Friday, September 16, 2016

Repeat after me.....

I am writing this blog at the request of a friend who said she desperately needed to hear it. While laying in bed last night with all the thoughts of what I wanted to say to her running through my head, I grabbed my phone and shot her this quick preview and reassurance before I went to sleep, because I KNEW she was still up studying with her son and preparing for a test they have today. So here is my pep talk my friend.


So after reading that text, I know you do realize that in fact some kids performance does in fact reflect their parenting, or lack thereof. I'm not talking to that group of people. What I am talking about is when we choose to lump ourselves in with that group of people and begin to judge OUR success on the shoulders of our children's success.

At football practice or games, we moms tend to sit around and gripe about homework, studying, tests and playground bullies. As each mom starts to rattle off their kids issues and problem areas, we find comfort in knowing we aren't alone in these issues, but we start to feel inadequate when our kid struggles where another has excelled. We start to shrink down in our chair when one parent is concerned with B's and you are struggling with F's.  We start to feel like a failure when we hear the scores their kids made on that hard test and yours was significantly lower even though you studied just as long and just as hard. We watch our children on the field and start to judge our success on how much play time they received. When they make a mistake, we take it personally. When whether or not our child made the honor roll determines how we feel about ourselves as parents, there is a problem.

Here is the realization that I think could radically change our perspective on this issue if we would allow it to fully center us in every thought we have running through our mind. Our kids success DOES NOT define who we are as parents. Here is a bigger news flash. We aren't all raising kids who will become doctors, lawyers, or CEO's of banks. When my child is older, he may not can tell you the difference between a declarative and interrogative sentence, but he may can fix your car when it breaks down. He may not be able to save a life in an operating room, but he may save a life from a burning building. He may not hand out orders from a big mahogany desk somewhere but he may be able to take a piece of mahogany and build you something beautiful with it. God made each one of our children with a different skill set for His divine purpose and once we realize that, our mood starts to shift.

Who ever knew that of all the things we would struggle with in the 4th grade, subtraction would be one of them. Something that seems so incredibly simple to me completely eludes my child. He doesn't understand large number subtraction. Period. Homework that week was a complete nightmare. After HOURS, homework ended with only 4 problems completed with 16 more to go, me crying at the kitchen table and him storming off screaming to his room. I had lost my temper with subtraction. I had lost my religion with my child. I had sat there all night and took it personally that my kid didn't understand something as simple as large number subtraction. The worst of it all is I completely overlooked the fact that he was struggling. After I had managed to semi put myself back together, I went in his room and crawled in bed with him. With just that one simple gesture my child fell apart. As he cried he said mom I can't help I'm so stupid. It was like the wind had been knocked right out of me. Math didn't make him feel stupid. Subtraction didn't make him feel stupid. My projection of his failure to comprehend in this relatively simple skill made him feel stupid. I turned him over to face me and proceeded to tell him he was to never ever in my presence ever refer to himself as stupid again. I apologized to him for losing it over something he could not control. The truth is he desperately wants to understand large number subtraction, the light bulb just hasn't clicked for him yet. The next day I emailed his teacher. She kept him in from music and gave him some one on one time with subtraction. We still went over it at home, and the light bulb still refused to click. He took his subtraction test a few days later and made a 67. The thing I realized after that experience is that 67 does not define him. It doesn't define me. I don't need to rely on my parenting victories to come from his success in math or how many tackles he made or how many base runs he hits or if he gets invited to every birthday party or for the love of all that is Holy his citizenship grade. I will wear that 67 like a badge of honor because I know the hours and tears that went in to that grade.

Let me tell you where my parenting victories come from. When a child on his team scores or makes a good play, my child is going to run and give him the biggest hug and chest bump you have ever seen. He comes home to tell me that at recess he asked a certain kid to play on his team to make him feel better about himself and make that kid feel included. His teacher emailed me to say that every single day he asks to take her lunch tray to the trash for her. When he is nervous, I see him start to count his fingers and repeat in his head with each finger I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. He tells me he loves me a bazillion times a day. He holds my hand in the car. He helps our elderly neighbor take her groceries in from her car without being asked. These are my parenting victories. This is what defines him. Whether he turns out to be a scientist or he works at Wal-Mart, his character at the end of the day is where we find our peace. Is he perfect all of the time? That's a hard no, but the seeds we have planted are still there taking root and sprouting each and every day. Should we still challenge our children to do better? Absolutely!  Should we settle for F's and just be ok with that? That isn't what I am saying at all. Even though I am writing this, do I have a firm grip on it? Come to my house next week with a fresh set of homework and you will see for yourself how good of a handle I have on this. The struggle is real my friends. The good news is THIS TO SHALL PASS.

So to my precious friend who is struggling right now, let me tell you that you are raising a fine young gentleman. He has the best manners of any kid his age, he prays the sweetest prayers I have ever heard (even when he is hungry haha), he has a deep love and compassion for animals and his smile and laughter is contagious. You are a wonderful mother. This season of our life is pure survival. I am thankful to have you in my life to lean on when these moments seem to consume us. We shall get them to graduation, one way or the other. I can't wait to see what the future holds!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Half way to 70....

Today is my 35th birthday. I can remember a time when 35 seemed so ancient to me yet here I am, 35 and still feel 20 something. Jason has repeatedly reminded me over the last few weeks that I was slowly approaching the halfway mark to 70 years old. At first when he said it a sting shot through me... Was this life halfway over? The more I thought about it, and remembered people in my life that are 70 years old that I still think are very young, that sting started to lessen. 

A few weeks ago I had to fill out a questionnaire for a doctors appointment and one of the questions asked me what my current emotional state was. It gave me a lot of options including stressed, overwhelmed, anxious, etc. For the first time in a very long time I smiled and checked the box that said content. I wasn't able to check that box because everything in my life is smooth sailing and because I do not have problems. I checked that box because being content is actually a choice, One I made not too terribly long ago. Being content is not reliant on your circumstances but plainly on your perspective. Is my life perfect, no. Do I have everything I have ever wanted, no. Do I have some dreams that I had for my life that I'm having to let go of? Yes I am. But I'm choosing to live a content life and I will gladly tell you why. 

In February this world lost a sweet precious soul. I was lucky to be able to call her friend. Jodi left behind a husband and three beautiful children, two of which she spent her life praying for because she was repeatedly told she would never be able to have children. She was a mother, a wife, a daughter, a teacher, a friend, a role model for my sister, a confidant, an advisor and she was always good for a smile and a fierce hug. I miss her terribly. At her wake I looked around and saw all the lives she had touched. Three hours we stood in line just to reach the room. In that time I pondered all the things she would miss. Birthdays, weddings, first and last days of school, anniversaries. Suddenly any problem I have had or will ever have seemed so small. 

So I choose to live content because I can. I choose to forgive because I can. I choose to love others because I can. I choose to not sweat the small stuff because I can. I choose to take a nap when I want too even though I have 100 other things that need to be done because I can. I choose to love my child unconditionally every single day even when I want to ring his neck because I can. I choose to be happy even when the world isn't going my way because I can. She can't, But I can. 

Paul said it better than I ever could. He found the secret to being content. It was a secret that I have allowed to take residence in my very core. It is life changing. Perspective altering. Soul quenching for the parched. It's simply this. 

Thank you for the Happy Birthday wishes today. I plan on smiling today because I can. Spending the day with family because I can. Cherishing each and every second of this short life that I can. 


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Two prayers....

My dearest Colby,
        From the day I found out that I was pregnant with you, I started praying daily for two things. No it wasn't your health, your looks, your IQ or your abilities. What I prayed for was far greater a concern for me than anything else. The first thing I prayed for was your salvation, and that your love for Jesus would take the first priority always in your life. The second thing I prayed for was the salvation of your future wife. On your wedding day, she will know that before the time you were even born, she has received just as many prayers on my behalf as you have. 
        Tonight, your daddy and I along with Bro. Jerry witnessed my first prayer come true. For over a year now, our nightly prayer time together has been filled with questions about how to be saved and with persistence you have asked to take that step. For fear of your age and comprehension of what you were truly doing, I would tell you that we would know when the time was right. For the last two months you took it upon yourself to prove to me that you were truly ready and your initiative eased my troubled heart that it was finally time. Tonight, with the heart, faith, obedience and innocence of a child, you humbly sat before the throne of Jesus and asked Him to be the Lord of your life. You were nervous to the point you had a hard time being still, but when you were done you looked at me and smiled a smile of relief, happiness and excitement. With tears rolling down my cheeks I smiled back at you with a burden lifted in my heart because now I know we have eternity together. There is nothing in life that will ever compare to that moment shared together. I will never be more proud of you than I was tonight. You will fail, daily, but the grace of God will cover you. The Holy Spirit will be your guide in life and His wisdom will always outweigh your own. You will cling to that prayer in times of happiness, in times of sorrow, in times of change and in times of weakness. You may have times in your life where you will look at your sin and doubt yourself. You will find peace in your confidence of your salvation. 

        So tonight as I lay down I start a new prayer to replace the one that was answered. I will pray for myself. I will pray that I will be what you need. I pray that I will make it my first priority to help you grow in your faith and never go slack. I will pray for God to open doors for teachable moments and allow me to always look for opportunities to show you Gods kindness, mercy, discipline, and grace. I will pray for wisdom and guidance as I lead you and set the example for you in which to follow. I pray I will live up to Gods standards that you will not settle for less in your future wife. I just pray for Gods anointing grace to be the best Godly mother to you that I can be. You deserve that of me. 

        Two repetitive prayers will still take place each and everyday with me, although one will change tonight. I love you more than you will ever comprehend. 



Thursday, February 18, 2016

You know you have done it.....

As moms, we like to judge how well of a parenting job we are doing by comparing ourselves to other moms, which is utterly ridiculous. I don't know why we feel the need to compulsively do this to ourselves, but nevertheless we do. So I am here today to make you either feel better about yourself or breathe a sigh of relief that you aren't the only one who does these things.



12 Things I have done as a mom:


1) I throw his artwork away. This one is tricky because you have to really use your thinking skills. Not only do you have to make sure that they aren't looking, you have to dig to the bottom of the garbage to deposit it then make sure to cover it up really well with the top garbage. Then if your trash bag is clear, you have to make sure the lovely piece of artwork is in the middle of the bag so that you can't see it once you take the bag out of the garbage. If you miss any of these steps, you get a full fledge SHAMING from your child for throwing their priceless artwork away. I'm not the mom with the filing cabinet where I alphabetize all of his coloring pages, Sunday school crafts, school work etc. I have a box I keep things that are sentimental to me, and the rest gets stashed in the trash.


2) Borrowed money from him without asking.  One day I had a hankering for a slush from Sonic. I went at happy hour, ordered my slush and my total was a little over a dollar. I dug for change and came up with nothing. I refused to use my debit card for that small of an amount. His wallet peered out from under the console. He bought me a slush that day. With nerds. He was none the wiser.


3) Find his random stuff in my purse. Just this week while fishing for my wallet, I found 2 nerf bullets. I once found a tiny dinosaur of his in my purse that I took out and stuck on my desk. That was almost 6 years ago. He still stares at me to this day.




4) I have finished his homework before. Ok after you finish gasping over there, I will add that he was watching me and we were doing it together, but nonetheless he was taking forever and it was just easier for me to finish circling the answers. 3rd grade is no joke people. Weekly I have to google his homework first to even help him.  This is why God didn't call me to be a school teacher. If we pass the 3rd grade without killing one another, we deserve a big vacation.


5) Closet eat their snacks. Jason and I secretly get excited when he has had a holiday party at school. As soon as his cheeks hit the bathtub, we are going through that loot pulling out the good stuff. God bless the mom who gives the Reese's  Christmas Trees, hearts and eggs. We thank you.


6) Blamed them for something you did. I don't know what happened to your last nutty buddy.... Colby must have ate it. There is no shame in my game.


7) Made them bring you something you could have gotten yourself. I have no issues pulling this little hat out of my bag based on the amount of times a day I hear the words "Momma can you get me ________?"  Touché kid, touché.


8) Play with his toys in the tub. WWE wrestlers have taken over my tub. They line the walls, their paraphernalia liter the floor and before you know it you are soaking in a hot tub of water putting Roman Reigns boots back on him. You might actually bounce him around the water a time or two before putting him back where he belongs. If he happens to get in a fight with one of the other figures on his way back to the wall, well it just had to be done.




9)  Pull the "Because I told you so card" that you used to hate to hear as a kid. Sometimes an explanation just takes too long and you just need something done.  I hate the words as soon as they come out of my mouth, but sometimes you play the cards you have.


10) Lose a toy...... on purpose. From the annoying McDonalds happy meal toy to the recorder your mom thought would be such a fun gift for your kid, they all find the trashcan at my house when he isn't home. This isn't something I am brave enough to do when he is actually still in the house.


11) Use my kid as an excuse to get out of something I don't want to do. I'm just going to leave that one sitting right there. Just know it happens.


12) Tell them a bold face liar liar pants on fire fib. It seems the stores he always wants to go too are magically closed for that day or I am entirely too broke to go play the .25 games at Chuck E Cheese, but I can sure go spend $12 on us some ice cream from 32 degrees.


So there ya have it. My dirtiest parenting deeds laid out for you. So either give yourself a pat on the back and decide that maybe you are a better parent than you originally thought, or laugh with me at the things we do just to survive this thing called parenting. The good news is, there is zero reasons you should feel guilty. You were once a kid too and its just the circle of life.







Saturday, December 26, 2015

No, I didn't delete you.....



This blog has caused me more anxiety than it should have, which is conformation in itself that it's the right thing to do. With that said, it's time for Amanda to take a Facebook break, detox, time out, siesta, etc....  It's not that I spend too much time on it, in fact most days about 2 minutes at a time of it is all I can stand. It's not the politics, which are annoying, or the negativity, which is saddening, or the horrifying news, which scares me to death to be raising a child in this day and age, the hoax posts that refuse to go away and keep coming back, Mark Zuckerberg gave his money to charity, not to anyone who copies and pastes a status, or the repeated selfies from the same 10 people, I haven't forgotten what you look like in a day, but it's the feelings and emotions that it envokes in me that terrifies me. I start comparing myself, my life, my relationships, my house, my child, my dog, my hair, my everything to every single person in my news feed. Jealousy, envy, self pity, discontentment, and all sorts of nastiness invade my mind, my heart and begin to seep into my very soul. 

       The day it really hit me that it's time to take a break was a day I came home spit firing mad at Jason for absolutely no good reason. I had seen a man completely gush, fall all over hisself with beautifully written words about how much he loves his wife on Facebook.  The same day a girl got flowers from her husband "just because". Then a woman came home for her husband to send her to get a mani/pedi just because. Then like icing on the cake, a man surprised his wife with a weekend getaway for their anniversary. I started to compare my relationship and was suddenly FURIOUS that I didn't have a status about me, or flowers just because, or being whisked off to some awesome bed and breakfast. I came home to more chaos of everyday life of homework, and dinner and dishes and laundry and all the while giving Jason the ultimate cold shoulder and stink eye while he has no idea I'm even raging inside at him for something he is completely unaware of. I knew in my heart I was being completely silly, but like a drug addict I kept going back to see what else I was missing out on that day. In the middle of all of that, Jason asked me to come sit and talk with him while he took a bath. He could have easily had time by himself, but he craved conversation with me. He is also completely incapable of going to sleep unless I go with him. Sometimes I don't find that as endearing  when he wants to go to sleep at 7:30, but nevertheless it is. After he asked me to please come to sleep and he snuggled up to me like he always does, I allowed myself to realize that although those things I had seen that day are wonderful, they do not define who you are or the status of your relationship. He had shown me how he loves me in simple gestures all day long, but I allowed my envy to completely miss them all day. 

     This is just a single example of how I've allowed Facebook to make me a complete nut job over recent days but in itself it's enough to see I need a break to readjust my priorities, my way of thinking and to prove to myself that I can live without it. I know it's not a permanent thing. It may last a day, a week, a month or forever but I will know in my heart when I'm ready to come back. 

     So a big happy birthday to everyone I will miss in the process of my absence because let's face it Facebook is the only way I even remember anyone's birthday. I will still be on Instagram, because I haven't gone completely mad to think I can give up all social media, and hopefully I won't lose all of my 1330 Candy Crush levels. I wish each of you that read my blog a very happy new year and a huge thank you for the outpouring of love, kind words, prayers, forgiveness and loyalty. So no, I didn't delete you. The reason you don't see me is because I am no longer there. I will leave it up until New Year's Day to give the blog long enough to circulate. I shall see you on the flip side friends. 

Monday, November 2, 2015

10 tiny fingers


Ever had one of those days where you were having a very difficult time just being a decent parent? The days where the sound of their breathing alone gets on your nerves. The last two days for some reason I have been struggling to be a decent parent. I sent this in a text to a friend of mine and she sent me a picture of her child laid out in the middle of the kitchen floor having a full fledge meltdown over who knows what and made sure that I knew that I was not alone. Something about rainy weekends makes kids lose their mind. I went to bed with a good bit of guilt because there were a lot of wasted moments this weekend that I spent trying to be a decent parent. I think we all question our parenting skills from time to time. It's nothing to be ashamed of. Tomorrow is always a new day.

A few short months ago we did a study at church and the author of the book talked about how she taught her child something very easy to do when they were scared or afraid or needed courage. She simply told them to put up all 10 fingers and to give each finger a word "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." It's such a quick and easy task and something a child of any age can learn. I immediately taught it to Colby as soon as we got in the car to leave church that night. He kinda rolled his eyes at me but at the same time I saw him silently counting his fingers in the passenger seat. A few weeks ago I had to take him to the hospital to have some test run. No fear, all is well just precautionary test. He was very nervous because he had no idea what to expect and had already thrown up twice in the waiting room because he was so scared. When they put him in the chair, I saw my baby start counting his fingers. Tears began to slide down my face as I knew in that moment I may mess up so many things, but I got one right.

As I went to bed last night I was tired, I had a lot on my mind and just wanted a good nights sleep, I was awoken to the sound of a little boy screaming "mama I'm about to puke." We have been lucky this far to not have the stomach virus at our house but at 2 o'clock this morning it entered with a vengeance. As soon as the first round was over and I took him back to his bed he started pleading with me to pray so I did. I prayed aloud that God would heal him. I prayed that God would take his pain away and to help him not be sick anymore. When I was finished praying, through his own tears he then asked me to count his fingers with him. So we did. Repeatedly till the second round kicked in and off we went. So I lay here now on the couch at 4:30 in the morning with his head on my lap finally resting asking God for forgiveness where I have failed but thanking him for giving me that study in which to learn that 10 little finger trick to teach my child to trust Him and depend on Him at all times. It may be ten tiny fingers, but oh the power those ten words hold. 


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The blubbering ball of goo

I'm an awkward person. It's my identifier. When someone starts to cry my first instinct is to crack a horrible (and usually inappropriate) joke just to make them stop. I dont handle crying well, my own included. A friend of mine came to me heavy burdened once, weeping and heartbroken. All I could think to do in that moment was to google "what do you do when the weight of the world is on your shoulders?"  So I did. We laughed and decided a boat to Mexico and some margaritas would be an easy fix but maybe staying around and roughing it out would be the wisest choice. I may not be the best person for advice but I'm always good for a sarcastic comment and a fiercely love abounding hug. I say all that to say this: few things are sentimental enough to me that it causes me severe sadness. The kind of sadness that I don't push back to the outskirts of my brain because let's be honest, if we don't think about it, then it don't exist right?!? I must say the first day of school gets me EVERY SINGLE YEAR. Watching that kid walk into school by himself reminds me how fast time really moves and how precious it truly is. I have to turn my head everyday (after the first day of course) and not watch him walk in or I turn into this huge blubbering ball of goo. Some days, just to torture myself, I will sneak a peak in my side mirror thinking "You can handle this" just to realize no you can't you big dumb idiot. I do the same thing when I watch Steel Magnolias when I know good and darn well that movie makes me ugly cry. When he starts a new chapter, I start a new chapter. Although it's fun and exciting, the reminder that you have to close the old one is gut wrenching. Today he has decided he is too old for me to walk him to his class. Maybe it's because he is my only child, but the realization that he is big enough that he doesn't need me to walk him in on his first day today about made me physically ill. I wanted to park the car and pull a full on recon MacGyver kind of mission where I follow him with my camera and take pictures without him knowing and photoshop myself in the picture later. I will never walk my child into school again. I will never have a picture of him at his desk in his class on the 1st day of school again (unless I can bribe a teacher friend to go snap one for me). Chapter closed. Door shut. Insert any other metaphor you can think of..... Life is moving forward. Time is ticking and I can't slow it down. So yes, I'm heading to work today with mascara stains on my face, a heavy heart and a complete emotional ticking time bomb but I also know that there are fun and exciting things just around the corner. Every new year brings something new to discover, explore and try out. I now know why my mentors in life always told me to not wish my life away. I see now what I never saw in my youth. You do blink and suddenly you wonder where has the time gone. So to all you other moms who were blubbering balls of goo today too, you are not alone...... and I am sorry if this made you cry again....just go cry somewhere I can't see you okay?!?