Category Archives: Parenting

Top 10 80s songs to embarrass your kids!


It is back to school time and it is time to pay back for all of the annoying, whining, and embarrassing this THEY did to US this summer.

I am thinking about blaring my “80s faves” at the bus stop, or when dropping them off at a friends house.  I wanted to come up with a list of the Top 10 most embarrassing 80s songs.

PLEASE feel free to add your own!  btw, if you can’t remember the song, click the link!

10. Cars That Go Boom by L’Trimm (ESPECIALLY if you drive a “grocery getter”!)

9. Hot Hot Hot by Buster Poindexter

8. Ghostbusters by Ray Parker Jr.

7. We Built This City by Jefferson Starship

6. Bang Your Head by Quiet Riot

5. Wake Me Up Before You Go Go by Wham (I am still waiting for George to go straight and marry me!)

4. Mickey by Toni Basil

3. Like a Virgin by Madonna

2. Ice Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice

1. Da Butt by E.U. (and notably one of my favorite songs of ALL TIME)

So, come on Mamas and Daddys, SHOW THEM WHO IS BOSS!!!  😀

When Your Friend’s Child Dies


The death of a child is ALWAYS traumatic.  No parent ever dreams of the day when they will have to bury their own child.  Our culture deems that we as children will eventually have to plan the funerals for our parents.  Never, do we expect to purchase a miniature casket.

What happens when you friend loses a child?  Being there for them, emotionally, can be so very difficult.  You don’t know what to say or how to act.  Do you mention the child, or do you avoid the issue?

A dear friend of mine lost her son and began the J.O.S.H. Foundation (Joining Others Seeking Healing) to be able to help families with the horrible tragic loss of a child. One of the projects completed by the J.O.S.H. Foundation was an Angel of Hope Memorial Garden in Eldersburg, MD.  The memorial garden is a place where parents and family members can go to grieve.  The actual Angel of Hope was born from the book The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans (who does a great deal of philanthropic work) and is one of over 100 Angel of Hope memorial gardens in the US dedicated to children.

When talking to my friend, years after the tragic event, one of the things she said to me, that has really stuck through the years, is that she so very much appreciates when her friends send a card to her on the anniversary of her son’s death. No matter how many years go by, she relives the crisis on that day…just knowing that her friends and family members are thinking of her gives her a great deal of comfort.

However, not everyone would appreciate the reminder each year. One thing we know for sure is that all people are different. Below is a presentation of some very basic do’s and don’ts for how you CAN help.

Yay! A Matching Pair!


ashton sock boxI supposed you would have to know how chaotic our mornings can be sometimes.  There you go.

This morning, Ashton grumbled to the sock box and the next thing I heard was, “Ooh, already a sock.”  There was raw excitement in the way he said it.

“It’s gonna be a good day.” It seemed to be the underlying message of his comment.

Then, to make his day even better, he found a matching pair!  (He is usually too impatient to look long enough to find one.)

Yep, today is gonna be a good day!  🙂

***This is NOT to say Ashton has no socks.  On the contrary, he has a million of them.  I have delegated the chore of pairing his own socks to him.  🙂

A Beautiful Survivor of Life


Her post captured my attention, not my sight, but my full-bodied attention.  “Sober for 30 days.”  I just had to contact her…(little did I know she would become my newest Angel.)  Her honesty spoke the words that my heart needed to hear, right when I needed it most.

My Angel reminded me that each day is a new start, and to not feel like a tragic failure when a setback comes.  Her personal struggles (through family relationships; her own identity and personality; and with the addictions that have helped her “cope” through it all), inspired me very deeply.  I would like to share some of her survival tidbits, lent to me in my own time of despair:

It is literally one day at a time.  (Sometimes seems like moment by moment)

It gets easier. and you realize how much life is better and easier.

It’s hard, but I believe in myself.

<When you need help with any of life’s problems,> find a good psychiatrist (counselor) and be honest with them and yourself.

Once we’re honest with ourselves our recovery begins.

Then we started talking about our families and growing up.  She grew up with a mother who suffered from mental illness* and told me how hard it was sometimes to cope with – as a family.  During a formative time in my life, her mother was like my second mother and I see some of her qualities in who I am today, even (I could not wait to have a brood of children and dress them all up for Church on Sundays!!!).  I adored her, even when she was “stressed.”  In fact, in my opinion, she made raising four children in the midst of a great deal of physical illness look easy.  For my Angel, her perspective was much different than mine, and after our tear-filled talk, I realized:

 We are ALL beautiful survivors of life.

We often forget to look at the beauty and love and goodness within a person, and instead form perceptions and attitudes that allow us to cope with their behaviors instead…even when it is family or someone very dear to us.  We forget that it is our differences and inequalities that often make us beautiful and unique, and that beneath it all, we are worthy of love and acceptance.  We all survive life in our own ways, no matter what people can find to judge us about (fat, skinny, dumb, nerdy, “red and yellow, black and white,” gay, and so on…)

Be yourself…you are a beautiful survivor of life (and all of the crap it dumps on us!)

*Let me just say this now, I DESPISE the term “mental illness.”  The connotation is horrible, but at this time, I don’t have a better descriptive word (give me a few more semesters in college).  🙂

Love is never free


Oh no, no, no.  Love is never free.  There is a premium.  But who controls the cost?

I was just sitting around on facebook and was not expecting the attack.  And when I say attack, I don’t mean one of warfare.  I mean one of love and affection.

My darling sweet son, one of the loves of my life, decided to rub my back.  “For no reason.”

Who am I to pass up a “free” backrub?  (Especially since I seem to have pulled a muscle in my shoulder from carrying around school books…unfortunately I am not joking).

So, he rubbed and he rubbed, and then he karate chopped and scratched, and all the little things that our family does to one anothers’ backs.  Then, I became enlightened…so far the backrub has more than 30 seconds…that means he wants something.  And I think, in some ways, he suspects that I know this and he is actually waiting for me to ask what he wants.  But I stay quiet.  Heck, he IS rubbing my back.

This went on for nearly 15 minutes before he was able to finally ask.  And guess what?  The answer was STILL NO!  HA…Mama wins again.  Kids think they are so smart. 🙂

Unreachable


Wow.  I survived.  By the sweet grace of God, I survived Thursday night.  I cannot even begin to explain.

I know that I woke up on Friday morning still grumpy, bags under my eyes, hating life in general.  I felt as if I had survived an exorcism.  I had just faced my life’s issues…my demons, if you will.  All of the parts of me that hide away, as well as how my decisions do effect and have effected my family, everyone around me, and myself.  How I truly feel like I had let everyone down.  Then couple that with a family counseling class that has forced me to look at my family on paper and notice patterns and blah blah blah.

Point is…I came to direct terms with the very real fact: I am broken.  We all are.  We are all victims of the behaviors of others, and we all take turns victimizing one another, whether we know it or not.  It is human nature.  It is inevitable.

God had given me all of these miraculous blessings in my life and I had hurt them all and was not as grateful as I could have been.  I took a lot of true blessings for granted.  I felt such shame and unworthiness.

Then, this song played…

The words spoke everything I was thinking and feeling.  The overwhelming sense of peace began to bring reassurance and comfort, love and protection.  All of my human fears vanished and once again I felt the truest of truth, I felt God within my soul.  I knew we would be okay if I just stayed focused on His guidance.  When I am weak, He will give me strength.

Not only did the blessings continue to pour down on us, but the awareness of God’s great and abundant love became ever so clear again.  I had been missing that sense of fullness and faith.

Yes, Uncle T., I heard your message, Let go and Let God.  It is easier said than done, AND it is necessary.  When you turn your life over to God and allow Him to work through you, He will provide for you.

It is simply amazing.

Broken


ImageAs I sit here, tears are falling down my face.  It seems as though all I have done lately is apologize for not being good enough, quick enough, right enough, smart enough, skinny enough, early enough.  It seems as though I cannot meet any goals or responsibilities or expectations.  I don’t even know if the expectations are my own or not.  All I know is that my head is swimming and I want to go to bed.

But I can’t.

I have to face all of the fears and failures, real or not, but I don’t know how.  I am trying all kinds of methods, but nothing “works fast enough.”

How do I grab all of the pieces of my life and put them together again?  How do I escape the daily dread of letting my family down or letting others down?  Of letting myself down?

I mean, anyone else’s life, and I would have no problem helping them come up with a plan of action and get organized, but when it is my own, I am clueless.  I don’t know where to begin.

How do I successfully mesh together a plan for financial stability and responsibility, for physical health and fitness, for educational growth and future opportunity and security, for successful work habits and development, AND find time to be a good mommy?  I am always letting someone down.  I don’t know what I was thinking when I decided to go back for a Masters degree!  I must have been out of my ever-loving mind to think I could pull it off when I had yet to get in order the current issues of my life.

How do you move past the pain without first having to recognize it for what it is, and either accept it for fix it?  How do I face the hurt about certain situations, knowing there is no immediate solution?  How do I escape the deep sense of longing and loss?.

How do you move past the fear that paralyzes your every move?  Fear of what, you ask?  Just plain fear.  Fear of everything…failure, loss, pain, hurt, unintentionally hurting others, of not being loved, of not loving enough, of being alone, of not being enough.  Fear of actually living life.  Fear of being who I really am.  Fear of judgement.  Fear of being called crazy.  Fear of EVERYTHING!

How do I face the fullness of the consequences for my decisions in life, particularly over the past three years.  No, there is not a lot I would change, but the consequences are killing me!  I know I put myself here, and I know that it is nobody’s fault but my own.  REGARDLESS of how I got here, I am here, and I don’t know how to move forward.

I pray, don’t worry about that.  I do.  And even though I know my God is a kind and loving God, I still feel I don’t deserve the blessings He has graced in my life NOW, what makes me think I am worth more of His mercy and love?  I have messed up everything He has provided.  Over and over.

I am on my knees with tears in my eyes asking for guidance.  God, please fill my brokenness, because I don’t know how…

It ain’t easy being green


Sometimes, it really isn’t easy being green.  I love this song and it shaped part of my youth.  It is all about acceptance and love and beauty.  Truly, that is central in our existence.

Green can be a strange color.  It’s associations range from good to bad; from a loveable Muppet that accepts differences; earthliness and healthiness to greediness,  or affinity to money.  One of My Angels reminds me of green (although they’d be shocked to know I didn’t think of them as blue).  And they are struggling.  Spiritually, financially, and just with life itself: within “themself” with demons that “they” are afraid to face.  From my perspective, I see somebody who is beautiful inside and out, who is struggling with their own identify in some ways; someone who is trying to become something more in the future…to be happy and experience love.  I think their greenness is beautiful.

What are some of your own personal struggles?  Sometimes, when you are in the midst of strife, it is very hard to see the big picture.  But somebody else might also be watching your struggles and learn from them.  Their perspective might be totally different from yours.  This is one of the ways that God loves us, nurtures us, and works through us to offer love and support for others.

The Harmonious Monks


This morning is a very musical morning for my family.  As I sit here typing, James is in the kitchen cooking breakfast whistling and singing O Come All Ye Faithful and Ashton is in his room practicing his rendition of Adele’s Set Fire to the Rain on Edelle’s karaoke machine.  There is peace in the household this morning, and togetherness was the catalyst.

It is all of us, who have had moments of togetherness this morning, in harmony.  It actually all began at about 3 am this morning.  James and I were awake and sitting together in the dining room, working on a 720 piece mailing for my workplace.  We were halted in our progress because we ran out of one of the papers.  By then, we had sucked down enough caffeine that there was no immediate sleep in sight.

Ashton had fallen asleep on the living room floor much earlier.  Around this time, he woke up to go to the bathroom, and realized we were still awake.  Immediately to a 9 year old, that means you are royally missing out on something.  He perked up and wanted to participate, even though he was still pretending to be tired.

A thought had come into mind a bit earlier, where the three of us would each play two board games simultaneously, in the form of a triangle.  Each of us have very low levels of focus and patience.  Waiting for two other people to take turns can sometimes be torture.  Especially when you already have your strategies and are smart enough to adapt and thrive once it is your turn.  In other words, we are all to smart and impatient to wait.  So, I played Ashton in Word Yahtzee, Ashton played James in regular Yahtzee and James played me in Rummy 500.

Rarely did any of us have to wait, nor were we rushed for time.  Each game could go as slow or fast as we needed it to go.  If you got a break, and actually had to wait for a turn, you got to drink your drink or eat a snack.  If one of the games ended, you would just start a new one of the same type with the same person, though I suppose you could play something new altogether.

This morning, everyone is singing and has music in their hearts.  There has been no yelling, no fussing.  Everyone has been treating one another with respect…can I get this for you?  Here, I thought you would like this.  I am sorry, I didn’t mean it that way.  Very harmonious.

Indeed, today, with God’s grace and gift of togetherness, our family can truly be called “Harmonious Monks.

I will post some pics later.

Dos and Don’ts for Friends of Bereaved Parents


Let me just start by saying, no, I am not a bereaved parent.  I am very blessed with that.  I do, however, volunteer for a friend’s organization, The J.O.S.H. Foundation, and her project: The Angel of Hope Memorial Garden in Maryland.

While working for Cindy at the J.O.S.H. Foundation, I developed a slideshow for her as a tool to help people understand how they can help and what they should maybe NOT say to a friend who has just lost a child.  Please feel free to share this slideshow with those who can benefit from it’s content.

God bless, my friends!