Scrapbook memories of 3 graduates!!

ESTRANGEMENT…ugh.  I hate that word!  But, more than just hating the word….I hate the fact that our family has experienced way too much estrangement.  Some may call it “separation”, but since divorce, custody battles etc; have been involved I think “estrangement” is a more appropriate word…and I have been a KEY player since I also have experienced separation, divorce and estrangement.  😦

So, you ask…what does that have to do with graduating??  Good question.  Let me begin with the oldest graduate I am commemorating in this blog.  Christian is my first born grandson…ImageHe is my daughter, Theresa’s first born child.  He was born when she was unmarried and only 18 yrs. old.  My oldest child and only son had blessed me with two granddaughters and a third was on the way,  But this was my FIRST GRANDSON!  I was with my daughter all night throughout her labor and even got to cut Christian’s cord! Christian was a precious and happy little boy and Maw Maw loved taking care of him. Since Theresa was a single mom, I remember helping her to get set up with low income housing, purchasing second hand furniture and providing diapers for Christian the first year of his life.  Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough.  There were other needs that Theresa & Christian had that I couldn’t supply…

Once Christian was a toddler it was decided that he should live with his dad in Minnesota. His other family was in Texas!  ESTRANGEMENT had reared it’s ugly head!ImageUGH!  By this time, Christian had a little sister.  They loved playing together and so it was going to be a lonely time for them both with the separation.

Infrequent summer visitations and an occasional holiday was the extent of time spent together.  ImageSince many miles separated us (Texas/Minnesota) and finances often prohibited us from visits as often as we would have preferred, we tried to make the most out of our times together! Mommy married and more siblings were added to the mix. 1st a little brotherImagenamed Preston.  One summer while Christian was visiting we all went camping!  ImageThey loved those hot Texas beaches!  Anything to do with water was always fun; for Maw Maw too!  ImageYum! Smore’s!!!

Another time Christian got to take a ride in Uncle Rob’s boat…ImageThere were only a few Christmases that Christian got to be in Texas with his mom, his siblings or Maw Maw and Paw Paw, but we tried to make the most of them when he was…ImageI remember even once when Christian flew to TX alone and I met him at DFW to pick him up for his visitation.  He was a brave young man to travel alone by plane to see his Texas family.  ImageThis awesome young man has 6 siblings!!  His mom has had four more children since he was born and his dad and wife have had 2 other children!!  It’s no wonder that Christian is an awesome big brother and even works as a babysitter for two young boys!  As Christian got older and more involved in sportsImage  his visits to Texas became less frequent and more sporadic.  I cherish the pictures his Minnesota family would provide us…

It helped me to feel as though I was a part of his life when in reality I wasn’t!  We were growing less and lessImagefamiliar with each other.  I hated that!  I remember traveling up North for a family wedding and picking Christian up for an overnight stay in a motel where he could spend time with cousins and we could try to re-connect.  ESTRANGEMENT! Ugh!  Once you’ve been estranged, it’s so difficult to re-connect!!  I struggled to KNOW my grandson.  He was a good boy, but I didn’t really know him.  That being said, it didn’t change the love a grandmother has for her grandson.  It didn’t change the desire you have for their well being and happiness.  

Well, just this past week I received confirmation of Christian’s well being and happiness when my two daughter’s (his mother and aunt) were able to attend Christian’s high school graduation ceremony.  Christian’s dad and mom (the one that raised him) received my daughter (his birth mom) into their home warmly.  I believe it was life-changing for all after more than a four year ESTRANGEMENT.  ImageCongratulations, Grandson!  I am so very happy to hear how you’ve turned out and so grateful to your Minnesota family for taking good care of you and providing you with a life you deserve.  After talking with you on the phone, I anticipate a visit from you before you begin college…but if it doesn’t happen I am at peace knowing you are well and that you got to re-connect with your mom a little.

Christian was born in February of 1996…My third grandaughter (his cousin) was born in August of the same year.  Rain is another grandchild that I don’t know very well.  ImageMy son and Rain’s mother were divorced by the time she was two years old.  Here we go again…ESTRANGEMENT!!  Shortly thereafter, Rain, her older sister, Skyler and her mother moved to Colorado.  More separation! ImageThis is a picture of them in our motel room after we made a trip to Colorado to see them. If was a brief visit, but we spent time eating out and playing in the motel pool.  ImageI have pictures to prove that we made efforts to see our grandchildren and have quality time together… so why do I feel so bad??  I just feel so sad when I think of how much I’ve missed of them growing up because we have lived so far apart! ImageFor a short while Skyler and Rain’s cousin, Hannah lived in Colorado and so they got to spend some time with her.  That was 10 or more years ago and they haven’t seen each other since!  Ugh! ESTRANGEMENT!! I hate it!  I know it’s a fact of life and some families are closer than others…but it doesn’t change my feelings on this lack of closeness that many in my family share.  I want it to be different!

Rain is such a precious and sweet girl!  For a couple of years her dad and step-mom lived just 40 miles from us.  AlthoughImagedad didn’t have custody Maw Maw and Paw Paw reaped the benefit of summer visitations and remember taking Rain shopping for some school clothes before she left to go back to Colorado.  ImageWhenever we had the opportunity to see Rain we would try to spend quality time together.  I recall one summer when we were up North for a wedding we celebrated Rain’s birthday early just so we could be together for it.  

ImageAll grown up now but back in Minnesota…Rain is once again living closer to her dad, step-mom and little brother.  I just wish I was closer as well!  I miss her so much!  The last time I saw her was in 2007!! That’s 7 long years!  Cards and gifts on birthdays and Christmases just aren’t sufficient enough for a grandchild to know they are loved.  Maybe they do know…maybe I’m just feeling guilty for the lack of time I’ve spent with some of them.  In my opinion, no amount of money can replace lost moments together.  Unfortunately, when families separate, move, divorce, have hard feelings & misunderstandings….ugh, there it is again – ESTRANGEMENT! Isn’t that an ugly word?  It’s even and uglier fact of life!  Did I mention, I hate it?  My youngest daughter, Tanya got to see Rain this week and got to celebrate a little bit with her.  ImageAuntie Tanya is always game for a little clowning around!  I smiled when she sent me this pic.  So, congratulations Rain!  Maw Maw wishes she could be present for your graduation next week but some much smaller grandchildren here in Texas are needing my time and attention.

Now that you have come of age, maybe you can make a trip to Texas to see us.  You would be welcomed with open arms!Image

Last but not least is my third graduate, Ethan! Ethan is Christian’s younger brother and 6 yrs. old. In Texas they make a big deal out of Kindergarten graduations…and so when my daughter asked me if I could attend the ceremony this past Tuesday I was all in! I took care of Ethan here in my home along with his younger brother, Kash until Ethan began school. Technically, I guess you could say I was his “Pre-K” teacher. We had lots of fun and I taught him how to read, spell, write, count etc;2013-01-03_10-18-35_563
Now, Ethan will be entering the first grade! Fortunately, I can say I’ve not been ESTRANGED from Ethan like I have some of my other grandchildren. Since he only lives 20 miles from me, I’ve been able to be a part of his life since he was born! Ethan is my 13th grandchild. We’ve love to build forts from blankets, play card games, build tall towers from the Jenga blocks and play with Legos.IMG_20130529_124131_325 Here Ethan is having fun with Play Doh.

I’m so proud of little Ethan!

Look at that grin!

Look at that grin!

Now that school is out I will see more of Ethan. In fact he and his brother Preston will be coming along with Kash on Monday to stay at Maw Maw’s house while mommy works. This is our last week to take care of Jackson…but next week will be crazy with four grandsons here! I will have to snap a picture so you can all see proof of four that I do get to spend lots of time with!

Ethan with his certificate

Ethan with his certificate

I’m not shy…so I hooped and hollered for Ethan as he was receiving his certificate. In fact, another grandma commented as I was leaving that I gave her courage to holler as well. LOL

A parting shot of us….

Maw Maw & Grandchild #13

Maw Maw & Grandchild #13

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The thought process I go through when I CREATE…

Seldom do my projects end up looking the way I thought they would when I began the process.  I have made very few quilts from a set pattern I purchased or found in a magazine.  I much rather create from my head.  I like to find a fabric that I like and go from there.  When I first began making quilts about 3 years ago…this was only my third & fourth quilt.  Very basic and simple patchwork, one tacked with buttons, and the other tacked with embroidery floss.  These were made for two of my son’s children – the grandson’s on the left and the granddaughter’s on the right.ImageI don’t really like to sew clothing, but I can sew a straight line!! Therefore, I love sewing quilts or home decor items, such as pillows etc; But, as I said, rarely do they end of the way I thought they would in the beginning.

I have discovered this about myself: I like to “design as I go”.  A prime example of that is this quilt I am currently working on:  I’m calling this my “Jumbo Pinwheel” toddler quilt.  It began with the royal blue, pastel animal print fabric.  I designed the entire quilt around it.  What is even funnier – my original plan was for it to be a Chevron (zig zag) pattern.  I didn’t like how it was looking, so I changed it to the pinwheel block.  After trimming this block is still 18 X 18.  You will notice there are 9 of these blocks with hot pink, yellow and turquoise solids.  When I laid the pinwheel blocks out, I realized that my quilt was going to be square.  I don’t like square.  I wanted it to be a rectangle.  So, in order to lengthen it, but not widen it I decided to add the stripe fabric on the top and bottom as a border.

ImageBut, after I laid it out, I didn’t like the stripe at the top and bottom with all the pinwheels in the middle.  It just didn’t look right!  So, I decided to break up my pinwheels and put a row of stripe in between instead.  See what I mean about the thought process I go through?  When I first began quilting I used to draw my pattern out on graph paper – the way I wanted my blocks laid out etc;  Nada! No more!  I just wing it, using my floor as a design wall! LOL  It’s more exciting that way!  It’s kinda like opening a present at Christmas.  You don’t really know what you will end up with, until you pull all the packing/tissue etc; out and see what’s in the bottom of the bag or box.

I am also a real big fan of putting a “frame” around my blocks.  The orange fabric is called “sashing”.  2 years ago I didn’t know what sashing was or how to add it to a quilt.  Now, many of my quilts have sashing.  I have tons of fabric, so I just kept experimenting with different colors until I came up with one I liked.  (This is a very inexpensive hobby for me, really).  I go to estate sales, garage sales, resale shops, goodwill etc;  Often my fabric has been purchased off a clearance table at Hancock’s or off an auction on E-bay.  Then once it was all laid out – I thought – hmmmmm those pinwheel blocks would look cute with a button in the middle….ImageWhat do you think?

ImageBut I quickly changed my mind about the buttons…thinking “if this is going to be a toddler quilt, then buttons would be a choking hazard”…Needless to say the buttons were axed.

So now that my top is done….I need to decide what fabric I will use for the back.  It will probably be a solid color. (Maybe I’ll use a soft fleece or flannel??)  I also need to decide if I want to make a “scrappy” binding for the edges or if I want it to be just one color. I also have to decide how I will quilt it, or if I will just “tie/tack” it with some yarn, embroidery floss or what?  If I quilt it should I “stitch in the ditch”, one of my favorite methods or “outline quilt” it?   ImageYou may wonder why I’ve asked these questions or even found it necessary to post such an odd blog.  Are you creative?  Do you want to be?  Believe it or not, I am very much a beginner quilter.  I am a quick study, but everything I’ve learned in the last 3 years has been learned online.  If you are inspired to tackle your first quilt, or maybe some other creative endeavor – I would encourage you to do so.  It has been a very fun hobby for me.  I have signed up and viewed a class on “free motion” quilting on http://www.craftsy.com/classes?_ct=wberqbdql-sbqiiui  but, I’m not there yet!  Much left to learn.  I need lots of practice!!  

So, now you know the thought process I go through when I sit down to begin a new quilt.  In closing I will share a couple of pics of some other ones I made in hopes it will inspire you to tackle some creative endeavor you’ve been putting off for far too long.

ImageThis was sold on E-bay but I have enough fabric to make another one at some point.

ImageBed size  9 patch I made for my older brother, Jim.

Image“Square in a square” tutorial I watched online motivated me to make this quilt for my daughter, Theresa.  So, guess what I will be doing all day this Saturday?  Sewing!  I have several projects started that I really need to get finished before I begin another one.  That would be my biggest quirk when it comes to quilting.  I like to work on several projects at one time.  (I’ve read that this is a common trait among quilters).  If it’s an unusually large quilt, I will get bored while working on it and will have to switch to something else for awhile.

In closing…I hope I’ve inspired someone to begin a new project or finish one they’ve started.  

I just don’t understand! Warning: Controversial subject

I am re-blogging this one…because I feel so strongly about this topic. I come into contact with people every day that want to remain in their victimization – I just don’t see the point!! Life is too short!

dancingthruyears

Let me first say that this is hindsight talking. It has taken many years of soul searching, God seeking and therapy to reach this place but that being said:

I JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY YOU CHOOSE TO REMAIN STUCK!! I remember back in the late eighties or early nineties saying that to the Christian counselor I had sought help from. He asked me “how does that make you feel?” I replied, “I feel stuck!” His next question to me was “what do you need to do to feel unstuck?” And then, rather than giving me the answer he let me work it out in my own way and in my own time. He was an EXCELLENT COUNSELOR and I will be forever grateful for the many sessions that I had with him. He really helped me!

Why do you continue to blame your past for why you are the way…

View original post 1,111 more words

What if?

I haven’t felt inspired to blog since we lost Granny just two short weeks ago. Although there have been some thoughts and ideas running thru my head, I haven’t felt highly motivated to do much of anything. That all changed, this morning when my husband and I “had words”. That’s a polite way of saying we disagreed.

First I have to give you a little background. Just prior to losing Granny, my husband lost a major client that will impact his monthly income negatively. Suffice it to say “in a major way”. In addition, with Granny’s passing we lost Granny’s SSI (which helped to keep our household running).

With this huge lifestyle change, hubby and I agreed that we were not going to be impulsive or do anything drastic to rectify the situation, BUT that we were going to fast and pray and trust God for our provisions. We are both licensed insurance professionals and with all that is coming out of the White House, you can imagine our uncertainty.

Combined with that decision, during Wed. church services our Pastor spoke about surrendaring and doing it God’s way, instead of our way. It was a message sent straight from Heaven and confirmed everything we were feeling. So, you may ask, why oh why, did we “have words”?

Well, lastnight just prior to bedtime, we discovered that our AC motor had burned out. Hubby got out there beside the house with flashlight in hand and tried to see if he could fix it knowing we really don’t have the extra money right now to call a repairman. No luck. I suggested we open the windows since the temps have been a bit milder than usual. (65-75 at night) Due to the humidity, hubby did not want to comply. Okay, well “suffer then” was my attitude. I’m not the one in the house who needs the AC as much as hubby does. So, we slept in separate beds and it remained at about 76 degrees (we usually keep it at 72) all night with 2 fans running.

This morning, it was beautiful! 65 degrees out and a tad bit breezy. My hubby canceled his plans to attend his cousin’s funeral. He was on a mission! He was in CRISIS mode!! He was determined he was going to fix that air conditioner! The whole while I was quiet, calm and subdued. I ran an errand to Walmart and then came home to go for a nice long walk. When I arrived home from Walmart hubby was working on AC. With walking stick and pepper spray in hand off I went for my neighborhood walk. Hubby called me while I was out stating he was going to call the repairman. “What??!!! We have _____dollars to our name that has to last until _____ and you are going to call a repairman? This is not the end of the world, Jerry! We can open the windows as I suggested, get ALL the fans going (we have three), keep lights, oven, dryer off etc; I thought you were the one that grew up poor, didn’t have AC blah, blah, blah”….

Well, you see where this is going. I reminded my hubby of how he gets when anything ever goes wrong. Even the computer. He’s got to fix it RIGHT NOW! He can’t wait! He will put all his plans on hold, no matter how important and will spend his last dollar to fix whatever has broken down! I just don’t understand it! I appreciate his desire, but don’t appreciate his impulsivity.
We ended our telephone conversation by me saying, “I’m not going to go round and round arguing with you about this. You are the head of our household, so do what you think you must do. But, you know my position on this. We can survive without AC for awhile. It won’t kill us.”

I then began to pray. The more I walked and the more I prayed the madder I got! Not at hubby. At that darned ole’ devil. Just this past Wednesday, after the message was preached, I had told my Pastor how mad I was at the way the enemy tries to sidetrack me when I’ve made a decision to trust God. This morning as I walked, I heard him say, “Ha, gonna trust God, huh? Yeah, right..well how about if I knock your AC out?” So many scenerios played out in my head as I talked to the Lord and walked.

WHAT IF, God wanted us to be without AC (and it wasn’t the devil), but in actuality God giving us an opportunity to lean on and trust in Him.

WHAT IF, it was His way of cutting our monthly expenses? Electricity will be much lower without AC now won’t it?

WHAT IF, God wanted to teach us about “waiting” or give us a lesson in patience while HE worked on our situation.

WHAT IF, we would be getting in God’s way, by calling the repairman? Maybe there was a bigger miracle or blessing coming down the road and God was “testing” us to see how we would respond or react?

When my hubby was trying to make his point about calling the repairman and I was trying to make mine about waiting, he asked me, “Are you willing to go three weeks without AC if we have to?” My response was an emphatic “yes!”

Well, long story short…hubby was sitting on the bench outside when I had returned from my walk and had not called anyone. We have had a nice day so far. Our home is dark, fans are running, windows are open and it’s 79 degrees outside and inside.

Disclaimer: Maybe there is nothing spiritual about this life event; but as a spirit filled Christian I choose to believe that we can search and learn from everything in life.

Shame on you, Food Network!

http://dancingthruyears.com/2013/06/23/come-on-now-food-network-really/

If you have been following my blog for awhile you will remember my disappointment with the handling of the discrimination lawsuit against Paula Deen. I have kept my word and not watched any of my favorite shows on Food Network since I received news of this suit.

You will also note that this lawsuit has been dropped! http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2013/08/23/lawyers-agree-to-drop-paula-deen-discrimination-lawsuit/

How sad that Paula Deen had to go through all of this hurt, pain and disappointment and that her employer would not stand by her (as honest as she was), but instead chose to drop her like a hot potato (excuse the pun).

I’m praying and seeking the right attitude regarding you, Food Network. I know I must forgive you. But, right now I hope you are hanging your heads in shame!

I just don’t understand! Warning: Controversial subject

Let me first say that this is hindsight talking. It has taken many years of soul searching, God seeking and therapy to reach this place but that being said:

I JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY YOU CHOOSE TO REMAIN STUCK!! I remember back in the late eighties or early nineties saying that to the Christian counselor I had sought help from. He asked me “how does that make you feel?” I replied, “I feel stuck!” His next question to me was “what do you need to do to feel unstuck?” And then, rather than giving me the answer he let me work it out in my own way and in my own time. He was an EXCELLENT COUNSELOR and I will be forever grateful for the many sessions that I had with him. He really helped me!

Why do you continue to blame your past for why you are the way you are? Why do you continue to blame others for your faults? Why do you continue to hold a grudge about your upbringing? WHY DO YOU CHOOSE TO REMAIN STUCK IN YOUR SUFFERING? Why are you still mad?

Now, if you are offended by my questions, you might have to do some serious introspection and soul-searching yourself. There are many of you that I have come in contact with thru my years of recovery and I wanted so badly to show you the error of your ways. It’s like a new convert wanting to tell everyone about Jesus after they get born again! HA! 🙂 Unfortunately, most of it falls on deaf ears. That’s why I’ve resorted to not saying anything and just praying for you. I love you. I hurt for you. And I do know a better way. I’ve not “arrived”. I still struggle. My previous blog post will attest to that fact. But Matthew 5:43-48 speaks to how we are to behave towards those that dislike us etc; It says:

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

I hear you saying, “but you don’t know how bad it is. You don’t know the atrocities I’ve suffered. I was absused, molested, left alone, not fed, neglected. I can’t imagine how a loving God would allow such a thing to happen”! Well, I don’t have all the answers and this will seem unsympathetic – but IT DOESN’T MATTER! God sees your pain. And He wants you to turn it over to Him. Hanging on to it is harboring unforgiveness. Some folks CHOOSE TO wear the hurts of their past like a badge of honor. It allows them to never really achieve all that they desire to achieve in life. As long as they can blame someone else for things they don’t have to take responsibility for what happens or doesn’t happen. Is that you?

Dr. Phil would ask you, “how’s that working for you?” Resentment is grudge holding. And it’s a sin! I can’t be saved if I stay mad at you, or vice versa. I love you. Do you hear me? I don’t care what your socio-economic status is; your heritage is or anything else for that matter. But, I admit – I do lose patience and have a harder time loving you when you CHOOSE TO continue to wallow in it! Get over it!! Life is too short!! I tend to look at the glass as half full, rather than half empty. No, it wasn’t always that way…but there is too much life to be living to continue to feel sorry for yourself.

I like what the Life Connection in my Recovery Devotional bible says about getting past it.
It says,

Ultimately, what happens inside of us is more important than what goes on outside. Yes, we are accountable for both our behavior and our attitudes, and at times we need to “fake it in order to make it,” but true, lasting change in our behavior patterns needs to happen from the inside out. Even if we do good things such as give to the needy, pray regularly, fast, or stop drinking, we will not grow much emotionally or spiritually unless our actions stem from our inner being–the part of us that has submitted to God.

So, forgive me if I seem preachy sometimes, or seem like I know it all. I don’t! But, I do know that “letting go and letting God” has gotten me to where I am today. I’ve been around that block more than once.

To “Let Go” Takes Love:

To “let go” does not mean to stop caring,
it means I can’t do it for someone else.
To “let go” is not to cut myself off, it is
the realization I can’t control another.
To “let go” is not to enable, but to allow
learning from natural consequences.
To “let go” is to admit powerlessness, which
means the outcome is not in my hands.
To “let go” is not to change or blame
another, it is to make the most of myself.
To “let go” is to not care FOR, but to care ABOUT.
To “let go” is not to FIX, but to be SUPPORTIVE.
To “let go” is not to JUDGE, but to allow another
to be a human being.
To “let go” is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes
but to allow others to affect their own destinies.
To “let go” is not to be protective, it is to
permit another to face reality.
To “let go” is not to deny, but to accept.
To “let go” is not to nag, scold, or argue, but instead to search
out my own shortcomings and to correct them.
To “let go” is not to adjust everything to my desires but to take
each day as it comes, and to cherish myself in it.
To “let go” is not to criticize and regulate anybody
but to try to become what I dream I can be.
To “let go” is not to regret the past, but to grow
and to live for the future.
To “let go” is to FEAR less and to LOVE more.

I have tried to live by this creed for many years. Some days are easier than others. Unfortunately, I am carnal – and still wear a coat of flesh. And I still have many friends and family that I still want to rescue from their despair. The way I see it – rescuing is enabling. They will remain STUCK by their own behaviors and attitudes but I can also facilitate them remaining STUCK if I don’t follow the Lord’s leading. Right now, the Lord is prompting me to remain SILENT and pray and fast.

If anyone knows the author of the above creed, please let me know so I can give proper credit.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Interesting conversation with my 12 yr. old grandson

Preston is my 12 yr. old grandson. I don’t often have an opportunity to spend much time with him, so I’m pleased that for the past month he has come over with his two younger brothers while his mom was at work. (Most of the time he and his 15 yr. old sister stay at home during the summer or stay with friends.)

Let me preface what I’m about to say first by saying I don’t like “indecisiveness” or “wishy washyness”. I like people who are resolute! They know what they want and what they don’t want. Maybe that’s a tall order for a 12 yr. old, but it’s at least a “teaching moment” the way I see it. Preston is very “wishy washy” or “diplomatic” in his responses to me. I feel like he gives me the answer that he thinks I want, rather than what he really thinks. Often he will answer a question with a question. He often pauses before he answers trying to figure out if he’s “in trouble”. I need to point out that my grandson is a very polite young man and I have very little difficulty or challenges with him. But this little personality characteristic has become quite obvious and apparent. I have my theory on where it stems from but don’t care to blog all the details.

After several episodes that Paw Paw and I both witnessed where Preston seemed to be “tap dancing” around an issue, I decided it was time to talk about it. So, I began by quoting the scripture that says, “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways”. James 1:8 As we continued to chat, I encouraged Preston to take a stand on things and if he truly believed a certain way to let his yes be yes, thus quoting the scripture in James 5:12.

Preston is such a sweet boy. I worry though about his tendancy to want to be a “people pleaser” and therefore reminded him of the well known quote that says, “a man who stands for nothing will fall for anything”. Our kids are bombarded with so much nowadays and have way more pressure on them than I had back in the day. I pray for all my grandchildren daily. For them to be strong, resolute and as Shakespeare said, “to thine own self be true” is just a small part of what I desire for them.

“Do as I say, not as I do”

Dad & my baby girl (2)

This is “Bob” and my baby girl, Tanya back in 1981. He was my step-dad but the only “dad” I knew growing up. Bob died in 1995, but I can still hear him saying,

Do as I say, not as I do

!! I once had a psychologist tell me that when I had a thought ie; (message, life lesson) playing over and over in my head, that I should ask myself

whose voice it is

so I would be able to better judge it’s truth or validity. It’s been my experience that upon entering adolesence we begin to question the philosphy of our parents; their belief systems etc; Therefore when I was told

you need to…, or you should have…,

my come back was often,

why? you don’t do that,

or

you’ve always…

and I would hear,

DO AS I SAY, NOT AS I DO!!

Isn’t that the very definition of hypocrisy? I think so! And if so, then shouldn’t I reject, rather than embrace the teachings/instruction of my parent? And what about myself as a parent? Did I repeat the mistakes of my parent with my children and do one thing, but say (instruct) another? This reminds me of a poem we had hanging on our wall when my children were little… it said:

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.

Copyright © 1972 by Dorothy Law Nolte

How many of us grew up being told not to smoke, but yet our parents smoked? Or how many of us grew up being told

drinking is bad

and yet our household was a drinking household? Or better yet (coming from this former Weight Watchers leader), how many of us grew up in a household eating whatever we wanted, were not taught any type of nutrition and yet as soon as we began gaining a few pounds were told we should go on a diet? 😉

If you are reading this, please don’t read BLAME anywhere in it. I am way past my

victim status/blame game

and have no need to blame anyone to feel better about the choices and decisions I made in life. I only wish I had done better sooner. But, in order to do so, I would have had to question the teachings of my upbringing sooner.

I’m sure some of you have discovered the same thing I have: I’M A MUCH BETTER GRANDPARENT, THEN I WAS A PARENT!! Or maybe, you learned some things from an older sibling, growing up?

I tell my grandson, Ethan (5 yrs old) almost every day,

don’t do that, Ethan, because Kash (20 months) is watching you and he is going to try and do it too! Your little brother is watching you, and he’s learning from you every time you do something. He doesn’t know the difference between right and wrong, like you do. He’s still learning.

In closing: If you are reading this, you are reading the ruminations of an insomniac. Pondering is what I do when I can’t sleep…if you liked what you read, please spread the word – I would love to have more followers to my blog and would also love to hear your thoughts.

If I can’t be AUTHENTIC I’d rather not Live!

By people who like me, I’ve been told that I’m “real”.  Others will say, that I “tell it like it is”.  Some say, that I’m “all business” or that I’m “brutally honest”.  I’m sure there are other things that I’m forgetting but suffice it to say that I agree with all of them.

On the other hand for those that don’t like me or don’t know me well some of the adjectives that have been used or things that have been said are that I’m “rude”, “brash”, “snarky”, “too outspoken” etc; I’m sure there are MANY other adjectives in the “don’t like” category as well, but if they don’t like you, they don’t usually tell you to your face what adjectives they are using.

My husband’s favorite depiction of me is that I am “short spoken”.  I had never heard that one, until marrying him 14 years ago.  He blames it on me being born a Yankee, transplanted and grown up north, and then migrating to East Texas.  People here “just don’t understand me”.  Ha!

I freely admit that I’ve had my fair share of relationship difficulties, with friends, family and bosses.  And yes, I’ve asked myself the age old question, “what’s the common denominator?”  DUH, that would be ME!  That realization has caused me much soul-searching, many hours of therapy, and tons of pain and heartache.  But, the most important thing it has done for me has caused a hunger to grow in my heart for something bigger and more powerful than me – a personal relationship with Jesus Christ!

I’ve heard it said that “the only person you can change is YOU”.  I couldn’t agree more, but to reiterate the title of this blog, “if I can’t be AUTHENTIC, I’d rather not live”.  So, although I have changed a lot over the years it has not been of my doing. It has been because of my hunger for God. It has been because of my willingness to turn my will over to God’s will for my life.  It has been a “divine” change.  Minute by minute, hour by hour and day by day I am becoming who God created me to be. He chose me for more.

MARK 8:34-35

Jesus called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.

How many mores times & ways does it have to be said?

Matthew 10:39, Luke 17:33, Matthew 16:25, Luke 9:24

Those relationship difficulties still exist. I am not FREE from pain or heartache.  I still struggle to be who God’s wants me to be and to not offend anyone but especially those I truly love. (I’m also referred to as a “people person”.)

But, as I continue to abide in Him and abide in His word I find myself being made over in His image.  That is what He desires for me, and that is what I desire too! He gives me strength and He gives me peace and He shows me in His word how to be “authentic” in Him. Non-believers would call it being “brain-washed”.  I call it “finding the REAL me, the one He intended for me to be.

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