Old Ladybugs

Well folks, we’ve made it to Wednesday! I just wanted to take a few moments of your busy day to give you a bit of respite. Life is hard! We get up early, go to bed late, and run run run, all in between there.

It seems there are never enough hours to accomplish all that I want to do.

Craft-a-holic

There are always so many things on my to-do list. I want to make so many crafts, and clean and organize everything in my home, and be a good mommy and teach important things to my kids, and be a good wife…. The list goes on and on, but there is only so much of me. Again..I hear my  mom in my head reminding me I’m not SuperMom.

The art of Prioritizing is key!

I’ve recently starting making a to-do list, as in TOP Priority- non-negotiable list, like I usually do, but also adding a secondary to-do list. Somewhere between a wish list, and a “not necessarily today, but immediate future”. This is where I put my crafts, and other non-essential cleaning chores.

I’ve always been a list person. I am a visual person, as well as a tad forgetful. I don’t know how many times my husband and I discuss something I need to do, and then at the end of the day, I’ve forgotten all about it. Ugh! I hate that.

Being able to cross things off the list, and have a sense of accomplishment is such a great feeling, right? The flipside of that is how much I feel guilty and chide myself for putting things off.

Many crafters share the jokes about having “UFO’s” (un-finished objects) lying around.

I’m no different. I’ve been known to put off something because it wasn’t going the way I wanted. I get frustrated with myself, or no longer have the patience, and just put it away. I usually get back to it and finish it. There have been a few projects that got scrapped all together.

Well, I’m excited to announce that I have completed my oldest UFO, ever!!! Yesssss!! The sense of completion, accomplishment, finito, is awesome. I feel like I want to steamroll through a million projects! I have several lined up, so we will hope the momentum lasts.

It’s also awesome, because it’s something that I was supposed to make for my sister. So now, after nearly 20 years, I get to give it to her. It’s childish, but hey!, it was childish when she wanted me to make it for her when we were still teenagers! I know she will get a huge laugh out of it, and that makes my heart smile! My sister has always loved ladybugs. She even calls my daughter her “ladybug princess.”

She has always supported my craftiness. When I first started sewing she was right there, wanting me to make her a matching Halloween costume, like the one I was making. So, I did. When I taught myself how to crochet, just to make some replacement slippers for an old pair I loved, she was there to ask me to make her a pair…wait a sec! I never did make them! Well…I guess I have another project to go make! Hold please…I need to add this to my crafting list.

Okay, on to the Ladybug Bag!

Here’s what the pieces look like after being dug out of the bottom of my fabric drawers.

lady bug bag pieces
Ladybug Bag pattern pieces

Now , these pieces were not just put in this one drawer 18 yrs ago never to be seen again. No. They were in the fabric store bag that I bought them in for years. I’ve moved many times since then, and had several different containers that I stored fabric scraps in. I’ve pulled it out and considered working on it, only to put it back in. Preferring to work on whatever current project I had instead. At some point I had cut the pieces and started with Step A, and cut and sewed the feet, but back in the pile it went.

I’m not sure why the sudden desire to finally complete it hit me. Perhaps it is a desire to go back and do things that I regret not doing. Sweeping out the dust under the furniture, so to speak. Or, it could be that I want to see the reaction my sister has when she sees it! That’s the motivation that has prevented me from tossing it.

One afternoon later, I completed this project that was hidden away for eons. Just a few hours, that was it!

Ladybug bag
Ladybug bag for my Sister

I did it! And now, apparently, I have some slippers to make! At least she will use the slippers. The bag, not so much!

So, life is busy, and hectic. Make time by prioritizing your to-do’s, to include the things that bring you joy. It’s even better when it brings others joy too. Take some time for yourself. It doesn’t have to be private, or a long period of time. Just find it!

It’s worth it.

YOU, are worth it!

 

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Four months old!

Winnekenni Park
Winnekenni Park

Hey Feather Friends! Can you believe it’s been four months since I started blogging?! Me either! I can’t believe how much I have learned and grown since starting Moms of a Feather.

Before I started the blog, I had been playing around with the idea of blogging. It was (still is) kind of hard to find a niche`. I am a girl with such an eclectic personality, and it shows in my interests. I love a little bit of everything; all genres of books, movies, music, and hobbies.

I pursue whatever captivates me at the moment, and I never let inexperience get in the way!

So even though I felt like there are already a million blogs about crafts and cooking, I still wanted to jump into the blogosphere. I spent a lot of time pondering, questioning, doubting. The niggling in my mind didn’t go away.

The last few years have been pretty emotional for me. About three months ago, it really came to a crescendo, and I just couldn’t deal with it anymore. You can read more from one of my first posts here. It was then that I felt the Lord calling me to blog about my struggles. It seems weird to put your family drama on the internet, but so many of us rely on technology for everything, and social media is a huge part of our lives now.

We latch onto social media because we want to be connected, even though we sometimes disconnect to the people in the room. We want to be a part of other people’s lives, even if we never speak to them on the phone, or in person. We want to raise our hand, as we click the “like” button, to say “hey! me too!” When we are lonely, or hurting, we also log on to find solace, or escape. So online, is a great place to be to reach those who are hurting.

In the last few months, I’ve checked out books and taught myself a little about managing a website. I’ve scoured Pinterest for help learning this new language of IT stuff that I never knew existed. If you had asked me three months ago what  great SEO was, I couldn’t tell you….it’s still a little sketchy, to be perfectly honest.  I’m definitely not a blogging diva, and I won’t be writing a post about how much money I made blogging anytime soon. I’m still learning. It seems like the internet wants to tell you what to do to be successful. I never feel like I fit into anyone’s box of requirements. I’m going to just do my own thing!

As for my mental health? There is still a lot of healing to be done in my family, but I am so incredibly blessed. Four months ago, I was starting counseling because I was having anxiety issues at work. My personal hurts and struggles made it difficult to handle stress at work. I would get panicky and paranoid. I let too many things bother me, and I couldn’t stop analyzing them. I would think about work non-stop when I wasn’t there. I would dream about it, or even if I briefly woke up in the middle of the night, I would immediately start thinking about it and not be able to sleep. It was so frustrating that I let people bother me so much that I doubted myself, and my abilities. I had spent over a decade with this company, I knew how to do my job! It was my self-confidence I had lost. Myself period. I didn’t want to be like that, but I didn’t know how to make it better. I clung to my bible, and prayed harder.

Little did I know that the Lord was already at work.

There have been a lot of positive changes in my life in the last few months. We were already in the planning process to move from Florida to Massachusetts, when I went to counseling. I knew we were going to have some changes that we hoped would improve our lives, but I needed help immediately. Part of me feared that I would lose my job. At work, a peer and I switched jobs, which was my saving grace. I still worked with the people that I allowed to have so much power over my emotions, but in my new capacity, it was a non-issue. I was given a specific goal, and I was given free reign to make it happen.

I’ve learned that when it comes to my personality and my brand of anxiety, vagueness is the root of all evil! I need specifics. A goal. A task. A clear set of expectations. Something that you can grasp being able to achieve. Without that, it is easy to get too overwhelmed.

Maybe that’s why parenting is so hard!? Where is the manual? Did they forget to give me one at the hospital?? But I digress….

In the last couple months in Florida, I accomplished quite a bit, and it went a long way to make me feel successful. I felt like I needed to prove to myself that I hadn’t lost my abilities. They were there all along, but my anxiety was getting in the way. My anxiety and stress levels continued to decrease. When we got here to Massachusetts, I took a step down the corporate ladder, and down again, cutting out weekends. The old me would have agonized about how the store managers felt, but not anymore. Family first! In order to let my husband move ahead with his career, this is necessary. I don’t consider it a step down. I consider it a step up in being able to care for my family, and myself, better! I found a different full time job that is only Monday through Friday. I take this as another blessing. Five years ago, I tried to find this in Florida, but with no success. That’s why I ended up back in retail. So, no more nights and weekends, no more missed parties, activities, weddings, or bedtime stories! Yes! Finally!

My last little blessing before leaving my job has been that I’ve been able to really enjoy a stress free work environment! I have been able to do what I like to do most, with nobody bothering me. I leave with a sense of accomplishment, which absolutely bolsters my confidence. I think God wanted to give me one last little boost! I’m excited to start my new adventure next week. I’m also enjoying all the time I get with my family.

Bonus: I get a week off in December!!!!

I’ve spent my life in retail ya’ll…IT”S GONNA BE AMAZING!!!!!!

 

 

 

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Settling in

Hello Again!

Things have been super crazy around the Nest lately. We are finally getting situtated here in Massachusetts.  We had a great drive up. I enjoyed seeing the pretty yellow flowers in North Carolina, purple flowers in Pennsylvania, and rolling farmlands in Maryland.

My little guy was such a trooper in the car! In my perfect world, I would have sewn him a cute organizer in some awesome fabric, and activities would have been in some cute little container, perfectly organized. Reality is that we did what we always do. Our old DVD player that straps to the headrest went up (I usually stow it away in the nifty floorboard compartment), and I loaded up his Robot bag (which is a fabric bag that I made for library books) with crayons and a coloring book that he barely touched, some new books, and his stuffed animals he sleeps with.

I did a fairly good job of not letting him eat snacks and drink too many fluids all day long. We stopped for lunch, and stopped driving around dinner time each day. There were indoor pools at the hotels we stopped at, so he got some exercise.

Looking back on the whole packing/loading/unloading process, here’s what worked and didn’t work. We bought shrink wrap to protect our furniture, but didn’t use it enough. We had some furniture get damaged that we aren’t even sure how it happened. If we had wrapped it like we originally planned…..sigh. I guess I will be pinning wood repair tips later.

One idea from Pinterest that I wish I had implemented was this idea of having a “first day in the new place” tub. Things like toilet paper, cleaner, box cutters, trash bags, etc. would have been handy to have in one spot, rather than digging around. All my cleaning supplies were the last to go in the truck from cleaning our old apartment, so they weren’t hard to find, but somehow toilet paper was something I had to dig around for. Also, I will say that the $2 I spent on a little knife cutter was the best thing ever! I stowed it away in my purse so I had easy access to it. I’m still using it to break down boxes as we unpack.

Another great idea that I liked was using the trash bags for the clothes. I mentioned it in my previous post, Adventures in Moving. You can find it here. It was easy to pack, load, and hang up in the new place! I can’t imagine moving my clothes any other way in the future!

We moved all our stuff ourselves, it’s just too much money to hire movers for us. My husband’s brother volunteered to fly down and help us load and drive up. What an awesome guy, right?! It was a big help. Plus, we had a friend help us with the second half of the unload once we got here. We really needed the extra help for the final push. We are on the 2nd floor, and by the time he got here, we were beat! Another great helper!

I used an app on my phone to clock my steps. I walked 5.7 miles, approximately, 14,288 steps. I can do that in a day at work easy, but up and down stairs? By the third day, our muscles were starting to feel better… A jump in the brisk Sebago Lake of Maine helped a little.

Overall, we are happy to be here. Job chaos seems to be working itself out, and Caleb loves the new daycare. I’m thankful we arrived safely. We’ve only had a few unexpected bumps in the whole process, but they  have been manageable.

There is still a lot of emotional turmoil going on with my daughters over the move. While one is being supportive and is excited to come visit, the other one has completely shut me out. You know a 14 year old is mad when they “unfriend” you on Facebook. I called and talked to her on the phone, and texted her about our plans/progress on the road. After about a week of no communication she sends me a novel of messages claiming that I hate her and that I need to stop talking to her.

It is very hard to deal with this, but I know that I can only do so much, and just pray about the rest. I have told her that she can unfollow me on social media. I still love her. I text her to let her know I’m thinking of her. I love her. I texted her to let her know what our plans were and what was going on because she has a right to know what state her mother is in at any given moment. I still love her. I let her know that I understand why she unfriended me. I get that it’s difficult to see me talk about things that are hard for her to handle. I will let her have her space. But I won’t stop texting her to let her know that I care about her. I love her. No matter what she says or does.

It’s hard, but God gives me strength. Life still goes on.

With boxes piled everywhere, it can be a little overwhelming to see all the work that needs to be done. No rush, so I’m not letting it get to me. I’m enjoying the new scenery and the beautiful weather!

I’m taking life one box at a time.

 

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Product review of Panasonic Cordless Iron

Hi Guys! I wanted to take some time to do a product review for my new Panasonic CORDLESS Steam Iron!

Panasonic Cordless Iron

Yes, I’m geeking out about an iron.

*This is NOT a sponsored Ad. I purchased this myself*

First of all, I am NOT a fan of ironing. I will put something in the dryer twice before ironing it! Admit it, you do it too! I mainly use a small travel size iron for my sewing, and it’s great..but

some garments just need a good old-fashioned iron.

I thought I had an iron in the garage somewhere, but I couldn’t find it, so I started looking around at the stores. I must have been reluctant to spend money on one , because I wasn’t willing to buy the cheapest iron, and I certainly didn’t want to spend $40+ on one. I didn’t find anything that I felt met my needs.

Since I hadn’t shopped for an iron in a decade or so, I thought it was pretty nifty that there are quite a few that have retractable cords! However, almost all the ones that I saw, the cord came out of the right side of the iron. So what, right?

Well, since I’m a Lefty, the cord will come out on the side closest to me. I find that I constantly have to reposition the cord on my little iron. What a hassle. There are irons out there that have the cord coming out of the center, and some on a swivel ball, but they aren’t retractable. So the search continued.

While shopping online at Amazon for storage solutions, my research advisor (aka my husband) started looking at irons. This guy amazes me with his diligence in researching product reviews, comparing prices, and finding the best overall fit for what we need!

That’s when the Panasonic Cordless Steam Iron came into my life.

Here are the features that piqued my interest:

  • Cordless, Baby!!
  • Auto-Shut off (always a great feature, just-in-case)
  • Easy peesy Electronic Temperature Control (3 settings, no more dial) Plus-the light blinks until it is at temperature, then stays on
  • Power base gives you a cradle to place it in so it won’t tip over and fall on the carpet (I did that once)
  • Carrying case
  • Has the Good Housekeeping seal of approval , so not only has it been tested and approved by their panel of experts, GH will reimburse you, up to two years after buying a product, if it is defective!
  • Bonus: part of the iron and the carrying case are a beautiful Aqua, which matches my ironing board, and is my current favorite color! 😉

Let’s open it up, and test it out!

Panasonic Cordless Iron

Panasonic Cordless Iron
Controls of Cordless Iron

The controls are very easy to read. No more dials to contend with. Choose your temperature setting, and the light will flash until temperature is reached. It only takes 2-3 minutes. When I used it the first time, I set it on High for Cotton, which is what I mainly iron. I then remembered that I have a newer shirt that is Acetate, requiring a low setting. I switched from High to Low, and it did take quite a bit longer 7-10 minutes, to reach temperature. It took longer for the iron to cool down. So the smart thing to do, would be to use a lower setting first, and then bump it up to a hotter setting.

 

Let’s talk about the Power Base. It has a retractable cord, which I love. The neat thing about having this cordless iron with a base, is that the base does not require to be plugged in all the time!

When you need to do some ironing, you simply plug in the base, select your temperature, let it heat up, do your ironing, let it cool down, unplug, and store it away!

Panasonic Cordless Steam Iron
Power Base

Notice the black Roller! This allows you to simply roll the iron on and off the base, for easy access. Also, the case snaps onto the base. Just place the top over the iron on the base, and click! Lift the handle and you’re off to your sewing class, or just to store it away.

Panasonic Cordless Steam Iron
Iron case

Thanks for stopping by for my product review. Now…what can I go iron?

 

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Cheap and Easy Teacher Gift

Hey Folks! Just wanted to do a quick post to show you a

Cheap and Easy Teacher Gift

My son will be graduating Kindergarten on Friday (sniff sniff), and this has been a challenging year for him. He is learning to control his emotions, and have patience. I’m so grateful for his teacher and the staff at the school. It has not been easy for them this year.

I know teachers are looking forward to summer vacation just as much as the kids are! God bless our educators! God made certain people for this job, and I know I’m not one of them. My hat’s off to these great people.

Cheap and Easy Teacher Gift

 

I knew I wanted to do something, but I wasn’t sure what. With us moving, I don’t have a lot of time or money for anything outlandish. I found one of these cups with a straw on clearance and knew it would be perfect for a Teacher Gift for my son’s teacher. (Forgive the packing materials in the background)

Cheap and Easy Teacher gift
Cup with Straw

Cheap and Easy Teacher giftMost of my craft projects start out in much the same way: I get an idea, and I scrounge around for inspiration, and I usually hit the craft stores for materials. Sometimes, I find things I forgot I had, and they turn out to be perfect. This time, I found a roll of ribbon with pencils on it that I bought for a back-to-school theme I did at work. I happened to find it in my desk at work by accident. I thought it was in my craft drawers at home…I never would have found it otherwise!

The next step was to try and figure out what to fill it with. I don’t know her very well, and she is an older woman. I knew that cute nail polish and the like would not be a good fit. So, I decided that you probably can’t go wrong with chocolate and coffee! So here are all my supplies gathered up:

Cheap and Easy Teacher giftNow of course, the fun part..stuffing it all in there. I took the packets of coffee and stood them up all around the inside of the cup, facing out. Then, I piled the chocolate squares in the middle around the straw. I may have been a little happy that a few pieces of chocolate and two of the packets of iced coffee didn’t fit. 🙂

Next up, I searched Pinterest for a cute label. There are so many creative ladies out there who come up with all these printables for everything you could ever imagine! I found a great one over at http://brendid.com/the-5-minute-coffee-teacher-appreciation-gift/.

 free printable gift tag featuring fun coffee sayings.
From Brendid Blog post The 5 Minute Coffee Teacher Appreciation Gift

I like that it has one more suited for a gift card, and one that isn’t. So, whichever way you want to gift coffee is covered! I printed this out the other day, and then realized that I printed it on regular paper. I made a copy onto cardstock paper, so it would be a little more sturdy. (I’ll save the original in my craft patterns for future teacher gifts)

Tie the tag on with some ribbon and..Voila! Now you have a cheap and easy teacher gift!

Cheap and Easy Teacher gift
Teacher gift in a cup

I will have my son sign his name on the back for his teacher, and together we will give it to her on Friday!

Check out my other gifting ideas that I’ve collected on my Pinterest board here!

Share your teacher gifts in the comments below!

 

 

 

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Adventures in Moving

Hey ya’ll! Things have been pretty hectic here in my Nest lately! We are preparing to make this 1350 mile move from Florida to Massachusetts. The planning is a roller coaster ride. We’ve gone from the click-click-click, climb to the top, just waiting for the time to get closer for actual planning, to the heart-racing anxiety of what comes next. Lining up job details, housing, daycare, etc. With three weeks and closing fast, we are starting the downhill plunge. Ahh!

I’ve moved many times, and Mr. Nest and I are very organized. I don’t need the cute little checklists that I can print out from Pinterest. I have mental checklists, but it does help to write things down for my days off to make sure I’m not forgetting something. I also have my checklist checker who keeps me on track. I can always call my husband to see what I’m forgetting 😉 I see so many tips for moving that are already part of my routines, and others I giggle at how OCD some people really are. Come on, do we really need a number system for each box? Who wants to double check a list to find out where box 212 belongs?

A Sharpie to mark the side of the box is sufficient for me. Although, I do think kids would enjoy picking out their own color Duct Tape for the boxes for their stuff. Have you seen how many colors and patterns there are now? Momma might even pick a cute color for her stuff! Color coding boxes by room isn’t a bad idea. I have been browsing Pinterest, just to see what other people do. Plus, being such a long-haul move, I wanted to see if there were better ways to pack certain things. I have pinned a few interesting moving hacks that I never would have thought of.

This Pin amazed me with its frugality and simplicity. Why didn’t I think of this??

33+ Helpful Packing & Moving Tips Everyone Should Know ~ Use paper bags in place of newspaper for glass cups and small bowls!
Photo Source: Pinterest

You can find paper lunch sacks on the aisle with foil and wraps. For $2, you get 100 sacks at Wal-Mart. You could also use them for wrapping candles, jars, etc. I will definitely add this to my list of packing supplies.

Another tip that really helps is that when you know you are moving soon, keep the boxes for things you buy! This past Christmas I found a great deal on a set of dishes. I kept the box, so that when I move, I can neatly pack all the dishes just the way they came. We also had to buy a new tv when the little guy decided that Mommy’s pincushion held writing utensils for the tv… We kept the box so we could nestle it nicely.

I also like this idea:

The fastest way to pack a closet. This also keeps your clothes on their hangers, for much faster unpacking. Hang in closet when you arrive and tear off the bag and you are done! This would also work for off season storage.:

This hack popped up quite a bit while I was browsing. This is an easy way to corral your clothes. Also, since they aren’t in a box, you can lay them on top of boxes, or fit them into odd spaces that you can’t fit boxes in the moving truck.

I usually look for cheap and easy ways to pack for a move. Making a big move like this will require a bit of investment in some areas in order to protect items from damage. I don’t usually spring for the big roll of bubble wrap or shrink wrap, but this time I will. I will also buy a bag for my mattress, which I admit, is partially for the handles on the sides. I don’t know why they don’t make handles on King size mattresses anymore… but for under $20 at U-Haul, I think it’s worth it.

So all these hacks are great and all, but where to start?? I brought in my dozen or so boxes that I got from work and I stood in the living room with my hands on my hips, tapping my forefinger on my lips.

Uhhh. Hmm. It can seem like a daunting task.

Oh yeah!

Start packing what you don’t need for the next few weeks.

I always have the same thought: “If I won’t miss this for a few weeks, do I really need this?” I packed up the DVD’s that we have in the bottom of the TV stand. We dwindled them down the last time we moved, yet we haven’t watched 95% of them since we moved in here. I wonder how many of these are available on Amazon or Netflix now?

I try to do an “outside- in” method of packing. I start with the closets, usually the top where the lesser used items are stored, then the bottom, and the linen closets, coat closets, craft closet. Then take things down from the walls. Cleaning the walls after you remove pictures and decorations makes it a one and done job! This is where the Magic Erasers come in handy. I LOVE these little white rectangular miracles. I sure wish they had invented these when my daughter was 3 and she wrote all over the wall in marker! We had to use Kilz and repaint the wall before moving out of that house.

Warning! As tempting as it may be…Magic Erasers are not good on certain surfaces, read the package before using it on everything in your house! I learned the hard way that it will take the finish off a nice wood table. Another “Duh, Nik” moment.

Once you start cleaning it’s hard to stop! You begin to notice all the little dirt smudges on the door frames and around the light switch plates. Stay focused!

Declutter as you go! If you don’t remember the last time you used something, or didn’t realize you still had it..Donate it or Toss it! Don’t bring junk with you that will sit and collect dust in your next home.

After the walls, I start thinking of what I’m going to be cooking until the move. I pack away appliances I won’t need, and leave the bare essentials. I also plan meals around the food that I need to use up before the move. I may or may not be guilty of buying items to make a dessert with the one package of Jell-O in the pantry. I bought it for something I can’t remember what now. You gotta use it right?? I came across this on Pinterest the other day. A cold dessert sounds like a nice treat after a busy day of packing 😉

No Bake Lemon Cheesecake:
Source: eighteen25.com

This is where I’m at in my adventures in moving. T-minus three weeks!

Next time on the Nest, I will share my tips for packing for the long road trip with a Six year old.

What tips do you have for making a long-distance move?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bringing up boys

When you have your third child you naturally assume that you have done it all, know it all, and don’t need help.

This ain’t my first rodeo! I got this.

And then, you have a child of a different gender than the first two…and you realize how different they are. My first two children, both girls, were 22 months apart. I went through many stages simultaneously. Having two brings a different dynamic to parenting as well. When my younger daughter was 8 years old, we added a little boy to the mix.

Now every child is different in their personalities, and having two girls wasn’t a totally foreign concept to me, since I have a sister, but a boy was totally different! I have four nephews, so I thought I was knowledgeable.

His personality is different, and the family dynamic is way different, since I’m remarried. Raising my little man is vastly different from when my girls were little because my life is very different.

My son is six, and has had social issues since he started daycare.  Even before daycare, when I took him to toddler story time at the library, I noticed that he did not want to interact with the other kids. He did not want to sing and dance. He stayed right by me. I thought he was just shy. When he started daycare, he had a lot of tantrums. He has improved dramatically, but we are still having constant issues. I feel like I’m ill-equipped to handle this. We talk, we discipline, we love. I just feel at a total loss for what to do.

The main issues we are dealing with is that he does not know how to handle his emotions. He gets upset about something minor, and then when he is asked to calm down, he can’t. So when the teacher threatens to call me, or indicate that he will get in trouble, he totally loses it. He has been removed from the classroom numerous times. Recently, the students have been moved to another classroom, so that he could be dealt with.

We’ve also encountered several instances of him being bullied, and lashing out at the kids, which gets him into trouble. We’ve  made it clear to him that hurting other people is the biggest no-no.

I give many kudos to his teacher, she has been a saint! Honestly, I was really happy when he got an older teacher this year. I knew that he needed a well-seasoned teacher who was more familiar with handling behavior issues. I just didn’t think that a twenty-something, fresh out of school, would be ready for my son! The principal, and the counselor, have also been involved in my conferences. The school has been really awesome with him. I can tell that they truly care about his development, both socially and academically. Lord, I pray that his next school will be just as great with him!

Academically, he is struggling. Aside from the screaming, the teacher is constantly barraged with his pleas for help…with everything. He wants her right beside him all day helping him do his work. He gets very upset when she has to help other children. I myself have a difficult time trying to teach him anything. He has never wanted me to do anything remotely related to him learning something. The only thing he lets me do is read to him, which we try to do everyday. When I try to get him to read his sight words in a book, that I know he learned months ago, he refuses. I have successfully gotten him to “read” one very short reader book! I was so excited!

What’s difficult about having issues at school, is that I feel powerless. I am not there to help him calm down. They have called me a few times, to talk to him,  and I have had to pick him up from school twice. Luckily, they don’t call me every time this happens, or I would have been fired already. The other frustrating thing is that he is not like this at home. I guess it’s because he doesn’t have other children to interact with, and he has more freedom at home.

He is such a sweet, loving boy. He tells us that he loves us multiple times a , and always wants a kiss. I love that. I soak it up, because I know that will not last! He’s very caring, and has a big heart. He wants to be a good boy. He even yells it when he’s angry.Untitled design (2) I desperately want to help him connect the dots on how to accomplish that.

As adults we do that too. You can start your day out in prayer, and feel like you are peaceful and serene, and then an hour later, walk into work and be sucked back into negativity.

Now enters my biggest problem in life: me. I want to help him. I have taken him to a behavior specialist. They diagnosed him with ADHD a little over a year ago. Okay, I really already knew that. We did not want to put him on medication because he is so young. We’ve also discussed whether or not to test him for Autism. At the time, I didn’t want to pursue any counseling with a therapist, because I didn’t realize that I chose such a crappy healthcare plan at work, and everything was out of pocket. So, all I could do was partner with the school, and try to work with him as best we could at home. Fast forward to the start of this year. New insurance plan, but did I call to make him an appointment? No. Why?

I am the biggest procrastinator ever.

After the situation with the girls, I have realized that I’m a hopeful ostrich. I tend to think that in the long run, this too shall pass. If there are no issues, I think things are getting better. And then something else happens, and my husband says we need to do something, and I agree, and then still do nothing. It’s a viscious cycle. This right here, has caused more problems in my marriage than anything else. I don’t follow through. But why?? He asks. Honestly, I don’t know the answer, but I need to find it. I’m always reminded of Paul’s verse that says “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” Romans 7:15. This one verse describes much of my personality. This problem, has rendered many of the consequences I face right now.

Romans 7:15

I did call the dr’s office again recently. I had to leave a message, and nobody ever got back to me. So, life goes on and I forget about it, until the next email from the teacher. Now that we are moving, I have to put this on hold, until after we get settled.

Following through on addressing things I need to take care of, is my biggest struggle, and I am making this my biggest prayer to overcome.

 

 

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Zoom out to God’s Perspective

In my last post, I told ya’ll that God had been reminding me to wait for Him. To be patient. He is continuing to remind me that He has a purpose.

Proverbs 19:21 says “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” (NIV) This is the Bible verse for my Bible study! I’ve been seeing similar verses and reminders everywhere! I think He is reminding me to hold on!

I’ve been doing a Bible study focusing on the book of Ruth. This story is only four chapters, but her story shows us how God’s Will prevails, in unexpected ways. I’ve always heard a lot of praise for this small story, but I’ve never understood what all the hype was about. I’ve read it several times, but it just didn’t mean that much to me. What was so great?

What’s her story?

Naomi had two sons. Both her sons married, and after about ten years, they both died. Her husband being passed away, Naomi took both her daughters in-law and set out to live in her hometown. She urged both the women to return to their own families. One of the women left, but Ruth chose to stay with her mother-in-law.

Factoid: Naomi’s other daughter-in-law was named Orpah. Sound familiar? Yep, this was Oprah’s intended name, but a typo gave her the famous moniker we all know. That is, if you believe everything you read online. Anyway….

Let’s pause here for a moment, and zoom in to street level.

Ruth was married to her husband for ten years. We don’t know how the brothers died. Perhaps it was war (it was Bible times after all..always a war somewhere), maybe it was an illness. I’m sure Ruth’s hopes and dreams were crushed. She no longer had her husband to grow old with. What about dreams of bearing children? This is not what she had in mind. I can relate. We have our lives planned, and then stuff happens. Suddenly, we find ourselves on a path that we never wanted to be on.

Naomi had lost her husband, and now her two sons. When they got to Bethlehem, Naomi told the people to call her “Mara”, which means “bitter”. She was a bitter woman after the tragedies that she experienced. I imagine her life was not what she wanted it to be either. We know that she was a woman of God. I bet she prayed for the protection of her husband and sons. Perhaps she prayed for God to spare them. Yet He did not. She was returning to her hometown at the lowest point in her life. She had lost her identity.  She told everyone that “the Lord has brought me back empty” (Ruth 1:21) Was she trying to understand why God had done this to her? Why didn’t He answer her prayers? Why had He taken away her family?

As Christians, we like to believe that if we pray hard enough, and are faithful, that God will answer our prayers. We can get so caught up in what we want in our lives.When your prayers don’t get answered, do you believe that other people are not following God’s will, or do you accept that it is part of a greater plan?

Let’s jump back into the story.

Ruth does what she has to do: find work. She meets an honorable man who looks out for her. Long story short, they marry. Their son would be the grandfather of the great King David, and sixteen generations later…Jesus was born from this lineage.

After I had read the book of Ruth the other day, I put it on the coffee table, and just shrugged my shoulders. I still didn’t see what the big deal was. I thought about the story, and pondered. Meditating on His Word.

Later that night, I was lying in bed thinking. It was as if the light switch came on.

Bingo!

When you zoom out, way way out, from Ruth’s story,  you see why things happened the way they did. From God’s perspective, you can see how the pieces shifted and fell into place. You realize that Naomi’s husband and sons died for a reason. Ruth’s husband died, to fulfill the ultimate purpose of God.

From God's perspective, you can see how the pieces shifted and fell into place.

These women were brought to a place of deep sorrow.  But their suffering was not inflicted to please God, but in order to make way for Jesus. The horrible things we face in life. Things we pray for God to NOT allow, or beg God to give us, that we never receive, may be the very things He intends for us. Not because He doesn’t care, but because He does. We pray for God to take away illnesses, or for our loved ones to do the things we want them to do.

If we pray God’s will in our lives, are we really prepared for what He wants. Are we willing to move in His direction? Do we doubt doing the right thing if it seems difficult? If it seems totally crazy, or if we just don’t like it? Was Ruth scared, or angry? She may have questioned, but she went. She chose to work to provide for herself without expecting what God had in store for her. God gave her a new life. A loving husband, and a son. He restored her joy, and gave her more than she expected. Naomi also had joy restored with a grandson. This life would not have been possible. The lineage of Jesus would not have been possible, if not for the tragedies they endured.

You’ve heard the saying “hindsight’s 20/20.” It is easy to see God’s hand in our lives, when looking back. Seeing it in our lives in the moment is the hard part. Our tough situations that we pray long and hard for God to take away, just might be what He has given to us on purpose. In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet, not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39) As a human, Jesus did not want to suffer, so he asked for God to spare him, but he wanted God’s will for him. God’s will was for him to be a living sacrifice for us. “For God so loved the world, that He gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

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None of us want to suffer. “Be we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” (Romans 5:3). This verse coupled with Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose,” give us some pretty strong promises to hold on to!

Hang on my friends!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I will continue

Today I have so many emotions and thoughts running through my head, it is hard to filter through the noise. I sat down with a cup of coffee and my Bible to gain some insight, some new perspective…something. I love it when I’m reading a passage, and the words jump right off the page. That does not always happen.

Even when God’s direction and voice don’t seem clear in that moment, the Holy Spirit holds these words in my heart. I still believe.

I love my Bible. It’s the best present I’ve ever received. It’s battered and dog-eared. It has many highlights and underlines, and side remarks. Even doodles from times my attention was elsewhere. I like reading a passage, and seeing something that was meant for me to hear at a different time. That’s the power of the Word. A passage can mean different things to different people, and show you a new message at a different time.

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When I re-dedicated my life to the Lord in 2003, I dove into the words because I wanted to know how I should be living. If we are called to be followers of Christ, what does that mean? What are his commands, and how do we accomplish this? This is probably why I love the Apostle Paul so much. He guides and shows how to live it out. He makes it practical. I had such a craving for this daily bread to fill me up.  I read the whole book through in just a few months.

Funny, I sat down to write about my emotions, and now I sound like a preacher. Let it flow Lord!

When I first felt the calling to write this blog, I prayed and prayed about it. I wanted to do His will. To let His words flow, to be used for a purpose that I didn’t yet know. I knew there was a purpose in this, but I still don’t know the full extent of it. I felt another desperate desire to dive into His Word again. Let me just say, I do not read my Bible faithfully everyday. I am guilty of clinging more to my faith when times get tough. But I do pray all day long, in a constant conversation with the Lord. Admittedly, I do most of the talking. Anyway, words and phrases kept jumping out at me over and over again. Songs on the radio, or just words in my head repeating. But, I felt that same calling; to hear His word.

I knew He was up to something.

My heart told me to go straight to the book of Acts. Jesus commanded his followers to “go and make disciples.” This book is the story of what the disciples did after he ascended into heaven. So this book was the “now what?” part of the story.

If God has called me to do this, now what?

So I dove in. Through Paul’s words, I was reminded that if I step out in faith and write about Him. I would be persecuted for Him. Okay Lord, so this won’t be easy for me. Point taken. I’m just going to have to gear up for it. Then my counselor told me that her church just happened to be doing a study, based on a book about “putting on the armor of God.”

I see what you did there.

So back to my reading: Paul’s account shows so much tenacity. He goes from place to place, basically evangelizing most of the known world at that time. He was persecuted, beaten, jailed, yet he stayed the course. He picked up and moved on to the next place. He loved, and shared, and was given much love in return.

I’m always a little jealous because he clearly understood his purpose. The Lord called, and he went, and his efforts were rewarded. I have spent so many years praying for God’s purpose for my life. Yes, I admit, I want the plan just laid out for me. I’m a big picture kind of person. I want to know! I want to know the path, and faithfully follow it, marching with my head held high in confidence. I know if I make a bad choice, that it will render consequences unforeseen. I’d rather skip that. So the Holy Spirit quietly reminds me to “wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart, and wait for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:14)

Sigh. Okay God. I will try to be patient. Then I start praying that if a decision I’m pondering is not the right one, that He would make it abundantly clear! Stop me. Slap me upside the head; whatever it takes! He’s done that for me in just a few hours of praying that prayer before, so I have no qualms about praying it!

I haven’t done any fancy writing that would earn me any accolades. That’s not my intention. I wanted to reach out to other moms who are dealing with similar situations to mine. Other moms who are separated from their children and are hurting. I thought that was the direction God was taking me. Perhaps it still is.  This blog has stirred up plenty of emotions. I had no doubts that it would cause a stir in my family. What surprises me is that I started this blog for my own healing and perhaps other moms, but God is using it in my own family. I know that emotions are high, but I praise God. My daughter who holds her emotions in has been letting them fly! She thinks I will be angry with her words.  It makes me happy that she is letting it out. We had another long talk. I don’t know if it helped. I only have control over myself. I can only do what I have the power to do; which is to speak the truth, and reassure her of my love. I don’t have any control over how she takes  it. That is all I can do.

In the midst of intense emotional situations, remember that “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in Spirit.” (Psalms 34:18) We have been crushed and broken for so long Lord, hold us closer.

It will get worse before it gets better. Wading through the emotions is never easy. I will continue to seek sanctuary under His wings. I will continue to pray for healing and truth. I will continue to take my daily bread.

I will continue.

 

 

 

 

 

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Side effects of living in Florida

Florida is known for its miles of beautiful coastlines, numerous lakes, golf courses, and of course M-I-C-K-E-Y (admit it..you sang it). All the family activities is what compelled us to move here. My husband, originally from Massachusetts, lived here twice previously, and couldn’t wait to get back. We even honeymooned here so he could convince me just how amazing it is.I was impressed. This Texas girl had only seen Texas and Mississippi beaches….definitely not the same as Florida coastline, even on the Gulf side. Three years later, we were packing up and waving goodbye to the Friendly State, and crossing into the Eastern Time Zone. We moved right into Disney’s backyard.

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Florida Orange Tree

 

 

Everything is geared towards tourism. Hotels, restaurants, and retail stores. There are souvenir shops, and places to sell your tickets, and hot air balloon rides, and helicopter rides, and mini-golf. We did get enjoyment out of the balloons though. They used to land near my daughters’ school, so we would see them up close every morning.

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Hot Air Balloon over our house

Traffic is the worst part of living outside the “Happiest Place on Earth,” both human and vehicular. There are just so many people here! Not only does traffic back up from people going to the parks, but all the people that work in the parks! You learn when to not go to certain restaurants, or beaches. There is no secret time to go to Disney either…its always busy! The area we moved to was mostly vacation homes. It lacked the sense of community that we wanted. It’s hard to get to know your neighbors when they change weekly.

Florida is the #1 vacation destination, but I never realized until I moved here, that many people come here for vacation..and decide to move here. According to http://visitfloridaonline.com/article_visit.htm, an estimated 958 people move to Florida each day! That’s over 350,000 a year! They come here from all over. It’s rare to be from Florida. Aside from the beaches, and the weather, Florida does not have a state income tax. That entices a lot of people from the northeast to head south. There are also tons of “snow birds”, or retirees who hold dual residence, that arrive to enjoy the warm weather.

What I’ve noticed is that a lot of people move here to have a better life. They want to pay fewer taxes, enjoy nicer weather, and just enjoy life. The reality that they encounter is not always what they expect. Sure there are fewer taxes, and the cost of living is less, but wages are less too. Also, the education system is ranked pretty low compared to the rest of the country. Last year, we dropped to #28 on a national ranking. For more information, read about it here.  Retail, restaurant, and hospitality, are the jobs that are the most readily available. Horrible schedules, lower wages, and swarms of people everywhere, is what they end up with.

Many people, my family included, move here without any family around. Let’s face it, as an adult, it’s hard to make friends. You know the people you work with and that’s it. Unless you are plugged into a church, or some other type of organization, it’s challenging to meet new people. It can be very lonely. Earning less money doesn’t always make it easy to fly home to visit family. Luckily, people usually want to come visit Florida. We moved here wanting to improve our family life.

Boy did that blow up in our faces.

My daughters were unhappy we took them away from everyone, job situations didn’t improve (kind of hard to branch out of your industry when the job market is saturated). Things just didn’t go as planned. In the 5 years we’ve been here, our household has decreased by half. The girls went to live with their dad, and my mother-in-law headed back up North. The boys (hubby and son) and I try to enjoy the few weekends off that I get, but we mostly end up at Costco or GameStop. We miss family barbecues, and just being able to socialize with other people! Work, home, repeat is our lifestyle. We knew we needed a change. Life is too short to be lonely and miserable.

So after much deliberation, we decided to head up North. It was not an easy decision to make. It is one thing to have my girls move away from me, but for me to move and NOT be moving to where they are? That was a different thing altogether. When choosing to move, especially to another state, there are many things to consider: cost of living, income potential, housing, and social aspects.

The whole reason we want to move is to be near family.

Be Still and Listen
Be Still and Listen

When you are married it becomes an issue of whose family you choose to be closer to. I learned in my first marriage that when your parents, and your in-laws, live in different cities (or states), you can’t make everyone happy with where you live. You have to make the choice that’s right for your household. So my household will pack up and be one of few moving trucks headed North on I-95 this summer.

It’s hard to tell your parents, and children that you don’t believe it is the right thing to move closer to them.  I’ve spent so much time praying about this. I really want to follow God’s guidance in my life. I always want to make everyone happy, and I just can’t. I think God has the girls in Texas for a reason, but I don’t think that’s my place to be. I see the good things that are happening in their lives. Sure, I’m a little sad that it wasn’t that way when they were here, but I’m super proud of them.

I know I’m making another decision that won’t win me any popularity contests from my side of the family. I continue my prayers that God will heal this family, and truth will prevail.

The ball is rolling, and we are fine-tuning the details. Massachusetts here we come!

Stay tuned for more posts as this Texas girl discovers how Wicked New England really is.

 

 

 

 

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