Enrolling in school was a portentous decision. Working in health care means you are never permitted to stop learning. Beyond just the necessary learning requirements, I’m also attempting to advance my education to move into a different arena. I want to teach nursing students, to influence the next generation of our health care workers. Teaching is something I am passionate about. I love training new nurses at my hospital, and I enjoy being involved in the education that goes on there. It’s been an amazing adventure so far.
Anticipation sounds like a good thing, but I am currently anticipating a terminal diagnosis. This past week, I have experienced some extreme symptoms of a disease that runs in my family. I know there is still a chance that I don’t have this, that my symptoms could be caused by something else, but I don’t feel much hope.
When I was young, I always imagined that I would die young. Young meant before twenty, but this, if I die in my forties, is also young. I wish I could say that I’m handling this very well, but I admit I’m wallowing a bit. I’m not ready for this. I don’t even know how to handle the everyday items that have come up this week. Do I need to go to the dentist if I’m dying? My teeth really don’t matter that much right now. How about laundry? I don’t care about wrinkles in my scrubs, because I’m going to die.
But some things seem to matter more than they did. Tuesday, when the kids got out of school, we went to the park and played on the playground. It was only around 30 degrees out, and we had runny noses and pink cheeks when we were done, but that seemed immensely important to do. We played and laughed, and I raced my son up the slide. I’ve always loved the way it feels to go high on the swings.
So for now, I’m clinging to my faith. I know that God has a plan for me. Every bible verse I read, every devotion, every teaching video has extreme significance. I hear God talking to me, encouraging me, leading me on. There are two songs on the radio right now about miracles. I don’t know what kind of miracle God has for me, maybe my miracle looks like healing, or maybe it looks like supernatural peace and even joy through this difficult time.
My life has been changing lately. There is a transition going on in my home. My oldest offspring are adults. They don’t always act like it, and they still live at home, but they are legally independent of my guardianship. They have graduated high school and moved on from there to pursue work opportunities and higher education. It didn’t immediately feel all that different, maybe because they’re still here physically. But lately, I’m seeing the changes in our relationships, feeling less the need to teach them and admonish them, and more openings to just support them and encourage.
I do not have it all together. I do not know how to parent adult children (is there such a thing?). I try to remember how my mom treated me at this age. It’s so hard to remember a time when she wasn’t just my best friend. I’m learning to be more honest with them. There are things children don’t need to know, things that would harm their sense of security. But with these older ones, I’m starting to be more vulnerable, more open with my faults and my doubts. Maybe if they see me struggling and fighting through it, they will give themselves permission to not be perfect.
I am so grateful for these people in my life.
I have two teenage daughters. I don’t recommend it. The other day, during a major conflict, I told them both they were going to die and go to hell if they did not become more forgiving. (Matthew 6:15) It certainly got their attention, although I’m not sure it was the best parenting moment I’ve ever had. Teenagers are frustrating. They don’t seem to be intentionally causing me pain, but their attitudes and treatment of each other are painful. How do I lead them to better behavior, especially if my gut reaction is to yell at them?
I’ve never been a yeller. I pride myself on my calm and rational reactions to my children even in times of crisis, and my ability to pray before reacting. This newest challenge, this clash of hormones and tempers has me stumped.
Over winter break, being forced into close quarters for so many days, these beautiful girls of mine were on the verge of killing each other. During the worst of the battle, I made them sit down at the table and began to pray out loud over them. I could not tell you now what words were said, but I cried, tears running down my face as I begged God for answers, for help teaching these girls how to love each other. They both became emotional, and much more open to actual communication.
I ended up redesigning the layout of the house to separate them, they had been sharing a bedroom their whole lives. By moving a wall, and giving up some living space, the girls now have some privacy, and I have somewhere I can send them when the attitudes become too much for me. The work involved in all this, and the emotional drain has me worn out, but I pray that it will all be worth it in the end. I know they won’t be teenagers forever.
In theory, your life is in your hands to do with as you please. I read a book recently where the author is talked about making the choice to step away from the life she had been living and seek peace. What do I want to change in my life?
The biggest negative in my life right now is the stress that I feel like I’m living with and under. I don’t know how to let go. I am tense, I have frequent headaches, and I’m not sleeping as well as usual. It is so difficult to get to a place of surrender. I need to see and believe that I do not have to be perfect, I do not have to be everything to everyone around me.
One of the pitfalls of being a single mom is attempting to do everything on your own. I don’t like to ask for help, but I am finding that when I reach out to others, they have so much to give. It’s not just about having people do things for me, which has been necessary at times, but about living life with a community. When I tell my friends the difficulties I’m having right now, I am not just asking for help, I’m sharing my life with them.
After going through a divorce, my world was ripped apart. My husband had been my best friend, and the other people in my life were mostly shared friends and family. After the divorce I lost about 75% of my support system. My mother and brothers stuck with me, but because of the pain and betrayal, I wasn’t very open to relationships with anyone.
What I have learned and am still learning is that having friends is necessary to leading a satisfying and productive life. When we sit down and talk, when I have the chance to bounce my feelings and ideas off of my friends, I not only hear myself more clearly, but get constructive feed back from them. Without them, I would not be where I am now.
I like the idea of being called to something. I listen to and watch a lot of preaching and teaching. I feel called to do something like that, but I’m not sure what. I hate not knowing. I want to do good things, I want to share my faith, share my story, let people see what God has done for me.
That’s why I turned to blogging in the first place. To be able to say what I need to with anonymity. My story is very much like everyone else’s, full of up’s and down’s, pain and joy. But if I tell it, and it helps anyone to see God, and him working, it is worth the time. It is worth being open.
“What the heck!” I’m a single lady, I’ve been on my own for over five years now, getting close to six years. I began to explore the option of online dating recently, and I am flabbergasted at my lack of success. I’m a decent looking person, I have a great personality, I love to laugh. It is so frustrating to have no prospects, no hope of a future partner in life.
So now I’ve given it up. It’s been a few months since I started this blog post. I had such a feeling of helplessness, and such a desire for someone to share my life with. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to be looking for someone, but when that takes over your thoughts, when you can’t refocus on what needs to be done in your life, it’s time to change your course.
Dating, especially online dating can take over your whole day. There is a constant pull to check the site, see who liked you, which person just checked out your profile. Then there are the messages that start coming in. It’s like a drug (from my limited understanding of what drug addiction is like). You get a rush from seeing the smiling face of someone who is interested in you. The first message from a new person is another high, making you giddy with excitement, the possibilities fly into your mind.
I have a very strong imagination, my parents really encouraged that when I was young. Every new man who showed any interest in me was a potential life partner. The fantasy began. I could picture what kind of house we would need to fit the family we would make together, what area we would have to life in to accommodate both our families and jobs. I would estimate our joint income, and envision future vacations. Living in a fantasy world has it’s benefits, but is counterproductive.
Not a single one of those men lived up to my expectations. I finally figured out, no one can live up to my expectations, so expectations have gone out the window. I am learning to love my singleness for now. I have heard it said many times that you can’t find fulfillment in another person. I have been guilty of believing someone new in my life would ease my burdens, make my life more complete.
My brother tells me to live my life, and stop trying to make things happen. It will happen when it’s right. I have begun to realize the importance of handing my life over to God every day. If I am to seek him, and serve him, I can’t really have my own agenda. I have desires, and even tentative plans for my life, but ultimately, God will lead me, probably down a path I’ve never dreamed of. How can he do that if I’m so caught up in what I want in my life?
The kids and I are leaving for vacation tomorrow. Finances being tight this year, and having so many kids, we are driving almost completely across the country. I’m really looking forward to it. By the end of it, I’m sure to be exhausted, but it will be so full of memories for them and me. My oldest will not be coming, he has to stay at home and work. It will be the first time without one of the kids. I knew it was coming, this growing up, becoming their own people. We as young parents get warned all the time by the seasoned that it goes fast, enjoy them while they’re young. We don’t believe, we can’t understand the reality of waking up one day with kids old enough to move out. He hasn’t offered to move out yet, and he hasn’t caused enough trouble for me to suggest it. I know that day is coming, so I’m holding my breath during this time of us all living still under one roof, because now I see. If I breathe, it will be gone.
The idea that we are all doing too much is not new, but it seems a hard one to learn and hang on to. I take pride sometimes in how impossibly busy my life is, but it’s wrong to leave no breathing room. I need to stop feeling so overwhelmed, stop saying yes to every obligation that comes my way, stop letting life sweep me along, and start making the choice to stop.
I’ve never been an organized person. I grew up in a chaotic environment, with two intelligent, educated parents. The posters and signs that insisted clutter is a sign of creativity and productivity, I internalized the idea that it’s ok to be a mess. But the older I get, the less I can handle anything out of place. I think I’m starting to embrace my neurosis. OCD is actually in fashion now.
There is a spot just off my patio where the bugs dance. There is so often a tiny swarm of them in this spot that it seems natural for them to be there, just another inconsequential part of the scenery. But today I fully see them and the beauty of their dance. The movement of the bugs seems beautiful to me with its fluidity. They are often around this season, but winter will come again, and they will not be here.
This season of my life is busy. It feels overwhelming some days. But there is coming a season when I will no longer have young children needing me all the time. We will run out of days that they need dropped off at school, there will no longer be friends’ birthday parties to take them to, and no more soccer practices to sit through. Frequently, I look forward to that, but today my throat is tight at the idea of this season being gone.