HixCrew Organizing Hacks

LifeHacks

I have three pieces of organizational software I use  I will explain about them in this post.

Use a calendar. No matter whether it’s an app or a paper copy, use a calendar. Put EVERYTHING on it.

  1. My husband and I use Gmail calendar,  this is a pretty simplified calendar that my husband and I use across multiple platforms

  2.  my extended family uses Cozi  this is a program that my extended family uses across 3 homes, 9 kids and 5 school systems.

  3. Evernote  this is an incredibly powerful notetaking-webclipping-pdf saving and so much more app.

Here are somethings I use my Gmail calendar for.
Of course schedules, mine, my husbands, my grandkids (sports teams etc)

here is a tutorial on how to set up your calendar

Every bill I have due, goes on the calendar 2 weeks before it’s due. That allows for budgeting, reminds you to actually pay the bill, leaves a paper trail that isn’t huge stack of stuff.
Days I open accounts
Dr’s appts. I am separating this one, because this is how I do it
Dr Joe Blow/Mary Someone (dr’s name and the person who scheduled it – sometimes that is very important, for when they have no record of said appt or it gets rescheduled or whatever, without notifications. I do this for any appt I have, whether it be a Dr or any other service provider
101 What Street (what if you are so sick you can’t tell someone)
Wherever, Wherever
999-999-9999
Friday, October 9, 2015
11:00 AM (I also put it on my calendar 30 minutes early)
Notes: 3 mth xyz check up with fasting labs
(I use an app, so I always send an invitation to my husband The big things like surgeries etc., I send to my son also because he holds my medical power of attorney
Whether you use an app or paper, I do put all this information

Gmail Calendar will also import Facebook events, birthdays and events from your email.  to be a simple run of the mill calendar it is a powerful calendar

Now the Cozi Calendar.  If you have never used this app, please check it out.  It is great.  We are networked across three homes, 9 kids, 5 adults and 5 different school systems.  It works so great, so that all kids schedules, school functions, etc. get put on it and the family has access to it at a glance.  Then you can also sort each “team and get a team lineup” you can sort by person (each person has its own color to add each apt)  Notifications can be sent to only adults, or each person that is involved with the appointment or everyone on the system.  The paid version will let you add birthdays, shopping list, to do list, meal planners and it will even import that Gmail Calendar that I talked about earlier.

here is a short video that helps explain Cozi

I use Evernote that syncs across mine and my husbands as well as the older grandkids tablets/phones.
We use a central grocery list, a central to do list (for days off)
This software package is one of the most productive and necessary apps I have ever used. I do use the paid version, and it has reminders, passwords, and you organize things by “notebooks” it is an amazing, easy but powerful piece of software that my family couldn’t do without. I also use it for my blog to help organize things.

Here is a video overview of Evernote

Imagine a row of notebooks lined up on a shelf, and in those notebooks each little note that is pertinent to that “notebook”  Some of our notebooks are Hix Family passwords, Recipes, Hix Family Manuals (it clips pdf files from the web); His Personal Notebook, Laura’s Personal Notebook; Paul’s Personal Notebook.

In mine (Laura’s Personal Notebook, we are going to use it as an example, so the binder is Memaw Personal.  Inside are all my little “notes” Anything Kids (not schedules) Blog Stuff, Book Reviews, Devotionals, FMF Encouragement, Laura Notes to Check, Scans, WebClip’s

Okay, I know this is overkill on the organizational stuff but it takes that to keep a family as large as ours organized with all the kid schedules etc..
As a grandparent, I do try to get to at least some of every child’s activities.

I always, and I mean always write dates on groceries of when I buy them. I keep a sharpie in the cabinet and before I put them up, I just write the mthdateyear on the package.

Just some random things:

Other things, I use tubs for games, every piece goes in the tub, Each child has an activity box at my house.  Puzzles go in ziplock bags.  I have one huge crayon box, but then each child has a Journaling Bag for trips.  It has a journal, pens, pencils and a few crayons.

On my computer, I use simple file names. If it is something for the kids, I am very pragmatic about it, say Nattie’s basketball schedule, that is exactly what I use for the file name. I don’t fancy them up, nor let the computer decide, I dumb it down as much as I can so that I have no problem finding them. When I clean out my phones, or my desktop on my computer, I use Phone10012015 (the date I clean it) or Desktop10012015 (the date I clean it)
Simplify, simplify, simplify.

Since it is ONLY my husband and I at home, I streamlined our kitchen, 6 plates, 6 bowls, 6 cups, etc. Less to clean, less to take care of and I also bought smaller. I purchased 7” plates, instead of standard dinner plates, so that we would eat less. 

I do a LOT of crockpot cooking (even for us two) I make our dogs food and will soon start making his treats when we run out of what we have.
We are not only getting our organizational skills up to par, but are also getting healthy at the same time.

and my bonus that helps me with the grandkids

make a calendar for your kids; I am talking about a rotation calendar.  Whatever the rotation is for, is up to your family and what works for your family, but for our family, it is a shortened calendar that stays in my car, and has one child’s name on it for every day. (these are the kids I have on a routine basis) whoever;s day it is, gets several privileges as well as tasks.  That person is #1 for the day.  It doesn’t mean they are the best or whatever, it just means for that day, they usually get the most “extra things” and have some extra tasks so it’s not all pretty.

some of these things are  (we have three kids now so, here’s some of our things) My kids are older, so remember this as you are reading

Kid #1 gets to sit up front (I must use my front seat because of lack of seats, so don’t even go there with me) they also get the privilege of holding the money if the kids get to go to the store, they also get to “pay” at the grocery, gas station.  They get to choose first through snacks I bring from home if there are different ones however, I try to do all the same.  If they were staying at home with me that day, they also take their shower first, must help wash the dishes.  they get the trash out of the car (everyone is responsible for getting their own trash to them) so it’s not all good stuff and it’s not all bad stuff

#2 usually doesn’t have that many activities assigned they get a free day basically except they help me because I am disabled, with my things and oxygen etc.

#3 holds the door anywhere we go.  they are responsible for putting all the car buckets up (will explain these in a minute)  

So the person that has the day, is the go to person for the day.  This helps me avoid arguments from the kids of who sits “shotgun”   Sorry look at the calendar.

The rotation continues no matter what, we do, no hold days. Whatever day you are in my car, That calendar day stands.
Way back when I had grandkids staying with me all the time, I started this. I took the arguments out of the equation
(these things MUST be set up and in stone first) and I had them help me do this.

Other things, we have in place already, are
Winner cleans up the game,
Everyone gets their dishes to the sink. Even the littles. If they can’t reach the sink, they put it on the floor. I’m good with that, because it gets it all in one place.
The littles are NOT too little to carry their belongings or pick up their belongs.  If they can stand and play with toys they can put things up and take responsibility for their things.  That doesn’t mean they have to solely be responsible because they are too little.  But if they can take a toy out of a backpack, they can put it back in.

Also in my car, every child has a bucket that has 4 pockets and a handle. This holds their personal belongings in the car for long trips, as well as if we stop and get food they have a place to hold their food.  Kinda like these, and then they decorated them up

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I also have made sure everyone has a cup holder because my van is conveniently unequipped with them. LOL
We have church rules that are already in place, as well as general rules that I expect them to follow everywhere, house rules, and trip rules and we adjust appropriately.  One of the biggest is “hands on car”

When I had the older set of granddaughters staying with me, I had a runner.  We opened the doors, she took off running.  So the rule was implemented, your feet touch the ground, your hands go on the car, until I say go.  If the car is too hot you “pretend to touch it”  This keeps the kids from running and keeps them all together.  Being disabled, you keep your “ducks in a row” where you can LOL
But these are set in stone, and each child knows them and it’s kind of like a “manual for the Hix Crew”

With 9 grandchildren, there is organized chaos. I get more compliments on trips etc, because they know ahead of time what is expected, Just had one start going with us on overnight trips, so he has been added to the rotation and got to get a crash course on the rules. He was the best one on the last two trips!!! Maybe refresher courses are needed. However, the kids wrote the rules to begin with, when this was first implemented, so they take ownership in it.  It works for our family and I can stop the “I wanna go first” or I don’t wanna pick up the game, or all the other little things that kids can find to argue about!

But it’s worked out where first is not always best, last is not always worst, and in between doesn’t get left out.

Everyone has a task and when you have this many people at one time sometimes in a hotel room/car etc, it is necessary

Being organized is a cohesive lifestyle. You may not have to be “this” organized, and you may have to be even more organized.

I am NOT an organized person  I am very unorganized.  I have ADD.  I cannot focus on any one project for any given length of time

Some of this maybe duplicated, and some is overkill, however, when you are as chronically UN organized as I am, this keeps me on track and focused.  After the first setups with each one, it’s as easy as just typing a small note and hitting save.  I have used Gmail Calendar for a few years now as well as Cozi and just found Evernote and started with it.  

However, these three apps are my lifesavers.  

One thing I also do, is I make a print copy (for backup) of each month.  I don’t do it every time something changes, because they each have their own internal “cloud” to back up to. Just a few things that work for our family to give us some sense of order in our huge family organized chaos.

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Another Way Home

Have your plans ever gone awry, only for you to realize what happened was God’s plan—and much better than what you had planned for yourself? You’ll want to read Deborah Raney’s Another Way Home, the third Chicory Inn novel. Danae and her husband, Dallas Brooks, have tried for years with no baby in sight. Danae is finally learning to live her life with gratitude, but then heart-wrenching events on Thanksgiving weekend threaten to pull the entire Whitman clan into turmoil—and leave them all forever changed.
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Another Road Home
{More about Another Way Home}Another Way Home (Abingdon Press, October 2015)Sometimes God’s ways are not at all what we expect . . . and exactly what we need.Grant and Audrey are adding grandchildren to their family left and right, but middle daughter, Danae, and her husband, Dallas Brooks, have tried for years with no baby in sight.Though Danae is ready to consider adoption, Dallas will not even discuss it. Despairing of ever having a family of her own, Danae decides to pour her passion and energies into volunteer work with a newly opened women’s shelter in town. Looking for a good cause to fill her lonely days, she never expects to give her heart to the hurting women she meets there. She’s finally learning to live her life with gratitude, but then heart-wrenching events on Thanksgiving weekend threaten to pull the entire Whitman clan into turmoil—and leave them all forever changed

My Review

Another Way Home brings us back to catch up with Grant and Audrey from the Chicory Inn Novels,  by Deborah Raney.

Misty and her son Austin are in the shelter because she was abused.  Her husband is a violent man who attacked her and this is where Misty landed.  Danae, in the role of her job takes a vested interest in Misty. 

Danae and Dallas soon find that meeting Misty and Austin was  God thing and God thins are happening in their life.

then only to have it squashed by a relative that comes forward to Misty..

Will Austin’s life stop being so wishy-washy, will Denae and Dallas Brooks have a life that includes children?  Will Danae ever stop being  jealous of her sisters are having children?

When circumstances give Danae and Dallas everything they have dreamed of they must decide as a family, will love be enough, or will God’s Call be enough.  Go check out this part of the Chickory Inn Series to see what happens and if Danae, Dallas and the Whitman Family do over Thanksgiving and the next few months to assure that happiness will be had from all the family.

Another Way Home Landing Page

 

{More About Deborah Raney}Deborah RaneyDeborah Raney’s books have won numerous awards, including the RITA, National Readers Choice Award, HOLT Medallion, and the Carol Award, and have twice been Christy Award finalists. She and her husband, Ken, recently traded small-town life in Kansas—the setting of many of Deborah’s novels—for life in the (relatively) big city of Wichita, where they enjoy gardening, antiquing, movies, and traveling to visit four children and a growing brood of grandchildren who all live much too far away.

 

 

Find out more about Deborah at http://deborahraney.com.

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Wedding At Orange Blossom Inn

 

A Wedding at the Orange Blossom Inn by Shelley Shepard Gray | Blog Tour and Book Giveaway

 

When widow Emma’s family opposes her new friendship with widower Jay, she begins to wonder if she’ll be alone forever. Don’t miss Shelley Shepard Gray’s third book, A Wedding at the Orange Blossom Inn, in the Amish Brides of Pinecraft series! A wedding brings together two young widowed parents, and once again, love has come to Pinecraft. But can these two parties of four become a happy, healthy family of eight?

Enter to win a copy of A Wedding at the Orange Blossom Inn—five winners will be chosen! Click the image below to enter to win. The winners will be announced October 1 on Shelley’s blog!

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A Wedding at the Orange Blossom Inn

 

{More about A Wedding at the Orange Blossom Inn}

A Wedding at the Orange Blossom Inn (Avon Inspire, September 2015)

A wedding brings together two young widowed parents . . . and gives them a second chance at love.

Emma Keim was heartbroken when her husband, Sanford, passed away, leaving her to raise three young daughters alone. Though several years have passed, her relatives have made it no secret that they expect Emma to remain a widow, mourning Sanford indefinitely. But when she meets Jay Hilty—a handsome widower with three young sons of his own—Emma is delighted to have a new friend who understands her struggles. Still, she is dismayed that her family is so opposed to their friendship—and the idea of it ever becoming anything more. She honors her husband’s memory every day, but is she destined to be alone forever?

Emma’s gentleness with Jay’s boys stirs something in his heart that’s been quiet for far too long. But when his oldest son becomes engaged to a local woman, suddenly Jay, Emma, and their children are swept up in wedding preparations. Witnessing his son’s joy, Jay wonders if it’s time for him to move forward, too, and find happiness again.

Once again, love has come to Pinecraft. But can these two parties of four become a happy, healthy family of eight?

http://litfusegroup.com/author/sgray

Learn more and purchase a copy.

My Review

Brady Bunch Meets the Amish Country.
Or something like that!
Emma is a widow with three girls
Jay a widower with three boys!. Between them they have so many friends and relatives that it is a full house all the time!!

Oh and a precocious pup named Frankie!  Who was an escape artist and a food thief!!

The thing they have most of is God and Love!  Who can ever have too much of either!

As their courtship blossoms they learn fast and hard that with a family this big, a town as small as they live in.
Everyone knows everything about everything.

Frankie does his escape artistry one day during one if the biggest events of the year and Emma is devastated, embarrassed and unwilling to go back to the event because Frankie has ruined everything.

Or has he.

Go check out Wedding At Orange Blossom Inn and fi d out how Frankie’s catastrophes change Emma and Jay’s lives as well as the kids.

 

 

Shelley Shepard Gray

More About The Author

Shelley Shepard Gray is a two-time New York Times bestseller, a two-time USA Today bestseller, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time Holt Medallion winner. She lives in Southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail.

Find out more about Shelley at http://www.shelleyshepardgray.com.

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Great Little Book About Teaching Children About Anger

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Teaching Christs Children about Feeling Angry is written from a child’s point of view, which makes it oh so much easier to be able to say “let’s read this”

Hyman brings practical daily use, Bible Verses and an easy to read format to help children understand that being angry is okay, sinning while we are angry is not.

Anger 1

Teaching Christ’s Children about Feeling Angry, while the title implies it is for Christians only, gives extremely great common advice for anyone.  Not just Christians.  This is the only thing I do not like about the book.  To me, the title excludes some children.  Even though we are all children of God, someone who has never read the Bible could interpret this title to say “not me”

I know that isn’t what Hyman wanted or is saying.  With great illustrations, and following a series of books by Hyman, I love the content of the book and think the title needs work!  

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More about the Author

CorineCorine Hyman is a clinical psychologist who has helped families for close to 10 years. Currently, she lives in Baltimore, MD where she has opened her home to children without families by becoming a foster parent. The idea for her first book, Why We Give Gifts at Christmas Time,  was placed in her heart many years ago and since its publishing Corine has published several other books including: What Is Love, My Journey with Jesus Christ, Jaden Goes to Foster Care, (see my review here) and Why I Give. With the exception of Jaden Goes to Foster Care, each book is designed to use the Bible to help both children and adults understand the biblical basis for why Christians do what they do. Look for her upcoming series on what the Bible has to say about feelings in August of 2015. To help design a character in her upcoming book, email her at booksbycorine@gmail.com.

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Disclosure

Grandparents Change

I have had the privilege of caring for 4 of my grandchildren this week since Thursday morning, and we have been in VBS this week so we have had a LOT of time together.  I asked for this pleasure, I begged for it, (because I had been sick) and my son was (rightly so) scared of leaving the kids with me, and me getting sicker..,.  I LOVE my children with all my heart.  They are the most amazing children in the world.  They have the most amazing children in the world.  My SWEET beautiful, talented, gifted, brilliant, smart, helpful, mischievous, (did I say amazing) grandchildren.

Knowing that I was 100% responsible for their well-being for this period of a time, and with their parents so far away, terrified me in a way, I was never terrified as a parent.  I was confident as a parent, I was strict, I was over strict (with one) and too lazy with the other, and just down right, flat-out wrong

I found myself, very “un”confident, very second guessing, very “guilty” about every word, every action, every reaction, and every choice that was made.  Was it right, was it wrong, did I screw them up forever, did I do something special that they would always remember, or could they just have fun…  (they didn’t 100% of the time) and ya know what… That was OKAY.

I don’t have to make everything perfect for my grandchildren all the time, I don’t have to be “on” 100% of the time, 100% of everything being, going, doing, planning, playing, talking and or that Disneyland grandparent (without the benefit of Disneyland)

i CAN BE OFF AND IT’S GOING TO BE OKAY.  I can apologize and let them realize that I am not perfect (trust me, they knew it anyway, but I was clueless) and that life sometimes with grandparents will be NOT fun and games, and NOT about doing something “fun” or “planned” or whatever…..

It will be rules, and it will be discipline and it could be hard… But it can still be fun…  and that’s okay….

I hurt each one of them’s feelings in some way this weekend, somehow.  I made them obey (oh my gosh) and they even had to help at home, and  shocker, I know, they even back talked (Brian and Amilia, please don’t freak out, because that’s NORMAL for children to do, and while it’s not necessarily the norm for parents) it’s okay as their grandparent to let it happen.  Because that’s how they stand up for themselves, become independent, have a voice…sometimes, it’s okay for them to be wrong, and it be okay… (with me) I need to remember that they aren’t little adults, they are KIDS, with KID feelings, KID emotions and KID hearts. (even the teenagers)   (Just please know these kids aren’t disobedient) they are KIDS!!!)  It may seem like they are being just unruly and whatever else, but please know that it is JUST the opposite!!

Those hearts, so big, so amazing, and they LOVE their grandparents (all of them, we discussed YOU ALL this weekend) and that all of their grandparents are super grandparents.

I get to be in their lives more than most and for us, it is a routine, Church, Library days, every week something fun (at least once) and they are part of a routine with me, and they are AMAZING!!!   They have learned to give my insulin shots (I can do it, they choose too) they help with my oxygen and my wheelchair and, oh my gosh, there is NOT enough words that I can say to say to them, thank you…. for being so amazing.

You 4 kids have helped me so much this weekend, not just “physically” but emotionally and spiritually and in ways, that you may never know.

I have realized, exactly HOW HARD it is for your parents and realize that they are incredible, awesome parents,  (even when I think they are too strict)  Because sometimes strict is what is necessary to teach.

I cannot express my love for these 4 kids (and the rest of them) in words.  There are no words.

But know, that you have taught Memaw so much in such a short little time, that I pray, and I am praying hard that each day with you from here on out will be incredibly different.  Not necessarily different in things we do, but different in expectations of your behaviors.

I expect you to back talk, I expect you to “have wiggles” and suck the water bottle in ’till it scrunches, and to fight with your brothers and sisters, and argue with me, because

that’s what kids do… 

doesn’t make it right, but it makes it okay…

and discipline (the right way) isn’t a bad thing, trusting you that your choices and your actions are okay…..  And knowing that because you have a life with God, you are going to still make bad choices, but that you already know when you have done something wrong.  You KNOW, because you have that conviction of God’s heart.

I have also learned that way too much, is WAY too much…. Down time, is a good thing… Just sitting around reading a book and not being “on” is okay… (well, I knew it was anyway) but the “entertainment factor” is changing.   I do NOT have to entertain you 100% of the time that I am with you…. YOU can entertain me, with your strength and your wisdom, and your choices (because you all make awesome choices most of the time) and your just being who you are.

Who you are, is, my SWEET beautiful, talented, gifted, brilliant, smart, helpful, mischievous, (did I say amazing) grandchildren, this also goes for the rest that weren’t with me this weekend.  I think you all are so awesome and all the above too…

Just know that there are gonna be some changes.   You may not like some of the changes coming up, but just know that the changes in me are gonna be there.  Because you all deserve the best.

 

2 Timothy 1:13-14  “What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus.  Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.”

 

God has blessed me with these amazing grandchildren, and I am so honored to be their grandparent…   I pray that he can give me the strength, and the wisdom to do what is right by these amazing children.  (a couple that aren’t children, but teenagers)  They DESERVE the most amazing life ever!!!!  Don’t even think that there will be more things  more things happening and more “going”  (it will probably be less) and that there will be more discipline, just different discipline.  No more of the thinking you have to be perfect all the time, but more of the knowing that you will be kids and going to be some things happen that well, you probably need to be disciplined for.  But know now that the discipline, probably will not like any discipline you have ever received before.  I’ve tried, but I know I am very inconsistent, and I will promise you that God will bless our relationship 100% more than he has already has and because of that, things will change…

Yes you must have manners, yes you have to not hit your brothers and sisters, and yes, you even have to clean up after yourself, that doesn’t change.

You do get to have fun, you do get to know that when you mess us, that it’s going to be okay.  You do need to know that no matter what you do, I am never going to stop loving you.

No matter what you say, I will NEVER stop loving you.

I didn’t think it was possible to love you any more than I already have, but I do.

Thank you for this wakeup call….

Memaw needed it.

Thank you again, Brian and Amilia for being the BEST parents for these children.  I am so proud that you are the parents of my grandchildren and honored that you trust me enough.  I pray that you will see the change also, NOT in the kids, because they are and have done exactly what they should have done, being kids and learning about life.

They are awesome, and you both have done an incredible job raising them.

Isaiah 46:4  “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you.  I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”

What a promise.  HE will rescue me.  I am so ready to be rescued!  Oh yes, God, please rescue me, please take me to a place that only you can.  I NEED to be rescued from myself.  From that grandparent that sees everything as “if you show them fun, they will love you” to the grandparent that if you show them love, they already love you… I don’t have to show them fun, I have to show them respect.  and love.  That’s IT, with those two things, then the rest will come.

God please give me the love, the understanding and thank you for the blessing to be the best grandparent I can for these children, because they deserve the very best.  I thank you every day for them and for the gift of their beautiful lives!  Thank you so much for gifting me with their parents also.

Here are some pictures from our week.  I didn’t get many, but here’s couple!

Five Minute Friday – Bloom

Bloom

1. the flower of a plant.
2 flowers collectively: the bloom of the cherry tree.
3. state of having the buds opened: The gardens are all in bloom.
4. a flourishing, healthy condition; the time or period of greatest beauty, artistry, etc.: the bloom of youth; the bloom of Romanticism.
5. a glow or flush on the cheek indicative of youth and health: a serious illness that destroyed her bloom.

Bloom

 

I have always heard, “Bloom where you’re planted” or something like that.  In other words, do what you need to do, right where you are, with what you have, and let God take control.

For me, that is very hard.  I am a control freak.  I want to be in control of every single aspect of my life, my homes life and what is happening around me

Imagine my surprise when God gifted me with a, a couple of broken legs when I was two and several surgeries after that till I was an adult, a husband with leukemia, a son with asthma, couple of serious illnesses, a very ADHD child and a sister that completed a suicide.

Just a few life interruptions that have been blessings in the long run, if I stop and look at them long enough (*except my sister’s suicide)

It’s all been in how I looked at them, and if I let God “Bloom me where I was planted.

I have had to change MY ways of thinking and realize that no matter what, God is in control, of every single, minute detail.  Not the ones I want to give him, but EVERY single detail.

Bloom where you’re planted, in spite of broken legs, and hurt joints and many surgeries, keep going, keep playing basketball, keep playing tennis, and keep on running… Bloom

Bloom where you’re planted in spite of a husband that had leukemia.  Greet each day as a new day, and make friends with the families on the floor, ask how they are doing, what do they need, what can I do, do you need to talk.   Bloom

Bloom where you son is in the hospital with asthma/pneumonia at such a young age, treat the nurses to pizza at night, ask them about their life, ask caregivers about their lives, do they need anything, can I help take some of the load off of you because I am here and won’t be leaving….Bloom

Bloom in a school where my son was having a very huge difficult time. He spends more time in the principal’s office than he does in class…. Bloom…. Bloom because you KNOW he is a good young man and he has been labeled bad, and if someone would just take the chance to know him, love him, challenge him, and get to the real young man that he was,

Bloom when your sister is so mentally challenged that she wants to kill people, that she sees demons, that she finally is so unsatisfied with her life, and thinks there is absolutely no going back, she takes her life.  In doing so, you know she is at peace for the first time in many years, however, you also know that your parents have lost two children early and for them, it is the worst day of their life, and for you, still you know she is at peace, but the pain hurts.  Physically she is gone.  Emotionally she is healed.,

 Bloom :), blessings…. Bloom where you are planted, right where you are, with what you have.

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Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday


this is from Lisa-Jo Baker’s Blog that explains FMF)
So, here’s the skinny: every Friday for going on four years now hundreds of people have joined a kind of writing flash mob over here.
We write for five minutes flat. All on the same prompt that I post here at 1 minute past midnight EST ever Friday. And we connect on Twitter with the #FMFParty (It stands for Five Minute Friday Party).
No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation.
Unscripted. Unedited. Real.
It started because I’d been thinking about writing and how often our perfectionism gets in the way of our words. And I figured, why not take 5 minutes and see what comes out: not a perfect post, not a profound post, just five minutes of focused writing.
So now on Fridays a group of people who love to throw caution to the wind and just write without worrying if it’s just right gather to share what five minutes buys them. Just five minutes.
Your words. This shared feast. It’s easy to join in, just:
Check what the prompt is on my Lisa Jo Baker’s Blog.
Write a post in only five minutes on that topic on your blog.
{And if you don’t have a blog, no worries! Just leave your writing as a comment on my post} Link over to Lisa’s blog and invite friends to join in. Select the permalink to your post {so not your blog url http://www.lisajobaker.com but your post url
http://www.lisajobaker.com/2012/07/five-minute-friday-2/ } Using the blue linky tool at the bottom of Lisa’ Five Minute Friday post enter your link. It will also walk you through selecting which photo you want to show up in the linky. Your post will show up in our Five Minute Friday linky. Be sure and encourage the person who linked up before you!
Our most important requirement for participation: There’s really only one absolute, no ifs, ands or buts about it
Five Minute Friday rule: you must visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community

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Surprised By Motherhood Review

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My #SurprisedbyMotherhood journey is anything but pretty.  Don’t get me wrong, I ADORE my children. They are the love of my life!

I am so honored to be their mother.

However, getting here, has been a journey of pain, agony, illnesses, hate, bitterness and then seeping out to being a helicopter mom, over-protectiveness and then just pure respect and love.  Loving being their friend as adults

The back story.

I was born to two parent that absolutely adored me!  However, they lost two children, one at the age of 8 in a car accident and the 2nd at the age of 28 to a completed suicide.  My parents loved the two of us remaining, however, they also were very depressed (mom) but oh how she loved God.  She put her faith in Him and she lived, knowing that it was #GodsPlans

My dad however, while a great dad, great provider, was hard to love.  He didn’t show love, he didn’t show affection.

Mom and Dad both ended up crippled for life from the car accident, but they both worked their tails off to give for us and give my remaining sister and me everything we wanted and needed and then our kids also.

So while I had role models, their model was not a true identity of who they were.  It was tainted. By life, by circumstances, by death, mostly..

Okay fast forward to me being 21.  I married the first person that asked me.  I thought I was in love with him.  We fought constantly, we fought hard.  He was a great provider, and when we did get along, we were fantastic.  However, we ended up pregnant and then it was only downhill from there.

We split up with my oldest son was 3 months old I went home for several years. “Let” my mother raise my son, except when convenient me to be a parent.   His Granny was the person he loved, he went to, and he looked up to as a parent.  Not me.  I was a passerby, they while I was there almost every day.  I didn’t take an active role in raising him.

That soon changed.  My mom was older and tired.  So she said no more, to me.  This was the best thing that ever happened to me.  When Brian was 3-year-old and being abandoned by his father and had been by his mother except hen convenient for them, we realized, hmm how many emotional issues does he have.  Hyperactivity (yes at 3) and as he grew, we also knew he was obsessive compulsive and oppositional (gee wonder why mom) and then dyslexic.

During this time from 3-5 for him, I also married again, got pregnant again (I will talk about that soon) and Brian was ecstatic, He had a parent that gave him the time of day.  I moved out from my parent’s home and soon had to parent.

I learned hard and fast, just how hard it was.

Okay back to the pregnancy.  When I found out I was pregnant again.  I cried, literally sat down and cried, because I did NOT want a 2nd child.  I couldn’t put enough time into the first one, much less a 2nd one.

Also during that time, I ended up divorced again.  *after only 6 months

David was sick from the get go.  Born a month premature, also with lung disease.  Born with sores all over his body from my water having broken early and not knowing it.

On the day of his birth Dec 21, I was alone.  I had gone to a routine apt and they said we are taking him now, Scared, terrified actually (way before cell phones) I tried to reach my parents, my mom was gone to the zoo with all of her grandkids, and my dad working, and I finally reached him.  By the time they did the C-section and I recovered, my aunt, my sister-in-law were there.  They told me how beautiful he was, red hair blue eyes.  Etc.  But it was Christmas time, and this particular hospital NICU was on a different floor.  I was not allowed to leave the floor without someone with me and he was not allowed to come up without someone with me (because of the C-section) I finally got to see my son after 5 days.  (His daddy never showed up, because he never received the message that I had given birth)

Finally get to come home from the hospital, and let me just say that a newborn a 5-year-old hyperactive boy and I was given out.  I made very bad choices in my life and not even a prayer to God for help, guidance and/or love I was lost totally.

By 6 weeks., David had pneumonia twice already and then ended up in the hospital.

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This was my wake up call.  To hear my baby in another room screaming from spinal taps, and IV’s and whatever else they did to him, I realized I had to wake up, be a parent and realize that my children needed to come first.

Then I get sick, with a devastating skin disease (yes there are those) and ended up with blood poisoning and was alone again and not able to parent right.  My oldest son, was my lifesaver, he took care of David, took care of me, and took care of our home.  He was amazing but just too much to be given to a then 6-year-old.  But by this time my mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

So in a period of 6 years, I got married, had a baby, divorced, sister completed suicide,  married, pregnant, divorced, had a baby that was in NICU and then a baby that was seriously ill, I ended up seriously ill,  and a mother terminally ill then got REMARRIED (to the 2nd one again) and mom died, then…,. Husband was diagnosed with leukemia.

For several months on end, my children again had no parent with them. They lived with relatives again.

 

Okay, fast forward 20 plus years.  I am now the mother of 4 (my husband had two) and I am trying to be the best parent I can be.  I am in their life, I am madly in love with them, and I am so proud of their adult lives and enjoy my children.  They are such a blessing to me.

After years of learning disabilities, basketball games, cub scout and boy scout meetings and camp outs, and playing in the dirt, learning new things, struggling with chemistry, struggling with life choices, etc., my boys and daughter are the 4 blessings God has gifted me with that make my life so amazing

Then add in the 9 grandchildren.

I am so extremely blessed that my children still love me.  I have broken the cycle that we were in as a family.

I am continually amazed and #SurprisedbyMotherhood

Because as the mother of adult children, I can honestly say that I am so proud and so in love with those 4 Gifts from God.

I cannot even put into words how much I love them

 

Now the book Lisa-Jo Baker’s book Surprised by Motherhood, teaches that all moms will be #SurprisedbyMotherhood.  It’s what you get out of it, then give back that IS the gift.

Always He knits together what is separated, fractured, to create wholeness

I am encouraged by this book, but even more encouraged by the Gifts from God of motherhood, separation, reconciliation, and wholeness

It wasn’t pretty by any means, in fact it was downright dirty,

But now it’s whole, we have our issues, we have problems, we love deeply, but we love

Here is the trailer for the book Surprised by Motherhood.  I give this book 5 stars… IF I could give more I would!

 

Thank you Jesus for the gift of Tara, Brian, Paul and David.  Thank you for the gifts of my parents and for the gifts of teaching me what wasn’t right.

I may not can change what happened in their lives, but I can change what happens In THEIR kids’ lives to be that loving, kind, Memaw, that the kids can run to and take sanctuary is my #surprise

Because God gifts eternal forgiveness I know I can’t make it right, but I am forgiven.

 

Please get your copy of Surprised by Motherhood and know you will be blessed forever.  Your life will change from the words written on the pages there.  I have learned that no matter how messy it was, now it’s blessed by God and being a mom/Memaw is all I ever want to do

Purchase your copy of this book here

http://lisajobaker.com/surprised-by-motherhood/#

 

Get your sample of the first three chapters here

Sample Chapters

 

(copied from Lisa-Jo Baker)

Top 10 reasons moms are saying you should read this book:Because you need something to read when you are locking yourself in the bathroom for some quiet time – Angie click to tweet

  1. It’s a heart-to-heart from a friend who “gets it”- the hard, the hurt, and the heights of this mysterious messy miracle called motherhood. – Katie click to tweet
  2. Because no matter how old you are or how old your kids are, it still feels pretty fantastic to have someone tell you that motherhood (and you) deserve a medal, a superhero cape, and likely, a chocolate sundae. – Rebekah click to tweet
  3. Because it’s a reminder you’re doing holy work & also it’s OK to cry a bit when they get out of bed AGAIN.  – Alia click to tweet
  4. Because sometimes you need your friend to sit you down and tell you that what you’re doing right now – all of it – will build the love in our kids. – Andrea click to tweet
  5. Because it’s better than fried chicken. – Kate click to tweet
  6. Our mothering either comes from our own mom’s or in spite of them – Lisa-Jo’s journey is a beautiful combination of both. – Susan click to tweet
  7. Because Lisa-Jo really gets it… she gets the whole loving your kids and at the same time wanting to throw yourself on the floor and throw a tantrum of your own. – Julie click to tweet
  8. Because Mom’s need a guidebook, to go with their afternoon chocolate, while waiting in the school pick up line. – Kashoan click to tweet
  9. Because in my crazy, try harder life, I need a reminder that I really don’t want this mothering thing to be over. – Lori click to tweet

– See more at: http://lisajobaker.c
om/surprised-by-motherhood/#sthash.INlkNm7M.dpuf

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