4 Things to Curb Worry When the Kids are With the Other Parent

I remember years ago, sitting in my car at a neutral location, waiting for the visitation exchange with my daughter. I came to realize with time that we were not the only ones to use this particular parking lot. I saw others waiting in their cars. Oh we never acknowledged each other but still I felt connected to them. It was as if we were all proverbial ghosts drifting along at the same place but in our own little world, seeing yet not seeing each other.

Some of you reading this will know exactly what I’m talking about. Still other parents go and pick up their kids for their parenting time and drop them back off when it’s over like my husband does with my stepson. Or maybe you are the parent who gets your son or daughter ready and packed up to go when the other parent arrives like I do with my son.

No matter how you do it, this time, this situation seems to stir up worry. We sometimes worry about issues that may come back with our child. Or we worry if they will have a good time? Will they be upset? How long will it take for them to decompress and settle?

Let’s face it, honestly it is natural to worry when your children aren’t with you. Don’t beat yourself up. For me, the worrying went to another level after my son’s brain surgery, and even now my anxiety creeps up because of it. However, several months ago, during my prayer time, God spoke to me on 4 simple things that have helped me in overcoming my worry and anxiety when my children aren’t with me.

1. Remember the ultimate goal. The ultimate goal should be to make sure the children in the middle get time to cultivate a lasting healthy loving relationship by spending quality time with their other parent. When you keep your eyes focused on that end goal it makes it a little easier to not sweat the small stuff such as how they don’t do the same things you do in your home the way you think they should be done.

2. Focus on the positives and focus on you. Instead of letting your mind obsess over what might be going wrong, try to focus on memories they are making with their dad or mom. Also, this is a time you can be completely selfish. This is a time to go shopping and buy something just for you, or put your feet up and enjoy an UNINTERRUPTED movie (cause you know that don’t happen when the kids are there). If you are dipping your toes back in the dating pool, this time is a great time to go out on a date and get to know someone new.

3. Pray. It is simple but “the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective”. We pray over so many things in our lives. Why not pray for our children and their dad that God will bless that relationship, give their mom wisdom, and a hedge of protection around them. Prayer is a wonderful thing because it isn’t a menial task or list of wishes. The attitude shouldn’t be well all I can do is pray. It should be an attitude of gratefulness that we have such a powerful tool, to go before the Creator of the universe on behalf of our children in the face of our worry.

4. Remember that they are never alone. This one truth is the most important and has brought so much comfort to me when I just could not shake the worry. God is always there and goes where you cannot! You never send them to the other house alone. There is nothing going on over there that God doesn’t know about.

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:13

And let’s just go there for a minute. You may be reading this and saying how he or she treats the kids when they are there or how they bad mouth you or all the bad stuff that I honestly know goes on in some homes sometimes. GOD. SEES. THAT. TOO.

Is there any place I can go to avoid your Spirit? to be out of your sight?
If I climb to the sky, you’re there! If I go underground, you’re there!
If I flew on morning’s wings to the far western horizon, You’d find me in a minute—you’re already there waiting! Then I said to myself, “Oh, he even sees me in the dark! At night I’m immersed in the light!” It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to you; night and day, darkness and light, they’re all the same to you. Psalm 139:7-12 (MSG)

Being divorced with kids is very hard and yes we are going to worry like crazy sometimes. But it’s important to remember that just because you are no longer together you still have the same end in mind as when you first had children and that is they grow up to be happy, healthy, productive individuals. So do what you can and let God handle the rest.

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Are You Having A Moment?

This Christmas was filled with lots of moments for our blended family, wonderful boring moments and I couldn’t be happier with that. Yes you read that right. I did say boring and I did say happy. This Christmas was very mellow. We carried out our yearly traditions. Made memories and visited a few new places together to make new ones. We even managed to sneak in a “pajama day” at the request of my sweet stepson just a few days before Christmas. We celebrated with family and shared lots of laughter. The darkness, the worry cloud that sat on my shoulder last year was gone. So like I said, boring, and grateful for it.

Luke ChristmasLast year, as many know, just before Christmas, we learned that our youngest son was going to have brain surgery for Chiari Malformation at the first of the year. So the holidays were consumed with big moments, such as staying strong and not letting him see how utterly scared I was. Moments like hiding how worried I was that this might, just might, be our last Christmas with Luke. Lost in thought of how there is no cure and what if something goes wrong during the surgery and he isn’t the same. Moments while among all the holiday gift shopping, I was searching for pajamas to fit a ten year old that buttoned down the front. And when finally finding some complete with a star wars theme, a moment when I could barely see my way to the cashier for the tears as I imagined when he would have to wear them while having to deal with doctors, nurses, medications, pain, and anxiety.  However, in those moments surrounded by all three kids, wonderful family, our amazing church and supportive friends and community God chose last Christmas to be one of the best we have ever had!

And from last Christmas to this Christmas God has felt so close. His perfect peace was truly a key to surviving all the moments we faced. Life has been rapid, busy for me this year. Writing, homeschooling, volunteering and Bible study classes have consumed me. In fact I’ve realized that the only thing I haven’t done much of is take a moment for me. blog post 3

It got me to thinking how moms like me give so much to every one else. A few months ago I had the privilege of writing a book endorsement for a fellow “blendermom”, Kristie Carpenter, and it was published in her latest devotional book Blended Mom Moments.

It is filled with weekly scriptural devotions interspersed with stories and nuggets of wisdom. I am really looking forward to diving into this book and spending some time with God. He really wants to spend time with you, minister to you, shepherd you and speak to your heart. I’m reminded of the words of the song What Do I Know Of Holy, by Addison Road, “I tried to hear from Heaven but I talked the whole time…” Sometimes we just need to stop talking in order to hear God speak to us.

Psalm 46:10a, “Be still, and know that I am God.”

This new year I encourage you to stop. Put your feet up, savor a nice cup of coffee and have a moment. Have a moment of quiet, a moment of prayer, a moment of renewal. It will strengthen you during life’s big moments!

Isaiah 26:3, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You!”

blog post 2*You can purchase a copy of “Blended Mom Moments” Signed Copy Here and Amazon here. I have also had the privilege of getting to know Tara Furman, founder of Knowing God Ministries. I purchased her “Intimacy with God” which truly changed my prayer time years ago. Click the link and go to resources to learn more.

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Flavorful Friday: Bourbon Chicken….A Family Favorite

DSC_2555We are so busy all the time and when my husband has to work the night shift, I am exceptionally rushed to get home from work and get dinner on the table early.

This chicken recipe is quick, easy and delicious!  I decided to share it in a post on familyfusioncommunity.com.

Here is the article and recipe.

http://familyfusioncommunity.com/2014/05/29/bourbon-chicken-a-family-favorite/

What is a great go to recipe for you and your family?

A Candle For Jack

Jack is a wonderfully gifted, inquisitive, articulate 9 year old boy with a beautiful, sweet warmth about him.  His strong determined mom is a blogger friend of mine and for the past year or so I’ve been following her powerful emotional story of co-parenting (if you can even call it that) with a narcissist.  For years she has struggled to move mountains to get the help and encouragement for this highly gifted child with an IQ in the 98th percentile. When Jack was 7, because of her efforts of trying to get him enrolled in the Gifted Academy, she lost custody of her son through a very broken court system. A court system that felt it was better to not look to experts in the field of gifted children but rather to the squeaky wheel that was screaming for grease.  Her parenting time has now been reduced to 8 days a month!

Since the custody change, Jack’s anxiety has increased to an all time high.  He has shared with his mom after crying uncontrollably for the first hour of most visits with her that his father is abusing him mentally, emotionally, and physically and since the courts are not monitoring him and this man has complete control, the abuse has escalated to an alarming level.  One small example of this is that Jack is afraid of heights so his father held him by his leg and suspended him over the railing of the deck 20 feet off the ground to teach him not to be afraid!  Countless times he has been called a baby, stupid, and an idiot.  He is not allowed to cry.  I could go on with many other examples.

I was deeply moved by this brave mom’s post, her message of hope that she has received from God through her son and her anxious fear as she goes to the court of appeals on April 15 to plead with them to overturn the custody ruling.  This is the link to this post and I encourage you to please read it!  You will be so inspired by this amazing little boy.

http://scatteredsmotheredandcovered.com/2014/04/07/one-word-365-submit-to-hope/

Today we had a prayer service at church.  A time where we can be prayed over, take communion,light candles and also literally carry our burdens and nail them to a wooden cross.  My daughter and I solemnly lit a candle for Jack.  And we prayed.  Prayer changes things and so I asked God would surround this situation with His almighty power.  I prayed that Jack and his mom would feel that power and strength in such a way that they would know a peace that they have never known in the midst of this raging storm.  I am asking that everyone will join me on April 15, in the middle of working, business of life, tax deadlines, etc…to stop just a moment and pray for this hearing.  Pray for this dedicated mom.  Pray for Jack.

I have been thinking and meditating on Psalms 10 which is such a powerful chapter.  Here are a few verses that really speak to me.  Psalms 10:10-11 ESVThe helpless are crushed, sink down, and fall by his might. He says in his heart, “God has forgotten, he has hidden his face, he will never see it.”  Verses 14, 17-18  “But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation, that you may take it into your hands; to you the helpless commits himself; you have been the helper of the fatherless.  O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.

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Pray for Jack.
   

I’ve Been Nominated for a Liebster Blog Award!!

liebsterI have been nominated for a Liebster Blog Award!  I am so excited for the nomination and want to thank Catalina for nominating me!  Check out her blog here: http://zamoracatalina.wordpress.com/  She writes about being 40 and single again.  Catalina, you rock girl!

Part of the process is I have to tell 11 things about myself and then answer 11 questions posted by the one who nominated me so here goes.

About Me:

I love the Lord with all my heart.  I love being a mom and I’m good at it.  I am madly in love with my husband and we talk about how we both get butterflies when we are with each other.  I love bacon!!  I have a slight obsession with buying new flip flops but I work hard to not go crazy and keep it in check.  Some things that many may not know about me is that I have been playing the piano by ear since I was 3 1/2 years old (I had to reach up to reach the keys) and I have been writing songs since I was in the 4th grade.  Obviously I love to write.  I cannot draw, even my stick figures don’t look right.  My favorite color is red.  I have a small 8lb maltipoo named Brady that is our baby and we have taught him to wait for us to say the blessing before he eats and also to ring a bell when he needs to go outside. Now I will try to answer the questions.

1. How old were you when you had your first kiss?  I was 14.  (I did have a boy, a very close friend, give me a smack on the lips at the age of 5 but don’t think that counts.)
2. Did you grow up in a home with both parents? Yes and my parents have been married for 42 years.
3. Do you believe in reincarnation? No but I do believe in Salvation.
4. Do you believe in heaven and hell? Yes
5. What is your favorite cinema movie ever? I actually have a thing for old black & white movies like “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” and “Rebecca” and so many more, but a cinema movie would be “Pride & Prejudice”, “Return to Me” & “Signs”.
6. What song would you like played at your funeral? An old song written by Bill & Gloria Gaither called “Something Beautiful”
7. What one word describes you? Unselfish
8. What is your astrological sign? Sagittarius
9. What is the one quality that you want most in the opposite sex? Integrity
10. What is the one thing that you feel you should change about yourself? I procrastinate and I hate that!
11. What movie star do you resemble most (you have to answer this)? I have been told I look a little like Helen Hunt, Kate Hudson  or a young Barbara Mandrell, however I am going to say Smurfette.

Now I am supposed to nominate some blogs that I feel deserve this award.   Here are some that I think are definitely worth reading:

http://thebyrdhouseblog.wordpress.com

http://ournewpartyofsix.wordpress.com/

http://ablendx9.wordpress.com/

http://pastorbv.wordpress.com/

http://aliendad.wordpress.com/

Now these nominees need to tell 11 things about themselves, answer my questions and then nominate blogs with less than 200 followers that they feel deserve to be nominated as well as include a link to my blog for the nomination. (hey I don’t make the rules, I just follow them).

Here are my questions for the nominees:

  1. What is your favorite color?
  2. What is your favorite food?
  3. What is your inspiration for writing your blog?
  4. Who is your biggest supporter of your blog?
  5. What is your best character trait?
  6. What is your worst character trait?
  7. What do you feel is your greatest achievement/success so far in your life?
  8. What song would you like played at your funeral?
  9. Name the funniest movie you have ever seen?
  10. What is your favorite holiday and why?
  11. What is the one main thing you want readers to get from your blog?

It has been such an honor to be nominated.  I hope that my readers take from my blog a sense of empowerment and that you are not alone.

The Integrity of Potting Soil

ImageI have some new spring flowers to plant so I went to a brand new hardware store that just opened a few weeks ago in our community yesterday.  There were about 10 workmen working on building wooden displays just outside the store for their gardening area and in the middle of all the cords, saws, wood, and men was the display of potting soil.  I went inside and got the young sales girl to walk with me outside to help with which type I should purchase.  After deciding, I tried to pick up the bag, which was wet from the rain for the last several days as well as weighed about 40lbs.  She volunteered to carry it but she struggled more than me.  Finally she said I could go in and pay for it and then drive up closer to get my soil.  After paying and driving my car up to the curb, I walked back through the work zone, and struggling, managed to hoist the wet bag to the car.  Struggling again, I got the car door open while balancing my burden on one propped up leg and finally dropped it onto the front seat.  I literally worked up a sweat!  I became more and more angry on the drive home. There were 10 or more men working right there, some were busy and some stopped to stare even, but not a single one offered to take less than a minute of their time to put the heavy bag in my car for me.  It really got me to thinking about integrity.

Is it just me or does it seem that boys aren’t raised to have integrity these days or to be gentlemen.  We have talked with our kids, particularly our boys about having integrity.  We have explained that integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is looking.  We have done devotions and family prayer time on it as well.  I really want my boys to know that being a gentleman means conducting yourself with integrity.  We also have a young teen daughter and the things boys have said to her or around her were unimaginable in my day.  Oh I am sure that issues and topics haven’t changed all that much but it seems that there are no boundaries or respect in society today.  It’s the “it’s all about me” or “if it feels good” mentality.

Now think about what potting soil is used for…  It is to create a safe nutrient rich environment in order for plants to thrive and grow to be their best.  That is exactly what I want to do for my children.  I want to be what they need to help them flourish.  I want them to automatically do for others.  I want them to see opportunities, even those small gestures such as carrying a bag of potting soil and take them without having to think about it.  I want it to become part of who they are, not because of how others will view them on the outside but because of who they are in their heart and in their spirit.  If more parents would really focus and invest time in becoming great potting soil for their kids just how much better an environment would be created for our children so they don’t just grow up to be adults but grow up to thrive and flourish.  Proverbs 22:6 NLT “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Heavenly Father, help me as a mom and bonus mom be the soil that my children become rooted and grounded in honor, respect, and integrity so that they will bloom and flourish into what You have created them to be.

“Children are not casual guests in our home. They have been loaned to us temporarily for the purpose of loving them and instilling a foundation of values on which their future lives will be built.”  Dr. James Dobson

Priorities, respect, and the marriage wheel of bliss- Priority 1

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I think priorities in life are very important. They help keep you in your lane in this race of life.  They help keep you focused and running in the right direction. I feel that priorities are that much more important in the blender because of the different dynamics already going on in the mix.   I think family priorities should be:

1. God

2. Spouse/marriage 

3. Kids

4. Work/friends/anything else you want to fill in the blank

Today, lets focus on priority #1.  I strongly feel that as a Christian, God should be your first priority.  It can be very hard to do this, I know.  You have the husband, the kids, the job that demand every thing from you, so how can we possibly put God first?  Well, actually, I think it is more simple than you think.  Psalm 119:15 “I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.”  As a christian I believe you have the Holy Spirit living inside of you.  (1 Cor 3:16 NLT says the Holy Spirit, whom you received from God, lives in you.) That tells me to really listen to that voice inside of me that’s telling me whether this feels right or not.  You have heard the expression “go with your gut”.  Well I feel that God through the Holy Spirit is my gut.  Yep, sounds a little weird but think about it…it makes sense!  Another very easy way besides listening to the Spirit in your heart is to memorize scripture and repeat it to yourself during those difficult times.  I struggle with anxiety and have since I was in high school.  Some times I feel I have victory over it and some times it rears its very nasty horrible ugly head!  During these times I have found that if I repeat some verses that mean a lot to me, it helps me to get through that anxious moment.  (this for me is meditating on His word)  One of my favorite verses is Joshua 1:9 “This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”  (If you really want to have a good time, read Joshua 1:7-9!)  Another thing that will help put God first is PRAYER!  When I first wake up in the morning before my feet hit the floor, I say a prayer.  It isn’t a long drawn out thing, just a quick prayer for me to get my day started, to pray for mine, my husband’s, and my children’s day.  If you read in Luke 18 about the Pharisees you will find that although they were very well respected in society, they were also very self righteous and viewed themselves better and more “spiritual” than every one else.  To put God first in your life does not mean for you to be a Pharisee (just practicing religion).  It is not about showing up every time the church doors are open, praying the loudest, or knowing the most scripture.  It is about meeting God right where you are in your little corner of the world.  Keeping Him in the forefront of your mind and letting him quietly lead you in your heart.  It’s living up to the potential he created you to be.  (for more of that refer to my previous post “Great Expectations”)  Everything else will follow according to His path if you just start where you are….  Next post is about Priority 2 (marriage) Yikes!

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Great Expectations

Some times I struggle.  Haha I bet you’re thinking duh, we all struggle.  That is true, we all do.  However, let me explain further. I’m not talking about being a blender mom.  Yes, that has its set of struggles but I’m talking about being a mom, being a wife, being a Christian woman, that is where I struggle too.  Where is my place in this world?  What is my true idenity?  What is God’s purpose for me in this life? I know you have often asked those questions to yourself like I have.  Here are some things to think about when you find yourself wrestling with this issue as we all will at times.  First, God gave you everything you need to be great when He made you!!  Read Psalm 139, the entire chapter declares this.  Then read 139:13-16  You were made complex and awesome! Do not underestimate this! Next, is a verse that I heard taught about in a message by Diane Wilson.  Look up Genesis 1:27&31 of the amplified Bible.  Take hold of those words in vs 31 “and He approved it completely”.  You were approved of completely when you were made!  I was made to think by a marriage in the past that I was somehow made wrong.  I could not say the right things and do the right things without provoking rage.  I became broken in my soul.  I was told day in and day out that I was not smart or capable.  I was slowly taught to not trust myself and in turn to not trust the Holy Spirit living in my heart.  I came across Psalm 139 one day.  I had heard it before but never really took it in.  God reminded me that day that He does not make mistakes and He did not make a mistake when he made me.  Study His word and know that he made you with a purpose in mind, so expect more of yourself than what other people in your life that may be trying to drag you down make you think you are not capable of doing.  Expect more from God too, the One who made you!   God’s plan for you is not some great difficult trial.  It is as simple as taking what you love and are good at and using it for Him.  I love being a mom and creating a home and memories for my children are very important to me.  I feel it is my purpose in life to raise these children that God has given me to love Him in a powerful way. It is to help them realize that He made them complex and awesome too.  Guess what?  It is those simple desires that God created in me that I feel He wants to use.  When you are looking for your purpose in life, start simple, right where you are.  What are some things that you love to do or feel you are good at?  Then ask yourself how could you use that for His glory? 

“Trusting God completely means having faith that He knows what is best for your life. You expect Him to keep His promises, help you with problems, and do the impossible when necessary.”
Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth am I Here for?