Why Me?


 Steven Spielberg’s, The Color Purple, is my favorite movie and I’ve always wanted to see the Broadway play. I’ve followed the tour on the Internet, but it’s either logistics, finances, or timing which prevents me from attending. As I listen to others say they’ve attended and how great the play was, a small ‘why me’ lingers in my mind.

I strive to be obedient, loving, and surrender my life, so why, Lord? Why can’t I have something as simple as being able to see The Color Purple?

I continued to follow the play and eventually forgot about it. Over the weekend, someone who had no idea of my love for the movie informed me the play was coming to my city. I was ecstatic! I’d finally get to see the play after what seemed like years of following it on the Internet.

I remembered how I questioned God’s will for my simple request. God’s timing is never ‘on time’ for us, but is always ‘on time’ for His plan for us. Not only is the play coming to my city, but I was offered two free tickets.  I choose to believe this special blessing, with my name on it, is from My Heavenly Father.

Waiting on God is difficult to do, but He delivers in the most awesome ways.The timing for me to attend the play is perfect in every aspect. God knows exactly what, when, and how is best for us.

I still ask, “Why me, Lord?”  This is an extra special gift and I dare not say I deserve this, but accept it and recognize it as a personal symbol of God’s tender mercy and grace of a simple desire. Thank you, Lord

In 2011, I will continue living in bold obedience... knowing God knows what is best for me. He loves me in spite of me.

The Wrong Gift


    Our budget doesn’t allow for purchasing gifts this year, therefore my baking and other limited homemaking skills will definitely be used. Amazingly, this has been the most enjoyable, relaxing, stress free, shop-free Christmas I’ve ever experienced. Because we’ve been mindful of every penny spent this year, I’ve learned to financially depend on God like I should have always depended on Him. It’s so easy to wait, expect, and depend on payday and forget the true source of our needs.

As I focused on making and baking gifts with my hands, I learned the most valuable life lesson I’ve learned all year – Christmas isn’t about gift giving at all. Christmas is about the gift I’ve already been given! I’ve been focusing on the wrong gift. I need to be focused on the gift that can’t be purchased, made, baked, exchanged, or returned. The gift that doesn’t need any thought, but is free and can be shared by everyone. The gift that offers something no mall or online shopping store can ever offer. The gift that matters most is the gift of baby Jesus – The Prince of Peace! 

Wouldn’t this simple reminder be a wonderful gift for everyone? Just think, not only am I sharing one gift, but this gift comes with unlimited accessories such as forgiveness, compassion, understanding, long-suffering, healing, deliverance, grace, mercy, unconditional love, and peace – perfect peace!  Wow. I don’t even need a box or gift bag for this gift!

Merry Christmas to you and may ‘the gift’ set you free!

Mother's Intuition

A mother's intuition is a powerful weapon, so don't ignore the thoughts of your children while they are out of your sight or even when they are at home. Our sixth sense is more powerful than we give it credit for!


 I've learned the importance of praying for my children while they are in school. I also pray for them when they cross my mind throughout the day.


Mothers can't be everywhere nor can we see everything, but we have an intuition that let's us know when something just isn't right. 


Listen to the voice...Pay attention to the feeling

Cut Your Own Toenails!

 
A couple days ago, I noticed Firstborn was in desperate need for a pedicure, so I told him to cut his toenails. When he walked out of the room, hubby and I had this brief conversation.

Hubby: "I thought you cut the boys' toenails."

Me: " WHAT?"  "You're kidding right?"

Hubby: "You use to."

Me:  "OH MY GOD!  Yeah, I use to cut them WHEN THEY WERE TODDLERS WITH CUTE FEET! Where have you been the past few years? Those feet are no longer cute!"

I sure hope hubby wasn't hinting that he wanted me to give him a pedicure. I did this for hubby once in my love is blind days. Sorry, I can see clearly now and you'll have to cut your own toenails. LOL!







Be Gone Busyness!


 With a few weeks left in December, I already have appointments and speaking engagements scheduled for the month of January. I promised myself I would not commit to busyness, but productivity – there is a difference. I don’t want a plate filled with non productive events simply to appease someone else’s agenda. I want to be used by God instead of using God for personal gain or to validate my busyness.  I would be crazy and divorced if I agreed to each request I received.
I have to remind myself that only what I do for Christ will last. My family is my first ministry and having two active sons in separate schools and a high maintenance husband is a full time job requiring much overtime; there is little room for much else. Not having time to rest, renew my mind, enjoy my sons, spend quality time with hubby, and especially spend consecrated, contemplated time with my Creator is a sure sign of my busyness. Busyness isn’t a symbol of importance, yet reminds me my priorities are a little off.  Jesus was a simple man – never rushed and always about His Father’s business. I need to be about my Father’s business also. I’m not so important that I can’t be replaced, so it’s important I allow God to order my steps in everything I’m asked to do and activities I desire to participate in. One helpful tool I use is remembering I’m in control of my stress level. I create my own busyness; therefore I have a choice to make with each request…busyness or productivity?  

Look Behind You


 It seems like just yesterday I wrote about facing the unknowns of 2010 and the year is almost gone. If I had looked through a crystal ball to see what I had to endure this past year, I would have cried and questioned God’s plan for my life, but I’m still standing! I made it! Looking back, it was a piece of cake, but there were some rough storms to weather.  My marriage, my children, my peace, finances, faith, and even a few friendships were tested. I would have gladly welcomed the easy road this year, but I’m one of God’s hard headed daughters and very little is learned in good times. God really does know what is best for me – especially when He waits until the eleventh hour to answer my calls for help. Trying to make things happen and manipulate God’s plan for my life only made matters worse. As I prepare to face the unknowns of another year, all I have to do is look behind me. When I look behind me, I see how God has ALWAYS been there for me. Things ALWAYS work out, so there should be no fear in the upcoming year. When situations arise which invite the spirit of doubt, I must look behind me and remember God’s promises. I’m more than a conqueror!  God knows what is best for me! He said He would never leave me!  He is faithful! He is my Protector! He is my Healer! God loves me and knows exactly what I need and when I need it. He is my sufficiency in all things! So, whatever today, tomorrow, or the next year holds, look behind you and be assured that everything is already alright! 

Kitchen Transformation


    While at my parent’s home this weekend, I realized the kitchen I grew up in had gone through some major changes. The cabinet color changed. The walls and even the flooring changed. The memories are still there, but the character of the kitchen has gone through a major transformation over the years. I thought of my days in the kitchen as a little girl and how I have also gone through a major transformation. The little girl became a woman.  Even as a grown woman, there is transformation taking place. My seasons of womanhood invite challenging experiences and life lessons with purpose of molding me into a stronger and wiser wife and mother – a better woman.    

Another new year is quickly approaching and as I look back over the years, transformation should be evident in every facet of my life. If the same things that bothered me two years ago are still bothering me, something must change. If the same people who irritated me last year are still irritating me, something must change. If I’m still struggling with the same weight and health issues I struggled with five years ago, something must change. Transformation should not only be visible in my physical life, but my emotional, mental, and spiritual life also. Change is good and necessary as we grow older. Just as the changes in my parent’s kitchen showed improvement, changes in my life should show visible improvement also. It’s time for transformation!

I Tried!


  I decided to get off the sofa and run in place while watching the last four minutes of the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants’ football game last night. Exciting as the game was, I had difficulty running out the four minutes. I tried encouraging myself, praying, and even thinking of a wonderful ending to this meditation, but nothing worked. My mind was saying, “Stop! You’ve done enough!”  I had great intentions, but with exactly 2:51 left in the game, my body followed my mind and I stopped running. Four minutes can turn into fourteen minutes in a televised game with the time outs and station breaks, so I know I ran more than two minutes. Well, at least I tried!

With the holidays approaching, I hear a lot of talk about monitoring food intake and gaining weight.  One thing we forget is our body is not our own – it belongs to God. We don’t have the right to eat what we want nor do we have a right not to exercise our temple.  God knows our heart and will bless our intentions, so to attempt an exercise regime and monitor our food intake is a great start.

My will power will never be as strong as God’s supernatural power, so temple maintenance without Him leads to disaster. I always fail, but I can do ALL THINGS through Christ who strengthens me. Today is a new day with new opportunities to bring God glory through my temple. One day at a time, one meal at a time, and one exercise regime at a time is the only way to tackle this – with God!  Happy Thanksgiving to you and remember….everything in moderation!

Come to Mama!


Today makes the second time hubby has dropped by the house during his working hours to drop off a bottle of 409 cleaner. Is 409 his idea of a beautiful bouquet of flowers? Is he telling me to clean up? I'm not sure what the deal is, but each time, I act excited and give him a big hug. Yeah, 409 is one of my favorite cleaners, but....  Oh forget it, I'll take the act of kindness any way I can get it! LMBO! Thanks, hubby! I love it and it smells so good!

By the way....the bottle of 409 came with this.... "Do you wanna go to dinner and a movie tonight?"

Come to mama, 409! Mama is gettin' ready to use you up!

Dip Me!

 I had one of my church family members laughing when I told her why I wore a red dress to worship service yesterday. Remember the scene from the movie, Carrie, when she stood on stage and a bucket of blood was poured on her? Sunday, I felt like I needed to be covered from head to toe – submerged - dipped in the blood of Jesus.

This weekend, I was surrounded by more than a few things to remind me of the troubled world we live in. Not only did I view more than a few disturbing things, but I thought a few disturbing thoughts as well. I saw girls dressed like they were looking for a corner, I heard young boys talking about finding Mary Jane (not a girl), and I heard whispers of deceitfulness, jealousy, gossip, and lies. 

Friday and Saturday was all I could take, by Sunday I felt a need to be washed – dipped in the blood. Although the red dress was just my personal symbol of being covered, it sure helped my mindset. Although I have to live in this world, I sure don’t have to be of the world! Sunday night before going to bed, I turned the television on and surprisingly, I caught the Jesus movie right at the scene of the crucifixion. Coincidence? Not at all, but another reminder to focus on the powerful blood of Jesus. Because He shed His blood, I have life, health, deliverance from evil, and salvation!  I don’t have my red dress on today, but whatever I see, hear, or endure; it’s already alright because I’m covered by the blood!

Sigh...

 I hate to say it, but it looks like Secondborn will have the teenage blues worse than Firstborn ever had them.  Mr. Sunshine, Mr. Smiley, the example of Jesus in our home has taken a small detour down moody lane. I'm sure he'll be back...yeah, he'll be back....won't he? Pleeease, come back!  He started early because he won't be 13 for another six months. I guess this is the prep stage (smile).

This morning I don't know if I got on his nerves or if he got on mine worse, but I knew we needed some space between us, so instead of driving him to his bus stop, I let him walk - again. When he walked off, I noticed he had not brushed his hair, so I politely asked him if he brushed it and he mumbled back into the house. Uh....I'm just trying to help you.


Sometimes teens just want to be left alone. Sometimes they don't want our help. Sometimes they don't want to hear our voices - although they need us. Sigh...one day at a time! 

I try not to send my boys off to school with me talking at them and correcting them, but this morning was one of those mornings. I'm sure it won't be the last time, but I THANK GOD for Firstborn and the initiation he gave me into the teen years.  It's time to pull out my secret weapon that always works like a charm. When they do something that doesn't make ANY sense or it seems like they are deliberately trying to get a reaction from you....DON'T REACT, SMILE, and SING IF NECESSARY!

Lalalalaaaaa....it's going to be a great day!




Shut Up and Pray!

 
    Hubby tries to make sure I have everything I need, but date nights aren’t a priority of his. I enjoy spending time with hubby - without the boys. I’ve talked about this way too much over the years, and my dissatisfaction was turning sour. Miss Flesh wanted to give hubby a piece of her mind, but instead, I was led to shut up and pray.

Friday afternoon, hubby called and asked if I wanted to go to dinner and a movie. Wow! I was excited and wanted to call my sister, my prayer partner, and a few other people, but I new better. Thank God I didn’t because Friday and Saturday passed and I didn’t see dinner or a movie. All I saw was mean and ugly on my face and in my heart.  Sunday came with no mention of dinner. Shut up and pray…shut up and pray!  My prayer was to show love – in spite of how I felt. Grrrrrr…

Coming home from church, I was reminded that Christians don’t battle with the flesh, but there are wicked forces out there trying to kill, still, and destroy my relationship with hubby. Miss Flesh wanted to sarcastically ask what happened to her dinner and movie, but was led to once again, shut up and pray; so I did. We pulled into the garage and hubby told the boys to go in the house because he and I were going somewhere. Yep, hubby took me out to eat. Miss Flesh wanted to ask about the movie, but I was so full and happy, I was ready to go home. I thanked God all the way home. I also let hubby know how appreciative I was for our long overdue date.  

Life Lesson – Knowing when to shut up and pray allows God to show His power and increases my faith. God doesn’t need my help and hubby doesn’t need my lip talk (nagging).

Crazy Conversation

I just had to share this crazy conversation Firstborn and I had. I left scratching my head and wishing I had never initiated it.


Me: "What are you wearing to school today?"


Firstborn: "What do you mean?"


Me: hesitating  "What are you wearing to school today?"


Firstborn: "I don't know what you mean."


Me: "I don't know of any other way to ask the question. Boy, what are you wearing to school today?"


Firstborn: "Oh, you never asked me before, so I didn't understand."



Me: sighing  "Okay, now that you understand. What are you wearing to school today?"



Firstborn: "Pants and a shirt."


Me: in my mind - #@!*


Anti Poptart Mom Falls

 This morning, not one sausage was browned, not one pancake was flipped, not one slice of bread was toasted, not one biscuit was buttered, nor was a pot of grits cooked. I can't believe it, but this is the first morning since school started that I did not cook someone breakfast. Wow. It actually felt good and to top it off, I asked Firstborn if he could buy some milk or a pop tart at school. I'm ANTI-POP TART, so he probably wondered if I was sick.

It's actually a reason for this out of character morning...Firstborn got in extremely late from an out of town football game, which meant I had to wake up out of a deep sleep to pick him up when the team arrived back in town. Of course he was hungry and had to recap the game. He also got hurt during the game, so I donned the late shift, nurse maid hat - I was so sleepy.  When he finally got comfortable and went to bed, it was well after midnight.  Where is hubby during all this? Conveniently out of town.

Needless to say, wake up call came waaay to early and I wasn't feeling the kitchen kudos at all. The only kudo I received was one I gave myself.....If I don't take care of myself, no one else will.

You know what else I noticed this morning? Firstborn or Secondborn didn't attempt to cook for themselves and they know how to heat a skillet as well as I do.  Hmmm....that's another blog post.

Change the Channel

 The boys are out of school today and I THOUGHT I would be free from transporting Firstborn to school, but it turns out he has football practice early this morning. Good grief! I allowed myself a couple of minutes to sulk about not getting my way then set my mind on something more pleasant. Miss Flesh wanted me to complain about it a little longer and set my mind on the disgruntled channel. I’m about sick of Miss Flesh and her attempt to control me. We may not have limited access to the television remote control in our home, but we own the remote to our mindset. If a thought or situation is attempting to set your mind on an unpleasant channel, change the channel! There are a few good channels out there like joy, contentment, peace. The channel of thankfulness is always great.

We have a choice on what channel our mindset will be on, so why do we choose to entertain so much negative? Probably because it’s easier to just marinate on the mess than take the effort to change the channel. Well, for me and my mindset, we choose contentment and my desire is to keep my mind set on that channel all day. What about you? What channel are you choosing to set your mind on?

To Bathe or Not to Bathe?

 
An older woman and I were recently talking and she mentioned her granddaughter's cycle had arrived. Hooray! Yeah, right!  She was actually very excited about it, but I guess at 60 or 70 years old, you can be excited about Aunt Flo since you haven't seen her in years.

We continued talking about the challenges young girls face with their cycles and how they must deal with Aunt Flo for many years of their adult life. This older, wise woman also told me we shouldn't bathe during that time of the month. Hmmm...I've heard of older women saying they didn't wash their hair or go outside after bathing during that time of the month, but I've never heard of not bathing at all.  She really didn't have an explanation for it besides, "That's just what we use to do."


Some women flow extremely heavy and choose not to bathe; it's a choice.


I don't have girls (thank God), but for everyone with daughters, what do you think?

To bathe or not to bathe?  Leave your comment and possibly help the mothers out with young girls who will meet Aunt Flo soon!


Distractions


 While traveling on the highway yesterday, the above picture was my view. Beautiful trees and blue skies provided a very pleasant drive.  I couldn’t help but thank God for being God as I observed His amazing creation. As I continued driving, my wandering thoughts took me to several places in my life. The beautiful scenery was still present, yet I wasn’t noticing it. My mind was not on God’s amazing creation, but on my life – money, marriage, children, ideas, fast approaching holidays, things to do, etc…yuck.  Off and on, I would revisit the beautiful scenery, but only when my thoughts went back to God. Life is the same way. God’s beauty and goodness is always around me, yet my thoughts dictate my recognition of them. God doesn’t change, the beautiful scenery around me doesn’t change, but my thoughts do. I allowed the issues in my life to distract me from God. This life lesson while driving blew me away. I began praising God and thanking Him for reminding me to keep my mind on Him because when I do, my mindset is different, my wandering thoughts are in check, and my peace is perfect. Thank you, Jesus! It doesn’t matter what my money matters are, what mess is in my marriage, or what’s ahead on the winding highway (my day).  As long as I keep my mind on Him, everything is already alright. What can I do about anything anyway? Not a doggone thing! Today I will not marinate on mental mess, but meditate on God’s goodness.

Exhaling... Happy Monday ladies! Enjoy the scenery!

Attitude In The City

 Ooooweeee! This morning was attitude city in our home. After a peaceful time of quiet meditation and prayer and an early morning walk, I came home to.....uh.....well, let me just tell the story.

It really wasn't a big deal, but I was on such a joyful high until Secondborn woke up and tried to pour mud on my joy. Secondborn wakes up asking if he had time to wash a pair of shorts. Excuse me? Hubby was still home, so instead of using my breath, I told him to ask his father because I knew what the answer would be.  Not only did Secondborn get the big NO, he got a lecture. heehee

Secondborn then came in the kitchen and sat. Yes, he wakes in the morning and will SIT until I tell him to get up. I knew he was sitting to get on my nerves (upset about the shorts), so I let him sit, and sit, and sit. He could have sat until school started - I was determined to keep my joy! I immediately turned on some spiritual music to drown out his hum drums and sighs.....Lord, help me! 

He finally got up and I told him to come and eat, but he states he isn't hungry. This was another intentional joy killer because I HATE it when he doesn't eat breakfast and he knows how I feel about starting the day with breakfast. Instead of reacting and stirring up a parent/child debate, this smart mama recognized the joy killer and I let his stomach and brain reap the consequences of malnutrition. I told him not to call me when he got a headache or stomach ache. Grrrrrr

Time to walk out the door. Son, did you brush your teeth? He sighs and walks toward the bathroom as if I told him to go in the bathroom and pull his own teeth out without anesthesia. Good grief, boy! Why go to school and kill everyone with your halitosis?Sigh....

His teeth were brushed, he had on jeans instead of shorts, his stomach was empty, and he was ready for school. We prayed together as we always do, but after the prayer he asked to walk to the bus stop. I usually take him, but I let him walk and I drove up later to wait for the bus. I could tell he was still in a funky mood, so maybe he needed some time to clear his head before school. Everyone deserves time alone. 


I gave him time to get to the bus stop and guess what I see? Secondborn was running, playing, and LAUGHING while playing tag with the other boys. What the .......?   He obviously found his own joy since he couldn't steal and kill mine!

Hmmm...Secondborn will be an official teenager in less than six months, are these signs for preparation? Well, little does he know this Mama has already been through teenage initiation with Firstborn and I REFUSE to travel that road again. I WILL keep my joy!



Rescue Me!

If you follow the Momsweb Blog, you’ve read about Secondborn being bullied in middle school. It is a mother’s natural instinct to run to the rescue when a child is in trouble, but as our children grow older, rescuing isn’t always the answer.

Yesterday, I visited Mary, the mother of Jesus. After years of watching her son wrongfully accused and abused, she had to watch him bleed to death on the cross. Although, this visit was in my mind, it was real in my heart. I’m sure Mary wanted to rescue her son. Instead, she was forced to watch. There was a bigger plan that couldn’t be interrupted. The same goes for Secondborn - and every other child. Mothers want to protect our babies from the hard knocks of life, yet some of the knocks must be felt. I am in no way, comparing a child’s challenges to being crucified, but I am comparing how pain and suffering can produce power. There is always a bigger plan.

The ironic part of all this is that I call Secondborn the Jesus in our home because of his compassion, giving spirit, and servant attitude. Just as Jesus suffered, he must suffer also – we all must have our dose of suffering, yet would prefer being rescued. I initially wanted to visit Secondborn’s school, be the crazy mother I am, and beat bully’s butt. God suffocated my motherly instinct to run to the rescue. As it turns out, Secondborn will be able to help other children being bullied and be a voice for the many who have committed suicide because of bullying.  There is a bigger plan that can’t be interrupted. 

Is your child enrolled in the school of hard knocks? Are you using your motherly intuition to discern when to answer the knock and when not to?

Read more about Secondborn in our blog, Life in Middle School

Romans 8:18 (NLT)
Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.

My Baby is Being Bullied

My baby boy was excited about going to public school. Little did he know what was ahead of him.

Visit our blog at Life in Middle School
www.bullysandmore.blogspot.com

 

Embarrassing Brown Bag




  “Mama, do you think you can buy me a black shirt?” “Can you buy the material for my project?” “Can I go to the dance?”  These are just a few recent requests of Firstborn. Yesterday he asked to go to the store to buy a drink for .75 cents, which was all the money he had. Since his summer job of cutting grass is over, a cash flow lesson was needed.  Instead of lecturing him about spending his last penny on something he didn’t need, I told him he needed to take his lunch to school one or two days this week to assist with the cash flow into his pocket. He chose not to buy the drink to avoid the embarrassing brown bag. Brown bags are obviously not cool. Cool or not, son you will be brown bagging it one day this week or you’ll be hungry! I didn’t want to go this route, but it was necessary. Later in the evening, I reminded him about his brown bag lunch and I received a very quiet, “Yes Ma’am.”  He’ll be okay, and this mama will make sure it’s one of the best brown bag lunches ever. It’ll be so good; he’ll want to take another one – maybe. I’m sure Firstborn’s purchase requests will continue and regardless if they are wants or needs, as long as he does his part, it’s okay.  As a mother, I have an obligation to not only provide the needs and wants of my children, but to teach them how these needs and wants are met, how to generate their own income, and how to cut back! Mothers should also set an example. Break out the brown bags!

II Thessalonians 3:10

… "If a man will not work, he shall not eat."

Teenage Attire

I'm so happy we didn't spend a bunch of money on school clothes for the boys because they have a closet full of clothes, but it seems like they wear the same clothes week after week. T-shirts and shorts, T-shirts and shorts.  Firstborn will at least mix it up a bit with some color and collared shirts, but Secondborn wears the same brown and green to school week, after week, after week. I told him his teachers were going to think he didn't have any clothes and take up a donation for him. 

I sure won't complain about this because at least they're doing their laundry. 
If you wanna wear it, you gotta wash it. If Mama washes it, she may hide it!
Hmmm...where is my brown shirt?




Make My Day!


 When the boys wake up, I have no idea what kind of morning disposition they’ll have, so I try to be prepared. Talkative, lazy, disgruntled, or full of scheme to wear what they want to school could be the case in this house. My older sister, mother of two grown boys, told me not reacting to her sons’ unacceptable behavior worked like a charm for her. Her youngest went through a gothic stage and she never said a word through his entire black season. Eventually the darkness disappeared. I’m a woman of many words, so ignoring my sons’ actions takes a lot of effort, but I can do it. This applies to dealing with anyone throughout the day – inside and outside the home. People are a challenge. I can’t escape them – they are everywhere. I can’t change their actions, but I can control my reaction to them. A try-me teen, troubled tween, cranky co-worker, nosey neighbor, helpless husband, finicky friend, long red light, slow driver, or even a phone call can be a trap to trip us up and ruin our day. Our anger, frustration, or lack of patience is what trips us…not the trap itself. The trap has no power. I have to remind myself throughout the day that God gave me the power to make my day – no one or nothing else. These trifling traps must be used to empower me. Each one must be recognized as a tool to strengthen me for the next trap coming. This is the attitude a woman of God must have.  We must be ready to walk over those traps, not be tripped by them. Let’s turn those traps into triumphs! So, are we ready for the day? Get ready – set – go! Go ahead, make my day!

Psalm 118:24 (NIV)
This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Touch Me!

 Sunday morning, I awoke tired, irritable, and I didn’t feel like being bothered. I was aware of my raging hormones, so I quickly connected to my power source before I interacted with anyone. I went to my quiet place and practically begged God for strength, energy, power, and a new attitude. I felt foul, but awakened the boys up with my happy voice, “Rise and shine, Give God the glory!” I wasn’t feeling happy or God’s glory, yet trying to get out of my funk. Hubby walked by me and hit me on my behind several times. I felt like punching him, but didn’t. I simply ignored him as I continued to pray for God’s covering. The only touch I desired was a touch from above. Eventually, Miss Flesh and her foulness disappeared. It took a while; but it happened. God’s power can break through the strongest of ungodly emotions, moods, and attitudes. A woman deals with so many seasons of change in her body, but as long as we are under God’s control, we can maintain a peace within us that surpasses all understanding. Our moods and emotions may change like the wind, but holding on to God’s unchanging hand is our hope. As I allowed Him to saturate me with His Spirit and as I continually recalled His promises, His sweet, loving spirit covered my foul spirit. Monday is a new day with new needs for God’s covering. As I cover my physical, I allow Him to cover my spiritual. I need God’s touch in order to touch others with His love – inside and outside the home.  The song, He Touched Me, is playing in my head as I type.  Touch me, Lord!  

Children Battle Too!


 Adults aren't the only ones battling in life. Children also battle life in their own age specific way. While toddlers are busy having their personal temper tantrums, tweens and teens are battling peer pressure, mood swings, keeping their mouth shut, teachers, grades, and friends. They even battle against their own bodies and minds as they transition into young adults. Some battle each morning with having to go to school!

I try to remember this when I send the boys off to school and when I welcome them home. The one place they should feel safe and secure from the battles of life is at home. Home is where children should be strengthened with love and words of encouragement. If home isn't a safe haven for our children, they are sure to find one!

Fussing, cussing, nagging, and talking at our children instead of talking to them can be rough on a young mind. I know, I know, how many times do you have to tell them to take out the trash, wash the dishes, or clean their room before you raise your voice? I know; I'm there!

I realized raising my voice wasn't producing the results I wanted, so it was time to try something new...a lower tone with an increase in patience - teens have their own time line. They'll get the job done as long as you don't expect it to be done immediately. The last thing I want is for my sons to hate hearing me call their name. Hmmm... it might be a little too late!

Do this, do that, didn't I tell you to do this, why didn't you do that? Wouldn't it be horrible to know our children hear us as Charlie Brown's teacher? Oh my!

Anyway, remember the unspoken battles your children are having. They'll be grown and gone soon, so make their home memories joyful ones.

Monday's Mess

   
 I awoke a little late this morning, jumped out of bed, grabbed my shoes and clothes, and ran out the door for my morning walk. I got half way down the street and realized I didn’t have a bra on, so headed back to the house. I was already running late, so just decided not to go. Monday’s mess is starting already. I realized the bra wasn’t the reason I returned home, but I walked right by my quiet place of meditation this morning, so I felt I was being led back home to begin my day the right way. The nerve of me - the one thing I needed the most, my source of strength, energy, and power, was the one thing I pushed aside. Why make such a big deal out of it? Well, God didn’t forget to give me breath this morning! God didn’t forget to open my eyelids this morning! God didn’t forget to wake me with the activity of my limbs! How dare I not make a big deal out of it?  As mothers and wives, we are the fuel that keeps our home running, so it is crucial to refuel and renew our mind, body, and soul every morning – with Him. How else do we expect to have a day of peace and order? Anyway, I pushed my rewind button and sat down to meditate, pray, and begin my day… the right way. 

We sometimes talk about Mondays being difficult, but Monday has no power to do anything except roll around each week as scheduled. We allow Mondays to stress us out and push those buttons we thought were out of order. Starting our day the right way will run Monday’s mess away and allow us to enjoy a day of love, joy, and peace! 

Have a marvelous Monday!

Firstborn's Prayer


Firstborn came home from a long day of school and football practice. He sat down with his dinner plate and thanked me for the meal.  As usual, he bowed his head to thank God for his meal and as I watched him from the kitchen, my heart rejoiced. His head was bowed for longer than usual, so I began to thank God that Firstborn wasn't too tired to spend a few minutes in prayer. This was all too unusual, so I interrupted Firstborn by calling his name. He looked up at me and guess what he was doing? Yes, his head was bowed, but he also had his cell phone in his hands and he was TEXTING! I began to thank God that I did not turn into a mad woman and jump across the dining room table to snatch the cell phone out of his hand! Grrrrrr...

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All My Children



    Many think I love being around children because of my passion for motherhood. Well, childcare and children’s ministry is not my forte. My passion is nurturing and raising my own children! I know, selfish huh? To be honest, I didn’t even want to have children, but thank God for knowing me better than I know myself. It’s also evident that God has a sense of humor because a strong desire to actively participate in Secondborn’s school is burning within me. Sigh…okay, Lord. You must have planted this seed while I was sleeping because I sure didn’t see it coming. 

Each time my home is full of young boys, I’m reminded my passion for mothering should extend beyond my two sons. Some of the boys visiting our home don’t have a father in their home, have parents that are always working to make ends meet, and some have parents of the same gender.  It truly takes a village to raise a child. When I visit Secondborn’s school, I’m also reminded that children can’t always be blamed for their behavior – some haven’t been taught. Instead of shaking my head and thanking God for my well behaved child, I need to share my passion of mothering with these children. How selfish of me to not share my love, time, and energy with all God’s children.  
                         
I have no idea in what capacity I’ll be helping Secondborn’s school, but I know I’ll need God’s compassion and patience because sometimes I get tired of my own children. I’m sure I have many life lessons ahead of me.  The first lesson being I have more than two children to nurture -  if they are in my presence, they are all my children.

Mark 10:16 (NIV)
And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.

Chasing Money

 My first week with both boys in school has passed. I’ve entertained many thoughts and found out a lot about myself – yes, in just a week. I’ve been able to hear myself think and also hear that soft voice of God that sounds like a whisper. Speak up, God. What did you say?

I’ve been offered a few jobs that are willing to pay me for my time. One was a job to teach children reading a few hours a week. All the job offers were appealing, but I turned each one down. I realized it was the money that was appealing…not the job. I was following the money and not that whispering voice. For the last ten years, I’ve poured myself into homeschooling my children. I promised God I would pour myself into Him and ‘step back’ and wait for His move. It wasn’t easy turning those jobs down because who can’t use extra money?

I told hubby I was proud of myself for turning the jobs down. This is a time for me to be still and wait for my next assignment…from God. I’m notorious, as most women are, for jumping from one project to another and creating things to do. No wonder we’re always tired! There is a difference in being busy and being productive…for Him. I refuse to fill my calendar up with side jobs and special projects. In the end, will any of this matter? When I follow God’s leading with my gifts, He blesses my family beyond my imagination. I don’t have to chase money, I just have to follow Him. I want my time to be orchestrated by God. After all, it's His time anyway! 

Only what you do for Christ will last

I've heard this phrase so many times, but couldn't find it in the Bible. Not sure if it's scripture, but if you know, let me know!

The Black June Cleaver


 If you know anything about me, you know I HATE the labels mothers use to identify themselves. Working mom, stay at home mom, part-time mom, work at home mom...what a bunch of baloney! We're all mothers and we all work. Isn't this enough?


Anyway, to live in this society, you can bet if you're a mother, you'll have a label slapped on your forehead. I guess I'm a stay at home mom since I'm at home, right? It doesn't matter that I'm an aspiring author. Both boys are gone to school and I'm left at the house to....stay at home?

Everyone is asking what I intend to do with all my time. Hmmm..what will I do with my time? Well, what did June Cleaver do with her time? You remember her, don't you? The mother on the Leave it to Beaver television show? Some of you may be too young to remember. Well, this woman sent her husband and two sons out the door with a full stomach and lunch bags and greeted them at the door with a smile when they returned. I'm not sure what she did in between those times because the show was built around her taking care of the family. I must have missed the episode where she volunteered at school and in the community. Oh, don't forget her church ministry. I'm sure she was quite busy there also.

Well, whatever June Cleaver did, I'm doing it and I'm loving every minute of it. I'm embracing my new season of life and proudly wearing the title of The Black June Cleaver. 

No Parent Pressure!


   Secondborn will be joining Firstborn in the public school world this morning. Yes, my formal homeschooling days have ended. I say formal because as a mother, the teaching and training never ends. Not only is today the first day of school, but also the first day of new trials, tests, and temptations for the boys. All school aged children are faced with difficult decisions that seem simple to adults. Just say no!  Confusing choices will fill their minds and cloud their thinking. I must trust the training both boys have been given – not academics, but character, morals, and values. I learned from Firstborn’s first year of public school to not set any expectations, however, I must admit; I do have one – just one. I will expect them to act like children. This realistic expectation will prepare me for…whatever. Expecting the boys to act like mature adults is my desire, but I’d be deceiving myself to think they would act like anyone besides who they are – children. My simple expectation does not excuse them from discipline, but excuses them from constant parent pressure. Peer pressure is more than enough! Children are bound to do some foolish things, so it shouldn’t surprise us. After all, they are children, right? Our children will definitely have some experiences this new school year, but it’s the mother’s reaction to the experiences that will determine their failure or success.

May you have a peaceful and productive new school year!

Proverbs 22:15 (NKJV)
Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of correction will drive it far from him.

Get Out Of My Way!


I was out of town Saturday, but awoke early with an urge to exercise. I found a walking trail and started my walk.  While enjoying the scenery and early morning breeze, I noticed huge dirt mounds and parked tractors ahead of me – the trail was under construction. I slowed down contemplating whether to turn around or press forward. There were no construction men around to stop me, so I kept going. Yep, I went right through those dirt mounds and tractor trailers and continued my walk. I get so tired of excuses for not doing what I’m led to do.
It’s one thing to have a simple notion cross my mind, but when a strong urge from deep within is strongly leading me to move, I need to move.  I joyfully completed my walk while praying to press forward in my life and be all God wants me to be. I need to stay in a place of peace to hear His soft voice and not allow the voices of friends, family, or self to get in my way. Keeping my eyes on God and not the obstacles around me  keeps my focus on His calling.  Even the daily calls to act and make decisions regarding the boys, friends, finances, health, a new endeavor, or loving hubby when I don’t feel like it are important.

When we answer His calls without hesitation or doubt, our lives are more productive and fulfilling. How about you? Have you felt an urge to act on something that just won't leave your mind?

Philippians 3:14 (NKJV)
I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Thursday's Thought - Sleeping Teens


  Firstborn could sleep all day....if I allowed him to. When he first started hibernating, I almost made a doctor's appointment for him because I thought he was sick! Instead, I did some research and was thankful to find out that Firstborn's sleeping habits were normal - for teenagers.

During the summer, I let him sleep, and sleep, and sleep, but I couldn't deal with knowing someone was sleeping in the house past 10 a.m. - wrong mama!  I woke him up to do a few chores, read, cut grass, and participate in life. Of course, when he finished his list of tasks, he dived right back into bed until football practice. On the way home from practice, he'd say how he couldn't wait to go to sleep. Good grief, boy!

With the new school year quickly approaching, I'm directing his sleep cycle back to that of a normal human being. Sorry son, no sleeping past 8 a.m., and bedtime will draw closer to 10:30 p.m. Is he happy about it? Of course not, but he'll thank me later - maybe.  Not only is proper sleep important to succeed in school studies, but it's crucial to prevent those mood swings the rest of the family has to deal with.

What about you? Do you allow your teenager to sleep all day? Is there a bedtime for your teen? How do you deal with your sleeping teen?

For more information on teen sleep habits, visit the below link.
Sleeping Teens

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/teens-health/CC00019

Do You Have Time?

A mother mentioned she needed to scrape a few things off her plate to make herself more available to her daughter. With a new school year quickly approaching, getting home late in the evenings doesn't always mix with homework and extracurricular activities. Another mother recently watched her last baby go off to college. College? Already? I also attended a college graduation party over the weekend and it was hard to believe how much this young lady had matured; I was having a conversation with a little girl all grown up!

Time does fly by and it's the quality time we spend with our children that will matter in the end. Making ourselves available is crucial and although everyone wants our time, our children need our time. We must take advantage of the passing moments as they fly by. There won't be a second chance - this is it.

My toddler is now a teen and it seemed to happen over night. Sigh...

I thank God for the mothers who've allowed me to participate in their child's life. Watching these mothers prepare their babies for life and say goodbye to them has truly been a difficult life lesson for me, yet extremely beneficial. Watching their children mature before my eyes has stressed the limited time I have with my own.

Our children must eventually leave our laps, but knowing that precious lap time was spent wisely offers a mother comfort - comfort in knowing we did our part and grasped every available moment to make ourselves more available to them.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NIV)
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven...

Thursday's Thought -TMI


How much information is too much information in regard to introducing children to sickness and death? How young is too young to introduce a child to funerals, hospitals, and death?

My sons were introduced to death by the passing of their half brother. They attended the funeral, viewed his body and went to the cemetery. Yes, it was a lot to digest, but in my opinion, death is a part of life.

Another mother had ill parents and spent much of her time in the hospital caring for them. Her young children were right there helping her. She thought it was important for her children to participate in the care of their ill grandparents.

On the other hand, some parents choose not to expose their children to death and sickness until they are at an appropriate age to understand and handle pain and grief. After all, if it's hard for adults, it's got to be more difficult for children.

What are your thoughts?


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My Birthday Glass


Every weekday morning, shortly after 5 a.m., my telephone rings and a voice on the other ends says, “Happy Birthday!” The voice is my prayer partner and we recognize each new day as a day of new beginnings, new birth, and a reason to celebrate. She recently gave me a birthday gift, which was a beautiful goblet decorated with colorful birthday wishes, balloons, and candles. I cherish my glass and decided to use it each morning as I thanked God for a new day, new opportunities, new possibilities, new mercies, and a new beginning.


Well, the first day I used my glass, it was accidentally broken. As I picked up the broken pieces, my Life Lesson for LaVender was pieced together. Just as my cherished glass was broken, I too, must be broken. To be created and sit pretty is not God’s will for me, but to go through the fire of life with some struggles, tears, and brokenness is. How beneficial am I without a story – without a testimony?

Only the foundation of my beautiful, celebration glass broke, so it can still be used – just as my life is more effective after being broken. I used my glass this morning and realized I value it even more. Not only does it have a powerful story, but it reminds me that I wasn’t promised a rose garden. Joy comes with pain and rainbows come only after some rain. Although everyday may not go as I desire, each new day should be cherished and celebrated! My prayer partner had no idea her birthday glass would have such significance! I thank God for her and my broken glass. Happy Birthday!

Psalm 51:17 (NLT)
The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit.

Fit For Society?


I chuckle when I think of what my younger sister said to me one month while I was dealing with a bout of pms/peri-menopause emotions mixed with my own Evilina attitude. "You aren't fit to deal with society. Even if you think you're okay, you're not."  Leave it to a family member to tell you about yourself. I respect my sister's opinion and I'm reminded of her statement each month.

You can't see me through my blog, and I'm sure I seem to be a level headed mother and wife who consistently strives to be Christ-controlled and is open to receiving and learning from life lessons and you know what? You're right, however, have you ever heard of The Other Side of Midnight? Well, someone needs to make a movie or write a book titled, The Other Side of Motherhood.

Oh, you don't deal with mood swings from time to time? You don't deal with irritability and the horror of hormones each month? I'm sorry, you must have the wrong blog then. This is a blog about the REALITY of motherhood and hormones are a part of our life. That's the mask I'm talking about in We Snap in Silence. We hide these ugly things about ourselves and allow only our 'I've got it together' faces to show in public. Well, I've only got one face - my own, and it's not always pretty, kind, and loving....especially when dealing with the horror of hormones.

We all deal with it on different levels and stages of our life, but face it...it's alive and well in the body of every woman. If you don't think you deal with it, maybe you should ask somebody. You know, what we see in the mirror is not what everyone else sees. Hmmm...

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The Light From #6


"Everyone looks tired except #6."

 This is what a woman said to me over the weekend while watching a basketball game. Although it was the opposing team, I happened to know #6. I proudly mentioned this young man's strong spiritual connection with God. She nodded her head and said, "I should have known." She went on and on about #6 and his obvious enthusiasm, confidence, and how he showed no signs of growing weary throughout the game.

I immediately thought of how women are always tired, yet some of us show it more than others. Our hair, nails, clothes, attitude, and sometimes our home will show signs of our task-filled, overwhelming days.  Yes, #6 is a teenager full of youthful energy, but his spiritual connection was a light that a stranger noticed. Regardless of my daily spiritual, physical, or emotional circumstances, my light should be visible also. Thank you, #6, for a very unusual reminder to stay connected to the true source of strength, energy, and power that is always available to me.

Another week is upon me full of things to do and people to see, but remembering where my help comes from gives me a better attitude other than my here we go again attitude. Let's face it . As a woman, wife, and mother, our never ending responsibilities aren't going away, but our secure connection to the source will allow us to work in God's never tiring, supernatural power and not in our own limited power.

Have a joyful week in Motherhood and stay connected to The Source!

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Are You Watching?


The boys went skating last night and as badly as I wanted to drop them off, my motherly instinct said otherwise, so I reluctantly stayed.  The skating rink was full of pretty girls in tight pants. It was a fun night for them and I have no doubt they could have had more fun if their mother wasn't watching. Hubby and I raised the boys right, but that doesn’t excuse them from their own choices, temptation, or their puberty driven reactions to pretty girls in tight pants.

This morning when I sat at the computer, I noticed one of my sons downloaded Skype and didn’t close it out, so I was able to read the conversation. Although the content of the conversation was okay, the time of the call wasn’t. Outside the home isn’t the only place our children need to be watched. Texting, messages, friends, computer, television, music, and everything else in their life must be monitored! I can’t watch my sons 24/7 and I do sleep, but thank God for a mother’s intuition and the guidance of God to show me what I need to see. A mother's intuition is powerful, yet often ignored.

I now understand why one mother told me years ago, she thought it was more important to be at home with a teenager than a toddler. I don't put anything past my children and although sweet, they are boys and boys will be boys.

I will continue to watch and pray, watch and pray, and watch and pray. By the way, my son was talking to a girl on Skype; was it your daughter? Hope you're watching!

Luke 21:36 (NIV)

"Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen..."

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Have You Noticed?


Yesterday I watched Steven Spielberg’s, The Color Purple. It’s my favorite movie, and amazingly moves me each time I watch it.

One of my favorite parts is when Miss Celie and Shug Avery are having a conversation while walking through a field. Shug mentions how God probably gets upset when we walk by the color purple without noticing it. To notice God’s creation shows our love and appreciation for Him. If anyone knows about wanting to be appreciated, it’s a mother. Some of the everyday things we do are rarely noticed, but think how we feel when our hard work is recognized. Our God is no different in wanting His works to be recognized.

Mothers get so wrapped up with life, we sometimes forget to notice the life around us. If you don’t have time to stop and smell the roses, just notice them! Have you ever driven on a highway with trees and grass on both sides and out of nowhere is a patch of yellow or purple flowers? Have you looked up lately and noticed the awesome array of clouds and colors? Did you notice any birds singing this morning? We really don’t have to go outside to notice God’s creation. What about your office? Is there a plant or simple window view to take notice of? Look at your hands. Wow, our hands are God’s tools! What an amazing Creator we have! Not only should we take time to notice, but we should train our children to notice the life around them before they are consumed with living life.

Have a marvelous Monday and take notice of the life around you.

Genesis 1:1 (KJV)

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.


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Stir It Up!


   Mothers have more talent than we give ourselves credit for. We are able to creatively multi-task endless responsibilities, schedule logistics for several people going in different directions, manage diverse and sometimes difficult personalities, juggle planned and unplanned occasions, prepare meals to satisfy picky taste buds, create a safe and loving environment for all ages, and play peacemaker and judge at the same time while attempting to keep everyone happy. Isn’t it funny how we naturally do these things daily, but sometimes become clueless when it comes to showcasing our personal talent or gift? Some of us don’t even know what our talents or gifts are and if we do, we are hesitant to use them or come up with creative excuses to not use them.

These talents sit on the back burner waiting to be stirred up and served, but the only thing some of us feel comfortable serving is dinner. I thought about this while watching a documentary on rap artists. Rappers are making millions of dollars by simply expressing themselves and most of their expressions aren’t even understood! They fearlessly exhibit their talent whether anyone else thinks it’s a talent or not. I told hubby I was going to become Rappin’ Mama and asked Firstborn to help me with the music. If they can do it, so can I, right? Wrong! I don’t have their gift, but I do have my own and I need to fearlessly exhibit what God has placed in me. The key word is fearless. What’s stopping me from boldly using my gifts just as I boldly manage my home? What about you? Are you fearlessly using your gifts and talents as you do at home or on your job? It’s definitely something to think about. Let's stir it up!


2 Timothy 1:6 (NKJV)

Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you…

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