Life has been pretty over-whelming lately…hence the lack of any post for months and months. In my defense my laptop wasn’t operating for two of those months… I did have other ways of posting- I just did not pursue them too vigorously.
You may wonder why I have been over-whelmed. Well, ok, some of you aren’t wondering at all and so I warn you that now may be a good time to cease reading and get on with your day, because this could be a long one. If you do wonder, then stay and share some time with me. Maybe you have had similar feelings or maybe you just have some time on your hands and this was the first blog that popped up on the screen.
Wow! Did it really take me two paragraphs to say so little? I apologize and will try to be more concise with my thoughts.
I have felt a barrage from all sides lately…my ocd and anxiety have been through the roof. I literally have been exhausted for so long…my brain has forgotten what it is like to rest and be truly free. If it was only this, I think I could be handling things better, but I am also taking an attack on the safety of my family. Don’t get me wrong, we have no crazy people pounding at our door brandishing knives, guns, or threats of any kind. Rather, the threats I am talking about are more subtle, numerous, and very pervasive. Threats that can’t be kept out by locking one’s door.
The threats that I feel my family is facing are the attacks on my children’s innocence, my family’s fundamental beliefs, and ultimately our freedom to live our lives in accordance with these beliefs.
I look at life now and see so many wonderful, amazing things that bring so much joy, delight, and knowledge to us. But I also look around and see so much filth, depravity, and lack of faith or goodness. I am truly filled with fear when I begin to imagine the present state of the world and also what it will be like when my children are grown up…
I never remember having pornography thrown in my face all of the time. Now, with the internet, pornography is spreading like an epidemic and it is completely destroying lives. So many lives…
Sex, drugs, and violence are being glorified in the media. No one can argue with this. Just take a look at movies, tv shows, video games etc. etc. etc.
Schools are full of foul language, vulgar stories, negative peer pressure, drugs, sexual innuendos, and so forth.
The family unit is being attacked constantly. Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God, but the minute a person stands up for that, they are brought under attack and labeled as hateful, bigoted, and archaic. People are even being forced to go against their fundamental belief in the family unit or face punishment, loss of business, money, and even time in jail. What ever happened to our freedom to practice what we believe?
Speaking of belief…my basic right to believe in God and Jesus Christ is under attack. What is to become of a society that begins to deny the existence of it’s own creator- the one who has given them all?
And, let me just say, that the recent outbreak of Ebola in the US in not helping my mood at the moment, either!
Anyway, the list goes on and on.
When I look at these beautiful daughters of mine, I shudder to think of all that they must face now and all that they will face in the future. It literally brings me to tears. I ache for my children to have a childhood that is innocent and safe, but they do not have that. They are truly under attack. This fact makes me so angry!
What can I do? How can I keep them safe from all this filth that goes through their lives?
After much worry and frustration, my answer has come…again. ( I go through this worry often and then I am always reminded of the solution.)
My answer to this dilemma is based on my belief in God and Jesus Christ. They are all-powerful beings, who love us. In other words, we are loved by the most powerful beings in existence and we can rely on them. As a matter of fact, they want us to rely on them. They want to bless us! Now that thought brings peace to my soul. I am not alone in the rearing and protection of my children. I am not alone!!! I just need to make my home a safe place for my daughters to stay and then I need to teach them to have faith and trust in their Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. With faith and trust in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, they will be able to face anything.
None of us are alone! We all can rely on our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.
I know many of you reading this solution will go, “Well, of course, duh!”
Sometimes I just let panic set in and then I have to be evened out, again, and reminded of how much our Heavenly Father and Jesus love these children of mine.
So I guess this was a long way of sharing a little reminder of this, and also comfort for whoever may have needed it. I know that I can always use a reminder, especially one that brings me peace.
When you say that word, what goes through your mind? For some reason I get a vision of me reading a fantastic book while swaying back and forth in a hammock, in the shade. Maybe one of my children bringing me a tall lemonade, with raspberries, even!
There are only a few things wrong with this picture:
#1- I haven’t found that fantastic book yet!
#2- I have no hammock in my yard….I don’t even own one. My sister is the proud owner of one, but I am not!
#3- Our lawn mowers have not been working really well, so the height of our grass would probably interfere with the smooth swaying of the hammock. I really am not kidding- the grass in our back yard is really THAT tall. It is positively embarrassing. I am working on purchasing a new mower, but it is taking me longer then I thought it would. So many choices… it is not really my area of expertise.
Anyway, as the end of the school year approached, and we became inundated with so many games, concerts, awards ceremonies, show and tells, etc., I would continually find this idyllic picture running through my mind. I just wanted some time to breath and watch everything sit still for a moment. Well, well, well. It was all a dream. Just a dream. We hit the summer ground running and I didn’t even have time to think of buying a hammock!
Then all of the sudden in the middle of all this rush my husband pointed out that the approaching Saturday was totally open. Wow! We decided to plan a little family picnic at the park…of course, as the day got closer we did have things come up, but we were determined to make the plan work. Finally in the late afternoon we set off for our fun. Half of us had already eaten our sandwiches, because we had been starving, but we had managed to save dessert!
We drove down the road, headed towards a park that we knew would be very empty and unoccupied- those of you who know me, know that crowds really make me nervous. (I should point out that my definition of crowd is anyone that I do not know- therefore, a crowd can range from 1 person to infinity… let me just say that parades are a nightmare!!!) Well, my family happens to love the playground at this quiet, usually unoccupied park, so it works well for all of us.
It seemed like our picnic was finally coming together and then we turned the corner…
This is what met our eyes!!! This park happened to definitely be occupied… just not by people! Talk about a deal breaker! I would have rather dealt with twelve big crowds than be greeted by a view like this.
Again, those who know of my germ related anxiety and OCD can understand how this would affect me. All of those germs just lined up side by side. Eighteen in all!!! (My girls counted just for my benefit.) Ugh!!! Double ugh!!!
Especially when you think that my family was playing down wind… the breeze that blew past those cesspools of filth would then blow right past my family- touching all of them. I tried to stay and watch my family play soccer, because I didn’t want to take this time away from them, but I finally headed home and let them play their game in peace.
Not really a great day at the park for me! I mean, really? How often does a person head out to the park only to be greeted by 18 port-a-potties lined up at their destination?
At least I let my family stay…a few years ago that would have been impossible. And just for the record, I would like to mention that I didn’t make any of them change their clothes or shower when they got home.
Thankfully, I think they enjoyed their day at the park!
I dropped my youngest daughters off at a youth camp this morning. They’ll be gone for a few days. From now until Friday it will be just my husband and I and our teenage son, who’s gone most of the day at work. All of the other children are scattered hither and yon at the moment — some temporarily — some for good — all too far away.
Driving home, I sighed out loud a few times trying to exhale the bubble of emptiness hovering somewhere between my chest and stomach. It’s a feeling as unexpected as it is unpleasant. I used to look forward to the relief and freedom of a day like this. Years ago I would have read the first two paragraphs of this post with envy…and a fair amount of disbelief that this kind of respite could be anything short of wonderful.
I married young, had seven kids in quick succession, and spent the next 25 years forgetting myself in their needs. In the exhaustive process of feeding them, protecting them, adoring them, refereeing them, discovering them, weeping for them, escaping from and joyfully reuniting with them, I forgot to look around and know I was happy. Truly, exhilaratingly, bone-deeply happy.
Mothers whose children were grown used to put a hand on my arm and lean in to earnestly say, “Enjoy these days…they’re gone too fast”. I knew it was true because so many said it and meant it, and I’d gaze affectionately for a few seconds at the eager, demanding little faces before turning with a sigh to chase the littlest one away from the street. What could I have done differently? Not a single thing. And that’s just how it is.
For generations, mothers have accepted a gift that even the most grateful don’t know the full value of. A gift that takes all their strength to carry and that they surrender with sorrow when the children start to go — and they long to pick it up and carry it again. But can’t. Because it really is too heavy. So we wring scattered drops of satisfaction out of our new lives of “freedom”, and lean in to say to young mothers, “enjoy these days”…..and we mean it. And hopefully they stop in recognition, and feel the exhaustion, and shoulder the worry, and soak up the slobbery smiles, and know to say in that moment, “I’m happy”.
A few weeks ago we had a grand celebration for my niece’s wedding. It was such a happy day of family and love. Truly joyous!
After celebrating, of course came the cleaning. Well, instead of the clean up process being a total drag these girls turned it into fun. They took the parasols that we had hung from the ceiling, as part of the reception decor, and put on an impromptu photo shoot. Photography credit needs to go to my husband who snapped all of these pictures with his cell phone.
It started with just a few of the cousins…
Then the crowd just grew and grew…
And so many fun picture options when you have parasols…
The party just kept going and going…
I know this is a ton of pictures- it was hard to sort out just this many. (I could have made you look at all 40 or 50 pictures that were taken…)
These cousin love each other and they have so much fun together!!!