Grace and Parenting

Today was an ordinary day. I made Tony breakfast and once he headed off to work I went to my balcony. On my balcony I watch the activity of my little block. I love watching the different flowers bloom across the street, the neighbors walking with their toddler, the mourning dove moving from tree to tree. I also love writing in my prayer journal, reading my Bible and praying over my island, I love Galveston. And I love this morning routine that grounds me and sets my intentions for the day. Yoga is a new addition and the benefits have been so great that it is a permanent addition.

On days with a relaxed agenda, I get to read on my balcony.

Reading on the balcony, Galveston Texas, Pretty legs and flowers on Galveston Island

I, then, sit down to my desk. What comes next is anybody’s guest. Sometimes I get straight to work answering emails and sending docs wherever they need to go. Other days, I create social media content or write. Some days a very vibrant three year-old greets me and climbs up into my lap. This morning she didn’t. She fell back asleep in her bed after being up since 5:30 am.

As I watch Cheyenne and Savannah in this season of motherhood, that season where you don’t really ever feel rested and you answer the same question 452 times, I am amazed. I am amazed at the patience and grace they operate with and extend to their children. They are far more relaxed than I was with them. I was convinced that if I didn’t jump on every little hint of rebellion or misbehavior, they would grow into lewd women who dealt drugs and ran around with strange men- or something of the like. It seems so ridiculous now, but when you are raised with religion as your master and grace is unheard of, these are the things you think. Now, I know that there is no need to fear.

I did learn to relax as the years went by and I spoke of it often. I am so utterly grateful that they listened and God’s grace was and/is abundant. I have watched my girls mother with excellence, not perfection but who even wants perfection? They find joy in their children. I am so stinking proud of them I can’t hardly stand it.

Because of the job they are doing, I can simply enjoy my grandchildren. Tony and I can pick them up and take them anywhere. They are funny and happy and spunky. We laugh at their antics even if it wears us out. I mean, I had forgotten just how much energy it takes to raise children! I can rest knowing that we did a good job and now my children are doing a good job.

God’s grace covers the weak spots and He promised me He would show me his salvation. He also promised me that my children would be taught by the Lord and great would be their peace. I have walked through enough to know that He is faithful, if he made me a promise, He will keep it. I can laugh at the days to come because my God is with me and them.

And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children.

Isaiah 54:13

He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.

Psalm 91: 15-16

I love my ordinary days. They are filled with life- which could be boring or monotonous but I choose to see the beauty and blessing that surrounds me everyday. I pray prayers of gratitude daily, how could I not? I am fully aware of just how blessed I am.

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Hope and Encouragement for Today

But blessed is the man who

trust in the Lord

whose confidence is in him.

He will be like a tree planted

by the water

that sends out its roots by the steam.

It does not fear when heat comes;

its leaves are always green.

It has no worries in a year of drought

and never fails to bear fruit.

Jeremiah 17-7-8

I can’t recommend Jesus enough.

When the news reels play or the social media feeds fill up with doom, despair, disrespect and every other negative thing- I wield this scripture like a sword to slay the anxiety and fear that threatens to over take me. This promise and every other promise in the Bible are without condition. It does not say in Jerimiah that if the Republicans are in power that I will be like a tree planted by the water. It doesn’t even specify which country I should live in to experience the promises of God. The only requirement is that I trust in the Lord.

Trust in the Lord= I do not need to fear difficult times.

I will take that deal. Notice that this scriptures does not say that drought never came to this tree. It says the tree has no worries in a drought. Not only does it not worry, but it never misses a year of production. Friend, this is a no brainer.

The world can keep their fear and fighting, hating and destruction- I will go with God. Regardless of what comes in this world, I will be like a tree planted by the water. God is my hope, my trust is in HIM. He has proven himself to me time and again.

Make no mistake, we are in a world at war. This war is between good and evil. It rages everyday. Battles can be bloody and I may take a hit, but my hope is in the Lord, I trust in the Lord to bring his promises to bear. So, turn off the television and internet feed and turn to the One who is able to save your soul and drench you with so much love that it drives out all fear.

Jesus Christ came and died for you and for me. He restored us to a perfect relationship with God. He didn’t come to steal all your fun and wrap you in chains of shame and guild. Jesus came to give you life. The only thing that Jesus want to take from you is fear and death. Give your life to Christ, you will be glad you did!

How To Keep Fear Out of Your Joy

As I was talking with my therapist the other day, we were discussing how I, as an individual, and we, Tony & I, are in a really good place.  I agreed and mentioned that we were a little anxious in moments that the “other shoe was going to drop.”  She stated that we can never know what the future will bring.  The only thing we can do is be resilient.

Now, having been through a tornado destroying our home and business, I understand the need to be resilient.  But I hadn’t really thought of it in this tense.  So, that night I was pondering (an old fashioned southern word for deep thought) this as I was going to sleep  it hit me.  The only way to live, like really LIVE to embrace. it. all.

To do this is to accept that:

The shoe will drop.

The rug will be pulled out from under you.

Life will happen and some of it WILL hurt.

But what you WILL NOT accept is the fear of the future or fear’s ugly cousin, dread of what might happen to steal your JOY from this happy moment.

I will not let dread or fear of what is coming or not coming steal my joy in the really good place.  I will let my joy run FREE. I will soak up every nuance of this season.  I will be grateful for every walk on the beach, every stroll down our historic neighborhood, every kiss from my grand-babies, every smile from my husband.  I will gobble it all up like a sumo wrestler at an all you can eat buffet.

Then, when the bumps come- even if the bump in the road is filled with heartache- I will have no regrets.  These moments I am enjoying right now will be what sustain me when the road is hard.

I will be so busy being grateful that there is no room for fear.

I will be so busy being happy that dread cannot steal a bit of joy.

The other shoe will drop...

Oh How I HATE Snakes

Nasty Chicken snake killed in the hen house

I suppose everyone has at least one irrational fear, mine is snakes.  Now I understand that given the fact that some snakes are poisonous and can make you terribly sick if not dead, some might not consider a fear of snakes irrational.  But, if you had ever witnessed my reactions to ANY snake you would agree, my fear is irrational.  Irrational and hysterical to any onlookers.

This spring and summer have been extremely difficult for my nerves.  A loose count puts us at having killed or seen over 15 snakes.  Now, most of these have been non-venomous rat and chicken snakes.  Not deadly, the chicks, eggs, and chickens would, however; consider these guys deadly, but not us humans.  Unless you count the damage that you do to your self trying to get away.  The last chicken snake was killed last night with a egg in its mouth while attempting to strangle the chicken that it had wrapped up in its coils.  Man, I am glad that my husband and my kids will handle these things.

This snake is over 5 &1/2 feet long.

Yes, you read that right.  My kids kill snakes and I let them.  Cheyenne is the one most commonly running after the offender with a gun, but Savannah has killed her share.  Jonathan has got his licks in too, under the supervision of his father- I am not that hysterical. With this many snakes trying to live on our farm, there is plenty of shooting to go around.  Most of the snakes in the chicken house have been huge.  The copperheads that have been seen or killed have been considerably smaller-but they are the dangerous ones. The sheer size of rat and chicken snakes will scare the devil out of lots of people.

Cheyenne, my snake killer

But even the tiniest snakes can send me packing.  While cleaning up a junk pile, Tony found a tiny garden snake.  He caught it for Jonathan, who loves snakes and always wants to bring them inside.  I have let him a couple of times but they always escape and that is another story all together.  So, Jonathan has the little fellow in his hand and turned around.  In doing so when her turned his hand was pointing towards to me with its little snake head facing right at me.  Its crazy, but my chest seized up and my breathing stopped while my heart rate went crazy.  This is what makes me say this fear is irrational, the snake was harmless and tiny but it still scared me spit-less.

The kids still laugh at the memory of when a racer came out of wood pile and hit me in the leg.  I yelped and ran across the paddock (leaving my children alone with the thing I fear the most).  They all laughed at me while Cheyenne ran to the house to get a gun.  The snake went under an old Bronco we had.  Now all the children are squatted  down peering under the Bronco ready to shoot the snake on site.  However, no one considered what buck shot and a gas tank would do when combined and I had to put a stop to the snake hunt.  Alas, the snake lived to hunt another day.  I still maintain that my response was completely sane and with the bounds of normal behavior.

I once again abandoned my child to a snake just this morning.  Cheyenne and I were cleaning up the milking parlor.  She was standing inside the parlor moving bead board and I was just outside moving trash to the burn box.  I stepped inside and grabbed a folded up tarp.  Sliding the tarp underneath a table several feet away revealed a large copperhead in the corner.  I yelped and and managed to shout “snake” as I jumped over the milking stand into the alley of the barn.  This left Cheyenne in the milking parlor with the snake in between her and the exit and she still wasn’t even certain where the snake was.  It didn’t take her long to locate it and she then sprinted to the house for a gun.  I remained in the alley, watching.  She returned quickly and after a lot poking about she located the varmint and blew a whole in the thing.  We were both jittery after that and  it was hard to concentrate on our work.  We did manage to get the milking parlor cleaned up and the lumber brought up to the house.  Just another day on the farm.

I know snakes play a vital role in our ecosystem.  For this reason, I have reigned in my reactions enough that I can leave the garden snakes alone.  Correction, I haven’t reigned in my reactions, I just don’t go get someone to kill the thing.  I move to another job in garden leaving the snake to do its business.  We do kill those snakes posing harm to our chickens and poisonous snakes in the areas where people must work.  As for the woods, snakes are free to roam and do their thing and I won’t go looking for them.

Snake testicles- In case you ever wondered.

On an interesting side note.  Jonathan had the snake from last night laid out on the porch.  I noticed these purplish little glands on its belly.  I asked, “What are these?”  Jonathan replied, “His testicles, Mom.”  Me, ” I didn’t know snakes had testicles.”  To this obviously stupid statement Jonathan replies, ” How else are they going to reproduce?”  Well, yeah, I just never thought about it, much less saw snake testicles.  Homeschooling  happens every which away around here.