Welcome to Jennifer's Way! What better way to share what I love than by blogging it! I love my family, I have a passion for fitness and i'm growing with my faith! Life is amazing so enjoy every minute of it!
All it took was one incident. One incident and Anthony and I decided it was time to put Tone in boxing. We had discussed it for a while but finally, it was time. One incident and I knew I wouldn’t always be around to protect my son.
Almost two weeks ago, I picked up our kids and my son told me about what happened to him at recess. Not one, not two, not even three....but four students targeted my son. Two students punched him in his stomach, another student pulled his pants down and all four shoved him to the ground. Why? Because he was going to throw a frisbee instead of giving it to one of the boys. As I listened to my son, my heart was breaking and I was angry. I was angry at myself because I couldn’t protect him. I was a angry at the students for bullying my son. And I was angry at the parents of those kids because I believe as a parent, we have to raise our kids to be better than a bully. As he told me, I could see that he was trying to be tough, but I saw the hurt in his eyes. I saw the look of defeat knowing there were kids that hurt him and he didn’t stop them. That was the incident that confirmed our decision to put our son in boxing. We knew boxing would teach him confidence, discipline, control and most importantly...how to defend himself. We never tell our kids to fight but we do tell them they have a right to defend themselves when necessary. Our son is an easy target because he has a heart of gold and does not like confrontation. Our son is an easy target because he tries to find the good in everyone and every situation. Do you know what my son told me when I asked what he thought we could do to fix the situation? He said we need to pray that God fixes their hearts. I told him that’s exactly what we’ll do then, just as soon as we sign him up for boxing.
Bullying is not an easy subject and sadly it’s only gotten worse. I believe social media makes it easier to bully a child or person. Cyber bullying is just as bad as bullying a person face to face and it has grown immensely over the past few years, especially among young kids. When a child becomes a bully, the question should by ‘Why?’. Why is he/she being a bully? Maybe they see it at home or maybe they have been a target of bulling before so now that’s what they do. I know schools have gotten a lot stricter on bullies, but it will never go away. All we can do as parents is talk to our kids and make sure they understand what bullying can do to a person. What’s sad is that as bullying has increased, so has suicide. After Tone told me what happened, I read a story about a 10-year-old boy who took his own life because he was being bullied. This hit too close to home and as I read the article, all I could think is how could this have been prevented. I am beyond thankful that my son came to me and told me what happened because unfortunately, many kids keep silent. I will do whatever I can to make sure my son knows he can overcome bullies. I will make sure my son knows that when he tells me something like this, I will take it seriously and have it resolved as soon as possible.
We didn’t sign my son up for boxing to encourage him to fight. We signed him up so that if he was ever in a position where other kids physically assaulted him again, he would be able to defend himself. We also believe that if he knew how to defend himself, he would gain confidence and then he wouldn’t be targeted again. I don’t know if that’s the case, but our son knows that our family will not tolerate bullying. We don’t allow our kids to be bullies and we don’t allow them to be bullied. This picture is my reminder that no matter how tough life can get, you can be tougher.
"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
As Emma begins to get closer and closer to a teen, I can’t help but realize how mature she has gotten over these past few years. When I first found out I was having a girl, I was terrified. There is so much that girls go through in life and I wasn’t confident that I would be good for my daughter. Emma and I have always had a close relationship. She comes to me and talks about her crush, what fight she is currently having with her friends and things that concern her. It’s so different being a mom of a 11 year old girl than it was being a mom of a 5 year old girl. At 5 years old, she absolutely loved the camera. Every chance I got, I would take pictures of her wearing a new outfit or when she was trying on my shoes. Now, it’s a slow roll of the eyes when I say, “I'm going to take a picture of you.”. When she was 5, she was glued to my hip. She wanted to go everywhere I went and do everything I was doing whether it was washing dishes or painting my nails. Now, she would rather be in her room painting her own nails or listening to her own music....with her door closed.
I’m not going to lie, I miss when she was little and everything was able to be fixed with a hug and kiss.
As my daughter has gotten older and our conversations have changed, I've realized there are certain things that my daughter needs to hear from me.
1. Mean girls exist.
This isn’t just in movies. There will be girls that can be your friend one day, and the next she will treat you as if you don’t even exist.
I remember she came home one day and she was so upset because one of her friends was mad at her for no apparent reason. All I could think was....yep girls will do that. She needed to know that there will be times that her “friends” won't always be there for her. Girls can be jealous, especially at such a young age and that causes them to push friends away. It doesn’t matter if you talked to the boy they liked, you’re friends with the girl they don’t like, or maybe you didn’t play with her at free time...girls can be mean.
2. You are beautiful....on the inside and out.
Lately, Emma has become more aware of her looks. She has been telling her dad and I that she wants to get braces soon. I ask her why and she says because she doesn't want the gap in her front two teeth anymore. I remind her, gap or not, she is still absolutely beautiful. She smiles and says thank you but I can tell she thinks I'm just telling her because that’s what moms are supposed to do. Then I take it to the next level and I ask her if she knows what makes her even more beautiful. She asks what? I tell her, it’s her heart. She is always more considerate of other peoples feelings and will put others before herself. When I tell her that, I can see it in her eyes that she believes me. Every time I say she looks beautiful, I add that the person she is makes her even more so.
3. Be a leader, not a follower.
I remember last month when I picked the kids up from school and Emma told me she was going to try out for cheer leading. My heart stopped because I never even knew Emma wanted to be a cheerleader. I told her I would support her if thats what she wanted but asked what made her decide to try out. Her response was, my friends are trying out and they want me to try out too. I told her I didn’t want her to try out for something just because her friends were. If she was going to do something she had to make sure it was something she loved. A couple days later, she said she prayed about it and God didn’t create her to be a cheerleader and she would try out for the dance team instead. I was very proud of her for this and I told her to always be a leader and not a follower. What her friends love and what they want to do, won't necessarily be what she wants to do.
4. When in doubt, pray.
Anytime there is something that is bothering Emma or if she is struggling with a decision, I tell her to pray about it. As mentioned in 3, she knows that praying can always give her the answer she is looking for. I think this is something that’s important because it will follow her as she becomes an adult.
5. I’m proud of you!
It doesn’t matter if she got her front hand spring down in gymnastics or she got an A on a big school project, I always tell her I’m proud of her. Nothing makes Emma happier knowing she accomplished something and I noticed. Regardless of how big or small it may be, showing I'm proud means the world to her.
6. I love you, no matter what.
This may sound simple enough but saying “I love you” won’t ever get old or overused to anyone. There may come a time when my daughter does something she thinks is unforgivable but she knows that I will always love her. In life, we all make mistakes but Emma knows that I will stand by her side and love her through every trial she may face. Every day I tell both of my kids, “I love you, no matter what.”
7. Never give up on reaching your dreams.
Whatever they may be, I don’t want her to ever give up. She may have one dream in her lifetime or she may have several. I will support each dream she has and I will constantly push her to continue for what she wants. The world can be a scary place but if Emma has a dream than she has goals that she can turn into a reality.
Those are the 7 things I make sure my daughter hears from me. A mother and daughter bond is strong and I thank God each day for not only giving me a daughter but also a friend. She makes me a better person because she is watching me and I don’t want to disappoint her...ever. I want her to grow up to be a strong and faithful woman so my goal is to be the best example for her.
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Proverbs 31:30
I asked one of my best friend’s to make this shirt for me because I love the story of David and Goliath. When I saw the shirt I was in love with it! Then I started thinking of why I love the story so much and God put something on my heart that I just had to share.
We all know the story of David and Goliath. If you don't, I encourage you to go to 1 Samuel and read the story because it’s definitely one of my favorites.
Goliath was a Philistine giant that was well over nine feet tall. For 40 days, he would challenge the Israelites to fight. Saul, the King of Israel, and the rest of his army were terrified of Goliath. One day David, who was the youngest son of Jesse and a young teenager, volunteered to fight Goliath. All David took with him to fight Goliath was his shepherd’s staff, sling and five stones. Goliath insulted David for trying to defeat him without even wearing any armor. David responded by telling him that he didn't need any armor because he was going to defeat him in the name of the Lord Almighty. He threw his first stone and hit Goliath on his forehead, Goliath fell and David used Goliath's own sword to cut off his head.That is just a quick summary but it leads me to ask you...
What is your Goliath?
My Goliath was insecurity and never feeling as if I was good enough. I lacked confidence and it affected me in every aspect of my life. My marriage crumpled because I was insecure and it led me to constantly battle with thoughts I would make up in my mind and what was happening in real life. There were so many days I didn’t feel as if I was good enough to have a happy marriage or I felt as if I didn’t deserve a happy life period. So in turn, this made me fight with my husband nearly every day. If he was working late I always accused him of cheating, if he went to lunch with coworkers, I would accuse him of lying and being with a woman. Eventually....this did lead him to the arms another woman. I was so wrapped up with my own insecurities that whenever I wasn’t fighting with him, I would ignore him and what he needed from me. When he would come home it was nothing but me being ugly, nagging and saying hateful things. All he needed from me was support and someone to listen to when he came home. I couldn’t do that because I was so focused on myself so in a way, I pushed him to the other woman. Was it right? No, but I'm not going to pretend I was perfect. I know I'm at fault for my actions too. I let the thoughts that the enemy was putting in my mind destroy my marriage and my happiness.
I let my insecurities affect me when it came to having a job or career I loved. For almost four years, I was at a job that I wasn't happy at. I became comfortable so I settled. I would tell myself over and over that I only had two years of junior college, there was nothing else for me. There were days I would tell myself I'm not smart enough to find a better job. The worst thing I would tell myself is that I wasn’t good enough to find a job that I loved. I always had a passion for photography but I convinced myself I wasn't experienced enough or talented enough to pursue it as anything more than a hobby. It took me getting fired for me realize that now I can do what I want with my future. I wanted to do something I really enjoyed...something that gave me a sense of fulfillment. I had to stop the negative thoughts that I had about myself. I had to stop making excuses for not going after the things I wanted in my life.
The change in me didn’t happen overnight. I wasn't as lucky as David when he only had to throw one stone before he got Goliath down. I had to wait years because I wasn’t sure what my Goliath was until it came to a breaking point. You see, David didn’t fear Goliath....David went against Goliath because he had faith that his God would lead him to victory. With his sling, his stones and his faith... he defeated Goliath.
I want you to ask yourself this once again, “What is your Goliath?”
Is it pride, rejection, jealousy, insecurity? What is holding you back or challenging you?
Whatever it may be, it probably seems undefeatable.
That’s exactly what I thought about my insecurities and feelings of inadequacy but when I started praying and having faith that God would remove those feelings.....that’s when I slowly defeated my giant. I'm sure these feelings may come back, maybe on those days I'm going down dark memories. No matter how many times my Goliath tries to rear it’s ugly head, I will always have faith in my God! He will always be on my side to help me defeat any giants I may come across in my life. I tell myself on a daily basis that I am good enough, I am talented enough, I am worthy and I am chosen. We are the only ones that are in control of what challenges us and we are not meant to take them on alone. Whenever you doubt what you can do with what lies ahead, remember who is by your side. Remember who will not leave you nor forsake you.
And He said to them, "Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you. Matthew 17:20
So, I'm sitting here and I realize that Valentine’s day is less than a week away. I’m not even sure how this happened because it feels like we just celebrated Christmas!
I started reminiscing about my past Valentine's and I can't believe that Anthony and I have celebrated 12 of them together. Even when we were separated, he would always get me something for Valentine’s Day. Why? He would tell me that even if we weren’t together, I'm still the mother of his kids and for that he’ll always love me.
Awww....so sweet...I know! Lol
Crazy fact, I remember pretty much every Valentine's we’ve spent together.
Since we first got together, he has always gone above and beyond to make me feel special on Valentine's Day.
One of my favorite memories is actually the first Valentine's we ever spent together. That picture was taken 3 months after our first Valentine's.
We met when we started working together. I was 19 and he was 18. I remember the first time I saw him I told one of the women I was working with that I thought he was really cute. That woman told me not to even think about him because he was the bosses son.lol.
It was in 2006 and we had been dating on again and off again for about 6 months.
He was the assistant manager at the time so he was my boss.
Anthony and I had been dating but we weren’t exclusive. I knew he was dating other women so when Valentine's Day rolled around, I didn’t think much of it.
I remember walking in to work and the first thing Anthony asked me was, “Who closed last night?”
By his tone of voice, I was afraid to admit to him that I had been the bookkeeper to close.
He was very unhappy and told me that my closing cashier didn’t clean the restrooms and I needed to go clean it now since I didn’t think to check before leaving. Then he hands me the spray bottle and a rag.
I was so mad. I was embarrassed because he had called me out in front of everyone in the front of the store and I figured since we had been dating, the least he could do was be nicer about it.
I snatched the rag and cleaner from his hands and gave him a look that told him exactly where I thought he should go.
I marched to the back of the store and the first thought that came to mind was, “I will not go out with that jerk again.”
I kept thinking to the night before and I was pretty sure the closing cashier cleaned the restroom.
This meant that he just wanted to be rude and have me clean the restroom because he was on some kind of power trip.
The bosses son...who cares. I was ready to quit, after I cleaned the restroom of course.
So I open the door to the restroom and was shocked at what I found.
A. The restroom was clean!
B. There sitting on the lid was a white teddy bear, a heart shaped box of chocolates and a dozen roses.
I froze immediately.
I slowly walked closer and I dropped the rag and spray bottle. It was like one of those scenes in a movie where the girl covers her mouth and begins to ugly cry. Except I didn’t ugly cry, I was literally speechless.
I turned around because I was going to make sure these were actually for me and Anthony was standing there with his big ol’ cheesy smile.
I remember telling him I thought I really had to clean the restroom.
I gave him the biggest hug and felt so much better knowing I'd still be dating him.
Well, like always there is always that one person that has something negative to say.
One of the guys that we worked with came up to us and was like, “Did you seriously get her that stuff from here? Why wouldn’t you go buy her something that’s not from where she works.”
It wasn’t about where he bought the gifts, it was about the effort he went through to make sure I was surprised. It was about him making it special for me even though we both had to work. It was about doing something that showed how much he really cared.
That day was the start of mine and Anthony’s long and rocky journey. That day we became exclusive but that didn’t mean things got better. We were still young and we were still trying to figure out what we were going to do with our lives. There have been lots of hurt along the way but there have also been lots of blessings. Relationships are probably one of the hardest things to make work but it’s worth it. I love Valentine's Day because I love....love.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Most, if not all, couples have a story. Maybe it's their favorite memory together, how they met, first date, first kiss....whatever it is, they have a story.
In honor of Valentines Day, I wanted to do something special. I will be giving away 1 Sweetheart Session!
It will be a 30 minute couples photo session (married/dating/engaged).
Location will be at Seabourne Creek Park in Rosenberg, TX.
5-10 Downloadable images.
Winner will be chosen on February 14!
The session will take place after Valentines Day! The date can be chosen anytime during the month of February.
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I can’t wait to do this and this is the first of many giveaways!!
So almost 2 weeks ago, my Friday started out like any other. Woke up, took the kids to school and made my way to work. Around 11:30am, I was called into my supervisors office and they informed me they were letting me go.
I wish I could say I was surprised and upset with the news, but I wasn’t.
As my boss and another supervisor let me know, I could tell they both felt bad.
My boss kept apologizing and I kept telling her it was ok...and it really was.
I went back to my office and within ten minutes I had all my things packed up. Around 11:45am, I walked out of the doors that had been my job for almost four years for the last time.
I drove to Legacy Ford to let Anthony know what had happened and his response was simple.
“They just did you a favor.”
We were closing in on week 2 of our 21 days of prayer and one of my prayers was for God to show me if the company I was at was where I was meant to be. I had been there almost four years and the past few months I hadn’t been happy. I would wake up every day, go to work and by the end of the day I wondered, "Is this it?". I never felt as if what I was doing was actually making me happy. I never wanted to do anything about it because honestly, I think quitting is just an uncomfortable situation. I don’t like quitting at anything.
As I looked at the last check I had been given, I realized Anthony was right.
I wasn’t sure what I was going to do next and that's exactly what I told him.
He said if they wouldn’t have let me go, I would still be working a job that I wasn’t happy with. Anthony encouraged me to just take time off and focus on me and what I really want to do with my life.
When Tone was around 6 years old, Anthony and I put him in taekwondo. Every week on Tuesdays, I would take him to his hour long class and watch him warm up and practice. After class I would tell him how great he did and he would smile and say thank you. Week after week we went to class and I started to notice that Tone just wasn’t as excited about going to his classes. He would go but there was definitely something missing. Finally after a couple of months, I decided to pull him out of it. I sat him down and told him I wasn’t going to make him do something he didn’t enjoy. I told him that whenever he finds something that he wants to do to tell me and I would make sure he’s able to try it.
This is exactly what God had to do for me. Day after day, month after month and year after year, I would go to a job that wasn't allowing me to feel fulfilled but I never wanted to do anything about it. God had to be the one that stepped in as the Father He is and remove me from something I couldn't do for myself. How great is it that our Heavenly Father knows what is in our heart and when he sees we won't do something for ourselves, he will do it for us. I prayed for God to show me something and he answered. It may not have been the way I was expecting or wanting, but he answered nonetheless.
It has been a week since I was let go and I have been less stressed, I have more time to spend with the kids and I have been able to focus more on what matters most to me...my family.
It felt as if recently I was more stressed than usual. I was waking up early to get myself ready for work, help get the kids ready for school, drive them 20 minutes to school, drive 15 min to my job, work 8 hours, go home, make dinner, find time to clean, make my once a week ABLA class and try to find time to spend with Anthony. It was stress that affected my family. I was short with my kids and short with Anthony. I would lash out at them because I had a bad day or ended up getting stuck at work later than usual.
I knew my job was causing more bad than good.
Thankfully, I'm blessed in such a way that I have the ability to be at home and our finances will be fine. Thankfully, I have a husband that works his butt off to provide a great lifestyle for me and our kids. And I'm especially thankful to have a husband that will support and encourage me when life tends to knock me down.
This week I realized how I can easily take my passion for photography and earn a little income on the side. I'm able to make time for friendships that had been pushed on the back burner for some time since I was always too busy to spend time with them. I can actually spend time with Anthony on his days off and we can do something together for an entire day and not just a few hours. I’m able to plug in to small groups that happen during the week, which is something I have been wanting for a while.
I will also say this, my house is the cleanest it has been in a long time.lol.
In life, how many times will we stay in a situation because we are comfortable? Maybe it's a relationship, a friendship or like me....a job. There is so much more to life than merely accepting how it is because it's what you are used to. Too many times we fool ourselves and say, "I may not like my job, but at least I have one" or how about "he doesn't make me happy, but at least he stays with me." Each person has control of their own happiness and that means removing anything that may be holding you back from being fulfilled. Life is too short to be anything less than truly happy. I've seen this happen with family, friends and even myself. I have come to learn that if you're not happy, you are the only one that can change it.
So, I may have lost my job but God doesn’t close one door without having plans to open another. I have faith that God closed that door for a reason.
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
When you think no one is appreciating everything you do...someone is. When you think no one sees when you put extra attention to your looks...someone does. When you think you’re the only momma to break down after a stressful day...you’re not. Nothing can prepare us for how hard it is to be a mom. It doesn’t matter if you’re a stay at home mom, a single mom, a mom who goes to school or a working mom. Everything you do matters!
I talked to my friends who are mothers and asked them what the hardest part of being a mom was. Their answers made me realize that all mothers struggle with the same thoughts.
We all worry that we won’t always be there to protect our kids and keep them safe.
All moms make sacrifices for their kids and none of us regret it.
Moms struggle with knowing that if they have to work then we have to accept the fact that we will miss out on so much time with their kids.
It's hard being a mom and doing everything for our kids and to clean our homes every day only to realize an hour later its a mess again.
It’s not easy making sure your kids are happy!
It’s not easy having to be the bad guy every now and then. And it’s definitely not easy seeing your child hurt and not being able to do anything about it! I don’t think moms get enough credit for everything they do. If I see a mom in the grocery store pushing her basket while trying to hold on to her toddlers hand while they cry that they want a candy, I smile at her and tell her she’s doing a great job. If I see a mom at the doctors office holding her sick child in her arms nearly in tears, I smile at her and tell her she’s doing a great job. And if I see a mom at the park yelling at her child for running off without her, I smile at her and tell her she’s doing a great job! Who knows how close to the breaking point that mom may be. Who knows what thoughts are in her mind as she wonders if she’s being a good mom. Is she being loving enough? Is she being strict enough? Is she really spending enough time with her kids?
I'm a mom to 2 beautiful kids and I’ve more than once wondered if I’m doing a good job. I was the mom that let my daughter cry for hours when she was a newborn and had colic. I remember sitting outside her room crying with her. I didn’t know what to do and everyone told me crying was good for babies...so that’s what I did. But while allowing her to cry, it made me cry. I was a young stay at home mom and I swear I lost my mind at least a dozen times! Everyone wants to believe stay at home moms have it made, but they don't. They spend more time with their children, yes but they are also missing adult interaction. They are watching cartoons most of the day, getting groceries, going to doctor appointments, cleaning the house, making breakfast, making lunch, making dinner, giving baths, trying to make time for their husbands....I'm exhausted remembering most of it.
When I was a single mom, I prayed every day that whatever I’m doing please let it be right. I remember being the mom that was struggling with 2 kids at the doctors office and people looking at me when one was crying uncontrollably and the other was running around the office like a crazy person! Those looks they gave me spoke volumes! It wasn’t looks of understanding or sympathy, it was looks asking why am I allowing my kid to cry so loud and letting the other misbehave! It was hard being the only one changing diapers, giving baths, waking up to a fussy baby in the middle night and not having much of a social life because all I did was work and be a mom.
I remember when I had just started working and I had to take my daughter and son to daycare. The first day i dropped them off they both cried because they wanted to leave with me. They didn’t understand why they had to stay behind all day and depend on others to feed them, change them and teach them new things. They started in daycare young and didn’t understand why mommy had to go to work or why they couldn’t go with me. So when I say I respect all the moms out there, believe me because I understand what you feel.
Being a mom has been the most challenging thing in my life but it’s also been the most rewarding. When my kids are sick or if they hurt themselves, they immediately want me. They want to find comfort in my arms and it’s such an amazing feeling. When I get off work early and pick them up early, their smiles remind me that everything is worth it. When my daughter has had a bad day and comes to me and tells me everything, I know I’m doing something right. When I’m at home stressed about every day life and my son sees that i'm sad, he will simply put his arms around me and say ,”I love you mommy.”
These are the moments that remind me that I’m doing a great job. I don’t care how many hours of sleep I’ve lost, how many times I was thrown up on, how many times I made my kids mad at me because in my heart I know I’m an amazing mother. There are mothers out there that may not hear it enough so I’m gonna say it again... momma, you are doing a great job. Don’t ever doubt yourself because if you have cried after a long day of being a mom then know you’re doing it right. If you love your kids and put their needs before your own, you’re doing it right. If you are making sure your kids know that God needs to be in their lives, then you are doing it right. Mothers have so much they have to constantly battle with and it starts with our internal battles. We worry if the mother next to us is judging our parenting. We stress about wanting to be our kids friend but still have them respect us as the one in charge. Do you know that as long as you remind your child how much you love them then everything is going to be OK. Once I get after Emma or Tone I always say I love you. When they ask for something and I have to say no, I remind them I love them. No matter how many times they get angry at me, they know they are loved. As a mother, our strength comes from being the comfort our kids need. A mothers love is so powerful that God uses it to describe His love for us...
“As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you” Isaiah 66:13
Sitting here thinking of my family and my heart hurts.
Most of us have lost a loved one to death and it is the most heart breaking experience anyone can go through.
2018 was an amazing year, it surpassed 2017 by far. Anthony and I had the best relationship, spiritually I was closer to God and financially we were doing great. It was as if things were finally where they were supposed to be. Then, as 2018 was coming to an end, things didn't turn out how I planned or thought it would.
At the end of September, we lost my step dad. It was a long battle but eventually he lost the fight to liver disease. He had been sick for a while and the doctors told us what to expect but the day came and none of us were ready.
The week of Christmas, we lost my cousin in a car accident. No one expected it and no one was ready. She was only 38 years old and left behind her 7 year old daughter and 16 year old son.
Do you think it hurt less when my step dad passed away because we all knew it was coming?
Death happens a lot in life but it’s never easy losing someone you love, whether you are expecting it or not.
I remember when my step dad passed away, my main concern was being there for my mom. I knew it was going to be hard for her because she was married to my step dad for almost thirty years. Losing someone is hard but we all know we have to move on. We are told to cherish the memories we have and be thankful for the time we had with them. This is what I tried to tell my mom but I knew nothing I could say would heal her broken heart. Instead of telling her what she already knew, I kept my mouth shut and was simply there for her. I was there to listen to her recall the stories she had with my step dad, I was her shoulder to cry on when she broke down, I was there with the kids to simply distract her from reality. In all honesty, I was there for whatever she needed. I knew people were comforting her with words we all knew were true. Time would heal the pain. At least he is no longer suffering. None of this mattered to my mom. All my mom saw was the fact that her soul mate was gone.
When my cousin passed away I knew her husband would be just as broken as my mom was. They had been together almost 20 years. They were best friends.
I think when death comes and you see the pain it causes, you immediately want to say or do whatever you can to make the person feel better. So many times I heard people ask, “How are you? Are you doing ok?”
My mom would whisper, “Im ok.”
I wanted to scream at her, “No, you're not ok. You are broken, you are hurt, you are lost and you are not ok.” Don’t be afraid to tell people the truth because they already know. They know you are not ok. Its human instinct to ask someone if they are ok when that person has just gone through a traumatic experience. Anyone who loses a person they love needs to know that it’s ok to not be ok.
You have to take time to grieve. There is no rule that says how long you have to go through the mourning process. All I can say, don’t do it alone. Let yourself allow those who love you, support you. Losing someone is hard but it brings people together. Take advantage of everyone wanting to comfort each other and lean on one another through this difficult time of life. Accept help. It doesn’t matter if someone wants to make you dinner, come over and clean your house, do your grocery shopping....let them help. I know being strong is the first thing we want to be but you can be strong and still accept help.
For me, I find comfort in knowing that they are in a better place. I remind myself they are the ones going HOME and we will meet them again one day. My faith helps me when death takes a loved one.
But not all people share the same thoughts on this and that's ok. That's when we just have to be there and allow them to grieve how they need to. Some may blame God or be angry at Him for allowing death to steal their loved one. Let them be angry. Let them yell and cry and continue to ask God, why. Healing is a process that continues for as long as necessary.
It doesn’t matter if weeks, months or years pass by...things can trigger a person and they will break down. Seeing a picture, hearing a song, remembering a memory...it can bring back the pain. When this happens, all we can do is be there for them.
Moving on and moving forward with life seems impossible but with the right support and love, it can be accomplished.
If you have lost a loved one and still struggle with the pain...it’s ok. Take the time you need to cope with the heartache and know that the pain you are feeling now will not last forever.
“The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18
Ever have one of those moments when no matter how exhausted you are or how stressed out you are, your child does something that refreshes your soul?
I had that moment yesterday morning. Sunday night as we were all getting ready for bed, Emma tells me she wants to wake up at 5:30 in the morning and make all of us breakfast. I kind of laughed it off, said prayers with her and told her goodnight. I walked downstairs smiling because I know how much Emma loves her sleep so I knew she wouldn’t be waking up that early, especially to make breakfast for us. So I finished the laundry, read a little and finally around 10:30, I took myself to bed. It had seemed like I’d only been asleep a little while when I heard noises coming from our kitchen. I checked my phone on our bedside table and it was 5:17am. I laid in bed half awake trying to figure out what was going on in the kitchen and then I saw our door open slightly and Emma was standing in the doorway. She was asking if I could help her light the stove so she can heat up the pan. Then I realized she had woken up early in attempt to make us breakfast, I told her I would help her in another hour or so. I saw Emma’s shoulders slump and as she walked out of the room, she whispered “I just wanted to make you breakfast.” My heart nearly broke because I could tell Emma was holding back tears. I immediately got out of bed and told Emma I was sorry and I’ll heat up the pan for her. She already had out the pancake mix, the milk and even fresh blueberries. She told me to go back to sleep and she would wake me up when it was ready. But I was already awake and told her I was gonna stay awake and go for a run in a bit. As I was getting ready to go for a run, she was busy in the kitchen. She measured everything out, mixed it all in the bowl and poured each pancake into the pan by herself. She made blueberry pancakes for me, her dad, her brother, her grandma and herself. She is 10 years old and she set her alarm to wake up by 5:30 to make everyone breakfast. It was funny because after I ate my delicious pancakes she showed me to the trashcan, there were about 8 pancakes that didn’t make the cut. They were burnt or broken in half from sticking to the pan. I checked the pancake mix and there was maybe a spoonful of mix left, she had used the whole box making everyone pancakes. Those were the best pancakes ever. Why? Because my daughter made them. It made mine and Anthony's day. It was actually the best way our day could have started. To make things even better, Emma packed my lunch for me. She made me a turkey sandwich and on the foil, she wrote in permanent marker; I hope you like your lunch, I love you Mommy. I couldn’t be more proud of my baby girl.
Aside from the delicious food she made me, Emma taught me a lesson. She made plans to make us breakfast, plans I was not aware of. Her plans meant she was going to have to do something she never did, wake up early on her summer vacation. But though they were her plans, she needed my help. When I realized what her plans were, my first instinct was to ignore her and get to it later. I was too tired to get up and help her like she needed, I was more worried about what I wanted then what Emma wanted. How many times does God have a plan for us but we ignore it because we are wrapped up in our own wants. Yes, he has a plan for all of us but sometimes there are things we need to do in order to follow through with his plan. Sometimes we have to fall apart or break when we do what the plan requires from us. We have to remember that no matter how many times the plan isn’t what we expected, it’s part of us learning how to handle tough situations. We have to understand that the ultimate plan He has for us will be incredible and worth every struggle.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Every year when April 19th arrives, I get a little emotional. It was my dad’s birthday. Unfortunately, he passed away when I was a little under 2 years old. I don’t know which is worse, not having my dad in my life these past 30 years or not even having a single memory of him. Don’t get me wrong, I have plenty of family members that tell me so much about my dad and what kind of person he was. My brother will eagerly tell me about my dad any time I’ve asked him, and my mom loves talking about him. I have a step dad, but I’ve never had a relationship with him. Growing up without my dad was hard. I would always see his pictures whenever I’d go and visit my grandma and grandpa Reyes and I hated not knowing who he was. I hated not being a daddy’s girl when I was growing up. I hated not being able to talk to my dad when I didn’t get my way with my mom. My mom was a wonderful mother and she was even the one to walk me down the aisle the day I got married. She has always been both parents for me. She is definitely a blessing to me.
Sometimes when I look back in my life, I wonder how much different my life would have been if my dad would have been alive. What kind of dad would he have been? Would he be a strict dad or down to earth dad. Would he be the dad that would threaten any boy that showed interest in me or would he be the dad that would sit and have a talk with him instead? Nothing in life is easy but its harder when you have such an important person that was never even around. And it’s not like he wasn’t around by choice…. he didn’t just walk out on my mom, my brother, sister and me. He wasn’t around because death came and took him from his family. It wasn’t fair, not to us or to him.
It’s hard when people ask me, “How can you cry for someone you don’t remember?’ I cry because of what was taken away from me. I cry because I was robbed of having memories with my dad. I didn’t have my dad when I went to my senior prom, I didn’t have my dad watch me graduate high school. My dad wasn’t there when I got my drama scholarship to junior college. He never saw any of my performances in high school or college. He wasn’t even there to walk me down the aisle. He wasn’t there when either of his grand-kids were born…he’ll never even get to meet them. That is why I cry. That is what hurts. Death doesn’t care who you are, how much money you have or don’t have or what you do in life. I used to get so envious when I would see my friends who had great relationships with their dads…or any kind of relationship with them. It wasn’t their fault though, it wasn’t anyone’s fault. It was one of those moments when I was jealous because of what someone had that I didn’t. They had their dad. I look at the few pictures I have of my dad and I like to imagine what he would be like today. I imagine what he would say to me if I would be able to have 1 conversation with him. I remember back in high school I had to write a poem about someone in my life. I wrote a poem about my dad, about a man who was not around. I remember writing…would he be proud of the woman I’ve become. Would he? Would my dad be proud of me?
Yes. I think he would. I have had many trials in my life. Many moments when I wanted to give up, but I pushed forward. I have grown stronger in my faith and I know it will only continue to grow. I’m no longer angry that death stole my father from me. I used to be very angry. There were so many times when I would ask God, “Why?” Why take my dad from me? Why not even give me a chance to make a memory with him? Why can’t I remember what his voice sounds like?
What I have realized is that we are not on our time. We are not promised tomorrow. We are all here on borrowed time and we can be called home at any moment. Instead of thinking of what I missed out on, at least I have family that can share with me the memories they had with my dad. At least I can hear about how happy they were when he was around. That means more to me now. I’ve never been able to wish my dad Happy Birthday face to face. Every year though, I wake up on April 19th and I tell him Happy Birthday. This morning as the kids and I were in the kitchen I told them, “Today is my daddy’s birthday up in Heaven.” Emma looked up and said “Happy Birthday” then Tone did the same thing. That made my day! I know I have the best guardian angel watching over me and my family.
As I was listening to KSBJ the other morning, the topic of the day caught my attention. How do you know when kids are being raised right?
The first caller i heard responded with, "When a kid always responds with yes ma'am or no sir, I know they are being raised correctly."
I thought that was an odd response because my kids, Emma and Anthony, ALWAYS respond that way. It's how my husband and I were raised so its how we raise our kids.
I never thought much about it but i'm constantly being told how polite my kids are. Whether it's by my friends, the kids teachers or my daughters gymnastics coach. They will always tell me i have such well mannered kids. I'm not sure why but i always took this for granted. I guess i expected them to be respectful, polite and well mannered kids.
Truth is, kids are always a direct reflection of how their parents raise them.
My kids have never talked back to me in public, had a tantrum at the grocery store or flat out disrespected me.
Now don't get me wrong, my kids are NOT perfect little angels.
But they are perfect to me.
They have arguments...both with me and with each other, but they always know that they will respect me. It doesn't matter how upset they get, they know i'm their mother and will not tolerate bad behavior. Not at our house or when we go over to friends and families homes.
Our kids go to church every Sunday with us, we have them active in our church's little leaders program and we have them pray with us daily. Why?
We know that as long as we keep God in our daily lives then we will have a strong relationship with each other and with Him.
Emma and Anthony are very strong willed kids. They have such different personalities but when it's all said and done, they both have good hearts.
They go out of their way to be polite.
They go out of their way to be nice to the kid that sits alone at lunch at school.
They go out of their way to tell me how much they love me and their dad.
They go out of their way to pray for friends and family.
I know all parents believe their kids are amazing....i'm just another mom that feels the same about mine.