Category Archives: Kids

Series: College Life | Firsts…

I’m in my last semester of college for my BA in English. I have five, yes five, English courses this semester…and a husband, three kids, and a dog. And four of those classes have long book lists so needless to say, I have little time for anything.

With all that said, I miss being here. I am trying to make time to blog but honestly, I’m exhausted. Physically and emotionally. Especially since my last blog which told of another huge loss I’m dealing with. It’s still hard. It’s going to be hard. It’s life. Anyway, a professor from one of my writing classes gave us a writing exercise in class a couple days ago and I wanted to share it all with you…

The exercise: Write about a first or firsts…

“It was ice cold and stark white in the delivery room. Even though I hadn’t started pushing yet, I was already exhausted. It’s indescribable how those sharp, stabbing pains in my stomach and back had stolen any umph I could muster up. It was all I could do just to breathe through them.

Speaking of breathing, I hate that word. I hate focusing on breathing. There was a time in my life when holding my breathe was normal. It was safe. Here was this doctor standing beside me telling me to breathe. Frankly, I wanted to rip his lungs out and say, ‘You try breathing!’

Not to mention my husband standing there with an empathetic look. All I could think was he’d gotten me into this mess — he better figure out a way to get me through it. I wanted to stab him every time the knots got tighter inside. I felt like my body was attacking me, which I’d felt many times before, only this time, it wasn’t my body. It was this strange creature growing inside my body causing this crazy whirlwind of physical and emotional feelings.

I screamed at the doctor, ‘Just get him out!’

I was twenty-two. I wondered what God was thinking letting me have a kid. Didn’t He know how screwed up I was? Why would He trust me with an innocent little kid. I couldn’t even keep a cactus alive, but God expected me to keep a baby alive?

‘Push…’ I hear the nurses say, ‘You can do it…breathe, just breathe.’ I swore if I heard one more person say breathe I was going to smother them all with the extra pillows they’d stuffed behind me.

And then…

I saw these tiny red toes and heard this wimpy, pitiful cry. It was the first time I’d given birth…the first time I’d really known what love was…the first time I had a reason to breathe.”

So there you have it. That’s my creative story of firsts. Though portions of the story may be somewhat exaggerated, when I write, I write from my heart. So yes, that little creature that turned my world upside down…he gave me purpose. He gave me a reason to fight. We’ve had our moments. I’ve had my really crappy mom moments and he’s had his drive me crazy moments. He’s seventeen now. He’s a senior in high school. He’s a volunteer firefighter. He’s training to be an EMT. He’s a good boy. I’m thankful, but still surprised God trusted me to raise this kid…and his two siblings.

Through all the hard in life, in marriage, in parenting, in loss, in grief, in darkness…through it all, I depend on beauty like this to help me breathe again.

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Being made new…

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First off, I want to give a big shout out to all the moms out there – new moms, old moms, want-to-be moms, stepmoms, adoptive moms, foster moms, fill-in moms, angel moms, and any other moms.  Praise God for giving you hearts filled with joy in the midst of trials, minds filled with strength and hope in the midst of chaos and panic, courage and faith in the midst of worry and fear.  Thank you for doing the best job you could do – a job only a mother can do!

Now that you’re feeling like you’ve accomplished something, many of you are really a mess, right?

You’re tired.
You’re worn.
You’re not just worn, you’re exhausted.
You’re overjoyed.
You’re emotional.
You’re desperate for a potty break alone.
You long for a phone call that doesn’t sound like an all call to the screams and cries of toddlers and teens.

You’re heart is full for your babies and children but is it full for you?  And I’m not just talking to the younger moms.  I’m talking to you older moms who’s kids are either soon to move into adulthood or perhaps already there.  Your hearts are full too.

Full of worry.
Full of questions.
Full of doubt.
Full of concern.
Full of hope for their future.
Full of love.

I’m figuring out, this being a mom thing brings on a whole world of emotions all on its own.  As if we women didn’t have enough emotions already?!  Thanks, Eve ;)

Listen up, moms.  Stop.  Right now.

Stop the worrying.

Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?  Matthew 6:27

Think back to when you were younger.  Did YOU make any dumb decisions?  Do YOU make any bad choices?  I doubt anyone can answer that truthfully with a, “No!”  Did you learn from your mistakes?  Did you grow through them?

So will your kids!

The message I want to share with you today is to stop worrying and simply love them, unconditionally.  Support them.  Encourage them.  Believe them and believe in them.  Talk to them and listen to them.  Share your faults and failures and let them know that we are all human.  Tell them it’s okay to make mistakes.  Remind them that you will love them no matter what.  Let them know that God will love them because He wants to, not because of their good deeds or perfections.  Teach them that’s no excuse for sin, but to seek God in their sin, to turn to Him in the midst of their failures, in the middles of their storms, to seek Him with all their hearts.

And, if they aren’t there yet, be patient.  How patient has God been with you?  Don’t judge them or turn away from them.  Love them.  Pray for them.  Let them know that a mother’s love is only second best to God’s love.  Prove to them that you are their biggest fan, that you will love and protect them at any cost but also let them know that God is first in your life.  Lead by example.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7

And moms, you’re going to fail.

You’re not always going to make the right choice or the best decisions, either.  And just as you’re patient with your children, God is patient with you.  He understands we make messes and He’s ready to help clean them up.  Let Him.

Stop trying to write their story.  Give the pen back to God.  He’s writing your story and theirs.  Let Him work in their lives and instead of trying to write their story, simply be a part of it…a good part, the part God intended for you to be.  He intended for you to shower them with love and praise, to encourage them, to protect them, to support them, to believe them, to love them.  Do your part and leave the rest to God.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.  Ecclesiastes 3:11

You are being made new and so are they.  Every day is another part of the story.  Every triumph and trial is another part of the story.  Let Him be your author and theirs.  It won’t always be easy but it will be worth it!

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Who Made This Mess?

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Motherhood is messy.

Goldfish in the bottom of your purse.
Army men in the toilet.
Snot on your shoulder and maybe in your hair.
Toilet paper on the floor and none to be found on the roll.
Dog hair in YOUR brush.
Bubble gum on their shoe, and yours.
Up the back diapers – you know what I’m talking about?!
Scribbles on your checkbook, your wall, and that one of a kind painting.
Splashes from bath time all over the floor.

Did I mention motherhood is messy?

Not only do we face sticky situations like the ones I mentioned above, but we also face challenges with knowing what to teach our kids, how to teach them well and how to help grow them into responsible, intelligent, compassionate adults.

Having an unstable family growing up, I never really felt mothered like I imagined it was suppose to be.  When I became a mom, I had no idea what that meant, how I was suppose to act or treat this little person, other than to simply love him and even that came with difficulties.

I didn’t really understand love.  I had never really felt loved.  I knew in my head that my grandpa loved me with all his heart.  There was absolutely no doubt in my mind that he loved me.  He was always there when I needed someone.  He was the one decent father figure I had after one had abandoned me and the other abused me.  He was always kind.  He was my best friend.  But, he was all I really knew about love.

What I thought I knew about love had been all wrong.  Every.single.person shy of my grandpa, that I thought loved me, had hurt me tremendously.  Love meant they left me, hurt me, used me, made fun of me.  Most of what I thought I knew about love was painful, hurtful and lonely.

So here was this new little baby boy, beautiful, innocent and fragile.  He needing nothing more than protection, nurturing and love but I didn’t know how to give him that.  I had not been protected.  I had not been nurtured.  I felt unloved.  How could I give him what I knew nothing about?

My role as a mother became hell.  I felt myself growing further and further from him.  While I knew in my heart that I loved him so dearly, I did not know how to show that or accept his unconditional love for me.  I pulled away, distanced myself.  I sunk into a horrible, deep, dark depression.  I spent my first mother’s day, alone.

It took a long time to move past that.  It took giving up, not on life, but on controlling my life.  It took a breaking point, a vision of the own abuse I had suffered through, to change me.  In a moment of sheer desperation, I cried out to God. 

“I can’t do this anymore.
I can’t do this alone.
I don’t know how to love.
I don’t know how to be a good mom.
I don’t want to hurt him like I was hurt.
He deserves more than that.
He deserves a good mom.
He deserves to feel loved.”

And in that moment, I let go of the reigns and gave them to God.

Things didn’t change over night.  In fact, if you talked to that little boy today, who is now a thirteen year old teenager, he would probably say I’m an okay mom but I’ve had my moments and many of them at that.  He would say, “Yeah, she’s okay.” or “Yeah, she yells a lot.”  But I’m pretty sure he knows that I love him.  And there’s no doubt in my mind that I would do absolutely everything in my power to protect him, to show him love and to make sure he knows that I am here for him, through anything.

So, this whole mom thing is pretty messy.  Much of this mess, I created myself.  Add in two other kiddos and there’s a whole world more of messiness around here, LOL!

The thing is, it’s good messy.  It’s fun, it’s happy, it’s hopeful.  And while there are still times of frustration, while there are still times when I fail horribly, I have learned to accept my faults and to apologize.  I have looked at my children, after yelling at them over something silly, realizing my anger was really from my own issues and not theirs, and had to apologize.  Learning to apologize for our shortcomings and our faults is not easy, especially to the people we want to respect and obey us, but it is so importantThey need to know that it’s okay to make mistakes and it’s even better when we can admit them.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.  Ephesians 2:8

That’s my messy mom stories for today.  What’s yours?

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One Year Ago…

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One year ago today…

The date was July 3, 2012.  The hubby was working at the fire station.  The kids and I loaded up for our annual trip to see the fireworks show in town.  We’ve been every year since Noah was a baby.  It’s a tradition.  This time was even more fun than usual.  We met a couple of our closest friends and their kids at the mall and enjoyed the evening together.

Just as we were about to load up and head home, our friends phone rang.  Tony had tried to reach me on my phone but it was in the van and I couldn’t hear it.  He called our friends phone and they passed it over to me.  All I could hear was “We’ve been robbed!” 

My heart sank.

I burst into tears, trying to shield the kids from seeing me cry but it didn’t work.  They could tell something was wrong, very wrong.

I didn’t know the extent of the robbery at that point but I knew things would never be the same.  Immediately, I felt violated, unsafe, worried, scared and a million other emotions.  What had been a wonderful celebration of our freedom turned into a nightmare that left us feeling imprisoned, trapped in a world of fear.

Our friends were so loving, caring and kind.  Not knowing what was in store at home, one friend took my van along with our kids to their house while her husband drove me to our home to meet Tony there.  That was such a blessing and we are so thankful to have such great friends!

When we arrived at the house, it honestly wasn’t as bad as it could have been.  Our alarm system was triggered so the robbers weren’t in the house long, but it was long enough to destroy our security.  While they of course managed to take some of our biggest possessions, the hardest thing to deal with has been the loss of security, especially for our kids.

This year, we will once again celebrate the freedom we have in this country.  We are still putting things back together, fixing what was broken, including our wounded hearts but while doing so, we celebrate the blessings.  We are free to live in a house that we love.  We are free to own things that we enjoy.  We are free to love our children, to worship God and to love our country.  I am so thankful for all the blessings in my life.

Having a home is something I had prayed for, dreamed of and waited for so long to have.  Sure, we’d had homes, but not our own.  Finally, we bought our home in November of 2011.  Just 8 months later, the joy was stolen from us.  What should have been years more of happiness and joy in our new home was suddenly stripped away, by someone that took advantage of the freedoms in our country.  Evidently, they felt free enough to tear up our home, steal our things that we have worked hard for and destroy the feelings of security we had found in our new home.

As the year has passed, things have gotten easier but it will never be the same.  I still catch myself checking doors behind me, two and three times, sometimes more.  I still find myself beeping the van numerous times to make sure it’s locked.  We have up’d our security measures both inside and outside the house.  Sometimes, it feels like we’ve created our own lock down but right now, it’s what it takes to make us feel safe because of someone else’s actions.

The hardest part this year is knowing we will never be able to celebrate our freedom and independence like we have before.  That was all taken from us this time last year.  A few days ago, my kids started talking about how the 3rd was coming up and how it would be a year since our break-in.  Of course it was already on my mind, but I had hoped it wouldn’t cross theirs.  No such luck.  They are well aware of what happened last year.

My youngest son asked if we would go to the fireworks again this year.  I asked him how he felt about that and he said, “I want to go as long as we can leave some cars in our driveway so the bad guys think we’re at home.”  What a shame that he has to think that way and worry like that but of course I’ve felt those same feelings.  I’m still not sure what we will do.  Perhaps we will just enjoy the evening at home and be thankful that we weren’t here last year.

No matter what we choose to do this year, we will still celebrate because we do have so many freedoms and so many things to be thankful for.  We do live in a country where we can choose to do the right thing or the wrong thing.  It is a freedom of choice.  Even though some may choose to do the wrong thing and others will continue to suffer because of bad choices, we can go on.  We will move forward from this day.  We know the heartache and the worry, we know the fear but we also know the joy that comes from what they couldn’t take away – they couldn’t take away our freedom, they didn’t take our hearts, our love for each other, the bond we have as a family, the life we share together and the memories we will make as we celebrate each year.

Still, please say a prayer for peace for us, especially for our kids.

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2012: A Year In Review…

 It’s been a roller coaster kind of year.  Our family has experienced many blessings while at the same time, we’ve faced many trials.  Through it all, we’ve grown closer together and closer to God.

My year began with turmoil between friends.  It was difficult facing the reality that relationships don’t always last forever.  I realized that I needed to put my focus on moving forward in my life, building and growing my relationship with Christ and let go of the life I was trying to hold on to.  My heart still aches for the losses but I know I am growing and going in the direction God has laid in front of me.

Our boys are doing great in school.  They both excel and we are very proud of their accomplishments.  Our oldest, Noah, enjoys Math, Spanish and Chess Club.  Math, Science and Soccer top the list for our second, Caleb.  Miss Olivia has several years before school begins but among her favorite daily activities are anything Dora, lots of dollhouse fun, drawing and writing.  She is quite the social butterfly and has most certainly never met a stranger.

In July, we faced our biggest struggle in years.  Our home was broken into while Tony was away at work and the kids and I were out with friends for a 4th of July celebration and fireworks.  We came home to broken doors, busted walls, shattered lamps, and many of our favorites taken.  One of those that I struggled with most was my laptop.  Most of you know my life revolves around my computer – both my work life with my photography business as well as my God called life with this blog.  I lost so much stuff and worried about the information someone else now had.  We got through it with no other explanation than God saw us through it.  I leaned on His word, prayed like crazy and found an overwhelming peace through it.  I won’t say it isn’t still hard.  I still struggle and worry but God has proven to be my Prince of Peace.  I don’t think I will ever get back to the stage where I’m not constantly checking doors and windows, hiding my pocket book and laptop in my own home and feeling just a lack of security.  It’s not a constant worry, but more of just a change in life.

We also faced mounting auto repair bills and the death of our beloved Minivan.  What, at first, seemed like the end of the world and led to one of my little mommy rants, soon turned into such a blessing from the Lord and I was quickly reminded that His plans are far better than my own.  We said goodbye to our Oldsmobile Silhouette and introduced an almost brand new Kia Sedona to our family.

And speaking of introducing newness to the family, we also added another family member this year.  After our break-in in July and a little convincing to Tony, we visited the local Animal Shelter.  While there, we fell in love with this quiet, sweet, beautiful Border Collie mix.  She’s been a great addition to the family (shy of all the hair!) and is quite vocal when she wants something!  She has made us all feel a little more secure here at home and for that, I am so thankful.  If we can survive the hair and daily vacuuming, I believe she will be our “fur”ever friend!

Throughout 2012, I had the opportunity to lead several evening classes at church.  I look forward to continuing with that in 2013.  It has been such a blessing to me.  I have learned so much through teaching and it’s only fueled the desire to continue pursuing writing, speaking and teaching.

A few weeks ago, my mom, Olivia and I, had the opportunity to visit my great aunt Henny.  She had been moved to Hospice House.  It was a great visit and her mind was as sharp as ever.  She loved on Olivia and what a joy it was to see the two of them together.  Last week, she earned her wings and we said goodbye to a strong, loving, beautiful woman!

Tony continues to work with the Fire Department.  He recently faced his toughest call of the year when a nine year old boy died in a house fire.  Please say a prayer for Lareik’s family as well as his school family and the emergency workers that responded.  

The boys and I spent an evening packing gifts for local families.  It’s part of an annual ministry ran through some folks from our church and a group called Toolin’ in Town.  Saturday morning the boys and I loaded up with many other volunteers and we distributed these toys to families in town.  I can’t even begin to tell you what a blessing it was to see the smiles on these kids faces.  Many of them won’t get anything more than the gifts we gave them.  What a joy it is to be a part of this and to know my boys are learning to not only help others, but to reach out to them with love, encouragement and understanding.  

My blog is growing and I hope that you have gained something through my year.  I know God has done a lot of work in me through this place.  I look forward to what God has in store for me in 2013.  I pray that I continue to grow closer to Him and seek Him with all my heart.  I pray that for you as well!

On top of the kids list wish list this Christmas are…

Olivia – Hello Kitty anything, Baby Alive walking baby, Fisher Price Loving Family Dollhouse
Caleb – Monopoly Millionaire, money & jeans
Noah – Tablet, money, phone

We’ll see tomorrow if they’ve all been good enough for their Christmas wishes.  I have a feeling they won’t be disappointed ;)

I’m signing off until 2013 but first…

Some of my personal favorite posts from the blog this year:

Who You Are
The Not So Lovely Truth About Baggage
Heart for Home
Security in Christ
Some Things Never Change
Role Model Wife
My Own Prison
All Glued Together
Baby Steps

© The Imperfect Princess at theimperfectprincess.com

31 Days | Day 9 – 3 Feet

Over eight years ago, when I was pregnant with Caleb, Noah would have just turned four.  The house we lived in had two living rooms, one open to the kitchen.  All the bedrooms were on one end of the house.  You had to go through the back living room to get to the kitchen.

Noah had stripped off his pj’s, down to nothing, and was running through the house to take his clothes to the laundry room.  He got right where the carpet changed to linoleum and stopped.

He yelled “Mommy, snake!”

Of course, I nearly jumped out of my skin.  There, on our kitchen floor, all curled up, was this big, ugly, black beast.

Noah said, “Mommy, it stuck it’s tongue out at me!”

I had no idea what to do but finally came to my senses and called the hubby.  Tony was out of town so he called a couple of his fire department buddies (Thanks Pete & Lynn!) to come save the day.

Later, when asked how big the snake was, I answered, “About three feet.” 

Noah corrected me and said, “Mommy, the snake didn’t have any feet!”

Oh, what a day that was!  I am not a fan of snakes, mice or bugs.  I prefer a bubble, thanks!  Even through all that, I do at least have a funny memory in my head of my little guy and the funny things kids say :)

© The Imperfect Princess at theimperfectprincess.com