Friday, March 10, 2017

Comings and Goings

I can not believe that it is March already! 2017 has proven to be fast and furious. It is so crazy to think that before I am ready, the school year will be over and summer will be here.

November and December proved to be emotional and tiring months. It has been hard to not see the grandkiddos and Josh at the same time. We went to Janie and Steve's for Thanksgiving Day and Black Pie Day. Rick's pie won again this year. Kari entered a pumpkin pie she made completely from scratch - crust and all and it was delicious. We had 2nd Thanksgiving at our house, but were not able to have the kiddos over this year. Praying next year is different. God would have to move mountains, but thankfully, He is in the mountain moving business.

Christmas was different this year as well. Noah was sick and my parents when to Nicole's, so we did not host our annual Christmas Eve Brunch. It was a very quiet holiday and break, but what we needed. We weren't able to see the kiddos until the end of January due to sicknesses and schedules. We FaceTimed with TX family, although we were not allowed to see Hayden or Dakota. Dakota is grandkiddo number 4 and arrived on December 1. Thankfully, we receive pictures from Rick's sister, Krista.

January seemed like a bit of a blur. We celebrated Christmas with the kiddos at the end of the month, but were not able to have the spend the night until their visit in February. Unfortunately, Josh was incarcerated on February 12. Fortunately, we were able to spend the following weekend with Kaysen and Kiyah. Prayerfully, this summer things will be completed for Josh's legal woes and he will be able to start visitation with the kiddos. Once that happens, we will see them more as well. I know it will be hard for him to wait until the summer, but by then he should be in a better place to be able to see them. I know they want to spend time with him and it has been hard on all of them. It has been over a year since they have seen each other. I am hoping to get pictures taken of them since the ones on the wall are several years old. I can not believe that they will be 7 and 5 in May.

We also celebrated Jack's 9th birthday. We got him a bacon bone topped with whipped cream and a candle. We sang "Happy Birthday" and he enjoyed a new ball. We are so thankful he is part of our family.

One of Rick's 8th grade STEM groups had their group project, BEE a Hero chosen as a top ten finalist for the state of MD in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest. They won the state competition - earning 25,000 in technology equipment - and then went on to be entered into the national competition. They created a website and fundraising page, presented their project to Senator Sarbanes and to Chinese diplomats visiting MD and visited a local apiary to learn about the beehive/honey making process.. Their contest video was innovative and informative, but unfortunately they did not make the top ten in the nation. They will continue their research and hope to see a bill presented to Congress this year to stop using pesticides in the nation that are killing the bees. Here is the link to their website - BEE a Hero

Kari and her best friend, Kaitlyn are raising money to go to Peru with her graduating class in the Summer of 2017. So far she has raised over $1000! Thankfully, she was given a scholarship, too, for being among the first five students to enroll for the trip. She is very excited about the trip and is babysitting as often as she can and planning to get a summer job to save money for lunches and souvenirs. Rick took her to a Peruvian restaurant the other night to try some of the cuisine. She is not too excited about trying the guinea pig that is delicacy in Peru. Here is the link to her fundraising page - Kari's trip to Peru!

Rick is still waiting for things to fall into place for his certification. Doors have opened recently that have then slammed shut. I know he is growing weary, but is ready for whatever he needs to do to get certified and stay with Lindale's STEM program. We are attending a graduate studies open house at Towson State University tomorrow to see if they will allow me to enroll in their graduate program under their exceptions policy. If not, I will not continue to pursue certification. I do enjoy being a TA, I will continue to do that and maybe work on my writing more seriously. I am looking into attending a writer's retreat in July in Kansas City, MO.  It may be a long shot, but I may get that speaking career after all.

I am really looking forward to spring break in a few weeks, to take a few day trips, spend time with the grandkiddos and maybe get a new car or two. Both of our vehicles need to be serviced or replaced. It may be cheaper to replace them than service them. I cannot wait to have working AC and power steering 😊  


Saturday, October 15, 2016

Woe to October

I am not a big fan of October. I mean, I love that the weather gets cooler and it ushers in all things fall and pumpkin-y, but that month itself kind of sucks.

It is a reminder of a relationship that didn't work out. And an insulting conversation that took place. And a failed marriage for one of my best friends. And the homecoming of my amazing grandmother. And Rick's scary hospitalization.

It is just a hard 31 days.

But, we are trying to turn it around a bit. Venturing out into an opportunity that will be life changing for our family. Adding a sweet pet that has filled our 12 year old boy's heart with overwhelming love. Focusing on the times we get to spend with our grandkiddos and family instead of with the ones that we don't.

Months can become hard reminders of unexpected happenings that have changed us in ways we couldn't imagine. And they can also be redeemed and remind us that God will use our brokenness to heal us and help us to see the joy in life again.

Maybe next year, I will title a post Whoa, October instead.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Simple Pleasures

I have to remember that it is the little things in life that are actually the big things. I have to keep my focus on the fact that doing homework with the kiddos, folding laundry, cooking dinner and making pancakes on Saturday for breakfast, even though they seem mundane, are the sacred things.

We weren't able to take a trip to TX this summer like we intended, but we spent a few days away in Williamsburg, VA and it ended up being a great trip. We ate a lot of delicious food, shopped for souvenirs, went to the beach and laughed a lot while just relaxing in the hotel. It was a much needed time away before school started.

We found out the day they left that Cody, Brianne and Hayden were moving to TX. It was a shock, but after not seeing them for 6 months, it wasn't as hard as it might have been. We miss Hayden and have no idea when we will get to see her again or when we will ever meet Dakota (due in December), but we just have to believe that God is still moving in this situation. It is comforting to know that they are surrounded by family in TX, but hard to be away for them. It would be easier for us to reconcile with them here in MD, or so it seems, but we know that God is not slack in His promises and that He still redeems. Waiting is the hard part.

Josh has, what I hope is, his final court date on September 2. It is for a probation violation from December 2015. His probation ended a week ago, so I am praying that the judge allows him to be done with everything, without back up time. Does he deserve the back up time? Yes, but he also deserves to be done with probation, to be able to get a job and see his children. Praying for discernment, wisdom and mercy. Another situation that I just have to wait and trust God with....what an exercise of faith. And I would love to see my grandkiddos, too. Ashley will not let them come to the house until Josh is all done with court. That is my biggest reason for praying for this all to just be done. I am not sure I can handle another Christmas with them without Josh being able to be here.

School started last week. Kari rocked her first week of high school and Noah seems to be fitting right back into the middle school flow. Rick is teaching computer science and Boxscore for the STEM department again and we are praying that by January he will have his provisional or conditional teaching certificate and be able to graduate for WGU. It would be such a blessing for him to be finished with his degree and teaching full time. The pay would be nice, too =)  

I am finally at peace with not being in school right now or being part of the cohort. I am enjoying not having the stress of classes or being a brand new special educator. I really do like my job as a teacher's assistant and like the familiarity of my job.

And even though, we are embarking on only the second week of school, I am looking forward to the three day weekend.  

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

On My Toes

Rick and I had an interesting discussion about our grandparents the other day. We started talking about how interactive our grandparents were with us when we stayed at their houses. We concluded that even though we spent time with them, maybe watching TV, having a meal or going to a special place most of the time we spent with our cousins or entertaining ourselves.  This conversation was prompted by a weekend visit from our grandkiddos. The older ones are 6 and 4 and require a lot of interaction/activities and are constantly on the go. They love the outdoors and anything that involves running, jumping, rolling, stomping.....their energy level is high. And I love it! I love seeing them run and laugh, but I also love seeing them sleep. They do not nap anymore, but are used to an early bedtime, so getting baths and settling down for a movie in the evening is the bees knees. And we do try to do something fun with them, like a picnic at the park or trip to the bouncy place at the mall or the indoor pool, so that their time with us is not dragging and we are making memories. But, we realized that our grandkiddos rarely go off by themselves to color or play (loved doing that at my grandparents' house) or just hang out with Kari or Noah. I sometimes feel that I constantly need to suggest the next fun activity for them to engage in when they are visiting. But, I do not want them to be off by themselves the whole time they are here because I want them to remember making cupcakes at MoMo and Granddad's or shooting cans off the porch with Nerf guns or making gingerbread houses at Christmas time. I want them to fondly remember the time they spent with us, like we do when we remember spending time with our grandparents. I just wish I didn't feel like I have to be on my toes so much when they are here. LOL



Change is inevitable. It happens when we will it to and when we don't. I have never been a big fan of change, but I was starting to accept it, embrace it even. I was looking forward to some new changes this fall. I had started taking grad classes at a completely different university and said goodbye to a school and coworkers that had become family with no certainty of where I would be next year and as a special educator, nonetheless. And even though one of those things would normally send me into an anxious fit, I was enjoying meeting new people, learning new things and being challenged. I was a bit stressed about a math test I was having a hard time passing, but other than that, I was excited about all the changes.

And then things changed. Well, not really I guess, but things I thought were in the past had an effect on the present and caused things to change. I had told myself that in the beginning of being accepted into the RTC/MAACP that it was too good to be true, that I felt like I was holding my breath, waiting for someone to pull back the proverbial curtain on my undergrad degree. I had prayed before even submitting my paperwork, that if it was not going to work out, let it be a no from the start. Then I got the call for the interview. And I prayed that if it wasn't going to work out, let it be a no from that point. Then I got the acceptance letter. And I prayed that if it wasn't going to work out...but, it was, so I was going to be optimistic and thankful and in awe of what God was doing after years of rejection and I signed the paperwork, accepted the job offer and dove into the grad course.  And with one phone call, it all changed and the rejection was back.

Once again, my undergrad degree from an unaccredited university has hindered me from moving forward in what I feel is the area of education that God would have me be a part of right now. And for the last 6 years. As I started to seek reentering the field of education I was not embraced by the Christian school/private school realm, but was accepted into public education. When the door seemed to be closed for public school, it was suddenly reopened and has been a blessing to my family and me ever since 2010. I would never be opposed to teaching in the private school sector again, but all the doors of opportunity for me in that regard were shut. And I accepted that. And even though, there were a few certification obstacles in public education, I was doing a job I loved. But, I was willing to try for more. Even though it would be outside of my comfort zone, I felt a tugging.  

And I let my heart hope and be hopeful in what God was doing and could do.

I am disappointed that I can no longer be a part of the cohort that would have allowed me to obtain dual certification, a special educator position in the fall and a master's degree in special education, so that my hard work and dedication could never again be questioned. Or rejected. But, for now, it is not to be. So, I will grieve a bit and then move on, once again striving to get someone to accept my four years of hard earned work and degree, so that I can take the next step in my career.


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

All the Feelings

Well, Josh is home for the time being. He arrived home sometime Wednesday morning even though he was suppose to be released the Thursday before then. I was on the phone for many hours on Monday Momma-Bearing it up with supervisors and anyone that would listen. Not many people wanted to and I was hung up on a few times, but he was finally released, so I guess it was worth it. There was a ridiculous error with paperwork that the city was not willing to look into and wanted to blame on the county. Thankfully, it was resolved and he was released.

I always have mixed emotions about him being home. I know he needs a time to adjust to having his freedom back, but my parents who allow him to stay with them and end up supporting him, want instant change, an instant job and instant responsibility from him. But, they have enabled him for so long that he uses his freedom as a free pass of sorts to go out and come in whenever he wants to and that infuriates them and makes them lash out at him and at us. I can not hear them complain about his early morning calls or not even coming home at all frustrations anymore. They need to have a conversation with him, set boundaries and guidelines and stick to them. But, since they have not done that for the past 10 years, he never takes them seriously. But, at 25 he needs to get his crap together. Everyone is affected when he is home, good or bad and it needs to change.

A friend of my mother's apparently had a job and a rehab/half way house for him to live in, but he does not want to live there. The job is contingent on living at the halfway house. But, Josh just got out of a place that had rules and regulations and does not want another one even if it means a job and a way to stay out of jail. Because he has a violation of probation hearing in a few weeks that could land him back in jail for as little as three months or up to nine months. A part of me understands and then a greater part of me is in disbelief that he would not take a great opportunity for improvement and a way to stay out of jail and be able to see his children.

And that is another whole story. His baby momma does not want him to see the children now if he could possibly be incarcerated at his hearing in a few weeks. And I get that, but I don't necessary agree with it. He miss them and they miss him. He called to talk to them and she didn't answer or return his call. Her pettiness at times is frustrating. Just be an adult and answer your phone or call back. Let him at least talk to the children. But, I am sure she is afraid he will tell them he is home and ask them to ask her to let him see them and she does not want to do that. Her prerogative I guess, but selfish in my opinion. I guess that is because I miss them, too and we can not have them for the weekend until after his hearing.

I had a dream the other night that Hayden came over and stayed for the day. It was so nice to see her and spend time with her and see Rick happy. He misses her so much. He contacted Cody again and there was no reply or response. Cody was cleared of all the charges from the night he called Rick to watch the baby at the hotel where Brianne left him and Hayden to go find her. Seems even though she pressed the assault and disorderly charges against him now as his wife she can refuse to testify against him. Must be one of the reasons they got married so fast and secretively. I just want to be able to see my granddaughter. Their problems are theirs to figure out in counseling and should not involve us not being able to see Hayden. She has probably forgotten all about us.

And do you know the most frustrating thing about Josh and Cody? Their choices and lifestyles have affected Kari and Noah. That makes me so mad. Kari and Noah should not have to fear Josh being home because of things that he has done in the past. They are very leery of him and his actions, words and promises. They love him, but are afraid that they will find out in a little bit that he is back in jail or worse. Noah, especially has heightened anxiety when he is home and it is hard to watch him cower when Josh goes to hug him or when Josh is home. The other day he forgot his key and Josh let him in the apartment to use the phone and after he called me, Noah stood out front waiting for Rick because he doesn't feel comfortable in the house alone with Josh. Breaks my heart.  And why should Kari and Noah not get to know their niece because Cody is acting selfish and immature? Not that he even thinks of them as his siblings, though. I am glad he and Devin has a close relationship, but she is not his only sibling. He has other siblings and they miss him and their niece.

It seems that I will indeed need to retake the Praxis I math test. I was hoping that my SAT scores would be high enough that I would not have to take it, but from that paperwork I received today, it looks like I am way below the needed score. I wasn't looking for the easy way out, but I did not want to retake the test because when I took it three years ago, I missed it by 2 points. When I took it a few weeks ago, I miss it by 18 points! When I schedule it this time I am buying the online study guide. I will take it online as many times as it will let me. And praying. A lot.  

And as excited as I am for this cohort program, I am a bit anxious about the time away from home and the course load. I am not very good at being a domestic goddess when I am working full time and now I will going to school as well. I will really need to get me, the hubby and the kiddos on a schedule. We have done it before and I know we can do it again. It will just take some time adjusting to a new schedule. But, everything worth having takes some adjusting to, right?

Counting down the days until the regular school year ends even though I am not sure why. Not getting a break until some time next year or June 2018. LOL

Friday, May 20, 2016

FMF - Expect

 I am not sure what I expected parenting to be like when I was pregnant with my first born. All of it - the morning sickness, the growing belly, the kicks and delivery - was all so new. I don't think I had any expectations at first.

But, then as I started raising my son as a single parent, I was faced with the expectations of others and of my own. I wanted my son to be the best behaved in the nursery, to not have any dirty diapers and to always say kind and cute things. I wanted him to be the best dressed in pre-K and be the first to read and write his name and to capture his teachers' hearts with his smile and his gentleness. I wanted him to be the best athlete on the field and have good sportsmanship. I wanted him to make honor roll and win blue ribbons at the science fair in elementary school. I wanted him to have friends and be liked and be happy.

Some people expected him to end up in jail as a result of living in a single parent household. Some people expected him to be just like his father, even though he was not around him enough to be just like him. Some people expected him to be a preacher or a teacher.

And I expected that God wanted good things for my son, too. But, God called us to be holy, not necessarily happy. Although I believe if we are striving toward holiness, we will be happy in our obedience to Him.

And even though, God wanted what was best and right for my son, His expectations were different. Not as an earthly parent, but as a Heavenly Father. Just like I wanted my son to reflect me in a positive way, God wanted my son to reflect Him.  

And for a time, he did. He was saved at a young age and involved with church and had a desire to see others become believers and strived to live a holy life.

Then the unexpected happened. Shoplifting. Skipping school. Drugs. Running away.

Not what I expected.

And his life looks a lot different now. Rebuilding a life with his children, with a career, without addiction, after incarceration.

It is not at all what I expected as a parent, but I remind myself that God is not shocked or undone by what has happened. He is still wanting. expecting my son to reflect Him again and is graciously, patiently expecting it to happen.

Make sure you link up your FMF blog post at Katie's blog!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

FMF - Grow

I am a total black thumb by nature. I want to be a green thumb and have tried to cultivate a gardener's heart, but I normally end of giving up or killing whatever I have tried to plant and grow.

One of the most important part of the growth process I have been told is the pruning process. Taking the dead parts off of a plant or flower to allow for new growth. Maybe I just see the dead parts and assume there is no more life left, so I just give up on the plant. But, plucking away the dead parts is what allows the plant to grow and regrow. It is a tedious and long process at times and I am not good at waiting.

Thankfully, God is.  God is the master "wait-er". He waits patiently for us to come to Him for salvation. He waits graciously for us to ask for forgiveness and He waits lovingly for us enter His throne room to spend time with Him in prayer or just in the stillness.

And He patiently waits as I grow, most of the time at a slower rate than I should, never rushing me, just kindly redirecting me and guiding me.

I heard a quote a while ago that I think of often.....

Bloom where you are planted

I need to remember this so I can grow in the Lord and closer to Him,

Make sure you link up your FMF post on Katie's blog!


So many times I miss out on how God is moving in my life or in my family because my eyes are on the circumstances I want Him to change or work in and I forget the every day blessings He provides.

Even though we are in a bit of a financial snit right now, God is still moving and blessing us. We have learned to make sacrifices or wait for things which has helped with our entitlement issues. We have had to be creative and lean on others for things and have seen God moving and blessing us. Being accepted into the cohort, a FREE seat on the NYC trip with Kari, cooking dinners together instead of going out and participating in a yard sale that made us some money and helped us declutter the attic a bit. We have posted things on Craigslist and sacrificed our morning coffees =)

But, God is still moving. And He always is even when we don't see it or can't see it.