Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Transparency, it is the question...

In this age of social networking and a great deal of "over sharing" I saw a post on Facebook last night by a  friend from high school and it was an honest, simple statement of her struggles that day.  It didn't fall into the woe is me "over sharing" and  full of drama, meant to draw attention category, rather it was just beautifully transparent.  It got my attention.  I didn't roll my eyes and think "why do people put their dirty laundry on FB" like I do so many times, it just made my heart hurt for her.  The difference is, I think she was being transparent, which is so very rare in this day in age (maybe always?)

With constant contact and social networking one might come away feeling that we are more transparent than ever but I doubt that.  Yes, people write things on Facebook, Twitter, etc.  that they would  never verbalize to others, but I think it comes down to what we do post as opposed to what we don't.  We, whether intentionally or not, paint an image of ourselves and our lives by what we do share (and trust me when I say some of us share just a bit more than we need to...if ya know what I mean!)

Our Youth Pastor is leading a study right now that deals with this topic which already had my wheels turning and then this post by a friend last night really got me to thinking about true transparency.  If I am being 100% honest, being transparent is not something I am comfortable with at all.  It is truly something I struggle with (whether online or in person.)  Not that I am the sneaky/untrustworthy not transparent type, rather I keep my heart very closely guarded.

I don't open up to people about my feelings and you will rarely know if I am having a bad day. I carefully cull the photos I share online to make sure they present me in the best light.  I share just what I want, when I want.  So in essence I am painting who I am online.  By not "over sharing" (heavens, forbid!) I have a lot of people who think they know me, and little by little I kind of start believing that is me as well, rather than just a little part of the picture.

That is the catch isn't it?  We paint a picture over a picture and eventually we may forget what God's original was intended to be.  In this age of social media we trick ourselves into thinking we are more open than ever, when really we are just creating a virtual image hoping it will carry over into reality.  It is something to ponder,  isn't it? 

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Psalm 139:23 (NIV)

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Monday, January 28, 2013


Rearing boys is hard.  I mean they are these wonderful little creatures that are so filled with emotions (both good and bad) that sometimes they just seem to just burst with something so powerful that it can be overwhelming for them and those of us who love them.  When a little (or big) boy loves he can love with such intensity that it can hurt just watching him express it and when a little boy is angry that intensity can be the same.  

I have reared a girl, so I know girls can be hard as well…but these boys keep me bewildered most of the time.  I am parenting by myself a lot as my husband travels, so I am really having to stretch and try to see what I need to teach and where I need to push without crushing their spirits.  I know God created these young men in a very unique way to fulfill His plans…I just have to try to make sure that I build up the foundation that will help them in what God has planned for them…and that can be hard.  My idea of how things should be is distinctly feminine so I have to try to see it from the male side of the room. 
Boys can be rough, they can be rowdy and bawdy but they can also be soft, sweet, and so protective.  They live in a world that bombards them with conflicting messages about what manhood should be.  All at once they get messages that they should be tough and fearless and then the next thing they are inundated with the message that they must be sensitive and intuitive.  It is hard to be a boy today.  Even as a parent I find myself often sending mixed messages about being brave and bold but not too brave and not too bold.  So many settings that are designed for children aren’t designed for the energy, creativity and unique perspective of boys.  

Nothing must be more torturous that to take a 6 year old boy and tell him to sit quietly for hours on end.  But, I have done it.  I have expected my boys to tolerate situations with quiet manners that I am not sure my husband could even tolerate.  I have pushed them when I should have just let them find their own way.  I am sure I have embarrassed them more than once and I am sure I will again with my “Momminess.” 

But they say, nothing worth doing is easy…and rearing boys is not easy but so very worth it

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

We Had to have "The Talk"...the housecleaning talk.

It was bound to happen. I knew somewhere, sometime, I would be close to snapping and to avert a major explosion I had to scheduled a talk.  It started when we came home from church and I told the boys "I need to talk to you."  When I said it,  I could literally feel the hairs on the back of their necks raise in alarm. Their brains immediately kicked into hyper drive to search their minds to make sure there wasn't something they could be in trouble for or to prepare for what ever bad news they just knew was coming.

I called a talk...because my house is a mess, a big, huge, drives-me crazy-kind of  mess.  I called a talk because their bathroom smells like a locker room and I was worried the mold in there was so ominous it might rise up and take over the universe while we slept. I called a talk because my girlfriends and I all sat around after church and lamented the lack of motivation in our kids when it comes to house cleaning.  I called a meeting because some how we have to get back on track! 

It seems somewhere over Christmas break (after the parties and guests were done) I lost control.  And now I see the calendar creeping dangerously close to the end of January and it has just gotten worse.  I truly worry that the directors of Hoarders, Buried Alive will show up at any moment with an intervention team.  So, here is my very public pledge...I will regain control of my empire with my minions at my side!  We will hunt and kill each and every dust bunny that is hiding in the corners of our kingdom.  We will rid the counters of clutter and the evil piles of paper that have gathered in an attempt at mutiny. We will dust, vacuum, mop and shine our way to victory.

We will NOT appear on least not just yet.  

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Be My Valentine Marriage Challenge Week 1 ~ Take the Initiative

As I mentioned in my post last week I am taking the Be My Valentine Marriage Challenge with Courtney at Women Living Well and this is officially Week 1.  Courtney outlines the Challenge for Week 1 as:

"Week 1 Challenge - Take the Initiative!  Look for ways to praise your husband verbally.
Praise him in front of the kids, friends, family, co-workers, on Facebook, tweet it – get praise out anyway you can! Try to mention something noteworthy he has done – in his role as provider, father, husband, lover, or friend. If the thought of trying to come up with one terrifies you, then pray right now that God will give you new eyes to see your husband as God does. Then open your mouth and say something kind and uplifting to your husband today and tomorrow and the next day until Valentine’s Day arrives!"
For me this is an easy challenge as my husband is a wonderful man!  He works harder than just about anyone I have ever known to provide for our family.  He often sacrifices what he would "like to be doing"  to do things for me and our children.  He has done more "honey do" projects that I can count and I am sure he thought were senseless just to please me (our current laundry room redo topping that list!)  He is gentle but strong and seeks God in his daily life.  I count him among my greatest blessings! I feel honored to be his wife and though we have gone through dark days during our marriage, I am so thankful that he is still my husband and I can't imagine walking this journey without him.
“The wise woman builds her house,
but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.”
~Proverbs 14:1
Be My Valentine Marriage Challenge ~ Week 1

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Friday, January 18, 2013

"Be My Valentine" ~ Marriage Challenge via Women Living Well

Be My Valentine Marriage Challenge
One of the best things about blogging  is other bloggers.  I often find inspiration from other bloggers in creative pursuits, cooking, decorating and even spiritually.  Today is no exception as Courtney, over at Women Living Well, has come up with a great idea on how to celebrate Valentine's Day for a whole month and in a more meaningful way than with just a box of chocolates and a few flowers.  She is issuing a challenge to all of us wives out there to take the focus of the big "romance" holiday off ourselves and use it to honor and build up our husbands.

Courtney writes: "Each week the challenge will be the same – to praise, encourage, inspire, admire, build up, thank and appreciate your husband. But each week I will give you different ways to express your praise. Feel free to tweak it for what you think is best for your husband.

JR Miller writes “So it is in the dark hours of a man’s life, when burdens press, when sorrows weigh like mountains upon his soul, when adversities have left him crushed and broken, or when he is in the midst of fierce struggles which try the strength of every fibre of his manhood, that all the radiance and glory of a true wife’s strengthful love shine out before his eyes. Only then does he recognize in her God’s angel of mercy.”

 Let’s be angels of mercy to our husbands. We may think they are filled with confidence and strength but they are only human. They have insecurities, fears, failures, burdens and cares that we do not always slow down to recognize. We lose our tenderness in the hustle and bustle of life and this month let’s slow down and really see our husband’s with fresh eyes."

I encourage you to use this as a building block to shore up, encourage and love on your man.  Let him know exactly what he means to you.  Show him that you do appreciate and understand all the ways he sacrifices for your family out of love. Use these exercises to strengthen  your love skills (we all need refresher courses on that from time to time!)  I feel sure that your marriage will be blessed and I can't wait to get started!  Won't you join me?

Three things will last forever--faith, hope, and love--and the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Have you ever been pulled accident?

Yep, I said "by accident."

Yesterday afternoon I picked the boys up from school and headed home only to find my heart in my throat when I looked up and there were blue lights in my rear view mirror.  I did what any good, law abiding citizen would do in this situation and pulled into the closest parking lot to await my fate.  The police officer seemed to hesitate before pulling in after me.  He then turned off his blue lights and pulled up along side me looking quite red faced and said, "I am so sorry I didn't realize my blue lights were on...I guess that is why that lady let me out at Zaxby's!" True Story.

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

1 Year...

Today marks our 1 year seizure free mark.  Although it isn't the much looked forward to 2 year is a good day.  Last year at this time, I was in an emergency room with DS2 after he had experienced another, (albeit different type),  seizure and we were waiting to see a pediatric neurologist.  Today he is spending the afternoon on the golf course with his Dad and big brother.God is good.

It has been an interesting year, as I have learned more than I ever wanted to know about brains and seizures.  The word epilepsy has become a regular part of my vocabulary. We chose to forgo medications and try the Modified Atkins Diet (a more moderate approach to the Ketogenic Diet) to treat the seizures.  Seemingly we have been rewarded and my son is doing well.

This year has changed me in ways I couldn't have imagined.  I suppose it has changed our whole family.  Some of those changes have been been good, some not so good. I still have a huge amount of anxiety over even the smallest of details but I am slowly getting better.  DS2 is pretty patient with me and my "mama drama" and my other children seem to (for the most part) understand why I am so concerned.  I continue to struggle to balance the overprotective instinct with DS2's need to grow and handle things on his own.   It is a new season for us and I try to be Thankful to God for His mercy and that my family is still all together
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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Is it to early to think about Valentines?

I think my first crafty project of the new year will be a new wreath for our front door.  It always looks kind of lonely and sad after Christmas.  Of course, for inspiration I turned to Pinterest.  I really like these wreaths and need to decide which one to tackle:

Source: via Bella on Pinterest

So, which do you like best?
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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Gorgeous Homes of Edenton, NC

Edenton, North Carolina is a little gem that lies on the Albemarle Sound in the north-eastern corner of North Carolina.
 The streets are lined with amazing historical homes that look like something out of a movie set.  Seeing as Charleston, SC is my favorite city you wouldn't think the homes in Edenton would be so noteworthy, but trust me when I say, it is well worth a visit if you love history and old houses!

Edenton also has some pretty fabulous restaurants and cafes. As a matter of fact,  I had the best biscuit I have had in a VERY long time last weekend at 'Nothing Fancy Cafe in downtown Edenton!  There are also some cute little boutiques that hopefully I can share about in another post sometime soon.  It is truly refreshing that Edenton  has preserved it's quiet history and  community which continues to have a thriving downtown with every store front filled.

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Saturday, January 5, 2013

Happy 16, Baby Boy!

How did it happen?   
When did I close my eyes and a handsome young man took the place of my baby boy?
I can't believe that 16 years have flown by in the blink of an eye.  I feel I have missed so much and you are now wanting to fly...all I want to do is slow time down so I can keep you close.  I want to protect you from heart break and keep you safe.  I want life to bring you only blessings and joy.  I pray for you daily, that you will walk with God  and seek His will above all others.

When I look up to the baby boy that now towers over me in the body of a young man, I am stunned that we are 16 years down the path.  I was surprised when he came into this world ahead of schedule and he has continued to surprise me in so many ways, with the the depth of his intelligence, talents, kindness.  He surprises me daily with a sense of humor I could have never even fathomed out of anyone.  A recent surprise is how protective he has become of me and his siblings as he grows from boy to man.  He is a wonderful, caring and responsible young man and I am so blessed to share in his life.

 Happy 16th Birthday, my sweet baby boy.

But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”
Luke 11:28

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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Wading into Coupons

I used to be a devoted (and if I do say so myself, pretty successful) couponer.  Then we moved.  We moved to an area where the Sunday paper didn't come with a plethora of coupons just waiting to be piggy backed onto sales.  So, I fell out the habit.  But with the new year has come a desire to relearn the frugal practices I used to use and be a better steward of my resources. 

Last night I sat down, clipped my coupons (what few came in the Sunday paper, that is), looked through the weekly sale papers and decided what to get and where then headed out for my 1st stop on the coupon success train.  I took my 11 year old with me, warning  him that he would have to be patient with the process.  I knew it had been a long time since I had couponed as he didn't remember me ever doing it!  We hit CVS first and I think we did pretty good for our first time out in a long while.  Once he got the hang of the process he kind of got into it as well, not to mention it was a good learning lesson in translating money into fraction word problems as we went!  We saved $24.68 and got $15.00 in Extra Care Bucks back to use in the future and I got to stock up on things we definitely will be using in the future like body wash, makeup, tissues, etc. 

So, I feel pretty accomplished and am determined to get back on the band wagon and become the frugalista I have always wanted to be!!!  Oh, and I had forgotten what a high it was to save so much and come out of a store with a ton of things without spending a ton of money.

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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2013 Is Here

Can it be possible?  We are actually already into the new year, and I am not talking about the 1st {which is a holiday so it doesn't much count, does it?}  This morning I actually had to write a check that ended in 2013!

When I left my house this morning I could tell the new year had arrived in the real world.  The traffic flow was pre-Christmas and it seemed everything was business as usual.  Fortunately for us, my boys don't go back to school until Monday and we are going to squeeze in one last short trip  before then.  My daughter heads back to college on the 14th so at least for the next week or so...we will pretend to still be on a holiday of sorts. 

I love having my family home (and particularly like being far away from homework) but usually about this time I find myself craving the routine.  All our Christmas decor is put away and the house is in order so I guess I flounder around a bit without the routine.  Anyone else miss the routine?

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