Opening Up The Wounds

I have been putting off this post for a VERY long time. And the original reason it started bothering me infuriates me even more but I really can’t get into that very much. So if it seems like some of this post is a little disconnected….well, it will be.

I have continued to ignore it but I think I’m just gonna feel better if I just say it and get it out of my head so I can move on. Who knows – I may type it all and end up not even posting it. A lot of people will be happy about that one.

About 18 months ago – after 3 years of being on Facebook – I suddenly disappeared. I was gone for a year. If you know anything about me at all you know that I am a transparent person. I deal with invisible illnesses but I feel my ministry is to bring them to the light to provide support and information for education. I live with Chronic Depression and Fibromyalgia. Those conditions may be easy for some people to hide but they aren’t for everyone. That comes into play in the reason for a lot of what I share in the realm of social media. Am I TOO open? Maybe for some people. Should that be MY problem? NO! I am ME! If you don’t like what I do or say – that is not my problem. It really doesn’t have to be ANYONE’S problem. A better explanation is that it’s probably just none of your business if it bothers you. I don’t make your business MY business so please grant me the same courtesy.

There are people in my life who have personalities completely different than mine who would prefer I wasn’t so transparent but they have graciously not expected me to abide according to their personality. I really can’t explain how much I appreciate that. I am a stay at home mom. I started out being a SAHM because it was the right thing for our family. However, since becoming ill, it has become a necessity because of my medical problems. So the online world has become, for the most part, my only contact or influence with the outside world. It has not been an easy transition. But I have now settled into a routine with it. I have this blog (which is a place I can, for the most part, be open and honest). I have Twitter. I HAD Facebook. That’s when the problem began.

Someone stepped up and voiced to those around me that THEY thought I was TOO OPEN on Facebook. This person (who has NEVER had a FB) told me, to my face, that they have looked at my Facebook and “it seems to all be all about you”. Honestly, my blood pressure went through the roof, my chin hit the floor and I was speechless (for a few seconds). EXCUSE ME? THAT’S WHAT FACEBOOK IS!!!!! It’s MY profile with MY information with MY thoughts with MY likes/dislikes. I’m not sure where this person, who had never had a FB got off telling ME how to run my FB profile! And 18 months later I, honestly, still don’t get it. I was infuriated. I don’t think I have ever been madder in my life. And the pace of my heartbeat right now tells me that it still really makes me mad. So, to keep the peace, I deactivated my account. Some of you may know when that happened and I disappeared.

I took a year to rethink the entire thing. I refocused some of my priorities. I spent some time away from social media. It was hard in the beginning. Then I began feeling like it was time to go back. I really missed the contact I had with people thru my accounts. I missed the ministry I had. I realized I needed that outlet in my walk thru my illness and the seclusion it brings. So, I stripped down my friends list to a group of people I knew I could trust to not judge me. In actuality if you search for me you won’t even be able to find me. I have certain accounts blocked from spying eyes who look for opportunities to find fault.. I find myself thinking twice before saying things, which is probably a good idea. I have just maintained more control over those who I let into my circle. I do confirm some people who send me friend requests. However, 90% of the people who send me a request I do not confirm. It may not be because of them personally but because of who I might find myself opened up to by “being their friend” on FB.

So I suppose that person did me a favor in a round about way. And I suppose I still have a lot of anger toward them – which I need to deal with. My relationship with them will never be what it was before. But I think this confrontation did teach me to be even less judgmental than I was before. I’ve never thought of myself as being a judgmental person because I don’t like to be judged. I’ve become more sensitive to it in other people – especially those around me. I snap my mouth shut a lot more. And believe it or not I am not easily offended. I kind of think this situation was an exception to that because I believe it was MEANT to be offensive. I must say I find myself even more guarded about what I say and share. I suppose that’s not a bad thing. I’m struggling with finding the balance between being transparent and over sharing. I’ve learned a number of lessons thru this experience. I know some people have wondered about why I’ve not friended them or let them in. Who knows – I may in time. But right now I’m a little tentative. And I’m still very raw. My spirit is bruised. My heart is wounded but healing over.

Well, thank you for reading if you made it this far. I expect some  hand slapping in the comments. But I hope you’ll understand if your comment doesn’t get approved. Sometimes a person just needs to protect themselves. Thank you for your patience with me.

Where Do We Learn How To Mother?

I asked each of my family members — including my parents – what they learned from their mother. I got answers from my Michael and my mom. I thought a few moments of focusing on what a mother’s job is might help us to remember what we have learned about mothering.

Mothers are the nurturers in the parental unit. They are the ones, whether they work inside the home or outside the home, that are credited with the physical well being of taking care of the children. Traditionally if a child is sick mom is the one taking care of him. They are the ones who generally take care of the home. Many mothers have the option of staying at home in order to make those jobs easier. But some must work outside the home because of financial reasons. While hugs and kisses are wonderful pay for a stay at home mom they don’t go very far in buying groceries. Those moms who have to work outside of the home really have TWO full time jobs and should be given credit for that.

Our mothers teach us how to take care of our homes by cooking, doing laundry, taking care of younger siblings – basically how to run a home. Someone needs to teach our young people that family is the most important part of our lives. Sadly when that doesn’t happen children grow up with the idea that they are not part of a family unit and spend a lot of time searching for a group to belong to which leads to trouble. I love to bond with my kids’ friends – especially those whose parents are absent in their lives or don’t have a loving home to feel safe in. Those are the ones that I’m drawn to. I want them to see what a loving family unit looks like and how it works. Mostly to see that “home” can be a safe, fun and loving place to be. That may be why the kids at school call me Mama Hunter. This is the mom’s “job” – to be the driving force in her children’s lives. Sometimes her children are not even children she puts to bed at night in her home.

Our mothers teach us how to love, interact with the opposite sex so when it’s time for us to search for a spouse we have learned what to look for, what to say, what to do. Their job is to raise children to be good citizens, Godly spouses and Godly parents. They teach us perseverance in life with love. We all need that lesson – continuing on with life when you want to just give up. There have been times when Michael and/or Lauren have wanted to quit something they have committed to whether it’s a sport or another organized group. We have refused to let them quit. I may have been killing myself running them here and there at all hours of any day or night. But that, too, was part of the lesson. I’m willing to do my part to make sure they keep their commitment.

Unconditional love…..that should be part of the Webster’s Dictionary under the word “Mother”. We all fail those we love at some time but a mom will always love us regardless of the poor choices we make. Our children say hurtful things to us, they take us for granted, they hurt us by disobeying us but in spite of all of those things we love them unconditionally. Children learn how to love others by watching the love they see in their homes. Mothers guide that lesson. They teach us how to be sympathetic to those who are hurting, how to empathize with those around them, how to reach out and befriend the friendless and how to help those who need an extra hand. But they must see all of those things from us. We are the nurturers. We teach them how to nurture others as they are growing up and someday how to nurture their families as well.

Mothers are a blessing and a necessary part of the home. God made us that way. We spend the rest of our lives living out the lessons we have learned from our mothers growing up. I hope you say I love you every day. They give up a lot of themselves for their children. They spend a lot of their lives teaching lessons that they were created to teach. It’s our job to appreciate them and learn those lessons.

So, what lessons have you learned from your mother?

I Wasn’t Dreaming The Dream I Was Meant To Dream

I’m reading a book right now by Kristin Hannah titled Firefly Lane. It is really making me think alot about me, my life, my relationships and what I want and don’t want. It is about 2 girls/women who become best friends in high school and then are inseparable even when their adult lives take them far distances from one another. One grew up with a drug addicted mother. She never felt loved. But she had big aspirations to become a famous news anchor  – which she accomplishes. However she finds out after reaching great successes in the industry that she is still without love and longs for connection with someone beyond the surface.

The other girl ends up getting married and having children. She remains a stay at home mom raising her children. However, she is always jealous of her friend’s jet setting life of fame and fortune. She sees her life as incomplete and unfulfilled compared to her friend. What she doesn’t know is that her friend is also jealous of her life full of love and family. So each one goes through their lives appearing confident and happy when in reality they are each insecure and jealous of the other. I’m not finished with the book yet so I’m not sure how it is going to end. But I am finding a lot of myself in the story.

When I was growing up I never had visions of the fairy tale happily ever after kind of life. I envisioned my life as that of being a teacher with a husband. And I didn’t want to have children. That in itself is an entire year’s worth of therapy sessions. Basically though I didn’t really imagine anything beyond the day I was living. That probably sounds weird. I always hear people talking about how they knew they always wanted a family and a career. But I didn’t. I have my suspicions about why that was the case. But that will take this in an entirely different direction.

I think I didn’t really start dreaming about my life until a few years ago. I continued to live in the present day and let tomorrow just go where it may. However, my illness has really caused me to look inside at what MIGHT have been. As I look back to my life in high school I think of how I wish I had done things differently. I now have a vision for my life – now that my illness has derailed what that vision could have resulted in. Bad timing, huh?

I never see myself, 25 years ago or now, as a corporate woman. As I think about it I wish I had realized I did have a dream back then but I just hadn’t realized it. Yes I would have changed my mind about having children as I eventually did. I would, however, have gone to Veterinarian school to become a Vet. Now there’s a surprise for ya! When I mention that now to someone they say “Oh you can still do that”. But I face reality every day that says it’s just not in the cards for me. I can look back on the path my life has taken and see that it has all worked out as it should. But I do mourn the loss of a dream I didn’t know I had. I think I just didn’t encourage myself to dream. I think I just followed the expected path continuing to do what everyone else wanted and expected me to do. I wish I had searched out my interests deeper and followed the path that they would have led me down.

Do you ever just sit around and think about where you’ve been and where you are going? Do you wonder what life would have been like if you had taken the path to the right instead of to the left? Does that mean that you aren’t happy with your life now? Not necessarily! I am fulfilled being a wife and a mother. I think my unrealized dream is helping me to know how to encourage Michael and Lauren to look far down the road and dream. Then I want to cheer them on all along the way. When they are 44 and look back at their life I want them to say that Ron and I encouraged them to think big beyond the here and now and cheered them on to their dreams!

That’s what I want!

How Much Time Do You Spend As Family Time? This Door Prize Will Help!

How often does your family spend together bonding with one another each week? I know it is difficult to get everyone together in the same place at the same time. But there really isn’t anything more important as a parent than putting all else aside to spend time together with your family talking and laughing and focusing on them and only them. Those are the times that your children are gonna remember when they are grown. Well, those are the POSITIVE things they are gonna remember. When your children are adults do you want them to remember you as a parent who liked you and enjoyed being with you – a fun parent who made time for his/her family? Of course you do! None of us want our children to look back on our parenting skills and think “she/he was always working and was rarely home for family time” or as a parent who always “complained about having to take time off from work (even if it’s not work hours) to go to our sporting events/school or church activities”. Our families (whether we are the mom or the dad) should be our number one concern. Whether we realize it or not we are teaching our children how to be parents to their own children some day. When that day comes for them we should all want our children to say that we were a great example of how to be a mother/father. None of us want to think about the possibility of them saying they don’t want to be like us. Are you parenting in such a way that makes them proud to call you their mom/dad? Do you think they say positive things about you behind your back or negative things? It should matter to you! And if you think they are saying negative things it should be a warning to you that something needs to change in your method.

Parenting is time consuming and is a full time job – whether you work away from home or are a stay at home parent. And growing up is hard. Our responsibility as parents is to teach our children how to be a positive contributing member of society as adults. That takes TIME! Time with our children (and our spouse for that matter but that’s not what this is about today) speaks the language of love to them. Our children don’t care about all the work that’s piling up on your desk at the office. They care about the sacrifices you make in order to spend time with them. And as a side note the time you spend with them doesn’t mean a hill of beans if the whole time you are with them you are complaining about being there, talking on the phone or keep checking your email. All of those just act to negate the positive you think you are accomplishing by showing up.

Some of the best ways to spend quality time with your family is something that our family really enjoys – GAME NIGHT!! That brings me to today’s Ultimate Blog Party giveaway.

 

Think of the lesson you teach them when you play a game. You are teaching teamwork, being a gracious winner and/or being a good loser. And with a game like Monopoly you are teaching them how the financial world works as well. All of that while you are showing them how important they are to you and how to be a caring and loving parent. And each of those lessons are extremely important but the greatest lesson of all is that THEY are more important to you than the work piled high on your desk or your own “me” time with friends.

It all makes you think! At least it makes me think…..

The requirements for entering to win this quality family time in a box are:

*Leave a comment telling me about an experience you had as a child where your parent/s communicated their love for you via family time – perhaps even through a game

*Leave a comment telling me about your family’s favorite family-time activity – perhaps your favorite game to play together

*Leave a comment telling me your personal favorite game (mine is a dice game called Zilch)

*RT/Facebook/Stumble this giveaway and leave me a comment with a link to your tweet/FB/Stumble so I can see it too.

Keep in mind that the more of the above you complete and comment about the more entries you will have for the contest. So leave separate comments for each one. I will be mailing out this week’s party prizes all together on Monday April 11th. Today’s giveaway will end at 9:00 p.m. tonight. Watch for a post announcing the winner about 9:30 tonight. Good luck!

Make sure you INK in some QUALITY family time soon. Your children need it – and so do you!