Challenge #5, Before And After…

Yesterday’s challenge was my take on “Before and After”……

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Before I became a follower of Christ, I thought I was “good enough”. After, I understood I was a sinner in need of a Savior. I found love and I found redemption. I realized that while I was still a sinner, Christ died for me. My life changed…for all eternity.

Before I was married, I thought I understood what it meant to share, to compromise, to trust, to love. After, I knew what it was to create a life together, to put aside my pride and say “I’m sorry”, to show forgiveness, and to remain committed through both good and bad times…..because life has a fair share of both.

Before I was a mom, I thought I knew how to be a good parent. After, I understood love in a way I never understood it before. I laughed, I cried, my heart changed, and I happily gave my time, day in and day out, for this little one. Each year brings surprises, and each stage is a new adventure.

Before I was a teacher, I thought I knew what it was to run a classroom and be an excellent instructor. I would be planning assignments, and checking papers. After, I found out that teaching is more than students in a classroom, but young lives that looked to me for some answers in an otherwise confusing world. I learn as much from my students as they do from me. That is just the truth.

Before the deaths of my grandparents, husband, and father, I thought I understood how to grieve. After, I realized that grieving is different for everyone. Grief comes in waves like the ocean, and one must face those waves and move through them. There are good days, and there are bad days, and on some days all I could do was breathe.

Life is full of before’s and after’s. The older I get the more I realize that when I am standing in “the before” I rarely understand. Oh, it is easy to think I do, but life has a way of teaching lessons in the midst of “the after”. Valuable, cherished moments. Lessons learned.

 

 

 

 

 

Peace For A Parent’s Heart

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The day broke in vibrant pinks and purples, against a cold, crisp mid-January sky. Crawling out from under my electric blanket was difficult, as I could feel the air nip at me, even in the heated house. Today’s high temperature is to be 9 degrees. Single digits involves dressing in layers, that and a good cup of hot coffee.

My son left this morning to go back to college. Packing his car with his freshly laundered clothes and winter sports equipment in 1 degree temperature was not fun, but he is a trooper and got it done. He has only been gone a couple of hours and I miss him already.

I had a friend post yesterday about her three sons growing up and how it was hard for her. I can relate. All my children are young adults now. Two working full time, one at school and working part time, and one working full time and attending school. It is hard on parents when their little kids, aren’t little anymore….when their lives are truly their own, and they make all the choices about their days. For better or for worse.

As a parent it has always been my job to raise my children to eventually let them go. Love them, teach them, comfort them, reach them.  As the years went on, I had to learn to release my grip on them. My mama’s heart is feeling a tug today. Sigh.

I find comfort on the difficult days of being a mother, in the words of my Lord…..

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6 The words that have been etched into the heart, won’t be forgotten…even if the path has lots of bumps in the road.

And, Romans 8:37-39 – No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. I know that I am not always going to be there for my children. I am not all knowing, and all present, but I know the One who is. Christ loves my children, as He loves me. He will never leave them, nor can anything that happens to them, ever separate them from His love.
That gives this mama’s heart, peace. Thank you, Lord. Amen.

This Is My Life

I have missed my regular blogging over the past couple of weeks. This August has been and continues to be busy! Please bear with me as my posts are hit and miss this month. The plan is to get back in my groove after Labor Day!

I’m doing (academic) diagnostic evaluations for many in my local home school group. I am trying to get all that done before school starts! I enjoy testing kids to see what they know. Just to toot our own horn a little bit, these students are rocking the tests. Those of you that know me, know that even though I was (and continue to be part time) a public school teacher….I am in love with home schooling. It has been a great experience. I enjoy the flexibility that comes with home schooling.

My son leaves for college in two weeks. There is so much to get done in that two week period. I have lists on top of my lists of things to get done before his big move. The other night my son invited me to go out with him to the movies. We had opportunity to talk, and laugh together. The times spent with him are bitter sweet, because I am acutely aware of how things are changing for us. He is no longer my little boy, but my young man. I am extremely proud of all that he has accomplished in his young life and know he will go on to great things. In the meantime I need to make sure that he has detergent and dryer sheets, extra long sheets for his dorm bed, and warm clothes since he is heading north! Sigh…..I will miss him.

On Saturday we adopted a new dog from the local shelter. Rocky is a year and a half old….and still very puppy like. The shelter said he is a Boxer/Collie mix. I am beginning to think they were wrong. I think he is a Boxer/Lab mix. Our two other dogs, Ace (senior) and Lonnie (middle aged) don’t know what to think of this young, teen, dog. He is a whirlwind. He gallops around like a horse and if one happens to be standing in his “zone” as he goes flying by he/she might be knocked over, much like getting a strike at the bowling alley! This morning while feeding our other animals, Rocky wanted to show his love for me. He jumped up and put both paws on me. (We are working on NOT doing that.) Paws that were muddy and damp from the morning dew. Paws that left two large, muddy paw prints smack dab on my……..chest. I have on a light colored tee shirt. I don’t feel like changing, because it will only happen again until we train him to not do this. So, I’m going to Wal-mart with paw prints on my chest.

This is my life.

I hope all my readers are having a peaceful and happy morning. I think of you often, scattered all across the continents. I wonder what it is that you are doing while living your lives. We are all so different, and yet so much the same.

 

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Sometimes The Sound Is Deafening

The morning is gray and still and it feels like rain is in the air, but who knows, that can change in a second around here. A Monday in mid-July, that is the beginning of a cool spell that is to arrive in the area. Not to offend all my summer, heat loving, friends but, the thought occurred to me this morning that October is less than three months away. My favorite time of the year. Not too hot, and not too cold, as Goldilocks would say, “just right”.

Weeks passing and months passing and I mull that over on the way back from the barn.

Time doesn’t stop. The moments speed along whether I’m “in” the moment or not. Although I love Fall, I am not ready for it to get here yet. This Fall brings changes to my life, and to those that I love. My son starts his freshman year of college in late August. He will be roughly four hours away in the land of frozen tundra (Michigan to those who don’t know). I am thrilled for him, and he has earned this chapter of his life…but, things will change. I’m not sure yet how I feel about that. Sigh.

My daughter begins her senior year in high school. The year will consist of finishing classes, ACT testing, senior pictures, filling out applications, and making a decision about a college or career. The culmination of years of work will be graduation. When she walks across the stage it will be both the beginning of a new chapter for her, and the end of mine and my husband’s days as parents of school age kids.

Everyone is an adult now. Being independent, making their own decisions. Our oldest son, is already out on his own, making his way in the world, and living with his own choices.

Time ticks off the minutes and sometimes the sound is deafening.

One of my favorite authors, Ann Voskamp, says that in order to slow down time one needs to see the moments and be thankful. When we are thankful we enjoy the time more, we see things more clearly, and are grateful to God who gave us this life.

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Today I am thankful for: 

*beautiful glowing super moon that lit up the yard with its light last night

*giving belly rubs to the dogs

*a cat in the lap

*a new way of eating that makes me feel so much better and healthier

*ripe summertime tomatoes

*fresh blueberries

*HGTV marathons:)

*inside jokes with my husband

*my husband, who loves me….even when I am feeling unloveable

*kids that are no longer kids….my children, all grown up

*gray morning sky

*turning back toward the house after getting the mail, and being awestruck by the azure sky and white clouds

*stopping in the driveway and raising my arms in the air, so overwhelmed with the beauty of nature, and yelling “THANK YOU, GOD” at the top of my lungs…. my voice echoing back to me off the side of the metal barn. I believe God has a sense of humor and no one can convince me otherwise. I think after that outburst God gave me a fist bump. 🙂

 

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Happy Birthday

I looked at the pregnancy test one more time.BigBirthdayCakeCandles

Yep, it said positive!

I let my excitement show through a scream of delight.

I was going to be a mommy!

My son made his appearance the following May, after hours of hard labor.

His cry split the air, and changed my world forever.

Nineteen years have come and gone since that time I first heard his voice.

No longer a child, now a young man.

He still carries his mom’s heart with him…

no matter how many years have passed.

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Today I am thankful for: 

* my son’s birthday

* being a mommy

* less than 2 weeks left of school

* Mocha icebox cake

* hugs

* birthday presents

* friendships

* beautiful warm sunshine

* unlimited possibilities

* God who makes all things possible

HAPPY BIRTHDAY KENDRICK!!!!

 

He Is Ready

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The journal was started when I was just five months pregnant.

Words written in ink, a permanent reminder of this time in life. Time with life. Time full of life.

Before he was named, he was knew. Before I felt him, I loved him.

The journey of motherhood changes with the years, and it changed me.

I was no longer that twenty something mommy, fresh with anticipation.

The years between then and now have taught me and challenged me.

I’ve laughed more than I cried, hugged more than I hurt, learned and realized more than I ever thought I would.

And shouldn’t it be that way for us all?

From infant to young adult, the years have melted away.

My son is now a man. Intelligent, strong and tall……

Graduation, university……this one crazy and special life, full of possibilities.

I am trying to be ready.

My grip has loosened over the years. Preparing for this very moment.

The moment is fast approaching when I will watch him go.

He is ready.

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Happy Mother’s Day this Sunday, to all the mothers, in whatever stage you are now in……

Psalm 139:13 for you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

One Hot Mama Mess

On this first Friday in May, are you ready – give us five minutes on the word MESS?!

 

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It is May, less than a month before my son’s graduation from high school. Who knew how much had to be done, get done, come undone? I’ve got stuff piled on top of stuff…announcements and pictures and lists of things to do for his graduation party….and my daughter is homeschooling and that brings with it a whole other mess of “to do’s”. I’m also a teacher and it is the end of the school year and there is paperwork, and testing, and assignments to finish and progress reports to fill out and it makes me tired thinking about it all! My husband tells me to relax. I tell him I don’t know how.

I’ve scheduled a couple of “girls day out” things in the midst of it all. I will need that time to recuperate, for sure…..either that or just pass out…..which now that I think about it, might not be such a bad thing. I would at least get a few moments of rest, but I digress…..back to my mess!

 

 

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As I sit here typing, I’ve noticed dog fur tumbleweeds on the floor, and fingerprints, a carpet that needs vacuumed and a table that needs wiped. Dishes that are in the sink and a half drank glass of tea. I try to keep things neat around this joint, but Better Homes and Gardens will probably not be knocking on my door anytime soon.

The yard needs mowed, the chicken coop needs cleaned and we must get the deck power washed and the furniture brought out of storage.

 

 

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Yep…..I’ll be either be completely bald, or have a head full of gray hair by the end of this month. Now, won’t that look great for those graduation pictures?! By the way, that reminds me I need to get a hair cut. I need to pencil that in on the calendar. Um……right there between the appointment for the dogs vaccinations and my birthday.

 

 

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I Can’t Do This Alone

I received the call from my son yesterday afternoon.Rusted-apya-007

The van wouldn’t start. It was setting dead in the school parking lot. My son said he could catch a ride home, but the van remained.

Sigh.

Husband and I trekked over to the parking lot. The van was still there, setting forlornly in the waning light of day. A valiant road trip warrior that was just plain tired.

I could relate.

Somedays it seems I just can’t take ONE… MORE… THING.

When the days bring things that are broken, schedules crunched, tension mounting, work to finish, money tight, everything feels like it is about to implode.

And I want to scream, or cry…or both.

I long for life to be easier. I wait for the day that everything will make sense.

No worries, no stress, no heartache.

Can you relate? Do your days seem long, also? Ever feel like your good just isn’t good enough?

For now, I hold my head in my hands and attempt to breathe deeply. A whisper of prayer escapes my lips, nothing lofty or well spoken.

In the midst, I find myself crying out to God. So tired, Lord. I need Your peace. I need Your counsel. I need You. Oh, God! I need You. When life sucks all the oxygen out of the day to day and I feel I can’t catch my breath or catch a break….. I need You. Every day I need You.

Let’s face it, sometimes life is hard. It is a struggle to walk the walk when all I want to do is run. The burdens of life weigh heavy and I fear I will be buried in the avalanche. I need the One who is stronger than I am.

And so on days that are dim, I search for the Light, because I realize that I can’t do this alone.

“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”   John 8:12  ESV

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” 1 Peter 5: 7-9  NIV

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1 ESV