An oldie I'm posting in honor of Father's Day. This was originally posted on my craziness uncensored blog back in the day when I was a stay-at-home mom. Parenting is not for wimps as my husband and I always say, but take heart, it isn't always about being perfect, it's about being a problem solver. Happy Father's Day!
I am extremely frustrated with my kids. Yea, I know I’m preaching to the choir, but there it is, and I’m not going to sugar coat anything. They are driving me crazy. And it’s not the crazy that comes from being bipolar. At least there’s a drug for that kind of crazy.
My husband and I have been parents for almost eight years now—boy and girl. I remember, especially with our son, getting ready to leave the hospital, scared to death and having no idea what we were getting into. I kept waiting for the nurse to come in and deliver the manual—you know, the one that tells you everything you need to know about raising your child. Well, they didn’t bring it and that’s when I got the first clue that being a parent was going to be anything but easy.
So in honor of my frustration, I’m choosing to tell you a few things about why my kiddos are driving me nuts these days. Yes, I know exposing all of the Meyer children’s misbehavior sets us up for worst parents of the year award. But let’s go there anyway.
Things that drive me crazy when it comes to being a parent:
1) My daughter still wears “night-night” underwear. She’s five. And in kindergarten. I know that many older children struggle with wetting their beds, but here’s the problem with the whole scenario. A couple of times we’ve caught her going in that pull-up when she’s wide awake. What the heck? There is at least one positive spin to this problem. As my husband points out, wearing “night-night” underwear when she’s a teenager will definitely limit her dating life.
2) Here’s another one, the kids will be playing quietly or having some screen time when ring, ring, ring someone calls. I kid you not, within seconds of being on the phone, my kids go from playing quietly to arguing and shouting at the top of their lungs. Worse yet, when I lock the door to my safe haven, the bathroom, they pull the old bang on the door thing Bam! Bam! Bam! like there’s an urgent matter that needs to be addressed.
3) This leads me to number three. Our kids have way too much screen time. I know I have no one to blame but myself, but every time I attempt to limit or take screen time away, they start driving me crazy. It’s then that I remember why I let them have screen time in the first place.
4) I hate being judged. In public. Like people staring at you as your toddler plays the best trick ever—magically becoming a wet noodle during one of her worst tantrums—making it impossible to carry the stinker out without making a huge commotion.
5) The seemingly constant arguing and bickering. My kids can be calmly and quietly playing together, even having fun, when the situation suddenly turns on a dime. Chaos ensues and I have no idea where I put the spanking spoon. Just kidding. Kind of.
6) There are no easy answers. You know I joked about the hospital giving out manuals. Well, in a lot of ways, I wish they would, because these days it feels like I need one more than ever.
I am going to be serious for just a moment here, people. Parenting isn’t easy. I’m not perfect. The kids aren’t perfect. In fact, there is no such thing as the perfect parent. And anyone who tells you otherwise is just plain delusional. When it comes to parenting, there are no easy answers. Each child is special and unique and what works for one kid, doesn’t necessarily work for the other.
Perfect parenting, there’s no such thing. But problem-solving-parenthood—like admitting mistakes and moving on, or giving yourself grace when you feel you’ve royally screwed up. Yea, I’ll take that kind of parenting nine days out of ten. (Actually I’ll take it all ten days.) Even if problem-solving-parenthood isn’t in the instruction manual, I’ll take it. But seriously, are hospitals really not handing those things out yet because, honestly, I would pay top dollar for that.
2 Timothy 1:5
I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.
Today is Mother's Day and while I'm celebrating my own experiences as a mother, I'm also reminiscing about my own mother and the influence she had on my life. My mom was a great woman. She wasn't perfect but she was a true role model to me and the one who pointed the way to Jesus for me.
She had this saying, "The Good Lord is taking care of me," that admittedly when I was younger, used to drive me kind of bonkers. It just seemed too simplistic for my advanced tastes, but now I see how much wisdom and faith was packed into those words. Watching my mom handle of all life's adversities with grace and courage influenced me in more ways than I can tell. In many ways, it made me the person I am. I am so extremely thankful to my mother for the heritage of faith she passed on to me.
Today in church, we had a baptism and the pastor made the comment about how we as parents have a responsibility to raise our children up to know Jesus, to place the Scriptures into their hands, to point them to the grace of God, to bring them to church and to raise them up to live a life of faith. My mom didn't do those things perfectly, but she did them pretty darn well and I am thankful to have received the gift of a mother who brought me to Jesus at an early age.
I still recall being in church as a little one, sitting on a hard pew, wondering why it was so boring and hard to pay attention. One Sunday was different, though and still stands out to me to this day. It was during prayers that seemed to be unbearably long that I glanced around at my family, and that's when I noticed the look on my mom's face. I can't really explain it, but there was so much peace there and I just knew from that moment on that God was real and that I could experience the kind of peace with him that my mom was experiencing.
My mom is gone now. I still recall the awful way we lost her to kidney disease. The days she was on hospice are ones I'd rather forget. The last time I saw her when she was barely able to talk, I recall kissing her goodbye and telling her I'd see her next weekend. At that moment, she had this look on her face as of she wanted to tell me something, I often wonder if she was saying goodbye. When she passed I could barely imagine life without her. But whenever I would feel overwhelming sadness, there was also this great sense of peace, a peace that came from knowing she was happy and was no longer suffering.
Fast forward and though my mom is gone, I have another special woman in my life who is like a mother to me. She has taught me so much about grace and unconditional love, my mother-in-law is a very special woman. Though I'm an adult now, she also is an example to me of the goodness of God and the importance of living in his goodness and forgiveness each and every day.
Mothers, is there any better gift we can leave our children with than the gift of faith? I hope you remember your own mothers with fondness today and that if you have the privilege of being a mom, you see what a gift it is to fan into flame the faith of our children. Happy Mother's Day!
This past week, my family had an emergency of sorts that surrounded my son. He struggles with an anxiety disorder and depression and without going into gory details, he hit rock bottom this week and we had to watch him struggle and sink. In a word, it was heartbreaking. In many ways, my mind and emotions are still reeling from it.
It’s bad enough that I struggle, but to watch my son face some of the challenges that I face? It’s almost more than I can bear. I feel guilty, despondent. It’s funny how when someone you love faces something difficult, it almost hurts worse than when you yourself face it. Especially if that someone is your child.
Struggles with mental health are nothing new for him. Early on, he struggled with anxiety to an extreme. It had to do over being able to fall asleep. Something we all may struggle with at one time or another, but for him it was intensely magnified. He would pace the floor and cry and just couldn’t be consoled. That’s how we knew he needed more help than we could give. That’s when we reached out and got help from a professional.
It was hard. Getting him help for this area of life. Even though I am open and honest about my mental illness, it’s different with my son. He’s more vulnerable and I feel like I need to protect him. But if we just left him to drown in his anxiety was that really the right thing to do?
And the funny thing is, if it was any other childhood disease I wouldn’t bat at eye at getting him whatever medical help he needed. If he was diabetic, of course we’d put him on insulin. And I know better than to question if mental illness is a biological illness. I believe firmly, it’s a disorder of the body as much as anything else, but still the shame, the fear, they haunt me.
Fast forward to present day and he’s still struggling, and we as his family have been on this roller coaster ride with him and it’s been heart wrenching. I wish there was something we could give and it would immediately do the trick, but treating a mental disease is so different from treating other diseases. It’s so trial and error. And my son is the victim of all that wreaks havoc in a person’s life when they have to just bear up under their struggles while medications and dosages are adjusted.
The worst part? I don’t feel at times that I can be honest about this struggle our family faces. I want to protect him. Want to protect us. If my child had cancer, I would reach out and ask for prayer and get all of that and more. Why am I trying to go it alone in this? It’s in a word, stigma. There is still so much that surrounds this unknown part of a person’s health. I know stigma still exists, and so sometimes I am tempted to keep my mouth shut, rather than reach out and share.
But I know ours isn’t the only family that struggles with a child who has a mental disorder, so for all of our sakes, I decided to post on this this week. I asked my son for permission. I checked it with my husband. When they gave me the go ahead, I took a deep breath and dove in to write this. It’s because I want us to band together as families and not hide our struggles in the dark. Let’s break the stigma and get our little ones the help they need. Let’s be there for them and for one another. We are stronger when we stand together. Amen.
Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. To spread the light of liberty world-wide for every land.
Last Sunday night, I was watching a segment on Sixty Minutes which really touched a nerve, not to mention my heart. It had to do with lynchings in the deep, and sometimes not so deep south. Lynchings that occurred post- civil war era all the way through decades of desegregation. It made my stomach turn to hear the gory details—the details of women being strung up if their husbands couldn’t be found, of children being doused in gasoline and then burned to death, of white children looking on with their parents and learning to accept that because some people look different they somehow deserved this.
It made me sick. Pure and simple. Sick. I don’t often get passionate about many things, but I feel a need to step on a soap box today. So, you’ll have to bear with me while I do this.
The man who was telling these stories is building a memorial to those many, many people who were so brutally murdered and denied justice in so many ways. He made this point, we can’t heal from our past until we learn to face it and deal with it. In other words, slavery, lynchings – seemingly matters of the past, still resonate within our nations walls today.
Who we are as a nation is seen every day in the way we treat all of our citizens, every single one. This doesn’t have to be a racism issue, but I can’t help but feel that the promise of freedom doesn’t ring true for all Americans - not all of our huddle masses who are yearning to breathe free have that promise fulfilled. And if experience has taught me anything it's this - America can never be truly great as a nation until we face the past, deal with it, learn from it and then, and only then, can we be set free from it.
Racism lives on today. It does and to say that it doesn’t is simply a lie.
So where does the healing begin? When we reach out and give a hand up to someone who doesn’t have the ability to stand up for themselves. And it starts with education. I’m a teacher and one of the reasons I educate is because I believe in the power of education. It can set hearts, minds and spirits free. Children stuck in cycles of poverty and injustice deserve the best resources a school district has to offer, but it seems to me that all too often the schools that need the best of our resources are given the leftovers. Let's work to change that. Let’s offer those children stuck in cycles of poverty and, in many cases, chaos, a hand up. Let’s give them our best to enable them to be all they were meant to be.
Finally, let’s not dwell on the past. But let’s learn from it, so that healing across our nation can truly begin.
We just returned from a week long family vacation in San Clemente, CA. Admittedly, before we embarked on our adventure, I had a few reservations. Namely, how would we all get along for an entire week together. Would we survive that much quality time? The answer is a resounding, 'Yes.' We had a great time. The kids behaved. The adults behaved. In general, our spring break trip was a good one filled with lots of memories to treasure for years to come.
As I had time to reflect this past week, I thought a lot about how the kids have changed over the years. I remember when they were little tykes, the days seemed to stretch out endlessly before us. Back then when they were three and one, I thought we would never survive. So much work goes into being the parent of two young ones.
But now, standing on the cusp of one being a teenager and the other in double digits, it's hard to believe that, together, they have less than eight years before they are both out of the house. And if experience has taught me anything, that time will fly.
I remember when they were little, how many parents with older students who were getting ready to graduate would come up to us and remark on how fast the time flew for them. They always spoke in such a wistful way, as if they wished they could go back in time and cherish the moments more. I get it now. I understand the sighs behind those, "They grow up so fast."
My son when he was about three used to call oatmeal some cute version like 'Eat-eel.' When we corrected him and he started to pronounce it properly, there was a part of us that almost regretted teaching him the correct way. It was almost heartbreaking to know we'd lost that cute little voice asking us for his favorite breakfast, 'Eat-eel.'
My kids aren't ready to fly the coop just yet, but the lesson remains to cherish these days. I don't want to take for granted the fact that I have living, breathing miracles walking around under my very roof, under my very own nose.
I can't go back in time, but I can drink in all that we have left. Maybe the lesson is that they don't grow up too fast but that it's easy to wish the days away a little too much. So, I'm not going to wish any more days away. Even when they turn into teenagers and stink and smell in more ways than one. Yes, they'll annoy me at times, there's no way around that. But, and here's the big one, they'll also bring a lot of joy and that's what I want to hang on to. The joy that comes from being a parent.
Psalm 127:3-5 The Message
Don’t you see that children are God’s best gift? the fruit of the womb his generous legacy? Like a warrior’s fistful of arrows are the children of a vigorous youth. Oh, how blessed are you parents, with your quivers full of children! Your enemies don’t stand a chance against you; you’ll sweep them right off your doorstep.
I have been so stable for so long I sometimes forget what it’s like to swing from highs to lows. But this post from three years ago reminds me that being bipolar is an ever-present reality, and that life as I know it is a precarious gift. I enjoy every day for what it is. I hope you can say the same.
You're so stupid, you're so stupid. Those are the thoughts running through my brain right now. I'm so stupid. The temptation to give into these thoughts crouches in the corners threatening to control me. Before I was diagnosed over twelve years ago, these thoughts constantly held my attention. I couldn’t get past them.
But as I began to cling to God's word, one particular verse remedied all of that, “You are so beautiful my beloved, so perfect in every part.” Verses like this reminded me that I’m not stupid, it’s just the bipolar part trying to keep me down.
So, I'll update you on how living with bipolar is affecting me these days. I've been a bit unstable as of late. For so many years, I have been Stable Mable, not dealing with the low lows or the high highs, just steady and smooth sailing for this girl.
But, in the last few months I've noticed that stability giving way to unsteadiness. It scares the heck out of me. So, my doctor has been working with me, trying, through medication changes, to get me into smooth-sailing-mode again.
But yesterday was an especially hard day. Though most days, when I feel depressed, I can push through it and eventually my mood rises, yesterday was about more than just depression. It was deeper and darker than that. It was like an unwelcome parasite sucking the very life out of me. I worked so hard to just survive the day and be productive, but it wasn't easy. And when you're bipolar and you’re in the throes of an unstable mood swing, nothing is easy. Can I get an Amen?
So, all day I struggled with this deep dark depression. Then early this morning, I woke up in the wee hours wide awake. I got up for a while. Scolding myself for not being able to go back to sleep, I returned to bed, but I couldn’t settle down. Thoughts kept chasing themselves inside of my head. I couldn't stop them. When I'm manic, controlling my thoughts is very difficult.
For the most part, I am one of the fortunate few who is mostly stable and on the cocktail of drugs that keep me that way. So, whenever changes occur, it worries me. Not sleeping last night worries me. My depressed state yesterday worries me. This morning, I called the doctor and he wanted me to start on a different dosage for one of my meds. UGGGGHHH. Not what I wanted to hear.
All day after I received his recommendation I felt anxiety creeping up on me. Why am I so reluctant to make a med change? The answer is pretty obvious. I remember all too well what it was like to be deeply depressed and then swing into out-of-control mania. I remember how badly it hurt and any time I experience a change in my mood or stability, I get scared.
Not necessarily a hopeful post this week. But maybe that's okay. Maybe you need to know I struggle too. Press on. I keep telling myself that. Press on. So I will and I'll be praying that, not only will I get better, but that those of you who struggle with some form of mental illness will find relief as well. God Bless you as you walk this difficult path. Know that you’re not alone. You can weather these storms. You are stronger than you think you are. Press on.
This is going to be a post about nothing, but I really wanted to write today. Mostly, because classes are starting up again soon, and I won’t have much time for writing anymore . . . for fun that is. It’s okay, life won’t always be like this, and that’s a good thing. But it got me to thinking about how in life it seems like we’re always waiting for the perfect conditions. For this, that, or the other to happen. We think if we only have this, we’ll be happy, or if our circumstances changed to this, life would be good.
I think what I’m learning in life is that you don’t have to be in a certain situation to have happiness, you don’t have to have so many cars, a big house, the right kind of job. In other words, you don’t have to have it all together to be happy.
In fact, happiness in and of itself is an elusive thing. That’s because I think there is something even better than happiness waiting for us out there. It’s called joy. In the past, I never really got joy. What does it mean to be joyful after all? It’s such an abstract word. But joy, real joy when you have it, when you experience it, well there’s nothing abstract about that.
It’s something, too, that can’t be taken away. Situations in life change, my family knows that all too well. In fact, everything can be taken away. Job security, loved ones, even your own health. None if it lasts forever, but joy is so much better than all of it. It goes so much deeper. It’s like a seed planted deep in the ground, growing and stretching and putting down roots so that no matter the changes that life brings, it thrives.
When I was younger, I was afraid of so much. Afraid of failure, of loss, of pain, of sickness and of losing those I love. But I’m learning that fear isn’t of God. And I can’t explain how I came to this place, this place of no longer being afraid. It’s a remarkable feeling, really, and it stems from joy and peace. His peace—the kind the world can’t give. The kind the world can’t take away.
Proverbs 31 was always a place in the Bible that I turned to when I thought about what kind of woman I wanted to be. One of my favorite verses in there, is verse 25:
“She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs with no fear of the future.”
Laughs with no fear of the future. I can honestly say I’m there. Don’t ask me how or why. I chalk it up to God, a God whose perfect love drives out all fear.
I hope you know that fear is not of God. Faith is. Hope is. Joy is. Rest in his perfect love for you and know that you don’t have to be afraid of anything anymore. God’s peace and joy be yours in abundance. ‘Til next time.
As a kid I used to get so excited for this Season. I loved all things Christmas. From baking cookies, to participating in the school Christmas program, to decorating the tree, I was all about the festivities of the Season. Presents were the best. Weeks before the big day, my mom would oh-so-carefully wrap each gift with love and place it under the tree with a little gift tag attached to let us know who each present was for.
I always counted how many presents I was getting to make sure I wasn't getting shortchanged. I'd shake them, too, trying to guess their contents or figure out what gift might fit into what box. Yes, the gifts were my favorite part. In fact, sometimes the anticipation of what was inside the boxes was too much for my little heart to handle. One Christmas, I even grew so bold as to unwrap one of the presents and peek inside the box. To this day, I can't recall what the gift was, but I still remember the guilt I felt for being so sneaky. But back then I just couldn't help myself, I loved getting presents for Christmas
The night before Christmas was the best. I knew Santa was coming and that when I awoke in the morning, the living room floor would be littered with presents. I was usually too excited to sleep, so when I thought everyone else was in bed, I would carefully crawl out of my room to the living room trying not to make a sound. Once I reached the "Santa pile" I would feel around in the dark for which gifts I thought were for me from Santa.
Getting presents at Christmas was just so exciting. But here's the deal, once the gifts had been opened and I'd inspected every package, I always felt this let down like, "Oh is that all?" After weeks and weeks of anticipation, was this all there was too Christmas? It wasn't that I didn't like my gifts. I usually did, well except for the underwear. Underwear wasn't that exciting of a gift. But mostly, I got what I asked for, what I wanted. So why, once the presents were unwrapped, did I feel so disappointed, so empty inside.
Maybe it's because my focus was all wrong.
Christmas is a wonderful time of year. There's so much to do, so much to celebrate, so much fun to be had. But truly if that's all Christmas is about, the busyness, the festivities, activities and, yes, even those wonderful presents, then I'm afraid it's going to leave us feeling shortchanged every time. No matter how many presents we get or how great the Holiday Meal is, Christmas, in and of itself, will never be enough.
That's because Christmas is about so much more than what we tend to make of it. It's about the Babe in the manger, the one sent to us from heaven above. The one who never disappoints - never hides behind fancy wrappings and turns out to be not what we expected.
The gift of Jesus is the fact that he's with us always. Each and every single day of the week, Jesus is with us. There's joy in that knowledge, joy that can't be contained. Christmas may never fully live up to all of the hype, but Jesus does. He truly is the gift that keeps on giving. May we all be wise enough to remember that, not only today but every single day of our lives.
Merry Christmas, everyone. Until next time!
Life is full of ups and downs. That’s what I’ve learned in my 45 years on this planet. Today is my birthday and one of the gifts I decided to give myself was the gift of writing. I love to write, but I don’t have much time for it these days. That’s okay. The older I get (which is now pretty old) the more I realize that everything happens in stages. Seasons come and go. And life, in these changes and seasons, can be pretty beautiful.
Yesterday, however, I grew a little misty-eyed thinking about the ups and downs of life. As I was driving down the road, listening to Christmas music, I thought about my mom who passed away in December several years ago. I thought about how much I miss her and wish she was still with us. Tears formed in my eyes and rolled down my cheeks-tears of mourning. But that mourning wasn’t just over the loss of Mom. It was over the fallen state of our world and the darkness that seems to overwhelm..
Every day, we live with so much sorrow and joy, pain and delight, triumph and defeat. All of it gets mixed together and I guess I just was overwhelmed with the idea that life can be so beautiful and dark, and cold and hopeful all at the same time. I guess that’s why we refer to so many moments in life as bittersweet.
I guess I marveled, too, at the thought that God can still preserve hope in a world that seems so hopeless at times. Who but a merciful, powerful God could make a world that has seen so much tragedy still have its shining glorious moments of triumph?
After all, isn’t that what this season of Christmas is all about? How one little light shining in this world can bring us home, can make us hopeful, can fill us with joy. So yes, life is bittersweet. There’s no getting around that, but for all the hard things in life I can count a million other reasons to be thankful. I hope that you can, too.
Whatever darkness you’re facing this season, know that it really will be okay. There is hope for even the darkest of nights you find yourself in. Hold on to that hope, look to that light, no matter how dim it might seem. Find joy and beauty, and most of all the strength to carry on. Christmas hope, joy and peace be yours in abundance this season, my friends. ‘Til next time.
Well, I didn’t do so hot on my midterm exam in the class I’m currently taking. Pretty bad, actually. Yea, pretty much bombed it. Whenever something like this happens, I always get kind of down on myself. It’s easy to throw that pity party and sit in a pool of misery. But I’m learning to be a bit smarter when it comes to setbacks. I’m learning to go to the One who can get me through even the toughest of circumstances. My friend. My Savior. Jesus.
I admit that today, though, I felt kind of mad at him. A kind of mad I haven’t felt for a long time. It’s the kind that had me questioning why there have to be bumps in the road at all. Why can’t it all just be smooth sailing? Anyway, the one great thing about having matured in my faith is coming to the understanding that it’s okay to be mad at God. It’s okay to bring my frustrations before him. In fact, if I try to cover up my anger and grief, I’m really only lying to one person, well, three actually—me, myself and I. God knows I’m mad. He knows my grief. I think he just maybe wants me to own it sometimes.
Why? Because I believe he meets me in my grief. It’s the questions that bring out his faithfulness. It’s the questioning that shines a light on his promises. I know it did for me today.
Later on, I grabbed my well-worn, trusty old Bible and a cup of coffee and just sought out my Savior. Here’s what he had to offer. A few promises, actually. Four written on the front cover. They all spoke to me in different ways, things I needed to be reminded of, things I needed to hear. The one that helped me past the bombing of my test?
Psalm 138:8 The Lord will work out his plans for my life—for your faithful love, oh Lord, endures forever.
As those words sunk in, I remembered, God has a plan for my life. It’s a good plan—one that no one and nothing can thwart, not even a crummy old mid-term.
I hope you know that, too, and that after reading this, you take two things away. Number one? It’s okay to be angry with God. And number two? He has a promise for every question mark you bring to him. So, don’t be afraid to get real. A word of caution, however. After you’ve poured out your soul, be prepared to listen to what he has to say. I don’t think he’ll scold you, unless you really need it that is. But I do think he’ll meet you where you are and bring you his sure and certain promises to apply as balm to any and all of your battle scars. God’s peace be with you always, my friends. ‘Til next time.