Coparents, please don’t pack your child’s suitcase.

 

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A little girl stuffs the next few days worth of clothes into a small backpack and waits for her mom to pick her up.
Her mom adores her and she adores her mom. She looks forward to this day each and every week and can’t wait to spend then next few days with her mom.

When she gets to her mom’s house she sets aside her backpack, careful to make sure whatever comes out of it is washed, neatly folded, and returns with her to her other house. She’s silently taking inventory so neither parent is upset if clothes that might be accidentally taken to the other house don’t make it back. Over and over she’s heard her items refereed to as “mom’s stuff” or dad’s stuff”, even though she’s the one who wears them.

The older she gets the more she feels the divide between her homes. The older she gets the line becomes thicker and darker.

Unintentionally her parent have made her feel like visitor in her own home.

Unintentionally her parents have divided her into two different people.

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Coparenting can be tricky and because we are busy struggling with the big details, we often overlook the small ones.

It’s a balancing act.
It’s hard work.
It’s extremely sensitive.

One thing we can do for our kids who glide between two parents in two different homes is to not make them pack a bag. It tends to make them feel like a visitor, like when we arrive at a hotel pulling our luggage behind us. It never feels permanent.

Don’t pack a bag.

Whether it’s their own room or their own drawer, give them the security to know that, even when they aren’t there, there is still a place for them. Have everything they need for their time at your home. Don’t make them pack a bag. Don’t fight over whose clothes they are. No matter who purchased them, they’re her clothes. Give her the freedom.

Coparenting can be brutal  but one simple and easy act can minimize some of the stress for the child. A drawer full of clothes, a tooth-brush, her own hair brush, and an extra pair of shoes can give her a sense of security.

It can also eliminate some pointless arguments when an article of clothing doesn’t make it back to its original home. It’s one less thing that stands in the way of finding a way to healthy coparenting. There are already enough things to navigate through, remove this one.

 

A little girl gets dressed, brushes her hair,  and waits for her mom to pick her up.
Her mom adores her and she adores her mom. She looks forward to this day each and every week and can’t wait to spend then next few days with her mom.

When she gets to her mom’s house she grabs her pajamas out of her special drawer and cuddles up on the couch with her mom, settled in for movie night. She’s thankful to freely spend time with her mom.  Over and over she’s heard her parents remind her that both homes are hers and she is safe and wanted in each. She doesn’t even think about what clothes belong at which home, they’re her clothes and she knows her parents allow her to have her space and her things.

Intentionally her parents have made sure that both of their homes are hers and a place she belongs.

Intentionally her parents have found a way to be one united front so their little girl doesn’t have to stress over little details of two different homes.

Intentionally her parents are working their way towards healthy coparenting for the sake of their daughter.

Be where you are right now. Letting go and being present.

 

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My daughter is probably going to get bullied when she starts middle school in 2 years. She has autism and is different from the other kids. The older they get the more obvious it becomes and middle school is a brutal time for any child.  I think about it all the time and am constantly trying to figure out how to prevent it, save her, change the challenges she faces.

My other daughter is a little over a year away from entering college. I lose sleep at night worrying about her leaving the nest and being on her own. I budget our entire lives every single night trying to figure out how we’re going to afford her school.

My son starts kindergarten in a few years and I can’t decide where he will go to school. Will we keep him in the school all of our other children have gone to or will we put him in the one that’s closer to home? I try to finalize our decision every time I pass the school that’s near us…and that’s every single day.

We have a life changing event headed our way, something that will completely change our family dynamics. The change is coming, it’s out of our control, but I’ve lost hours and hours of sleep wondering how we can stop it or change it. I will myself to travel back in time and fix the moment it was broken.

In the middle of a conversation about all the possibilities of what might or might not happen in the future, my sweet friend looked me in the eyes and said “Just be where you are right now. You can be somewhere else later.”

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I’m losing precious time.
I’m stealing my very own joy right out of my own hands.
I’m robbing my family of having their mom and wife be fully present.
When I take myself out of the now to worry about the maybe, I miss out on what I have right in front of me.

I’m changing my outlook today. I’m going to choose to be where I am right now. I’m going to have the courage and faith to let go and be present right now, where I am and with who I’m with .

I’m not going to let worry of the future steal the joy I have in the moments that are in my sight, in the air I’m currently filling my lungs with. I’m taking my peace back and I’m giving it to the people who are in my life right now and deserve to have the current me, not the one that’s stressing about what might be. I’m not going to miss out on the small moments that hold so much happiness. All the tiny moments combined are what form the most beautiful stained glass and I don’t want to miss a single piece of it.

We have a choice to be fully present.
We have a choice on what our attitude will reflect.
We can choose joy in the now or fear for the future.

I choose joy. 

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I have no idea what tomorrow holds but I know that from now on I will just be where I am right now. I can be somewhere else later.

 

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I Thought My Son Was Safe In Our Car Until Britax Showed Up.

As a mom to 6 kids, I’ve seen my fair share of all things baby related. When our triplets were little we had three of every baby item, from bouncers to cribs to car seats. Our house has been filled with kid contraptions, jumpy things, and more for the last 16 years and our car has never been without at least one car seat.

I’m a resale girl so most of our stuff comes second-hand. I don’t really look for all the bells and whistles, I’m more of a price tag junkie. Give me a good deal! When it comes to toys, swings, and items like that, I always buy second-hand. When it comes to the car seats, the smart thing to do is always buy new.

That doesn’t mean that I would go to the big box baby store and grab the fanciest one, I always went middle of the road with a car seat that was simply a car seat and would keep my child buckled in. Sad to say, I never did much research, I just bought the one that look dependable.
Then I would go home, place it in the seat, dig my knee into it and pull the seat-belt and tightly as I possibly could. There was always a little wiggle to the seat but I just figured that was normal.

But then I was introduced to the Britax Advocate Clicktight ARB at an event for local moms held by Alamo City Moms Blog.

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Someone’s ready to break this box open and check out his new car seat.

 

On my way to the event I pulled into a car wash to vacuum out the Cheerios and crumbs from under my son’s car seat. I didn’t even have to unbuckle him, I just kind of tilted the car seat to the side a little and shoved the vacuum under his seat. Huge clue that he wasn’t exactly as safe as I had thought he was.

During the Britax event we were shown all the safety features and new technology that makes this new car seat the safest on the market. You can see all the amazing safety features here.

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Britax went above and beyond for us and removed our old car seats and replaced them with the new Britax Advocate Clicktight and I was seriously blown away at how secure the new seat is. Not only is it extremely easy to install, that thing doesn’t budge an inch and I didn’t even have to stand on top of it while pulling the seat belt. Once my son was buckled in I was amazed at how comfortable and snug he was. I almost can’t believe that I actually drove him around for two years in a car seat that wasn’t as safe as I thought it was.
When it comes to car seats, from now on, I will never sacrifice safety for price. When it comes to the safety of our children, the investment in the most safe car seat on the market is always worth it. This new car seat goes far beyond the standard or required safety features. Every detail has been carefully designed to make sure our children are as safe as the can possibly be. It can be used for your 5 pound infant or your 65 pound and is designed to be used rear facing and forward facing.

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Snug as a bug in a rug in his new Britax

My son was so excited about his car seat, almost as much as I was. Ever since we installed the Britax Advocate Clicktight, I have to announce the car seat like a game show host every time I go to buckle him in. “NEEEWWWWW CAR SEAT!”. I once made the mistake of simply opening the door and buckling him in and it led to an epic meltdown… until I did my game show voice introduction of the car seat. I wonder what the people in the Target parking lot thought about what was going on in my car.

A huge thanks to Britax for giving me peace of mind and a safe ride for my son and to Alamo City Moms Blog for hosting the wonderful luncheon.

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What happened after my ex husband and I threw away our custody agreement.

Every other weekend.
Wednesdays from 6pm to 8pm.
Christmas on even years.
Thanksgiving on odd years.
30 day extended visitation in the summer.
Spring break every other year.
No moving out-of-state.
30 days notice with a job change or move.
Child support.
Child support review every 4 years.
Insurance provision.
Split copays.

We were exhausted after the first year of trying to follow along with each detail. Details that were somewhat standard and very general to accommodate a broad span of families. Details that were permanent and signed by a judge. Details that never changed, even when our lives did.

Following these instructions laid out for us made us tired, angry and confused.
We were tired of times and dates and who has her when and what time she needed to be where and on and on. We were angry because of expectations that seemed impossible. We couldn’t always get her by 6pm or drop her off by 8pm, life just doesn’t work like that and occasionally you’re late or early or can’t do it at all. We were confused because it’s a mess.

Have you seen a custody agreement? There’s such a division of time and dates that your calendar is so marker up it looks like a two-year old got a hold of it with box of markers.

Our custody agreement was stressing us out, making us miserable and was causing us to argue. It was crippling the need for us to figure out how to work together as a team.

So we threw it out.
Chunked it.
Shredded it into a million pieces.
Burned it at the stake.
WE GOT RID OF IT!

We’ve never looked back, not once.

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Instead of being controlling jerks, we decided to give each other some slack and truly stop to think about what was best for our little girl.

Our entire relationship changed after that. The dynamics of co-parenting made a positive switch and we became better parents and better friends. Our daughter became happier and we were all less stressed.

When we threw out the papers we communicated better and developed compassion and understanding towards each other.

We took the time to listen to each other and find out what worked in each of our families. We stepped outside the box and created our own custody agreement that basically say that she’s equally both of our daughter. If she’s with him or me, she’s with family and that’s what matters.

We decided to simply share in the joy of raising our little girl together and to see each others relationship with her as equally important as our own.

We decided to respect each other and each other’s spouses.

When it comes to holidays we just share our time with a huge dose of understanding and grace. We made a choice to not be married and with that we knew that neither of us would have our daughter full-time. For that reason we know that she won’t be with us for every holiday and we’ve learned to not only accept it but to be grateful that she is with the other part of her family getting loved on.

As for child support and insurance, I have no idea what the original papers say. We settled on a child support amount 14 years ago and neither of us have mentioned it since. The person who provides insurance is the person who has the option for the best insurance, that might be him or that might be me. We just do it. We just insure her because she needs insurance. There’s no battle over who carries it or who’s paying more, we just do it. It’s for her and we need to provide, PERIOD. If he thinks about it he’ll he puts money in her school lunch account, if I think about it then I’ll do it. As long as she has lunch money I couldn’t care less which one of us put it in there. When she needs clothes, which ever one of us is in a position to take her shopping does it. They’re her clothes and as long as she has what she needs then I couldn’t care less who bought the clothes, him or me, who cares. My husband and I provide in every way that we can and he and his wife provide in every way they can. She benefits and she is taken care of. Bottom line, it’s all about her.

It’s far more complicated for us to constantly refer to papers drawn up by lawyers (lawyers who don’t know the heart of our family or our ever-changing needs) than it is to meet up or call each other and talk about the changes like adults. It feels good to have my ex husband call up on any given day, not an assigned day by a judge, and let me know he’s picking up our daughter for a dad night.  I can’t tell you what that does to our daughter’s self-esteem and self-confidence. I will say yes to that phone call every single time.

Our daughter isn’t a possession or a puppet. She’s not a pawn or weapon. She’s a little girl who never asked for divorced parents and she needs to feel equally important and cherished at both homes. She needs to see her parents love each other and work together as a team. She needs to see us give each other grace and mercy. She needs to know that broken things can be fixed, maybe not back to the way they were before but in a way that works and is healthy.

I’m not going to lie, it take a great deal of self-respect and respect for the other parent. It takes releasing the need to be in control of everyone and everything and it means that you won’t always have your way. It takes accepting your ex’s decisions in dating and/or marriage and realizing the importance of co-parenting in a healthy way with them as well.

Co-parenting this way means you’ll need to stock pile huge amounts of grace, forgiveness and mercy because you’re going to need a ton of each.

Throwing out the papers made us better people. It made us like each other again and took an unnecessary pressure off both of our shoulders. It made us better parents.

It might be easier said than done, I honestly don’t know because it was the best decision ,as parents of a broken home, that we could have ever made.  We love our daughter far more than any ill feeling we ever had towards each other and because of that we were able to rise above. Because of it our daughter has two stable homes with four parents that adore her and work together in her best interest at all times. Because of our decision to parent this way, our daughter has one big family full of love and abundant grace.

*Side note: I’m well aware that  this can’t always be the case and that sometimes the “other parent” is not healthy for the child. I’m talking about co-parenting situations that can be healthy and productive but have things standing in their way that don’t need to be. Just throwing that out there before the comments start coming in.

New Research Shows That Autism Is Contagious.

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It only took 8 months but she’s finally playing with her baby brother. He adores her.

It seems like every other day a new study on autism comes out. Some are outrageous and weird, others kind of makes sense and are less desperate than most but for the most part I think we’re just grasping at straws trying to figure out the mystery behind the diagnoses.

I’ve been doing an intense study on autism for the past 8 years. I didn’t realize that I was doing the study, it just happened. I wish I had charts and graphs to show you what I’ve learned but there’s a few problems with that.
1- I’m lazy and that seems like a lot of work.
2 – I don’t think you can accurately chart a humans behavior and be consistent and precise.
3- I’ve never written a single thing down that I’ve learned in my research.

I’m going to just have to spout this off by memory and through pictures.

Through my research I’ve come to discover that autism is contagious. Wait, before you run out and get a hazmat suit lets hang out just a bit longer and talk about this. If you don’t have someone with autism within, let’s say half a mile then you should be safe for the time being.

One of our triplet daughters has autism. We’ve known it since she was only months old but she was officially diagnosed at age 3. It wasn’t a surprise and there was no denial from our family. We accepted it and embraced it.

Shortly after her diagnosis I started to notice a change in our family. Even though we had known she was “different” for a few years, we now had an official name and could explain to her why her mind saw things differently than the rest of us. It lessened the anxiety for all of us but mostly for our daughter. She began to accept herself, her thoughts and her actions that she previously couldn’t understand. We became more relaxed and we all became a little more open and unfiltered.

This is when my research became intense and the results are mind-blowing.

Autism is contagious!

“Waffle, waffle, waffle, waffle, waffle, waffle, waffle, waffle!”
Our little 8 month old son erupts in laughter at his sister’s obsessive word that’s going on nonstop in her head, through her mouth and out into the car on the way home from school. She can’t stop saying waffle and he can’t stop laughing. Everyone in the car is smiling ear to ear. Two more kids chime in, “Waffle, waffle, waffle, waffle!”. Giggles are coming from every corner of the car, myself included. I want to pull over and watch but I keep my eyes on the road and enjoy the noise coming from the back of the car. I think to myself that before I knew she honestly couldn’t stop saying the word I would have freaked out. “STOP SAYING IT!” would have been what was yelled in the car previous to her diagnosis but now I get it. Everyone in the car gets it. It’s awesome. We’ve all become a little autistic with her and instead of letting the obsessive saying of the word freak us out, we all join in. “Waffle, waffle, waffle, waffle, waffle!”. No longer is it like fingernails on a chalkboard but more like listening to Chris Tomlin’s version of Amazing Grace.

I’m not a fan of McDonalds, never have been but they are clever and sneaky and often win. I think we all know that kids only want to go there for one reason, toys. Our daughter use to lose it when we passed a McDonald and didn’t stop. When I say lose it I mean absolutely go into another world all together, lose the light in her eyes and almost hyperventilate. I found myself taking the long way home just to avoid passing one. Once we realized that she honestly couldn’t help it, we started to accept and enjoy it. I don’t mean that we enjoyed the freak outs, we enjoyed the toy mind games that McDonalds plays with us. We, well our daughter and her sisters, check every so often to see what the next toy is that will be shoved in a box next to “food”. I will make an excuse to buy it. And I will. I’ll cave to the meal or I’ll drive through to just buy the toy. Pre-diagnosis I would have stood my ground but now I get it. It’s the obsession of the year. A picture of the toy plays over and over in her head. She sees it when she tries to sleep and she see it when she’s awake. She can’t erase the image from her mind until it is satisfied. This too shall pass but until then the whole family will obsess over the next carrot on a stick that McDonald’s uses to pull us into the abyss.

My family stopped caring, not about people or feelings but about thoughts and judgment. When we go out in public and our daughter is wearing mix matched clothes, two different socks (one knee-high the other ankle), a glove (just one)  and her hair hasn’t been brushed in so long that she now has dreadlocks, we over look the stares.
When she’s dissecting her meal and eating it in her normal ritual, we no longer question her or try to convince her to eat it the way everyone else does. A few of us actually try it her way, maybe she’s on to something, maybe it taste better that way.

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We’ve all gone mad!

We’ve thrown out any definition of normal and realize that we’re all a little strange. We’re all different and on some level we’ve all become a little autistic or maybe we’ve always been this way and our daughter’s diagnosis just showed us how cool it can be.

Autism is contagious.

You can’t get it from airborne germs or by the exchange of bodily fluids. You won’t get it from touching an autistic person or using the same fork they used. It’s not going to latch on to your child at daycare and get carried home.

You can get it by loving someone with autism. You will get it from spending time with them and opening your eyes and heart to the way they see the world. It will latch on to your heart and change everything about you.

Once you’ve caught it life will never be the same. There’s no cure and you won’t search for one. The symptoms creep up on you and the effects hit like a little league player up to bat in the world series.

A quirk becomes a personality trait.
A word becomes a story.
An obsession becomes tradition.
A fashion flub becomes runway material.

It will make your heart melt. It will steal your kisses and rob you of your hugs.
It will open your eyes to a wonderful new world.
It will make you questions everything previously known as normal.
It will make you drive through McDonald’s while yelling “waffle, waffle,waffle,waffle,waffle,waffle,waffle,waffle!”

Autism is contagious. Once you’ve caught it you will never be the same and won’t ever want to be who you were before you got it.

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This is what autism looks like. She’s beautiful and kind. SHe’s compassionate and loving but most of all she’s absolutely hilarious.

Children Should Not Be “In A Relationship”

My teenage daughter loves to call me “modest mom” and “safety parent”. However, she’s very clear on our expectations and how we want her to represent herself to her peers.

She has a very strong and close relationship with her daddy and stepdaddy and that will make a huge difference in her life as she enters the dating world. She is a child of divorce but we have made it a point to never let her feel that way. Her daddy, stepdaddy, stepmommy and I all make every effort to let her know that we all love each other, respect each other and that we are all equally her parents. None of us have ever used her as a weapon against each other and we have never spoken an unkind word about each other to her. We make it a point to never involve her in adult situation so she is allowed to be a child for as long as possible.

Her daddy and I never want to project what happened in our marriage on to her or to have her ever think that it was in any way her fault. It wasn’t.  It is our number one goal to let her know that we love each other and that she is free to love each of us and her step parents without the guilt of hurting one of our feelings. She is not a pawn, a weapon or a tool for us to get what we want. We all decided long ago to be close friends, set our feelings aside and do what is right for her.

As crazy as she may think we all are I pray that we are doing it right. This article came across my facebook and reassured that our strictness, modesty and every effort to prolong being “in a relationship” is worth it. These are children and we need to make sure that they are allowed to be children for as long as possible. Letting them have boyfriends/girlfriends at such a young age is dangerous and setting them up for adult issues that they should not ever know about now or ever.

http://thecollegeconservative.com/2012/03/15/underage-dating-the-elephant-in-the-social-conservative-living-room/

Insta-bridge

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I wanted to burst into tears. My name wasn’t called again.

I was jealous of the other 5 year old that got to take the walk under the bridge.

Each week my kindergarten class would make two rows and face each other. We would hold hands and make a bridge for one of our classmates to walk under. As the chosen student of the week would walk under the bridge we would all say something nice to them.

Serious confidence booster!

Weeks passed and my name wasn’t called. My feelings were hurt and I went home and cried to my mom. I wanted so badly to walk under the bridge. My mom assured me that everyone would get a turn and I needed to practice patience.

I have no idea what the word patience means.

Finally my name was called…LAST!

I ran to the opening of the bridge and almost barreled through it but something told me to slow down and cherish the moment. I’ll never forget a little girl looked me in the eyes and said “You have a pretty smile”.

I believed her and have never forgotten the moment that she said it to me.

How could that simple sentence so many years ago still be so clear in my life?
I bet she has no memory of it at all.

I can remember our parents making sure that we were not to hurt other people’s feelings. I’m not saying that we didn’t but they were passionate about us being kind to our classmates and friends. They were grooming us for adulthood.

Are we doing the same?

I’ve noticed something lately and it’s devastating.

Kids on instagram have started playing a game called “Eliminate”. They post a picture that has 6 of their friends on it and then tell everyone to vote one of those friends off. As each friend gets voted off, the picture changes with the eliminated persons picture gone. In the end there is one friend left and that friend gets a “shout out”. Seriously.

That’s a terrible game and anyone who puts your picture up on the internet and invites their friends to judge you and eliminate you is not your friend.

I was shocked when I first saw it and immediately had a long talk with our oldest daughter about it. We talked about how it could really hurt someones feelings and how it was an unkind thing to do. She knows that there will be consequences if she chooses to join in on this game and the consequences won’t be fun. We don’t treat people who way in our home and she knows it.

We should be letting our friends walk under our bridge while we compliment them, not putting them on the chopping block like a chicken at the meat market.

Why are we sitting back and letting our younger generation become this?
Why would we condone this or even act like it’s cute.

We are supposed to be helping them grow into compassionate, kind and loving adults.
They don’t need us to be their best friends, the need us to be their mentors.

I can’t imagine lining up my dear friends and asking people to come judge them.  It’s actually quit the opposite when it comes to my relationship with my friends. We encourage each other, stick up for each other, support each other and never, ever bail on our friendship.

If a little 5 year old girl can hold on to one simple sentence for over 30 years can you imagine what the first kid to get eliminated is going to hold on to for the next 30 years?

We can do better than this.
We have to do better than this.
We have a choice in how we raise these young adults.
We have a choice in what we allow in their lives and how we allow them to treat others.

Let’s take our kids back.
Let’s teach them true compassion.
Let’s mold them to be kind and loving.

The devil loves when we look the other way. He loves when we try to be their best friends and let things slide so that they don’t get upset with us. He jumps with joy when we ignore whats going on so that we don’t have to face it.

But read this please.

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

Let’s raise up a generation that shows the world who God is.
Let’s raise up a generation that will only look down on someone when they are extending their hand to help them up.
Let’s raise up a generation that gives more and takes less.
Let’s raise up a generation that shows so much love you can’t help but to see the face of Jesus when you look at them.
Let’s raise a generation that builds a bridge of encouragement and only eliminates the devil.

Let’s Pray
Father teach us how to raise our children in a way that reflects your love. Help us to set examples for them that will help mold them into compassion and giving adults. When they are caught up in peer pressure gently lay your hands on then and show them how to build a bridge. In Jesus name, amen.

I couldn’t remember my kindergarten teachers name when I was 5  so my mom made up a song. “Ms.Mauwer takes a shower for an hour but she smells like a flower”. Sorry Ms.Mauwer, it had to be done. I can’t remember what I did yesterday but I can still remember that song!

Duty Calls

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Renee wrote for us again. See, now she’s just making me look lazy!. Love you sister.

My sons father and I were only married for less than two years. After our divorce his father decided to join the army and left for boot camp. Several years after that he received orders to leave for Afghanistan. Andres was still fairly young and didn’t understand that seriousness of what was about to happen, but his Dad did.

A week before his dad was to leave he asked if he could stop by and talk to me in private. Want I didn’t know until we saw one another was that he wanted to apologize.

You see he was very much aware that there was a chance that he would not come home. He wanted us to know that he loved and would always love the both of us, always.

You could imagine my surprise after four years of wondering if he had ever really loved me. I knew with no doubt that he loved his son, but me? The end of our marriage was awful.

We couldn’t speak without using harsh words. We were unable to be in the same room together without shooting daggers!

But at this very moment all the past didn’t matter.

All I saw was the sincerity in his eyes, his face. The tears easily streaming down his cheeks.

I believed him….then I apologized too.

He has been serving our country for 15 yrs and has done a total for three tours over seas, of course putting his life in arms way for all of us. But when my son and I think about it, we see him giving his life for the two of us.

Let’s Pray

Dear lord we ask that you specifically bless the married, and divorced women of our troops and the children. Even though life’s trials have pulled them apart, deep in each of these individuals hearts there is still love. Teach us to love when life is good and when life is hard. Give us the ability to put the not so horrible things aside and let the positive shine! We pray that you fill all of our hearts with truth and that we never have to live with the regret of not being able to share those last words that could changed a loved ones life.

Amen

Loving On The Little Ones

kids heart
Our sweet sister Angela is on the mic this morning. Take it away Angela.

I often joke the small town I live in is a bubble. I like to say it’s the last nice small town in Texas. My children go to a beautiful public school with amazing teachers and staff. I am blessed. I probably appreciate the beauty of this small town and amazing public school more than most. We landed in this town as Hurricane Katrina evacuees. 2 dogs, 2 kids –ages 3 and under and knew not a single person. Strange isn’t it? I look back on it now, 7 years later, and think wow….how could I have done that without God’s help? Of course, I know, I couldn’t have. He knew where I was going, he knew where I needed to be to raise a family, GOD guided me here. I am thankful. I am so grateful that my children go to a school where teachers talk about this season of Christmas and what it means. My son brought home the following letter in his backpack this week.

Dear Parents,

As parents, we are always looking for ways to keep reminding ourselves of how fortunate we are that God has blessed each of us with children. A pastor wrote this article several years ago. At the approach of the holidays we like to take it out and reread it. We want to share it with you. We hope that you will consider these things as you and your family head into the holiday season.

SEVEN ESSENTIAL ASPECTS OF LOVING YOUR CHILDREN

1. UNCONDITIONAL COMMITMENT – Tell them that no matter what, you will always love them.

2. SCHEDULED TIME – Schedule some time during this holiday period to be with your child.

3. AVAILIBITY – Turn the TV off if your child comes to you. Be available to them.

4. TENDER TREATMENT – Harshness, anger and lecturing – try something different this holiday.

5. FREQUENT EYE CONTACT – Offer undivided attention, don’t look at the clock, put the cell phone down and look at your child.

6. LISTEN IN AN UNDERSTANDING WAY – Don’t ridicule what your child is saying, for clarification, repeat back to them what you hear, get excited about their dreams.

7. USE MEANINGFUL TOUCHING – Hug your child! It communicates that they are of value.

With the holiday season soon to be upon us we know as parents we will want to savor the precious moments that we will have with our own children. As teachers we feel very fortunate to be able to teach your child. We want to thank you for giving us the opportunity. Sincerely, 4th Grade teachers

Blessed beyond measure. This is not a cliché for me. I mean it with all of my heart. Thank you God for teachers who care, pastors who share and parents who love unconditionally

She Mimics Me

be like mom

Our sweet sister Angela has written for us again. She is starting to spoil me. Take it away Angela.

 

Thankfulness.

Everyone seems to focus on the things they are thankful for in November. What about July when it’s 106 in Texas? I am still thankful. You will never hear me complain about the heat.

I have brothers in the military

– I’ve heard what it’s like to “try” and sleep at night in Afghanistan. I am thankful I live here in our safe place – even if it is 106. It’s a matter of mindset. It’s a matter of doing.

I have two kiddos who are in elementary school. Their hearts are full of love, imagination and innocence. It’s so much fun for me to watch them love life.

Kids mimic their parents, teachers and friends.

My daughter loves to play school. She is ALWAYS the teacher. She annunciates her words when she is reading and uses the same expressions her 1st grade teacher did when she plays. I love this about her.

But it also reminds me……she mimics me too.

That is why it is so important to be the best me. I try to live each day representing what I want her to act like when she isn’t with me. Isn’t that what God wants us to do? Be the best we can be? Not perfect…..just the best we can be.

I am independent to a fault. She mimics that behavior too. It drives me crazy when she is bound and determined to do things her way. But you know what else she does? She prays. When she feels sad about something she will tell you she needs to pray.

She mimics me.

She’s not ashamed to pray in a restaurant either before she stuffs her face.

She mimics me.

When she gets worried about whatever you have to worry about at 7……she knows to pray.

She mimics me.

I think my kiddos make me a better Christian. If you are a parent you know how your heart just swells when your kiddos come to you with their worries, fears and joys? Isn’t it nice to be the one they want to talk things out with?

I try to remember this for me too.

As a child of God, I should come to him with my problems, fears, anxieties….. How does he feel when we come to him to talk things out? I like to think he feels proud…….kind of like we do when our children come to us.

It makes me smile to think about it…..about how he longs for us to come to him. As much as we love our families, his love is so much deeper. Deeper than our hearts can ever know from where we are, so imagine how GOD feels when we come to him?

Let’s Pray

Amazing Father thank you for letting us come to you when we are tired and burdened.  We are thankful that we can lay our troubles at the cross and you will take care of them for us. When we are struggling and can’t let go gently remind us that you will lift our worries off of our shoulders and carry them for us. In Jesus name, amen.