Monday, August 06, 2018

Oh, What a Wicked Web I Weave

I failed my math final. It is hard not to be discouraged when things like this happen because I already worked my butt off to get my degree when I was a single mom 24 years ago. I stayed up, lost sleep and paid for my college. I graduated magna cum laude. It was not easy, but I finished in four years and taught for six years. Some of my former students are nurses, teachers, chefs, plumbers, pastors, wives, husbands and parents. It wasn't for nought, but what the heck was it for??

Now, I am almost $24, 000 in debt to redo a degree I have already completed. I am spending time studying and working on courses I have already taken.  I am missing out on time with my husband and children and making my house a home.

I went back to school for all the wrong reasons and I am not sure how to fix it. I don't want to quit again, but I hate being in school. I do not want to do it again.

I think I relied on what going back to school could give me in the moment - refunds to help supplement income so we didn't get into further debt even though it didn't help and we are in debt. Instead of trusting God to provide for us, I chose to believe that it was best to sacrifice the future for what was needed in the present. I believed that we needed help with our finances and could get it through federal assistance instead of relying on Providential assistance. And now I can not go back and change it.

We can not continue to live in MD with the cost of living that it is and not have Rick and I have our teaching certification. And even then I am not sure how we will afford our own place. Or be able to pay back our student loans.

It is a wicked web I am weaving, but I do not want to do it anymore.

Friday, June 01, 2018

Disconnected

I am not sure how it started. I guess maybe it was a genuine illness at first. Then the teenager babysat a little late on a Saturday night. Then we overslept. Then it just became normal not to go to church. We talked about watching online and a few times we actually did, but not necessarily the whole service or only one of us even watched.

Easter was the last time we attended as a family. We have attended once since then without the teenagers.

I can not remember the last time the boy attended Friday night youth.

We pray before meals, but family devotions are nonexistent and we only pray as a couple when I ask.

I am tired of asking.

I did a pretty good job of faking it as a online Bible study leader a few months ago. I couldn't do it again. I am following a Bible study plan on an app right now, but I have to constantly tell myself to refocus and reread just about all of it. Prayer time is mostly just wondering how in the world I got to this place in my life, in my marriage, in my parenting.

I am not sure if the shift actually came when the racial tension of the Union heightened and the church leaders felt the need to take political stances when what we really needed was shepherding. A place that was suppose to feel safe and welcoming began to feel abrasive and judgmental. Events were scheduled, comments were made. It became less about connection and more about being forced to accept, but not necessarily be accepted. How does that foster connection?

I miss the days of postcards in the mail and phone calls made when you miss a service or two or five. When someone visits you on a Thursday because you've missed a Sunday. It is easier now than back then to reach out to someone and yet it doesn't even happen. At least in our case, actually, maybe it's just my case, it hasn't.

Not being missed among the shift in focus, of what is important, what is suppose to be at the center of worship and fellowship hurts. Life is better connected, huh? Not when no one bothers to check in or reconnect. There always seems to be an inner circle. It is hard to be on the outside of it.

I think there are a lot of people talking about what is needed and best and good, but not a lot of leading others into it or being examples of it.

Talk is cheap. Unless it is in red in the Word. Then we should take notice and take action.

There is so much that I miss. So much I did not expect. But, it is what it is, I guess. I am too tired for it to be otherwise right now.

So very, very tired.   


 

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

When Mother's Day is Hard

From the very first Mother's Day I celebrated, it has not been easy. It is hard to celebrate when you are a single momma and your child is young. My parents, especially my mom would always try to make sure my son made me a card and bought me a gift. But, it was still bittersweet. When I got married, it was hard to be away from my mom on Mother's Day and celebrating with my MIL and SIL was always a struggle. My husband made the day special, though and since I am not high maintenance, a low key day was always my favorite way to celebrate.

Breakfast with ice coffee, lunch at home, a nap and dinner and dessert made me feel special. Cards and a gift were a bonus, but not a necessity. Flowers for the porch, a baseball hat or a coveted book are a few of my favorite gifts.

Once the older three kiddos were out of the house, it got hard again. A card sent for a step mother one year, followed by years of no calls, no cards, not even a text. I didn't expect calls from Josh since he has been incarcerated for the past 4 or more Mother's Days. Devin and Cody will acknowledge a woman who abused them, allowed others to abuse them and did not desire to have custody of them over someone that tried so hard to fill in the gaps of a woman who never really wanted to be a mother in the first place. Was I perfect? Far from it. I allowed my expectations to cloud my judgment and my actions many times, but I loved them with the same love I have for my biological children. I still love them. Many times, I fought for them, cried for and with them, allowed them to tear our family apart more times than I can count and yet.....

I never wanted to replace their mother. Even as dysfunctional as their relationships are with their mother, I never wanted to replace her. I wanted to redeem a broken situation. And they allowed me to think that I could, that I was, but when things got ugly and hard, I was the one they blamed along with their father who fought for them and still fights for them even though it hurts and breaks his heart. We wanted to show them how a marriage should look, how a family should be and what love acts like in true, Godly fashion. And yet, we are the ones to shut out of their lives, to blame.

I guess we are the easiest ones to blame. If they blame her, she will stop loving them, stop financing them. We have shown unconditional love time and time again, covered in forgiveness, longing to be loved and forgiven.  And they can not be to blame because then they have to face the reality of their choices and actions and their responsibility for them.  Ignorance is bliss, I guess.  But, I cannot live that way. I have soul searched far too often, asked for forgiveness and now need to move on. Each May, I rehash the same feelings and thoughts, wondering what I should have done differently, could have done differently and the conclusion is always the same, even if it is not easy.       

I am not their mother even if they called me Mom. I am not their mother even if I made them breakfast, washed their clothes, kissed their boo boos and helped with their homework. Cheering them from the sidelines and the audience, making them dinner, tucking them in.....none of it makes me their mother. Shopping for her first bra, attending his boot camp graduation and taking them to the doctor's doesn't make me their mother. My definition of mothering must be very different from theirs. So, maybe I need to let go of the expectation of a card or call on a day set aside for mothers because I am not theirs. And never will be.

But, I am the woman that loves their father fiercely and will do whatever I need to to protect their siblings and our family. I will not allow them to hurt their siblings or their father anymore. Because even if I am not their mother, I am Kari and Noah's. And even though I am no where near perfect, I am pretty good at it. That is where my focus needs to be. On my family that is under my roof right now. Because they made Mother's Day amazing! 

     

Monday, March 12, 2018

Kicking Back

This new semester has been kicking my butt! It started in December and ends in May and I still have three classes to finish. I completed the first course pretty quickly and then life happened and illnesses happened and depression reared its ugly head and an anxiety diagnoses for the youngest boy was given and a 3 year long jail sentence was handed down for the oldest boy with 7 more court dates and charges to go and depression tightened its grip and.....

Homework and classwork has been really hard to concentrate on in the last few months. There has been a lot of hard - physically and emotionally and I have not handled it well. I tried to stay focused and keep busy, but I keep coming back to sad. So sad I am missing church and Bible study and seeing the physical and mental toll it is taking on me. I joined a grief and loss support group at my church and that has helped when I have been able to go, but sometimes, it is too much to get myself up and out the door.   

I feel like there is just more and more to grieve. I look for the hopeful and the joyful and then there is just more sad and disappointment. I know that is not where God wants to keep me nor does He want me to stay there, but I am getting used to, almost very comfortable in the valley. Like that is where I feel I belong and where I know God can meet me and understands if I am there. So, I stay. 

I have also been subbing in an alternate curriculum classroom and it is hard. The physical and emotional demands are constant and overwhelming at times. And the reason I am there is sad and hard. An accusation, a lie, an investigation, a career ruined, a classroom changed. It has just been too much.

And on Friday I found a lump or a mass or something on the right side of my rib cage and the concern is back and the emotional drain that comes with what if and what now and how much more.

But....I have completed several modules for science and the work on my first task for my next class as been started and I feel like I am kicking back a little bit.

And I will rest and I will wait and I will look for the good and the truth and the redemption that always comes and is promised.

The promise of spring break and a weekend with the grandkiddos and a women's conference and donuts and coffee with ladies that want to champion for the cause of life and dates with my husband and shopping with my girl and practicing lines for his play with the boy. And letters to the detention center with pictures. And phone calls from the detention center. And money raised for the trip of a lifetime. And free coffee coupons. And worship songs and prayers of friends. And the strength of my husband to uplift me and keep things running in the household when I can not get out of bed.   

I am starting to feel the kick back.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Selfish

I know this might sound a bit crazy, but I am choosing to be selfish this year.

I am choosing to put myself and my family before things that are insignificant and unimportant to what God has for me and my family.

I am going to say no to things that stress me out or make me anxious.

I am not going to apologize when I take a nap or skip a social event to have family game or movie night.

I am going to surround myself with people that encourage me to live out my calling in Christ as a mother, an educator and a voice for the unborn and the mommas and daddies that choose life for them.

I am going to be more intentional with my words and my actions.

I will not allow anyone to make me feel guilty when I do not live by their expectations.

I am going to do brave, bold things that scare me and stretch me and allow me to be used by God.

Yes, I am going to be selfish and I am not going to apologize for it.   

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Love Yourself

Yesterday was a bit hard on this Momma's heart. I finally took Noah to a PT to have his toe walking issue evaluated. Seems his muscle tone is in the negative and he will require ten weeks of intensive therapy to rebuild and strengthen muscles that he has either not been using or using incorrectly. Nothing says Mother of the Year like someone telling you your son has been misusing his muscles for 4+ years and that there is significant damage. What I thought was merely a habit when he was not wearing shoes has been detrimental to his development. Thankfully, the condition can improve, but it will not be easy. He was so exhausted after the evaluation yesterday. But, the other alternative is surgery, which he is not at all thrilled about, so I am hoping he is cooperative with the daily exercises and stretches and bi-weekly therapy sessions.

When I got home from his eval, Kari expressed how awful her allergies have been making her feel and how her current meds are not working. Looks like I will be scheduling an appointment with an allergist to see if there is something else we can be doing so she is not suffering so much during the high pollen seasons. Which in Maryland seem to be every season, but winter. And of course, she has been telling me about her discomfort and asking me to schedule an appointment with an allergist for a few weeks now. Again, Mother of the Year 😍

I was suppose to meet up with a friend for coffee and to discuss an upcoming NoonDay Adoption Fundraiser I am hosting for our worship pastor and his family at the end of June, but we had to cancel. I was really tempted to just stay home, but instead I did not tell the kiddos she cancelled and I went to Chipotle all by myself and had dinner. Alone. By myself. I can remember when Josh was little and my grandparents came over to watch him while I worked my part time job as a receptionist for a podiatrist. They showed up a bit early and my grandmother handed me some money and happily said, "Here's some money for you to go treat yourself to some lunch before you head to work!" She offered it to me like it was a gift and it felt like it until I sat in the restaurant all by myself. As a single momma I was vividly aware that I was very alone. Eating by myself felt like a punishment or failure of some sort. Like only losers eat alone.

Not last night, though. Last night felt like a gift and it was. I gave myself an hour to just be. No conversation, no sharing my chips and guacamole. I didn't do anything, but eat my dinner and drink my Diet Coke and people watch. The couple next to me were on their phones the whole time. Two sets of girlfriends had very different conversations. One belly laughed and talked loudly. The other set whispered phrases of what she said or what she did and I heard, "Well, don't tell anyone, but...." more than once. Two employees ate together and two gentleman ate alone like me. One looked to be taking a dinner break before heading back to the office, while the other one seemed a bit confident in his aloneness, like he'd done it many times before. Me? I was just giving myself an hour to breath before heading back home for bedtime rituals and chores.

After having to take the whole day on Sunday to rest and let my body recuperate after prepping for the yard sale and working in the yard sale and allowing stress to cause my muscles to tense and my mind to tire, I realized that it is okay to incorporate self care into my routine. I shouldn't feel guilty for taking time to be alone and allow my spirit to be quieted.

It truly is a gift.            

Monday, May 08, 2017

A Day in May

Only 24 days left of school! Then I will have an 8th grader and a 10th grader! And Kaysen turned 7 today, while Kiyah turned 5 on May 3 😄 Time does not slow down and everyone is growing up and changing. Kari is counting down the days until she can get her learner's permit and until her trip to Peru. Noah is excited to be so close to having only one more year of middle school left. Kiyah will start kindergarten in the fall. Sigh. It all goes by so fast.

It has been over a year since Devin and Austin moved to TX and Cody and Brianne stopped talking to us. It would be harder to deal with their ignorance of us if they still lived in MD. Having them in TX makes it a bit easier to deal with, I guess. It is still hard only seeing pictures of the girls and not even being able to meet Dakota, though. We have a box of their video games and some other things to ship them this summer. Not sure if that will help or seal the fact that they are not speaking to us. It is really hard on Rick and I hate that Cody will not reconcile with him, at least. Praying that some day it will change.

Josh will be home soon and is looking into the Helping Up Mission. I know he is concerned about committing to a program for a year, but I have been praying for this for so long. I pray he goes and stays. It may be the only thing that keeps him out of trouble and from being incarcerated again. I know he is tired of living the way he has been living, he wants to see his children and he wants to change. I pray this is the catalyst that allows him to get his life back.

This weekend we are heading to VA for our nephew's wedding. Thankfully, we found someone to sit with Jack for the night that we will be gone. He is used to being alone during the day while we are work and school, but has never been left alone at night. And Ellie, the hedgehog will need her water and food changed.  I am looking forward to spending the night in a hotel and having free breakfast on Mother's Day 😍 Noah is excited about the indoor pool. I have a lot of cleaning to do in preparation of having someone stay at our house. The dog hair alone could bury someone. LOL

I am thankful for the unseasonably cooler weather right now since our AC is still not working. Praying Rick's friend can fix it on Friday since we leave to go out of town Saturday morning. If not, I am glad that the weather is suppose to be in the low 60s this weekend.

Can not believe it is almost the middle of May.

Oh, What a Wicked Web I Weave

I failed my math final. It is hard not to be discouraged when things like this happen because I already worked my butt off to get my degree ...