Friday, May 31, 2013

Less talk, more action

My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. 1 John 3:18

One of the things I regret the most from a couple of years ago is that I was so wrapped up with everything going wrong in my life that I wasn't able to be active in the boys' lives. I was basically enough of a Mom to make sure they were fed and in bed on time, and other than that I was just trying to hold myself together. I feel like I lost two years of their childhood. I can't tell you much of what they did during those two years, and that makes me sad.

The best thing I have learned over the past year is how to be completely and totally "present" in their lives. I try to limit my phone usage when they're awake, I try to avoid anything that takes my attention away from them. Sometimes it's unavoidable, but I try to do the best I can. I want to be an active part of their lives. I want to be able to say 'yes' every time they ask me to play something. I want to snuggle on the couch and read books with them, or sit with them at the computer and google funny animal pictures. I want them to know that I'm here, and that I'm never leaving them. I don't want them to have abandonment issues after everything thats happened.

Even though I know I'm doing this for me and the boys' sake, I sometimes feel like I have an ulterior motive. There are times that I make the effort to do more things because I know their dad won't. Which that in itself isn't a bad reason, but deep down I want them to remember which parent did more with them. I want them to see his lack of interest in their lives. I want them to be disappointed that he doesn't make it to their awards assemblies when he promises he will. I want them to eventually see how selfish he is. How horrible is that? I know it's wrong, but I'm just so scared that one day they will decide to follow in his footsteps. Not in his profession...but in the way he lives his life.

When they were born I worried that they would stop breathing in the middle of the night. When they were toddlers I worried about them bumping their heads or putting something in electrical outlets. Now that they are in school I worry about what they are learning from the other kids that I don't want them to know. These days I worry about their future. I worry about it so much it hurts.

What if the boys decide not to go to church when they grow up? What if they decide to become racecar drivers like their dad, and become so self-centered it tears their families apart? What if they do to their wives what their dad did to me? After all, he was just following in his own dad's footsteps. What if they give up on their marriages when the going gets tough? These are questions that keep me up at night.

When I hear their dad talk to them, and make empty promises that he has no intention of keeping, it breaks my heart for them, and at the same time drives me to be that much more involved. When I see a missed opportunity by him, I swoop in and get it for myself. If he's not going to enjoy this time with his boys then I will.

Love isn't about saying you'll do something... it's about doing it without saying.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Be still

...and know that I am God.

It sounds easy, right?

Most of the time I feel the opposite of still.... which is restless.

Why is it so hard to understand that God is in control, and if we just turn our problems over to him and 'be still' He will help us and provide for us? I'm definately more prone to being restless than still. When I have a problem, I come up with about eighteen different ways to solve it, and then I take action. I do whatever is in my own power to try to fix whatever's wrong. Without praying about it first.

My mantra in life has always been "If you want it done right, do it yourself." I live by this saying daily. I don't trust others to do a job right, so I just do it myself. Then I don't have to worry about it. It takes a lot of trust, and faith, to be able to turn my problems over to God for help in solving them. Especially when my nature is very stubborn and independent.

Everywhere we look these day, especially on the internet, we see pretty words that are telling us that if you want something, don't wait for it to come to you... go out and get it for yourself. Make things happen. Everything in the world tells us to rely on ourselves to fix problems and not God. I guess because I see this stuff so much it starts to creep in. I try to do too much for myself without praying about it first. I just assume I know what's best for me.

Lately it seems everytime I try to take thing into my own hands and "make things happen" I quickly find out that wasn't the path for me. I can't count how many times I've kicked myself for making a bad decision, but deep down I know I didn't pray about it first. Sometimes I even know it's wrong and do it anyways. It takes an enormous amount of faith to not take action and to pray. And wait. And be still.

It all leads back to patience.

That's my one achilles heel that I can't seem to overcome. However, the past week or so I've felt very happy and content with my life. I hope that is the Lord's answer for my prayers for patience. The more content I am, the more I can be still and I like that.

Even though all the saying on the internet usually rub me the wrong way, there is one cheesy one that I keep seeing that I kind of like. It says:

Until God opens the next door, praise Him in the hallway.

I know it's just another saying that someone came up with and now it's overused... but I can relate to it. I'm just here. In a hallway. Being still... or at least trying.

The ironic part is that my favorite church hymn is 'Be still, my soul'. Now I just have to live it.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Walks with my Dad

My poor Dad.

I know I've given him more grey hairs in the past year than in all my other years combined.

I know that the more I talk to him about my life, the more he stays up at night worrying about me.

I used to be very closed off about my life, especially growing up, but these days I'm an open book with large print. When everything started going wrong, I tried to keep everything hidden until the problem went away. I had this terrible secret in my life that I didn't want anyone to know about. I felt if I kept it to myself, then when the problem was fixed there wouldn't be any ill feelings toward my husband, and we could carry on with life as usual.

Well, once I realized the problem couldn't be fixed - and was only getting worse - I started opening up to my family. Since then, I've been able to open up and talk to my parents about everything. It's kind of strange. Like I'm back to being a single teenager, but I'm able to tell them about everything that's going on in my life. Kind of like an out-of-body experience. Very surreal.

Last year my Dad and I started taking walks in the mornings whenever the boys and I would go visit them. Usually it's still dark outside when we go. Our main purpose for walking was for exercise, but we also got a lot of life's problems worked out on these walks as well. We've discussed so many topics on these walks. Each time I would visit there would be a new issue to hash out. We've used these walks to work out everything from the custody of my kids, to buying my new house, to scriptures in the Bible. It's a time for just he and I to discuss things.

It was on a walk that I had to explain to him why I didn't want to keep my old house that he felt I was entitled to. It was on a walk where he felt he should give me the do's and don'ts of dating... again. It was on a walk that I broke down in tears because I knew everything had happened because of something I had done.... and it was on another walk that I, thankfully, started to believe that maybe it had nothing to do with me at all.

It's amazing how clear your mind can be very early in the morning. Watching the sunrise and talking about God makes problems easily solved. It makes it so you can solve the problem the way it's supposed to be, instead of it being clouded by the judgements of the world. Most walks ended in laughter, some ended in tears. But either way, a problem was solved and a new day was starting.

The best part is what I've learn from him through these walks... and that is how I should walk. In my life.

These are priceless lessons that can never be taken away from me.

Friday, May 10, 2013

It's a good day.

On this very Friday, I am totally convinced that I am in such a better place than a year ago, and that I haven't let what happened to me define who I am.

On this very Friday, I realized that I went through the one year anniversary of my divorce date, which was Wednesday the 8th, without even thinking about it for a single second. I wrote that date on many pieces of paper that day, and it never dawned on me what day it was.

To me, that is a beautiful thing.

My life is not going to be defined by bad things that happen. My life will be defined by the wonderful things instead. I am too blessed to dwell on the storms of life.

I am counting today as a 'mental victory' for myself.


Leslye - 1
Leslye's Subconscious trying to get the better of her - 0

It's a good day.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

I might as well get used to it

This week while I was mowing my backyard, I had one neighbor sneak in and mow the front yard, and then another neighbor came over and totally weed-eated the entire front and back yard.

All in the time it took me just to do the backyard.


Looks like my oven will be working overtime this summer baking goodies for my neighbors.

I have to admit, it was really nice to have the help.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

I'm "Un-cool"

when I was growing up, the word we used for someone who was popular was 'cool'. I still use that word to this day for lots of things... except myself.

I've come to the conclusion that I'm not cool at all. And I'm ok with that.

Being popular was never my thing anyway. Especially now. I don't listen to the popular music, I don't read the popular books or watch the popular tv shows and movies. My ideas of entertainment have changed a lot. They're still not all great, but they're better than they were. I just can't take all the negativity that is being fed to us everyday through the media and entertainment.

I can also guarantee I'm not the most popular Mom. For one thing, I'm not here to be my boys' 'Friend'. I'm here to be their parent, and to teach them how to live their lives. I don't let them play endless hours of video games, or say words that other kids are allowed to say. I take them to church and make them play outside in the fresh air and eat their vegetables. I know there are a lot of times they don't like it. But I've learned to deal with that. Kids aren't supposed to know what's best for themselves. They need parents, not friends.

The longer I'm out in the world, the more I realize who I should try to impress and who I shouldn't. The only opinions I care about these days are those of my famly, and my church family. If I'm living my life in a way that they have only good things to say about me, then I'm doing something right.

I still have times that I try to pretend I'm cool... I don't know why. My perspective gets a wrench thrown in it, and I forget who I am. Either I'm trying to impress the wrong person, or wanting to fit in with a group I have no business being a part of. But it all comes down to wanting acceptance by the world, and that's not something I need to worry about.

Lately I've been working on being strong within myself. Standing up for my beliefs. Saying 'no' to things I shouldn't do or say, and having the courage to do the right things. It's tough to do... but it used to be down right impossible for me. So for it to be a little easier now makes me feel like I've made some progress. I still have a ways to go, though. And I'm learning more about how to do that everyday.

Sometimes I feel like I've been in a bubble for over a year. It's like the Lord protected me from all these other problems in the world while He helped me through all the changes I was going through. Now, a year later, I'm slowly being re-exposed to all of the other outside problems in the world, and I'm being re-programmed on how to deal with them. I like this re-programming. I like myself more when I handle a situation the way I'm supposed to instead of the 'cool' way.

Striving to be popular in the world will only bring about more heartache, and disappointment.

I know. I've tried.

I'm glad my priorities are starting to get straightened out.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Home Sweet Home

It might sound trivial for something like a house to bring me such peace and happiness, but I have to admit, I just love my house so much.

This time last year I was hoping and wishing and praying for my old house to sell, and to be able to move. Now, a year later, I believe everything happened at the perfect time for all of us. Even though I was ready to be out of that house, and to be away from all the memories and nightmares, I don't think my boys were. I knew the move was coming sooner or later, so I was prepared. But for the boys, I think they needed the extra time to let everything sink in. I think when it finally happened they had heard me talk about it enough that they 'got it'.

My youngest boy loves our new house. I know he remembers the old house, for sure, but his little mind doesn't think back on it as much as my older boy. My oldest still has a lot of pent up feelings about the move. He misses the old house, but I think what he misses is how we were a family in the old house. He's associating that house with me and their dad being together. He's very stubborn when it comes to admitting things, but I can tell just by watching him how much happier he is now. He's still getting used to the ugly carpet, and the pink tub, but he know's we're home, and I like that.

This new house of ours isn't perfect by any means. But it fits us, and we fit in it. The house was built back in the 1970's, and has a lot of work that needs done. But I'm ok with that. The projects around the house are things that keep me sane. I've always wanted to buy an older home and fix it up, so this is a dream for me.

The boys are so much happier here too - whether the older one wants to admit it or not. At our old house they didn't have any other kids to play with, they couldn't go in the road at all, and taking a walk around the neighborhood didn't exsist. We lived on a dead end road off of a highway. Our new neighborhood is so great! There are kids everywhere, we can walk around blocks, and I don't have to worry about them going in the street. In fact, sometimes I feel like an old tv show when I have to go outside and call the kids home for supper.

I have everything I've ever wanted in a house. I have a covered front and back porch, a window above my kitchen sink to watch kids playing in the backyard, a huge window in the living room to put my Christmas tree in front of, and even a 4th whole bedroom just for me and my sewing and craft stuff. Now that spring is here, I have flowers blooming in every corner of my yard, and I have vegetables growing up a storm out back. It is truely my dream home.

All these 'things' about my new house are nice, but I think what I needed the most was a change of scenery. Somewhere that I don't have to think about the way things used to be everytime I turn a corner. The good memories were ok, it was the bad ones that haunted me. There were very few good memories made when we moved back into the house after the fire, so I really never got to enjoy living in a brand new house. It was tainted from the day we moved back in. My new home has no bad memories, and there are only good memories to come the longer we are there.

I'm so thankful it all worked out the way it was supposed to instead of when I wanted it to. That's my impatience getting the better of me again. I should always remember that the Lord's timing is always best... I think I need that embroidered on a pillow, or tattooed on my hand or something... or I'll just tie a string around my finger to help me remember that everytime I get impatient.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Whoa, Nelly...

I wish I could just slow down. I feel like everything for me is just a rush. I walk too fast, I drive too fast, I do everything faster than it should be done. I'm not patient. I guess I'm part of the 'have it now' generation. If I have a question, google is just a click away. If I'm hungry I could have 'fast food' if I desired. Call waiting? No way, just text. The world is served to us on a platter the instant we want it.

That's how I feel about my future. Everyone tells me how young I am, and that it won't be any trouble to find someone else. Sure, there are options out there in the world... but so far they haven't been good options, at least not ones that have shown any interest.

I always wonder why I'm in such a hurry to find someone. I just got out of something serious, why do I want to dive back into it so quickly? I racked my brain and came up with a few thoughts:

First off, I just don't like to be alone. I can do it, and sometimes I actually kind of like it, but I still wish I had someone around to talk to and to share my life with. I liked being married.

I think I'm also in a hurry because I really, really dislike being single. Not alone.... but single, there'a a difference. When you don't have a ring on your hand men treat you differently than when you do. It's sad to say, but am I really just ready to have the ring back on my hand.

Another reason is that my internal clock is still ticking. Right now I'm at a point where if I did re-marry I could still have more kids. I always wanted to have three or four. So, I guess the more time that passes, the closer I get to that door closing on me forever.

I will be the first to say that these are NOT good reasons to dive back into something so important.

I guess I just feel like my life right now is temporary. I wish I didn't feel this way, because there is no way to know how long I will be single. It could be one or two more years, or fifteen to twenty years, or forever. But I'm finding it very hard to be 'settled' in my life. I want to just relax and go with the flow, but I guess I'm expecting my prince charming to come sweep me off my feet at any moment, and I want to be ready when it happens.

See, that's how I am... That's my personality. I like to be prepared, or on guard, if you will. I'm always early when going places, I always have my payment ready before I get to the checkout, I always do whatever I need to do in order to not make people wait on me. It's just another quirk of mine. So I guess when the opportunity to meet someone new comes about I try to be as prepared as possible. Some may call that neurotic, I prefer to call it quirky. Even though I've thought about it, and I'm pretty sure if, and when, he finally does come along I'm probably not even going to know it's him at first. But for some reason I still feel like I can't even go to the grocery store with my hair a mess just in case he's out shopping that day as well, ya know? That sounds silly... like we're going to bond over fresh fruit or something.

I've always heard people say "He'll come as soon as you stop looking." But how do I stop looking? I'm seriously starting to wonder if it's in my genetic make-up to live my life with no reguard for my future. That would be like an OCD person mixing all their knives, forks and spoons into one big heap. They would go crazy till it was sorted and straightened. That's how I am with patience and preparedness. I am always mentally preparing myself for what might be coming, and I don't know how to stop.

I still have those times that I start to worry about being alone forever, they come almost like a panic attack. I'm just praying I don't let those feelings get the better of me and cause me to make another bad decision. I think that's one of my greatest fears is repeating my past. That's the thought that really makes me think to myself "Whoa, Nelly.... now wait just a minute. You're doing just fine on your own." Then I feel better, and I can calm down just a little. Till the next panic attack comes along. Then, thankfully , I pray about it... and pray about it again.

"Patience is a virtue".... "Good things come to those who wait".... I have to keep reminding myself of these things in this 'have it now' world. Maybe then I will stop being in such a rush. Because things like this will - and should - take time.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Just say No

Lately I've been analyzing myself almost to the point of exhaustion. I keep picking at all of my character flaws in order to make myself a better person. I know there are a lot of things about myself that I can't change. But there are some things I can.

I have this problem, or quirk you might say, that I'm hoping is something I can work on to try to do better at.

My problem is that I'm just too nice. I know that doesn't actually sound like a problem. But it is. I have a very hard time telling someone 'no'. It reminds me of the song from the musical Oklahoma. I'm just a girl who cain't say no.... This personality trait of mine comes out in my professional life and my personal life. If it's something to help someone else I always say yes, that's not the problem. It's saying 'no' to something bad that's the problem.

Now, just to clarify, I actually can say no when I have to. And I do often. I have my areas that are just non-negotiable. But there are other times that I find it hard to stand up for myself and what I think is right.

I wish I could find a happy balance between my niceness, and my self respect. I think it all comes down to wanting to fit in. 'Fitting in' is a horrible side effect carried over from childhood. It's something for teenagers to want to do, not grown adults. But it's true. There are sometimes that I just want to fit in. I don't want to be different. I don't want to be ridiculed for being good. The Lord called his people 'peculiar'. I like the sound of that, but it still just means we're different. When we try to be good out in the world, we get put down for it. It's easy to get up every morning and say "Ok, today I'm not going to do or say anything bad " But then we go out into the world and face problems and temptations. That's when it gets hard.

My main problem I have is a fear of hurting someone's feelings. I had a circumstance where someone from my past would try to flirt with me and touch me in ways he should not have been at all, especially since I was married at the time. Where I should've just told him to stop and have respect for myself I let it continue and just dealt with it whenever I had to see him. That was not the right thing to do at all. Where was my self respect? Thankfully he is now in my past and I no longer have to see him, but I was afraid of hurting his feelings. To me that is totally unacceptable. He wasn't respectful of me, so why should I be respectful of him. Why can't I respect myself enough to stand up for what's right in a polite manner? I wouldn't have had to slap him in the face, but I should've told him politely to stop. It should've been that easy.... you would think.

These days I'm learning there are a lot of men in the world that aren't respectful of women at all, and if we don't stand up for ourselves it will only feed their problem. It's very easy for me to get on here and say what I need to be doing, and what I SHOULD'VE done. But doing it is so much harder than it seems. I wish I could just say no when I need to.

I learn on Sundays that I need to be 'in' the world, but not 'of' the world. I wonder if my problem is my flesh side wanting to be 'of' the world. That's what 'fitting in' is, by the way. I wish I was strong enough to take the ridicule and scoffing that the world throws back at me when I try to say no to something bad. I also wish I was strong enough to stand up for myself when something is wrong, without worrying about the other person's feelings.

I feel like I've had to be strong for over a year now with everything that's happened... when does it ever stop? When can I stop being strong? When do I just get to just collapse on the ground and say 'Uncle'?

The answer is never. No matter what happens I'll always have to be strong in one way or another... That's why I need the armor of God.