Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Being A Mom is Tough Blog Hop

P31 OBS Blog Hop

For my regular readers, I am taking part in the Being a Mom is Tough Blog Hope.  We are reading Lysa TerKeurst's book Am I Messing Up My Kids? For my new guests, WELCOME!  I'd like to introduce you to those boys who call me Mom.

Colin, Carson, and Carter.  These are my boys, and I am their Mama.  It seems that when I go into daycare or a store or to the park, I hear, "There's Carter's Mom, " or "Hey, Colin's Mama."  Sometimes, when I leave a message on my cousin's voice mail, I don't say my name, but I say, "Hello, this is Colin, Carson, and Carter's Mom. Give me a call  back when you get a chance." Regardless of where we are, I am usually defined by being their mom.  

I do have a name.  My name is Natasha.  And this is me with ALL of by boys.  My husband Jeff is the lucky man who God chose to be the daddy of these boys and the husband of this mama/wife. 
My boys are simply amazing.  What mama wouldn't say that?  

Colin is my firstborn. You know, the one that you made sure everyone washed their hands with before they held him.  The one that you had no idea what you were doing with and wondered if you were even smart enough to mix the formula with water to feed him.  Colin and I spent many, MANY sleepless nights together.  The kid seriously quit sleeping when he came home from the hospital.  He napped while I fed him.  People would always ask, "Do you get to sleep when he sleeps?"  I just laughed (really wanted to cry), "Shoot no!  The kid never sleeps!"  He's the kid that "slept" in the middle of our king size bed for his first 3 years, just so I could sleep. We would put a movie in the VCR, push play, and go to sleep.  Then at whatever time the movie went off, Colin would wake us up to rewind it and start again.  See, the kid never slept.  Don't forget the colic. Oh, colic how I hate thee! Now that he is almost 12, and it's summer, he is sleeping in....a little just because he stays up half the night.  Colin is a very tenderhearted young man.  He has accepted the Lord as his Savior and is very involved in church, serving as an usher and the drummer for the youth praise band.  He plays baseball and soccer. Colin has been on the Academic Team for 3 years, he was on the robotics team for 2 years, and has just returned from his third trip to Space Camp. This summer he earned his first real paycheck for running the sound equipment for a wedding at our church. Now, if I could just get him to clean his room. I know things get tough for him because he is the oldest.  He is paving the way for his brothers.  They get in is space when all he wants is to be away from them.

Carson is my middle child.  Although he is eight years old, he is still very much my baby.  After Carson was born, he was rushed to NICU due to fluid in his lungs.  It was very scary for us, and he still has problems to this day.  He has to have breathing treatments when the weather changes or he will get sick. Living in south central Kentucky where we can experience all four seasons in one week can pose major health risks for him.  We have to be very cautious even with  a runny nose or slight cough.  It's hard for family to understand that we don't visit much due to the cigarette smoke. He has asthma and is allergic to nuts and peanut butter. So, I carry around an EpiPen and inhaler everywhere we go.  Carson is very matter of fact.  Repetition is pointless if he already knows something (Seriously, the two weeks his kindergarten teacher made him trace his name was torture....on both of us.).  In first grade, he was placed into a small reading intervention group because he was having trouble with nonsense words.  I just had to laugh.  Nonsense words??? Are you kidding?  If they don't really exist and he is already reading on a 3rd grade level, Carson doesn't care about nonsense words! Carson loves science.  He loves to read. He learns things, and I'm like, "What?  Where did you learn that?"  He's taught me stuff that I actually had to look up because I just couldn't believe he would know something like that.  Carson is a very neat kid.  He has the advantage of being able to do things with Colin and be a "big kid" or do things with his little brother.  When my youngest child was born, I had to take Carson out of daycare.  He would get up with me during the middle of the night to help me with diapers and bottles. He became my shadow and developed a bond with his baby brother.  I am curious to see what Carson will do as he gets older.  He is such a homebody like his mama, but he loves to learn.  He can be quite a character too! He has the most awesome Charlie Brown dance you have ever seen!
  
My youngest son is Carter.  The baby.  Yes, he is four years old, and I still call him The Baby. He asked me the other day if he was a toddler. I informed him he was actually a Preschooler, still though, my baby.  Carter arrived a little early after we found out I had been losing amniotic fluid.  The boy hasn't stopped going since the day he was born.  He is VERY active, VERY rowdy, and VERY funny. You never know what is going to come out of his mouth. The boy loves to play...play outside, play toys, play iPad, play soccer, play baseball, play, play, play.  If you want an adventure, take him to play some miniature golf.  Oh, my!  The first time we took him, we were all sweaty and tired. He and Carson both loved every minute of it and were like wild animals let out of a cage.  During that vacation, I think we played at Goofy Golf every single night!  Carter doesn't realize how little he is.  Being the youngest, he has always been around older kids.  He thinks when Colin's friends come over that they are there to play with him.  He is our social creature.  But you have to be careful around him.  He likes to hit, and he hits hard, in places he shouldn't. We are working on that.  We were embarrassed when he brought his barber to his knees at the ball park one night.  I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. He comes ups with something new to say or do all the time. Right now, he is stuck on "Mama, smell my pain."  After saying that, he then shoves something in my face to smell: an armpit, foot, or his butt.  Good times!  But he is definitely my cuddle bug.  We have our routines. We have our "Mommy and Carter Time" because well, it is special to him and he has to have it.  He is definitely a mama's boys.

I absolutely LOVE being a mom.  It is definitely tough.  My kids are no angels and I am no saint. So, yes, things get a little hairy.  They disobey. I fuss. They keep on. I fuss a little louder.  They keep on. I yell.  They tell me I am mean and don't like it when I yell, and I tell them, they are disrespectful and I don't like it when they don't obey me. If they would just do what I said the first time I said it, our lives would be so much simpler!  There are times we are laughing, calm, having a good time, and all of sudden, they are ready to get each other.  I am prying kids off of kids, and swatting butts, and yelling, and they are yelling, and slapping at each other.  It's in those moments I'm like, "Wait! What just happened?"  We all totally lost it in a matter of seconds.  

Sometimes it is so hard to remember that my kids aren't these perfect creatures, that they will disobey and fuss and fight and not make good choices.  That is difficult when I know they know better.  Sixth grade about killed me this year. As a teacher, I take pride in the fact that my kids know (well, should know) what parents and teachers expect, and I had the allusion they would always do the right thing.  But when Colin chose not to do his work for reading the last quarter, I about died.  What? One of the smartest kids in his class?? An F in reading??? He chose not to do the work???? Oh, this mamateacher wasn't going to have it.  It about killed us both, but he brought the F up to a B.  Whew! That was close. 
There are times I wonder where these kids get their stubbornness, their fits of rage, their attitude. Then I look in the mirror and realize that I am the problem.  And honestly, I ask myself on a daily basis, "Am I messing up my kids?"  As a mom, that is a major fear of mine.  Am I going to be too strict? Will I not be strict enough when I need to be?  Will I say something that will ruin their perceptions of themselves? Will they doubt my love for them? Am I able to raise them to be the men God intends for them to be?

God has entrusted me with these children. He chose me to be their mom.  God's ways are perfect, and He doesn't mess up. Why then do I doubt that I can be the mother these kids need me to be?  I know that Satan is fighting for my children just like I am.  I don't want him to get his hands on them, but I worry that my actions will allow him to.  I know I need to lean on God to be the mom I am supposed to be.  I know that if I truly seek Him, God will restore my, refresh my perspective, and guide me.

I am thankful for God's mercy. I need His forgiveness daily.  I need to not define myself by my mistakes, but take heart in the good moments, those moments that really build my children up.  I have to stop expecting everything to be great and calm and easy all the time.  That's not realistic.  There are going to be days of sibling rivalry, disobedience, and flat out defiance.  There are going to be days they don't clean up their toys, put their dirty dishes away, or clean the pee off the toilet seat.  There are going to be days where we feel like we are going to pull our hair out if we have to spend one more moment together.  But there are also going to be the days we laugh together, swim together, play together. There will be the days we give hugs, kisses, and high fives.  There will be the days we pray together, sing together, and encourage one another.  Those are the days I need to draw my strength from.   I need to dwell on those days, not the tough days.  Those tough days are for learning, for forgiving, for moving on.

No matter what day I am having, I am thankful. Thankful that God gave me an amazing husband and allowed us to be the parents of these precious children.





Saturday, July 12, 2014

In A Word: Intentional







2014 is more than half over.  That is hard to believe.


At the beginning of the year, I joined in with other bloggers to live by one word this year.  My word was INTENTIONAL. Feel free to go back and read about my decision to choose that one word.

 Recently, I reflected on whether or not I'd been living intentionally.

One of the things I mentioned in my decision to live intentionally was to be intentional with my time. 

When I first started this blog, I made a deal with God that it would glorify Him. That I wouldn't spend time here if I wasn't spending time with Him. So, if my posts are few are far between, I am keeping my deal with God.  I don't want to post just for the sake of posting something. I want each word here to be meaningful and worthwhile.

 Last year, while my husband deployed, I began a journey to read the Bible in a year. I ordered my One Year Bible and got started right away.  It was a great journey. One I didn't finish due to getting extremely sick with Fifth's Disease, having my husband return from Afghanistan, getting pregnant, starting school, having a miscarriage, and the million other things that happened.  So, this year, I have been more intentional with my time with God. I am back on track with my Bible reading.  I am also teaching Sunday School and doing Bible studies to grow, to become the woman, wife, teacher, mother, daughter, friend that He has planned for me.

Another way that I have been intentional with my time is by saying "Good-bye" to my long time friend Hay Day.  Yes, that's a game.  I had it downloaded on my phone, and it was a great friend to me during my husband's deployment.  I was able to play it while I lay in bed during sleepless nights.  However, it became quite an addiction.  I had to break up with Hay Day.  I spent entirely too much time playing this game. I didn't gain anything by playing it other than earning a level up.  It didn't make me a better wife or mother. It didn't bring me closer to God.  It only helped me procrastinate and waste time.

Probably one of the things I haven't been so intentional with is taking care of myself.  Since having my miscarriage, I have gained back all of the weight I lost while my husband was deployed. I've even added a few extra pounds.  I'm not happy about it. I know it is a problem.  I am hoping to get back on track. Between the emotional issues surrounded by my miscarriage (its still hard. I find myself going back to that time. I cry about it still.) and the difficult school year I had last year, my anxiety and, well, I guess you could call it depression, have hindered me really taking care of myself.  It is something I know I must work through.  I know I haven't prayed about it enough.  I know I need too.  Sometimes it is just easier to grab the donut, chips, and Dr. Pepper.  But each day is a new day, a day I can be more intentional about my thought processes and be aware of what is leading me to make bad choices about my health. 

I know my body is a temple.  1 Corinthians 6:19-20 reminds me so...
I also know that I have to be very intentional with how I treat my body.  I am a work in progress, and I am going to do my best to make this a priority.  Please pray for me.

With school getting ready to start, I want to get started on the right foot.  I am participating in an online study of Awakened by Angela Watson.So far, it has been very enlightening. I am learning a lot about my thought processes.  I think it will really help me in handling stress and how I interact with my coworkers and students this school year. I am thankful to have two coworkers who are doing the study as well. Maybe we can make an impact in our school.

I realize my life is a gift.  Everything about it.  I don't want to waste this gift.  I want my children to know that I love them and care for them because I was intentional in the time in the time I spent with them and I was present, really there, when we were together.  I don't want their memories of me to include a mobile device permanently attached to my hand. I want us to laugh and play and connect in real ways.

I want my husband to know that I cherish him and love him and that he is my heart and soul.  I want every word and every deed to be intentional, to be something that will build him up and make our marriage stronger.  I want him to know exactly what is in my heart and that I am fully devoted to our family.  I want him to know how much he is appreciated and how proud we are of him.

I want those who know me to know that I lived my life to the fullest. That I put everything I had into everything I did.  I want them to know of my love for the Lord, that He leads me and guides me in all that I do.  I want them to see Jesus through me. When you visit here, when you read these blog posts, I want you to be challenged to live for Christ. I want you to click that X in the top right corner and walk away being a better person. I want you to be blessed by this little piece of the Internet.

So, 2014 isn't over. There is still hope for me to be more intentional in the areas of my life that I am still struggling with.  I can continue to be strong in the areas I am being successful in.  The biggest thing is seeing where I am weak and making the choice to do something about it.

What about you, Friend?  How are you keeping up with your One Word challenge?  If you didn't get in on this challenge, what are you waiting for? It's just July!  There is always time to make a difference in your life!  Get started!







Wednesday, July 02, 2014

On, well, a bunch of things

1. Yesterday, I was told I was the "COOLEST MOM EVER." By grown ups. Not sure my children would agree.

Colin is at Space Camp this week. I am missing him, but I know he is having a great time.

Tomorrow he gets to do the EVA mission.  Basically, he will be in an astronaut suit, strapped to a ZERO GRAVITY chair, hoisted into the air, and have to put together that triangular pyramid type thing.  Maybe I am pretty cool.  What's your kid doing this summer?

2. VBS was great.

Three precious children gave their hearts to Jesus. Seeds were planted. There was music, Bible study, laughter, food, and fun. Very thankful to be part of a church that loves children and provides so many opportunities for them to know Christ  How was your VBS?

Speaking of my church, I am also grateful for the opportunities they provide for the adults to serve and grow as well.  We are encouraged to be leaders, to become involved, and to serve God in so many ways.  Thank you, CBC!

3. Lots of political posts on Facebook right now.  I won't go into it all. I know you've seen them. May even be a part of them.

I know that one day I will have to answer to God for the way I lived my life.

Does believing the Bible and believing in God, and believing in Jesus Christ make me a small minded person who cannot think for herself?  I think not.  I don't know about you, but I mess up pretty good when I think by myself.  It takes strength and courage to Let Go and Let God, to put your trust in Him, and to decide to live for Him.

I know I will be ridiculed. I know I will be questioned. I know.....

But I know what my life has been like since I gave my heart to Jesus 10 years ago.  That was the best decision I have ever made.  No, my life isn't perfect.  God never said it would be.  Those words written in red said that in this world I will have trouble, but I can take heart, because Jesus overcame the world.  I believe those words in red.

4. I finished my book study with Wives of Faith.  It was great.  I even came out of my comfort zone and created a squash spaghetti on my own.  Very proud of myself.

Now I am on to my next study.  This school year will be a great transition. New teammates. New principal. New assistant principal.  So, I've decided to renew, or awaken, my mindset.


I am thankful for coworker friends who are going on this journey with me.  Maybe we can be an encouragement to others in our school.

5. It's July.  Seriously. Where did June go?  Luckily, a week of June was spent at the beach.

Oh, sandy beach, I miss you!

6. Speaking of July. Friday is a little something we call Independence Day.  According to usa.gov, The Fourth of July, or Independence Day, is a federal holiday that celebrates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

According to the media, it is a time for sales and discounts at local stores.

Independence, or freedom, brings responsibility.  I think sometimes we are moving backwards here in America.

I am thankful for the men and women in uniform who continue to serve our country in order to preserve our freedoms and the freedoms of other nations.  I am thankful for my husband who serves our country and our Lord in helping Soldiers find spiritual freedom.  Most of all, I am thankful for the freedom found in salvation through Jesus Christ.




Friday, June 27, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Lost

It's time for a little Five Minute Friday. Basically, you take a minute (5 really) and write.  You don't over think it. You don't over do it.  Just write. Five minutes. That's all.....

Today's prompt: lost

Five Minute Friday
A few years ago, something had happened, can't remember what, but I had said to Colin, "I've lost my marbles."

Later he went to the store with Jeff, and when they were shopping, he told his daddy, "We need to get some marbles."

Jeff asked why, and Colin replied, "Because Mama lost hers."

Bless his heart.

How many times have a felt like I've lost my marbles?  Too many to count.  But I thank God everyday that He helps me to find them.  He may take a few away and replace them with better ones, but God always provides (my marbles).

He provides by answering a prayer.  He provides for sending a friend.  He provides by bringing peace.

He Provides.

I will continue to lose my marbles, my patience, my temper.  But God will continue to be there for me to pick up the pieces, to calm my nerves, to find me when I'm lost in my own sinful nature.

Amazing Grace!  How sweet the sound! I once was lost, but now I'm found!

Thank you, sweet Jesus!





Friday, June 20, 2014

Book Review: Faith, Hope, Love, & Deployment

As a military spouse, I am always searching for something to grow closer to God, strengthen my marriage, and support my Soldier. 
Faith, Hope, Love, & Deployment: 40 Devotions for Military Couples is written by Heather Gray.  She uses her experience as a military spouse to help military couples grow strong in the Lord and in their relationships with one another.

The 40 devotions included in this book covers topics ranging from separation to communication and from children to naysayers.  Each devotion is divided up into sections related to the title: Faith (which includes scripture for both spouses), Hope (a been there, done that personal story from Heather’s experience), Love (an opportunity to reflect on the devotion and write a love letter, so to speak), and Deployment (a challenge for the couple to become closer during separation). Included within these are discussion/reflection questions for the couple.



This is an amazing book for military couples, and I don’t think I have the words to do it justice.  I am thankful for Heather Gray and women like her that use their experience to minister to others. 

If you are a military spouse, I highly suggest you get a copy of this book. If you know a military couple, this would be a great gift to give them.

Please note that the author's husband was KIA in Afghanistan. This book was actually being written before he was killed, and Heather finished the book after debating about it.  For some couples, it may seem awkward to read a devotional written by a military widow. However, for me, I found comfort in Heather's words.  Not everything in the book relates to her husband's death, although certain devotions focus on it.  I see this as an opportunity to use the experiences of another military spouse to help strengthen my own military marriage.

 I received a free copy of this book from Leafwood Publishers for the purpose of review.  I was not required to write a positive review of this book.  



Saturday, June 07, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Hands



Dear Hay Day,
It has been more than a week since I said "good-bye" to you.  Honestly, I thought ending our relationship would hurt more than it did.  Because I haven't missed you, I guess that means that our relationship really meant nothing.

I do want to say thank you for keeping me company while we were together.  You helped me get through late nights when my children refused to sleep.  If I woke up in the middle of the night unable to sleep during Jeff's deployment, you were there for me.  We had lots of fun together, but you really became my obsession.

You were the last thing I thought about at night. When I would wake up, you were the first thing I wanted to get my hands on.  That is really not healthy.  Then you started requiring more of me.  At first, the boat orders and mining were great.  Then you expanded our relationship to a fishing hole and, most recently, a train stop in a small town.  You've tricked me into wanting to spend more time with you.

But....enough is enough. 

I had to say "good-bye."  The best part....I haven't regretted my decision.

I have spent more time doing more important things with my hands.  I have held my Bible more often, and I have even been reading other books as well.  My hands have held on to my children, holding them, playing with them, and tickling them.  My hand have cleaned up, picked up, and been productive.  Holding on to you never accomplished anything. 

So, here it is. We are through.  And I am ok with that!   Good luck to you. 


*****
Five Minute Friday
Five Minute Friday is the baby of Lisa Jo Baker, author of Surprised by Motherhood.  If you would like to participate or read more Five Minute Friday posts, head on over to Lisa Jo's blog.

And yes, I realize today is Saturday!

Feeding Souls



As part of the Wives of Faith Bread and Wine Book Study Group, I have written blog post entitled Feeding Souls.  Head on over to the Wives of Faith Blog to check it out!




Sunday, May 18, 2014

Book Giveaway!

Recently, I had the opportunity to review the book Miracles and Moments of Grace: Inspiring Stories from Moms.  You can read my review by clicking HERE.  I love Nancy Kennedy's book.  The stories melt my heart.

Well, I have gotten my hands on an extra copy of this heartwarming book. If you would like to have it, it could be yours.  If you know someone who would enjoy the book, it could be hers.

To have a chance to win this amazing book, all you have to do is leave a comment below telling your own motherhood story. Your story can be about you, your mom, or someone who has been like a mom to you. It can make us laugh or it can make us cry.  As mom's each of our stories are unique. You can read about some of my motherhood moments by clicking HERE and HERE.

This giveaway will end on Friday, May 23.

Good luck!

By the way,  this giveaway is in no way endorsed by the author or publisher of this book. I simply have an extra copy and want to give it away. You know....share the love.

Friday, May 09, 2014

Five Minute Friday: Grateful

It's that time of the week again. Time to breath and let the words flow, also known as Lisa-Jo's Five Minute Friday.

Today's word: GRATEFUL

It's not everyday that you come across an amazing friend.  Friendship has always been difficult for me.  I don't want to come across too nosy, so I think that makes others think I don't care. Which isn't the case.  I put my family first, and probably don't spend enough time nurturing my friendships.

But there are some friends God has blessed me with that I am truly grateful for.


There are a group of friends who have been by my side during some very difficult times in my life.  When my husband was deployed, they were there for me.  When I had my miscarriage, they were there for me.  We laugh together. We cry together. We share inappropriate Pintrest ecards together.


Even though we are all at different stages of our lives, these women mean so much to me.  They have a special place in my heart.  I love them.  I am grateful to call them my friends.

Regardless of where life takes us, we have a bond that I believe will stay strong.  That doesn't come around very often.  God places people in our lives for a reason.  We may not understand our circumstances, but God gives us someone who will walk through that season of life with us.

*****

If you want to join in with this writing community, find out how by visiting Lisa Jo's webpage.


Five Minute Friday


Tuesday, May 06, 2014

The Teacher


She walks into the classroom
As she has done many times before.
Hoping for a good day,
She begins.

Speaking of verbs, Shakespeare, and Cummings, 
She seems to enjoy what she does.
With each red mark she makes,
She wonders if it was her fault.

Answering our questions,
Guiding us through their education,
She tries her best
And prays she is making us see.

With each perfect paper
And each smiling face,
She is sure of the life she has chosen;

She is the teacher.

This poem was written in 1994 for my high school English teacher, Linda Chaney.  She was a teacher who inspired and encouraged me.

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week.  I encourage you to find a teacher and do something nice for that person.  A teacher's work doesn't stop when the bell rings each afternoon.  We carry our children home in our hearts long after the end of the day.