Monday, December 12, 2011

A year in pictures

Starting January 1, I'm starting a project called A Year in Pictures.  Photography is really one of my favorite hobbies.
I love to take pictures.
I love to look at pictures.
I love to scrapbook pictures.
I love pictures.
Of anything, anyone, anywhere.
I'm really excited to start this project, I just hope I actually do take a picture each day intentionally for this project.  Oh, I'm not worried that I won't take 365 pictures.  Trust me I've taken more than that in a single day.  I just want to be intentional about the pictures I take and the stories I tell with them. 
I haven't quite decided what the story will be yet, but when I do, I will let you all know.
I've thought of doing a different theme each month, but I tend to get bored with that kind of thing.
So then I was thinking of making this project about something other than photographs of people.  Shooting only non human subjects: cars, animals, cups, food, plants, you get the idea. 
Again, I will probably get bored with that.  So for now there is no theme, but there is a story to tell.
I want each picture to have meaning.  If I take a picture of the stove I want it to be because I cooked an amazing meal.
If I take a picture of my bathroom I want it to be because I had an epiphany in there.  Oh come on, you know you do your best thinking on the toilet or in the shower too!
So I want this project to have intentionality behind it because I want it to mean something.  I don't want 365 random photos at the end of the year.  I usually have something like that anyway LOL
So if there is something you would like to see in this project let me know, I will try to make it happen and stay tuned, I'm sure there are bound to be some interesting photos coming your way via SingleMom4God!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

To write a Christmas letter or not to...

That is the question.  I've only ever done one Christmas letter, it was 3 years ago for Nate's first Christmas.  There were a lot of changes going on that year: Nate was born, I moved to Iowa from Chicago, I started a new job, blah blah blah....

I was thinking of doing another one this year, like an every 3 year kinda thing LOL, but I heard some DJ's this morning talking about Christmas letters and I kind of feel dumb for sending one.  The 2 male DJ's suggested that most Christmas letters are to brag about your kids and the amazing things they are doing.  And they are right, except I don't see it as bragging.  I see it as catching all of my dear friends and family up on my interesting and imaginative son. And of course including little tidbits about myself as well!

The female DJ had a different take on them.  She really enjoys getting Christmas letters.  She said that she puts them up on her refrigerator and reads them over and over again.  She really enjoys hearing about other families and what is going on with them throughout the year.  This is when one of the male DJ's said, "That's what Facebook is for."

Maybe he has a point.  Maybe Christmas letters are becoming a thing of the past, just like snail mail.  Shoot we don't even have next day delivery from the Postal Service beginning next year. And who can blame them?  With the way the internet and email has taken over, no one uses postal mail for anything anymore.  We don't really need to.  Contracts that previously needed to be mailed or delivered via courier can now be emailed and accepted with an electronic signature.  Birthday cards can now be sent via email as an ecard.  Bills can be emailed and paid online.

However, the one thing that should never be done online is a Christmas card. At least in my opinion anyway.  Just like a love letter, a Christmas card should be sent through the mail.  I just think it is more personal.  But maybe this doesn't hold true for the Christmas letter. Maybe it really is ok to allow everything you update your status with on Facebook be enough.

I did like what one of the male DJ's had to say.  Instead of just sending a letter that details or outlines your family's life for the past year, he and his family find something that God used or did in their lives and create a devotional out of it.  They ask everyone they send it to, to find a way to do the devotional together as a family and see how it could apply to each of their lives. 

So if you are one of the many receiving a Christmas card from me this year, you may or may not find a Christmas letter enclosed, but if you do, know this...I wrote it with my heart because I wanted to include you in the many things that happen throughout our year.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas Crafting

Did you know Christmas is less than 3 weeks away???  Are you prepared? I am...sort of.  Are your Christmas cards in the mail? My cards are addressed but not yet in the mail, maybe I will get to that tomorrow.  Are your gifts all purchased?  Are they wrapped and under the tree?  Do you have a tree yet?  It's so much to take in this time of year.  I have almost all of my Christmas shopping completed.  I still have the jumbo box of Crayola crayons to purchase, you know the one with the sharpener in the back, cuz that's the one every kid wants, and an Isabelle Bloom to buy (for those of you not from the QC, Isabelle Bloom's are statues made out of cement, one is enough for some people, but apparently not my mom), and a couple of cd's or movies.  Everything else is purchased... 
Everything else being materials for gifts I'm making.
Did I go crazy this year?  I think I must have because I decided I wanted to give mostly homemade gifts.  Fabulous idea, but I forgot to schedule the time to make these gifts into my life.  While I have been blessed to get quite a few of them actually completed, the majority are only partially finished.  And a couple are still just ideas floating around in my head, the materials are purchased, but I haven't even begun to create them into the masterpiece they are meant to be.
I honestly love the idea of giving all homemade gifts, but I need to remember to schedule them in my day.  I have time scheduled to go to the gym, to work, to spend time in the Bible, I even have quiet time scheduled.  I'm a planner, I like to see things written down on paper, so I not only have my calendar in my phone but I carry a paper planner as well.  OCD? Quite possibly.

So what am I making you ask?

Well let me tell you...

First I'm making coasters out of tile I got at Lowe's with each family's initial on them.  Quite simple and easy to do.  Of course I lost the list of families I was going to make them for, so...I am also giving them to Nate's teachers.  Originally this is why I was looking for ideas, original gifts for teachers, not just the World's Best Teacher coffee mug.  But I liked them so much and they are so cheap to produce that I decided to make them for quite a few families, but as I mentioned above, I lost the list and only remember 10, including the teachers. Hmmm...

Second I'm making homemade beef jerky.  I have made 2 batches so far, and I'm going to mix up another batch of marinade this afternoon to get 2 more batches done.  The fun thing with this one is I found out you can make beef jerky from ground beef! So I will be trying that as well this Christmas.  I will let you know how it turns out.

Third, I'm making "Family Night In" gift bags that have microwave popcorn, homemade jerky, cocoa, and marshmallows in them.  Not so much homemade, but put together.  I was going to include a gift card to Redbox, but have yet to find such a thing.  Considering one to Family Video as well.

Fourth, I'm trying my hand at making fudge.  I am not sure how this will turn out, so it is starting as dessert for a dinner party I'm attending Friday night.  If it's a hit, I will make some more and add it to the Family Night In bags, if it's not we'll chalk it up to a nice try :)

Fifth, I'm making Nate a fleece blanket with John Deere on one side and Iowa Hawkeyes on the other.  His two favorites at the moment.  This is another one that I have the two pieces of fleece, I just haven't cut and tied them yet.  However, that is going to be a little tricky with Nate around all the time ;)  I'll have to ship him to his favorite Great Aunt's house for a few days!

Sixth, I have made some beautiful button trees. Click here to see a pic of what I used as a template.  I made 4 of these, 2 with buttons and brown trees, 1 black tree with marbles that you can use in fish tanks and flower vases, and 1 black tree with crystals and rhinestones.

Seventh, I have 8x8 canvases that I have painted one each of blue, green, purple, and pink.  I am going to put Nate's handprints and footprints on them in coordinating colors.  These are almost done, I just have to get the prints on them.

Wow, I think that is everything.  Once I get them all finished I will post each project with step by step instructions on how to do them yourself.  I'm having so much fun making them I think I should go into business for myself!  Just add it to the to do list: Create own company!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sunday nights

It's Sunday night, Nate and I are settled in at a friend's house (I'm house/cat sitting while they enjoy Jamaica) watching Curious George 2.  I thoroughly enjoy this time every Sunday night.  We don't always watch a movie, sometimes we color, play games, what ever we feel like doing, tonight we felt like chillin out and watching a movie.  And I love it.  This is my favorite day of the week, my favorite time of the day, my favorite.
Nate is only going to be little for a couple more years, and who knows how many Sunday evenings I have left with him before he decides he is too cool to hang with mom.  But I'm going to enjoy them while I can. (He is currently sitting to my left, holding my ear while he appears completely engrossed in George. He also looks like he is going to pass out any moment from complete exhaustion, he's been up since 5am!)  So from now on after 5pm is mommy and Nate time on Sunday nights.  It always has been, but I haven't always been good about making sure we take advantage of it.  I would plan things with my friends, he would be at a family member's house or a friends.  But going forward I'm going to do the best I can to make sure we spend Sunday evenings together, as a family.  Life is so busy already, we need to slow down and enjoy it while we can.
For example, this coming week, the only night we are home is Monday night, and that is only because the cable guy is coming to install internet, otherwise we would probably have something scheduled.  Tuesday night is the last night of a class I'm taking at church, Wednesday is my week to serve at youth group, Thursday night we have a play date at Chik Fil A with a boy from school (I will let you know how that goes, I'm a little hesitant on this one), Friday I'm having dinner with a friend and our lead pastor, Saturday I have an Avon event during the day and a Christmas party that night.  Then it's Sunday again and other than church we have nothing planned.  Thank God! 
Why do we do this to ourselves?  Do we think we are going to miss out if we aren't constantly on the go?  I have no idea, but I'm going to start scheduling family time with Nate so we don't miss each other.  Some might think it is sad that I have to schedule time with my son, but I look at it as a non negotiable.  Most work schedules are non negotiable.  For some sports schedules are non negotiable.  Others piano lesson schedules are non negotiable.  Well for me my Nate time is non negotiable.  So if you want to hang, let me just give you a run down of my schedule so you can fit me in ;)
Sunday - Family day
Monday - Work in the evening
Tuesday - Life group
Wednesday - Youth group (4 weeks on 2 weeks off, check with me)
Thursday - Work in the evening
Friday - available
Saturday - available
So you can see life is pretty full in our household, and that's only a brief look at what we have going on, that doesn't include play dates, sports, etc...
I have to run because I want to snuggle with the cutest 4 year old I know.  Enjoy your Sunday night.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

True love

Freedom from retail is much greater than I ever expected.  This is my first holiday season NOT working retail in more than 15 years!  Whoa!

Now some of you are probably thinking, dude I thought you were crazy before, now I KNOW you are.  And you might be right, but for about 17 years of my life (half of my life for those of you doing the math) I was one of those freaks of nature who loved retail, especially the holidays! Black Friday was always my favorite day to work, even though I knew someone would inevitably come in and try and ruin my day, I still loved every minute of it.  I loved the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and of Black Friday itself.  I loved getting up early and listening to Christmas music on a 4 hour loop for a 10-12 hour day.  I loved putting up the sale signs and memorizing the deals of the day for whatever company I happened to be with that year.  I loved upselling whoever shopped my store that day.  It didn't matter if I was a manager or a sales associate, I loved working Black Friday.

Are you seeing a theme here?  I LOVED WORKING BLACK FRIDAY.  I couldn't imagine being anywhere else on that day.  I was never disappointed that I wasn't one of the lucky ones getting the deals at Wally World, Best Buy, Target, or Toys R Us.  I never wanted get in line after Thanksgiving dinner to be sure to grab the greatest gift ever.  And I certainly never wanted to get into an altercation while grabbing the last Wii or Xbox or iPhone for $10.  I also never thought I would not want to work Black Friday or holiday in retail.  I considered myself lucky because I got to work it and be on the other side of the chaos.  I loved hearing people's stories about the deals they were getting as well.  And I enjoyed their tales of mayhem of course.
But this year was different...

I begged God to help me find another part time job that WAS NOT retail.  I dreaded the idea of smiling at someone who's teeth I'd like to knock out because they are the rudest person on the face of the earth.  I did not want to deal with a manager who demanded the world from a part time associate who is there just for the paycheck.  I despised the idea of getting up earlier than the sun to be at the beck and call of shoppers. God answered my prayer, instead of getting up early on the day after Thanksgiving, I got to snuggle with my four year old a little later and watch some morning television. 

I was praising God that I did not have to work one day of retail this holiday season, especially black Friday.  I could only focus on the negative things associated with working retail that day: rude customers thinking you owe them the shirt off your back, associates not showing up, sales not ringing correctly, customers trying to use the next day's coupons, getting up before the sun, etc... You get the idea.  

And that breaks my heart. 

When I left retail, my closest friends could not believe it.
"You are retail" some said.

"But you love it" others would say.

"What else will you do?"...good question. 

"I never thought you would leave retail" 

The things I once loved, I now dread.  The things I once looked forward to, now made me quiver with fear.

So where did that love go?  Why was I praising God that I didn't have to work on a day that used to be my favorite day of the year to work?

I have no idea.

Do I have a new love?  Yes.  I've always had this love, but it is blossoming in a way I never expected. 

God has really blessed me by allowing me to be a work at home mom since June.  I am getting to know my child way more than when I was working.  If he would go out of town with my grandfather on the weekend, it was no big deal.  I didn't see him much during the week, so why should the weekend be any different.  Now when he goes with my gramps, I'm counting the minutes til they get back.

I absolutely love being a work at home mom.  Granted, one of my jobs is in another home, but my son is with me while I'm there.  I know more about my four year old now than I did in the first 3 years of his life.  

Now this is not saying I didn't know anything about him or I wasn't the one raising him during those years, but I just wasn't able to spend as much time with him as I do now. I would feel threatened if someone else seemed to know more about his likes or dislikes than I did.  And it broke my heart that I didn't know those things.

I used to wonder if I was good enough to be his mom.  Didn't he deserve better?  Maybe, but that just wasn't to be.  And who said staying at home was in his best interest at that time?

(Insert disclaimer here: I am not in any way shape or form bashing moms who work outside the home.  I know that this blessing is not going to last forever, there will come a day when I will once again be working outside the home.  I'm just enjoying the blessing while I can.)

I've always wanted to be a stay at home mom, but I had no idea the hard work that entailed.  Not just because I'm working 3 jobs, but because it really is hard to spend all day with your children, and I only have one!  But I love it.  I love lying down at the end of the day and thinking, "Sheesh...and I have to be up in 8 hours to do it again???"  I absolutely love it.

I'm not dreading the day that I will once again work full time outside our home, but I am certainly making the most out of the time I have being able to work from home.  I hope it lasts longer than I expect it to.

I've said it before, and I'm going to say it again...I had no idea that the love of my life would be short, selfish, and completely dependent on me.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Legalized Voluntary Manslaughter

This morning on Facebook, one of our local news channels posted a question about whether or not smoking should be banned in our local parks.  My reply: Ban it! Smokers can kill themselves if they want, but they have no right killing me and my child! Keep your first and secondhand smoke to yourself!  What I found most appalling were the responses of nonsmokers saying that second hand smoke never bothers them.  Huh...maybe they don't understand second hand smoke.  So let me give you some facts...
*There are over 4000 chemical compounds in second hand smoke, 200 of which are known to be poisonous and upwards of 60 have been identified as carcinogens (still think it's no big deal?)
*The US EPA has classified second hand smoke as a Group A Carcinogen (When there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in humans, the Group A or 1 category is used. Exceptionally, an agent (mixture) may be placed in this category when evidence of carcinogenicity in humans is less than sufficient but there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals and strong evidence in exposed humans that the agent (mixture) acts through a relevant mechanism of carcinogenicity)
*Cancers linked to second hand smoke: Lung cancer (3000 non smokers die of lung cancer each year)
                                                                Nasal sinus cavity cancer
                                                                Cervical cancer
                                                                Bladder cancer
*Some chemical compounds found in smoke only become carcinogenic after they've come into contact with certain enzymes found in many of the tissues of the human body.
*Second hand smoke has serious effects on the heart:
  • Heart disease mortality - an estimated 35,000 to 62,000 deaths are caused from heart disease in people who are not current smokers, but who are exposed to ETS
  • Acute and chronic coronary heart disease
  • Passive smoking has been linked to the narrowing of the carotid arteries, which carry blood to the brain
  • Exposure to secondhand smoke hastens hardening of the arteries, a condition known as artherosclerosis
  • Continual exposure to ETS has been shown to nearly double the chance of heart attack
*Risks of second hand smoke to children:
  • Low birthweight for gestational age
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)- children whose mothers smoked during pregnancy have an increased risk of SIDS.
  • The EPA estimates that passive smoking is responsible for between 150,000 and 300,000 of these infections in children under 18 months annually
  • Asthma - According to the EPA, between 200,000 and 1,000,000 kids with asthma have their condition worsened by secondhand smoke every year. Also, passive smoking may also be responsible for thousands of new cases of asthma every year
  • Chronic respiratory symptoms such as cough and wheezing may be attributed to secondhand smoke.
  • Children who breathe in secondhand smoke are more likely to suffer from dental cavities, eye and nose irritation, and irritability
  • Middle ear infections - exposure to ETS causes buildup of fluid in the middle ear, resulting in 700,000 to 1.6 million physician office visits yearly
*Over  600,000 people die each year due to second hand smoke (379,000 deaths from heart disease, 165,000 deaths from lower respiratory disease, 36,900 deaths from asthma and 21,400 deaths from lung cancer a year)

So why accuse smokers of legalized voluntary manslaughter?  The numbers speak for themselves.  People are dying every day (1,644 actually) because of second hand smoke.  We as non smokers need to take a stand against this! Smoking is the only addiction that actually affects other people.  Why should we suffer because someone else is addicted to it?  Granted the numbers I have posted refer to cigarette smoke, but what about second hand smoke of pot, crack, meth?  What if you don't know you're being exposed to the second hand smoke of crack because you didn't realize that the carcinogens found in second hand smoke remain on clothing long after the smoker last smoked.  Is it fair that non smokers are forced to inhale a smoker's second hand smoke?  Sure you could tell me to breathe somewhere else, but when I'm out in a park I should be able to breathe in the fresh air and not smell someone's smoke!  It's rude and my child doesn't need to be exposed to it either.  So you might tell me to not go to that park, well I'm telling you to smoke in your own home where you are only killing yourself and those that choose to be around you.  Yes I have friends that smoke, some that are proabably going to read this, but not a single one of them smokes around my child!  And if you smoke around me and I choose not to say anything that is my choice.  However, you might find me speaking up a little more because I'm fed up with smokers saying it is their right to smoke.  You're absolutely correct, but because you have the right to smoke does NOT give you the right to do so anywhere you choose.  I have the right to go to the bathroom when I need to, but that doesn't give me the right to do it into your drinking water.  It is also my right to be in a park or any other PUBLIC place and not inhale someone's second hand smoke.  When you're in private do what you want, I couldn't care less.  But when you are in public you do not have the right to infringe on my fresh, breathable air!

Seconhand smoke on 
Huffington Post - Second hand smoke
Nasal Sinus Cancer facts

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Let's hear it for the boys...

or girls or whoever you may be attracted to.  I know right, you're thinking what are you talking about, where are you going with this.  Well hold on to your seats, because I might just be headed in a direction that you might not be prepared for, especially if you are gay, bi, or unsure of your sexuality.  Or if your whole life you've been taught that Jesus, a man who loves greater than humanly possible, hates gays or anyone for that matter.  Maybe you have been taught that God is an angry, vengeful God and you must do things to please him.  Then I'm about to blow your mind.
What if I told you that God loves you even if you're gay?
What if I told you that God loves you even if you're bisexual?
What if I told you that God loves you even if you aren't sure if you're straight or gay?
What if I told you that God loves you even if you have hurt someone?
What if I told you that God loves you even if you murdered someone?
What if I told you that God loves you even if you think you did something unforgivable?
Would you believe me?  Would you think no way?  He can't possibly love me because that one "Christian" told me that if I don't change God is going to cast me into the pit of hell for eternity.  
Well that god, is not the God I serve.  My God, loves you and you don't have to change to earn his love.  He gives it away freely.  You don't even have to ask for it.  He loves you.
So you might be wondering what prompted this particular topic.  A friend on Facebook posted that a gay couple he knows got engaged. I don't remember the exact wording, but the post said something about Jesus being angry now because another gay couple is getting married.  It broke my heart that someone would think that the Jesus I know and love, would be angry about this.  But it also opened my eyes to a sad reality: Many of us who us the name "Christian" preach hate and hell and damnation.  But God has put it on my heart to let you know that this is not who he is.
Three years ago my friends and I attended an event called "Rock the River."  It was 10 Christian bands and Billy Graham's son was the speaker (sorry I can not remember his name at the moment).  There were Christians outside the gates with signs saying we were going to hell for attending this event.  Their signs said that rock music is of the devil.  I remember thinking, yeah that's one way to do it.  But isn't there a better way?  Yeah, there is a much better way.  Why not love people to Christ?  It's what my church believes and I hope it's what others believe as well.
I have to tell you, I don't think Jesus was at all angry about that gay couple getting engaged.  I think he loves them very much.  I think his heart aches when people tell the gay community that Jesus hates them.  
Jesus made the greatest sacrifice of all...he died for us.  And who are we to pick and choose who he can and will love.  I don't believe for one minute that Jesus died for a particular group of people.  He died for people that don't believe he ever existed.  Jesus died for people that steal, murder, molest children.  Jesus died, so he gets to decide who to love.  And because he died such a cruel death for all mankind, I believe with every fiber of my being that he loves all mankind.  
Why?  Because I wouldn't sacrifice my son for anyone, but God did.  God loves us so much that before we were born he paid for our sins by giving his son a death sentence.  That is intense love.  But Jesus could have walked away, did you know that?  He did not have to die.  He could have said, Dad you know I think this is a great idea, but what about that Matthew guy?  Wouldn't his death work?  But Jesus didn't do that.  He did however spend a night praying asking God to remove this charge.  He prayed so hard that night he was sweating blood.  But he also told God, not my will, but yours. God did not release him from this death sentence.  God knew how important it would be that people know that he sacrificed his only son, and that his son did not run.  When the guards came that night, Jesus asked who they were looking for.  When they said Jesus of Nazareth, he said I am Jesus.  He knowingly walked into his death sentence. Why?  Why would he do this for people that don't deserve to be saved from an eternity in hell?  Because he loves unconditionally.  You do not have to earn his love.  You don't have to change in order to please him.  He loves you so much.  
Do you get it yet?  Has it sunk in?  I hope that it has.  I pray that it has.  I pray that you can feel Jesus hug you as you read this and know what I know about him.  I also hope that after you read this, you will pass it along to someone you know who might need to hear that they are loved.  I know that I mostly focused on the gay community being loved by Jesus, but he loves everyone. You, me, your neighbor, my neighbor who is mean to my son, my son, my friends who claim there is no God, my church family, my blood family...I know it's a lot to take in.  How can he love everyone?  I don't know how he does it because it is damn near impossible to love some people, but he does.  I hope you can feel how much he loves you.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Crash, burn and get back up the last time I wrote anything I was pretty much crashing and burning as I wrote. The cool thing about God is that you can crash and burn as many times as it takes to get it right, and He will always help you pick up the pieces. I'm not stressing about school or money or whatever else I was ranting about last time. Nope instead this time I'm singing a different tune. On Sunday, Troy, our assistant pastor, talked about how much our church loves doing life together. His message really inspired me. He talked about being intentional in our relationships and not just waiting for them to happen to us. He said that sometimes if you want to be invited to the "thing" you have to make the first move. People might not know you want to be invited, or we may just not know you...period.
Relationships are a two way street. It takes two to tango. Blah Blah Blah. Yeah we've heard it all before. But have we done anything about it? Probably not. So I'm going to make a change. If you are in my phone, and we text each other, you are going to get a text from me each week with a daily word of encouragement or prayer. This is how I am going to start to be intentional about my relationships. I want each of you to know how much I love you and love doing life with you.
This is me getting back up.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Beautiful Things

I'm not having the best morning. I don't know why something in one area of my world, can totally affect my entire day, good or bad. I would really like to have a pity party and curl up and cry, but I'm not going to do that.
No, instead I'm listening to a song that reminds me that God makes beautiful thins out of dust. In moments like this, its really hard to believe for myself. I feel like yet again I'm going to fail at school and I wonder why it has to be so damn hard! I have tears welling up in my eyes, but I refuse to let them fall, mainly because I'm in a public library and that would just be weird.
Somewhere at my core there must be something pretty amazing about me, otherwise I don't think God would have saved my life 3 different times that I can remember.
The biggest thing he saved me from was being killed at my Lane Bryant store in Tinley Park, IL. If I had never gotten pregnant and had Nate, I would have still been working there and I would have been there that morning. Instead he took home a very dear friend of mine, but what I learned from that is that she had done her role in bringing God's kingdom to earth. It was her time, although that doesn't make what happened any easier or any less scary. Especially since her killer has never been found.
The next time would be at the NIU shooting just 5 days after the Lane Bryant shooting. If I had decided to pursue my masters at that time in textiles, I could have been on campus that day. What was even creepier to me was that my math class was in the room the shooting happened in. In fact my aunt called me after this shooting and wanted to know where I had been in the last 3 years, she was going to avoid those places!
The final time was an avoided car accident. My friend and I were in the car going through a green light and the car to my left, running a red light, slammed on his brakes but couldn't stop. Somehow he ended up on the other side of my car, neither of the cars being touched.
So I have to believe that I am here for a reason and I'm not just hanging out, but today it doesn't feel that way. Today it feels like I'm a joke.
I haven't had a day like this in so long it makes me think this is an attack from the enemy, playing on my weakness which at the moment is school.
I look at the boys and wish I had that carefree life again. No worries, no responsibilities....but then I guess I wouldn't be me. Someone once cruelly said to me, Life isn't always rainbows and ponies. At the time she was striking out against me because of my beliefs and I think a little jealousy as well. But in a sense she was wrong.
Lately you've read about my worry free life and for a split second, I forgot about that. Thanks for reminding me....God I give this all to you. You brought me to this school and you will get me through this road block as well. I'm giving this battle to you rather than waging the war myself. You are bigger than the battle! I'm overwhelmed by your love for me and all the blessings you have poured out on me in the past few months by allowing me to stay at home with Nate for the summer, by providing financially for me even when the numbers didn't make sense. Beautiful things indeed!

Friday, August 5, 2011

This one's for the teachers

So yesterday I'm reading some status updates in my newsfeed on Facebook. I see one that says "What's the craziest school supply on your child's list?" So I start to think about my son's list (now mind you this is the first time I've had to buy supplies so it's all weird to me): Play-doh 4 pack, large bottle of hand sanitizer, pencil grip (but please buy this at the office to insure you purchase the correct kind), 4 boxes of crayons, a snack to share with class, a 64oz bottle of juice, clear contact paper, etc... You get the idea of the kinds of things I was buying. I decided to comment and say that I think the craziest thing about my son's list is that even though I have to buy a pencil grip, I do not have to buy pencils. What will be done with said pencil grip? And I'm getting interested to see other funny things people have to buy, or not buy ;)
But instead, when I open the comments to post, I see an array of angry parents who have to buy anything at all. They don't want to help with classroom supplies just their kids. And why do they have to buy supplies to help teachers like post its and dry erase markers (hang in there teachers, I'm getting to why this is for you). There were actually some really hate filled remarks. I tried to post a rather lengthy response, but because it was so long, my phone wouldn't let me. So I tried again, cuz you know if at first you don't succeed, try, try again, right? I think maybe a teacher taught me that at a young age. Regardless, my phone is stubborn and was not letting me post my lengthy response.
Instead I'm dedicating this post to ALL teachers out there, the ones I'm friends with, the ones that teach my son, the ones that I will never meet, the ones who will never feel appreciated, ALL TEACHERS!
So as I'm reading these posts about how schools provide these things, parents shouldn't, I only see one or two posts defending teachers and schools. The truth is, schools don't provide all the items teachers need to insure your child is getting the best education possible. Truth is, we as parents are responsible for making sure our child gets the best education possible, not the teachers and principals and school boards. Yes, for most of us, those people are the ones sacrificing their time and efforts and MONEY to teach our children, but in the long run parents own that as well. So why not buy your son's teacher some post its and dry erase markers, somewhere along the way your child will probably use them as well. Schools have gone to using white boards instead of chalk boards but they don't provide the dry erase markers to write on them after the initial installment. Why should a teacher, who doesn't make much more than minimum wage after you figure all the after hours programs and tutoring and conferences, have to pay for them when they help provide an education for our children? Why is it the teacher's responsibility to provide my child, your child with school supplies? Why is NOT our responsibility as parents to do so?
So you don't want to help out other children? Why not? Their family's financial situation is not THEIR fault. Maybe supply lists do have extra on them so that all children will be provided for during the school year, but why is this a bad thing? What if you or your spouse, if you are so blessed as to have one, loses their job? Wouldn't you be grateful for a little help?
No, I don't think my parents were ever asked to buy chalk when I was in school, but budgets weren't as tight and chalk has never been as costly as dry erase markers. Then the parent might think, well that's not my problem, I didn't choose for the school to switch to dry erase. Nope you didn't but you are choosing to send your child to that school.
Whether you realize it or not, you choose to send your child to a particular school. Now here is where some parents are going to say, NO I have to send them to the school in the district in which we live. Well I disagree. You choose to send your child to that school by not choosing to send them somewhere else. You might say where else would I send them? Well what about private school? But wait, they have school supply lists too and they are typically more expensive overall. So maybe you could think about sending them to...hmmm homeschool? Oh you don't have the time or you don't feel qualified to homeschool or it costs too much money to get all of the supplies? Huh, so maybe paying for a few supplies that go towards a classroom, or a few supplies for the teacher, instead of just for your child isn't such a bad option after all. And maybe instead of complaining about how incompetent your child's teacher is this year, say thank you and be grateful that they are educated and know how to teach your child when you might not. And instead of giving them a coffee mug at the end of the year, give them a gift card to Target, Wal Mart, Office Max or the local teacher's store in town so they can stock up on some of those supplies.
Oh and by the way, all those cute decorations aren't free either, your teacher bought them. So how about next time you are out shopping and you see something that would go with the theme of their room, you pick it up as a thank you gift for one of the most influential people in your child's life. They deserve it, don't cha think?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What me worry?

As you all know, I quit my job 2 months ago. My life changed dramatically and in the beginning I was a little freaked. I mean, who quits their job without another one when they are a single mom? And when I say single mom, I mean single mom with no child support coming in, single as single gets.
Apparently "I do" is the answer to that question. You know, at the time I really thought the lesson was about God wanting me to trust him 100% with everything, including finances. I know now that it is much bigger than that.
I recently made the decision, with MUCH prompting from God, to go back to school. This was not something I ever desired to do again. Who wants to fail at something for a 4th time? Not this girl! And I definitely did not want to add yet another school to my college transcripts, isn't 5 enough?
Well, I am adding another school to the list, but its the last one. How do I know this for sure? Because this time I'm not trying to do it all on my own. The control freak in me, the worry wart in me, the I can do this by myself in me have all been put to rest. I'm letting Jesus take the wheel, so to speak.
I had actually given up on going to school this fall. Nothing was falling into place, in fact it was becoming more than I cared to deal with. So I told Jesus, hey if this is what you really want me to do, can you help me out already? He probably laughed at me that day because I think he was just waiting for me to ask for help.
Ya know, once I found the right school and program, everything started to fall into place, without me having to put forth much effort. I know, this makes me sound like enjoy being lazy, but that's not what I mean. I had put so much time and energy into pursuing the wrong schools and the wrong program, that I was just over it. So, when I finally wised up and asked Jesus for help, he pretty much did everything. I sent one email and filled out an application. That's it. Of course I've had to fax documents and supply info for financial aid, but I'm not even worried about it like I normally would be.
It's like the worry gene was removed from my body. Remember when I posted about Phillipians 4:6 "Worry about nothing instead pray about everything..."? Well that's exactly waht I do now. If and when worry starts to creep in, I take a few moments and pray. I give it to God and tell him that if this is what he wants, he will make it happen, no matter what it is.
I registered Nate for pre-K recently and started to wonder how I was going to pay for his school too. But just as immediately as that worry started to sink it, I reminded myself to ask God for help. And ya know, I haven't worried about it since.
Now some of you are probably thinking, well doesn't Iowa pay for preschool? Probably if you send your child to an Iowa school, but I'm not, which is something that has been very important to me since before Nate was born.
I really want him to attend Christian school. At least for the first couple of years, we can reassess and see if we want to stick with it in a year or two, but for now, this is where my heart is for his education. It's not just because the school I'm sending him to has the same core values and beliefs, but they also provide a better education. Their test scores are 3-4% higher overall compared to other QC schools.
And yes, I know we are going to have the same challenges and struggles in a Christian school as we would in a public school as far as friends and influences go. But it's not about that for me, he will be in smaller class sizes so if he is struggling in something his teacher will have more time to spend with him on it. I attended the same school in elementary and I turned out ok! LOL
I can honestly tell you that everything that has happened this summer is because of Jesus and his amazing grace for me. I know I have said this before, but this truly has been the summer of all summers! I have spent every M-F with the best boys anyone could ask for. We go out and do fun things in our hometown that I would never have done without them, or if I had been working full time.
So to sum it all up, I don't have to worry about anything anymore because I know God's got it! His grace is more than enough for me when I make mistakes and ignore what he wants and his love pours out on me every day. I'm so happy I no longer have the same stresses and worries that I once used to have on a daily basis. Thank you PaPa!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Words can never hurt me...

Except they do, and badly. This morning words cut me to my soul, and left a wound that will take a while to heal. They were words I've always expected, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't prepare for.
This morning in the car Nate says matter of factly, "I don't have a dad." My response was "How do you feel about that?" He replied by saying, "Well it used to make me sad but then I got over it." My first thought was you got over it? That's interesting, but then I started to cry because who gets over not having a dad? Especially a 4 year old. So I said to him, "Buddy I would change it for you if I could." Nate then tells me he doesn't want a dad but won't tell me why, just keeps saying I just don't.
That conversation cut me to my core, leaving a gaping wound that will take eons to heal because I knew this day was coming, but I expected it to sound something like this:
Nate: How come I don't have a dad
Me: Because God wanted to be your only dad
Nate: Why
Me: Because you are that special
Nate: But my friends have dads, doesn't God want to be their dad?
Me: Yes, but they needed someone extra to help raise them and God wanted me to raise you without a dad
Nate: Why
Me: I don't know, God does funny things sometimes
And then Nate would get that look on his face like he does when he is pondering what I've just said and then says Mom can we get a toy today?
Except it didn't go that way at all. Rather than asking me about a dad, he just states he doesn't have one. It was such a weird thing to hear him say.
Two years ago he posted the dad question to me when we were leaving my dad's house. I said "Bye, Dad, thanks!" and got in the car. Nate asked me "Is grandpa my dad too?" I laughed and said, "No he's your grandpa." Nate of course asks, "Well who's my dad?" My reply, "God is your dad," thinking for a 2 year old this is probably enough information. I was so wrong. Nate's comeback to me, "Yeah but who's my other dad?" I seriously could not believe a 2 year old just asked me that and before I could think of a decent reply, he answered for me. "PoPo?" he asked. I just laughed and said YEAH! It worked for the moment, though I suppose I could have said no PoPo is your great-grandpa but I didn't think he was really asking for the truth in that moment.
And here's the other thing...he asked about his DAD. Just because you donated some DNA and a beautiful child was born on May 31, 2007, doesn't make you a dad. It makes you a sperm donor, or for a less disgusting term, a life donor. Nate was right this morning when he said he doesn't have a dad, at least not a physical human dad, not yet anyway.
There will come a day when he is going to want more info and the truth is I don't have any info to give him. There is a life donor out there who's name I know but I honestly don't know anymore about him. If he wants to, someday, we will probably have to look him on Facebook because I'm sure by now he has moved and I no longer have his number. As for why he is not in Nate's life, well that was a decision God and I made together, sort of. After the life donor told me that he was involved with a woman with a child I decided this man was not father material. He couldn't be bothered to stick around for his child, but yet he got involved with another man's child. It made me so angry! After that phone conversation I got in the shower and got angrier and angrier. I remember thinking that people get so freaked out by gay marriage and how that somehow is ruining family values in America, but yet we condone this person's behavior because "That's just how it is these days". Its men like this that are ruining families, not two people of the same gender who love each other, regardless of whether or not the government will allow them to get married. And I don't condone his or any other deadbeat's behavior! I don't like it, in fact I despise the fact that he bailed on my son to play daddy to someone else. And at this point, the day we had this conversation, he hadn't even met Nate yet and Nate was almost 3 months old. He showed up about a week later for his one and only visit. It was after that visit that I begged God, if he and I were not going to be together and we weren't going to be able to make this work for Nate then I wanted him to be out of the picture all together. This is where some would say "Be careful what you pray for" but not me. Even though there are tougher questions that someday are going to have to be answered, I much prefer raising my son with God than having someone show up occasionally or not at all when the "newness" wears off. I did what I believe to be "right" for Nate. And I do believe there is a dad out there for him, God just hasn't brought him to us yet. And while we are still waiting for Nate's dad to show up, he has a lot of Godly men in his life to help fill that role. I thank God everyday for giving me the strength to endure life as a single mom, but that I don't have to do it alone. And when Nate's dad finally shows up, we'll be ready!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Phillipians 4:6

Oh great you're thinking, she titled this one with a Bible verse. She must be part of an occult or her church is making her to do this or she's a bunhead, and none of those choices are ideal. Well the answer is none of those, I just wanted to share one of my life verses with you and how it really applied this weekend.
If you've never read it, Phillipians 4:6 says "Do not worry about anything, instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done." (NLT) I know what you're thinking, it can't be that easy. It's not, praying about everything and worrying about nothing? For the control freak in me, it is damn near impossible! But this weekend taught me a lesson: God cares about everything, even coolers.
This weekend was our Community on a Mission Day at church. Instead of doing for us, we did for others. Saturday 200+ peeps went out into the Quad Cities to practice God's love in practical ways. Some of those was included, passing out free pizza and drinks, giving away reusable bags, giving away air gliders at the Air Show, picking up trash along Kimberly Road, giving away free lunch, $1 car wash (we paid you $1 for letting us wash your car), picking up dog poo and giving away doggie treats at the dog park, etc... You get the idea, we were out to serve our community and show the community that God loves.
Well I was in charge of our drinks team, which meant making sure we had enough drinks to pass out, ice to keep them cold and coolers to hold it all. By Friday night I had plenty of drinks and ice and people, but I only had 3 coolers for sure. I was panicking because I had 5 teams planned for 5 different locations throughout the QC, but no way to pull it off if I didn't get at least 2 more coolers.
I remembered a the verse I had gotten in my email that morning, Phillipians 4:6. I decided to do exactly what it said pray about everything. So I while I was getting ready for bed I said, "God, tomorrow is your day. Its all for your glory and your honor. You know that I need at least 2 more coolers to have 5 teams go out and spread your love. I'm not going to worry about it anymore, and I'm giving the cooler situation to you. If we will need the extra coolers I trust you to provide them." And that was it, went to bed and had an ok night's sleep.
Saturday morning as I was gathering up my stuff and heading out the door, a moment of panic struck me about the coolers again. I stopped what I was doing and I told God to take care of it, it wasn't my problem. He knew how many coolers we needed and I knew he would provide them.
I arrived at church and began loading up the 3 coolers that I had available for the drinks team. People from my team began to arrive. "Rebecca, do you still need coolers?" Why yes I did. And you know what? They showed up! God provided more coolers than I needed, 7 coolers were available for the drinks team to use. 7! Can you believe he more than doubled what I originally had???? GOD IS SO GOOD!
I know coolers might be a silly thing to pray about and be excited about but think about this, if God is willing to double the amount of coolers I was praying for why wouldn't he take care of other things too? I believe that He will. I believe He will provide exactly what we need, when we need it, not when WE think we need it, which is an important concept to grasp.
Our timing is not always God's timing. In fact, remember I quit my job last month without having another one? Well, it turns out God does know what He's doing ;) Not only do I get to spend the summer with Nate and Dillon and doing fun stuff and hearing all sorts of funny things come out of their mouths, I also got out before I was forced out of my job.
There had been all sorts of rumors about going to a commission pay scale and pay cuts and what have you. The rumor while I was there was a 10% pay cut for salaried managers (which I was) and 2% commission on all personal sales. I ran the numbers and while I didn't like having money taken away from me and the opportunity to earn it back, I did see potential for some extra money every now and then. If I worked my behind off and sold sold sold, I could potentially bring home $50 extra a week, not exactly a huge incentive but whatever. Well beginning July 1 employees will be taking a 25% pay cut and getting a 3% commission. I ran those numbers too, and THANK YOU GOD for getting me out of there! I would have lost $200 a week on a good week! Part timers are making below minimum wage before commission. I can't think of a crummier thing to do to your employees. But they insist it's going to be great for employees. So glad I'm no longer an employee there.
So yes I believe God takes care of all the details, even if we can't see it when it happens. And I do believe that if you pray about everything and worry about nothing, life will be a little easier. Does this mean I'm never going to worry about anything again? Man I so wish I could say yes to that statement, but I know I will still have worries, but I'm going to do my best to pray about them immediately from now on instead of letting the worry get the best of me. Try it for 2 days, I bet you'll feel better about what's going on in your life and you'll want to continue praying after 2 days.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Livin' the Blessed Life

I don't think I ever fully understood what it meant to be "living a blessed life", until today. I'm sitting in the midst of a 3 and 4 year old running circles around me and declaring their allegiance to good guys or bad guys. I've never heard a more beautiful sound.
So does a blessed life mean I am the richest of my friends? I own the biggest house, the best car, the most toys? Nope, and sadly, I don't think I believed that until this morning. I mean I've known that I have lived a pretty decent life. I've never been homeless. I've never been starving. I've never had to declare bankruptcy. I've never had to beg for food or money. But I've also never been able to buy my own house, own a BMW X5(which I still would like to do), have more money in my bank account than I know what to do with. I always wanted those things, even if I never spoke them out loud, they were always in my head floating around. Today I finally figured out, for real, what being blessed is.
I am so very blessed because I get to spend the summer with Nate. I never really knew what a great kid I had until this week. OK, don't get me wrong, I have always known what a great kid Nate is, everyone always falls in love with him when they meet him and I couldn't wait to hang out with him after work each day. But getting to spend this entire week with him, I've truly learned what an amazing child I really have. The things I'm going to share with you, I've always known, but I've really seen them in action this week.
Nate is a really particular child. If he thinks something should be a certain way, it really does need to be that way, in his mind, and don't try to change his mind on it! He likes things "just so" and it's actually very important to him to keep things the same. Change does not bode well with him.
He loves other children, and not just as playmates, he really loves them. We didn't see Dillon for two days this week and he continually asked when we were going back to Dillon's and he told me how much he missed him. This morning I told him we were going to the zoo with Dillon and Izzy and he got so excited, more than I expected, and then he told me "Mom I love Izzy!" Nate has a huge heart and I love seeing it in action.
Nate is also very, very sensitive. I had no idea how sensitive my child was until this week. I always knew he was a sensitive kid, but he is really overly sensitive. I can't really explain that either, you just have to see it. Everything makes him cry, which I already knew, but I'm wondering if he was like this at school, or if its just for my benefit. They always say kids save their worst behavior for their mom.
Nate loves super heroes. Now trust me, this is something that will not go unnoticed, even if you are meeting him for the first time, but man I think he might be heading towards obsession! He thinks about them constantly and talks about them constantly and shoots spider webs constantly. If I knew how to spell the sound he makes when he shoots a web I would put it in here, because I hear it about a million times a day! And just when I think I have his favorite nailed, he switches it up on me!
Nate is really a cool kid and I am truly BLESSED to be his mother. And if it wasn't for God, the real God, the Alpha and Omega, the Father of Jesus, I wouldn't have this little guy in my life. My pregnancy definitely was not planned by me, but I truly believe Nate was always a part of God's plan.
This is the blessed life, for me anyway, getting to spend the summer with my Nater and Dillon, listening to worship music all day, enjoying beautiful weather, getting my tan on (let's be real, I'm still human LOL), and not caring what the world thinks of me or my life any longer. Man it took me 34 years to get here, I hope I get another 34 at least to enjoy it.
What makes your life "The Blessed Life"?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Life after death...of a career?

Is there life after you walk out on a career that you have been building since you were 21? Yes, and for now it appears to be much richer and fuller than the life I had been leading with a career path in place. I don't think I was really living before and that's not ok, not ok with me, not ok with God (that's not how He created us) and I hope its not ok with you. When I say that I hope its not ok with you, I mean for you. My hope is that we can all be living instead of leading or existing in this life.
Do you know that not once since I quit my job have I stress out about not having a steady income? I'm telling you, when you give it over to God, and I mean really give it to Him to handle, life really becomes so much more peaceful. And yes, I totally had a few moments where I could have freaked! I got pulled over on my second to last day of work, in a school zone which means automatic ticket, and the ticket in a school zone is $168. That's a lot for someone who is now a stay at home mom, or if you prefer, unemployed. Especially when that mom is single and there is no other income on which to rely. After I was hard on myself for speeding in an area designed to protect kids, I realized I wasn't freaking out about how to pay for the ticket. Normally I would start adding up all of my bills, subtracting them from my take home pay and then realizing something would have to get the minimum payment or no payment at all. But not this time. Instead my very first thought, was huh...I suppose God will provide for this too. Now I can't tell you for sure whether or not that speeding ticket was a test, but if it was, I hope that I passed.
On May 21st, I attended a fundraiser for Juan Diez Rancheros at their facilities. They had pony rides, bounce house, live music, food, and silent auction. It was really a good time and I thought I was just going to help support an amazing friend and her amazing organization, but I really went because I was about to step into my summer "job". Remember how I went to Mexico thinking one thing and doing another? Same thing. God is so cool the way He works things. A friend and I started talking and she asked if I had found another job or if I had plans for one for the summer and I told her no. She asked if I would want to nanny for them. I told her I would think about and pray about it and get back to her. I think it took me two days to know in my heart this is what I am supposed to do for the summer. I emailed her and said its a yes for me if you guys still want me. I met with her and her husband that night and I start on Monday. Now you might be thinking, seriously? She is going to raise her kid on a nanny's salary? And the answer to that would be yes. I'm making a quarter of what I was making before, but I have never felt happier or freer. Now don't get me wrong. There are times that I run the numbers and think how is this going to work? But I don't worry about it, because God can make it work.
I'm not going to have a lot of money for things like movies, which I love, or dining out or what have you, but I do have the entire summer to spend with Nate! And this is an opportunity I would not normally have. In fact I have been jealous of mom's who get the summer with their kids before because I figured it was not something I would ever get to do. And look at the wonderful gift I've been given. I get to hang out all summer with the coolest 3 & 4 year olds I know!
Now I'm not going to tell you that life is all roses and rainbows and ponies. Trust me I know it's not. But when there is so much good going on and good that can be done, why stress over the rest? And yes I know what some of you are probably thinking, It's not called God honey, it's called ignorance, naivety, crazy or whatever other adjective you can think of, I've had those thoughts too. I've actually thought to myself am I trusting God or am I just being unaware of the real world? And then this was waiting for me on Facebook this morning:
"As God begins to bless you don't let people intimidate you.
Don't let them stop you from celebrating the goodness of the Lord
and what God did in your life. Be like the blind man who was old
enough to speak for himself and say 'The Lord brought me from
a mighty long way'" T. D. Jakes Ministries/The Potters House
'Nuff said!

Family first!

I'm finally able to do something I have always wanted to do...put my family first! Work doesn't come first, friends or obligations to friends, life,'s my family. I'm sure some of you are going, yeah but doesn't life consist of family? It does, but this past week has pretty much been family obligations first and foremost!
I have been off work now for 8 days and I have never been busier! Each day since I quit my job, and essentially derailed my career, has been full of life and living! You can get so much more living done when you aren't stressed about the details of work, finances, family, etc... The weekend after I quit was Memorial day weekend. I took my son out of town to Peoria, IL along with my mom and sister. We stayed in a hotel with an indoor pool and we had a blast! We swam for hours, in fact I think Nate was still swimming in his sleep that night. On Memorial Day we went to the Peoria zoo and saw all sorts of animals, yet the giraffes and zebras were still his faves! I liked the rhinos and would really like to see a hippo some day ;)
The 31st was Nate's 4th birthday and uneventful (the party was last night) but still chock full of business. Tons of laundry to do, unpacking from the weekend, preschool and then tball in the evening. Birthday dinner was at McDonald's (his choice) and then home for bed. Wednesday was spent dropping Nate off at preschool, more laundry (which by the way, still have laundry to do, does it ever go away?), shopping for the birthday boy's party, found hard to find colored bubbles (thank you God!) and the ever elusive Firetruck Mater - now for those of you that don't have young boys in your life you may not have ever heard the words "Firetruck Mater" and you may not know that Firetruck Mater is extremely hard to find. Why you ask? Because he is only available in a special package of the original Cars movie, this is the ONLY way you can purchase him, he is not available for sale individually. And no, Firetruck Mater, did not make an appearance in the first Cars movie, he doesn't show up until the master minds at Disney create something called "Mater's Tall Tales." Again, if you don't have small children in your house, you may not know what this is, so I will tell you it is Disney's brilliant way to capitalize on the Cars empire by creating these 20 minute shorts that they play in between shows on the Disney channel. And I'm sure the brilliant minds at Disney NEVER envisioned needing to create toys based off of....oh wait, that's how I ended up with a Firetruck Mater. ;) Wed afternoon Nate had some pictures taken by a friend who is starting her own photography business and then to top off the day we ate dinner with my grandfather, who kept Nate for the night for me.
So this brings us to Thursday - Birthday Party Day! - and let me just say Whew! I survived! Actually I can't complain too much! We had Nate's party at Monkey Joe's (for those of you that are not familiar with MJ's is a bounce town that has the most amazing bounce apparatuses) and they really do take care of everything. Oh yes, forgot to mention the guest list, which for most people this is not important, but parents beware...typically when you set out to plan some type of party whether it be a bridal shower, baby shower, birthday party, whatever, you plan on about 50% of the invited guests to actually show up. Well if you have a child like my Nate, be prepared for almost 100% to show up. I handed out invitations for 30 kids, 28 came! I am not complaining by any means, it shows me how much others love my child as well, but I was just in shock at the turn out! I had decided in the beginning that we were only inviting kids from his preschool and our small group. I had thought this would be a great way of keeping the party small! Joke's on me...all kidding aside, I have to say all the kids were great last night. 28 plus adults was a lot to have to manage, but the "refs" at MJ's really did it all. I just had to tell them what kind of pizza and pop we wanted and what time we wanted to eat, they did the rest! They even loaded my car for me at the end of the night. I highly recommend them to every parent who just wants to show up!
Nate is at his last day of preschool today, and I don't think he understands what that means. He knows that he gets to spend the summer with Mommy and Dillon (more to come on Dillon later), but I don't think he fully understands that he won't see everyone at school until fall. I will try and handle that as it comes up.
We have also had a long lost friend come back into our lives recently and it has been wonderful having her and her family around again! They came to Nate's party last night and they are anxious to have him over for the day soon. It's so great to have fabulous friends in your life!
So to sum up basically what I was hoping to get across is that I finally get to do what I want, and that is spend an entire summer with my Nater! I have no idea what the future holds, but God does and we are going full steam ahead trusting Him to get us through each day in one piece.
Read my next installation to find out how I came to quit my job and end my career path all without having any clue what I'm doing next!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Time for change!

Lots of changes going on.
So as you all know, I'm a single mom and that means I have struggles that most singles don't have and I have struggles that most married moms might not have. The main struggle is always being able to provide. Being a single income family is always a challenge, especially when it comes to buying a house or car. But its HUGE when you consider leaving a job without having another one lined up. So why would a single mom consider this? Because sometimes its in the best interest for her family.
And sometimes its because she thinks its what God wants her to do. I know here I go with the crazy God talk again, but its true. A few weeks ago, God had told me to surrender all to him. Its really hard to do that for me, I am a huge control freak. But the toughest area for me to surrender is the financial part of life. How can I trust God to pay my bills, provide food for the table, and have money for gas when the numbers don't add up? Probably because God doesn't care about the numbers. But I didn't always know/believe this. All I could see in front of me was the amount I was brining home in my paycheck and the amount I had going out for bills. Didn't always add up, at least not for me.
But then I had this horrible incident happen at work, and I was thrust into a belief and trust like I've never had before. I no longer feel safe at work. A new store opened up next door and it doesn't always attract the most savory clientel. Oftentimes you can hear the police sirens chasing a shoplifter, you can walk out the front door and see drug deals going on, and if you're lucky enough, you might just get to see a fight as well! But that isn't the worst part...the worst part is when you have an irate customer, who is no longer reasonable and completely out of control, in the store and it takes the cops 10 minutes to respond. And that 10 minute response was after I hit the panic button and called 911. So you see, its not really about the insane customer coming back, but the lack of urgency from the police. If that guy had a gun to my head, we wouldn't be having this conversation. It's time to move on.
I have no other job lined up. As of May 25th I am unemployed. But oddly enough, because I am putting it all in God's hands, I'm completely comfortable with this fact! I did borrow money from a family member to pay off my debt, but if you look at what I had for debt, it wasn't a great deal of money. I am paying it back as soon as I get a full time permanent job, but it does help to go into joblessness without having credit card debt or car payments hanging over my head. And it does feel good to know that my total debt, car and cc together, is less than what some people have on one credit card! Yes it does suck owing a family member money, but I believe it was the best for Nate and I.
What am I doing about my joblessness??? Well I'm obviously using all of the internet job boards and I'm also going to the temp agencies here in town as well. I want out of retail. I no longer enjoy being treated like I'm dumber than dumb just because I work retail. Guess what...I am smarter than a monkey and no a monkey can NOT do my job. Oh and when the door says we close at 6, we close at 6. I have a life and a family just like you do and I want to spend time with them too. If you can't get here by closing, not my problem. I will not reopen the store just for you. And shame on you for even thinking of asking me to do so! I wouldn't expect that of you in your business.
So the whole point of this is that I think my peace of mind and calmness is all from God. I truly believe he already has a job waiting for me. I just have to find it. And its going to be something I enjoy doing, not something I would dread doing. And it is most definitely not going to be retail! Hopefully it's something I can wear all of my cute shoes to ;)! I can't wait to tell you all about it!