That’s It

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I just got back from the doctors.

Everything is fine. No worries there, praise God.

But something still doesn’t feel right.

Despite my best efforts, I still don’t feel myself.

I talked with my best friend today.  She gave me permission to chill.

I needed someone to do it.  My husband gave me permission but I thought he was just being nice 🙂 When my best friend did it, I actually heard what she was saying.

After Baby Grace was born, I was rarely home. I stayed gone for reasons I’ve already extensively written about. I was always on the move. I literally could not sit still. In order for me to be in a good head space, I had to be gone. Now that we’ve moved, it is just the opposite.  I am happiest when I’m still. I am calm and at peace when I am home taking care of husband, children, and hearth. I felt bad about that. I thought I should remain active for my Jazmine’s sake. I asked jazmine if she wanted to go strawberry picking or go to the playground.  Her answer?  “No. I don’t want to go.” So there is no pressure there. She loves the pool and that is really easy and convenient to get to.  As soon as its hot enough, we can certainly get there.

Since we’ve moved and gotten settled, I’ve been trying too hard to “get back.” Get back to my regular exercise.  Get back to being active. Get back to going out with friends. Get back to going on field trips with Jazmine. Getback to my healthy eating. Get bak to life and what I was before Baby Grace was born but with her in tow.  I am still ob the road to “get back” but I am taking a different method.  I am taking a break from that thinking. I am resting through July. No purposeful exercise. No making daily step goals. No diets or dietary restrictions. No filling up the family calendar. No making plans to fill up the day. No ‘I gotta’ phrases because truly, there is rarely anything that absolutely has to get done.  None of it.

The ONLY thing I am going to do is stretch and drink more water.  That’s it.

Let the (true) healing begin.

(Originally penned August 2016)

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Luke 1:36

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I have looked at moms who had children spaced out in age and wondered what it was that made them want to do it again. What was it that made that momma have a baby when she had a seventh grader and third grader already? Now, I fit the bill.  I have a Kindergartener and want a baby. That is an entire six year difference! That means that if I were to conceive today, in six years, I would have a sixth grader and a Kindergartener! Who does that?

Luke 1:36 says this

36 Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren.

This verse comes after the angel Gabriel spoke to Mary to tell her she would conceive and give birth to Jesus. Our Pastor preached from this verse today. He said, God assured Mary that the impossible was possible for her from what He had already did for her cousin Elizabeth. Elizabeth was already sixth months pregnant when Gabriel appeared to Mary.

That stopped me cold. I have heard and seen the testimony of other mothers who conceived after being told they never would.  Who had children, lost several to miscarriages, then gave birth to twins.  Who after being told she would never conceive, adopted and then conceived twins. Who after being diagnosed with PCOS had four children. Who after trying for years to conceive again after her first child without success, had a baby boy 10 years later.

God has already assured me that the impossible is possible for me from what He has done for others around me. I have no choice but to believe God.

(Originally penned 2013) 

In The Midst Of Life

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As I ride down to church with my family this morning, I began to read a devotional.  This morning, I fell into daydreaming and fantasy as a mental escape instead of opening up God’s word first. Once I came too, we were significantly behind in schedule and needed to hustle to leave the house, which is why my quiet time happened in the car this morning.

I read the scripture passage and began to read the devotional part. I must have started, stopped, and reread the same paragraph what felt like 20 times before I was able to finish! I kept being interrupted! Hubby wanted to talk. Jazmine had things to say. It was a tag-team effort 😄.

I would have lashed out. I would have fussed. I would have done something or said something to show my displeasure at their behavior while I was reading. But God! I recognized their need for me. I poured out the patience God pours into me. I listened. I asked questions. When they had exhausted their verbal reserves, I finished that paragraph of my devotional.

I am so glad God sees me, knows me, and keeps me in the midst of life. He will do the same for you.

Not The Mommy I Thought I’d Be

I wish I can remember the exact date when I wrote this. I believe it was sometime winter 2016 or early 2017.  Last year was a hard school year. New baby. New home. New routine. A lot of growth I had to do as a wifommy. This was something I wrote when in the thick of things. 

download-1I am not the mother I want to be. I am not the mother I thought I would be. wifommyhood is harder than I thought it would be. The dishes, the laundry, the education, and that is just the daily grind. Not to mention everything else! I yell more than what is effective.  My patience often comes after the fact.  I still suck at making lunch. And dinner? My husband no longer eats white (bread, rice, flour etc) which makes thrown-together-meals just about non-existent. I am increasingly behind in grocery shopping which seems ridiculous with only having a four person household. By 4 o’clock, I’m done! I’ve had it for the day. I want to do NOTHING! I don’t want to listen to anymore 8yr old thoughts. I don’t want to train a 14 month old on the importance of “listening to Mommy” and “don’t hit sister!” My husband comes home and I try not to be a shell of a woman for him but he has his own needs and I will often see him as someone else who needs something from me. I am thoroughly stumped with my life right now. I’d like to hope that this getaway I have coming up will help but I am not so sure.

Homeschoolers left and right showing accomplishment after accomplishment talking about “the magic of homeschool”. Bah! Can I get some of that? Feels like I’m slouching in at least two subjects with her (Jazmine) while our peers are taking field trips, completing projects and what not.

Next year, I will be the outsourcing Momma. Yes, she will have five subjects taught via tutorial or a co-op. Yes, she will be in “only” two extra curricular activities and not 3 or more. Yes, I will “only” be teaching 3 subjects at home. Yes, I will be looking into house cleaning help sometime this summer. Yes, I will leave the house to come home and expect it to be clean. No, I will not be ashamed. Why? Because I am going to remember this time in my life right now and know why we are doing what we are doing.

Update: I am outsourcing 5 subjects. She “only” has two extracurricular activities. I did have someone clean my house after we moved it. I have learned that others decisions for their household is not a judgement against mine. Amen!

Always Learning

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Me, ready to teach Zumba

God is amazing!

Previously, I had expressed my concerns over my personality. I shared how, for most of my life, I have been chided on my flaws. This past week, oh this past week, God has freed me from a bondage I deemed righteous.

God does not condemn me. He gave me this dust I am an and, as long as I cooperate, will use it for His glory! I don’t need to be all smiles. I don’t need to try to worm myself into meaningful relationships. I don’t have to strive for what once was. God sees me and knows me where I am and loves me where I am. That is so FREEING!

I used to teach an online Zumba class.  It was hard finding a job once I got certified so, teaching online became a way I could express myself and keep building my skill set. Eventually, I landed two substitute instructor positions. I was more than happy to sub for someone. Within seven months of this whole process, I became pregnant with Baby Grace.  I had always seen myself as a fit mom and I decided I was going to be a fit pregnant woman too just like other woman I had seen. Welp, Baby Grace decided differently. Shortly thereafter, and after many cancelled or shortened classes, I stopped my online class and the paying gig I landed because I just couldn’t do it.  I felt like a failure.  Ever since then, I was looking for ways to claw my way back to my previous fitness level.

Once Baby Grace was 11 months, I decided enough was enough. I was going to get back in shape and teach again. I did just that. I began taking classes again, spending time on the elliptical, and putting fitness back into my every day.  I started subbing again and landed a summer long position. All of that came to a grinding halt in July. The gym where I was teaching no longer offered child care. I could not continue working there because it no longer fit my family.  I continued to sub at another location but needed to stop.  My available time to hone my craft (learn new choreography or come up with my own) changed. I did not have the time to devote to Zumba like I used to.  I couldn’t even take the same amount of classes that I used to.

Despite all of this, I felt I had to get back to where I was.  Finally, I submitted to the Lord my thoughts and feelings about this and asked Him what I was to do.  There are times when, once you are headed in a particular direction, we tend to mark out where we are going and expect no changes to that plan.  That is what I did with Zumba.  I expected that once I was an instructor, I would always be an instructor. That wasn’t God’s plan. Just last week, I quite my ZIN membership (Zumba Instructor Network) and, by the time this blog post is published, I will no longer be a licensed Zumba instructor.  I thought I would feel some kind of way but all I feel is relived. That season, regardless of how much I enjoyed it, is over. I trust God to usher me into a new season. I could not go into a new season if I stayed stuck in the former.

When God Chooses to Walk You Through Rather Then Remove the Obstacle

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Need You Now by Plumb

Have you ever asked the Lord to change you? I have. I’ve asked him to remove things that were so innate in me; things that were at the very essence of me but caused problems in my relationships. It was a very hard time.

I have recently had to take another spin on that Merry-go-Round. Yet another aspect of what makes me, me was presented to me as fecal matter on a plate. I went to the Lord, fully submissive, begging him to remove it from me and make me different.  Although I was submissive, I wasn’t necessarily asking to be in His will. I was asking Him to make the difficult easier for me by changing me.  Although I thought the change I was submitting for was God pleasing, it was not.  Yes, I was seeking to me more like Christ. My plea was to be more loving and compassionate because my strong, sinewy love was not desirable. My compassion lined with a plan of action to help solve a presented problem was frowned upon. Because no one else valued what makes me, me, it must be against God’s word right? Wrong.

I thought because trustworthy people, whom I love, told me my personality make-up was poor was equivalent to the Lord saying “XARA! Pay attention to this!” but it wasn’t.  When he said no to changing me, that is when I could hear His words. My personality wasn’t the problem.  He did not make a mistake in assigning me my intricacies. He knew those same intracacies would cause conflict with others.  He has used, and still uses, those conflicts to foster my growth in Him. That is not to say that this particular DNA of dust that I am does not require refining or that it is not subject to God’s design. (For example, when I don’t want to submit to my husband, I still MUST submit to my husband). But it does mean that I am not ill fashioned and do not need to long for a changing in me of things innately me for the ease of life with others. I can and will trust that God will walk me through each conflict my personality may cause. I can and will trust that He will use it for His glory.  I totally submit to His leading. I can and will trust that He will convict me in any sin or offense I make.

This is not an easy road by any means. I have become accustomed to hearing verbal jabs at who I am. That is not to say that it is any less tiresome. They say to walk a mile in someones shoes is a valuable life lesson. This process of asking God to take something away from me and not having him do it (not unlike Paul) caused me to have a more meaningful understanding and genuine empathy for Christians who have homosexual attractions. There is truly a war within our members.

Who Do I Follow?

images-1I like math.  Specifically, I like Algebra. I like its absolutes. I like its formulas. I like its predictability. I know if I follow a particular formula, I will get the correct answer (as long as the formula I am using is the correct one). Once I understood algebra, all of its rules became comforting to me. It was fool-proof.  I couldn’t go wrong as long as I followed the formula.

I tried to apply a formula to God once.  Needless to say, it failed miserably.  I had to learn to really walk by faith and not by formula sight. Praise be to God I have steadily learned how to do that in my married years. However, I still find myself wanting to emulate someone. I would like a pattern to follow.  I would like to see someone who does it well, whom I can follow, and get the same results: a husband who has no complaints and spiritually obedient and successful children.

Because I am prone to attaching myself to something successful and riding it like a rocket, I am often distracted by the success of others. I used to drop everything I was doing, well and poorly alike, and totally change to be just like the newest superstar in my book. That behavior became a serious detriment to my household.

I have since learned to glean. Glean the good that I see emulated and put into practice any truths that person possesses.  I don’t necessarily have to put those truths into practice the same exact way but the kernel of truth that supports their practice is what I am after. For example, I’ve struggled with being consistent with outdoor physical activities with my girls.  The basic truth that I’ve heard over and over is that I need to incorporate my children in my physical activities. When I go for a walk, I use that walk as alone time instead of making my girls go with me. I need to incorporate my girls with me for more things. I need to make more statements about what we are going to do for physical exercise instead of asking and hoping I hear the response I am looking for.

I have learned to glean from others while fully leaning on the Lord.  No one person is going to meet all the areas I’d like to see emulated. No one person gets it all right, even on their best days. The only wifommy in my specific family dynamic is me. I am the right person for the job because God said so. He wouldn’t have put me here otherwise.

So who do I follow? I follow Christ first, and I follow others as they follow Christ. 

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.

#I Can’t

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You’ve heard it before.  You’ve probably started saying it yourself. ‘I can’t’.  It is quite popular to say when one wishes not to continue processing something stupid. I tried saying it but the Holy Spirit stood against that with scripture.

In Philippians 4:13, the Bible says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me“.  Saying ‘I can’t’ regardless of its jovial connotations, goes directly against this new popular saying. I was convicted every single time so, I stopped saying it.

When it would be “appropriate” to say ‘I can’t’, what I was really shortening to convey was I-don’t-feel-like-doing-this-right-now, I-am-so-done-talking-about-this, this-is-on-my-nerves or something similar. Unfortunately, the new shortened speech stands in stark contrast to what the Bible says I am to think. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me means I can do what I don’t feel like doing.  I can complete my thought process.  I can persevere when I want to quit. Do I always feel like it? Heck no! But, I am not to speak against the strength, endurance, and perseverance God is instilling in me with cavalier words like ‘I can’t’.

The Bible says I am to be transformed by the renewing of my mind. I can’t renew my mind with words like ‘I can’t’ and expect to know God in His fullness.

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.