Weathering our Storms Together

Weathering our Storms Together

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Appearances and Perceptions....Buzzards and Elephants

I'm often surprised at how people around me perceive my family. Routinely, folks make comments  that are totally off the mark. Common misconceptions about me personally are that I have it "all together" and I am "so organized". From my friends that do not homeschool, or have never homeschooled they get the (very wrong) impression that we have "perfect" kids and are some how superior to them/their children/everyone else who hasn't homeschooled. Well, I'm here to set the record straight right now....that's a grossly misguided perception.
Early on in our (12 year)  journey through the eventful world of educating our children at home, I had this totally great  skewed view of how children react to their surroundings.  Well, truthfully, it wasn't all that skewed for young kids...but it was way, way, waaaaaaayyyyyyyyy off the mark for teens. Did you get that?  I'll say it was the WRONG idea.  I'm here to tell ya that I was off in the la-la land of parenting 3-8 year olds.  A truly pleasant, if not somewhat beguiling, sphere of parenting paradise.  Yes, yes, I know there are plenty of trials here....but they are trials which, for the most part, are easily predictable. I'm not here to tell you exactly what to expect, or not expect, or to say I know it all...because I don't.  I'm sitting on the polar opposite of knowing it all....I'm the antonym of know it all....the contrary...the inverse...  I'm sure you've caught on by now.

Ok, the point of this rambling post is to say, things are usually not how they appear to casual acquaintances. And most certainly not how they appear on FaceBook. or Twitter. or on Christmas cards.  In day to day life, I am a natural optimist.  I choose to look on the bright side of most everything.  The past couple of years have took a drastic, humbling toll on me......but I'm still the optimist. I'm also a realist. And here it is folks: 1.) You WILL have trouble somewhere in your life. Count on it. 2.)  Just because you don't ___________ (insert unsavory behavior) does not mean that your offspring will not.  3.) The idea that if you put forth your very best, then you will receive the very best is not realistic. Give your best out of a desire to maintain high personal standard...not for the expectation of personal gain. 4.) If you are generally happy in this life, it will be for the reason of you *choosing* to be....if you wait for circumstances to accommodate will be miserable. 5.) Someone is always ready to tell you what to expect next out of your child/spouse/etc, because their child/spouse/etc  (blah, blah, blah). Um. No.  Ultimately, there are no experts on how someone else will act.  Ever. 6.) Give Grace....because somewhere you will need the most dire way. 7.) God is merciful. Truly. Always.

I know that this sounds like a depressing, downcast post, but I'm writing this on the "other side" of some very, very trying times. (not that they won't revisit me). I'm a chronic worrier.  I have lots of other flaws, too. :-)  But I'm in hopes that someone reading this will take the initiative to invest in thoughtful consideration of others who are struggling. Whether it is with their kids, spouse, illness, church, death, or whatever.....embrace the needs of that person with prayer....and kindness...empathy....and human touch. Human touch is powerful.

And for those having honest. It is what it is.  If it's something little, or big....don't try to cover it up,  or maintain a certain appearance in hopes that those around you will have a misguided perception. ...instead,  reach out for help from those around you.  You'll be looking for the person/s that have encouraging words, gentle suggestions, and a genuine desire to help. Genuine. Unpretentious.

Don't be the "buzzard"....sitting up in a high place.....biding time until you can benefit from someone's misfortune.  Rather, be the  ....elephant....Compassionate....caring and protecting those around them....sharing in pain...sharing in joy.....

Monday, June 24, 2013

My Soul's Keeper.................

I think a post should be dedicated to the single most important gift in my life...Salvation. ♥

When I was a young girl, I went to a revival at Millerstown Baptist Church.  My Pa was the pastor and Bro. David Woosley was the help. I was 9.  I went in and out of church every weekend and many times in between with my family with no fear, doubt or concern for my soul.  But one night, in the midst of Bro. David preaching the word of God, my heart felt condemned.  I *knew* if I died I would go to Hell. I came to accountability in a split second.  One minute, ok. Next minute burdened heart.
I prayed my way to salvation. I was in trouble and I prayed for forgiveness and I meant business.  The Lord saved my soul September 24, 1986.  A time and a place.  I can take you there and it's bright in my mind.
Later in years, I was reading a church history book and one writer (early 1900s) explained it as "being loaded down and then all of a sudden the load was gone, as if I was carrying heavy
buckets and all of a sudden they weight wasn't there."  That is my experience....a blessing and assurance from God. A salvation from eternal hell....a promise of a heavenly home. A lifting of a heavy burden.

I believe whatever religion or faith you are, that you must be born again into the Kingdom of God.  I believe more than signing a card, or just saying a loud you accept Christ.  Jesus Christ accepted me and forgave me of my sins and I'm eternally thankful.

No matter what I have in this life, my gift of Salvation will always be the most precious. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Best I Can Do at the Moment......

So, Jarrod and I are raising our family.....and we now have two teens.   As of recent, I have been reflecting on situations in the past that often come back to haunt me. These are situations that I go over and over in my mind considering how they would have turned out different "if only I had...."
Argh.  I drive myself crazy with this.  Why?  Because I love my children and family and want to give them the best of what I have to give.  

I tell my children that when I "change" my mind on something, it isn't because I am being mean, or that I've suddenly decided to give in and give the go ahead on things that I've previously said no to.  It's because Jarrod and I have come to a better understanding on the subject, I have got an answer in prayer, or some other significant happening that shed light on the matter.

It seems like only yesterday I was 17 and getting married to Jarrod.  My head was full of things: I KNEW how I was going to raise my kids, and had very strong ideas of what I would and wouldn't do.  Of course, that lasted all of a couple of years.  A late term miscarriage, a subsequent miscarriage, in law troubles, and other issues gave me a good dose of reality in a hurry.  We never, ever, know the true story behind closed doors.  I, naively, thought that all marriages were like mine, and what I had seen of my parents growing up.  There are many things I would change within  that time period. Some things I would change are so painful to think about I still boo-hoo over them.  For one, I would have miscarried my babies at home instead of opting  for surgical removal and leaving the hospital with no remains. For another, I would have been kinder to Jarrod's parents, even when folks weren't being kind to me. I have a long ol' list. (sigh)

BUT, on a brighter note,  going through troubling times so very young, gave me a foot up a few years down the road when I had gained a bit of maturity.  I learned that you can love someone although they hurt you.  I learned that God knows just what to send, even when no one else knows what you need...HE does. 

I wish I knew half as much now as I thought I did at 17. :-)   Knowing I can't change the past, I look at it with the knowing that I was doing the best I could at the time....and for the moment, I try to tread carefully, and for the future...I try to rely on the Lord more.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Homeschooling...Again? Yes, Please.


 So last August Alex went to public school....and Julia followed in October.  I have had so very many questions, comments and thoughts  from others on this topic that I am devoting this post to just that.

    Alex. First, I have to say that I was ready for Alex to be out of the house before he actually was.  This is not from a lack of love for Alex, but quite the opposite. I didn't want to be in an argument with him all of the time. As a mother, it is very, very difficult to have a guy on the brink of young adulthood right under your nose and have him be accountable to you for so much of his work. And for me, and for him, this wasn't the ideal situation. At all. And, quite honestly, his going to public school saved my sanity.  I thought I was losing my mind. Really. No joke.  For those of you who have not raised boys, please don't judge me. :-)  I love Alex and am proud of the young man he is becoming.  I haven't always been proud of the decisions he's made, but I've always loved him to the core.  I am proud to say the past several months have been more balanced. Alex is going in to his Senior year and will continue that at the local high school so he can concentrate on his welding goals.  Alex hasn't been impressed with a lot about the local high school, but he does LOVE the welding program and the drama program.  So for Alex it will be 10 years of homeschooling, 2 years of public school.

Julia. Well, she followed Alex in October saying she was lonely.  I cried when she left. Julia is very easy to school and is mellow and calm. I don't think Julia has ever raised her voice to me or her dad in her almost 14 years. Julia spent 7 months in public school and is making her reappearance in homeschool in August!  YAY!  Do I want to homeschool again?  YES. Am I happy she's coming home? YES.  Julia done exceptional in school and got along with everyone.  She did, however, express to me on numerous occasions her awe at the lack of maturity in her peers.  I found this a little comical since Julia was *the* youngest student in the high school.  She went in at barely 13.   All I can say for that is homeschooling is *drastically* different than public school. :-) Our homeschool experience has been steeped in community service, classical learning, hands-on projects, and love. I am so thankful for that.

Me. Let's just say I'm all geared up for another year of homeschooling with Julia.  What I have missed: Learning together.  Sharing together.  Spontaneous trips for ice cream.  Discussing life together.  PJ days. Reading Classic lit aloud.  ..................

Anyway, I am grateful for the opportunity to have given our children an alternate to conventional education.  There's lots I would go back and do different, and lots I would leave the same.  But one thing I do not regret is having Alex and Julia learning at home during those tender, formative years. I am nearly certain Alex would have been labeled ADHD in a public school setting as a five year old.  :-)   There was nothing about our home school that was institutional and we were free to discuss God as creator during our lessons. 
  And for the record, I am not "anti-public  school".  Nor do I think my kids can "do no wrong" (snort).   I do not think we are "better" than those who don't homeschool. (ha)  On that same page, I am VERY comfortable with my kiddos social skills (have you met my kids???) I am confident they are well prepared for secondary education. And I do not feel like I owe an explanation of what  our family does or doesn't do to well-meaning (or otherwise) family members or friends.

 In my heart, I'll always be a homeschooling mom.  I am grateful to be tutoring some wonderful young people.  I use the same approach with them as I did with my children.  Many times parents, teachers and even the students themselves are surprised at how well they do with the extra time and attention of tutoring. I am never surprised. Ever.  Children are wonderful....and given the opportunity can blossom and thrive under even the most unfortunate circumstances.

Friday, May 10, 2013

A Long, Long Year...........

       So, it's been almost one year since I lasted posted in my blog.  Several times over the past year I have wrote a post only to leave it unpublished.  This past year has brought a lot of heartache for me,  the few (and I do literally mean few)  that know what my life was like last summer knows that I was on my lowest limb.  When I finally was gaining my footing, with the help of my loving husband, our church was rocked to the core by scandal. Although the events, in both cases, were completely out of my control and of no personal fault of mine, my heart broke....then broke some more.  I hope never to relive many events of last summer. I'm leaving a few random thoughts below....and I hope I'll have the heart to blog more this summer.
1.) A mother's love is like no other.  When our children are babies, toddlers,  and early is impossible to see the challenges that will arise in the future.  Some how, we are lulled into a false sense of security that if we do A then B will follow. Anyone who is a mother of a teenager (most likely) is aware of this. Love your children unconditionally, just as our God loves is one of the most important things you could ever do for your child.  I am grateful beyond written expression for my Sweet Son and Dear Daughter.  May they always know there is absolutely nothing in this World that could make me not love them.  Disappointment? Yes. Unloved? Never. 

2.)  Besides God, my Marriage is my rock.  Handsome Hubby is my go-to for everything.  I am thankful that I am married only once, have children by no other, and have never been intimate with any other person in this world.   I am happy to be with him.  Truly, sincerely, deeply, madly in love with this man. I don't desire to look at anyone, will not be heard commenting on the good looks of this guy or that...because I have this love is reciprocated....and that is that.

3.)  It is my belief that some things are already judged.  By God. No matter what you call it, how you dice it, slice it, dress it up, or strip it down....the truth is what remains.  It is what it is.  We are commanded by God not to do certain things and to do others (THE BIG TEN!!!)

4.)  If someone's beliefs offend you.... attacking them (verbally, physically or otherwise) is not the answer. The end.

5.) Teenagers need their parents to be present in their lives just as much as when they were little.

6.) I wish I was closer to my in-laws. It's sad that we live this close and never see each other. They raised one awesome guy and he's made a fabulous Husband and Daddy.

7.)  I'm very glad that I have had the experience of parenting both genders.

8.)  Be nice. I mean really...if you are an adult there is no excuse for being mean.

9.) Be patient with children.  They aren't mini adults.

10.)  If you aren't going to raise your children...don't have them. Grandparents should be able to be just that.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Deacon's Daughter
Entry 1

I'm not really certain when I realized what "labeling" was....or what it meant.  I do remember that I was very young and that the first label that was slapped on my back was the "Deacon's Daughter". Now, at the very young age of 7 or 8, that meant no more to me than my Daddy breaking the bread and pouring the wine at our annual communion and foot washing every May. 
But as time went by and daily confrontations about my family's beliefs and convictions were raging....I started to understand that labeling was usually more important to the "labelER" than the "labelED". I attended school in the Bible Belt and didn't realize that those around me were being raised very similar to me, without the obvious signs like my wearing dresses all of the time, or my family not having  a TV.  We spent our Sundays with churches who were like minded for the most part, then on Monday I was back in school with children and sadly teachers who taunted, made fun of and questioned our "strange" life style.  I was so very intimidated by the words of a young man (no names here) who I thought had no clue of God and salvation my seventh grade year.  He was surrounded by a gaggle of girls who laughed at every cruel thing he said to me. I spent that year dodging into darkened doorways, hiding in the bathroom and hanging my head at lunch.  I also spent a lot of time in prayer.  By this time in my life I was a saved individual with an experience that was all mine. I was still very young and without a lot of personal convictions, but I trusted my parents.  Some of my earliest memories were of them praying.  I would hide near Daddy's prayer place to listen to him pray...and it comforted me when I heard him call my name with his knees in the dirt and his head bowed.  There were times I held my breath when he would reach Heaven too afraid to move.
 Anyway,  after a couple of years of my parents going to the school  board, intimidation, humiliation and such...I was ready to move on to high school.  Something changed around that time,  my own convictions were lodging in my heart and I started noticing things going on around me.  First of all, I realized that the boy who so humiliated me was the grandson of an "old time Baptist  preacher"  and that he was in no way ignorant to our way of life.  Secondly, I started gaining my footing through the preaching I was hearing at church and the ever constant love and guidance of "The Deacon" and his dear wife.
My three years in high schoool (graduated one year early through summer correspondence at UK) weren't "easy"  but I only called my parents to my rescue one time during those years to help me deal with and get the grade I was due from a PE teacher who was charging me a "penalty" for dress standards.  My parents never had to go board of education that time, I stood with both feet planted firmly on the ground and eye to eye and slowly, respectfully and with MUCH fear had my say to the teacher. and I didn't DIE or FAINT....I was so excited with my newly discovered ability... equality!! Woo-hoo! I, the  dress- wearing, non- football game-going, pro-life, pro- child, anti lying, not so perfect, Deacon's Daughter had faced the enemy and won!  I felt like the biblical David...and at that point the teacher was most certainly Goliath!

Those were hard years for me as I struggled to find a balance between my "church" acquaintances whom often declared that my parents were to "lenient" with me and my "school" peers and teachers who challenged my beliefs constantly.  Oddly, I found that balance from learning from the relationships that didn't fall in either of those categories.  I quickly learned that adults who felt threatened by my beliefs, for whatever reason, were almost always on the defensive.  Likewise, I learned that those who were just curious had a way of honestly asking questions.  Most importantly, I learned that my perception played the biggest role of all.

Someone recently suggested to me that my wearing dresses was a way of screaming" I'm a Christian".  I didn't say anything, I just held my conviction close to my heart.  I wanted to say (but didn't because I wasn't *asked*  anything (another characteristic of the "threatened) : I suppose having the Holy Bible on my living room end table would be the same thing...but it's there, and there it will stay.  Folks are going to think and believe what they want to think and believe. 

So, in closing this scattered post, I will leave the words of wisdom from my favorite Deacon:
Serve the Lord for yourself. (Ultimately, it's me that will stand before God and give an account for my ragged life)
Everything that hoots ain't a hoot owl. (Regardless of words, dress, life, etc....just because some one "says so" don't make it so and vise versa)

If you sweep it under the rug, eventually you will make a pile and you (or even worse,  someone else) is sure to trip over it.  Clean up your messes as you make them.

The Eternally Grateful Deacon's Daughter

Monday, March 5, 2012

Let them BE KIDS!'s been a very long time since I've chimed in here on my "blog"....but there's a subject that's been nagging me. Kids. Children. Youth.
WHY, oh, WHY are we trying to make them grow up so quickly??? Why aren't we trying to be parents instead of "friends"? I down right adore kids...they're funny, honest, innocent, and awesome. But I get so frustrated at the never ending stream of parents who are in such a hurry for their kids to grow up they are willing to sacrifice the very innocence of the child to make their child into a....????? I don't even know the word. Here is my take on this situation:
1.) UNPLUG your kid. Small children don't need Ipods, Iphones, etc plugged in to their ears all of the time. Limit TV/Video Game time.
2.) Do not sit your pre-school child in front of the TV or computer on a regular basis. Just don't. Please.
3.) READ to your child.
4.) PLAY PRETEND with your child. Imagination is awesome.
5.) COOK with your child.
6.) DRESS your child appropriately. Kids don't need booty shorts, mini skirts, hipster jeans, push up bras, etc. Do you REALLY need to be told this???
7.)LISTEN to your child. That doesn't mean be run over by your child, but you really learn a lot by listening. They may not think you are listening, they may even demand you are NOT listening....but still....LISTEN.
8.) INTERACT with your kiddo. When you are running errands or cleaning, or whatever...have a conversation about your surroundings, what you are doing, or anything! It's probably not a good idea to be trying to shush them while you text or carry on a phone conversation all of the time. (yes, I know there are the times..)
9.) LET them be a child....ENCOURAGE them to be a child......just because they ask for it, demand it, etc. doesn't mean it's the best thing for them.
10.) LOVE your child.

My list could go on AND I purposely left out worship or anything pertaining to religion....we all have our own convictions, but the above should seem obvious from whatever walk of life you are from. Our children should be loved and protected. Their brains aren't developed to handle the amount of information or the type of information we, as adults, must contend with.
I am always baffled at the parents who gawk at talking about S-E-X with their kids, but they watch hours of evening TV, go around imitating (language and actions) the latest thing they viewed, and are at school (or on the bus) the majority of their waking hours. Here is a hint: If you don't inform your kid, someone else will misinform them.
Be aware of what is happening and stay on top of things. Growing up will happen quickly......childhood is just a short time.

About Me

My photo
I'm a daughter of the King, the wife of a wonderful man, the mother to two caring, earthly children and two heavenly babes...