Motherhood

Overflowing With Love

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This morning I decided to clean out my son Christopher’s backpack. He tends to be my less organized child, and his backpack is a mess. When I decide to clean out his backpack, I never know what to expect. The last time I found an old banana peal. I thought I was going to “LOSE” it, and had to wash his backpack in the washing machine. This morning I found a “blessing” amongst all the miscellaneous papers. I found a piece of artwork he created in school. The title was “Overflowing With Love… To My Mom… Love Christopher”.

It was a picture of a jar, glued onto a yellow piece of construction paper. Tucked inside the jar were small pieces of paper. Each one written something he loves about “me”, his mom.

Not to brag or anything… But here’s what those little pieces of paper said.

1. I like it when you cuddle me.
2. My favorite thing to do with you is cook. (Who would’ve known)
3. I like your homemade Macaroni & Cheese.
4. Thank you for helping me to be brave when I was at the hospital.
5. You always make me happy when I’m sad.

These are the moments I live for as a mom. Unfortunately, we moms don’t often get accolades from our children. Moments when they tell us of their love, and all that we mean to them, are few and far between. When the words come, I cherish them… soak them up… store them for gloomy days. Days when I question whether my children love me, whether I’m making a difference in their lives, and for days I need reminded of the importance of my job as a mother.

Moms… Our job is of utmost importance! We are our little ones “tangible” comfort on Earth. They feel God’s love when we encourage them, love them, hug them, and care for their well being.

Your children may not exhibit thankfulness. Rest assured… weary… over-worked… exhausted momma’s. You are making a difference! They love you… completely! They need you to walk with them through this thing called, “childhood”.

Mothers, when you find a note… a card… or hear a word of kindness from their little hearts, take it to heart. Frame it… take a picture of it… write about it on your blog… these words of gratefulness are quite rare. Cherish them… and store them up for rainy days!

Finally brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of a good report – if there is any virtue and if there is any praise- think on these things. ~Philippians 4:8

Blessings,

Crystal

Uncategorized

Your Past… Your Present… Your Future – “Happy Valentine’s Day, Robert W. Ridlon III”

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His hand in mine… We walked.
Young… Vibrant… So full of life.
We laughed… We dreamed of our future.
Countless hours spent… Falling in love in the park.

I remember…
Your eyes… The depth of your love for me.
The eyes of a 16 year old boy… madly in love.
People said… It’s just a crush.
Your first love…

In the park… Remains a bench with our initials carved inside.
18 years later… Our initials remain.
Who would’ve known… Our love would too.

Sitting under a wooden structure.
Resting in the shade.
You looked me in the eyes.
You handed me a box.
Inside the box… A necklace.
The charm hanging…

Engraved on one side, ” I love you”
The other our initials, “RR & CP”

Today I wear this necklace… A reminder of our history.
This necklace holds… So much of our story.
A piece of jewelry… Given to a girl.
A girl… You loved… You cherished… You romanced… You chased.
You won my heart then… And you continue to win my heart today.

18 years later… We’re still madly in love.
Our love story… A beautiful picture of “true love”
We have shared our past.
I look forward to sharing our future.

Happy Valentine’s Day, Robert William Ridlon III,

Your past… your present… your future.

I Love You,

Crystal Ridlon

Family Bonding Time, Learning to Love Your Husband, Motherhood

Clean Home… Happy Kids… Managing Priorities

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Five winter coats blocking the stairs. I yell at my kids, “Boys get down here and hang up your coats! I’m not a slave, I am a mom!”, as they look at me with a shocked look. This is my life… This is my daily routine… My world!

Friends, I am a neat freak (or shall I say a “wanna be” neat freak). I have the ideal picture of my desired home’s appearance. I want the floors clear of debris, shiny, and clean. I want the kitchen spotless, with no dishes in the sink, absolutely no crumbs on the counter (this drives me insane, just wipe off the stinking counter), I like the refrigerator organized and clean (no old left-overs, screaming, “Empty me, please!”), I desire the bathrooms smelling clean and no mis-aimed urine (I could tell you some interesting stories of all the random places my boys’ have managed to spray), and clean bedrooms, organized closets and drawers, the beds made, and fresh sheets. Get the picture… I like neat… I really like neat! Actually, I’m pretty sure, “I love neat!”

This morning I began to think, “When my kid’s are grown, my home will be spotless. Then I will long for the mess from my child-rearing days, and I recalled the wise counsel from countless mentors and friends. I have taken these words to heart, and have allowed my home to take second place to my adorable family. I don’t want them remembering, I cared more about a clean house, than I cared for them. Yet, I will outwardly admit, I still long for a clean house. I dream about shiny floors, and organized bedrooms.

Suddenly, standing in the hallway, vacuuming up dust from my previous vent cleaning expedition, I remember my friend. My college roommate, who has been on my heart and mind continually. One month ago, I heard the most tragic news in the media. Imagine the shock, when I realized the story was about my very own friend. A girl I lived with for 6 months, now a woman… a wife… a mother (like myself), tragically lost her husband, and two of her five children. Standing in the hallway, I turn off the vacuum cleaner, and the tears begin falling down my flushed cheeks. I look down the hall and see my happy little girl, throwing my clean and folded laundry onto the floor. Suddenly “NOTHING” else mattered, but my sweet little girl, my husband at work, and my boys at school. I picked her up, and looked at her, as I thought to myself, “Wow! She is beautiful! She is a gift… a treasure from above!”

As I walked around the house cleaning, and every so often tickling my sweet toddling baby. I thought to myself, “As much as I love a clean home, I don’t love “ANYTHING” more than my family… my husband… and my beautiful children.”

Friends, Is today a good day for a priority check? It was for me!

(Luke 12:34 “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”)

Please join me as I daily pray for my friend Sarah, and her children “Kate, Finn, and Elise”!

God Bless,

Crystal

Encouragement for a Weary Heart, Learning to Love Your Husband, Motherhood, Parenting, Trusting God, Uncategorized

Aspirations… Dreams… And Discerning God’s Direction

Write a book.

Sing professionally…

Earn a degree…

Start an award winning blog…

Begin a Bible study…

Or a Christian mom’s group…

What are your aspirations?

Lately, I’ve been thinking about my life. Not “lately” but forever… all the time.

I’ve wrestled with who I am… who does God want me to be… who do I want to be… am I all that I should be… all that God desires me to be?

Married at 22… first baby at 24.

A homemaker… my world.

Is this enough? Is this all God desires of me?

Can I be content?

Here…Now?

Dreams… So many dreams… ideas… aspirations.

How do I make sense of all these thoughts… these ideas… these dreams… all these desires?

How can I separate, these thoughts crowding my mind?

How can I determine… which thoughts to throw out… which desires to give wings… which ones to put into action?

Is it fear?

Does fear disable my ability to progress? To use my voice to glorify God… to use my fingers to type a life-changing book? To use my words… to share the “truth that saved me”? To begin a much needed mom’s group?

God in his word… called people… despite their fear.

Moses… He doubted his ability to lead the Israelite’s into the Promised Land. He submitted to God and called out to God for help.

Out of fear, Jonah disobeyed God. Although being swallowed by a whale doesn’t sound like fun, God used him. He taught Jonah, that if he calls him to do something, he will help him accomplish the task.

God doesn’t have a history of calling the best… the popular… or the arrogant. He has a history of calling the weak… the doubtful… and the fearful.

I struggle to discern… God’s calling on my life.

Few things I am certain about in my life…

*I am open to his calling.

*I am waiting for his direction.

*I have not “arrived”.

*He desires for me to love my husband. To be his helpmate… to walk alongside him. To grow old with him… to respect him… and to be his best friend.

*He has blessed me with four beautiful children. He has called me to train them up… teach them Biblical principles… and to respect those in authority.

*I need him….

*I long for his peace…

*I can’t face any facet of this uncertain life, without him.

*I need his daily doses of wisdom, like the oxygen that keeps me alive moment by moment.

* There’s no where I’d rather be, than in the center of His will.

My heart has much to learn about God’s love… God’s will for my life.

At times his direction may not seem clear.

Maybe… Just maybe.

It’s all part of the process… the journey… the plan for my life.

Could it be?

He’s teaching us…

Preparing us.

Could it be?

His avenue for directing us to our Heavenly destination.