Un-Happily Married

I'm not aware of any marriage excluded from unhappy moments, although I always read and hear wives say they are "happily married." I guess it's understood that the happily part includes the good times and the bad times, the ups and downs, the joys and pains, the truths and lies, the laughter and the tears, the promises kept and those promises not kept.

Hubby and I recently had a heart to heart talk about our marriage. We even discussed the benefits of being a husband and the benefits of being a wife. It seems like the husband gets the bulk of the benefits, so hubby and I shared our individual needs and wants to ensure we are equally satisfied with our benefits package. We even agreed to have weekly meetings to discuss met and unmet needs and desires. Our jobs and businesses have weekly meetings to discuss progress and lack of, so we decided to do the same thing. Why wait until years down the line and end up frustrated and bitter because one feels taken for granted and unappreciated - usually the happily married wife.

This is usually what happens in marriage. We invest so much time in our jobs, ministries, personal goals, children, to-do lists, and even...blogs. Just think, if we poured a portion of that time into our marriage instead of punching the clock of spousal satisfaction only at the end of the day or during periodic date nights, we'd have more happy in our happily married.

I'm guilty of this, but no more. I desire to maintain a level of excitement and happily in my marriage - even after 15 years.

This morning, hubby had a few minutes to sit before going to work and as I sat next to him, I imagined our early years when we couldn't keep our hands off each other and when his deep voice would make me melt, and his touch would literally make me squirm....oh my goodness...This IS THE SAME MAN!

It's amazing how our honest, open, and bold talk with each other this week stirred up the excitement again. Stay tuned because I'm working on putting some more happy in my happily married life.

Visit UN Happily Married

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Monday Meditation - Play Defense!

Instead of singing praises in church on Sunday, I was yelling, “Defense, defense, defense,” during another of firstborn’s summer basketball tournaments. He had two games and I yelled until my voice was hoarse. We won the first game and lost the second, but the weirdest thing happened as I loudly yelled for the team to play defense. For the first time ever, in all of my yelling years and seasons of sports, thoughts of how I play defense came to mind.

The game of basketball isn’t the only place where defense is important, but it’s especially important in the game of life. For example, just as I yelled at the team to put their hands up to block shots and distract the opposing team, putting my hands up (in praise) is my weapon against the enemy. Praise confuses the enemy and is my defense against his lame tactics and tricks. Praise is defense position!

Another example is how the team must focus on the player with the ball. I too, must keep my focus on my Heavenly Father and not my circumstances and the worldly distractions around me. Keeping my focus on my true power source is my defense to losing hope and faith.

Before firstborn gets on the court, I always tell him to stay prayerful. My prayer life is definitely one of my main defense weapons. A powerful prayer life leads to a powerful game of life – not only my life, but my entire family's life. A woman who covers her family in prayer is a woman who is playing an excellent game of defense.

I considered it an honor that I would be given such a powerful Life Lesson for LaVender on the basketball court and I had a hallelujah time yelling and improving my own defensive game!

Now, just because I'm off the court doesn't mean I can stop playing the game. Defense is necessary everyday and I definitely need it as I begin another week of battle in the game of life.

Are you playing defense?

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Are You Crazy?

Last night, I decided to visit one of my favorite places - Books a Million. I can stay in that store for hours reading, relaxing, and browsing books. I took second born with me and as we pulled into the book store parking lot, I parked beside a white SUV with the engine still running. Second born said, "Mama, this car is on and nobody is in it." Since the windows were tinted, I assumed we just couldn't see the person. Second born got out of the car and his curious mind led him to peek into the windows. "Mama! There's a baby in the car!" I immediately prayed that it was just an empty car seat, but I looked myself and sure enough a baby was in the car - alone.

The mama bear in me immediately went looking for the mother, but before I opened the doors to the store, I told second born to look into the car one more time to be sure we weren't crazy. He ran, looked, and confirmed we weren't crazy. Second born said, "Mama, whoever did this is dumb. Somebody could take the baby, kill the baby, and if the car is locked, they can break the windows and still take the car and the baby."

Hearing my eleven year old go through these horrible scenarios only upset me. I walked into the store and my child neglect radar performed a quick scan of the store and I spotted the mother. How did I know it was her? I don't know, but I knew. I wanted to pop her on the head and ask her if she was crazy, but I had on my MOMSWEB shirt with the Isaiah 26:3 scripture embroidered on it, so I had to remain Christ-controlled whether I wanted to or not.

I calmly approached her and asked if the white SUV was hers and she anxiously answered yes and began grabbing her belongings and hurriedly exited the store. I wanted to say more, but didn't.

- Was she crazy or just didn't know any better?

- Was it an emergency for her to go into the store or just a careless choice?

- Did she lock the car and have an extra set of keys or was the baby left in an unlocked car with the engine running?

- Did she leave the engine running to keep the air condition running for the baby or to let others know she'd be right back?

I didn't know the answer to any of these questions, but this situation reminded me that every mother isn't taught how to care for, protect, and nurture a child. I was also reminded by the series of questions in my mind, not to judge that woman because I didn't know her circumstances nor did I know anything about her. No, I'm not defending her or saying what she did was okay, but I am defending motherhood.

None of us are perfect and we have all done something that wouldn't be approved of by another mother. It's so easy to judge and point fingers. How could I ever invite this woman to visit MOMSWEB if I had popped her on the head and scolded her for leaving her baby in the car?

I leave you with the following -

"When spider webs unite they can tie up a lion." Ethiopian Proverb

"When mothers unite, they can change the world." laVender williams

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A Yelling Mama

Firstborn, now 13, never went through the terrific twos, but he definitely had a season of trying threes. I was crazy about my son and could hardly stand him at the same time.

It was during these glorious toddler years that I turned into a yelling mama. I didn't realize I yelled at my little one until a close friend/mother heard me yell at him through the phone and told me to stop yelling. Well, yelling was the only way I knew to get this little person to pay attention to anything I was saying.

- Nobody told me toddlers ignore, defy, and test the patience of their mother.

- Nobody told me toddlers express anger and frustration when restrained from doing what they want to do.

- Nobody told me toddlers often say "No!" to almost everything but don't necessarily mean it.

- Nobody told me not to expect or ask too much of my toddler in the control of his behavior.

- Nobody told me toddlers are not ready to respond to direct questions and commands.

- Nobody told me toddlers have no sense of time.

- Nobody told me toddlers have a stubborn sense of possession.

Just think...if I had been half way aware of these things I may not have expected my little person to be obedient and I may not have yelled so much. The thought of a completely obedient toddler is quite comical to me now.

Now when I see mothers of little people getting frustrated with their toddlers, I kindly smile and say, "They're supposed to act like that." I then gladly walk away feeling grateful to have graduated from that season of motherhood.

As I seek help in my season of teenage years, I will not forget the path I've already travelled. To all the dear young mothers of toddlers...this is your season. Try to refrain from anger, impatience, and yelling. Now that somebody told you to expect these actions, deal with it in a firm, but loving and friendly way.

Praying for patience always helps also!

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I'm Pushy!

I'd like to consider myself an encouraging friend, but I've been told I come across as quite pushy. Well, what can I say? I am what I am. It feels good to walk in your skin and just be you. Well into my forties, I've become not only lovingly pushy (smile), but quite expressive in my thoughts. What can I say? I'm just going with the flow of aging and peri-menopause.

I've recently had to use my pushy nature on a friend who has something I need - experience with teenagers. She's an excellent writer and I've been gently prodding her to begin sharing her experiences publicly to help encourage other mothers like me who have just entered the trying teen journey. She writes for our local paper, but that wasn't good enough for me. I wanted mothers across the nation to have access to this teen mom's experience and encouraging words; I guess this is when my encouragement turned into being pushy. Alright already! I admit; I'm pushy!

If I've said it once, I'll say it a thousand times...I need all the help I can get! I've never been a mother of a teenager, so where are my resources? My resources should be mothers of teens who have been there, done that, and are proudly wearing the t-shirt. This is just one part of motherhood I enjoy - openly sharing, lovingly bonding and gently encouraging one another - not being pushy (smile).

I love it when experienced and seasoned mothers enlighten and prepare me for what's ahead on this challenging motherhood journey. Whether you're a spiritual woman or not, sharing what you've been through or presently going through offers strength and power to another woman.

I spent more than a few hours with another mom yesterday and what began as a frustrated venting session turned out to be a very comical sigh of relief for both of us. We laughed and talked about our children, husbands, sex, money, jobs, the many uses of cucumbers, and whatever else came up. It was more than refreshing and our heavy issues were no longer so heavy. Did the issues disappear? No, but it sure feels good to know you're not alone in striving to be a loving wife and mother and getting very little in return.

So what about you? Do you have an encouraging word for another mother or are you seeking a few encouraging words for yourself? Well, my friend with the experience of teens, has finally began to publicly blog about her motherhood journey. Thank you, Lara! What's the big deal about blogging? Well, for me...it's encouragement!

Please drop by and offer a few encouraging words and welcome 60 Seconds of Motherhood to blogland.

If you enjoy writing and would like to share your motherhood experiences, please join mothers who blog and be an encouragement! The written word goes a loooog way!

2 Corinthians 7:13
By all this we are encouraged.

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No Time For Pain

It's a shame, but mothers have little to no time to be sick because we're busy taking care of everyone else. At one o'clock this morning (yes, the a.m.) I had to take hubby to the hospital. He jumped up out of bed saying his eyes were hurting and that he couldn't see. We found out he has Conjunctivitis, also known as Pink Eye. He has a severe case of it in both eyes.

As soon as we returned home, I went through the house with Lysol, Clorox, and Pine Sol. I thoroughly cleaned the bathrooms, door knobs, handles, and even woke the boys up out of their deep sleep to wash their hands. I think the prevention steps were more for me than anyone. I don't mind taking care of the family, but I don't have time to be sick and I sure don't have time for Pink Eye!

As I cleaned, I thought about women having babies and being expected to immediately go home and take care of her baby while she recuperates. Many cultures have other family members take care of the baby while the mother's strength is restored.

We are also expected to bleed several days each month without being admitted into the hospital. We better get a pad or a plug and possibly a pain pill and carry on as usual - I AM WOMAN! Who has time to be sick?

I may be making light of this, but the strength God gave a woman goes beyond my understanding. We don't even tap into our full abilities because we won't allow God to have His way with us.

Well, with that said, I must wash my hands, don my nurse maid hat, and prepare to nurse my dear hubby back to health. For those of you who have ever had a sick husband...do I need to say more? Wimpy, wimpy, wimpy...Oops...that's another post for another day.

Have a Wonderful Wednesday in Motherhood!

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Monday Meditation - Up With The Chickens

I look forward to sleeping in on the weekends, however, this weekend was so unbelievably packed, I had to awake early to begin my day the right way- plugging into my true power source. I take no credit for waking with the chickens this weekend because if it were my choice, I’d sleep in and ask not to be bothered. I would have loved to spend a few extra moments sleeping, but sleep can’t offer what intimacy with my Creator offers.

Yes, I pray while cooking, driving, and while in my constant movement, but it doesn’t compare to prayer and meditation in solitude. It’s selfish to ask for God’s help during my busyness and not spend time with Him. As I type this, I think about how I desire quality time with my husband and God stands by longing for some of that same quality time from me. Also, just as our loved ones want our undivided attention, so does our Heavenly Father. Hmmm…I don’t want to be the pot calling the kettle black.

A mother’s days are eventful even without extracurricular activity, so to add more hustle and bustle can become quite hectic. I need all the help I can get, so it’s crazy for me not to wake early and spend time getting fueled with supernatural strength, power, and energy. My chances of finding quality quiet time in the middle of the day are slim to none.

Just because I spent time in prayer and meditation, did I have a perfect weekend? Absolutely not! Did everything go as planned? Of course not, and neither will everything go as planned in this upcoming week. Regardless of what happens today or any day, I know waking early and spending those precious moments plugging into my power source will give me peace to endure what the days ahead have in store for my family and me.

Have a marvelous meditation-filled Monday in Motherhood!

Proverbs 31:15 (NIV)
She gets up while it is still dark...

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SAHMs Don't Work

Hubby is wonderful about giving me topics to share. He touches the hearts and minds of mothers everywhere - in his own special way. Well, he did it again and lovingly gave me permission to share with you.

As usual, I was in the kitchen and he came to sit and chat with me. Out of the blue, he says how blessed I am to be at home all day. Hmmm...let's see where he's going with this. He begins to talk about his job and how he has to deal with people all day and I only have two people to deal with - our sons.

I shared with him that I had dealt with people all day - I spent more time out of the house than I did in the house. He continued to put his size thirteen in his mouth by saying I didn't have to go to work. EXCUSE ME? Does he still not acknowledge what I do? I thank God for Jesus because I've finally arrived at a point where this statement no longer angers me, unfortunately, I couldn't keep my mouth shut and fueled the conversation.

I told dear hubby I knew exactly how it feels to work since I did serve twenty years in the Navy. Do you know what he said? "Yeah, but that's different." He went on to explain why my twenty years is different from working, but I won't share that; it might upset you (LOL).

After thinking a few quick seconds, I said, "Ooooh, I don't do hard, physical labor! Is that it?" Nope, that wasn't it, the fact remains...I'm a woman at home. My husband is definitely old school and thinks the man is the Tarzan worker and the woman is...Jane, the woman.

Whatever job I do will never measure to his. I continued smiling and asked him if he acknowledges the fact that I've taught our children for eight plus years. Wouldn't that make me a teacher - sorta? Nope, that doesn't cut it either - no hard labor.

I then began to give my hubby kuddos for his stressful job and telling him how much I appreciate the sweat off his brows. After all, I have to remember, I am here to complete him, not compete with him.

I love my dear hubby and he loves me. God uses him to teach me humility over, and over, and over again (smile). We were made for each other and are able to have heated discussions like this and still love each other.

I've learned to validate myself and maintain a level of esteem that will satisfy my worth and value. I have to have perfect peace and be content with my role. After all, hubby isn't the only one that feels this way. There are many men and women who feel this way about women at home. Oh well, I don't have to prove anything to anyone and one day I'll get to the point where I don't feel a response is warranted to such statements.

Hey you know what? I have to go out of the city today. The usual hot dinner won't be on the table when hubby gets home. Love ya, hubby!

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Tampons or Pads?

I prayed for boys and I haven't stopped thanking God for my two sons. I knew if I had a girl, she'd probably end up being like me and I couldn't handle living with another me. I also wanted to be the only queen in my castle, but little did I know this queen would be cleaning pee-stained toilets and smelling musty athletic gear. Gross! I love my boys and although we have to talk about pornography, masturbation, and waking up with erections, I don't have to show and tell about the monthly issue of blood - besides the fact that women have them. It would be difficult for me to tell my daughter to find the joy in having a period and to thank God for our natural cleansing process. I must be honest, I hate to see Aunt Flo coming and although I shouldn't allow her to control my social calendar; she does. Everything is planned around her unwelcomed visits.

When my cycle started, my mother told me I could get pregnant, gave me a pad, and I went outside to play - trying to pretend I didn't have a big, bulky-like diaper in my pants. I didn't learn about tampons until I joined the Navy and a co-worker gave me a brief how-to lesson on using them. I also had a roommate to try to help. Well, I never completely got it right. I began to wonder if I had two or three entry areas because I was definitley sticking it somewhere, but it wasn't doing the job!

To all the mothers of girls, please share with your daughters about their bodies. My mother married extremely young and didn't know what to tell me. Yes, I have boys, but we study puberty books and talk openly about body parts and sex. I'm not sure if I would be the same with a girl because I was an adult with children before I felt comfortable with my own body and how it worked, so how could I share the beauty, complexity, and amazement of a woman's body to a young girl?

I wrote this post after visiting Ms. Wanda and reading her post titled, The Tampon Saga - you gotta read it for yourself.

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Stuck Like Glue

My eleven year old was my shadow this weekend. He was on me like white on rice and stayed on my heels. One morning, I was up early watering the grass and he came outside saying he looked all over the house for me. He then stood outside with me until I finished. Last night, I was in the backyard sitting and enjoying the quietness of nature and he came and sat next to me. I’m grateful he enjoys his mother’s company, but I must admit, he almost exhausted me this weekend. As I type this, he is nearby asking if he can read what I’m typing. Pretty funny, huh?

Of course, there was a Life Lesson for LaVender in the midst of this lack of personal space. I was reminded of the security a Mother gives a child. Our presence alone is comforting and offers a blanket of peace and safety. Children want to know where we are, what we’re doing, and sometimes why we’re doing it – just because. I remember sitting in front of my mother’s bathroom door waiting for her to come out. Hmmm…I guess what goes around comes around. Help!

There was also a subtle spiritual lesson learned in secondborn’s glue-like company. Just as he desires to be in my presence, I should also desire and seek the face of my Heavenly Father. I should always desire to be at His feet and in His presence, which offers comfort, safety, and peace. Unlike me, God continually welcomes my company. He knows this is the only hope for Miss Flesh to become a reflection of Him.

Yes, secondborn’s constant contact is now a reminder to be in constant contact with the Master – to seek his face – to crave His presence - to be stuck like glue.

Have a Marvelous Monday in Motherhood and remember...just as we gain strength from being alone with the Master, our children gain strength from being with their Mother.

Psalm 105:4 (NKJV)
Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His face evermore!

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I Won!!

Please don't be jealous! This is an award I've been striving to receive for a long time. It's fun to receive the blogging awards, but let's be honest; the awards aren't real, but they sure offer warm fuzzies don't they? Who is the judging panel behind the blog awards and what are their credentials? It doesn't really matter, because it's all in fun, however, I often wonder about those bloggers who have never received one of our fun, but fake awards.

Well, the award I've won is the real deal and when I found out about it, I almost fainted. Not only am I worthy, but I know I deserve it. I might sound a little proud and I am - veeery proud! I've worked my butt off to achieve this extraordinary award. Not only have I put in long, hard hours, but the effort alone has caused many tears and much frustration. Okay, enough of the suspense. I will share the title of my award with you, but first, please know I'm willing to pass it on and I have that privilege since I'm the first official recipient - that in itself is an honor!

Drum roll please....isn't this how I'm supposed to do it? Let's do it again...Drum roll please! I've won the Imperfect Mom Award for the first time in thirteen years of being a mother.

Below are the prerequisites for being chosen for this prestigious award:

- Admitting I've tried to be a perfect mom
- Admitting I've tried to be Super Mom
- Admitting my short-comings and inadequacies as a mother
- Admitting I sometimes get tired of my children
- Admitting I sometimes lose control and snap
- Admitting that I've compared myself to other mothers who APPEAR to have it together
- Admitting I tell my sons to leave me alone
- Admitting I sometimes want to do nothing all day
- Admitting I haven't cooked in two days and feel good about it
- Admitting I take long showers to be alone
- Admitting I laugh at mothers who APPEAR to never have a bad day
- Admitting how darn good it feels to admit I deserve the Imperfect Mom Award!

If you feel you too, qualify for this award, I'm more than honored to share it with you! I'm not selfish (except when it comes to time alone and chocolate), nor do I desire to walk the red carpet alone. Feel free to take the award and feel as proudly about it as I do! Who nominated me for this award? I did! Who was on the judging panel? I was! Who benefits from this award? I do! I am free from all pressures of trying to be the perfect mom. You too, can be free!

Happy Independence Day!

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MOMSWEB Breaks Down

No, I'm not having a breakdown, but the MOMSWEB Mobile is definitely out of commission for a while. This car was donated to the MW organization and it's the car I drive to handle all mommy related business, which is just about everything I do. A couple days ago it stopped on me right after picking firstborn up from football practice - thank God for perfect timing! A couple weeks before this happened, I washed my cell phone. This morning, hubby left the state for the weekend, and you know what? I have perfect peace and I'm A.O.K. with my situation. I almost feel a sense of relief. Although hubby insists that I rent a car, I'm completely content with not being able to go out into the world. I've been ripping and running the last couple of weeks and the MW Mobile breaking down is a welcome matter. Just think,it could have been me!

Mothers are notorious for going, and going, and going like the energizer bunny, but one thing we sometimes forget that batteries go dead - we can also if we don't stop to re-charge, re-energize, and renew our minds. This weekend will be a much needed break from normal routine and I plan on taking full advantage of it. No car, no cell phone, no hubby...hmmm...anyone need two boys for a few days? That's okay; I'll just lock them up in their dirty room.

Have a peaceful day in Motherhood and don't forget to take a break before you break down!

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