Friday, December 30, 2011

Don't Let Time Rush By You

Doesn't it feel like as we get older, time flies by?  Here it is, almost 2012....I don't feel as old as the year makes me but here I am.  As children, we can't wait to grow up.  We look forward to milestone birthdays, Christmas, learning to drive, getting a boyfriend or girlfriend, graduating from high school, graduating from college, finding a great job, getting married, having least those were things I remember looking forward to.  And, here I am, watching my kids want life to hurry up.  I just want to slow time down, enjoy my boys and every aspect of their lives.

2011 has been yet another rough year.  And I must admit, I am kind of in a hurry to see what is on the other side of this mountain.  I want to do great things, make a difference in lives, enjoy Colorado and my family and find some stability.  However, I feel like I need to just slow down and let God be God.  He must have me here for this time for a reason.  I have to continually remind myself of this.  I have had such a great opportunity to meet some wonderful friends here and be an extension of God's love.  You know, I have asked "what's next? what's next? what's next?  Come on God....I need to know!"  And after three years of this, and no clear direction, I think maybe I need to just be still and know that He has me right where he wants me.

I will still pray for direction and I am believing for great things this next year.  After finding out that I may have rheumatoid arthritis, I have had a new outlook.  Being in pain a majority of the time, I have purposed that when I have a good day without pain, I will do all possible to enjoy something that Colorado has to offer outside of the house.  When I am in pain, I choose to cope by loving my boys and husband through it.  I can't let it put me out of commission.  Am I giving up hope on God's healing?  Absolutely not!  I believe He heals and I will continue to pray for healing.  I have so many people that I would love to see God heal of their physical issues.  Maybe this will be a big year of healing!!

Have a wonderful 2012!  May God bless you this year! BUT...slow down and enjoy what God has for you!  Don't rush through life!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The gift of giving

Christmas is a season when people like to give.  It is so amazing to read story after story of the gracious people giving out of selflessness.  We actually were a recipient of someone being kind.  We had put some things on layaway for our boys for Christmas.  I received a phone call from Walmart the day we were to pay it off and pick it up.  The voice that left the message on my phone was so excited to tell me that a 'secret santa' had paid the remaining balance of our layaway and that we could come pick up our items.  I cried at the generosity of this person who didn't know me or my family but had chosen to be a blessing.  As, I went out that day, it made me want to bless another.  I was on the lookout for a way to do something without being known.  It really is amazing how one person's act of kindness stirs that same thought in you. I am reminded of several commercials that I have seen about this very thing.  One, is showing how others around the giver and the person being blessed, see the kindness and purpose to do something themselves.  It doesn't have to be as extreme as paying off a bill, but as simple as holding the door for someone or picking up something someone has dropped or saying a kind word to someone.  Maybe you see a young mom who is struggling with a crying little one....maybe say something encouraging like, "you are a great mom."  The day that I received a blessing, I thought as I was putting gas in my car that I could go prepay at a pump that someone would later pull up to.  Or, pay for the lunch of someone in line behind me at McDonald's.  My sister in law pulled up to a toll booth only to find that the person ahead of her had paid for her.

These are such great ideas but why must it only be at Christmas?  I encourage you to continually be a blessing throughout the year.  It does several things....first, it blesses others....second, it is like food for your own soul to know that you have helped someone.....and last, it models to others the act of kindness and starts a wave.

I had a friend ask on her fb how she could get her kids to understand the act of giving.  I think it is a continual attitude that rubs off as they see the happiness it brings and the joy it is to give.  I have to say, that it warms my heart to see my kids catch on to the act of kindness.

Monday, December 19, 2011

so ready to move on....but WHERE???

I am so ready to move from this place of not knowing our future. We have been living in our "wilderness" for three years now and I try to just live day to day, but am growing more and more frustrated. We have been blessed with a roof over our head for this time. I know that because we live on the church property, and in the church education building, people have got to be frustrated with us. We are a family of six....FOUR boys. My boys need a place of permanence and security. I have to fight back tears as they beg to move to a place with grass to play in. They have no place to play and be boys. I need a place where they can thrive and also grow in their faith. Church planting is tough especially on families with kids.

Not only that, but I am wondering if God has plans for us in the ministry as pastors. That is what my husband studied to do but as time goes on, it is looking like ministry is not where we are headed. I was thinking the other day about this. I really am okay with not being in the ministry if that is what God is telling us. I just want to know. I will say, there is a certain easiness about being a pastor's wife. I am not a strong leader, never have been. But, it makes it easy for me to be a witness when I can say that my husband in a minister. I have noticed that in the past three years, since he has had to work outside the church, my beliefs have become mine and I have learned so much about how Jesus would do things. Maybe that was the lesson I needed to learn....I don't know. I am not afraid to be Jesus to those who need love, acceptance, and forgiveness. I know that I don't have to be a pastor's wife to do that, but it sure made it easier.

We have been through such ups and downs since our move to Colorado. I do hope that God will show us His plans soon. Meanwhile, I hope that my boys don't annoy and tear up this place that has so graciously been offered and where we call home for this time.

Where to God....?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Honor ~ What does that look like?

I recently had a good friend of mine ask me the question, "what does honoring your husband look like?"  Wow, what a great question....we can all benefit from that way of thinking.  Honoring you spouse may look different from honoring another person but the idea is really the same.  When she asked this, I really had to sit down and think about it.  I even asked my husband to get his thoughts.

My idea is this.  Honoring happens in many ways, some visible and some not so much.  I may honor my husband in ways that he wouldn't notice, for instance, biting my tongue and letting him tell a story in his own way even though I may want to interrupt.  It may happen when there are many around and get to complaining about their spouses, and I choose to not enter into that talk.  It may be in backing up a decision that he has made that others might question.

There is a book out there called, The Five Love Languages, by Gary Chapman.  I believe that reading this book could possibly help in your endeavors to honor anyone, including your spouse.  It helps you discover what makes you tick, or makes you feel loved.  The five love languages include, quality time, physical touch, encouraging words, gift giving and acts of service.  If you can find out what your spouse needs, this can definitely help you honor them. My husband has two that are important to him, encouraging words and physical touch.  I have really had to work on the encouragement because I am not good at that.  But knowing that has helped me to work on that and try to do the things that make him feel loved.  My love language is quality time and I know that he works hard to fulfill that for me.  Adding to this thought, I believe that it does take a lifetime of learning about your spouse, to know the things that make them feel honored.  So, in that thought, it is something we have to purpose to do.

In asking my husband, the other day, if he could recall an instance when he felt like I honored him, he mentioned two that recently happened.  First, he had asked me about my thoughts on a decision that he was contemplating that would involve the whole family.  I gave him my thoughts and concerns but also added that I would support his decision either way.  He told me that he felt honored in that because he really wanted my thoughts to make a decision but felt like I really would support his final decision.

Now, my husband LOVES football, college, NFL, etc....and can get lost in watching game after game on a Saturday.  I used to get so offended by this, thinking that he would rather spend his time in front of a TV than with me.  But, I have come to realize that this is a way for him to relax and he just enjoys the game.  So, a couple Saturdays ago, I was trying to talk to him and noticed that he was trying but really wanted to watch the game.  So, I just said, "I will let you enjoy this game and I will go find something else for now."  Little did I know, he felt honored in that I recognized that he needed some rest and relaxation and it wasn't a threat to me at all.  He works hard and needs to have these moments to relax.

We can honor those around us in many ways.  Recognition is a good one.  Appreciation is another.  Honoring is really just thinking of another and placing them above yourself.  I am so glad that my friend asked me this question, because I think that we all can gain in the long run if we can learn what it is to honor another.

Friday, August 26, 2011

epic fail

I feel like I have, when things go bad in your life (job loss, dreams crushed, rejected, financially wreck) how do you pull out of it?  I know that because we are fallible humans, we all have our own ways of coping, our "bottle of choice", so to speak.  Mine is isolation and sleep.  If things aren't going my way, I just want to curl up in my own little world and sleep my troubles away.  I know that I need people and relationships to pull out of it but my coping mechanism kicks in and I become a miserable, useless person.  I have talked to many people who are struggling and I tell them, "you need to get your mind off of yourself and focus on someone less fortunate".  Once you feel the joy of helping out another, it will begin the healing in yourself.  Why is that so hard for me to grasp myself?

At any rate, I feel like I have been a lousy friend lately.  I want to be better at being there for others.  I feel like I have let my kids down as a mother.  I am not happy with myself and tend to take it out on them.  The sad thing is, they are taking notes.  Everything I do to cope, they think is normal and it can become how they handle it too.  I don't want that for them.  So, I have to purpose in my heart to begin a healing process of not only focusing on others, but reaching to the one relationship that will bring true healing.  My relationship with God.  I need to dig into his word, spend time talking with him and allow Him to guide me out of this funk.  He has brought me through so much in my years on this earth, so I know that He will carry me through yet another tough time.  He never promised that life would be easy, He just promised that if I allow Him, he will be right there with me to help me through.  I just need to be better at allowing the healing rather than hiding from it.  God, help me to lean on you and others rather than try to fix it in my own broken ways.

I know....rambling again.....

Monday, August 22, 2011

"Don't Worry, Be Happy"

I have had so much on my mind lately.  We are waiting for God to show us the next chapter in our life/ministry.  Does it include "full time ministry" within a church or do we continue loving on people as we work in the work force.  I want to get to where we can raise our kids and not worry about renting a church apartment.  I want stability.  I worry about my kids as they go off to school, about the friends they will make and decisions that come along with that.  After losing babies, I struggle with worrying about their safety when I can't be there to instruct them. There are those in the "religious" realms that say worrying is a sin.  I can call it concern if you would like but the truth is I do worry.  If it makes me chat more with God how can it be sinful?  I can't tell someone who has a sick child, not to worry....or a person who has lost their job, don't worry....or a wife/husband who is struggling with their relationship, don't worry....or a family who is losing their home, don't worry....a parent or spouse who has sent their loved one off to serve our country, don't worry...I could go on and on.  The truth is, we all worry and shouldn't be afraid to be honest with each other as well as with God.  Jesus does say to His disciples in Luke 12:22-34, not to worry about everyday life.  He is simply saying that God loves and takes care of his children.  Yes, worrying does not add a moment to your life, He is asking you to rely on Him.  But, He also knows that we do worry, it is part of our nature.  So, encourage those who are going through the rough times.  Pray for them, love on them, give them encouragement.  I can see how worrying about something can overtake your thoughts and consume you, but if we completely ignore and flippantly barge through life, how will we learn to rely on God to carry us through.  I think that in my own heart and life, when I worry, it is time to talk to God.  

Just thoughts.....  

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Puzzle Pieces of Life's Journey

Has anyone else ever related their life to a giant puzzle?  I think of this often as I reflect on my journey and how it has all fit together like puzzle pieces to make a huge picture.  The frustration for me is not being able to see the finished picture.  I am one who needs the picture on the front of the box to be able to finish....maybe I am not the only one.  But, my comfort is that I know God sees the big picture and places the pieces as He sees fit, to guide my journey and fulfill His purpose for me.  I have tried to sit back and just enjoy the journey He has for me but I still want to know where He is leading.  This past few years has been one of great lessons. I know that each lesson is yet another piece of that puzzle and that God is getting us ready for the next phase of the journey.  I try to figure it out at times and just find it frustrating.  As I put on my facebook status the other day, I have searched for my purpose all my life, and I have found that many times, purpose is found in reflection of experiences that life has brought me through.  We learn through experience and let me tell you, I have learned so much.  Do I have all the answers? Heavens NO!  I do know that God has given me a new passion for people.  I know that He has gifted me with hospitality and discernment.  I know that the pains I have faced in my life will not be in vain because I now understand more about what someone may be feeling as they go through those same struggles.  What is He preparing me for? Helping people.  What does that look like? I don't know but I am willing and ready to do what I can to be a friend to someone who needs it.

We came out to Colorado to help plant churches.  We have gained new perspective of church.  We see through the eyes of those who have been hurting and don't know where to turn.  My husband is an ordained minister but we have seen how little that means.  We are willing to pastor a church if that is where God leads but we also see Him working through our lives out in the world that needs Him.  The "church" shouldn't be a building that we go to.  Jesus came so that we didn't have to go to a building.  He built us for relationship and we are the church.  "We" are the ones He has sent to help the world see Him.  So, I may not see the big picture and know where I will live or how I will be used, but I know that I am to share God's love on a daily basis and my experiences help me to do that better.  

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Conversation with God...

One of the things that I have really been thinking about lately is prayer.  In the past few years I have prayed with such passion believing that God was going to meet every need just the way i asked for it to be answered.   In conversations recently with friends and family members this has been a topic.  My Aunt Cookie passed away two months ago while waiting to be put on the liver transplant list.  I know that many prayers went up on her behalf all over this country.  It was not answered like we thought it would be. I know that she is with Jesus right now enjoying no pain or suffering and that is the only thing that comforts me, but my prayer was not answered like I wanted it to be.  My Aunt Dora passed just yesterday, two  months to the day from my Aunt Cookie.  As I lift up my family to my Comforter, I am believing that He will be near them and bring them peace that only He can during this time.  My prayers, up to this point in my life have been requests for help in time of trouble.  Although, I know that this is important, last night, I had a revelation.  In my questioning of why should I pray if He already has the answer, He urged this thought....Cindy, I just want you to have conversation with me.  I want to be close to you like a friend.  Wow, why is this such a shock to me?  When I become friends with someone or want to build on a relationship with a family member, I meet with them, talk with them and as we get closer, I share my struggles, hopes and dreams with them.  Isn't that what prayer really should be about?  He wants for us to desire that relationship that needs a conversation to know that all is well.

I went for a jog this morning to continue thinking about this and had a very nice "chat" with God.  I have chatted before, but today it was not begging for an answer but just telling Him about what I am facing and enjoying a time alone with Him.  Wow, how refreshing.  I meet with a friend to do the same thing, why wouldn't I think of God this way?  When I want to build a friendship, I want to talk with that person as much as possible.  How else will I truly know them if I don't spend time with them?  God wants the same from us.

When I returned, I opened my Bible for the first time in a couple weeks (yes, I haven't read it in awhile).  I have a Celebrate Recovery Study Bible that I purchased when I attempted to go through the 12 step program.  I am not one that usually opens up my Bible and says, what is it today that you are speaking to me about and just magically comes across something...but today, it opened to Psalms 27: 1-6...and the 11th step. "we sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contacts with God, praying only for knowledge of his will for us and the power to carry that out."   The devotion goes on the say this...."Most of us initially turn to God for the help he can give us...... we may be surprised to find that, as time passes, we turn to God out of a desire to be near him,  As we discover how wonderful he is and how much he loves us, we draw near to him because of the joy we experience in his presence."

Really, this is not something that I didn't already know but I guess in the experiences of the past few years, I have come to realize that prayer means something completely different to me.  So, if you see me and share a struggle with me, I may say something like, "I will chat with God about that", not being disrespectful but acknowledging that my friend, and creator, God, will be there to listen and know my concern for you.

Friday, June 3, 2011

life's a struggle

Wow...I have to be honest.  This trip 'home' has been a huge struggle for me.  As I lay awake here in Oklahoma, I am deep in thought of the journey that has brought me this far.  It is easy sometimes to just get busy with life and stay distracted just so I don't have to focus on the entire picture of my journey.  It is important to regain focus and meditate on where God has brought me from and where He has me today.  I realized today, as I spent the day with my old friends that mean the world to me, I am so different than when I lived here two and a half years ago.  I suddenly felt very alone.  It has been such a difficult two years and I would not wish it on any of them.  I just long for the friendships that I had when I lived here.  I miss my home.  I miss the security of knowing exactly what was going to happen day to day.  I miss the structure that my kids had in a home and church.  But, I do not miss church as I remember it.  We have been in church ministry for over 17 years and have been the pastor that manipulates people to serve, forced our own convictions on others, been so religiously minded that we have pushed those who needed love and grace so far away from us and the church that they don't care if they ever darken the door of a church building.  I know that it is very important to lift each other up as believers but I was never going beyond the walls of the church to love on others and share Christ's love with people who didn't know Him.  Now, it angers me when I hear anyone placing judgement on another claiming that they are not spiritual enough.  Isn't that up to God to point out? I think Jesus showed how we are to respond when he didn't place judgement on the adulteress who was being accused.  He said, he who has not sinned may throw the first stone.  And after nobody could do it, he showed her grace and told her to go and sin no more.  God, help me.  God, help the church.  How arrogant of me to think that I can play the part of God and tell others how to talk, walk, live....I am to go out and share the good news.  Is the "good news" how NOT to live?  NO, heavens no.  I don't care how spiritual you think you are, only God knows the heart of people.  Let God be God.

My biggest struggle right now is whether or not I want to continue ministry as I have known and seen in all my life.  Our culture thinks that if you are a 'Christian', you have to go to church.  I have come to the conclusion that God just wants us to have relationships with each other and Him.  If my boys grow up and have a deep relationship with God and share kindness, grace and love with others, I think that is all I could ask for.  Maybe I am wrong in my thinking but that would make me happy.  I am not against the church by any means.  I just want to reach people and show them God like they have never seen Him.

Bare with me as I continue to evaluate my journey.....I am not there yet.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Springtime, Ladybugs and Bad Words

We haven't experienced much in the way of spring weather yet here in Colorado.  I am ready for it though.  I was remembering last year at this time....once again, laughing at the funny things that kids say.  I thought I would share some on here before they leave my memory, as if they could.

Hayden spent the entire day with our neighbor boy enjoying the sun and playing outside....and catching bugs.  Sounds like a great springtime thing for boys to do.......he is even sweet to find the flowers to bring in to mom.  But, after an afternoon of catching ladybugs and putting them in a jar with a lid that he poked holes in so they could breath, I had to laugh at his description of them. " Mom, look at all these ladybugs....I even found a double one! "  Hehehe!  Since he is only six, we will save the birds and bees talk for another time!

Dennis and I were in the car, deep in discussion as we heard Hayden yell these words, "SUCK IT!"  Boy, did that catch our attention!  Dennis and I both turned and Dennis said, "Hayden, you do not say that!  Where did you hear those words? "  Hayden shrank back in his seat as we continued to tell him that he shouldn't say that and those were bad words.  Then he spoke up and said, "ok, but Hudson is biting his sucker and I want him to suck it."  Oh my goodness! Where are our minds?  I laughed out loud at that one but was very relieved that he was innocent.

Speaking of innocent, I have to tell one on Hunter.  Our kids have not been in the country much even though I am a country girl.  This would be funny enough except that it came from the mouth of a then, 13 year old.  One day, he asked me, "mom, do all cows have gutters?"  LOL!  Shhhh, don't give him a hard time but that is funny stuff right there, I don't care who you are.

I have had to rethink some of the words that I use.  It is just amazing how bad they sound coming from the mouth of a child.  There were a lot of words that I could never say growing up, and some that I don't allow my kids to say.  Like "stupid, shut-up, fart".  But, for some reason the word "crap" was ok.  So, I guess I must say it too much because I have had to tell Hudson that it is not ok to yell "crap" when he drops something or say "what the crap" when someone startles him.  We have tried to go back to words I remember my Grandpa Harley saying....words like "frogfuzz and horsefeathers".  I even have to rethink the word that Holden used to use when he was little....bullet!  I wonder where that one came from.  Oh, and one more....Hunter came home from preschool at the age of three and surprised me with a "what the hell are you doing?" when he saw that the furniture had been moved from its normal place.  I am pretty sure that my gasping reaction caused him to realize that was not something he should say....and has not said it again. 

Kids are so much fun and they are like little sponges, soaking in all the information around them.  I know I can't keep them innocent forever but I am certainly going to try.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Never a Dull Moment/ Bathroom Stories

What in the world would I do for laughs if I didn't have kids? OMGoodness!!  I thought that I would share a couple of stories that have made me laugh out loud.

Hudson, my four year old, never EVER gives me a moment to myself.  I cannot do anything without him right there with me.  I try to sneak off to the bathroom but it never fails.....I hear a little voice, "mommy, where are you?  What are you doing?"  He will come in and say, "are you pottying like me, Mommy."  Just a week or so ago, we were at Costco and he needed to go to the restroom.  So, I took him.  After he was done, I thought I might as well use it too before I shop.  As, I am sitting there, he says, "Mommy, I hear you pottying like me.....but you don't have a dinky."  I nearly died.  It was funny but the funniest part was the snickers I could hear from the lady in there with us.  You just never know what he will just have to be willing to laugh it off. 

Another bathroom story that just happened last night, made me laugh so hard that my stomach hurt.  We had gone out for a nice dinner with my parents to P.F. Changs.  Twice, Hudson needed to use the restroom.  The nice thing about having older kids as well, is that I don't always have to be the one to excuse myself to take the little one to the bathroom.  I asked Hunter, my 15 year-old, if he would mind.  He said no problem and took him.  Both times, they returned, sat down and joined dinner with no indication of anything out of the ordinary.  We hadn't been out of the restaurant and in the car for a minute and Hunter said, "I have a bathroom story."  As he told the story of what happened I thought Dennis was going to cry he was laughing so hard.  Apparently, when the got into the restroom, Hudson pointed at the urinal and told Hunter he wanted to use that one.  So, Hunter left him to use it while he went into the stall.  When Hunter came out of the stall, there was Hudson, pants down, sitting IN the urinal.  Hunter said, "Hudson, what are you doing?"  Hudson, without any hesitation, told him that he was pooping.  Hunter said, "NO, you have to use the other one.  Get down."  Hudson said, "but I am not done."  Hunter picked him up and sent him into the stall, finding that he had already left a treasure in the urinal.  At this point, I think I would have been hurrying Hudson along and got out of there.  I have to hand it to Hunter, he quickly cleaned out the urinal and brought his brother back out to dinner not saying a word as to be disgusting or embarrass his little brother.  Not only is that a funny story but Hunter gets the award of "BEST BIG BROTHER EVER".  I laugh so hard picturing a little guy climbing up into the urinal....the picture of Hunter as he sees him there and realizes what he is doing....and the thought of what would have happened if someone had walked in and saw little man sitting there.  Hudson, being the outgoing kid he is, probably would have just waved and told the person what he was doing.  hehehehehehe.

Speaking of telling it like it is, when we were potty training him, we tried just about everything during the process.  I didn't think the kids was EVER going to get it.  Our last ditch effort was bribing with candy, toys, ANYTHING.  He loves anything to do with sports of any kind.  So, I offered toy golf club, Gator golf, basketballs, bowling name it.  He would tell me he was going to do it so he could get those things.  I honestly thought to myself, we are gonna be broke when he finally gets it because we have promised the world.  But, the embarrassing part would come when we were in the store, walking through the toy section.  He would shout out, "Mommy, when I poop, you're gonna get me that toy huh?"  Sometimes, I would pretend he wasn't my child, other times I would look around to see who was there and laugh out loud.  I have learned to never tell him anything that I don't mind the whole world hearing about because he WILL tell it somewhere sometime.  

One more story then I will stop....just happens to be on the same topic...Hudson was here at home one day.  He pooted.  I said, "Hudson, what do you need to say?"  He said, "I don't know....? Bless me?"  I said, "no, when you poot, you say, 'excuse me'.  When someone sneezes, that is when you say, 'bless you'."  It took him awhile to figure that one out, but in the process, somewhere, we were out and about, when he announces "I just pooted, somebody bless me."  Heehee.


Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day/Joys of Parenting

Mother's Day has come and gone, but I am setting here thinking about what it is to be a mom.  My boys put together a video for me for Mother's Day, and it was very sweet.  I have some sweet boys and I am very thankful for each of them.  It amazes me how different they are from each other.  It is fun, yet challenging to be a parent. Because they are all so different from each other, disciplining them may look different for each child.  This is something I would never dream to be true before kids.  I have also learned that you should NEVER point out, or even think in your own head...."my child would NEVER do that".  I would be willing to promise you, that if you point it out, it WILL happen to you.  I am not sure why that is, but God must have a sense of humor in that area.  I remember thinking, as I saw a screaming child in a store..."if that were MY child, he/she would not be acting like that."  Ummmm...well, it has happened and let me tell you, there is just no great way to handle it.  If y5ou ignore them, and people look at you like, are you going to handle this?  You can't say, "I'll spank you if you don't stop." because people will threaten to turn you in to DHS.

I was in Bass Pro one day with the whole family when we had a meltdown with one of our kids.  Finally, after threatening, taking to the bathroom and swatting, bribing, you name it, we just decided to leave.  Dennis had the screaming child and I was trailing behind him.  As we passed the cashiers in the front of the store, I heard them saying, "I wish they would take care of that screaming kid!" I now have a new compassion for parents in public.  It is tough.  I do not judge a parent anymore, because everything I have judged in the past, has come about in my experience of parenting.  I have to say, I am SCARED to judge.  I am far from perfect and am always learning.  Until you have been there, you cannot tell anyone else how to handle their child.  Hunter, my oldest, was fairly easy....a swat did the job.  Holden, on the other hand, would look at me after a swat, and say, "that didn't hurt"...but to make him look you in the eye as you talked about the consequence of his action, just killed him.  Hayden, wow, I haven't figured out the right discipline for him.  He is my challenge.  He is the one who embarrasses me every time in public.  He is the one who is getting me back for every judgemental thought I have ever had about parenting. Hudson, thank goodness, is a pretty easy going kid, so I can talk to him and he does pretty far.

Parenting also has it's rewards.  It is not ALL disciplining.  It is fun to see them grow and find out what their gifting is.  The difficult part of this aspect is the fine line of pushing what I see would be good for them to do and letting them explore their own options.  I have learned that all I can do it provide opportunities for them, I can not make them like anything.  Once they find their thing, I hope that I can encourage them to pursue it to the best of their ability.

The biggest responsibility I feel is raising them to trust and believe in God.  I know that we are all looking for God and I hope that I can raise them with the foundations that I had.  I still had to come to the conclusion, on my own, about my beliefs but I know that the foundation my parents set for me as a child, was crucial.  So, I do not take this lightly.  I am not forcing denominational beliefs, but I am helping them to see, through our experience together, how God is real and how He has loved and taken care of us.  I don't run at the questions they have, but invite them.  I want them to know and believe for themselves. 

I know that parenting is a very touchy subject because our experiences and children are all very different.  But, with God's help, as well as being open for creative ideas, it can be rewarding.  I have read many parenting books and am always searching for creative ideas on how to be a better parent.  There is one book in particular that I have gleaned ideas from, called Creative Correction by Lisa Welchel.  Also, Bringing up Boys by Dr. James Dobson.  There really are so many books out there on the subject.  If you have any suggestions please share!!

Happy Parenting!!!


Monday, April 18, 2011

Passion ... What makes you tick?

I have really been doing a lot of thinking about this topic.  Passion...what am I passionate about?  You can easily see in some people, what their passion is. My four-year-old loves sports, especially basketball. He plays for hours and begs for anyone to play with him.  He carries a basketball with him to the car and dinner table.  It is very evident what he loves. 

I believe that through my lifetime, my passions have changed.  There are some that will always be there...I am a mom, and I take very seriously this responsibility of raising my boys to be men of integrity.  I am a wife, daughter, sister, and friend.  I do not take those lightly, I want to be the best woman I can be.  When I was a flight attendant, flying and safety was my passion. I LOVED what I did and did it well.  When I married a youth pastor, my passion was teenagers.  When we moved into an associate roll as ministers to young married, I LOVED that. 

Now, as I evaluate my passion, I can say that as I sit with friends and family, my discussion often turns toward people.  People who are hurting, people who have made mistakes, people who need grace, people who are struggling...people like me.  We have had the opportunity to help with two church plants and I have got to has changed me.  I grew up in the church, I understand God's love.  But, as I have had to change my mind set from churched to unchurched, it has done something to me.  What is church?  While I see the importance of gathering together and lifting each other up as believers, what difference are we making?  There are so many people who will not set foot in a church, and I have got to ask, why is that?  I intend to find that out, but I imagine that we haven't shown the world who Jesus really is.  He spent his time with what the religious leaders called, "sinners".  I want to show people who Christ really, grace, compassion, healing, happiness, companionship, forgiveness, and so much more. 

The excitement has risen in me.  Everyday, as I set out to run errands and live my life, I am consciously making an effort to look around me.  How can I make some one's day better today?  What can I do to serve another today?  THIS IS MY PASSION....

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Creating Fun Memories

The past two years have been very difficult for us.  Financially, it has been a train wreck.  In and effort to get out of debt and also having a very limited income, we have learned how to live simply, and a lot of times, go without.  But, we have learned a wonderful lesson.  We have become more creative and I believe it has drawn us closer as a family. 

There have been no big birthday parties.  We have started a family tradition....fondue of the birthday boy's choice on the living room floor and homemade birthday cake with six forks and no plates. (Really, this was a discovered treat only after I decided that my pitiful cake was not going to cut into slices without falling apart.  Who knew that the crew would love digging into the cake like that?)  We have had to be creative. 

Just the other day, Valentine's Day, I knew we couldn't take the whole family to a restaurant for dinner.  So, we made it special here at home.  I made a big dinner, complete with candlelight, sparkling apple cider and most importantly, cheesecake.  The boys happily dressed up even though it was only going to be a trip to our own dining table.  We turned out the lights and enjoyed our meal together by candlelight.  The boys thought it was the greatest thing ever!!!!  I must say, I still have some work ahead in the manners department.  I am not quite sure why boys think it is so funny to burp at the dinner table, and knowing them, it would have been no different at a fine restaurant.  I also understand now, why candles are for grown people.  My three-year-old, Hudson, giggled through the whole meal as he blew at the flames, tried to touch them and watched them flicker and then go out.  Dennis and I still had to practice patience with our children, but this is a Valentine's that they will remember for awhile.  If I were a betting kind of girl, I think this was more memorable for them (and me) than it would have been taking them out.

So, in all of the beating myself up for not being able to give my boys a lot, I believe that we have taught them that living simple can create the best memories.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Autotext ~ Friend or Enemy

I am waiting to hear the verdict on autotexting. I was very excited at first, when I got a new cell phone that had this great application.  After all, it was very helpful if you weren't quite sure how to spell a word. And, it made texting for a beginner like me, much faster.  But after a few embarrassing mishaps, I am not sure if I like it at all.

Here are a few of my "oops" moments.  One day, Dennis, my hubby was chatting with his buddy on Facebook.  Whatever his friend said to him must have been hilarious.  So, I quickly text his buddy what I thought said, "you just made my honey laugh out loud".  After pressing "send", to my horror, the text actually read "you just made my HINEY laugh out loud".  OH NO!!! There was no way through my own laughter that brought me to tears, that I could text him fast enough to explain.  In fact, he told Dennis about my text before I could retract my statement.  That was the first of many embarrassing autotext surprises.  Another, was when I was texting my friend named Tami.  After finishing the whole message, I looked at the beginning and saw that autotext had changed "Tami" to "TANK".  That so could have been a disaster to our friendship.  Not to mention, that I was asking her for a fattening recipe! YIKES!  And then, just yesterday, I was texting another friend.  In the middle of our conversation, I asked her, "How is Donna doing?"  It was only after I got a response like "???", that I looked at what I had sent her.  It said, "How is Cinnamon doing?"  Now, tell me please, how does autotext get CINNAMON out of Donna?  I laughed out loud and tried to explain that autotext sent that....RIGHT!!! HAHA!  I can just see her mind spinning....why would Cindy, a pastor's wife, be asking me about a stripper?  Well, at least that's what came into my mind as I saw Cinnamon! 

So, I guess my advise to you who use this demon called autotext, READ BEFORE YOU SEND!  And, my conclusion is... ENEMY! What do you think?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Beginning my blog....

This is my first time to blog.  Life can be fun, crazy and unpredictable especially with children.  I hope to share with you some of those crazy stories from my everyday life with four boys.  (well.....five, with my crazy hubby)