Making Sweet Memories

Halloween is tomorrow and festivities of this night can be seen everywhere!  I remember celebrating this time with passion and excitement while growing up.  It was a time to act goofy with my friends, dress up and go from house to house seeking the title of who received the most candy.  One year my brother even got together with friends and created a “spooky maze” in our garage.  There was nothing gross about the costumes and it was simply a “boo!” experience that drew my brothers, my family and our friends closer together as we all spend endless hours collaborating and building this spectacular maze that went from the garage, through the backyard and out around the other side of the house. 

When I look back upon these memories, I do not recall any evil involved at all.  It was a time to pretend, to laugh, and of course eat a lot of otherwise forbidden, candy!   My parents were very careful about checking our candy, explaining how to be safe, and making sure this was a time that we were enjoying festivities and not encountering evil.  One year I decided to go outside of the boundaries set by my parents and I walked through a haunted house that was not all fun and games.  Inside I saw horrible visions and was the most scared I had ever been.  I quickly learned why the boundary was put up and I never crossed that boundary again.
I know there is a lot of controversy regarding Halloween and its origin and as a parent now, I agree with keeping your kids from any form of evil if you possibly can.  I agree that people take this night way too far and make this into the most evil night of the year.  Bottom line is that it is my job to teach my son how to have good clean fun on a holiday even if the world around him is screaming evil.  This kid is very perceptive to evil and very aware of his boundaries regarding it.   I will step out on a limb here and be completely honest. I do not see any harm in dressing up as a clean character; go from door to door for the experience of collecting candy and spending time with friends and family throughout the night.   It is fun.  It is meant to be fun.  You’ll never see me at an adult secular costume party, allowing scary costumes or scary movies, or playing that awful Halloween music at my house. Why? This is not why I enjoy Halloween.  Although the least favorite of all holidays, I do enjoy seeing my son dress up as Thomas the Train and fill a bag with goodies that I normally do not let him eat.  I take the candy and replace it with candy that I bought and know is safe and he is aware of this entire process.  He is aware that candy from strangers can’t be trusted; however the experience of collecting that with his friends and a parent nearby can be a fun time. 

Bottom line for me is that when my son and I dress up and enjoy this time together, it is a memory builder that has nothing to do with any form of evil. 

Wear Your Oxygen Mask First

A couple years ago I boarded an airplane bound for my hometown.  While sitting through the emergency instructions presentation, I heard the words that will forever ring in my head as being a guide to my life.  In the event that the oxygen level in the main cabin becomes unstable, oxygen masks will drop in front of every passenger. Passengers are to take them, secure them to their heads using the elastic band and breathe through the masks normally. Passengers are instructed to make sure their masks are on first before assisting other passengers or children.”

Wow, it hit me right between the eyes! Metaphorically, I should be taking care of myself so that I can in turn take care of my son!

Stay with me…

Life is full of ups and downs, twists and turns, and the highs and lows. If we are constantly trying to put the “oxygen mask” on our children to alleviate them of pain, hurt, disappointment, etc., then we are going to eventually run out of oxygen ourselves.  It is important that we make sure we are okay also.  As busy parents who are covering the load of two, it is very easy to become wrapped up in the day to day and before we know it weeks or months have gone by and we have not taken in our own oxygen.  We cannot function to our full capacity in caring for our children if we are not caring for ourselves.

I am very guilty of this during the separation and first few months post-divorce.  My son became my everything.  I was still a “stay-at-home mom” for the first few months and then after that worked full time and put him in the best daycare I possibly could which drained my pocket book to the point of nothing much left.  My schedule consisted of dropping him off around 7:15am and picking him up around 5:30pm.  His bedtime was 7:30pm and so there was not much time to do anything but spend time with him.  When he went to bed, I went to bed.  I was drained and completely exhausted.  Weekends were spent doing laundry, cleaning, errands, church and trying to keep connected with the few friendships I had left via the phone/internet.  Go, go, and go.  That was my life.

It took the first weekend of my son visiting his dad about 1 hour north from where we live for me to sit and think, “now what?”  I had spent so much time focused on him that I had no idea what to do when he wasn’t there.  After some very hard self-motivation, I spent time with some girlfriends, exercised, box-colored my hair, painted my finger nails, read my bible without distraction, prayed, sang karaoke, met some new friends and just tried to enjoy time with myself.   It made me feel great!  When Bradley returned I was recharged and ready to give him my all.

You deserve to get to know YOU and you are worth it.  You need to put your oxygen mask on every once in a while to ensure you have enough strength to share with your children and those around you.  This is a great healing technique as well.  Losing a spouse or doing the “single parenting jig” can be a very lonely road if you do not learn how to care for yourself.

What are some things that you do for yourself?

While You Were Sleeping

Your day has come to an end.  The kids are in bed and you are left with just enough energy to fall into your bed and get a good night’s rest.  This is the time when you are able to turn off everything and just relax into your own dreamland, right?  Unfortunately, as great as this idea is, it is not reality for some.   

At least for me this is when I become “Meg the security guard making sure my son sleeps safely throughout the night.”  Sounds heroic right? Not true either.  Truth is that I dread night-time.  I hate sleeping in bed alone and I hate that every sound has me wondering if all is safe within my house.  If you ask my parents, they will tell you that I’ve always been somewhat paranoid about potential danger but I remember a time when my husband was the “safe” feeling that would ease me into sleep without any problems.  I will be honest that I truly miss that feeling.

Although very strong-willed, I am not a brave woman.  Within a moment’s notice I would not hesitate to save myself or my son from danger, but the fear of that danger is very real to me.  I have been truly convicted tonight in my bible reading that my fear can be construed as a lack of trust in the Lord.  I have to trust in God to keep my son and I safe from all danger and to simply rest at night so that I can be used for his glory during waking hours.

It’s a struggle I tell ya!  Even now as I write this, I took a moment to check on my kiddo while he is sleeping.  “Yep, he’s still there AND he’s breathing…whew!”  All joking aside, I do believe that God knows my fear and yours if you struggle with this too.  We as women weren’t created to be the protectors, men were.  All the security systems, pepper spray, bats, locks, and dare I say it, guns will not keep your mind at ease.  They surely help, but God is the only one who can truly ease your mind and give you rest.

Through God All Things Are Possible!

Do you truly believe it? With God ALL things are possible? I know for me it took a while and that phrase is still something I struggle with from time to time. I know it in my head but sometimes my heart, when it is breaking or angry has a very hard time trusting in those words: ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.  The bible doesn’t say some, but it says ALL!

How do you believe this?
  I ask “how” because I feel that to know that all things are possible requires action.   You don’t just believe what it says but you live it, you breath it, and you share it. 

It is easy to put this phrase into action when consoling someone else, or when your world seems pretty steady.
  What about the times when you aren’t so steady?  The bills are piling up, your kids are sick, work has you on overload, you are exhausted, you are having drama with the ex, possibly drama in a new relationship, you are struggling with depression and guilt and maybe you feel lonely.  Any of those sound familiar? The list of struggles can go on and on.  When in those times are you leaning on the phrase: “with God ALL things are possible”?

Is this really a hard thing to grasp? I think that Satan waits
(1 Peter 5:8) to take these opportunities to cloud the reality that no matter what the situation, our God is still on the throne!  A very wise lady (Mrs. LuAnne Crane) says those words very often and I will never release them from my heart.  “Our God is still on the throne!”  What an exclamation of victory!  You are still God’s child and He knows everything you endure and YES He will make all things possible.  They aren’t always in the way that we imagine or in our timing but how great is His promise to us! Ephesians 3:20  Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.

Have victory over all of your situations through God’s promise!

Through The Eyes Of A Child

This past weekend my son and I decided to have a picnic at our local park.  This park is pretty amazing with the beautiful fall trees surrounding baseball fields, soccer fields, a walking path, gigantic playground, and lots of hills which make this a great sledding destination in the winter.  During this beautiful Fall season Colorado is having, we decided that this was just the thing we needed to spend some “date” time together and get out of the house. 

We packed up the SUV and headed out for our time of adventure.  Adventure we did have!  While walking through the park to find our perfect picnic landing spot we were met with many wasps! It was pretty remarkable how everyone in the park seemed to play without notice to the wasps that were very noticeable by Bradley and I.  Being extremely afraid of the sting, we moved to a location that seemed clear of the pesky buzzers. We sat down, began to eat and there again were wasps! They climbed all over our things and we ran about 10 ft away and watched as wasp upon wasp entered our area.  It was apparent that we were invading “their territory”, and as we stood there feeling rather helpless we watched as our food was claimed.  Realizing that I was the only one that could save our picnic and that my son was watching my every move to see what bravery might bestow his mom, I mustered up the courage from somewhere to become the one who would take on these wasps head on.  This confidence must have come from the Lord, as I usually run with fear when a wasp is anywhere near me.  I took a deep breath and did what any sane mother would do.  I ran toward them waving my arms around in the air and grabbing everything I could hold and then quickly ran in the opposite direction.  I am sure it was silly to those on-lookers however that day, I conquered a fear to “save” the picnic!

We made our way to an open grassy area and sat while he ate. (I was much too flustered to eat.)  We watched a soccer game that was taking place in the field below and my son got a great idea to roll down the hills of the park.  These are about 15 ft+ hills that slowly decline and I have to admit are amazing to roll on.  He wanted me to roll with him, but realizing how many people were around, I opted out and instead said I’d video him doing it.  He rolled down 3 times and each time I remembered how much I absolutely loved to do that as a kid and even teenager.  But now, being an adult that is just plain silly! Right? Maybe not.  Maybe that is exactly what Bradley needed that day.  For me to come down to his level and just roll down a hill.  We would have shared laughs and made a memory.  I was way too concerned with other’s thoughts to just let loose!  What a lesson I was taught that day through the experience my child tried to share with me.  Maybe it was ME who would have received the blessing of this experience?  What’s wrong with a little hill rolling action? 

It has definitely gotten my wheels turning that maybe it is what we all need; to see life through the eyes of a child sometimes or even most times.  Life can be pretty mundane and very stressful. What’s wrong with a little rolling down the hill?  I mean, if I can run around with arms flailing to save the picnic from the dreadful wasps, surely one roll down the hill wouldn’t have killed me.  It may have actually been fun!