mrsmomdragon

Sharing my adventures, thoughts and occassional jokes. Sorting through laundry, and a little bit of life…This is How I Train My Dragons…

Harvest…

Fall has always been my favorite season. Actually, it’s not necessarily fall that is my favorite, but it’s the harvest time that comes with it.  Some may see it as a time when everything dies, but I like to see it as a time of waiting…and just being still.

You see, farmers spend hours and hours in the summer time plowing their fields, irrigating, and watching their crops grow.But, it doesn’t stop there. I know with corn, there is also a time of waiting…waiting for it to dry out so that it can be harvested at just the right time.

Isn’t that how seasons of our life can be sometimes?  We spend much of our life waiting…but what I think is important is how we spend our time waiting. Sometimes God has us in this season of waiting for a reason…we just need to see it, and ultimately learn from it.

My kids have been asking for the last month or so when they are going to cut the corn around our house. So, just like the farmers…we’ve been waiting for them to harvest. Well, today as we pulled in, I noticed the combine and trucks making their way through the rows of corn.

Today, the harvest of the corn brought on a whole new meaning for me. You see, today is the day that my Dad is being transported from prison to a half way house (much closer to us). His home for the past 7 years has been prison, and my entire family has been in this season of waiting during his stay.  I’ll be the first to admit, these 7 years have been hard.  We have had good days and bad days. I have had days where our life seems so normal, and then days where I just want to scream because it was never supposed to be like this. They’ve been difficult, but our lives continued because we refused to let this event break us. Through this, I have learned so much about myself, including how strong I really am.  And, I know in my heart that I’m not the only one that has done some serious learning and reflecting through this either…

By no means am I saying this season of our life is over. I don’t know what the day to day will look like from here on out. But, I do know that God is good, and I trust in His plan.

During fall, plants “die”, leaves fall off and everything looks so bleak…but that’s far from the truth. Underneath the cold soil, there are roots. These roots are holding firmly onto the soil, just as I have held onto the promise that God made me 7 years ago.

In our lives, if we just hold on and make it through the cold, harsh nights, we will eventually get to see the flowers bloom, leaves sprout and everything become colorful again…someday….

Today, I am seeing a glimpse of the colors yet to come. And, just like corn being harvested at just the right time…God’s promises also come to pass at just the right time.

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Lessons in Cross Country: Going Beyond Your Comfort Zone

comfortable–adjective: 1.  providing physical ease and relaxation  2. affording or enjoying contentment and security

 


A few weeks ago, Elijah’s cross country coach approached us as we were waiting for practice to be over. I assumed he was going to tell us something about the upcoming meet, but the words that came out his his mouth were, “How has Elijah been these last few weeks?” My mind scrambled to find an answer because I was honesty getting a little nervous about how this conversation was going to go, so my response was simple…he had been sick. His coach knew that, but it was more than just Elijah being sick. He shared that Elijah was doing well this season, but not as well as he had hoped. He had expected to see some growth since is his second season of cross country, and it just wasn’t there.

Ouch. His words stung a little. But yet, isn’t that what the truth does?

As the conversation continued, Ray worded it perfectly. It’s not that Elijah isn’t enjoying cross country because he loves it (seriously, he didn’t get the running genes from me)… he is just comfortable. You see, Elijah has been running long enough to know when it hurts and gets uncomfortable. So, he knows how hard to push himself before his body crosses the line from comfortable to uncomfortable.

The following week, we spoke with Elijah about what his coach said. Honestly, I was unsure if it was a good idea because there were tears…but again, sometimes the truth stings a little doesn’t it? We just asked him if he thought he was running his best race. Could he honestly say he was doing his best? The answer was no. It wasn’t an easy conversation to have because we don’t ever want any of our kids to think that we aren’t proud of them. Elijah could run a 50 minute mile, and we would still be proud of him…but, we know that he is capable of doing better. And, his coach knows Elijah well enough to know he is capable of so much more too. I don’t think I have ever seen a coach so passionate about the sport and genuinely wanting each child to succeed and run their best race.

Well, that next week, he ran his best race of the season. Actually, it was his best race ever. He pushed himself harder and realized it really was possible; that he was capable of feeling uncomfortable for a bit.

That night I went back into Elijah’s room to put him to bed, and as I was going to turn the light switch off, I noticed he had decorated his wall. He put up all of the race bibs that he has saved, one of his favorite quotes, and the last meets time with his name circled with “BEAT IT!!” written next to it. He made a little inspiration wall so every time he turned on and off his lights he would see things that mattered to him…a goal that was on the other side of his comfort zone.

The following week, he actually didn’t get to run in the meet because his knees had been bothering him during the warm up. After so much anticipation and excitement, he just had to watch. Again, there were tears because he not only wanted to run, but he felt like he was letting his team down.

Fast forward to this past Thursday. The cross country team had their League Championship meet…2.5 miles. I get tired just thinking of running that long. Anyway, after two weeks of seeing the inspiration on his wall it was time to run again. I was wrong, the previous race was not his best race–this one was. Elijah came in at 18:43 which was 25 seconds faster than his coach had predicted.

But wait, there’s more. (Sounds a little like an informercial right?) On the same card that the coach writes his predictions for the kids, he writes their times from the previous year. Last year, Elijah ran the same race in 21:03…if you struggle in math like I do, that means that he beat his time by 2 minutes and 20 seconds!! He felt SO stinking good at the end and seeing the smile on his face was amazing. If it felt good for us, I can only imagine what it felt like for him…

Sometimes, we are so comfortable in our life, that we don’t allow ourselves to ever go beyond it…Can I encourage you (with the help of my sweet son) to push yourself a little harder this week. No one likes to feel uncomfortable. But, it is in those times where we feel the most uncomfortable that we tend to experience the most growth! So, step outside of your comfort zone because you might surprise yourself!comfort zone

 

 

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The End of My Favorite Chapter

I’ve been a little emotional these past few days. I mean, I’m always pretty emotional, but my heart is spinning in my chest with emotion–especially today.

Is it because I turned 36 last week? Not so much, although yesterday Emaleigh told Ray and I that we are “on the downward slope to 40” and she isn’t lying! Is it because my first niece is headed to move into her dorm today? That may actually be a little sliver of it…but I am more excited to see her bloom, because that’s who she is. Is it because I’m seeing all of these back to school pictures on Facebook? Again, this probably plays a bigger role in my emotions because, you see, I’ll be posting a similar photo in a few days.

Not of my kids…of myself.

I will be headed back to school tomorrow. But, this time, I will be working there.

Twelve years ago, I was pregnant with Elijah, and Ray and I made the decision that it would be best for our growing family if I stopped working. At the time, I worked at the service desk at King Soopers, and I had  for almost 6 years. It was a hard, but very exciting decision. After Elijah was born, I never went back to work and we never looked back.

Actually, there were many times that we questioned if it was the right move. Yes, financially we struggled. Being a single income household has not been easy and there were times that we weren’t able to do things because we simply couldn’t afford to. But, the struggle is where the growth happened. It was through the trials that we faced, that Ray and I leaned closer on each other, and closer on God. Our kids never got “all the things” but our kids also never went without. I learned to “ball on a budget”…sometimes the kids would ask what was for dinner and the answer would be, “pantry surprise” because I would literally have to figure something out with what we had in the cupboards. Honestly, I still make pantry surprise and each time gets more exciting than the last. It’s an adventure in itself!

But, more importantly than all of the financial stuff, I learned so much about my life in these past twelve years…through the eyes of my children who I have been lucky enough to watch grow right in front of my eyes.

I was able to watch all of my nieces and nephews throughout the school years as well as during summers. Now I see them all growing up, and can’t help but look back and smile knowing that they have memories of  “that one time at Aunt Caiti’s house”.  I also watched other children on and off which was an added bonus. I was surrounded by kids…and I loved it.  Sometimes, Ray would get home from work and all he wanted to do was have quiet for a few moments, but I wouldn’t shut up because all I wanted to do was have an adult conversation! I can also remember times where I would get on the defense because people would say, “What do you DO all day?”…trust me, it wasn’t all  bon bons and Days of Our Lives.

The last twelve years of the diapers, crying, car rides, library trips, time outs, laughing, spills, fevers, firsts, cuddling, blow outs, splash park trips, learning, visiting Daddy at work,  grocery getting, bandaids, laundry, crafts, arguing over naps, ABC’s, kisses, chauffeuring to practices, cleaning up messes, volunteering, first days, lunch dates, walks, singing, apple slicing, and, meltdowns are all  memories that I will be able to hold on to for the rest of my life. Knowing that for the past twelve years, I have been right where God wanted me to be–Being a stay at home mom was definitely a privilege that I never took for granted and I never will. I pray I did it justice because it was worth the struggle.

Now that our kids are in school full time and I graduated from UNC last spring, we decided (again, together) that it is time. It’s time for me to go out and find out more about myself…but this time, as a working Mom.  BONUS, I will be in the same school as my youngest and will have the same schedule as my kids, which was very important to us.  I am extremely excited about this new adventure, but I am also so sad to be only a day away from the end of my life as a SAHM. (See, at least I can still be hip mom). But, I am going to take the advice I have always given my kids on their first day.
“You go be yourself. Shine your light for everyone to see. Be a friend, especially to those who need one the most. Work hard and learn lots. I can’t wait to hear about your day!”

It’s the ending of an era. It’s the end of my favorite chapter. But, you know what’s neat about coming to the end of a chapter? It means that it’s also the beginning of a new one…and all of the pages are blank. So, here’s to making this chapter as good as the last. IMG_3160

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62 Days

When I left UNC back in 2004, I honestly never saw myself going back. Of course, when people asked, I would always give them the cookie cutter answer of, “I only have about 42 credits to finish…of course I’ll go back”…”I’ve come too far to not finish!”  But, deep down I knew that I would never go back. You see, once we had Emaleigh, my heart instantly changed. EVERYTHING I did was now for Ray and for Em. My dreams of going to college quickly vanished because my dream of becoming a mother had come true. (And I was completely ok with that)

A few years later, we had Elijah and luckily, when he was born, I was able to stay at home full time with my kids. Fast forward five years and Eydan was born; our 3 E’s and our life is complete.

Looking back over the last (almost) 13 years as a mom, I couldn’t have ever imagined a more important job to be trusted with. But now, as they are growing older and more independent by the day, I have realized it’s time to find a little bit of myself. Now don’t get me wrong, I have never lost myself in motherhood, I have just always been the type to put everyone else before me and I think that’s kind of par for a mom in general. I love taking care of others, but I have realized in the last few years that it’s also important to take care of myself and remind myself there is nothing wrong with that.

I realized the importance of that when I watched Ray across the graduation stage a few years ago. That’s when I decided, “it’s my turn!” Holy cow was that a hard decision to make, but it couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. Eydan was starting preschool, so technically all kids were in school. So, as you all know, I went back to college.

There have been days that I have wanted to quit. I missed a field trip. I couldn’t pick them up from school. I had to study while everyone watched a movie. I wanted to stay home with them on a Monday because they don’t have school. I was at the library studying when all I wanted to do is be home with my family.

I’m not going to lie…some days have just sucked. But you know what I’ve learned? Nothing that’s worth it ever comes easy! Just like when Ray was in school, as a family, we have had to make sacrifices. But you know what else is cool? My kids and husband are so unbelievably understanding and supportive because they know it’s something important to ME. They believe in me, and that is what has kept me going.

Being a wife and a mother has allowed me to learn to much about myself…yet, that’s not all I am. Although those two titles are the most important titles I have ever held, I can’t let them define me. Becoming a student again, I have also learned a lot about myself. I’ve learned what I’m capable of…not as a mother, but as Caiti. When I enrolled 2 years ago, it seemed like such a long road ahead and I had so much doubt in my head.

So.  Much.  Doubt.

But guess what? I graduate in 62 days. 62!! That, once seeming impossible, long road has turned into so much more than just becoming a college graduate. Although I might not be great at it, I have had to learn how to find some serious balance in my life. I have hated every single presentation, but have allowed myself to grow through each one. Each step of the way I have gained a little more confidence in myself and my favorite part of this is my family has been my cheering section through it all!

As a mother, I constantly have to remind myself that it’s not selfish to think of myself first every once in a while. I know that I am not alone in this! If you have a dream in your heart…go for it. I can’t wait to walk across that stage in 62 days, look out into the stands and see my kids sitting there, and know that it was all worth it.

God knows what He’s doing.  He knew I would struggle with missing a few things at home. He knew I’d cry the night before a presentation. He knew I was exhausted at times, but knew I could push myself further. He knew I would forget to put dinner in the crockpot before I left for class. He knew I would get behind on reading. He knew I would overbook cakes the week of finals. He knew I would have a mental breakdown at least once a semester. He knew I would hate to be called out in class. He knew all of the things that would make this difficult…but, He also knew that all of this would be worth it in the end. He knew I’d learn a lot about Caiti, and I did.

62 days.

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Think Before You Speak…

“If you can’t say anything nice”…

We’ve all heard it.

When I was little, I remember getting told that occasionally. Now, as a mom, I have found myself saying the same thing to my own kids. It’s usually when they’re in a heated argument over who gets to sit in the middle seat or a great debate over who ate the last piece of licorice. Usually, I am able to end the arguments pretty swiftly by confessing that, “IT WAS ME! I ate the last piece, and it was GOOD!”

Yes, my kids fight. And yes, sometimes, when they do…they don’t say very nice things.

We’re all guilty. Things have been said that we wish we could take back. Words spew out of our mouths that should have gone through some type of filter first. But once the words have been spoken, they’re out.

Emaleigh came home from school yesterday and explained to me that a friend of hers told her, “So and so doesn’t like your haircut because it makes you look fat.”

Wow.

As she told me this, her eyes began to well up with tears. I thought to myself, what compels people to say such things; such mean and hurtful things. Things that now, every time Emaleigh looks in the mirror, is going to question.

The worst part of this: So and So… is an adult. A grown woman who is sharing her thoughts on my daughters haircut to others. Sharing it in a manner, or around people, that she figured it would never get back to my little girl…yet, it did. And those words can never be undone.

I have heard adults talk about other adults. Kids talk about other kids. But, I cannot figure out for the life of me, why something like this is being said from an adult about a child. My child. This might sound petty to some, and maybe it is, but I just don’t understand. So what if she didn’t like Emaleigh’s haircut? So. What.

So now, I find myself wanting to tell a grown adult, “If you can’t say anything nice”…

My heart breaks for my little girl who is just coming into her own. Who has just recently taken an interest into doing her own, beautiful hair. She has always been so independent…wanting to do everything on her own. But, it hasn’t been until just recently that she has taken an interest in her hair. So, I let her do it herself . No, her ponytails aren’t always straight, or one side of her hair might be a little “fluffy”, but it’s how she likes to do it. And, she looks beautiful. She looked beautiful with long hair, and she looks just as beautiful with short.

It’s about this age that young girls begin to take notice of their appearance a little bit more. I know for Emaleigh, she has been a little bit more conscience of what she looks like before she takes off to school, or even before we go to Wal-Mart. Yes, Wal-Mart.

I’m so proud of the young woman that she is becoming…and I’m so proud of how she handled herself, even though I’m sure her heart broke just a little bit when she heard those words.

As I sit and write this, tears stream down my face for her. My little girl, who is not fat. My little girl, who cut 12 inches of her hair off to donate to other little girls who have had cancer and have lost their own. My little girl, that did that not because she was asked to, but because she wanted to. My little girl, who is not perfect, and doesn’t try to be. My little girl, who had a little piece of her taken away because of those words.

Tears stream down my face for every little girl who has even been told, “you look fat”. Although the comments might be seemingly harmless, they can leave a lasting remark that can never be undone.

I ask you…no, I beg you to think before you speak.

Again, I know we are all guilty of saying things or doing things that we regret. Sometimes even saying things that we don’t even realize has hurt the other person. Yet, it does…more times than we know. And now, as a result of a careless mouth of an adult, I am trying to pick up the pieces of my little girls heart.

Think before you speak.

Especially if it’s concerning a child. Think before you say it. Just think.

“The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.”

Proverbs 18:21 NLT

Em's Haircut

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