Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Choosing a Purpose

Live with intention. Walk to the edge.

Listen hard. Practice wellness.

Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret.

Appreciate your friends. Continue to learn.

Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

~Mary Anne Radmacher

I have recently read a book about dying young.  It wasn't so much how sad I was to read about those that died, although that was a tragic part, rather I ached for the ones left behind.  I think in the dying, we often choose to let a part of ourselves die as well.  This book then went on to explore how hard and crippling it can be to make the choice of living after any tragedy. 

The idea of setting goals or objectives made a huge difference when continuing to living in an ordinary world.  It made sense to me.  I've thought a great deal about the goals and objectives I have set in my life. 

Truly, there really aren't that many, except to just live.  Isn't that crazy?  I always wanted to marry.  Done.  I knew I wanted children.  Check.  On the other hand, I know what I don't want to do.  I don't want to die without seeing what happens next.  I don't ever want to let my precious family slip from my grasp.  I never want kindness and joy not to be a part of my everyday life.

Then what?  What do I want to come next?  I know that I would like to see my children get married and have children.  But for me, there is so much living in between now and then.  So which way should I point my compass?  Or should I just wait to see where the wind takes me?

Now that I have had a birthday come and go, I decided to get busy and start living with a purpose.  Therefore, I created a list...40 things I want to do before I turn 40!  We'll see how far I get, and I better be getting busy.  Only four years to go!
 



40 BEFORE 40
Belly laugh. Often.




Take a road- trip without a pre-planned destination.
Continue to dance and sing in my kitchen each day…even when my kids ask me to stop.
Make a difference in the life of a single mother.
Give more.  Buy less.
Be fiscally responsible.
Forgive and ask to be forgiven.
Get behind a cause and spend time helping it grow.
Karaoke.
Buy a kayak and hit the water routinely.
Make the perfect cupcake.
Send real birthday cards and letters, routinely.
Go on a mission trip and give myself entirely to the cause.
Take my boys to a UT v. Florida game.
Spend a week at the beach with my best friends, romance novels, and lots of wine.
Purge all of the junk in my house…no need to keep décor from college!
Live in the moment.
Make friends with 5 people TOTALLY different than me and nurture the friendships.
Spend Christmas at Disney World with my family.
Stop obsessing.
Learn to take a compliment well.
Enjoy a picnic.
Look at my children, see myself, and smile.
Be happy.
Love my husband more dearly.
Grow an herb garden.
Foster a child, besides my own, in some way.
Slalom ski on the water again.
Tell the people most important to me how much I love them.
Take up tennis.
Overcome my greatest weakness.
Plant a tree and watch it grow.
Share a smile. Everyday.
Publish an article on paper…not online.
Find my passion and follow it.
Read ten classic novels each year.
Listen more. Talk less.
Fit back in my wedding dress.
Go above and beyond.
Help someone in need.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Another Year Older

And it's funny how it's the little things in life that mean the most
Not where you live, what you drive, or the price tag on your clothes
There's no dollar sign on a piece of mind this I've come to know
So if you agree have a drink with me
Raise you glasses for a toast
~Zac Brown Band



Today is my birthday.  I have only scratched the surface on this thing called aging.  I am by no means graceful at all.  As I begin to slide {please read: scratch, claw, a cut-up my knees kind of groping the hill} down the back edges of my thirties into my forties, I can't help but get the lyrics listed above out of my head.

Picture it ~ a dollar sign on everything in our life, the price to pay to live in this world where we live.  But when arriving at peace of mind -true quiet and calmness- there is no dollar sign.  It is free: to you, to me, to him, to her, to the young, and to the old.  We just have to arrive at that point of peace. 

Gasp.

I can't say that I was ever at this point in my twenties.  I would be exaggerating if I told you I am at that place in my thirties…Far from it.  But I am getting there. 
I have little people I love, and big people that love me.  I have serenity on most days.  I understand that it isn't always about what I can put in my hands that shows me what I have.  I have much, much more.  Some days are struggles filled with questions.  Other days are like the smooth, placid lakes where I long to spend my summer. 
Just as a striking hillside is beautiful, so is this life that we are living.  The hillside swoops and rolls, just like our day to day adventures.  Some days the sun shines bright warming the lush, cool, green grass.  Other days, the darkest of clouds hover about threatening a storm any minute.  However, the hills never change; they remain still, silent, and robust. 
I will always be trekking up and down these hills.  Even if the terrain flattens in front of me, the path will not stay that way forever.  Every life is filled with hurdles, moments of joy and sorrow.  It isn't about how burdensome my journey gets or how long I go without feeling the golden sun upon my neck.  No, the richness of living is in the journey, following it until the end.  The peace of mind is found in the choices and what events those choices bring.  There really isn't a dollar sign on the peace.  It can't be bought, yet only found. 

 
~So if you agree have a drink with me...Raise you glasses for a toast!

Chicken Fried
Zac Brown Band

Monday, May 16, 2011

Ah, May ~ My Love/Hate Relationship

For May is a beautiful month, but also a month to be despised, in my opinion.  It comes upon us with reminders of summers past, graduations that came and went, and a day spent showering our favorite mama.  But, it is, quite easily, the fastest month on my calendar.  It seems as if there is something planned on every single day. 

How can we celebrate the great moments without being overwhelmed by the pace?

Breathe.  Take a deep one.  Settle down and focus on the important.  Pull out the "get out of jail free" card and say no to those items, tasks, and appointments that can wait until the hum-drum of the summer months set in on you. 

Rome wasn't built in a day. Therefore, not every single hope, desire, or dream will be attained in this one month.  I keep telling myself to slow down and live simply.  This month is testing my willpower and commitment to the simple.  But, every breath by deep breath, I'll make it through this whirlwind month.  I hope you do, too!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Boys' Office

Last week, The Committee went to NYC for the week for work.  As always, I spent the week struggling with all of the juggling.  I continue to be in awe of all of my friends that have husbands that constantly travel and those of you that are single mothers.  I'm not sure how you do it!  I just don't function well on my own with little sleep.  So, I decided to keep my mind off of the lack of adult company and finish a project that I have been meaning to finish.

With summer break quickly approaching {less than two weeks}, I am starting to have heart palpitations.  I'm just not sure how to keep everyone entertained all of the time and it makes me panic.  So, I decided to turn one of our extra pantries in the kitchen into an office/art corner for the boys.  We truly are the least-handiest people you will ever meet...so don't look too closely at the handy-work.

This is how disorganized my pantry looks at all times...
now all of this is tucked nicely {wink, wink} away in cabinets.




And this is the new office.  The boys feel so grown up with their own space.


I'm sure this will not solve all of our summertime problems, but maybe it will help. 
If not, it might be the perfect time-out spot!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Continuing to Love Unconditionally...re-post

As we continue to see our boys grow and change every day, I have to remain focused upon loving them unconditionally.  I pray each day for wisdom in directing them with a strong hand and soft heart.  Some days slide by with ease, while others seem like they are full of dilemmas.  By blogging about our many twists and turns of life, I am able to save on therapy bills and work out many of my thoughts right here online.

We never really know what each day is going to give us around our house.  I have one son that is dealing with social issues in his class.  He is having to learn about dealing with bullying and harsh words while living peacefully amongst his friends at school.  Another of mine, comes across pretty gruff at times and wants to always be the leader in our home without caring about the feelings of others.  My third lives in his own little happy world making new discoveries each day.  We just aren't sure what the fourth is going to be like, but we are hopeful that his easy demeanor will stay around forever. 

All of our boys are vastly different, however they will all be in their teenage years at one time.  If only I could repeat the same things to them every morning as they walk down the stairs to scarf down some cereal and run out the door to school.  By doing this, maybe I can protect their precious little souls from self-doubt or physical injuries from those around them.  This is what I would say...

Good morning my dear child.

One day, you will no longer be a small child that I can protect.  You will grow from a Curlee boy into the beginnings of a Curlee man.  You will need to discover the world on your own.  I will need to let you go out into the world to find your way and see what life has to offer you.

But, before you go, please consider these words...you are loved unconditionally by your father and me.  Unconditionally means that there are no words or actions that can make us stop loving you with our whole heart.  We will never turn our back on you, regardless of what you say or do.  The most important thing to us is you and your well-being. 

You will certainly find yourself in areas of distress for some reason or another throughout your adolescence and adulthood.  We all have at one time or another.  Not one adult around you has gotten to where they are in their life without traveling through a rock-bottom valley in search of life's meaning.  Remember, we ALL make mistakes.  It is the lessons we learn from these mistakes that mean the most.  Don't let your mistakes define you.  Don't let hateful words define you; you are so much more than a word.  Don't get bogged down in what could have been.  Strive for what can be...and follow that dream to the end. 

On our refrigerator, we have our house rules...
Always be honest.
Count your blessings.
Bear each others burdens.
Forgive and forget.
Be kind and tender hearted.
Comfort one another.
Keep your promises.
Be supportive of one another.
Be true to each other.
Treat each other like you treat your friends.
And most importantly, LOVE one another deeply from the heart.

These rules did not just happen to find their way to our fridge by accident.  No, just the opposite.  I searched for rules for our family that would characterize who we are and how we are supposed to act and treat one another.  But, these rules were not meant to pertain only to my children.  Just the opposite...I want you to remember them always and carry them with you out into the world.  I want every action to be driven by the words...LOVE deeply from the heart.  If your heart is driving your words, thoughts, emotions, and actions, you can never go wrong.

Oh, I know that you will be wronged and do others wrong throughout your life.  We all have.  But, to bear these mistakes and make amends for them is how you show love to one another.  It is the stuff that character is made of.  Hate and contempt can be so easy to fall back on, but it is putting the love out there that takes work.  Choose the love over the hate. You will never regret that choice...ever!  

Matthew 5: 44 ~  But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.

Each time you feel hatred or anger for another person, pray for their life, their well-being, their happiness.  It is not possible to hate another person in the presence of God.  Let go of the anger that will encompass your whole being, and watch how God can work in your life.  This is of the utmost importance in being a man of character. 

As you have grown and started school, I have repeatedly told you how easy it is to try harder on your next spelling test, play a little bit better in the next football game, run faster when racing your brother, but you can't ever have a second chance to erase unkindness to one another.  Sure, you will be given a chance to say you are sorry, but you cannot erase the actions or words that you put out in the world.  You must always be a little kinder than necessary...it never hurts, and usually will help!

If throughout your young-adulthood, you find yourself lost or confused seek someone out.  I would hope it would be your father or me, but I am also realistic to know that it won't always be us that you turn to for help.  If not us, then someone.  Don't try to take the world on alone.  Don't try to re-invent the wheel.  Borrow wisdom from another...it's not plagiarism.  Find someone you can trust...or better yet, someone that we trust.  Consider them a mentor.  Bounce ideas off of them.  Listen to their thoughts...and then, follow your own heart. 

Throughout my life and your father's life, we have not always been the winners and not always the losers.  We are usually somewhere in between the two.  It is okay not to always be the most successful...just do your best...that will always be enough for us.  We trust you.  We love you.  We always want the best for you. 

Don't ever give up.  Don't ever think that suicide is an answer to any problem you have.  You may think that whatever has occurred, will ruin your life.  I am here to tell you it won't.  It might change your life greatly, but you can always be a glory to God.  You will come out on the other side, and we will help you to find your way.  Trust our love.  Trust your gut.  Trust in God.  Trust in kindness.  And most importantly, LOVE one another deeply from the heart.  Let love lead the way for you.  Don't let someone else define who you are.  Let your character define who you are. 

You are the last thing I think of when I go to sleep at night and the first thing when I wake up in the morning.



What do you say, think I'll have time to get all that in every morning over a light breakfast of cereal?  Oh, how I wish I could say that to all of my boys every day and see if it delivers us to a better place on the other side of this scary place called "adolescence"!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

http://www.incourage.me/


Big day, little boat!  Today, I am guest posting for the first time ever at incourage.me, and I am so excited!  Also, I am full of nerves (trying to supress those, though!).  I am always amazed, humbled, and excited to read the daily posts on this site made just for women.  Take a walk, and please join me over there today!   Happy Saturday!!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Perfect Storm

I wish I could tell you that this has been a 'one and only' instance.  It is not.  It has happened to me more than once.  These periods are times that I look back upon, shudder, and see where I lost my way in one clear instance. 

Each time seems to leave more of an imprint than the time before.  It is like walking through a fire only to find that you aren't invincible.  You are actually burned around the edges once you made it through to the other side.  To me, there is a clear explanation as to how this happens: I tragically and unequivocally lost sight of what is right.

It is the perfect storm. 

Mine is called self-righteousness.  Yours might be called something else.  But, we all have that one unsightly struggle that plagues us. 

Recipe:
{your ingredients can vary and can include one or all of the list below}
1 part self-righteousness
1 part frustration
1 part losing sight of God's way
1 part jealousy
1 part destructive words or feedback
1 part selfishness
1 part judgment

You put yourself out there.  You turned away from the light that serves as your guide.  You chose to consider only your needs rather than think there are other people in the room, house, business, etc.  You took one step, then another, and another and now you are all alone and you want to wash it all away. 

In that moment, I looked around and realized that I had turned my back on my God and His word.  It's as if I was in a high-school relationship.  I said, "Listen God, it's not you, it's me! You are great, but I need some space."

The past is our definition. 
We may strive, with good reason, to escape it,
or to escape what is bad in it,
but we will escape it only by adding something better to it. 
~Wendell Berry

It's like looking back in the rearview mirror of your car.  Remember the little lingo at the bottom...objects are closer than they appear.  Many times, these moments are the only thing you see in your rearview mirror.  You feel ashamed or embarrassed enough to let these past events define who you are for months, years, or a lifetime.  You let the past become the definition of who you are.  But, really, you are so much more. 

Maybe the things that happened out of self-righteousness have become your story.  We all have stories.  Some are fairy-tale like and others are true horror stories.  But, then when we turn to the Bible it seems as if within each blessed book there are stories of redemption. 

Imagine the blood, sweat, and tears of Moses and his people leaving behind their days in Egypt, being held in slavery, to make a covenant with God and venture to the Promised Land.  Those are moments when something good comes out of the bad.  These are the times when one is changed from their old ways through God's grace.

We cannot direct the wind; but can adjust the sails.
When we cannot change the circumstances,
we must change ourselves.
~Author Unknown
But perhaps, you would rather look back to American history for redemption.  Imagine for a moment those citizens of another land that boarded ships of every shape and size in every generation to come to a new and better country.  They left all behind to live a better life full of prosperity.  These immigrants may have sailed passed the Statue of Liberty, which embodies hope for a bright future.  In that moment, each passenger may have thrown away the past vowing only to look forward to better times. 

Sure, it will take a bit of hard work to live the good life.  Nothing comes easy. 

In whom we have redemption through his blood,
the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.
~Ephesians 1:7

This same redemption from the past is waiting around the corner for each of us.  By walking away from the moments than have grown over time to define who we are, we can look ahead for our own beacon of hope.  We can take the past and begin to realize it for what it is.  The past.  It can't be changed.  Perhaps it would have been best if it had never happened, but none of us has the power to change it. 

Yet, we all have the ability to define our outlook for what is ahead.  Perhaps, it happened for the best.  Maybe, by walking through the fire once, you have saved yourself from walking that way again.

That is the challenge we face, I believe: Sometimes, only to survive, only to endure, but mostly, to believe that we are blessed and not cursed. To see the challenges we face in life and not trivialize them or dismiss them, but also to see them as opportunities for growth.  Opportunities that will help us to lead lives of greater fullness, richness, and depth, opportunities that might even inspire us to make the world more loving and just.

What you need to know about the past is that no matter what has happened,
it has all worked together to bring you to this very moment. 
And this is the moment you can choose to make everything new. 
Right now.
~Author Unknown

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Fwd: from November 2001



As I was cleaning out all of my e-mails today, I came across a folder where I have put joke forwards that I have received from years past.  I have had my personal e-mail address since the day I graduated from college.  That was 14 years ago.  So, I have accumulated some funny forwards. 

It is interesting to note that I don't seem to get as many these days...maybe forwarding jokes is a thing of the past.  Mom...please don't read that as I would like more forwards, because I don't.  K?

Anyway, I read this one about Osama bin Laden.  So, this is my attempt to stay current.  I know this might not be funny to others, but it makes me giggle.  I love the kitty poster imagery...gets me every time.  

From: Bin Laden, Osama
Sent: Monday, November 19, 2001 8:17 AM
To: Cavemates
Hi guys. We've all been putting in long hours but we've really come
together as a group and I love that. Big thanks to Omar for putting up
the poster that says "There is no I in team" as well as the one that says
"Hang In There, Baby." That cat is hilarious. However, while we are fighting
a jihad, we can't forget to take care of the cave. And frankly I have a
few concerns.
First of all, while it's good to be concerned about cruise missiles, we
should be even more concerned about the scorpions in our cave. Hey, you
don't want to be stung and neither do I, so we need to sweep the cave
daily. I've posted a sign-up sheet near the main cave opening.
Second, it's not often I make a video address but when I do, I'm trying
to scare the most powerful country on earth, okay? That means that while
we're taping, please do not ride your razor scooter in the background.
Just while we're taping. Thanks.
Third point, and this is a touchy one. As you know, by edict, we're not
supposed to shave our beards. But I need everyone to just think hygiene,
especially after mealtime. We're all in this together.
Fourth: food. I bought a box of Cheez-Its recently, clearly wrote
"Osama" on the front, and put it on the top shelf. Today, my Cheez-Its were
gone. Consideration. That's all I'm saying.
Finally, we've heard that there may be American soldiers in disguise
trying to infiltrate our ranks. I want to set up patrols to look for them.
First patrol will be Omar, Muhammed, Abdul, Akbar, and the new guy
Richard.
Love you lots.
Osama

Monday, May 2, 2011

What was it like before?

If you are a parent, I suspect that you reflect here and there about what life was like before children came your way.  As I am growing older in my journey of motherhood, I find it harder and harder to remember what life was like before "they" came into my life.  I vaguely remember sitting down after work and thinking how I was bored. 

“The ordinary arts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest.” -Thomas More

Sometimes, I really didn't have much to do.  I would wake, eat, shower, go to work, come home, eat, shower, and crawl in bed.  Sure, The Committee and I had fun along the way, but nothing really stands out.  As my days are flying past me as a mother, I find the memories are getting harder and harder to recall and nothing really stands out once again.  The big moments B.B. (before-birth) and A.B. (after-birth) are easy to recall.  But, the minor experiences and trouble-free days seem blurry.

Is that what life is like?  In the end, is it like a picture that isn't in focus?  You can make out the subjects, but the edges seem blurry.  I don't want that to be my past.  I want to recall the laughter over silly jokes.  I want to remember the smell of the top of my sons' heads when they were toddlers.  I want to know that I won't forget taking Sunday afternoon drives with The Committee when we had nothing else to do.  I long to remember the feeling of the boys brushing my hair aside to whisper sweet secrets in my ear over and over again.  I want to look back with gratitude for all the moments that came so easily.  I want my heart to be full of thanks for all of the blessings that have been placed in my life.  I want to know that at the end of every day, I placed my head down on my pillow each night and knew that my life was fuller than I ever could have imagined.

"Teach us delight in simple things,
and mirth that has no bitter springs"- Rudyard Kipling

But, I'm not sure how to make this happen.  I'm not sure that I am savoring the gifts that have been bestowed from the cup of God's grace.  The best remedy I have found so far is savoring the stillness in the few moments I can each day.  I have started trying to steal a minute in each day to take a deep breath and humble myself, create a bit of silence, and give thanks for the gifts I have been given.  It seems like an insignificant move, but it eases my concerns of forgetfulness and helps me to savor the tiny joys. 


 

Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Giving is Better Than the Receiving




The giving in life, to me, is always better than the receiving.  Don't get me wrong, I love a good gift as much as the next girl, especially one that sparkles!  I look forward to getting a big hug from The Committee, but, I long to give my affection to all of my boys at any time of the day.  There isn't anything that I enjoy more than seeing a smile on a face because I gave something of myself in their honor. 

Over the winter, we went as a family to celebrate all of the February birthdays in The Committee's family.  February is a busy little month for our group.  We have several birthdays, one anniversary, and Valentine's all wrapped up into one short, little month.  It is a joyful month filled with love.

As we were at dinner, we all passed around presents for one another that were growing another year older.  My husband had decided he wanted to pass on a family memento from his grandfather to his new brother-in-law.  We were thrilled to see the emotion upon opening this gift.  It wasn't anything major, and I'm not even sure if there is a great deal of monetary value in the gift.  But, our new brother-in-law shares a love of Alabama football with my husband's grandfather.  The Committee wanted to recognize this shared trait.  It wasn't much, but it was a gift of family.

That's the key.  The giving doesn't always have to be much.  But, the meaning behind the small gift can be great.  It is the meaning that wins out in the end.  It is the offering that makes all the difference.  Imagine a teacher offering a kind, congratulatory word to a student.  How often does someone later in life remember this act of love versus the reason it was given?  Many times, the kind word can make all the difference for a lifetime.  Or, what about the gift of love to someone that has never truly felt loved before?  It has the power to change a life and a future. 

I love the hand me downs that my mother and father have given to me from my grandparents.  A few years ago, my uncle needed to do some spring cleaning and he passed on my grandmother and grandfather’s table to me.  It was always used in my grandparent's home as their dining table.  I can remember going to visit them, and we would always enjoy a family roast beef dinner together. 

In our house, we use it as our kitchen table.  In other words, this is the one place (besides The Committee's leather chair) in our home where someone in our family sits for some reason or another every single day.  Some days it's one of my school-age boys sitting there doing their homework or reading a book.  Or perhaps, The Wild Hair is home on one of his non-Mother's Day Out days eating his lunch while I unload the dishwasher.  One of us is there living out our life just as it was in my grandparent's home.  I love this table.  It is not at all sturdy enough for four rowdy boys, but it is most certainly sturdy enough to hold so many memories from my childhood as well as my mother and uncle's childhood.  It was a gift of convenience for my uncle that has so much meaning each day in my home. 

There are gifts of many different kinds.  All of them varying in substance and monetary value.  Some gifts are minor while others are major.  The giving isn't always easy, and the receiving isn't always graceful.  But, always the gift is a gift and generally the receiving is in the giving.  Serving one another is laying down our needs and looking to help another prosper.  This is truly the difference in living in greed and giving in grace.

Acts 20:35 (NKJV)
In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ 
It’s important to remember that “God prospers us not to raise our standard of living, but our standard of giving.” Jesus says that it is “more blessed to give than to receive.” Isn’t it a blessing to know that you’ve helped out someone in need? Doesn’t it make you feel good? I think it feels a lot better to give to help someone else than when someone gives to us, even though that’s great too.
It’s always rewarding when you help feed a homeless person or someone in poverty who can barely feed themselves. I think it’s rewarding to go on a missions trip to a third world country and just help those in need and pour into their lives. Isn’t that what Jesus modeled for us? To feed the hungry and help those in need? We should follow Jesus’ example of service in everything we do. We need to have an attitude of a servant.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Being true to who you are where you are

It is not the easiest thing in the world.  Staying true to who you are called to be can be hard even in the easiest of times.  I can't say that I have done a perfect job of it...probably not even once.  I know who I am supposed to be in the eyes of my God, my husband, my children, and my parents.  But, it gets tricky sometimes. 

Over the last few weeks, I have seen my resolve tested on many occasions.  But, I am trying so hard to stand firm not to crumble in the midst of confusion.  I am giving it my all to look the discomfort in the eye and persevere.  It's what I am aiming for all of my days.  I continuously think of this quote..."We're going to have to let truth scream louder to our souls than the lies that have infected us." — Beth Moore 

Each time I want to turn to an unkind word or a hateful thought, I think of the song "Who Are You When I'm Not Looking" by Blake Shelton.  It's not so much the words of the song that trigger my thoughts, but the title of the song.  I think a great deal about whom I choose to be around, and who they are when I'm not looking.  Are they true to their word?  Are they full of love and kindness?  If not, why are they spending a great deal of time in my life if our values are totally different? 

I know I have spoken about The Committee on many occasions, but I have to reflect upon his character for you to understand how good he is.  His theory in life is less is more.  Meaning if you stay true to your word, there is not a reason to elaborate.  He doesn't have the verbal attention deficit disorder that I have.  We all truly know that he says what he means and means what he says without a whole lot of fluff to clutter your mind.  I'm certain most men are like this.  But, not me.  It is something that I envy of the opposite gender.  I am constantly getting lost in the land mines amongst the spoken word.  I know in my heart who he is when I'm not looking and couldn't be more pleased.

But, on many occasions, I'm not always certain about who I'll be when no one is looking.  It's a time when I have to rely on moments of prayer.  I have to reign in my doubtful thoughts and know that in following the good, I need to let the bad fall away.  The world will continue to turn, I can't change that.  But, the imprint that I am leaving can be changed by me and me alone.  Walking in the path of Jesus will always lead me to be a better person than I am on my own.  I am hoping that I won't have to cause doubt about who I am when others aren't looking.

“Our love must not be a thing of words and fine talk. It must be a thing of action and sincerity."
(1 John 3:18).” 


"Who Are You When I'm Not Looking" by Blake Shelton

Monday, April 18, 2011

Had to Share

I read this today, and I had to share it with you.  I can totally relate to all of the thoughts listed in this article.  Yes, I have four boys, but if you know me, you know that a daughter was in my dreams.  During each pregnancy, I was always ready to fire up my monogramming machine to put Mary Catherine on any and everything.  I am so richly blessed with my dear boys and will wait for wonderful daughters-in-law one day, instead. 

Enjoy...

Wanting Daughters, Getting Sons

When I set out to find guest bloggers, my goal was to find parents whose life equations were made of different variables than mine, to reflect the range of ways to be a parent. Enter Allison Tate, who, lives in a house full of boys, and sometimes feels lost amid the testosterone.
Yes, Allison’s life is different — after a career in TV and film development, she is now a stay-at-home mom in central Florida, while I stayed in the work force. She has three children, I stopped at two. But the true difference is that she’s in the middle of it — raising three sons ages 6, 4 and 16 months. My tales of those stages are memories while hers are immediate. I have the benefit of hindsight; she has the edge of the moment.
Listening to her describe her feeling that she is not living the life she’d expected brought a particular pang of recognition. Like Allison, I always assumed I would have daughters. And I admire her honesty here in describing how she is still coming to terms with the fact that she will not.
BY ALLISON SLATER TATE
When I conceived my first child, I wanted more than anything for him to be a girl. I whispered at night to my burgeoning belly, “Be a girl,” much to my husband’s horror and dismay. It’s not that I didn’t want a son. It’s just that I wanted to know for sure I would be able to have a daughter, and so having one first would get that worry out of the way.

I had been planning my whole life to be the mother of a daughter. I had mothered 22 Cabbage Patch Kids, named all my Madame Alexander dolls, and signed imaginary Christmas cards with the names of the children I would someday have.

My future daughter had a lot of Anne of Green Gables and Ramona Quimby to look forward to, as well as French braids and tutus and Mary Janes and apron dresses. She was going to watch “Felicity” marathons with me and ogle the new J. Crew catalog and have annual viewings of “It’s a Wonderful Life” with me under a blanket with hot chocolate and lots of whipped cream. She was going to be, I thought, my best friend. You know, until she reached her teenage years and all. But that would take a loooong time, and then she would come back to me and we could plan a wedding together and I could watch her fall in love and have babies of her own.

My worst nightmare, back then, was that I would end up being a Mom of Boys, one of those women with a “practical” haircut and flat shoes who spent her afternoons at the baseball field and washed a lot of sweaty athletic clothes. A Mom of Boys bought a lot of boring clothes for her children — polo shirts and khaki shorts and Nike trainers. She was looked on with pity by the Moms of Girls, who color-coordinated with their daughters and took them on trips to the American Girl store and “The Nutcracker” and who had princess birthdays and tea parties with their mommy friends.

As you have probably guessed, my first child defied me, as he continues to do to this day, and was, indeed, a boy. And I loved him with all my heart. But when I conceived my second child unexpectedly, I thought for sure it was fate. I wasn’t yet ready for another, so surely this one would be a girl. …

Nope, another boy. A sweetheart of a boy. A really, really good little guy. Then we had our third child, our last child, a child I thought for sure would be a little tomboy sister and … all of a sudden, here I am: Mom of Boys.

I now see it as a challenge to redefine this whole Mom of Boys thing. I’m not giving up my ribbon flip-flops and I am not giving up my Vera Bradley diaper bag. I still wear lip gloss and I do not in any way have a practical haircut. I can play Star Wars and Transformers, but I draw the line at Pokémon — I don’t do anime.

I trudge out to the soccer fields, and root for teams where the girls are the stars, if only because they are heads taller than the boys. I drool over their cute little pink Pumas and make sure my own boys have the cutest soccer water bottles and cute haircuts and cute backpacks. And I am making new literary lists full of Henry Huggins and “Superfudge” and the Hardy Boys and Magic Tree Houses. I’m still going to read them “Anne of Green Gables,” because they need to know about strong female characters (like their mother). They are still going to have to watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” with me so they can see what a wonderful character George Bailey is. I want sons like George Bailey — sons who make good, close friendships and who can dream big dreams and who fall in love.

As I raise my children, I am forever conscious that I am raising little men. I want them to be men who take responsibility, who aren’t afraid of commitments and who thrill to the thought of a challenge or an adventure. I want them to be both spontaneous and thorough. I want them to be able to cry and show emotion. I want them to love and be loved.

They’re all the same wishes I would have had for daughters, when it comes down to it.

The clothes just aren’t quite as cute.