Crazy Blended Family Holidays: What’s a Stepmom to Do?

huff-po-christmaIn nuclear families, Christmas can be very hectic. There’s grandparents and extended family to visit and gatherings galore. If you have a blended family, let’s face it. Holidays can all out suck. The delicate schedule gets out of whack. The kids get shuffled and shuttled back and forth more than normal. Even parents can become selfish and accusing. Can you say cray cray?

Often times, stepmoms can get caught up in the middle of the whirlwind. But, hey, relax. The good news is there are still some things you can focus on to keep the season merry and bright without losing your jingle bells.

Focus on the season rather than the day. So much emphasis is placed upon the magical December 24th and 25th. However, if you’re like us, our Christmas is celebrated every other year on December 26th and the world does not end. The season of the holidays is a whole month so get out and enjoy it with the kids whenever you get the chance.

Don’t obsess with when but focus more on how. How to make it memorable. How to make it special for your family. With social media, it is easier than ever to find cool events and seasonal happenings. Last year, we took the boys to a woodworking toy making shop where we learned the entire process of how a limb off of a tree becomes a toy.

Focus on giving to others. For several years, my daughter and I have gotten involved with our local church to assist families in need. Gifts are donated through angel trees and we help them shop, wrap and load up their gifts to take home to their family on a designated night.

Last year, I took the money we set aside for my gifts and donated it to a soldier and his family through Vet Tix. “Vet Tix provides tickets to events which reduce stress, strengthen family bonds, build life-long memories and encourage service members and veterans to stay engaged with local communities and American life.” My husband wrapped the receipt as my gift, placed it under the tree and when we opened presents, I shared the story of the soldier we were helping. There is nothing better to take the focus off of the stress and ourselves like giving to others.

Focus on making new traditions unique to your family. Since we’ve moved into our neighborhood, we’ve tried to make little gifts for our close neighbors and friends and we give them out as a family every year.

For instance, one year I wrapped a can of soda and bag of microwave popcorn in a gift bag and attached a little message card to it that said Pop pop fizz fizz oh what a good neighbor you is. Last year, we decided to make homemade healthy baked dog treats and give them to our neighborhood dog owners.

Instead of having to decorate the tree on a specific day, we always wait and decorate the tree together. Each of our kids has special ornaments that they love to hang on the tree themselves. That way, now matter how the schedule falls, they still feel a part of the celebration of the season.

Focus on the reason for the season. The holidays can mean different things to different families. Christmas for us is a time to reflect on what we value and what we hold most dear and a time to remember the love born on Christmas. What ever makes this season special for your family is what’s important.

We have a special snow white stocking that hangs over the fireplace in front of the rest. All during the season, we write down special things and place it inside its soft shimmery folds. We write things that we are thankful for in each other or maybe something we have seen the other do and we are proud of them, or something that has touched our heart. When we celebrate our Christmas, we read them and try to guess who wrote it or who it’s about. It is one of my favorite times we have together!

I’ve shared about some of our holiday fun and ideas on how to keep the crazy to a minimum. However, there is one thing that should not be the focus. Don’t focus on the negative.  It’s toxic and unhealthy. The holidays with stepfamilies are already complicated so don’t poison it by focusing on the Grinches who would love to steal your Christmas. Reflect on what you value and what you hold most dear, the love that you have for each other.

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What Huffington Post Left Out

Weeks ago, I was pleasantly surprised when the editor of Huffington Post Divorce contacted me and asked if they could feature our family for their blended family Friday feature story. I had recently had two pieces published on the Huff Post blog, but this was truly an honor. It was a rare chance to share who we really are with so many. I know that it is not a Christian news outlet. However, I am who I am and in the interview I did not hide how much our faith has been the center of our family.

When the email finally landed in my inbox to let me know they were running our feature this past Friday, I could barely sit still for days. All morning on the big day, I kept checking the site, waiting for it to go live. When it did, mouth dry, I nervously clicked on the link. (You can read the feature here.)

As I began to read, confusion began to swirl and then disappointment settled in my spirit. Although it had several elements of what I had said, sadly, every part about our faith, the essence of who we really are as a family and how we deal with stress and difficulties was edited out completely. (Particularly question #5). Also in vowing to spread awareness, the things I shared about my son’s Chiari had been cut as well. But I want others to know us, see God in us, so I am posting my original interview.

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Our family journey has been filled with change, disappointments, victories, worry and joy. Our faith has been there through it all. Divorce and re-marriage is still an issue where we are looked down on and judged by some within the Christian community. I have a passion to reach out and spiritually encourage other moms like me who may feel judged or shamed so I started my blog www.familiesunbroken.com and it’s kind of evolved from there. As a writer, it only takes one moment, one thought, one written idea to change someone’s life. I don’t have all the answers but I share my heart and hope that it resonates with other families like ours.

1. How many family members do you have? Ages? 

My daughter is 17 years old, my son is 12 this month and Daniel’s son is 13 years old. And we have a furbaby named Brady that just turned 5 years old that is the most spoiled in the house.

2. How long have you and your spouse been together?
Daniel and I have been together nearly 9 years and will be celebrating our 8th wedding anniversary in a few weeks.

3. What are some of the biggest challenges of blended family life?
I think it is the same as in many blended families. It is trying to find balance between home and work while coordinating schedules, parenting time, school and other events.
What’s one specific problem you’ve faced time and time again and how have you sought to address it?
Daniel is the “every other weekend and one night a week” parent so we have to cram family time as well as one on one parenting time into a very limited space. Because of this, he feels he never sees his son enough. What we have found that works is we deliberately set aside one on one quality time with him and we plan it before his parenting weekend. Sometimes it’s going to breakfast on Saturday mornings or mountain biking on Sunday afternoons, etc… As a family, we try to simply do activities to make memories. We do a lot of day trips. I think I have a talent for finding activities to do or places to visit that are out of the ordinary (lol). Daniel tells me all the time how much he loves me for that. His son appreciates that we respect the short time he has with his dad and it has helped us to appreciate the family time we do have together and the memories we are able to make.
4. What’s the best thing about being part of a blended family?
I feel that it’s learning to love each other coming in from the outside. More of an effort goes into learning our children’s individual uniqueness and as we have grown more as a family, the effect is that we love and appreciate each other all the more for that effort.5. How do you deal with stress in your household?
We have a very strong faith that is rooted in grace, acceptance and forgiveness. During times of stress in our home we have tried to teach and practice extending grace to each other. We try to accept each other, that we are not the same and each of us has our own thoughts and feelings, as well as reactions. We are not robots. We then try to forgive each other, learn from it and move forward.
As far as handling the internal and emotional stress that comes with being blended, prayer helps us a lot. Daniel works out at the gym several times a week. He calls it his therapy, and I love to write.

6. What makes you proudest of your family?
What makes me most proud of our family are delicious ordinary moments. It’s those moments when we are not a blended family, we are just family. Moments where we are at the dinner table eating together, laughing hysterically at inside jokes and sharing about our day. Those moments where we are riding together in the car singing and dancing to the radio, playing at the park, or camped out on the living room floor watching a movie. It is those moments where we are not a blended family around the dinner table, we are just a family around the dinner table. We are not a blended family having fun, we are just a family having fun. I really am proud to say over the years we have shared countless moments like that.
7. What advice do you have for other blended families who feel like a peaceful family dynamic is out of reach? The best advice I can give is only what has seemed to work for us with a lot of time and patience. First, throw your preconceived ideas out the window. It will never be what you expect. Accept that there will be tears, yelling, confusion, and adjustment. Second, make your marriage a priority. That doesn’t mean your children are less, but because your children deserve more, and don’t need to go through another divorce. The kids will learn to appreciate the stability of a healthy family home. Finally, learn to be selfless not selfish. Focus on making memories instead of what you can’t control.
I also want to share just over a year ago, my son was diagnosed with Chiari Malformation and underwent brain decompression surgery. It was an emotional eye-opening experience for both his father and me, but from that came better communication, patience and appreciation for each other as his parents. It affected every one in both families. It helped to solidify in our hearts that at the end of the day, what truly is important, is each other.
I would like to sincerely thank Huffington Post for everything, especially the wonderful opportunity to share with so many that otherwise would not be possible to reach. I want to say thank you for including a link to my blog so that I could write this post and share what was left out. Allow me to share more of a part of who I am, who we are.
But most of all, I want to thank God for opportunities to allow me to share Him and how he truly has helped make something new out of our brokenness.
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
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You may have started out broken but God heals and restores to unbroken.

 

Help For The Chronic Worrier and Some Updates

IMG_20150113_090049163Just over a week ago, I found myself spending a quiet evening at home with just me and my two kids. My husband was working and my stepson (my sweet bonus son) was at his mom’s. It was a very cold night and it seemed the heat was heaving and sighing, moaning and hissing trying to keep our house warm. So I lit a fire in the fireplace and we settled down to play a game of Sorry.

As we sat there playing, giggling and taking turns sending each other back to start the thought came to me that this is what family to me is all about. My daughter wasn’t worrying about her end of semester exams coming up the following week. My son wasn’t worrying about his frequent headaches and upcoming surgery. I wasn’t worried about getting to work the next day or what was going to be happening in the coming weeks. No. We were all in the present; in the moment. It was warm there. It was peaceful and relaxing there. It was happy there in that moment.

I can be a chronic worrier. When you worry, you tend to be inside of your head. A lot. That means that you may be sitting in the present but in your head, you are in the future of “what if” and “what might”. Your mind is caught in a vicious cycle of worry and what might happen if what if happens. I have learned that the best way to combat this is to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is where you bring yourself out of the worry and out of your head and look around. You literally start pointing out things that surround you and switch your focus on them. For example, my drive to work is where I really worry. I worry about whatever is going on with my kids, my job, what some one said, etc. When I practice mindfulness, I stop worrying and think about how bright the sun is at that moment or how blue the sky is, etc…

I use the term “practice” because it sounds simple but it is something I have to work at over and over again because the worry keeps trying to take over. Being mindful helps us to stay focused on the present; focus on the moment you are living in not what’s to come and especially what has been. In His word, God tells us to not worry about tomorrow. 34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Matthew 6:34

IMG_20150113_090049163Here is something that we all need to honestly take hold of and remember:  God actually wants us to be happy and enjoy the life He has given us. He doesn’t want us to waste it on our past or worry. (Who would ever want to know Him if we are walking around worried and sad all the time.) Being mindful and staying in the present allows us to live out our potential, to be the best we can be-who we were created to be, moment to moment.

“18 Even so, I have noticed one thing, at least, that is good. It is good for people to eat, drink, and enjoy their work under the sun during the short life God has given them, and to accept their lot in life. 19 And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—this is indeed a gift from God. 20 God keeps such people so busy enjoying life that they take no time to brood over the past.” Ecclesiastes 5:18-20

Now on to some other things that are happening. I was so excited to share that I was approached by Pigeonhole Books to do a blog interview for their resource page several months ago. They chose my blog to kick off the new year! Here is a link to that interview about me, my site and where I want to be in all of this. Check it out and show them some love! http://pigeonholebooks.com/2015/01/05/blogger-interview-donna-mott/

We also celebrated a big birthday in our family recently! Our beautiful girl, my oldest, turned sixteen! Where has the time gone?!

I would like to thank you all and ask that you please continue to pray for our son, my youngest, Luke. His chiari surgery is scheduled for February 2. Our family has a lot coming up but God has been so amazing and faithful. I will be sharing more about that later……

 

What Honey Maid Got Wrong. What Honey Maid Got Right.

blog pic I had posted a photo of our family taken over our recent vacation on my instagram. Honey Maid snacks liked the photo and commented on what a beautiful family I had. (This is not the part they got  wrong.) I commented back of course with a big thank you. What adoring mom doesn’t want someone to complement her beautiful family? They proceeded to ask me if I knew about their latest mini documentary of their #NotBroken #Thisiswholesome campaign in which they were honoring blended/stepfamilies. I was directed to a link of this ad:

Another link to access ad documentary: http://mashable.com/2014/09/08/honey-maid-not-broken/

I have read the blogs and articles that have come out in reply to their ad and the opinions seem to be similar to mine. We all feel that the ad does not exemplify a realistic blended family.  Here are some thoughts that I am glad for when I see this ad. I am really glad that the boy in the ad named, Isaac, has such a wonderful understanding biomom that embraces and encourages her son to call his stepmom “mom”. I am really glad that she also allows the dad to play a very important equal role in his upbringing. I am glad that she hasn’t lied, manipulated or forced his dad to go to court to beg for more time with Isaac especially at Christmas and during the summer. I’m glad that his dad and stepmom did not force him to call his stepmom “mom” and spank him or punish him when he did not. I’m glad that his dad, although religious, doesn’t try to take away precious child hood memories such as Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, and the Easter bunny. I’m glad that both families along with Isaac can sit around the camp fire singing Kum Ba Yah. No seriously, I really am glad!

In all honesty, I appreciate Honey Maid snacks at their attempt at bringing awareness to families like mine. With the statistics indicated that over 40% of families are blended that means that blended families are the new norm. Yet, rarely is any advertising directed at us and is little talked about in media. That is why I honestly applaud this attempt at shining light on this type of family dynamic which is still considered in main stream as taboo.I also applaud the fact that they included another major taboo in mainstream media and society today:  Christianity/religion. Yes they did!

They included Isaac, his dad and step family saying grace to God. This part in the ad actually means more to me than the stepfamily subject. Not only are blended families/stepfamilies looked down upon but try being a Christian stepfamily. There are a lot of prejudices within the Christian community regarding divorce and remarriage. Don’t believe me? Try visiting the church that this lonely single mom and her young daughter tried out only to learn they don’t accept divorced people in the choir. Just ask the neighbor I got behind in the carpool line this morning. The one who was the first to invite us to church when we moved in and who is now the one that no longer speaks to us including my children because of our blended family issues.

I’ve always heard you should write what you know about and this is life as I know it. I find it somewhat sad that although I feel eternally blessed with these three beautiful children and my amazing husband, my content, my muse is derived from broken homes. Don’t mistake my words. We are a living example of what Divine healing and the gathering up of those broken pieces and diligently day in and day out molding them into a work of art. But the nights laying awake worrying about how we can make this situation or that situation work or how are we going to attend this event for one child in one school and a basketball game with another child in another school and still represent family are not on display for all to see. Honey Maid tried. They tackled issues that are considered taboo to speak of. They boldly went where no snack has gone before! The problem is that in there advertising think tank, their executives lost a little reality.

Time Is Ticking Away

pool blog picWe are on a two week vacation at the home of my husband’s family. I’ve never been on vacation for more than a week before but I am loving it…for the most part. “For the most part” because even though we have a week left I can’t help but dread the moment when our time here will run out and we will have to say goodbye and head home. I just know these seven days will fly by so quickly that I can’t even relax and enjoy this time as much as I should, giving adage to the saying “time flies when you’re having fun”.

I’m watching mpool boysy boys giggle and laugh as they play and splash in the pool while the last drops of sun mingle with the twilight that is creeping into the corners of the yard. They have been in the water more than they have been out since our arrival. I’m enjoying their playing now but will not when I hear their groans and protests as I tell them it’s time to come in and settle down for the night.

 

Time is ticking away. It is not just time with family we haven’t been able to visit since 2010. It’s time off from work. It’s time with my husband. But most of all, it’s extended time with our children. Summer for blended families is, well, different, for lack of a better word. In our situation this particular summer, it can be a very precious gift of extra quality time before school starts. For other stepfamilies, it is a fight for extra time or a big ordeal of working with the other parent to organize time. My heart breaks for the latter.

All this planning and worrying over time has got me to thinking how we have so many opportunities of precious time such as weekend time, summer time, night time, afternoon and so on with our kids, our spouse, our families but let other things excuse away that time. My husband and I work very hard to spend one on one quality time with our kids. There have been times where that priority took a back seat because of work etc… So as it has gotten more difficult we have tried to be more deliberate in our efforts. I found this quote and it really does remind me that time is precious. It’s also time for me to wrap this up and time for my boys to get out of the pool.

“My family is the most important part of my life; I could not imagine my life without any of them, yet too often I find myself saying, ‘Not now,’ and then realizing much too much later that later is too late.” ~Marie Leslie

House Rules

House RulesRe-marriage is a really big deal to a child! It can be traumatic. I’m a firm believer that the more straight forward you are in a blended family the better. Our children would go to their other homes and things would be very different for them. Things were not spelled out as clearly there and they would get in trouble and not really know why. They even told us they would just do whatever because they felt they would get in trouble no matter what they did. So, right after we got married, we sat all the children down for a family meeting. Here are some things we defined that really helped create peace in the midst of newly blended chaos.

1. We defined our roles in our home. We explained that although we are the mom and dad of the house. However, we assured them that we would never try to take the place of their real mom or dad in their lives. We wanted them to know that it is okay to love their other parent even in our home.

2. We defined the rules of the house. We wrote down our house rules on a large poster. We wrote the basics about disobedience, lying, and disrespect. Then we let the kids come up with what they felt should be house rules. This was a really good thing for them. It created less confusion and more order and helped them feel that they played an important part within this new family.

3. We defined consequences if the rules were broken. After we created the house rules, we discussed consequences for not following the rules. The children also came up with some of their own consequences for some as well. This really aided in the kids feeling more stable when here with us because they knew what was expected.With divorce and remarriage, they have no control whatsoever so by us giving them a little decision making power in the home really helped them to develop their identity within this new family and feel like some things are in their control.

We have learned that the best thing you can do for a new blended family is organize, define and create expectations in the beginning to create more order and less confusion! Proverbs 1:3 NLT “Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives, to help them do what is right, just, and fair.”

Testimony Tuesday: Accountability

Today’s post is from a beautiful woman inside and out as well as a friend. She is a private person but was kind enough to share her heart. Here are her thoughts on “Accountability”.

Melissa D post picAs a single mom for almost 4 years then remarrying and having another child, I have learned a lot about what makes me who I am. I am naturally an observer and watch people’s interactions with each other and the people around them. The most difficult people to observe, without wanting to jump in and say or do something, are the ones that affect children without even realizing.

I fully understand the effort it takes to raise a child/children and the mental toll it takes on us all. I know that tending to the constant needs, crying, tired, whining, and often interruptions, children can exhaust and unnerve the best of us. Frazzled nerves. Sleepless nights. Financial Stresses. All these add to the pressures of daily life. They may push us over the edge, as we find ourselves forgetting to mind out tongues and manners, without regard to the little eyes that are watching and the little ears that are listening. We are always seen and heard even when we think we are alone.

Even so, harsh or careless words, words spoken out of frustration, fear, or anxiety, can and do hurt. God holds us accountable for words like that. One of God’s Old Testament names, El Roi, means “the God who sees.” He sees and hears every careless word, every action spawned by angry impatience. Flippant remarks, thoughtless actions, and loveless reactions reveal a less than Christian-like attitude in us. Under duress, our guard can be diminished. Our filters disengaged. We spit out things we normally wouldn’t say. I am reminded of song lyrics that speak of a child using a 4-letter word in the back seat of the car when the father slams on brakes and causes the child to spill his drink and fries. When the father asks the child where he learned to talk like that, the child responds “I’ve been watching you dad.” (Rodney Atkins – Watching You).

These type of behaviors are a glimpse of what we are really like inside. This is the side of us that we attempt to keep hidden from God and everyone else, but these actions spill out for everyone to see. Scripture warns, “So then everyone of us shall give an account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12). Furthermore, “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and open unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:13). I shudder to myself as I think of all the times I have let careless words and actions slip.

I cannot correct this problem alone. I need someone to intercede on my behalf. And I have one- in Christ. Christ has made himself accountable for MY sins on Calvary’s cross. Amazing Grace!!!

“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (1 John 2:1)

Testimony Tuesday

I’m am so excited about a series of new posts called Testimony Tuesday.  This is where other blendermoms and stepmoms share a scripture and what God has done for them in their lives.  I am also very excited and honored that my first guest post today is by Christy Garrett.  She is the founder of upliftingfamilies.com as well as the primary writer for the site.  Here is what Christy had to say.

Life is full of twists and turns. People are going to disappoint you, things aren’t going to go your way, you won’t get the job that you have been dreaming for all your life, and the list goes on and on. In my own life, I have dealt with similar situations and I often wondered why things didn’t go my way. I could easily get mad at God but over the last several years I have had to trust in Him and his ways. I know that he has my best interest at heart and as selfish as I am, I can’t see the bigger picture. If we get made at the things God chooses not to give us, we may miss out on the blessing or something even better for you.

If you are struggling in your situation, remember what God says in Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” He already knows your every need. So instead of complaining, follow and trust in His ways and he will keep you on the right path. He will make sure you have the strength to get through whatever you are going through and provide for all your needs.

After a divorce in 2003, I didn’t realize that dating and finding a loving relationship was going to be such a struggle for me. I had two children from my previous marriage and I know that it is a lot of baggage for some men to handle. It wasn’t until I gave my life and relationships to God. I let him guide and direct my paths. It wasn’t until I fully let go of my hurtful past and learn to live in joy before I finally met my amazing husband.

I am so thankful that I met a loving man who would accept me and my two children and care for them as his own. We were also blessed with a son in 2010 and I am amazed with the bond between him and his older siblings. We will be celebrating our six year anniversary at the end of the month and our marriage is filled with love. As a family we are constantly serving in our church, even my older children are involved in serving others in the church and other ministries in the church.

When life throws you a curve ball, who are you going to trust? Are you going to trust in your ways or follow God’s path and his ways?

393736_2824907621975_1097786626_nAuthor Bio: Christy Garrett is married to her best friend and has three children. She enjoys spending time helping others, learning about social media, spending time with her kids. When she isn’t busy with the kids, she enjoys writing and sharing her experiences with others at http://www.upliftingfamilies.com

My Ways Are Not

deep stormMy husband and I have had several big situations hit us one right after another in the past couple of months starting with a blown engine in our SUV that we had just paid off, that fit all 5 of us plus 2 friends. All of these issues have caused some stomach aches, headaches, worried/anxious thought spirals, and sleepless nights. Many nights, at some point, has ended with crawling out of bed, kneeling, and pouring our heart out to God either alone or together. 1Peter 5:7 “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

In the midst of these problems, through working in ministry, I have encountered others who are suffering with hurting hearts. My daughter and I both have a strong sense of empathy and compassion. When others hurt, we truly feel that hurt and try to help in any way we can.  Such empathy can also cause stomach and headaches, worried thought spirals, and sleepless nights spent praying for others. During this time, she found out that a classmate was really in trouble and she bravely stood up and went to the powers that be and told, getting them some help and facing a lot of ridicule for being a “snitch” and even losing a close friend in the process.

During these past months of difficulties, I have asked God why? That’s probably not the spiritual thing to do but it certainly is the most human. We all ask God why is this happening? Why won’t you fix this? I have asked that of Him, especially these last two months. Why did our vehicle blow up when we are working so hard to be debt free? Why did my brother’s house get robbed of so many valuable precious irreplaceable things such as baby photos that they will never get back? Why are there issues cropping up with our children and the other parents when we have worked so hard to build and raise our family to serve You? Why is Jack still being terrorized by an abusive father? Why was my friend’s son, who already has suffered severe trauma in his life, have to go to court over having his life threatened?  Why was he attacked at school by another student the next day and received several rib fractures?

Why?

And God answers!

Isaiah 55:8-11 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and My ways are not your ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.10 The rain and snow come down from heaven and do not return there without giving water to the earth. This makes plants grow on the earth, and gives seeds to the planter and bread to the eater. 11 So My Word which goes from My mouth will not return to Me empty. It will do what I want it to do, and will carry out My plan well.”

And what an answer!  I don’t think like God.  I can’t even fathom it.  His view, His perspective is “higher than the heavens”  while mine is barely visible from this pit I sometimes find myself in and peeking out over the edge of.

As I am thinking about God’s answer, I realize that I have received more blessings over these past two months than I can count. I have seen my family grow spiritually in their faith and walk in Christ. I have seen my children make that basket, bring up that grade, and make many new friends to replace the one that was lost. We now have a new car that is better for us than the old one. I could honestly go on and on.

But most of all, I have been tremendously blessed through ministry and serving others.  One of the biggest is my daughter and I helped with our church’s large special needs Easter egg hunt event. I signed up to be a hunt buddy and met an amazing family that had adopted 11 special needs children and brought 4 of them to the event. My 11 yr old bright energetic buddy and I had a blast running through all of the inflatables and games and finally went on to collect 4 bags of eggs!  (Actually I just ran around behind him toting his bags. Lol!)  His mom was able to be pampered that day in a makeshift spa our church had set up. She came back with a new hair style and a manicure. She seemed so refreshed and rejuvenated. His mom said that although he was affectionate he did not hug. At the end of the event as the family was leaving, the unprompted hug I received from my little buddy was beyond words for me. I went there that day to be a blessing but really I was the one that was truly blessed!

DSC_2854See, we don’t always have to preach Jesus at others in their face. We can lead them to Him simply by doing what He did through loving and serving. Giving them some time for themselves when they may not often have that luxury. Helping them by going into their community and washing their windows and changing light bulbs, etc….

I don’t understand. I cannot fathom the ways of God. But I have learned that when I don’t understand I need to show more compassion, love, and give more of myself. My ways are not His ways because His view is so much better of me than I have of myself. His ability to pour out His blessings is far greater than my own. My prayer is that He still uses me faults, difficulties, anxious thought spirals and all.

From the Blendermom Archives: Amazing Like God

This was a blog post I wrote last year after mother’s day but it still touches my heart.  I thought I would share it again……

So this past Sunday was Mother’s Day and as a mom and bonus mom, it was a great day. My kids showered me with lots of hugs, kisses, and “I love yous”. My youngest son still holds a bit of a soft spot in my heart because he is still at that age where I don’t embarrass him. He loves for me to hug him and hold his hand in public, say prayers and tuck him in at night, and write notes on his napkin in his lunch box. He drew me a special card that spelled out the letters in my name and described me. The very last letter of my name is ‘A’ and he wrote about me: “A is for amazing like God”. Other things were “nice as a flower” and “cute as a dog” but wow! “Amazing like God”. It got me thinking about the example I am to my son and my children. Those are some really big shoes to fill!

Webster’s definition of amazing: amazement, great wonder and surprise. The definition of God: the Being perfect in power, wisdom, and goodness who is worshiped as creator and ruler of the universe; a person or thing of supreme value. To me, my son thinks that as a mom, I bring wonder and amazement to his life as someone who is in authority with wisdom and goodness in his life. Proverbs 31: 28,29 NLT “Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her. There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!”

Heavenly Father, how do I ‘surpass them all’? How do I set that example of how a Godly mother should be? How can I truly be amazing as a mom? And God seemed to speak to my heart. It is by teaching him the commands of God about ‘loving thy neighbor’, ‘honoring thy father and mother’, and ‘putting God first in everything’. It is by tucking him in at night and praying with him. It is showing him my love with those hugs and kisses. It is leaving those little notes on his napkin in his lunchbox. It is by doing those things we do as moms that can make us amazing and wise and good in the eyes of our children.

Take it a step further and extend that to your bonus sons and daughters. Try to show them love, affection, wisdom and goodness. Be an example of what a Godly christian woman, wife, and mother should be in your home so that you can strive to be “Amazing like God” to your hand-picked God-given precious family! Deuteronomy 6:6,7 NLT “And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.”Image