Look Again

So today I spent about an hour cleaning my daughters clean room…sound crazy?  It was. She, at 11, sent me a text message, from school, begging me to find her lost gift card because she wants to use it after school. Well, since I am the best Mom ever I decided to venture into her room to find this “missing” gift card. Her room was already clean (it’s required), so I really just tried to retrace her steps from two days ago when I handed her the gift card. She is such a free spirit not worrying about anything, except her fashion! As I cleaned the room again, I still didn’t find the card. I felt sad because I didn’t’ want to disappoint her.

This afternoon when she came home, I encouraged her to look again, and see if she could find it. After about fifteen minutes elapsed, I walked by her room and there she was, tears in her eyes, sprawled out over her bed. “Did you find it?” I asked.  “No.” She could barely speak because of the tears. Well I began some lecture about responsibility and the value of things, and told her to look again. She did not move off the bed. While I continued, I opened a drawer that I had just searched two hours ago and there among her shirts, was the gift card.

I picked it up, still lecturing (ha) and said, “See daughter, sometimes, you just have to look again.” Just like life, those tests, people, circumstances that cause you despair, instead of laying on the bed with tears in your eyes, get up and Look Again!

Happy New Look!!  🙂

 

Teamwork

When my Daughter was growing up , there was a show on called the Wonder Pets, it was about three friends that were the class pets for a preschool. They had amazing adventures helping other animals in danger after the kids left for the day. The three friends were a turtle, a duck, and a hamster. I absolutely loved this show! It was totally adorable and believable, it was a great reminder of the importance of teamwork.

Teamwork. That word is not heard very often today. Everyone is trained to accomplish goals alone. We live in a world full of “I”.  I can do it, I don’t need help, I make the difference, I am important. Now, don’t get it twisted, there are somethings that I can do, but we were made for relationship. It’s no fun to work in an organization and lie, cheat, manipulate others so I can be number one. Why are we so afraid to work together with others? Why do we fear others knowing if we are weak in an area? Why do we spend our lives chasing possessions, money, empty relationships just to be hurt in the end? Because if I admit that I am weak, you might use that against me. If I admit that I spend all of my time working to show off my “keeping up with the Joneses” stuff, you might think I am shallow. If I avoid people and relationships at any cost you might think I am scared to be myself around others.

You want to know the truth? We need each other. Skin color doesn’t matter, economic standing doesn’t matter, education doesn’t matter, we need each other.  What I learn from the Wonder Pets is they are individuals that alone are not successful but together they are awesome. Each of them have insecurities but when they work together they have the right stuff. The world is longing for people to work together. Relationships, families, schools, need everyone to make our future successful.  Get around some people who may not look like you, think like you, or even act like you, but they are human just like you. As the Wonder Pets always say, “What’s gonna work…TEAMWORK!”

HAPPY NEW LIFE!!

It’s NEVER Too Late

Let’s be honest with ourselves, we all have hopes, dreams, goals, aspirations, plans and then reality hits. You lose your scholarship for college, you have to work two jobs just to pay off your tuition balance, maybe you become a parent, unplanned and unexpected, maybe there is a family emergency and you have to place your life on hold to be with the family. Maybe you fail your first semester and end up on probation, or maybe you just quit. Regardless of the circumstance, your performance, or your diligence, sometimes life is just hard and dreams sometimes fade. For the last five years, you have promised yourself to go back to school and finish that degree, to become more so your children have an example to follow, to pay off debt, and revive the dream that once burned within you, but you are stuck right now. You are doing your routine, work, family, home flawlessly but secretly wondering is this all my life is going to be? I am ever going to finish anything that I really want? Something has to give…

Right now, you have been blessed with an amazing opportunity, TODAY. Stop planning to do something and do it now. I know, it sounds good and it even may get you excited but life has a way of reminding you what your priorities are. Well, no life is worth living without a dream. Children are the best example of how adults (grown children) need to live. They want to be astronauts, presidents, scientist, rock stars, teachers and all of those dreams live because they do not worry about what tomorrow may bring. Children remind us that we always have time to live the dream that is inside our heart. Children remind us to have NO FEAR!! Take the limits off yourself and run until you finish.  No, I certainly don’t want to be five again, but I do want that faith of my five-year old self. I tell you the truth, It’s Never Too Late! See you at the finish line!

Happy New Life!

Write a Note

If you are like me, there is something special about a handwritten note. First of all, the person used actual pen and paper and thought about the message they were going to leave you. When I grew up, in the 80’s there were no mobile phones. Ok, there were except they were as big as your face and you could not Facebook, Tweet, or even text. So instant communication was pen and paper. When we would come home from school, our Mom would leave notes for us explaining what chores she expected to be completed when she came home from work. The note would be extremely detailed, leaving no room for misinterpretation of her expectations. Sometimes she would write(draw) a smiley face on the note. Now if you could imagine your mom or dad drawing, it was kind of like this. A huge circle, ( that was my head), two smaller oval shapes for my eyes, two dark big dots for my eyeballs,and about 5-6 lines for my eyelashes. Now to complete this, she would draw a huge smile ( no teeth) two half-circles attached to the side of my face for my ears, and some BIG HAIR!!! That image, no Picasso but beautiful nonetheless made me smile.

Words and images are so powerful. We take the advantage we now have with social media and abuse the reader by writing words and posting (drawing) images that damage all those who see. It almost seems like that the art of communication has been lost, because we forgot why we write.

My Mom wrote to provide instruction, guidance, humor but most of all love. When I became a Mom I followed her example and began to write notes in the children’s lunch boxes. I would use that moment to say to each of them what they mean to me. Most times after a conversation with each of them separately, the theme for that week’s note is made. The note is designed to make them feel special, to help them remember who they are, to remind them of their dreams, but most importantly to never let them forget I love them.  Taking time to put a few thoughts to paper was overwhelming at first. I thought with the schedule of the morning, I am not adding one more thing. But the first time I forgot a note and all three of my kids said, “mom where’s our note?” I knew it was more than just a chore, it was a connection.

Take time to tell those you love, those you are working on loving, even those you don’t love right now, the truth through pin and paper. Use those words to reflect what you need to do, and how you want to change the relationship. It may be old-fashioned, but today I wrote you a note!

Happy New Life!

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Unseen Grace

I pride myself on being a very involved mother to my children. I take the job seriously, because how I raise, instruct, and nurture my children is a direct reflection of my rearing and a future indicator of their success when they one day become parents. Let me paint a picture, my mom believes in the power of prayer. She has never been a medicine person. She took my sister and I to the doctor routinely and kept us well, however her instruction to us every time we experienced a slight sniffle was prayer. If we fell and hit our knee as we ran toward her for comfort,  she would say, “pray baby pray.” As I grew, prayer became as natural as breathing. I learned that I could always ask God to help me and immediately He would and then I could go to the doctor if I needed to.

My baby girl, who is 11 is full of life. She is spunky, sassy, intelligent and one of my greatest joys. When she was about 7, she was not eating her sandwiches in her lunch box. She came home and told me, ” Mom, I don’t like the bread.” Now I am a wheat bread junkie, so I told her, “too bad. Just eat it!” I mean seriously, we don’t waste food! Later that night, I was preparing for bed and I heard the Lord say,  “just let her eat white bread.” For those who know me intimately, I am real stubborn….don’t tell me what to do without an explanation, because you and I will have problems. I remember in that instance I shrugged my shoulders and decided to buy white bread. From that day til now she has been devouring every single sandwich. Fast forward four years and just last week I found myself  in the hospital clinic with my baby and she is having blood drawn for a possible undetected allergic reaction.

Now, you know I immediately heard, “pray baby pray,” and so I did. The results of the test confirmed that she was indeed allergic to wheat and most nuts. I almost cried as I heard the doctor this morning explain how to use an EpiPen in case of accidental ingestion of those foods. I recounted the times that I noticed her sneezing, coughing, and eyes running, seemingly out of nowhere because I didn’t know about this allergy. I thought to myself, if I would have known I would have changed everything. I thought, Oh my God, for the last 11 years You have protected my baby and kept her alive without any assistance from me.

We thanked the doctor for the information and left the office. As we drove home, I just couldn’t figure out how I missed the signs… why didn’t I know, why didn’t I recognize the changes? When we pulled into the driveway, all I could do was shake my head and thank God, for his Unseen Grace.

Are they any witnesses out there?

Happy happy New Life!!

The Beauty of Hope

I have a blended family. When my husband and I married I inherited four children, two girls and two boys. His children are older than my daughter and to say I was nervous about our union would be a drastic understatement. Being a mother, I was not worried if I would be good enough, I was only worried if I could show them how to love, the way God loves each of us.  Within three months of our union, my son’s (16 and 14 at the time) came to live with us. I was shocked, overwhelmed, nervous and excited. I always wanted to have son’s so this was my opportunity. However, what has happened over the last year has radically altered my life.

Imagine being newlyweds, with one child and then suddenly adding two more to the mix, and did I mention we were still newlyweds? How in the world, do you adjust, how do you make it work, how do you not lose hope? I have never raised a teenager, and matter of fact my son’s were almost raised when the arrived at our home. I have never had to deal with the pressure of high school graduation requirements, transferring from another state and school, finding opportunities for social engagement, and then adding our Faith into a cloud mix. I was drowning in my own life. I felt like I was losing my mind. How in the world am I going to work, be a mom, a wife, a cheerleader, a confidant, a guide, a disciplinarian, and still love? I was hopeless. I was scared.

My oldest son, now a Senior graduating May 24, 2014 was hopeless that first day of his junior year last January. He stood in our kitchen with tears in his eyes, the report from the guidance counselor was, there is no hope, you will not graduate with your class next year. My heart sank, how in world, when in the world, Lord help me right now….what do I say, what do I do?  I felt hopeless in that moment, so I relied on God who is Love,  and wrapped my arms around him, and said, this is not your life, this is only one moment in your life and you will graduate next year.

As an adult, blessed with family and friends that pushed me, encouraged me and supported me, I never worried about high school, college, travel or my career, I always believed I would and I did. But standing in my kitchen I did not know what would happen. In life there are moments that we just don’t know what will happen, and losing hope is the first option we execute and sometimes the only option.

The last year contained many fights, sleepless nights, constant meetings with teachers, administrators, testing liaisons, late night talks, and prayer. I sometimes question did I have enough faith, can I really believe God, can I really help my son believe he can do this? The only answer I could hold on to was hope.

Today, my son and I met with his Dual Credit adviser and a miracle occurred. She informed him that because of his performance over the last two semesters, he would not only be eligible for a scholarship to pay 100% of his tuition beginning Summer of 2014, but with work he could graduate with his Associate’s degree in 2015. His face lit up, and it wasn’t the news, it was joy knowing God answered his prayer and he was now going to become whatever he liked. We left the office running to our car like little kids, entered the house and he said, ” Mom, with a smile from here to China, I just want to say thanks.” We hugged. In that moment I remember what happened in the kitchen, I remembered how scared I was to inherit four children, I remember how many nights I cried, how we fought, how I wanted to give up, and then tonight, I experienced the Beauty of Hope!

Happy New Life!   P.S. 103 School Days until Graduation!!!! 🙂

And just like that…it’s Over

I think the world moves so rapidly that when we finally find time to stop and think about what has happened in the last twelve months, three more months have passed. Usually I put my Christmas Tree up immediately after Thanksgiving Dinner has been served, but it was almost the middle of December and the incessant reminders from the kids, “Mom, can we please put the tree up,” that I finally conceded. While the children were putting up the tree, I was preparing dinner and making sure all homework was completed since the next day was the final day of the fall semester. I was so preoccupied with other things, I didn’t participate in a tradition that shaped me from my youth.  When I walked into the living room, the Christmas tree was stunning, and it had a certain sparkle to it that made me stop and stare for fifteen minutes.

In those fifteen minutes I thought about the entire year. I couldn’t believe almost 52 weeks had passed and honestly life was a blur. I mean I could remember birthday’s, anniversary’s, school events, and church, but intimate moments seemed vague in my memory. As I stood there, I thought, that’s it…it’s over.  What I have done with one more year of life, granted graciously to me by God? What I have done with my time? What have I done with my dreams, goals, hopes….The answer, NOTHING.

Just like that, the year over, and now today taking down the Christmas tree, I stopped to write to serve as a permanent reminder to myself to not just let my life be over this time next year, but to work, live, and love PRESENTLY. Every moment is a gift and yes, hurt will come, death will come, grief will come, happiness will come, but when those moments are over, I MUST MOVE ON! So, of course I’m already planning for Christmas 2014, but before I get there, I will LIVE.

I will embrace my children, my husband, my family, myself. I will take each day and Be Still, seeking God to guide me to make a difference that day. I will love, because He first loved me. I will change my mind therefore changing my life.

And just like that…Happy New Life!!

THANKS

Thank You. Two simple words. One meaning.  I have really begun to reexamine how I use words but more than that if I am sincere in how I use them towards others. I say thank you ALLLL day long. I say it to my children for keeping their rooms clean, to my husband  when he opens the car door for me, and to cashiers at Wal-Mart after I spend $100.00 instead of $10.00. But what I really want to focus on,  is how to change what I say by understanding WHY I say it.  Words have power and although when I was younger I said,  “Sticks and
Stones…..but words will never hurt me,” I realized that was a lie, my feelings are hurt by careless words and most of the time I responded by saying careless words to someone else.

My own personal goal for the next 24 hours is to know why I speak the words others hear. Do I want to build them up, tear them down, give me an advantage, or just hear myself talk. I want to know when I speak to those I love that ‘s exactly what they hear. Pure Love. Pure Thanks. Pure Appreciation. Pure Truth.

Thank You for letting me talk to you about a life lesson.

Happy New Life!

thanks

 

All Aboard the Choose-Choose Train!

So, I am by no means a gamer…I mean I like the next popular app as well as the next person but there is something embedded deep within the pixels of these apps that drives me wild.  I have spent hours waking and even those hours I should have been asleep playing some of my favorite apps on my iPad. I want to blame my sister for introducing me to them but she has not once forced nor coerced me to play them. The truth is, I LIKE PLAYING GAMES! Whew, that wasn’t so hard to admit, right? Well the problem, is what happens when the game begins to play us? I mean I give myself a time limit, 15 minutes and then I have to go to the grocery store, an hour later I’m stilling trying to juice some cubes, grow some wheat, or crush some candy… how does this happen? How does time slip away from me?  When did I lose control and allow something or someone to control my every move for an endless amount of time? How do I or better yet why do I become upset, angry, frustrated when life interrupts my game? When out of the coma like state I’m in, I’m suddenly  jolted into reality with children, money, debt, dinner preparation, and working?

The simple answer, choice.  Choices, are made every second of the day. From what do I wear, where do I eat, what do I drive, where I work, what I choose to do, choices determine our destiny.

Today I chose to write from a place that hurts a LOT,  I thought I can’t be free or help others be free if I deny the choices I have already made and those that I will continue to make. There is a consequence for choice, we could spend our lives debating if those are good or bad, but wisdom helps me understand there is a consequence for each choice I make. When I spend hours watching television, playing games, gossiping, or surfing the internet, before I acted there was a choice. The mind is our greatest tool, it controls our body. The mind tells us when we need to sleep, eat, play, and when we have had enough. Our struggle is listening and then choosing a different path.

Choose Life. Choose Faith. Choose Health. Choose Fun. Choose challenges that make you grow.  Choose. Choose. Choose.

If you decide that i’s a bad thing to worship God, then CHOOSE a go you’d rather serve- and do it TODAY. Joshua 24:15a (The Message Translation)

Happy New Life!

Please Hold……..

It seems like yesterday that you could use a landline telephone, dial a number and a real LIVE person would answer the other line.  Unfortunately, today when you hear the phone ring on the other side is a human voice recording offering you an endless amount of options to “get you to the right person” but you never really speak to a person.  I have called my cell phone company and become so frustrated with the IVR (interactive voice response)  that I have hung up and called right back and pressed every button on the dial-pad to prayerfully reach a person. When I finally hear, please hold for the next available representative, I do my happy dance.

However, the dance is short-lived because I have to HOLD! My first thought is, where did they get this music from? My second thought is, why are they asking me to purchase the newest accessory and I haven’t even spoken to a representative yet. My third question is, why does the recorded message say, “We know waiting is difficult, your time is valuable, BUT PLEASE CONTINUE TO HOLD!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

Holding is torture…it is a constant reminder that you cannot complete this task nor focus on anything else until you are finished. It is a thorn in the flesh, because I attempt to complete other tasks on my to-do list for the day while I’m holding. But today I learned a very valuable lesson. I can do many things while I place my home phone on speaker and keep my right ear honed in on the holding music; I can cook dinner, help with homework, call on my cell phone if I need to speak to someone else, have a conversation with my husband all while on hold, but you say well what’s the lesson….

I am not paying attention to anything! I’m on HOLD, meaning my attention is divided and those around me only have the shell of me, not all of me. The hold causes me to be absent in  my present life. I function normally but we all know there is a slight dysfunction once we hear,”thank you for calling….how may I help you.”  My spectacular ability to multitask crashes instantly and the only thing that matters is the voice on the other end. How often are we only living a shell of our existence waiting for the voice on the other end to answer? Today, take your life off hold, hang up, and LIVE!

Happy New Life

Psalm 90:12 Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.