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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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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It Was More Than a Hashtag

IMG_5422When I enrolled at UNC 2 years ago, I knew that I would be on an unforgettable journey to finish college. To get a chuckle out of others on social media, I immediately began a hashtag dubbed, #collegelifeat33. Before long, I found myself sharing my struggles, my jokes, my experience…my real life as a college student using the hashtag.  Then, I turned 34.  Now what? I simply changed it to #collegelifeat34 and kept on sharing and pushing forward.

This past week, I printed off most of my Instagram posts where I used this hashtag. As I was putting them on a display, Ray commented that he wished he had documented his college life the way that I did. I never meant to do that, but I’m so glad that I did. Looking back through all of the photos, I could remember taking each and every one of them. Now that I have crossed the finish line, it’s hard to believe that two years has already passed. But, it has and now I can look back fondly on all of these photos and remember what it took to get here.

College is hard, and college as a non-traditional student is no joke either. But I must say that college, this second time around, was amazing. The amount of support that I have received over the past two years has been incomprehensible. I don’t know how many times over the last few days I have heard, “thank you for sharing your journey with us!”. This hashtag has allowed me to share a piece of my life with many around me and though this hashtag I have received immense amounts of inspiration and encouragement in return.

This hashtag has taught me that it’s ok to be vulnerable and show my struggles and weaknesses because it’s through them that I have learned the most about myself. This hashtag has taught me that being funny helped me get through some really long and tough assignments and papers. This hashtag has taught me that being a nontraditional student really wasn’t that bad…and I can be hip just like the youngins’ these days. This hashtag has taught me that I am surrounded by some amazing friends and family who have been nothing but supportive this entire time. This hashtag has taught me that all of the long nights were worth it and that two years really does fly by. This hashtag has taught me that I CAN do it, because I DID (and so can YOU!)

So, HUGE thanks to those that have beared (see what I did there?) with me and have been with me every step of this crazy journey that I have had the pleasure of calling #collegelifeat34.  Without knowing it, you have helped me achieve this dream of mine to become a college graduate! Once a Bear, Always a Bear!

Although I’m excited for what the future holds, I must admit that I’m really going to miss this hashtag. Signing off #collegelifeat34. #crazychickenladycomininhot

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Hands

You can tell a lot about a person by looking at their hands.

Sometimes you can tell what they do for a living, what they spend time doing, or even what mistakes they might have made along the way.

I remember when Emaleigh was in kindergarten and she learned how to do the monkey bars, she had blisters all over the palms of her hands. It was almost like a kindergarten rite of passage to get these blisters. As she got older and quit doing the monkey bars as often, her blisters went away.

When I was younger, my Dad had this special orange soap (literally it smelled like oranges) that was supposed to be tough on grease. Every night before dinner, he would wash his hands with that soap and no matter how hard he scrubbed, his hands still looked dirty. You see, my dad was (is) one of the hardest working people that I know. He worked sun up to well over sun down on and around the farm. Years of dirt, grease, oil, joy, and pain filled under each fingernail and within every crease of his rough, cracked, hands…making it almost impossible for them to be fully clean.

I’ll never forget when I saw my Dad for the first time about 4 years ago. I didn’t notice the green uniform that made him instantly identifiable as an inmate, nor did I notice standard issue boots that every other male in the gray chairs were wearing. As crazy as it sounds, it wasn’t completely shocking to me to see my dad as a prison inmate (bear with me).

What caught me most off guard was looking down at my Dad’s hands. They were no longer the hands I remember so fondly during my childhood. The rugged hands that grease the tractors, the hands callused from shoveling for hours, or the stained hands that would clench the spoon over his late night bowl of cereal; these were not the same hands. The hands that I was looking at were stark white and there was nothing that said, “now there’s a hard worker”. These hands that reached across the table for mine were soft and unrecognizable.

Yesterday, we were able to go see my Dad again. Again, I saw his hands. No matter how many times I am faced with the hands, I will never get used to them. No matter how many times we make the trip to see him, it will never get any easier when it’s time to leave.

As we were driving home I couldn’t quit thinking about his hands. Then I realized, no matter how many times we try to wash our hands they will always be dirty. We try and try on our own to wash them clean. Sometimes, we get them as clean as we are able to and call it good not even realizing that we are doing it all wrong.  But, it’s not until we give Jesus our hands for Him to clean,  that all of the junk is washed off of them. We can’t do it by ourselves.

Nothing can take away the hard work that my Dad did with his hands…the lines of a great life and hard work are still there. I do miss seeing his old, rough hands but I am thankful to be able to reach across and grab his hands that are clean.

As hard as it is to admit and as hard as it is to see him there, my Dad is where he needs to be. I say this because it is the place where he was at his lowest but it was also the place where Jesus was able to get, and keep, his attention.

It is in that very place, in that cell,  where Jesus washed his hands (and continually washes them) with him.

 

 

 

 

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Lessons in the Form of Embarassment

Ray and I are busy.  Busy with many things, but most importantly, busy trying to instill our kids with values.  Values that they will carry throughout their entire lives.  One of these “lessons” that I feel we have on repeat every day with Elijah is, “It’s Ok To Laugh at Yourself Sometimes.”

Elijah is my little mellow fellow.  He doesn’t like attention, never has.  He is just not a fan of attention being drawn to him…especially when he’s at the center of it.  Sometimes, he says (or does) some of the funniest things that we can’t help but laugh at.  We try to tell him, “Bubba, we aren’t laughing AT you, we’re laughing WITH you”…the only thing is, he’s not laughing at all.  Usually, it ends in tears because he just doesn’t like jokes at his expense…although they are always harmless.  Plain and simple…he doesn’t like it.  Even if it’s something GREAT (like making a touchdown) Elijah won’t tell anybody about it, because the attention will be on him.

Well yesterday, I found myself having the daily talk with him after he fell off of the car seat.  Emaleigh and I started laughing, and after a few minutes Elijah was in tears.  I told him, once again, “Buddy, don’t take life so seriously.  Sometimes, things happen, and we just have to laugh!  Especially when it’s just our family around!” Emaleigh and I went through story of story of things that have happened to us that we just had to laugh at.  Trust me; I have A LOT of stories…just wait.  That seemed to help a little bit…but what helped even more was the firsthand experience that we had later on that evening. I’m glad that Elijah is more of a visual learner, because what he was about to see would really help this “lesson” sink in.

We went to my nieces’ play, and afterwards I was gushing over Bubba’s touchdown that he made that morning.  I knew that he wasn’t going to talk about it, so I was telling my brother and sister in law all about it…not just telling, showing…movements and all.  I even put my purse down for the re-enactment.  Anyway, I was showing them the figure 8’s and crazy zig zags that Bubba did to achieve his touchdown…then it happened.

I don’t even think I made loop.

I don’t even think that I made it to a zig…or even a zag for that matter.

As I went to turn around, my left foot slipped and I went down.  I didn’t even have time to catch myself.  I slammed to the ground hitting my left hip, arm and face against the gym floor.  Not sure if I need new soles on my boots or if the school needs to sweep their floor…either way, there I was lying on the floor completely embarrassed.

But, I knew that Elijah’s eyes were on me. His mom, who just face planted in a gym full of strangers.

Yes, I am 31 years old.  And yes, (even at 31) when something embarrassing happens, it makes me feel like I am a 7 year old kid. It even gave me a flash back of farting in 6th grade while I was in mid sit-up.  Complete embarrassment.

Every ounce of me wanted to cry.  I could actually feel my face turning bright red (just as it always does when I’m embarrassed) and I could taste every ounce of dignity leaving my body.  Well, that might have actually been the gym floor I tasted.  Did I mention how hard I landed? Oh, and did I mention it was in a gym full of 8 members of my family and about 40 strangers?

It was the type of fall that happened so fast, yet it keeps replaying over and over in slow motion.  It was the type of fall that has left my arm SO completely sore today.  It was the type of fall, that had I just been an observer, I would have reacted the same way that the rest of my family did.

Overwhelming laughter.

I wish I could say I did it on purpose to make a point.  But that wasn’t the case at all.  And, just so everyone knows, Elijah looked NOTHING like that when he made his touchdown.

Anyway, as much as I wanted to cry, I didn’t.  I joined in with my family, who was clearly laughing AT me. Not just laughing either…they were keeled over, hysterically laughing. When I got up off of the floor, I looked up to see Elijah with the biggest smile on his face.  Luckily, it was just my family who was looking at me.  I’m almost positive that every single stranger there saw, but they were all embarrassed for me, and decided to turn their cheeks.  Anyway, after just a few minutes, I didn’t even have the urge to cry anymore.  There were tears, but the tears were from all of us laughing so hard.

Needless to say, I’m glad that Elijah was able to see me (in a moment of complete embarrassment) laugh at myself.  And, to see that it was alright.  I just hope that I never have to do a stunt like that again to teach my little boy a lesson…whether it be on purpose or not.  And this one, clearly, was not.

So, if you take something from this, remember; Laugh at yourself.  Smile when you feel like crying.  It might just be what turns your day around.  And, if you’re doing zig zags on a gym floor…don’t just put your purse down…take off your boots too.

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