we can. My parents live about three hours away, and we try to get there at least once a month. In the summer, the kids and I might be there several days in a row, go back home for a few days, then repeat. Jayson’s family is about two hours away. His dad passed away just before Easter this year and we lost his mom 7 years ago. In the year or so leading up to his death as his health was declining, Jayson and his siblings would take turns spending the night at their dad’s house, helping him as needed, but mostly for the company. I am so grateful my husband had that opportunity to spend with his father. A lot of time (and mileage) has been spent running around to be with our parents, but it is so very worth it! Despite the inconveniences, the travel, fast food meals, and the time away from our home we wouldn’t change a thing (well, maybe the fast food part). We understand the importance of family and would make the same choices again.

With all of these life stresses, as well as others, I struggled with depression. As life went on, and I went downhill, our house went downhill, too. I had no interest or desire or time for housekeeping. I did the minimum – dishes, laundry, cooking – to keep us going, and my husband did more than his fair share, but the downward spiral had already started. Even as my depression was treated and under control (thank you, Lord!), the damage to our home had been done. Sure, I gave my kids some chores to do, but it was too little too late. Things with the house have improved as of late, but there is still a long way to go.

My youngest child just started Kindergarten. I now have my days free to myself. People may think I now have the freedom to lounge about eating bon-bons and spending the day on Facebook, but I have aspirations. I want to get this house back in order. I want to organize closets and get rid of extra stuff. Clean out the garage. Wash walls, shampoo carpets. I want to make this house the home my family deserves. I want to deepen my faith and give more time and attention to the Lord. I want to enjoy my family as a whole and as individuals.

Now when people ask me, “So, Karen. What are you planning to do now that all 5 kids are in school?” I can say I am reclaiming my home and my life. Ninja training will have to wait for now. Maybe when they are all off to college.

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