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College: Is it really necessary?

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Some friends and I were talking a few days ago and we happened to get on the topic of college. That conversation was probably one of my favorites since I love talking about and understanding the impact that our choices have on our lives and on society as a whole.

So, one of my friends said that he and his wife feel that having a college education is very much needed to get to where you want to be in this life. A few of my friends were torn in what they truly believed or had no real opinion about it one way or another. The majority of my friends felt like most of their parents expected them to go to college and obtain a degree and, as such, they knew they would require this of their own offspring as well. I was joined by only one other friend who felt that while a college degree is great to pursue it is not absolutely necessary for lifelong success.

I’m of the belief that when the Lord has called you to a particular thing He will open the doors – that you will need opened – to get you to where He’s called you to go. God can, will and has already given you certain gifts that will help you on your journey of life. One of my dearest friends, who barely finished high school and is one of the smartest people I know, has a very evident gift of knowledge. A gift of knowledge, for those who don’t know, is having a mind that is able to figure out, quickly learn or just plain know things that most people only know if they’re “formally” taught those things. This is the way that the gift has manifested itself in my friend however, I am sure it can manifest itself in other ways as God wills. All in all, this IS a real gift that can make a person look – and sound – college educated without actually being so.

I understand that it is the goal of colleges and recruiters to enroll as many students as possible. That is their mission and their job and I’m not mad at them for taking their jobs seriously and holding their position in high regards. I’m appreciative to these institutions for being here for the many people who can, will, have been called and do desire to attend college. What frustrates me is that we, as parents, are not truly in prayer for our children and for our children’s futures. What grieves my heart is that we are not consulting God – in everything that we do – in how we are raising, what we are speaking and how we are guiding our children. Since my belief is that not everyone is supposed to go to college, it makes no sense for those individuals to go and put themselves in the position to incur student loans and other debts for an education that they will either never fully use or walk down a path that they’ve not been called to in the first place.

No wonder why so many college students change their majors on average 3 times before settling on one. We are sending our children into the world and expecting them, at 18 years old, to have a well thought out, surefire plan so that we can feel good about sending them out to begin and fulfill that plan. We are not setting our children up for success but rather for failure. If we will be real, we can all see how this is sending a message to our kids that conformity is better than being distinct. This message says, “Don’t have your own dreams, goals or vision, just do what everyone else is doing and be what everyone else is being and everything will be fine. Oh yeah, and God doesn’t need to know about this but you can bring Him along for the ride!” Are we serious?!?

I said all of this to say that it is up to us to understand how we are gifted, know what we have been called to do and to be obedient and walk in that calling and our own individual purpose. I know of so many people who believe if you do not hold a college degree, that you are uneducated and/or unintelligent and thus not on their level. This could not be further from the truth. I also know of those who believe so deeply in being college educated that if, for some reason, they are not able to attend college their identity and self-worth suffers. I was one of those people but thank God for grace!

As you can see, this is one of those topics that I could talk about for hours. It intrigues me, indeed. But enough of my thoughts on the subject, I’d love to get a real dialogue going. Go ahead, chime in and let me know your perspective.

Happy Birthday, sweetheart!

There are some days that you would never want to live over again. Then there are those days that you relive year after year, and you absolutely wouldn’t trade those moments for anything in the world. This is one of those days for our family… Those “good” days…

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Today is my second daughter’s birthday. She turned 10 years old today. It seems like yesterday that I was pregnant with her and experiencing some of the craziest emotions I’ve ever experienced in my life, up until that point at least. My husband, at the time, and I had just found out we were expecting again and he had also just received his first orders to deploy to Iraq within a couple of months.

I remember being scared out of my mind because not only were we in unknown territory, due to being stationed at Fort Campbell, KY and only being there for about 3 weeks before finding out we were with child, but my husband was leaving American soil and actually being sent to a foreign land where soldiers were being killed left and right. Nervous? Scared? Honestly, I think I was more petrified than anything at that point.

To make a long story short, he ended up leaving right before Thanksgiving that year and the holidays definitely were not the same without him. I ended up going to visit my family back in Illinois and the day after I got there we had a beautiful and healthy, yet tiny, 4 lb 8 oz baby girl. I had gone into labor prematurely. The doctors all said that it was due to me being stressed about my husband’s safety and now having two children, instead of just the one, to care for alone if anything were to happen to him.

I don’t know what caused me to go into labor early but I do know that this is definitely one of those days… Those good days that I will always remember and hope to never ever forget.

Santa Didn’t Stop By Our House This Christmas

So, I am going to be completely transparent with you all today. I know that what I am about to say may make some people question my parenting and whether or not I am a good mother. However, I could honestly care less about those people right now. Most of my readers already understand and know who I am and what my children mean to me and how serious I take my role as a mother and role model. Either way, I do say this with great sadness but also with a peace that I did the right thing.

Before we get started, I want to pose a couple of questions to you. Feel free to answer in the comments section below or just within your own heart and mind as you read. Have you ever had to teach your children a lesson that you knew would hurt them? Did that lesson ultimately end up hurting you probably just as much, if not more, than it hurt your kids?

Yep, now you see how serious this is…

no-christmas-allowedI made the decision to cancel Christmas for my children this year. By that, I mean they did not receive any presents on Christmas morning. Now, I am not one who gets particularly bent on a day because I feel like I can buy presents all year round and any day of the year can be “Christmas” however, this day is, and always has been, a BIG day for my children (and most children, and
people, if we’re totally honest about it).

I did not withhold gifts due to poor grades because my children have been doing exceptionally well when it comes to their academics. I canceled Christmas for a couple of reasons. One of those reasons being that I have CHRISTmas
been trying to help my children understand the true meaning of Christmas and why we celebrate it in the first place. I want them to know and forever understand that Jesus truly is the one and ONLY reason for this season, and every season.

The second reason was because I have gotten to my wits end in continuing to have to remind my children to do their chores, to the point that I am even doing many of their chores for them, and I wanted to help them understand that EVERYONE
contributes in a family. Also that everyone has a role and kinopoisk.ruresponsibilities within our household and that when we don’t do our “job” things just don’t function as well as they could or should. There have been other behavior issues with a couple of the kids but this is the bulk of why I chose to not have presents wrapped and under the tree on Christmas morning.

I wrestled with the idea of withholding gifts for quite a while. I had actually gone out and purchased presents for each of my children, multiple presents mind you, but at the very last minute I decided that some of their behavioral issues needed to be addressed and dealt with a little differently this year. I also did this because my children are far from jesus-vs-santa babies but they are not yet teenagers so, my thinking was that if I don’t teach them now, and begin to hold them accountable for their actions, they will never truly learn and adhere to it later.

All was not lost for our Christmas. We celebrated Jesus, ate ice cream, listened to holiday music, sang to various songs, my two older girls recorded their Christmas Day YouTube vlogs and we watched an outrageous amount of classic Christmas movies. We also made our feast of a Christmas meal that we have done every year since the children were all very young. I think they may have enjoyed Christmas a little more this year, even without the gifts, but Christmas-giftsmaybe that’s just the mom in me being hopeful that they actually “got it!” but who knows.

My original plan was to have a late “gift exchange” this year but I am still debating that. I am always trying to make sure that I am sending the right message to my children and I don’t know if giving them their gifts, after-the-fact, is sending them mixed messages. Y’all pray for me! 🙂

I hope everyone had a glorious Christmas and I will be chatting with you again in the New Year! Happy Holidays to you all!

Will All The Real Fathers Please Stand Up?

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What do you say to a child who has gotten their hopes up time and time again only to be let down? What do you feel, as a mother, when you know that hurt is an inevitable part of life and you see your baby hurting in ways that a child never should know? How do you explain that dad is not coming to get them, once again, because he had something “more important” come up?

20130505-lifeclass-fatherless-sons-quotes-1-600x411This is my reality.

This is what I stay up at night wondering about.

This is my children’s reality.

This is what I witnessed, for the umpteenth time, over this past weekend.

This is a true story that has no happy ending.

We waited for over an hour and he did not show up. No call. No email. No text. Nothing. Six o’clock came and went. Seven o’clock came and went. Finally, at 7:11pm, to be exact, the phone rings. It’s him. My oldest daughter answers the phone. We are still waiting in the vehicle at the exchange spot for him to come. He asks what the kids are doing, to which my daughter responds, “We are still waiting for you.” A moment of silence before he asks who are you all with… “Mom.” I guess he feels ashamed or does not even care because he just says, “Okay. I will call you all tomorrow morning.”  fathershurt

No apologies.

No acknowledgement of fault.

No reassurance that he still cares for them.

No nothing.

Tomorrow morning comes. Tomorrow morning goes. No phone call from their dad. Finally, at 3:14pm a text message is received. It reads, What r u doing? To which one of my children respond. The next text, from him, comes a few moments after he receives the text from the children. It reads, I cannot talk to you about adult stuff. Tell your mom to give me a call today or tomorrow. That’s it. He’s gone. No phone call, as he said he would do the day prior. No more texts for the rest of the day or the rest of the weekend.

Now, ihavingkidst’s Tuesday.

No communications received from him at all since Saturday.

How do you live with yourself? is what I begin to wonder.

Many of you already know how it breaks my heart to see my children cry or suffer, in any way, and to know that there is really nothing that I can do to change their reality. Many of you also know how much I truly wish that there was some way for me to erase the past and start again with a clean slate; a blank canvas.

This is not possible.

This is reality.

This is our reality.

I cannot control the actions of my ex-husband but I can control my actions in (and beyond) their presence. I always find myself feeling like there must be something more that I can do to shield my children and guard their hearts from this unnecessary, externally inflicted pain.goodfathers

But what?

Do you know?

Does anyone know?

If someone does, please reveal this long lost secret to me because I cannot begin to fathom how someone who claims to love their children – their seed, bone of their bone and flesh of their flesh – can truly be so destructive in their behavior and actions toward those same children. Not to mention how they can destroy what little relationship, and trust, that they may have built.

Where trust once existed, is now a field of distrust.

Where certainty, now only doubt clouds those skies.

It’s mind-Father-to-the-fatherless1blowing to me how some men can father children only to leave them when the marriage or relationship fails. This is not adult behavior and it is not mature behavior, in the least. Why do we have so many men who want to play house but choose to skip out on their responsibilities and are nowhere to be found when the real “storms” come? Who said that it was acceptable for them to leave families shattered, homes fractured and hearts broken?

Enough is enough!

This will no longer be our reality.

Sometimes, I wonder what it will be like when my children become adults. How will they be with their own children and spouses? Will this affect their lives beyond what I can see right now? Lord, I sure hope that it will make them closer to You. I hope that this pain will reveal strengths to them that they did not even know that they had. I hope that through all of this, my children will learn to let their yes be yes and their no be no. When they are grown, successful and living out their purpose on this Earth, for all to see, I pray that they will not shun their biological father. If they do, I pgodslovebookray that he will understand and se
e how all of this time that he is missing contributed to their cold hearts toward him. I pray that at that time he will acknowledge his failures, apologize for his lack of affection and consider this misuse of his time. Above all, I pray that my children will understand and walk in forgiveness – to know it for themselves, to show it to others and to freely and graciously give it to their dad someday.

Humility.

Forgiveness.

This will now be our reality.

I Am Not Superwoman

“The way we spend our time defines who we are.”  – Jonathan Estrin

Guilt is something that all moms may feel but I have a serious question for you. Do you think that the guilt felt is even greater for single moms? I tend to think the answer to that question is a resounding ‘Yes’. Maybe it can be attributed to our society or just because we feel extra pressure to be “on” ALL of the time but I know there have been times when I have wanted, very badly, to take some much needed time for myself and I have felt like I was the most awful mother in the world for feeling this way. Just the thought of wanting my children to leave me alone so that I could have a moment of silence or just to sit and relax without hearing “Mom” being yelled out every 5 seconds appeared to literally be heaven on Earth. However, for some reason, I would never fix my lips to ask for, much less take, that time. I mean, there were (and still are) times when I’d have to talk fast just to be able to pee alone! (TMI? Yeah, maybe it was.)

What do you do to not feel so guilty? And, if you don’t feel that guilt anymore, what have you done to make “mommy time” seem acceptable to you?

timeoutMomI know, for myself, I need just even an hour a day to recharge so that I am not so snappy with my children and/or others. I notice that I am sometimes not able to make that work, especially with children still under the age of 2 in my home, but I really try hard to get the rest that I know I need every night and to get the time, throughout my day, to just sit and relax… BY MYSELF. During my “me time” adventures, many times, I will do something that I enjoy like having lunch with a friend or reading a book or working on my writing projects, both here and elsewhere. However, there are times that I do things that just need to be done like cleaning my house, going grocery shopping (ALONE) or balancing my checkbook. I just try to make sure that I get a chance to have some ME time as often as I need it, without neglecting my children and my responsibilities as a parent, of course but still being true to who I am as a woman.

Surprisingly, I don’t feel guilty about taking time for myself anymore. It took me a LONG time to get to this point – it definitely was not all peaches and cream – I most certainly struggled with the thought of being able to take time for myself, away from my kids, and still being seen as being a “good” mother. My struggles were mainly internal and fear-based, stemming from current circumstances and also from how I was raised, but I had to realize that not every woman or mother is the same and what works for one family may not – scratch that, WILL NOT – work for my family and that is OKAY. Honestly, once I got this internalized and deeply rooted inside of me, it allowed me the freedom to finally start taking that time I so craved and deserved but never would ask for or act upon. What I learned is that I need time to replenish my energy, especially with how active my children are and with the busy schedule that we sometimes carry. The fact of the matter is simply this, I cannot be the best mother, friend or woman (period) that I want to be, and that I know I can be, if I do not take some time to do the things that bring me joy and that make me who I am.

So, what are you struggling with today?

As moms and as women, in general, we tend to take on the burdens of this entire world and it usually leaves us drained and unable to be the best us that we can and want to be. I think that it is time for a change and time for us to brush off what society (or other people) try to say to us concerning this subject. The thought for the day is to remember that it is alright to take some time for yourself. Your kids will still be there and they will still love and respect you. Not only this, but it will teach them that everyone needs – and deserves – to have some time for themselves to just relax, do things that they enjoy and to just be free. Don’t let society or the thought of being a bad mommy scare you because those things are not true and do not define who you are, in the least.

Until next time, Word-ies! Have a very, very happy hump day! 🙂

How to Ruin Your Child in 7 Easy Steps

oas_9781621885054_270I am on this journey of reading different devotionals and books. I had not been able to read as much as I’d like to however, lately, I have had this “extra” time on my hands and decided to fill that time with God and with reading. It has been truly refreshing. Recently, I was sent a new devotional, through my Bible app, and I decided to check it out. It was entitled “How to Ruin Your Child in 7 Easy Steps”. Yeah, it was a little weird to me too as first but I promise you I am not making this up.

Usually when we think of having children and raising them, we typically don’t think of harming them and we definitely don’t entertain the thought of ruiningSeven-deadly-sins them. However, as I was reading through this devotional, I began to understand how we really can (and do) ruin our children and make life harder for them, and ourselves, than we may realize. Obviously, this devotional is Biblically-based and, as such, often refers to passages of scripture or sin that opens the door to a parent or guardian ruining their child.

So, here’s a little history (or cheat sheet) on the 7 deadly sins, which is hard-work-vs-lazinessultimately what is used to show how we can ruin our children. The seven deadly sins can be found in various books of the Holy Bible. Here is the breakdown:

  • Lust – to have an intense desire or need: “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed
    adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28).
  • Gluttony – excess in eating and drinking: “for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags” (Proverbs 23:21).
  • Greed – excessive or reprehensible acquisitiveness (interest in acquiring money or other material things): “Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more” (Ephesians 4:19).wrath
  • Sloth – disinclined to activity or exertion: not energetic or vigorous: laziness: “The way of the sluggard is blocked with thorns, but the path of the upright is a highway” (Proverbs 15:19).
  • Wrath – strong vengeful anger or indignation: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).
  • Envy – painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage: envyjealousy: “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation” (1 Peter 2:1-2).
  • Pride – quality or state of being proud: inordinate self-esteem: haughty or puffed up: “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall”
    (Proverbs 16:18).

As you can see, many of these sins are not things we would normally greed-quotes-1consider to be that bad (or that big of a deal) but God looks at these traits differently than we do. Sometimes we are operating in these things and we do not even know it. Even when someone tries to point these things out in us, many times, we will accuse that other person of being mean or insensitive or just plain wrong about us. Sometimes that may be true but what if they are right about us? Then what?

We often hear people complaining about society and how the world isn’t like it used to be and our youth are not as respectful, compassionate, thoughtful as they used to be but let me pose this question to you. Do
you understand that many of these complaints stem from the way
someone was raised?

pride-quotes-8God has given us, who are parents in any way, the responsibility to raise our children to become the adults that we want to see them become. Raising a child is more than just providing for them financially and physically but it is guiding them spiritually, mentally and emotionally. It is giving them opportunities to make mistakes while they are still under your guidance and care so that you can correct them and help them to understand why something is “this way” and not “that way.” I would encourage any of you that have been given the opportunity to impact the life of a child, in any way, to read this devotional. I truly believe in the saying, “when you KNOW better, you DO better.”

I’m Telling Your Mama!!!

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Do your kids ever make you just want to pull your hair out? This is a very serious question by the way. This week alone my daughter’s school has had to call me, at work, to come to her school to bring her a change of clothes. Why, you say? Well, because she wants to leave out of the house dressed any type of way. Mind you, this is a little girl who is only 8 years old!!!!

I guess I need to start seeing if there is any way that I can go into work a half an hour to an hour later because obviously my sitter is not really checking my children before they leave for school in the morning. I have to be at work an hour before the kids leave out for school so I have a sitter who comes to the house to be there with my kids so I can get to work on time. She is a young college-aged girl and pretty responsible, from what I thought when I interviewed her. My kids love her and so do I but this past week has brought an issue to the surface that I didn’t know that we had. This issue of clothing and dressing appropriately.

Now, before you judge me, please listen to all of the facts. I do not go out buying my kids inappropriate attire. I am fairly modest and I dress my children in modest, yet also trendy ways, as well. However, we all know how kids can be, especially little girls. There have been times when I have thrown new clothes away and had to send one of my daughters back to their room, to change, because I noticed that one of them had decided to cut their pants up or do something else destructive (yet creative in their own minds) to look more “stylish” and to “fit in”. I was no angel when I was younger either but I think this is a different issue totally. Kids today definitely have it much harder than even my generation did when we were kids.

Celebrities – who are supposed to be “role-models” for our children – are talking about things and making it seem as if you have to wear a certain thing or look a certain way to be accepted. The media is presenting images and they are targeting our young girls more now than ever before in history. This whole world is being oversexualized. Our kids minds are being warped and their innocence is being taken away, little by little. I think it is an absolute shame.

If we don’t do something now to change this and teach our daughters that they are beautiful no matter what then we are going to have a bigger problem on our hands in the future. But this is not just something that we should be teaching our daughters because our sons also need to be taught to respect their mothers, sisters and any other women who may come into their lives. After all, we are raising young boys and girls who will become men and women someday. Something to think about…

So, what do you do when you have an issue with your child that you are not sure how to approach? How about your sitter or anyone else who is supposed to be a responsible adult in your child’s life?

Lessons Learned (on a drive home)

I was recently in the car, driving home from work, when I decided to turn on the radio. As I sat at a red light, flipping from station to station, I overheard a conversation that piqued my interest. A man began to speak and posed this question, “How can parents continue to engage their middle school child?” I ended up listening to this entire segment – it was one of those conversations that I just didn’t want to miss and one of those times when I didn’t want to get out of the car for fear of missing out on an answer that could very well “change my life”.
For those of you that happen to be new to ReNewed Chick, and don’t know much about me, let me give you a little background before I continue. I am a 29-year old mother of 5. Yes, 5, f-i-v-e. You may have already read this somewhere else – or heard it through the grapevine – at any rate, it’s the truth.
I work full-time outside of my home, serve in the community (and teach my children to do the same), blog, recently continued working on my first book and am now looking into starting an e-magazine…all while working on my second degree. My children range in age from 5-months to 10-years old and there is a set of multiples, twins to be exact, in-between. I am divorced (yep, you got it…I’m a single mom), as if that wasn’t enough, right? Tell me about it!

Continue reading Lessons Learned (on a drive home)