Sadie's Celebration Service

I wanted to share Sadie Davis' Celebration of Life service will be live streamed tomorrow, December 27th, 2012. You do need an account to view the service. They recommend registering for the account today.

Click HERE to view the link to The Journey Church, where Sadie's service will be held tomorrow.

Click HERE to view Sadie's Caring Bridge page and read her whole story. You will also get a picture of Tim and Amber's strength and faith throughout this journey.

So heartbreaking. I'm thankful that God is close to the brokenhearted. I'm praying they feel that closeness like nothing else in the next few days, weeks and months.

Thanks!

A Christmas Tribute to Sadie

It's Christmas Eve and I have a couple of very excited kids! They even got to eat cookies for breakfast (I am sure I will regret that choice later). I have not wrapped ONE present. Not one, I know. It will make for a fun evening later. Thankfully, the gifts Santa leaves for the kids are not wrapped. Because why would Santa wrap presents. LOL.

This is a very bittersweet  this year. The Small Town Shootings. Some dear friends just lost their little girl to a 40 day battle with  leukemia. Her funeral will be a couple of days after Christmas. I cannot even imagine what they are feeling and going through and I won't even try, because there is no feeling I have felt that compares with the loss of a living, breathing child that had her whole life ahead of her. A 17 month old, blue-eyed, blond fiesty baby girl. Sadiebug.








I never had the opportunty to meet Sadie. Our families moved in different directions and different churches and to be honest, I am not particularly close to Amber or Tim. I've known Tim for 12 years and we used to be leaders in the singles department at church years ago. But, the last few we have kept up on facebook, like so many people do these days. So even though I never got to meet Sadie, I saw pictures of Amber being pregnant and complaining about the heat (second pregnancies are NOT fun anyway, but giving birth in July must be torture). Sadie was born and Amber is an awesome photographer and had so many great pictures of Eli, Sadie's big brother, and of course, of Sadie. Most of the time in an owl hat or big bow.

She was precious.

This is the verse Tim and Amber had dedicated to Sadie in her fight with Leukemia.





My prayer for Tim and Amber is that they still have HOPE. And I believe they do. In the midst of the worst we still have hope if we have faith. And Tim and Amber have faith. And I don't know why this has happened to them, but I know Sadie has touched so many lives through this event and for whatever reason, Sadie was meant to be here and touch those lives and she will touch more lives in her passing. And in that there is comfort and hope and peace. And knowing they will be reunited again. And comfort in knowing that Sadie is whole and healthy and enjoying heaven. Oh, beautiful girl. We know where you are and as painful as it is that you had to go through so much, the reassurance that you will not experience any more pain is comforting. 

I don't have any words of wisdom for Tim and Amber, and truly, it is not my place to give words of wisdom. What could I say that would truly be of comfort to them? Just a little advice if you have a situation where you have a grieving mother or father ( or anyone else for that matter) you don't have to say anything. You don't have to come up with even a bible verse. And please don't say "it was God's will" or "she's better off". Acknowledge that this is a horrible situation and that you are thinking, praying, crying with them in love. That's all any grieving person needs. They don't need words right now.

Tim and Amber have showed a strong faith throughout. But even with a strong faith, this has to be the most difficult thing they have gone through and in the weeks and months to follow I am sure they will feel many, many feelings. Some of them may not be so nice. Some of them may be anger. They need to know it's ok. And even if they feel mad at God at some point, it's okay. We have a God that is big enough to handle it. It's just part of the process of grief....feelings.

Thursday is Sadie's celebration of life. Her funeral. I will be there. I am sure I will see a lot of people I know and love. And I wish we were meeting and spending time together under different circumstances.

I am going to soak up every moment of this Christmas Eve with my healthy children. Tim and Amber and the Davis family reminds me yet again that life is a gift, as are children. My children are gifts. My husband is a gift. My prayer is that I don't hold onto them too tightly, because they aren't mine. God chose to bless me and give them to me as gifts. Life is short. Life is hard. But it is also very, very good. And everyday I make the choice to hold onto my kids or give them back to the Lord. Some days I don't do too well but it always goes better when I remember they aren't mine. they are gifts.



This year I am not only reflecting on Christ's birth and the wonderful gift that He was, but also the wonderful gift of children. And I am going to hold them tight.

If the Davis family comes to your mind during the next few days and even weeks, please keep them in your prayers. And remember to keep giving your gifts away, every day.




I'm Too Good In A Crisis

Sometimes I really hate being a therapist. I hate it because I spent the beginnings of my career in crisis work. I also worked as a school based therapist for three years. I have had multiple trainings in trauma, including a three day training specifically geared at being prepared for a traumatic/crisis event at a school.

What difference does this make? It makes me numb to trauma. I feel separated from it. I don't allow myself to get really involved. The good thing about that is I'm great in a crisis. I stay calm. I'm trained on how to provide on the spot counseling and assess someone who has been exposed to trauma. I'm all business where trauma is concerned. The bad part is, well, I don't feel a lot. I feel disconnected. Numb. My world doesn't get rocked a lot like everyone else when traumatic events happens. I felt more trauma when we had the flood in Tennessee a couple of years ago, and when we had a tornado hit our town. Of course, I was involved in that trauma, so, feeling that was a good, natural thing to feel.

So, when news of the tragic event in Connecticut started posting on Twitter on Friday, I wondered how bad it really was. Thankfully (I guess) I was away from the TV the entire day and didn't turn on the news until the evening. Even then, I limited it. I didn't watch the news. I didn't read articles on the Internet. It wouldn't change anything. I stayed off Facebook. I just really didn't NEED to be exposed to anymore trauma.


I was shocked. I was saddened, deeply, for the witnesses of the horrific crime, the families involved. And I thought how horrible it was for those babies and adults who died in such a sudden, traumatic way.

But, I didn't cry. I wish I could have. On facebook and Twitter everyone was crying and hugging their kids. Deeply moved by what had just happened and realizing the brevity of life. How fragile it is. So I spent the weekend wanting to feel more. To cry. To worry about my babies more. I don't know. I am honestly just numb. And I hate it.

Maybe I am still in shock. I mean my oldest is the age of those babies killed on Friday. How can that not break my heart? Bring me to tears. I guess because I know that it didn't happen to them and for that I am thankful and there is really no need to emotionally put yourself through that. I mean, it's one thing to be empathetic and to feel for the victims and their families but it doesn't do anything to put your baby at that event and imagining the loss, the grief and the trauma you would feel if, in fact, it did happen to your baby. In fact, it can be very emotionally damaging.

I also know that just because this event happened to children the same age as my own doesn't mean it's going to happen to mine. Another good thing about being trained for crises is that you know statistics. The possibility of this happening again in this specific way is highly unlikely.Anytime there is school violence you have to understand that there is variable that you cannot control....and that is the variable of a very unstable person. I hope through this event that this helps those in power understand better how to prevent these kinds of events. I hope that those who are mentally ill get the care and service and medications they need.

I don't have any of the answers and quite honestly, they are too overwhelming to even break down today. Because we are all still processing this event. We are still mourning. And I'm still trying to feel my way through it. So, I'm just going to pray and mourn. And let a little bit more of this in and feel and process this event as best I can.

The Inside Scoop on Wonderstruck!

My friend, Margaret Feinberg [www.margaretfeinberg.com], has a new book and 7-session DVD Bible study called Wonderstruck: Awaken to the Nearness of God [www.margaretfeinberg.com/wonderstruck] (releasing Christmas Day)—a personal invitation for you to toss back the covers, climb out of bed, and drink in the fullness of life. To learn more, watch the Wonderstruck Video HERE 

As you may or may not know, I’ve been a fan of Margaret Feinberg and her books for the last few years. I first fell in love with Margaret's style for teaching when she came to my church for a women's event. She was fresh, young and spoke from the Bible in a way I hadn't heard before. I bought several books and especially enjoyed The Sacred Echo. Let's face it, Margaret had me on the first page when she wrote : "I've never been a good pray-er". Yep. I could relate.

So, when I was given the opportunity to be a part of this book release "party mob" I jumped on it!!! I would love to be able to have an indepth convo with Margaret over coffee one day, but for now this brief interview will have to do!!!

I recently received the insider’s scoop about Margaret’s new book. Here are some highlights from the interview:

Where did the inspiration for the Wonderstruck book and Bible study come from?

Have you ever had one of those seasons where everything goes wrong, and when you think it can’t get worse, it somehow finds a way? Most people who have worked in ministry have experienced those seasons—some may be in one right now.

My husband, Leif, and I had just gone through one of the roughest years of our lives. In the aftermath, as we processed the pain and loss, I had an unexplainable desire in my heart. I began praying for the wonder of God. In essence, I said, “God reveal yourself, your whole self to me. I want to know you as Wonderful. I want to know you as I’ve never known you before and see you in places I’ve never recognized you before.”

God did not disappoint.


Why are you calling people to live #wonderstruck?

If you look in the Gospels, what you’ll discover is that those who encountered Jesus were constantly left in wild amazement. They were awestruck by the teachings of Christ, the healings of Christ, the mind-bending miracles of Christ. Within the Gospel of Luke we see words like “awe” and “wonder” and “marvel” at every turn. If this is the natural response to encountering Christ, how much more should it be for you and I—who are invited to live in relationship with Christ as sons and daughters of our God Most High? We even created a free PDF that looks at some of these Scriptures. For a free copy, email us at wonderstruck@margaretfeinberg.com and we’ll send you one.






Follow Margaret’s snarky, funny, and inspirational posts on Twitter [www.twitter.com/mafeinberg], Facebook [www.facebook.com/margaretfeinberg], or her blog [www.margaretfeinberg.com]. You can learn more about this great book by visiting www.margaretfeinberg.com/wonderstruck where she’s offering some crazy promos right now with up to $300 of free stuff. I’ve seen the book for as low as $7.57 ($14.99 retail) on Barnes & Noble [http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wonder-struck-margaret-feinberg/1110904808?ean=9781617950889] for all you savvy shoppers.

Thank you, Margaret!!! I am so excited, my pre-ordered copy came the other day and I am thoroughly enjoying it!!!!!

God of Wonder



My friend, Margaret Feinberg has a new book and 7-session Bible Study called Wonderstruck: Awaken to the Nearness of God [www.margaretfeinberg.com/wonderstruck] (releasing Christmas Day)—a personal invitation for you to toss back the covers, climb out of bed, and drink in the fullness of life. Wonderstruck [www.margaretfeinberg.com/wonderstruck] will help you:



• Recognize the presence of God in the midst of your routine

• Unearth extraordinary moments on ordinary days

• Develop a renewed passion for God

• Identify what’s holding you back in prayer

• Discover joy in knowing you’re wildly loved

To learn more, watch the Wonderstruck Video (it's AMAZING!) HERE! Seriously, this video made me more excited for this book and study!


So, where have you seen the wonder of God in your own life?

I have to say I have seen the wonder of God in my own life in my children. It may sound cliche, but life is fragile. It took a lot to get my two babies here, and I have three angels in heaven as a result of the journey my husband and I decided to keep taking after the first miscarriage. We have friends who are currently going through what I consider the worst nightmare as a mother, besides the death of a child, and that is your child going through a serious illness that may or may not lead to death. Cancer. Aggressive and with complications. Looking at my two kids and seeing that they are healthy and whole humbles me and reminds me I am truly blessed.

Sure, I may joke about my kids and how stressful life is, but I don't post enough at how much I look at them and sometimes tear up at the miracle that is my children. And then I start thinking about our amazing bodies that God created, the capability and the intricacy of creating and maintaining human life. Wow. And, sadly, I am all too familiar with when that body lets you down. But I have two miracles to look at. They are beautiful (yes, I am biased). They are funny. They look like us. I carried them and gave birth to them. God created me. He created man and women to share one of the most intimate experiences we can have on earth. And out of that love is created.

How can a person not wonder at that?

How can a person not wonder about the details of creation? I love reading Psalms and especially Job 38-41, specifically chapter 38 when the Lord answers Job. Talk about humbling.

This is how I stay plugged into the wonder of God. And to be quite honest, the more I live this life, the more I have to, need to, reflect on how BIG God really is. He is bigger than miscarriages. He is bigger than cancer. He is bigger than the box I put Him in over and over again. A box of rules and cultural how-tos. Being "obedient", being "holy". I just want to BE with God. I want to fall at His feet and know Him. Then trust Him enough to show me how to be obedient and holy.

That is the burden of my heart this upcoming year. And this book is the perfect way to get lost in wonder. Lord knows, I need it more than ever.


Follow Margaret’s snarky, funny, and inspirational posts on Twitter [www.twitter.com/mafeinberg], Facebook [www.facebook.com/margaretfeinberg], or her blog [www.margaretfeinberg.com]. You can learn more about this great book by visiting www.margaretfeinberg.com/wonderstruck where she’s offering some crazy promos right now with up to $300 of free stuff. I’ve seen the book for as low as $7.57 ($14.99 retail) on Barnes & Noble Click here for all you savvy shoppers.

So where have you seen the wonder of God in your life?

Three Benefits of Having kids with ADHD

There are some benefits to having a kid with ADHD. Too many times I get bogged down in the challenges so I wanted to take a lighter look at what's good about having ADHD.

#3. SHORT ATTENTION SPAN. Usually, having a short attention span works against a person with ADHD. But, in this instance having a short attention span is awesome. Take going to the zoo, or looking at exhibits at an aquarium or museum. I'm an adult, I've seen all this stuff before. Having a kid with ADHD is great because they are always moving onto the next great, big thing. So, if you are wanting to move things along on an outing take a kid with ADHD. He/She will keep you moving. I remember taking Carter to an aquarium when he was two. Wow. Talk about the speedy tour. Greg and I chuckled because we literally were on the move the entire time, and I'm talking hyper speed. The only thing that slowed him down was going through the tunnel with all the fish above us. Ok, you have to remember that I am also ADHD (inattentive type) so this #3 may only apply to people with ADHD. You might actually like spending hours at the zoo or at exhibits.


#2. I ALWAYS HAVE SOMETHING TO LEARN. Yep. I have a lot to learn and my ADHD son helps me learn that. I think kids in general help their parents become better parents because there are always challenges and obstacles and being a good parent means learning to be unselfish. And sometimes I'm not. I still have a lot to learn. Like patience. Having a kid with ADHD will help you have patience. One of the huge areas that I have to apply patience is in discussions with Carter. One answer is not sufficient, there is always a "why" follow-up. While I understand this is a sign of intelligence and it means he is learning, it DRIVES ME CRAZY!!  I mean how many explanations within an explanation within an explanation can one woman handle?? I CAN"T!!!! Whew. Sometimes I take a deep breath and explain. Other times, I let him know it is time for the quiet game. LOL. 


#1. LIFE IS NEVER DULL. (also refer back to #2) Greg and I enjoy peaceful moments at our house.  I mean we are both introverts, kinda quiet and we don't like a lot of noise. Yeah, we are still adjusting to that one. Ha! God's sense of humor in giving me not one, but TWO rowdy boys. One who has ADHD and the other one that does everything that his brother with ADHD does. To say that our house is lively is an understatement. Thankfully, the liveliness is usually laughter and fun and the crying and drama moments are few and far between. Fighting, well, that's a whole other topic....


So there you have it. My short list of benefits of having kids with ADHD (or having it yourself! Ha!) As many times as I feel I fail my children, there are 10 things that I have done things right, we just never tend to pay attention to those times. I really try and recognize the good and the bad and learn from both. I wish I was the perfect parent who always had control of her kids, who never internally fumed over what people were thinking of her and knew that I had it all together. I am secretly very envious of the woman standing in a long line while her kids stand quietly next to her, seemingly being able to entertain themselves and not make a peep. However, I identify more with the mom who has the kids running up and down the hallway and punching at Mr. Cow at Chick fil A (to be fair, Mr. Cow started it).

But, if I had it all together, if  that was the case, then I wouldn't need God. I wouldn't need grace. And I wouldn't need surrender and support. So, I choose to be thankful for ADHD and all the wonderful benefits it brings to our lives.


Vacation or Trip

We just got back from a lovely fall break vacation in Gulf Shores. my boys love the ocean, the beach and especially SAND! So we knew they would have a good time. And boy, they did. But it was exhausting.

I came back to work this week and during staff meeting one of the other counselors asked me if I had a "vacation" or a "trip"? And I was like, "what"?? He explained the difference to me as a vacation is where you don't take your children. And I said, "oh, we took a trip, definitely. LOL.

I guess family "trips" are really for the benefit of the kids. I mean, we made great memories last week. Memories I hope my kids will remember forever. We saw the Blue Angels practice, my 6 year old was blown away. Griffin is 3, so I don't know if he will remember much about the trip, but I know every time he visits the beach he falls more and more in love with it and that is something he will carry with him forever.

We definitely had our highs and lows. Thankfully, the lowest low was on Tuesday. We had been at the beach and was coming in. Carter was especially hyper, not listening to anything we were saying. There was a family behind us and they had the calmest three year old. Here my kids were acting like wild men and he just stood there holding on to the wagon he was helping dad bring up from the beach. Ugh. Why can't my kids act like that???? I can't even remember what happened on the way to the elevator but I remember being embarrassed. When the boys got in the elevator and started fighting over who was going to push the button, Greg and I both lost it. Poor Carter. He gets the brunt of our frustration. Griffin does everything his big brother does so we get hyperactivity times 2!!! At the worst time!!! Ugh! We raised our voices and grabbed Carter's arm to get his attention. I am not sure what else happened, all I know is I felt like a big, fat failure.

I really felt defeated the rest of the night. I got up the next day and was reflecting on the previous days events and saw where the breakdown occurred. We (or I) should have stopped our family while we were leaving the boardwalk after rinsing our feet off and before we got to the elevator. We were tired, Greg an I had our hands full so it was difficult keeping a hand on the boys. We all needed a time out. But we kept pressing on. Add to the pressure I allowed to feel by this family behind me (who had seemingly perfect acting kids) and THAT prompted more of my frustration than my kids behavior.

Let me explain that. I had a big PRIDE issue. I was wanting my kids to show everyone we were good parents by acting the right way. If my kids act appropriate in front of other people I am a success. If not, that means I am a bad parent. What if they judge me, or talk about me? Why can't I train my children? All the negative thinking comes in and whispers lies into my ears. It raises my blood pressure so I react by saying things loudly or speaking through clenched teeth. It's not pretty. And afterwards all I feel is shame.

Once I looked at the situation I realized where communication broke down. Why we were frustrated and what we should have done differently. Loosing my patience or raising my voice doesn't really help train my kids.

So, I started training them. What do you do when an elevator opens?? We wait and make sure no one is getting off. We talked about being polite, waiting and taking turns, etc. We learned to take turns pushing the button to the elevator. The rest of the week we practiced these things. I remembered that I have to go touch Carter on the shoulder to get his attention when I am giving him a task or wanting him to respond. We have to repeat, repeat and repeat again.

So I don't have the calmest kids. Maybe I am judged more than other parents (or am I?). I love it when my kids cooperate and follow through on tasks and directions. But the truth is, that doesn't make me any better of a parent than their acting out in public makes me a bad parent. It's just that sometimes kids cooperate. Sometimes they don't. My job is to take each situation and use it to train or apply consequences so that maybe the next time they will remember. It's not a reflection on me. It's just part of the job. And some days, well, the job goes smoothly and sometimes it doesn't.

At least that is what I keep trying to tell myself.

Getting back to our vacation or "trip", the rest of the week went way smoother and Wednesday was the best day of vacation EVER!!! When you have small kids  they aren't going to know how to act and certainly aren't going to act perfectly. What I hoped I learned from this is that each opportunity is a teaching opportunity and how I handle makes a difference in helping my kids learn how to behave.

Now to plan a VACATION, not a trip, for Greg and I! HA!!! Anyone want two kids for a long weekend???!!!! LOL!!!

Opening Up about ADHD

Yesterday was a rough day. We have been dealing with a diagnosis of ADHD for our oldest son for a few months now. He also has some sensory processing issues, especially with touch and hearing. And while I wholeheartedly agree with the diagnoses, sometimes I just don't feel up to the challenge of having a challenging kid. Yesterday was one of those days.

This morning I heard an interview about labeling children on the Today show. To see the interview, click HERE Needless to say, it grabbed my attention. While this interview discussed ADHD, among other diagnoses, the family presented in this interview has three kids, yes, THREE sons with ADHD. Yikes.

Anyway, the mom in the interview is very open about sharing her families struggles with ADHD. I have yet to be that open, mainly because I want to protect my son. It's my job. But, on the other hand, as others have told me that I have an audience (albeit small) that would benefit from sharing our family struggles with this disorder.

*sigh*

But I don't wanna. LOL. (that's my best 3 year old impersonation). I know it will be very healing and cathartic (and hopefully, sometimes, funny) it also opens my boy up for attention and judgement. It opens my husband and I open for attention and judgement. And I think we get enough of that anyway, why would I want to add to it?

But, I know in writing about our struggles it might help someone else, or that other person may feel less alone by reading our story.

I think we are pretty fortunate in that we have a diagnosis. That in and of itself helps. Because not having a diagnosis makes a parent feel like a failure a lot of the time. We asked, "what are we doing wrong?" Carter can be challenging behaviorally. I don't mind it so much, except when we are in public. Because, honestly, I feel it reflects negatively on me as a parent. Why?

Hello! I am a psychotherapist that specializes in, guess what? Children, adolescents and families. I cannot tell you how many kids I have dealt with that has had this diagnosis. It is really, really different being on the other side of it.

I mean, I teach parents how to be good parents or to increase their parenting skills. Imagine how discouraging it is when you are trying to teach your child and your child does not cooperate? Especially before a diagnosis. I felt like a failure, a lot. I felt confused. I felt discouraged. I felt like something wasn't right but I didn't know what it was.

Carter was in childcare part time since he was six months old. It wasn't until he was two that we first heard a teacher (very unprofessionally) use the term ADHD for him. I was extremely angry and handled the situation by talking with the Director of the program. Thankfully, it was the day before the end of the school year. He went that final day and we did not return in the fall.

The next year was equally challenging for Carter. He was in a more structured environment and honestly, I loved his teachers, but I think they expected too much out of three year olds. Even though they were awesome, Carter didn't get as many chances of positive reinforcement as I would have liked, and that includes from me as well as the teachers. I was told Carter had a very difficult time sitting still. I cried. I went to the pediatrician. The ped said he was too young to do anything about diagnosing him at that time.

During Pre-K Carter did great. He was at the same school. Each day I picked him up I held my breath. I kept asking his teacher how he was doing? How was his behavior? I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. It never did. His teacher said he acted like a typical four year old. She had a hard time getting him to write, which for a boy is not unusual. And she said that if he didn't want to do something, he didn't do it (sounded familiar). My husband and I breathed a sigh of relief. Finally, maybe Carter was growing into becoming more mature and being able to control himself. He was by no doubt active and always had been, but it seemed that maybe those nagging feelings in the back of my mind about ADHD could be put to rest.

But during the second 9 weeks of Kindergarten he started having issues. Never anything behavioral, more affecting his academics. By the Spring of his Kindergarten year Carter had been diagnosed and was on meds. It made a dramatic difference in his ability to complete work and staying on task. We knew as painful as it was, we had made the right decision. We could see a huge difference ourselves, in how Carter behaved and how much more positive we could be with him.

Being on medication, however, does bring side effects. Yucky side effects. I don't like them. I don't like how it changes my kid's personality. We have lots more meltdowns now. He's moody. He has what appears to be anxiety, but who knows for sure. We have him in counseling twice a month because, as a therapist, I know kids with ADHD are more prone to depression and anxiety (and other lovely disorders that I'm not going to mention, like ODD). With counseling, he is able to learn about how to control his outbursts, anxiety, and how to self-sooth and calm himself. I was able to teach him some things, but it really is better coming from someone besides your mom.

My history is working with kids who are at-risk. Below poverty level, lack of parental supervision, lack of resources, etc. So, I know Carter is not exposed to those risks as those kids are. At-risk kids tend to have more of the severe disorders I mentioned above. I keep telling myself Carter has A LOT going for him. And he does.

Socially, he has always been able to make and keep friends. It seems like everybody knows who Carter is at his school. They are always coming up to him and saying, "Hi, Carter". I'm not going to say he is popular, but, with a kid who has ADHD I would say he is doing pretty well in the social department. That is HUGE!!!! I hope it continues to be positive.

Carter is funny, smart, creative, loving and very, very caring. He has a lot more attributes but these stand out the most.

Of course, Greg and I do all that we can to help Carter and figure him out and I spend alot of times on my knees praying that Carter is able to be all that he can be. That God would use him and this diagnosis for His glory.

You know, I would like to say that since I am a therapist that I am the PERFECT mom to have a kid with ADHD. Well, I am the perfect mom for Carter, but I am very imperfect. I lose my temper. Sometimes I raise my voice. I get overwhelmed. Frustrated. Exhausted. Sometimes I am not very loving, patient or kind to Carter, especially when he is very hyper. I hate it when I lose it in public. Lately, that seems to be happening while I am trying to check in both boys at church. LOL. Talk about humbling. I had to go the the Chidlren's minister a few weeks ago and apologize one Wednesday night because I was so frustrated with my boys that I took it out on the check-in people at church. I'm pretty open about my shortcomings. I am thankful for grace and hoping that I am also making improvements along the way.

Anyway, here we are. I hope to write more openly about this now. And I hope to protect Carter. I want to do both. I need to do both.

If you are a parent dealing with a difficult, challenging kid and don't know what to do and feel like you are at the end your rope, go talk to a therapist and see if an evaluation is necessary. Believe me, they are not going to diagnose your kids unless they need to be diagnosed. They are trained . They are professional. You have options. You have choices. We went the medication route. You don't have to. But sometimes having answers and interventions can make a huge difference. I can tell you having a diagnosis helps me to feel like not so much of a failure. And to know that while Carter is challenging, we have interventions. We just have to work harder. And that's okay because he is worth it.

More to come....thanks for listening.

Push to Prayer???

My six year old doesn't like to pray. At all.

He doesn't mind if you pray and he will ask us to pray for him, but he doesn't want to pray. I think it has more to do with praying out loud and us listening rather than him not really wanting to talk to God. But as a parent it kind of makes you feel like a Christian failure when your kid doesn't want to do "godly" things...I mean we are battling for his soul, right?

There are lots of things in my six year olds life that tells me that he has an ongoing relationship with God. He has not made a decision to ask Jesus into his life, but he is moving towards that decision. How can we tell?

Well, he asks questions. He asks a lot of questions. He wants to know about God. How did God get here? why is God so big? Where is heaven?  What is baptism? I could go on and on here. He repeats God's truths that he has learned from our conversations and from what he has learned in church. He did this the other day when talking about God being invisible, and that even though we don't see him He is real.  He LOVES singing and music. Pretty much all that we listen to affirms his relationship with God and doesn't take away from it.

So, my pride as a parent takes a beating when we ask Carter to pray and he refuses. We have learned not to push it ( he loves doing the opposite of what you want him to do...). But I know we could do a better job being that example. I know we haven't "failed" him in some way, even though I do admit to fearing that he we have done something wrong or that is we had done something different he would be a praying fool (LOL).

But what I have to keep in perspective is that Carter is working out his relationship with God and even though I wish he would eagerly pray at dinner time and bedtime, the most important thing is that we are living our relationship with Jesus in front of him and that one day, when he is ready, he will commit his life to Christ. It's my job to pray for him, be an example to him (that means me praying more in front of Carter) and educating him on who God is and why we talk to Him.

And when Carter is ready, he will move toward Christ. I would much rather Christ have Carter's heart than Carter just having actions that look like he has Christ when he hasn't really chosen a personal relationship. I would take that any day over hearing him pray a cute prayer over dinner. Period.

Social Media and kids...

I found this article on facebook and was told feel free to share. I thought I would pass this on to parents. I've spoken a little bit about social media and kids, and passed on just a few articles. Even though my kids are still too young to be on social media, my six year old knows what facebook is and asks me to contact his best friend's mom via facebook to pass a message on to his friend. AND he also knows how to text and if we aren't careful will text grandma and grandpa, papa, aunts and of course...his best friend's mom (it doesn't help that I have his best friend's name in the contact. LOL.

Needless to say, this is a serious subject and one not to be taken too lightly. Access to Internet at any age need to be well monitored by parents. Just because you have a great kid and you trust them, doesn't mean they are ready to have their own laptop or even an iPhone.....even if "everyone" else does.

Stay strong parents!!!! Follow your gut. Protect your children!! It's your job.

Here is a link to the article

12 THINGS STUDENTS SHOULD NOT DO ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Hope you are having a great week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Great Article

HAPPY FRIDAY!!!!

I just saw this on Pinterest and wanted to check it out. It is from Parenting magazine online and these seven rules are actually very simple, practical and awesome.

I was very happy to see #3 on here because I say this all the time, although I learned it from one of my son's preschool teachers, originally. I also love the rule about boredom...my 6 year old has discovered the "i'm bored" phrase and I am excited to use it on him the next time!!

Here is the link to the article! Click HERE!



Ode to Single Parents

Greg has been out of town all week and every time he has an extended trip away my mind wanders to single parents. I mean, I have two small kids at home for three days by myself and I think I am going to die without the help of my very helpful husband.

After three days, maybe two...I am exhausted. The bedtime routine itself can be exhausting with two adults in the house, but being in charge of two very busy boys 24/7....WHEW!!!

In reality, single parents pretty much do the parenting things 24/7 without any support from another spouse EVER.

Of course there are breaks (sometimes). Of course friends and family pitch in, I'm sure (sometimes). But some families have no support. They don't get a break. They are it.

I cannot fathom being not only the sole caregiver but the  sole provider for my two boys. The thought overwhelms me.

I am extremely thankful for a husband who provides and a husband who helps.

This week think about your single parent friends and send them a note of encouragement.

Take them to dinner or take them dinner.

Offer some babysitting so they get a much earned and deserved break!

I know they would greatly appreciate it!

And don't forget to thank that helpful spouse.....they deserve encouragement, too!!!

Road Trips and Memories!

We have been on the road, it seems, ALL summer. We have been to Florida with the boys, to Alabama, Chattanooga, Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge (although that was during Spring break so it doesn't really count toward summer).

My sister and I were having a discussion this weekend, in Alabama, at her house, yet another road trip with the boys. We were reminicing about the good 'ol days (whatever they were) when we didn't have all the safety restrictions we have today. And the pros and cons of each.

When I was younger, we traveled long distances in the middle of the night, not unlike parents do today. The only thing is we were in a station wagon and the back of the car was made out into a bed. We slept most of the way without the hindrances of car seats and seat belts. LOL. Ah, those were the days.

We didn't have DVD players, or any other electronic devices to keep us busy. No, we had road travel games, you know "find the white car" or "the person who can see the most out of state license tags", etc.

But, lets just be honest. What we did best on road trips was aggravate each other. Ah, now that was where the real fun began. The hitting, sitting on, sitting too close, getting each other in trouble...my sister and I were discussing this weekend why we had a few purses thrown at us from the front seat. Ahem, sorry mom. I completely understand now.

Getting back to road trips. It seemed we always had to pee when there weren't any exits in sight and we had to pee....like, RIGHT NOW. Who hasn't pulled over the side of the road to relieve themselves on a road trip, whether you are a boy or girl? I know I did.

Last night, coming home from my sisters, Carter had a potty emergency. Let me tell you something about Carter. Carter, for whatever reason, holds his pee. I mean, the boy can hold it for 12 hours. We are not sure why, but needless to say, bed wetting has never been an issue. If you stop at an exit and he doesn't want to pee, he will not pee. I think we scarred him during potty training, something about having control. LOL. But, he goes when he has to go. Period. Maybe that is a parenting failure, but I chock it up to choosing your arguments. I let it go.

Last night we were almost home and had to take an alternate route because the interstate was closed downtown. We are getting off the interstate and Carter cries out he has to pee. I mean, he sounded like he was in pain. It was urgent,  I could tell. There was no thinking about the next exit, unless we wanted a serious potty accident in the car. We had to pull over. Right there.

Carter was being initiated into the peeing-on-the-side-of-the-road trip memory.

Now this would have just been an ordinary experience, something to smile about in passing when discussing our summer activities, except the alternate route we were taking was right next to the airport.

I no sooner had Carter settled and he was relieving himself that I heard this huge jet take off. I looked up and told Carter to look up. It flew right over us, it was still very low because it had just taken off. It was amazing. I smiled at Greg because I knew this would be a memory. Something Carter would never forget. The roar of the engine. The lights. The speed. All within a few hundred thousand feet from him.....while he was peeing, of course. We can't forget about the pee.



Carter loves airplanes. He is obsessed with space and everything in it, and that includes airplanes. That is the closest he has been to one taking off or landing. It was like the coolest thing ever. He let out this huge, "wwwhoaaaaaaaoooowwww".

I helped Carter back in the car and listened to he and Greg talk about the plane and how big and close it was and how loud it was. Greg and I just smiled at each other. I loved it. And we would have missed it, if Carter wasn't so good at holding his pee.

I guess you just have to look at it from the positive perspective. Or at least try. :-)

Road trips. There's nothing like them for building memories.








Thanks!!!!

THANK YOU!!


For everyone who commented, here and on facebook about my post yesterday. The funny thing is, I didn't set out to write that particular post. It just happened. No planning, didn't think about it in advance, I just started writing.

Obviously, I need to do more of that. I do hold so many things in, longer than I should. I do love writing the things that take planning, the humorous things, the catchy posts. And I am glad people enjoy them. I enjoy them. I like being creative and seeing it pay off.

But the thing that I come back to time and time again, and it's why I feel the Lord told me to write this blog, and create Reflections of a Mom is to be transparent and real. I don't know about humble, I kind of stink at that, but I try.

I don't know why we don't share our struggles more openly. Yes, it is always risky, but I have found that with true, authentic relationship, it doesn't matter. People aren't going to judge.

Yes, it has been a difficult summer, but it has been an awesome summer too. Seeing Carter thrive at swim lessons. Watching Griffin become a big boy and developing into a little man (it melts my heart to hear him talk). To see Carter reading books. It is amazing to me how smart he is (I am saying that humbly, really! LOL).

And come August I will have a first grader and a pre-schooler. As trying as this summer has been, for many reasons, it has been a wonderful time with friends and family and there is always fun to look forward to.

I hope you guys have a great weekend!!!!

Stay Sane!!!!! :)

The Summer of my Discontent

This has been a really hard summer for me. . I have been struggling with some deep life issues and questions. I have not been questioning my faith or my belief system (been there, done that, settled it) but just the more gray areas in life. Plus, the culture of Christianity can really get on my nerves, even though I am guilty of using all the cliches and pat answers myself. So, I am calling the kettle black, don't get me wrong.

Also, Summer with my kids just about does me in. I wish I could say that I love all my time with my babies, and in reality, I do. It's just both of them together can drive me crazy!


But struggling with deeper issues, struggling with a kid with a new ADHD diagnosis, struggling with my weight and (honestly) my self-esteem which seems to be connected to my weight, ...well, my summer has been a struggle. Mentally and emotionally. And physically.

I finally got over myself. LOL.Yes, this has been a difficult summer. We are still reeling from a diagnosis of our oldest son with ADHD. Dealing with medications, structure, meltdowns and behaviors. Working, albeit partime, in a very mentally draining job, juggling home life, work life and church life along with family life....my parents are getting older and going through their own sets of life issues. It can all be overwhelming.

And the thing that I do best is attack myself. I get unhappy and focus on things in a negative way. Somehow this temporarily and dyfunctinally takes the attention off all the other things going on. It doesn't solve anything. I start tearing myself down. I allow Satan to tell me lies. I get very discontent. Crazy, huh?

Yep. I realized a lot of things recently. And I am still working on them. I don't have to get into all that on here. But the long and short of it is, I am enough. I am beautiful, just the way I am. I want to be healthy, not thin. I want to take care of myself the best way that I can....emotionally, physically and mentally. And some things have to change.

More importantly, God has got this. Dealing with my stress in this dysfunctional way never works. Ha! Newsflash. You would think I would figure that out by now. But, he's got the ADHD (well, not literally :) ), he's got the struggle. He's got our finances. He's got it. He's got everything. It's time I give it over to him so He can really take care of it instead of just wallowing in my own misery.

I have kind of been in an abyss lately. I am sure you know what I am talking about. You are functioning but not really. You make it through the day, but wonder what it was all about. Some people call this depression. I just call it being overwhelmed and having to walk through a difficult time. It's not pretty. It's not usually what people want to hear about. They want to hear that you are fine. But it is what is. And I have been in this abyss.

But, it's time to come out of the abyss. It's time to love myself the way the Lord loves me and love my body the way my husband loves my body (which I really just don't get). Obviously, these two beings, one holy, omnipotent and has been around when there was nothing around and the other, a fallible, lowly human who love ME see something that  I don't.

It's time to release the anxiety, the fear, the depression, the doubts, everything. We are going to have challenges in this life. Thank GOD, HE has overcome them. Already. Done. (John 16:33).

And the truth is, change isn't going to happen for me until I just accept who I am, where I am in this moment and love on myself a little bit instead of staring at how big my butt looks in the mirror. Ugh.

The same is true for raising children, dealing with the economy, life issues, extended family issues...I mean, really. I could go on and on. Then I would find myself in the abyss again...so.

Today. I am choosing to do this.

Finally, brothers and sisters, 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.
Phil 4:8.

It doesn't really change this life or what is going on in this life, the ups and downs. It just makes them bearable and breathable. NO abyss. Just smooth sailing. Because even in the ups and downs, the storms and the struggles, God's love, consistency and truth does not change.

And that, well, that is the meaning of contentment.




A prayer for you this week!

 I think as a mom, we live daily with victory and regret. If its a "good" day, we feel victorious. If we have an especially bad day in Mothering, I (we) tend to suffer defeat; an overwhelming sense that I must be doing something wrong. I am a failure.

I have said it many times that I am by far not a perfect mother. There are no perfect mothers, but man, I can see how easy it is to compare ourselves to others and be very envious of the fact that they seemingly have it all together. It's also very easy to pass judgement on others. Maybe we feel superior. It helps us to think that there are others who face challenges like we do. Let's face it, it is reassuring when you see a mom struggling with their 2 year old the same way you do. It can be easy to pass judgement and say to ourselves, "well, at least I do that better than so-and-so. LOL.

The truth is we all have up and down weeks, some worse or better than others. It is what we have been given. When we choose to become parents, much like falling in love and getting married, there is risk. You never know what you are going to get.


For instance, take dealing with a child that has special needs. Now, special needs to you may mean a child with cerebral palsy or Down Syndrome. It can mean 24/7 care to a child who is blind, cannot walk and has severe developmental delays. To others it might mean dealing with a child  who has a diagnosis of ADHD or Autism, learning disability or a child with emotional or behavioral challenges.  For some it may be a medical issue or chronic illness with a very small child. It can be overwhelming. We all have challenges, but I tend to think that other parents may have more challenges than we do. Or vice-versa. Maybe you see other families and think how lucky they are. They don't have the challenges you do.

Well, that is a lie, because that same mom may be looking at me seeing something that isn't there and comparing herself to what I am doing. That is the problem with comparison. It leads to no where. The grass is not greener on the other side. What you may be struggling with may be different than the mom you are comparing yourself to. So, in essence, we see our weaknesses and think we are the only one. Other moms see our strengths and think we have it all together. When in reality, if we would just be real with each other and stop comparing and accept our strengths and weaknesses as part of our growth process we would be a lot happier.



At the end of the day, for me at least, I have to remind myself that I was made to be the parent to my two boys. God created me to be their mom. Nobody else is designed to make my family fit together. And being a parent means there is risk. There is hurt, pain, disappointment and fear. And if you allow it, it will consume you and cripple you as a parent. It is false. Untrue. A lie. I don't know how many other ways to put it.

But even with all the challenges, God has reminded us over and over again in the scriptures that we need to think about whatever is good. Noble. True. Holy. Pure. Judgment and comparison do not fall into those categories. So instead of focusing on the negative, focus on the Truth.

It boils down to where we place our security. Is it in how other people view us, even people very important to us, or how God views us? Is it in whether or not our child behaved like the other kid who never seems to act up or noticing the small positive changes in behavior when working on a particular issue with our kids.

It's easy to get discouraged. It's easy to believe the lie. To feel like you are never going to win. That life will always be challenging. But there are new mercies new every day! Amen!!!!

So today, I ask for serenity. I ask for new mercies. I ask for strength to get through this moment in time. Not to worry about yesterday or be concerned with tomorrow. To be in this moment. For the courage to change the things I can. To accept what cannot be changed and the wisdom to know the difference.

I've included the entire prayer that Reinhold Niebuhr penned in the 20th Century below. It is primarily used as a prayer for those recovering from addiction but I can tell you it IS a prayer of serenity and it is a prayer for everyone.

God, give us grace to accept with serenity

the things that cannot be changed,

Courage to change the things

which should be changed,

and the Wisdom to distinguish

the one from the other.



Living one day at a time,

Enjoying one moment at a time,

Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,

Taking, as Jesus did,

This sinful world as it is,

Not as I would have it,

Trusting that You will make all things right,

If I surrender to Your will,

So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,

And supremely happy with You forever in the next.



Amen.



I was going to make a list of 5 things to do to help us moms survive summer. But honestly, I could only think of one. Keep a sense of humor.

Let me break it down for you. Have fun with your kids. Be silly. Laugh. Dance.

It's Summer....

It's Summer. And as moms, you know what that means. Unless you are a homeschooling mom, you now have your kids home from school. If you have more than one child, you are dealing with bickering, fighting, laughing, playing and maybe a few hits. Or is that just at my house? Fighting over toys, movies and of course, who is annoying who the most. It's enough to drive a mom to drink more coffee!

I envy those moms who embrace and enjoy (almost) every aspect of their children's lives. You know those moms, you might be one yourself. You are happy! You are excited. You are most likely YOUNG (LOL). All of which I am typically NOT. :)  Maybe I'm just bitter and jealous of all those moms who seemingly have it all together with endless patience and a plan. :) Comparing ourselves to other moms is deadly. It will steal and kill your joy.  You just have to come up with a plan. And if I can do it, I know you can too. Which leads me to my plan for summer.

Structure. Planning. Rewards. Consequences. Reaching the Heart. Dependence. My dependence on God to ENJOY and EMBRACE the summer. The time with my children. To teach them to get along, not just referee fights (it really doesn't solve anything being a referee in case you haven't noticed). To grow and learn myself and to be truly THANKFUL for the blessings I have.

Conviction. I have really been convicted about being a really good mom. Not a perfect mom. Not a great mom, even though I aspire to greatness, of course. But being involved in my kids lives. Doing things with them instead of just assigning things to them to keep them occupied (In case you haven't figured that out, it really doesn't work). Setting up a structured environment. Having a plan. Yes, they are both in activities this summer (Hallelujah!!!!!). But if I truly want to enjoy my kids and have a great summer, I just won't be waiting until the next break, but enjoying living in the moment with my kids, the frustrating moments, one and all!!!

That being said, taking advantage of the breaks is important too. Just because your kids are home all summer doesn't mean you have to go crazy. There are bunches of free activities to do and I will add their links at the end of this post. Also, there are some really expensive ways to plan for your kids summer but there are also very reasonable, depending on your budget.

Here is my list for the summer.
1. (Almost) Free Movies - I am sure most of you have heard of these or taken advantage of these. I am going to attempt this with both my kids and see how the three year old does. Click HERE to learn more.
2. Free Bowling- Click HERE to see how your kids can plan 2 games
3. Library Summer reading programs, totally free. Just check with your local library.
4. Vacation Bible school!!! Where would we be without VBS??!!?? It's free. You can find multiple locations. And it gives you 2 to 3 hours of quiet. I have even found one my three year old can go to. Woo hoo!!!

My kids are also in a summer Mother's Day Out program two days a week (YAY!). We are signing both up for swimming lessons. I know some of you guys may not have the budget to pay for things for your kids. But, at the minimum, see if you can get a local babysitter to come in once a week to give you a few hours of free time. Or barter with other parents to have play dates and trade off so that you will have time by yourself. There is strength in numbers, I have found. When I have a friend over with her kids we kind of end up being like a community and we all help each other out and the load is not so hard to bare when it is one mom against the world. And you can usually find time to sit and chat between interruptions. :-)

And in case none of that that works. Just BREATHE. Listen to great music. Take a hot bath during nap time. Find time for yourself when you can get it.

We will do this. We will survive. We will not only survive we will flourish. And we will have fun.

Happy Summer!!!!!

Nine Years and what do ya get???

....another year older and deeper in debt. Ha! That too, but we get to get awayyyyyy!!!!!!!!!!!!

Greg and I are leaving this weekend to celebrate our 9th wedding anniversary. Three nights with no kids. That also means three mornings with no kids. YIPPEE!!!! I will be sleeping in. No interruptions. Ahhh.... I know, it's sad isn't it? That not having kids and sleeping is what I am most excited about. Sex? Oh yeah, that too. But sleep.....#1 on the agenda (ok, maybe #2 or #3).

Having two small kids AND a good marriage require lots and lots of work. I probably don't need to tell you that, especially if you are married and have small kids. Marriage with kids is messy....and loud. Don't forget loud.

It's not perfect, and sometimes it isn't pretty, but at the end of the day, we are one. And we like each other, too. That is HUGE. Cause not all married people like each other. How frustrating would it be to be in a marriage where you didn't like the person you married? Happens all the time.Then they wait 20 years and decide to come to therapy to work on it. Oops. Most of the time it's too late by then.

Anyway, enough depressing news about the state of marriages these days. I am super excited. I am actually going to take a break from technology during this trip. I haven't even told Greg yet. Caregivers of our children will need to text him instead of me cause I won't be carrying my phone around all day. I am not going to say I won't be on facebook at all, but I am certainly not going to be checking it every 5 minutes on my phone. I am going to try and check it once a day, max. I'll let you know how that goes......

What do you do to invest in your marriage? Not everyone has access to family as babysitters and caregivers. Not everyone has the money to get away. But it doesn't mean you can't invest in your marriage. If you want to here me lecture  enlighten you more on this subject, go to last years post regarding our 8th anniversary trip. LOL. Seriously, I would be writing the same thing, so go HERE instead.


So see you on the other side.....hopefully I won't be going through facebook withdrawals!!!! :)

Update on 20 Things....

Hey Ladies and Gents!

This is the blog where the 20 Things a Mother Should Tell Her Son came from. She left a comment on the original post on my blog but I wanted to repost it again going straight to her blog. It was awesome!



To see the original writer click RIGHT HERE!!!!

Have a great rest of the night!

Four Observations I Made While Having Lunch With My Kid Yesterday

1. My kid loves feeling special.

Obviously, that is an understatement. And of course I know he likes feeling special, it's just with Carter, he doesn't let us know it very much. Yesterday, me being at lunch with him, he was obviously happy. His guard was completely down. His eyes were sparkly. And I was moved. Now, I have a very happy child. He is, for he most part, happy go lucky. But Carter is also very intense, complicated and special. We often butt heads. We are a whole lot a like (hence the butting-heads part). Gosh, I love that kid so much. I am so proud of him. He has a beautiful spirit. A tender heart. And a very stubborn will. Yesterday, he was so happy, extra happy. And he was thrilled that I was there having lunch with him. I didn't realize it would mean so much to him or I would have done it earlier in the year. Without prompting, he simply looked at me while we were having lunch and said, "I am really glad you came to have lunch with me, mom. Thanks.". Oh my heart swelled and it has brought the tears right back into my eyes. My heart was broken, in a good way. I don't get to hear those words from Carter very much. He uses them sparingly. The first thing he said to me when he got up this morning was, "Mom, remember yesterday when you came to school and had lunch with me?" Big smile.

2. Kids school lunches, are, well, yucky!
I've been around a school cafeteria for years. I worked in a school in the 90's and from 2003-2006. So, I know what school lunches are made of. It's industrialized food. I have seen healthier choices here and there but overall, it's still very processed. Yesterday was the first school lunch I had been around since 2006. Not a lot has changed for the better. I am sorry. There is really no positive thing to say about school lunches, at least at the school my son goes to. Of course there were aspects that were healthy, the milk, the salad. But the processed beef.....nuggets???? I guess that is what they were?? Nope. I don't want to offend anyone who's kids eat their lunches at school, or perhaps you prepare and work in a school cafeteria, but as long as I can help it, my child will be bringing his lunch to school from home.


3. Six year olds like being risque.

LOL. That sounds worse than it is. But being around a table full of Kindergartners I see very similar things that I see in my own 6 year old. They like saying things they think *might* be nasty, inappropriate, or bad. And the funny thing is, their version of bad is usually very PG. Like yesterday, there was a trio of boys across from me and my son and the conversation became, well, risque. One of the boys started saying, "sexy", like it was a big, bad word. The other two boys laughed and covered their mouths. Of course, after getting a big response he kept saying it over and over. And I just had to chuckle. You know, "sexy", it's such a naughty word. LOL!

4. It really does take a village.
I know, I know. Some people may disagree with this but as much as my husband and I put into raising our children I am very thankful that there are others pouring into their lives also. Teachers, teachers assistants, Sunday school teachers, volunteers at church, coaches, and the list could go on and on. And the thing about the village is that a lot of them don't get paid enough for what they do or they don't get paid at all. And it is a shame. I really wish teachers and school systems had half the income of celebrity's or sports figures. Something is really messed up about the people we give big money too. And it is us who pays for the celebrities and sports figures. We go to the movies and the sporting events. We buy the products they sponsor and sell. We go to games, buy jerseys and team memorabilia. There is nothing wrong with that. I just wish we could figure out how to pay our education system the same way. Instead we have fundraisers and bake sales. I am thankful for the "village" that is helping to raise my boys into strong, educated and even godly men. Thanks. I wish I could do more. And I wish you got paid what you were worth.

20 Things a Mother Should Tell Her Son

I saw this yesterday on facebook, a friend had posted it. I have seen something similar on another blog, and who knows, it may be the same one. At any rate it's really, really good. And since I am the mom to 2 boys, I find it especially close to my heart. Hope you enjoy!!!


‎1. You will set the tone for the sexual relationship, so don't take something a...way from her that you can't give back.

2. Play a sport. It will teach you how to win honorably, lose gracefully, respect authority, work with others, manage your time, and stay out of trouble. And maybe even throw or catch.

3. Use careful aim when you pee. Somebody's got to clean that up, you know.

4. Save money when you're young because you'll need it some day.

5. Allow me to introduce you to the dishwasher, oven, washing machine, iron, vacuum, mop and broom. Now please go use them.

6. Pray and be a spiritual leader.

7. Don't ever be a bully and don't ever start a fight, but if some idiot clocks you, please defend yourself.

8. Your knowledge and education is something that nobody can take away from you.

9. Treat women kindly. Forever is a long time to live alone and it's even longer to live with somebody who hates your guts.

10. Take pride in your appearance.

11. Be strong and tender at the same time.

12. A woman can do everything that you can do. This includes her having a successful career and you changing diapers at 3 A.M. Mutual respect is the key to a good relationship.

13. "Yes ma'am" and "yes sir" still go a long way.

14. The reason that they're called "private parts" is because they're "private". Please do not scratch them in public.

15. Peer pressure is a scary thing. Be a good leader and others will follow.

16. Bringing her flowers for no reason is always a good idea.

17. Be patriotic.

18. Potty humor isn't the only thing that's humorous.

19. Please choose your spouse wisely. My daughter-in-law will be the gatekeeper for me spending time with you and my grandchildren.

20. Remember to call your mother because I might be missing you.

Griffin turns THREE!

It's hard to believe my baby is turning three. We had his birthday party yesterday and tomorrow is his birthday. It was really fun watching him "get" that it was his birthday. He is my fun loving boy who loves the outside so the best place to have his party was at the park. And he loved every minute of it! It was beautiful weather. A great time with family and friends.








Griffin LOVES Calliou. We have every episode DVR'd just for him. He watches it every morning. So, when we asked him what kind of party he wanted to have, he didn't hesitate. :)




Our big boy blowing out his candles. He sang happy birthday right along with us. He was sooo happy!





Here is Griffin opening up his presents (with a little bit of help from big brother).








Even though this image is blurry, it's a great shot. Grandma and Grandpa Mayo got him a scooter. Big brother has one and well, Griffin needed one too. He absolutely loved it and I have to say it was one of his favorite gifts




And we can't forget our giant "Rexy" from Calliou. We are very fortunate to have a friend who is a balloon artist and makes his living this way. We get way cool balloons at no cost! Thanks, Sean!




Why Easter?

We have had beautiful weather here in Middle Tennessee for several weeks now. Today is nearly perfect. It is slightly cool but sunny and, well, perfect. I don't remember many Easter weekends as a kid that didn't end up with cool weather. It just kind of went with Easter. The girls would all be in these nice summery dresses, short sleeves of course and the boys would all be in cute shorts and we would be freezing!


Times sure have changed. My boys won't grow up doing traditional Easter church, if we stay at the current church we are involved in now. We will most likely go to Easter services....tonight. Yep. We want to save Sunday's seats for all the visitors that we hope to have. We start Easter weekend services tonight and they run through Sunday.



If you grew up in church at all I am sure you remember the traditional Easter service with all the Easter outfits, new shoes and coiffed hair. The church we are in now, I could show up in blue jeans and a t-shirt on Easter morning and no one would blink an eye. If you are in full Easter clothes no one is going to blink an eye either. There will be a little of everything. Everyone is welcome, the church is friendly and they have great coffee! AND they let you drink that coffee in the auditorium. My dad, bless his heart, still can't get used to that.




Even though I grew up in a very traditional church, I am thankful that I now know that walking in relationship with God has nothing to do with my outward appearance. There is nothing wrong with dressing up to go to church, just like there is nothing wrong with wearing jeans. You can sing hymns or you can have a rockin worship band singing worship songs. Some churches even play some secular music in their services to get a point across. You can be in many different denominations or no denomination at all. God doesn't care, as long as you come to him.


I guess what I am saying is that sometimes we put so much emphasis on what is on the outside that people looking in think that maybe they wouldn't fit in there.


You know what? All God asks is that you come to him, acknowledge that you don't have it all together and you don't want to carry the burden of your sins anymore. You would rather he take them and make you whole. As Jesus said, "All who come to me who are heavy burdened will find REST".


Jesus has everything you need to make you whole. You won't find it in the church, although that is where I find support, encouragement, friends, etc. It's a good place to get plugged in, but it's not what makes you whole.


You won't find it in wearing the "right" clothes, whatever those are. You won't find it in observing lent. Memorizing the bible, following the 10 commandments. Believing in God. You won't find it in any certain political party. Basically, you find it in a personal relationship with Christ.


Sometimes, we make it very complicated. But it is really very, very simple. The reason that Easter means so much to me has obviously very little to do with the church traditions of Easter. Easter means so much to me because of Jesus. God's son who was sent to be my sacrifice. And because he did that, I get to live. I get to have a personal relationship with him. And he loves me with an everlasting love. A love that I simply cannot fathom.


That's really all he wants you to get. If you are on the outside looking in, just know it is easy. Just ask. Admit. Confess. Commit your life. Accept his love. He gives it freely.


Really. It's free. And all you have to do is ask.



If you want to know more about getting to know Jesus, look HERE.


If you live in the middle Tennessee area and want to check out a nontraditional Easter service, look HERE.

Weepy

So I was sitting in the car in the pick up line at my son's school, like any other day. I don't know what came on me, but I got extremely sentimental watching all the kids come out to their parent's car. I see my son and he's talking to his friends. He's happy. He gets in the car and is all excited about getting a prize for the upcoming runathon at school. Before he came out I was reflecting on how great all the Kindergartner teachers are. They always have a great attitude and a smile on their face. I think about how to let them know that so I could encourage them.

I pull away from the parking lot at school and something occurs to me. I am a mom.

Now, I know that sounds crazy, because I am a mom. I have been a mom for a little over 6 years. Surely, this is not the first time this has occurred to me. I really don't know what came over me. It just hit me in a wave. I. Am. A. Mom. Wow.

What an honor. What a privilege. I get to experience this. I feel very humbled and extremely blessed.

I don't always feel this way. I usually dread the car line at school. Not because I am selfish or don't want to pick up my child, just that I am rushed and multi-tasking and picking up the kids takes time out of the many things I have to do during the day.

This is my first week not having to travel to Nashville for work. I am only working one day this week in town at my new counseling position. I think, for me, that makes a huge difference in my stress. I don't know.

Of course, I did fall last night and twist my ankle. Maybe it's the pain meds. (LOL).

Nah, I am very blessed and my heart is just overflowing with love for these two boys (who happen to drive me very crazy sometimes).

Love them. Love this life. Thank you, Lord!! Thank you, Lord for reminding me of these great gifts. Even if it was the car line at school.

Bits and Pieces...

I have lots and lots on my heart and mind. This is a good thing. Just trying to think it through and write it all down and organize it into a post or several posts. So stay tuned....

In other news, I am ending my time with Agape Counseling Services and starting at a new counseling center that my church has started, lifeWORKS Counseling. It is only 10 minutes from my house so no more TRAFFIC!!! I will miss everyone at Agape, I had a wonderful experience there and it was a really hard decision, but I can already tell my stress level (from the commute) will be greatly decreased!

We just got back from a lovely little mini-vacation in the Smoky Mountains, took the grandparents along for reinforcements and we had a great trip. We are still recovering from vacation along with Daylight Savings time!

Whew. That is what is going on in the Mayo household. Just bits and pieces.

Super Tuesday....Or Is It???

Have you ever had one of those days when you wish a day could be cancelled and go back to bed. Me, too! Today is one of them. There isn't any particular reason, I just have no energy and a full day ahead with work at two different places, arranging childcare since both kids home since school is out today due to "Super" Tuesday elections and trying to plan a trip out of town for Spring Break next week that seems to be turning rather stressful. Planning a holiday should be fun, not stressful.

Oh, well. I give you permission to go back to bed. Maybe a quick nap during the kids nap time will help!

Happy Tuesday!



5 Things I Loved About Blissdom '12!

I had the privilege of attending Blissdom '12, a conference for women who blog, and a whole lot more.




Chris Mann performing at the Centrum sponsored lunch on Saturday


This conference is five years old, so fairly new. It has grown tremendously and it was A. Whole. Lot. Of. Fun!! Above is the only picture I snapped with the Blissdom logo. Fortunately, it included Chris Mann, who is on The Voice this season (think of the guy who did the Opera audition). He has been singing at Blissdom since it's inception!

So, instead of writing on and on about the conference I figured I would break it down by a top 5 list (something I learned in my first writing track! ha!) Here is my list, in no particular order.



Beautiful flowers that were part of the Lorax party I attended Friday night







Number Five



Community. I really felt like I was with like-minded people and we were able to talk about what we were passionate about. We were able to learn things and talk about things that were relevant to our life that I feel, sometimes, my friends just don't get.

Number Four




This was the healthiest snack at Blissdom, lol.




Food. Ok, you know food had to make it on the list. This event was held at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and the food was Ah-mazing!!!!! From breakfast, to lunch, to party appetizers. The food was great. Plus, all of the sponsors and booths had food, too (some healthier than others) and one had a coffee bar...FREE coffee, anyway I liked it. Enough said.

Number Three


Fellowship. Not only was I with like minded people, I got to meet some pretty awesome people, too. People were friendly, everyone seemed like they were in a good mood (it was probably the free coffee) and there was an openness and acceptance from just about everybody. Each track that I attended broke out into small groups, which led us to fellowship with each other. Discuss, debate and share. It was life changing for me and it really fired me up!


Number Two



One of the Life Tracks I attended. Be sure and check out Project 7 Products!









Tami Heim. A very gifted and talented speaker and the reason I was able to attend Blissdom




Education. I left the conference feeling empowered with knowledge. From the Writing tracks to the Life Development Tracks, each session I left I had really learned something.


Number One




Me and new friend, Robyn Collins








Friendships!!!! I met people that I go to church with that I didn't know until the conference. People I knew but now I know better. And NEW friends!!! So excited to sit and talk about women's issues, mom issues and life issues with these ladies. I look forward to many more conversations. And hopefully mentoring by these ladies!!! So excited.



Me along with new friends, Dedra Herod and Michelle Sarabia


Our connected group of ladies. I hope we can get together soon!



Things that make you go, hmmmmm...

The past couple of weeks have been really hectic. This past Monday was no different. It had been a very busy, stressful day.

After we got the kids in bed that night, I started talking to Greg about my day. I mean, I felt really stressed out. I had had an appointment in the morning, ran errands, picked up Carter from school and dropped him off at home, went and got Griffin and brought him home. Picked Carter up to take him to his 6 year old well care visit at the doctor's office, where we proceeded to wait for over an hour to be seen. Then I had to worry about dinner and what we were going to eat, etc....


So, I am sitting with Greg telling him about my day and he, very appropriately affirms back to me that, yes, I had a very stressful day. Then, I had a very profound thought come to my mind. So I asked Greg a very important question.....

I looked at him as I was talking about my day and asked, "Do you ever think about the laundry"?

He looked back at me, paused, and chuckled and said, "No. No, I don't".

So then I told him that not only had I been running around doing errands and picking up kids but that I also had to think about all the other "stuff" that has to be done. Like dinner. Like laundry. Keeping all the details of the boys school in my head, what was due, etc. This week was Valentine's Day week. That meant both boys had to have Valentines ready and Griffin had to bring something to his Mother's Day Out party the next day. Carter had to finish filling out his Valentines for his school party the next day. I knew Carter was out of clean jeans, and that even meant we had gotten a pair out of the dirty clothes and worn them twice. So he was really, really out of clean jeans, no more pulling from the dirty clothes pile. Ugh.

It dawned on me. As wonderful as my husband is, and you can read the two previous posts to see how wonderful he is, I was still carrying a HUGE burden around. I carried all of this "stuff" in my head like it was all mine. And who said it was mine? Who took over all of this stuff?

Hmmmm.....

I guess I did. It had never occurred to me that maybe the reason I was so stressed out was because I took on too much responsibility for everything and things that I didn't need to.

Hmmmm.....

I have been ruminating on this all week. Greg doesn't worry about the laundry getting done. He doesn't even think about it. But I do. I worry about it every day, because I am the self-imposed coordinator of the laundry. Greg helps, but what he helps with is at the end of the laundry process, the folding. Therefore, he never does the laundry. That falls into my lap. But, I got to thinking, when was the last time I had even asked Greg to throw in some laundry for me.

Hmmmm.....

And this just doesn't apply to laundry. How come I was the only one thinking about the boy's Valentines and all the items needed for their party the next day?

I know what you are thinking. Men and women are different. Nothing would get done if the woman didn't do it.

I disagree. I think that is a lie that we have latched onto and believe. I mean, yes, men and women are different, but it's not like men can't be taught to do things. I think more often than not, we women like how we do things and instead of giving up control, we take on Way. Too. Much. I know there are exceptions to this. But I know my husband. I know how capable and willing he is to help.

I really don't have a solution for this problem, just yet. I am still thinking it over. I do know this. I am holding on (more mentally than physically) to things for which I don't have to be solely responsible. And that is creating stress for me in my life. I have a very supportive husband, but, I am kinda jealous of his free-thinking ways. I really wish I could have a week or two of free-thinking for myself.

But then, we wouldn't have clean laundry.

Hmmmm.....