Turning 30 – Tashley Kay


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I can’t believe my eldest daughter is turning 30 this month. It’s not about me feeling old or worrying about how it reflects on me. It’s just so very odd to me how the time has passed by quite rapidly.

tash & IShe was the first to make me a momma. The first to test my patience, give me messy kisses and warm hugs. The first to make me worry about ear infections, bumps on the head, and choices I was making as a mother. The first to challenge me and exceed my expectations. She was my “test run” as I like to say.

This is the gal that is most like me,  I think, out of all my children but yet she brings her own flair to life.

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Tashley forgives quicker, has more dramatic responses, and has a smile that is larger than life. Cooking is her delight and even though she doesn’t get enough praise for it, she takes care of her family pretty darn good!  I’m one proud mom!

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She’s a mother herself now, two daughters and a son.

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There are times I relish in the witnessing of her being a Mom and other times I want to step in and say HEY STOP!

But that isn’t my job now. My job is to support, love, and allow her to take the motherhood journey as my Mom did me. Watching from the sidelines and praying for strength for her.

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The bonus to having her be a mother is the fact that I get some awesome grand-kids outta the deal! 🙂 It’s a win-win for me!

Thirty years ago I could have taken a much different route. But honestly, I think I made the best choice.  I would do it all over again if presented with the same circumstances. I would become a mother when I was really only a child myself and go through the heartache,  the changes and challenges that life gave us.

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Because in the end, all that really matters is the fact that this human existed and she was worth every second!  Choosing her and being with her every day as her mother is what I was meant to do. Plain and simple.

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Thirty years of watching a life transpire into a million different things and changing daily or even hourly. The opportunity to be Tashley’s mother wasn’t an easy one to start but  knowing her has made my life much, much better. No matter the obstacle or joy, she has always been worth it.

Happy 30th birthday to my girl that was such a laid back baby, a little girl that played well, the tween/teen that had to have the last word, the young lady that found her way even without me, and the woman that through it all, STILL has that huge smile!

 

I love you,

MOM

 

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Simplicity of Happiness


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Today was one of the those days when I wish I could just bottle the way I felt.  To store it for another day and open it up to drink it in.  I spent the day with my favorite people in the whole wide world.

To be honest we didn’t do anything spectacular.  We just hung out at our home.  For Christmas this year they gave us a meal a month.  Where they provide the food and clean up.  It was a lovely time today when all 11 of us were around the table.  We will be an even dozen come mid April, our oldest daughter is expecting.

The children played in the snow and then had hot chocolate and played a board game.  The big kids visited, laughed, watched a nature show, and played with babies.  I was able to continue teaching my grandaughter how to sew her quilt and get her momma going on sewing her quilt.

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The kids didn’t run off as soon as the meal was over and it didn’t seem like the day rushed by.  It was genuinely a stellar day for me.  I not only got time with my family but some cute photos and reached my 10,000 plus step goal.

Like I said, I’d like to bottle today, but instead I’ll just be patient and wait for my February date with my family.  I am thankful that they like spending time with us!

Hug your loved ones folks!

Julie

The View from the Rear


I was really feeling good about myself until I saw this recent photograph of myself.

The width of my backside brought me to a place of …. well…..um…. “maybe I haven’t made as much progress as I had thought.”

Then  my eyes moved to the little girl behind me. The one that is following me.  

That follows my actions, my perceptions, my lead.  She will look instantly to me before answering someone.  (Not sure that this is a good thing but we’ll go with it)  The one that if I am not careful will say she doesn’t like a food because I don’t.  

At this point in life, she doesn’t care what I looked like from the backside.  She only cares that I was there. That I was participating and engaging with her. That I was taking her on an adventure and spending time with her.

Now, don’t get me wrong, she is very interested in my health. Each time I take my blood sugar she instantly looks at the monitor screen or asks me what it was. Which in turn she gives her response depending if high or low or “not bad.”  I have even let her be the one to poke me and test it.

We both love cucumbers, watermelon, chocolate, Dad’s chicken fried rice, upbeat music, cuddles in the church pew, and walking in nature. This child of mine doesn’t care about the width of my hips just that I’m using them to enable me to guide her.

One day, in the not so distant future this little girl will want to take her own path.  She will be the one leading someone, whether that be her own child or not.  This makes me become aware of how I share with her the perception of my own body, my own beliefs, my own guidance. One generation to another carries something with them from the past. I can only pray that her hip width is not something she lets run her life but maintains a healthy lifestyle physically and mentally.

Wrapping up, I have all but forgot the width of my hips and am basking in the joy of watching a child grow up in my home.  A child that I didn’t plan to have following me around but am very grateful it came to be.

Until next time,
Julie

When You Realize You Aren’t as Kind & Empathetic as You Thought You Were


I always thought of myself as someone that was more empathetic and kind to others, than not being that way.  That my Christian faith aided me in that way of life.

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I mean it wasn’t like I volunteered at homeless shelters, raised money for the less fortunate, gave money or food to every person on the corner asking for it.  But I have done some of that plus donate to organizations and people I don’t even know.  I enjoy doing mission work at my home church as well.

But what happened that July morning? What happened to the person that normally sees the aid someone needs before becoming stricken with fear?  Is that only available when it seems a safe distance from me or my husband is home?

As the experience becomes a memory with each passing day I feel guilt on occasion. Guilt for not looking closer and seeing a person in need.  A person that needed medical help. Where was my thinking that these individuals stopped to rest and my porch apparently was the most inviting or just closest?

Instead I saw someone that would hurt my family.  I saw, no I felt fear and the image in front of me became blurred.  Blurred by the fact that later I would find out he was having a seizure.  At the time I had no clue why the scene in front of me was happening but it was only a few seconds glance to be honest.  My mind went to the darkest place verses the light place.

Instead of choosing to secure my daughter safely and take pity on the two strangers on my porch I called 911. (yes I know 911 would help them)  I also proceeded to bunker down in a room with my daughter.  I waited and visited with the lovely dispatcher for a good 20 or 25 minutes.  All the while these folks sat on my front porch.  What did they think, no one was home.  Did they want to be found?

The sheriff showed up and he seemed pretty laid back about the entire situation. Perhaps because he was familiar with the situation, the people, and knew things I didn’t know.  I felt better of course when I spoke to him.  Yet….

I wonder why didn’t they ring my doorbell?  Why did they choose that chair to sit in that they did?  How long had they been on my front porch?  During the night or just a short time? How long did they sit outside my daughter’s window? Are they getting the help they need now?

Many questions have run through my mind. I am the type of person that thinks, that is part of my processing.  Sometimes I never find the answers and it drives me crazy but eventually I let go and move on.

I have no clue who they are to this day or where they are now.  I now wish I would have stepped around the corner with the sheriff next to me to see them completely.  To put a face to the images I recall.  To humanize what occurred that morning, to make some sort of connection.

How to finish this post isn’t coming to me.  So I’ll just close for now.

Julie

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Compromises, Second Glances, & Window Treatments


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The differences between my husband and myself are ones that after fourteen years of marriage can still be seen.  At least by us.  There has been a meshing of sorts with some of them but some just will not break down and come together.

When we built our home a few years ago  I found out my husband wasn’t a fan of curtains.  (Or tree lines to block the winter storms.)  He likes his wide open spaces and clear views of the world outside.  He prefers to be outdoors as well. Now I’m a little different creature.  I like to close my blinds at night and keep the happenings of the interior of my home to my family.

He won the battle of no curtains or blinds except for in the bedrooms.  I can appreciate his perception and why the man I married is the way he is.  I even recently moved my sewing machine to the room where I get the best view of the sunset and my memory flower garden. He has rubbed off on me folks, it just doesn’t always show! 🙂

But he only won the battle for six years.  After my recent experience I think he can understand why I have him measuring the large front window and I’m shopping for just the right blinds for them.  Is this a drastic move?  No I don’t think so, I think it’s a compromise for the sake of our marriage. Both sides willing to give in and mesh together.  I won’t have them shut during the day, he won’t keep them open when we go to bed.

The experience I’ve mentioned but not totally explained is one that doesn’t have me running to the therapist or wigging out in front of our daughter.  But it does have me putting things in place that make me, my family, and perhaps even others more comfortable in our home.

As the outside world becomes dark I find myself taking double glances and looking behind me as I walk through my own home.  I listen more acutely to the sounds being made and keep my families whereabouts in check. I wasn’t a slacker to begin with in these areas but I am more on point now.

With each passing day I am better.  With each passing day I find myself thinking less about what happened and more about what is in front of me.  I’m continuing my process and I appreciate the fact that my spouse is allowing me to find my “comfort zone” even when he may not like it.

Until next time.

Julie

 

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My Space & The Old Green Patio Table


There was a little area of my home that I like to think was “mine.”  The area that gave me some peace in days of chaos,  strength to build for the new endeavors of the day ahead, and just a place to breathe.

This space included an old small green patio table and one matching chair from 2001 and a porch swing with a faded pillow on it.  If you could see the snapshot in my mind of it you would see  that Better Homes & Garden would never have it in one of their issues.  But it was mine.  It was a slice of a few things that represented my life, apparently much more than I ever even thought.

The worn table represented the first piece of furniture I bought on my own, after a divorce.  Since purchasing it I would find myself looking at  gave me a strength or push of sorts I guess. To get through each day.  Looking at it made me feel proud that I could do that single life thing and buy this measly piece of furniture.  Fast forward 16 years later and I see how I made it through on the other side, now married, and raising my family with lessons learned from that life experience.

The set is not in style, not even a color I enjoy, and only one of the chairs remain. (But those chairs were the most comfortable dang things ever!) Oh sure, I had a summer tablecloth on it, along with a fire burner thing that was my Mom’s but that was about it.

 

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The porch swing was a gift from my husband and daughter one Christmas and I love it. That’s actually where I sat to re-fuel myself.  To calm myself.  To look out over the sunsets.  I had my husband install it so I could see the sunsets in the west and be near my lilac bushes.

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When I sat on the porch swing I never did sit like you’re suppose to.  I always sat with my legs up and my back against the arm of the swing.  The faded non-outdoor pillow supported my back and kept it from digging into the chains and the arm.  Comfort.  That’s what I had with my porch swing and it’s faded pillow.

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This is no longer a place for me.  One small moment in time has changed that.  It took me two days to be able to even walk into that area.

Some may think I’m over dramatic and that’s fine. Just keep it to yourself please.  But when the only image you continue to see is the one that sent fear through your body it is what it is.  

The most of the space has been disassembled and moved.  I had already thought of doing this of course but never mentioned it.  My daughter made it a point to tell her father herself in casual conversation.  I guess great minds do think alike! 🙂 Her feeling safe in her own home is the most important thing.

I’ve already been thinking of ways to update the post divorce table and chair. I can’t bear to part with it, it stands for something in my mind!   Repainting and recovering it, making it fresh and updated.  Will the image fade even more then?  Will this help or is it a band-aid of sorts.

I’ve had trauma in my life before.  Much worse than what I experienced recently.  The more processing I do I find that I believe the reason it may be so prominent this time is because my child was involved.  That the involvement of my child and my own experiences only enhances the magnitude in my mind.

So.  For now. I will eat my breakfast inside or on my back deck.  I will  ponder the refurbishing of the post divorce table and perhaps eventually swing once more as the sun goes down.

Julie

 

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May the Skipping Never Stop


I was sitting on the couch one night recently with my daughter. We were huddled in our own blankets, watching Supergirl. She was watching intently and I just stared at her for a few moments.  Her expression changed with each event of the show.  My chest began to tighten and a small smile across my face appeared, and a slight moisten of the eyes happened. (stick with me folks)

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The child that shared the couch with me that night, at times is still my little playful youngster while at other times little bits of independence make their appearance.  The body is changing and I see it, yet forbid it.  I know from experience it is only the very inkling of beginnings of things transpire in the world of physical and emotional childhood.

My thoughts this summer have periodically been of time to continue conversations of the “could be uncomfortable nature” or “she’s too young” or “in reality it’s not too soon”. Back and forth in my mind the role of motherhood is played out.

The battle of wanting her to be prepared in all aspects of life, yet wanting the innocence to stay at the core.  In the past year I have come to see how very differently we handle situations and honestly she’s better at most of them than I am.

I want to lock in this time for I know by next summer a whole new set of changes will come and I’ll probably be writing a post about it.  If I write here, hopefully I won’t be like the dramatic teenager I can be when dealing with her at times! 🙂

This is the child that has spent her nine short years skipping. She used to never really run but skip everywhere.  It represented a life of freedom and a go with the flow kinda mindset.  She still encompasses some of that, most of that.  But this year softball became more of a challenge and hustle was brought into play.  So running had to be done and well, she did do it, with some skipping too!  🙂

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I’m proud of the kid.  She isn’t perfect by any means but she took on a challenge of being a pitcher and not letting it break her “skipping spirit”.  Just with the degree of playing the game of softball changed, her life too changes with each passing year.

My role as her mother I think is to teach, guide, and allow her to fly on her own.  Three daughters later and I finally  realize that having them make mistakes  while home and I’m still a guide is essential to their adult life.  Saving them each time doesn’t teach them a damn thing!  I apologize to my first and second daughters for failing you in some aspects of my parenting, well let’s just throw in daughter number three too! We all know I’m far from perfect, remember I said I’m the one that acts like a dramatic teen at times! 🙂

I’m better at this motherhood thing now I think.  My “skipper” is better today than yesterday in this thing called life too.  It’s not all due to me.  She has a good father, super sisters, awesome grandparents, a loving church family, extended family, friends, teachers, and many more that help us in raising her.

But as her mom, I get an inside view of what is changing, even if microscopic in her daily life.  A front row seat if you will, to seeing each physical change and interpretation from her mind.  Sometimes this is a blessing beyond my own ability to comprehend and other times it’s hard.  Super hard to watch the innocence fade a level and the reality of this harsh world smack her in the face.  

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One thing is certain.  Until I take my last breath, I will sit in the front row, whether it’s comfortable or uncomfortable, right next to her or ten seats away.  I’ll be there, even when she doesn’t know it.

And may she NEVER stop skipping through life!

Love,

Mom

 

Daughters & Mothers – Resembling Oneself


Ever since my oldest daughter was little, we have been told that we look a great deal alike.  On occasion she truly loves this when someone calls us sisters.  I love that moment but her, not so much! 🙂

To be honest, she is 27 years old now and the moment it really hit me how much we look-alike is when this photo was being taken.  (The photographer was stellar and I highly recommend her by the way.)

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For a long moment I looked at her and thought, “wow we really do look-alike.”  I find it amazing that God created a child who resembles me so much.  That he felt the looks he gave to me were good enough to use again. The day of her wedding was one of the best not only for her but for her mother as well.

 

My middle daughter, now her, I see more of myself in her as she gets older.

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She is 22 years old and  with age, although still young, I see her choices and actions resemble some of mine.  It warms my heart to receive a phone call about cooking, as I used to call my Mom when newly married about such things.  And on her sister’s wedding day I realized just how much of me is in her.  Not only her thick hair but her ability to lead and care for others in busy times.  The choices she made and the attitude of some things made me think I was seeing myself in video.  The love she displays in a manner that is not too obvious as mine might be is something good.  I feel blessed to watch this one grow up and become the woman God intended her to be as wife and future mother.  Her choices of things to be cherished brings joy to me.

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My youngest daughter may not have my genes at all but her attitude and verbal responses seem to come from my example.  Sometimes this brings dismay to her father but that is ok, it’s a good laugh for me! 🙂   On her sister’s wedding day I witnessed her smile many times, enjoy the “girly girl” part of being a Jr. bridesmaid, and help her niece the entire day.  This one, well since she’s 7, she still has a lot of growing up to do, but I’m truly enjoying the gift from God through adoption.

All three of my daughters mean a great deal to me.

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Each of them have a distinct relationship with me and that’s okay.  They do not need to be alike to be loved the same.  As each of them is different, so is our relationships.   My hope is that these three siblings will have as tight a bond and love and care for one another as I have with my three siblings. As one grows older they truly realize what a treasure this is in itself. Hold tight my three no matter the number of years between  you!

Raising these girls has made me a better person.  They are one of the biggest treasures God has given me.  I love you girls, never forget that.

Grace is a gift,

Julie

It’s Begun – A Child’s Changing


It's Begun

It’s begun.  The moment in time when my youngest daughter decides she can fix her own hair and that she only wants it in a particular style! This may not be a big moment for you but it is for me.  She’s seven.

From experience, I knew this day would come.  Some of you are probably saying “she’s seven, she should be like this and it’s fine!”  But it’s not, it’s just not ok.

This mama thought she had at least another year or two, but now she wants to wear her hair in a ponytail that she can pull back herself.  Although her fine hair is in her face not long after it’s up, this does not bother her one tiny bit!  (One of my pet peeves is hair in a child’s face, just fyi) I’m fighting the instinct to force my mothering on her, I have to pick my battles though.  I know this from experience as well.  🙂

The future holds many changes and actions and reactions from both of us.  Now having two twenty- something daughters I cherish the fixing of the seven-year old’s hair or her silly stories or her outlandish ideas.   Even watching her play with her dog is enjoyable and hearing her talk about Pokemon (which I know little about) is a nice past time.

These are little treasures because I know they will soon flutter away.  The day will come when boyfriends will replace the dog,  a certain type of hobby will replace Pokemon, and Friday nights will be spent at school activities.  Those I will treasure too, although more on her own I’m sure.

So, today I will just brush the hair away from her face, kiss her cheek, and giggle as she cuddles up with 5 stuffed animals for bedtime.  I will not worry about the future for tonight. Rest easy mother, rest easy.

Grace is a gift,

Julie

Activity Options For Our Youth


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Activity Options For Our Youth

As school has begun it makes me start thinking about the things that are of importance to me and my spouse in regards to extracurricular activities for our daughter.  Up until now it has basically been church activities, softball in the summer, and girl scouts.  We added piano lessons at the beginning of 2015.

To be honest now that she is entering 2nd grade there are more options to choose from.  We are not parents that feel our child needs to be in every sport or club or extracurricular activity available to give them a valuable childhood.   So it’s time to begin choosing.

With my older children I encouraged them to try things and then decide if they wanted to pursue them any further.  To be honest by middle school, in the large community we lived, sports was not really something they pursued.  My oldest was more of the yearbook type and my middle daughter arts were her thing.  Our youngest is just starting to form interests and we hope to do this as well.

I think the main reason right now she is interested in girl scouts is due to friends that are in it.  Piano lessons, I desired for her to take and she is taking to them to some degree.   I see singing lessons perhaps in her future,  she likes music. The option of 4H is present come this fall.  Her father and I are still on the fence about this one.  More research to be done and decisions to be made.  Prayer plays a key in our decision-making as well.

No matter her participation in extracurricular activities, as parents, we feel the church activities trump any others.  I know that this will not be easy in the future to work with as today’s world feels Sundays are made for more than worship and fellowship.

Do we occasionally miss church?  Yes we do.  In fact, 12 years ago my mind was the view that a lot of people have.  Being in worship on Sunday isn’t necessary. ( For the record, my husband’s never ever has felt that way.  He feels you belong in the pew every Sunday morning) .  I now agree and he didn’t force it on me, he allowed me to figure it out on my own.  Which I hope my child will do as well with  the activities available.

The world is made up of many different types of people.  I feel that myself and my husband are more of the introverted type. Sometimes I wonder if that holds our daughter back from opportunities she is presented with.  I find benefits of both introverts and extroverts.  I don’t find one better than the other.  I also do not feel any club or sport is any better than another.  They all have their place and individuals that they work best for.

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It’s time to think, discuss, and pray on the upcoming year for our daughter.  Whatever the choice may God’s glory be shown in the choices we make for her and with her.

Grace is a gift,

Julie