Turning 30 – Tashley Kay


Tashley b aby

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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tash and me concert

 

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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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

 

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


8/12/2015

 

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

 

Children Buying Houses & Learning Multiplication


My life includes my children buying houses and learning multiplication all at the same time.  This happens due to the fact that I started my child rearing days 27 years ago and then 7 years ago began once again with a third daughter.  Honestly, it’s not the plan I had but obviously the one that God had for me.

Daughters

I recall stating more than once that I was done having children. That it was alright for me to have that hysterectomy back when I was in my mid to late 20’s.  I had started young and looked forward to a life of somewhat freedom when while I was still young when they were raised. God had another plan, a good plan for sure I must say!

Parenting is never easy.  I do parent differently with my 7-year-old than I did when her sisters were that age.  With time comes wisdom but that doesn’t meant I don’t mess up now.  The difference is I do not allow myself to dwell on it but I do learn from each circumstance that arises.

One thing I do less is dwell on a particular worry that I think took away from the parenting of my two older children.  That worry of “am I a good enough mother?”  I should have focused more on being present with them verses being consumed with how bad I was doing. Lesson learned and I no longer do that one.

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My girls turned out to be good citizens, in fact I am proud to say neither one has been in trouble with the law.  Although, there was this one time, a public restroom and a young girl playing havoc with toilet paper! 🙂 You can guess which daughter it was and odds are you will guess wrong if you know us! 🙂

There are children that are easier to raise than others, we had this in our own family.  I feel that each child is a unique creation and have their own talents and restrictions.  They need to be loved with the foundation of moral goodness, manners, and God.  There is a thin line between loving and disciplining and children need to learn both.  So when they grow up they too can carry on good things versus the vicious cycles of not so great parenting.

My son in law’s will reference how their wives do things that remind them of me.  Usually it’s done in a joking manner but it tends to be on the “not so flattering” part of my personality.  I do the same thing with my husband, so I can’t say too much.  The things we inherit from our parents is not always heirlooms but instead words, actions, thought processes, or how we deal with circumstances.  If I could give advice to young parents or people who plan to be parents it would include the following but not limited to just these.

  • When you talk to a child get down on their eye level, talk to them, not at them. (I finally learned this by the time my 3rd came along!)
  • Discipline but pick your battles.
  • Let them be silly, laugh, and make a mess of your house.
  • But make them pickup the mess no matter what!
  • Be silly, laugh, and make a mess of the house WITH THEM!  Then both of you clean  it up.
  • You didn’t have children to be your servants.  Get your own drink, food, item from the other room.
  • Make them try the new food more than once.
  • Gather together and do devotion daily.  Whether it’s during a meal, before bed, in the car, or by the pool.
  • They don’t have to be in ALL the extracurricular activities, but they do need YOUR time.
  • Let them SEE you pray and HEAR you talk about God.
  • God gave you children, not your parents.  You raise them.
  • Date your spouse.  Seriously.  You skip this one it DOES make a difference in parenting!
  • Teach them manners and to respect others, especially their elders.
  • Board games. Play lots of them!
  • Read between the lines. Remember they are human but don’t have the communication skills you may.
  • Cuddle and sing!
  • Listen and look when they bring home a paper from school or draw a picture for you.  Really listen!
  • Guess what.  There is a lot more advice and I have missed out on doing the ones above and others, but as long as my kid still respects me, loves me, and is safe I’m ok with less than perfect!

My life would definitely not be the same if the girls were not in it.  I don’t agree with them all the time, I don’t pamper them, but I try my best to be a good example.  I try my best to let them know that I am here for them, I will be objective when they seek advice, and that I believe in God.

God had this plan for me to be a mother three times.  He knew exactly what he was doing and I’m lucky because my family has grown to include two son-in-laws, two grandchildren, and two very spoiled grand-dogs.

Photo is owned by Julie V. and use or duplication is not allowed without written permission of the owner of this blog.
Photo is owned by Julie V. and use or duplication is not allowed without written permission of the owner of this blog.

I still hate it when I can’t fix something for them but……one last bit of advice.  We aren’t placed here as parents to fix everything for our children.  We are given children to teach and love.  I didn’t realize them until my parenting was well underway that teaching and healthy love was the best gift I could give. So, I hope if you take nothing else from this post, you take that.

Grace is a gift,

Julie

 

Writing Prompts – Write About a Moment When…


I was scrambling to write a post for today.   I opened my writing prompts book for help.  This is what I chose for today. I hope it helps someone. The strength is present, just dig deeper for it.

Write about a moment when you felt proud of yourself.

It was May 1989.  I was 18 years old.  There was a large crowd of people in the stands, most I didn’t even know.  But there was an almost two-year old little girl in the crowd.  She’s part of why I felt so proud of myself.  See it was my high school graduation and that little girl was my daughter.  Walking across that stage meant many things to me.  The journey to that day is one I’d like to share. 1987-88

Walking the halls my junior year of high school, with my stomach growing each week wasn’t as much of a proud feeling as walking across the graduation stage.  There were the stares, the talk, the questions, the scandal, the rejection.  There were supportive and nice folks as well, some that stepped up changed not only my life but my daughter’s as well.  I’m grateful for all of them.

I didn’t get in this circumstance by myself but I did take responsibility, even if it was a struggle a lot of days.  Having a large high school full of students and teachers know daily what you did with someone else  at such a young age wasn’t an easy pill to swallow. But I did it because life mattered.  That child I was carrying mattered.

I wasn’t a martyr, I wasn’t good at it, and I didn’t deserve a medal for continuing high school while pregnant.  In fact, I wasn’t the first and I wasn’t the last pregnant teen there. I wasn’t the only one that year either.

My gift was not only delivering a healthy, beautiful little baby girl in June 1988.  One of my gifts was the ability to finish high school, walk across the stage to obtain my diploma, and show that two year old it can be done.  That there is strength within, even during the hardest of days.  Also that dwelling on the mistake doesn’t make life better, but learning from it does.

One of the proudest moments in my life was walking across a stage to accept a piece of paper that I worked hard for.  That gave me and my little family opportunities that I might not have had if I had quit high school.  I had good support that I needed during this part of my life, that made a huge difference.

So.  If you are reading this and you are a young teen that is pregnant or know someone that is a teen mother, or are one yourself I want you to know something.  That life within in you or sitting on your lap matters, and so do YOU.  You matter more than you know.  Take the time to find strength, ask for help, stop and take deep breaths often.  Don’t dwell on your mistake, but learn from it.  Love your child.  Love yourself.  I’m praying for you and your family.

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

Moment in Time of Joy


This photo represents pure joy to me.

It is a child.

My child enjoying the summer fun of swimming.

While her Daddy tosses her to a splashing good time.

Summer Fun

 Looking at her face I see these things.

Joy.

Innocence.

No boundaries.

Trust.

Only in the moment.

This child, I hope never loses what this

particular moment in time is giving her.

Joy.

Grace is a gift,

Julie