Monday, December 1, 2008

My Firstborn Son

Today my first son celebrated an important birthday, but I was not there.

Eighteen years ago I placed him for adoption; I was fifteen. It was the single hardest decision I ever made. When I signed my rights away, I did so through tears. I could barely make out the line to sign my name upon.

I spent every minute with him that I was able, the two days I was in the hospital. I rocked and sang to him. I told him why I couldn't keep him. I hoped he wouldn't hate me when he grew up.

I will never forget that day...cold, gray and wet. It was as if the universe was mourning with me. I kissed his sweet face goodbye and whispered "Mommy loves you" when he was just two days old. I still remember the way his head sweet. Leaving the hospital took all my strength, like a giant magnet was pulling me back. I wonder if I passed his parents that day.

I've had many questions over the last eighteen years. I hope one day I get to ask them.

Is he like me at all? Is he artistic? Does he sing or play an instrument? Does he love to learn and read? Is he adventurous or cautious? Does he scare everyone who rides in the car with him?

What does he look like? Is he tall and thin like several of the men in my family? Or is he short like me? Does he have blond or brown hair? Green or brown eyes? Is he athletic? Does he like to run? Is he addicted to the PS3 like my 12 year old?

Is he addicted to Starbucks? I can't get enough of the Espresso Truffle this season.

Is he in love? Will he go to his senior prom with her? Or is he so focused on graduating and entering his favorite college that he isn't interested in girls? (Fat chance, right?!)

Did he have a safe and loving childhood? Did his parents love him and cherish him as they promised me? Did they give him all he needed and some of what he wanted? Is he emotionally healthy?

Most importantly...does he love the Lord? Has he given his heart to Jesus?

I pray one day I get to meet him and his parents. His mom was so sweet and kind to me. She had the most gentle voice...always asking if I was okay, did I need anything, how was I feeling. The following year, when I turned sixteen, I received pictures of him on my birthday. One of the photos was of him just a couple weeks old asleep in his infant seat next to the Christmas tree. I couldn't help but think what a wonderful Christmas they had that year all because of me.

God bless my sweet boy, wherever he is. Guide him in the decisions he'll be making in the next year. Keep him safe. I hope he's celebrating with those who love him dearly. Happy Birthday Justin!

Thank you Mark Schultz for writing the song Everything to Me for all of us birth mothers. You have captured our thoughts and prayers. This was truly inspired by God!

Note: I had to remove the You Tube video of the above mentioned song due to some obscene content when a friend tried to access the video. If you would like to view the video, look up Everything to Me by Mark Schultz on the web. It's a great song!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Great Green Giveaway!!

My favorite mommy blogger, Simple Mom, is hosting an awesome giveaway this week.

For those of you who are, or have become, environmentally aware you'll love this. Several companies are giving away reusable shopping bags. They all vary as to the type of material they are made of: recycled plastic bottles, canvas, and oilcloth.

Most are very stylish for that hip, green mom on the go. And some are quite practical for keeping with us everywhere we go. (Ever gotten to the check out only to realize you left your bags at home?) I have several times...Ugh!

Check out Simple Mom's giveaway here. Follow the instructions and you could be on your way to toting a chic, eco-friendly bag making you the envy of all your friends.

Have a great day and stay green!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Amazing Women

I discovered blogging for myself about nine months ago. I had read about blogging a few years before in an article by Ariana Huffington. I had no idea what it was but it sounded interesting. Fast forward to this year...while on a stamping forum I noticed lots of women had blogs. So, I began reading them voraciously. I'd stay up til 2 in the morning reading blogs. Pathetic, I know. I'm sure none of you do that! ;)

I stumbled upon a recommendation of one and loved it. Many of you bloggers have most likely heard of her especially this year as she's been in the news quite a bit: Heather Armstrong. I enjoy most of her posts. She has a very funny take on parenthood and marriage, well, life in general. She says what she thinks and, dare I say, what a lot of us are thinking even though we're afraid to admit it. We live vicariously through you, Heather. Understand, though I think she's hilarious, some of her posts can be offensive depending on your disposition so don't blame me if you don't like what you read.

Anyway, while talking to a friend at church, the subject of blogging came up and I found out she had one. I promptly went home to start my own and was shocked by how easy it was. Then I found out there are lots of moms I know who do this as well. I had been missing out!

Now, I've become obsessed with it. Maybe it's my voyeuristic nature, my curiosity-killed-the-cat side but I love to read about other women's lives, particularly moms. It's great to feel like someone gets you even when you've never met. Some make me cry, some make me laugh. Most inspire me greatly.

One in particular is Simple Mom. She is amazing! When I grow up, I wanna be like her. I've been using my blog as a diary of sorts but she is giving back to so many through her blog. She shares advice on so many topics that are important to us moms: home and money management (Tsh, my husband & I drank the Dave Ramsey koolaid too!), parenting, etc . She even decided to start a book club for 2009. (Check out the button to the right.) I hope I get to meet her in person one day. Tsh, keep dishing it!

Also, check out Blissfully Domestic. There are a host of blogs just waiting for you to read and comment; don't forget to comment. We like comments.

And to all you mommy are an inspiration!! I believe I'm becoming a better wife and mom because of you. Keep doing what you're doing and know you are a blessing.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Heaven help me!

We're getting off to rough start at Ward Academy this morning (remember, I homeschool). My daughter has already racked up three consequences and it doesn't appear like it's going to get better.

Michael and I have been inconsistent with some issues for a long time and recently "saw the light" thanks to Boundaries with Kids. I've been reading the book off and on for over a year now, but it's hard to implement something when both parents aren't on board. After a recent weekend trip without the kids, we talked about where we have failed and how to turn it around.

We realized how often we parent in the moment because we're exhausted from all the battles. (Another great book if you're struggling with a combative child is The Explosive Child by Dr. Ross Greene.) We--mostly me--would start out calm then end up yelling, so we have trained our children that they don't have to obey until we get mad. Boundaries helps you see why that's not good for your child's future and how to change what you're doing.

We decided to crack down while remaining calm...most of the time...throughout the interaction. We have a "Consequences" and "Rewards" jar. We also use an "If...Then Chart" so they know what the consequence is for certain infractions. Each consequence includes Scripture for them to read, discuss and memorize. We've used these for some time now but kind of got out of the habit.

I have been yelling less though it's been a rough few weeks. Some days go better than others. Some days I want to pop their heads off. Our sweet girl tests the boundaries regularly which is completely normal but oh my goodness!!!

I'm hoping she will finally get it and start learning what we are teaching and modeling, that it will begin to take root in her heart and mind. Usually, she accuses us of being mean or evil and laments how horrible her life is.

Oh, the woes of being ten with parents who care enough to ground you when you declare war on parental authority.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Crafty Texan: Explained & Defined

This is the blog formerly known as Melanie's Lasting Memories. It took me a while to come up with another name for my blog that fit me and my personality. Below you will discover how it came to be and why it fits so perfectly.

I was at a Stampin' Up workshop last night and asked some friends what they thought. One asked me what my passions are.

I laughed. "Do I have to pick just one?" I'm ADD so I have a lot of interests. I can't help myself. "Well, I love doing crafty things...stamping, scrapbooking, etc. but I want to have a name with Texas in it also."

I love Texas! As they say, I wasn't born here but I got here as fast as I could. I suggested Texas Transplant and my friend Karin said it sounded like an operation. Okay, moving on.

How about Psycho Mama? Chrissy agreed that fit. Thanks! Love you too! ;) Then Karin said, "Mama Drama." Next, Kathy suggested Crafty Mama, Crafty Texan, Crafty-whatever.

So, I went through all of those names today. The only one not taken was Crafty Texan. Perfect! I soon found out just how perfect. While formatting the look of my blog, I decided to define crafty as the title. It was amazing to discover a meaning that was more than I expected...and it described me almost perfectly.

First, as I stated previously, I am crafty in the arts & crafts sense. Blessed by both parents to have artistic skills in many areas: singing and a love for all kinds of music, painting, drawing, writing, etc. I must create; it's innate. Therefore, I will share some of my favorite songs, my latest "crafty" creation, even recipes. I enjoy cooking and baking as well. Did I mention I'm ADD?

Second, anyone who knows me well, knows that subtlety is not my strong suit in some areas. I speak my mind about various issues and often stick my foot in my mouth. I do not mean to be offensive. Okay, sometimes I do. But only if you really tick me off.

Any sort of injustice will get me going. (Yes, I will be sharing such issues on this blog. Read at your own risk!) As I read the definition of subtlety, I felt proud to see some terms that do explain me: perceptive, subtle in a moral sense. Right on, baby! That's me!

Finally, I am not cunning in a sneaky, deceitful way...too painfully honest for that to be so. No, I am alert to what's going on around me and usually right about various situations and people. I have been, blessed with the gift of discernment. I have learned to use this to pray for others more and judge them less. It is a blessing and a burden.

I hope you enjoy Crafty Texan and please feel free to share your personal gripes, pet peeves, annoying injustices or a craft or recipe.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A Bittersweet Milestone

My sweet girl went off on her first shopping trip with her best friend today. It's her first time to go without me or daddy being with her. The first of many such trips...I know. It's one of those bittersweet moments. I am thankful she has such a sweet best friend to play with and share experiences like this. I pray they remain friends for a long time.

I only had one childhood best friend, but I was back and forth between mom and dad so much I never stayed in contact with her. As an adult, I have been blessed with many diverse "best" friends. I am thankful for each one of know who you are.


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

OM....I have my own blog!

I have my own what?! So much to share, so little time....

I am currently working on my new blog, surfing the web, checking my email, organizing my home office/homeschool room/craft room while watching HGTV. Is there anyone else out there like me?! Of course there is!! We're called Moms.

It's Spring Break here so the kids are veggin' out...watching TV, playing on the Wii, being crafty and playing with friends while I do my own thing....I will have to feed them lunch at some point, right.... ;) Just kidding...

That's all for now.

Blessings to all!