Father’s Are Important Too

downloadEvery other commercial, news outlet, sports program, and print advertisement told people that Mother’s Day was near.  The date was given and the countdown was repeated. ‘Mother’s Day is in two weeks!  Mother’s Day is next Sunday!  Mother’s Day is tomorrow!  Don’t forget about your mom!’  Could not enter a store without a sign giving date of Mother’s Day.  You did not have the option of not knowing Mother’s Day was coming nor when it was.

Yes, Mother’s Day is a commercial holiday and a very lucrative one at that hence all of the commercialism.  However, the sports casters, news reporters, radio personalities and the like all tooted about the importance of mothers and rarely did not have a story to share about how their mother impacted their life. The hype of the holiday was severely escalated.

Do not hear me wrong.  I too am a mother.  Celebrating mothers is important.  It is a great day for many mothers who don’t regularly receive recognition to get some that day. However, the same should be done for Father’s Day as well.

But alas, Father’s Day came and went silently. Fourth of July favors and cook out gear were given more prominence than Father’s Day. Firework displays were up since mid May, right after Mother’s Day as a matter of fact, but not a peep about Father’s Day.  One display.  One display did I see in my local store about Father’s Day and that was only above a tower of Blu Ray discs that ‘Dad would love’.  The same store had an entire section for the Fourth of July. What does that tell you?

Society has neglected the importance of Father’s.  We ought not too. Society is going to do what it is going to do. We, those that know the importance of men in our lives, should celebrate the fathers on Father’s Day. You don’t have to be married with children nor have a good relationship with your own father to celebrate fathers on that day.  Father’s are important. Period. The role of father is equally important with mothers. Celebrate the good fathers you know.  If you don’t know any, don’t hate the day or minimize it. Every mother isn’t great yet she is “supposed” to get flowers.

Dear SAHM: There Are More Important Things

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Growing up, I remember doing many chores.  I remember all of our responsibilities. Dishes, vacuuming, dusting, Windex glass, picking up after ourselves, daily floor sweeps, any other assignment either parent assigned, plus homework.  It was life.  It taught us all a great deal. We learned how to be responsible, that actions had consequences, that what we do affects others, how to be considerate, etc and how to clean. Even now, as adults, all of my three siblings and myself, can clean a house spotless.

Our house did not go past a certain messy point. Clothes never stayed on the couch for too long. Dishes were never in the sink for more than a meal. The floor never crunched with food or any other substance. We didn’t grow up in mess. My home, however, is not that.

Right now, there are clothes on our couch; clean clothes, but clothes nevertheless. The sink is full of dishes. Clean dishes are in the dishwasher and on the side of the sink.  The kitchen floor has food in the crease where the wall and carpet meets all along the wall. I have two piles of laundry on the floor of our bathroom. I could go on but you get the idea.

A while a go, I posted that I was going to have Jazmine follow a chore chart. It is going pretty well. She is developing good habits and, gradually, learning to choose not to do a half-way job with her chores. I am a task oriented person. I practice not stopping for any kind of break until all or at least the vast majority of a task list is complete. I want to instill this in Jazmine. The thing is, I am sure I was born with the wiring for this kind of thinking but it did not present itself right away.  It was groomed and allowed to grow. I have to give this same time allowance to my Jazmine.

I have a habit of measuring how well my day has gone by how my home looks.  I get where this thought process comes from. I am a SAHM. I don’t work outside of the home. I don’t have a desk or a boss to please. No one readily recognizes my work and says ‘good job’. Not that that is a daily occurance at any job but I don’t get performance reviews etc. All I have as a showcase, if you will, is my home. When people come in, my home is what reflects me. If, by the time I go to bed, my home is tidy, I feel great.  If it is not, I tend to beat myself up.  I think I spent my day doing too much of everything else and did not incorporate tidying up. This evening, it occurred to me that, on a scale of importance, the nurturing of my husband and children’s hearts and their spirits is vastly more important than having a tidy home. Not that my house should remain untidy but if I spend far more time grooming my children and nurturing both them and my husband, while allowing everyone to grow, I have invested my time well.

The state of my home is no longer a personal measure of my worth.

 

God Never Promised To Do Anything Our Way

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It is true that God breaks EVERY chain. He is powerful enough to do the impossible.  I know that from experience.  God’s word says it, I believed His word and trusted that He would do what He said He would do, and He did it.

His methods and timing? So, so, soooo far off from my own but then again, He never promised to do anything our way.

I have been operating in a state of heartbrokenness for 2.5 years. In all that time of suffering in one particular, yet far-reaching, area of life, He also healed other areas, improved situations, changed my thinking, and grew me astronomically. God is always at work, even if something hurts.

A few days ago, while I was doing some mundane daily task, God spoke.  I was hesitant to attribute that new dawning that occurred to Him because although the words were new, the idea wasn’t. Now, after a few days of walking in that new dawning, I can say that it was from God. God said I am always on display.

When you are a leader, you are always on display but at a young age, I learned from others that all leaders need a place to let their hair down. A place where no one is paying exact attention to every single thing you say and do. In my adulthood, God taught me that if letting your hair down means doing an about-face from who you are, that is pretending you are something you are not in front of most people and being who you really are in front of others. Even with that knowledge, I still looked for places where I did not have to be “on” all the time. I could say something severely crass (which I am inclined to do) and not be held accountable for it later by someone who never thought I would say such a thing. I loved those safe havens and often looked for more safe havens but I soon learned why you don’t have many safe havens.  That goes back to what God said about letting your hair down. So, I grew from that place to wanting to be in an environment that, although my speech and behavior rarely differed, I wasn’t under super watchful eyes.  No one was jotting notes about my parenting, clothes, conversation, etiquette…you get the idea.

The 2.5 years of brokenness I was in stemmed from my safe place being broken. The severe hurt I experienced resulted from realizing, understanding, and knowing for a fact that what at one point was my safe harbor, had turned into an operation theater.

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An operation theater was commonly used the in 1900’s

Instead of being, feeling, and knowing I was safe, I was dissected as sport and laid bare for all to see, judge, and comment on.  It was an extremely emotionally draining, difficult time. I made changes to keep from being in that theater. Hard changes.  Changes I never ever thought I’d have to make.   All the while, however, asking and seeking the Lord for Him to change things. His perfect timing was 2.5 years later which was 2 years past my time frame (lol).

I can now return to those former safe places and feel a semblance of safety again.  Not because the people have changed but because God has changed me. I was not ready to accept that God’s calling on my life meant that I would always be on display. I am ready now. He led me in baby steps although that last (at least for now) step felt like a giant leap. Now that I accept His calling on my life, I can go back. I can sit knowing I am in the theater but not fearing it. I can live out loud knowing that my mannerisms and etiquette are being watched but not looking for it to be watched nor shy away from the watchful eyes.

I am healed!

HE Catches Me Before I Fall

One sentence spoken from my daughter Jazmine.  One wishful thought that I can’t fathom how to accomplish. Either of these can send me down an unprofitable thought rabbit-hole.

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I recall a Gospel song There Is No Failure where one of the lines in the song is, catches you before you fall.  It is so very true.

I have often heard God’s voice speak to me as I am peering down the bad thought rabbit-hole.  I hear truth to my ears but because it wasn’t what I wanted and wasn’t a way to get what I desired, I often dismissed it with an excuse. I can clearly see now that was what I was doing.  Only after receiving truth was I able to detect the lie(s) I was choosing instead.

This really happened.

I was driving home with my girls in the car.  I had already been noodling how I was going to sign Jazmine up for all of these camps this summer and how I needed to keep my ear to the ground for when registration opened up so we wouldn’t miss out. At that point in the car, I wasn’t currently thinking about that but it was still on mental radar.  Jazmine says, “Mom, I want to do ballet, Karate, and soccer.  I already told you I wanted to do ballet.” And that she did. She has mentioned ballet on and off since she was three.  The first emotion I felt was guilt.  Why hadn’t I put her in a class yet? I couldn’t remember.  Because I was already working under my own pressure regarding camps, hearing my child restate a desire she had and adding that she wanted to try new things, I felt like a failure.  Summer isn’t here and I already felt like a slouch. I was trying to figure out how I would juggle getting her to karate, finding a ballet and soccer camp, and making sure Baby Grace had some semblance of a schedule during all of this.  Before I succumbed and really tried to piece this all together, I heard the Lord say, “Many adults try things for the first time in their adulthood.” And BOOM! Instant pressure relief.

I didn’t even try to preface God’s words with any ‘I will try Jaz’, ‘let me talk to Daddy and we will see what we can do’, or ‘it all depends on what we find’. NOTHING!  I said exactly what I heard.  Jazmine responded with, “Well I just want to try things in my childhood.” Masterful response but I was already free from any guilt threatening to overtake me.  Just a few weeks ago, I would have dismissed what God said with an excuse and try to make a way myself.

Praise God!

 

She Said I Was Beautiful

I clearly remember my father specifically, saying I was beautiful when I was growing up. He would tell me I was a “gorgeous hunk of female”.  Of course I enjoyed hearing that and that affirmation told me I wasn’t ugly or undesirable.  When I was becoming a young woman and was passed over by guys I liked, I looked for other reasons why they did that because I knew I wasn’t ugly.

When I got to college, things were different.  I started seeing beauty as defined by clothes, makeup, hairstyles, and mouth sassiness. Not an accurate description by far but I used it to form my opinions because those that had those things usually got the man. As I became a grown woman, and more spiritually mature, I learned beauty, of course, is measured from within. It is in how you treat people, what you value, who you serve. That being said, and if you caught what I didn’t say in my first paragraph, I didn’t think I was pretty. I knew I wasn’t ugly but I never considered myself as being beautiful.  I had good days yes but most of the time, I would think, out of the group of people I hang out with, I was not in the top ranking for looks.

That is truly a sad thought.

Today, as I was at church holding Baby Grace, one of the parishioners commented on how pretty my Gracie is.  I smiled and said thank you.  Shen she went on to say, ‘I mean it and I can see where she gets it from.  You are a very beautiful woman.’  Never. NEVER in all of my adult life has someone I was not related to call be beautiful. I think that is truly sad.

Her words gave me wings.  Her words caused me to look at myself in the mirror differently.  Her words freed this thirty-something year old woman to look at me as worthy.  Her words caused me to no longer shrink back because of negative self-image. Her words caused me to walk with a confidence and self-assurance that I often see in others but did not have.

I’m going to thank her next week. Oh I thanked her today but I will tell her just how touching her words were to me next week.

PS. My husband calls me beautiful all the time.  People you love are supposed to tell you that right?  Not that I don’t think he thinks I’m beautiful, but hearing it totally unprompted from an outside source was life changing. 

It’s Been A Long While

I am still here.

I feel like I’ve said that several times this year in several posts.  I hate abandoned blogs and I vowed not to be one of them.  If I quit a blog, I will write an I quit post so new readers know not to expect new content. I don’t foresee that happening but in the mean time, my writing frequency has slowed to an infrequent crawl.

There are a few things I look forward to getting back into a rhythm of doing in 2017. Going to the gym, taking exercise classes (Zumba specifically speaking), stretching more, and writing this blog on a weekly basis.  Those are a few of my Xara-centric goals.  I have Mommy goals, homeschooling, goals, and a few wife goals that I am sure to go into detail with at some point.  Until then, know that if you miss reading this blog, I hear you.  I miss writing it.

Receiving Things Too Personally

As thick as my skin is, I am just as sensitive.

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I can handle rudeness or what I perceive as thoughtlessness from strangers, acquaintances, or folk I have not formed an opinion of. I have a harder time processing it when it comes from friends or people I respect.

Most of the time, what I have received as rudeness or perceived as being thoughtlessness is usually an expressed personal preference that I am on the opposite side of. Meaning, it’s not rude or thoughtless to ask someone other than me to do them a favor.  It is not rude nor thoughtless to seek counsel, hang out with, or to prefer someone else over me. It is simply that persons preference regardless of how highly I regard that person or value their friendship.

I can process that entire thought process for someone else in mere seconds but when it comes to experiencing it personally, it can take me at the very least, 24 hours. I start to question if I’ve offended them in some way. I start to think back to see if something changed in our relationship that I had turned a blind-eye to that has put me on the outs with them. I think I’ve done something wrong to no longer be considered trustworthy in their eyes. Then, I find myself making numerous reassuring statements to myself, stating that it is okay for my friend to make choices that include others but not me.  I have to tell myself not to call and see why I wasn’t asked. I have to process my little hurt feelings so I can emerge wearing my big girl panties without having wet them.  Why? Because one decision made on a Thursday does not mean your relationship is ruined. It is completely unrealistic to think otherwise. On paper, it all makes sense. When experienced however, it does give one pause.

I don’t think we outgrow some of these things as adults but I do know that we must learn how to deal with them in an adult way. Offenses are going to come, intentional or otherwise, real or perceived, by strangers and friends. Our maturity will determine how we handle them.

 

A Different Stage Of Life

If I see something I want to be apart of, I usually do whatever I can to make it happen.  If I want to join something, I research or observe the workings of that group then mimic all things positive to make the grade so to speak. I’ve done that for as long as I can remember. Wisdom says, I should observe the group longer before committing in my mind to join.

I was pretty tight with a group of people last year. Ever since I observed the group, I desired to be a part of it. My actions and motives were genuine but I had an end-goal in mind.  Once I was accepted into that group, things started to go south. They didn’t stop going south until it hit rock bottom.  Me and this group are no more. I still keep up with one person from the group. From having periodic conversations with her, it really dawned on me the truth here.  The members of that group and I are at different stages of life.  Often times, folks who are in vastly different stages of life don’t meld as well as those who are in the same stage.

The folks in that group are all unmarried, have grown or no children, and careers. I am (happily) married, have young children, and no job. With the exception of the purpose of the group, we had nothing in common.  I could not have gotten any closer to those people even if I wanted to. My availability to hang out isn’t the same as there’s. My current life focus isn’t even on their radar.

I had good times with this group. I miss the camaraderie. When I see their updates, a twinge of jealousy goes through me. I had to confess that as the sin that it was to Christ. I’ve had to do that more than once. I had to confess envy.  That was soon replaced by the true emotion…longing. It was nice belonging to a group of people outside of church or homeschool.  It was nice being in another group, totally different from people I usually associate with. I miss belonging.

Because I know God is big enough to handle all of me, I will ask Him for a new group to belong too.  A group I can come to know as my family regardless of the different stages of life we are in.  A group that looks at the differences and embraces them for the wisdom they can provide for themselves as well as being able to disperse that wisdom gained to others. If this new group just so happens to be dedicated to being fit, that would be a bonus 🙂

Just A Little Encouragement Is All That I Ask

I wish someone would tell me.

I wish someone would tell me that it’s all going to be ok.

I wish someone would tell me that my daughter won’t be scared from watching her mother during this pregnancy.

I wish someone would tell me.

I wish someone would tell me that they can see that my pregnancy is a rough one.

I wish someone would tell me that the mom guilt I have been struggling with is normal and not condemn me for it.

I wish someone would tell me that my bad days don’t accurately reflect my life as a whole.

I need someone would tell me that one moment in a day or several moments in one day won’t ruin my daughter for life.

I need someone to tell me that it’s okay to feel completely void of anything left to give day three back from school after winter break.

I know all of this has to do with being pregnant.  Hard homeschool days come. When they’ve come before, we either break for the day or go back to it after having some serious recreational time. We would go to the mall, visit a friend, get some ice cream, watch a movie, anything but our normal school routine. This time around, I have been stripped of anything and everything that used to make me feel like me.

I need someone to tell me that I can make it for the next 7 weeks.

I need someone to tell me that it’s okay if I don’t make it and request to have this baby early.

Outside of my husband (primarily) and my mother, I have not reached out to people.  My hormones, pain, and discomfort have me going up and down so much, I don’t trust myself with being with other people for long. I don’t want to ruin any relationship I currently have because I am having a hard time.

I need someone to tell me that sending my daughter with her grandmothers isn’t pushing her away even though I need a break from the guilt of not being as hands on of a Mommy as I and she are accustomed too.

I need someone to tell me that God will provide other homeschool groups that we can be apart of and join once I heal from delivery.

We’ve had to put so much down regarding activities because I can’t keep up.

Just tell me it will get better!

Just tell me that the Xara part of me will come back to me after the baby is born.

Encourage me in a believable way and not with cliche phrases.

Until someone tells me, I will try to keep telling myself but rest assured. When this season is over, and I have a grand testimony of how God brought me over, I will tell everyone so that if you or someone you know goes through something similar, they have a living witness that trouble don’t last always!

I Take The “L” For This One; Responding Too Quickly

There are times when immediate action and response is necessary.  There are other times when it is best not to respond until the height of emotion has settled.

Growing up, I was the one who did not respond when I should have.  I was the one who would stew on why something was said and wait to respond.  I set a self-imposed time limit on what I considered a timely response.  If other folk had seemed to move on, even if I was still hurt, angry, or upset, I would assume that since they were over it, I needed to be over it also.  I took that as an end to the window of opportunity to speak up for myself.

As a grown-up who has grown away from that childhood thinking, I have forced myself to respond immediately. I had grown enough to learn swiftness of tongue but word choice had been problematic. God has worked on me in the word choice area so my words, more often than not, stay filled with grace, seasoned with salt, so I know how to respond to every man (Col. 4:6). Responding slowly or not at all, as was my case, was me avoiding conflict and thinking that was godly.

At 0 dark 30 this morning, as I was having insomnia issue and thinking about other things, God amazingly dropped this thought in my mind, “I did not get the response I was looking for.”  I knew EXACTLY what He was talking about.  I wrote about what happened, here, here and here.  It truly messed me up for some time.  When God dropped that in my spirit, I was able to receive the truth, the entire truth and weight of that statement.

That person did not respond in a way I was looking for.  Her response wasn’t unkind but I was looking for a response laced in love and her’s was cut-and-dry. My initial reply back to her was just as cut-and-dry but much more tearse because I was hurt.  My misstep was responding before allowing those I had sought advice from for this conflict, to read her response. An immediate response was not prudent here.

I did not get the response I was looking for and my actions from that time have been based on that. I was wrong. The outcome might not have changed but how I handled it once she responded, should have been different. I take the L (loss) for that one.  Is there something she could have done or said differently in subsequent interactions? Sure but self-examination has nought to do with anyone other than yourself, which in this case is me.