Musings From A Musical Mind

Posts tagged ‘Parenting’

October Baby

Tomorrow you turn 22.  I remember this day so well, 22 years ago today.  A beautiful sunny crisp October day in Northern California, much like the day here in Seattle.  A day like any other.  The day before my life changed forever.

It’s funny how the seasons come and go – yet some things stay constant and perfectly formed in our memory.   Sometimes those moments that drastically change who we are forever are more clear to us than things that happened yesterday.

According to Dr. Phil, you can trace who you’ve become in this life to three types of external factors: 10 defining moments, seven critical choices, and five pivotal people. But first it’s important to understand the following terms:

Ten Defining Moments: In every person’s life, there have been moments, both positive and negative, that have defined and redefined who you are. Those events entered your consciousness with such power that they changed the very core of who and what you thought you were. A part of you was changed by those events, and caused you to define yourself, to some degree by your experience of that event.

Seven Critical Choices: There are a surprisingly small number of choices that rise to the level of life-changing ones. Critical choices are those that have changed your life, positively or negatively, and are major factors in determining who and what you will become. They are the choices that have affected your life up to today, and have set you on a path.

Five Pivotal People: These are the people who have left indelible impressions on your concept of self, and therefore, the life you live. They may be family members, friends or co-workers, and their influences can be either positive or negative. They are people who can determine whether you live consistently with your authentic self, or instead live a counterfeit life controlled by a fictional self that has crowded out who you really are.

 

As I reflect over those 10 defining moments of my own life – getting married and having each of my babies certainly ranks up there with the most important and most life changing.  No matter how old I am, or where life’s journey takes me – I am forever changed by the birth of Ashlee and you.  You are part of those seven critical choices and definitely one of my five pivotal people.

And so Shawn – it is with very sweet and sentimental memories that I remember today, the day before you.

09_27_4You made your entrance on October 5th, 1991 at 8:26 pm.  You filled up an entire room – even back then.  You were laid back, shy, sweet, calm and peaceful.  As you grew you developed a slow and steady manner and a great ability to make and keep friends.  Your sense of humor has sustained you even in the tough times of relationships and finding your own way.  Your deep faith in God continues to guide you and be your compass.  You are one of the things that forever changed me.

I could not have dreamed you up in a million years.  Shawn means “gift of God” and you were that for me.  It was a privilege to be your Mom and I am proud of who you are and all that I know you are still becoming.  It is in the letting go that we truly find.  And I have always known that you were on loan and that you would need to find your own way.  I’m so glad you are learning all those tough things while realizing your family loves and supports you in the background.  You are learning to rely on God’s help and have deepened your faith in those things that are really lasting and important.  Money, fame and even friends will come and go.  Love, family and faith in God lasts forever.  And I pray every day for that special young woman who will change your life forever.

Until you have finally found your stride and your place stay strong and firm in your faith.  You are loved and thought about each and every day.  You are special and have a special purpose.  Don’t give up, never lose heart – for a part of the end result is the journey you’re on right now.  And these times will be what you look back on as one of your defining moments.

I love you…Happy 22nd!

 

 

 

 

Priceless “In The Moment” Moments

The city of Burbank, CA looking east from Univ...

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This month marks the 30th anniversary of the last time I was single and living at home.  I went right from my parent’s home at 20 years of age to another way of life – without ever have lived on my own.

And although it worked out for me – I also see great benefits to living on your own before being married.

Both of my children have had opportunities to live on their own after finishing high school.  And although this can be hard, financially – I believe the lessons learned while living on your own are very valuable.  Some things just can’t be taught while living at home.

With our daughter – she was so determined that she would make it – and it took two jobs for her to do so – she’s been very proud of herself that she was completely self sufficient by the time she was 20 years old.  She learned a lot of about room-mates and finances that she’s never forgotten – and when it came time for her to get married – she was already very disciplined with money and her work ethic.  She’s one of the hardest working young women I know.

Shawn, who will be 20 in October – has moved to California to pursue a music education and hopefully a career with his music training.  He lives with room-mates in Burbank and has struggled to maintain his rent with only a part-time job.  We are grateful he got a job, when so few are available.  And we’re also thankful that his loan money will cover his tuition AND his housing this fall.  But it’s still tough to make the rent and pay for things like food – until then.

Experiences like this are so valuable.  And he will look back on these times as “the good old days” before real bills, a wife and children to support.  All of this – priceless in the big scheme of things to come.

As I chatted on the phone with him last night – I reminded him that this too shall pass – and his present circumstance is what great songs and writings are made of  🙂  Maybe not while he’s struggling – but sometime after as he looks back…

Living “in the moment” – trying to be present – even during hard times of struggle. Being available in the mind.  On purpose and on task.  Learning to get by on very little – to be engaged and still positive about life.  This is what living “in the moment” is all about.

Are you alway “in the moment”?  Does your mind wander to “better times” either in the past – or somewhere in the future?  Can you be content and very present?  Now – today?  Especially when things are not ideal?  And you may be struggling?  Can you find the priceless of the here and now?  Knowing this moment will pass you by – and be no more?

Did you live on your own before you were married?  What did you do without during those years?  What’s your story?

 

God Bless

Article Sharing (Part 2)

Blogging Heroes

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Last week I featured three of my blogging buddies, Deanna who now has a couple of new websites – this one is “Your Pastor’s Wife” – JoJo at “The Art of Eloquence” and Ray at “Fallen Pastor”.  Today I am pretending that it’s Friday and featuring some more of my wonderful talented blogging buddies.

1. The Reluctant Wham is a blog site by my online buddy, Carla Ives – who is committed to sharing her wealth of information for the “work at home mom”. Her daily inspiration and encouragement is a must for any “reluctant” stay at home mom who has found herself in the position of making money for her family. I love Carla’s information – but mostly her keen sense of humor and love for people who motivate her to give of herself. I love all of her articles – but if I had to choose one to feature it would be this one: My Quilt Be sure and check out her site for many ideas about making money while staying at home.

2. 24/7 Life – A Life Well Lived is a blog site by my real life friend David Miles. David and my husband were on staff together for about 4 years at New Life Church in Renton, Washington about 3 years ago. I have always loved David and his wife, Monika. They have a beautiful baby girl now – and it’s fun to see him playing the “proud papa” and displaying his many pictures of his baby girl 🙂  David is now on staff at Maple Valley Presbyterian and works with people of all ages – and I’m sure they love him!  He is fully engaged when he has a conversation with you – in person or online.  He and I have been square dancing corner partners (don’t ask) and then friends at church and blogging buddies for about 3 years now.  He always encourages me in my writing – and has even been so kind as to feature me as a guest blogger a few months ago.  Probably my favorite article of his was the one he just wrote a few days ago: Facing A Potential “Most Embarrassing Moment” You will love it – and him. Check him out!

3.Pastor Mike Says Is a blog site from my real life friend Mike Sanderson. We met through our blogs and facebook about 3 years ago or so. Then Greg and I planned a trip to Las Vegas where Mike and his wife, Carmen live. Naturally we wanted to meet them to put a face with a name – and what a fun weekend we had! Mike even took us to the Grand Canyon – what a long day in the car that was! I don’t think any of us ever properly recovered from that trip! Mike is a pastor and has a shepherd’s heart for people. His blog site reflects that. I even helped design it for him 🙂 My favorite article of his is: You Are Unique, You Are Amazing I trust that you will be blessed to hear his words of encouragement.

Check them out – you will be blessed today!

God Bless

Loosening My Firm Grip

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

I was out taking a walk around the neighborhood yesterday, in one of those rare sunny and fairly “warmish” days.  I had my iPhone/iPod tunes coming through my ear buds and I was humming a happy little tune.

I turned a corner and walked toward a nearby park when all of a sudden the thought struck me:  What if I lost all this great music on my iPhone?  What if my computer had a melt-down and my WHOLE music library was GONE!  In an instant!

Well,  while this and other great thoughts invaded my mind along my walk – I had to ask myself, “would it really be a big deal? – I mean, come on – it’s just music, right?”

I had to admit that it would not be a huge deal.  An inconvenience for sure – but not the end of the world (as in what’s supposed to happen this Saturday – but that’s ANOTHER story).  No – my life and my world would continue on – I would just turn on my Pandora Radio and slowly rebuild my music library again – or just listen to CD’s and the radio in the car until I gathered my music once again over time.

Now while this is a silly example – I thought about the “things” I hold on to.  Those things that I feel ownership over.  The things that are mine.  My personal belongings, my pictures, my books, my computer, my piano, my blog articles and so on and so forth.  What if something happened to them?  Would I be Okay?  Would I survive?  If EVERYTHING was taken away from me tomorrow – would I really be able to make it?  Is my identity defined by all those things?  Would I really be lost without them?

No.  I would be Okay.  I choose to keep a loose grasp on my material blessings.  I can move, sell, sort and get rid of extra junk when I need to – and have in the past done several BIG MOVES across the country and back – to know that I am not defined by things.  I’ve witnessed several households of furniture come and go in 30 years of marriage and have not been devastated when the time came to unload it – or lighten our load.

I believe there is a principle in this for not only the material “things” – but I believe we should be willing to let go of our firm grip when it comes to the people in our lives – even if we don’t want to.  I was determined when raising our two children, that I was NOT going to be one of those mom’s who couldn’t bear to let my kids grow up, change and become independent from me.  It is perfectly normal for them to need me less and less as they mature – and to someday be fully developed and have their own life – apart from me.

Our children are only on loan to us.  I don’t believe there are any accidents.  God knows what He is doing – and He gave me my children to love and raise.  I do not OWN them.  And when I have invested into them everything I can – (not always in the most perfect way – but with the best intentions),  I can release them, knowing that they are individuals who must answer to God for themselves – they are no longer my responsibility.

Many parents become unhappy when their grown-up children do not need them anymore – when it is very normal and natural that they should NOT need us anymore when they are mature.  Some are bewildered because they feel they lose their control over their children and even try forms of manipulation and even guilt to keep them young – while imposing their need and dreams of the “good old days”.  While this is natural because of the time investment spent in them – it should not be used as a method of control towards our children.  They are given to us – they really belong to God.  It is important to raise our children “in the way they should go”  and then let them go – loosen the grip – release them in love.  Even if we don’t always agree.  Pray for them – and then trust God.

And though I am far from perfect as a mom – I have always tried to let my own grown-up children lead their own lives.  I feel like Greg and I did everything we could do while they were living in our home – and we tried to set a godly example for them while growing up – through good and bad, happy and sad times.

The secret is to have a “loose grip” on the things and people that we don’t feel we can let go.  Have a firm grip on God – and teach your children to do the same.  He will make His plans known to them – and He is ultimately responsible for their journey – when they allow Him to guide their steps.  This is so freeing to me as a parent and I know it will be to you too.  This will lead to a happy life – full of deep joy with no regret.

How’s your grip?  Do you feel it tightening around things you can’t bear to lose?  Can you just relax and trust?  How do you apply a “loose grip” to your own situations?

God Bless

In The Muthahood

jkklglh

Image via Wikipedia

From my friend Carla Ives – featured on her blog yesterday The Reluctant WHAM – thought you might enjoy a good laugh – in honor of Mother’s Day.

This is for all you Mom’s out there – Happy Mother’s Day!

It’s HILARIOUS and describes all of us “Moms” in some capacity – and I’m sure you will agree it’s just plain FUNNY!

ENJOY!

God Bless!

Preparing for Absence

Greg and I are on the verge of launching our baby out into the world.  The count down has begun – he leaves for California next month.

And while we have really been “Empty Nesters”  for a while – you know what I mean – daughter Ashlee moved out 3 years ago – and from the moment Shawn had a driver’s license (on his 16th birthday) – we didn’t see much of him after that.  People think I’m kidding when I say that Shawn eats and sleeps here – sometimes.  It’s absolutely true.  It is still going to be an adjustment around here.

We have plans after Shawn leaves next month.  We are going to go into his room with gloves on and several garbage bags and begin the grueling process of fumigation and bringing normal back into chaos – the room of a teenage boy.

My car that Shawn has taken possession of the last 3 years – will once again be MINE!  A little worse for wear – but still paid for and MINE!  Did I mention that the car is MINE?  Just in case you are confused in that matter – I know that I have been.  Oh you know what I mean – you have a conversation with your teenager and you end up leaving the room muttering someone non-coherent like, “I’m right – I KNOW I am” as you feel all reality slipping from your fragile grasp.  So when I say I was confused – I really mean it.

We plan to clean the inside and outside of MY car – and fumigate it – so that it does NOT smell like a boy’s locker room.  My CD’s will finally be right where I left them – there will be no sticky stuff in the cup holder and on the seats – there will not be wrappers and other junk in MY car.  It will be left in pristine condition – just as I always have left it – BEFORE my son got his license and decided to take ownership.

We will have quiet at night when we turn in.  No more yelling or calling Shawn on the phone to get him to TURN DOWN the TV that we can hear in our bedroom.  No more late night cooking food and smelling it wafting upstairs where we are trying to sleep.  No more late showers and running water FOREVER next to our bedroom.  No more talking on the phone in the middle of the night – or hopping up the stairs and slamming doors (because he always forgets) – to wake us up.  None of that – just peaceful, blissful quiet.

Yes – we are preparing for absence – just as much as Shawn is anxious to be out on his own.  We worry just a little about how he will pay his bills – and survive out there – but we also realize that it is a part of his growing up – to be out on his own and figure it out.

I hope we have prepared him.  He is very grounded and mature for almost 20 – and most of all – he is a loving, kind and generous person – full of talent, laughter and fun – has many friends and has always landed on his feet – through rough times and setbacks.  I’m proud of him and can’t wait to see what God has next for him – as he discovers his own place in this world.  God has equipped him with a love for music and a talent that is his special gift – I’m excited to see how God will use that in him.

And so as we prepare – with a little over a month to go – we know we are also ready.

And there’s always iChat and Skype, right?

God Bless

My Son

Today my baby boy is 19.

I feel like I’ve lived a whole lifetime since he was born.  Greg was pastor of a very small church in Fortuna, CA at that time.  Shortly after – Northern California had an earthquake that did considerable damage to our little town and nearby ones.  The quake happened in the middle of the afternoon while I was nursing Shawn – and four-year old Ashlee was watching TV nearby.  Our family room was a pile of junk and clothes – getting ready for an upcoming garage sale to be held that next weekend.  It created a rocking sensation and things began to come out of the cupboards and the TV ‘walked’ out of the entertainment center and almost fell on Ashlee.  It was amazing and Greg RAN from his office next door to see if we were alright.  We were – just shaken up a bit.  But in the night the after shocks were just as bad – but infant Shawn – none the wiser – slept peacefully for the first time ALL NIGHT LONG.  The quakes just lulled him to sleep.

It’s crazy what things you remember from the past – sometimes it’s the most insignificant things – the little moments that pass by so quickly.  The early bonding we had – the time we had together while he was small – I am grateful for each and every day that I got to spend with him.  I was very lucky – I was a ‘stay at  home mom‘ for both of my children and I will never regret that.

Shawn was always an easy child with a quick wit and much natural talent.  He is everyone’s friend and has that certain ‘X-factor’ that is intangible – but still just a fact that is accepted and acknowledged by everyone who knows him.  A favorite with the grandparents and relatives – he just simply is a special person inside and out.

At 19 – he is still trying to find his way – and I am touched by his gentle spirit – the way he interacts with kids younger than himself and the way he ministers with his gifts – using them to bless others.

And yet – in many ways he is still a child – not yet ready to face the world.  He is one step closer – but still not ready.  He still has some lessons to learn – some pain to face and get through – some hard times to wrestle with and toughen him up – finding his way and finding out who he is and who God has designed him to be. We have done our best with him – and most of our lessons are through – he has absorbed all he can – and now the rest is up to him.  And like all parents of boys of this wild and adventurous age – we are anxious for him to make the right choices and hope and pray we have equipped him to do what he needs to do.  At this age – the parenting is mostly over for him.  And all we can do is pray – and wait.

Happy Birthday to my son who used to light candles for me – play soft music and run a hot bath for me – just because.

Happy Birthday to my son who was very wanted and planned for. I remember praying for you before you were born and asking God for another child – and I knew that child would be special – and you are.

Happy Birthday to my son – who is far from perfect – but who is perfect for me. You make my heart smile – and your humor brightens even the darkest of my days.  God gave you to me – to raise, watch over and pray for – He knew what He was doing – you are my gift – my love and my life. And He knew that I needed you. I can’t imagine what my life would have been like without you in it.  Each day you make me proud and happy – just by being you – and along with you big sister – you are the best thing that ever happened to me.

I love you

P.S. It’s after midnight now – officially your birthday – I texted happy birthday to you – and just received  a text  back – ‘ I love you too, Mom – you’re the first to wish that to me, Mom – almost home  – wanna chat?’  Ahhh – not too grown up yet.

Yes – I do.

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