Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Pain of Cutting out the Cancers

Years ago, I wrote a story about a chicken that was damaged as a chick and for a while I have failed to pick up the pen when life has shown me such an illustration. I have come to a quiet spot in life and the Lord has allowed me a moment to see His work in this broken world.

I know this is why God allows me to walk wounded, but always observing the broken and redeemed. You see, I have adopted this dog. No one would have wanted this dog if they had known her true condition. But I heard of her abandoned state and I wanted more than anything to have her. Even though I knew it would mean, more vet visits, flea pills, and heart worm medication, I wanted her.

Her owner had planned to leave her tied up outside, unsheltered, in the Georgia summer heat while he vacationed for six days. He thought a friend checking on her once a day was sufficient to care for her. I did not think so. I drove over there and brought the dog home. When he returned, I requested that he give her to me. A visit to the vet revealed the not-spayed dog has breast cancer and has significant hearing loss. The vet speculated that the dog (who my friend had only owned for a month) had been used to birth puppies and once they discovered the cancer, discarded. I quickly made an appointment for spay and lump removal.

In her recovery, I can’t help, but see how hard this whole process has been on my new sweet dog. I also can’t help but see how we as human beings can’t understand the things we endure on earth and the ways in which God is good to us.

We all have cancers growing silently while we eat breakfast, drop the kids off at school, as we go to church…

Some of us have come to know the good master and enjoy sleeping at the foot of his bed. We are well fed and parasites don’t pursue us because of his constant care.

Some of us don’t have that. Some of us have been used and abused. We’ve been left unsheltered and never even had a moment to relax in a hot bath. We’ve eaten food but it has never really satisfied.
But one day God heard about my neglected state and he chose to go the distance to find me… He brought me home and cleaned me up and I could hardly believe I was sleeping in a cool, soft spot.  I thought, now I can repair and rest. I have been claimed. I’ve been redeemed.

Then this kindness seemed short lived… For all the pain I’ve endured, I don’t need any more hurt… Can’t the aching raw just stop? God knows there are things in me. Some of these things, I’ve done to myself. Some of these things are just wounds I didn’t deserve, but the self-inflicted ones… They are the worst.

God knows the right time to cut the cancers from me.

I go home with the new master and the recovery is harder than the surgery. I keep trusting God’s goodness but I am bleeding… bleeding right out on the floor. He tries to bandage me tightly but I keep picking at my wounds. He walls me in. Pads me from digging at the sores… I keep wondering why I won’t heal and why God won’t let me do it my way. I have always licked my wounds as long as I like. Everyone else lets me find a corner to pick the crust off my deepest sores… why won’t God?

Gently, tenderly he nurses me to health. I wish I could say: I am healed… that the cancer is gone. Maybe one cancer is gone, but I’ve stopped worrying about the “completely healed” prognosis… Rather than looking for proof of my healing, I am resting in the knowledge that the master is good. I have walked wounded long enough and found strength and rest in God enough to know that sometimes we keep asking the wrong question.

Sometimes we have to accept that the wounded path may be the straight path and as we walk on we find we are not so wounded. The stitches come out and we find we no longer walk… We run….

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Just Ask Me

Ask me how to get through… just ask me. Ask me how to survive, when the aching in my heart is so loud, deafening in my ears.  So many people think the roar is outside: the turmoil is some circumstance that pounds me down in the ground. We laid two loved ones to rest, this year alone, and just within months of one another. The dust from the others we laid to rest has not even settled. But that’s not the problem. The storm out there is not the problem. It’s the storm in my head that is the problem. IT’s the dust of a lifetime of injury and the most damaging injuries are the ones I’ve done to myself.

How do I get through? Just ask me…

1 I’ve decided to stop “just surviving.”
This kind of thinking plagues me. I am in crisis mode all the time and it leads to bad decisions.  I have decided to make decisions as if I’m sitting in a beach chair at an all-expenses-paid resort and I’m watching  someone else’s kid play, blissfully in the sand.

2 I turn my back on the mess
Just now, not five minutes ago, I cleared the clutter off a spot on the table and piled it up in a corner on the desk. I picked up my lap top,  put it in the cleared spot, and turned my back on the mess. This is not a permanent fix. Tomorrow I will do the hard work of cleaning up the mess, but today I need space. I need space to process and reflect and REST. I need to be still and listen to God speak. For just a moment. This is beyond my personal tendencies. I want everything fixed and cleaned up and Pinterest perfect NOW. Obviously God has other plans for me.

3 I accept how God made me
I don’t have a lot of energy. I’ve tried to seek medical help and nutritional help and LOTS of Christian counseling. I’ve decided that God gave some women small hips and breasts. Others he gave big hips and breasts. Some women he gave tons of energy and some he gave very little. Some women are strong and independent. I admire them so much! I am clingy and dependent on my husband.
Maybe, just maybe, that is how God made me: a weak, fragile vessel. Who am I to say to the potter, “What have you made?”? I turn my back on the mess, sit down in my beach chair, and tell God how thankful I am that he made me the WAY he made me.

4 I take an objective look at my sin
I am here confessing my sin and asking God to cleanse me. I am not going to stay here and whip myself for the next month because I had a moment of weakness. But I believe it is important to recognize that we have moments of weakness. Otherwise, we become hardened to sin. David prayed, “Lord reveal to me any wickedness in me.” I have to pray that prayer to keep from developing pet-sins.

5 I set boundaries with other people
The older I get, the more I realize how much other’s problems affect me. I want to manage everyone. I want my grown children to make good decisions. I want my friends to be happy and well cared for. We women give and give and drain ourselves (literally) for goodness sake. We are good and we want to help as much as we can, even at the expense of our own well-being and (sometimes) sanity.

I recently went on a retreat in a remote area on a plateau that required those attending to drive up a steep gravel drive way. That drive way was very long and well maintained. The owner of the facility spent some time trying to figure out how to send the ladies a different route to the back gate on paved roads. The problem was that GPS programs always sent driver to the front gate.  

I asked the owner, “Are you worried that people’s cars won’t make it up the drive way?” He explained that most people, even if they had four-wheel-drive, were not used to driving on gravel and when they reached a steep spot they would spin their tires and dig in before climbing further. After a few people have experienced this, the integrity of the drive becomes compromised. If forty cars do the same thing, eventually there will have to be a repair to the road. Nothing bad would happen to the driver or the car but he wanted to preserve the integrity of the road. After all the other route wasn’t much more time. It was just harder to find.

I feel that we are being used by God to help people climb up in life. Most people don’t really know how to navigate relationships well. Many times we get stuck in a relationship and are spinning our wheels. I have a hard time with boundaries. I really have a hard time letting someone go and telling them that they can reach that place of restoration but they are gonna have to take the long route to the back gate. Because sitting there, letting someone spin their wheels on me, is damaging to me. They might be helped by me but the price is too high. If I want to be available to help others, I have recognize those who are spinning out and let them take a different route.

The hard thing is: many people do make those bad decisions you feared they would make. Many women did get lost trying to find the back gate. We have to be able to let people make their own mistakes!

6 I try to remember that setting boundaries is NOT climbing in a hole
I have been hurt and I withdrew from all my friends for a time. This is going from one extreme to the next. We have to have friends. We have to work through hard spots with our families! Some of us with different personality types need less or more friends and less or more time with people. We all need to make an effort to have the relationships that we need to have.

That means accepting people who are not perfect. That means forgiving people. Forgiving someone does not always mean being their best friend or even close friend again. It doesn’t mean inviting your abuser to dinner. We have to engage people without letting them dig their wheels into us. What if my friend was so worried about the retreat center’s driveway, that he closed the doors forever? No, we find a way to help people while maintaining our own emotional and mental wellbeing.

Right now, I am trying to help you stop spinning your wheels by sharing what I am doing to get traction. Do I have it all figured out? No. I just know that this is a moment to pay attention to what is right. It’s easy to figure out what is wrong. Takes some intentional introspection to figure out what is right. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

My Greatest Hope for You

Dear child of mine,
I’m not ashamed of you. I may be slightly disappointed but I’m not ashamed. My disappointment is not for my own renown but for my hopes for your future. I am not being prideful. I know there are MANY MANY  paths to success and although I value academia, I do not believe it is the only path.

My greatest hopes are not for WHAT you will be but for WHO you will be. I’m sorry my actions may not have reflected this philosophy. As you will find, it is very easy to THINK something but rather difficult to DO something. I am not a very good parent and I have tried to be humble about that.

It’s so easy to look back and see all the things you should have done. Getting a new hot water heater so you can take longer showers is NOT one of them. I should have moved more slowly through life. My now favorite author says “Hurry makes hurt.” She is right. I know it hurt you. I’m sorry.

I should have hugged you more and listened to your stories with fascination. I was always trying to get your head out of the clouds and into your math book. You always had a wonderment that I now envy. All those things you clinch your fist at. All those failings you  remember, I’m sorry for those things too.

I do not hope that you will be a lawyer or a welder or a craftsman. I hope and pray you will cherish justice and mercy. I hope you will stand up for the weak. I pray that you will be honest and trustworthy. Never take anything that doesn’t belong to you and that includes images on a screen and woman’s heart
I taught you, all those years, to love learning. That, I believe, I did well. So don’t ever stop learning. Whether you take a class or train under someone or research at the library, keep learning. When you have nothing left to learn, you have one foot in the grave.

Don’t pretend you know something you don’t. That is akin to lying. Pride will only bite you in the backside. Be humble and keep your mouth shut. “I don’t know” are some powerful words.

Your hopeful, positive outlook is your greatest quality. Your second is the ability to make something you imagined into a concrete reality. Keep that amazing outlook and place that hope in Christ. Nurture your talent and one day it may pay the bills. Don’t put life on hold until your talent makes you rich. That is a quick way to the poor house. Pay your bills and hone your skill. This is a recipe for success and happiness.

Be careful who you place your trust in, there is not a friend that is as loyal as a brother. Trust Christ alone when it really matters. We have raised you to follow Christ but you have to CHOOSE to follow him. It matters where your feet and your mind go… not merely your heart, but usually our actions follow what is IN our heart so… GUARD YOUR HEART.

When you stop guarding your heart, when you begin to agree with things contrary to the WORD remember that there is GRACE to come back again. Just remember no one ever said that grace would remove the scars. I would that you might never have ANY scars. I would that you may never HURT.

To hurt for a noble reason, like childbirth or defending the weak, is one thing but to hurt because you agreed with the world and then followed the traditions of man and then found yourself in a pit, that, my child, is another. But if you do fall into a pit and you do become scarred. I still love you and I still want what is best for you and there is a way to have the grace to live with the wounds.

I know a thing or two about being wounded. There were those who scarred me and then there was the damage I did to myself. Being in that pit, it wasn’t so much the broken path that troubled me. It was that there was absolutely NO peace of mind. I couldn’t stand to be alone with my own thoughts. I always had to have music playing or the television on. Reading was not even an escape because the silence always permitted my thoughts to interrupt. 

If you find that you are unable to be alone with your own thoughts, take pause. You may find you are in a pit. Don’t keep pushing forward in your bondage. Seek to escape it at all costs. There is a way that seems right to man but in the end leads to death. It may not be a literal death but a living hell.

THAT is what I hope to shield you from. I did not struggle and fight against the bondage of sin and addiction to simply sit back and watch my children bind themselves in the same chains I broke free of. But the awesome truth is that I did not loose my chains, Christ did and he who began a good work in you, will complete it... I believe that.

Don’t throw your dreams away for a girl and don’t let a girl BE your dream. You will only resent her for it. Let your girl be part of your dream and let your children come from that. Your dreams may change as you mature- that’s fine. You know I don’t buy into the “live-in –the-moment” philosophy of the world. But I do recommend that you don’t throw away these moments you have on things that are foolish and fleeting. Use the moments to do meaningful things. Use these moments, while you are young, to do things that matter. No one ever says “I wished I had partied more” or “slept with some perfect strangers more” when they are on their death bed.

Live your life in reverse. What do you want to matter most to you when you are dying? What would you WISH you had done?

Do THAT now…

I love you child,

Your mom

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Can a Homeschool Mom find Friends?

Dear homeschool mom I met at the park last week,
I’m sorry I didn’t call you back when you sent me that text. I’m not trying to be rude.  When we exchanged phone numbers, I truly wanted to try and be your friend, but now I’m not so sure. You see, I have been burned by friendships with other homeschool moms. I’m just barely making it through and I don’t think I can take any more judgmental attitudes. I’m sure you’re a nice person but I do things very differently and you might not approve. I can sincerely say: it’s not you, it’s me.
Maybe someday your friend,
Another Homeschool Mom

What about socialization? This question nags most homeschoolers. It is concerning the children and I think what people are trying to ask is, “How will your child have friends?”  The issue that I think is more of a challenge is, “How can a homeschool mom have homeschool mom friends?”

Homeschool moms find themselves looking for comradery and support from other homeschoolers and end up being rejected and criticized for how they choose to homeschool. In the state I live in, we are free to teach our own children in whatever style or method we choose. We can pick any curricula or no curricula. Here in lies the challenge for finding comradery. Homeschool moms have invested a good deal of energy trying to find the methods and supplies that fit their lives and most of us think what we are doing is best for our family. Now try to interface that unique blend of methods and materials with another unique person’s opinions.

Bottom line: it’s a problem.

To unpack this issue, I would like to first address the question, “Why do you homeschool?”

This is such a crucial question in regards to friends. For example, if you homeschool, for spiritual reasons you might not find support from someone who cares about academic excellence. Some parents believe keeping their children from the worldly influences in public school is so important that they are ok with covering the basics and not worrying about the rest. The “three Rs” is what they cover and their focus is on character training. The day begins with prayer and the bible is the primary textbook.

Let me stop there and point out that some of you reading this article have already begun to judge. You think it’s wrong for a parent to sacrifice academic excellence for spiritual reasons. Am I right? If you don’t homeschool and you are a Christian, you might be thinking that a family should be able to do BOTH. Can’t you have the best of both worlds? In an ideal, unrealistic world: sure. In reality: probably not all the time.

We all have a limited amount of time, money, and energy. We all have to choose what is most important and let the rest fall off the table for the dog to eat. We also have to examine our worldview and decide if we believe that academic excellence produces better Christians or citizens. Is academic education the solution to societal ills?  

I am not trying to cast my lot with those who most value the spiritual reasons. I am for parents choosing how they should raise their own children. Many parents believe that academic excellence is most important. Their children have been college prep from 1st grade.  The mom’s lesson planner is her bible. These parents believe that going to college is crucial in the society we live in. The parents are most-likely brilliant and were in “gifted” classes or they were perpetually bored in school as a child. These parents filled their extra time in high school teaching their friends how to work an equation or summarizing a novel for them.

Homeschooling for academic excellence is a good reason to home educate. Academic excellence is very important to me. I do want my children to go to college. I have opinions about Math-U-See, Notgrass, and Apologia. If you use them, you should not ask me- unless academic excellence is something you care strongly about. I just finished cutting up (literally) a pre-made (for convenience) lesson plan and making out my plan for the year. I AM THAT MOM.

Some of you who were enjoying my comments on limited energy are now beginning to bristle. The thought of maintaining a grade book or lesson planner makes you incredulous. If you’re going to homeschool, why bring “school” home? Some moms just feel defeated at the thought of a grade book or even a text book. You are just doing good to get through the spectrum math book you picked up at Walmart and the library books on your coffee table.

There are many, many, many other perfectly legitimate reasons to homeschool that I have not covered here. I know people who homeschool who are not even conservative Christians (a typical stereo-type.)
I am here to encourage you ALL.

Whatever reason you homeschool, you can find friends. Here are some tips:

1.      1. Step back and examine why you homeschool.

If you are not even sure what you value the most, then you may not even realize why a playdate with another mom left you feeling so defeated. Did she talk about her new organizational tools the whole time? Did she talk about the evil content in “Finding Nemo” and your ten-year old watched an R rated movie last night?

If you get side-swiped and you don’t know why, you need to sit down and make a top-ten list of what your homeschool goals are in order of importance. Then cut the bottom-half of the list off. Make a family mission statement (verbal or written.) This mission statement may change as your family grows and you mature but for this year, this month, this week your goals can be clearly defined in your mind

2.       Learn to be OK with someone homeschooling for other reasons

Just because you are friends with someone who has different goals, doesn’t mean you have to change your goals. I do not believe there is one perfect way to homeschool. I do not believe there is a perfect way to parent. Those of us who are extroverted probably struggle with this most. I begin to listen you another mom talk about her goals or methods and I begin to question my own.

Now I ask myself if the mom has similar goals to mine. If they are, I will examine if her methods might benefit me or my children. As your families grow, your goals might change and you may grow apart from some families who you once found fellowship with. Learn to be OK with growing apart. If a relationship becomes damaging to your goals, ask God for help in deciding to end the relationship. Most of the time, you can still maintain a casual relationship.

I can still love a person who isn’t exactly like me, but I won’t look for encouragement in the areas in which we don’t agree.

3.        Seek out other like-minded homeschoolers
If you have examined your goals and settled on a few points, it can be most discouraging to feel like you are alone in the world. You need someone who is like-minded to just walk through life with. Be courageous and seek someone out. Go to a ladies bible study or visit another church. Join a homeschool CoOp for a season or sign up on a virtual bulletin board.

These moms may have children who are much younger or older than yours. Your world REVOLVES around your children most of the time. It is OK for you to have a friend that is just a friend for you. Most of your children will make friends in the plethora of age-segregate activities they participate in sports or church but YOU need friends too.  

Leave the kids at home one evening and have coffee or tea. You can also take a day to have a playdate. When you meet another homeschooler, give the person a try but don’t put all your hope in this basket. This friend might be like-minded but after some time you might find out that you disagree on some point. Then refer to point number two.

4.       Be content with one or two like-minded friends
This is a hard point for me. I want this large group of friends to run with and I want them all to like me, but truly God did not plan for it to be this way for me. Our family is in a strange position. The only way I know to explain it is to compare ourselves to our friends (which is unwise.) We are more liberal than some of our friends in some of our media and fashion choices and more conservative than other friends in the events and activities we choose to participate in. We care more about academics then some friends and less than others.

When it comes to friends we have found it more valuable to have friends who are Christian conservatives. This choice was made based on our most important goals. In our community, there are not many conservative Christians with these same goals and so we don’t have many like-minded friends. We have a good deal of acquaintances who we love but these are not the friends I seek out intimate friendship with.  I have come to the place where I am happy with just a few close friends and that we get to share our struggles and victories from time to time.

5.       . Don’t compare yourself and don’t compete with others

When your friend shares a homeschooling experience with you, she may not be relating this so you can implement her strategies. She may just want to talk about it. If she had a revelation about something, you do not have to adopt her opinion. If she is good at one thing, don’t let that make you feel bad. You are good at lots of things.

Don’t be that person who thinks everyone does it better than you and don’t be the person who thinks you do it better than everyone else. I believe THIS is the primary homeschooler sin.

If your friend does something better then you and you have the same goals as this person, let her success encourage you. Maybe you can improve in that area but don’t let your friendship become a one-up game. You can destroy your friendship and your sweet children’s egos by playing this way.

Like-wise don’t look down on the person who does things worse or differently then you. This comes out in the things you say to the person AND behind their back. No matter how much you think your kids don’t hear you- THEY DO.  Don’t gossip , if not for the sake of your friendship, for the sake of your kids.

6.       . Love and be compassionate

This thing we are doing is HARD. We are swimming upstream. Don’t look at those who are swimming next to you and criticize the WAY they are swimming.

Love is the only way to have friends. Forgive people when they hurt you. Ask for forgiveness when you are wrong. When a friendship cracks, examine your part in the break. Most of us didn’t have positive friendship experiences when we were in school. Have compassion on the wounded person who is trying to take their kids through the world a little less wounded.  

Saturday, August 9, 2014

36 Weeks (of homeschooling)

Four hundred sixty eight weeks: that's how many weeks I have homeschooled. That's 2,340 days, but really it's been much much longer than that. Because when you're a homeschooler, you never stop teaching. You never stop being a teacher…. a homeschooler

For example: I always tell my kids to never start a sentence with "because." I can't even stop thinking like a teacher. There are so many hang-ups that I have. To be a grammar Nazi is one thing but there are other things I believe are unique to homeschoolers that are real problems.

There are also some things that are common among homeschoolers that are wonderfully exceptional. We are an amazing, diverse group of people who have chosen to teach our own children.  We have responded to the challenge and we are doing a good job.

I have had my “ups” and I have had many “downs.” I write about a good deal of topics, but I have never really written about homeschooling. I never really see blogs by homeschoolers who write about homeschooling. So this year, I made a decision. I am going to blog about homeschooling for 36 weeks. For one school year, I will write a weekly blog (or two) on the topic.

If you are a homeschooler, I hope to encourage you. If you are not, you may enjoy a peek into another way to parent. If you have questions for me or topics you would like me to address, email me.  I have homeschooled for 13 years. I have used a lot of curricula. I have done  a good deal of things well and a bunch of things badly.

I’m not trying to impart the best wisdom for homeschoolers. I’m just trying to work through things on paper for others to feel they are not alone in their struggles or their victories. Most of us don’t have someone patting us on the back. We don’t get a good (or bad) employee review. We certainly don’t get a paycheck!
I am promising to write something for every school week, so that I will do it. I always do better with deadlines and you can hold me to it. Send me an email if I slack off.

For now, here is week 36 blog: my gift to myself for completing the first week of school. Maybe something I write this year will be a gift to you. Maybe something will touch someone or help someone out. This thing we do is hard and we should spur one another on toward this good deed.

Blessings to you on your own 36 week journey, whether you homeschool or not.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Eight Things I Want My Daughter to Know About Dreams

Dear Daughter,

I say many things to the boys regarding life and love but you, you have been so level headed and smart throughout the years, I have not said much. I have said "wait" and you did. I have said to be modest and you are.

The truth is that I have such a full heart and head, that it is difficult to find the words. When you love a child so much and you want better things and greater things for them, there is a phenomenon in which love and fear become entwined and a person can choose to shut their mouth, rather than risk saying the wrong things.

Here is me, opening my mouth, because life is too fragile to pass up a chance to say something.

We have always praised you for being sensible. You save your money, finish your school work, and your chores. You go to church and you are charitable. You love with actions and everyone likes you. You remind me of me, once upon a time, and I am proud of you.

Because you remind me of me, I wonder what is in your head. Do you do what you do to take the path of least resistance? When you were little, you brought everything you dreamed and hoped for to me. Then I got busy with three and more demanding, time consuming boys and you took your place as Mommy Number Two. It was never my intention for you to do my job. But then, I reasoned, you do seem to love your brothers. You read to them. You nurtured. You are good at it.

Now I wonder if you're too serious, too sensible. You have dreams, I know it. Do you clip your dreams' wings for fear of the impossible? You brother's head is always in the clouds and we have tried to bring him down to earth and make him realize what he needs to make his dreams come true is hard work. You are hard working, but do you dream?

You love art, don't you? When you were little we did clay together. We sewed together. My dreams would be designs in my head and I would make a little dress. You were such a good partner. I miss making art with you.

Art does not HAVE to be your dream. Nothing is set in stone. Art was not my dream when I was little. I had dreams of greater things and no one ever told me my dreams could be possible. No one told me I could be a doctor or a minister. I guess my dream's wings were broken. Of course I'm not sure I knew myself then. I was a creative person all along. I changed my dreams for more attainable things.

It's easy to be a wife and own a house and a dog. Then you realize that your dream needs to be bigger then that. A house and a marriage become something that need fixing. Your dog dies and your life is one endless sink full of dishes and at some point you just want to survive. This you have heard and this is why I have told you to wait. But what are you doing while you are waiting?

I want you to live so you can find out if your dreams are really what you want in life. I have lived a LOT in my 37 years and I do feel like I'm old enough to tell you a few things about dreams.

#1 Your dreams are really yours when you get to know yourself

I did not know myself when I told everyone I wanted to be a doctor. This career is something that requires attention to detail and the ability to retain a great deal of information. I do not retain information very well.

Just understanding your personality type is not enough.

#2 Your dreams are really yours when you have lived a little

When I told everyone I wanted to be a doctor, I did not know anything about the field of medicine. I imagined setting my own hours and working in charity clinics to do good for people. It was my compassion for mankind that influenced this dream. This compassion can be served out in other ways. I feel like the years I was in school, the only thing I was given the opportunity to be good at was, well school. In reality I wasn't very good at school.

When you live a little, you find out there are other things to be good at. I found out that being able to talk to people or balance a checkbook or manage a couple of teenagers is something some people are really good at and some people are not. When I was young, I did not know what I was good at. Once I got a couple of jobs and volunteered in different settings, I found things I was good at and things I was not. I also found out that I was good at doing some things that I did not like doing.

#3 Your man is not your dream, he is your partner

It is good and right to want to marry and serve your husband but every woman (even stay-at-home women) have things that they want to put themselves in to. Every happy, fulfilled woman has things that she puts herself into. Some women volunteer at a food pantry, at their church, or on a sport's team. Some women advocate for abused children or simply throw themselves into decorating their home. Some women put on lavish gatherings week after week. Some women sculpt and sew in a corner of their home.

Your husband will be the center of your attention for a few hours of the day but he will not be, cannot be your only dream.

#4 Your dream should line up with God's plan for you

God has simple outlines for life in his Word. You dream should line up with God's word or it is not from God. If it does not line up with God's Word, keep an open ear and an open heart. Good things will come if you let God change your heart.

#5 Your dream is probably bigger then what you think you can attain

Don't let the harshness of life crush your dreams. God has a way of pulling in the color to life. If you allow him to guide your journey, you will be amazed at what can happen. God may change your dreams and give you new ones but never allow a dream to die an untimely death. Let God put old dreams to rest and know new ones will come.

#6 You can raise healthy and relatively happy children and see your dreams come true

Don't buy into a warped world-view. Children do not kill dreams. They might delay your dreams for awhile. If God gives you children, he will still bless you with many good things and align your dreams and desires with what is good for your whole family.
#7 College is only ONE way to make dreams come true

There are some dreams that require knowledge and training. College is only ONE way to obtain a new skill set. You can learn and be educated in so many venues these days. Still, if you feel college is essential to reaching your goals, don't let obstacles keep you from attending. I will help you find a way in.

I don't ever want you to feel like you have to go because I want you to or because people say it's the NEXT thing to do. I wish someone had helped me get in the door but I don't want to PUSH you in the door because that is what I wanted.

#8 I always want to hear your dreams

Just because I'm busy doesn't mean I don't want to talk to you. Ive kept you close... on my hip for a long time. I miss you. When you get the time, talk to me... I want to hear what you are finding out about yourself. What are your plans? Continue to be level headed and sensible but dream a little too.

Love , Mom

Saturday, April 12, 2014

An Open Letter to My Friends and Family

Dear Friend, Child, Family Member,

I want to tell you I’m sorry for what I said: all of it, all of the times. I don’t say the right things. I blurt things out before I think about it. Mostly, I tend to hurt people’s feelings. I tend to get my feelings hurt easily, so you would think that I would have a pretty good idea of what might hurt. 

You would think that, wouldn’t you?

I think that part of a person that knows what to say and when to say it is broken in me. I can think of times I have said the wrong  things, years ago, and I still have this sinking feeling in my stomach. There are people who are gone from my life and people gone from this earth and I can never make it right with them.

How can I make it right with you? The only thing I know to do is apologize.
The only problem is that I know I will end up doing it again. I will say the wrong things or fail to say something I should. Then I will end up making a fool of myself- AGAIN. I don’t mind being fool, but if I hurt someone by my foolishness- I mind.

This endless cycle of foolishness is why, many times, I stay away from people.  It is also why I have an abundance of former friends. I don’t know how to make things right when they go wrong. 

And things go wrong, don’t they?

It’s also why I refuse to make new friends. I feel bad rejecting people I have just met but I am trying to protect them from me. I’m doing it for their own good.

So I am left with those friends and family who I most deeply want to keep. I try to engage… re-engage. I try not to avoid you. It is my goal to be a good friend, despite my flaws.  I want to crawl in a hole and yet I want to be in the light.

When I shut the door and don’t answer the phone, don’t take it personally. I WANT to talk to you. I want to love you. I’m just not very good at it. It takes a lot of nerve. It takes a good bit of bravery, for me to be your friend. What with my awkwardness and all.

Sometimes people say things that hurt me and I don’t know how to tell them. I don’t know IF I should tell them. So I understand if you don’t want to discuss it. I’m trying to take this chance to be open with you.

You don’t have to respond to this. You don’t have to continue to be my friend. All I hope for is amiable cordiality among the people I see. I don’t presume this is as big a deal to you as it is to me.

Just understand that when you see me engaged in life, with people, that it takes a good deal of courage for me to be there. I’m not asking you to pity me.  I’m just asking you to realize that it goes against all inside me that screams for me to withdraw from society at large.

Above all else, please forgive my fumbling ways. Forgive the things that I say.