You only have one? Only Child encouragement

When my husband and I started to get serious and talk about marriage we also talked about children. We both knew we didn’t want a large family but the both of us definitely wanted children. Two was the number we talked about. I was one of three and my husband was one of two. I never in a million years would have thought I would “only” have one child. After all only children are spoiled and lonely, right? At least that is what people have said to us.

only child2

Yep, no matter how small or how big your family is you are going to get unwanted advice and opinions. I put only in quotations above, because it seems as if many people thought because we only had one child, we had failed at parenting. I felt when someone said you are only going to have one child.. it was like an old Jewish mother saying: “You are only going to have one bowl of soup? No, you need more. It’s good for you. You love it. Have another”. And to be perfectly honest…I asked myself that same question. Are you really only going to have one child? Won’t he be lonely? Won’t he be a spoiled brat? What horrible parents to not give their child someone to play with! These are all things that went through my head. They are also things that have come out of people’s mouths. It is easy to do. I am guilty of it too, so I do not hold it against anyone. Having grace is very important in parenting. People say the darndest, hurtful things. I look at people with more than three kids and think oh sweet Lord they are nuts. But, that is because I do not understand. God did not wire me that way. That is what is so great about being a parent. God gives you a unique personality that is perfect for each one of your children. I think this even true of those who can’t have children or have adopted children.

 

My husband’s Aunt is a great example of this. She never had any children. You would never know, because she is everyone’s favorite and children adore her. I see that God has used the fact that she does not have children to take care of her family when they needed someone. If she was busy with her own children, that may have not happened. She wouldn’t be available. I have seen this with other people in my life as well. God used them to be parent-like to those who had horrible home lives. I mention this because I wanted to encourage everyone no matter how many children that you have that God is going to use you in great ways to be there for each of your children or any other child that comes into your life, whether they are yours or not.

only child 1

 

Now, I wanted to also switch gears and go back to my struggles. Not to make anyone feel sorry for me but to be an encouragement. I looked everywhere for encouragement on this topic of having “only” one child and I did not come up with much. Which scared me? I thought, “Oh my gosh, am I wrong? Am I going to damage my child? Is he going to be left all alone without anyone when the Hubs and I are gone? Is he going to hate us for not giving him a sibling?” All of these very valid questions and things my husband and I talked about. We knew that we would need to be the house that all the kids loved to play at and so our son would not miss having play time with others. We knew that we needed to work on getting him and his cousins together. Family would be very important to have around and we pray that if he couldn’t confide in a sibling that he could a family member or friend. We also knew that only children can become a bit spoiled…as they have no competition. I have to say we aren’t doing so well in the whole no spoiling part…but my kid is awesome and I want to give him everything! He’s going to need therapy, isn’t he? Join the club buddy:)

As I was saying before I wanted to be an encouragement to any parents out there who may be struggling too. I finally got a peace about it around 2 years ago, but honestly still had some low moments. We always said we wanted our children to be two years apart. I had very high blood pressure during my pregnancy and ended up staying in the hospital quite a bit and then finally had to have C-section. My doctor mentioned that if I wanted to do this again(this…meaning get pregnant) that I HAD to lose weight. When I had my son I had actually just lost about 15 pounds. Still was overweight but was doing better. Then I gain a bunch of weight during my pregnancy but lost most of it right away. Again,still over weight, but could very easily have got my butt in gear and lost the weight I needed to have a safe second pregnancy. But….I didn’t. My husband reminded me that we really wanted our children close together but I just wasn’t motivated to lose the weight. I have always battled anxiety and many times wasn’t sure I was fit enough to have one child. Physically and mentally I was not in a good position to have another child and as the years went on it was pretty clear that I would not. Most recently I have been having some health issues and found that I have a cyst on each one of my ovaries. I also have a whole bunch of other issues with my uterus that I will spare any details on. Let’s just say getting pregnant the first time was truly a miracle. I do not like the fact that my body is messed up but in a way it was comforting to know that I might now even be able to have another child.

During these hard times of battling my weight and some physical issues and then dealing with my anxiety I saw the Lord working in my heart and bringing me to a place of contentment. No matter what your reasoning is for having one child I pray that you will seek God for that peace too. I began to see that in order to be the best mom I could be to my “only” child he needed all of what was left of me each day. I was spread pretty thin. Many days it took all I had to get out of bed. I had some issues with my stress hormones that left me exhausted even after a full night of rest. I do have to say I started to blame myself for not giving my son a sibling. Do not go down that road. It is not good for anyone. Sure if I had my stuff together and was fit I may have had another child. But that is not what happened and that is ok. God blessed me/us with the most amazing son. The Hubs and I joke saying if we had another child it would probably be the spawn of Satan! I feel blessed to even have one child!

I think one of the best things I did to help me be at peace with having one child was to be in constant communication with God. I let him know my worries and struggles and He brought me some great  encouragement. One was just a few months ago from my son. If you are curious… he goes back and forth wanting a brother or sister. Actually, I think he said he would want to give his sister back if he had one so… there’s that:). I talk to him about being an only child. He told me that he did have a lot of brothers and sisters though. I looked at him a little confused and said “oh really???” He said: “Yes, I have brothers and sisters in Christ!” Oh man, if that didn’t just melt my heart. Encouragement from the mouth of babes. Just what I needed. I did not need to look to any scholars or blog writers…my own son had the answer!

My next little nugget of encouragement came from a mom at my son’s school. She and I see each other everyday. We exchange a smile or a quick hello, but have never talked in length. I was having a particularly hard week as my husband and I finally made the decision to have the possibility of having another child cut out…literally and figuratively:). I had peace about it but when it becomes final you start to question yourself. My husband was fine, but as a mother I think we process this sort of thing differently. Anyways, I see this mom again as usual after school. This time we are walking by each other at the same time and going the same way. Usually she is early and she is walking back to her car while I am walking to pickup my son. So we say hello and then talk about the weather as strangers do and then we ask each other how old our children are. I say my son is in first grade and she said her daughter is in second. Then she asks if I have any other children………”No, just the one I reply.” She says, “Me too, isn’t it special?” I was so taken back by those words. I could barely get anything out. I think I said something back. We then went our separate ways to pick up our very “special” only child. It was not about the quantity anymore for me at that point but the quality. That seems weird to talk about in terms of children… but true. It is about the time you get to spend with them. All the special moments you will have with each one of them. It is about the quality of the love you give them. It is so special that I have an “only” child because he is a gift from God. It is special if you have 6 children. Your house is overflowing with quality love, but not more than those with fewer children. They say you don’t divide your love between all your children, it just multiplies. If you have no children I still believe that quality love is there and spread to other children who may not get that at home or maybe to other family members or friends who need it. That is the great things about love it can be shared with anyone. I am so blessed to have my little family. Although we are small in number, our love is huge!

 

 

 

Summer

Be still and know

be still

The Days of Summer is back! I have not posted since Thanksgiving and took a much needed break. During these past few months I have missed writing so much. I have always struggled with the business side of writing a blog, it is a lot of work to keep up, but I truly missed it! So, I am jumping back into my blogging and I am even going to dabble with making You Tube videos that correspond with my blog posts! Stay tuned…that should be all kinds of awkward!

Now, I didn’t completely stop writing. I still journal on my own, but even that happened very seldom. Some of the things I journal are not things I feel I can share. Like struggles with people in my life that I don’t need to put on blast. That could become more like diary entry and we already have Facebook for that, right? There has been so much God has been teaching me that I do want to share and so, I think I am ready to spend late nights editing my posts again.

This week I have really seen God working and I just had to share. Here is how my week has gone….

Well, it started with a Monday so, that is never good! And it started at 4:30am, which is doubly not good. Needless to say it was the Mondayest of Mondays that ever Mondayed.

mondayest

I was up at 4:30 AM to see my husband off as he left for the next 7 days. He had just been gone for a week, was home for a week and now leaving again. I mean whose idea was this??? Needless to say…I was already feeling a little overwhelmed as I anticipated all I had to do on my own this week. He had suggested that since I was up I should start working. I normally start at 6am. This would give me some free time before I had to pick up our son later in the day from school. I could really use that time to clean the house, as it was a mess because Mother’s Day was the day before….and on Mother’s Day I strike and do not do ANYTHING. Only to be left with a big mess the next day. I start to login and remembered our IT department installed a new login system and it was not working…of course. I finally got in to my system at 10 after 6. No free time for me! I immediately started to prepare for my training session where I would have to train India to basically take my job from me. Love it! Once 9am rolled around it was time for training and I called in…and then quickly learned it was cancelled. I just spent 2 hours preparing and it was cancelled…

I went into full nervous breakdown mode. This isn’t anything to lose you mind about but for me it was my breaking point. I type out a long text to my husband, who previously text me and let me know that he would not have access to his phone, as he would be flying for the next 5 hours! How was I to complain if the one I needed to complain to was out of commission for 5 hours??? Oh, what’s that God…you are there? That’s right you are always there. I don’t have to wait for you to regain service…your line is always available. I cried out to God in that moment and was a bit embarrassed that I hadn’t done so until that point. But it was ok because he still saw me. He saw my needs and he gave me rest. I truly believe that my training was cancelled so I could calm my heart and brain. I hate training. I am not good at it and I do not enjoy it. So, the thought of having training two days back to back was a lot for me to handle. He knew.

So, you would think I would now realize that God has this. He is there with me this week even though my husband was not. It was going to be a great week now….not so much! I still have 6 days left on my own. I have a lot I can mess up in 6 days and I am already forgetting God is near. I did feel pretty good about myself as I found time to have my son do his homework. On Monday he had a baseball game so right after school he finished the page he had to do. Tuesday same thing. So, he now has his Monday and Tuesday homework done and turned in. Shane wakes up Wednesday not feeling well. He had not been himself since Monday so I say he can stay home. As the day goes on he stays in bed and watches movies. I decide to just relax and have a chill day. Then he attends school the next day and comes home. I go through his folder and see he did not receive a sticker for completing his homework. I am pretty sure his teacher thinks I am the worst. She is probably thinking he has a horrible home life, I mean who doesn’t make their kid do homework? They also probably give him gluten and GMOs!(Oh! by the way I thought this week was a good week to stop feeding my child gluten, dairy, yeast and eggs. He has some allergies, Dr. recommended an elimination diet, so yeah) After I calm myself down and vividly remember throwing the papers away thinking that he already tuned them in and all is good, I decide to go through the trash. The trash that I had just emptied the contents of my vacuum in and some moldy cuties. I see some papers in the bottom and nope, not it. Then I realize they must be in the trash bag I threw away outside earlier…but wait it’s Thursday and Thursdays are trash days. The homework is gone forever. I decide I need to write a “my dog ate my homework” type of note to my son’s teacher, but then realize it is Open House the next night. Perfect, but wait then all the other parents might hear my story. I better just stick with the note. I forget how to spell a few words, my penmanship is awful and I crumple it up. As, I go to get some more scratch paper I see some papers on the counter where I am writing. This will do…oh no….yep you guessed it…the homework pages. I never threw them away! There was no need for my trash digging session, although very humbling. So, now my letter was a little different explaining I had turned them in on the wrong day and asked for forgiveness and hoping she will give him his sticker. By the way…she wrote me back with a “No worrries” and a happy face over my note. She’s awesome and it really wasn’t anything to get worked up over.

I tried to make this post light hearted, but when I woke up on Monday and eventually had a nervous breakdown, I was far from light hearted. My heart was being weighed down by my fears of training, a huge fun and exciting event on Wednesday(that I can’t talk about but I promise I will soon) being rescheduled because I just had too much going on, 2 baseball games and one practice and my husband being gone again for a week. Putting all the funny aside I was reaching out for my husband to comfort me and he was not there. It took me awhile to get myself together and give it all to God. He was so ready and willing to take it on for me and he did. He provided me with sweet moments of rest.  The phrase “Be still and know” came into my mind so often this week. I encourage you to read Psalms 46.

 

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Come and see what the LORD has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire. He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’ The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”

 

As I read those verses there was so much power in them. In my bible notes it has a little blurp with directions for the choir director. Psalms is like a hymnal and can be sung as a hymn. In those notes it said it should be sung by a soprano. A soprano is the highest vocal range and usually takes the melody in a song. I suggest you read this out loud with your most powerful voice. It’s pretty awesome. Psalms 46:2 talks about not fearing earthquakes or mountains crumbling. My simple little worries don’t seem so bad when I think about mountains crumbling into the sea, but God still cares about the things I worry about, no matter how small, even the low moments of digging through the trash for something that was not there. He also is bigger than our biggest trial. God is our refuge and strength and that is what I have clung to this week.

Psalms 46:5 says this…”God dwells in that city; it can not be destroyed. From the very break of day, God will protect it”. This gives me so much comfort. At 4:30 am on that Monday he was already there…protecting me.

No matter what trial you are facing this week, know that God is already there and ready to give you those moments of rest if you ask him. The phrase or command “Be still” in Hebrew means to cause yourself to let go or let yourself become weak. So, this week of weakness I was trying to be strong and when I allowed myself to let go and let God that when things started to look up. Thankful I never have to do this life on my own.

 

Summer

Creature of Habit

I am a creature of habit. I find myself doing the same thing over and over again, without ever thinking that there might be a better or more efficient way to do it! I can even go years doing something one way and finally notice that someone does it differently and better. At least I do not expect a different result as I do the same thing over and over again, because that would mean I am insane!

insanity

I have a creative mind and I don’t like to waste my time with details. I just want to create! I do not like following directions. I just want you to hand me something and have it work with very little effort. I do not like putting together things that require many steps to complete. IKEA furniture stresses me out! I am the one who pays to have someone else put it all together. So, needless to say I can get stuck in a rut and never try to look at the details and just rush through things.

I started to see this pattern of repetition flow over into every area of my life. It is not necessarily a horrible quality to have but when it comes to my faith I could see a problem. I was trying to follow Christ by just keeping my head down and never looking around. Never seeing those hurting around me. Never noticing that I could be doing more. When you do not ever question, if the way you do something is the best way to go about it, you find that you have missed out on learning new things. Questioning why is not bad, even when it comes to your faith. I realized I was not digging in deep and fully understanding why I believed in God. Or why am I a Christian?

Being an active Christian who is knowledgeable is what I needed to focus on. What good is my witness if I am not knowledgeable about my faith? No one wants to buy a product from someone who has no clue about the purpose of the product or how it functions. I was following aimlessly. Without direction. Not just without direction but without wanting to ask why or how does this all work? It required me to read God’s Word and you all now know how I do not like to follow directions! Once I realized that God’s directions were there to help me and not to frustrate me I began to see how much I was missing out on. Once I stopped looking inward and started looking around me I was so encouraged. I saw those hurting around me. I was excited to learn more about God and what He wanted for me. I came to see that digging deeper and asking questions gave me more knowledge and a desire to share my knowledge. I was also more compassionate instead of being selfish.

***Side note….I had to stop writing as two Jehovah Witnesses came to my door. She talked about knowing the Bible. I said I was a Christian, but I appreciated that she was so bold to share her faith. She immediately said, “Oh, we are Christians too”. Sorry girlfriend but you are not. It was a good experience though. I immediately went online to see what they believe. It is very different of course from what I believe but it challenged me to truly know what I believe. They will most likely come back and will I be prepared enough to defend and explain my faith? I will try! This was a great reminder to me that I need to be prepared and have knowledge of what I believe.

I think this is what faith is all about. James McDonald says, “Put some action behind what you believe, and then watch God work.” “Faith is not passive-it’s active.”When God is at work that is when things get exciting, but we must be willing to follow those directions and not be idle.

faith

 

 

Summer

Mother’s Day-Great Expectation:Great Depression

Every Mother’s Day I begin to see the commercials and blog posts flowing in, all reminding the husbands and sons, to not forget about getting a great gift for dear ol’ Mom. For years I dreaded Mother’s Day. Sad, right? I begin to have such high expectations of what the day would hold for me. I imagined being awaken by the smell of freshly made Belgian waffles with homemade whipped cream, strawberries and a light dusting of powdered sugar. It would be accompanied by my favorite hot tea in my favorite mug(or a new one). Then my son would bring me my favorite flowers…no red roses…preferably pink peonies (if you asked me last week it would have been pink roses)…or maybe even a cool succulent arrangement. As I admired my flowers so thoughtfully picked out I would then read my handmade card from my son, as my husband cleaned up the kitchen. Finally, my husband would bring me a gift, that he thought about months before, that had some special meaning, possible even got it from Etsy or some random site he had never been on before. Ahhhh yes….. expectations.

This is really going on in my mind!  Fortunately, once I had that moment, that my husband, son or anyone else involved in my life are not in my head, that is when I realized I had been setting myself up for disappointment. Instead of waking up with great expectation, I have learned to wake up with joy in knowing that my family does love me…in their own way. Then and only then was I not left at the end of the day with great depression.

“Expectation is the root of all heartache.” -William Shakespeare

My love language is receiving/giving gifts. If that is your love language too you probably are right there with me on this whole idea of great expectation. Each year for Mother’s Day or my birthday I would put these selfish wants and desires onto someone else. I would make a mental note of everything that I wanted or wanted to happen days or weeks before. Ideas and things that no one would have any clue that I wanted, but I somehow wanted it to happen. I set those around me up for failure before the day began. My husband’s love language is NOT receiving or giving gifts, which I have talked about many times. He is the shop the night before or better yet morning of type of guy. For years I felt so unloved on special occasions. I didn’t understand why he would never plan anything or buy gifts early for me. I then realized he must have felt the same way. I would always buy super thoughtful gifts, with a special meaning behind them. He liked them but he would much rather spend the day with people. He would much rather cuddle all day watching a movie or have me show him some kind of affection. So, in essence, we were both wanting attention, Scott wanted physical and outwardly attention and I wanted thoughtful gestures.

Most of my friends and family do not have the gift of giving. In fact, many times I do not get anything from them…not even a card. That is rude but whatever…I know they do love me…they just aren’t very good at gift buying. It really is ok…we all can’t be fabulous! All joking aside I came to the conclusion that on Mother’s Day..my birthday or any event I am seeking some sort of attention. I need to be looking to my Father…my heavenly Father for that attention. He is the only one who is inside my crazy head and hears all my wants and desires and meets my expectations and guess what!!???!! He surpasses them! I believe the best thing to do is if we are feeling unloved or that our love tank is running low, just pray. I can’t tell you how many times I will have someone send me a card just when I need it or The Hubs will come home and make dinner. God will meet those expectations and give you far more than anything you could dream up in your head.

 

Happy Mother’s Day!

shane and mama

Summer

Thanksgiving- The Forgotten One

joy of thanksgiving

(Source)

With Halloween over(woohoo) we can now get into Christmas, right? Oh…what’s that… there is another holiday between Halloween and Christmas??? That’s right…Thanksgiving! All jokes aside, we know that right after Halloween the stores bust out the Christmas stuff, sometimes even before Halloween. Totally skipping poor Thanksgiving.

I found myself this morning already stressed about my Christmas budget. Try as I may, I did not buy a bunch of gifts early, like I always say I will. I downloaded my strategic planner… so I could be all ready for the battle that is Christmas. The planner had my travel plans, my menu plan, my gift lists and ideas, my decor ideas, my party planner and a calendar that is pretty much already filled up with busyness. Then it hit me. A moment of thankfulness. I love that God put Thanksgiving before Christmas. It is a time to reflect on all the blessings that He has graciously given to me and my family. Too many times I just rush through the month of November, not taking the time to stop…..breathe….and reflect on His goodness. His blessings have been plentiful this year and every year.So, this morning I pondered about Thanksgiving and how awesome it was that it is a month before Christmas. I decided to just take it easy this year. To not stress that I don’t have everyone’s gifts yet or that I have a Christmas Party to plan. I don’t need to stress over all the little details. That stress is a little distraction thrown in by Satan to take our focus off of being thankful.

I love that Christmas brings so much joy to everyone, because Jesus is the reason for this time and it is only fitting that we all get so much joy out of it.  Every year I say this is going to be the year I have it all together. Instead this year I just want to take time to be thankful and be filled with the joy of Thanksgiving and Christmas. I love buying gifts for everyone…it is one of my favorite things to do no matter what time of the year. I have to admit though… I get sooo caught up in it, again another distraction.

Anyways, this is just a short little post that was on my heart. I hope we all have some time to relax and meditate on all that the Lord has done for us this year. As I said before, I am so glad Thanksgiving is before Christmas and that it is meant to be a time of reflection and a bit of a calm before the storm. I pray that Christmas isn’t a storm this year, but a continuance of Thanksgiving!

Summer