Saturday, May 23, 2009

Jon & Kate plus WAY too many....

(way too many is referring to the media, not the number of children they have).

I should be the last person to talk about another couple's marriage, since mine is far from perfect, but since they've decided to put their lives on TV for the world to see here I go.

Unless you live under a rock (or in a cave), you've heard about the TLC show 'John & Kate plus 8'. This show follows a husband and wife & their EIGHT children (twins & sextuplets). While I LOVE some reality shows (American Idol, Survivor) I am not a huge fan of any that involve 'pimping' another family (Jon & Kate, 18 & counting, etc).

This show is supposed to be about a typical American family trying to raise their 8 children, but there is NOTHING typical about this family. First of all, they have EIGHT children (2 sets of multiples). Next, they seem to not have to work - this show is their cash cow. I guess Jon used to work, but doesn't any longer. Finally, they manage to get a slew of vacations & freebies (b-day party for the twins at American Girl in NYC). Doesn't happen for me!!

Rcently, there has been a HUGE media frenzy over Jon & Kate's marriage. Who's cheating on who; who spends more time at home while the other is out & about. Typical stuff that happens yet this family has the unfortunate 'luck' of living their lives in the public eye. Life is anything BUT typical for these kids. They've got cameras following their every move; showing every argument their parents have.

My heart breaks for this family... they're about to start their newest season. They should be focusing more on making this marriage work instead of continuing to 'expose' their family to the circus that is the American media.

As much as I would love to sit & criticize Jon & Kate, I think I'll just lift them up in prayer. I pray that they realize their mistakes & take the time to work on their marriage. Not just because they made those vows, but because of the 8 beautiful children that they have brought into this world as a couple. Jon & Kate ~ if you read this: focus on your family!!! Step away from the media and regroup as a couple.

Many blessings,

Thursday, May 21, 2009

He took my place....

A lot has been going on in my life lately. Stuff that has me really down. Not to mention the lovely S.A.D. that usually creeps up on me during this time of year. Tears have been at the forefront of my eyes for 2 weeks now. I've been feeling desperate & alone. It's been hard to keep things in perspective.

Tonight, on the way home from having dinner with friends, I heard the lyrics to a Hillsong song 'To Know Your Name'. I REALLY heard them. They spoke to me. My heart heard them.

He took my place
Knowing He'd be crucified.

What a picture! Jesus went to the cross for ME knowing full well that He would be put to death. He did it all for ME (and YOU). Even before I was even in existence, He went up on that cross to show me how much He loves me. That's not even the best part!!! Not even Death could keep Him down. He rose 3 days later to fulfill a prophecy.

For God SO loved the world
That He sent His one and only Son
That whosoever believes in Him
Will NOT perish, but have eternal life. ~ John 3:16

Do you know that He took YOUR place too? Knowing that He would be humiliated on that cross. Beaten & abused. Tortured like a common criminal even though He was anything but. He endured that because He loves us unconditionally. Even if you don't believe in Him, He still loves you.

I'll be honest. I question God & His plan for me. Often, I don't feel as though I can handle what is being dealt. Yet, deep in my heart I know that God only gives me what He knows I can handle. Just a little bit more than what I think I am capable of so that the next time I can handle just a little bit more.

Many blessings,

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Class of 2009 class trip

I was lucky to join my husband & daughter this past week on their class trip to Chattanooga, TN to Racoon Mountain & the Tennessee Aquarium. This was my first time there and loved it. Honestly, I was scared out of my mind to go to the caves. I have this irrational fear of enclosed places. Just the thought of going into an elevator with a group of people is enough to give me a panic attack. So how was I supposed to explore the caves of Racoon Mountain?

By the grace of God, that's how! Every time I started feeling that panic coming on I just prayed that God would keep me safe (however, having our tour guide continuously telling us how far under the earth we were wasn't helping - at one point, 138 ft.). There were a few tight spots that I had to squeeze through.. and I definitely had to duck down a bunch (5'11" not a good height to go caving).

I have NO regrets about going into that cave though. It was BEAUTIFUL!!! I am always amazed at the beauty God gives us here above the ground, but He has given us just as much beauty underground too. To know that those caves just started with a single drop of water. Indescribable!

I'll be honest, I know we have a multi-million dollar aquarium here in Atlanta, but the one in Chattanooga was, by far, the better aquarium. If you get the chance, CHECK IT OUT!!! The best part was that they had everything spread out in 2 buildings. LOVE IT!

Ok, so they don't have the cool whale sharks or the belugas, but the stuff they did have was just as cool. I even braved my fear of bugs & all things creepy/crawly/flying by going into the butterfly exihibt. I even had a few 'poop' on me (not sure if was really poop, but they left some colorful marks on my shirt). Again, another example of the beauty that God has provided because He loves us.

I even got to see my favorite animal of all time!!! The penguin! Too cute - I would honestly take one home with me if I could have found a way (not that Craig would have been too happy with me - then again, neither would Pablo). The girls that I was overseeing (not my daughter or any of her friends) were more anxious to go to the gift shop, so we zoomed through the exhibits.

There is even beauty under the sea (ok, the sturgeon is NOT a cute fish, but I really thought the jellyfish looked like a symphony moving so gracefully through the water).

It was an amazing day; one that I will remember for a long time!!! I can't wait to go again! :)

Many blessings,


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

To medicate or not to medicate....

… that is often the question many families need to ask themselves when their child is diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. And just like SO many other decisions in life, I believe that the right answer is SOLELY based on the family. Public education is right for MY family, but homeschooling may be right for yours. You may choose not to vaccinate your children, however I have chosen to vaccinate mine.

It's a personal decision; yet so often it is ridiculed by those around us who just don't know.
Where am I going with this? Just stay with me dear reader.

ADD & ADHD runs in my family; on both sides. It was inevitable that ONE of my children would wind up being diagnosed eventually. That became our reality in 2008.

We attempted to have her evaluated at the end of her 3rd grade year, but it seemed like only we thought there might have been a problem. So, we left it alone. 4th grade – though she did have wonderful grades – it brought on a whole new set of problems. I did research on ADD/ADHD and made several attempts at treating it myself (without meds). We tried gum, rice sock, removing red food coloring from her diet. Those things helped, but there was SO much more that needed to be addressed.

In spring 2008, we finally had an official diagnosis: our daughter has ADHD. You breathe a sigh of relief when you get the news because now you can focus solely on helping her. Yet you also have the decision.... do you medicate OR not?

We finally decided to try medication. Within a handful of days, we saw a difference in her. She didn't change, but she was able to focus. It was amazing! Don't get me wrong, choosing to use medicine to help my daughter was NOT an easy or quick decision. There was a LOT of debate & research on our part.

I look back to that decision and KNOW that we made the RIGHT decision for her. She is passing her classes & aced the CRCT test (which is needed to move on to 6th grade here in GA). She now has confidence in herself & her capabilities. The change has been AMAZING!! God has transformed our daughter into a person who has just a little more self-confidence.

I'm not saying that medicating is the answer for everyone... hardly. That would be irresponsible of me. What I am saying is that medicating was the answer for OUR daughter.

Many blessings,

Thursday, May 7, 2009

To bully or not to bully...

Several weeks ago here in Georgia, a young man (11-years old) killed himself because he was tired of being bullied. This child's death sent shock waves throughout his community. I can only imagine the heart break his family is going through; especially since I myself I have an 11-year old child.

What could have possibly drove this child to suicide? Plan and simple: BULLYING! There have been bullies since the beginning of time. Someone always picking on someone else in hopes to make themselves feel better about their own shortcomings; the serpent & Eve, Cain & Able, David & Goliath. Our need to be better than someone else. Why not make friends via fear than actual friendship. I think at some point we have all been bullied. I know I was constantly teased about my height (it stinks being 5'11” by the 7th grade) and my family's heritage (paternal Grandmother was Polish), however I think bullying has gotten even worse in today's society. Not only is it name calling, but its gone online. Kids writing blogs & posts about others' shortcomings. Even a simple text that you send your friend is no longer safe.

My daughter is consistently being ridiculed because she's nice. People know that they can dump on her only to be forgiven. They tell one another not to be her friend, then when their friends turn on them, they clamor to be her friend again.

So naturally, when the news broke out about the GA boy killing himself, I had to talk with my daughter. Had she ever had those thoughts?? Are things getting THAT out of hand with her? Thankfully, her only worry about hurting herself is one of what if she fell & got hurt – not taking things into her own hands. Yet, I still need to talk to her about standing up to bullies. How do you do that? I never stood up for myself, but I need to help empower her.

It's a journey, one that comes with motherhood I guess. My fear is that because my children could be prone to depression through family genes, I may miss something. What is helpful is keeping my depression in check so that they do not 'see' it... I'm not saying that depression is WRONG - it's a medical condition just like any other - but I do not want them to see it at its worst.

I pray that God gives me the insight & wisdom to combat this aspect of childhood. I pray for the families of bullied children, that they will empower their children with ways to stand up to those that bully them. And I pray for the families of bullies, that they seek the help their children so desperately need to feel good about themselves without having to belittle someone else in the process.

Many blessings,

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

My cup runneth over

One of my favorite movies is 'Hope Floats'. Of course, my favorite line is "My cup runneth over". I think it accurately describes how I feel sometimes.

If you've been here for a while or just read the earlier blogs, you know that God blessed me with an amazing husband. Our marriage is not picture perfect. In fact, both of us will admit that there was a time where we would have considered divorce. Yet, through God & hard work we have made it through 11 years of marriage and have MANY more to look forward to.

I'm not the ideal wife - I know that. I have a tendency to be lazy when it comes to house work. Craig picks up the slack (and I LOVE him for it). He takes care of the every day minor details of life & I am always in the moment. I think a lot of that is because I work fulltime outside of the home & often feel 'guilty' that I don't spend enough time with my children.

Craig was kind enough to clean the windows & vacuum the floor of my car. However, I didn't notice it. He finally said something 3 days later. (Bad wife)

We're a work in progress and we are willing to fight for our marriage. I've got a lot of growing up to do. Kinda weird to say that at 37, but its true.

My husband's love is just a glimmer of God's love for me - unconditional & never-ending. Yet the love I feel for him & from him just overwhelms me to the point where I become speechless. Truly, my cup runneth over.

Many blessings,

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Healing my broken heart

A few days/weeks ago, I wrote about a heartbreak. This Sunday, for the 1st time in a LONG time, I finally gained a peace about the situation. My friend said something to me that opened my eyes. He said that he felt as though he didn't need to be my friend anymore.

My response was that we obviously had different definitions of friendship. I try to not put limitations on my friendship; no conditions. I know that everyone isn't like me - thank goodness for that. But that is when I realized that the friendship was truly over. There was no longer a NEED (though is there ever a need for a friendship?).

In that simple statement, my eyes opened wide and I was washed with a peace. God protected my heart to be able to hear the tough stuff, but He also gave me the insight to know that it is time.

I will forever cherish the friendship with my friend, but I know that God has something great in store for both of us seperate from one another.

God continues to wrap His arms of love around me and teaching me that HE is my friend - without conditions.

Many blessings,

Monday, May 4, 2009

Not me Monday!!!

Ok, I've only done this once before, but I have to admit, it was FREEING!!

Not sure what to do? Just admit to crazy things you've done without actually admitting them... Here, I'll start

  • I was not the one to pretend to be sleeping just so I didn't have to get up with one of the kids in the middle of the night... Nope, that was NOT ME!
  • When worked called, I was NOT the one who pushed it over to voicemail immediately. No, I did NOT ignore that phone call.
  • I was not the person who decided to wear a dirty pair of socks because I was too lazy to walk down to the laundry room for a clean pair - nope, not me!

If you want to learn more about NOT ME MONDAY, just check out MckMama's blog!!!

Friday, May 1, 2009

I will be here

There's a beautiful song by Steven Curtis Chapman titled “I Will Be Here”. It's been around for quite a while. I remember listening to it in college (1990's), but the sentiment of the song is still true today. In fact, it's true for most marriages.

I Will Be Here(c)

Tomorrow morning if you wake up

and the sun does not appear
I will be here
If in the dark, we lose sight of love
Hold my hand, and have no fear
'Cause I will be here

I will be here
When you feel like being quiet
When you need to speak your mind
I will listen
And I will be here
When the laughter turns to cryin'
Through the winning, losing and trying
We'll be together
I will be here

Tomorrow morning, if you wake up
And the future is unclear
I will be here
Just as sure as seasons were made for change
Our lifetimes were made for these years
So I will be here

I will be here
And you can cry on my shoulder
When the mirror tells us we're older
I will hold you
And I will be here
To watch you grow in beauty
And tell you all the things you are to me
I will be here

I will be true to the promise I have made
To you and to the One who gave you to me

Tomorrow morning, if you wake up
And the sun does not appear
I will be here
Oh, I will be here.

Everytime I hear that song, I am reminded of how blessed I am that God brought Craig into my life. While we have our ups & downs, I know that Craig will always be with me.

Yet today, I experienced this song in an elderly couple at the store. She came in, ahead of her husband, to check to see if we had something. He has a difficult time walking, so she didn't want him to walk all the way to our store if we didn't have what he needed. Eventually he made his way into the store. Unfortunately, we don't sell what he was looking for, but I did manage to find it available online for him. While he was sitting, we had a brief conversation. He has stenosis – a degenerative disease of the spine/back – and had surgery on it 1 year ago this past January. Today was the 1st day he was able to get out of the house & walking around. He told me how his wife has been taking care of him all these months. He is truly blessed & knows it.

That short conversation reminded me of the song...

I will be here
And you can cry on my shoulder
When the mirror tells us we're older
I will hold you
And I will be here
To watch you grow in beauty
And tell you all the things you are to me
I will be here

I can only pray that Craig & I will make it to that point in our marriage. With God's help, we will. For now, I pray that we continue to be a loving couple that shows our children what marriage is all about.

Many blessings,