Family Bonding Time, Motherhood, Trusting God

To Go or Not to Go?

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My oldest two boys were all signed up and ready to begin packing for camp. However, something inside my spirit didn’t feel right about them going to camp.

I couldn’t pin point and particular reason, however the feeling wouldn’t let up.

My husband is teaching abroad in China for six weeks and we all miss him terribly. I thought to myself they might be extra homesick, I will miss them more, and my younger two might have a hard time with daddy and their brothers being gone.

However, it still didn’t add up.

I spoke to the boys. A few days ago and they “REALLY” wanted to go. I relented and thought, “I’m just being goofy!”

Several situations continued to rise that made me rethink camp. For example, Christopher got some kind of bug bite that swelled his entire inner thigh. I took him to the doctor and he needs to be on a five day dose of steroids. A kid on steroids, is certain to not the get camper of the week award?

The Lord spoke to my heart and lead me to call the woman who runs the camp. He said… “Just call and see if there are any boys on the waiting list?” I thought to myself. If there are boys on the waiting list than maybe that is my answer and if not that may be my answer.

I called her and discussed my current situation and inner struggle. I asked her if there were any other boys on the waiting list. She answered, “You won’t believe this, there are two other boys on the waiting list, who’d love to be able to go to camp.” Hmmm? Interesting?

I asked her if I could call her back after speaking to my children. She said, “Certainly!”

I spoke to my boys. I told them it was their choice and there were two other boys on the waiting list. My oldest son looked in my eyes and said, “I want those boys to be able to go to camp.”, And Christopher agreed. I asked, “Are you sure?” Once again my oldest replied, “Those boys need to go to camp!”

I don’t know why Holy Spirit began speaking to my heart. Or why, The Holy Spirit immediately revealed to my oldest son, that those boys were supposed to be at camp?

I would love to be a fly on the wall of camp! God’s up to something! I know it and I would love to be there to see it!”

The woman offered to return our non- refundable registration fee. I told her, God wanted those boys there and this is our gift to them. No problem!

I would love to see what God has up His sleeve! He’s amazing and I know it must be awesome!

Encouragement for a Weary Heart, Family Bonding Time, Motherhood, Parenting

Crystal’s “Turn the Table” Over Moment

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I’m frustrated.

You thinking… Wow… Not like Crystal to blog about something negative or out of frustration?

Let me clarify: I’m not saying I never feel negative or frustrated, just ask my husband and children.

However, right now I have a bone to pick.

Usually, I decide to wait until my frustration passes but right now… This is a “Jesus turns over the table in the temple” kind of moment. My husband has been in China for almost three weeks and will remain there for three more weeks. I am a mother of four children ranging from 11 – 1, not to mention a graduate student perusing a degree in counseling, and this is the LONGEST I have ever been away from my best friend and help mate. Needless to say… I’m missing him like crazy, feeling terribly lonely, and not getting the regular breaks my husband blesses me with. Since he left, I have had a few bad moments as a mother, I have cried a few tears, but all in all I’m hanging in there. Simply, trying to make the best.

Well, if you care to proceed… Here’s my soap box saga for tonight.

I’m sick of “certain “people dogging mothers.

A recent article I saw was something like, “Hey, that mother with the iPhone, put down your phone and swing your Kid.” Revealing a picture with a mom pushing her baby in a park swing and looking at her iPhone.

SERIOUSLY?

How in anyway is this uplifting, encouraging, or helpful?

Hey, is the baby taken care, is the mother beating her child, is there any obvious signs of neglect surrounding the child?

You know what I say, and I don’t ever say this… I say “Shut-Up!”

(Sorry – for the current day profanity that was not profanity when I was brought up.)

Give mothers a break! Stop looking for “something”…. “anything” to criticize.

Do you know how many children would love for their mothers to take them to the park and push them in the swing?

So what? The mother is multi-tasking… I’m certainly guilty of that.

Another article I read tonight that I found infuriating was titled… “The Worst Trend Ever”.

This article talked about how mothers are starting to post funny stories about their failures as a parent and how we need to take our sin more seriously! Mother’s shouldn’t admit failures but take them to God and take them seriously before the throne.

The worst trend ever?

Really?

I think not!

I think the big holes through the earlobe, the over abundance of meth labs, women showing EVERY part of their skin, sagging britches, and of course the mullet were TERRIBLE trends.

How is it that mothers being authentic and genuine in the face of their friends and mentors is the WORST trend?

How does the author of this article know the heart of “all” the mothers she’s writing about and their Facebook posts? As for me… I take my sin “very” seriously! (I admit it… I yelled at my child tonight… While preparing them “boxed” macaroni and cheese for dinner. I lost my temper… I actually made my son cry.).

However… Guess what else I did. I called my little boy down the stairs, sat him on my lap, squeezed him tight and I cried with him. I did… I told him I was soooo sorry. I ask him to forgive me. I asked God in front of him to forgive me and help me to be a better and more patient mother. I had taken away his swimming privileges… And guess what? I extended that naughty little boy grace and I still took him swimming, even when he didn’t deserve it. Just like Christ continually extends grace to me.

Guess what else I did? I read to, laughed… hugged… kissed… sang… prayed… encouraged… and loved my children.

Lord, help me! (No, I’m not taking the Lord’s name in vain for those of you “thinking” bad of me.). I’m actually praying!

Here’s the heart of the matter.

There are some SUPER terrible mothers out there.

STOP… STOP… STOP… Putting down the good ones, the ones who are willing to admit their weaknesses in order to become better moms.

The ones who get off their butts (Oh, sorry… I forgot, I’m a Christian, apparently I’m not allowed to say butt.) and actually take their kids to the park and gently push their baby in the swing. (Even if they are on their iPhone)

STOP… STOP… STOP… Putting down the moms who can openly admit their frailties (You know… the ones who don’t beat their children to a pulp and actually love… care… and provide for their child’s needs)

DO… DO… DO… Let mothers be human. Allow them to make a few mistakes (without additional ridicule).

DO… DO… DO… Encourage mothers who give every ounce of their energy…and prayers to their children.

So what? Moms sometimes post stories about their failures and maybe add a bit of humor.

So what? Moms are realizing that all mothers aren’t perfect!

Back in the day… People went outside more. They mingled with their neighbors. The older women spent time teaching the younger ones. Now… We have the Internet. Now… Younger moms have few helpers and mothering role models. We no longer hang out with fellow friends on our block. We no longer look for ways we can help the struggling mother with four children.

Now… Society has provided another resource for mothers…albeit not nearly a suitable substitute to warm and caring human bodies extending a helping hand in love. Society has offered mothers social media sites such as Facebook.

Philippians 4:19, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”

Could it be that God is meeting the needs of mothers through this present day venue?

Do we help young mothers… Or do we sit back and judge?

We refuse to offer a helping hand… A word of encouragement. A sit down over hot tea to pray for strength and wisdom.

Guess what?

None of us will EVER be perfect on Earth.

Guess what?

Your a mom.

Guess what?

God loves you!

He sees your heart and knows the time and energy you exert while raising your children.

I feel better now!

Blessings,

Crystal

Encouragement for a Weary Heart, Family Bonding Time, Trusting God

Good Ole’ Lemonade Days

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Everyone has bad days.
Today was one of my “bad days”.
I opened my eyes and felt the nasty pang “I’m going to cry!”
Went to church… All in attempt to serve God… And feel better.
Yet… I escaped to the ladies room to secretly wipe away the unwanted drops of emotion.
The last thing I wanted was for people to see my vulnerability.

You see… We live in a world of “individuality”.
We’re Americans.
We’re strong… Independent.
We’re Christians.
We’re strong… Independent.

We’re taught to smile and nod.
Never show weakness.
Never give in to defeat.
We need nothing or no one.
We’re never to ask for help.

We’re told to put a smile on our face.
To strive for more.
This need for more…
Leaves us lonely.
Reaching for empty securities.

What happened to the good old days.
The Andy Griffith kind of days.
Mingling in the streets.
Neighbors helping neighbors.
Singing to a softly strumming guitar on the neighbor’s white picketed porch.

Maybe I’m discontent.
Attempting to attain an unreachable level of friendliness.
I yearn for simplicity.
Drinking lemonade in the shade.
Swimming in the ole’ creek bed.

Today feels so complicated.
Can’t say anything.
For the fear of offending another.
Can’t do anything.
For the fear of being judged.

Simple… Lemonade kind of days.
Are they too much to ask for?
Maybe… I’m longing for Heaven.
Desiring the “belongingness” of my Heavenly home.
To be in the God’s Holy presence.

For now…
I’ll take time to drink “sugary” lemonade.
I’ll rest in the shade with my family.
Scripture in hand…
I’ll take time to soak in the pleasantries of the gift of life.

Family Bonding Time, Learning to Love Your Husband

Initials Carved in Love

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18 years ago my husband, then boyfriend carved (R + C) into this bench at the park, he was 16 years old. This picture speaks a thousand words. We fell in love 18 years ago. Our sweet daughter, (fourth child and final edition) almost two years old, has no understanding of the initials carved into the wood in front of her. One day she will understand the full meaning and I’m certain she’ll cherish this picture. Everyday I send a big thank you up to Heaven for “our” love story. God wrote our story and it is beautiful!

Learning to Love Your Husband

Longing…Waiting… Desiring… The Love of My Life

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Burning the midnight oil.

Missing my best friend… my soul mate.

Call me a sap,

That’s okay.

I am in love.

I’ve been in love for over half my 35 years of living… to the same person.

Seventeen years young… He secretly held my hand.

My heart still hasn’t stopped beating.

Still gives me butterflies in my stomach.

Still makes me smile.

Still makes me laugh.

Still makes me feel beautiful… wanted… needed.

In his arms… I feel heaven on Earth.

A warmth… a belonging… a sense that all is right with the world.

Call it an achievement…

Happily married… 13 years… and four kids.

I can’t get enough of my lover and my friend.

Tonight…I sit at the kitchen table.

Longing for my lover.

On the other side of the world.

He works long days… to provide for our family.

Six weeks… Seems like an eternity.

Until we’re in each others arms…

I’ll wait in eager anticipation.

Longing… Waiting… Desiring…

The love of my life.