Saturday, November 30, 2013

Voices Carry

  I recently lost my voice for about five days. I think when it first happened my family was secretly happy! I am not going to lie, I am the loud mouth in the family. Needless to say, when this happened some in my family would call it a small blessing! It was actually quite reveling to me about how I talk, my tone, my volume and even the importance of things I say. At times it was frustrating, but I learned to just go with it, drink lots of hot tea, and frankly enjoy it!

So here are a few things I learned, while this loud mouth had no voice:)
1. The quieter I talked, the more people around me wanted to listen.
2. I had to prioritize what I really needed to say.
3. I spoke less,and listened more.
4. The less I spoke, the more people wanted to tell me all their business.
5. The less I spoke the more observant I became.
6. When I did speak, people wanted to hear what I had to say.
7. I did not waste my words on inconsequential conversations.
8. My kids opened up more about what was going on in their lives.
9. I prayed more, read more, and was on my phone less.
10. Actions really do speak louder than words!
     I am so grateful to have my voice back. Although, I really was able to reflect on some improvements that I can make.Sometimes, you have to lose something, in order to learn from it.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Running Forward

I can tell my blog has taken a turn here lately. I guess because, I am changing too. I feel like my writing this year is becoming more about my self discovery, or self awareness. I was told once that when you turn "40" , you start to look at your life differently. Well, 40 came and went, and I  honestly didn't see any big changes, however,now on the brink of "43" , I am starting to understand.
  Don't get me wrong, I love my life, I love the choices that I have made, and I have few regrets. When I reflect on myself, I am not trying to reinvent me, heck, it took me until 40 to even like me! I guess I am looking at my self and remembering who I am without all the labels that I have acquired over the years.I am trying to find my balance of where it is I belong.
 In order for me to really start down this road, I guess I had to look at where it was I came from in the first place. Let me tell you now, this is a love story of sorts, not a pity party!
 I now recognize that I grew up in a very unhealthy, dysfunctional environment, but who hasn't, right? When I look back on my life( my younger years) the ones that helped shape me, my personality, my insecurities, my weaknesses, my brokenness, I feel sadness that so much of those things that should be every child's right, was taken away from me at such an early age. I don't write these things out of self pity, I write them to remind myself that I have come so far, and through it all have become more secure, stronger and have such joy in my life. I am not where I need to be, but I am not even close to where I was!
  Eight years ago, I started to run,do triathlons, and half- marathons, etc. I began to use exercise as a way of healing, away of cleansing my past. I put everything into my kids, the Captain, and unbeknownst to them, I expected them to heal me, fix me, make me whole. It was a poor attempt to feel completeness. I think if we are all honest, we are all "broken" in some ways. I used exercise and my family to fix me. What are you using?
I now know that  God is the only thing that can heal me. Yes, I  believe He used exercise as a vessel to help me move past the pain, and I believe, He put the Captain in my life as a blessing, to allow me a glimpse of what beauty looks like, in a world that can be so ugly. He gave me my children as a gift, to enjoy, love and be loved. These are all things that He chose for me to help me start the healing process, but it couldn't be complete unless, I accepted Him. I was told once that when someone asks you '"What does it feel like to accept Christ or be baptized?", the answer is ," It feels like a Monday." Because, the truth is healing and growing,even with Christ, doesn't happen overnight, sometimes the scars run too deep, there is no "quick" fix, or magic pill. You still have to do the work, but now you don't do it alone!
I think the training for me, has been a way for me to remind myself, that I am strong, I am no longer that little girl with no voice. However, its not enough for just my body to become strong, I have to remain strong in my faith. An injury could happen, an accident and I wouldn't be able to compete any longer, but my relationship with Christ will sustain me. My children will grow up and begin their life, but Christ will never leave me. My husband, God forbid, could pass away tomorrow, and I will still be a Bride of Christ.
You see, He uses whatever means he needs to teach us about Him, life and most importantly ourselves. Running is a gift. Every mile I have logged, I have learned something, about my life or about myself. He blesses, He heals,He restores.
I realize now that when I first started running, I used it to run away from my past, but now as I am putting back those pieces, I run only toward my future.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Coming Home!

      I am anxiously waiting to go to the airport to pick up Regan. She had  a great experience spending  time with her Aunt and cousins. Writing music,seeing the sights and learning about the city.. I believe she has found her first love, Nashville!
      Although, it was so hard to let her go, and yes, I did cry a few nights, I survived, not that I am in any hurry for her to leave again!  Regan did great, she is going to be fine.She is a brave, independent young lady, who has some courageous ideas for her life,and I applaud her!
     As always with my children, I feel like everything I do or give them is a learning experience for them,and as always, I am usually the one being taught! I know it was harder for me to let her go, than for most parents. I won't deny that I keep my kids close to me, and to home. After growing up in the environment that I did, I probably have become too overprotective,wanting to shield them from any harm or pain.I am learning that this is an impossible task, even for me. I will not always be with them, to help them make good decisions, or keep them from harm. All I can do is give them the tools and resources that they need, along with all of my love and support.
    Letting Regan go on this trip was a big step for...... Me. I have learned a lot about myself this past week. I am stronger than I think,when it comes to my children. This trip helped me to become aware that they will all be growing up and moving out. It made me think about how important it is for me to continue to have an independent identity of myself. I don't want to wake up one day , my kids out of the house, and then wonder what is left for me. I LOVE my kids, however, I was a woman,and a wife first. And guess what? I will still be a woman and a wife last!
     As mother's we throw ourselves into raising our children, we place their needs, wants and desires above our own. We sometimes even place them above our spouses'! I understand now the importance of cultivating my relationship with my husband, and finding interests of my own. As parents we need to remember that time goes so fast, and our children do not belong to us.We only have a short amount of time to prepare, train and influence them for their lives. If we  have done our jobs right, they will  leave, build lives, have careers and start families of their own! For so long I have dwelled on the fact that they will "leave" me, when in reality, that's a selfish burden to place on them for growing up!  I need to keep it into perspective. They are not "leaving" me, they are leaving their childhood behind to become adults. It took me this week to recognize the difference. I now know that I was never really afraid for them to leave home, I was afraid of what my future looked like without them. I wonder how many other mother's feel this way?
    So, where does that leave a mother who has dedicated her life to her children? If I am not careful, I will not know where I belong. I will not know how to face that season of my life. I have learned this week, that I need to start exploring and doing some preparing of my own. I need to look at my life, and reflect on what I want for myself in the next 10 years, as my children become adults. I need to find that "me", that was "me" before "them". I need to continue to grow, towards the woman that I am to become, not when they leave, but while they are still here. I am not going to wait for the last one to leave,I am going to start now, so that  when they do leave, I will be ready to help them pack!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Leaving on a Jet Plane

      I just took my baby girl to the airport to go on her first trip to see her aunt and cousins. Its the first time she has ever been on an airplane by herself, and it is the first time she has ever been away from home, and more importantly, from me!
     My family has been asking me for a long time to let her come and visit, but I had been so reluctant and fearful. However, now at almost 16, I knew I could no longer hold the tight grip I had placed on her. Yes, realistically, I know many kids go away to family, friends, and camp . They even start at a very early age!
 I can remember my brother and I traveling to see our father on a Grey Hound bus from the age of 9 years old. So, its not like I don't know that it is possible, attainable, and safe.
     Regan was ready to take this next step in her independence. I was not. I checked her bags the night before, and rechecked them in the morning. I went over every scenario with her on the way to the airport.I confirmed her seats, flight, and layover information. With the occasional, "Mom,I'll be fine!", I still wasn't convinced. How will she managed without me? How will I manage without her? Its only ten days, I keep repeating to myself. I promise I won't cry, or I'll embarrass her.
After the long process of going through security we reach the gate. I can tell from her face, the excitement had turned to doubt, and I  immediately feel guilty for having imposed my fear on her. I remind myself, that she is watching me, for my response. She needs my "ok", my reassurance. As much as she is ready, I since the hesitation, if only for a brief second. My mom mode kicks into high gear. I will not let her see me cry.I get her to the gate,  "I am so excited for you! You are going to have so much fun!" , I manage weakly, but tried to say it with conviction. She looks at me, searching for truth in my eyes. She is making sure I am going to be okay. Once she is reassured, she quickly grabs her bags, and gets in line. "Do you want me to take a picture?" She looks mortified,  rolls her eyes,"really?? NO!" I smile.
Now, I can see in her face that the hesitation has turned to anticipation, and I don't want to take that away from her. I watch her walk down the corridor, trying to peak around the overly tall gentleman right behind her. She doesn't even look back. Once she is out of sight, then and only then I let out the tears I have been holding back. I swipe them away with my jacket sleeve.Nolan and Liam are staring at me.I look down at them and smile. We walk away. Every now and then I glance back, knowing I won't see her, but checking anyway.
I take hold of both of my boys hands, and we head towards the tram.I wonder what it will be like when they are also ready to leave home for the first time. Will it be easier? less painful? I doubt it. I may be able to accept it more, but I know the heaviness on my heart will be the same. But, for now, I won't allow myself to think that far into the future, I only want to focus on the next 10 days.
  Watching her get on that plane, was another step towards her future. Letting her go was another step towards my growth. For her this trip is about independence, for me its about leaning on Whom I Depend. She will dwell in the happiness of freedom, and family. I will dwell in the House of my Lord and Savior. She will be comforted by her Aunt and cousins. I will be comforted by my Comforter. Yes, we are both moving forward, towards our future, hers is an all new beginning and I am realizing that mine has just begun!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

It's A Virtual World

     I know that social media is such a huge part of society these days. There is Twitter, instagram, and Facebook, where you can share your life instantaneously. There are huge perks to that. I know on many occasions , I have been reconnected with an old friend, received important news,been invited to parties, and yes, even found out about the latest gossip. However, in a society where everyone wants to be connected, stay connected or get connected, it can be overwhelming, and very time consuming.
     I watched a mother so busy taking pictures and posting them on her Facebook page,(I could see her phone)and then responding to all her Facebook comments, that when her daughter asked her to "look" she missed an important moment. Now, trust me I have been there too,so I am not judging this mom, it just brought it to my attention.
Are we so busy trying to prove to our "virtual friends", how much fun we are having, how beautiful we look today, or how exciting our lives are, that we  are actually forgetting to live our "lives"'?Are we becoming so obsessed with what the virtual world thinks of how we appear to be living, that we are missing some important moments? Are we so self absorbed with how many comments,or likes that we have, that we forget to live in the present?
  I am guilty of spending too much time on Facebook, writing on my blog, and my latest addiction... Candy Crush! If I am honest ,I too have missed out on moments, or time spent away from my family due to the intense curiosity that the virtual world holds over my head.
   I just got an instagram, just so I could follow Nolan, and that's how it started. Now I post pictures, videos, and even my latest dinner! I don't understand twitter, but mostly I don't have this account, because all of my tweets would be: doing laundry, cooking dinner, at park, doing schoolwork, driving to baseball, driving to cross country practice, etc..., you get the point!BORING!
     I believe there is some sort of disorder associated with it. I know that for some, their mood depends on how many "likes" they get, like the bathroom scale to an anorexic.Its crazy. We live in a world supposedly so connected, and yet the suicide rate is at its highest. Depression medication is one of the top medicine dispensed by physicians. In this day and age, information can be found by the push of a key or the click of the mouse. You can find out about anyone, find everyone, and know everything about their daily lives, from when they brush their teeth, if they brush their teeth, to their bowl movements!
     We are on information overload. Everyone can live in their own reality show on a you tube channel,and we can praise, judge or bully them about it on Facebook! Where is the mystery anymore? I don't ever have to go to another high school reunion, to find out what happened to this girl  or that guy, because I can just stalk their Facebook profile and find all I need to know! (don't act like you haven't done that either, I mean I haven't, but I'm sure you have!:)
   On the other side of it,there are so many positives to the virtual world epidemic.. I love to find an easy recipe to cook for dinner, an easier way to teach algorithms( to look up the definition of algorithms!) to Regan. I love blogging and use it as a tool to attract readers.My kids take classes on the internet, and I have found out what illness I have and how to cure it by punching in my symptoms! You can pay bills, plan vacations, send instant messages, and renew subscriptions. You can order clothes, shoes, and books, never stepping into a mall.
     Yes, there are many benefits, and I am not saying we shouldn't use them or that I don't indulge in them. We just need, like everything else, balance. We need to know when to put the phone away, how many pictures of ourselves to post on instagram, and how much time we are spending on the internet. We need to remember to appreciate our life, live our  life, and experience our life to the fullest. We should live in the moment, be in the moment and enjoy the moment. Real life is worth living.....And besides, the more you live, and experience the more interesting your Facebook status' will become to all your friends!:)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Givers and Takers

I was having a great conversation with a good friend yesterday about women's relationships. We were discussing, based on some current events taking place in both of our lives, how do you know when to let go, when to back off, when to fight for one?
I guess in every relationship there is a giver and a taker. If we are honest with ourselves, we can admit that in each relationship we have been either one or the other, depending on the relationship.I think most of the time we try to balance the takings and the givings, because lets face it, relationships, no matter what kind( family, friends, spouse, and children), that's required, if we want to sustain the relationship for any length of time.
Every one of us has heard the saying" its a give and take". However, what happens when the person your in the relationship in, is a taker, and never gives back? I know right away that person's name just popped into your head. Awww, light bulb moment! You know the one, its the one your always chasing. The one you are always making plans with, only to have them cancel at the last minute, because a better offer came along. The one that you are  always calling, doing the invites, dropping everything for, but can't seem to get a hold of  when you need them. We all have them in our lives, and if you can't think of one, then look in the mirror!
I lean more towards a giver. That is just who I am. However, givers have to be careful, because in order to stay in a relationship with a taker, we will have to "give" everything we've got! Until, one day the taker realizes you have nothing left to give, and walks away.
Women relationships are difficult,and complex. I have had to let go of relationships that were unhealthy for me, I have been hurt by people who I thought I was close too, to find out the feelings were not mutual. I have cried,and grieved over them. As women, our relationships are so important to us.. sometimes too important. We try to change ourselves,the circumstance, or our opinions. We sometimes even compromise our beliefs in order to continue the relationship.And after we have done all these things, the person walks away, leaving us confused, hurt, and in disbelief.
I have been told I am too much of this, too little of that. I have been told that I am not "caring" enough, "wealthy" enough, "spiritual" enough,"pretty"enough, "thin" enough, you name it, I have fallen short in those types of friendships. The truth is, I would never truly be "enough" for that person, no matter what I did or how I changed, it would never fully satisfy them.
At 42, I have learned that not all relationships will last, some relationships are for a season, some are for learning, some are for teaching, and some were never meant to be. I have stopped searching for acceptance, reassurance, or fulfillment from any one person. Now, I look to my Heavenly Father to fill those needs. I turn to him for guidance, reassurance and advice. I have given up trying to please every one, now I seek to please only Him. I no longer try to change for someone else, I find my self-worth in my Creator.
Once you put your faith into the right person(Christ) you give up the notion that you were put here to please everyone, because in trying to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one, least yourself.
Relationships are important, we are called to be in them. However, we are not called to be in relationships that are draining or compromising to ourselves.God does not call us to continue to engage in relationships that pull us away from him, but rather cultivate relationships that draw us closer to Him.
I am enough, for Him, you are enough for Him, stop trying to please everyone, and learn to please the only One! In doing this, you will find the most rewarding, encouraging relationships that are not only meant to be, but will last a lifetime!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Memaw and Popop.. Setting the Example!

Today, we celebrated my mother and father in law's birthdays! We celebrated Memaw(86) a few days late and Popop(82) a few days early.I made them a homemade vanilla cream cheese cake with the help of Liam! I wanted them to know how much they mean to me, and there is really no other present I can get them, accept my time. I realize after all these years a cake is a small feat, however, with how busy I get, I wanted to show them that I still will make time for them,and that they are very important to me, more so than a busy schedule.
Memaw and Popop have been married 60+ years! They have raised two children and have bee completely involved with all five of their grandchildren's lives.They are the matriarchs of the Gary clan. When I first met them 23 years ago, I must admit, I thought they were a little more than goofy,with their ideas on family, love, marriage, and even God.  Every time one of the grand kids did something, we were having a celebration. Every time you had a meal, you actually prayed before and sometimes even sang! You always had to listen to old stories of the Captain growing up, or of the ice cream shop where Memaw had her first job, or how they met while Memaw was sitting at a piano at Bethany  College! I mean their was actual conversations going on with each other at the dinner table, not to mention we were sitting at an actual dinner table. Not growing up in a traditional home, I thought this all so bizarre!
However,after a few years of dating the Captain, I knew this was EXACTLY want I wanted for my own family one day. Over the years, they have loved me, embraced me, and taught me about life. They have accepted me as their own daughter, not a daughter in law,They have included me as a part of not just their family, but also their life.
Memaw and Popop are the couple you imagine when you are getting ready to say "I Do". They are the dream you have of growing old with the one you love. They are the picture in your mind,of what true love looks like. They are an example of what christian love and marriage should be.
 In the 23 years I have been in this family, I have watched Popop love, honor and cherish his bride. I have witnessed Memaw care, support and encourage her groom. You see they are HOPE, that not all promises are broken. They are ENCOURAGEMENT, that love can last forever, as long as you don't give up on it. They are JOY, that we can find our happily ever after.
The world needs more Memaw's and Popop's, more examples of positive marriages, more examples of love, grace and humility. I hope one day when the Captain and I are turning 82 and 86 that we will look back on our life, and have left a legacy such as this.
Happy Birthday Memaw and Popop, thank you for being such a blessing in my life, thanks for loving me and thanks for your beautiful marriage. Today, you should be receiving the gifts, but I find that I am the one who got the greatest gift.. Thank you for raising the Captain to be a Godly man, for setting the bar high, and giving us an example of a great marriage!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Month of Blessings

This month, with the onset of homeschooling, has gotten pretty overwhelming. Add cross country practice and baseball, violin lessons, home school PE(starting next week!) and 1 day a week enrichment school! Whew, I'm tired just writing it all down. Yes, we home-school our children, however, I use the term "home" loosely!
We have had a great start to a new year, so I am not complaining. Its actually what I believe God has called for our family. What I have to be careful about though, is saying "yes" to everything, trying out too many activities, and slowing our pace down, so that we can not only enjoy the freedoms of homeschooling, but also the benefits of homeschooling.
This month(Sept.) we are going to do a family project together. We are going to make an "Our Family Blessings" book. I am really excited about it, even though I got the usual groans and moans of the kids,"another thing to do?", "really, I don't want to!" Let me call the Whambulance!!!!! Yes, we are creating this wonderful home made family book, and You All will thank me later, maybe much later, way down the road later, but you will thank me.
The idea came to me because, lately on my heart, I feel that we as a society are so consumed with what everyone else has,or does and are so thorough in counting up everyone else's blessings, that we forget to count our own. Then at church on Sunday, I heard about a woman making a blessings diary, and it hit me, we are going to do that as a family. I want my family,I am including myself here, to realize how much we actually have,and how blessed we are on a daily,weekly, monthly and yearly basis. Its a simple idea, we have a book that we design and decorate, and every day each of us will write one thing that  blessed us that day, and one thing we did to bless someone else.I want to teach my children, and remind myself, its not just about receiving the blessing,but more importantly.. its about being a blessing.
 In this day and age, too many young people are growing up with the concept of "its all about me", and instant gratification. I want my children to grow up,  knowing how blessed they are,and to stop comparing what they have or don't have as the measure of success. I want them to know how to live in contentment in the place they are right now, NOT, to be confused with complacence.
There is a difference: contentment is being at peace, and knowing that God has you EXACTLY where he wants you, however, you continue to strive towards your goals, and successes. Complacent is the opposite, where you are so comfortable being in a place, you do not grow or move, and that is not what God calls us to do. If you are not growing, spiritually, mentally, physically, emotionally,or even successfully, you are dead.
 I want to teach my children that our blessings, their blessings, will look completely different than any one else's, and why wouldn't it? We are all uniquely made, and our creator knows what is the best for each of us.I also want this to help them  become more aware of the small daily blessings, instead of always looking for the huge,miraculous, ones.I still believe in those, don't get me wrong, however, I don't want them to miss out on the daily ones. I also want to instill in them a desire to give back, to be a blessing to someone else. In this world, we are so programmed be takers,however, there is a need for each of us to give also. We tend to push that unselfish part of our being  down so deep that we can ignore it, and forget about it. But,we were created to give back to our community, our family, the poor, the widowed and the children.When we satisfy that need to give from within, we not only become a blessing to another, the giving act itself, becomes the blessing. In this monthly blessing book, I pray that we each grow more towards a thankful heart. I hope that we each become more aware of our surroundings, that we each can go out of our own comfort zones to help someone else, listen to, care for,and encourage. I want us to grow closer as a family, and learn to put the needs of each other above the needs of ourselves. And I want us to sit back and just watch how amazing our Heavenly Father really is! I can not wait to see how this month goes and I can not wait to share how our lives and hearts are changed:) 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Being Extra Ordinary in an Extraordinary Family...

Every year our family goes to St. George Island, we now consider this place "our island". We stay in a house with all of us, and every year that number grows, as does our family. My family is extraordinary, which is fine except for the fact that I  am not. I am extra ordinary, which is total opposite of extraordinary.When you are emerged in a family with great dynamics, sometimes it can become
very difficult to see where or how you  you "fit".
 I drive a mini van, I live in a modest house, married my college sweetheart, and home school my children. I don't hold a high exec position, I don't have my own program,I don't speak around the world, and  if I were to look at my life this way, then yes, I am extra ordinary related to the extraordinary. Throughout the week, I was feeling that maybe I  needed to do something greater, or bigger so that I could be extraordinary too.. maybe I should stand out more, be outrageous, become famous, or discover a cure,but at the end of the day, I had decided that my simple life was just what is was, extra ordinary. So I started examining my own life,and I thought I would find, extra ordinary me, but when I looked closer, I found extraordinary.
What I have realized is that being extra ordinary, in its own way is extraordinary.I have been happily married to my husband for 18 years(extraordinary), I have been homeschooling my children successfully for 8 years(extraordinary), I have done a tough mudder, 8 triathlons, 1 half marathon and a dozen other races(extraordinary), I have owned my own company(extraordinary), I have written a children's book( extraordinary), I know who I am, but more importantly who I belong to (extraordinary), I have friends who love me(extraordinary) and I am loved and accepted by my entire family(extraordinary).
Maybe  extraordinary doesn't necessarily come from doing or being something great, maybe it comes from doing all of the "extra ordinary" daily things in my life.
It is in my extra ordinary teachings that I do with my children that they will remember. It is in my extra ordinary way I love my spouse, my children, family and friends that they all cherish. It is in the extra ordinary way I work diligently and give it my best that sets an example. It is in my extra ordinary commitment and faithfulness to my Heavenly Father,that becomes my testimony. It is in the extra ordinary way I listen to or encourage someone. You see,it is in my every day, extra ordinary, life that creates my extraordinary! Being extra ordinary is even in the word itself, Extraordinary.
We are all extraordinarily, extra ordinary. God does not create us to be anything less. His plan for my life, may look different from my families, but its His plan that is made perfect for me. Yes, everyone, in my family is extraordinary, even little ole extra ordinary Me!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Picking the Marshmallows

This morning I caught Liam dumping out his favorite cereal,fruit loops with marshmallows. I knew EXACTLY what he was doing. He was searching for his favorite part... the marshmallows. As I was watching him, I thought to myself, wow, I wish I could "dump" out all of my life cereal, and be left with only the marshmallows. You know the"good" stuff. The "sweet" stuff. The"fun" stuff. And leave all the "cereal" where it belongs, sitting in an open box, slightly stale and eventually someone will go by and throw it in the trash.
In his defense when the marshmallows were getting low, or he couldn't find one, he ate the cereal.. Not as enthusiastically, but he ate them nonetheless. He did it part because he saw me watching him, and part because, even at three, he knows that to really get to all the marshmallows, you do have to eat some of the cereal too. To find just the right color or flavor that he so desired, he would have to eat the cereal to get to the bottom of the box.
As an adult, I sat there thinking how simple it would be to leave the "cereal" and pick through the marshmallows of my own life . But, do I really want that? Although I think I would love for my life to only be happy, easy, exciting and fun, would I miss the trials, and tribulations that arise? I don't know. If I left those things behind, would the marshmallows taste as sweet? I believe at times I think and even long for only the "marshmallows", I mean who doesn't? Who wants to go willingly through the pain, struggles and worries that this life offers? I do not know anyone that would elect that over the the other. However, when it comes down to it, I know without the challenges in this life, I would miss the the things that have made it so filling and meaningful.
If I had never had to witness a death of a loved one, I would never know what it means to make every day count. If I had never felt the pain of childbirth, I would never have been blessed with my three children. If I had never known a loved one to struggle with alcohol,or abuse, I would never have learned compassion . If I had never struggled with loss of jobs,or loss of income, I would never have learned to manage my money well. And if I have never had any struggles, or hurts, I would never have had a reason to seek my Heavenly Father.
You see, I would love for my life to be all marshmallows, but if it were, I would have missed out on some key points in my life..These our things that  you don't, and won't find only eating the "sweet" stuff in your life.
At three, I only want Liam to eat the marshmallows, I don't mind. I am here to throw away all the leftover cereal. He deserves his life to be filled with marshmallows, right now. But, I do not wish that for him for the rest of his life. I want him, as for all my children, to fully live and feel this life, and with that you need to eat the cereal. When they are faced with a challenge, and overcome them, it will add growth to their life, but more importantly to their character.
 Next week I will be going to our annual St. George Island trip, with my whole family(aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews). And for this one week, I plan on picking out ALL the marshmallows, and eating only the "sweet" stuff..

Friday, June 14, 2013

Teenage Wasteland

     I am in the throes of teenage-hood. I have lived the past 15 years floating through my life in an enclosed bubble. With homeschooling, and being a stay at home mother, it has been easy for me to control the areas of my kids lives, choose friends, activities etc.
Until, these past few months. Now I know that teenagers need to explore their limits, test the waters, and challenge their boundaries. I know this is God's way of helping us parents, 1-practice our patience, and 2-look forward to them leaving for college! However, is any parent ready for the change that creeps into their structured, neat life? Maybe after the first one has been through these years, it gets easier, not to go through, but, easier to recognize the signs that okay tomorrow is going to be the day that my teenager wakes up and becomes someone I have never met!
     Well, the past few weeks have been such a lesson in life for the Gary family. I am not going into the details of the situation, so for some of you, you will stop reading, because that is what its about. knowing someone else' problems so that it makes yours somehow seem smaller or less significant. Or maybe, so you can judge my parenting or lack their of, and feel puffed up that,"at least that has never happened in our family". So, no the details, are not even a necessity for this post. But, for you curiosity seekers, I will tell you it is probably worse than some of you have dealt with ,and minor compared to what others have endured. This post is about what we have learned as a family, so that maybe all you parents who have not yet traveled down this road may be able to learn something from it, or for those of you who have,"been"there, "done" that ,could remember what it was like and pray for us, knowing this too shall pass.
     1.Do not be so quick to judge another parent for something their teenager has done, is doing or may try.. because most likely you just haven't caught yours yet.
      2.Have all of your teenagers codes, to facebook, instagram, twitter, tumblr, phone,email, and text,but its not just okay to have them, use them,check on them randomly.( also know what all of these are, and keep up with the latest,greatest trend on the internet)
      3.This is the time to have more family time, not less. Family dinners is a great way to ask questions, not the generic, but the hard ,direct questions. However, don't just stop at a dinner, BE a FAMILY, movie nights, board games(yes, they still make them), card games,whatever to engage your teenager, but spend quality time and if you don't have time, MAKE it, this is not an option, its a requirement.
        4. Know their friends, and their friends parents. Have them over ALOT! I know you have to deal with one teenager and now I am asking you to deal with ten, but you need to be involved in knowing what they are up too, how they act, speak, but most importantly they need to know your rules, expectations and beliefs. However, do not include yourself so much, they think you are part of their "group", because you are not their friend, you are the parent,."THE PARENT", they don't want to try and test,and they should be a little scared about.Because, like I tell my teenager, I can do crazy, and I do it really, really well!
        5. Have days that NO ONE is allowed on the internet, including yourselves.We recognized that when we are home, we all have had too much time alone on our computers, phones, ipads, ipods etc. we began to see  how we were all starting to live separate, because lets face it, its easier,when we are all tired and what ever other excuse you got.. This is DANGEROUS, let me repeat DANGEROUS. Too many times that is when your teenager starts slipping away, when they don't have to interact with you on a daily basis, who are they interacting with? If you are not their main influence, who becomes their main influence? that's right their friends, who are stupid teenagers too!
         6. Another thing,the internet can be a wonderful tool, however, most teenagers will and have abused it. There are so many easy ways to access the information on the internet,and there are no filters.The computer should be used in  an area where anyone can walk by and see it. However, with ipods, iphones, and any other smaller device they will have access. You need to teach your children about YOUR rules on the internet , and if that is abused the internet will go away. Yes, we are going to feel like we are being punished also, but I FIRMLY believe, we are in battle with the media, you- tube,and  advertisements that want to expose our kids earlier and earlier to things that are inappropriate, and desensitize them to the way of the "world".
         7. Just because, they are a "good" kid, a "christian" kid, a "straight A student" kid, a "star athlete" kid ,they are still  a teenager, with all the same curiosity,and have all the same peer pressures as any other kid. Do not be fooled and have the "it won't happen to me" syndrome, because it will, unless you can keep them on complete lock down until they are 18(which I did consider)anything that occu their time.
           8. Peer pressure is a real thing. You spend all these years raising your kids, pouring into their lives your values and morals, then they meet one person and in 15 minutes, they have more influence over them than you did. It sucks, but its true. It doesn't mean you stop giving them guidance, it means you fight even harder for them. And if you think its not a fight to keep your teenager from getting through all of this, your a fool. We have to fight for them, now more than ever.
            9. Talk about the hard stuff. Don't be embarrassed to ask the tough questions. Most likely, you will learn more from them, than the other way around. Your kids know about sex, drugs, drinking, and probably in detail(thanks internet) too. Don't let them take the easy way out either, make them look you in the eyes when they are talking about it, educate them and educate them some more.
and the most important thing:
           10. Pray for them daily, ask God for guidance,patience and wisdom. Pray before you talk with them. Do not be reactive, be proactive.  Be their biggest advocate ,be firm. Let them know they can come to you without judgement or condemnation, they need to know its safe to do that. AND Love them, love them  unconditionally,and never give up or become complacent, after all your raising a teenager now, life is just getting interesting!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Mailbox Meeting #2-Your Best is Not Good Enough

     I ran into H. a few days ago, and just in time too! My daughter is growing up,(ugh!), and I am having a hard time letting go! I want to protect her from everyone, and everything. Which is impossible, I know this in my head, but my heart has not caught up yet!
     So I was pleasantly surprised to run into H. at the mailbox, with lots on my mind, questions and digging for her support on how everything I am "doing" right when it comes to her. I am one of those overly involved mother, is there such a thing? I want to know where she is, who she is with, what she is doing, and when she will be home, back to the safety of my watchful eye! However, I know this is not practical, and yet every part of my body fights to protect her. Regan is a good kid, actually she is a great kid., and she hangs out with great kids.Its just that they are all starting to drive now, and she wants to go so many places. We are in a dilemma  I am not ready to hand her off to just any driver,it really scares me. I am fearful of her getting into the wrong car, with the wrong driver. I am afraid they will be distracted by the radio, the phone or texting.  Raising a teenager is much different than I thought. You no longer only have to worry about trusting yourself with them, but you have to put your trust into them, and the friends they are around. You can't be there for everything they do, first it would be weird, and second they would be committing social suicide!
     Anyway, I was telling H. and asking her advice on letting Regan drive with a friend of hers, and then I proceed to tell her all the reasons why she is not going to do this, or that. I explain about all the "rules" I have in place, and safeguards. I plead my case to her, while she stands there and listens, with a part smile on her face, because she has already been where I am. She looks at me like she has a secret to share and is waiting for an opportune time to tell me. I finally finish, and look to her to congratulate me on how successful I am at being  a parent. However, when she replies, it is not what I expected.
She says,"Brenda, you need to know, your best is not good enough,its never going to be good enough."
 What?? I look to see if she is joking.. My best isn't what? I mean, I get the best parent award, so I am confused. I start to wonder, does she think my standards are too low? Do I need to do more?
and then in true H. fashion, she explains to me this:
     As parents we can do everything we think is right or good, and still bad things will happen.  We cannot protect them from everything, and everybody and that is why we have to give them to Christ, and trust Him to keep them safe. She reminded me, what I had forgotten, that there is someone who loves my daughter more than me, someone perfect. Christ.  However, giving up control, is a very hard concept for me. Trusting completely is even harder.Our best, my best, is never going to be good enough, because we are human and flawed.We cannot see the future, we cannot predict the unpredictable, but Christ can. The most important thing I can do for my daughter, is to pray for her. Daily. Pray for her safety, for her protection, and for her health.
     I think Christ gives us children, so that we can learn from them, see Him through them,but mostly to learn about ourselves, and see where we need improvement in moving towards a Christ centered life.When they are little, it is easy to keep a strong grip on them, to keep the control over their needs and wants, but as they get older, learning how to let go of that control is even harder. However, by doing so, it allows us to give it back to the One who has  been in control all along. It helps us to grow closer to Christ,( I mean have you ever prayed more than at a time when your teenager is coming home at night in someone elses' car!), it makes us rely on the One, who created them.
     As H. and I finished our conversation, I felt lighter.The sole responsibility of my daughters safety is not a burden I have to carry alone. No, I am not ready to say "yes" to everything, I will still be cautious. Rules will still be in place, but I am learning that I need to put my trust in the One perfect parent, My Heavenly Father, who will never leave her nor forsake her, and loves her more than I ever possibly could.
And although, my best will never be good enough, I sure as heck am gonna keep trying!

Monday, May 20, 2013

2013 Tough Mudder Finisher!.. The Race, What I learned about myself, and the human spirit!

     I am officially a 2013 Tough Mudder finisher! I got the headband and the t shirt and lots of pictures to prove it.What a great experience, it was a combination of challenge, fun, and camaraderie. I have to admit, there were times in my head before the race that I thought maybe I "shouldn't, couldn't or wouldn't" do it., However, once I arrived at the race all my fears of actually starting it subsided. I still held on to the the fear of some of the obstacles, and had even decided before hand, if there was one I didn't feel comfortable or safe doing, I would take the designated "safe" route.
     As the race begins, the announcer makes you feel so comfortable, and pumped up. You pledge to not leave any mudder behind, that it is a challenge, not a race, and that you will be more concerned about helping your fellow mudder finish an obstacle than you will be with your race time. Its pretty awesome, however, I wasn't buying it when the horn blew, and everyone took off from the corral. As we headed out to the first leg, wondering what lay ahead of us, you really could feel the excitement, and energy in the group. It was a different feel than road races I've done, or ever triathlons(although triathletes are some of the friendliest athletes I've met), this was different. We were going to go 11 miles, and complete 22 obstacles before the day was over. Obstacles with names like, Arctic Enema, Electric Eel, Mount Everest ,Boa Constrictor, Mud mile to name a few. And in between, you ran cautiously, through back road terrain, muddy water, and mounds, sometimes for long stretches, and you get to meet other mudders to keep you company. This is all before you get to the anticipated last obstacle of electric shock therapy, so that you can be crowned with your tough mudder orange head band.
     I absolutely loved this race! I loved it even more, doing this race with the Captain. We trained for this for months, and it paid off. We were able to finish the race under are allotted time, and when we finished we were not completely depleted of our energy. After every obstacle, we were looking forward to the next one. I did every single obstacle, successfully I might add! There were a few I was hesitant of, but with the Captains encouragement and patience,I did them.
     First,the Arctic Enema, this is where  you  jump into 34 degree water, you have to submerge yourself completely, they make sure of this because the only way out is to go under the wall that takes you to the other side! It was not just cold, it literally took my breath away, and when the Captain pulled me out, I couldn't feel my toes for at least 200 yards..
     The second obstacle, I was deathly afraid of was the, boa constrictor. You crawl on your belly through man made underground tunnels in complete darkness. The first time I went in I got to the turn and backed all the way out. At that point I had to decide, if I was going to complete it,and I decided to give it another try. When I got to the turn the Captain started talking to me from the other side,so I followed his voice and made it through.
     The third obstacle was jumping into a pool of muddy water from about 12-13 feet high platform. I was fine until I got up to the top and looked down, and then I froze. I kept having flash backs of public pools and high diving boards! But, after watching a few people go in, I took the plunge and it was awesome!
    The much anticipated electric shock therapy was painful,and almost unbearable depending on where you got hit.  The Captain got shocked, went down, and bruised a rib! I did get shocked so many times, by the end all I could do was lay there in the mud, and finally one of the guys in our group ran out and just pulled me through!
     The toughest obstacle for me was the funky monkey. I was never very good at monkey bars, and these are monkey bars on steroids. They go way up, then you have to come down them. I did much better than I thought I would, I got to the last part, and the bar twisted and my wrist went out, so I fell into a pit of red water.
     The easiest was the cage. You pull yourself on your back, through muddy water by holding onto a cage. I actually enjoyed this one, and glided right through it quickly.
      My favorite was Mount Everest. You have to run up a greased hill and pull yourself over the wall. It took me four times, because I was laughing so hard from sliding down into the mud! However, once the Captain got up to the top(he did it on his first try!) I knew all I had to do was grab his hand and he would not let me go, and he didn't and I made it!
       My most proud moment, at the end when the announcer had us do eleven push-ups before we could enter the electric shock therapy, but After we did Mount Everest,  and I being the only girl, pumped them out right next to all those boys,without skipping a beat!
       Most inspirational moment, was when I was in the mile mud slosh and a man came up behind me, with an artificial leg,pushing through, and was joking about we were all trying not to lose our shoe, he was trying not to lose his leg!
     The thing is, throughout this whole race, you didn't do it alone. You had your team,  the volunteers, the workers and strangers helping you complete your race. You were actually expected to help others once you got over the walls, ropes, or mud. Everyone adhered to the "pledge". It was so great to see so many people, willing to sacrifice their time to help someone else succeed. It was almost like part of your race was to finish well, but in doing so you helped others finish well. There were all types of people there,all ages, all fitness levels,and all nationalities, moving toward a common goal. It was a race where everyone comes together, gives advice, encouragement,and celebrates each victory. We shared water,salt,and energy gels, but more importantly, we shared an experience for those few hours in which we all had one goal. We became, "one team".It reminded me that in life, like this race, people need people. We need each other to help us get through the tough times,to celebrate the good times, and to keep each other company during the boring times.I could not have completed this race without the help of my teammates, and the help of strangers,it would have simply been impossible.
     Every race I do, I learn more about myself. I think that is one of the reasons I race. This time I learned that even though I was afraid, I didn't let the fear stop me. Yes, I hesitated, but I pushed through it and was better for it.That I will no longer listen to people telling me I "can't" do something, but more importantly, I will never tell myself I "can't" do something. I can and I will, because there are no limits, only limitless opportunities when you believe in yourself .That the Captain and I make a much better team together, than we could ever do alone.And that he will never let me fall,give up on me,or leave me behind.
     I also learned so much about the human condition. We are all the same, only different.We all want to do our best, and be our best. We all want to help someone, and we all need someone's help. That we all want to be successful, and we find joy in other people's success.That at the end of the day,what matters most,is people, and relationships.Like this race, we are not meant to "do" life alone, but together.
     The Captain and I are already planning on signing up for another one,we hope to have more people on our team, however, we know that on race day, we will be part of a bigger team, the Tough Mudder team, where no mudder is ever left behind!

Monday, May 13, 2013

First Issue "Mail Box Meetings"

     I have lived in my neighborhood for 8 years now, and one of my favorite houses is the one directly across the street. Its a yellow house, always manicured neatly, and simple. I always feel like the sun is just always shining on that house. I don't know if its the sunbeam color, or if I just imagine that the house is just happy. Can houses have personalities? I don't know, but if they did, this one would be saying "welcome, come on in, put your feet up and have some ice cold tea!" I think I also love it, because a very special lady lives there. I don't get to see her much, or spend lots of time with her, because we are both in different seasons of our lives.
      H. is starting her empty nesting phase after raising five boys, homeschooling all of them! I am in the middle, with a very busy teenager, a preteen and a three year old. So what happens is, every few days to a week, we end up meeting at our mailboxes. Its not on purpose, we don't plan them, they just happen. We deemed these are "mail box meetings". You see neither of us have a whole lot of time before we know we will be  interrupted by one of my kids, or she will need to get back to something she left on the stove, or her beloved  husband  (she is the caregiver), so we only have about fifteen to twenty minutes  of precious time to visit. We, of course, start out with the formalities  how is this, how was that, how is_____? Then we get to the real conversation, the meat of the visit. I have learned a lot about life, myself and H. in those small nuggets of moments.
   1.  Time is short, and if you don't get to the "good" stuff right away,you may miss it altogether.
   2.We can choose who we spend time with, and sometimes 15 minutes with the right person, can lift your spirit more than hours with the wrong the one.    
   3.That conversations are supposed to go two ways, and there is always time to listen and to speak.
   4. Wise advise can be summoned up with few words,and lots of understanding.
   5.Even when you have your own issues, you can  always make time for someone else's.
   6. Time is precious, so you need to make good use of it.
   7.Its not about the quantity of time you invest in a friendship, but the quality of time.
   8.In the midst of struggles,disappointments,and heartache there is still hope, but more importantly faith.
   9.That are kids will grow up, and we will have to let them go.
  10.That life is hard, but God is so very, very good.
    Our mailbox meetings, have become something I look forward too. Its the off chance of surprise that we may meet up, its an announced gift, its the fellowship we offer one another, its the friendship that we share. I will be posting future issues of "mailbox meetings", and hope you will get as much out of the rich conversations as I do!
So, next time you go to your mailbox and spot your neighbor; wave, say hi, because you may end up having some mailbox meetings all your own!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

How Do You Define Beauty?

     How do you define beauty? Does it come from within, or is it the outward appearance that is portrayed? As women, but more importantly as mother's, we need to really think about how we define beauty. Is it the number on the scale or the size on your jeans? Is it the miles we run, or the salads we eat? Is it giving back to the poor, and helping the needy?
 The media would like us to believe, its all about what is on the outside, but we as mother's need to take a hard look at that approach.We are allowing the magazines, television, and movies to define beauty to our daughters. Maybe, we ourselves are also in this trap, trying to look like how the world tells us we should look like.
     I love to exercise, I will admit it, but I have to be very careful that I am setting a good example of health to my daughter, and not portraying a warped sense of body image to her. I want her to know that her self worth, is not wrapped up in the tag size on her ambercrombies, or that her beauty is defined  from having flawless skin. I want to teach her that beauty isn't something you find in a lip gloss, or a new fad.
      Beauty is about individuality, and being exactly who you are without excuses. Its embracing your flaws and imperfections, and celebrating your  uniqueness in which you were created. It is about selfless acts of kindness. Beauty is about humility, strength and courage. Its about standing up for what is right, and sticking to your morals and values.There are so many facets of beauty that each woman contains beauty all her own.
    We need to stop letting others define beauty for us, and start deciding what beauty is  for ourselves, and then teach our daughters. Our daughters need to know that outward beauty fades, but inner beauty last a life time. So how do you define beauty? Believe it, live it, be it. Our daughters are watching!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Its a Pilots wife for me!

     This week has been exhausting being a pilot's wife... and it's only Monday! Ugh! The Captain has made an appearance for the last few weeks, just enough time to get clean clothes, mow the front yard(not the back) catch one of the kids baseball games,give his daughter a 30 min driving lesson, a quick peck on my cheek(okay well a little more than a peck) and back out the door! Whew.. Its not always like this, so I am not complaining too loudly. Sometimes he can be home for days on end, and I pray for his next trip:)
      But this week we have a lot going on and I am a little grumpy to be flying solo! We have the last week of baseball tournaments,and a daughter going to her first prom. I know its probably harder on him, then me because even though it is chaotic, I don't have to miss anything. Women will often ask, how I manage such a crazy,schedule with a husband who travels so frequently. First, I don't handle it by myself, I know it looks like it from the outside, but the Captain is always involved in our day to day routine. I make sure that our children know that even if he isn't home,he is informed,and inquires about everything that goes on! So, really its not all that difficult.
When the Captain is home he is all about being with us, spending time with the kids,and getting as much done around the house as he can before the next flight.So, its not all a bad thing. I know many husbands who work from home and spend less time with their wife and children. I have  adapted after 18 years of marriage, and I honestly couldn't imagine it being any other way. It works for us. Its not a lifestyle for everyone, but for us it seems to make us stronger, happier, and more connected. Maybe its the endless phone calls while he is on the road, that keep our communication constantly intact or the old saying, absence makes the heart grow fonder. It could be the never ending excitement to see him each time he walks in the door, or the enthusiasm the kids have when they see his car pulling into the driveway. Even in this electronic world with their noses stuck on an ipods, iphones or xbox, the kids will stop everything and run out jumping around like crazy because, Daddy is home. I am not sure most dads get that same kind of greeting!
 I also love the fact they we have both been able to keep a balance between being a couple, and maintaining our individuality.We both have mutual respect for the paths that we each have chosen, and how we have decided to raise our family.
      However, there are times like these past few weeks, I would have like to have had him home, it would be easier to have two parents dropping off at activities, taking the kids to get new shoes, cleaning the pool, or just snuggling up to watch a show. But, this is our life, the one we chose to be committed to forever, the one that we fought for while working towards this dream, and I wouldn't have it any other way, well, maybe just for this week!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Fear Factor

     In two weeks the Captain and I, along with a few friends, will be competing in a little race known as the"tough mudder!" Its a 13 mile run, with over 26 obstacles along the way,such as: ice bath, fire pits, mud crawls, wall climbs, and even electrocution at the end, in order to receive an orange tough mudder head band, a beer card, a shirt and bragging rights.
    Actually, we have been having a blast with the training, holding each other accountable on the days the Captain is out of town. Encouraging each other when one of us wants to give up. Pushing one another to stay the course, and reminding each other our end goal. This has been a huge marriage builder. I know that throughout this race, we can not finish with out each other, there is no possible way. We need each other to pull  through  the course, to lift one another up, to crawl and even comfort each other through the pain. The course is designed to push you to your limits,face all your fears, and realize your potential along the way.
     Why would I put myself through something so rigorous, strenuous, and dangerous? I think for me its about the challenge. Its about facing my fears and knowing that not only am I stronger than I think, I am more capable than I imagine. I won't let my fears hold me back, and put limits on my possibilities.I would rather know that I tried and failed, then sit on the sidelines. I have never been one to see the world with limits, not even my own. I tend to jump in feet first, then figure out the" how" later. We all have fears, but we must reach past them, if we ever want to see our full potential. Every time, we go out of our comfort zone, we grow more confident,stronger and become the person we are called to be. When you  put yourself in situations, that you cannot control, it allows you to lean on the ONE who is in control of everything.
 Here is what I have learned about myself through racing.
1.I get out of it what I put into it.
2 My mind is my biggest asset.
3 When I finish my race, I am not the same woman who started the race.
4.I will feel fear, but I will do it anyway.
5.What if..I can?
6.I will finish my race
7.I am a competitor
8.praying while running is better than an ipod
9.I am stronger than I thought
10.I am worth every ounce of sweat,and every mile I pass
     So on May 19th, when the Captain and I race together for the first time, I am going to enjoy being a team on the race course,powering through the most difficult obstacles together,gaining strength from one another,drawing encouragement from each other, and finishing our race as one.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

What's the Secret?

     The captain and I just celebrated 18 happy years of marriage..Time has gone so fast, it makes my head spin. Although its all relative, anyway. Its longer than some marriages and shorter than many. However, when you say you've been married for 18 years to anyone, the next thing out of there mouths is "What's your secret?" So I started to think about it and I asked a few long term married couples.
Here is the responses:
Popop (married 60 yrs this June)- There is no "divorce"alternative, you find the solution to the problem, and fix it,period.
Memaw (married to Popop)- its a secret, but I promise it will be worth the wait!
Pastor Martin (married 62 yrs)-you make sure you marry the person from the head up, because we are all the same from the head down.
Evelyn (married to pastor Martin)-You make sure you continue to have the same interest, if he likes bowling, you better go bowling.
Mary (married over 30 yrs to a pilot)-make sure when he comes home you have great sex together, because when times get tough you have the sex, it will hold the marriage together.
The captain (married 18 yrs)-Let your wife win..most of the time.
And Me (married to the Captain)Choose to love you husband for ALL the things he does right, and not for the few things he may have done wrong.
 Marriage takes hard work, determination, dedication, and down right stubbornness! It requires lots of patience,respect, a whole lot of compromising with a little bit of luck! Marriage, is a gift from our heavenly father, although sometimes we may feel like its a curse! To tell you our marriage is perfect, would be a lie. There is no "perfect" anything.We are imperfect women, married to imperfect men, so there will be struggles,and challenges. Its how we handle those that bring us to the joy, and successes..Every year in  marriage, and in every season, the secret changes. There is no "one" secret, but many different ones, that you collect along the years, tuck away, and reflect on.
After 18 years of marriage,I've learned that having a great marriage, isn't about a secret, its about loving ,honoring and cherishing the other person more than yourself. Its about being selfless, on a daily basis.It's not just the big events, or surprises,that happen a couple of times a year(bdays,Christmas,Anniversaries etc) ,but the small moments in our every day life that creates a great marriage.
Its going out of your way to bring her coffee home from her favorite place. Its  always having clean sheets on the bed, even if he is out of town for only one night. Its going to Walmart for tampons, at 1am because, she forgot them at the grocery. Its  letting him sleep in, and getting the kids to school all by yourself. Its  bringing her flowers on a rainy Monday, for no reason. It's doing his laundry at midnight for a quick turn around trip. Its rubbing her head at night when she can't sleep. Its in the compliment you say about him to your friends.Its allowing her to take a long, hot bath, without the kids finding out what she's doing.Its letting him pick Sonny's for the umpteenth time. Its in the way he looks at her,in a crowded room and she knows exactly what he is thinking or wants.Its pushing him to follow his dream,and supporting his career with minor complaints. Its being at every finish line of every one of her races.Its about touching his hand,and he knows he's gonna get lucky.Its agreeing to one of her crazy ideas,to see her happy. Its singing his song at karaoke.  Its dancing with her with his two left feet.Its watching shows about airplanes and acting interested.  Its taking her side every time,even when she is wrong.Its in every kiss, every look, every glance,every sigh, and every day.
No, I don't know "the secret" to a happy, successful marriage... But I know "our" secrets to a happy, successful marriage.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Driving Ms. Regan

I took Regan to the DMV a week ago, yes she is already 15 and getting her permit! As she was waiting anxiously to get her picture done,I literally saw her life flash before my eyes. It was like something out of a movie. I could remember every monumental moment I have shared with her. From the second the stick showed two lines, to giving birth, pre-school, learning to ride a bike, pumping swings at the park, every holiday sitting on Santa's lap, every boo-boo I kissed better, brownies,to braces, and I just started crying! I couldn't help it and I couldn't stop. Of course I embarrassed her, and she just rolled her eyes,"oh,boy again?" I looked away.
The tears were a mix of joy, heartache and pride. Are there any other for a mother? I look at the almost adult, beautiful young lady, and stare in awe, of how fast time has gone. I know too well, that my kisses will no longer cure whatever heart ache, cuts or bruises that she will have in her future.I know that there are no monsters under her bed, but have I prepared her for the ones of the world? I know that fairy tales all have happy endings, but in real life there is heartache and disappointment.I know too well that despite what they tell us, dreams don't always come true,and you can't be whatever you want when you grow-up.
  Am I ready? NO,NO,NO I scream in my head. I don't want to hold her back, but I want to hold on to her while my knuckles turn white,I want to breathe in her youth. I know that her licence is the first step to this new found "freedom" that she so craves. I know for her, life is just beginning, with endless opportunities and doors to be opened, and some that will even slam in her face. As mother's we spend their lives protecting them,and then we realize that we have to let go and hope everything we have taught them is somewhere in that adolescent,t rebellious teen. They have to explore, learn, and fall so they can grow into the adults they are called to be. One day when she becomes a mother, it will be her crying at the dmv and having all the same  doubts, fears, and hope for her daughter and I can just hold her, kiss her and once again tell her"everything is going to be okay".

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Reinventing the Wheel

I read an article the other day in my "More" magazine, about sending in your articles on how you have reinvented yourself.. I have to say this really hit a nerve. Reinvent myself?, It took me 42 yrs to like the woman I am now! It took me 42 years to understand myself. And now that isn't enough?I have to reinvent this version?.
I understand improving myself, being the best version of myself that I can be, but to completely reinvent myself? That suggest there is something wrong with the version that I am.
I have Never seen an article in a Man's magazine about reinventing themselves, I guess whatever type of man you are is fine, but as a woman, we aren't good enough to just be who we are, we have to REINVENT ourselves.
Its not "enough" to have a career, take care of a family,be a wife or homemaker.  It irks me, that as a woman, "they", whoever "they" are, are always suggesting we are not enough. What we do is not "enough" how we look is not"enough" who we are is not"enough",what we have is not "enough"!
 Well I say enough is enough. Its time we as women fight back, and decide that we don't need to "reinvent" ourselves,we need to embrace ourselves, be content with ourselves,we need to stop comparing ourselves,stop criticizing ourselves and most importantly, we need to  love ourselves, because, I'm pretty sure the God who made me is the same God who made you, and I promise he did not make a mistake.

New Name, Same Me.. well sort of...

Same author, new blog title, with updated look. It was time for me to start blogging again, however, when I went to find my blog, so much had changed. It took me a good few hours to figure out my passwords and usernames, change my look and descriptions. I had taken a long break from my blog,since the birth of my now three yr old son. Now,that my life is more like controlled chaos,I decided even though I have no time to blog.. I will make time. Its like coming back to an old friend. One who I was nervous about contacting again after such a long absence,but now that I have come back,feels very familiar.As I am typing this, I am helping my 10 year old figure out the adverbs in a sentence, and my three yr old is standing right next to me screaming at the top of his lungs that he needs me, and my 15 yr old has been banished to clean her room because I could no longer see the floor or the bottom of the dresser. Where is the captain,you ask? On a trip to New Orleans, for the last 5 days,with his partner, while I am flying solo.
 So not much has changed, except me. I am older, wiser, more content with all that life keeps throwing at me! I have found peace with who I am(a pilots wife,a mother, a sister, a daughter, an aunt,and a friend),what I am(a believer, an athlete, an adventurer,and an entrepreneur) and where I am(at home,the gym,work). Life is good, I can't complain,whine,or criticize,oh but I'm sure I will,I mean what's a blog for anyway!