Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Friend or Foe? 

It's time to let out a dirty little secret divorced people try to ignore or cover up.  There is a huge problem happening in the world today, and it's all our fault.  

It's the kids. Kids of divorced parents are what is wrong with the world. MY kids are part of the problem. So are David's. So are all kids of divorced parents.  They are rotten to the core. Whether divorced parents admit it or not, we've all done it..... We've tried to win their affections away from the other parent. It's true.  We do it without thinking.  All we know is that we want the kids to want to be with us more than them, so we let them do things we normally wouldn't.  We buy them an extra something or other.  We don't correct them when they say something rude or disrespectful.  We try to make them happy.  

Right after my boy's dad moved out of our house the spoiling began. Without knowing, I was giving into them for everything. I no longer ran my house, my boys did. They called the shots and got away with murder. Why? Because I felt bad for what they were going through.  

I'm very thankful I took notice to what was happening and changed my behavior. For some parents it never ends. It becomes the new normal, and thus rotten, no good, spoiled little brat children are born.  

I would bet money that 99.99999% of all divorced parents have done this to an extent. Whether the motive is to be the 'cool' parent, or the 'fun' parent, or if it's like me, and simply trying to make up for putting them through this pain. It's something we've all done. We relinquish our duties, and in return the kids get spoiled.  

For me, I was hit with a big dose of reality when I finally opened my ears and heard the horrible, disrespectful words that were coming out of my child's mouth. I said "no more" and we moved into what I refer to as the spanking phase. I had a wooden spoon in every room of my house. I probably spanked each of them 4-5 times a day to start. (Not a fan of spanking?  Sorry, it's in the Bible.  Insert your own form of discipline here). Anyway, a new sheriff was in town and the rules were changing.  

I no longer cared if they liked me. I didn't care if they had more fun at daddy's house. Every time I heard the words "but daddy lets us...." I immediately responded with "I. Don't. Care." I was not put on this earth to be their friend and try to win their approval. God gave me these boys to turn into good, respectable men, and they were going to start by respecting me.  Trying to be your child's friend is the fastest way to ruin them.  How are kids going to learn to do what's right if they aren't being corrected? They aren't born kind and respectful, it has to be taught.  People see having babies as fun and cute, and adding little buddies to their family.  But it's not like that!  It's work, and if you don't put in the hard work the child will suffer.  

Now, believe me, I'm far from the tyrant it sounds like. Even still to this day when the boys get back from a visit with their dad I tend to turn back into doormat-mom. Mostly because I'm the one that moved them ten hours away from him. I still carry some guilt about that. But after a few days of them being back and pushing me to my limit, I snap and have a big discipline fest and they straighten up.  

The problem is our country is currently seeing 50% of its parents get divorced. That means half of the kids in our nation are being spoiled rotten. They are being fought over, bought off, and let run the show. They are probably the reason every kid gets a trophy, and why teachers have to change grades for undeserving students. The problem with the other 50% of the kids in our country is that they see their divorced-parent friends getting their way and being bought their heart's desire, so they then go home and complain to their parents about the raw deal they're getting.  Or worse, married parents see how divorced parents treat their kids and actually take on some of those bad habits without realizing, probably to look cool or some stupid reason.  So that means a good 20-30% of kids from non-divorced parents end up being raised spoiled rotten as well!  

I know this is just my hypothesis, but I stand behind it. If people wonder why all these millennials started throwing fits and needing cry rooms, this is it. We're living in a world where kids are the rulers, and it's not going to get any better. 

Gloomy huh?  

Well, I can't end this post on a negative note. But is there a solution? I can't say.  I know that as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord the best we can, and that means we do our best to raise gentlemen.  We will discipline, we will spank, and we will try our darndest to teach them to respect us as well as others.  We will do our best to help them become kind, normal functioning adults.  All we can do is work on our small corner of the world.  And who knows, if one person reads this and it makes a change, then it was worth putting it out there.  

My advice (for what it's worth)... Get your kids used to hearing the word 'no'.  A lot.  It will prepare them for a cruel world.  

And then drag them to church for crying out loud.  I don't care if they complain, you take them anyway.  I'm tired of kids calling the shots.

Please, I'm begging you.  

God bless you all.  

LLM 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Get out of jail free

It's me again.  

I'm back to save the world from more propaganda.  This time I'm fighting against what I like to call the "get out of jail free" cards.  Not sure what I'm talking about?  Let me throw out a couple of examples:  


There is a billboard in San Antonio for a divorce lawyer, it simply says "when the fairytale is over."  

What?  Really? Whoever said marriage was a fairytale?  

On Facebook the other day, I read this:  
 



So, strong people leave their spouse, but weak people stay to work it out?  I'm pretty offended by that.  I stayed two years, trust me, that made me tough as nails.  


As you can probably tell, I'm still a little sensitive when it comes to divorce.  Mostly because I don't want people to go through what I went through.  So when I read advertisements and propaganda telling people it's okay to give up on your marriage it makes me crazy and sad at the same time.  It makes me hate the world we live in that much more.  

The worst part is this stuff works.  People read things like this everyday and little by little they'll talk themselves into giving up on their marriage.  Or worse,  people in healthy marriages will read it and convince themselves that Mr. or Mrs. So-and-so from work or wherever could make them happier because life with their spouse is getting mundane.  

Let me tell you this, marriage is not a fairytale.  It's not all romance and violin music.  It's clipping coupons to afford to put food on the table.  It's trying not to nag about something that's been needing done for weeks.... and finally nagging anyway and causing a fight.  It's seeing your girl with no makeup, and seeing your man in holey socks.. or worse.  It's fighting over how to discipline your children, and crying together when your child makes horrible life-altering decisions.  It's pinching pennies and arguing over how to spend those precious pennies.  It's compromising, not selfishness.  It's "I'm sorry, you are right."  Instead of "Why don't you just admit you are wrong?"  

I could go on and on.  

Marriage is so hard.  But it's worth it.  To know someone that intimately.  To know they have your back and will stand up for you at any cost.  To know that you will never be alone and that you have help in this life.  There's no feeling like it.  The Bible says it is not good for man to dwell alone, and to cleave to your spouse. Don't let small annoyances or disagreements come between you.  Forgive constantly, then forget it.  If you can't forget it, pray to.  Pray for a heart to love them more.  Pray for a heart to look over faults.  Pray for your marriage without ceasing.  

Don't read the things the world writes and feel like you have a "get out of jail free" card.  You'll soon find out how much it's actually costing you.  Divorce hurts more people than you realize.  It is so very painful for all that know you.  

LLM 
 



Thursday, February 2, 2017

We are not enough

I have decided to take on the role of fighting memes. I don't think this makes me a 'Foo Fighter', but maybe more like a 'Fool Fighter.' These days anyone with a smart phone can make dumb sayings into a work of art... and if it looks like art, then people will get warm, fuzzy thoughts and assume that it MUST be true.


Well, I'm in here to say enough! I can't take it anymore! Memes, or inspirational quotes like 'you are enough' , 'you're stronger than you think you are,' 'you're going to get through this,' 'you're beautiful,' 'you're needed.' They're great, but they're not giving us the right information. All they're doing is telling us that we need to be self-reliant, that everything we need is within us and there's nothing we can't handle on our own. Then, when a hard time comes, we melt into a puddle of worthlessness on the floor because we tried to do it on our own and failed. It's not our fault, the world told us we could do it. Ugh!!! People, this life is HARD! And guess what? We CAN'T do it on our own. But the good news is, we don't have to!

I wish someone would make a beautiful picture that says:

You can't do this on your own, you need Jesus.

Oh wait, I have one of those handy dandy little meme generators and a picture of the Guadelupe River I took last Sunday, I'll just make one myself...

Bam!

 

Easy peasy lemon squeezy... see, any idiot - including me - can make a meme.

The point is, even Christians these days are falling for all the self-reliant mumbo jumbo, and then when they hit hard times they fall to pieces because they are being taught that "they are enough" when in reality they're not.

Listen to this:

-We are not beautiful, we are full of ugly sin
-We are not strong, we are weak and worthless
-We are not enough, we are lacking in so many ways

We need to be taken down a notch or two and humbled. However, there is an upside.

-We are important to the Lord
-We are special to the Lord
-We are loved by the Lord
-We are precious to the Lord

We are all these things with the Lord, and we are nothing without the Lord.

So my suggestion is this, we need to stop trying to build each other up with empty compliments that fade away in a short time, and remind each other that Jesus loves us, and that we need to rely on Him every minute of our lives. He is our friend always. Whether we are going through highs or lows, He needs to be called upon, praised and thanked in abundance.

Kind readers, I alone am not enough. I need Jesus.
And I'm sorry, you are not enough either. You need Jesus too. We all do. Now let's try to not be so self-reliant, and do what we're supposed to do - Rely on the Lord.

LLM

Friday, January 6, 2017

Do LESS of what makes you happy

Last night on mine and David's nightly walks we started talking about how sad it is that our churches are getting smaller and smaller.  We actually have this discussion quite often.  He'd heard of, yet another, former church member who had departed from our faith... and all faith for that matter.  It's sad how un-shocked we both seemed.  News like that used to bring about emotions of sadness or apallment, but lately it's not surprising to hear this kind of news.  

We talked about why this was more common now than it used to be. So I told him about a pet peeve I have, one that I believe is the major cause for what we're seeing today. 

Let me start off by telling you my most hated phrase of this generation: 

Do more of what makes you happy.  

It's awful and deceiving.  

The biggest problem in the world today is self-love.  This attitude sounds like a great idea and seemingly harmless, but in fact it's what's leading to the distruction of our homes and churches.  It tricks us into thinking that if you're not happy, all you have to do is change and do more of the things that make you happy and *poof* you're happy.  

If you're tired of taking care of your family, then sit on the couch there and read a book.  

If your wife has gained a few pounds, forget diets, just go out and find you a skinny, younger gal to take her place. 

If you're not happy with how your husband chews his food, kick him to the curb and find you someone new... with different things to annoy you.  

If you're tired of hearing the preacher tell you how much you sin, you don't need that!  Wouldn't you be happier just sleeping in on Sunday morning?  Or better yet, maybe go to the golf course! 

This phrase that comes across as the best advice you've ever heard is leading God's people in the wrong direction.  They think they are finding happiness, but there is no happiness to be found under those circumstances.  Only a big mess and more unhappiness.  

Nobody is happy, and they can't figure out why! 

So some of you are thinking: "Wait, what about going to the gym, or getting a peticure, or taking an afternoon break from the kids?  What about my sanity??"

Calm down people.  Don't take this to the extreme.  Taking care of ourselves is very important.  If we don't take care of ourselves, it will be really hard to take care of our family or job or church obligations. Even hobbies are good. I have them.  We all do.  It's okay.  I'm referring to people that put aside their obligations and duties in favor of things that are frivolous and self-serving.  

Thankfully, God gives us a remedy for the unhappiness that is plaguing today's people.  However, most people don't want to hear it.  

The number one thing we need to be doing in this life is serving God.  Go to church, read your bible and pray daily... or more.  

The number two thing  we need to be doing is serving each other.  That means putting others before ourselves.  Take care of our families, visit friends and church members, let someone cut in line, let the BMW merge in front of you...  I'm talking to myself here, so don't go thinking I'm an expert at this.  I'm just as depraved as the next guy.  Most of the time I know what I need to do to serve someone else, but my stupid nature comes out and makes me do something selfish.  *sigh* However, on the rare occasions when I do what I'm supposed to do, and serve God the way I should, I have found those moments of pure joy.  I've seen it.  I've felt it.  I screw it up a lot... and then I try my best to get back to it.  When you're there, it's the most magnificent feeling in the world.  True happiness.  

So my advice... 

Do LESS of what makes YOU happy, and MORE of what makes God happy and others happy, and in the end you will find happiness.  

J-esus first
O-thers second 
Y-ourself last

Seems to spell out joy to me.  

Think about it. 

LLM



Monday, December 26, 2016

Cookie Cutter

In the past I've learned that blogging is a journey of self discovery for me.  I'll get that twinge of inspiration to write about something, but I won't really know why until I'm in the thick of it.  Then when it hits me, I'm flooded with all these new thoughts and end up crying nonstop till I figure out what deep seeded emotion led to my twinge. 

 That's how this post started.  

I usually try very hard to not be a jealous person.  So when the feelings of jealousy hit I had to find out where it was coming from.  

Here's the thing... This Christmas it's been hard for me to see all the little cookie cutter families.  You know the kind, perfect mom, perfect dad, perfect well behaved impeccably dressed kids, blah, blah, blah.  Families out Christmas shopping, doing crafts or baking cookies.  All of the usual family Christmas type stuff.  

But I have to ask myself:  Why is it hard for me to see these families this year when it hasn't bothered me before?  

There was a time when I had that kind of life.  I was the mom in a cute little family of four, plus one dog.  I've had past Christmases where I did all those wonderful things like crafts with the boys, baking Santa cookies with them and putting out carrots for the reindeer.  From the outside looking in we were a Norman Rockwell painting.  But it wasn't perfect.  Not by far.  

So I ask myself:

Am I wanting my old life back?  Ha!... no. 

Am I missing that time?  Yes... in a way.  

What way?  I don't know! 

Let me see if I can work through what I'm thinking.  I do I miss the feeling of being in a cookie cutter family.  The mom, the dad, the kids.  The whole set up! But I don't miss my old life.  Maybe that's why my family failed... I was more interested in creating my own little cookie cutter family than I was in making sure I married the right man to have that family!

BINGO

I think I'm getting somewhere!  

David and I have had many talks about how we wish we'd have met each other first, and that our kids would be just ours, and not half of other people.  When each of us we're going through the Cookie Cutter phase, we were married to people that brought pain to our families.  So I guess now when I see those families, I wish that David and I could have it, you know, from the get go!  Like we could go back in time and relive that phase with what we know now.  We could do the Cookie Cutter phase all over again, and this time do it right! 

Sounds great, huh?  But I'm afraid that ship has sailed.  I will forever regret not being able to experience that phase of life with David.  

So, that answers part of my question..... but what about the other part?  Why is it bothering me more now? Why this year?  

Well, let's see, what else did I like about that time?  Doing things with the boys.  

Ok, can I still do things with the boys?  A little , but not really 

Why? They're getting older. 

There ya go!

My boys are growing up!  

At least my oldest is.   He's not interested in doing crafts with mom, or baking cookies anymore.  He rolls his eyes when we playfully talk about Santa.  He's grown out of so many things that we used to do, it's sad.  I miss him being little.  It also makes me realize it won't be long before my youngest will grow out of these things too.  

My eyes well up with tears when I see them growing and changing so fast.  I'm not ready! I really didn't think it would happen this fast.  I thought I had more time!  

*tears*

Ok, I'm better. 

I know I'm not really jealous of little cookie cutter families all smiling and happy.  They are all beautiful families that I pray never have to go through what we've been through.  But there are lessons to take away from my ramblings... 

One, we need to be teaching our children not to rush into marriage.  Pray for them to marry the right person, and teach them to do the same.  The family part will come in time, but if you don't get the spouse part right it's more likely to fall apart. 

And two, even though I'd heard it a hundred times, enjoy every minute your kids are little.  It goes by so fast and before you know it, it's over.  I know I'll be savoring every moment I have left with mine.  

LLM


Thursday, November 17, 2016

Say yes


A dear friend took me aside a few months ago to share with me some words of wisdom.  You see, she too found herself in my situation.  She was divorced at an early age with two small children.  She also then married an older man.  Her grandmother, who had also married up - as I like to call it-  gave her this advice....  

Make every moment count.  Whether you are with him for two years or twenty, it doesn't matter.  Go with him to meetings every chance you can.  Do the extra little things like take walks and spend time just the two of you.  Go on dates.  Hold hands.  Go on trips.  These chances won't be there forever, you have to enjoy your marriage now.  

I try very hard to live by this.  So does David. We go to meetings, we squeeze in dates whenever we can.  We have our evening ritual that is quality time with each other.  Every time he's says "How do you feel about doing this....  or going here.... or visiting such and such place....".  I say yes.  And so does he when I get hair brained ideas.  We take road trips with and without  our kids.  We fly to this meeting or that meeting.  We go antiquing through the hill country of Texas.  It's wonderful! There are some circumstances that require me to have to stay at home, but I try to say yes as often as I can.

This week a different friend lost her husband in a tragedy.  It reminded me of this philosophy to always say yes to doing things with your spouse.  In this day and age we can't take growing old together for granted.  We aren't guaranteed tomorrow.  This goes for spouses, kids and everyone we love.  

It takes time.  It takes effort.  Sometimes it's even exhausting, but I've never regretted one moment I've spent with David or our boys.  

I guess you can say our household has a "Carpe Diem" attitude.  We seize every chance to make wonderful memories, and we thank God for the opportunity to do so.  

Don't take your days together for granted.  Seize them.  

LLM


Thursday, June 9, 2016

The worst part of the whole deal

About five years ago I was walking into a restaurant just off a major highway in Arkansas. I saw two cars parked out near the road with people standing near them. It quickly occurred to me what I was witnessing.  It was a kid swap. These parents were divorced and lived far away from each other. This restaurant was their meeting location to get the kids from one parent to another.  I saw one parent hugging them goodbye, and the other accepting them with additional hugs.  

Of course, given my lack of marital problems at the time, My first thought was "How sad."  Which was probably followed by "That will never be me....  Blah, blah, blah....."  

Fast forward five years to yesterday at a restaurant parking lot in Dallas, TX, just off the highway.  Two parked cars out near the road where I sadly hugged my boys goodbye, and sent them with their dad to Arkansas for three weeks.  

I'm that person now, and I'm really going to miss them this time, and let me explain why I said 'this time.'

love my boys with every ounce of my being.  They have been my world for over eleven years now.  I have put countless hours of blood, sweat and tears into them with everything we have been through these past five years. But here's the thing, when kids are going through something traumatic and life changing, it will usually make them do things like act out, throw fits, cop an attitude, and/or build up walls around themselves.  I've seen all of these in my boys.  Just when things would start to get better something else would happen and turn their world upside down all over again.  If it wasn't the divorce, it was moving houses, then it was my engagement to be followed by the biggest change of all, moving to Texas, away from their dad, to a house and family they barely knew.  You could say I've had almost five straight years of whining, griping, crying, talking back, and silent treatments.  It could easily be one of those "If I had a nickel for every (fill in the blank)....." 

Boy would I be rich!

After we first moved to Texas, the boys would go to Arkansas for a week or so, and I actually welcomed that time.  I was still sad to say goodbye and missed them, but I will admit, it was nice to have the break.  It was a time for me to kick back and know that there wasn't going to be any griping or back talking for a little while.

However, the past six months or so have been different.  My boys are finally starting to understand what it means to have a stable home life.  The whining has  diminished significantly, the attitudes are being kept at bay and the walls are coming down.  Friendships are being forged between them and David.  Big brother/little brother relationships are now normal and not forced.  And thankfully, the little boys are learning from David and the older boys that respecting Mom isn't an option.  They needed to be taught that by someone other than me. Now I can say that not only do I love my boys, but I like them too. I enjoy their company. They are both so funny and have great personalities, carrying on a conversation with them is a joy instead of a chore.  

So, yes, this time around is different, I'm really going to miss them.  I cried when I said goodbye to them in the parking lot, and I've cried a few times since.  It was hard to come back home without them.  I need them in my life, I'm not complete without them. But, that's the trade off.  For me to be able to live with them down here in south Texas, they have to have their allotted times in Arkansas.  It will be that way till they are grown. That's just how it's going to be, and that's the worst part of the whole deal.  

So, just a word to the wise, if you are ever the witness of a kid swap in a parking lot, don't have the thoughts that I had.  Just pray for them, and thank God for not being in that situation.