The Myth of the “Family” Vacation

First of all… Happy Blessed New Year!

May 2018 bring you anything you lacked in 2017.

With that being said, here is a disclaimer, because while that sentiment sounds nice, we all know it doesn’t work like that. So…

May 2018 bring you anything you lacked according to God’s will, and may you work toward reaching your goals as you pray for God to help you.

We all know God is not a genie and does not simply grant wishes in His infinite wisdom. He listens to each of our earnest requests and makes a decision to either approve, deny or give us an even better alternative to our request.

Hopefully you spent your time leading up to the New Year meaningfully. Mine was spent in service, and no, I don’t mean service to the Lord directly. 

In the wee hours of December 26th, me and my family hit the road and made the 11-hour trip to Tuscaloosa, Alabama to spend some time with my husband’s dad and his family. We were all excited to get to some better weather–Alabama cold is not like Michigan cold–and see Matt’s extended family. Despite our meticulous preparations, there was one thing we weren’t expecting…

The daggone stomach flu. 

No one invited the stomach flu on our vacation, but it showed up and showed out anyway!!!

Unfortunately it struck the baby first, causing her to throw up multiple times and have several bouts of diarrhea. Matt rushed to the nearest store and bought her a bottle of Pedialyte which seemed to bring immediate relief for the vomiting. Then, that night, Matt puked almost 10 times and in the morning, as I was still trying to take care of him and Jayla, I threw up. 

Being pregnant with a stomach bug is no fun, but you know what was worse? Seeing my children sick with something that I can’t help. As you know, stomach bugs must simply run their course.

And yes, I said children, because out of nowhere in the middle of playing, the very morning we were initially preparing to leave, Layla got sick. It has now been almost 12 hours since her last round of vomiting, so we are hoping with baited breath that this thing has left her body, that our son hasn’t caught it, and that we can head home. In the meantime, my last couple of days of “vacation” have been spent cleaning up puke, washing puke-stained clothing, disinfecting, throwing up myself, fetching ginger ale, and oh yeah… Cleaning up puke.

As far as this particular vacation went, I don’t fault my girls for getting sick. I wished that I could have taken their misery upon myself, although in my pregnant state the stomach flu isn’t exactly comfortable. It upset me each time they threw up.

But when I thought about how much work I still had to do on what was supposed to be a mini-vacation, I had to chuckle. Even if the kids are well, there is ALWAYS work for Mama to do even on a vacation. Because for me, a vacation not only means a trip to a destination away from home, it also means a trip away from all of the work I do at home. When I go on a vacation, I don’t expect to do any cooking or cleaning. Like the cruise we went on… The most work I did was ironing my clothes. It was perfection.

We rolled out of bed when we got good and ready and leisurely prepared for our day, no rush at all. When my husband and I were served our meals, we were able to just EAT… No cutting up meat, mopping up spills, or getting up from the table in the middle of the meal to take a little one to the bathroom. At night, we took showers as long as we wanted with no interruption and lay down in a huge bed with no one crawling over our heads or asking to turn the channel from our movie of choice to SpongeBob.

It was truly a vacation.

And you know what?

I missed those little monsters every step of the way.

Family vacations are still work, indeed. But while I was on my true vacation I couldn’t help but imagine how my kids’ eyes would have lit up as they looked out from the cruise ship into the sea, especially at night when no land could be seen, nothing but stars.

As for this particular trip, aside from the illness, it was good to see my kids playing with their little cousins, uncles and grandfather. So at the end of the day, as usual, no matter how tedious… Mama’s work was worth it.


Stop making stuff up!

I was very displeased to see that a conservative group that supports Trump, America First Policies, will release an ad on Christmas in which a cute little girl at the end thanks Trump for “allowing her to say Merry Christmas again”.

You know what Christians… I am getting very tired of some of you.

We have BIGGER fish to fry here and the only thing propaganda like this does is water down what is actually supposed to be our true message in this hateful world. This made up “war on Christmas” and all of the garbage that has followed, including furor over flipping Starbucks cups and dumb stuff like that, continues to erode Christian credibility.

I know we are not equipped nor supposed to judge whether a person is truly saved or not, but I have to wonder if these morons who keep pushing this factual war are Christians in name only or are Christians in word AND deed. And if they are, they need to go read their Bibles over and over and over again.

Nowhere in the Word does it say that everyone is going to be a Christian. I have been a Christian all my life and I have not died yet or faced any consequences or repercussions simply because I respect the fact that some people celebrate Hanukkah, some celebrate Kwanzaa, some celebrate nothing at all.

Some of you are not wearing the title well, and that is because it is just that…a title. Those of us who truly love Jesus know that being a Christian is more than just a title…it is an entire way of life guided by a set of beliefs based on one overarching principle…Love.

Super fail, conservatives. And although we believe God’s law supercedes that of man’s these are individuals who claim to love the Constitution and yet obviously do not understand the concept of free speech.merry christmas trump

What can I say…

I have been neglecting this place, as I have been neglectful in other areas of my life, after receiving some very unexpected news.
As it turns out there is a valid reason for the digestive issues I have been having…
Surprise! I am pregnant again.

And it SUCKS.

I was faithfully taking stupid birth control pills but alas, the only foolproof family practice technique is abstinence. And what fun is that? 

It is almost funny. I had scheduled an appointment with my PCP to discuss my stomach problems and on a whim, picked up a pregnancy test. Before I even got done peeing on the stick the positive results window was already illuminating.

I’ll admit that I was not pleased. The idea of nine months of unavoidable abject misery AND a one-year-old baby was not an appealing prospect–hence the reason for the pills. I still am not over the moon happy. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy about another baby, just not this awful process to get him (or her) here.

Point blank, I am a foodie. I love eating. I love cooking. I love using fresh herbs and spices, onions, bell peppers, sauces etc. And now I can’t even tolerate the smell of them. I am nauseous all day and feel the effects of pregnancy-induced GERD at night. Before anyone tries to rebut me with, “You’re lucky you can get pregnant!” ask yourself if that is the best you can come up with? Of course I know other women struggle to get pregnant. Is that supposed to mean I should be happy when I wake up out of a dead sleep with puke in my throat? 

I love whoever this is growing in here already but I dislike the process. And I won’t apologize for it.

Kids are SUCH a joy, they said…

“They” LIED!!!!

In almost 40 years of life I have never had pinkeye. My walking Petri dish of a kindergartner decided better late than never, brought it home from school and now I look and feel like someone punched me in the eye.

Thanks Layla!

Excuse the hair, it has been an AWFUL few weeks!

Stick a fork in me…

…because I am BEYOND done.

In addition to the crushing pain, debilitating fatigue and diminishing visual capacity, over the past couple of weeks I have encountered the most unpleasant, frustrating and uncomfortable symptom yet: My digestive system has slowed down to almost a complete stop.

I will spare you the grisly bathroom details, but understand that I am a huge foodie who loves cooking…and eating. And to only be able to eat three or four bites of food before feeling full, nauseous, and just odd is very distressing. 

Today I submitted myself to yet another battery of blood tests and I will be honest… My spirits are very low right now. I have to get my prayer ‘tude together because, I must admit, my prayers have been pretty defensive and sarcastic and that is an unacceptable attitude to have toward God. 

At this point I have no idea what to do. This illness has affected every single system in my body and no one can even give me its name.

I am trying to put on a strong front but I am tired.

Parenting requires adaptability


Certificate of Completion

If you’re like me and have more than one kid, you have probably come to the realization that your kids, although they may have (or not) come from the same mother and father, are NOT the same people. For example, my son is the oldest, and then I have my girls. My son Jayden was an easy-going, cheerful, good-natured baby. He learned best by repetition, and his memory is CRAZY. He has taught himself multiple facts on numerous subjects through repetition and memorization. Ask him when any of the states received their statehood, he’ll give you an exact date. Ask him the specifications on any number of rollercoasters, he has them filed away in his obviously vast memory banks. As smart as he is, he has to be reminded EVERY.SINGLE.DAY to clean up after himself and take the same medications for his asthma that he has been routinely taking since he was three, which drives me NUTS.

Then came Layla. A bit more tempestuous than her older brother, she is also more independent, and appears to learn from observation and more visual methods than simple recitation. She has picked up things from me when I didn’t even know she was watching. In terms of her learning style, memorization is not her strong suit. She is an active learner. If I am trying to teach her something, it needs some type of action, activity, song or something that engages her to get it, and she requires a bit more time than Jayden. Admittedly that frustrated me for a minute, but I really had to check myself. God made her the way he wanted her, and who asked me to decide how she should learn??? Nobody.

As for my baby girl, we’ll see what works for her. Right now I catch her mimicking me a lot. I was surprised last night when, in her bath, she took her washcloth and started pretending to wash out the little cup I use to rinse her. Apparently she has been watching me wash dishes.

As parents we cannot try to fit our kids into the bubbles we have conceptualized for them. It’s just not fair to them, and it is not good parenting. We might be expecting them to do something that they just mentally cannot do! We also have to be careful not to make comparisons between our children. Because Jayden learned easily with flash cards and such, does that mean that Layla’s capacity to learn is less? No, it just means the methods to teach her need adaptation.  Even if a child has a learning disability, that doesn’t mean they cannot learn. It just means someone has to be responsible, caring and patient enough to find out the best way to help them learn.

Parents, do your best to not favor one child over another as well. Make all of your children an equal priority. If you have multiple children, you really need to be checking yourself on a regular to make sure that you are not showing more devotion to the needs and presence of one child over another. If you don’t necessarily relate to one kid as opposed to the other, that’s your problem. Find some common ground. It’s YOUR job to adapt to them, not the other way around.

You will never know it all.

I know some people like to think they know everything, but it is impossible.

My son celebrated his eleventh birthday on October 6th. The night before his birthday I stayed awake for quite some time, marveling at the fact that I have been a mother for over a decade. It wasn’t anything I signed up for… All three of my children were pleasant surprises, but with my son being the first, he was a MAJOR pleasant surprise.

I was approaching my mid-twenties and in my first good serious relationship with my now-husband. Although things were going well between us I still had no intention on getting married and having kids. But God had other plans. And yes, although me and my husband were not married when Jayden was born, he is STILL a gift from God. You cannot say that God is responsible for giving life and then act as though that only applies to children born to married parents. I tell people whenever we get on the subject to please refrain from ascribing my sin of premarital sex to my innocent son.

Either way it goes, we were just having fun, getting to know each other, exploring our independence. I was still recovering from being raped and entered into the relationship quite precariously. That is another reason why I wasn’t interested in moving too fast. But alas, a baby kind of prods things along. I am confident that neither of us was quite ready for a baby.  I was none too thrilled when my pregnancy was confirmed via multiple pregnancy tests.

And then something happened. On Friday, October 6th, 2006 at 3:17 p.m., the most beautiful little boy I had ever seen entered the world. I forgot all about my trepidation about being a parent as soon as I saw him, and the full force of how much I loved him was exhibited shortly thereafter. He was born with some issues and there was a chance he would have to have surgery. I cried like never before. The very thought of anything being wrong with my precious bundle hurt like a stab to the heart.

Luckily, God saw fit to correct the problem, allowing Jayden to avoid surgery, and here we are. If there is one thing I have learned about being a parent, it is that I will never learn EVERYTHING. Sometimes when my kids get sick, I have no idea what they have caught or how, and have to do a bit of detective work just to figure out the best way to take care of them. Sometimes they get into little moods and I don’t know why, and I have to either pry it out of them or give them space. I have to protect them and let go at the same time. There is no handbook for any of that. How could there be? Each child is different and has a different trajectory laid out by God for their life.

Studying the Word of God is just as complicated as parenting in the sense that there is so much to know, and some of it we learn as we go along, making mistakes as we do. In addition to reading what is there, we also have to consider what is NOT there. We don’t want to add to or take away from the Word–it doesn’t need our help. I have been a student with Moody Bible Institute for years and there hasn’t been a single class that I’ve taken and said, “I already knew all of that.” Nah. It is impossible. What’s cool about that though is that you’ll never get bored or complacent–at least, you shouldn’t. Just like you should never get bored with your developing children and instead look for opportunities to challenge them and engage them, so should you approach your relationship with Christ, with that same zeal.  Do I sometimes get tired of hearing about the exact specifications of the latest rollercoaster? Do I sometimes feel like a total idiot because he comes up with such good questions that I can do nothing further than point him toward Google? Do I sometimes get tired of hearing “I’m hungry” eleventy-seven times a day? You betcha. Sometimes when Jayden decides he has something to tell me–usually, actually–I am in the process of enjoying a quiet moment to myself. But do I want him to withdraw because I don’t pay him any attention? Do I want him to go ask someone out there in the world the questions he should be trusting with his parents? Nope.

Parenting is a journey. It is exhausting mentally and physically, but I must admit, watching my boy become a young man is exciting. People remark about his kindness all the time. We sent him to school on Friday with 48 cupcakes for himself and his friends. When we went to pick him up he only had one left that he was saving for Layla. He hadn’t eaten any of them because he wanted to make sure his friends got one, and there were some people who looked kind of sad and left out when they saw Jayden handing out the cupcakes, so he bypassed his own desires to make them happy.

Both in parenting and in the pursuit of a true relationship with Christ there are boundless rewards, and time put into your kids and time put into God will result in very healthy returns. Kids these days have a lot of ways they can get off track. It is up to  Mommy and Daddy to steer them in the right direction. Just like kids need their parents to guide them, we have to treat the Word of God like our guidebook as well, and try to keep from falling into laziness where we fail to adequately digest the Word.

Jayden also decided to push past his apprehension of water in order that he may be baptized. He has been saved for years, declaring his faith in Jesus from a young age, but was too frightened to be baptized. Last Sunday, completely on his own, he went to the front of the church and stated his desires. I have never been so proud of him. Typically the pastor has new candidates for baptism undergo a six-week class making sure they understand salvation and what it means to be a Christian, but our pastor acknowledged that Jayden already understands all of that and the class would be a waste of his time.

That’s my boy!