Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Look! I Made This!!

It has been more than a year since I have blogged, and, boy what a year it has been!  I would apologize, but...ehhh...whatcha gonna do?

I have many thoughts in my mind the past few days & just felt the urge to write them down...to express them in some way.  Isn't that what a blog is for? 

If you know me at all, you might say I am a creative sort.  I have always had a "thing" for creating stuff.  Sometimes for money, sometimes for personal pleasure, often-times for relaxation.

Do you create? 

What is your creative outlet?

Do you scrapbook (I do)? 

How about photography (yep, that, too)?

Needlework (me, too!)?

Sewing (ummm..duh.)?

Quilting (nah...)?

One of the sometimes embarrassing, and secretly pleasant, side-effects of creativity is the compliments.  The ooh's & the ahh's are....nice.  I truly enjoy looking at something I have poured hours and hours of my time into.  Conversely, I have been known to fully complete something, say an outfit for one of my kids, and then chunk it in the Goodwill bag after one wear because I was humiliated to say I had made it.  Hey, we all have off days!  HA!

So, by now, you may be thinking this post is a bit self-serving, and maybe, in the end, it will be.  However, the creative expression that I want to talk about isn't about something you can buy supplies for at the local Hobby Lobby or Joanns craft stores.  It's bigger than that.  Chances are, it's something that even you...the self-professed "uncreative" person partakes in everyday.

Do you have kids?

I do.

Eight of them.

Yes.  Eight.

Five girls & three boys.

Ages 6-21.

Yes, they are all mine.

No, there are no twins.

No, we aren't Mormon or Catholic.

No, we don't know the Duggars personally.

No, I didn't plan to have them all, God did.

(I think that covers all of the most-asked questions....)

My kids are my greatest creation.  I know, I know...technically, I didn't create them, God did.  However, I DID play a VERY big role in it...so I'll take a little bit of credit.

From the moment I first laid eyes on each of them, they stole my whole heart.  I believe I must have, like, 10 or 13 hearts...one for each of my kids, one for my sweetheart, and some extras for all the other people I love.

From the moment I first held each one, I knew they were a great creation!

Each and every child is a wondrous creation.

I have, on more than one occasion had the feeling of wanting to have  Lion King moment...you know, the scene where that creepy monkey holds up the baby lion for all the world to see. 

C'mon...tell me you haven't had the urge to do that! 

You know, hold up your kid high for all the world to see & yell at the top of your lungs, "HEY!!!  LOOK WHAT I MADE!!!!"  Bowing is optional.

Parenting is hard work.  Seriously, the absolute hardest thing I have ever done in my whole entire life!  I take it extremely seriously.  To see them becoming decent, loving, God-fearing, kind, well-adjusted people is a deep source of pride for me.  However, I can never sit back and rest & say...look how good they are turning out...I think I'll take a break.  Because, unlike an unfinished sewing project, six months down the road, they won't be in the same place.  "Resting" while parenting can cause so much extra work! 

In the last 3 months, I have seen 2 of my creations completed.  It has been bittersweet, to put it mildly.

Occasionally, I will make a particularly beautiful dress for my little girls and, when they outgrow it, I feel  small sense of sadness at not having it on the scene anymore.  I cannot make them stop growing, though, I have even tried to bribe them.

That sense of sadness is nothing compared to watching your beautiful daughter, dressed in the purest white, walk down the aisle and give her heart to a young man. 


The pain is acute. 

But so is the pride.

That day, when I have sat and watched some of my finest creations pledge their life & love to another, has been the last time I had that Lion King moment.  There she was...for everyone to see.  So beautiful.  So poised.  So happy.  She loves God.  She is smart.  She has so much to offer.  AND she can cook!

I have never been more proud than that day.

I also have never hurt more. 

I received the compliments graciously.

There are still 6 more creations at home.  Works in progress. 

I will still have cause to hold up my babies and show the world..."LOOK WHAT I MADE!!!"

Bowing is optional.

Morgan & Enrique
January 23, 2015
Heather & Seth
May 2, 2015

***Special note:  This post is written from my standpoint, but is in no way meant to discount the role their Dad plays.  Just saying...****

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Love & Marriage?

My wonderful 17 year old high school senior had to give a speech (her final one) last week at school.  Tonight, she read it to me.
  AHEM, I was impressed. 
So impressed, in fact, I decided to share it with all of you guys.
  The topic of her speech may not apply directly to you anymore, but, quite possibly, you may be facing the "dating dilemma" with your children soon (-er than you would like). 
I hope you enjoy...
Love and Marriage?

The wedding day had finally come. Joy and excitement coursed through Angie as she slowly strode toward her handsome groom. He gently took a hold of her hand and they turned in unison toward the minister. However, as they started repeating their vows to one another, the unthinkable happened. A young woman stood up in the audience, walked toward the groom, and latched herself to his arm. Angie’s eyes widened in shock as half a dozen other girls slowly made their way towards her groom. “Angie,” he started, “I love you, and you know I do. I have dated these girls in my past. They mean nothing to me now, but I foolishly gave a little piece of my heart to each one of them.”

            Angie looked at him, bewildered, and with tears in her eyes said, “But I thought your heart was mine…”

            “It is! All that’s left of it is yours.” With that, Angie woke up from her dream.

In 2011, there were 2,118,000 marriages in the United States. This means that 6.8 out of 1,000 people in the total population got married. “But,” we may ask, “How many divorces were there in 2011?” The divorce rate for that year is 3.6 out of 1,000 people in the population. This means that for all the marriages instituted that year, almost half that number became divorced within the year. Not only is this situation difficult, it is pure torture for the children involved – no matter how old they are. The home where you grow up is your foundation for the adult that you will become one day. Consequently, the home that you provide for your future children will be their founding structure of who they become.

 Why is that divorce rate so high, anyway? To put it bluntly, young adults start practicing “divorce” at a young age. They get together with someone; give away part – if not all – of their heart. Then, when the going gets too rough, they break up. On this scale, the most people that this breakup can seriously harm are two – the two young adults involved. It also harms the close family and friends of the couple. The relationship, and the ending of it, leaves scars that are not necessarily visible to the eye. Nevertheless, these deep hurts will be carried for the rest of that individual’s life. As a person gets older, though, the commitment is greater, and therefore might become a marriage contract. Sure, the first few years might go pretty well and you might have a child or two. But what happens when the going gets tough and one person gives up on the other? It becomes another typical breakup. However, this time the hurts are on a scale of such magnitude that it hurts many people, including the children. It rocks the foundation of their home and forever alters who they will one day become. They are forced to choose one parent over the other, causing further hurt and division in the family.

“How.” You may ask, “Can this possibly be avoided? Everyone dates! It’s just what people do.” No, that is what the world says we should do. However, we are Christians. Is there a better way? We are the children of the Most High God. Do you think He wants you to go through all the pain, hurt, scars, and rejection that this world goes through? Of course not! Right now, as a young adult, you need to decide what direction you want your life to take. The Bible says to “Choose you this day whom ye will serve.” And while this was Joshua speaking to the Israelites, God still wants us to make that decision. God’s purpose for you right now is to further your growth in Him as an individual. In Joshua Harris’ book, “I Kissed Dating Goodbye”, he states that, “God gives us singleness – a season of our lives unmatched in its boundless opportunities for growth, learning, and service – and we view it as a chance to get bogged down in finding and keeping boyfriends and girlfriends.” God has called us to a way of higher living. This does not mean that we’re snobs, it means that we preserve our hearts for the one person that God wants us to be with. And yes, that person is actually out there. If you truly want God’s best for your life, you’ll very willingly let Him choose the right person for you to be with. Do you trust Him? Wouldn’t you rather have the everlasting pleasure of being loved more than the fleeting version of it that leaves scars and hurt? The key is to give God our full attention, focus, and loyalty. Mr. Harris puts it like this, “Why would you change your habits/attitude towards dating? Because the Christian with his or her eyes on the goal of sincere and intelligent love will find throwing out the world’s approach as no great sacrifice. Hebrews 12:1 says to throw off the weights and sins that so easily beset us. The attitude and practices of our culture’s dating relationships are unnecessary baggage that weighs us down.”

“What’s the alternative? Loneliness? Lifelong singleness? NO! Choosing to quit the dating game – and yes, it is a game – doesn’t mean rejecting friendship, companionship, or marriage with the opposite sex; we just choose to pursue them on God’s terms and in His own time.”

“Although we don’t sin when we look forward to marriage, we might be guilty of poor stewardship of our singleness when we allow a desire for something God obviously doesn’t have for us yet to rob our ability to enjoy and appreciate what He has given us. Dating plays a role in this dissatisfaction because it gives single people just enough (closeness to another person) to make them wish they had more.”

Furthermore, you need to realize that life does not end at the wedding. The wedding is just the party. Real life begins when all the sparkle has faded and you are spending the rest of your life with one other person. Make the “option” of divorce not an option in your life. Choose wisely in your life mate – or better yet, let God choose for you. He created the universe with all its billions of beings; don’t you think He can give you the best person with which He wants you to spend the rest of your life with?