family pic

family pic

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Fear

The past couple of weeks I've been trying to get my game plan together for my future. I have been terrified to make a decision. I do not like setting the direction of my family because I am scared that I am going to fail. I am the type of person that wants others to make decisions for me and tell me what to do. I think I do that just to ensure that I, on my own, will not fail. You see, technically, if the decision I've made based off of what someone has told me to do doesn't work out, I really haven't failed. It wasn't really my decision in the first place. 

I just don't believe that I am wise enough to make important decisions for my family. I am terrified that I will pursue the wrong career and will not be able to provide for my boys. I keep going back to a time period when things looked VERY bleak for us. I thought I was going to have to get a full time job... which would probably pay very little.. which meant that Kydon would have to go to a daycare that accepted government vouchers, and the older boys would have to switch school once again. That's bleak right?! I was an emotional mess during that time, but guess what... God came through for us. He has ALWAYS come through for us! Yes, I have had some "scares", but each and every time He came through... even if it was at the last minute.

It makes me think about when the Israelites crossed the Red Sea. God did not tell them, "Listen, I'm going to take care of you. Don't worry about getting across the Red Sea. I've got that taken care of." Its not like they were running from the Egyptians and could see the Red Sea parting from a distance as they began to get closer. There was a moment when they stood there right on the shore, trapped between the sea and the Egyptians. What a scary moment right?! But God came through for them and so graciously delivered them. It was part of His plan all along! And guess what? It is part of His plan for me too! I need to listen to Moses' words he gave to the Israelites..

"... Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today.."

So I conclude this post with assurance that I can make decisions because I have the Holy Sprit in me, guiding and directing me... and He can be trusted. Yes, I would love to see His planner for the year He has on file for my family, but He asks me to trust him today

Thursday, December 6, 2012

My name is Christina... and I am girly

This post contains some thoughts and musings that have been going through my head for a while now. As far back as I can remember, I have loved to dress up. My mom would make me the prettiest frilliest dresses and I couldn't wait for Sunday to come so I could wear one of them to church. I have early memories from when I was 5 walking down the hallway at church to go to my class and all the adults would tell me how pretty I looked in my handmade outfits. I ate it up :) I also remember thinking that 14 was the golden age. Most kids can't wait to turn 16 so they can drive. What was so magical about turning 14 you ask? That was the age I was allowed to wear makeup... blue, purple, green, pink, sparkling eyeshadows and pink, red, violet lipsticks, eyeliner, mascara, blush... the sky was the limit at age 14. You see before then it was just that clear mascara that made you look like you were almost wearing makeup.
Modeling my new Christmas present

and modeling another dress
wearing one of the dresses my mom made for me


I think this picture is pretty self explanatory


So this was me. 100% girly. The type of girl you never had to force to wear a dress! So then I started school. Occasionally I would dress up for school and wear one of my favorite dresses. Some of the little girls started asking me why liked to wear dresses. I started to get embarrassed about dressing up and made a point to dress down for school. One day I got made fun of for bringing my purse to school, so I quite carrying a purse as well. From that point on I feel like I suppressed the girl inside of me and tried to tell myself that "dressing up" was silly and shallow.

I was still always paranoid about over dressing. Most women have a fear of being underdressed for a nice event... mine was the complete opposite. About 5 years ago, one of the churches I was attending had a Valentines Banquet. I was so excited because I finally got to get dressed up. I wore my black lacy sparkly dress for this Hawaiian themed banquet. I walked into the fellowship hall and the pastor had on a Hawaiian shirt and shorts. Seriously

So this bring me to the present. I have decided that I love to dress up and that is ok. Yes, I still wear dresses to my college classes even though we are allowed to wear pants now. Yes I wear my dresses to church, not because I think we should wear our best for God in His house (which seriously makes no sense at all... technically the church isn't God's house... and He makes a point IN Scripture to tell us He doesn't look at the outer appearance, but the heart. Rabbit trail I know) I wear dresses simply because I Love to wear them! That is just who I am. And I'm becoming okay with that :)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Perspective

Friday afternoon my stress level, on a scale from 1(low) to 10(mental breakdown), was approximately a 9.79. I had a little work to finish up before taking the kids to see a movie, so I decided to take them to chick-fil-a. I thought they could play while I worked. Ha.Ha.Ha. Kydon couldn't open the door to the play area so, literally, every 5 minutes I had to get up to open the door for him. He had numerous meltdowns, and eventually I had to give up, go home, work (which was filled with numerous meltdowns), and catch a later showing. When I finally finished my work I thought I was going to explode. I was bitter about having such an awful day. I decided I needed to take just a few minutes to pray and calm down before we left. When I closed my eyes it hit me that this had not been an awful day. Yes, I just had encountered a couple of awful hours, but this had actually been a great day. Lets rewind to 1:00 earlier in afternoon.

I was getting ready to meet with my advisor to figure out my final college spring schedule. I was nervous because I had looked at the course offerings and it didn't look like I was going to be able to match it with the boys' school schedule. I was willing to do a day or two of before or afterschool care, but I really wanted to be on the same schedule as the boys. I met with my advisor and we saw conflicts. We then worked it out where I would take the early morning class online. It all looked pretty manageable except for another early class that I would have to rush to make it to. We then realized that was offered online as well... and it was for the 2nd session online. It would be brutal to take two classes online during the same session along with on campus classes. Another pleasant surprise, I was able to transfer some credit hours, and was down to 15 hrs opposed to 16. I then spoke to my advisor who is also the vice president of the college about grad school and she gave me some great advise, encouragement, and offered to write a detailed recommendation letter to the grad schools I apply to.

I left the meeting feeling completely in awe of the Lord. He had been so gracious to me. I kept thinking during the meeting during my silent pleas with the Lord, that I didn't deserve Him to answer my prayer... I had even forgot to read my Bible that morning. But He took care of me. He lavishly poured out His love on me.

So fast forward a few hours, when i was getting ready to ride my day off as awful and was growing bitter towards the Lord for not working things out for me.... As I sat there remembering my afternoon, I thought how selfish I was being. No, this day had not been awful. I had let a relatively brief trial cause me to forget God's goodness and provision towards me. I guess its all about perspective...

Friday, November 16, 2012

Weekly Carter Highlights

This week has been a fun eventful week for my Carter Barter and I thought I'd capture my favorite weekly carter memories :) 

This week Carter had been making some comments about salvation and I could tell he was a bit confused. I decided to clearly tell him the plan of salvation without asking him to make a decision and just let the Holy Spirit work from there. After I talked about it he said he wanted to pray and become a Christian, so I asked him questions to assess his comprehension. He was hesitant on praying so I told him that he didn't have to do it right then and we would wait til he was ready. Later that night he came tiptoeing into my room and told me he was ready :) We prayed together and he asked Christ into his heart. Its neat to see Christ working in his little life :)

One of my favorite Carter comments of the week: 
Carter "Mommy I know why girls do not have beards."
Me (anxiously awaiting his logical explanation) "Why is that?"
Carter "because they use those shaver things"
Me "ohhh, so they shave them off?"
Carter "yes"

Favorite Creation: Carter was able to participate in Operation Christmas Child, where we picked out items to donate to children around the world for Christmas. Carter wanted to decorate his shoebox, and well... I just didn't think that needed to be supervised. I came into the kitchen to see this...

I thought he had drawn the devil on the box, but he assured me it was a jack-o-lantern... so much better right :P

He then proceeded to add this note to the top of it...
                                                               (Jesus is good to you)
And completed it with this...
                                                                (tic tac toe templates)
Favorite Outfit creation of the week:





Proud mommy moment:

Love this little boy :)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Ideals and Grace

Here recently I have been plagued with guilt. There is a certain way in my mind I have decided my life must be. For example I've decided that I will be the best parent I can possibly be. Everything you say a mom is supposed to be I will be. Therefore I think I'm supposed to single handedly do homework with my kids, read to them at night, have conversations with them about school, play games with them, play with them outside, and cultivate a relationship between them and God (I've given up on the whole fixing dinner thing.. and don't really feel guilty about that one :P).

Then I just can't do it- I try and I can't- I usually ask the boys' daddy to help out- Then I'm filled with guilt- Which typically causes me to avoid the Lord-Then I resolve to try harder. And so the cycle goes on...

I typically get frustrated when people tell me that I need to simply pray for God to help me. In my mind I interpret that to mean that my life can be the idealistic way I want it to be if I just prayed. I know its not possible to be all those things, so I typically don't pray for God to give me the grace and power I need. I just try REALLY REALLY hard.

It hit me at church yesterday that I am trying to do this all on my own. I've got this attitude that everyone is depending on me and its up to me to be the mother my kids need.... going a little deeper I also feel like its up to me to be a good daughter of Christ. He needs me to not mess up my walk with Him again. But it doesn't work like that. He wants me to empty myself and admit that that even my best for Him is filthy. What if when I sinned and didn't measure up as a mother or as God's daughter... I came to Christ and simply told Him that I needed Him... I didn't resolve to be an ideal... but simply admitted what I was and asked for His grace and power... and got right back up? I don't want it to give me an excuse to sin and be a lousy parent, but it does give me a sense of freedom. It takes the pressure off ME a bit and gives me excitement to see how HE is going to work through me...

Friday, October 26, 2012

Wacky Tacky Day

Thank you everyone for your sweet words of encouragement after yesterday's blog. I was able to go out to dinner with Tabatha last night and had a break from life for a while while she counseled me :) We actually came to some awesome conclusions about what God is up to in my life and how to handle this season...you will hear all about it later :) So thankful for her :)

So today started out on a humorous note and I thought it was worth blogging about :) Today my children were able to participate in wacky tacky day at school. It was cute seeing how excited they were about this day. Carter typically will not participate in any kind of dress up activity...let me rephrase...any PUBLIC dress up activity ;) But he was excited about dressing up today and even told me all about the out fit he would put together last night. 

I decided I would let them just go at it. I didn't want to interfere and thought this would be a good time to express their creativity. Carter was fine. He thought he was EXTREMELY wacky....but not really...shh don't tell him that ;) 

Quinton...bless his heart....Despite my determination to not interfere, I still definitely had to interfere...

Outfit #1
Quinton walks out of his room with his batman easter basket on his head...that didn't really fit on his head...with batman protruding from the back of his head- I tried to very sweetly tell him that I didn't think his teacher would like that

Outfit #2
Quinton walks out of his room with a pair of underwear on his head- Me "seriously... you seriously want to wear that to school?..... no..... I just can't let you do that"

Outfit #3
Quinton comes out with a couple of t-shirts hanging off his arms. Me "honey, I.... I....I just can't let you wear that.. you won't be able to write with those hanging from your arms"

Outfit #4
The T-shirts are now hanging off his legs. Me "Go change"

Outfit #5

Perfect :)

We pulled up to school and the blessed child had forgotten his book bag. When I scolded him for forgetting it he told me "I was just soooo excited about wacky tacky day. I was just thinking about how this is the best day ever and it made me forgot about my book bag." Needless to say, I think he is going to have a good day :)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Tantrums

This past week, really the past couple of months, have.been.hard. Typing that feels like quite the understatement. People ask me how I'm doing and I just don't think they'd understand, nor could handle me explaining how crazy life is right now....so I simply smile and say I've been busy. They reply that they are busy too and I force myself to empathize with them... and shove my anxiety and overwhelmedness (pretty sure I just made that word up :P) down and try to ignore it. I guess I've figured accepting it will only cause me to be incredibly sad and angry, so I choose not to accept it. I'm realizing that's pretty dysfunctional and is a sinful strategy as choose to not be vulnerable and expose my pain in order to keep people from hurting/rejecting me. It is also creating bitterness inside of me as I'm disappointed with people for not being there for me. 

So with that said the past few months Kydon has been difficult to deal with. When I pick him up from preschool It feels like he has one long tantrum til bed time. I know something is wrong but I can't figure out what it is. His reflux has been worse, and I want to blame the tantrums on that, but honestly I don't think that is what it is. I know part of it has to do with development. He can't communicate well and he will scream the few words that he knows to tell me what he wants. But honestly I just don't know what is going on. 

I have tried to disassociate my feelings from his tantrums and just mechanically deal with them. I will seriously loose my mind if I think about them too much and become angry. Inevitably I'll hit my breaking point from time to time and take a "mommy time out". Yesterday was awful. I finally accepted my frustration and had a tantrum with the Lord. Why....why, why, why do I have to deal with this!!! My life is seriously already incredibly hard!!! What are you thinking Lord? Aren't you supposed to be good?! Honestly I'm still trying to figure this out. This isn't the first time I've felt this way and I know that God was working in my life in the past when I felt surrounded by chaos. That gives me hope that I'll be able to look back at this time in my life and know that He was actively involved and working His plan in my life. I just want some sweet assurance right now that He is for me...that he is rooting for me. I heard this song, Not For a Moment by Meredith Andrews, on the radio and it has been my rock the past few days:

                                                                         You were reaching through the storm 
walking on the water 
even when I could not see 
in the middle of it all 
when I thought You were a thousand miles away 
not for a moment did You forsake me 
not for a moment did You forsake me 

after all You are constant 
after all You are only good 
after all You are sovereign 
not for a moment will You forsake me 
not for a moment will You forsake me 

You were singing in the dark 
whispering Your promise 
even when I could not hear 
I was held in Your arms 
carried for a thousand miles to show 
Not for a moment did You forsake me 

and every step every breath you are there 
every tear every cry every prayer 
in my heart at my worst 
when my world falls down 
not for a moment will You forsake me 
even in the dark 
even when it's hard 
you will never leave me 
after all 

not for a moment will You forsake me

Good stuff right?! I can't say that I am now in perfect peace with my circumstances, but I do know with assurance that I'll be able to look back on this stage of my life and see God's hand even though I can't see it right now.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

musings on single parenting

I am amazed at how much my thinking and views have been transformed in the last 5 to 10 years. When you turn 20 you think you have gotten this thing called life figured out. You think Christianity is black and white and that there must be a set/default answer and solution for every problem that comes in life. I personally thought as I matured in my walk with God I would learn all of these default answers and my Bible would essentially become my reference book. Larry Crabb calls this recipe theology, where we treat the Bible like a recipe book. Yes there are definite answers and solutions within the Bible that we are commanded to follow, but there are some topics that are not so black and white. We are forced to become completely dependent on the leading of the Holy Spirit to direct and guide us to His will for our own personal life.

One of the ignorant conclusions I had come to when I was younger is that churches should not reach out to single moms. I remember hearing about a single mom's outreach ministry on the radio and being filled with a wave of judgement. They should not be reaching out to those in sin. It almost sounded like they were supporting single moms. Yes if you were a single mom during this stage in my life I probably had mentally cast some judgment on you :P

Oh, how the Lord has transformed my thinking. But He hasn't given me a new set of default answers to my thinking. I'm realizing that there are some topics that just aren't answered in the Bible. One of these topics pertains to single mothers. Previously this was a "black" area. Single moms...bad. Marriage....good. Maybe there were some women that couldn't prevent becoming single mothers, but surely they could have prevented getting in bad relationship. If they became pregnant and didn't get married...that was their fault. If they got married and their marriage failed...they could have somehow prevented that. I now see that my error was in believing that we as humans have to power to control others and our circumstances. I now realized that we don't. God was the perfect father and husband, but Israel still rebelled against Him. Would we dare say to God, maybe if you were just a little more gracious to them they would have remained true to you? or "if you could have just showed them a little more tough love...?"

 And then God took me off my prideful throne and I become one of those single moms. I became frustrated with people who judge or stereotype single moms. I'm finding people/churches reach out to them because they see them in sin. My skin cringes when I hear people say that they will reach out to single moms because they are in a ditch (implied that they have fallen into sin). I've realized there isn't a default answer to this topic. Yes, some single moms are rebelling against the Lord. Yes, some married women are rebelling against the Lord. We can't put a "good" and "bad" label these categories. I get frustrated and worked up over the judgmental views of single parenting, then the Lord ever so gently reminds me that this was me 7 years ago! I wish I could go back in time and explain 20 year old me why single mom's need to be reached out to and supported. What reasons would I give you ask? Stayed tuned and find out... ;)




Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Random memory of the day

Today I was sitting at Panera Bread attempting to get some work done and started watching the Panera Bread employees (Yes, I love people watching and can figure out their whole life story in a matter of minutes....or so I think...). Watching them and figuring out their stories brought me back to one of my own stories. I started to chuckle to myself as I reread a completely ridiculous story in my life. So I shall tell it to you...

I had the big sweet 16 birthday, which meant that I could now start driving, which meant that I could get a job. The idea of looking for a job scared me a bit because that would require me going to places by myself... talking to people I didn't know... about stuff I didn't know anything about. That was pretty terrifying to an insecure shy 16 year old girl like me! Sooo, my mom (what a good sport she was) came with me to go job hunting.

First stop... Wendy's. The manager went to church with me, went to high school with my mom, and had managed two of my aunts when they worked at Wendy's back in the day. That seemed like a pretty non threatening place to start. My mom pulled up to the restaurant and dropped me off as I nervously went inside to ask for an application. The manager pretty much hired me right then and there and told me stories about my mom and aunts during our "interview".

Fast forward a couple of days and I am driving to my first day of work. My mom is in the car with me for moral support :) I am wearing my huge oversized Wendy's shirt, but I was determined to still look good in my Wendy's outfit, so i paired the huge shirt with some cute dress pants, matching bracelets and earrings. I attempted to style my hair around the ugly wendy's hat and spent an hour on my makeup.

I pulled up to the building and turned into the parking lot...the wrong way. (later I found out that my future coworkers were watching this whole scenario). I drove past the drive through window, where the whole wendy's crew could see their new coworker coming the wrong way...got out of the car so my mom could switch from the passenger's seat to the driver's seat.. and we hugged right there in the parking lot.

So to summarize up this story. My coworkers looked out the window to see someone coming the wrong way into the parking lot, get out of the car somehow completely dressed up....in a Wendy's uniform.... driving their mom...and hugging her in the middle of the parking lot :)

Yep I was cool ;)







Thursday, August 30, 2012

Prayers for Kydon

video
                                                                        (His latest trick :)

Last week Kydon had a developmental evaluation and I've had a hard time processing everything, and therefore haven't given any updates on him. Let me back track a bit...

This summer he had a "developmental spurt" so to speak. He went from saying no words to putting a couple of words together all within a few months. We were all thrilled and his therapists were very encouraged as well. I think we all didn't realize that he was still lagging developmentally bc he had improved so quickly. His therapist told me that they will do another evaluation in August and that there was a good chance he wouldn't even need therapy and was finally caught up for his age.

We had that evaluation last week and the results were pretty discouraging. A 30% delay in one area is significant and he scored over a 30% delay in 3 of the 4 areas. He was showing up at an 18 month level and he is almost 2 1/2 now. Most people who see him think he is just fine because his size and development are on the same level, but when you put him with kids his own age you can see the delay.

I have had to put in him daycare this year due to work & school and I felt VERY guilty about that during his first week there. The therapists that evaluated him told me that is the best thing I can do for him right now. They are very hopeful that the interaction with children who are at a developmental level where he should be, will help him to catch up. They also think the rigid schedule that they are on will help his development as well. He is even trying new foods there he would have never tried for me at home! I can tell he wants to be like/eat like the other kids at his table. You can imagine how much of a relief hearing about his actual NEED for daycare and seeing him thrive there has been. I no longer drop him off with guilt, but with assurance that this is best for him right now.

One more tidbit of information. I received a phone call last week from a research group from UNCG that is conducting a research study on children within his age group that have developmental delays, and trying to figure out the cause. (He has seen every medical & developmental specialist and we still know nothing!). Kydon qualified for their study and they will be doing tests and surveys on him, me and his daddy. I will actually receive compensation for this study which will be a huge help in paying for his daycare. Wow, right?! Isn't God good!

So with all that said, please pray for Kydon. We are all really hopeful that he is going to thrive in daycare, especially as I'm already seeing improvement. I REALLY want to keep him in christian daycare, but if we don't see improvement after this year, I will have to look at other options. So please pray for him and pray that God will prepare my heart if His plan is different from the one I want.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I'm weak. He's strong. Yay Jesus!

(our first day of school)

I really should be working on a blessed critical analysis paper for British Literature (I know it sounds dreadful right!) but my heart is heavy and my mind is foggy, so i thought I'd blog.

So this is where I am since my last blog. Finals this week...and on campus classes have started... and all three boys have started school...  and my sweet sweet Kydon has only been taking 30 min naps at daycare and has been a sweet little nightmare in the evening. I am SO overwhelmed and therefore am feeling very weak physically, emotionally, and spiritually. During stressful times like this I just want to give up spiritually and have an escape from reality and responsibilities. I get consumed by loneliness and long to have a someone to carry the load with. BUT that is not God's will for me right now. I've got to do this alone. And if I'm honest that just kind of stinks right now! BUT a verse just came to my mind, 

Each time he said, "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness." So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. (2 Cor. 12:19)

How great is that?! And who has ever boasted about their weaknesses?! Most of us would boast  about things such as growth in Christ that has made US feel mature and capable of doing great things. We would name those great things we had done, but then make sure we add something like "for God's glory" or a "praise the Lord" at the end. But who has ever boasted and enthusiastically said that they've "felt really weak this week and completely incapable of doing anything great for the Lord!". No one ever. That person would typically be given a three step plan of what THEY could do to strengthen themselves spiritually so that THEY could do great things for God. Do you see where I'm going with this?

Its not about what WE do for God. Its about what HE does through us! Amen, right?! Ok, at least it gets an amen from me because that's perfect for me right now :) So, now I shall go back to my paper (insert a brief mental temper tantrum), still in a state of weakness, but so grateful that God can use me just. like . this.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I am Christina.... and I am a mess

I thought I'd come out of the closet about the craziness and chaos that summarizes our little Brooks family. When I go out I try hard..... REALLY hard.... to hide it, but it inevitably comes out from time to time and I'm left completely embarrassed. Here are my top 3 examples of our craziness.

1. Our last move. Holy Moly, that was an embarrassing move. Why you ask? Let me tell you why. First of all I kept working during that time and trying to box everything up so some things were inevitably neglected...such as cleaning... and controlling my children's chaos. So the guys came to help us move and when they moved the entertainment center there was the equivalent of an entire lego set underneath it. I nervously cracked a joke about it and quickly went to pick them up.... but... they wouldn't move. They were all stuck to the floor. Apparently some kind of drink...some time ago... had been spilt and the lovely legos under the center were now glued to the floor....

2. Getting ready for church Sunday morning is never...EVER... an easy task. I want to write the boys' Sunday School teachers a note that goes something like this....

 "Dear Teacher,

 Please do not judge me for letting my child wear flip flop with his dress shirt and pants. The dress shoes were not in the shoe bin... or the car... or his room... or my room... or any room in the house. I know he has peanut butter on his face.... and that I have peanut butter on my pants. I'm really okay with it if you are. No he did not bring his bible or memorize his verse. After spending a 1/2 looking for the shoes I really didn't have time to look for his book/bible/ and memorize Bible verses. He probably should not drink from his sippy cup bc there is a good chance that it contains the remnants from last weeks milk. Thank you in advance for being patient with me picking him up late from class. I really do try to hurry, but his brothers are in every opposite corner of the church, so its inevitable that somebody will be picked up late.

P.S. - Thank you so so so much for choosing to be part of my chaos for an hour so I can have a break :D

3. My blessed van. Ohhhh boy... the disarray inside of it pretty much summarizes our family! Lets just say its so bad I just can't bring myself to give a description of its contents. When we moved inevitably people saw inside of it and I was humiliated....utterly humiliated... I'll leave it up to your imagination to picture the interior.

So there it is. I'm officially owning and admitting that my family is an utter mess. I know its just time to accept that this is just going to be my life for awhile. I so so want to have organization in my home... and van... but I just can't with all that I have going on... and I think God is okay with that... and wants me to be as well. I struggle because I want people's approval and... well... a cluttered home with children that are a bit unkept is typically frowned upon! BUT I know I am trying my hardest and those things don't matter to God or impact eternity..... SO I am choosing to be okay with our craziness :)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Finding Joy!

God has truly been blessing me the past couple of months and I've been able to find joy in Him. The past 3 years have been so so hard for me... quite obvious to all of you who have been following my blog! I struggled with a lot of depression as I lost hope in my marriage. Things fell apart right when I found out I was pregnant with Kydon and I literally think I spent half of the pregnancy crying as I had to combat crazy hormones as well! From that time up til this summer I felt like I had such a huge weight on me. Even the easiest most trivial tasks seemed so hard to do. I remember feeling so bad because I honestly didn't enjoy going out with my kids and had to force smiles for them and press through my numbness.

I felt like I had lost all hope and as hard as it was, I needed that at the time. I had nowhere to turn, but to God. I didn't always turn to Him and constantly looked to people to bring me happiness. I don't think those around me knew how much I was struggling bc I found brief happiness in people. It was a struggle bc I needed...oh how I needed support... but nobody could ever truly numb my pain, and when I returned to my empty bed I would be reminded of that. And all that was left was God. I can honestly say I didn't feel 100% satisfaction in Him and so so wanted that. If He wouldn't change my circumstances He was supposed to take away my pain right? But He didn't. He comforted me and He took care of me. He really did take care of me. I was able to stay home with my kids and He provided for me time and time again. I remember meeting with a professional counselor bc I was so overwhelmed with my life. After I would have my weekly meltdown with her she would smile and tell me she thought I was doing a good job and had too high expectations for myself. She said she envisioned God reaching his hand down to me and wanting me to simply hold His hand and just survive this trial in life. She encouraged me to simply focus on surviving right now. Oh no no.. I was supposed to thrive right? Nope, I really think God just wanted me run into His refuge and survive. One night I lost the very lost thread of hope I had been clinging too and I dropped to the floor and sobbed myself to sleep right there in the middle of the floor. I had this mental image of myself crawling to God, my refuge, and it hit me that I don't even have to crawl there. I could collapse right where I was and He would come to me and cover me like a hen covers her baby chicks. Yes, I still hurt and struggled to keep pressing on, but God gave me the grace to endure.

I was thinking the other day that I had to experience every bit of the pain during that time or it wouldn't have been real. That all is just part of divorce. God did not intend for marriage to dissolve and to endure a divorce without deep pain would be completely dysfunctional. If He took away that pain I would not be able to relate and hurt with women going through divorce right now.

So this leads me to where I am now. The past couple of months the weight of sadness has been taken away. I used to wake up in the morning feeling hopeless and numb... I wouldn't even be thinking about anything in particular. I would just wake up with an instant weight on me. Now I am waking up...tired and sometimes grumpy... but ready to get out of bed and start the day. It is SO freeing! I'm not sure what caused the weight to lift, but I'm praising God for His grace! I've loved spending time with my boys and have the energy to take them out and to simply play with them. Just writing that brings tears to my eyes, because it has been such a joy! I even took them to an inflatable play center last week and crawled through the tunnels with them, went down the slides, and just all around had so much fun with them. I praise the Lord for this time in my life. He has been so gracious to me! I would be lying if I said there wasn't still a void in my life that God hasn't completely filled, but I think that is normal. There was a part of my soul designed for a spouse and God will never completely fill that void. I don't think He wants me to go out and try to find someone to fill it right now, but rely on His grace to help me endure that void for the time being. I am so thankful for His grace!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

My name is Christina... and I'm a Redhead.

The recent movie Brave has got me thinking a bit about my red hair. I can honestly say that I love my hair and do not wish I was born with a different hair color... But that definitely wasn't always the case.

When I was a kid I HATED/DESPISED/LOATHED my hair!!! I had a thick head of crazy frizzy curls of red. I remember getting on the bus every morning with my sister (who also had red hair) and being called carrot top, fire head, etc... which would continue at school until I made it home. I remember being so disappointed that God would give me red hair. I just wanted to look normal like everyone else. Why couldn't he have created me to have straight blond hair... oh yes, and freckle free!! I begged my dad to let me color my hair, but he wouldn't so much as let me put highlights in it. I remember putting lemon juice in my hair during the summer and laying on in the sun, hoping it would lighten my hair. I'd settle for just a strawberry blond, but I had no such luck. My hair was stubborn and indestructible! It did not lighten with the lemon juice... or the sun-in spray... or even with the home highlight kit I secretly tried to put in my hair during a mission trip. 

I remember all of my teachers loved my hair and would compliment it, and at least once a week I would hear an older person tell me "You have the prettiest hair" or "look at your cute freckles". I honest and truly interpreted those comments as "You are such a cute nerdy looking girl". I HATED getting compliments from older people because I thought they just felt sorry for me :P

Books and movies did not help my hatred for my red hair. What color of hair did the nerd or the ugly duckling have in all of the stories? Yes, you guessed it. RED hair. But not just red hair. CURLY red hair!! 

Once I got in high school I started to learn how to tame my curls a bit. I discovered some glorious things called hair gell and hair spray! I started to realized that my curly red hair made me unique.... and I liked being unique. When I switched schools back to the high school where some of my childhood tormenters went I even got an apology one day. The guy who ruthlessly tormented me came up to me one day and said "I just wanted to let you know I'm sorry for making fun of your hair when we were kids. I actually think its really awesome now." That kind of made my day :) 

Now I am all grown up and I can honestly say not only have I come to grips with God giving me red curly hair, but I have come to love my red curly hair. The past couple of years I have grown it out... it hasn't been long since I was 14... and I am actually proud of my long red locks of curls :) 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Where I am

I thought its time to end this little three part series about my new chapter in life :) So, here's the recap....

God led me to quit KCQ's cakes and go back to school to pursue a career in counseling... plus a few other details...

So, I began to take steps to pursue what seemed like a bit of a long shot dream. I figured it would take me two years. I went into Piedmont and met with the Registrar. He, ever so patiently, began to look at my mess of transcripts. You see, I spent a year and a half on campus. Went back a couple of years later...did another semester. A couple of years later went back online... and now wanted to finish up :P After a couple of hours...yes it took hours... he told me if I added the counseling minor I could finish in a couple of years...a couple of semesters full time and a couple part time. If I just added a christian ministry minor I could graduate next May. Yes, that's right....walk down the glorious stage in my cap and gown and receive my degree in a YEAR!!!! To do anything in counseling you need a master's degree in counseling, which I hope to pursue next fall...sooooo, I decided to drop the counseling minor and graduate in less than a year. Woot Woot!

It gets even better. I told the registrar that I really wanted my school schedule to match up with the boy's school schedule. I wanted to take them to school and pick them up...especially with it being Carter's first year in Kindergarden. My schedule matched perfectly up with their school schedule except for an early class on Monday and Wednesday. We looked at the online schedule and that class is offered online!! I thought that would be such a long shot to get our schedules matched up, but they are. Isn't God good :) I don't have any classes on Tuesday and Thursdays, so I'm hoping to use those days to get caught up on work and homework, so I can still invest in my boys. 

So here I am now. About to embark on this crazy adventure... and I'm so excited. Last week I recommitted it to the Lord again as I had began to OVER plan (trying to get every detail figured out for the next 10 years :P. I want to make sure I'm not putting my hope in my dream, but in the Lord. I don't want to be in a place where I'll be devastated if it doesn't work out, but trust His provision and protection for whatever direction He wants me and my family to go... basically being okay with whatever happens because I know He loves me and is giving me whats best for me. I start a couple of online classes next month. Lets pray that my next post isn't a helpless cry about how insane my life is :P

Sunday, June 3, 2012

A New Chapter Part 2

I thought it was time to continue my last blog because I'm sure you all have anxiously been checking out my blog to see if I finished telling about our new chapter in life (or at least that's what I'd like to believe bc   it makes me feel kind of important :) So, a brief summary of my last post: I was running KCQ's Cakes with my business partner Tabatha and we both felt like we needed to phase out the business bc our children were getting neglected, so we did, and God blessed :)

Right when I made that decision I knew I needed to start looking for a replacement job. I hadn't even gotten the word out except to a few close friends when I received a call from a dear lady in my sunday school. She wanted me to manage an online video project for kindermusik. I took the job and was able to get my work done during the kids' nap time and even bring my computer to mcdonalds and work while they played in the play area. The work was WONDERFUL compared to working with cake! Since then I've been able to manage a couple of other pilots with them and I love it. One of the pilots is international and I get to correspond with people from all over the world. I have always loved interacting with different cultures and its been fun for me to have a job where I get to do so.

The work I'm doing is part time and this fall Carter will be attending school and Kydon's therapists have been telling me that it would be really beneficial for him to go to daycare or preschool. For the past year I have felt like God has been wanting me to go back to school to finish up my degree, but I didn't think it was possible. While doing the cakes, I knew I had to give up that career to do so and I didn't want to do that, so I said "no". I also didn't know how I would pay for school... another "no thank you Lord".  I didn't think I could work and go to school... "can't do it God". I also had Kydon home with me and didn't want to put him in preschool... "see, there is no way God". Oh, and there was no way I'd be able to work my school schedule around the boys' school schedule. I did NOT want them to have to go to before or after school care, especially with Carter starting his first year of school. I basically told God "I like the idea of going back to school, but it will literally take a miracle to work everything out to enable me to go back".

He continued put the idea in my head until one night I surrendered it to Him. I decided that I wanted to go back. I've always dreamed of being a counselor and feel like that is God's calling on my life. I knew I couldn't just wait for a counseling career to land in my lap... I had to plan and prepare for it. The first step would be going back to school. When I thought of all the factors I had going against me and of everything that would have to work out just right in order for me to attend I became discouraged... and worried. Eventually I just prayed and surrendered it to God. I told Him if it was His will I was going to trust Him to work everything out for me to go back. If not, then I would be okay with it and would know it couldn't be worked out because it was not His will. I had such a peace after that.

And I guess there will now be a part three to this post bc, once again, this is getting incredibly long :) Stay tuned for more ;)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Another New Chapter part 1...

Well, I'm about to embark on ANOTHER new chapter of my life! I'll give you a little background information first...

This past January after a bridal show my business parter/best friend/soul mate and I had some BIG decisions to make about our cake business. We were growing and had some good opportunities come our way. I had come to a point in my life where I was dependent on the income and had to decide if I wanted to go full throttle with the cakes or find a different career. The problem with the cakes is that I knew I could NOT do it with the kids around. I tried to stick it out and be a stay at home mom at the same time. I am not one to say I can't do something, but after SHEER UTTER chaos with the kiddos every time I went to work on an order, I finally had to admit it wasn't working. (Ohhhhhh, how Tabatha and I have some horror stories about our kids and...well...cake!! I'll save those for another blog :)

The Lord was convicting Tabatha as well about our business. Last fall we had a good conversation where we both admited that we were taking on too much. Its so easy to play it off as a blessing from God.... every time an order would come in we would get excited. People liked our product and were choosing to do their business with US, God is good. But something just didn't add up with that statement because our kids were being neglected and that clearly was not part of His will. We admited that the business made us feel good about ourselves, but wasn't God's best for our lives. So in the fall we took one step back. After January we decided to finish out our contracts and orders and phase out the business. The night I officially made up my mind to phase out the business was a hard one for me. I loved the businesss and it was so sad to let it go. I had a good cry over it and then God began to so graciously bless my decision. That'll be for part 2 because this is getting pretty long :)


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Guilt


Last week was a crazy week for me and yesterday I knew I needed some good quality time with God. I had been just reading a few verses in the morning and begging Him to give me the energy and will power to get through the day... and when I still wasn't feeling it I just begged for Him to give me the desire to get out of bed!

I was reading Phillipians 2 about putting others above yourself. I became plagued with guilt realizing that I have not been doing that. I repented of it, but did not feel any better. I was still filled with guilt and hated who I was. I prayed about it and dug through my heart realizing that I felt so unloveable and worthless. I wanted desperately to do something wonderful sacrificial and noble to prove to everyone that I am not selfish anymore... that I am worth loving. But right here, right now, in my life I am wounded and can't do anything "grand". I am emotionally and physically worn out... and God is ok with that. I feel like He is just asking me to receive His love right now and I have to muster enough strength to pour that into my kids.

Then it hit me. I am living my spiritual life for approval (yes, I know I've blogged about this before and I should have already realized this by now, but I guess its a process :P ). So many of the works I do "for God" are really for approval. I should serve out of gratitude and love for Him.

So this is the way my prayer ended. I know I'm selfish and I want to work on that. AND other people might think I'm selfish too because, well, I have been. I'm so thankful that You (God) deeply love me and call me your beloved right here...right now. That thought actually blows my mind and fills me with gratitude and love for You. I'm not going to strive to change other's opinions of me or prove that I'm some kind of super christian... because I'm not.  I want to serve You simply because...I love You.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Cute answers from the boys' Bible Quiz


A while back I bought a book (on clearance of course :) that consisted of at least a hundred different Bible quizes for all ages. Tonight I thought it would be fun to do a few with the boys before family devos. After the first couple of questions I quickly realized that I needed to document their answers because.... oh how they made me laugh :)  Here are some of their answers...

What is the first book of the Bible? Jennifer 1:1
What happened when Lot's wife looked at the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah? She turned into an ape...no...a pig?
From where did the Wise Men, who came to see the baby Jesus, come? Sheep
What relation was Jacob to Esau? Crucified?....bestfriends? partners? (What?!?!)
What special food did the Israelites eat in the desert after they had escaped from Egypt? (Carter very serious) Sparkle.
Which bird returned to Noah's ark with an olive twig in its beak? A duck
What is the first book in the New Testament? Messiah
Which sea parted to allow Moses to lead the people safely out of Egypt? The Blue Sea?...The Grey Sea?
Where did Adam and Eve live before they disobeyed God? The Garden of Abraham? The Garden of God?
Which bird did Noah send out first from the ark? (Me..." a Rrrrrr") Carter " A raisen"
Name the first man created by God. - Evam
What is the name of the town where Jesus grew up? (Me... "Nnnnnn") Nazrael?....Nabraham?

In their defense they did get several answers correct, but whats the humor in writing about them :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I will NEVER..oops...

16 year old me... "I will NEVER...."

Let my kids watch power rangers. That's obviously what made my little brother so violent. I was never that violent. I never wanted to watch shows like that nor did I....soooo, clearly his desire to fight and use me as his punching bag has something to do with the mighty morphin power rangers

26 year old me...

Let my boys watch power rangers for 2 solid hours on my ipad.... Then proceed to let them reinact the fighting scenes and wrestle in the living room. Realize that's just what boys do!

16 year old me... "I will NEVER..."

Tell my kids they can't have friends over because the house is messy. Oh, I'll take it one step further.... I will have a clean house at ALL times. Really, how hard can it be?!....then my kids can have friends over when ever they want....

26 year old me....

"No, they can't come in the house. Why...because its a mess...when will it be clean you ask... I just don't forsee that EVER happening" (realize that when you clean one room, they destroy the whole rest of the house... and have come to grips with the fact that it will NEVER been entirely clean!)

16 year old me... "I will NEVER..."

dress my kids out of style. My kids are going to be the cool kids. I will style their hair every morning and dress them in name brand clothes. They will never wear sweat pants... Oh and NEVER EVER be mismatched"\

26 year old me....

"I KNOW the socks I gave you aren't matching, but they are close enough...grey and black are almost the same color..." and " sweetie, just because your sweat pants and shirt are both shades or red doesn't mean that they match...oh well, just get in the car...Yes, you can wear your green tie with it"

16 year old me... "I will NEVER..."
Do my kid's school project for them. Dad did my viking ship project for me and created a hand carved, carefully glued and constructed viking ship model. The teacher was so proud of it she had me stay for her other classes and show it to the upper classmen. I was PLAGUED with guilt because this was my job... (Dad) "no, don't try to cut that...no, dont try to put that together...here, you just hold the bottle of glue while I do it"

26 year old me...

"Quinton, are you SURE you don't want me to spray paint your castle that you made for school?... How about we make it out of popcycle sticks instead of the cardboard box?...Mommy could get some wood for you to use....what's that, you like it the way it is....ummmm.... you sure you don't want to color it or something?.."

So, I'm learning EVERYTHING changes when you become a parent. I guess its not as easy as I thought :P

Monday, April 9, 2012

Who I am

The past couple of months I had pretty much given up spiritually. I was just going through the motions for the sake of my children. One thing after another seemed to be going wrong. Just when I thought I couldn't take anymore, another trial would be thrown at me. And one day I grew numb to it all. There were no more tears, no more hurt, and no desire to edure the pain and continue serving the Lord. I went down a sinful path that I thought I couldn't get out of. What would people think of me if they knew who I really was behind my smiling pretend face?

I felt trapped in my sin, until one day I felt the Lord hammering on my heart after church one Sunday. I finally broke down and told my two best friends who I had become. They've been a great support system and I now know I can share anything with them and not have to be afraid of them running! I resolved to do whatever it took to get out of my sin, even if that meant exposing what a wretched sinner I was. I met with my pastor and shared with him where I was in life and he helped me get a game plan for getting things back on track.

Now I've been engulfed in guilt. I have an ideal of who I want to be spiritually and I pretend to be that. I try so hard to be blameless and perfect, but I've had to accept I've failed. That ideal just isn't me...no matter how hard I try. I can't pretend anymore. I've just gotta accept who I am, which is a girl who messes up and doesn't have it all together spiritually. That makes me cringe inside. I don't want to be that. I'm suppossed to be the girl you go to for advice, that helps people, involved in ministries. Not someone that needs to be ministered to a fed for the time being. Its so humbling, but it ultimately shows me a deeper issue going on in my soul. Why do I have to have everyone's approval? Why can nobody know about any of the sin inside of me? Because they may not like me. I long for unconditional love, but deep inside I believe that you have to have your act together to receive it. Now I'm in a very vulnerable place where I can't pretend I have it all together. Especially as I've been going through my divorce I see myself so desperately trying to look absolutely perfect. Its inevitable that I will face some judegment for the divorce, so I hope that by looking absolutely 100% blameless I might defer their judgment. (Typing that makes me realize how silly that sounds :) If I'm honest this has brought out the worst in me. I may, actually probably will, face some rejection, so how do I get through this. Well, I'm starting to get a glimpse of God's unconditional love. I have nothing to offer him right now and all He asks is that I accept His love. He's been so merciful on me and has taken care of me even when I wasn't giving Him credit for it or seeking Him out. I can't say I've found all comfort in Him yet, I think that's going to be a process.... but I feel like I'm going to gain a better understanding of the kind of love He has for me the next few months. So I guess this is all to be continued :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Babysitting fail/ Mommy win




For those of you who have spent any amount of quality time with me, you probably have realized that my life is a bit...chaotic. I constantly feel like a chicken running around with its head cut off! I'd love for my life to slow down a bit or to at least to be in some kind of a calm/structured fast pace, but it just isn't and there is not really much I can do about it. I have x amount of things/responsibilies that have to get done and I always manage to get it all done, but the process just isn't going to be pretty :)



Ok, so there's my defense/background info behind my babysitting fail. I left our babysitter a message a couple days ago about babysitting Kydon while I worked for a bit bringing Carter with me. The message must have gone through late because she texted me back after the event telling me she could babysit. I read the text and thought, oh dear.. I guess I should call in the future to make sure the text was received. As I went to respond I got a phone call, talked on the phone, worked for a while, picked Quinton up from school, looked at furniture, took the kids to the park, droped them off with their daddy, ate dinner with a friend, hung out at her house and talked for a bit, came home, stayed up til 2 am with Kydon who was sick and crying, woke up at 7, had a pity party about not getting any sleep, got the kids dressed, took a bath.... and heard a knock on the door.



I yell "DON'T OPEN THE DOOR!!!" (maybe I didn't shut the bathroom door....but hey, the curtain was up :), the knocking proceeds and I get out and get dressed. At that moment I get a text... from the babysitter. I completely forgot about the text and never told her we didn't need her anymore. I don't want the poor girl to drive all the way home after waking up early and driving to our place, so I decide to still use her. She came on in and I told Carter we were going on a mommy carter date. Honestly I wasn't feeling it... remember the very little sleep!! The poor girl entered our chaos called a home. I realized we were out of diaper wipes bc Kydon had pulled them all out of the box the day before and they had dried up. I wetted the dried up wipes for her and then realized I didn't have a ziplock bag to put them in, so I wrapped them in cling wrap. Thankfully she seems used to our chaos and...umm... well..."creativity", and she just laughed as we scurried out the door.



Carter chose to get some Mcdonalds for breakfast and bring it to the park. He was very particuliar about which park we had to go to. It had to be the one with the "green robot slide". He talked a mile a minute in the car and I realized that we don't get to talk very much with the other kids around. When we got to the park...no exageration...we walked around for about 10 minutes trying to find the perfect picnic spot :) We went from the woods, to the top of the playground (not sure if that was allowed or not), to a couple of spots on the sidewalk, and finally ended up in the middle of the sidewalk. I felt kindof awkward being in the middle of the sidewalk, but Carter seemed to think it was the "perfect flat spot". After we ate we played hide and go seek, followed by building an ant earth. It consists of a little feather for the ants to sleep on covered with a pile of rocks :) We explored for a while and had a nice little talk the two of us. It ended up being a great morning for us and Carter thoroughly enjoyed it.



I wouldn't have forked over the money to pay a sitter to just watch Kydon so Carter and I could go out, but I realize now that we needed it. Its neat how God works those things out and knows exactly what we need, so i've decided to not classify my morning as an epic babysitting fail, but as a mommy win :)