The Struggles of Writing to Process


pushingforwardwithgraceI’ve said it often that I process things through writing.  So to not be sure if I should write about my experience this past week or not is hard for me.  There is a section of me that longs to just write about it, to aid in the discharging of the yuck that is now within me.  But then there is the section of me that thinks it could cause more harm than good.  That exposing the inner self of me would in someway put my family in danger.  Exposing our lives and experiences might make us vulnerable, more vulnerable.

The few people who know of the experience have probably not thought another second about it.  They listened while I told the story, they empathized with me, and now moved on. As well they should.  But to me, little ol’ me, it made an imprint on my inner psyche.

It’s been six days and honestly I am better.  I suppose by six weeks it will be a faded moment in my life.  A story that perhaps we can someday laugh over. Okay, maybe not that but something similar.

In the world we live in we are always at risk or in harm’s way.  Some of us just never wrap our heads around it in daily living.  Especially when we live a pretty splendid life in the luxuries that we do.  Me included.  Oh sure, on occasion I’ll feel uncomfortable in an area or in a circumstance but nothing ever fearing for my life or my daughter’s.

Now that I’ve experienced a small taste of  that type of fear, primarily in the daughter area, I find myself questioning myself.  Questioning the choices that involve our home, our life, our abilities.

That’s a small area of the struggle.  The thought of being somewhat violated, no matter how innocent it may seem to some, and I’m sitting here questioning myself! All I did was sleep in a bit and plan to have a great summer day with my kiddo!

More to come on this topic I’m sure……

Julie

 

Parenting/Grandparenting Divide


I’ve slightly struggled with the art of being a grandparent since becoming one six years ago.  It isn’t because I feel I am too young to be a grandma, more because at the time I had a three year old myself to parent at home.  It’s not something that has consumed me but it’s something internally I have felt on and off in the past years.  It is a blessing to be a grandparent. No doubt.  Joy abounds, but still.

The parent part of grandparent was more evident than anything else due to the fact that I usually have my own child with us when the grandchild visits.  Disclaimer: I do not feel a grandparent is one that should give whatever the grandchild wants to them or supply them with endless stuff, candy, with no regard to discipline.  Perhaps it’s that I feel a grandparent, in normal circumstances, can take a more relaxed role as one watching the grandchild. They can savor the enjoyment of the child without feeling they have to discipline as they do with their own children.  Am I making any sense?

Earlier this week I was lucky enough to have three out of four of my grandchildren at my house, along with my nine year old daughter.  After they left I was thinking about the day and how a tiny bit of me felt tired but overall just happy with the time I had with them.  The moments that came to mind are below:

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When my only granddaughter woke up and decided she would sit with me on the couch, just the two of us and cuddle.  Things like this do not happen very often.  Either her brother or my youngest daughter are present.  This moment in time I snuggled her closer and nuzzled my nose in her hair.  I told her I loved her.  She smiled back at me and it was a pure grandmother moment.  Relaxed.

Singing to one of my twin three month old grandsons while I rocked him and he smiles up at me.  That made my heart full and I couldn’t stop my face from smiling if I wanted to.  

Talking with the other twin grandson and his huge smile appears, like it was all for Grandma only.  

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I pondered for awhile later that day and reflected back in the six years of becoming a grandparent.  I find myself in a more relaxed state, even when my own daughter is present.  Perhaps it is because she is getting older or I have come to “fit” better into this role as Grandma Julie.

 

All I know is joy is present.  Joy is good.  Life with family is even better.

Julie

 

 

Stable Force – Motherhood


Spring has arrived and it came in with quite a lot of busyness!  Our family grew by a couple more humans via my daughter and son-in-law.  Our youngest turned nine.  NINE!  I can hardly wrap my head around that one folks!

As I’ve spent a few days in March cuddling newborns it takes me back to each one of my own daughter’s births.  All three had a unique arrival into the world, only two from my womb, but all just as precious.   I’ve also been reminded of the absence of my own mother.  She would have unwrapped the swaddled babies and inspected their tiny toes counting each one first thing!  She would have given advice from her own days of  being a mother to an infant.  I find myself doing that with my daughter  too, only I’m trying really hard to just step back.  Allow her to experience what she has before her, in her own way.

Mom and Daughter

I’m quite a bit more emotional than my daughter the new mother. Writing is a way for me to commemorate an experience all while locking it in, (for I know the days will come I’ll forget).  So, here goes.

I’m writing today because last night the simple act of dressing a newly bathed baby made my chest fill with warmth and pride burst from me.  And I wasn’t even the one doing it!  My daughter was.  Witnessing our children doing things in life always has some sort of effect on us, doesn’t it?  Whether it is a musical concert, sharing at playtime, a fit in the store, dropping a toy for the 100th time, or having them display their own parenting skills.

All these little nuggets in life bring forth different emotions and each have their place in our lives.  I think, in my own opinion, being a stable force in my child’s life is essential to a relationship.  Raising my children has not been always sweet moments with bragging rights attached.

There’s been times I’ve wanted to hide under a rock, scream from the street corner, and throw my own kind of fit! My hope if my daughters were asked they would say that Mom was there, even when she was mad at me or vice versa.

I hope I have raised my children with a good combination of love and discipline.  If I haven’t, then I think I failed as a parent.

(Disclaimer: I am not a parenting guru nor think that I am!)

MOther Daughter Wedding

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Farming Grace Daily

When I became a mother at 17 I knew nothing, although my mindset was different!  My first child was a practice run so to speak. 🙂  Then the second one came along and she was completely opposite of the first one.  By the third it’d been so many years I almost felt lost and quite unsure again (at first).

But as I sit here today I realize that the gold nuggets of this life as a mother are not always wrapped in beautiful boxes with big bows or grand gestures.  Sometimes, it’s just the act of saying no, using a somewhat firm voice, cuddles, or talking it out later. Or that the third piece of candy is fine or getting a C on a paper isn’t the worst thing in the world.

That stable force is built on combinations of strength, discipline, tenderness, and care. My wish for my own three daughters is that they are able to display this in their own motherhood experiences.  That the example they were given was worthy.  I love you girls!

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Julie

Beating Heartbeats – Visual Reminders


I sat in an ultrasound room this week with two of my daughters, the middle and the youngest.  As the little humans that my middle daughter is growing appeared on the television screen I couldn’t help but think of the sonograms I have had over the years.

My first was about 29 years ago when I was pregnant with my oldest daughter. During this week’s viewing I giggled inside my head remembering how they put the sonogram on a VHS tape for me.  I was so excited and thought how cool is this!  I still have it, maybe we’ll watch it sometime soon.

vhs-tape

During my second pregnancy I had an ultrasound while they  performed an amniocentesis.  Talk about nerve – wracking!  But everything was fine with the little bundle of joy come to find out.  It can be a joyous experience or a scary one when having a sonogram.

Then there was those littles that my husband and I created in a dish and they placed inside our surrogate.  I have some slick paper photographs of those itty bitty beings we won’t meet here on earth.   With the outcome of that journey  the gift of motherhood to my third daughter through adoption came.  We don’t have any vhs tapes, dvd, or photos of her while in the womb.  All we had at the time  was miles between us and her, and no visual until she was 15 minutes old.

Then there was my first grandchild’s ultrasound,that was amazing in itself. Here we are onto the next set grandchildren (twins) and it’s just as exciting for me!

Through the years technology has come a long way to allowing us to see inside the human body.  I’ve been to two sonograms with my daughter so far and there is a moment that really takes my breath away.

Every. Single. Time.

Those little heartbeats.  The ones that are pumping away.

I almost can’t explain how I feel inside but it’s pretty amazing to me.  I can’t keep from smiling.  There is no doubt in my mind that God created not only my three daughters or my grandchildren or even my petri-dish babies.  His amazing power can take us where no technology ever will.

Julie

 

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.

MOther Daughter

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

A Year Later – In Review


It’s a year later and although there are many things still the same, there are changes.  Primarily within me I think and it’s a continuous journey.  I want to share the thoughts, changes, and what the future looks like from my view today.

Professional photo

My life as a working outside the home woman changed a year ago.  I left behind a life of what I thought at the time more stressful, risky business, and more time away from home than I liked.  It was also a place of security, although not as much as it was the 17 years prior.

I feel that God moved me into the agent position as part of a transition into this new position as part of his plan for me.  HE knew I would never just walk away from a secure, good paying job I was pretty good at.  He placed me in a position that made me feel out of comfort, happiness at times, proud and miserable all at once.  It wasn’t about the actual position, it was who I am and who HE made me to be.

I stepped into a new position August 2014 of being a stay at home farm mom and wife.  I had some training at it, but never full-time. Although one might think it’s an easy position it brings about new lessons that one only knows if they are living it.

pv and i 2014

At the beginning I was taken away from my family time due to my father’s illness before his death.  I believe this was another of God’s plans and I have no regrets in the days I spent away.  Once things settled down a routine began for our family.

 

The routine included our one daughter still at home attending school and my days being mostly alone.  My thoughts went back and forth feeling guilt for not working and how to fill my days.  She was six and did a mother really need to be home full-time, but I wanted to be.  I felt my physical and mental self-needed a break.  So I took it.

Various feelings made their appearance depending on the day and they still sneak in on occasion a year later.  The ones of how to pay the bills with less money,  dealing with changes in our farming operation, learning to still socialize with the outside world, focus on my God, and more activities with the six-year-old to name a few.

 

Through the year, adjustments were made in my marriage, my mothering, and my life.  It’s taken a year to feel a normal routine and the summer has been one of the best ones of my entire life.  There were some pretty harsh moments but spending the days with our daughter and even helping my husband was worth those moments.

irrigation farm work

School will begin in a couple of weeks and I am wondering how I will do with my helper away all day.  I have various things in motion to fill my time, and I need to get moving more to care for me.  Taking time to step away from the computer and embroidery and walk for better mental and physical health.

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One of the major things that has been upon my mind lately is how I no longer intermingle with adults much.  How I feel when I am presented with opportunities for interactions is sometimes hard for me.  I was never a real extrovert but was fine in my work environment and most situations.  I find it interesting that anything associated with my church I feel comfortable with yet other things I struggle a great deal.  Introvert?  Losing my social skills?  Nothing or something?  This will be another balance to find in my life.  Another process and much time in prayer for guidance.

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I have to admit, I’m afraid to write this next paragraph. That I might jinx it but I must admit it for others should know.  God has provided for our family.  HE has presented opportunities for my spouse to work outside the farm to replace income no longer there.  God has shown me/us what is valuable in this world and what is not.  God has created a path that I am not as afraid to take as I was before.  On the days I am in fear, I know WHO is the only ONE that I can rely on in truth. He’s also available 24 hours a day which is good for me! GOD.

This change in my life after so long, in my 40’s, could have come along for any sort of reason.  To bring me closer to God, raise a child better, support my husband more, know more about farming, do more church work, find who I am really intended to be, or just leave behind the insurance business, no matter the reason, I find myself grateful a year later.

A year later in review

Grace is a gift,

Julie

 

Influence – Family


I hear my words, but not from my mouth.

I see my actions, but not from my body.

At times these bring joy and at other times a cringe.

I am in the process of raising my third child.  A total of three females have been in my presence since their birth.

That means my words, my actions, my choices have been one of the main influences in their life. I’m not saying this to make myself seem number one, others have just as much influence.  Perfection is not the goal, acting responsibly, making good choices, teaching while loving all are factors.  I have not and will not always be the best influence but I do try.

I have found myself looking back and seeing the mistakes I made but also the accomplishments as a mother, all while watching my children live their lives now.   A couple in adulthood, another still a child.  I’m lucky I think, for I have been given three people to love, teach, and watch grow.

This life here on earth isn’t forever but the gifts we receive while here are in abundance.  Even the bad days can be turned around by the little things from your children, whether they are big kids or little kids.  Whether they are of your DNA or born of your heart.

I just wanted to say today that I am thankful for my daughters and the opportunity to be one of influence to them.  I pray for them daily, sometimes that is all I can do for them.

Daughters

Grace is a gift,

Julie

My Child’s Faith Life – It’s Not the Brick & Mortar


“I am excited for the new Vicar to come.”

Those were the words from my 7-year-old after we made another  trip to the parsonage this week.

Of course I asked why, just to hear her response.

“I just am and if you haven’t noticed I like to meet new people!”

Laughter came from my lips and joy from my heart.  🙂 I’m anxious to see how she is when our new Vicar arrives since she made her announcement!

Sometimes when my daughter speaks I cringe,  but to be honest most of the time her words make me smile.  I’m thankful I try to track these little tidbits of joy and document them in her journal.  And yes, I put the ones that aren’t so cute too. Yep I’m that Mom! She has to know all things that have built her character when she grows up ya know!

I feel comfort in the fact that we only live two miles from our church and that she is usually with us when we are doing work there, worshiping, or just having fellowship.  She is growing up with a sense of security..  A security I didn’t feel growing up and as a mother it is one of the most important things I can surround her with.

Church

It’s not about the brick and mortar, the building at all.  It’s about what she learns inside (and outside in the yard and cemetery).  The people inside bring forth knowledge I could never give her.  The religious leaders of this building will teach my daughter things that are needed in her life.  She will build strong relationships with the children she shared Sunday school and youth group with.  There will be  special bond between her and the Sunday school teachers.  The abundance of blessings from one Lord’s house is truly remarkable if you think about it. The baptisms, the confirmations, the Easter and Christmas Eve services, youth Sundays, and sermons that will cross my daughter’s path in the years to come.  Just thinking of all that will pass by her eyes and be heard by her ears is astounding to me and fills my heart with joy. But the number one thing is that God is present and when one or more are gathered it is beautiful.

I pray that with this path, as her parents have begun for her will take her through life knowing that God is with her always.  That a building isn’t the key factor but a significant substance in her faith life.  That she will continue her journey as a Christian in daily living. That the bond of believers creates the church body and the love of Christ grants her eternal life.

Grace is a gift,

Julie

I’m the mom


Hi I’m the Mom that does the following no matter what my seven-year old says.

I’m the mom that tells her too many times in one day I love you.

I’m the mom that tells her no and demand please and thank you.

I’m the mom that still lays with her on my night although she is seven.

I’m the mom that surfs the web and checks Facebook too much while she is in the room.

I’m the mom that makes her still sit in a carseat.

I’m the mom that watches her expressions, listens while she plays, and makes her sound the word out while reading a book.

I’m the mom that prays for her daily.

I’m the mom that doesn’t let her watch the dvd player every single time we get in the car.

I’m the mom who will, on occasion buy her something that isn’t on the Walmart list.

I’m the mom that becomes a barracuda when she is hurt or reality tries to bring her down.

I’m the one that doesn’t let her play the surfing game all the time on my phone because it drains the battery so fast.

I’m the mom that eats McDonald’s with her but doesn’t always let her get mac & cheese at Applebees.

I’m the mom that makes her practice piano and spelling words daily.

I’m the mom that listens when she is upset and tries to repair the damage of the hurtful words from so-called friends.

I’m the mom that teaches her about God all while learning too.

I’m the mom that does game and movie night and has yummy snacks in the cabinet.

I’m the mom that taught her how to ride her bike and not to quit when she wanted to.

I’m the mom that falls asleep before she does some nights.

I’m the one that taught her how to relax and enjoy a bath.

I’m the mom that sets rules and expects them to be followed.

I’m the mom that fixes supper and asks about her day. The one that cleans out the book bag and cheers to no end.

I’m the mom that expects her to do more than one thing at a time just because I do that.

I’m the mom that questions the less than stellar actions and grades.

I’m the mom that says no to pop.

I’m the mom that worries she will doubt herself and not stand up for herself.

I’m the Mom that sometimes says bad words, gets mad at her dad in front of her, takes the dog she loves to the vet and fixes her hair for her.

I’m the mom who didn’t carry her in my womb but instead my heart.

I’m the mom that even though I didn’t carry her in my womb doesn’t love her anymore or any less.

So, if you are visiting with my seven yr old, just remember, whatever she says, there’s more to me than that! Both positive and negative!:)

Grace is a gift,
Julie

pv and i 2014

Correction – God Can Be Spoken About Outside Church


Correction - God Can Be Spoke About Outside Church

When my seven year old casually tells me that two children at her school told her that God and Jesus are to only be talked about in church I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs!  Of course it wasn’t intended at anyone directly. It was a knee jerk reaction to something I totally disagree with!

Instead of screaming I calmly asked a few questions, then proceeded to explain to my daughter that what was told to her was incorrect. That you can talk about God and Jesus anytime and that is what we are to do.  I also told her that some people will not agree with this but that we can still do it respectfully.  She didn’t seem traumatized or act out of sorts about the entire thing.  She just casually told me as if she knew that it was ok to talk about God and Jesus and that she was sharing with me.

I am proud of the way my seven year old believes.  I sure didn’t at that age and it took me until my adult life to understand the full grasp of the gift.  My daughter talks more about God and Jesus than I do.  And I sit on the board of missions for my church!  I suppose she is inspiring me, it’s been on my mind lately how I need to be more outgoing about God.  In fact I wrote about it in Mission Work – Where am I headed?

Honestly, I know that a day may come that she won’t talk so freely about God and Jesus amongst her friends.  The world of today may tatter her and she may fall to the “no one else does that” mindset.  I pray this doesn’t occur, but I’m realistic.  When I think of this my heart literally hurts in my chest.

I know why this effects me so much.  Because the child in me and the adult in me missed out on so many years of not knowing what was placed here for me.  I don’t want that for any of my children, in fact for anyone at all.  As her mother, all I can do is continue to teach, educate, learn with her, and guide her.

Do you ever find yourself wishing you could, just for five minutes place how you feel inside within your own child?  I have on more than one occasion.  Hoping it would save them some heartache, some pain, some mistake.  But that isn’t how life works does it? Each must learn in their own manner.

So for now, I will continue to listen to her as she tells me the things.  I will share with her why we believe, how to handle such circumstances, and allow her to take the lead in a lesson of her own.

Grace is a gift,

Julie