Woah! 7 hours in the car, 4 states, and memories for a life time! For as long as I can remember I have wanted to see Niagara Falls up close and personal. We are so blessed that we were able to experience that this weekend. After hours of research and hundreds of blogs read everything pointed to The Maid of Mist being a must do activity. Building up to our trip and really most of my life I have built the falls up in my head and part of me was a little nervous that maybe they wouldn’t meet my expectations…
Note to self- next time we will wear sandals and not tennis shoes- our feet got soaked, but even with soaked feet we had so much fun! The poncho’s that they give out are awesome and we plan on keeping ours to as a momento. They definitely tried to upsell us on other activities, but we stayed strong and just went with the Mist, it was the most up close and personal activity. After “The Maid of the Mist” we walked over to #goatisland which was incredible! The views were spectacular, and the atmosphere was perfect. We couldn’t have asked for better weather.
The best part with #themaidofmist is that you ge to see both sides of the falls from the bottom up. The sheer power and mightiness of the falls was unlike anything I have ever seen. After climbing to the top of a mountain, walking on the beach, seeing and hearing ocean waves crashing in, walking through a forest, and everything in between- Our God is such a GREAT GOD! Such a perfect Father! He is constantly providing the tools we need to succeed! He has given us so much awesome. He just wants us to have it all. We just have to be willing to walk the path that he has cleared for us.
I feel so incredibly blessed that we are able to Embrace adventures together, Experience moments like this that engulf us, and that we choose to Enjoy this life that we choose to live. I love that we have shifted our mindsets- from a place of having so many things, to a place of EXPERIENCING so many places.
After visiting The Maid of Mist, and Goats island we were able to walk over and experience Free Saturday Funday! It was a blast! They had a petting zoo, life sized games, and more fun than we imagined! It was a blast! After a couple games of connect 4, which Chandler beat me, and a serious life sized game of Checkers- I still remain the champion. We loved on the goats, cows, llamas, oh and a little turtle. Niagara Falls downtown didn’t disappoint, oh and followed up the day with a swim in the pool! Felt good to relax after a 7 hour drive and over 12 thousand steps for the day 🙂 Ended the trip with a little shopping!
After all of this- Get up and go after what you want! Take chances, and explore your surroundings. There is so much beauty and awesome wonder around us. Embrace people not things, Experience moments, not things, Enjoy the life that you live and if you don’t then take steps to change is so that you can Enjoy it. You are in the driver seat. Take a knee and ask for help.
At Church on Sunday during worship there was a sweet little family sitting in front of us. They had a toddler boy and girl. As worship is happening the little girl is watching her Dad’s phone and she is focused- “All the earth will shout your praises, our hearts will cry, these bones will sing Great are you Lord” This little tiny girl hears these words and stretches her arms up high with palms facing up, she looks up as high as her little head and eyes will let her and keeps her arms raised!
Talk about powerful! This sweet girl was so focused on her phone and out of nowhere hears these words and opens herself up in such a way to just receive the Lord. It was precious, uplifting, and humbling all at the same time.
I equate this to us in this way: We as a people are “busy.” Aren’t we? Don’t we all say it all the time. We are constantly telling people “We are busy”, sorry I didn’t call you back- “I was busy.” Sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry…. People ask us how we are and we say, “busy.” hmmmm Think about that for a minute-
How are you?
What is busy? What does this mean? What are we busy doing? Hmmmm I have heard people say I’ve been busy, “sorry I couldn’t call you” Then you look at social media and you see that they posted something a few minutes ago and then responded to different comments…. Maybe you told someone you were busy and you did the same thing. I think sometimes we say that we are busy out of habit. It becomes second nature. Busy is relative- because if it is something that you really want to do or a place you want to be you will make time. If it is a movie or show you want to watch you will make time. If there is a game on tv that you want to see you will make time. People- if there are people that you want to spend time with you will make time! Think about that- Oh the dating phase…. Working 2 jobs, going to school raising a child, and yet still making time to spend moments with that special someone. hmmmm
Does any of this make you or me bad people? No, the answer is no, but how can we improve our response from “busy” which isn’t always the case to something a little more honest- Maybe instead of saying I got “busy” and that’s why I didn’t call you back- Be honest and say that it slipped your mind- You got side tracked.
Maybe instead of saying that you are to busy to hang out with someone use the truth- I already have plans or I kind of want to just stay in. I promise your relationships will improve if you take these simple steps in being more forth coming with your responses.
In the same way that that little girl stopped what she was doing to receive the Lord we could maybe sometimes stop what we are doing and take in the stuff that is around us- I see this all the time and I am guilty too.
You are sitting on the couch scrolling through social media and your child is saying, hey! Look at me! We respond with one second- because you know that status that we are reading or uploading is of so much importance.
We get so caught up in our own selfishness that we can’t even get through the grocery line without pulling our phones out and disregarding the cashier all together. We live in such a fast paced world that we feel bad if we have a day of no plans- I know that I am guilty of this! I feel pressure from I don’t even know where to have something planned whether it be an activity or an outing… I struggle with just being when it comes to the kids… I find myself constantly trying to plan stuff for them. I guess I just want them to experience so much-
It was in the last year that I learned to really love quiet time. I yearn for it now. When we lived in North Carolina I would take my board out on the water early in the morning before everyone woke up. The water would be quiet and calm. The sunrise filled with colors and shapes. The air thick with a perfect chill. It’s in this time that I would feel the most at peace. The first couple of times felt a little awkward and scary-
Once I got over the need to hear noise or create noise- I was able to just be. When you give yourself a chance to just be it allows you to be able to connect. It was in those moments that I would be filled with ideas, thoughts, and just understanding. It was in those moments that I was able to reflect and experience those aha moments. It was in those moments that I was able to hear God, feel God, and yearn for more of that connection. Now, I pride myself in taking those alone moments.
I guess what I am trying to say is it’s okay to not be “busy” all the time. It’s okay to tell people that you just can’t make it because you are choosing not to. It’s okay to just be. We don’t have to stay busy, we don’t have to keep our kids busy. Taking time to just be allows our inner creative parts to shine through without all the noise.
Sometimes we need those moments of quiet to reflect on where we are at in life, where we want to go, and choosing the path that we are going to take to get there. Sometimes we need those alone moments to acknowledge those inner thoughts and feelings because allowing ourselves to feel those feelings it may enable us to make a change that we have been trying to make.
I challenge you- one way to clear out your schedule is to block off time for social media… Maybe you say on Sunday night after the kids go to bed I will scroll though social media- I guarantee you will find yourself with hours of free time during the week. Maybe fill that time with a phone call to someone that you haven’t spoke to in real life. Maybe use that time to use for reading, maybe use that time for writing, taking a walk, or going on a bike ride. Clear your mind, body, and soul. Get rid of the need to always be present in everyone else’s life and start focusing more on your life and WHO’S you are-
We all need to do a better job at this.
Friends / boyfriend / girlfriend / husband / wife
More than these titles I think it’s important to put more emphasis on “Partner in Life.”
I remember at an early age my brothers and sisters, mom and dad, and others would say things like oh is that your boyfriend? You know in a joking manor, but looking back it’s funny to me because there is so much emphasis put on getting a boyfriend, and getting married.
Being in a broken relationship for 5 years – 2 of that being engaged… I was never asked if I thought he was going to be a good partner in life or if I could be a good partner to him. I just had the same mentality that most people have, you know this one… if we get married things will change. Aren’t we all under that impression that if we get married things will change. Like some how some way standing there in front of the pastor, judge, or clergy that it will some how fix the issues?
It doesn’t, all it does is add to the issues because now there are more expectations without the tools necessary to meet those expectations, or maybe the tools are there, but one or both parties aren’t willing to pick up the tools. It’s very important to have clear expectations of what your idea of marriage looks like. You should also be willing to listen to your partner and hear what expectations they have in marriage. I think when joining together, understanding what you “love” about that person, and understanding how they love you will only help your relationship grow.
Marriage is hard, but it’s also awesome and amazing! The road of marriage will have many curves, many road blocks, many stops. Take them in strides, understand that there are seasons. Those seasons will reflect many different pictures. There is a difference between seasons that you can come out of stronger, and seasons that are just darkness…
Take a look at your relationship- Do you have clear expectations? Are you and your partner equipped to reach those expectations? Are you hearing your partner? Is your partner hearing you? What gives your relationship strength?
One more thing to think about: Are you emulating to your children and the people around you the kind of relationship that you want for them? Are you showing them how to love? Are you showing them how to receive love?
7 years together, almost a year of marriage, 3 kids, 3 states, 3 homes, 2 rentals, and a dog….
Talk about seasons! We have taken some huge leaps of faith in this beautiful thing we call life. We have made a choice to work together, more than that we made a choice to put God at the center of our relationship- This has been the key.
What is at the center of your relationship? Is it finding someone to share your “dream” wedding with? You know the one that you had dreams about as a child (before you even knew who or when you would be getting married?) This to me is a little comical because little girls and boys are out there being taught that they should be planning this ideal wedding, but they have no idea who they will marry, even better they have no interest in even considering where said partner might want in a wedding. They get engaged and then starts the planning for the “dream’ wedding… maybe just maybe you should talk to your future partner and focus a little less on all the bells and whistles and a little more on the future of your relationship.
As parents we all want the same thing. We all want our kids to be accepted by the people around them, yet we also want our kids to be firm in who they are. Now understand that this comes easier for some parents than others. Maybe your little boy loves trucks and sports and your little girl loves princesses and everything pink. In these circumstances this is much more accepting than not.
For us we are blessed with 3 children, and each child is very different from the other. with our two older kids we have been a back bone to them in allowing them to express themselves freely with hair styles and clothing choices. We aren’t any different with Chandler.
Our sweet Chan is a spirited 4 year old (he will be 5 in 3 short days) As a four year old he swims, rides a bike without training wheels, snorkels, swings on his own, and he loves gymnastics. His favorite color is purple and he loves rainbow everything. He can write his name, knows the alphabet by sight and sound, and he can count to 40 with few mix ups, he plays well with other kid and calls everyone his boyfriend and girlfriend…. Listen at me just go on and on about all the awesome that escapes him on a daily.
Chandler prefers what is labeled as “girl clothes over boy clothes.” He likes how they fit, he likes all the sparkles, he likes the colors, and styles. He also prefers girl shoes. In today’s world it is much more accepting than it used to be, but the looks and comments still flow.
The hard part isn’t what people think- instead the hard part is having to have a conversation with your four year old when he picks out something new, for instance today he picked out purple sparkle jelly shoes. I had to bend down on his level and have the following conversation with him: Hey buddy do you really like these shoes? Yes Mom! Look at them they are perfect, sparkly, and purple with a little bit of blue, and I don’t even have to wear socks with them. Okay buddy look at Mom- I love that you like them! I want you to understand that there will be some people that will not like them and they might say stuff that isn’t nice to you, what do you think about that? Mom, but my friend Jamyia and Delainy will like them. Hey Jacob do you like them? Jacob responds yeah! They are awesome! Oh and Mom, Dad is gonna like them too! Alright bud looks like we are getting Jelly shoes.
The point is: This is probably not a conversation that you have to have with your child, this is probably not a conversation that you and your husband have to talk about at night. You have probably never sat down and even had to think twice about getting your child something that they love because of fear of bullies breaking your child’s spirit at such an early age. Not just kid bullies, but adult bullies. I know even in our circle there are people that ask me “Why is he wearing that?” As a parent my response is the same every time because he likes it. Should he be allowed to like what he likes? Oh he shouldn’t because it affects you in some way shape or form? Oh, but it’s completely fine for you and your kid to wear what you all like because it’s more “socially acceptable.”
Well, news flash I am not raising my children so that we will be socially acceptable people! I am raising my kids to be leaders not followers. I am raising my kids to be who they are not who the world or anyone else says they should be.
As parents support your children no matter what the world says- We shouldn’t prepare our children for the world we should prepare the world for our children. My children will leave our home feeling secure and strong in who they are as people! They will know that they don’t have to change who they are because of the thoughts, ideas, and mindsets of people that are too close minded to see the beauty that is right in front of them.
Next time you are out and about and you see a child dressed completely awesome because they like it send a smile or a kind word. Teach your children, friends, and everyone in between that we are all just humans and we can like what we like. We don’t have to live in a gender stereotype world. I am very thankful that we have a good village around us that show absolute support and encouragement towards Chandler and they embrace his rainbow heart.
This year is an interesting year in our house, we have a daughter graduating high school, a son graduating 8th grade, and our tiny guy graduated pre school. That being said there are a lot of emotions that just engulf every aspect of my existence at this point. Anytime a graduation occurs it brings back a flood of memories that you have been buried for how ever long. It kind of forces your brain to slow down and take a walk down memory lane.
Throughout our lives we are kind of taught that the norm is that you attend the same school your entire life, you graduate, then you move back to your homes town, then you start your family and the process repeats. This is a beautiful thing, well in some cases. Let’s face it in this world it is who you know that does kind of help you get that foot in the door to certain places.
Our story is a little bit different- our children have attended a few different schools, lived in three different states, and been involved in activities in each of those states. They have done a bit of traveling. We have had many people say things: this must be so hard on the kids and kind of question what we are doing, but at the same time we have had people completely praise what we are doing… This sort of thing happens in every aspect of our lives. The fact is that we all just have to figure out what works in our house and embrace it.
Starting Over- Having a conversation with our middle son Jacob today and we were chatting about school and I was asking him how he was feeling about the end of his 8th grade year and what he was feeling about becoming a high school student, and what he felt like that was going to look like…
He had a big smile on his face and said that he was feeling pretty good. He talked about how ending 8th grade felt really good because he felt like he was in a good place- socially and academically. He talked about the fact that he was a little nervous about entering into 9th grade and being the little guy again. He said he felt like being a 9th grader was going to bring on more responsibility, this meant that he had to work harder at staying on top of grades and school work. He then started talking about sports and he said that he just felt good, he knew he had to work hard and stay focused.
This conversation pulled at my heart strings as I am listening to my not so little boy talk and sound like such a grown up. It was a beautiful thing- Once he finished, I said, “Starting Over.” He giggled a little and said, “Yeah, I’ve done that a few times.”
This was a sort of AHA moment for me- This was my chance to remind him what that meant. Our lives are nothing but a serious of “starting overs.” We as humans are constantly starting over. As children, we are starting a new grade each year, we are entering new phases each year, as adults we are starting new jobs, starting new relationships, starting over with new vehicles or houses, we are starting over when it comes to phone plans or phones in general. We are constantly starting over. It’s normal and healthy to start over. How did I apply this to him- Buddy, with all the moves and new schools and new sports teams that you have been a part of- use these things as fuel for your fire. Fuel to tell yourself that you have already proven to yourself that you can be in a new state, with new coaches, a new team, and a new school, and excel! You can excel at anything you put your mind to. This is true for each of my children. This is true for really any and everyone.
As a people we tend to get so caught up in what we know that we forget to embrace that that we don’t know because of fear of failing, let go of that fear! Grab on to faith, faith of exceling. These conversations with my children are such perfectly imperfect moments. I love having one on one moments with them that allows us to just speak freely about what’s really going on… Instead of the normal everyday questions “how was school.” It’s these conversations that tug at my heart strings and humble me. These conversations help us to grow as people.
Take time out to allow the series of “starting overs” that occur in our everyday lives to happen. Accept them. I know that right now as a Mom, I am going through a series of starting overs- i am entering new territory. I am transitioning to having an adult child, a big kid, and a school aged kid. This is scary and tough, but also beautiful in it’s own right. I am excited for my children to find themselves, and figure out where they want to go and what they want to do.
I pray that they continue to put themselves in uncomfortable situations- I pray that they embrace the series of “starting overs”, because this will enable them to experience the new possibilities, and enjoy the moments that will engulf them.
I am a huge fan of people watching, I enjoy watching how people interact with one another. I like watching facial expressions and interactions between people.
During worship at Church I tend to scan the space and watch people with there interactions. I especially love watching children during worship. Children have this perfect innocence and absolute peace within them. Sunday was like any other Sunday and there I was just scanning the sanctuary… until I saw 2 little girls, sweet as pie. They were dressed in floral dresses and they were smiling and dancing just having a time. The mom was sitting behind the girls holding a tiny baby girl, she looked exhausted and you could tell she just wanted to worship without a worry. Let’s face is she is a busy Mama. As her little girls were laughing, singing, and dancing she kept leaning down, saying something like “stop it.” She kept touching them on the back or arm. A lot of back and forth between them. As I scan the other way I see this same sort of thing happening and it hit me!
I am guilty of this! Why? Why do we feel like we have to “hush” our children during worship? The fact is that from a child’s perspective they are watching adults with hands in the air, dancing, and just worshiping in a loud visual way. Little kids just express themselves differently. Let’s face is there is no right or wrong way to worship our heavenly father. He is just so happy that you have brought your children to a space that they can be fed from the holy spirit.
When our sweet Chan was younger he was loud and proud and didn’t so much like going to “story time” at the library. It was always a stressful situation for me. The library attendants would always give me looks or ask me to take him out and so I did. The problem with this is- We are taught that if our children can’t follow the “normal” we should take them out so not to disrupt the “class.” Well, we were also in search of a home church, and after several attempts… of being told to go to a seperate nursing area, a cry room, leaving him in the nursery…
None of those felt like good options for me. I was at Church with my family to be with my family and love on the Lord with my baby. We found a perfect home church that let him just be little. They didn’t turn a nose up to me nursing, they didn’t shhhh him during the service. I was told multiple times what a blessing our family was to the congregation because children are the sign of growth. We then moved to Florida and we started going to story time at the library and the sweetest librarian came up to me and said, “You don’t need to worry Mom, he can hear everything that is going on, he is little.”
What a relief, I went there feeling scared and overwhelmed about how it was going to be, I went there nervous and unsure of myself as a mom. Miss Pam was quick to put those worries aside. Really the whole staff at the Cape Coral Public Library, they would remind me that a library is a place of wonder and amazement and should be fun for kids. You don’t have to teach them to be quiet, teach them to read- that requires words to flow. It was a breath o fresh air.
As a parent it’s overwhelming because everyone around you has different expectations of what your child should act like. When the fact is why do we start grooming our children at the age of infancy to be a 9-5 worker. We groom them to learn real quick that they should be quiet, sit still, and only move about in a cubical sized area. Isn’t this true…. Play pens? Gates?
Then pre school at the age of 3 they are taught to sit still, and listen, then at the age of 5 they go to Kindergarten and they are expected to sit in a desk 8-3…. 5 days a week, and as the years go forward not much changes. So from the age of 5 -18 they are in a desk 5 days a week, then college or straight to work the average 8-5 Monday through Friday in a cubical. This is what we are taught life is about? So for the first 4 years of your life we prepare our children for school, then for the next 13 years we prepare them for college or an 8-5, until they are about 70… Then we are told that’s when we get to enjoy life.
I have issues with this mindset or rather this idea of success. The fact is that we live on this big beautiful world and there is much to see and do. There is more to life than just being told to be quiet. When you are at Church with your sweet babies let them be little! Encourage them to worship and instead of shhhing them teach them the proper way to worship, take them to the library and don’t let a librarian make you feel like a bad parent because your child laughs and talks a little at the library. They are little, let them be little! Teach them that books are funny and books are fun and the library is a great place. We as parents have enough pressure on us don’t let society make you feel bad about stuff that you shouldn’t feel bad about. Children are a sign of growth. Maybe you don’t have children, in that case you should be an encouraging stranger. Be that person that offers a smile instead of a judgemental stair, be the person that says to a parent you are doing a great job even if that child is screaming in the store.
I never understood these struggles until I had a spirited child. This boy from the time he was born knew what he wanted and when he wanted it. There were lots of fits at the store, lots of corralling him at the library, nursing while pushing a grocery cart, and a little crying and wanting to crawl around at church… Through all of those things I tried to remain and remind myself that this to shall pass. There were lots of tears on my part and lots of strange looks, mean comments, but a few helping hands and soothing words that came in the perfect moments.
It’s okay Mama! It’s okay Dad! It’s okay that your baby, child, kid, is laughing or goofing a little in Church is okay! God wants your children there! They are hearing what is being said! It’s okay if your child isn’t a quiet little mouse in the library, we are humans we are designed to interact! We aren’t designed to sit in a cubical from birth- ————-
Please let them be little! Take a breath! You are doing a good job. There is no normal! Your child doesn’t have to be “Normal.” Nobody that has ever done anything great was “NORMAL”
My entire life Church has been a norm for me. As far back as I can remember there was Sunday school, vacation bible school, church camps, outings, and dinners. You can say church has always been a staple, however, as much as I loved Church and what it stood for I still became a little rebellious. I remember being read parables and verses and singing songs and everything made sense to me except, The parable of the lost son or Prodigal son.
I would read this or hear it talked about and always feel a little mad or confused or a little discombobulated over it.
Basically this parable is about a father that has 2 sons. One of the sons takes his inheritance and basically squanders it away, while the other son stays and follows the rules. Once the son that squandered his stuff away he comes home and says to the dad that he had sinned and asked if he could work as a servant, but the Dad is just happy to see his son and he throws a party for him. Meanwhile the son that had stayed back and followed the rules is mad asking questions like where’s my party?? The dad just tells him that everything that is his Dad’s was always his and that they should celebrate his brother coming home because he was dead and now he’s alive.
It’s a good story, but my entire life I have acted like the “good son” if you will asking the questions why is it that if I follow the rules and do what I am supposed to do where is my party or where is my recognition. It wasn’t until Sunday during Church the pastor was talking about this parable, and I’m not sure how to explain it, but I felt like I was kind of having an out of body experience. I could hear her talking, but I felt like God was saying this is important you need to hear this and he just laid it out for me in a way that I could understand. In those moments I was able to breathe a breath of fresh air that I hadn’t been able to do before.
Here’s what I got: The parable was never about the son persay. The parable is about our heavenly father! He is saying to us no matter what we do he will love us, he will welcome us back every time we wander off. He will throw us a party when we come back because he is so happy that we are alive! For those of you that don’t vere from the path he is saying everyday is a party for you because you get all of me all the time. Maybe you lose sight of that party because it has become your normal, but take a step back and know that I am rejoicing with you on a daily basis. I am so happy that you are here with me.
In the world that we live as far as having social media at the forefront of everything we do. We often times get these unrealistic glimpses into peoples lives and we might find ourselves saying why do they deserve that… Here I am over here working hard following the rules and doing what I am “supposed” to do. We do not know the ins and outs of that situation. It’s very easy to look on the outside and think that people have it all, but I bet after taking a better look there is a lot of brokenness. We have to learn to stop comparing our “party or welcome home” to everyone else’s.
There are situations in my personal life that this really hits home… I have found myself my whole life saying things like “Why do they get to just live life worry free, why do they get to make awful choices for x amount of years and then get to reap the benefits or get told they are doing a good job over situations that I have worked so hard for. I’m the one that has went through the sleepless nights, I’m the one that has shown up to events, I’m the one that has …. You get the picture. What benefits does said person get to reap? I’m the one that got to experience all of those moments, I am the one that has gotten to stock pile all the memories, I’m the one that had the privilege of getting though those sleepless nights. I am the one that got to experience what was always there for me.
I know it’s easy to hear and story and say something like “they don’t deserve (xyz)” but who are we to determine what someone deserves. Take a look back at the parable- The son that was given his inheritance early he squandered it away he was living an awful life not knowing when he would receive his next meal, not knowing where he would sleep, meanwhile the son that stayed, he got to enjoy great meals, good times, and he always knew where he would sleep. Everyday his life was a party without him realizing it. Life is like this sometimes, we tend to see a grand gesture and wonder where ours is at. It’s right in front of you.
Understand that this has taken me 34 years to understand this parable for it’s true meaning, so I am still a work in progress. I am just thankful that The Lord has welcomed me back everytime I went and squandered away his inheritance for me. I guarantee you he is there with his arms wide open waiting for you. He doesn’t think that you deserve anything but his love.
As life happens we can never be perfect, but the one thing we can do is be open to learning from our mistakes, be open to hearing perspectives, and trying to understand situations.
Next time you look at a situation and thing something along the lines “Wow, must be nice to get all that attention or free stuff or that grand gesture” Three is more to the story, and that persons day to day may be very different from yours. Focus on being the best you that you can be and understand that it takes a village and it takes our Heavenly father on our team. Invite him to be on your team.
The other day this lady introduces herself to us, and after chatting a bit we realize that we have some mutual friends. She jokingly says something along the lines of (Oh good I can dig up some good dirt on you then). I laugh and we just go about the day. As this conversation starts to resonate with me I start to contemplate this phrase that is used all the time (dig up good dirt) when talking about someone. People that are gossiping will say this phrase, people that are maybe looking to date someone, or if you just want to see if this person will be a good fit for a multitude of avenues.
To have dirt means to know a secret about said person or maybe something they don’t want a lot of people to know. Something from your past.
Now, when this sweet lady was talking me it was all in joking and completely NOT harmful.
As these words are in my mind so is all these other thoughts… Let’s take a walk though my mind-
We are taught from a very early age to kind of “brush stuff under the rug” if you will. You have a reputation to uphold and so you don’t want to showcase your past mistakes that you have made because might somehow change peoples current views of the person that you are, at least this is what we tell ourselves and the people around us. So, then it becomes this vicious animal that we are supposed to keep locked away somewhere deep inside of you. This becomes your dirt.
What if we change this concept? When I look at dirt I see possibility. Don’t you? The possibility of beautiful flowers, or grass, or trees, and really maybe even the possibility of weeds. Because let’s face it there are some pretty beautiful weeds that just grow freely until someone tries to cut it down or change it. There is even the possibility of vegetables, herbs, and spices, all of these things we love and really can’t live without. If the fact that dirt is the basic foundation for all of these beautiful, useful, and completely needed items in life- maybe we should view it that way when applied to our lives.
Stay with me here- You know the saying, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” or another popular one is “let your past make you better not bitter.” Well, I say we embrace our mistakes, our misfortunes, and moments of being “young and dumb.” I say this because how else will people learn and grow? I think it’s important to be transparent and not be ashamed of decisions and choices that we have made in our pasts, they are the basis of our garden.
When a person decides to grow a garden there are a lot of steps.
You have to choose location, figure out time of year, decide what you are going to plant, prepare you garden space, plant the right way, water, fertilize, mulch, and keep insects and other things away from your beautiful vegetation. The most interesting part of vegetation is that it will grow to the sun. Take a tree it will grow sideways if it needs to to get to the sun. This is just a basic overview, but you get the picture. It’s labor intensive there will be a lot of trial and error, trust me I have tried and failed multiple gardens.
This is true for you and your life as well- it takes time, it takes trial and error, it takes that “dirt” that you are feeling so ashamed of to get you to the sun. Embrace that dirt! So that you can Experience the sunlight! and start to Enjoy your life!
The people that want to know you and want to love you will not judge you for your past they will simply see that you were planting your garden. Sometimes it takes a few tries to get vegetation to grow the way that it was meant to grow. The same is true for you, sometimes it takes a few tries and attempts to get to where you are wanting to go.
Remember that you my friend have the best gardener on the face of the planet that is our heavenly father and he has planted your seed firm in the dirt and he is shining his light so bright waiting for you to bend, curve, and reshape yourself to find it.
As Mother’s Day is approaching I have spent a lot of time just trying to really understand what this day means, the bigger part of that is what does being a Mother mean? What does it mean to be given this title “Mom, Mother, Mama, Mommy?
On a daily basis this title is one that gets taken for granted by me and probably by most women that have been given this most precious title on the face of the planet. After all being a MOM is HARD HARD HARD HARD WORK. Now, understand that I don’t mean just by being given the title, “MOM.
Motherhood comes in many ways: Maybe you are given the gift of going through pregnancy, maybe you adopt, mayne you are an Aunt, Grandma, Sister, or Friend that just steps up in a big way. Maybe you foster children, Maybe you volunteer. The avenues of becoming a Mom are all different, but the end result is the same. Getting there and going though it is difficult and scary, and you are flooded with questions, fears, and absolute wonder.
Maybe your story is a little different from those examples. The only thing each and every story will always have in common is that it is hard, but more then that Mama’s it is beautiful.
My definition of being a Mama- A woman that steps up and selflessly loves a child by showing compassion, setting limits, and someone that chooses to emulate a positive environment for a child to feel safe in. A mom is someone that feels like she is failing on a daily basis, but she isn’t! A mom is someone that shows up for her children: emotionally, physically, and mentally. A mom is someone that wears many hats. She is a nurse, a coach, a chef, a maid, a seamstress, a hairdresser, a taxi driver, she is an atm, she is an event planner, a personal assistant, a therapist, maybe a personal trainer, she will eventually become a life coach, and she is flexible enough to always be willing to add another hat to her collection if the opportunity presents itself. She is putting everyones needs above her own. She is tired, she is over worked, she is under appreciated, and her hair is a mess, but she is still smiling and patiently waiting for that simple: I love you.
It’s interesting transitioning from being the child that is celebrating ones Mom to the Mom that is being celebrated. From the time you are a tiny tike you have celebrated the women in your life that have loved you selflessly and made a choice to step up and be your Mom. Then comes the day that God says, I choose you to be called Mom. Wow! What a conversation that was/is. I remember looking up each time and saying something along the lines of…. Ummmm- Are you sure this is a good idea? I’m a mess! I am an absolute mess!
God doesn’t make mistakes. TRUTH!
Embrace the mess! A mess is a beautiful thing! Our youngest is 4 and when he is covered in dirt from head to toe, I will say to him, Woah Chandler, then he will immediately respond with, “Mom, do I look like I had fun today?”
Yes buddy! You look like you had so much fun! I have said to him from the time he has been little… Muddy shoes- Wow, those shoes had fun today! Dirty hands- Hey those hands look like they had fun today! Play dates and toys everywhere- Chandler this is proof that you and your friends had fun today. I think sometimes we view a “Mess” when it comes to our kids as a negative thing, when in reality they are beautiful moments.
For instance let’s say you entertain a group of friends at your house and afterwards your home is a “mess” it looks like a home that had laughter, smiles, and conversations for days.
Take a step outside of it and I promise you you will see a set of beautiful moments that are beyond your wildest dreams.
Remember that you might feel like your life is a mess because you are wearing the same yoga pants that you had on for two days, your hair is probably in a bun or a hat, no make up, there are toys everywhere and you probably had to get take out because the day got away from you- but I promise those kiddos of yours view you as a superhero! You are the center of there world. They think you are the most beautiful perfect Mommy on the face of the planet.
Remember that the tough moments along with the great moments will pass (This to shall pass). Take a moment today and just look back at all the awesome that you have been able to experience. Your body is strong! Your heart is huge! You are fierce! You are a MOM!!
I am beyond thankful for this wonderful gift of Motherhood. I am thankful that God chose me to raise these individuals! I am so thankful that he has blessed me with an amazing husband, partner, and friend to do life with.
Wow, big things happening in Columbia City, Indiana at Indian Springs Middle school!
Let me back up and explain how it all started…
Spring break was about to be underway when the school sent out an automated email saying that our son’s lunch account was negative .15, now normally we would have written a check immediately or sent cash. Because this was the last day of school before spring break we told Jacob that we would just send him a check on the Monday he returned to school. No harm, no foul.
Spring break was here and gone in the blink of an eye and back to school reality we were. Sunday night Josh writes the check and places it on the counter, next morning Jacob send me a text and asks if I can drop the check off at school because he forgot it on the counter. I drop the check off at about 10:30 in the AM (This gives plenty of time for the money to get to Jacob before his lunch. I proceed with my day of errands, cleaning, and entertaining our 4 year old.
I get a call from Jacob and he informs me that he is eating a peanut butter sandwich for lunch with no milk…. Livid doesn’t put into words the amount of absolute anger I was feeling. I sent him to the office immediately to get his money so that he could return to the lunch room and eat a regular lunch. I then proceed to call the school. I had a hefty conversation with the fill in receptionist basically she ensures that Jacob gets his check.
It’s time to pick this boy up from school- he looks absolutely distraught and I ask how his day was, remember, I’m under the impression that he has eaten lunch. He informs me that he did not eat lunch because the “lunch personnel” informed him that he was already given a peanut butter sandwich. 🙁 ummmmmm
Mind you throughout the day after this happened Josh had been emailing back and forth with the Assistant Principle “Mr. Nelson.” as the night goes on, we are absolutely distraught that this even had to happen, but more so we are trying to come up with a solution. Basically, this has been something that has always bothered us (the serving of the peanut butter sandwiches), but because it wasn’t at our doorstep we would chat about it and let it go. Well, here it was at our door step and after talking with Jacob and hearing how he felt and the amount of embarrassment that he felt along with feeling absolutely starved…. We were on a mission to be part of the solution not the problem!
The next day after this happened to Jacob, Mr. Nelson called Jacob out of class to apologize to him because after reviewing the negative lunch account balance policy and speaking with the lunch personnel he realised that his school failed Jacob in a big way that day. Rather than hide from it he owned it and he made a point to apologize to him.
A few days later, Jacob walked by his office and handed him a book that he had purchased from the book fair that day. He told Mr. Nelson how much it meant to him that he took time to apologize to him. He gave him the book that he purchased because after being in Mr. Nelson’s office he noticed he had a few books.
The moral here is that this was an unfortunate situation, that turned into a huge success. It’s amazing what an apology can mean to someone. Especially when you are talking someone in that position means a lot.
On 05/08/2018, we were able to have a meeting with some personnel from Indian Springs Middle school, and we came up with a solid plan to help keep this situation from helping again. They have partnered with Kroger and will be using that money raised from you just doing your normal grocery shopping and place it in a fund that will be used for students that forget money or just don’t have it. There will also be a link placed on the website for you to be able to donate any amount of monies that you can. Maybe it’s just a dollar or maybe it’s 500 dollars. Whatever the amount it all helps.
The fact is that school should be a safe place where kids can go and learn and know that they are going to be treated as equals. They should know that they will be fed a meal. It very well may be the only meal they receive that day. I don’t know the ins and outs, but what I do know is that I am so proud to call this our school. I am proud of the personnel to step up in a big way and help in making changes. I am proud of how we handled the situation, because part of me wanted to really just lash out like a child, but instead we took lots of deep breaths and used our words and communicated like adults and now something pretty fabulous is going to be happening.
If you have a few dollars to spare, please think about donating to this cause. Maybe you shop at Kroger you could simply go to the Indian Springs website and connect your Kroger card to the school and it’s as easy as that.
The school policy allows a student to have 3 lunches in the negative, and after that this account that they are setting up with kick in. This will help those parents have more time to get the funds into the school. Let’s work together in helping school be that safe haven that kids need.
CLICK THE LINK BELOW!!
We are currently participating in the Kroger Community Rewards program. This program comes at NO COST TO YOU. A percentage of every purchase you make with your Kroger Rewards card raises points for Indian Springs Middle School. Points earn dollars for our school and support student activities. The following are examples of different programs: event scholarships, honors breakfast, field trips, guest speakers, activity class projects, 5k, and our newly implemented (2018-2019) ISMS insufficient funded lunch account program (limit per account). Please support Indian Springs Middle School’s student body by signing up for the Kroger Community Rewards program below.
Our Organization Indian Springs Middle School and our organization number is 89257.
Thank you for your support,