Categories
Faith Family Parenting

School Daze

It’s the middle of August and kids are heading back to school. My kids start next week, but my first day back was today (second year as a P.E. teacher). I love my job and where I teach, but I’m having a hard time transitioning back to school.

I love the summer. I love the free time, the vacations, and the adventures with my kids. I love hanging with friends, sleepovers for my kids, and time with family. I love the warm weather, awesome thunderstorms, and long days. There’s always an excitement about school, but right now I’m in mourning.

(For many of you, this is the first time back since March of 2020 — my kids were fortunate to be in school full-time all last year, so this was a regular summer break.)

Perhaps some of it is because my oldest is starting Junior High, so this mama has some anxiety about how he will handle the additional work and pressures…and how he will behave. I know he’ll do great, but it’s new territory for us. I’m also aware each day how quickly time is passing.

My daughter has struggled with anxiety and is doing so much better (she is super excited for school), however, I’m praying for few setbacks as school starts up and the pressures that come with it.

We had a great summer, but it was also a tough one spiritually and emotionally…and we’re still feeling a little bit raw and beat up. Part of me wants some more time to recover and heal…while the other part knows that it is time to move forward.

So, I’m trusting in God day by day as we move toward our new “normal”, knowing that he will guide my family along the way.

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” Matthew 6:34 (The Message)

Categories
Faith Family Marriage Parenting

To Dad, With Love

This past Sunday was Father’s Day, and I have been blessed with two amazing dads in my life — my own father and my husband.

I’m a daddy’s girl. He gave me a love for Jesus, sports, and music. He taught me football positions and plays. He taught me how to box out and shoot a jump shot in basketball. He taught me how to throw a baseball and made me a die-hard Cubs fan. He coached me in basketball, baseball, softball, and soccer and cheered me on in swimming and volleyball, never missing a game/meet. He ran my first marathon with me and taught me to jump into the lake instead of slowly easing in (“1, 2, 3, ready, set, go!”).

My dad gave me my talent and love for music and singing. From church choir to duets, we have sung a lot together. He has always found the balance to push me to be better without pushing me away. He is quick with a joke and a hug.

Most importantly, my dad has shown me how to love others and serve Jesus. He has taught me patience and flexibility. He models what it means to put God first and love your family diligently. In fact, so much of what I love in my dad I see in my husband as well.

My husband constantly amazes me with his grace, forgiveness, patience, and faith.

He is a servant. He constantly works behind the scenes to help others out. He spends hours volunteering at our church with IT services. He quickly helps out when a friend needs a hand (moving, building a swing set, etc.). He faithfully coaches our son’s travel baseball team…which includes scheduling games and practices, reserving fields, and communicating with parents and other team coaches. He finds joy in helping others.

He demonstrates to me how to love others without fear. He truly cares for people and seeks for reconciliation (when I would just walk away). His love for Jesus shines in the way he pours his life out for others — from high schoolers, to young kids, to neighbors, to my parents and family.

My husband is an incredible dad. From coaching Edmund’s baseball and Elise’s basketball, to going to sporting events, Six Flags, and Star Wars conventions, he creates special memories with our children. He makes our children feel loved, cherished, and safe.

He challenges me to get out of the house, when the introvert in me wants to always stay home, but never makes me feel bad about it. He encourages me and supports me, while helping me to see the world through different lenses — to be more empathetic and gracious to others.

Both of these men have modeled Christ to their children in the way they parent with love, humor, and grace.

I’m thankful to have a dad that is also my best friend.

I’m thankful and proud to be known in the neighborhood as “Walter’s wife”. 😉

Categories
Family Parenting

A Mother’s Love

My mom is incredible. She is generous of her time, loves to serve, and puts others first. She has been present throughout my life — always there when I need her. Here are a few stories reflect the personal sacrifices she made to show me she loved me.

✨My senior year of high school, my mom got up every morning to make me lunch and say good-bye. I told her she could sleep and I could take care of it, but she wanted to do it for me. She wanted to always see me off to school. As a mom, I now know exactly how she feels and I know I’ll be the same way.

✨I went to college close to home and my mom made a big deal about creating my own distance. She knew the value of getting the full college experience and didn’t want me to blend college and home together. In fact, I hardly heard from her the first few weeks and had to remind her that a lot of my friends talked to their parents almost every day on the phone…she didn’t need to keep that much distance! 😉 I’m sure it was hard for her to stay away (my dad used to drive by my dorm room every day on his way to work!), but knew it was important for my growth into adulthood.

✨For Grad School, I headed to North Carolina. My mom was so excited and encouraged me to go. At the time, I didn’t think she would miss me…but then I realized that she was pushing me away, because otherwise I wouldn’t go. She couldn’t show me that she would miss me, etc. because she wanted to make it easier for me to leave. She hid her feelings of sadness, so I would continue to thrive. I can still remember when she dropped me off at the airport once when I came to visit and she couldn’t hold back the tears that time. It was the first time I saw her cry and knew that she usually was able to wait until I was out of sight before she let the tears flow. She didn’t want me to see them.

Time and again, my mom has been there — from watching my children, to helping me decorate my house, to letting me use her car when mine was in the shop. She has been the best role model as a woman of God, a wife, a friend, and a mother. Not only do I take after her physically, but she has taught me how to serve others and my family with love and faith.

Over the past few years, my mom’s memory has started to go and she has become more reserved. But to me, she will always be the life of the party with a laugh that you can hear clear across the room, the person working behind the scenes to make sure everything goes well, an amazing Bible study teacher, and the best mom and Grammy ever. I pray that the one thing she never forgets is how loved she is. I love you, mom!

Categories
Faith Family Parenting

Parenting is Hard

Being a parent is one of the greatest things in the world…and the hardest. You feel their pain and it crushes your soul. You want to fix everything, yet you realize how little is in your control.

My sweet girl has been struggling this year. I know that a lot of kids are struggling with all the pandemic stuff and it could be a part of her woes. The crazy thing is…yes, she had e-learning the spring of 2020, but she goes to a private school and has been in school full-time this entire year. We don’t watch the news, talk about political things, or live in fear of COVID, etc. at our house. But she is incredibly perceptive (always has been) and picks up on everything…and her 9-year-old mind doesn’t know how to process all of it.

It has translated to anxiety and insecurity. She doesn’t want any attention on her and fears that she is a disappointment and failure. She hides herself and fluctuates between anger and tears.

My daughter is incredible. She is beautiful inside and out. She is smart, brave, kind, and caring. She loves and feels SO big. And it breaks my heart that she can’t see it.

I tell her everything that I love about her. I hold her and hug her. I pray for her and point her to God. I’m working with her to find the positive instead of focusing on the negative.

I know that God loves her even more than me and has a plan for her life, but right now, it’s hard and my heart breaks for her. However, I trust Him with her life. She is a child of God and loved beyond measure. I pray that she would see herself as God sees her and that she will find her worth in Him.

Categories
Faith Health and Wellness Parenting

Perfect In His Eyes

I struggle with body image issues. I always have. Maybe it’s because I grew before everyone else and was taller and bigger. In elementary school, I was never thin…just normal. Maybe it’s because I always preferred to play sports with the boys and could never quite figure out where I fit in. I’ve been torn between wanting a fierce, athletic look and being model thin — you can’t have both. In fifth grade, I lost 12lbs and all my baby fat. I’ve remained thin and fit ever since. I still weigh the same as I did in high school even though I’m now in my 40s and have had two children. Yet why do I only see the imperfections in the mirror?

And the hard part is that I can’t talk about it. For real. Not because I don’t want to or feel ashamed, but because sharing those thoughts when I look great might make someone feel less about themselves. And I would never want to make anyone feel less. My joy is helping people accept who they are and develop a correct mindset of what health is — that it’s not just about how you look in a swimsuit. It is my passion to work with people and help them…probably because I’m constantly trying to preach it to myself as well. 

When my daughter was born, I vowed to never talk about weight/image and I started showing grace to myself. I never want her or my son to have my issues. Today, as my daughter was crying that her skirt (she wears a uniform) felt funny and was afraid she looked weird, instead of brushing her off and telling her that she looks the same as every day she goes to school (which is what I normally do), I got down to her level and told her that I understand. That there are days that I don’t feel good in the clothes that I’m wearing and I also worry that I look bad. Then I told her what makes her special and hugged her.

I can’t keep my daughter from the onslaught of the world to look a certain way, but instead of avoiding the issue, I need to talk through hers with her. And maybe it’s time for me to be honest to everyone else. Maybe sharing my body image struggles won’t make someone feel bad, but make them realize that they are not alone.

I’m constantly a work in progress and each day I remind myself that I have a husband who adores me just as I am and I have a God who loves me and cares for me. I pray that God would give me eyes to see myself as he sees me. That I am perfect in his eyes.

God loves you too. He sees you, He cares for you, and you are perfect in His eyes.