The Day I Beat Up My Emotions

June 13th, 2019

It’s been a long and fun week working in VBS! I haven’t crawled around on the floor like this in many long years. It’s like a game each morning to discover what body part is going to rebel upon rising out of bed! Who knew VBS was such a killer? Or perhaps, I just NEED TO GET INTO S H A P E !!!

My body isn’t the only part that has stretched and grown this week, so has my old lady heart! Little children have a way of reacting change inside of us. It’s like they have a human game controller that pushes all the buttons of our minds & hearts. I don’t spend time with little people….however, I am immersed in teendom and there is a huge difference in the two groups. Little people are very active in their imaginations still. They react and move according to whatever pops up in their heads. I like it, now that I’m re-familiar with it. Which leads me to point out just how much I operate in MY OWN DANG EMOTIONS!

On night 1, the Lord in all His HOLY GOODNESS sent me a Mariela. Mariela doesn’t listen or follow instructions. She wiggles away, dances to her own music and has an over-zealous opinion about every topic.

If it sounds familiar….. I am Mariela.

I can’t sit still in my emotions. I take off and run wild in my thoughts & imagine the worst in life situations. I dance to my own music and oftentimes I fall down on the dance floor as if I’m boogying on a ruffly blanket. And, don’t get me started on how many opinions I have about….well, everything!

On night 2, Caleb & his tied to his back “back-pack” jumped on Gunnar’s back and set the whole group into a tail-spin fall. Boys will be boys, right? It’s hard to sit still and listen!

If Caleb seems familiar…..I am Caleb.

I am quick to pick & choose what I wear and carry in my heart. I will turn to the most unhealthy of things in a split second — food, how I spend my time & where I focus my energy! Oh and I will jump to conclusions and wreck your plans and mine if I’m not very careful with my emotions.

Day 3, Axil took off and did her own thing every chance she had. She couldn’t be bothered with whatever everyone else was doing, she had her own plan. If I tried to bring her back to the gang, she would go limp (hence, my killer aching back). Even gentle threats of calling MOM didn’t stop the shenanigans.

If Axil makes total sense….I am Axil.

I don’t have time for what everyone else is doing. I set my own schedule since I am an adult but for the most part…..it’s wasted and useless time sucking stuff. I race away from relationships, time with people that matter and convince myself that MY TIME IS MORE VALUABLE than whatever task begs for my attention. I will even ignore God when HE tells me clearly to go, seek and do! Yea, put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Day 4, sickness hit the whole VBS building.

People went home, tummies were wrecked and threats of more illness loom amongst the rest of our people.

If being sick of _________? sounds familiar……I am sick.

I am infected with sick emotions. Isn’t it funny (not really) how easy we are set off by a rude comment or a misinterpretation of what someone says or does to us? I can dream up in my own head all sorts of stuff that never even exists. I can vomit ugliness and I pray I’m not the only one to do this but I want a vaccine to stop the spread of my toxic emotion sickness. Don’t you?

Here’s what I know:

I can show love by not jumping to conclusions about someone else’s words or actions. God can & will handle them if they are in the wrong. Since I’m not God…..have at em, Lord. Help me to be more like you – and less like Me!

I can offer grace by withholding my true feelings in situations that are begging me to respond. God is endlessly gracious to me. I want to extend such a good & loving grace too.

I don’t have to run from my feelings. But, I don’t have to wear them like a ripped up t-shirt and tan leggings to Walmart either. A good rule here is to PRAY! PRAY PRAY PRAY before blasting the world with my f e e l i n g s!

I can be healthy with my emotions. It isn’t an accident that God put me with the cutest little gaggle of preschoolers this week. Oh no no no, it isn’t. God knew just how much I needed to see myself through some of the funniest little antics of these children. Just like each of them, I need to grow and mature before I am who God desires me to be.

Lord,

I thank you for the little children you shared with me this week. In each of them, I see myself. Perfect and yet….not exactly where I’m supposed to be. Thank you for reminding me to kick to the curb everything that doesn’t belong inside of me.

Amen

The Mom I Wish I’d Been

May 11th, 2019

What good does wishing do, right? I’m not whining and beating a regret drum, I promise. Simply reflecting on a few ways that I might change if I were given my mom days again. I’m in a great and happy place today. My kids are grown, I like all 3 of them and the people they’re married to and I’m proud as proud can be of every single one of them.

But if I were wishing…

I wish I had relaxed more.

I was wound up banjo tight for most of my mothering days. I worried too much, held on tighter than I needed to and managed to invent nonsense reasons to get all stressed out. Looking back, I wasted so much needed energy on crazy stuff that NEVER HAPPENED!

I wish I’d taken better care of myself.

I worked myself into a frenzy most days. Which was not only tough on me, it was hard on my kids. I could’ve sat reading another story instead of mopping my way to bed. Kids just don’t stay little long. The housework never leaves!

I wish I had chilled out more.

I confess, I was high strung. I didn’t need to be so intense but my personality is just like that naturally. I am pushy, bossy and well….a bit queenie like. I suppose I wanted to make some kind of perfect life for everyone (didn’t work) but if I had it to do over again, I’d let all kinds of stuff goooooooooo.

I wish I had forgiven myself more.

I tried so hard to get it right that inevitably I messed some things up. When I fell short, I took it hard. I beat myself up and challenged my capabilities to extreme. It was a dumb form of self-punishment. I didn’t deserve any of it.

I wish I’d shown more grace.

I could point out that I did not mother like my own mother and puff myself up for that tiny victory but the truth is….I was tough on my family many times and missed opportunities to show grace. Not always but enough that it stings a little to think back on.

I wish I had given my kids more jobs.

I didn’t want to throw all my work onto my kids like my mom did me. I thought I was protecting them from a life of slavery. The reality is that I raised up kids who couldn’t do a lot of things (not everything) once they moved out. I learned way too late that jobs around the house are very important character builders. It doesn’t kill anyone to help out in a family.

I wish I hadn’t compared myself to other moms.

Who cares? Who gives a rip, really? What works in my house may not in yours and vice versa. Stop worrying about who does what better. It absolutely will not matter once they leave your nest. Just ask your grown kids. No one cares. Beverly Goldberg’s kids will grow up and leave and so will Mommy Dearest. Note: Please don’t whip your kids with a coat hanger.

I wish I’d have known how quickly time would fly.

People told me, I didn’t listen. When you’re in the trenches of being a mommy to a pile of kids, the days are l o n g! But dang it, the years just whiz on by. I would love to have all three of my kids sleeping under my roof just one more night. It is the peace-y’est my mama heart has ever felt.

Wishing just doesn’t cut it though. My course has run. I won’t mother the same ever again and that’s okay. I’m not in a war with what I did or didn’t do. I’m confident that what my kids needed, I provided. My role in their lives was to be the best mama I could and to love them unconditionally. I tried to do just that. I believe each of them know I could’ve done better but none of them hold any shortcomings against me. Life goes on whether we are good at it or not.

I feel privileged to be a mother and even more so that I have made it to the other side…..I’m getting ready for my new role as a grandmother! October can’t get here fast enough! I cannot wait to look into the face of my 1st grandbaby! Who will this person be? How much love can I smother all over him or her?

Look out world! I hear this is where the parenting thing takes a back seat and grandparent life takes off like a rocket ship! I AM READY!!

I Loved You First

March 6th, 2019

We’re 3 days away from the wedding day of our Sweetboy. He’s no longer a boy of course, he’s 28 years old. It’s been a privilege to mother him and to watch him grow up to be who God intended him to be. I’ve spent this last 28 years leaning hard into God on his behalf and this morning, like many other mornings….I thanked God for all the ways He showed me love, gave me direction and protected my relationship with my son. He may be just an ordinary person to the world, but he’s not to me.

He is MY son. I loved him first.

Without planning to this week, we had a few conversations about all that is taking place right now in his life. Marriage is so big! It’s one of the most important decisions we ever make. Choosing a spouse is very special but it’s also extremely difficult. No one goes into that relationship with any intentions of destroying the other or leaving if things get hairy. Most who marry want forever and yet, so many never make it.

I have been praying for Kelsey before she was placed in her mom & dad’s arms.

Parenting is challenging, there’s no way I would’ve ever been a mother worth a hill of beans if I had not buried myself in God’s love first. I knew I had to turn to Him and that I would never be able to love like God but I could surely come very close with his help.

As I watch my son take all these exciting steps and life changes, my #1 prayer is that HE LOVES GOD first and then Kelsey and the family they will someday have together. Why? Because I know a secret.

No one, not one person is ever good enough to make or have the perfect human relationship. We are broken, flawed and rather selfish naturally as people. We get so many things wrong and it’s pretty easy to find fault when you’re feeling jilted or frustrated with the ones you love. Our hearts are fragile and a lot of times wicked. God knew that and He made a perfect way for us through Jesus. Every marriage needs to come with a FORGIVENESS button. We hurt each other (not because we are just jerks) but because we selfishly skip important moments that require forgiveness and mercy.

Many marriages, parent/child & friendship relationships can be destroyed by anger and unforgiveness.

For my own life, I KNOW what I KNOW about navigating life with others. If I don’t clear up wrongs and offer or ask for forgiveness, it will crash and burn.

So, here I am…watching the next big steps of the sweetest boy God could’ve ever given me. He’s ready. He’s found the one. He knows what he has to do and he’s jumping in with both feet. My heart is at peace and I know that Kelsey is a gift from God. Our family is so excited to love her and watch her life unfold as she cares for our son and someday the grandchildren she will mother.

I’ve loved Gavin for so long and I plan to continue (I’m his mom, for goodness sake!) but my new role is riddled with change. Some of it weird and other parts awesome! One thing I can cling to is that God in his powerful and loving wisdom, picked me to love him first. Nothing can change that and because of that high position…. my biggest prayer is that I would not squander the important spot God has placed me in his & Kelsey’s new life together.

May I be a mother & mother-in-law they can trust and one that prays for them daily.

Oh Great God,

Thank you. Thank you for this man I call Sweetboy. You made him and you shared him with me. I am honored to be his mother. Thank you for the beautiful woman you have created just for him. May what I’ve invested into him be useful to this next step in his life. Help me to mother & mother-in-law with grace & goodness throughout all the years to come. I’m so blessed & I owe it all to you, Lord.

Amen

Gavin,
You are so precious to Dad & me. We love you with an everlasting love that no one can take away. We are so thrilled to welcome Kelsey into our family. She is exactly who we’ve been praying for all these years! I know, she was worth the wait!

WE LOVE YOU WE LOVE YOU WE LOVE YOU

Mom & Dad

Growing My Own Wings

February 18th, 2019

Two weeks have gone by since we brought home our puppy, Beck. I’ve been consumed with him and every living moment has pretty much revolved around him in some way or another. He’s 9 weeks old and no matter where I take him…..people gasp and come running over to meet him because there’s something really special about new puppies and babies.

He’s our empty nest baby.

You can laugh, it’s okay. I know something inside me needed him. I have a deep wild desire to be needed, by someone or something. A dog at this age in my life seemed to be the healthiest direction for me to go. So, here I am…mothering the cutest yellow lab ON THE DANG PLANET!

In 2 weeks, my oldest will marry his dream girl. In 2 1/2 months, my middle will marry her true love too and the baby…well, she’s been married almost 2 years! It’s a lot. All coming at me rather fast. But, I’m ready. I’ve been preparing for these days my whole life. Still, mama’s don’t stop being mama’s. My role has been evolving and revamping for the last 6 – 8 years.

They don’t need me to do what I did during their school days. No cupcakes for the class or to pick them up after band practice, but they still need me. They don’t need me to wake them up or to make macaroni & cheese, they just need me to grow my own wings.

It sounds crazy but children aren’t the only people to grow up. Parents are on a path of growth that no one seems to mention when sitting beside you at the basketball games or as you gather to pray for the youth group leaving for camp. Strangely enough, you don’t even notice you are growing — until you stand face-to-face with a young adult and hug them goodbye as they leave to go back to THEIR OWN HOUSE!

It all happens in baby steps.

Without meaning to, mama’s wrap all of who they are around the children they raise. I remember the first time I realized they were gone, like…really gone and not coming back. I was dancing around in my kitchen to Stevie Nicks belting out Landslide when I started crying at the words.

I knew they’d leave.

Still.

I BUILT MY DANG LIFE AROUND THEM, you guys!

I’m not the first mama to let go.

So here I am reflecting back on them and realizing that while I was investing in them and teaching them confidence….God was hatching my own little sprout of wings. I can fly too!

Lord,
What a gift to be a mother. I never knew all the things, so many things that would happen in my heart just by watching my children grow and go. I am so proud of each of them and I owe them all a huge thank you. I have courage to move forward and to take on the next great things to come in my life. I have my own wings and I’m excited to use them!
Amen

Reactor Disengaged

February 6th, 2019

Listen up, this one’s for all you reactor’s! You know who you are…when someone rubs you with their sandpaper words or actions, you react. Only it’s not with a Christ-like response, it’s full-out D E F E N S E!

I can throw this out here because, people….I KNOW EXACTLY HOW TO SLAM DOWN A REACTION! So, you’re welcome. I’m here to challenge you to walk away from reacting to every little annoying or hurtful thing that comes at you. Goodness knows, the world needs more loving relationships and less snarly I can’t stand being around you’s! Am I right?

First off, what is it that pushes your buttons? I only ask because that should be exactly where we start, what bothers you? The truth is, often the way we respond to someone that’s a bit difficult has nothing to do with them or their words and everything to do with us. Questions to ask ourselves — Am I just being grouchy? Hungry? Tired? Or am I just being selfish with this person and expecting them to be a model of perfection to fit a standard they will never live up to? OUCH!

If you are not being gracious out of your own selfish issues, the problem isn’t the scratchy person you’re dealing with….it might just be you. That doesn’t mean the people you are frustrated with aren’t being unreasonable or jerky, it only means you may be off your game and not seeing the underlying issue going on with them or yourself. So, you react.

Remember the hurting people, hurt people idea?

Usually when someone attacks or hurts you, the problem is a deep hurt or frustration inside of them. However, you could have honestly done something to them (DO NOT FORGET TO OWN YOUR OWN ISSUES!) and if so, you owe them an apology. The longer you allow the friction between you, the harder it will be to reconcile an ugly situation.

Second, if this rough around the edges person is a chronic toxic partner in your relationship…you have to figure out a way to FORGIVE them. Forgiveness does not mean you allow yourself to become their punching bag. Nope, not at all. It does mean that you can find a way to be sympathetic to them and whatever it is that’s hurting inside. The way you respond to the garbage they throw on you can make the difference in either squelching the situation or inflaming it. If you’ve ever had a pointless argument with someone than you can probably think back to the real issue being something totally opposite of the whole disagreement.

Tough day at work.
Financial struggles.
Sick family member.
Job loss.
Family strife.
Abuse.
Physical pain.
Rejection.
Embarrassment or shame.

Just to name a few reasons we act out in our relationships.

I gotta tell ya, I have reacted to many situations that only escalated a problem that was never even mine to get bent out of shape over. Marriage can be the safest place to REACT and lose control. We tend to be safe there. Which, is in truth, a rotten behavior or habit to fall into. Over time, the reactions can get meaner and uglier until both involved have a stack of resentments higher than the marriage can fend off. So many divorces occur because of the way we react and completely forego the other person’s feelings.

The cold hard truth is we tend to develop a high sense of being offended.

I can find myself totally offended and not even have a human face-to-face encounter during the day. You and I do not have to look very hard to find ourselves offended. Been online lately? Avoid arguing with others from the get-go and you will be a much more gracious person. On and off the internet.

Here’s what I know about controlling the way I react:

If I stop and admit when I am wrong, the frustration between us lessens and the conversation can turn to a more fair and controlled situation. There’s never a winner if you just keep pounding that YOU ARE RIGHT! Truth is, you might be wrong!

If I do a soundcheck on my own heart, the real feelings I’m harboring inside come to light. It’s not always easy to admit when you’re wrong or responding to a bad situation in a way that’s sinful. Matter of fact, most of us never confess to being a jerk. We just let junk fester and soon we cannot hide our sinful reactions. Heart problems will get you and me. Clean it up, people.

If I am constantly in defense mode, the problem with my reacting is more than likely MINE! Remember that commercial, “You’re pushing my buttons, Roger”? Your husband, kids and the rest of the world WILL PUSH YOUR BUTTONS! Maybe not every day, but every chance they can. Be ready, but be tender. You don’t have to come back with your hair on fire. Shut it down with a loving response or some kind of grace that slows everyone’s hot temper. You don’t have to always win or be right.

Remember:

When emotion is high, wisdom is low.

You are equipped to handle your reactions whether you believe it or not. God has given you power over your emotions. If you feel weak in this area, make it a priority to pray about your struggle and memorize scripture to combat the flesh that pulls you towards reacting. You can control situations that seem out of control with a gentle and loving reaction. If you think reacting back with shirt-sleeve feelings is going to work….it’s not.

Lord,
I’m sorry for the many ways I’ve reacted to others that didn’t honor you. My heart wants to be gracious and I’m not doing that when I respond in a way that causes more friction. Help me to offer kindness and mercy to even the least deserving. I never know when that’s going to be me.
Amen

It’s Furrever

February 4th, 2019

Here we go! It’s negative 2 today in Bozeman, Montana and I’m busy potty-training our new baby boy! He is precious! Can you imagine trying to learn this big boy lesson in the deep snow and below freezing temps? He’s a trooper! No accidents! So far….

We practiced the kennel with him a few times yesterday after bringing him home from his little farm boy life. He loved it! At bedtime last night we put him in the kennel and he settled right into his warm bed and fell fast asleep. NOT A PEEP! ALL NIGHT LONG!

What?

It doesn’t hurt that he’s 7 weeks old and already in love with that fuzzy blanket! He’s snuggled up with it right now as I’m typing. It’s a big hit!

He loves going outside! Even as cold as it is….he will run and play as if it’s normal to do that in the dead of winter in Montana! When he’s finished with the snow, he runs to the door! Little smartie!

Don’t ask what we’re going to do in just a few months when he is bigger than me. He is going to be a moose! Look at these feet!

I won’t even bother telling you how soft and velvety his fur is because I know you can almost feel it just from the photos. He’s a hunk!

He’s just perfect!

He’s just what we needed and at exactly the right time. Even though potty-training in winter ain’t for the faint of heart. He is our sweet little guy and as much as I want to smother him, he sort of chooses my hubby over me. And I’m not even jealous!

The puppy days are hard work. We haven’t had one in many years. The time will be more than worth it once he’s a big boy and knows his limits. Labs are smart, sweet and the best all-around family pet. Having him is going to be a very special addition to our whole family.

Welcome home, Beck! We love you already!