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It’s Random Time!

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Today I want to take a leaf from Derek Mansker’s Lego Jar posts.   It’s random time!  My 4 and 2 yo grandchildren were here for a week recently.    The older one (boy) had the green-eyed monster taking over all week.  You see, he has a fractured clavicle, and had to sleep in another bed and not with Grandma and Marilyn.  He was so not happy.  So all week if she hugged, he hugged; if she wanted something, he wanted it.  What a week it was!!!  We all survived though.

 

Today was go home day.  Grandson has decided his family needs to move here and become my neighbors.  Then he could come and see me every day like he does my dad right now.  At lunch, he spent about 15 minutes making a very detailed map.  As we headed toward the meeting place to give them back to the parents, he was peering closely at his map.  I went a different way to the interstate, and he said, “Grandma, you’re going the wrong way.  You have to go that way (pointing).  I explained the different route.  He kept looking at the map all the way and pointing out when we reached certain places.  He’d say something like, “Yup, that’s it.  You gotta go this way to get to my house, Grandma.”  If you can make anything out of this map, let me know.  It looks like a mess to me, but he was very serious about following it.  I hope he’ll be that serious about following God’s map for his life!

 

Marilyn (2) didn’t want to go home today.  She kept taking my face and saying, “You MY gramma!” before kissing me.  So sweet!  Wouldn’t it be great if we loved God so much that we grabbed ahold of Him and said, “You MY God!” on a regular basis?  We’re always wanting a blessing from Him, but how often do we seek to bless Him?

 

Last week, when we went down to pick up the kids (and work on Son’s trailer), Marilyn kept trying to sneak off with a honey packet my Dad had on his tray.  She finally stomped her foot and said, “It’s fo my mouth!”   She didn’t get it, but that was so hard to resist!  Do we long for the temporary “sweetness” of sin?

 

When we arrived to pick them up, I was met at the van by the two youngest.  Roland was jumping around and excited for about 10 feet.  Then he suddenly remembered his fractured clavicle.  He stopped, bent the hurt shoulder down and put his hand on it, moaned, and walked like that the rest of the way.  Hmmm.   All week he would suddenly remember his injury when it was convenient.  Do we have ‘convenient’ injuries we use as an excuse not to do something for God or others?

 

I have no doubt that my youngest granddaughter is the smartest of the 4.  Why?  She’s very good at flying under the radar.  When Marilyn gets quiet, it’s time to PANIC!  You can be certain she’s doing something she’s not supposed to do.  The picture shows one incidence that happened this week.

 

She took the inside out of a marker.  Fortunately, soaking in soapy water returned all but under her nails to the right color.  Grandma had a few blue spots though.  What do we do when we think no one is looking?  Do we think it’s ok to do what we want as long as we don’t get caught?

 

Welcome to a glimpse into my world!

On the lighter side: Did you hear that bird!?!

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The Princess and the Pea

The Princess and the Pea (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My daughter is a princess.  

There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the story of “The Princess and the Pea” was written about her.  I love her more than my own life, but she’s a bit sensitive.  With the power out last night, she couldn’t sleep with her fan.  The fan’s entire purpose is to make a noise that blocks all the other noise out so she can sleep.   {Boy do I have stories!}

 

I might also mention that she is an adult and has recently moved back home for a bit.

5am.  Brian and I are laying in bed, him awake and talking to me, and me half awake but trying to go back to sleep in the extreme heat.  Did I mention he’s a morning person, and I am not?  That’s for another post.

The door bursts open, and the D flips inside saying loudly,Did you hear that bird?  Seriously, did you hear it?  I’ve never heard anything like that in my life!”   {Evidently we have a very special, very loud bird in our front bushes that lives to wake Karen up – this may be true if he’s ever seen her when she wants to sleep. 🙂

Dad:  “Um, that’s the birds.  They get up this time every day.”  {He says laughing and continues to laugh at her the entire conversation, much to her disapproval.}

The D:  “Well, I’ve never heard them before, how long do they keep doing this?”

Dad:  “As long as they want to.  It’s the birds; it’s what they do.”  (or something like that)

The D:  “Well, I can’t sleep with that going on!   I have to go to work at 11, and I’m not going to get any sleep!  I just can’t deal with this!!!!

{The D sashays back to her bedroom before coming back into ours in a panic.}

The D:  “I have to sleep, what am I going to do?”

 

Disposable foam earplugs: out of the ear with ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mom:  “We still have your ear plugs in my bag in the bathroom.”  (from a trip where she had to sleep in the same sound area as all us snoring people.)

The D:  “I can’t sleep with those things!”

Mom:  “Well, you can either use them and try to get some sleep, or you can figure it out.  I’m going back to sleep.”  (I did not add, thanks for waking me up and storming in my room without knocking…..AGAIN  ::sigh::)

The D:  “Where are they?!  I can’t find them!” {as she rummages through my stuff}  “Oh, here they are.”

{My door slams; her door slams}

Dad:  “You’ve really got to blog this.  It’s hysterical.”

 

I guess you had to be there 😉    BTW  My daughter finally gave me permission to blog this as long as I didn’t use her name.   I only have one daughter, but whatever……

You Matter!

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As mentioned earlier in this blog, I have a now defunct blog from a year or two ago that I’m deciding what to do with.  Rather than cause issues until I can make that decision, I am going to share this post in part here with a link to the post.  It is a beautiful story and part of a larger, even more beautiful story that I will probably share as we go.

 
“My friend’s funeral was amazing, as expected. I knew it would be a glorious uplifting, not only of Melissa, but of the God she so faithfully served. During the open mike period, I stood to give a shortened version of a poem I wrote for my mother and then adapted for my friend. Later, her pastor read a testimony she had given in service, and in it she talked about what I had said. Truly a kiss from God.

 
I thought I might retell that story here. I won’t tell it as well as Melissa would have, but here goes. My mother had been diagnosed with a rare and aggressive uterine cancer. After a surgery and several chemo treatments (short version) she was given six months to live and placed on hospice. I spent as much of that time as I could with Mom, helping her physically and emotionally to prepare for the end. During part of that time, Mom kept worrying about her relationship with God and if she had done enough and if she really mattered.”

 

Read the rest of the story here:     Please make any comments here instead of at the other blog. 🙂    AND —

*****The poem included in the post has helped several people since its inception.  Feel free to use it, changing the name of the person.  I would like attribution, but as long as you don’t take credit for it, use your own discretion.  Maybe you needed reminded that you matter to God today.  Maybe you know someone who needs this reminder.  That’s what this poem was written for, so pass it on as a legacy to my beautiful mother and my best friend who now rest in the arms of Jesus.    Thanks, Angie

Um, “Happy” Mother’s Day–Part II

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An Eastern Grey Kangaroo (Macropus giganteus) ...

An Eastern Grey Kangaroo (Macropus giganteus) joey feeds (suckles from inside its mother’s pouch) as the mother shows her affection. This family were located in Murramarang National Park on the southern coast of NSW (New South Wales), Australia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In my previous post, I talked about why I struggled with Mother’s Day.  It was actually quite cathartic to write and helped me shift my attitude.  The struggle with not feeling good enough is not the only struggle that makes Mother’s Day painful.  There are other women out there who struggle with the celebration of mothers.  Knowing this information, even if you are a male, is helpful because it can help you develop an awareness and empathy for those who might be carrying a load of pain on this day.

Deutsch: Mutter Teresa (26.8.1919-5.9.1997); 1...

Deutsch: Mutter Teresa (26.8.1919-5.9.1997); 1986 bei einer Pro-life-Kundgebung auf dem Bonner Münsterplatz English: Mother Teresa of Calcutta (26.8.1919-5.9.1997); at a pro-life meeting in 1986 in Bonn, Germany (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1.  The woman who cannot have children.  Infertile couples struggle so hard because they want children, but are unable to conceive.  Many of them spend thousands of dollars, visit multiple doctors, do anything they can to become pregnant, often to no avail.  Even if they conceive, there is the danger of miscarriage.  Many women dream of the children they will have, and to be denied this dream is heartbreaking at the least.  These women may try surrogacy (more $$$) or adoption (more $$$).

2.  The woman without a mate.  In today’s society, this may be moot, but there are still women out there who do not have someone to have children with.  Some may opt to adopt or use donor sperm to have the children they want.  Many remain childless, however.  While not advocating the homosexual lifestyle in any way, I have to point out that they often have the same struggles.  Even if we don’t agree that their lifestyle choice is viable in God’s eyes, they are still people (sinners like the rest of us) who struggle with the same issues.

3.  The woman who has poured her mothering into other people’s children.  This woman may be “Mom” to many people.  She may provide foster care or just give herself to those in need of a little mothering.  She may or may not have acknowledgement of her gift on Mother’s Day.  Giving birth does not make one a good mother.  So remember those women who have mothered you in some way, be they aunts, grandmothers, family friends, or just a great person who took the time to invest in your life.

4.  The grieving mother.  Many mothers have lost children.  Whether it was through miscarriage of the child they never got to meet, or even the loss of an adult child, these mothers hurt deeply in a way others couldn’t begin to understand.  Mother’s Day for them is often bitter sweet as they remember the child(ren) and feel the emptiness of their arms.  Even women who have other, living children, will still grieve over the deceased one and feel the pain of remembering the loss.

5.  The grieving “child”.  Other people who may find Mother’s Day bittersweet are those who have lost their mother.  My Mom has been gone for 7 years, and Mother’s Day is a time to remember and honor her, tears a given.  Losing a mother to death grieves, but what about the child who loses a mother to drugs, incompetence, apathy, or any of the other reasons why a child would not have the mother in their life or not have a mother they can honor on this day.

Sculpture by Ursula Malbin in the Haifa Sculpt...

Sculpture by Ursula Malbin in the Haifa Sculpture Garden “Vista Of Peace” (“Mizpor Shalom”), depicting a boy in his mother’s arms. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The point of all this?  Every holiday, celebration, day brings mixed feelings to those who have loss in their life.  We should not stop celebrating, but we should have an awareness of those who may hurt on this day.  I have to say that churches often rub it in the faces of those who struggle when they have celebrations that include contests like ‘oldest mom’, ‘mom with most children’, etc.  Someone in that congregation is going to be sitting in her pew, silently grieving, and possibly saying ‘why me’ or ‘when is it my turn?”  While this struggle is theirs, and we can’t spend all our time worrying about their issues, we can be sensitive, pray for them, and maybe give them a hug to let them know someone knows about their internal struggle.  In the end, the issue is between them and God, but God still expects us to comfort the hurting.

Don’t forget that men struggle with all these things too.  We and our churches need to acknowledge and be aware of the hurts people carry around and bring into the pews.  After all, the church family is there, in part at least, to comfort one another.

Are you hurting as this day approaches?  Do you know someone who is?  What can you do to help one person who hurts this Mother’s Day?  Who can you acknowledge that has contributed “mothering” to your life or the life of your children?  Can you think of others who might have issues with Mother’s Day?  Does your church acknowledge those non-traditional moms?  Do you recognize that your own mother may have insecurities only you can ease?

Father, I lift up those who struggle with pain and grief during this time.  Send your comfort to them and help them recognize that you feel and understand their pain, grieving with them.  Wrap them in your compassion, and help them move through the grieving process to find healing in You.  Help the rest of us to step outside of ourselves and see the hurting around us.  Give us discernment so that we may not cause more pain through thoughtlessness.  Thank you for mothers and those who mother. In Jesus Name, Amen.

{Disclaimer:  I am not advocating a PC environment where no one is hurt.  I am advocating sensitivity to the needs of others.}

A beautiful power point on Mothers via Freedomborn…. http://freedomborn.wordpress.com/2012/05/12/a-mothers-love/

Um, “Happy” Mother’s Day

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Slippery Slope

Slippery Slope (Photo credit: Paul Graham Raven)

As Mother’s Day approaches, I and I suspect most mothers, goes through the annual guilt-fest hearing about the perfect mom from every corner.  Then on the day, many preachers use the Proverbs 31 woman to (unintentionally) club already guilt-filled Moms to death as they seldom see themselves that way.  Today, I started down the slippery slope.  I am certainly not a traditional mom, although I did all the day to day cooking until my oldest graduated and I went back to school.  The list of my ‘failures’ is long.  I am a human after all.  However, after asking my friend to pray for me that I would not go down this path, God began to speak to me.

 

♥I♥mommy♥♥I♥mommy♥

♥I♥mommy♥♥I♥mommy♥

The dialogue went something like this:

guilt, google style

guilt, google style (Photo credit: debaird™)

Me:  “I can’t meet the standard of “the” mom I keep hearing about.  She does everything and everyone depends on her to keep their life going.”

God:  “What about all the reading you did to your children?”

Me:  “Well, yeah, I did that, but…”

God:  “What about all those trips where you tirelessly entertained and sang to fussy children?  What about all those questions you answered so patiently (well mostly)?”

Me:  “Well, yeah, I did that, but they don’t even remember it!”

God:  “Yes they do.  Somewhere inside them is that memory as an attachment to you.  What about how often you worked with them in their school work and tried to help them learn when it was difficult?”

Me:  “Well, um,….”

God:  “What about all that love you lavished on your children?  What about all the fun you brought to their daily life?  What about how you took care of their needs?  What about how you taught them about Me?”

Me:  “Oh, well, I guess when you look at it that way, I had more good than bad.”

God: “Exactly!  I gave you to your children as Mom.  I gave you the gifts you used to nurture them.  I did not make you like everyone else, and I really don’t like hearing you bash yourself like that.  Neither do your children.  It’s time to let it go and accept yourself as you are.  Satan magnifies your faults in order to keep you from being the Mom I called you to be. . . .  Remember, Princess, I created you, and I love everything I put into you.  Your kids appreciate you too.  Now it’s your turn.”

♥I♥mommy♥♥I♥mommy♥♥I♥mommy♥

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother’s Day (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A pastor once preached the Proverbs 31 passage, but went beyond the traditional view.  He applied the principles so that people who didn’t fit the traditional pattern (and those who did) could see themselves in this woman.  In a discussion with my family after church, (I hadn’t really gotten it yet) my husband said, “I can’t believe you don’t see yourself in that!”  My husband and children proceeded to tell me how they saw that in me.  What a wonderful gift.

Then a few months ago, I was talking to my daughter, and she said, “You are a great mom!”   The lightbulb went off.   Oh!  Just because I have flaws and messed up some things doesn’t mean I’m not a good mom!  The flaws do not negate my parenting.  One or two points or events do not negate the good mom status.  Even those events are often viewed through my lens of “I wish I had done….”

♥I♥mommy♥♥I♥mommy♥♥I♥mommy♥

So, I choose to look at my job as a whole and no longer pick it apart with enemy-enduced guilt.  If you struggle with this or have a mom that does, I hope you can stop guilting yourself and accept yourself as you are — your kids do! (Well most do.)

Fathers can fall victim to this ‘viewing life through guilt-colored glasses’ as well as Moms and those who are neither.  Why is it we tend to remember bad things more than the good?  Why do we drag ourselves down by looking at the negatives instead of rejoicing in the positives?

♥I♥mommy♥♥I♥mommy♥♥I♥mommy♥

What about you?  Do you ever struggle with this issue?  How do you deal with it?  Do you think your kids would agree with you or would they tell you you’re a great mom/dad?  Can you forgive yourself for any mistakes and go forward accepting yourself as God created you?  What characteristics do you think a “great mom” has?  It’s about more than who cooks/cleans/works outside the home/etc.

My mother made mistakes.  Of course she did.  BUT to me, she was the best mom ever, and I wouldn’t change one thing about her.  She has been gone for 7 years now, and I can’t wait to celebrate her mothering again at the great reunion.  I love you Marilyn Koser Masters with all my heart.  You are sadly missed.  See you in the morning 🙂

♥I♥mommy♥♥I♥mommy♥♥I♥mommy♥

Help, I’m out of control!

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frustration.

frustration. (Photo credit: nicole.pierce.photography ♥)

Yesterday, I shared a poem about surrender.  It was really about seeking control instead of surrendering control.  Last week, I had an “aha” moment.  Those who know my dad has been in a rehab center till recently to recover with a busted hip, and has been home almost a month now, also know that he is a very, very, very stubborn man–always has been and probably always will be.  Because of the hip replacement and the fact that he’s been wobbly long before that, he has some safety rules he needs to follow if he doesn’t want to fall or have the hip pop out, requiring more surgery.

♥dad♥

I love my dad dearly, and maybe that’s part of the problem.  When he does stupid things, and he always does, I get so frustrated with him.  He is a ‘lone ranger’ who does not like to ask for help.  This gets him in a lot of trouble.  Mom was his best manager, but she’s gone, so it’s up to the sis and I.  It would take a lot more room to go into the lifelong frustration, so I’ll leave it at that.

Robert Plutchik's Wheel of Emotions

Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

♥dad♥

Last week he took a shower with no one there.  This is an obvious no no, but he took the opportunity while the sis and I were both gone (did I mention I don’t live there – I live 2 1/2 hrs away and have to go home occasionally to see my husband).  He did ok (uh oh, now he thinks he has super powers), but if anything had happened . . . .   The sis called to tell me what shenanegans he had been up to, and I lost it big time.  I was filled with rage and frustration.  I took it to God and spent a while in prayer (and tears).  This is what God told me:

I.    ►You are feeling out-of-control when your dad doesn’t ‘obey’.  You are allowing your fear of another incident cause you to stress out over something you have no control over.

II.   ►You are not in control of your Dad.  I am.

III. ►If he gets hurt again because of doing stupid stubborn things, it is not your fault.

♥dad♥

God then had me write a letter to my dad expressing my frustration and anger, letting go of the need to control the uncontrollable, that would never be sent.  This isn’t about my dad.  It’s all about me and how I react.

♥dad♥

Anger Management

Anger Management (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After my time dealing with this grief, I feel so free.  I let go of control.  I let go of guilt. I let go of the possibility of another horrific outcome.  I let go.  Unlike the woman in the poem, I did let go.  And, as I did, I began to rise to the top of the sea of emotions I almost drowned in.  I was transformed!

♥dad♥

It amazes me how often we try to control what is uncontrollable – not our job!  We will revisit this subject again soon, but for now I wanted to tell you about the experience.  I have also been able to help the sis let go.  We can only do what we can do, and that’s all we are responsible for.

♥dad♥

Yesterday, my dad was doing his usual things, and I felt the anger and frustration rising.  Then I remembered, took a deep breath, relaxed and let go.  AMAZING!  My dad will do what my dad will do.  He claims he can only surrender so much (to which I say hmmmm).  But I will no longer have to seek control or take responsibility for his actions.  Now I can let go and float above that sea.

♥dad♥

How about you?  Do you try to control people, things, events, that you really have no control over?  Do you stress yourself out over situations, even though you know you really have no say in?  Do you find yourself angry and frustrated at times, and if so, have you looked at the source to see if it is about control (lack-of-control) issues? 

♥dad♥

I hope if you do find these issues in yourself, you will learn to let go.  Writing a letter that will never be sent is a good way to burn out that rage and get your feelings out without damaging relationships.  I had to grieve the dad I wanted so I could accept the dad I have.

 

 

 

Confessions of an Enabler by Angela Masters Young

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Did you know that I like to help people?  I have a deep love for others and a desire to see them reach their potential.  That’s a good thing, right?

Right!  It is a good thing and comes from learning at the feet of my Mother, many years of following Christ, and some natural inclination.  However, like anything else, a gift out of balance becomes a flaw.  Our gifts or special abilities, when out of balance, often lead to our greatest weaknesses.  I have found this true in every area of my life.

At one time in my life, I was soooo stupid helpful that I became an enabler — and a TARGET!  I didn’t realize that taking on all those ‘helpful’ tasks for others, was keeping them from taking responsibility themselves.  I took responsibility for everything!  Often people didn’t even have to ask, they just had to hint, and I’d jump right in.  Sounds great, but it wasn’t.

First, people began to use me, or they would just assume “Angie will do it!”.  (Reminds me of the Mikey commercial — “Get Angie, she’ll do anything.”)  I allowed others to manipulate me because of my desire to help and serve  was out of balance.

I will save this story for another post, but it took a tragedy some major hard knocks to bring me to my senses.  In my eagerness to help, I had harmed myself and my family.  I had also harmed the people I had helped so assiduously!  Now there’s nothing wrong with helping people out when they need it, but it has to remain in balance, or it becomes enabling.  Enabling allows someone to not take responsibility for his or her own actions.  This is wrong.

I still have to watch this carefully.  I have realized recently that in an attempt to “be all things to all people”, I have allowed my priorities to slip again. I am no longer an enabler, and I don’t take hints at all.  If you want something from me, you must ask (and understand if I say no — or not but your problem, not mine).  But, I have still allowed my helper gene to cause me to give time tneeded elsewhere to others.  Right now I am helping out with my Dad (because I’m the only one who doesn’t have a “job” — it’s REALLY hard to retrain family!); we also get my Mother-in-law frequently, who is 86 and has dementia.  I have a husband who often gets neglected while I am busy at these and other tasks.

Sometimes life happens.  I get that.  However, I have felt conviction (often from some of your posts Anne Marie Dwyer in particular) about the use of my time.  When stressors come into one’s life, such as taking care of an elderly parent, you have to let some other things go.  It just isn’t possible to live life as you lived it before.  I have tried to do so anyway!  INSANE!

So I have assesed my priorities as I make room in my life for frequent trips south to my Dad’s again.  If I don’t show up here or on your blogs as often, this is why.  I would love to read them all and pay them forward, but I have neglected other important things to do so.  I am aware that, if necessary, some of you will get along just fine without me (ack, what a concept!) but I hope you will forgive me and be patient with me as I seek to gain and maintain balance in my life.  This post isn’t really about my internet reading and helping (unasked for by any of you). It’s about me trying to find balance after finding a new load added to my plate. I’ve taken facebook off my phone and stopped trying to keep up with every post of every friend already (I told you I’m an idiot 🙂 ).  I’ve declined some volunteer work (church) that I’d really like to do.  I have said no to a lot of things I wish I didn’t have to.  One step at a time, I am seeking to change my backsliding and find me again.

What about you?  Do you rush to help others while allowing important things to slide?  Do you have trouble weeding out the good, so you can focus on the best?  Do you take time for yourself amidst your busy schedule?  If you want, what are some tips you use to keep your priorities in line?  Do you have strengths you’ve allowed to get out of balance and become flaws?  Are you eager to help others, even at the expense of your self and family?

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