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I Am a Mom

Being a mom isn’t easy.  It’s a choice, every day, to love someone or many someone’s, more than you love yourself.  As a child, you don’t understand the sacrifices that your mother makes for you.  It doesn’t matter if your mom was rich or poor, worked or didn’t work, there were, and are, daily sacrifices for every mommy.  If you were born to your mom, there were the sacrifices that she made while pregnant.  For some moms, those sacrifices aren’t too big…not drinking alcohol, not eating fish from Ohio Rivers and lakes and making sure to drink milk.  For other moms, it’s monitoring blood sugar, being on bed rest or delivering early to save a life.  For moms who choose to adopt, it’s weeks and months and sometimes years of searching until they found you…that baby boy or girl or 8 year old or teenager who was destined to be their son or daughter.  For every mom, there is sacrifice.  WE allow our hearts to walk outside our bodies, knowing that they will never come back to being totally protected and cocooned by our arms.

I didn’t realize what I was getting into when I first became a mom.  I was 19 and naïve.  All I knew was that I had always wanted to have babies and be someone’s mommy.  I know that I was made to be a mother.  Not just because I give birth so easily (as some have pointed out), but because I never wanted anything or anyone as much as I wanted my three babies.  I love my family.  I love my own mom.  I have loved and lost and I am lucky to love right now but I have never loved anyone as much as I love my children.  The love of a parent cannot be explained and for those of you who don’t have kids, it’s okay not to understand it and it’s not a flaw or problem.  It’s the simple truth that to create, raise, nurture people that you love more than life and who won’t say thank you for many, many years.

That’s the truth about being a mother.  We do everything for our kids and they don’t understand or realize what we are doing until they have kids of their own…or are at least mature adults.  We are spit on, pooped on, definitely peed on, thrown up on, yelled at, told that they hate us, cried on, slept on, drawn on, had our buttons pushed on purpose, and always expected to be there when they need us.  And we are…because we are Mom.  That’s what we do.

I share stories of my children all of the time.  Whether it’s Markus being a biter when he was two or Tre’ having chronic ear infections and ADD or Angelina refusing to go potty after I stopped nursing, I am talking about my kids.  My oldest will be 19 this year, my middle one will turn 16 and my baby is almost 13, and I still share their birth stories.  For me, they happened yesterday and lifetimes ago, all at the same time.  I used to laugh at my grandma Roe for telling stories of me as a child.  Now I nurture those stories.  Every time I eat butter pecan ice cream, I hear her voice telling me the story of how Grandpa Bob and she found a pecan in my mouth when I was two that I had hidden from them.  I get it now, Grandma.  Those stories are us.  My stories are my kids.  We are not only built by genetics and experiences, but we are also built by our stories, our parents’ stories and our grandparents’ stories.

Being a mom is not for everyone and that’s okay.  That doesn’t mean that you are selfish or self-absorbed.  Being a mom is hard work with little monetary reward.  Actually, you will spend more money than you ever thought possible on things that single people have no idea exist.  Those Christmases when you go through 100 stores to find the exact Barbie or action figure or video game because that is what your child asked for or those birthdays when you call every bakery to find one that can make the right cake with the right colors for Tinkerbell, not just another generic one.  Or those times when you are a single mother asking the guy at the athletic store what kind of cup to get your teenage football player son.  (And yes, I had to do that.)  Moms do these things because this is what we do.  We do the things that no one else will for our children because they are our children.

I am a mom.  I have three beautiful, intelligent children who have made me the most miserable in my life and the happiest….sometimes in the same day.  It’s not that they are bad or mean or that I don’t want them.  It’s because they are growing up and standing up and finding their own way and that’s not always easy and it’s not always pretty and it’s not always pain-free.  But it’s worth it.  I may not always like what my children do, but I always, always love them.  They are my children.

My children have also given me more than I could ever ask for and daily, I thank God for them.  My oldest has to choose the hardest path to find his way, but I do see him getting stronger and more independent every day, besides looking more and more like his dad with short dark hair and deep blue eyes.  (Good thing my ex was cute.)  My middle one is finding his spirituality and wants to give back to the world.  He is on a quest to be a better person.  I am in awe of how mature he seems, almost overnight.  I am also in awe of how he is a physical mix of my grandmother and his paternal grandmother with my brother’s long, lean limbs.  My youngest is my baby girl who this year leaves childhood behind and becomes an official teenager.  She is outgoing and friendly and loves to be the center of attention.  Though she is mirror image, she is the better version of me.   I would do anything for these three, including sometimes, not doing anything.  They are my world and my cross and my joy to bear.  I wouldn’t change a thing…because I am their Mom.

 

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Forgive

Mother Teresa

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Good at Preparing for Life

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Sometimes life is too much.  There are those days when I am putting out fires more than I am raising my children, working or taking care of myself.  Today, I showed two houses, monitored my daughter’s home school class work, surfed the web for new clients, contacted several clients about current projects, handed out punishment to my 15-year old (no it wasn’t physical), exercised, gardened, wrote, and fixed three boards in my privacy fence.  Oh, and received two surprise bills that I have to include in this month’s budget.  Each of them is over $200.  Sometimes life is too much.

Life as a working mother is busy, exhausting, and chaotic…and those are the good days.  Other days include dogs that run away, cars that break down, phone calls from teachers regarding poor grades and of course, surprise bills that weren’t included in the budget.  Those are the days where I may yell a little louder when the kids start fighting or snap at my partner when he wants to talk about buying a major purchase while I am trying to make and serve dinner, stop two kids from fighting and make sure the dogs are fed and watered or just  feel a little resentful.  Sometimes life is too much.

My life can be amazingly crazy.  People laugh in disbelief when I say that I have 3 kids, 4 dogs, 2 cats, 1 guinea pig and 1 rabbit living in my house.  My house is part zoo, part insane asylum, part teen hangout as well as my home and my office.  My life is constantly moving.  I am constantly moving.  I don’t always know what each day is going to bring.  I laugh when I hear new parents talk about how easier their lives will be once their kids get older.  They have no idea and they wouldn’t believe me if I told them.  (You know that they are saying in their heads, “My kids won’t do that,” “I won’t be that kind of parent “and” She’s exaggerating.”)  Just wait, you’ll see.  Sometimes life is too much.

My life is too much every day.  My life is crazy, loud, stressful, and constant.  But as I write this, my house is quiet.  One dog is curled around my feet under the desk.  My daughter is doing school work in her room and I am pretty sure that my son is asleep on the couch.  His punishment today was to mow the front and back yards, vacuumed the downstairs and second floor, unloaded and loaded the dishwasher and cleaned the kitchen.  The other animals are asleep in various areas of the house.  The oldest son is out and about.  It’s peaceful and quiet.  A cool breeze coming in through the window soothes my skin.  Sometimes life is too much.

My life is too much.  It’s not just the chaos.  It’s full of love and laughter and joy.  I love the work that I do.  I love the writing that I do.  I love checking my children’s school work.    I love my morning ritual of starting my tea pot and while waiting for it to brew, I feed the 4 dogs, 2 cats, guinea pig and rabbit.  I love cooking dinner while my son tells me about this unsolved murder from 1903 that he learned about in English and my daughter tells me about everything  .  I love that my son’s punishment allowed me to spend time with him in the yard and sunshine.  I love that my partner pays attention and participates in our life.  Sometimes life is too much and I love my life.  Though I can’t pretend to love the bills, at least I know that I can pay them, even when they are too much.  Sometimes life is too much.

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January 2013 008

This is where I feel closest to the power of the Creator.

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Embrace Your Inner Goddess

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God and Nature

Ancient societies might not have worshipped our Judeo-Christian-Islamic God, but they understood the power of the natural world.  Before we had the organized religion that we know of today, we had societies who revered the majesty of the world around them.  The natural cycles of day and night, birth and death, loss and renewal surrounded them.  Life was as much a part of faith as walking on the earth or drinking from a spring.  For those people, life was simpler and their psyches were healthier.  They belonged to the world and the world belonged to them.

As society progressed, as people became more evolved, we lost our relationship to the natural world and became more reliant on the world that we made.  Ancient people found God through working with nature.  Today’s people have lost sight of the tie between God and nature.  Life has ceased to be about simplicity and more about what we have, what we buy, what we connect to.  For some people who espouse to an evangelical faith, the impact of humans on this planet is falsified information fed by liberal extremists.  Ann Coulter paraphrased the scripture as evidence that the planet was ours to “rape.”  In a society where our humanity appears to be fleeing, our ties to the natural world also appear to be diminishing.

Ralph Waldo Emerson writes “Nature is the symbol of the spirit.”  How often do we relate God to an image from nature?  We as human beings have related God to fire, wind, water, the sun, a rock, and in a soaring bird or blooming rose.  The Bible tells us that God made this world and all that inhabit it.  God also put us in charge of taking care of this planet by making us the stewards of the world.  And yet, we aren’t always kind to the inhabitants of this planet and we do not always make the best decisions regarding how we care for this world.   But I am not here to list the problems that humans have infected this planet with.  I am here to tell you where I find God.  Stewarding the world is part of loving our neighbors as we love ourselves by passing a world down to our descendents that is a beautiful place to live.

I find God when I am walking on the beach.  Whether it is cold and gray with steel colored water rushing at the shore or it is hot and bright with golden sand and turquoise blue water, I see God.  I see God when I stare out my office window at the ducks and geese and turtles in our pond.  I see God when the sun shines and when the clouds rain.  I see God when I see the beauty of Nature.  God is the artist and Nature is the result.  Beautiful in peace and in storms, Nature is God’s gift to us.  When I see the beauty of our world, I cannot deny God’s presence.  English poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins said, “The world is charged with the grandeur of God.”  Nature represents the power, beauty, creativity and majesty of our Creator.

For some people, it is difficult to see the correlation between the natural world and God. For others, it is a sacrilege to view Nature as God and God as Nature.  For many people, though, it is part of their daily lives.  God made our world and Nature is the result.  Nature heals and restores our souls and spirits.  When viewing and interacting in Nature, we are able to view and interact with God.  How we treat our world is how we not only treat others, but also how we treat ourselves.   For Christians, you can see this in Jesus’ teachings.  Jesus’ spirituality was part of the natural world.  From his birth surrounded by animals to his sojourn into the desert to accept his calling to how he spread his message, not in synagogues, but out in the world, using examples from  Nature to explain God’s word.

I believe that God loves all people, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, political party, etc.  God loves us all.  Period.  I believe that there is one God for all people, but each person interprets God in the way that best fits their spirit and soul.  And I believe that is God’s plan.  Who are we to question God’s plan?  The same belief translates to Nature.  When I celebrated Easter yesterday, I celebrated re-birth.  Not just the resurrection of Jesus, but the rebirth and reaffirmation of life.  I spent the afternoon outside in the sunshine, sitting by the water, with friends and family.  I watched people enjoying being together and I got to see God through the reflection of the sun on the creek, the silver sheen of jumping fish and the swooping and swimming of the pelican who decided to visit us.  I felt God’s spirit in my children’s laughter as they kayaked down the waterway and the camaraderie of my friends and loved ones as we ate together.

The New Testament states, “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.”  In Aramaic, this translates as “ripe are those who soften what is rigid, inside and out; they shall be open to receive strength and power – their natural inheritance – from nature.”  If we stop focusing on this that we think we need, things that we made for others to need, and start focusing on how our Creator meets our needs through Nature, what would our world look like?  What would happen if Nature stopped being an object and started being part of our family?  How would we change?  What would the world of my grandchildren and great-grandchildren look like?

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Teach People How to Treat You

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Love One Another

Jesus says, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another.  Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (13:34-35)

I don’t post this to push a Christian viewpoint, but rather to emphasize a basic truth…loving one another is what we all should do, regardless of different beliefs.  Jesus loved everyone.  Period.  I strive to follow that basic truth.  I am not always successful, but I will keep trying because that is the true path to God (of any faith).

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Marriage Equality

The Supreme Court is in the process of listening to arguments regarding the marriage between people of the same gender and this argument has caused a storm of activity on social media sites, news rooms, and conversations across the country. Arguments against same sex marriage include references to biblical authority, procreation, impact on modern families and historical records. Arguments for same sex marriage include the ability to be legally bound to another person, stability for children, and equal rights. Let me be clear, these are not the only arguments, but these are the ones that I hear most often repeated.

Marriage is defined by a few different definitions. Each definition listed below includes one common thread – a union. Marriage, at its core, is about a union between two entities, whether it is used to define the relationship between two people or between a merging of two companies, it is a union.

  1. The legal union of a man and woman as husband and wife, and in some jurisdictions, between two persons of the same sex, usually entailing legal obligations of each person to the other.
  2. A similar union of more than two people; a polygamous marriage.
  3. A union between persons that is recognized by custom or religious tradition as a marriage.
  4. A common-law marriage.
  5. The state or relationship of two adults who are married: Their marriage has been a happy one.
  6. A wedding.
  7. A close union:

So the Supreme Court is deciding how, we as a country, defines marriage. What does marriage mean and where did it come from?

The first marriage happened before recorded history and there are many ideas on why people decided to get married, including establishing paternity of children and regulating access to women. The arguments against same sex marriage are not supported by historical and archeological research. Marriage was not started by a religious body nor was it originally part of religious practices. Marriage appears to have started so that males restricted access to females (in my opinion, a form of domination) and attempted to ensure accurate paternity of children. Neither reason fits today’s marital practices.

Some Christians argue that marriage is from God and only approved, based on interpretations from the Bible, between a man and a woman. Marriage is not a Christian practice so basing the legal right to marry on a Christian text doesn’t make sense. Marriages occurred before the birth of Jesus Christ as well as before the start of Judaism. The Bible merely uses a practice that existed before its conception and incorporated it into its theology. Marriage has always been a human practice but not always a Christian practice. Actually, before the Middle Ages, Christian leaders were not always part of the marital process.

Other arguments against same sex marriage indicate that marriage is solely for procreation. Not only is this historically inaccurate, it also invalidates marriages between people of the opposite sex who cannot have children or who choose not to have children. As the human race has been having children for over 100,000 years and as our current society includes a large number of children born out wedlock, it is apparent that marriage has nothing to do with procreation. Marriage was not created so people could be parents. But one could say that marriage was created so that fathers could be legally responsible for their children. Today, regardless of how long two people were married, many formerly married fathers are not part of their children’s lives. We also have advanced scientifically and can ensure the paternity of children if there are any doubts.

In this beautiful country that we call the land of the free and the home of the brave, we are supposed to be the symbol to the world of how to provide equality and individuality to all people, regardless of what they believe, what color their skin is or who they are. How can we justify discriminating against any group of people and using religious beliefs to justify it? Each person has the right to worship as they see fit. That is part of this country’s foundation. Another important tenet from our founding fathers is the separation of church and state. This occurred because of the persecution of those who believed differently from the ruling class. The argument that same sex marriage should be outlawed based on religious beliefs is un-American. Religious beliefs are part of organized religion and marriage is part of the legal process…church and state.

Marriage is a union between two entities. Marriage is the ability to form a legal partnership that provides benefits to both parties based upon agreed acts and responsibilities. Marriage is no longer required to establish paternity or restrict access to women. We as a people have brought marriage into our ceremonies, religious houses and societal beliefs. We as a people have decided to eliminate the outdated reasons and/or restrictions on marriage based on how have evolved and grown. We don’t allow marriage to legitimize the control of women because women are equal to men (or at least, we are working toward that goal). We don’t forbid people of different races from marrying but at one point, that was the law of this land.  And while it may still be part of some people’s belief system, we don’t allow the beliefs of narrow-minded, prejudicial people guide us as a country. Marriage is our creation so it should be up to us how we use it.  This creation is not part of any one religious dogma, but rather part of all human practices around the world and it is up to each human being on how they use this creation.

Weddings are celebrated in churches, but also in gardens, on a beach, at local city halls and deep in the woods.  Weddings are celebrated in synagogues, temples, and under the stars.  Weddings are celebrated as new beginnings, formalizing partnerships and establishing families.  Weddings are celebrations of a marriage and can be defined by the beliefs, practices and ideals of the people involved.  Weddings can be religious but marriages are legal.  Organizations and institutions are not required to wed two people of the same sex if that is not what they believe, but our government should be required to allow two people to form the legal union of marriage regardless of their gender based on their individual rights as citizens of the United States of America.

I believe in marriage as a commitment between two people to be together, through it all and to stand beside each other as equals.  I believe that each person has the right to marry the person that he or she loves, regardless of what anyone else thinks.  I believe that all people deserve to be recognized as the legal spouse of someone if that is what they so wish and if two people vow to spend their lives together, that vow should be valid and binding and legal.  I believe in having a wedding, of any sort, is part of the celebration of two people’s commitment to each other and I believe that anyone who has the bravery, the strength and the heart to stand up before the world and commit to someone not only deserves the ability, but also has the right.  Marriage is not for the faint of heart and it is not for those who fear commitment.  Marriage is a lifetime practice of working, listening, understanding, compromising and believing in something that is more than just the two people involved.  If anyone wants to take on the tremendous responsibility of marriage, no one should stand in their way.   Legally and morally, marriage equality is the only right, fair, American way.

And in my belief, God loves all and doesn’t care if we are married or who we marry as long as we are loving all people, helping all people, and working to make the world a better place for all people.

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