Friday, December 31, 2010

The Rose I Didn't Want to Throw Away

Pin It Now!

My 8 yr. old son stomped into the house and handed me a red rose cut from the neighbor's yard. As he handed it to me he said, "I love you, Mommy." After I thanked him, I promptly asked if he'd received permission to cut that rose! :) (And, yes, he did ~ whew.) Then as quickly as he barged through the door, he left to go back outside.

Of course getting a rose from a son would warm any mother's heart, but mine was extraordinarily warm.

You see, to me this wasn't just any rose. It was a symbol of what I call my son's "breakthrough" year. Sounds a bit cheesy, but it's true.

Oh, this child.

Where do I start? It is pretty difficult to sum up 8 years of life into one post. (My eyes are starting to tear up a little.) I guess one word to sum it up would be STRONG-WILLED, but I just don't think that gives a clear enough picture. Yes, very strong-willed but so much more than that.

As a toddler, this blue-eyed, strawberry-headed blessing would tell me flat out that he had ANGER in his little heart. Before our morning devotions he would tell me that he hated God. He refused to receive the love that his precious, older brother wished so much to bestow upon him. He didn't really want to have anything to do with Daddy, either. Being such a VERBAL, say-whatever-comes-to-mind type of kid, he could really be kinda mean sometimes.

As a parent, I was definitely confused, stressed, sad . . . and so on. In between his strong-willedness he was over-the-top cute, funny and loved to have his mama cuddles. I was completely in love with my "Only Sunshine" but was also completely worn out.

Thank goodness he was a very well behaved child everywhere else. It was at home where his fleshly heart would let loose. I kept thinking, "As soon as the terrible 2 (and 3s) stage is over everything will be just fine."

Three came. Then four. Five. Oh, this child! Six and seven were a struggle, too.

Mind you, the problem wasn't constant, out-of-control, willful disobedience. I didn't need Super Nanny to save the day. Being consistent and firm with discipline wasn't one of my weaknesses, but it was draining me.

When there weren't any "issues" to address, he was just an overall not very happy child. It was normal for every little thing to bother him or make him angry. And for some reason, I felt that he was more like this when he was around his brother, which was 99% of the time. It was like he was born hating being the second child. My heart would just ache when I'd see glimpses of joy and that bubbly little personality trying to break through, but the dark cloud would always return.

I knew in my heart that an intense spiritual battle was raging within my very young son. It was strange to know that. But I knew it was true. Satan was not going to win, I knew that, too (mostly), but I didn't know how long this particular battle was going to last. I was committed to fighting for my child and raising him up in the way he should go no matter how tough it got, no matter how exasperated I became.

It was hard. There were days when I was tempted to drive him to the school in our neighborhood and be done with it. He could be off at school while I peacefully home schooled my other 2. I would always feel God whispering very quietly that he was right where he needed to be~that the battle would be won right on the home front. Sending him away for a few hours wasn't going to solve his (our) problems.

Even when my son had learned that obedience in this family wasn't optional, I could tell mostly that his obedience was due to the fact that he didn't want to suffer consequences. He would obey on the outside, but it was super clear that on the inside defiance reigned. We had many talks about how I, as his mom, could only help change the outside, but never the inside. I could do my God-given part, but I couldn't change his heart and make it love. That was strictly between him and God.

This year, this blessed year, a change from deep within this child's heart began to unfold right before my very eyes. It was like watching a caterpillar morph into a butterfly in slow motion. The cloud was slowly disappearing revealing a soft, sweet spirit and a heart yearning to love. I witnessed true humility and repentance in my son. Truly a beautiful and longed-for gift!! He told me one night that life was so much better without anger in his heart. Praise God!

Our relationship is so much better and phrases such as "I'm sorry" and "Will you forgive me?" grace his speech.

God has taught me so much through this trial. So much about myself. About my own relationship to my Heavenly Father. My second born is a lot like me in personality, and my hubby would often tell me, "Now you know what it's like to be married to you!" Ah well, I guess I still have a lot to learn, too. :)

I love you and LIKE you my dear son. Looking forward to what the next year brings!!! I hope you don't mind me sharing. I hope our story can encourage others who may be going through the same thing. THANK YOU again, for my beautiful, red rose.

Tennessee Christmas 2010

Pin It Now! I know. It looks like Christmas morning. But it's not. My kids were so incredibly giddy December 23rd. They had to wait the entire day to be able to open Tennessee presents!

Daddy making them wait just a little longer . . .

Not a single Star Wars item this Christmas . . . Halo Mega Bloks are the new craze.

Barbie scooter for Miss Shiloh ~ she was so excited!!!!

Can we say SPOILED?! I am not complaining, though, cuz I got spoiled, too!! I got a super duper popcorn maker and some sweet cash.

Mullin conversing with TN family via web cam.

And drum roll please . . . Mark's wish came true~a Kindle. That would come in handy for homeschooling, but I don't think he's sharing.

Thank you TN family (Pa, Cece, Pawpaw, Grandma, Uncle B and Aunt Catie) for all the wonderful gifts!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Something Old, Something New

Pin It Now! Isn't that some sort of tradition for weddings? And something blue is in there somewhere I think. I don't recall having anything old or blue for my own wedding. Definitely lots of new, though!!

And what does this have to do with cookies?

Something Old: Well, every December I get to pull out some very old and very cherished cookie cutters. Yep, those silver ones in the photo belonged to my grandma. She passed them on to my mom, and then my mom passed them on to me. There's an angel, Santa, tree, holly leaf, bell, star, reindeer, gingerbread man--I think that's all.

I also use my grandma's Prize Sugar Cookie recipe, and I wear an apron that my mom made (when she was just 14 or so) for my grandma.

Something New: It's been fun over the years adding new cookie cutters, too. Most, of course, are plastic.

My sweet girl helping mama cut out cookies. I guess someday, she'll be in her own kitchen using the passed down cookie cutters. It will be here before I know it.

These are definitely my favorite Christmas treats!!

Something Blue: I guess Mr. Snowman's scarf will have to do!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas!!!!

Pin It Now!
Wishing everyone a blessed Christmas!!!

We are celebrating our 4th Christmas in the desert. It's been a wild, crazy time that's flown by so fast. Beaten and bruised by one storm after another, I think we can finally say--or should I say sing--We can see clearly now!! The rain is GONE!!!

Looking forward to our 2011 journey into uncharted territory. I am so thankful to my God for the trials he bestowed upon me and my family to prepare and strengthen our hearts for His will in our lives.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Three Trees

Pin It Now! I know, three trees sound like a little much . . . but our Memory Tree is just too full. Last year it reached its ornament limit.

I love our Memory Tree. It holds ornaments from old times and new, like the cute little mice ornament my mom gave to me when Mark and I first started dating, the country apples and red and green beads from my tree growing up in Tennessee, the crazy silver garland I let Mullin pick out when he was just a toddler, and my three kids' first Christmas ornaments.

This tree honors all of my kids' fetishes and phases: trains, Star Wars, sports, airplanes, Care Bears, Strawberry Shortcake, Tinkerbell, My Little Pony, Harry Potter, and so much more! Ahem, Starbucks and m&ms are very well represented as well. :)

Our beautiful, nostalgic Memory Tree in the process of being decked!

So, here stands our newest tree given to us by my dad. It's just the right size for the tiny corner at the top of our stairs. Doesn't quite have a personality yet . . . but it's getting there. Mostly we hung ornaments from packs my mom has given to us over the years, so it gives it somewhat of a theme-ish touch. Plus, Mark and I added some of our own ornaments that we thought fit ~ kinda classy, yet old-fashioned and homey, maybe? It still lacks a star, but I hope to find one before next year. Needs a few more thematic touches to be just right. I love trees!! Forget knick-knacks!

And of course the Theme Tree, otherwise known as the Main Tree, or my tree. :) Oh, how I love to gaze at it when it's dark and the kids are in bed. The beautiful, white lights all aglow, the shiny, glassy ornaments gleaming and twinkling, the symbolic nature of my color-scheme, the memories of decorating it for the very first time in our very first house while unknowingly pregnant for the first time, the ornaments that have been added over the years, and the matching presents under the tree . . . I love it all ~ even the charming touches my hubby brought to this tree! He picked out the star and the tree skirt. :)

So, to me three trees are the perfect number of trees! (I might change my mind when it's time to take them down.)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Pin It Now! After quite a LONG break from playing sports, my boys were able to play flag football for the first time this fall. Not ordinarily a sports-on-TV-watcher, I must say I loved watching my boys play football!! VERY exciting.

Both boys have shown such natural talent on the field and have quickly named this their favorite sport. I think I'm seeing more football in our future!

Lincoln's team won the entire tournament (for his age group) a couple of weekends ago. He was soooooo thrilled not only to win, but he made his very first touchdown that day. :) Usually, he is busy intercepting, but having a chance to score was a proud moment!

Congratulations Lincoln!!!

And Mullin, thank you for showing support and encouragement to your brother during your time of loss and defeat. Truly an unselfish act by putting your brother's interests above your own.

I am one proud Mama of both my amazing boys!!!!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Is It Really Just a Southern Thang?

Pin It Now!
Tea? Or more specifically ~ Sweet tea?

Southerners like to claim that it is, but I think my love of tea began as a child. And I am not from the South.

I remember my mom making sun-tea in my Arizona backyard. When we later moved to the South, we took our love of tea with us. Okay, so maybe the "sweet" part is a bit southern because I don't think my mom has ever drunk sweet tea.

Boy, I did, though. I think true southern sweet tea could be bottled and sold as syrup. Don't you think? Yep, you could just whip up some pancakes, smear 'em with butter, then just pour that syrupy sweet tea right over. Ugh, I cringe just thinking about that stuff. You would, too, if you'd ever had a "sweet-tea headache."

When I got married, I was adding an entire cup of white, refined sugar to a gallon of tea. And when it wasn't cloudy, rainy, or cold, you can bet that I was baking it in the sun!

As I started becoming pretty health conscious, I cut back to 1/2 a cup of sugar to a gallon of tea. (Oh, and I only drink decaf Luzianne.) My hubby wasn't too thrilled about that change being that he was a true southern boy. But, health overruled. :) Not to mention he could just add more if he wanted.

That last change lasted a good, long while, but I became unsatisfied with that, too. I wanted to somehow take even more white, refined sugar out of my diet, and I knew from where a bunch of it was coming ~ my tea. I love tea! I drink it daily! Mmmm, add a squirt of fresh lime and, oh, yum! So refreshing. :)

Anyway, I have tried sweetening with raw agave and it is good but expensive. Plus some health experts say the way agave is processed isn't really all that great. Raw honey is just too thick for cold tea, which is how I like it. Cold.

So, this post brings me to Stevia. I don't know why I have been afraid to try it. All natural is the claim. Comes from a leaf. Supposedly liquid form is less processed. Anyway, I gave it a try. Not bad. Different at first. It has only been a couple of weeks and I am completely used to it and have happily figured out the stevia to tea ratio: 4 droppersful (is that a word?) of stevia to one gallon of tea.

My tea has changed quite a bit over the years, but hopefully it will be for better health!

Photo credit


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...