Exciting & Fun Creations, Life in General

Laughter in His Eyes

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I have always heard you can see right into someone’s soul through their eyes. For me, I’m not sure I have those visions, but I do know that when some people laugh, that laughter shines in their eyes. It makes their whole face light up.

Life in General

Yep. She Just Said That.

Standard.

Manual.

Stick shift.

Three on the tree.

Whatever you choose to call the vehicle that requires using a clutch, brake, and gas pedal. What you call it in your neck of the woods is just what it is. I grew up calling it a standard (if shifter was on the floor) and three on the tree (if shifter was located on the steering column), but that was in the south. In the north, I most often hear it referred to as manual or stick shift.

Okay, now that we’ve had a miniature english lesson…..moving on.

Automatic vehicles are what I learned to drive so I have stuck with automatics throughout my driving years. Many years ago, my mom had a vehicle –a standard Geo Metro — that I practiced driving a couple of times. It was way easy to drive though. And I haven’t driven a standard since then…about 14 years.

Recently, my husband has been ‘teaching’ me to drive a standard. Of course, I’m sure you are well aware of how ‘teaching’ to drive a standard is not really teaching at all. A person can explain when and what pedals to depress, but actually driving one requires practice. So basically, his teaching was: push the brake, push the clutch — it’s already in gear so release brake while engaging clutch and push the accelerator. It went reasonably well…..I don’t think I would necessarily say “I can drive a standard” because driving a standard in a field is much easier than driving a standard in a ton of traffic that is in the darn way! So, I ‘practice’ driving a standard.

The other day, I was ‘practicing’ driving a standard….in a field.

My husband leaves it in 1st gear and tells me to get in and follow him across the field where we needed to be….My 4 y/o daughter was with me….and she knows everything. Ask her, she’s not shy, she’ll tell you. Now, remember, the truck was in 1st gear so all I had to do was push the brake, engage the clutch, let off the brake, and push the accelerator (didn’t need to switch gears). As I let off the brake, the clutch didn’t fully engage so the truck died.

Yes, this very inexperienced standard driver killed the truck.

But….

Here’s the good part….

Remember, I told you, my 4 y/o daughter, very spunky, spirited 4 y/o daughter I might add, was with me. Remember also, that she knows everything. Just ask her 🙂

There I sat….

Killed the truck.

And what do I hear as I crank the truck again?

“Mom, just get out. I’ll do it! All you have to do is push that lever down!”………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

What?

Luckily, I didn’t have anything in my mouth (food/drink) because if I had, I would have choked on it. And I don’t need that repeat ER visit–another story, another day.

Umm, okay Miss Smartie Pants was my first thought and I just started laughing.

Yep. She Just Said That!

There we have it folks.

It’s official.

My 4 y/o spunky, spirited daughter knows everything.

And darn it…she can drive that standard 😉

Oh, you just gotta love these little people. She sure makes my world brighter ❤

Yes, it’s Tender Tuesday and this story just melts my heart.

Daily Encourgement, Life in General, Motherhood

Oh Yes, Now I Remember

One popular comment I hear when I tell people about the number of children we have is:

“Oh, you must be so busy.”

For a very long time my conclusion was this:

“If you have more than one child, the number doesn’t really matter. A mother with only two kids can be just as or even more busy than me with 8 children.”

Pretty much all my time is spent with my children, taking care of my home, or doing something family oriented. Times away from them include date nights with my hunny, trips mu husband and I have taken, or visits with friends or family when my hubby is home. Then there’s the times that my hubby takes the children with him which is something that happened most recently. He took five of the eight kiddos with him for the day to the county fair. I knew it was going to be a long day with no rest time or reprieve for the young ones so I decided to stay home with them.

Turns out that two kids for the day was very simple. I reached a new conclusion:

Yes, I am busier with 8 children than I would be with 2, 3, etc. etc.

And that got me to thinkin’…..

I have grown so used to having all the kids with me pretty much all the time because that’s what my husband and I have decided is best for our children. And I love it! I am so very thankful that I am able to stay home with them. The day he had most of the kids with him, I felt……I didn’t quite know what to do. The girls and I enjoyed that time together. Reading, coloring, playing, going for a couple of walks, visiting my sisters….it was a great day. It wasn’t different than our run-of-the-mill days except there were only two kids and I realized how much quieter it was in the house. Less arguing, less door slams from running in and out, less food to prepare……just less work in general and this brought to mind my early motherhood years when I had my first child.

I enjoyed that day when it was just the two girls and I, but I appreciate having all my kids. I wouldn’t change it for all the gold in the world. For anything. I would have each and every one of them all over again if I was given a re-do.

Anything Goes, Daily Encourgement, Life in General

He’s Worthy of Our Praise

Praise be to Jesus Christ, now and forever, Amen

We praise those we love. Right?

Yes, yes we do.

We praise our children when they do a kind act, when they do something correctly or even incorrectly as we want to build the belief within them that they can succeed, and we praise them for a multitude of other things throughout any given day.

The above prayer is the last part of our prayer before meals. We all know the prayer by heart as we say it before every meal. “Praise be to Jesus Christ, now and forever, Amen.”

Simple words that carry the weight of the world.

Through Jesus Christ we were saved. Through Him we find, know, and express love. Through Him we are able to forgive others. Through Him we are able to find the strength to endure the hardships we must face. Everything comes through Him.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. – John 3:16

If we have the ability (and we do, a grace afforded to us through Jesus Christ of course, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) to love our children unconditionally, to praise, to forgive, to have faith….to do everything for them that is good in the world, shouldn’t we be able to love and praise God for that very same reason, with just as much excitement? I mean, He did create us.

I know the stories of evolution. I know that not everyone believes in God, in anything religious at all even. However, I do pray for every soul on this earth when I say my prayers because prayers do get answered.

If you sing your praises to the Lord Almighty, then continue to do so.

If you don’t I say, go ahead and give it a try. If you start to believe even a little bit, if even one piece of your heart opens to His goodness, it will change your life. If nothing happens, try again and again. If nothing changes for you then you will have lost nothing, but if you notice even the smallest of change then believe, have faith that it is God’s presence.

Trust me, He’s worthy of our praise.

Life in General

A Remarkable Story

Twelve years ago I met the man I am blessed to call my husband. He wasn’t a prince by any means. He came from a working class family who attended Mass multiple times a week. They have a deeply rooted faith in God that extends to every facet of their life. He was taught to work hard and earn an honest living which is evident in everything he does. He worked hard, but he also played hard. His interests were wide and his responsibilities low. He had no wife — obviously. He had no children. He had no debt. He worked for his money and he saved it. At that point in his life, he was able to pay cash for most purchases. His work required him to travel so he didn’t put down roots of his own. When he was home (the town where he was born and raised) from a job, he stayed with his folks. When he wasn’t home, he was working. As I said, no prince by Webster’s Dictionary definition, but he WAS, IS and always WILL BE my prince. We fell crazy mad in love and have been together every since. We had to work at it. A LOT! But here we are, 12 years later and still going strong, through outside issues, children, etc….you know, just life.

But, the focus here is not he and I per se, but what we created. I brought three children into the relationship with me and we proceeded to have five more, as most of my readers know. So, there it be….what we created: our first creation turned out to be twins. Boys! When we found out I was pregnant that first time, he told me a story. Without including all the detail, the story basically consists of his prayer to God that he not have kids until he was 25.

So, here we are, 12 years later and quickly approaching the birthday of our first creation: our twins. What a blessing that pregnancy turned out to be. Don’t get me wrong, all my pregnancies have been a blessing. How could they not? Almost every one ended with a beautiful, tiny little human being placed in my arms. We did have a miscarriage at one point, but that little blessing who didn’t make it into my arms was surely welcomed into his/her forever home: heaven. Anyway, the pregnancy with the twins turned out to be a blessing for multiple reasons:

  • They were twins! It was scary, but exhilarating. We were super excited!
  • They were their dad’s birthday present as the three of them share a birthday, and….drum roll please….
  • They were born on his 25th birthday!

Now, someone please tell me that God doesn’t answer our prayers!

We have created many stories in our years together, but that story has to be my all-time favorite!

I love my wonderful husband to the moon and back.

And I love the family that we have created as he has loved the three whom I brought into the relationship with me without skipping a beat. We are truly gracious for the wonderful man that my husband is. Servant to God. Wonderful man. Amazing husband. Fantastic father.

Happy birthday to the man I love, the man who taught me the true meaning of lifetime love. I wouldn’t want to share this life with anyone else. Every day I wake up to a prayer that gets answered over and over with each rising sun. For that, my heart leaps with joy.

Happy birthday to our twin boys who added more of everything into our lives. Twin A and Twin B, yes you are twins –identical even — but don’t think for one second that one is less valued because both of you are unique, created exactly as God planned. We are grateful for each of you.

And I am one lucky lady……9 times over ❤

Life in General

It’s Not That Easy!

An apology to some can be extremely difficult.

One evening I got into an argument with my oldest son because he refused to apologize for a simple mistake, not on his part, that ended with something that shouldn’t have been said to anyone, let alone his brother. Later on, I found out that he did apologize, but his whole attitude with me was that he had no reason to apologize because what happened was not his fault. He failed to understand that I wasn’t blaming him for what happened, but I was holding him accountable for the words that he used as nobody made him use those words.

Oftentimes, when my husband and I get into disagreement he has a hard time apologizing. I always assume that pride prohibits him from apologizing for what he has said or done that led to the argument. I do not blame him for each argument that we get into, but again, I do blame him for his actions and his words.

One question: why is so hard for one to apologize, but another person can apologize so easily?

I often apologize, profusely even, for things I’ve done that cause hurt for another or cause undue hardship on another. It’s in my nature. I have no problem admitting I am wrong, but for some people it’s like being on the precipice whereas apologizing equals that slight move in the wrong direction resulting in falling over the edge.

I am slowly learning that I can influence those around me to do the right thing by doing the right thing myself. I am slowly learning that I am accountable only for my behaviors. I can’t change someone else’s behaviors, but I can change how I react to the things that cause me to feel angry or hurt.

As they say, lead by example because actions do speak louder than words.

Life in General, Motherhood

Admiring the Abilities of Others

Still in the midst of raising children, I find myself often questioning how I’ve handled something, my response to different things, my actions, my choice of words….whatever it may be. I question, I wonder, I doubt my parenting skills and not because I feel like I’m doing it all wrong, but because I know that I am human. I make mistakes as I am still learning as well. Each child is different. Their actions, their words, their thoughts, their reactions, their priorities….all different. Age is a factor. Mentality is a factor. Personality is a factor. Second-guessing oneself is really the pits.

Recently, I met someone a consider my friend. She’s a really great mom. She always acts so calm and collected. She never seems to lose her temper and has the patience of a saint. I know that we shouldn’t compare ourselves in any facet of our life with anyone else because I realize each on of is created exactly how God intended us to be. Sometimes, when I’m feeling like the worst parent in the world, I admire the kind of parent my friend is. However, I realize that although she may be a good parent to her children, she may have the patience of a saint, she may have it all together, I don’t know her story. I don’t live in her home so comparisons are moot. And I know that God has blessed me with these wonderful children because He knows I am who can give them what they need, which is true for any parent. At the same time, parents must reach their parenting potential with their children.

Below is a list of just a few things I’ve learned over the years:

  • When speaking with children, speak to them on their level (height-wise). For a long while now, when I speak with my kids, I make sure to have their attention by either sitting down so we are face-to-face or standing with them as some are close to my height. The ones that are taller, are teenagers and pay more attention when spoken to.
  • Discern where the problem is exactly before dolling out punishment. For instance, if my girls are pushing one another or screaming at the top of their lungs, the first thing I do is find out where the problem started so I can walk them through solving the problem. For instance, one took a toy from another (let’s face it, this happens constantly) so she who lost the toy slaps the one who took it and chaos ensues. By determining the problem, I can then explain that one shouldn’t take toys, but it’s also not okay to slap or in any other way cause harm to another. Knowing the ‘why’ for the behavior helps to remove the behavior.
  • Redirection works pretty well in most situations. I have found that the more stubborn a child is, the less redirection does work, but with some coaxing it will.
  • A big cause of concern for me over my years of parenting is bribing children. This in no way teaches a child anything. Yes, it does get the behavior that a parent is looking for, but a child walks away learning that he/she only has to act in an unreasonable manner to gain the reward. The child is not learning the behavior is wrong. The child is not learning the proper behavior. The child is not learning self-control.
  • Most of all, it’s not the quantity of time spent with a child, it’s the quality. How a parent engages with their child is much more important than how much time is spent with the child. In a half-hour outing, fully engaged (talking, playing, focused interaction), a parent accomplishes so much more than the parent who sits ideally with their child for a whole afternoon, each focused on their own thing (tv, computer, yard work, etc). Both times spent with child benefit the child, but the more focused a parent is on time spent the better off not only will the child be, but also the parent-child relationship.

Children are blessings from above. A parents’ responsibility to raise these blessings in a way that is pleasing to God is a responsibility placed upon us that He knows we can fulfill.

 

 

Anything Goes, Daily Encourgement, Life in General

To Help Others in Time of Need

How important is it to help others that may or may not be in need?

How important is it to treat someone that is helping you with respect and as an equal rather than as someone who doesn’t matter?

A friend of mine had been helping someone complete a big project recently, but this someone kept treating my friend like crap, constantly yelling at her and fussing about the project itself. Eventually my friend got fed up with the other person who was being so not nice. She walked away from the project and that person, leaving said person to complete the project without my friend’s help.

A while ago, last year some time, I was driving along the highway on my way back home. A lady was pulled over to the side of the road because a deer had run out in front of her. She was trying to get hold of her husband when I got back to her after turning around. Being only a few miles from her home, I offered to give her a ride which she accepted because she had groceries in her car and her husband had been drinking so he didn’t want to be out driving. She offered to pay me, but I said no. She insisted.

A few winter’s ago, my friend and pulled into a place of business and went inside. When I came back out, my car wouldn’t start. My friend and I tried everything we could think of (which isn’t much because we are pretty much clueless about cars) to start the vehicle. To no avail, we went back inside to ask for help. Finally, after about 10 minutes someone grudgingly helped us. Giminy crickets, it was WINTER! Did the other patrons of this place of business not have any reserves about someone being stranded on a cold winter’s night?

Growing up, my parents didn’t teach us to get others back who wronged us, but throughout the years, that’s what we picked up along the way. The Bible teaches to love others even when unlovable, to love always in the face of evil.

If one slaps you on one cheek, turn to him the other cheek….Love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you. – Matthew 5:39, 44

My husband and I teach this to our children through example. It’s not always easy to do the right thing. In the midst of our anger, sometimes, we want to act out and let our anger get the best of us. An example, the first story I mentioned that involved my friend. She was tired of getting treated like crap rather than get the appreciation for the time she was committing to help with the big project.

What I question is: where is the humanity in this life? Why is it so hard to help someone in need when you witness that they need help? Again, with my first story, was my friend right to walk away from the project before it was completed? Remember, when we are asked to show love no matter what, we are only responsible for ourselves, not the actions of others. With that in mind, the question again, was my friend right to walk away before completion of the project? The answer is of no importance because as I stated, she is accountable for her actions and hers alone. It’s merely a thought-provoking question and an example.

My point is being helpful to others is something that many fail to do unless something is in it for them. Other times, people are just to busy to take a time out to help another. One teaching I heard during Mass a few months back consisted of saying yes to God because God comes first. One way to do that is helping others in times of need whatever the need may be such as unloading a truck in a dump yard, giving a ride to someone stranded, or lending a hand in big projects. Rather than watch someone struggle and struggle with something, I mean literally stand and watch, why not step in and offer your assistance?

It’s a hard world we live, one created by the selfishness and the greed of the people who inhabit it. It seems to me that the world as a whole, but also communities everywhere would be much better off if everyone would put others before themselves.

Maybe it’s a little more Leave it to Beaverish kind of thinking than most are used to, but hey, it’s a good hope 🙂

Daily Encourgement, Life in General, Motherhood, Wifehood

A Sanctuary

When thinking of a sanctuary, what comes to mind?

For me, when I think of sanctuary, I think of a place of safety.

Another place I think of when I hear the word sanctuary is the church.

And coincidentally, one of the places that someone may feel safest is actually in a church. I often go to the church, such a sacred place, a sanctuary that offers peace. It’s a place of solace, a place where one can feel God’s presence. In God’s house, speaking to Him with reverence of course, we can be who we are because He is the only one who knows us throughout. He is the only one that loves us through each and every fault that we have.

He offers us the graces to show kindness, to love others freely, to forgive others as we are forgiven, to have faith in our darkest moments, and to remain hopeful when it seems hopeless. It’s in His presence that we can really delve into ourselves in order to learn of our strengths and weaknesses.

Being here in my home, my sanctuary, life doesn’t stop. It doesn’t slow down. It’s always a bit noisy. Kids are playing with one another, completely engaged in childhood activity that includes board games, bike riding, going for walk, playing in the water…….just being kids. Part of being kids is arguing, disagreeing, and yes, wrestling around with siblings. I love it! When I am not playing referee or gym coach, I pick up the role of cook, dishwasher, janitor and laundress. However, those very important roles cannot be replaced by my devotions of being a teacher, a confidant, a role model, and a religious educator. The role of parent is very diverse and involves much praying, contemplation, patience, and LOVE, always love.

Outside of being a mother, I also have not only obligations to my spouse, but a love for him that pushes me to be the very best I can be. I fail sometimes, I learn, and I keep moving forward –mere centimeters at times, but forward is forward, right. Together, we raise our children and live a life according to what God is asking of us.

My home is my sanctuary.