Guilty Moms

A good friend of mine expressed her feelings of guilt when she wasn’t at her daughter’s side during a recent incident. The mother made a decision to not be available, but later regretted it. What mother doesn’t feel guilty for not answering our children’s cry for help? I received my own life lesson through this mom’s guilt. As a mother, I must realize one of the greatest things to drive children to God is trouble and pain. If I continue to run to their rescue, I hinder God showing Himself in their time of need; I hinder their faith in God.

We raise our children to be independent and to develop a relationship with God, yet we continue to be their God by answering every beckoned, needy call. Of course, there are times we need to be there, but oftentimes we answer because we want to be there. We want to be a “good” mother, but sometimes being a “good” mother is getting out of God’s way. Ouch!

Sooner or later, children must learn to fly on their own. It’s a blessing we aren’t birds because there would be a lot of adult birds still in the nest! I know I wouldn’t push my baby out of the tree not knowing if he could fly or not, but a good mother would. Letting go is extremely difficult for a mother, yet our surrender displays our trust in Christ.

The funny thing about holding on to our babies is that they belong to God anyway!

Have a guilt free week and let's trust God answer some of those calls for help.

John 14:1 (NLT)
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me."

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Moms Showing Cleavage

For the first time IN MY LIFE, I wore a shirt that was cut a little lower than I'm use to wearing. I usually wear a tank top under this particular shirt, but that bold, risky day, I decided not to. What in the heck did I do that for? ALL day long, I was pulling up my shirt. The seam that was supposed to be on my shoulders ended up on my back - I was so uncomfortable.  It was only to run errands, but good grief...I couldn't wait to get back home. Although my cleavage may be considered a small showing or insignificant viewing, it's still MY cleavage!

Firstborn was with me and I asked him if he knew what cleavage was. He gestured towards his chest and said, "All that stuff."  I let him know how uncomfortable I was and used the opportunity to share a few lessons on appropriate dress and what to look for in a girl.  I'm sorry, but my body is not for display and of course this is my opinion.  By the large showing of cleavage out there, I'm sure many others disagree with me and that's okay. The summer months drive us to undress and cleavage is popping out all over the place while the eyes of men and young boys pop out right along with them. LOL

How much is too much cleavage? Is it okay for a mother to show cleavage in public? Why do we want to show our cleavage to the public? Is it sexy or sleazy? What are we teaching our daughters? What are we teaching our sons?  Should there be a size limit for showing cleavage? What do you think?

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Money, Money, Money, Mooooney!

As I watched the finale of The Celebrity Apprentice last night, I wished the average mother could go on the show to win some of that money the O’Jays sing about. While I strongly desired that money, I remembered I was born with gifts and talents to make a difference in the world and to make money. I have a strong desire to be a blessing to others – a big blessing. I want to bless others on Donald Trump’s and Oprah’s level. Do I pray to be a blessing? No, I pray to boldly use my gifts and talents I’ve been suffocating with fear. I know if I do my part, God will do His. Having a book published is just the beginning of God getting glory through my talents.

God has blessed women to be just as creative and resourceful as the Proverbs 31 Woman, yet many of us choose to live right beneath the radar of our potential. I realized I wasn’t being a good steward of my talents, so I’ve surrendered them to God once and for all. Fear is definitely Miss Flesh’s way of keeping me from being all God wants me to be.

What talents and gifts are you sitting on? What has God blessed you with that can be a blessing to others AND make money, money, money, mooooney? Remember, God isn’t the only one to benefit from the use of our gifts and talents, our family will also. Instead of accepting recession, let's be resourceful!

Proverbs 31:31 (NIV)
Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

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Why Am I Here?

Hubby and I received an invitation to Firstborn's High School Honors Assembly.  For the life of me, I couldn't understand why we received this invitation because Firstborn doesn't take any honors or advanced classes and his report card definitely isn't one to be recognized - at least not at an honors program.

As I sat there waiting for the ceremony to start and looking over the program, I became more confused. I looked at the awards to be given and some of them were for All 'A' Honor Roll, Top Ten Students, Club Awards, and Departmental Awards.  Good grief...what in the heck is Firstborn here for?

Secondborn was with me, so I mentioned to him that there were two students in the school with Firstborn's first and last name, so maybe it was a mistake.

The ceremony begins, and dumb Mama hears Firstborn's name called for recognition in the department of Business Technology Education. Firstborn was recognized for his outstanding performance in his I.T. (Information Technology) class. Wow! 

I felt like Ziggy for thinking so low of my child. After the ceremony, I hugged him and apologized for focusing so much on his mediocre grades and not acknowledging his outstanding grades. Wow...what a lesson for me!

Yes, I'm a proud Mama and will talk to hubby about rewarding our son for his certificate of achievement and for taking a walk across the stage of the honors assembly in his first year of high school.

Great job, son!  We love you!

I also thank his I.T. teacher for pulling out the BEST in Firstborn and requiring nothing less.

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Dwell On This

I enjoyed my weekend so much and Monday came all too soon. I awoke late, but immediately went to my quiet place to commune with God. It doesn’t matter how late I wake up, I must have my morning cup of Jesus. If I don’t, I easily turn into the wicked witch of Florida. This morning I read about choosing the right thoughts. How appropriate for a Monday morning! God knew when I opened my eyes that I wasn’t ready for another week of talking, teaching, taxi driving, cooking, cleaning, and other continuous chores and errands. I laughed as I read the words that pierced my heart and stepped on my toes; yet I was also thankful for them. I don’t know what it is about Mondays, but I refuse to allow Miss Flesh to control today or any other day with her stinkin’ thinkin’. If I give her today, she’ll want tomorrow. If I give her one negative thought, she’ll want two. Today is a beautiful day! Another day to get it right! Another day to experience joy and peace! Another day of life! It’s a marvelous Monday and I will dwell on marvelous thoughts of motherhood, my mundane chores, and magnificent acts of God! How about you? What will you dwell on today? Have a Marvelous Monday in Motherhood!

Philippians 4:8 (NKJV)

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

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As every mother does, I am always reminding Firstborn of things he needs for school, football practice, his chores, homework, etc... I asked him what he would do without me.  He said, "Die!"

Awwww...he loves me and NEEDS me.

I love you too, Firstborn. Don't forget to take the trash out!

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Teenage Lockdown

Hubby placed Firstborn on lockdown to get his attention in a few areas. Not only have several chores been added to his list, but he has to wake up earlier than usual and his choice of clothing has to be approved by hubby. Needless to say, the hoodies have gone bye bye.

I thank God for the father role in the home because as Firstborn's mother, I would not be able to get his attention the way hubby has. Am I too soft or do children just know how to work the mother? It seems the boys pay waaaay more attention to the male voice in this house than they do my voice. I usually have to go up a few octaves to let them know I'm serious and by that time, hubby has stepped in on the situation and in their face. Thank you, hubby!

It use to bother me that the boys pay more attention to hubby's directions than mine, but now I'm relieved! It's less stress for me plus it reminds me of what single parents go through. Instead of Beyonce's song, Single Ladies, someone needs to write a song for Single Mothers!

As a reminder to all parents, children really do WANT to be disciplined. Without order in the home, they live aimlessly without direction. They rebel against us, pout, sulk, and wonder why we do what we do, but in the end....they are thankful for parents that yank them back in line and place them on course.

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Do I Have To Spell It Out?

Hubby gave me a sweet card on Mother's Day saying how much he enjoyed being with me. He even hand wrote several places he most enjoyed being with me and one was in the bed and he drew a star by it.

My cards are still sitting out on my kitchen bar and Secondborn picks them up frequently to read them. Well, today he read hubby's card to me and the following is our conversation.

Secondborn: "Mama, Papa put a star by bed. Do you know why he put a star by bed?" 

Menot feeling like explaining the obvious and cracking up inside.  "Because he likes being with me in bed! That's how you got here!"

Secondborn: very quietly and embarrassed.  "oh, okay."

End of discussion...he already knows

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Mother's Day Pain

I woke up Mother’s Day with cramps and a headache. I walked into the kitchen to see dirty dishes from the night before, so naturally I washed them. As I stood at the sink feeling the continual pains in my abdomen, I thought of the many emotional pains I’ve experienced as a mother. From the time I gave birth, my children gave me pain and I still experience emotional pain as I watch them grow and mature. Pain from watching them endure their own pains of life will never cease. This pain is most unusual because it brings growth, teaches love, and delivers joy.

You’d think that after having one child, a mother would stop, but that pain from childbirth is forgotten and those nurturing instincts somehow kick in again. Many mothers are willing to once again endure the excruciating pain of labor for another child. Is it safe to say that children are a pain and a joy?

Well, I enjoyed my peaceful Mother’s Day and enjoyed my Life Lesson for LaVender regarding the joy in pain of Motherhood. Yes, God promised we’d have pain in childbirth, yet our pain is forgotten through the bundles of JOY! 

John 16:21(NIV)

"A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.

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Guest Blogger Shares Her Proven Plan

Lara McKnight
Teen Talk Columnist, PNJ
What's the Plan, Stan?

Today is the last day of high school for The Edge (of 17.)

On that fateful day over two years ago when we made the decision to withdraw her from the public high school, I had no idea where we would wind up. I could not, in good conscience, continue to send her to a school that was on lockdown every other day due to a bomb threat or rumors of violence. I did not care for the crowd she was associating with outside of the scope of my control. I was concerned that her education was suffering with all of the distractions. It was not an easy decision, and I've fretted so many times over the past two years whether it was the right one. Parenting can be a real "beach" some days - you just have to jump in and see where the wave washes out!

People kept asking me, "Well, what is your plan?" The truth is, I had no plan. I was making it up as I went along. I was not such a doof that I had not explored our options. I knew that we could pursue dual enrollment, return to public school for the last semester of her senior year, find an accredited course online that would offer a diploma. I discussed it at length with the Edge and she actually chose to attend Adult High.

She had to convince me that it was a good choice. While I realized that she should have some say in the matter, I was plagued with the idea that her classes would be filled with a bunch of n'er do wells. What we discovered was that the program encouraged students to take charge of their educations - the Adult High students were there because they wanted to be there. She took charge, plotted her course, and is graduating with the Class of 2010. Hey, wait a minute, that WAS the plan all along. . .

People might think I am crazy for not having a plan, but I've learned after many years that those "plans" have a way of changing. It works well for me to be able to think on my feet, to be prepared for a variety of options rather than believing that there is only one way to do things. It's not that I don't worry, because I do (I'm a pro!)

Ah, maybe "worry" is the wrong word. I prefer to "analyze" and "explore my options." Then, when it comes time to make a call, I'm ready because I have wor-, I mean analyzed myself to pieces over it.

The advice I would offer to another parent is to trust your instincts. Do what you think is right. . .and if it turns out to be wrong, well, find a way to make it right. It's okay to take life as it comes along, because it's going to come along whether you worry about it or not. There is not a single "right" way to do things.

There must be, oh, I don't know. . . fifty ways to raise your children. . .get on the bus, Gus!

Have fun!

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Make it Happen!

   Hubby had to work, Firstborn had football practice, and I had my first Barnes and Noble book signing that Secondborn was going to assist me with this past Saturday. Friday evening, everyone had their marching orders, and then the telephone rings. Secondborn tells us he has basketball practice - at the same time everything else is going on. Hubby had mercy on me and says, “No, son. You are helping your Mama!” Secondborn later corners me in the kitchen and tells me he could make it happen. I played ignorant and asked him what he was talking about. He boldly said if he were me, he could get Firstborn to football practice, get him to basketball practice, and get to my book signing on time. Miss Flesh stirred up in me and before I knew it, I was full of attitude. Remembering he was a child simply wanting to get to basketball practice, I toned my response down, and this is what I said, “Son, this mama could make it happen, but I choose not to go crazy trying to make it happen and you will not be going to this last minute scheduled basketball practice.” He tried to make me feel guilty! Doesn’t he know mamas make it happen everyday! To all the busy mamas out there making it happen, let’s not go crazy trying to make it happen! Allowing God to order our busy schedules is the key and sometimes, you gotta say, "No!"

Psalm 37:23 (NLT)
The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.

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