" I am the Lord. I change not." Malachi 3:6

Monday, March 19, 2012

The best mama

This weekend was amazing...the weather was gorgeous~! We spent almost the entire weekend outside as a family. We took the boys mini golfing yesterday afternoon and I spent time playing around the world with Noah while Chad and Ky played football. We grilled out and made homemade sundaes. The best part was when I made breakfast Noah walked by and said "You are the best mama"...and my heart melted. Then last night we all had our ice cream bowls and were cuddling watching Chopped and Noah says " You are still the best mama" and I teared up. I want them to think that...I want them to know that I love them more than words can express. But often I struggle with the balance of being a business woman, a mom, a wife, a friend, a sister, and the other hats that I wear. I consciously do my best to log on to work after they go to bed so that they don't see my glued to my laptop while they are awake. I want them to know that they have my undivided attention and that I'm here....and when I say here I mean present. Present with ears to listen to everything they are saying, eyes to see what they are don't or not doing. I might be a business woman but I'm their mom first and I want them to know that. I don't ever want them to question that I'm present in what is going on in their world. And sometimes it's a struggle. When I have to travel and miss tucking them into bed, or can't read them a book or practice their spelling words I feel bad. I know that Chad is home and is doing a fantastic job keeping everything together, reading the books, practicing the words, and tucking them in...but I get jealous and don't want to miss it..not even one day. But when my son says things like you are the best mama in that moment I am comforted and know that I am doing the best I can and he sees that. One thing I have struggled with over the past year is being in the word every day. Being home the past seven weeks has provided me with a lot of quiet time and I'm excited to say that I've been in the word every day the past few days. And God is speaking to me through it. On Saturday while I was reading in Haggai I came across this verse " Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: "Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but have harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, on to put them in a purse with holes in it" Haggai 1:5-6. This is the first time that I remember reading anything in Haggai but I knew God wanted me to read this verse and remind me just how important balance is. Just how important prioritizing my time with Him in the word is. It reminded me just how precious my time is with Him and that when I am confused on where to start reading He is waiting with wisdom no matter where I start. So with all of that being said I start my week with Noah's words fresh on my heart "you're the best mama"...and I in turn say to God " you are the best father". It's his unconditonal love and 100 chances that continue to teach me just how to be the best mama I can be.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Addiction....an ugly cycle

Addiction...a word that has impacted our family for generations. A word that represents pain and many long months and years. I knew growing up that my grandfather was an alcholic but that was it. I didn't know much about my mom's childhood or how her father's alcholism affected her. Her family didn't talk about it at all. Then she married my dad. He joined the military after I was born. When I was five I remember him being stern but also loving. I remember looking up to him and wanting to be just like him. Fast forward 5 years, a war, and many unknown missions and alochol became a part of his daily life. He was a functioning alcoholic. He started with jack and coke and as the years progessed would drink jack on the rocks from the time he got home until he went to bed. But he was a quiet drinker except for when he got mad. Then you tried to disappear and disappear fast. Luckily/unluckily I was the only one he ever got into fist fights with. Fast forward twelve years and two more wars and his addiction with alcohol almost killed him, literally. I know that my dad suffers from PTSD. After the first war there wasn't the counseling and tools available that there are today. After the two wars he fought in more recently there was help. But it was bad...the things he saw...horrific most of which he's never shared. The few he did left me awake many nights. I can now seperate the man I knew as my dad and the man with the addiction. But it took years...many. It took more years of him out of my life then the ones he has been in. Looking back in 2000 when my parent's divorced my mom was a single mom with 6 children just as battered as she was. Abandoned, scared, and alone. My mom suffered from battered wives syndrome and shut down almost immediately. And I grew up fast. I left colloge and moved to the midwest to start fresh. I moved my mom and siblings out east by her best friends and a military base that could provide medical assistance etc. Unfortunately she couldn't take care of my siblings and we moved her here...and the cycle continued. My sister tried to take her life multiple times when she was in her late teens early twenties. She was introverted and the anxiety and depression was almost to much for her to bare. Thankfully we found W a wonderful counselor who has been in all of our lives for almost ten years. At the age of 13 my brother started experimenting with alcohol and weed. By the time he was 17 he dropped out of high school and became addicted to heroin and tried anything he could get his hands on. He left my moms and ended up in some house....I would see him on the sidewalks walking from time to time...black hallowed eyes and so skinny. I think it was almost nine months before he had his accident. He face caught on fire after trying to ignite a grill. It was a wake up call that changed his life...for a moment. He reconnected with my dad and ending up moving south to live with him. He enrolled in college, sobered up, and joined the national guard. He was injured while training and was given perceset...and got hooked. It wasn't until 8 months later we found out that he had an addiction to pain meds and was in a dark place. And one year later he has had six relapses and is trying to work a 12 step program. It's painful...so painful. Sister#3 and #4 both have eating disorders...and the later just got out of rehab two months ago. Her organs had begun to shut down and it was a sight that made you want to cry when you saw her. My youngest sister has remained quiet through all of this...she's tried to stay in the shadow and often feels scared if she speaks up she will rock the boat. My sister A and I are waiting and praying that she can make it. We invite her over for long weekends with our respective families and are so thankful we are married to men who are wonderful examples of what a father and husband should be. We are thankful that our husbands love our family..unconditionally. But it's hard and exhausting....it's exhausting sometimes looking at the calendar and counting the weeks wondering when the next shoe is going to drop. It's exhausting watching your family deal with these battles that are so dark and painful. It's exhausting not having the answers or being able to stop it. I remember being afraid growing up that I would marry someone just like my dad. Terrified that I would ruin my children's lives. Thankful..beyond thankful that God protected me and brought my husband into my life. It was hard...being with someone who lived a relatively sheltered life, introducing them to mine, and educating him on our past. But he stood by unafraid and willing to jump in with both feet and for that i'm grateful. I feel blessed that i've broken the cycle and am thankful for what my children have. They don't know what I missed growing up but I look at them and their relationship with their father and am beyond thankful. I'm thankful that their world is full of love and a family where addiction isn't the center. I'm thankful that they are sheltered from the world that I knew/know. I know as they get older there will be opportunities to educate them but until then I'm glad I'm not forced to do so right now. For now they can be kids and know that they are loved and protected.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Choosing Joy!

It's been interesting being homebound for the past 32 days. Mind you if I had my mobility I would be a cleaning freak and organizing everything because I love to both. It would also give me plenty of time to make some of my recipes that are piling up. unfortunately my time as home has been none of the above. I have to keep my foot elevated and am not to be up more than 15 minutes for every hour. So it's been a challenge for this mama who is constantly struggling with a false sense of "control". But the challenge has turned to one of joy. The time at home being still has given me the opportunity to spend a lot of time in prayer and have some amazing talks with Chad. It's given me time to play 15 games of connect four with my sons night after night. I've been able to spend time with my girlfriends talking as they stop over to say hi. What started off as hurdle has turned into a blessing. And for that I am choosing joy. I will not let the devil be victorious this time. And believe it would be easy too at times. I feel like a marshmellow having not worked out in 32 days. But you know the gym will be there when I am mobile and until then I'm thankful for each day he is giving me at home. The extra sleep has been nice and not commuting 3 hours three times a week has been great. So this morning i am enjoying a wonderful cup of coffee, smiling, and thankful that God's patience and love is unconditional. Because i don't deserve it..not even one bit. But i'm so humbled and thankful for it. Here's to choosing joy today and every day! Blessings!