Friday, June 25, 2010

What Legacy Will You Leave

I received e-mails last week from my birth father. It was the first time in my 38 years that I have ever had contact with him of any kind. I was able to have some questions answered that have always bothered me. He gave me some answers, some very lame excuses, and not a real apology because it was one of those “I’m sorry you feel that way”. That doesn’t really quite count. But what he did give me was profound. I didn’t realize just how big a monkey on my back it was never having any contact with him. So even though I was left feeling mostly pity for him, a huge weight is gone. Initially I was very angry, but now I truly think I am good with it. As silly as it may seem, I have always longed just for him to acknowledge my existence, and he did that. I will pray for him because I found out he is the Pastor of a Church of Christ church and he will have to answer to God for the choices he has made in his past and his lack of repentance. But I am over my anger. I have NEVER desired to have him be a part of my life, because I have a Dad. My step-Dad has never been considered a step-Dad to me, he is my DAD!!! He’s always been there for me to give me wise godly counsel, taken care of me always as if I was his own flesh and blood, and loved me enough to hold me accountable when I have screwed up. And my Dad is also an excellent Papa to my daughter Allyson.

Maybe it’s because I never knew my birth father that I have always made it a priority to make sure I am very present in my daughter’s life. I have been very active in activities she has been involved in. I wanted her to know that I value her and that I give her my love, time and energy. So I have helped with school field trips, walked Jog-a-thons, been a team Mom for sports teams, been on the boards for swim team and choir, taught VBS, thrown parties, raised money for trips, pulled all-nighters helping her with a report and to work at Grad Nite. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love Allyson. I have probably bored you to tears with my stories of her, but I can’t help myself. She & Jim are the loves of my life!

I recently watched a TV special called “The Council of Dads” that was about a father of twin girls who thought he might die from a rare form of bone cancer. Fortunately God is so good and he is still cancer free after having major surgery on his left femur. When he thought he might die, he got together a group of male friends who agreed to be “his voice” in the future and be there for his girls. It really made me think how lucky I am to be a member of the church I am a member of. I am surrounded by a “Council of Moms and Dads”. I have had the fortune of working with young people for the past 8+ years and being able to be there for kids, dispense advice when asked, etc. But I also have been fortunate to have people there for me when I have struggled, suffered through miscarriage and infertility issues, missed my parents when they moved out of state and have forgiven me when I messed up. I have godly married couples who have encouraged me in my marriage and people who celebrate with me when things are good. I know that if something ever happens to me or to my husband, I have numerous people who will be there to step in and love on my family.

Children are a gift from God. Love on your kids; invest your time wisely by investing in them. “I want to leave a legacy, how will they remember me…”

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Being Good Stewards

I don't understand why it seems so many Christians find it so easy to make fun of environmentalists or animal lovers. I of course love humanity more than animals and trees...but I think Christians need to strike a better balance of the 3. Yes, God gave us dominion over animals, so I am a meat eater and love a great steak or piece of greasy fried chicken. However, does that mean I turn a blind eye to companies who are inhumane to the animals they process for food? No. There is no need for the animals to be tortured or kicked or hobbled. That breaks my heart. When I eat meat I think of the fact that the animals life was sacrificed for my sustenance. I give thanks to God for it.

God also created this beautiful place called earth. I am a huge nature lover. I love the ocean, lakes, waterfalls, big grassy meadows, mountains covered with wildflowers, hiking trails, etc. I believe we need to be good stewards of our environment. Is it really such a hardship to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle?

I am so not a label concsious person. I could care less if it's a name brand item. I care if it is made well and a good value. I would be a terrible rich person because there is just no way I could justify spending hundreds of dollars on a pair of jeans or the thousands some celebrities spend on a purse! I think of what good that money could do for others. I love my $22.00 jeans! I love my $30 purse! I love when I have the time to head to Goodwill or Keepers and spend hours scouring the racks & shelves. I love finding something that fits and is in like new condition and sometimes with the tags still on it. I have no problem with secondhand clothing. I have always been able to find things in good condition. I love when I find something at Goodwill that I saw for full price in the store, but didn't buy. By buying it at Goodwill I only paid a few bucks for it! I buy used books, decorative items, etc. as well.

Now that I have learned to sew, I have quit just giving the old clothing of my family members to Goodwill. I go through our cast off's first and save the buttons or fabric if it's in good shape. I love making something 'new' from something old. I have a wreath on my door made from scraps of sewing projects. I even sewed scraps together to jazz up my $1.00 flip flops! You can make pillowcases, grocery bags so you don't use the plastic bags, headbands, etc. from cast off clothing. Be creative!

I just don't think the economy is going to turn around any time soon, so people need to start being more thrifty and resourceful. In the past with bad downturns in the economy we had "the next big thing" come out to help bring money back in. Stock market crash of the 20' manufacturing & industrialization. After WWII, home manufacturing & furniture boomed. The late 70's & early 80's...computers. The 90's...internet, technology, cell phones. So...what's the next big thing? I'm sure some brilliant minds are working on it, but until then and even after, I will keep sewing and making my own aprons, skirts, quilts, jewelry, etc. I will learn to can food and shop at Goodwill!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Time With The Girls

I have always felt more comfortable being "one of the guys", but I have always had girls who were friends in school, girls I hung out with and had slumber parties with, etc. However, I had Allyson so young that at 19 when I was married and raising a child, my girlfriends were away at college or partying and doing what typical 19 year olds do. I was working at a medical research facility for the first year of Allyson's life and for the past 16+ I have worked for Treasury. So again, I have had responsibilities, an unfortunate divorce and spent my days as a single Mom working full time.

I admit I didn't do much to work at maintaining friendships with my girlfriends from school. I felt like we were in two different worlds. I wasn't partying, drinking, smoking, etc. I was raising a child and discovering what it meant to "BE" a Christian and not just show up on Sunday and call myself a Christian. Plus, the one girl I considered by best friend ended up with Allyson's dad. That kind of turned me off of trusting female friends for a long while.

My (now) husband Jim was the only constant. We have been friends since the late 80's. So he has always been there for me through all the stupid stuff I did in high school, getting married to Allyson's Dad so young due to pregnancy, my divorce, listening to my dating horror stories after my divorce. Fortunately our friendship grew into a deep love and I am now married to my best friend and the love of my life.

I admit I sometimes wish I had a group of women friends I could have "chick nights" with. I have some wonderful women friends at church and a Christian co-worker I can confide in. But I just don't seem to get out much with just a great group of women. I am craving a good women's Bible study. Unfortunately most of the women's events at my church involve much older women and consumption of copious amounts of tea...not my thing. This past Saturday I attended a scrapbooking day at church and spent a whole morning/afternoon with some fabulous women and NO TEA!!! I hope we do it more often. I enjoyed the fun & fellowship and "chick" time.