New First Times

Life is full of many first times. The first time you stay away from home as a kid. The first time you go on a date or drive alone. The first time you have a child, and all the first times that entails.

Now I am experiencing new first times. I experienced a new first time Saturday evening.

I knocked on my son’s front door.

I have just entered a new phase in life. And knocking on the front door of one of my children was a definite first.

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This photo is not my son’s front door. I actually didn’t take a picture of his front door (I would of if I had thought of it), and it wasn’t actually his front door. It is his only door. He lives in an apartment.

For some reason I never pictured knocking on my kid’s front door.

And now I have.

Another first just happened today. My son came for a visit. Okay, actually my son came to do his laundry but why split hairs? He’s here. We visited and…he did laundry.

So many firsts in a parent’s life. All those firsts of growing up. I didn’t think about the firsts that would take place when they left home.

I’m pretty sure there are more first times I will encounter as a mother of adult children. Some I have dreamed of and some I’m sure have never even entered my mind.

There is another first coming my way in just a few weeks. I will drive my youngest son to the airport and sit with him until he boards. He will have a connecting flight to Denver where he will catch a flight to Europe. My son will be flying across the big pond alone, for the first time. And I am learning to be okay with that.

What other choice do I have?

But that’s life. Change. Growth.

Kids grow up.

They move out, whether across the river to a different state, or an ocean away.

They start families of their own.

As a mother, I get the opportunity to grow some more.

Because of all these new first times.

How to Raise a Boy

If you read my blog on a somewhat regular basis you’ve probably caught on to the fact that I love my kids. They are the best parts of me. My entire life revolved around them in those early years. How can it not? But as they grew, I grew too, and part of the growing was letting go…

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My oldest son (and middle child) is moved out a few days ago. But you know that, right? No? You can read about it here: My son is leaving the nest.

Thoughts of how to raise a boy have been flashing through my mind, especially these last few days that my son is still living under the same roof as me.

I came across this post from Your Modern Dad entitled 10 Rules to Raising the Man You Want Your Son to Be. I loved this line in his post: Becky & I just want the best of both worlds.  We are trying to raise men that are both gentle, yet strong.

Who could ask for a better son than one who is gentle and kind, yet strong?

Are we raising our boys to be like that? Did I?

Times have changed. I’m not saying that’s a good thing or a bad thing. It’s just a thing. A fact. I’m sure the same could be said for any generation. How to raise a boy is not any different today than it was a hundred years ago, and yet, it kinda is.

It occurred to me as I was reading Your Modern Dad’s post that the 10 rules he listed could be applied to raising children period. Because kindness, gentleness, loving, honest, loyal and there for you traits aren’t gender-focused, in this non-gender- focused age in which we live. These are character traits I want all my kids to have, my sons and my daughter.

So how to raise a son really just boils down to raising a person who is a well-rounded human being. A person with a good sense of self, yet not selfish.

A person who is kind, yet not a push-over.

A person who is thoughtful, yet has the ability to say “No” when that is the best thing to say.

A person who is gentle, yet strong.

A person who understands the value of relationships.

And I could go on.

I won’t.

I will end this post by telling you that Your Modern Dad has a lot of good stuff on his blog.

And…my youngest child and other son is leaving for an internship in Europe in May for the summer. You can bet there will be more posts like this…

Feed Your Spirit

How do you feed your spirit? We all do in some form or another, whether we are aware of it or not. Emotionally healthy people tend to so in healthy ways. The rest of us, well…not so much. Those of us in recovery are learning to do so one day at a time.

I love flowers, sunsets, water and walking in nature (as long as it’s not too hot or too cold!). When we make time for ourselves to do the things we love, we are feeding our spirits. I also appreciate quiet mornings reading, meditating and praying. When I make time for the things I enjoy I am feeding my soul.

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Flowers make me smile. They. Just. Do.

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Sunsets on the water combine two of my favorite things!

How do you feed your spirit?

I was reading Jesus Calling a few days ago when I came upon this reading. It definitely helped in feeding my spirit for that day because I was dealing with a few challenges.

Here’s the reading:

Welcome problems as perspective lifters. My children tend to sleepwalk through their days until they bump into an obstacle that stymies them. If you encounter a problem with no immediate solution, your response to that situation will take you either up or down. You can lash out at the difficulty, resenting it and feeling sorry for yourself. This will take you down into a pit of self-pity. Alternatively, the problem can be a ladder, enabling you to climb up and see your life from My perspective. Viewed from above, the obstacle that frustrated you is only a light and momentary trouble. Once your perspective has been heightened, you can look away from the problem altogether. Turn toward Me, and see the Light of My Presence shining upon you.

People use lots of different things to attempt to feed their spirits.

Alcohol

Drugs

Food

Work

Sex

Shopping

Electronics

And the list goes on.

These things are temporary fixes that only help for a brief amount of time and usually lead to bigger problems. Feeding your spirit is a legitimate thing to do, a healthy thing to do. Only you can feed your spirit. Substituting with people and/or things will never work.

Emotional hunger is the result of an unfed spirit. Emotional hunger will never be satisfied by food or any of the things listed above. It’s a temporary diversion at best.

Life can be tough. Things Change. We often get dealt a hand we neither want or are even prepared to deal with. It doesn’t really matter. When that happens it is time to feed your spirit, even more so than ever.

Feeding your spirit on a daily basis is the goal, but until you get there, try to do something you love each day to take care of yourself.

What are some ways you feed your spirit?

 

 

My Son is Leaving the Nest

My son is leaving the nest. He is moving out Saturday, just a few weeks before he graduates college.

I am experiencing a loss already and he hasn’t even moved out yet.

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My son is leaving the nest that I have carefully prepared, guarded and nurtured for all of his life.

It is time.

It is good.

It is sad.

It is exciting.

If truth be told, the letting go process began several years ago when I decided he was too old to “mothered”.

And here we are.

Life is full of changes, one after another. This past year has been a stressful year. Many things have happened. Some good and some not so good. But there is one thing that will always remain the same. Things are going to change.

I should have seen this coming, right? Actually, I did. I have been preparing myself emotionally for, well, 24 years.

Jacob is moving out.

My son is leaving the nest.

Even though I was preparing myself, it still packs a punch. The days were long and the years short.

Where did the time go? So very cliche, I know, but seriously! If you could transfer the importance of staying in the moment to parents with young kids, perhaps they wouldn’t blink or go to sleep…EVER! But that won’t happen. It can’t. Each parent, child; each family has it’s own rhythm and way to experience things.

Parenting is a tough gig.

I focused on being fully-present through the growing years of each of my kids. I was fortunate enough to be a stay-at-home mom and a homeschool mom as well. That time afforded me the distinct privilege and pleasure (well, not always pleasure) of being there for those special moments of their lives Well, most of them anyway.

Here’s the thing…this is just one of my three kids, and…AND…it’s just the beginning of change for him.

My son is leaving the nest and our home state to work and reside elsewhere. He is moving into an apartment alone. It’s a big deal. But if all things go the natural way they usually do, he will meet a nice girl (one I REALLY like) get married and have kids. Yes, I want grands, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

My son is leaving the nest in just a few short days. My daughter and other son are still here. Some may say it’s way past time for a kid to move out, and maybe it is. But I like to think it is happening at exactly the time it was supposed to happen because life has a way of working out just the way it’s supposed to.

The days to come will be that of adjustment for my son who is leaving the nest and experiencing new things, and for me too.

My role as a mother was to prepare him for this move, this giant step out into the real, sometimes scary world.

Did I do my job?

Is he prepared?

Will he be okay?

Will I?

The answer to those questions is ‘Yes”. There will be a learning curve for him and an opportunity for growth for me.

But I have a feeling we will muddle through, on our own, yet staying connected in a different way. A new way.

Because~

My son is leaving the nest.

 

 

 

Reasons to Change

I’m always talking about reasons to change, or even that change is both necessary and inevitable. Change is a good thing even when it doesn’t feel good.

I ran across this graphic while looking for things to share on my Facebook page from Advanced Life Skills.

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Things Change is one such post I have recently written, as is The Funny Thing About Change. I find that I am experiencing these things in a big way at this point in my life. One such change is that of my son moving out of our home and into an apartment of his own.

Jacob is my oldest son and middle child. He is graduating from college in a few short weeks. He secured a good job but a move is required. Happens all the time, right?

Yeah, not to me though.

He lived at home while putting himself through school. He did well in school and at both places he worked. He seemed to handle all the changes well and is very equipped for life on his own. He is moving Saturday.

Did I say well equipped? All he has is the stuff in his room! This change is a stress-point for sure. It is for him and it is for me.

But change is good, just read the words from the graphic above.

1. You can’t grow if everything remains the same. This I know to be true but why is it so hard to implement?

2. Change will happen. Resisting it is pointless. No doubt about it, things are going to change. Why do we fight so hard to keep things the same?

3. Without change there’s no adventure in life. True story. And what would life be without adventure?

4. Change brings about new opportunities. Opportunities have a way of finding you once you are willing to accept that you have no power over change in the first place and prepare to embrace all that it brings.

5. Making progress requires change. Yes it does.

These are 5 great reminders of reasons to change. Change is going to happen, like it or not. Embrace the experience, learn the lessons and enjoy the ride even if it is unpleasant. You’ll miss it if you aren’t fully present and I wouldn’t want to miss a thing.

I always like what I read on the Facebook page of Advanced Life Skills. Check out their blog here!

 

Thunder Over Louisville 2016

Saturday, April 23 was Thunder Over Louisville 2016. I spent the day at Louisville Slugger Field. It was a beautiful day for Thunder, baseball and kicking off The Kentucky Derby.

The early afternoon was a little on the cool side which allowed us to take a stroll down the main part of the festival. Hours later it was sure to be wall to wall people!

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Thunder Over Louisville is the biggest fireworks show in North America. It is a continuous shooting of fireworks for 20 minutes before a 5-10 minute grand finale. It’s quite a show.

But before the fireworks, those of us who have purchased tickets to Slugger Field, first got to enjoy a baseball game and the air show, which are both great, but distracting, one from the other.

This was one of the first sights in the sky!

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The show went on for hours, regaling us with awesome sights.

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Another awesome plane flying over. So big, going so slow (seemingly). It was a great view.

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There is always a concert just after the game ends. It’s quite a sight to behold as the crew lays down the planks for the truck which will become the stage, drives out on the outfield. In only a manner of several minutes is the walls of the truck positioned and you are looking at the stage, completed with drums and everything one needs to put on a show. This year the band was The Personnel, an energetic band from Chicago, Illinois, playing a 90’s set of cover tunes including rap, a country song, some pop tunes and the theme song from Full House.

We ended the airshow with this amazing sky writer plane. It was a great way to finish up before the big fireworks show began. At this point in the day people are tired but the anticipation of the exhibit in the sky is humming throughout the crowd. To see this sight is promise of bigger, brighter things to come as the minute hand continues to count down the time until the first boom and brilliance of light displays across the sky.

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The fireworks show was a sight to behold, as usual. The sky lite up with an abundance of terrific lights and music combined. The crowd is always in the hundreds of thousands, as people line the banks of the Ohio River, both Kentucky and Indiana alike. The traffic is a bear to endure after the show but people are mostly willing to pay that price to be able to partake of such a day as this.

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The weather can vary from snow flurries to an 80 degree, full sun and clear skies day.

Thunder Over Louisville 2016 was just perfect.

Grieve Well

Those who grieve well live well. Did you know? Loss is a part of the human experience. It. Just. Is.

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For some reason that I don’t really understand our society hates to grieve. We just want to get over it…the quicker, the better. People become uncomfortable if you still miss your loved one after, oh, six months. “Come on”, they say, “it’s been six months. It’s time to get on with your life.”

Like life just stops. It doesn’t. Grief is a part of living.

I learned from a very dear woman (A Woman Named Mary) that it take two to five years to grieve a loss. TWO TO FIVE YEARS! The exact time depends on how close you were  and how well you grieve.

A loss is a loss. That doesn’t just mean a death, either. No, grief and loss come in all different shapes and sizes. It’s important to know that it’s okay to grieve, even if it takes you years.

But don’t believe me or even my professional counselor and nurse friend, Google it. Or read about it here: Grieve Well.

How well do you grieve?

Do you know the things you need to grieve? Do you know the things you’ve grieved well?

Another important thing to know about grief is that there is no statute of limitations on the whole grief thing. Meaning that if you have things you’ve never grieved, they’re still there. Matters to grieve just don’t up and disappear. It may seem like they do but usually they just get stuffed way down inside, covered over and forgotten…but not really…

Some people think that God can just zap you, enabling you to go through life without grieving or having to deal with the things we’ve lost. I’m not saying He doesn’t or won’t, but if He were to do that every time we have a grief issue or a difficult situation to deal with, we would cease to grow as the spiritual creatures we were created to be. Life would always be winter, never the vibrant, newness of spring, or the spurting and continuous growth that summer brings.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not a huge fan of winter. It’s as if all you can do in buckle down and hunker in…just get through winter. That’s no way to do life. We were meant to experience life.

All of it.

Joy.

Sorrow.

Laughter.

Pain.

It’s important to look for opportunities to grow. These times often come wrapped as a package we’d rather not deal with.

It really is up to us to grieve our losses. Ask God for help. Find some faithful friends or a trusted family member to journey with you.

Because those who grieve well, live well.

 

Honor to Be a Mother

It is an honor to be a mother, I thought as I came across this graphic on Facebook just the other day. It stirred my soul. The Better Mom is the source of the graphic and it so reminded me of my friend, Jan.

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I have written about Jan a few times. She was my very dear, and oldest friend. We knew each other most of our lives, although we didn’t become good friends until we were adults and mothers ourselves.

Jan was very intentional about mothering. These words-they describe who she was as a mother. She relished her role as a grandma too, however, she told me on more than one occasion when we would get together, how desperately she missed being a younger mom to her three beautiful daughters, especially during those homeschool days gone by.

Jan was the type of mother and  homeschool mom we all worked to be like, or at the very least, wished we were somewhat like.

There was only one Jan.

There is only one you, too. Precious and unique.

We all have a Jan in our lives, and that’s a good thing! Once I got past being in awe of her mad mothering/homeschooling skills I was able to relax and just get to know the wonderful person that she was, and in doing so, come to accept myself a little more.

And I realized as I read this graphic and allowed it to take me to a place of sadness for the loss of my dear friend, I was able to yield to the words and let them work their magic in me.

I was able to let the words of encouragement and love, fill my heart as a woman and as a mother. I sat in silence and soaked in the wisdom of these words I read on the graphic.

Motherhood isn’t rare. It isn’t a role bestowed on the sacred few. Any female can become a mother. But to embrace the challenge of becoming a treasured legacy is indeed an intentional, purposeful lifestyle. What a precious opportunity we mothers have be given, time to shape, mold and build a relationship with those we cherish the most.

Am I alone in these thoughts? Perhaps I look upon motherhood as such a gift because it was ten long, heart-breaking years before I conceived my oldest child.

Although I’m pretty sure that it would take a lifetime to “get over” the loss of my friend, I embrace the gift that it was, and accept the treasure that mothering is all about, as I allow time, and the love that I have been given by a Power greater than myself, to bestow this gift on my children.

I am grateful.

It is an honor to be a mother.

Visiting Lafayette, Indiana

I recently visited Lafayette and West Lafayette, Indiana for a few days. There were lots of things to see and do. The days were beautiful even if it was a wee bit chilly!

It would have been amazing to stay downtown with a view of the river, but it was incoming freshman week at Purdue University so all the hotels downtown were booked! I ended up staying at Hampton Inn, just a few miles from the action. The staff there was courteous and efficient. The room was nicely updated and very clean. Hampton Inn has the best beds! A very comfy place to stay. The complimentary breakfast was delicious with lots of choices both hot and cold. There was no view of the river but other than that, the place was great!

The first stop that I made upon arriving in Lafayette, Indiana was in a place where the Wabash Canal and Erie Canal come together in Delphi, Indiana. It was too early in the season for a boat ride but I would love to return to experience a  guided tour of the canal and to see a few other sights around the quaint town.

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There is nothing like a baseball game, if you’re a baseball fan, between Purdue University and University of Louisville (Go Cards!) to end the day. The temps were cool but the game was good. A ride in a golf cart to and from the parking lot was much appreciated!

travel, traveling, Indiana, Purdue, LayfayetteOn the return trip home, I stopped at West Baden Resort, in French Lick, Indiana for lunch. The hotel is huge, gorgeous and old, but in a good way…historical old. 😉

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The food, the grounds, the hotel with all of the architecture and design and the history behind this place was more than I could take in during a couple of hours visit. It stays on the list of places to re-visit.

Although the trip was short, there were so many things to see and do in Lafayette, Indiana. The same can be said for West Baden/French Lick.

I do love to travel, whether it’s a cross-country trip to Seattle, Washington, or a day trip to Rabbit Hash, Kentucky, it’s all good for the soul. It’s one of the ways I take care of myself.

Visiting Lafayette, Indiana will definitely not be a one-time trip for me. There’s plenty more to explore!

 

 

 

You’re Gonna Miss This

I was getting my hair done the other day and as is typical in any salon, music was playing in the background of the beauty shop noise and the chatter of those in the room. I happened to hone in on the lyrics of a song when it came on the radio: You’re Gonna Miss This.

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It was the first time I had ever heard this song and true to country music story-telling style, the lyrics held my attention. A knot was forming in my throat as I fought back tears, and a familiar ache of motherhood gripped my heart as I listened.

It is a tale of life. How fast it speeds by with each new phase. You’re gonna miss this is a line we of the elder generation would love to get across to the younger set… because we know the truth in those words.

The days are long but the years are short is another way of saying it. It just isn’t possible to impart that wisdom into the minds of the youth, whose life stretches before them.

Hold on.

Enjoy the moments.

This too shall pass.

It’s just a phase.

All true statements but statements one must learn by one’s self, in whatever manner the lesson is taught.

If you haven’t listened to this song you can click above to do so.

It’s true, believe it or not…

You’re gonna miss this~