Random thoughts

I haven’t written anything on here in a while. I’ve been struggling with pulling my thoughts together and staying focused on one topic. But my mind is cluttered with a variety of things and happenings so I decided to just share some thoughts that will actually make sense or not by the end. 

The year was 2006, I was newly pregnant with my fourth baby and had not made the announcement to friends and family. I had a nursing infant and as the office staff of my OBGYN had indicated on my folder,  I was “advanced maternal age.” My then dear husband, the three kids and I were visiting with a pastor, his wife and they’re gaggle of kids. I realized during the visit this was an interview or recruiting session for me. My dear ex husband wanted to join this church (read cultlike body of believers) and this dinner with them was his way of convincing me this was the way to go. 

One of the rules of their church was the children were watched or monitored at all times. This was done to keep them from sinning. Because we all know that you can’t sin with your parents or church elders watching. (Have you ever had an inappropriate thought?) 

Some time during this visit the mother came to us to apologize for her young daughter’s actions. The little girl had given my 6 year old son a note stating she wanted French kiss him. The parents were extremely embarrassed. The kicker to me was the apology offered by the mother. She said if she had been in the room with the kids this would have never happened. She blamed herself because it was her duty to watch her children and keep them from sinning or behaving inappropriately. 

I knew right then that I was not joining this church and as far as I was concerned these people were nuts. I grew up with a single mom with zero adult supervision. It’s a wonder I survived. I hoping to achieved a happy medium with my kids. 

Have you heard of, glanced at or dared to read on of the many articles about millennials leaving the church? Every single article I’ve ever read places the blame on the church. Have you ever heard the phrase, employees leave managers not companies? Okay… stay with me. What if they aren’t leaving the church but leaving their hypocritical parents? Hang on… The children are the witnesses to what their parents are living and doing when they aren’t at church. They hear the conversations and see the truth day in and out. They hear the arguing, gossiping, racist comments and other words that don’t align with the pretense shown on Sundays and in life groups or Bible study.   They know the truth. Perhaps they are choosing to live an authentic or at least alternate life that is not encouraged at church. 

When I was upset with the ex, I still sat next to him at church. Eventually, I sat on the other side of the room. I stopped pretending for the sake of others. It felt good to me but I’m sure it was awkward for people who asked me where he was and me telling the truth. I didn’t want to sit next to him. 

I don’t know where that couple or their children are today. But I’ve spoken with other children who lived under similar conditions or saw through the religious sham and not only walked away from the beliefs of their childhood, they walked away from relationships and some from their parents as well. Marriage? No thank you. They saw the lie their parents lived. Pray. No. They didn’t see any positive results as children. Read, worship, attend church? No, no and no. 

 What do you think? Are children leaving the church or are they leaving their parents?

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Sometimes I Cry

Sometimes I cry out of frustration
Other times I cry because my heart is hurting
Then there are the times I cry and laugh
Today I cried because it was time to say good-bye
I cry when life gets overwhelming
I often hear people say, “you are strong”
I’m only strong because I allow myself to cry
It’s the external manifestation of my current internal situation
The tears come when the numbers on the  barometer that measures the atmospheric pressure of my soul gets to high
Numerically speaking, when you multiply responsibility by tension then add negative relations
You get frustration
When frustration is divided by demands
It equals life
And life, in terms of numbers, is prime
When you divide it by its self, you only get one
At times I cry because some days, during this 1 life that I live, are filled with sorrow
But I will take this life and not covet any other
Because this life allows me to cry
If water is cleansing and refreshing
Then my tears cleanse my soul and refresh my spirit
Just a while ago, I said farewell to somebody who was dear to me
Today, was a day that I cried

What it boils down to

How many times have you heard the phrase, what it boils down to? I cook and watch my fair share of cooking shows. What it boils down to is what’s left when the liquids are removed or greatly reduced by cooking them out. Think of cooking rice or making a sauce. What’s left in the pot at the end of the process?

I had the opportunity to speak with another mom recently who had a marriage similar to mine and whose husband fit the description of mine. We have been divorced about the same amount of time as well. As a matter of fact 3/18 is my 4th anniversary. The way custody worked out this year, our ex husbands had the children for spring break. I took the time to refresh myself by sleeping, reading and sleeping some more. I would often sit without tv or music playing. The noise level for the Fantastic4 can get pretty high. I learned to let go of any anxiety and enjoy the time. She spent the time being distraught and stressed.

When I spoke with her yesterday she commented several times how difficult it was to have her children gone for so long. I get it, mine are gone as well. I listened. I let her vent. I let her cry. Then I said to her, what this boils down to is your trust in God. Either you trust him or you don’t. Once you make that decision then you move forward with your actions.

If you don’t trust or believe in him then your next action is to find the strength within to make some changes. She had already said she was weak. Then find the strength using outside sources. However, one of the things she told me is she is a Christian. If that’s true then she has put her trust in him.

I’m not saying trusting a being that you can’t see is easy. No, I’m not saying that at all. But if you decided to trust and believe then trust and believe.

When I was going through my time of adjusting to my babies spending a week or even a month with their dad, I was anxious and nervous. I had been a stay at home mom and the primary caretaker for the kids. I prepared 99% of all their meals and I was the person who did all the housework. He had never taken all four kids out of the house at the same time. How was this ever going to work? They needed me. I admit I didn’t sleep well initially. I was anxious. I was fearful. I had vented to friends. Then finally I said (interpret, cried out) to God, I know you love these children more than I ever could. Please, protect and provide for them while they are out of my care and out of my sight. Letting go isn’t always easy. I don’t have a five or ten step plan that I can outline for you. I know part of the process is surrendering your thoughts and trusting things will work out for good. Its realizing you can’t control or maniputlate the situation. It’s believing good things will come. I guess I had a three step plan.

When it boiled down to it, my faith and trust in God is what was left. It’s not an easy process for some of us. But eventually after you’ve done all you can, when you’ve prayed, cried, worried, lost sleep, sought professional help, vented to friends; you stand. Stand on your faith. Trust God. He cares for you. Everything may not look the way we want it to all the time. Living in a state of despair, if you’re a Christian, boils down to a lack of trust. Even in the midst of the pain and despair, trust him.

If you’re not a Christian and you’ve continued to read, believe things will get better, make things better, change your actions and your thoughts. I believe it all boils down to the same thing.

Courage, Redemption, Grace & Mercy (part 1)

As I’ve previously stated, I don’t typically use my blog as a forum to discuss my divorce or previous marriage. On the rare occasion that I do, I will speak MY truth. He has his version, the Fantistic 4 will have theirs and I, the person holding the pen, have mine. Since this is my blog, you will read my version as lived from my perspective.
This is a three-part post, I reserve the right to add more as needed.

Courage

I was a stay at home mom. I was laid off from work while I was on maternity leave. I worked part-time about half the time to keep my skills current and to add a small amount of income to our very tight budget. I can’t tell you how many people were surprised by my decision. I was told I was wasting my degree. But it was the right one for us and I have zero regrets. Leaving the workplace and depending solely on your spouse to support you is an act of faith. Is comparing it to sky diving a little extreme?

I won’t go into the details but I will say things were rocky from the beginning. As the years progressed and three more babies came the rocks went from pebbles to boulders. We went to counseling and I prayed for my marriage. We received some good as well as some questionable advice, doctrine and guidance. The good was good but the bad was bad. One thing that really sticks out to me is being told he was the priest of our home and blah blah blah blah. I stopped slowly listening at priest. Let me say this, I refuse to bash “the church” or its misguided representatives. The people who counseled us were trying to help us. They loved us and didn’t want to see our marriage dissolve. I will ask, where does the Bible say the husband is the priest of the home? Please don’t give me weak implication or your broad interpretation. I was reading the OT to the 4 last night. We read the part about when the lineage of priests was established and the tabernacle was built. I could be wrong but every husband is not a descendant of Aaron. Besides, if you read NT the curtain that separated the Holy of Holies was torn. This established our ability to have a one on one relationship with God instead of the priest representing us. Now where was I?

There are a few things that happened that gave me the courage I needed to begin the mental process of divorcing my husband.

We had a friend of the teenager over for dinner. After we blessed our food, we all began to eat in silence. This had slowly become the norm in our home. The friend asked the question, “why don’t you talk during dinner?” I lifted my head to look around the table and all of the children had their heads down with sullen looks on their faces. That question created an eye opening moment for me to begin looking at all the places where we no longer had joy and laughter.

I started updating my resume and mentally considering single life with four young kids. At the time they were around 1, 2, 5 and 8.

The second incident occurred at a local water park. My mommy friends and I would buy season passes and take our children to this water park multiple times a week. It gave us a much needed break and lots of time with each other. On one of these excursions I spent some time with another friend who told me she was going through a divorce. That was quite the shock for me as I had always seen her and her ex as a good example of a married couple. You never really know what goes on when the door is closed and the blinds are shut. When I listened to her story, I knew I would survive. Her concerns were different but the same. She had been a stay at home mom for many years and had real concerns about finances. She hadn’t completed her college degree but She didn’t need a degree to walk in her calling and giftings one being a fabulous photographer. I spoke with her often. She gave me hope and courage.

I went to a birthday party one January many years ago. The guest of honor and I went for coffee afterwards. I was watching the clock because I knew the ex would get upset if I was out too late. I was suffocating under a blanket of control but didn’t realize it at the time. After a short conversation, she was able to assess my situation and knew I needed to get out. I don’t know what tipped her off or if she was just that tuned in. I may have said, “he won’t allow…” one too many times. She talked to me that night and when I left, I was building up the courage to take the next step to leave.

I received a phone call a day or two later from a woman who is highly regarded in my circle of friends. After hearing about my marital situation from that friend, she told me I needed to leave. I didn’t have a full-time job yet and I was uncertain. But after talking it over with my sister-in-law, she graciously opened her home to us so I could leave. The husband of the birthday girl came over after my ex left for work and helped me pack a few things and I left. That was almost six years ago.

Courage.
For me it was a series of events that lead me away from a bad marriage but left me at the doorstep of redemption.

The hijacking of Christmas

“Christmas” is finally over and I have to say I’m glad. This year I was less tolerant of the nonsense that has wrapped itself around the neck of this Christian holy day and is squeezing the life, meaning, worship and love for mankind out of what is truly a day that we should celebrate in remembrance of him.

What does Saint Nicholas/ Santa, the north pole, reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, magic, decorating trees, excessive spending, trampling people to get a gift item on an extensive wish list and don’t let me forget the elves especially the creepy on that sits on the shelf and does naughty or adventurous things when everyone is asleep have to do with the birth of my savior? What does any of that have to do with sacrificial love? A love that was given life to live and die for the lost and offer life through salvation. The birth of a king that had been predicted years and years before. The magi that had traveled from far away to bring gifts and worship this king. The shepherds that left their flock of sheep unattended to come and see about this baby, this savior, this king. The jealousy of a ruler who had all baby boys thrown into the river to keep this king from reaching his destiny. Only he didn’t know that God knew his heart and plans before they were fully formed and executed and sent love to a different land where it would be safe the flourish and thrive without the threat of life taking danger. How does any of that nonsense represent a day that should be filled with worship and remembrance? Does it mean the day should be solemn and joyless. Of course not! But the day should be filled with him. In the Old Testament God would have the Israelites set up stones or have annual celebrations to help them to remember. We seem to have forgotten.

I find it interesting how many non believers celebrate Christmas. That should have been our first clue. How many non believer celebrate Ramadan or Hanukkah? Have you ever asked yourself why not? Why don’t they have elves leaving out pork rinds in the mornings? Where is the magic of their season? My guess is they take their holy days seriously and wouldn’t allow the nonsense to take over those days. They wouldn’t sell out to commercialism, big business, greed and excess.

How did we get here? How long will we remain?

The Little Dude told me we should an elf. I asked why and he said so it can watch us and make sure we are good. I responded, God sees you all day every day no matter where you are. He protects you instead of spying on you. Besides, you are already a good boy, aren’t you? Stud Muffin asked me why this was the most wonderful time of year. I responded, because Jesus was born to set the world free and to be the gift of love. Only I don’t think we are allowing him to set us free anymore or be our gift.

As you ponder these things, it’s not too early to begin asking yourself what a bunny, eggs, and candy have to do with the death and resurrection of love.

Sigh, if we as Christians don’t take ourselves seriously why should anyone else?

Unfailing Love

I walked back in time this week at work. I’m training for a new position and the person I’m replacing has worked there for 29 years. She’s as sweet as pie and has more knowledge about this job than she can pass on to me in two weeks. When I walked into her office, I had a quick trip down memory lane. She still has a word processor. For those of you who don’t remember, they replaced typewriters. If you don’t know what a typewriter is google it or better yet spend some time talking to your grandparents about life when they were kids. You might find the time before modern technology fascinating. Where was I? She has files that date back 30 years that are kept in big, blue, three ring binders. She copies certain documents and files them, numerically, in these binders and keeps a copy on her computer’s desktop. She keeps the copy in the binder because she doesn’t trust the computer. What if something happens to the computer system and all the data is lost? I smiled and nodded my head telling her I completely understand. It’s hard to trust computers. They lock up and shut down at the most inconvenient time. When you want answers they don’t always provide reliable information. They fail us. Over time, we’ve learned not to trust them which is why we backup information on a disc or in the cloud or print paper. We want security. We want to know that all of our hard work is there and easily accessible. We want something that will not fail us.

In a recent e-mail someone made a statement to me about God’s unfailing love. I couldn’t take my eyes off of the word unfailing. Unfailing…I know what it means  to me but I wanted to see what MERRIAM-WEBSTER thought of it and here are three words used to define unfailing-constant, everlasting and inexhaustible. WOW!

We know that computers are fallible, cars break down, houses become worn, people disappoint us but God and his love towards us is constant, everlasting and inexhaustible.

Unfailing love indeed.

How to kill a man without serving time

The process starts when he is newly born. Begin early when he depends on you, looks up to you and believes everything you say. Commence the plotting when he is naïve and trusting. You don’t need to rush. Take your time. The plan is not for you to complete the job yourself but to pass the task off when he gets a girlfriend or gets married. It’s her job to finish the deed.
It’s simple, easy, anybody can do this.
Tell him he can’t or better yet, tell he doesn’t have to.
Cater to him to the point where he is lazy and unmotivated.
Tell him he’s not smart enough, fast enough, skilled enough but tell him he’s cute enough.
Show him he’s unworthy.
Support him financially even when he’s an adult.
Encourage him to disrespect authority.
Tell him you don’t need him; after all you can do it by yourself.
Disrespect him with your words, looks, attitude and actions; every now and then do it in front of friends and family.
Keep bringing up his past mistakes.
Don’t let him provide or if he insists, tell him he’s not a good provider.
Make him earn your respect.
Show him you don’t trust him.
Treat him with contempt.
Don’t challenge him to be better or set expectations.
Requirements? Don’t have any.
Treat him like he’s one of your girlfriends or sister instead of your son or man.
Make sure you don’t take interest in anything he does unless it gives you recognition, money or makes you feel good.
Don’t teach him about finances you will take care of him until he gets a wife then she will take care of him with or without his money.
Encourage irresponsibility.
Turn your head when he does something wrong.
Tell him you love him then remind him he will never amount to anything.
Be overbearing.
Tell him what to do every step of the way.
Remind him that he is just like his father, uncle, grandfather or any other man that has been successfully eliminated
Most of all, keep him away from men who are still living. They might try to revive him.
He doesn’t need to know the love of the Father.
Don’t take him to church or take him to a church that will feminize him.
The goal is to kill his spirit.
When you kill his spirit, you kill him.
Premeditated murder…no time served.