Saturday, April 21, 2012

Random thoughts of the day. . .

I've never been accused of thinking along normal lines. Which payed off in third grade when I got put into the advanced program, but also almost got me institutionalized. Apparently, I wrote a very graphic tale about a girl whose dad turned into a werewolf (which I believe she was aware of) and she killed him. . . I really wish I could find that story now because I bet it would be a good read, but I'm pretty sure its in a dumpster somewhere. Just another casualty of foreclosure. Poor little story, never even knew what hit it. Oh, well. At least it will decompose naturally.

See what I mean about not thinking along normal lines? To me, the world is full of connections. Everything connects and I usually find myself passing off odd comments about things that connect to me, but not to others as "jokes" or "sarcasm". . . Its somehow easier to think that people just don't understand your humor than to think that they don't appreciate your thought patterns.

I need to remember this, though. Because it looks like my oldest daughter is going to be like me and then some. This year, in first grade, she was put into the target program. And last week, she brought home a drawing of what she wanted to be when she grows up. Apparently, she wants to be an FBI agent and "catch the killers". I'm pretty sure that she got that from Criminal Minds, which I love but don't watch with her. . . but my dad has been known to fall asleep watching ncis and not wake up until Criminal Minds is over. She was quick to reassure me that the school counselor saw her picture before the blood was added, but to my chagrin I found myself telling her she should be drawing pictures of rainbows and fairies and princesses and happy, girly things. . . because she's a 7 year old girl. Its funny how quickly you forget where you came from. Less than 20 years ago, I was that kid that thought along different paths. Does she think along abnormal paths because she is my child or did God give her to me because she thinks along abnormal paths? Its like what came first, the chicken or the egg, LOL. Either way, I should be the first adult to appreciate that in my child. Because I'm sure there will be plenty of adults who don't.

Like the teacher that sent me home info about an ADHD breakfast. My child can sit through a movie without blinking if she likes it. She read a 200 page chapter book in a week. She can concentrate on things if she's interested in them. But she reads at a 3rd grade level and they teach at a first grade level. Of course she bounces off the wall. She's bored. And she thinks along seemingly random paths like her mom. I can totally see how that looks like ADHD. But it isn't. She's just a deep thinker, too bored to sit for 7 hours a day and be bored quietly and I am grateful for that. I just wish I had noticed it and appreciated it before now.

I bet you're wondering what brought this thought to mind, what connection led to this path? Well, there are a few things that have led me here. First, Pastor has been talking a lot about being real and sharing our struggles and not just sugar coating reality so its more palatable, which made me think about how I pass off my different thinking as not *real* thoughts, but jokes or sarcasm. Also, I have found myself thinking a lot lately about how much I've changed and how much I am still the same. Like last week, I was getting ready to go to work and found myself looking for something "conservative" and "modest" to wear, which totally cracked me up because I work at the same church that I enjoyed dressing provocatively at while I was in middle school and high school and I thought "what would the people who knew me in high school think of me now". That is a misleading thought, because it probably makes you think I care what people I knew in high school think. The funny thing is, when I wonder what they think, I'm not really wondering what my friends from high school would think, but what the people who didn't like me in high school would think. They didn't know me to start off with, just how I dressed and I really don't care what anyone I knew would think, but it amuses me to think that my current level of amiability and propriety would probably scandalize those who once knew of me. . .

Anyways, those are just a few of my random thought processes of the present. I'm sure I'll be blogging again soon enough because I've got plenty more to say that is still processing. . .

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

We are meant to be COURAGEOUS

We were meant to be more than conquerors in Christ Jesus. We were meant to be Courageous. I know that song was written about men and I do think that men are meant to be courageous as the leaders of the home. However, in the absence of courageous leadership (and even in its presence), ladies we were meant to be courageous. For our kids. For ourselves and most of all for our God. We are called to do EVERYTHING as if for the LORD. WE are meant to be courageous.

Courageous, not quitters or fearers or haters or downers. Not whiners or enablers or a bunch of other things that I could waste my time listing, but I won't. Because it is a waste of time and because I find myself quite childlike at times, in terms of finding myself apt to lean toward doing what I'm not supposed to do. Yes, I can be rebellious. Its a pain in the conscious.

But back to the point. . . We are meant to be courageous in Christ. If we are in Christ, we are meant to be courageous in Christ. If we are in Christ, Christ is in us and we are meant to be courageous in Christ. We are meant to do the right thing in all that we do and there are times when that comes naturally and is easy and there are other times when we are surrounded by opposition and doing the right thing takes an incredible amount of courage. defines courageous as "not deterred by danger or pain; brave." If you look up the word "courageous" on, 14 verses come up. The first 7 verses are the Lord commanding His people to be strong and courageous for God was leading them to the promised land and would be with them wherever they went. 13 of the 14 verses are in the Old Testament, written during times of war and turmoil and the last is 1 Corinthians 16:13 "Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong."

Be courageous and follow God. Obey his commands and statutes. Do not turn from them to the left or to the right. Do what is right. Do not be deterred by danger or pain because if God is for us, who can be against us? "He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?" Romans 8:32. I'm not saying it will be easy, because I'm sure the times of turmoil and war in the Old Testament weren't easy for those who were going through it, but God never said it would be easy. Instead, He warned us that it would be hard and He encouraged us to be strong and courageous and He promised he would be with us wherever we go. So be strong and courageous. Be who you were meant to be in Christ.
There was a time when I thought I would be able to blog every day. I mean, every time I posted "I'm really gonna do it this time", I really thought I was going to do it. But the truth is, I think I was just suffering from temporary insanity and temporarily forgot that I have 4 kids, very little sleep, negligible energy and little if any time left at the end of the day. As a result, I find myself ruminating over what to post for days, sometimes weeks before I ever get around to posting it. I guess that probably makes for better reading and I've come to realize that that's all I can do at this point in time.

These days, I am concentrating. On everything. My kids, my attitude, their attitude, the influences I allow in our lives, doing the best I can in all that I do, doing everything I do for the Lord and trying to inspire my kids to do the same.

I'm struggling these days, but I continue to press on because God didn't build me to be a quitter and I thank Him for that. I have been watching Courageous and Facing the Giants lately, not because they have the same guy in both, but because they both have important lessons that I need to learn from.

I watched Courageous for the first time last week. It made me cry. And if you know me, you know that it takes a lot to make me cry. I wept like a baby while I was nursing Rory and it took me 10 minutes to get it under control. I was so broken because my bad judgement is what got us here. I chose my ex. No one forced him on me. I could have run screaming for the hills, but I didn't. I should have, but I'm glad I didn't because I love my kids. To me, they are proof that good fruit CAN come from a dying tree. Our marriage may have ended, but no matter what happened and what happens, I praise God for the beautiful, wonderful children he blessed me with. But I am broken because, after watching Courageous, I cannot deny that fathers are important and my kids might as well not have one. Which makes them more likely to suffer and to cause suffering to others in the long run. I pray to God that my children being fatherless is a blessing in disguise, as I often say. And not just a burden that will cause them to be less than they would have been if he had stuck around.

I pray that God will use these trials to make my kids stronger, to enable them to better serve Him, and to help them to make wise decisions in their lives -- regarding marital and non-marital decisions. I pray that they will realize that their decisions will affect others and that they will make their decisions -- big and small -- accordingly.

I pray that God will raise up a courageous man who will be a good father figure to my children when they need a father.

Which brings me to the lesson from Facing the Giants. There is a story they tell in the movie about 2 farmers who prayed for rain -- 1 who got his field ready for rain and 1 that did not. I pray that God will help me get ready for the blessings I pray for. I don't really know how to get ready besides by reading my Bible and continuing to forgive my ex and work through my issues and try to better myself, all while keeping in mind the type of person I am looking for so that I do not use my bad judgement any longer, that I do not allow myself to make another bad choice that will adversely affect my children. God, help me to do my best and to be a courageous woman for you while I am waiting for you to raise up a godly, courageous head for my household. Amen.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Thoughtul Parenting

I feel like a lot of my posts relate to living purposefully, but lately I have come to realize that making purposeful decisions and making thoughtful decisions are not always the same thing. We all have moments when we wish our kids (or husbands or dogs or fill-in-the-blanks) had come with an instruction manual. Some handy, consisely written pamphlet that covers any situation we might ever find ourselves in and also has a handy, always manned, toll-free number that we can call if anything out of the ordinary occurs. A number that will connect us to the expert that can clear up our every curiosity and tell us how to resolve any problems or clear up any glitches we might encounter in the course of life, whether our days be routine or strange beyond strange.

We all want this manual because we want to know what to do without doing any of the legwork or experimentation or though-process ourselves. Because all of that is just too messy and we might have a setback in the process or even -GASP- fail. We might no do everything perfectly and that's scary. That's why moms generally want dads to use the instruction manuals when they but something new or fix something old. And that's also why dads are a necessary part of the parenting process. Because they tend to be hard wired to think outside of the box and experiment confidently with parenting.

So what do you do when life is not ideal and you want to reach for that instruction manual that does not exist? Reach for th one that does. It has been said that the Bible is a universal instruction manual, that it can instruct you in all manners of life. And so far, I have yet to find a problem it won't help me with. And whenever I am just to frustrated to read my manual, I hit my knees and talk to the expert. He's just a toll-free (price paid by Jesus) prayer away.

As one of my friends posted on Facebook the other day, no one ever makes a lock without making a key and God doesn't allow problems in our lives without a solution being there, too, even if that solution is just as simple as calling the expert.

Today, I encourage everyone to practice thoughtful parenting. No cookie cutter was used to make us all and there isn't always an easy fix, but check out your instruction manual and call on the expert and do your best. Only you and God know what that is and only God can help you tap into that best, whatever it may be. And while you're at it, live thoughtfully, too. I am a firm believer that we would not deal with all the problems we deal with if everyone thought before they did. Have a great day in the Lord.

Friday, March 2, 2012


I had a lot of time to think on the drive to OK and on the drive back. Much more than I would have if I hadn't driven all but 4 hours of it. Not that thinking is a bad thing, but thinking while I was driving somewhere I had been to before to be with Joey, which also happened to be the place where he met the woman he left us for. . . It made for too many thoughts about him. And her.

People can think up some crazy things when they have been hurt. Like wounded lions, we can all give in to our baser instincts and lash out when we are hurting. The important thing is not to give in to our crazy thoughs. At least, not while they are still crazy and pain-laced.

Most of my thoughs centered around a vengeful plot to post ads in OK and TX craigslist personals, including their pictures. . . His and hers PSAs to warn people in the surrounding areas of the type of people they are. Something to the effect of "don't trust him, he is a narcissistic sociopath who will charm the pants off of you as long as it suits him, but has no actual loyalty to anyone but himself and will only keep you around as long as you serve his purposes and then he will leave and never look back." Looking back, that's not really a PSA. Hers. . . Something to the effect of "warning, this woman is a chronic slut who trolls bars around military bases (typically Fort Sill), looking for soldiers who are about to receive large bonuses and using her sexual prowess to trap said unsuspecting idiots for as long as it takes to drain them of their bonus and then moves on to the next unsuspecting idiot. She has no regard for marital status (hers or theirs), only for an anticipated pay day." But maybe that's just me being petty. After spending hours fantasizing about posting these PSAs to every craigslist in TX and OK, I decided maybe that's not the best course to take, but I did still want to post a PSA, so here goes:

Women, there are men out there who will say what they think you want to hear to "get" you and then after a while they will not be able to follow through because it was all a lie, at which point, they will cut their losses and run for the hills. This is why long courtships (without the complication of sex) are good. It takes time to see the true character of some people and when determining whether or not you want to spend the rest of your life with someone, its good to take your time. Your life is a long time. Don't waste it on the wrong guy.

Men, there are women out there who are technically not hookers, who will sleep with you in order to convince you to spend money on them. They may even get pregnant in order to trap you. They probably won't care if you are married or not, but even if you are and they know that you are from the beginning, they will probably still expect you to marry them when they get pregnant. Once you have no more money to give or life gets sufficiently hard, they will find someone else to leech money from and they will move on. They are loyal to money, not to you. I know indiscriminant sex seems fun and harmless, but sin often seems fun for a season and afterwards produces pain and consequences.

Everyone, look at the people you are considering spending time with. None of us know how long we will have on Earth and none of us can extend that time beyond what God has determined we will have. Look at the people you are spending your time with. Look at them carefully and determine what kind of person they are and if they are the right kind of person to spend time with, much less your life with. Do not tell yourself that the way they have acted in the past is different from how they will act with you "because they love you." People are creatures of habit. They may act like the person you want them to be fore a while, but eventually they will revert back to reality and you will see their true colors. Wait it out. Be sure before you consumate your relationship. Otherwise, you might end up pregnant with your 4th child, abandoned by the person you thought would stick around forever "because they love you." Its not a fun place to be.

Beware of the people you let into your inner circle. Make sure they belong there before you let them have free reign there. Guard your heart. A broken heart is a nasty wound to try to heal from. Especially if you have an ever-present audience of children to remain strong for.

I hope this PSA helps someone since it wasn't that easy for me to write, even after 40ish hours in the car and countless hours afterwards spent contemplating it.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Road Trip

I've always wondered why some people call every trip they take a vacation. . . I mean, some trips are vacations for sure. Like going to Hawaii all expenses paid, not having to worry about anything but making sure you don't forget the sun screen. But other trips. . . not so much. Some trips are just road trips. Road trips can still be wonderful opportunities and some parts of them are even fun, but that does not make them a vacation. They are typically too stressful, too much like reality or too worklike to be a vacation.

That said, I'm pretty sure I stopped vacationing when I started having kids. Or maybe I am just having "working vacations" now. And I'm pretty sure that term is an oxymoron.

All kidding aside, though, this has been a hard trip for me. And not just because of the barfing in the car. Or starting my period for the first time in over 2 years. Or the typical stresses and hazards of driving for 20 hours straight with 4 kids in the car. Or because my great aunt died while we were here and we won't make it home in time for the funeral. It has been hard because I've been here before. Literally. We made this drive to Fort Sill for Labor Day 2010 to spend time with Joey. I remember the anticipation and excitement, happy expectations, joy to arrive and the enormous pain of having to leave. It was so easy to drive there and so hard to drive home. I got lost a lot on that trip, too. And that trip included driving through Dallas. (Dallas is like Atlanta only the roads are worse and the drivers are, too.)

This trip is hard because it makes me think about that trip. It was a good trip. We had a great time together. I thought we were happy and I thought we would be happy forever. And then it all blew up.

Its still hard to think about the good times. It still hurts. I still haven't learned to separate the good from the bad and discard the bad while benefiting from the good. Life is too much like oranges for me. I love the taste of oranges, but can't stand the white stuff between the orange and the peel. I spend way too much time peeling the orange and scraping off the white part and can never quite get it all off. It irritates me. For me, separating the pain from the good memories is about as easy as getting all the white stuff off of the orange. But its something I'm trying to learn. Life would be much easier if we could all find the benefit or the valuable lesson in each situation we find ourselves in. Imagine how much better off we'd be if we could use all the good we are ever exposed to to enrich our lives without letting it be diminished by any of the bad. I guess that's what we'll be like in heaven, only I don't imagine there will be any bad there.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day :)

Personally, I find Valentine's Day a pointless holiday. God doesn't value money or possessions and it seems to me that so much of this holiday (most holidays, really) revolves around money and things. Commercialism tells us that true love can only be expressed properly by spending the money to buy the things to make your significant other feel like they are important to you, whether they really are or not because every kiss begins with K. . . and kisses generally make for a happy ending (or the beginning to a happy ending) on Valentine's Day. The end justifies the means, which requires absolutely no thought and only the effort and cash flow to run to Kroger at 7 pm on February 13th to buy a box of chocolates that will go straight to her hips and a dozen roses that will be dead in a week.

We went to the grocery store last night and I was shocked by how many people were there last minute to buy chocolates and flowers. There was a tent in the parking lot and all that meant for me was less parking spots. I wondered how many people there were buying chocolates and flowers because they knew that's what their significant other enjoys and how many were buying them because society tells us that those are the appropriate Valentine's Day gifts. I wondered how many significant others would enjoy their gifts and how many would not. I wondered how many people were out buying gifts for their significant other for Valentine's Day because society dictates that today is the day to express that you care. . . and how many of them will not choose to express that they care again until the next Valentine's Day. Or birthday. Or Christmas. I wondered why people think its worth the effort on the "big" days, but not worth the effort on the little days in between. In my mind, since the little days outnumber the big ones, they should be more important, but clearly not everyone agrees with me. Which is saddening.

And so, I find Valentine's Day pointless. I find most holidays pointless. And yet, I was at Kroger last night to buy Valentine's Day cards and candy for my daughter so she would not feel left out at her school celebration today. We were going to make origami hearts and butterflies for her classmates, but as is typical with 7 kids under 1 roof, the kids got caught up playing and time ran away from us. So we made the last minute dash out to Kroger to get what she needed to enjoy the holiday because even though I think this holiday is pointless, my girls think this holiday is fun and having happy children is worth the less than $10 and the bit of frustration I endured at the store last night. Because I love them. And making this day happy for them in turn makes it happy for me.

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone. I hope you all enjoyed celebrating with your loved ones and when tomorrow comes, I hope you are just as happy to celebrate your love with those you love. Because love is what its all about. Love is important. Love is what held Jesus on the cross. Love should be celebrated daily, hourly, momentarily. . . not just on the big days and it should be celebrated because it exists, not because everyone agrees that it exists or that it should be celebrated. Buying perfunctory gifts without love in human relationships is the equivalent to perfunctory time spent with God. Love is about personal relationships and time and other resources should be spent out of love not out of a feeling of obligation. If your heart isn't in it, it just doesn't count.

As for me, today my Abba Father gifted me with a wonderful, relaxing trip to the grocery store (which is saying a lot considering I had my 3 youngest children with me), 4 children napping at the same time (so about an hour of uninterrupted me time), and an overall wonderful day. . . So even if Rory doesn't sleep through the night for her 3rd time ever (which would be sweet), I am very grateful for this day.

And frankly, I'm glad I didn't have to share it with someone who doesn't care about me. I am happy to wait upon the Lord until He decides to bring someone into my life. Because the person He has created for me is the only one I want to be with and I am happy to wait for that day and today, I am happy if that day never comes. Today was a good day. I don't say that often, but I hope to start saying it more often.

This is the day that the Lord has made and I am glad in it. And I hope you are, too.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Jesus is like a tea bag. . .

The other day, I was making tea for my girls and I decided to let them watch and as I put the tea bag in, I pointed out that the water instantly changed colors.

While I was doing this, my mind went to the Bible story in John 2 where Jesus turns water into wine. I don't know why my mind went there, but it did and I wondered what it was like to see Jesus turning water into wine. Did He turn it into red wine? Could the servants see the color spread throughout the pot?

And then I thought about how being saved is a lot like dipping the tea into the water. In an instant, you are changed and the longer you steep, the more your tea becomes like tea and the less it becomes like water. And when you're saved, you are instantly changed and nothing can change you back. Romans 8:38-39 "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Now, I let my kids watch every time I make tea and I think about that miraculous change.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Today, I deleted my online dating profiles. I finally figured out that doing anything out of desperation because "its the only thing you can think of to do" is probably a bad idea, but I hope God got a laugh out of it.

I had a "duh" moment where I told myself to stop being so silly, that God is sovereign and if he has someone out there for me, he is certainly more than capable of bringing him into my life without my help. Sometimes I can be really slow.

I thought online dating would be a way to break the ice and an outlet to talk to other adults, but I found I'd much rather talk to adults at church. . . partially in hope that there's a greater chance that anyone I might talk to at church shares my belief in God. Its amazing to me how even when you clearly state "you should only contact me if you are a Christian" there will still be plenty of people who contact you who don't believe in God. Or even worse, they want to tell you they will believe in God. . . for you. Its amazingly hard to explain to someone who doesn't know God just why it doesn't work that way.

Anyways, I don't even think I have time for a relationship now. All my time is occupied mothering and soaking up the Bible. And if God wants me to have more, he will send it in His time in His way.

Right now, I am encouraged by Secret Church (yes, still), any songs by Laura Story (especially Blessings), any songs by Josh Wilson (especially Fall Apart), and bball1989's videos on youtube (especially Sex, Marriage & Fairy Tales).

Oh, and I had a refreshing encounter last Sunday with my old Sunday school teachers. I couldn't remember their names and asked them and they told me and also said they always liked the fact that even when I was being difficult (and if you knew me in middle school and high school, you'd know I was more than difficult), I was always honest. I took it as a great compliment. And now I'm hoping they were thinking that I'm still honest and not that I'm still difficult. . .

Reminder: We can't control what happens in our lives, we can only control how we respond to what happens in our lives. Try learning something from everything you go through. And when it gets hard, remember God's grace is sufficient. Cast your cares upon Him, for He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

Saturday, February 4, 2012

It seems like all my time these days is occupied times three or four. I tire of never finishing all that I intend to do and prioritizing is hard and time consuming, but important. I'm getting a lot better at figuring out quickly what needs to be done first and doing it as well and as quickly as I can and then moving on to the next task until bedtime and then starting all over again the next day. It's never ending and thankless and there are no vacations. Sometimes we don't even get bathroom breaks. Unless you consider answering 20 questions while a 2 year old "helps" you pee a break. And some days, I do.

Mothering and homemaking are such thankless, invisible tasks. They are soon undone and must be redone. We are rarely told thanks or shown any appreciation. It is simply taken for granted that the house will stay clean, food supplied and cooked and children disciplined while we remain unmussed, serene, even happy. The pretty, put together, composed, competent, on top of it all housewife. There is no concept of the amount of work it takes to accomplish this great feat, therefore no value is placed on its completion (in part or in entirety). No wonder we are apt to get discouraged and feel unimportant. There are always clothes being worn and dishes being used. We are doing a job that will never truly be "done". And it is hard, taxing, thankless. And as such tasks go, it is absolutely vital. Just ask the garbage man. Or the people who benefit from his work. I bet he feels undervalued and unimportant at times, too. And his job doesn't include wrangling toddlers.

I love my kids therefore I love my job, but I strive to honestly acknowledge the downside of it as being part of it. Because it is a part of it. I am accustomed to others undervaluing what I do and unfortunately sometimes fall into undervaluing it myself. It is the culture we live in. Money and fame are importand and held in high esteem and are not produced by being a stay at home mom.

I have been discouraged lately. Fortunately, on one of the dating sites I infrequently visit, I received a message from someone who does view what I do as important. I didn't think men like that existed anymore. It was refreshing. Of course, he lives in CO and more importantly, he immediately deleted his profile. If I didn't still have access to the messages we exchanged, I would wonder if I had just made him up. Really, his existence is irrelevant, but it was enough for me to realize that God also views what I do as important. Which to me was very important.

All of this to say, moms if you are feeling unimportant, take heart. Our role is like that of a farmer, lots of hard work and then we wait to see the results of it later. If you need to hear it, listen to me. You and what you do is important. Do it well. It matters more than you know. And thanks for doing such a good job.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Funny Thing About Pain

I know, my titles are usually weird, but maybe you think this one is weirder than usual. I mean, there are good things about pain -- it tells you you're alive and lets you know when to stop/when you're doing something hazardous to your health and well being. But what can be funny about pain? Well, in my opinion the funny thing about pain is that you can become accustomed to it.

Our bodies are so adaptable. You can become so accustomed to being in pain that it no longer feels painful. It feels normal. You can become so accustomed to being in pain that you don't even realize you were in pain until the pain is gone and then you wonder how long its been gone. Sometimes the absence of pain can almost feel painful. Its like taking a hot shower and gradually turning up the heat until it damages your skin without you even noticing it or boiling a frog. Did you know if you start off with warm water and gradually heat it up, the frog will stay in the pot and be boiled alive?

A while ago, a dear friend commented that in all the time he's known me (about 18 years), I was the most miserable while I was married to Joey. I totally disregarded it as just something people say when you get divorced. Just one of "those" comments that means nothing, but is somehow meant to make you feel better. And then, as I have found myself more, I realized that he was right. As I learn more about the me I am in the aftermath, I can clearly see that I was in pain and now I can feel the pain has receded some and I have no idea when it receded. Or why. Nothing out of the ordinary has happened. I haven't had any magical healing experience. I have only started to get to know myself and started to realize how much I like myself without him here. It is so much easier to like me without being yoked to someone who was supposed to love me, but didn't. Its so much easier to like me when there's no one here to tell me I'm a frog, no one here to turn up the heat. Its like finally exhaling after holding your breath for longer than you ever thought possible or like finally breathing in clean air. Its freeing, liberating, beautiful. Its hard not to inhale too much at once. And its about time.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Maybe I'm just too picky?

Maybe I'm just too picky or maybe I just know what I want. And I'm fully aware that what I want might not even exist. But I've compromised before and look where that got me. . . not somewhere I would like to be again.

I have no idea what I want or need, but I'm looking for a Christian man who doesn't smoke, drink, or do drugs, and is ok with waiting until marriage to have sex. You would think that the Christian part seems to imply the ok with waiting until marriage to have sex part, but I've already chatted with 1 guy online who claimed to be a Christian and the first and only day I spoke to him, he expressed an expectation to have sex -- and soon. Apparently the number 13 following the word mama on a dating site indicates that you have 13 children, which implies that you will indiscriminately have sex with anyone anytime. Oops.

After about a month on the online dating scene, I'm not holding my breath. I'm not even sure if I would want to meet anyone at this point. I want to be ready, but I don't know if I am. I'm just so sick of being lonely.

If you are interested in finding out more about this subject, feel free to check out this blog. Its a very articulately written, humorous blog on this topic and bonus -- I actually know the author in real life.

Friday, January 13, 2012

An Emotional look at Online Dating

You're probably wondering why I would decide to try online dating. I just got divorced in September. It might seem like this is too soon, but for all practical purposes, I've been alone raising my kids for almost 2 years. For a bit there, I thought my husband was still in it with me, but for all practical purposes I have been alone since May 2010. And for all emotional purposes, I've been alone since October 2010. So that little piece of paper might say the divorce happened in September 2011, but in my heart we have been divorced since he left and never looked back.

But why online dating? Well, I am a single mom of 4 girls who doesn't drink, smoke, or do drugs and I don't want to be around people who do these things. I haven't dated since high school. My youngest is 1 year old and it is really hard to leave her and I just can't justify doing so just to go trolling bars in search of men I wouldn't date anyways because I don't want to date anyone who drinks. I don't want to introduce my kids to anyone I'm dating until its serious, so I certainly don't want my kids to be there when we meet. And I have no idea of where to go to meet people besides a bar and I have never been in a bar and don't want to change that. I guess I could meet someone at church, but I go to church every week and so far I have yet to meet anyone.

Its a crappy situation to be in and I have no idea how to fix it. The only thing I could think of to do to try to fix it was to try online dating, so that's what I'm doing. I'm not at the point where I'm willing to pay to try online dating, so I've found a couple free sites and I'm not really that active on them, but it makes me feel better to think that I've done what I can to try to fix it. The rest is up to God.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Practical look at Online Dating

I never in my life thought I would dive into the world of online dating, but lately I have been dealing with a lot of stuff that I never thought would happen. I guess that's life. I'll probably do a follow up post on this later regarding why I chose to pursue online dating along with some personal anecdotes regarding experiences I've had so far in this journey, but for now, this is just going to be a factual post about the different online dating sites I've checked out and which I chose to use and why.

Well, first, there are the personal ads on Craigslist. I know, it seems like a weird place to look for companionship. I typically just check craigslist for toys and fridges and then there's that whole Cragslist Killer thing, but I will admit that in a moment of weakness and loneliness I did check out the personals there and let me just say wow. That is all. I did meet a great friend through craigslist, so its not all bad, but I probably got emailed by upwards of 50 people, 49 of which turned out to be skeevy, pervy, creepy, or in some other manner not someone I would choose to continue to speak to via email, much less meet in person. So I guess this venue gets a 2% success rating so far? By the way, the skeeve factor was bad enough that I am no longer posting or looking on here.

Then there's POF. That acronym stands for Plenty of Fish. As in the saying "there are plenty of fish in the sea". Ha ha, very clever, not such a great place to meet people, but it is free and unlike other sites where you can "join for free", you can actually send and receive messages. I don't have a clue how many people have messaged me there, but so far there's been a 0% success rating of finding anyone I would like to continue to speak to via email, much less meet in person. Not sure why I joined it. People do crazy things when they are lonely, so I guess if joining online dating sites is the craziest I've gotten (and it is) then I'm ok with that.

And then there is Single Parent Meet, which advertises a free membership, which turns out to be a membership where you can post your info, but can't contact anyone else or read messages others send you without paying for a membership, which at this point I am not willing to do. I did have a profile on there, but I deleted it when I realized that it was totally pointless.

Christian Mingle is pretty much the same boat as Single Parent meet, the only difference being you can read the messages others send to you, but you can't reply without paying for a membership. I had a profile here, too, but I deleted it for the same reason I deleted the profile on Single Parent Meet.

And then there's OK Cupid. Its another free site where you can send and receive messages without paying for a membership and the best part about this site is there's an app for that.

These are just the sites I've seen, so if you know of any other sites or want to share your personal experiences, feel free to comment. If you are involved in online dating, remember to stay safe. Don't give out any personal information right away, meet the person at a public place, make sure that someone else knows where you are going and when you are going to be there and stick to the plan. Safety first :) That's the most important.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Purposeful Parenting

I'm all about living propose fully these days and to me, living purposefully is all about putting thought into everything you do. That sounds like a no brainer. I mean, we only have one life and none of us know how long we have, so who would want to waste their time, coasting through life thoughtlessly? You might be surprised by the answer. Coasting through life thoughtlessly is a habit and once started, can be a hard one to break away from. I, personally, spent at least 6 years of my life in this manner and to this day catch myself in the act of acting thoughtlessly. Now that doesn't mean I catch myself doing anything immoral or illegal, just that I catch myself doing without knowing why I am doing what I am doing and I think knowing the why is just as important as the what. If you don't take the time to know why you do what you do then it's much easier to fall down that slippery slope of doing what "everyone else" is doing, which is sometimes ok and sometimes not. But how do you know if you are on the ok path or the not ok path if you don't put any thought into what you are doing?

The same concept transcends into the parenting arena. It seems to me that the more calm, cool and collected parents are those that put a great deal of forethought into their parenting. It also seems to me that parents in general used to put a lot more forethought into their lives prior to having children. First if all, it seems to me that more people married prior to conception and spent time getting to know each other and their own views and their spouse's views on children and child rearing prior to conception. Then when they conceived, they read all the books about what to expect when you're expecting and what to expect the first 4 years and how to shepherd your child's heart. People cared enough to plan what their children would eat, where they would play, what schools they would go to. Everything typical was planned for ahead of time, that way when the child rearing began, they had the time and patience to think about the situation and decide the best course of action to take when something out of the ordinary came up. This might explain why parents had less problems with 12 kids 100 years ago than parents today have with 2. And this is something that is much easier to do before you have kids because, let's face it, kids have a way of making it hard to think clearly.

I, on the other hand, was never going to have kids. So I never thought about how to raise the kids I was never going to have. Then I had my oldest daughter and I was hooked. And 7 years and 3 kids later, I still want more. And 7 years and 3 kids later, I really wish I had done the research and figured out my opinions and stances on parenting. I'm doing it now, but I can really see how it would have been a lot easier to read and comprehend without having to stop every other word or sentence to mother.

To me, the key to purposeful living is knowing yourself, your policies, your authority and then taking all that knowledge and turning it into action. I would be doing a lot better at living purposefully if I didn't find myself falling into old habits of doing without thinking, but I am getting there slowly but surely. Another key is knowing the purpose of your tools and resources. The purpose of parenting books is to provide you with information to help you decide how you want to handle parenting. To help you make up your own mind. To enable you to parent purposefully, not mindlessly.

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Importance of Being 2

Last night, I was 2 again. It was a crazy day and I made the executive decision not to cook dinner and instead to order pizza. We ordered Dominoes because my mom likes Dominoes and there's an App for that that I wanted to try. Seriously, there's a Domino's Pizza App that has a pizza tracker on it that tells you what stage the pizza is at. When I ordered, it said the pizza would take less than 30 minutes to receive so I promptly forgot about the pizza and played with my 2 year old. About 30 minutes later, it felt like pizza time and I remembered the pizza tracker, so I went to my phone and it said the pizza was out he door and on its way to us. I got the money together and my daughter asked to hold some, so I gave her a quarter to hold and then I decided to be 2 again. I decided we would wait outside for the pizza to be delivered. We did the pizza dance and summoned the pizza's arrival with cat calls of "here, pizza, pizza, pizza". We asked the moon where our pizza was and stomped like elephants and pretended to be hungry pizza monsters. I asked her where the pizza was and she said it was coming and continued to reassure me despite me pointing out that we could not see it. This went on for about 15 minutes. When the pizza dude finally arrived, we learned that they put the garlic on the crust of the first batch of pizzas and had to remake them. I am assuming this occurred after they marked the pizzas out for delivery and I am glad it did because I had such a great time being 2 with Izzy.

And what is the importance of being 2? Freedom. To be excited. To express every thought and bodily function that we experience. To move any way we want to move. To be positive and hopeful despite our circumstances.

I think we should all be 2 on a regular basis, pizza or no pizza. Next time, I'll do it without pizza and let you know which way is better.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The truth about gifts and other things

What can we say about gifts? Plenty. Especially following the biggest giving season of the year. Whether you got what you wanted, got what you hated or got nothing at all, chances are you have something to say about gifts. Well, here's my say. . .

First, let's discuss the purpose of gifts. In my opinion, there are several purposes, but any gift given without ulterior motives attached should be given for the purpose of bringing someone else joy. Keeping this in mind, gifts should be given to help make the receiver's life easier, provide them with something they need that they otherwise would not have, make them feel special.

Somewhere along the way, people started predetemining gifts, prescribing what gifts should be given when and which gifts were taboo, but I think the best gifts are those that show you that the other person knows you, knows your life, appreciates you and cares about you. The best gifts are gifts that will be used or cherished or both. This seems like a tall order to fill, but really, it isn't. People will tell you what they want or need if you care enough to listen and pay attention.

For example, I told my ex repeatedly that I did not particularly like or use jewelry and that if he was determined to get it for me, I really preferred silver and yet at nearly every gift giving occasion, I received jewelry and it was typically gold. It was nice that he remembered the occasion, but it always hurt that he never seemed to take my preferences into consideration when choosing gifts for me. And with small children who had broken jewelry in the past, it really only got used after he left when I sold it to support my kids. On the other hand, I received the gift of a mug last Christmas that I used daily until its mysterious disappearance which I noticed and mourned. This year, I received a mug from my daughter which I love twice as much because it was from her and because it filled that need that she had listened to me talk about and cared enough to remember.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Sometimes it really sucks to be a single parent. There's a learning process you have to go through to change from married parenting style to single parenting style and I don't think I've completed that yet. I still find myself trying to play good cop, bad cop and when you're the only cop, you just end up looking like a wishy washy idiot that can't make up your mind and boy do kids know how to capitalize on people who can't make up their minds. They figure if you can't make it up on your own, then maybe they can make it up for you. And if they succeed even once, they will keep it up until you grow a pair and learn how to make up your own mind before you talk to them or until they get their way every time.

It can be an uncomfortable process for all involved and it takes a lot longer to establish your authority once you've shown an inability to make up your own mind and stick with it, but it's worth it. Households ruled by children with usurped authority function much less happily and harmoniously than households ruled by parents using their God given authority. It's had work to weed out the undesirable behaviors and teach your children right from wrong and it's never ending work, just like washing clothes and doing dishes, but just like with chores, if you teach your children to do it the right way, you can the trust them to take over and do it themselves.

But how do we teach our children right from wrong? How do we "make" them obey? The truth is, we can't. We can teach them right from wrong, but we can't make them learn it and we certainly can't force them to do it. Children are not marionettes. They do not have strings that, when pulled, produce results that can be predicted. Sometimes it seems like whenever I figure out something that works with my kids, I changes. They are like kaleidscopes only without the predictable patterns. It's confusing and frustrating and sometimes completely unfathomable to try to parent them because sometimes they make no sense whatsoever. It's easy to get frustrated and forget that sometimes we don't make sense to ourselves and we are adults and we can see inside our own heads. If we can't understand ourselves 100% of the time, then how on God's green earth can we ever expect to understand anyone else 100% of the time, especially someone else that is less developed and has had less time to figure out what they think and want and need.

It's a confusing and frustrating endeavor, being a parent. Not one that should be taken lightly or without thought and consideration and time spent in prayer. Not for the faint of heart or the impatient. Nor the faint of will.

I bet you think this is the part of the blog where I tell you the magic cure to save you time and effort and keep you from getting frustrated, but honestly I am still figuring it out myself and from what I've determined so far, there is no universal rule or shortcut. The most important thing is to love your child(ren) and act accordingly. Teach and lead them out of love. If you are angry or frustrated, take a step back, take a break and wait until you are no longer feeling angry or frustrated and then correct them out of love. Unless they are under 3. If they are under 3, scream into a pillow and correct them right away because if you wait they will have forgotten what they are being corrected for, which makes the correction pointless.

Take the time to get to know your kids, your self and thoughtfully and prayerfully consider every circumstance in consideration of the end goal, which in my case is raising children who will love God and desire to obey Him out of love.

In case you haven't guessed, this is another of my goals for this new year. To parent purposefully.