guilty mom

I had to re-post this from my blog in 2007. It was written when Carter was 2, and in a mother's day out program, but the message is timeless. And, hopefully, still funny. And if you are a mom out there dealing with all the mother guilt...lay it down! Just lay it down!! :) :)

What makes a good mom?
Something has been bugging me since Christmas and it was brought to my attention today, so here I go, getting it off my chest.

My son is in a Mother's Day Out program called Weekday school. It is great, for many reasons, but the most important reason is that it gives me time away from my child and to myself, which I think is very healthy and needed. Not every mom feels that way and that is fine. For me personally, Weekday school is my salvation. 1o hours is not enough time, roughly 5 hours each Tuesday and Thursday, but it is enough.

One of the things that I have been dealing with is mom guilt. I am the sole person responsible for this. No one is making me feel guilty. It is something I do to myself.

It started this Christmas at Weekday school. Of course I brought Carter's teachers gifts for caring for my son, it was the least that I could do. They do a great job and they love my son. Enough said.

Well, the mother guilt started creeping in when Carter's teacher mentioned they were having a Christmas party and inviting me to attend. She actually called me at home because she forgot to mention it the last time he was at school. I go, do I not go. I really, truly did not want to go. I had five hours to get a lot of stuff done. I didn't have to bring anything to the party, she just wanted me to know that they were having it.

Thursday rolls around and she mentions, again that they were having the party that day. Well, I told her sheepishly, that if I got everything done in time I would try to come join the party. Inside I was thinking they are having this party at 11:30, smack dab in the middle of the day and it would kill any chance of me getting anything accomplished.

Well, I didn't go. I felt a little twinge of guilt, but really was fine with it. Until I picked up Carter from school. Apparently, some of the other mom's and grandmother's brought gifts to ALL the kids in the class. I let out a sigh. Did Carter bring any presents for anyone......Nope. Except for his teacher.

I left thinking, you know they really need to pass out Weekday school etiquette.

"Whenever there is a party thou shalt bring gifts to know, something like that."

I am a person that needs things spelled out to her. Just let me know the expectation and I can get it done.

Well, fortunately, not all the mom's brought gifts. So, I felt a little vindicated. Whew. You know, this is a mother's day out program. It is supposed to be bringing me LESS stress. Not all this stuff I have to be thinking of ahead of time.

Well, fast forward to last week. It was Carter's birthday. Did I bake cupcakes and bring them to weekday school, like some of the other moms, so Carter could have a party? No. Did I know that was the norm. NOOOOOO....

So, again, the mother guilt was laid upon me. Did I need to feel guilty. NO. But it is hard when other kid's mom's bring stuff in and you are the mom that doesn't.

Carter's teacher told me she baked some cookies for Carter and was it okay for them to have them. Of course, it was fine. (guilt, guilt, guilt)

So, just when I am getting over that mother lode, I get hit with it again today.

Apparently, Valentines Day is coming up. Carter's teacher and another teacher started talking about Valentines Day when a grandmother brought something in for the party.

Party? What party.

Carter's teacher: "Oh, we're going to have a Valentines party."

My sigh must have been overheard around the world.

Carter's teacher: "ohoohh...we'll have the kids bring in Valentines".

Me: "Okay, is that really necessary? He's two, he isn't going to remember this is Valentines Day, it's too much".

(oops, did I really say that?) I was being really nice but inside I was thinking all this is going to do is add something else to my list of things to do, which is why I have my child in Weekday school so that I have time to do the things I need to do and all this is doing is adding to that never ending list.....

The other grandmother piped up and said that is why she brought the Valentine straws in today. She's done, she did her task, etc. Well, I said I could bring in play-doh, as we had a lot left over from Carter's party.

There, that isn't so bad.

Well, then the poor teacher said she would buy the Valentines herself.

Guilt, guilt guilt.....

Me: No, you don't have to do that. Just let me know what I need to bring to the party.

Finally she said the party was really for her. She enjoys it so much that she loves putting them together.

Then they started talking about Easter. Carter's teacher looks at me and says, "Are we getting to far ahead of you, Susan?"


So, then I have to start thinking about what kind of mom am I?

I didn't get married till I was 34 and I had Carter at 37. The dream of getting married and actually having kids was kind of in the back of my mind. I had time to be pretty independent. I even kept working for a while after Carter was born. I work now, I just don't get paid for it. I wear a lot of hats. Guilt is a hat I would rather not have to wear and worry about. So, I am not like a lot of mom's that dreamed of doing all this stuff with their kids. And does that really make a great mom, bringing cup cakes to a party?

No. Some mom's never get the opportunity to do those things for their kids and maybe they want to. Maybe they are single and have to work and miss out on all the parties at school, never being able to be the class mom.

Me, I have the opportunity, but think at this stage it is just too early to get started with all this stuff. I mean, when Carter gets in school, REAL school, of course I want to bring cupcakes for his birthday party and we will fill out Valentines before his Valentine Elementary school when he knows what Valentines day is.

To me, being a great mom is meeting my child's need (and wants, sometimes). Nurturing him, tickling him, spending time playing with him. Loving him.

I think if I asked anyone if they thought my kid was loved and well-rounded, nice to be around and happy I think I would hear a resounding YES!!!!!!!

He is considered a blessing.

And just because I don't want to make cupcakes and take them to his weekday school program when he is oblivious that it is even his birthday, doesn't make me a bad mom.

It makes me a mom who is prioritizing what she has to do in a day and what is really important and what really matters. Carter had two birthday parties. One was really big. He didn't miss out on celebrating his birthday.

Maybe one day I will be able to deal with the guilt. But I somehow think there are going to be other things to feel guilty about, just in different circumstances.

I just need to accept the fact that I am not perfect, won't be the perfect mom, and to just love my child and focus on him and not worry about what other people think.

Because that is the bottom line. I am worried about how other people perceive me, that is really what I feel bad about. Not meeting everyone elses expectation of what a mom should look like.

Okay. I feel better now.

To Santa or not to Santa....

Ugh. The season is upon us. The crazy, busy, relentless time of year when we have so many thing pulling us in many different directions and the most important, significant things--like, say the birth of Christ--is kept in the background.

I am all about keeping Christmas simple, however, the world around us makes it very difficult. And, unless you want to make your kids feel like they have been raised under a rock, I feel, we, to a certain degree, must choose to participate in the whirlwind ride that we now know as Christmas. I am mainly talking about the expectations like, gifts for people, going to open houses, Christmas parties galore and eating lots of food that is just not that good for us.

You know, I would really love to write some meaningful, significant prose about the true meaning of Christmas. The reason will celebrate. I would hope that by writing about it, it would turn our hearts back to Christ and the simplicity of the season. But the thing is there are lots of books out there that tell you to do that. You can read scripture and be reminded of the humble beginnings of our Lord and Savior. The reason for the season.

But for me, I realize that unless I have a heart change about the season, it's really not going to make anything different. It's not going to make the Christmas carol we sing in church become any more alive. Where is the awe and the wonder? The magic and hope?

In that same respect, taking all commercial aspects of Christmas out of my house will not make me worship the Savior any more than keeping them in will. It still has to do with the heart.

This leads me to something I have wanted to write about for a while. Hopefully, no one will take offense. I am not saying one view point is right and one is wrong (because it is a personal decision). I can't quote scripture or tell you how you should celebrate Christmas in your home. There are arguments on both sides of the issue.

However, that being said, I really don't understand why Santa gets such a bad rap? Taking Santa, or any other commercial aspect of this season, out of the picture is not really going to change my heart. I can be just as in love with Jesus and tell my boys about Santa and go take them to get their picture made with him every year (which I do). I don't worry that by telling them about Santa they are just going to remember me lying to them....and if I lie to them about this fable, then, what's keeping me from lying about something else? Like God's love.

Please. Let me tell you, I grew up in one of the most legalistic church environments ever. I mean, I had no idea that God's grace was sufficient, but I did know that if I sinned he was keeping track of those and holding them against me (which is not true, but it was my perception). And lots of things counted as sin, or "worldly", such as wearing pants, listening to secular music....even listening to certain CHRISTIAN music was taught against. So, I know a thing or two about legalism.

I don't remember what our church taught about Santa growing up? If there was an opinion given, I have no idea now what it was. I did have friends whose parents rejected any commercial aspect of Christmas and refused to celebrate it, including having a tree and if you had to get them a gift, please get them underwear. Heaven forbid you actually have fun thinking about your family and get something meaningful. That was just too "worldly". We were fundamentalists, we had standards to uphold. LOL!

In my house, we believed in Santa. I can remember our first Christmas in Tennessee, maybe the second. Family was visiting from Florida and my cousin and I were looking out the window on Christmas Eve looking for Santa and his reindeer. I remember the presents from Santa and baking the cookies and seeing if the cookies were gone Christmas morning. I remember the excitement. The wonder. The memories.

However, Santa always had his place and he was never the center of attention, Jesus was. We talked more about Jesus birth and the reason for the season than we ever did about Santa. Santa was part of the celebration, but he wasn't the main event. Jesus was. And that's all I want to be able to do for my children. I don't feel like I need to take Santa out of the picture to draw them closer to Jesus.

I have an almost five year old that is full of questions. Believe me, he wants to know why we celebrate Christmas. And we tell him. We tell him the true meaning. We share with him the Christmas story. We bake a cake for Jesus the week of Christmas. He knows the songs about Jesus in a manger and why Jesus came, which was because of His great love for US. So, I get excited when Carter talks about Jesus. Jesus is the primary focus of the season in our house. But until Carter asks Jesus into his heart, he is not going to get the true meaning of Christmas, of Christ's birth. And more importantly, why He came as He did, to be the ultimate sacrifice for our sins and to do what no other self-proclaimed savior has done....rise from the dead.

But I have to say that as we were decorating the Christmas tree the other day and night had fallen and Carter looked out the window and said, " I wonder if we can see Santa up in the sky" my heart melted. The excitement. The wonder. The belief in Santa. I loved it. It didn't break my heart because we had already been talking about Jesus. Those seeds have been planted and my prayer is that when the time is right, Carter will come to know Christ, preferably at a young age.

I don't remember when I stopped believing in Santa. It obviously wasn't that traumatic. I have never felt lied to or deceived by my parents for telling me about this fairy tale. It was fun. It had it's place. And it is magical.

I never, ever tell Carter that he better be good because Santa is watching. I don't ever use getting Christmas presents as a way to control my son's behavior. In fact, I cringe when parents do that. That is one aspect I don't agree with. Good behavior should be expected regardless of the season and it should be learned, not used as a bribe. I want my kid to learn self-control from the heart, not because Santa won't bring him any presents if he misbehaves.

The thing is, I respect my friends or people I know who choose not to make Santa part of their kids lives. I mean, who am I to tell you that you are overreacting? There is no right or wrong answer here. I guess the most important thing to remember in all of it is the HEART. Because no matter how holy you think you are making Christmas, if you just take away things and don't focus on the heart, then all you are doing is making a statement for the purpose of being different. And being different doesn't make you holy. Having a relationship with Jesus Christ makes you holy.

So, that's my feeling about Santa. I think he has his place. He is not the centerpiece. Having Santa in the celebration of Christmas doesn't make me any closer to the Lord, just as leaving him out doesn't bring me any closer to the Lord. The heart is the matter.

Marriage Matters

Greg and I have the privilege of attending a marriage conference at our church last weekend. It was great. I always recommend to people to work on their marriage when it is GOOD (or even GREAT) to keep it that way. I know there were a lot of hurting people there and a lot of people with really good marriages that left with strengthened marriages.

It is a very sad statistic that marriages in churches now have the same statistic for divorce as those who are not in church. In this marriage conference we learned about complacency and how most couples fight and come to no resolution then coast along never resolving the deeper issues.

Steve and Debbie Wilson led the conference and here is a link to their website. They counsel couples when they are not on the road presenting their conference. They say they have had an increase in couples with "empty nest syndrome" and also a lot more elderly couples coming in thinking of ending their marriage. Can you imagine being married to someone for 50 years then divorcing?? It's a crazy notion, but it does happen.

I can understand the parents with an empty nest. A lot of times parents invest their lives in their children without nurturing their marriage. When the kids are gone they find they have nothing in common and no common bond that ties them together any longer. It doesn't surprise me to hear of couples divorcing after 20-30 years of marriage.

So why don't Christian couples work harder at keeping their marriages together?? Why don't we nurture them when they are good to make them even better? As difficult as it is to plow through hurts and miscommunication, the reward is overwhelmingly worth the pain, risk and heartache to work through it all.

I am thankful for a church that not only supports counseling (since I am a counselor) but also has ministries in place and are creating ministries to minister to families with the sole purpose of keeping them together. Just last month our church hosted their very first marriage intensive for couples whose marriages were at rock bottom. I have seen firsthand the difference that the marriage intensive has made in their lives.

If you have read anything I have written in the past you know I am passionate about couples keeping their love strong. You can't expect something to grow and flourish if you never tend to it and nurture it. Yet couples come up with so many excuses not to go on a date night. Money being the primary reason. But there are solutions to any obstacle keeping couples from investing time in their marriage.

Here are a few:
  • Get with another couple with kids similar in age to yours and share babysitting responsibilities. One weekend they keep your kids while you go out, the next you keep theirs...FREE.
  • Find cheap or free things to do on a date. Yes, it would be nice to go to a nice dinner and a movie, but there is nothing wrong with heading to Taco Bell, then sitting in a book store or coffee shop the rest of the date just talking and sharing about each other's week.
  • Take advantage of church's parent's night out. Even if you don't go to church there, you can still use their program. That's why they are doing it, for outreach.
  • Last but not least. If you absolutely cannot leave the house, after you put the kids to bed have a romantic dinner at home or have a picnic on the living room floor. Set mood music and candles to change the environment.

I guess my point to this post is, we can't be great a mom or dad if our marriages are in shambles. It will affect our parenting. It will add stress and a sense of loneliness and despair. Instead of having a partner to help you raise your children and deal with the stressors of life, you have added stress because you chose not to invest in your marriage.

Not every marriage is perfect and you certainly can't control every aspect of your marriage or things that come up in marriage. However, everyone can nurture their marriage...if they just take the time!!


Family Time Training is having a "free with purchase" promotion through the month of November!!!! Shop from their online store and every purchase receives a free foam Advent Wreath and Advent sticker calendar! Both would be great for a Family Time!

Click HERE for details!!!!


Book Sneeze

I am very excited to be accepted into this great book "club", if that's what you call it. See the Book Sneeze link to the right of the screen? They allow me to pick books....for FREE, read them (for FREE) and then I put a review here on my blog. Woo hoo!!! I'm in!!! I love to read.

It has been a really busy time and I have a lot of irons in the fire, but I am looking forward to learning more about this website and having some recreational reading.

If you are interested in joining, click HERE and see how you go about it. It's easy. You do need to have a blog to put the reviews in, but other than that, you're IN!!

Jantsen's Gift

Jantsen's Gift: A True Story of Grief, Rescue and Grace

Last Monday, I had the privilege of attending a local non-profit's fund-raising dinner. This is an organization that I have recently become contracted with in my counseling practice. They also have a very large adoption program.

The speaker that presented at the dinner was named Pam Cope and she has written a wonderful book entitled, Jantsen's Gift. In this book, Pam writes about a lot of tragic things, namely the sudden death of her 15 year old son several years ago. Through this tragic death, and God's hand, Pam now has been able to save, literally, hundreds of children across the world, including Vietnam, Cambodia and Africa.

I bought the book and had her sign it and eagerly dug in. I finished it yesterday and to say I was moved by the book just doesn't seem like enough. This book will make you think. And cry. I could barely get through the chapter on her son's death. Being a mom myself and putting myself in that situation, well, I don't see how she and her husband made it, but she was very transparent in her grief and her relationship with God. She is real.

And it is amazing to see how God used such pain, grief and tragedy to help others. Greg and I are still "talking" about ways to cut money from out budget and wanting to raise our kids with a perspective of simplicity rather than all this "stuff". This is a great book to get me motivated to do more. It is one thing to talk about doing something, or to just give money, but Pam, her husband and her family actually sacrificed A LOT to help orphans in need.

We have so much but there are poor, innocent children who have NOTHING. And not only do they have nothing they are beaten, abused and starved. We have a strong connection to Haiti because we have friends that have ministered to that country for several years, then the earthquake hit in January and it personalized the country for us even more because people we knew had loved ones there. Then, Greg went on a mission trip to Haiti last March. It was a truly life changing experience for him. And we want our kids to know how blessed they are, truly blessed.

This has always been in our hearts. And I am praying that we can really take some actions steps in the next few years with them to show them that even if we had nothing...we would have more than some children across the world. And, if we don't happen to get their favorite kind of cereal this week, well, at least they still have food to eat.

This is a excerpt from the book. Pam was writing about this very issue regarding her are we going to teach them that they have SO MUCH. They were blessed to be born into a free country and have parents that love them and provide for them,

The concept of a bad day for my kids is when the cable goes out, or there’s a not enough milk for their Lucky Charms. I want my kids to know a different life than that; to have a different understanding of what constitutes hardship. The best way for me to do this is to do what I regretted not having done for Jantsen: teach them, through the way I live my life, that the world is not as big as we think and it’s my responsibility–and will someday be theirs–to take care of people who need our help, even if those people look nothing like us, or live someplace that seems far away and foreign. I see many of my friends trying to shield their kids from pain and disappointment the way that I did when Jantsen and Crista were young, but I can’t continue to do that. I don’t want them to be crippled by fear. I want them to take chances and live adventurous lives. I want them to live their dreams, and the best way I can teach them to do that is to let them watch me live mine.

That is a good word! Period. Lots on my mind. Lots to pray about and ponder. Praying the Lord works in my heart and that my heart will put my feet into action. And it really all comes down to training the next generation that it really isn't all about them. But what we can do for others!!

If you would like to learn more about Pam's organization, click HERE.

To order a copy of her book, which I highly recommend, click HERE.

HERE is a link to Pam's story on Oprah.

Race for the Cure

I had the privilege this past Saturday to walk in the Susan B. Komen Race for the Cure. We were celebrating my friend, Tracy, being a survivor. There was an estimated 20,000 participants (I believe it because there were LOTS of people there, I mean....A LOT!!!)

The above picture really doesn't do the crowd I saw justice....

Below are some more of the pictures from the race. It was very inspiring to be walking among survivors. It gave a real perspective on how blessed I am to be in good health. As my friend walked through the survivors finish line, I saw a woman who was obviously very weak being held by her husband. She was walking through the survivors lane. I can only imagine that she is currently going through treatment or has just finished. She was moving very slowing, with assistance from her husband. It was very moving seeing her determination to walk. She is a survivor...for now. My prayer is her cancer is beat, and she is in remission.

There were some people there who were 20 year, plus survivors. There were mom and daughter survivors, walking hand in hand. My friend Tracy, and another friend of hers, currently going through treatment, finished the race together. Cynthia is on her third chemo treatment out of four and had not one hair on her head. One of her friends walked behind her the whole race holding up a gigantic sign that had Cynthia's picture on it with hair. I have to say that Cynthia is beautiful with or without hair. Both Tracy and Cynthia's prognosis is very good.

I think it would impossible not to be moved by the days event's. I was honored to be a very small part of it. I would encourage anyone and everyone to participate in a race near them. We did the 5K walk, but they also have a 5K run, and they have a 1 mile fun walk.

Anyone can do this. Anyone can support this. Anyone can walk a mile. Or you can pay $10.00 extra for registration and "sleep in". However, I wouldn't want to miss the excitement in the air, the inspiration on the faces of the survivors, and the reminders of how fragile this life really is.

The beginning of the race for the walkers.

Me, Tracy and Nellie before the race. Our friend Sandy was there also.

Me and Nellie

Tracy going through the survivor's finish line with Sandy in the background.

WE DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tracy and her friend, Cynthia. Two fighting survivors!!!

Welcome Fall!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is undoubtedly my most favorite time of the year!!!!! FALL!!!!!!!!!!!

I am loving the cooler weather, getting ready for pumpkin patches and apple picking. The beautiful leaves falling off the trees. Bonfires are good too, if I can have the s'mores that go along with them. Ahhhhhhhhh.....

It has been a very busy couple of weeks for me. This is the first time I have actually had time to myself to focus on writing a little bit. Unfortunately, it probably won't get transcribed in today's post, but hopefully, I can work on some future posts.

Here are the ideas my current brainstorming has brought to me:

1. The stress of being pulled in too many directions. As a wife, mom, employee, volunteer, etc. how do you handle being good at all those things??? I don't really think we can. How do we balance all the responsibilities in today's world?

2. Using scripture to bring home the training and discipline points you are trying to teach your children. This is something that I really, really want to do with Carter and Griffin. I just bought a book entitled, Parenting with Scripture and I have a few other resources that I want to review and see how I can apply this to every day life.

3. The baby blues and Post-partum depression. How can you tell the difference?? When should you get help?

I'd say that is enough to keep me busy for a while. I am going to sit and enjoy my coffee. Pray and reflect on scriptures for a while and hopefully get creative before it's time for me to jump back into reality.

I hope you have an awesome weekend with your family and enjoy this fabulous weather!!!! I think middle Tennessee's forecast is pretty sweet the next few days!!!

Kids are unpredictable. I have found that they become even more unpredictable when we, as parents, ask them to do things that are beyond their development or when our pride gets in the way and we expect them to behave differently just because someone else is present.

I was confronted with my pride the other day when my kid was not "acting" like he was "supposed" to in front of others. We had a rather large party over at our house which included adults and kids of all ages. I happened to see Carter interacting with a little boy and it appeared he wasn't being very nice. So I redirected him. Then Carter just plain starting acting out. And not only was he acting out, but he was acting out in front of our home. Insert "pride". It wasn't long before I was dragging Carter to our bedroom to give him a little talking to. On my way to the bedroom I realized that Carter was just being a kid; an imperfect kid who needed redirection, but my blood was boiling because he wasn't acting perfect in front of new friends.


It made me stop and think of what kind of pressures am I putting on my kids because they don't "act" the way "I" want them to. Now, I am not talking about being disobedient or disrespectful. But just acting like kids who need to be trained.

How do you feel when your kid is mean to another kid, or doesn't share or in some other way "shows" him or herself and it is a bad reflection on you, as their parent?

It got me to thinking, is it really a bad reflection on me when my kid acts out or am I putting expectations on my kids and reacting to those expectations when it really doesn't matter.

Obviously, if your child isn't acting right it is an opportunity for us as parents to discipline our child, to train them. Which is what discipline actually stands for.

I recently asked some of my friends what the most unpredictable thing their kids have ever done in front of them and others. I got great responses.

Kids are unpredictable by nature and for the most part, I can handle it. Especially when you can find humor in it. Like some of my friends who were mortified by their young child saying, in a very loud voice when seeing a black person, " why is that person brown?". And by the way, Carrie....Carter asked the same thing just YESTERDAY while we had stopped for gas. It made me laugh because you had just given me that example! LOL! Or another friend who's daughter decided to cram a stuffed animal between her legs at a get together and say something very embarrassing to the crowd.

It didn't take me long to figure out that kids don't come out of the womb knowing what to do, they need training. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a four year old asking, "why is that person brown" or "is that person old". That is a kids natural curiosity. They do need to learn to ask those questions in private. They do need to be taught what discretion is and how to not be impulsive with every thought that comes into their mind. Those are questions that need to be explained and answered. But as mortified as we might be by some of our children's actions, well, they're just being kids.

I had another mom who responded in a way that I wish I responded more often. She said she knows her kids are unpredictable and to not expect anything less....that way, you are always prepared for the unpredictable! It was very good advice!

How prideful is it (and I'm talking to myself here) to want my kid to be the best behaved kid in town, especially in front of friends. For my kid to always make the right choices. To recite his ABC's and 123's on cue so that I can "show him off".

I was just really convicted the other day about MY behaviors. MY reactions. And MY responses to Carter's behaviors.

Something to chew on this week....

Great article on ADHD

As a therapist who has worked with kids who have ADHD (and a few who didn't but were classified as such) I know how overwhelming and frustrating a diagnosis of ADHD can be to a parent. This article is great because it explains the different types of ADHD (there are three types and four subtypes of Type 2...whew!). Also, the term ADD or Attention Deficit Disorder is no longer recognized as a diagnosis. It is termed ADHD, inattentive type or ADHD, type 2. This article also goes into that explanation.

On page two of the article is easily explains the difference between ADHD behaviors and simply anxiety, depression, or situational frustration. There is a difference and a way to look at the behaviors in our children and the events around them that have occurred to see how that has impacted or changed their behavior.

I hope that this article is helpful. I thought it was a great explanation in layman's terms.

Click Here to read the article.

Here is the the diagnostic criteria for ADHD from the DSM-IV TR and you can also check out the other links to articles regarding ADHD.

I feel the more education on this subject by the parent, the more armed they are to go into school meetings with an better understanding of their children's behaviors. Just because your child is acting up in school does not mean they are hyperactive or inattentive. However, there is ALWAYS a reason behind acting up behaviors. The key is to find out what those reasons are and dissect them carefully.

Good luck!

5 Minutes for Moms

I wanted to pass along this website that I have joined. I have actually added my blog to this site (and you can too). This site was designed for busy moms and I look at it as sort of a clearinghouse of information under one site. That means if you only have 5 minutes to get online, you can go there and accomplish a lot under one site. You can even view my blog there, along with other Christian mom's blogs. You can find Christian businesses run by moms, great ideas for every day life, jobs, etc. It's just an amazing site and I hope you check it out.

Click here for the main blog site and learn all about Susan and Janice, who are the twin sisters who created the blog, and more about 5 minutes for mom.

If you are a mom, or even want to be a mom and are possibly struggling with infertility, and you have a blog, they welcome you to join. It does take up to a month for them to add you. I just joined a week or so ago and I have not been added. It is very simple so click here if you would like info on adding your blog to their site!

  1. Happy Tuesday!!!

Treasure your Family

Today was, thankfully, a non-schedule Saturday. Meaning, we really didn't have to do anything, schedule wise, if we didn't want to. Last weekend was CRAZY so I was looking forward to a nice, quiet weekend.

Of course, with a preschooler and a one year old, it is never quiet. Griffin woke us up at 3:30 this morning. This rarely happens so I am not even going to complain. I have friends that still have issues getting their little ones to sleep through the night so, no complaints here. And, Griffin had a good reason to wake up, his foot had gotten caught in the slats of the crib.

Then about 6:30, like clockwork, Carter comes in our room and wakes us up. Greg tended to him and fell back in bed. Then Griffin woke up for good at 7:15. Then we were all up.

I knew my dad was on his way here to trade cars with us since we are going out of town next weekend and needed a bigger vehicle, which is his mini-van. So, before 8:00 AM...yes, people, BEFORE 8 and BEFORE I even finished my first cup of coffee I was OUTSIDE with both boys cleaning up my nasty car. I was too ashamed for my dad to see it in it's current condition.

The boys had a ball outside and I have to really say I enjoyed working outside, even if it was already getting hot. We stayed out there a little over an hour, then once Griffin was down for his nap, we went right back at it. It was invigorating work (because, like I said, my car was a mess!!) and I told Greg afterwards that I really liked working out there with him on that task. Oh, and that we really shouldn't wait four years between inside cleanings, LOL!!!

Then my dad got here and we had a good little visit with lunch and he was on his way.

I like days like this when it is all about family. The privilege of having a daddy to visit with. Not everyone has that privilege and I know some who would love to be spending time with their dad. The privilege of being a mom and a wife. Working together on a task. Some women I know are single moms who do everything on their own. I am very thankful to have a loving husband who helps around the house, who is really a team player. Not all women are that lucky, I know. Treasuring the small moments and attempting to make memories out of what is being said and acted out by my four year old, knowing that all too soon, he is going to be grown up. Looking at Griffin who is doing so many firsts right now, knowing that I am going to blink an eye and he is going to be Carter's age.

Greg and I have really been discussing lately what is important. Do we want to "do" a lot, or do we want to make what we "do" meaningful. I would rather be meaningful. I don't want to be in a hustle and bustle of activity just because that is what the neighbors are doing. My boys are never going to be in more than one activity at a time, I don't want to be pulled in 10 different directions just because that is the expected norm. I don't care if my boys play sports in school. I want them to be good at the one thing that they love to do. Of course I want them well rounded but being busy doesn't make a kid well rounded, it just makes him tired.

I certainly don't have all the answers. I just want to treasure my family. I want to learn to be patient with my boys. I want to teach and train them and show them love. I would love to be perfect at mothering, but I am far from it. So, I apologize to them when I mess up and they forgive me...instantly.

Most of all, I lean on my heavenly father to lead, guide and direct, because no matter how much I may mess up, his grace is sufficient in time of need. And I am so very thankful.

Go hug your family today, whatever that family looks like. Your core group. Call your sister. Hug your kids. Treasure the day, don't just blindly go through one activity to another. Say "enough" when you need to. Breathe.

Treasure your family.

Trusting Even When it Doesn't Make Sense

"Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me?" Psalm 42:5

That is a question I seem to be asking myself a lot these days. I don't think I have to tell you that we are living in financially trying times. It doesn't seem to be getting better, especially for those of us who are self-employed, like my husband and I. Greg and I have been going through a tremendous transformation, spiritually. Difficult times will do that to you. Our biggest issue is money. We don't have a lot of it right now. We are not greedy people, so, it's not like we are asking for much, just a little security.

Everything inside me screams at me, "Go get a job!!!". I mean, it makes sense, right? Go get a job! But every time I try I am reminded that that is not what He has called me to do. He has called me to ministry and for the past 18 months or more I have not focused on that calling. I was not in a place mentally, physically or spiritually where I could focus on my calling. But He has brought me through, and more than ever, it is CLEAR what I should be focusing on and I pray that I am faithful to follow Him, even when it doesn't make sense.

One thing we have learned is in WHO are we putting security? Ourselves or God? The trial has been good. I wish it didn't have to happen, but the bible tells us over and over that we will have trials and tribulations, and somehow, this is all supposed to be for our good. Some days, I admit, it is truly hard to focus on that bit of truth..."all things work together for good."

I was putting gas in my car yesterday and was mindlessly thinking about things and I looked in the back seat at my kids empty car seats. Then I thought about the things that Carter says or does and Griffin's laugh and walk and I thought, man, they have got it so easy. No trouble, no trials, they don't have to worry about anything. Greg and I supply everything they need and more.

Remember how you always wanted to grow up? When you were in high school you were always 16...and a half or almost 17, right? I wonder at what point we stop adding half-years to our age? LOL! I know it has been a while since I added a half. But, it is so funny to think about how all we wanted to do was to be grown up. Have responsibilities. Get a job. Get married. Have kids. Be free from what our parents were telling us to do.

And do you think we listened to our parents when they told us not to grow up too fast? No, we probably rolled our eyes at them. We had no idea the responsibilities that came with growing up, having a job and a family.

I would love to trade in some of that responsibility about right now. Don't get me wrong. I am tremendously blessed and I do not take that for granted. I love my husband and children and I am so thankful for them. But....

The weight of this world, not only the financial crisis our country is in, but the spiritual state of our country. The wars and rumors of wars. The horrendous crimes against women and children in all parts of the world, including the US. Sometimes. Sometimes it just bogs me down. It makes my soul downcast. The responsibility. Oh, the responsibility of it ALL.

What is going to happen with our business, the kids education, their safety? How do I keep my children safe in this kind of world? What are we going to have to handle as Christians in the future? What kind of world have I borne children into??? It's scary. It was a lot less scary when it was just me and I was worry about paying all my bills. Now I have to worry about my kids, and all our financial responsibilities. Along with the possibility that the world as we know it is coming to an end.

Sound a bit dramatic? It probably is, but it's what I FEEL. So, I am putting it out there. And I am thanking God that in the midst of all my worries and trials I don't have to endure it alone. I mean, I can, if I choose to. But, God has provided a way out. Not to sound cliche, but He's got the whole world in His hands. It's not my responsibility to worry about all this.

Right now we are praying for a miracle, financially. God has provided and our needs always seem to get met, but we are facing some things that could cripple our future and our life. We don't know how to get out of it. And it is not due to fiscal irresponsibility. I married an excellent money manager. I thank God for that. We live very conservatively with what we have. We don't have car payments. We do everything "right". I am very thankful for that. But, we are still in a mess because of the economy. We have had two years of financial downfall and as good as we have been at managing money, when the money stops coming in, eventually, you run out.

I say all that to say this. We are fully trusting God for a miracle. For Him to provide like He has never provided before. Something that only He can do. And we have thanked him in advance for his provision. We are willing to do whatever He asks us to do. Even if that means making some very painful decisions.

But one thing we have learned through all of this is in WHO are we trusting and WHO is providing. Our work and investments do not provide for us, God does. I do not put my trust in our ability to be financially responsible. I put my trust in GOD. He is the one who is providing everything. Bottom line. I think we had forgotten that and God had to remind us of that. But now, we know. He is Jehovah-Jirah. And we will praise Him in this storm.

If the end of the world is coming (and I don't think it is) who better to trust in than the ONE who created the world.

Just like Greg and I provide for our children, God provides for us. It may not be in the exact way we would wish for, but He provides, bottom line.

"You Parents, if your child asks for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish do you give them a serpent? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him." Matthew 7:9-11

I can rest in the truth of God's word, even when what is going on around me doesn't make sense.

The second part of Psalm 42:5 says this, " Put your hope in GOD for I will yet praise Him my savior and my God". My Life Application Bible describes this verse this way,

"Depression is one of the most common emotional ailments. One antidote for depression is to meditate on the record of God's goodness to his people. This will take your mind off the present situation and give hope that it will improve. It will focus your thoughts on God's ability to help you rather than on your ability to help yourself. When you feel depressed, take advantage of this psalm's ANTI depressant. Read the Bibles accounts of God's goodness, and meditate on them".

vs. 6, "my soul is downcast. Therefore I will remember YOU [God].

Sounds like a good plan to me. Beats any plan that I can come up with. He's going to protect us and our kids and make everything work for our good. God has a plan for my kids. As scared as I am with what they are going to have to face in this nasty world I am more encouraged that God has a plan for them and who knows, maybe my boys are the next Martin Luther or Oswald Chambers? Huh? I want them sold out to Christ more than I want them 'safe', whatever that means. I want them to be used for His glory, not mine. So I let them go. Trusting that God has a plan for them and He can protect them a whole lot better than I can.

Put your hope in God.

Okay. I will.

Wanted to share

I just found this blog on post-partum depression and wanted to pass it along.

As someone who has suffered with post-partum depressive symptoms with each pregnancy, I know how important it is to educate mom's out there on this issue.

Life doesn't ever really return to "normal" (whatever that is) but we just make a new normal and go with it.

I am amazed as I share my story with others how many women struggle with this issue after having a baby, yet it is often not talked about. Miscarriages are the same way, so many women have them (I had three) but we just don't talk about them.

I hope this helps someone out there. I wish I had found this site last year when I was really in the "desert"!!!

Click here for the BLOG

Have a great rest of the weekend!

General Baptist Convention

I had the privilege of speaking at the General Baptist Convention, July 26-28 th, for the second year in a row. This year it was held in Franklin, TN, not too far from home. Had a great time with some great people. This year I spoke on Consequences, Ending Discipline with a Positive Conclusion, and Family Time Training.

I wanted to share with you a few photos.

Speaking on Wednesday

Table shot. There is my handy helper Heather. She was a great help, and her three week old baby Stephen Thomas was quite popular, too.

Another table shot.

Thank you to National Center for Biblical Training for giving me the opportunity to represent them!

If you would like to learn more about NCBP you can go here!
To learn more about me as a speaker please visit my website here! My website is in under construction and I will be updating it soon. I will post an update when it is completed.

The Gift of Children

I don't often "gush" about my children. The truth is, being a mom is hard. I don't sugarcoat it. And, I enjoy being away from my children, it gives me a break, it's healthy, and we just get along better when we have had a break from each other.

I realize not all moms are like this, but I respect moms who want to be with their children 24/7, and hopefully, they respect the fact that God created us all as individuals and truthfully, we ALL need a break sometime, some just more than others.

But lately I have just been amazed by my children. Their preciousness, the fragility, the gift of who they are and why they are here.

I absolutely love hearing my four year old talk about God. I mean, he really gets God. It goes back to child like faith. Kids have it cause, well, they're children, LOL. But Carter gets trusting God. Carter knows that God created everything...including TV remotes, PBS and the movies that he watches. ha ha. Didn't you know that? Let me share with you.

The other day Carter came in while I was attempting to have my devotions. We call this my "talk to Jesus" time. He immediately wanted to talk to Jesus too and I said, "ok", knowing my time was over. Anyway, we started talking about creation and going through what was created on each day. Carter added a new day (well, several, actually) and he said something like this, "and on the eighth day, God created TV remotes so we could watch TV everyday. And PBS and movies. Then on the Twelfth day, God created the earth, sun, moon and the stars and everything in our backyard, and our beautiful house and the beautiful Wii games.

Now, he may not have gotten everything right, but it was too good not to write down. I love hearing him sing, talk and pray to God. It is so precious and innocent. It's not corrupted by having to live this life of so many years that takes the joy and trust out of knowing God (if we allow it to).

My baby boy is starting Pre-K tomorrow. I am not a sappy mom, in any way, and if you know me, you know this is true. But this past week I have just been watching my children be children and I am amazed that they are mine. Not because they are the smartest, cutest, or best at everything. But because they have so much potential in this world. And I am the person they spend the most time with. This means that I have the absolute most influence on their lives and how they turn out (besides God, of course).

And I have been reminded of the fact that I can either lift my children up or tear them a matter of seconds! I am not proud of every word that has come out of my mouth to the ears of my children. Or even the looks that I sometimes give them with a scowl. No, I am not proud of every moment because I am human and we all mess up and the best I can do with that is learn from it.

But besides knowing Christ and Him being the center of their life, I long for my children to remember kindness from me. Laughter and giggles. Tickling matches and discipline done out of love, not anger.

See, they have the whole world at their fingertips. Today as we were driving Carter to meet his new teacher and have orientation Carter asked for the "Bar CD" to be played in the car. That is his description of the praise babies worship CD that we have that he LOVES. And I love that he loves it and sings along with it. So, we sang the first song together on the way to school and I was almost in tears.

Then Carter sealed the deal. He said, "Momma, when I get big, I am going to pick out my own CD and put it in the player. And when I get big I am going to sit in the front seat with you. And, when I get big, I'm going to drive just like you and daddy".

All I could muster was a "uh-huh" cause I was about to lose it. Then I said, more to Greg than Carter, " and one day you will fall in love, and one day you will...."

I couldn't finish it. Because I just can't believe that I get the privilege every day to train up this child in the way he should go. I get to see him grow up and Greg and I are entrusted with him, hopefully, for a very, very long time.

His life is just starting, with all the innocence and glow of a four year old. And I really wish nothing would mess that up. But I know I don't have any control over that.

I just pray that I can be the mom he deserves.

A journey through a dry, desert land

I am not sure how to write this blog post. There is just too much to write. So, I will give an introduction today to my heart the things the Lord is doing in my life.

It is coming on the third anniversary of my friend Roxanne's death. I can't believe that it has been three years. And what a three years it has been.

I lost a very close friend. I had two more miscarriages (for a total of three) and then I was blessed with a beautiful, healthy son, who was welcomed by his older brother, Carter, in 2009. Oh, and I stopped believing in God.

What? How could I stop believing in God. Well, I stopped believing in His goodness. I stopped believing that He was good and that He was for me. Instead, I decided to believe in fear. I accepted fear into my life and into my heart and into my mind. It was a gradual process that led me to being controlled by fear and anxiety. It led to a slippery slope of bondage that felt like I would never be able to climb out.

They say hindsight is 20/20 and as I look back on the last three years I can see the gradual pull away from God and towards fear. As someone close to me recently said, "the devil was having a heyday with you!". And that was true. It was definitely a gradual process but it doesn't matter how gradual it was because it sucked the life out of me altogether. In the end, there was nothing left but fear, anger and anxiety. And an unbelief in God.

Thankfully, the Lord put some really wonderful people in my life and I finally reached for help, only to learn that God had not changed at all, but I had. He was still good, faithful and true. What I was choosing to believe in, the fear, anxiety and depression, was not.

There was definitely a lot of confession involved in returning to a trust in Christ, and it didn't happen overnight. I had to allow the Lord back in my heart. I had built a wall and gradually I allowed Him back in until I couldn't stand it any longer. I had to give him every piece of my broken heart and trust Him with it. Trust Him with my husband and my boys, who aren't even mine to begin with.

I had to choose to believe. And I choose to believe every day.

Thank you father for this journey. It has been painful and I know we have a long way to go, but you are GOOD. You did not give me a spirit of bondage again to fear but a spirit of adoption where I cry out, ABBA FATHER!!! I don't want to be double minded, and that is what fear is. The only thing I want to fear is YOU, but a holy, humble fear in you, not a scary fear like you are out to get me (in case that is what some people who read this think I am writing about). A godly fear where I humble myself before you and accept EVERYTHING that you give me as working toward my good.

Thank you father for restoration and for never letting me go. Thank you for the gift of Roxanne and how precious she was in my life. I pray she is taking care of my babies in heaven, finally being a mom since she never got to be one here on earth. And thank YOU for taking care of everything on this earth so that I don't have to!! Amen.

I am very happy to have my husband back

Greg made it back safely from Haiti. We were able to meet him at the airport. Carter started running toward Greg when he saw him. It was very sweet. Griffin just kind of looked at him like, 'who are you?".

We had a wonderful dinner at home with 'American' food. Topped off with chocolate cake for dessert. Greg is now taking a nap and his clothes are being sanitized in the washer, literally. So glad we have a 'sanitize' button on the washing machine.

We are very, very happy he is home. Thanks to everybody for their prayers and support.

Bad dreams, pink eye, and other not so fun stuff!

Greg has been gone for almost four days now. I was able to talk to him last night, very briefly, but that's okay. As long as I got to hear his voice. He sounded tired as they had worked all day and they were getting ready to go to dinner. Hopefully, I will get to hear from him again tonight.

I survived the weekend OK. Had some really yucky dreams Saturday night and didn't sleep well. Griffin woke up really early and really sick. Monday morning I took him to the doctor and found out he has pink eye in both eyes AND a double ear infection. Poor guy. But he looks so much better today after 24 hours of antibiotics both in the eye and orally.

I was able to tell Greg about the pink eye/ear infection and he felt really bad. I really feel like Satan is attempting to throw every fiery dart at us during this time, but I still cling to the peace that I have felt from the beginning. Fortunately, my mom made it hear yesterday and it has been wonderful having another adult in the house and being able to leave the house without kids, even if it just to go to the grocery store. Yay for moms!!!!!

Our church has a website with pictures of the guys in Haiti. Greg is in the first picture that is part of the slide show. He spent yesterday building pews for the church. The link to that website is here.

I will share more later about what God is doing through Greg being gone, both in my life and his. It has definitely been a time for growth for me and renewed trust. It's been a long time since I could say I fully trust God with everything. But, each day I feel like I am moving one step closer to having that back. And He has been here all the time. it is me that has allowed fear, doubt and anxiety to cloud my relationship with Him. But He always finds a way of bringing us back to Him. Sometimes in amazing ways.

That's all I have for now. If I get more updates I will let you know. I know Greg wanted to update on facebook while he was there but the Internet has been down the entire time.

Greg made it to Haiti.

I was able to talk to him very briefly today. I have to admit I dislike not being able to pick up the phone and talk to my husband any time I want. It stinks.

He had one more 30 minute plane ride to the town they are staying in for the week, but I don't know if I will get to hear from him any more today.

He says it is very hot and humid (very much expected it to be) and that they spent about two hours riding around in a bus touring the city and viewing all the devastation. All in all, about 75 percent of Port au Prince was destroyed.

I am glad he is there but I wish he was home. I know he is there for a reason but it still doesn't make me not want him here any less. I know his life will be changed by this trip and so will mine.

I am just going to try and take it day by day. I am not worried about him, I know he is safe and will return home safely, but it doesn't mean I like it that he is in Haiti.

The boys have done great the past day and a half. I know I can feel the prayers of many and they are very much appreciated.

Greg leaves for Haiti today...

In just a few minutes we are all going to the airport to see him off. I have a perfect peace right now that I just do not understand but I have a feeling a lot of people are praying for us! And I am very thankful.

I know this is what he is supposed to do. I know he is going to arrive safely and he will accomplish what God has called him to do. And he will come home next Sunday safe and sound.

Please join me this week in praying for Greg (if you don't pray, then please send loving thoughts). Pray for me and my patience with the boys. God is wanting to grow me, too. It's not about me, it's about Him.

Greg posted last night that he was leaving and I am posting this to facebook through my blog. I figure since I am technically not on facebook I am still not breaking my fast, I can post this to facebook directly from my blog.

Please follow my blog for updates, if I have any.

Thanks, again, for your prayers!!!

The Mayo's

So, I have been a week without facebook....

My week without facebook has been good. It was really hard, I will have to say. I was used to checking facebook every 5 minutes (or more) so it was really hard giving it up cold turkey. I will say I had to log on twice last week to send a message to a couple of people cause that is the only that I communicate with some. Thankfully, they have now given me their personal info. So, it kind of helped seeing a few status updates during that time to ease the pain of withdrawal. LOL.

I have been extremely emotional lately, and that is a good thing. I haven't felt a lot of stuff in so long with the post-partum depression symptoms that I was finding myself crying out of God saying, "please let me feel again!". And boy, He delivered!

To say that I have been held captive by fear these last few months would be an understatement. I am thankful for a God who stays by my side even when it seems I am not on His. No matter what I do, think, or feel can separate me from God's love. And I have been feeling that more and more, praise God!

There is a battle raging within me to TRUST Him, for He is good. I know this, I have experienced it in the past, but releasing everything to Him to trust Him for some reason is just often very difficult, especially when you are experiencing anxiety and fear. Hello!

But it has dawned on me these last few weeks that I am in control of what I believe, the thoughts that I allow in my mind and Who or What I am thinking upon. Today, I decided to think on Christ. To think on what is good, holy and just. To praise Him.

And for now I am just going to stay in this moment. The battle is not over but thank goodness I can finally see (again) just Who has won the war.


I do kinda miss facebook....

But in a way, I don't. It is really hard to describe. It is very freeing not checking it every five minutes, which is what I was doing, but I miss sharing stuff and seeing everyone's stuff they are sharing. But, it is only 40 days and it will do me good.

I have thought of several status updates (of course) and have nowhere to put them. Most of them have had to do with the kids, or lack of sleep, you know, the usual. But today I have had a really good day marketing my new private practice and I have gotten a lot accomplished with both boys in Mother's Day Out so it has been a good day. I am hoping by next week to have my brochures and website updated and I have called several pediatrician offices and they are VERY eager to have referral material. So, it is a good day.

Oh, and I got my hair done so it is an even better day with new color and trim!!!

Hopefully, in the weeks to come I will have much more in depth thoughts and feelings and try to get out of the habit of writing snippets on my life, like I do on facebook, and get down to some deep stuff from my heart.

I'm looking forward to it!

Getting off facebook for a while

I am signing off of facebook for a while, during lent, but it really has to do more than just lent. I need to be updating this blog more often, writing more often, which is why I started this blog in the first place. I update on facebook so much that I don't write, and I know it is something I am supposed to be doing.

Also, Greg is going to Haiti on a mission trip March 12-20th. I really need a place to vent some feelings and update people on his trip. I hope that I will be able to communicate with him during that time, but we have Verizon and have learned that Verizon does not work in Haiti.

Please be praying for Greg's safety and my sanity as I have the boys all to myself that week. Also, what the Lord is wanting to teach Greg and I during this time. I definitely fear for his safety there, yet I know it is where he is supposed to be and the Lord will take care of the rest.

So, hopefully, during the next 40 days I will be updating here more often and writing more often like I should be doing anyway instead of being distracted with facebook.

Hope you can tag along.


Griffin is nine months old

We have been very busy the past month moving into our new home. I finally updated Griffin's baby website and decided to post it on here. I can't believe in three months my baby is going to be one year old. Very hard to believe!

Click here to visit updated pictures along with Griffin's first Christmas and our first Christmas in our new home. We are still unpacking and I haven't started decorating, but the boys are all settled in and we are looking forward to seeing them grow up here.

Be looking for even more pictures soon. Carter turns four on the 16th! I can't believe it!