Tag Archives: love

Lessons Learned

4 Jan

I’ve already written about how much I was ready for 2013 to be over. Because I was ready to move in to another year, a better year. I never go through anything  without looking back on it and reflecting on how it changed me, made me stronger, what it taught me. So, today I’m going to think back on the lessons 2013 gave to me. These are the things I learned throughout the year.

I learned that, no matter how hard you try, you can’t make someone (not even yourself) fall in love, or out of love, with someone else. Why and how one falls in love is a mystery. It’s the most beautiful and most painful of emotions. And, if you’re lucky enough to be in love with someone who is in love with you back, nurture and protect that love. That is the most beautiful of fairy tales.

I learned that people can be cruel. Over the last couple of months, there have been an influx of visitors to Life As I Know It. And I am so thankful for each of you that take the time to read the words of my heart. I am thankful for the people who lift me up and tell me I’m doing something right. I am thankful for the people who disagree with me, but do it politely and with respect. I am thankful for the people who think I’m right and those that think I’m wrong. But there are a few who have left words that I refuse to give light to. People attacking me for my thoughts. People saying hurtful things about my children. People who left me questioning whether continuing to write was something I could do. And I came to this conclusion: we are all beautifully different. We all have different parenting styles. We all have different belief systems. We all have different outlooks on life. We all have different lives. I celebrate that! I read every comment written on this blog and some of you have made me rethink some things. I appreciate people who challenge me to think outside of the spot I live in. I appreciate people who have differing opinions than mine. But, as you post on my blog, as you live day-to-day with other human beings who may see the world differently than you do, please remember this: Honesty is never a good excuse to be cruel. We should all be more kind to one another.

I learned that lip gloss will never come out of clothes after being in the washing machine.

I learned that, eventually, those old favorite jeans need to be retired for new favorite jeans.

I learned that, no matter how far away your mom is, you always need to go running to her when your life turns upside down.

I learned that I am not as breakable as I thought I was.

I learned that, when your child is hurting, it is amazing the amount of personal pain you can set aside to be a rock and a safe place for them to be.

I learned that there are people in this world whose hearts are bigger than any disease they may be fighting.

I learned that children are far stronger, and far more resilient, than most of us adults.

I learned that life is far too short to take one minute for granted.

I learned that red wine, music I can dance to, and an empty kitchen are the perfect environment to cook in.

I learned that God works in ways far more mysterious than I ever realized before and that when His plans unfold slowly and you can’t figure out where life will go from here, it is the scariest, yet somehow most peaceful, place in the world.

I learned that people will take any opportunity they can get to jump on opposite sides of a cause and belittle and demean one another in the name of defending their beliefs.

I learned that watching my son turn 6 and become more and more independent brings about more feelings of pride, and sadness, than I expected.

I learned that the stomach flu has to have been created by the devil and is an effective and horrible method of torture.

I learned that chronic back pain is not something that can be explained to anyone who hasn’t lived it.

I learned that infertility seems endlessly painful.

I learned that the right set of underwear brings about an unexplainable confidence; even if no one else ever sees them.

I learned that movie nights are better with comfy pjs, popcorn, and far too many people smushed onto one couch.

I learned that the internet is a fantastic resource for fantastic new recipes.

I learned that some things never change. Some things are constantly changing; sometimes for the better, sometimes not. And some things, and people, need space and time and opportunity and patience to change and grow and become better versions of their awesome selves. And that if I can continue to allow myself to grow and change and become better, it will be an amazing ride on this ever-evolving Life As I Know It.

Making Memories

23 Dec

Merry Christmas

 

I love Christmas! I love everything about it! Spending time with the people I love. Decorating. Eating. The joy that everyone seems to have. Picking out that perfect present for someone you love. I seriously love it! One of my favorite parts of Christmas are the traditions. Some of them have passed down from when I was a child. Some of them we have started on our own. All of them make the Christmas season so much more special. Here are some of my favorite holiday traditions. I would love to hear some of yours!

 

Shopping – I love Black Friday shopping with my best friend! We make a night of it. We scope out the sales, visit as many places as we can, drink lots of coffee, eat breakfast (in the middle of the night) someplace yummy, and then sleep the whole next day. I know there are so many people who think Black Friday is a waste of time, for many reasons. It is, however, one of the days I look forward to throughout the year. One of my favorite traditions with one of my favorite girls!

 

Decorating – Immediately after Thanksgiving, the Christmas decorations come out. When I was a kid, we would put Christmas music on and drink hot chocolate. We each get a new ornament for the tree each year and it’s so lovely to see how the number of ornaments has multiplied from year to year. There is something so exciting and magical about beginning the Christmas season.

 

Lights – One evening, just before Christmas, we all pile in the car, hot chocolate in tow, to drive around and look at the lights. The kids love trying to find the biggest and best light display. I love listening to the conversation and laughter coming from the back seat. It’s one of my favorite things to do with my children.

 

Pajamas – Ever since I was a little girl, there were new pajamas to be opened on Christmas Eve. When I was young, I just thought it was a neat thing my mom did. Turns out, her motives weren’t just to give us a special memory. She wanted decent pajamas in the pictures each Christmas. As a mom, it is definitely a tradition I’ve carried on with my family. We all get new pajamas on Christmas Eve. The kids love the idea of opening a present early and I love getting nice pajamas for pictures the next morning.

 

The Christmas Story – To be sure that we remember what our focus should be on Christmas Day, we read the Christmas story from the Bible before any present is opened that morning. Again, something that my mom started when we were kids. I think it’s the perfect way to remember the greatest Christmas gift ever given. And to remind us all that it’s not the shopping, or the decorating, or the presents….. it’s the gift of Love. That’s what Christmas is all about!

 

Merry Christmas to each of you!

 

Make Me Great

18 Dec

Author: Bagande

 

This is part of my 30 Things My Kids Should Know About Me Series. The topic….. Something I wish I was great at.

 

There are many things I want to be good at. I would love to be able to play the piano and the guitar. I’d like to be able to bake something from scratch. I wish I could dance. There are several things I’d like to be better at. I strive every day to continue to be better at my career. Writing, singing, car mechanics, and computer skills also come to mind. (And I’m certain my husband wishes I were a better driver.) But if I could choose one thing to be great at, the choice would be an easy one. I want to be a great example.

 

I want to example a great wife. I want my husband, my daughter, any other girl watching me, and even my son to see grace. To see humility. To see selflessness. To see forgiveness. Purity. Partnership. Kindness. Passion. Gentleness. I want to show them that a woman can be independent and strong, to stand up for herself,  and still be an effective member of a team that compromises and gives when it’s needed. I want to example a love and respect for my husband that will leave a legacy of successful and happy marriage for my children and grandchildren.

 

I want to example a great mother. I want my children, my nieces and nephews, my students to see sacrifice. To see unconditional love. To see boundaries. To see structure. Fun. Laughter. Openness. Memories. I want them to learn to prioritize the people in their lives above the things. I want them to learn all of the personality traits it takes to be a great parent and I want them to be able to apply them when they have children of their own.

 

I want to example a great friend. I want my friendships to be great examples of love. Of laughter. Of sharing. Of fellowship. Of loyalty. I want to show how important it is to have people in your life who challenge you and make you better. People who will support you and lean on you. People who laugh and cry with you. People who listen to you and trust you. I want my children to learn how precious true friendships are and what to look for when finding those people they can count on.

 

I want to example a great woman. I want everyone who crosses my path to see joy. To see faith. To see courage. To see freedom. To see strength. To see hope. I want people to see that, despite life’s struggles and disappointments, there is One who offers strength when we are weak, comfort when we are broken-hearted, and a safe place to land when we fall. I want people to see God’s love when they look at me.

 

That is the wife, the mother, the friend, the woman I want to show my children. Those are the footsteps I want to leave for them to follow. I want to be a great example so that I may leave them a great legacy.

 

My Wish For You

30 Sep

This is part of my 30 Things My Kids Should Know About Me series. The prompt…. my hopes and dreams for my children.

To my children,

I want so many things for you. There are so many dreams inside of me that awakened because of my love for you. I know that there are great things in store for your lives. And I look forward to watching you fly.

I hope you laugh. Find reasons every day to enjoy being alive. Surround yourself with people that make your smile meet your eyes. Don’t take yourself too seriously. There are very few things more beautiful in this life than someone who is truly happy. Be beautiful.

I hope you dream. And dream big. Never let someone tell you it can’t be done. If you find passion in something, pursue it. You are capable of great and wondorous things. Believe in yourself. Never give up. Follow those dreams, wherever they may lead you.

I hope you love. Fearlessly. Recklessly. Once you find someone worthy of your heart, don’t hold back. The greatest loves are founded on the greatest sacrifice. But most of all, love yourself. I assure you, you are someone worth loving.

I hope you cry. Emotions are not to be hidden. In fact, it takes strength to be connected to your emotions. To feel so strongly that your heart can break. Shed tears of sorrow without feeling weak. And shed tears of joy without feeling shame. Allow yourself to be passionate. Allow yourself to feel.

I hope you pray. Realize that your strength does not come from within. But from a God who loves you beyond logic and expectation. A God who’s love for you is infinitely more beautiful than any other love you’ll know. A God who will speak to you, you need only to listen. Follow Him.

I hope you are kind. Truly care about others. Be polite. Reach out your hand to help where you are needed. Give of yourself. There are people all over this world considerably less fortunate than you. Not just because you have things, but because you have love. Give freely to them.

I hope you are happy. It is easy to worry and be afraid. It is easy to let the trials of this life beat you. Be strong. Be courageous. Look yourself in the eye each day and decide to smile. Decide to laugh. Decide to dance. Decide to sing. Whoever it is that makes you happy, be that person.

I hope you live. We only get one chance to change the world. Don’t waste it. Live freely. Without regret. Make your mark. Make a difference. Make your life beautiful. Fly.

Growing up is hard to do

11 Sep
BXP46603

BXP46603 (Photo credit: Wilson X)

Life has bumps.  All of life.  It seems that just when things might be going your way…. something happens that tries to bring you down.  My life has been hit with one of those times recently.  I haven’t even been able to begin to write anything for quite some time.  It’s very strange for me, a writer, to not be able to form words on a page.  Scary even.  Confusing.  But, I’m starting to dust myself off and what better way to do it than to write.  I’m going to write from a very real place without sharing details that I’m not ready to put into words yet.  And I’ve found the perfect way to do it.  This post will be part of my 30 Things My Kids Should Know About Me Series.  The prompt is The hardest part about growing up.  Here goes…..

When you’re young, all you want to do is grow up.  Big people have cars and phones and their very own money.  They get to go where they want and do what they want.  Nobody tells them what to do.  They make their own bed times and drink coffee.  It must be so nice to grow up.  And, growing up does have its perks.  But, then there’s the other side.  The part of life that makes growing up difficult and sometimes painful.

Decisions.  It sounds great to be able to make your own decisions.  Seems like the perfect way to live.  Sometimes it is.  I do enjoy eating a bowl of cereal at completely irresponsible times of the night.  And I like to choose what I watch on television. But, honestly, sometimes I just want someone to take those decisions from me.  I don’t want to have to decide what’s going to be for dinner when I’ve just had a long, stressful day.  I don’t want to have to choose whether the car gets new tires or the house payment gets paid on time. I don’t want to feel like my children’s entire lives can be changed by one decision I do or don’t make. That is a lot of responsibility. And there are days when I just don’t feel like deciding anything.
What I’m learning: Sometimes it’s ok to eat takeout after a long, stressful day. And, sometimes, you just have to close your eyes, pick the bill to pay, and pray. It will always work itself out in the end. Sometimes, you have to take a good, long look at the whole picture, make the decision that you think is right, and pray. It will always work itself out in the end. And, sometimes, you just need a day that includes a glass of wine, a good friend, and the time and space to vent about how much being an adult sucks. And know, as long as you never stop trying, it will always work itself out in the end.

Relationships. Fairy tales never give you the whole picture. Childhood doesn’t either. When you’re young, while you’re busy knowing everything, you are blissfully unaware of how difficult marriage and adult relationships can be. You think you know what love is. You think you know what committment is. But, until your love and committment are tested, you never fully realize the meaning of those words. And it’s in those moments that you are tested when you wish you could be blissfully unaware again.
What I’m learning: Relationships are hard. They are difficult and draining. They take work. They take an unbelievable amount of determination and sacrifice. Sometimes they are painful and scary. But, when you find the right person; they are worth it. The experience of loving someone so completely, of building a life and a future, of sharing all of life’s struggles and joys, is absolutely worth every single tear you may cry along the way.

Standing alone. Perhaps the hardest part of growing up is learning to walk without a safety net. The comfort and stability that you had as a child is gone. You are seemingly alone in a big, scary world. And with every wrong decision or rough patch, you wish there was someone there to help you pick up the pieces. It’s difficult to navigate when you’ve always been a passenger. It’s difficult to take the first step into the unknown without someone holding your hand. It’s difficult to begin a journey on your own. But, let me tell you this, the reward at the end of that first solo journey is a feeling that can’t ever be duplicated again.
What I need you to learn: You’re never alone. You, my children, will never be alone. I won’t be able to walk right next to you. I won’t be able to always hold your hand. I won’t be able to offer you an easy way out of every situation in which you find yourself. But, I can offer you a place to land. A safe place to lay your head when life gets rough. A place to come home to when you are overwhelmed. And, the confidence I have in you that you can accomplish everything you dream!

A post of posts

15 Aug

I found a very interesting idea the other day…. A list of posts. A legacy of sorts.  Something to leave for my children to look back on some day. The things I think they should know about me. I have decided to tweak it and make it my own. As I finish each post, I will link it here and it will eventually become an interactive list of posts. I’m pretty excited about it and I hope you enjoy!

Thirty Things My Kids Should Know About Me

1. 20 Random Facts about myself
2. Describe 3 legitimate fears and how they came about
3. Describe my relationship with my spouse
4. The 10 things that make me most happy, right now
5. If I had 3 wishes…..
6. My dream job
7. Five things I am passionate about
8. Ten people who have influenced me
9. Embarrassing moments
10. Pet peeves
11. A typical day in the life
12. The hardest part of growing up
13. Weaknesses and strengths
14. When I knew he was “the one”
15. My 5 greatest accomplishments
16. What I wish I were great at
17. What people love the most about me
18. How I felt the moment I became a parent
19. Memories from my childhood
20. Favorite holiday
21. Parenthood: likes and dislikes
22. Dinner party from history
23. Favorite quality of my spouse
24. Hopes and dreams for my children
25. Ten things I want to be remembered for
26. My favorite things about me
27. Best advice I ever received
28. Best advice I can give
29. Where to go from here
30. What faith can do

Going to the chapel…..

24 Jul

My baby brother is getting married in a little over a week. It wasn’t all that long ago that I was looking forward to my own wedding. I was much older than he is now and I thought I knew so much. I thought I knew what to expect and what life would be like. I had no idea. I do realize that no one can ever prepare you for something like marriage and real life, but I want to try.

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To Eric and Kelley (and anyone else who needs it),

Making the decision to love someone isn’t always easy. But that’s what it takes. Loving them no matter what. Even if they leave empty Mt. Dew cans in the living room. Even if they say they will fold the laundry and it’s still sitting, two days later. Even if their snoring keeps you awake at night. Even if they say something that isn’t nice. Even if they don’t act like they love you. Even if you don’t want to. It’s hard and sometimes it’s messy. But, to make a marriage last, it’s necessary.

Working on your marriage should start before you need to work on your marriage. If you wait until there is a problem, things get much harder. Make date nights a priority. Make learning new things about each other a priority. Have those late night conversations like you did when you were dating. Continue to try to do little things that make each other happy. Let her pick the date activity. Go watch that superhero movie he’s looking forward to. Surprise each other with little tokens of your love. Don’t find yourselves, years down the road, realizing you know nothing about the other person and no one cares enough to make an effort anymore. Don’t even let it start.

Love is an action word. Gary Chapman writes a fantastic series called “The 5 Love Languages”. It’s a great resource on making sure that you are showing your spouse love in a way they can receive. Don’t just do things ‘your way’. Make sure you are doing things that are specifically acted out for the sole purpose of making the other person feel loved. The things they enjoy. The things they need. Sacrifice is an imperative part of making a marriage work. Just because you don’t particularly like holding hands doesn’t mean he doesn’t need it. You may find it silly to know that she needs to hear that she’s beautiful and the extent to which you love her everyday; do it anyway.

Have fun! Enjoy this time alone! Kids are great! They add so much to life that is incomparable. But, they take a lot as well. They take a lot of attention and love. They require stability and don’t allow for much alone time. They certainly change things drastically. I love both of my children! I do frequently wish, though, that my husband and I had been able to enjoy some time together, just us, before we added that component to our family. That wasn’t life’s path for us, but it is for you. Live each stage of life to its fullest!

Pray together. Make sure that God is in the center of your marriage, your home, your life, and eventually your parenting strategies. Continue to grow in your relationship with Him separately. Continue to support each other, challenge each other, and push each other to be better. He has all of the answers and strength that you need to make this marriage everything He designed it to be.

Fight fair. No name calling. Forgive past hurts and move beyond them. Bitterness is a dangerous trap to fall into. Be vulnerable and honest. Love unconditionally. Ask for help! There is no shame in seeking help from trustworthy sources that have your marriage’s best interest in mind. Don’t betray trust or confidentiality. Make sure no one else can be a threat to your marriage. (Friends and family included.) Make sure that giving up and walking away is never an option. Don’t even mention it. And never, ever forget that love, true love, conquers all.

I love you both and I wish you all of the happiness and joy that love and life can possibly bring!

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