Mother, May I…

Posted in Uncategorized on October 17, 2013 by Shara

There is no way to be a perfect mother, and a million ways to be a good one. -Jill Churchill

I find it very difficult to hold my tongue… There are things that stray across my path, and I just spew. This is why I avoid politics at all costs. It gives me nothing, but bitterness that rots deep down in my soul, and I say things I shouldn’t, to people who don’t really care about what I have to say, because they are deep in their own thoughts about it all. It creates tension, that shouldn’t be there.
But, I have come across an issue, that I am honestly, just tired of. One that several people have talked about, and that more people need to let sink in.
This issue is about how Mother’s treat each other. This is not just an issue of the Stay-At-Home Moms vs. the Working Moms and who has it more difficult, but this also reaches the Single Moms vs. Married Moms. What about the Single Dads out there? Each of us parents struggle, people point fingers and say, “Because you stay at home and are married, you have no idea how difficult it is for ME!!” Or, just because I have four children, and you have one, doesn’t make it less difficult for you! It just may mean that I’m slightly crazier than you!! But heck, I’ve always been a bit on the nutty side.
This is not a parenting competition people! These are little lives that we are training up to the best of our abilities.
We need to recognize it, and then, we need to build into each other and raise each other up.
Let’s walk hand in hand and support each other, instead of saying, “Well, we all KNOW how much harder I have it than YOU, because…”
My Mom was a single Mom for the first six years of my life. I lived in teeny apartments, and stayed with sitters, when my Mom couldn’t take me with her. I remember being in college classes with her, because she had no other options. She worked at daycares and Nursery Schools, so I could be taken care of. I grew up pretty quickly, because she was a “baby” raising a baby, and that’s just what you do, when you only have each other to rely on.
She met a man, and go remarried.
My Step-Dad came from a Single-Parent home. His Mom was the sole provider for him and his sister since he was 14 years old, and not ONLY took care of them, but made a college “youth hostel” for kids who needed a home. She provided a home for my Mom and I when we had none… That’s how my parents met, through this amazingly wonderful woman.
Neither one of them would say that what I am doing, as a married mother of four, is less difficult than what they went through. They would never put themselves up on a pedestal and say, “You just have NO IDEA what it’s like…” For one, I do know what it’s like. I know what it is like through a child’s eyes. I know the deep struggle and desires. I saw them first hand.
But, I also know the struggle of being a parent.
My husband lost his job last August. I’ll tell you, before then, I was a little of a worrier (that is an understatement for those that truly know me). Before that time, we agreed that we were going to homeschool. When the bottom dropped out, I floundered. I thank Jesus that I have faith, because if I didn’t, I think I would have sunken into a deeper depression than I did. He decided to go back to school full-time and take odd jobs here and there. I may not have been a single Mom, but there were sure days I felt like I had no one else to lean on. The financial struggles we’ve had recently, have been pretty harrowing, yet, I’ve been less worried, because I want to show my kids that you can get through tough times, with a smile on your face. I knew two women who did that very thing.
Parenting is hard with two people, from two backgrounds, with two distinct ways of thinking, and two (or more) sets of grandparents to contend with. Parenting is hard when you go at it alone. Parenting is hard when you don’t have a break, and you ARE the parent 24/7. Parenting is hard when you can’t pee alone. Parenting is hard when you work all day, and only have a few hours to see your kids at night. Parenting is hard when you work at home, and you have to coordinate time for your business and your family. Parenting is hard, people. Why do we feel the need to say one is harder than the other?
I have only ever gotten to go away with my husband once, for a weekend. We never had a honeymoon. We had to save money for our baby… That’s what parents do. We sacrifice and we strive to do what is best for our children, no matter the outcome, and what it does to ourselves.
We are parents, and we love our littles a little bit more, with every heartbeat.
Because we are parents, let’s lift each other up. Let’s build each other up. Let’s tell each other what amazingly wonderful men and women we are, for holding onto the little lives and watching them flourish and grow, instead of holding each other at arms length and condemning each other because of what we think the other persons life is like.
Let us encourage one another, because parenting is a struggle, and the best thing we can do is cling to each other on our journey of life, and hope that all our kids turn out just fine…

When a bomb explodes…

Posted in Uncategorized on August 23, 2013 by Shara

For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment. (Luke 1:37 AMP)

When your life crumbles before your eyes, sometimes you are shocked. You never realize it could have gotten to that point, and you look back to the steps that have gotten you thus far. You see the little mistakes that took hold, and became bigger strongholds… The little cracks in the road, that let mud and dirt and manure seep down, down into your soul. Satan grasped hold, and did not let go. He made the cracks bigger, and filled the holes with more of the same, but it never fixes the road. It never truly makes it right.
He made you justify, and believe the road was perfect. And you stumbled along the cracked road, where mud, dirt and manure seemed to fill the cracks. You got up, dusted the shit off of you and moved on, unaware of what you were doing with your life, what you smelled like, what you were rubbing into your skin.
The Father of Lies. The ultimate deceiver. He made the path “smooth”, right? It was smooth and easy. Right?
A bomb went off. The road ended where the bomb exploded, and all the bad that was filling the road is everywhere. It affected all that were standing near. It hurt… The pain of everyone close rings in your ears. Reverberating against the rubble the sound is intolerable. What happened to your road? What happened to your life?
Shameful, that the road is gone, and all that is exposed is the mud, the dirt and the shit that seeped deep down inside.
God looks at the pieces of the road.
He holds you near and He says, “Come here child. I have a new path for you, but you must do exactly what I say… It’s a long road. There are bumps, and it will be difficult to traverse, but I am here. I will never leave you. Nothing is impossible. Nothing is unbearable, because you can do all things, you can survive all things, through me.”
That road is strong. No cracks or holes to be filled. When you stumble He picks you up, and you realize that you aren’t on that road alone, because the people that were hurt, are beside you. They are holding your hand, and trusting in God. He purifies everything and makes it all right. He mends and heals. He makes everything clean. He takes the mud off your eyes, so you can see.
Only in God can grace and forgiveness happen. Only in God can you let go of the twisted past. The mud and manure that covered you is gone. Not just swept under a rug and forgotten, but scrubbed clean.
God makes the impossible road a possibility, and you can go down it with confidence and peace, but only if you let go of the holes and the cracks of before. Only if you don’t allow Satan to grasp you and pull you down into the shit.
And when Satan whispers in your ear…
Look at God, lean into the Word, and pray.

Corndog art and other adventures

Posted in Uncategorized on July 29, 2013 by Shara

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”
“I don’t much care where –”
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

My dear friend, Happy, and I went on an adventure this past Saturday. We had no agenda. We had no plan. We had no real time constraints. We just got to hang out, and explore the world a little.
We decided to be tourists.
I had never been to Navy Pier in downtown Chicago, so after we missed our original coffee & bookshop stops in Wicker Park, we found a parking garage close by the pier, and started walking there instead. The pier was neat to walk by. There were boats of all different shapes and sizes. There were birds that didn’t even flinch as you walked by. There were smells galore. You breathed in the lake water smell, the smell of sweet cinnamon covered almonds, various fried foods, and the crisp cool air. There was so much to see. The Ferris Wheel towered above everything else, slowly turning, each pass making the top car seemingly touch the clouds. There were restaurants up and down the pier. Boats were docked on the right hand side, people lined up to climb aboard and take tours. Whether it was a Pirate Tour (Pirates of Lake Michigan?) or the super fast speed boat tour, to the architectural tour of the city, to the Dinner cruise tour. Each had its unique features, and of course people watching the different types of folks going on the different types of boats was so very interesting.
At the end of the pier there was a giant anchor, with people perched on it, taking silly pictures for their Facebook pages. A lighthouse sat in the distance. Statuesque and alone against the waves, gently rolling in towards the Chicago shoreline.
On our way, moseying back towards the front of the pier, there was a free museum of stained glass. Much if it was inspired by the works of, or if not inspired by, was actually made by Louis Comfort Tiffany. This man had a way with glass. He made it move and breath. The colors were amazing. They were perfect and just completed the compositions. There were religious stained glass windows, there were abstract art stained glass, there was stained glass from churches, homes, famous buildings. Each displayed their beauty against a dark background, and each drew you in to take a closer look.
One… Looked slightly like a corndog.

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After a good laugh, we eventually moved through the whole exhibit and stopped to get some lunch, and ate outside.
We decided to walk to Millennium Park to see the Bean. As we walked past the WGN building we noticed a part of the architecture that would have been unnoticed if you just walked by without looking at the details. There were stones from all over the world built into the building with names of where they were from posted. A piece of the Berlin Wall, a stone from David’s tower in Jerusalem, a piece of the Notre-Dame, a piece of the World Trade Center, part of Abraham Lincoln’s original tomb, a stone from the Taj Mahal. Bits of history ensconced the walls. Different parts of the world in one place… Showing how much a part of each other we are. I fell in love with that building, because of what it represented. We are all united. We are all one people. We are all connected.
The Bean was huge, and full of tourists. There were cosplayers there from Homestuck, which we found out by asking them why they were dressed up in such unique costumes. There weird painted bears, and a garden that looked perfect, even amidst the gigantic towering skyscrapers that reached up to the sky.
We stopped by an art gallery and fell in love with paintings on brushed aluminum. We wandered by peaceful protesters trying to elect someone in Egypt. We saw a man with a megaphone telling us that the end was nigh.
We had an adventure.
I am so grateful for my friend, Happy. Not many people can just go on a random adventure with me, gain insight on humanity, talk about God’s beauty, take silly pictures with random painted bears, and have insightful conversations about everything from corndog art to why women Pastors just plain rock.

Off the grid

Posted in Uncategorized on July 28, 2013 by Shara

“Living off the grid and being kind of an outlaw brings a dangerous reality.”

- Ron Perlman

When I think of being off the grid, I think of Tron. You know, like when Jeff Bridges character, Kevin Flynn, is living on his hilltop overlooking the digital world that he created, while he was hiding from Clu, his alternate digital self.
By living off the grid, he was alone. His reality was turned inward. He became secluded.
Sometimes living off the grid sounds amazing. No phone, no technology, no access to the outside world. It sounds peaceful, but is it true to ones self? Are you missing out when you live off the grid? Or are you gaining valuable insight on your life?
I feel like I’ve done a little bit of that this week, by not focusing so much on Facebook and blogging, but on my family. I wasn’t completely off the grid, but it was down on the bottom of my things to check. It was more of, “If I’ve got a bit of time, I’ll check out what is going on.”
I think what I learned, is that I missed having more online community, but I really was able to connect to some people I don’t normally connect with. I was able to have some deeper conversations. I don’t know if I would have had those if I had focused elsewhere.
Granted, I don’t always have the luxury of having people around that often to distract me from the grid on a more often basis, but I think I need to take more advantage of it when the opportunity arises.
I did miss having my online bible at my fingertips. I missed writing. I did miss catching up with certain friends seamlessly and easily, but I loved watching my kids run and play. I loved my time downtown in the city, with my friend, Happy! I loved hanging out by the bonfire with my neighbors. I loved watching my kids ride bikes, while another neighbor and I just hung outside and talked. I loved those moments that God gave me to fill me up.
I think, if I had turned inward too much. If I made myself an outlaw in my own life, it could have gone to an extreme that could have become unpleasant, but instead, I was off the grid just enough to focus on my real reality, and all of the amazing things I love.

Squirrel

Posted in Uncategorized on July 25, 2013 by Shara

“My master made me this collar. He is a good and smart master and he made me this collar so that I may speak.

Squirrel!”
- Dug from the movie Up

Today, I feel like Dug.
I am scatterbrained to say the least. I’ve got a million things on my mind, and I am not laying them down.
There’s a documentary on TV right now about the King’s of Leon, and I’m being enticed to watch it & veg out.
Songs from rehearsal are running through my head… Te Doy Gloria, Gloria.
A little just got up to go potty, I can hear them shuffle back to bed.
The cat is watching something interesting out of the window.
Swearing on TV…. I’m glad the kids are in bed.
Squirrel.
Tomorrow I am going to buy some things for the kids homeschool.
I don’t feel prepared for school starting in August.
I’m turning 33 next week.
Does God want me to follow this dream of being in Ministry?
I like camping, and sitting my the fire at nighttime, watching the stars shine.
The dog snores loudly.
I want to get away somewhere tropical and quiet, except for the ocean lapping on the shore.
I like Mumford & sons.
Traveling the world would be cool.
Mosquitoes are dumb.
I miss my friends in Kentucky.
I love tattoos.
Money is fleeting. Why is it such a necessity in life?
I love to pray, quietly, in my head.
I wish a fairy would come clean my house.
I think I need some sleep.

It’s the little things…

Posted in Uncategorized on July 24, 2013 by Shara

“Do not think that love in order to be genuine has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”
― Mother Teresa

It’s wiping windshields for an elderly woman, when her windows are caked with inches of snow, to shoveling a neighbors driveway who hurt his back, to helping a friend out while they are sick. Making meals, taking care of pets, grabbing mail from the mailbox, mowing a lawn. Bringing over a hot cuppa joe… Sitting there while someone cries. Being a shoulder to lean on, cry on, rely on.
Doing the small things that no one sees.
Buying that coffee, for the person in the drive-thru behind you at Starbucks.
Or buying a dinner for the old gentleman sitting alone.
It doesn’t have to be much.
But for that ONE person,
For that one brief moment…
They are loved. They are cherished. They are worthwhile.
Even if they don’t know who it was that helped them.
It’s the little things.
Writing a handwritten note to someone you are thinking of…
Pick up the phone to call or text.
Send a card.
Draw a picture, even if its just silly stick figures.
Take a moment to show someone you care.
Extraordinary love is in everything… In being kind and generous. In pouring your heart into the little things, that build on each other and build each other up.
It’s about BEING love, not just loving.
Who are you going to be love to?

Friendship

Posted in Uncategorized on July 23, 2013 by Shara

“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.”
- Albert Schweitzer

I found out today, that a sweet friend of mine is going to be moving to New York in the upcoming month. My heart was glad for the wonderful opportunities that God has in store for her! But, my initial instinct was to be sad…
I love this woman’s fierceness…
I love her unwavering love for anyone and everyone in her path…
I love her truth filled words, even when they sting a little…
I love her passion for Jesus…
I love her dedication to seeing her friends through difficult times…
I love her persistence…
I love her heart, that knew God’s love for me, and she never once hesitated to tell me…
I love her smile, so absolutely filled with God’s glory…

…and I especially love her hugs. Her hugs are powerful. She just wraps you up in God’s glory, and you know that He is hugging you through her. His love just SHINES through this woman…

It makes me realize, I will miss this fierce woman if God, because He lives so completely inside of her. His love just emanates from her pores, and I can tell, she walks in His glory, His love, His light.
But, she needs to be there, because someone in New York, who is just as broken as I was when we first met, will need a hug from her too. They need to know God loves them too, and she needs to be God’s light, shining through. I can’t be selfish, because God needs her to be His heart in this broken world.

Jarnetta Carter, I love you, my friend! I wish you the very best on your journey, and I’m excited to see how God shines His love through you.

You will never know how much this note has meant to me…

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