The Cry Of A Mama’s Heart

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From the moment that little baby is placed in your arms, you are in love. Isn’t that right, Mama? The months of nursing, lack of sleep, and snuggles. Walking, potty training, and refusal to eat “healthy” foods.  Skinned knees, hugs, laughter, and being tucked in at night. The days turn into weeks and the weeks to years. Suddenly (it seems that way) the little boy or girl is now a teen. Independence begins to blossom as they step from their teens into young adulthood. In my case, as a young widow who eventually remarried (to a young widower), I have been given the opportunity to be both a biological mother to my son, as well as a second mom to children who lost their own mother at a young age. When I said, “I do” to their Daddy, I also said, “I do” to them.

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This is where I find myself. I am a mama of young adults. There are days when I am thrilled by this. Having young adult children is a sense of freedom for me! My husband and I are actually looking forward to the “empty nest”, hopefully in the not too far future. I am ready. What I was not ready for is the realization of how quickly time passes. Oh, I know it doesn’t always seem that way when in the midst of stinky soccer cleats, sibling fights, or worrying about teen drivers. But, time indeed does fly….and this mama’s heart beats just a little bit faster because of it.

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My son, the one I carried for nine months in my body and forever after in my heart, will be graduating from college in May. Over Christmas break, he excitedly talked about the possibilities for life after school. He is a talented and determined cinematographer. He has already had the opportunity to travel, film, and see both the beauty and grittiness of life on this planet. As much as I love him, and he loves me, he is a man. He will find his own way, have his own unique life apart from me. For the last several years I have loosened my grip on him, praying for him, trusting that he will continue to seek Christ and grow into the person he was created to be.  Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;  in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight”. 

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My older son that I have loved in my heart since I married his father, the one who lost his first mother at a young age, and was just beginning his teen years when we became family. This young man has always been the one who would try anything (often to his father’s and my dismay), could make me laugh, and became a Daddy a year ago to little Sweet Pea who is his biggest joy and blessing.  He is facing decisions in his life that, as his mom, I know are difficult. My heart aches for him. As a parent, we want our children to live the lives we always hoped for them. It seems like life never quite works out the way we have it planned for our kiddos. Our prayer is that his current and future decisions would be ones that would glorify his Heavenly Father and that he would trust in Jeremiah 29:11. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”. NIV 

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My daughter is small but mighty. She is beautiful and intelligent. She has a big heart, and her loving kindness toward me touches me. We don’t always agree on everything (she is extremely opinionated), but I know if push came to shove she’d have my back. She is a procrastinator to the nth degree, and I wish she would face life’s possibilities with a little more gusto, but she is working on it. I know God has much planned for this firecracker. This mama’s prayer is that she would not allow the ways of this world to shake her from what she knows is true. “Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long”. Psalm 25:5

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The oldest of my stepchildren lives in Texas with her children. Her children, my grandchildren, bring me much joy. I love spending time with them, and wish we lived closer. I am proud of my daughter. She is a hard worker and put herself through school and a master’s program. She is an officer in her hometown in Texas, during a time when law enforcement is under attack…and yet, she stands for what is right and good, even in the face of the unknown. As her (second) mom, I pray for her safety and for continued wisdom in decisions she makes, not only for herself but for her children. James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you”.

 

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These Words Are Nothing New To God

 

pexels-photo-207700.jpegI really need to stop reading so much online debate, and just stick with admiring pictures of home decor, cute fluffy animals, and nature in all its glory. It angers me, irritates me, and hurts me to hear the meanness that pours out of people’s hearts through their keyboards. Words mean things and they are important. Words have an impact, whether they are spoken or typed. They can both heal and can slice a person wide open, leaving gaping wounds that cause scars for years to come. Don’t get me wrong, we each have a voice, and we should use it. I believe we are all entitled to our opinions, but we are not entitled to hack away at people, wounding them, if they do not agree. It is not our place.

I’ve always loved words. I am a lover of books, and blogs, and quiet libraries. I enjoyed my speech and debate class as an undergrad in college. I always get a sense of satisfaction when I post a blog, finish a research paper, or while listening to favorite podcasts. I’ve been thinking about words a lot lately, and the third chapter of the book of James hit me hard, especially in today’s tense climate. The way people are acting is nothing new to God. The tongue (and might I add the present day keyboard) has been a problem since the beginning. God help us.

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3When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

7All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

9With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

13Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

17But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.            James 3  NIV

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I’m Back…..

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I know, I know, it has been a while. A long while. To all my faithful readers, thank you for your patience during this busiest season of my life. Here I am, approaching my fiftieth birthday in a few short months, completing my master’s degree in education with certification in autism spectrum disorders, working part-time with my dear students, and always a full-time wife, mom, and nana. Life is crazy busy. I know you might have different goals, different challenges, but life is busy for you too. Most of us are used to taking a spin on life’s merry-go-round, making ourselves half sick from the dizziness of it all.

With all that said, I am still attempting to move forward on my trek to a more simple, balanced, more purposeful life. That is a mouthful. It is also a way for me to continue to “fail forward”. I really want to accomplish a more simple life, but I mess up a lot. For everything I attempt to simplify, something else pops up and I have to deal with it. The other day I found myself standing in my kitchen, doing five things at once, and I just stopped. I closed my eyes, grounded myself, and did some mindful breathing. Research shows that deep breathing truly does lower blood pressure, and reduce stress. It also allows me to concentrate on the rhythm of my breathing. To focus on the moment, when I feel myself becoming overwhelmed.

I am working on simplifying. I am throwing things out, giving things away, repurposing and paring down. At this point in my life, I know myself pretty well. I will never be a minimalist, surviving on only the absolutely necessary. I am far too sentimental…and I am okay with that, but I can do better.  I am making a plan for this spring and am cleaning out my closet. I am tired of looking at clothes I never wear. I am also tired of tripping over shoes, bags, and oh, okay…junk.

I am much more aware of my schedule. I am not afraid to say “no” if I don’t want to do something. On the other hand, I want to say “yes” to the people, places, and events that matter to me. I am considering my time more often. Time, such a valuable commodity.

I am finally finishing Chasing Slow, by Erin Loechner (that I started back in the summer). I am trying to slow down, choosing to live my life more intentionally. I want to be in control of my time spent, instead of time controlling me.

Rest, relax, rejuvenate.

Will It Satisfy?

If I clean out my closet and leave nothing in there but my essentials…
If I say “no” to things that don’t really matter but just cause more busyness…
If I live my life intentionally, stopping to be in the moments…
If I simplify and modify will it satisfy?
Attempting to get the balance right isn’t easy.
I am trying.

“WITHOUT GRACE, MINIMALISM IS ANOTHER METRIC FOR PERFECTION.”
― Erin LoechnerChasing Slow: Courage to Journey Off the Beaten Path

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Once It’s Gone, It’s Gone…

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I am still reading Chasing Slow: Courage to Journey Off the Beaten Path, by Erin Loechner. I have to smile thinking about how long it is taking me to get through the book. It is a great book, and I am enjoying reading it…life is just so busy for me right now I don’t have the time to read as much as I would like. Does anyone else see the irony in that? I keep telling myself life will calm down when I am through with this semester of grad school classes. It will be better when I graduate with my Master’s degree. Life will slow down after I finish typing the rest of the summaries for my homeschooling families. I will have the opportunity to breathe when my husband and I successfully get all our adult children out of the house and on their own. Slowing down, saying “no”, relaxing, is always down the road, tomorrow, next month, next year…… it is never now. This day. This moment. I genuinely want it to be. I’ll be honest with you. I have a difficult time relaxing. Like so many wives and mothers, slowing down is not easy for me. Even when I am sitting, I am thinking of the million things I need to get done. This, let’s face it, can be exhausting in and of itself.  These are legitimate things. Things that if I don’t do them, probably won’t get done…and they need to get done…but, this is no way to live.

Lately, since beginning the book, I am thinking more about how and when to say “no” to activities. I am slowly learning that “no” is not a bad word, and saying no doesn’t make me a bad person. I don’t think I am meant to live this one life I have in exhaustion. God has plans for me, and He is not about having me burn my candle at both ends until there is nothing left.

So, with that said, I am continuing daily to make a concerted effort to slow down. I will try to enjoy each day because once it is gone, it is gone.

“‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.'”           Matthew 11:28

Falling In Love With Fall

I know that Fall isn’t official for another couple of weeks, but since it is after Labor Day it is close enough to begin the celebration. Here in northwest Ohio, we are still seeing days in the 70’s, but the nights have become cooler. There is the explosion of pumpkin spice in everything known to man, I actually wore a sweater a couple of mornings this week, and Friday night football is back in session. What is there not to love?

When Life Threatens To Bust Me Wide Open

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The things meant to sustain us, are often the things that drain us…

Some days break me. Crack me wide open. I feel exhausted and moody. Eeyore has nothing on me. You all know what I’m saying. We’ve all been there.

It is not one thing in particular, but many small things that chip away at me. The cat puked on the couch. My grand daughter is not interested in hugs and kisses this morning, even when I desperately need her sweetness. My students are not into the lessons I am trying to teach. I am pouring myself into the Revolutionary War and all I get in return is a blank stare. My college classes are drowning me in assignments that I try to squeeze into the cracks of my otherwise hectic life, and my resentment toward my <innocent> professor grows. I am behind in typing my home school summaries. (Parents, please forgive me!) Messes I didn’t make. Muck I didn’t create. And Misunderstandings that I hate.  Life is hard. And all I really want to do is curl up in a blanket, read a book and forget about schedules, deadlines, and craziness.

Just when I was feeling like I was going under for the third time, and life was looking bleak, my husband reminded me of something. He said, “Dawn, remember your one thousand gifts. Remember your practice of writing all your blessings”.  “Yes”, I barely whisper. Blessings. Things that God chooses to gift me with. All the small but great. The subtle but sensational. The soft, and wonderful and silly. I write on the good days, to sustain me through the bad ones. To remind me through the hard. The jagged and broken. On those days when I am fragile and cry over running out of green tea.

When life threatens to bust me wide open, or worse when it punctures me leaving a slow leak of joy….emptying me. I will choose joy.

Today I choose joy. I choose life. I choose to be thankful.

*Rainy Saturdays *Cool Fall-like weather *September *Fall is on the way! *Sleeping in *Wearing leggings and an oversized t-shirt (comfy clothes) *Reading my Chasing Slow book *Quiet house *A husband who loves me even when I feel unlovable *Safety for my children *A grand daughter that turned one a few days ago. *Excellent lab results *The smell of coffee brewing. *A God who whispers to me, calming my soul. *Friends *Second, and third, and fourth chances at getting things right. *Smiles *A new haircut *Old quilts * Dog licks *Netflix *Dancing to music in the kitchen *Gluten-free pizza *Family *Texts from my sister *Laughing