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motherhood

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Fall’s glorious colored leaves: The beautiful lesson of letting go

fall tree's orange leaves

fall tree’s glorious orange leaves

Good morning (or afternoon, or night, depending on where you are right now!). Today I’ve been awake since 3 a.m. Insomnia is no stranger to me; I’ve been battling it occasionally for several years now.

Melatonin helps. Melatonin is a natural hormone made by your body’s pineal gland, a pea-size gland located just above the middle of your brain. When the sun goes down and light turns to darkness, the pineal is “turned on” and your body produces melatonin, released into the blood. This usually happens around 9 p.m. and you start feeling less alert and sleepy. 

Sleepy man. Source: platinumtraininginstitute.com

Sleepy man.
Source: platinumtraininginstitute.com

Melatonin levels stay elevated about 12 hours through the night. After sunrise, they fall back to low daytime levels by about 9 a.m. Some people don’t produce enough Melatonin.

Taking Melatonin works sometimes to help me fall and/or stay asleep. You can get the capsules at Walmart or on Amazon. Taking Melatonin doesn’t work for everyone. It even gives my friend Stephanie nightmares! But you can try it to see if it helps you sleep. (DISCLAIMER: Check with your doctor first if you have any health issues or you’re on any medication!)

I didn’t take any last night. I fell asleep and when I awoke at 3 a.m., I tried what I usually do when I have insomnia: pray. I did this for about an hour. I prayed for my family and myself. 

Asian woman praying

Asian woman praying

Praying is at least doing something good and useful if you have insomnia. Sometimes I hate nighttime, because if you do wake up, there’s not a lot to do and I really dislike being unproductive (and laying there, staring at the ceiling!). Restaurants and stores are closed, too. It’s boring!

When I still couldn’t sleep after that and felt “bright eyed and bushy-tailed“, I decided to get up, dress (meaning throwing a comfy sweat shirt over my black yoga pants and putting on sneakers), and drove to get a cuppa’ caffeine. Usually that is my morning coffee, but today a cold Dr. Pepper (with chocolate doughnuts) just sounded good!

Dr. Pepper and doughnuts

Dr. Pepper and doughnuts

It’s rare that I drink a soda any more (I quit drinking Coke years ago), but not as rare for me to eat doughnuts. I’m working on conquering sugar, just not this morning! Not the breakfast of champions and so not how I want to set the tone for the new year. Please pray for my self-discipline, would you? I know I have to make the choice, daily!

Yesterday I worked on my 2020 Vision and my Personal and Business Goals for 2020. I got this workbook in Diane Cunningham’s free webinar, promoting her Life Change Club. Have you started writing down your vision and goals for the coming year?

Vision 2020

Vision 2020

90 Day Business Goals

90 Day Business Goals

I’m so happy that I completed Diane’s workbook and set my 2020 Vision and Goals. One of my personal goals is about praying for our grown children and our grandchildren, but learning to let go. To trust God. God loves our kids even more than I do!

Ray and I with our 3 beautiful daughters, Heather, Leah, & Eden

Ray and I with our 3 beautiful daughters, Heather, Leah, & Eden

I’m a recovering control freak, and I’ve been working on this one, letting go and letting God, for literally years. It’s so hard. But if I don’t let our kids go, they’ll never mature and grow. They’ll never learn to fly, and to soar.

eagle soaring

eagle soaring

A great verse to pray over your children and grandchildren is Isaiah 40:31.

Our beautiful, precious granddaughters Violet & Annabelle

Our beautiful, precious granddaughters Violet & Annabelle

Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.

I love this quote about Autumn. It is so timely and appropriate right now with me facing empty nest, learning to let my grown kids go, and fall’s gloriously colored leaves here in Missouri. “Autumn shows us how beautiful it is to let things go.”

Autumn

Autumn

tree with yellow leaves

tree with yellow leaves

red, yellow, & orange leaf

red, yellow, & orange leaf

To cope with empty nest (I really love and miss my kids!), I’m focusing on cleaning, organizing, decluttering, and purging. Also for 2020, I’m concentrating on my health (despite this morning’s junk food breakfast!) and on my business and personal goals, such as writing my first children’s book. It is about my and our daughter Leah’s black cats Natalya and Jax becoming “friends.”

Jax and Natalya

Jax and Natalya

I just hired the illustrator for this book to draw the pictures inside the book this week and I’m so excited and happy! She does beautiful work!

To be first to hear about my children’s book’s release as an eBook on Amazon, be sure to sign up as a subscriber to my newsletter (ezine) at the top of the page on the right hand side.

freedom

freedom

What do you need to let go of this coming new year 2020?

  • Your grown children;
  • Your spouse;
  • Your excess weight;
  • Anger, depression;
  • Fear, worry and stress;
  • Control;
  • Broken dreams;
  • Forgiving someone;
  • A sin you committed in the past;
  • Excuses;
  • Laziness;
  • Sugar or carb addiction;
  • Alcohol and/or drugs;
  • A toxic relationship;
  • Self-doubt;
  • Poverty mindset or other mindsets hindering your success;
  • ____________________ (you name it).
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Blog

The hardest job

mom and her baby

A mom and her baby

Yesterday on my Facebook personal wall, I posted:

“I think I’m going to write a blog post on being a mom. In my opinion, it is the most important job in the world. If you aren’t a biological mom, you can still mentor others. It is the hardest job in the world. Sometimes you wonder if you’ve been a good mom. Know that God’s grace covers any blunders you have made and He’s got them in His loving, powerful hands.”

The post received many likes and several comments from my friends:

Dana Arcuri wrote, “Raising three children with ADHD & learning disabilities has given a whole new meaning to motherhood. It taught me how to advocate for accommodations and fight like a mama bear. No one messes with my cubs!”

Sarah G. Tipton posted, “Tell it, Sister!”

And Jennifer Waddle said, “I’ll blog about motherhood right along with you!”

So my post resonated with others. It’s the moms club. 

Heather, Eden, and Leah

Our 3 beautiful daughters, Heather, Eden, & Leah

I’m the mom of 3 beautiful daughters, Heather, Eden, and Leah.  We are a blended family: Heather is my daughter from my first marriage, Eden is Ray’s daughter from his first marriage, and Leah is Ray’s and my daughter together.

But Heather considers Ray her “real” dad and Eden has called me “mom” since she was three years old, when Ray and I married, and recently Eden decided to name her baby Piper’s middle name after me, Elizabeth – a HUGE honor! (She’s now at 37 weeks pregnant, due any day now and we can’t wait to meet the new addition to our family!)

Motherhood starts when you conceive, not at birth. For those who don’t have biological children, it starts with developing a relationship with someone, mentoring/discipling him or her.

With both Heather and Leah, I had very difficult pregnancies. I developed preeclampsia (formerly called “toxemia”): I gained rapid and too much weight, had high blood pressure, suffered with severe nausea most of the pregnancies, and had bad headaches.

Some women are just all cute baby when they’re pregnant (only their “tummies” grow); I was pregnant all over and felt like a beached whale! Today I think pregnant women are so beautiful and realize what a blessing and a privilege it is to be able to conceive and have a child.  Some women would give anything to become pregnant and have a baby. “Children are a gift from God; they are His reward.” -Psalm 127:3, TLB

Image courtesy of piyato at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of piyato at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I became pregnant with Heather when I was 18 years old, so I was younger then and had a lot more energy! I worked part-time at a convenience store as a clerk and developed a close friendship with another pregnant woman named Laurie, who came to the store every day. She and I would get Coke Icees there at the store and we’d chat about our pregnancies. 

We both had the same doctor in town, Dr. Moseley. She had her baby before I did, and scared me by telling in great detail, over us slurping Icees, her labor/delivery horror story, having unbearable back labor and how awful the whole thing was!

Icee Image source: http://www.smoochiefrog.com/my_weblog/fluff/

Icee
Image source: http://www.smoochiefrog.com/my_weblog/fluff/

Thank God, I didn’t have the back labor. With two epidurals and forceps, I managed to get through the pain of labor. But when I delivered that beautiful, precious baby girl, Heather, I felt the presence of God in the room in a way I’d never experienced before in my life. I believe that is because of the holy calling that is on Heather’s life. It had been worth it all! Today Heather is not only my daughter, but also one of my closest friends. I’ve often told her she is my special present from God. 

Our oldest beautiful daughter Heather

Our oldest beautiful daughter Heather

There were 13 long years between Heather’s and Leah’s births, with “a lot of “life” in between. Because the preeclampsia was more severe in my pregnancy with Leah and she was positioned high up inside of me, my doctor elected to do a C-section on me.

I went under anesthesia, with Ray in the delivery room accompanying me, and as soon as I fell asleep, I dreamed of running horses. Years later, Leah took English horseback riding lessons and at one horse show, she won the blue ribbon first place award! She doesn’t ride today, but she still loves horses and often draws them. Leah too is my undeserved, precious gift from God. Like Heather, she has a high calling. 

Our beautiful youngest daughter Leah

Our beautiful youngest daughter Leah

With Eden, I didn’t carry her in my womb, but I’ve always carried her in prayer in my heart. As with her sisters, she is set apart by God for His holy purpose. Eden is my “bonus daughter,” also a gift from God- although she and I have often butted heads a lot!

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Our beautiful middle daughter, Eden

Eden is now carrying Piper, and says she just wants her to come NOW! Being pregnant is hard. So is being a mom- as I said on Facebook, the hardest job in the world. It’s even more difficult when you’re a single mom. 

Following two divorces, I was a single mom for almost a decade. I never wanted this for our children, but unfortunately both Heather and Eden are single moms after their husbands left and didn’t come back home, so they divorced. Problems are compounded for single mothers.

But there’s no greater job in the world than being a mother.

Here’s my final thoughts on being a mom:

  • Once a mom, always a mom. Even when your children “fly the nest” (what we are training them to do, but us moms never really feel ready for this! I cried for months after Heather moved out of our house!), you love them more than anyone or anything else in the world, you pray for them, and you worry about them endlessly, needlessly, but nevertheless!
  • Moms usually change the poopy diapers. A lot more than dad! And the vomit when they’re sick, the Gerber baby food all over the mouth and high chair tray, the toys and blankets and pacifiers and bottles all over the floor;
  • Moms never seem to conquer Mount NeverRest of laundry through the years. No matter how hard you try to keep up with laundry (or dishes), there’s always more the next day;
  • A mother’s worst fear is something happening to her child. Don’t tell us not to worry; we’re going to do it anyway. Just hug us, and say it’s going to be okay. Pray for us. Sometimes bad things do happen to our children. It is only God that gets us through it;
  • Moms feel guilty, no matter how good of a mother we were, we are, or we try to be. We shouldn’t feel the guilt, but we do. Comparing ourselves with other moms makes it even worse! For myself, I’ve laid down at night through the years, with tears pouring down my face, remembering my child’s hurt face from me yelling or speaking too sharply in irritation or impatience. Or me hurting because my grown child is deeply hurting from someone else doing her wrong, and there is nothing I can do but pray about the situation. Or worried because I see my child going the wrong way, when I’ve tried to teach her things God’s way. More than anything, we want our child to be happy, healthy, and living a fulfilling, exciting, blessed life, following Christ. For a mom, her child IS her very heartbeat; she can’t separate herself from her child. This child was once in her womb, joined to her by a cord of blood vessels, and forever joined to her heart and mind throughout life. Sometimes, it’s hard to know and understand your identity, apart from mothering your children. Who am I, other than being a mom? This is especially true as they grow up and move out. There’s a very empty, Grand Canyon-sized space. What do I do now, you wonder. As I shared with our daughter Heather recently, I’ve messed up a lot in my life. Made many mistakes and have regrets. But over the last several years of my life, I’ve repented, asked God to change me, and drawn closer to Him. I desire to be a Proverbs 31 woman, a better, more godly, good wife and mother. Today I’m so thankful that God’s grace and mercy covers any blunders, sins, and stupid things I’ve done as a mom. 
  • Moms would lay down their lives for their children, if necessary. I know I would; don’t mess with my kids! I am so thankful for the gift of my children. Yes, it’s stressful and aggravating being a mom. Yes, they are demanding, can drain your energy, and never leave you alone, especially when you need it (“Can I please use the bathroom in peace?!”). Yes, sometimes they drive us crazy! But next to my salvation and marriage, I consider motherhood the most precious, sacred gift God has ever given me. Being a “nana” to our 3 (and soon four!) grandchildren is an extra treasure!

“When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.” -Sophia Loren, Women and  Beauty

Ray and I with our 3 beautiful daughters: Left to right: Heather, Eden, Ray, Leah & me

Ray and I with our 3 beautiful daughters
Left to right:
Heather, Eden, Ray, Leah & me

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