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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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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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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