Viewing category: Lessons I’m Learning

For Those Hard Days….

It’s been an awful week. I’m not quite sure where to start. So, I’ll start with this devotion I read this morning– when I had a rare, early morning moment all to myself. His timing never stops amazing me:

“Come to Me for rest and refreshment. The journey has been too much for you, and you are weary. Do not be ashamed of your exhaustion. Instead, see it as an opportunity for Me to take charge of your life.

Remember that I can fit everything into a pattern for good, including the things you wish were different. Start with where you are at this point in time and space, accepting that this is where I intend you to be. You will get through today one step, one moment at a time. Your main responsibility is to remain attentive to Me, letting Me guide you through the many choices along your pathway.

This sounds like an easy assignment, but it is not. Your desire to live in My Presence goes against the grain of the world, the flesh, and the devil. Much of your weariness results from your battle against these opponents. However, you are on the path of My choosing, so do not give up! Hope in Me, for you will again praise Me for the help of My Presence.”  -Sarah Young

 

Kenley has started her healing journey after a terrible go-kart accident last Saturday when she, and her girlfriend,  drove it off a ledge. She landed upside down in a cement ditch. She was wearing a seatbelt but no helmet, with her beautiful face taking the blunt of the force. Luckily, her friend Molly was not badly injured (she has a bruised shin). Kenley broke her nose, bit through the skin and muscle of her lower lip, had a bad gash in her eye lid, jammed her wrist, and had road rash over the left side of her face, knees and hands. We can’t be sure but I think her face hit the steering wheel. And she was lucky.

We took her to the ER where a talented plastic surgeon met us to put her face back together- followed by a surgery to repair her fractured nose several days later. Amazingly, we can already see her face beginning to heal- the swelling going to, the bruises fading, and slowly but surely her face is starting to look like Kenley again. As my mom put it, “God’s magic eraser” at work. Her bruises, breaks, and burns will all heal in time. We are so fortunate to have had a guardian angel with her when she crashed. I think God has big plans for my Kenley girl.

Thank you for the prayers, calls, texts, gifts, nourishment and encouragement. It has helped, it really has.

And just like that the quiet morning has ended and my R.N. shift is back on.

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Happy New Year 2018

Happy New Year!

2018: The Year of More of You, Less of Me.

2017 has come to close and today marks the first day of 2018. New year, clean slate, fresh start, endless opportunities. I’ve not been one to make resolutions because I’ve found more times than not they get abandoned around February. However, this morning I found myself writing them out in my prayer journal. Figured this may hold myself more accountable than in years past.

1. Have a teachable spirit

2. Pray about everything

3. More of God, less of me.

4. Spend individual quality time with each family member

5.  Display more patience

6. Make the time to do things I enjoy things I used to enjoy- photography, blogging, sewing, etc.

7. And the obligatory ‘clean eating’ (for good measure)

We have loved being on Christmas break- time at home wearing pajamas all day, some days doing a lot of nothing while other days doing a lot of somethings. We’ve cleaned, lounged, binged watched The Crown (and working my way through Dontown Abbey again starting with Season 1), painted four rooms, visited with friends, took kids shopping to spend their Christmas money (sorry Mike, they aren’t savers), lounged some more, used my label maker for everything I could get my hands on, set up a media room for the kids, undecorated, cleaned out the attic, organized drawers, baked, cleaned some more and enjoyed every second of it. These two weeks are most definitely my favorite time of the year because the best gift is the gift of time.

And speaking of gifts, I guilted the girls into allowing me to take their photograph (see #6 above) by telling them to consider it a Christmas present from them to me. It worked.

Happy New YEAR 2018 via grateful simplicity

 

Happy New Year 2018

Happy New YEAR 2018 via grateful simplicity

 

Happy New Year 2018

Happy New Year 2018

Happy New Year 2018

Cheers to 2018!

Children Spaced in Age {a repost}

Children Spaced in Age

This older post by Clover Lane about having children spaced in age has been popping into my thoughts lately. I discovered it years ago and reposted then, and it has proven to be oh so true with my own children. Any parent with children that may not be close in age can appreciate this mother’s wisdom (and so glad I rediscovered her blog!)

 

You will enjoy this baby SO much. But, you will not be sitting in a rocking chair in a quiet room, looking like a Pottery Barn Kids ad. Instead, depending on the demeanor of your baby, you will either be constantly wearing an extra appendange on your body in form of a baby-filled sling, or be adding C batteries to your grocery list every week for your Graco swing.

You will not be pondering over what a cute outfit to dress the baby in today, instead you will be grabbing what is clean from the laundry basket. As that baby gets older, you will not be sitting on the floor for hours watching him or her stack blocks and thinking ‘what a genius’. They will explore their world without someone constantly breathing down their back, which turns out to be a better way anyways.

You will have to relearn some things. I had completely forgotten how impossible it is to give an infant a bath and of course, you will have a whole new set of instructions from the nurses on umbilical cord care. They apparently change that every year or so. The immunizations are all different too…like they added 75 more. But you are 34. You are not afraid to speak your mind. Take advantage of your confidence. You earned it.

You might not feel like there is enough hours in the day to get all that you need finished. Although you will reassure your kids that there is enough love to go all around, as you lay in bed at night, (usually with a baby attached to you), you will tear up, because you will feel like maybe there is, in fact, not enough love to pass around. You will think of who you didn’t hug today, or if you said anything but ‘Don’t do this, Do that, Can you please’.

Children Spaced in Age

 

It will eat you up sometimes, usually when you are going on 4 hours of broken sleep. Your mind can play tricks on you and anxiety will fill in the empty spots. Don’t do that to yourself. That friend I talked about yesterday? I asked her once, when she was adopting her seventh, if she ever felt like she didn’t have enough to go around. And she said, “I concentrate on what I DO give my kids, not on what I don’t.” Good advice. Take it. Full tummies, warm bed. Start there.

You will have some harried moments, but remember those moments…sometimes there will be nothing you can do about them, and other times you will have to think, “What can I do to change this…it’s not working for us.

I remember once complaining and complaining about this travel soccer I had my daughter in. Her friends would convince her every year to try out and then she’d beg me to let her. My husband always thought it was a good idea, too, as she was pretty decent at it. But it was ME who had to drag all these kids around, nursing the baby in the middle of a cornfield in the hot sun, not watching a minute of anything, being crabby all the way there and back, all of us hungry and thirsty, the baby fussy. It ended up my daughter didn’t really like soccer that much, but just didn’t know how to resist the friend-pressure. Some of my lowest points of parenting occured because of that stress. Don’t do that to yourself.

 

Children Spaced in Age

 

Get rid of all that extra stuff, and just stick with the important stuff. If you don’t know what the important stuff is, I can reassure you that it’s not 2nd grade football skills training, or travel dance competitions. These were all invented by people with much less children than you have now, and for many other reasons I won’t go into here. My point is this: Don’t fight this adjustment. Accept that you will have to make changes, but let me reassure you, that you will ask yourself, “Why didn’t we do this sooner?” You will grow closer as a family and less stressed as a mother. Embrace the old-fashioned values of a big family. A swing, some grass, and a good book is all kids need in the entertainment department. It would be more than the majority of kids in the world have. Always keep in mind ‘global’ parenting and ‘historic’ parenting…they make the expectations place on us laughable.

Children Spaced in Age

 

Besides that great gift, you will be giving your older children the gift of independence. Trust me, it was time anyways. They will learn some lessons and be better for it. If you don’t have time to check for homework and they didn’t either, they will learn it’s their responsibility. They might have to hear the word ‘no’ more often, if driving across town to play at a friends house for two hours doesn’t work with the baby’s nap. They will have to take care of themselves more, and be doted on less. You will kick yourself for not doing some of this earlier, and be surprised at how much you were holding them back from some really necessary lessons and experiences. Count yourself lucky…some parents wait till NEVER. It doesn’t turn out so good 20 years later.

Now I’ll get to the best part of all. Your older children with that baby… your heart will explode with the amount of love and tenderness they will show.

Children Spaced in Age

Get them involved right away. They will be your salvation in terms of managing this large plate you have in front of you. When they think you are not aware of their prescence, tell your husband how much you noticed so-and-so loves their baby sister or brother, and how much help they give. They will step up to the task unbelievably. Teach them how to hold the baby, how to swaddle, how to change a diaper (wet, or course). Have them run and get a fresh outfit, and don’t cringe at the color combo. Who cares. When the baby gets older, they are the best entertainers. You will never have to occupy that baby’s time. Set him out in the family room in his jumpy seat and the hoopla will get him good and tired. Don’t ever feel guilty for asking them for help. Give them new responsibilites. Ask one of them to make lunch, even if it’s just peanut butter on Ritz. They will love to do it for you if you thank them so much and brag about them. Don’t say “the baby”, say OUR baby. The gift you are giving them is priceless. They are learning how to care for your grandchildren. That is truly awesome and worth any inconveniece or adjustment that this little surprise threw your way.

One more thing. With my older three, I couldn’t wait to “the next”. The next stage, the next word, the next tooth… With this little guy, you will do the opposite. You will bawl at every stage. Be prepared.

You are not crazy. It’s completely normal. Birthdays are the worse. Have tissues handy.”

Sleepover

Last weekend we had a cousin sleepover. My sister and I had the bright idea (finally) of swapping out Friday nights with the little cousins allowing for some much needed quiet nights/nights out on the town for the parents.  The kids did great- they are finally at an age where you don’t have to worry about choking, wandering off (okay, so maybe you have to watch Big Whit), wetting the bed, or otherwise terrorizing both animals and home.

Instead, it was arts and crafts, popcorn and movies with sleeping bags set up in Meme’s suite. Very fitting- I think she would have liked having them camp out on “her side.”  Saturday morning they awoke super early so by 9am, when we had already been up for 3 hours, we hit Dunkin Doughnuts then headed to Sassy and Pops house where the kids wouldn’t take ‘no answer’ to their unanswered beating on the door as ‘no one is home.’  Sorry, mom.

With the holiday season officially here, it somehow comes with a bittersweetness. Last year, as I took pictures of her on Thanksgiving day, in the back on my mind I thought it could be her last Thanksgiving but in my heart thought she would gather with us for more years to come. Holidays may have an bit of a sting this year.  But I have to remind myself,  how sad would it be if it wasn’t.  There is still so much to be grateful for.

Sleepover via grateful simplicity

Sleepover via grateful simplicity

 

Sleepover via grateful simplicity

Sleepover via grateful simplicity

Door #2– suspecting Sassy was still asleep they beat on her bedroom door.

 

Sleepover via grateful simplicity

Front door. Sorry SBK, but everyone has an itch sometimes.

 

 

 

Two Choices

On more than one occasion lately, Kenley has heard me say:

“If you think down, you will go down. If you think up, you will go up.   You will always travel in the direction of your thinking.” -Bishop T.D. Jakes

And so it goes with one of her first ‘big’ life moments. Going after something she really wants, but struggling because she doesn’t think she’s good enough.  For many people this can be a life-long struggle- never feeling good enough. As Kenley continued to doubt herself, telling me all the reasons why she wouldn’t or couldn’t be good enough I had to remind her that life is about choices.

And the night before tryouts, she had two choices.

Dwell on all the reasons why not, have a pity party, don’t try, or better yet just quit while you’re ahead. Quitting would surely protect your heart.

Or…

Make up your mind that you want this. You really want this. Why do you want it? What’s the worse that could happen if it doesn’t happen? Then go after it and make it happen. Doesn’t matter the outcome, you give it your best and you win regardless.

In true Kenley fashion, it took some much (much) convincing but I saw it click.  That moment where she allowed herself to think maybe, just maybe, I can do this. I saw it register first in her brain, then in her heart, and she decided, by golly, I am going for it.  And so she did.  One of those first defining moments for this 11 year old– where you want something so badly it scares you. Welcome to the big league of life, kid.

And for the record, you are always a winner in my book.

direction of your thinking via grateful simplicity

Two Choices