The Greatest Gift…

Tomorrow is my birthday. Another August 22nd on the horizon. And, I’m already thankful for it. It’s the first one I can remember that has organically fallen on a Saturday…when I have my kids. All of them except my bonus son who will be at work.

I plan our lives (and all our birthdays) knowing we have specific weekends with and without the kids. As they get older, I recognize that even this starts to change. So, getting to wake up knowing they are home, that I don’t have to rush and leave for work all day, that my husband will be home too, and that my family is coming over is the greatest gift. Time. A day together.

I’m thankful for the other family members we get to celebrate tomorrow. I’m thankful for the house and space and health to do so. I’m thankful for the lessons learned this year and the desire to learn more next year.

We plan to go to church in the morning. It’s the first weekend it’s been open in awhile and I’m thankful for that too. Not only that we can go and worship with others, but also that my daughter asked to go. No greater gift than that. The desire to worship and time together. Makes me think of heaven one day. Nothing but worship and time. Togetherness with no awkwardness, no grudges, no paranoia, no shame, guilt, or blame. Only what we love and desire about togetherness. Peace and harmony.

I don’t expect this tomorrow. I expect food, family, and some fun. But, I also realistically expect a house full of people, littles, and teenagers. In all it’s imperfection, I say thank you. To each one. Even if the choice isn’t theirs to be there, I am thankful they will be. Because we never know how many birthdays we have left. Especially ones that fall on a Saturday.

 

 

Out With a Sigh

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I turn 39 next week. My 30s have been tough. So much so, that instead of dreading turning 40, I’m ready to turn the corner.

I’ve raised babies, which we all know is wonderful and HARD. I’ve gone through a painful divorce, which was HARD. I’ve moved. I’ve navigated the scary seas of dating after divorce and as a single mom. This decade of my life has been chock full of HARD lessons and difficult scenarios. I’ve felt the pain. I’ve felt the fear. I’ve grieved the loss. I’ve grown stronger. I started this blog. I also started a Facebook ministry page to share these lessons and my story. Sharing and connecting brings me so much joy. I don’t know where it will lead, but I know it’s helped me heal and helped others in the process. I praise God for that!

I’m ready to take these lessons with me. I’m ready to love all over again. I’m ready to trust. I’m ready to build. I’m ready to help and love on others who have been through what I’ve been through.

I’ve learned what love is and what love is not. I’ve learned how to speak up for myself. I’ve learned that my feelings and opinions matter just as much as the next person. I’ve learned that marriage should include teamwork and family time should be enjoyed as the blessing it is. I’ve learned why I was attracted to my ex-husband in the first place and why that was a huge part of why our marriage was doomed before it even began. He was selfish and I was needy. So needy, in fact, that I accepted far short of what I should have, even from the very beginning.

I’ve learned my worth as a daughter of God. I don’t feel needy for love anymore. I’m thankful to those who do love me, but now I know that I’m already loved more than I could ever imagine and that will never change. I’ve learned that no matter what comes my way in the future, Jesus will never leave me or forsake me. And, I’ve learned the joy that comes with that realization!

I’d say I’ve learned some of these lessons the really hard way, but thank GOD I’ve learned them. They are lessons I want to live out in front of my girls. They are lessons that will help me in the future, come what may. I know I’ll have my share of tough times in my 40s, but knowing Jesus loves me will truly help me through. I want nothing more than to continue to grow in His love and share it with others. He has shown me that His Love is the only remedy for life’s hardest trials.

I’d like to take the love I’ve lost, the love I’ve gained, the friends I’ve lost, the friends I’ve made, the lessons I’ve learned, the personal relationship that’s grown, the soul searching, the rediscovering of who I am and who I want to be into my next decade. I want to teach my girls what I’ve learned. I want them to know their worth. I want them to see my joy. I want them to know Who got mommy through. They are still young, 5 and 10. But, each and every day, I know their minds are being impressed, tugged, prodded, pulled. I know because mine is. I can’t force them to follow Jesus, but I can continue to lean on Him and pray with and for them. I can do that. I will do that. I can show them joy. I can show them strength. And, I know now, more than ever, where mine comes from.

Thank you and I’m ready, Lord. Let’s tie this difficult decade up with a pretty bow. Let’s finish not just with a bang, but with a sigh of relief and a smile.

What I Learned From My Grandma…

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Here are a few things I learned from my grandma. She was one of the smartest, funniest, strongest women I’ve had the privilege to know and love….

  • Keep God first
  • Work hard
  • Save money
  • Tell the truth, even if your voice shakes
  • Humor is always welcome and usually necessary
  • Be straight with your man, he’ll appreciate and respect you for it
  • Give to others
  • Pray for others, both international and domestic
  • Be a witness
  • You are a living example
  • Love hard
  • Time is precious
  • A timely joke can cut the tension in a room like nothing else
  • Chicken taco and spaghetti tastes better (to me) with veggie-meat instead of real meat
  • Fried okra has never tasted better (to me) than straight from Grandma’s skillet
  • Heaven will be the greatest family reunion any of us can ever imagine!

As a child and adult, my grandma took me to lunch and shopping for my birthday. This tradition continued until she couldn’t physically do it anymore. I looked forward to it every year. That special time she carved out just for me was the best gift she ever gave me. With my birthday quickly approaching, I am reminded of how much she loved me. I am forever grateful and blessed to be her granddaughter.