Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My List.

It's a little funny that I'm writing this post today of all days.
When I was reading Ann Voskamp's Journal Post a couple days ago, I decided I was going to make my list today. Ironic, because today Lupe called to tell me they had hired his replacement at work, he would be there to train the new person once they start- so we don't know his exact "exit date" yet, but know it's coming- and he has yet to find a new position yet. But, today is the day I was planning to make my list on "One Thousand Gifts"- being thankful in every situation and circumstance.
It was actually prompted a bit by my friend Rachel. Rachel posted on my Facebook wall after reading my last post, "What if we woke up today with only the things we thanked God for yesterday?" She is absolutely right! This situation is not fun and it is testing the core of my very being. But, I will give thanks.....

1- I am alive and well.                                                                                         
2- I have the most incredible husband.
3- I have to little miracles, Tenly and Gianna.
4- God's Grace.
5- I woke up today in my bed, surrounded by my things, with a roof over my head.
6- Today, we still have an income.
7- I have loving and wonderful family.
8- I am surrounded with genuine friends.
9- My family and I have clothes that I 'get' to wash.
10- I have a wonderful faith filled church.
11- I get to help Tenly with her homework in the afternoons.
12- I get to stay home with Gianna 2 days of the week.
13- I have a job that allows me to take my girls to work with me when I need to.
14- I have a hardworking husband.
15- I have people who pray for my family and I.
16- My husband brings me coffee in bed every morning.
17- I was able to get Tenly squeezed in to a Doctors Appointment when there was NO space available.
18- I fed my girls dinner tonight.
19- Although I lost my patience tonight, Tenly forgave me and learned all at the same time.
20- I'm surrounded by the ocean.
21- I picked Tenly up from school on time today (close call).
22- I'm going to Tenly's open house tonight.
23- Tenly has a loving teacher.
24- My heart still jumps when Lupe is home from work.
25- I'm still Gianna's favorite Mommy.
26- I made fall trees today- creativity is a welcomed release.
27- My creativity was valuable and welcomed today.
28- I have so many wonderful memories and reflections of God's grace, goodness, and favor.

I intend to continue this list- especially on days like today- when it feels like you have done nothing but tackle unmovable obstacles. I will be thankful, I will choice to rejoice in all things. Lupe  has continued to search for work, and we are trusting God for God ordained appointments and situations that will bring us into the perfect job opportunity. We will stand on Jer. 29:11, "I know the plans I have for you, says The Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm, plans to give you a hope and a future." As Bishop Tony Miller has said many times, "God's Will, will not take you where the Grace of God cannot keep you."

Saturday, August 27, 2011

My Problem Is, I'm Trying SO Hard

"GOD, I am trying SOOO Hard!"- I can't even count how many times that has come out of my mouth over the past week.
The frustrating part of it is this: I've been here before, and I shouldn't be here again. I thank God He is patient and tolerent, or else He would of left a long time ago with this girl.
I vividly remember years ago when I was going through a challenging time and said those exact words to God. In that moment, I heard God's voice very clearly say, "..and thats your problem..". Of course I was like, WHAT? God, so patiently explained to me that so often, we create more problems and stress for ourselves because WE keep trying instead of letting go and letting God do it. Sounds so simple, and really it is- but can also be the hardest thing to do. Honestly, this situation is bigger than me- but we can only do our part and have to let God do His part.
So, I've been here before- and more than once- so WHY am I here again!?!? Maybe much of it is my control issues, no big secret that I have those!
With Lupe looking for a new job making what he is now is creating some stress and bringing up this challenging area for me to let go and trust God. It didn't help that yesterday when I took Tenly to the doctor, we discovered she is having a very difficult time seeing out of one of her eyes. To top it all off, there are several members of my family going through some very difficult things right now. My prayer life is definitely increasing, I find myself frequently saying, "Jesus" many times during the day when my mind starts going into overdrive and overwhelms me. Something about the Name of Jesus truly brings peace.
This morning though, I didn't do so well. When Lupe got out of bed at 6, it woke me up and I couldn't go back to sleep (and I desperately wanted to!). So, what happens in those moments? I started thinking, overanalyzing, calculating, imagination overload, etc..! Well, after a few minutes- I realized what I was allowing to happen and started to pray. About 10 minutes later, my imagination kicked into overdrive again, and I was crying- total anxiety attack.
I wont lie- it's a daily struggle between reality/the facts and faith/trust. But, I sit back and think- if I didn't have God, what would I have? What would I do? Who would I go to? I realized, that although I do struggle with turning it all over to God and totally trusting Him- I do trust Him and allow Him to hold my hand. I find myself saying so many times, "God, I need you to help me and guide me in and through this. I trust You to take care of it." If I had no relationship with God, I would have noone to even say that to. I've tried giving myself some slack, because I hear myself saying these things and talking to Him and realize I am trying- not always succeeding- but trying. It's hard to imagine us being in this situation without God, how do people do it without Him? I just can't imagine putting my trust, faith, and hope in anything but God.
Needless to say, I finally regained my composure this morning after my pitty party and panic attack. Realisticly, our situation does not good- but who wants to put all of their energy into that- I'd rather more successfully put into prayer and faith. My S.I.L., Debbie had this quote on Facebook this morning,
"Rejoice in our suffering, suffering produces perseverance, perseverance produces character, and character produces hope.".
I don't know if I can "rejoice" this (these) situations- but I can appreciate all the things I'm learning and what "the other side" will bring.
(I hope this post doesn't sound like a bunch of rambling- to be honest- this post was pretty much me talking to myself.)

Proverbs 3:5 says, 
“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Did I Just Say That?

Last night a funny thing happened. You know, one of those open mouth, insert foot moments. But, it's a bit comical (well, I think it was- we'll see how it comes across written) and was probably a very good "uh-oh".
I was feeling a bit strange last night. I was a bit tired, a little cranky- and was thinking my sugar levels were high (especially the way I ate throughout the day). I was needing to fold laundry, but decided to ignore it (I know- BIG shocker) and laid down. My back has been bothering me, so Lupe offered to go heat me up a hot pad to put on it. When he came back, he noticed I was acting a bit strangely, he quickly recognized the symptoms of a low blood sugar. As he reached to get my glucometer to my blood sugar, he asked if I was okay? All of a sudden I hear myself bust out in tears, and blurt out "I AM SO SCARED", as I continued to sob. I remember him saying, "..I know..", but that's all I remember of his reaction.
As my sugar levels started to go up, I started remembering, and then felt this blanket of guilt weigh on me. I kept trying to remember the look on Lupe's face- but can't, tried to remember how long I cried, and praying I didn't say anything else. Then I remembered him coming back to check my sugar to make sure it was up, he squeezed my arm, and said softly, "It's okay to be scared".
Let me back up and say that ever since Lupe gave his notice at work, I have been fluctuating between faith and fear. I would love to say that I have this iron back of steal that stands on Faith unwavering.....but I'm human and so far from perfect that I can't say that. When anxiety and fear do try to take over- I start talking to myself and declaring what God says and His promises to Lupe and I, Tenly, and Gianna.
Because I know Lupe is carrying much of what I am, and is also carrying the fact that he is the provider for our family- I have tried (unsuccessfully, I'm sure) to hide when I begin to be overwhelmed with reality. Knowing Lupe, I know he does the same for me. We all know, this is not a healthy thing to do- to suppress feelings- especially ones so overwhelming. I mean, our situation is not the best- the facts stacked against us in reality are not the best considering our finances. It's a lot for me to carry, and even more for Lupe to carry- BUT God.
So, my blood sugar dropping caused my "guard" to fall and my overwhelmed heart was exposed for a short period of time. As badly as I felt for allowing Lupe to see my fear, and give him one more thing to carry, it wasn't all bad. This is where I (we) are, and I am growing once again in my faith and prayer life. I am determined to let God carry this one- because I can't- it's to big and I am  not even close to able. I am so Thankful, He is!
(This is a nice story of a low blood sugar! I, and many others, have some hysterical stories of my "guard" falling. Those stories will wait for another time, another post....maybe!)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Must Be A Part Of The Bigger Picture......

This past week has been pretty good, just extremely CRAZY!
Began with just Lupe and I, our girls were in Clearwater with my parents. It was nice, quiet (too quiet), clean (too clean), had a lot of time on our hands (too much time). But, we did enjoy some of that time to reconnect, just the 2 of us- of course we did that the few times we weren't working.
Then, it really was an insane week at work- for Lupe and I. People not showing up, working very long- unscheduled hours, attitudes, get the picture. We were both to tired to even encourage each other with more than a sweet, "I love you", before our eyes closed.
Weight of The World
Wednesday came both to quickly and to slowly, because this was the day we were meeting my parents in Ft. Myers to pick up Tenly and Gianna. It was exciting and slow coming to pick up our girls- and came to quickly because we were both going to spend 4+ hours on the road after a long day of work and an early morning the next day.
That leads me to today, Thursday. Seems like the end of a beginning in some ways. I'm typing all of this before we've even talked to anyone in our family. Feel like it's helping me sort out my thoughts a bit:
I'd be lying if I said I didn't notice how rough/exhausted/drawn/worn out/stressed Lupe looked this morning. I've said it many times, but this is not my husband. It takes A LOT to get him to this point- and I hate seeing him this way. This morning, he just looked like a man carrying the World. So, in many ways I was terribly shocked when my boss called me out of the gym to tell me he was on the phone (he has never called me on my work #). When I put my mouth to the phone, I could tell by his tone more than his words of, "I'm done, I can't do this anymore- I just can't!". I'll never be able to describe how badly my heart hurt to hear him- I've never heard Lupe sound defeated. I was (and am) so angry, that those people beat my husband down to the point of hurting his heart and his spirit. I held back tears as I told him I supported any decision he needed to make, and if he needed me to pick him up then.
Lupe is a man of integrity, such an admirable trait. After talking a few minutes, he chose to pray- called and asked for counsel from a few of his mentors and close friends before he went into a meeting with his GM. We were praying for wisdom, understanding, and favor. Considering Lupe has a mutual respect for his GM- he walked in and out of that meeting with everything we were praying for. Lupe gave his notice, agreeing to stay until someone else is hired- unless he receives a job before that.
Lupe is questioning his decision to take this job back in December- if he should of waited- if he, no we- jumped out of desperation and fear. I guess we'll never really know that answer, although I really believe that all of this is and must be part of a bigger picture. God has a plan, and yet again- I am choosing (because my head says to freak out) to trust, because I truly do not and cannot understand.
Once again, here we are trusting and I'm desperately trying not to walk in fear. Lupe came in tonight, walking straighter and smiling brighter- he really was. When I asked him how he was, he said he's relieved and at peace. I love that he didn't say how stressed or worried he was. I would rather he work more hours at WalMart or anywhere but come home happy without the stress.
One more thing...Prayers....we could really use a lot of prayers.......................

Monday, August 15, 2011

One Thing At A Time...........

Feeling Overwhelmed! This feeling is coming farther between and not on a daily I feel I'm making progress.
My oldest daughter has graduated from her summer program of VPK, which means she is starting Kindergarten in about 7 days. Her official launch into "big girl school" terrifies, excites, and paralyzes me all at the same time. Of course, there is also the preparation that goes along with it.
This week at The Gym, we have record numbers of children (which I do pride myself in, considering I have run 60%+ of camp) and short of help. Being locked in a room with between 25-40 kids for 6+ hours a day is starting to not be fun at times (most of the time, actually)- and next week is looking the same.
In 1 1/2 weeks, I begin teaching my own classes at the gym all by myself. After doing a whole summer of camp, this should actually be easy (or so they say). Except that I put pressure on myself to be perfect. It's hard to be perfect when you're walking into the unknown and doing something very new. I'm taking over some of the classes of our "star" and "most loved" (by parents and students) instructor, which is even more pressure to be perfect and just better.
I'm embarking on another new territory that I'm pretty excited about, and a little nervous about. I was approached about leading a Bible Study at our church. In doing so, we are doing a big Women's Event in September to launch into all of the new studies we are beginning (including mine)- this means I have to stand up in front of everyone do a type of Monologue about my "Season of Life" and then talk to everyone about it. I'm pretty good about talking in front of very large groups, but this is a very new group for me and also means I'm stepping into a Leadership (type) Position at our church- again, this terrifies, excites, and paralyzes me. Stepping into this position takes me out of "hiding"- which part of me embraces while part of me wants to run. My friend, Joanne, designs and decorates for all of these events (and it's because of her that I'm doing any/all of this)- I was so excited to jump in and help her. She and I were able to stay up late the other night designing centerpieces for a small event for the women. It felt so good to be involved, needed, used, and appreciated- yes, by doing something as small as decorating/crafting. But, with that came the realization of about to do a Bible Study and lead a group of women- I hate to say I've been fighting against a bit of self doubt as I begin to prepare.
At this very moment, I miss my sweet baby girls. Lupe and I dropped them off in Clearwater to spend some time with my parents. A part of me hates the silence in my house, but Lupe and I were talking the other day of how happy it makes us to be able to take them there. It reminded us of one of the reasons we moved to Florida, to be closer to family and to allow our girls to have a constant relationship with them. I'm both happy and sad that they're really not missing us all that terribly! LOL!
Then there's Lupe. His job is seeming to completely consume him at times, much to his dismay. I have wrote before how hard it is to see him come home beaten down and stressed. It completely overwhelms me that I cannot fix it. Of course, it also makes me want to go and beat the mess out of many residents and some of his coworkers.
I've had to sit back and realize, yet again, I can't fix it all! As I lay in bed, wide awake unable to sleep, feeling like the weight of the world- or weight of my life- is crushing me, I made a decision. Emotions, work, effort, wishful thinking, will not fix any of it. Just in case you haven't figured it out, I decided to pray- as simple as that. Along with my prayer, I would focus on one thing at a time- not all of it.
Tomorrow, along with my prayers- I will be putting my "extra" effort and energy into learning my new Lesson Plans and Skills (have got to master a cart wheel and backward roll- seriously) for my new classes at work. One thing at a time, and a lot of prayer is what I can do.............................

Friday, August 5, 2011

Do I REALLY Need A Village?

"It takes a Village to Raise A Child"- I have no idea where that quote came from- but I started thinking about it and over analyzing it (as I do best) today. At work, (and just about every day), I overheard a couple of conversations between a couple of moms. They all had between 2 and 3 children all ranging between 3 months and 4 years. They were all discussing how impossible it was to raise kids "alone". I'm not speaking of "alone" as a single mom- I'm speaking of "alone" as in "no hired help". They all had a nanny, or 2, and one of them had a nanny about to leave- so was moving her mother down here to replace the nanny, to the point of buying her mother a huge house so the kids could stay there a couple days a week. Here's the part that really made me go "huh?", these were all stay at home moms.
THEN, one of my coworkers has started working as a "therapist" for a 14 year old autistic boy. She's a bit frustrated with the mother, because the mother has no agenda for her son except to keep him busy and out of her way. Everyone, except the mother, has trained her and worked with her on how to connect with the young man. When asked a question about her new student, the mother instructed her to call one of the former therapists for answers because she didn't have time.
It really got to me, when I observed a mom and dad sitting in the lobby at work, watching their Nanny participate in a "Parent & Child Class" in the gym with their little boy. The dad was very frustrated that his son kept coming to the windows banging on it for his parents to come in with him. The dad finally, reluctantly, went in when the mom refused- then stated to mom, "Fine- but next time you have to- isn't this what we pay that woman (the nanny) for?".
Okay, I'm sure you've guessed by my "tone" that I think this is all a bit outrageous. I'm sure there is some truth to the "village" training our children- but it truly comes down to MOM and DAD- not the therapists, nannies, grandparents, etc. We, as parents, have the responsibility to surround our children with the proper people and influences- but it is OUR responsibility to raise our children.
Many families have both parents working, Lupe and I are now one of those, but it is still our responsibility to make sure our children are okay, respectable, stable, loved, and adored. I wish some of these parents could grab hold of how precious time is, and what I wouldn't give many days to just sit and be with my girls and not have a caregiver experiencing "my moments". I couldn't imagine letting someone else bathing my girls and putting them to bed every night.
Don't get me wrong, I do understand the need for a certain degree of assistance- especially when you're working. But, parenting is a gift that requires time- regardless of how much money you have. Even when you're a working mom, it means, even more importantly, that the time you do have with your children is  precious. I truly think, that even if I had $100's of $1000's to spare, I would still be the one to do everything for my girls (outside of a date night and night out, of course- and probably not the ironing).
There's a certain pleasure that I get from caring for my family. Even the cooking, cleaning, laundry, vacuuming, and ironing- there's a certain joy that comes from that- I am taking care of my family and providing for them in more ways than just a title of "Mom". I almost felt sorry for some of these other women that obviously do not know that joy- or that they do not even strive to obtain it.
I hope I do not sound judgemental here, it's not my intent. These other women I spoke of, are very wealthy, and obviously had more than enough money to hire as much assistance as possible. I can't say whether they really needed the assistance or not- but I do wonder if they are robbing themselves of many moments and memories.
As a Christian, I have learned that my first ministry is to my family.  Our "Village" is created of our church family and leaders, grandparents, aunts & uncles, Godly friends, teachers (that we have prayed in)- and most importantly Lupe and I- and we orchestrate "our village" to nurture our girls in the ways God has instructed us.