Learn More About Harmony Science Academy

Parents today struggle with making the right decision when it comes to their child’s education. Homes are purchased in an area that is known for its school system instead of the quality of design or acreage. I’m sure you’ve thought about where your child will be most successful. Is it at a prestigious private school or the public school district you’re assigned? The answer is Harmony Science Academy, an award-winning public charter school that serves students in Lubbock from Pre-K through 8th grade.

When looking for a school for children, parents want to know that the child’s education is a top priority, among other things. Harmony Science Academy has a rigorous focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). Students can focus on a curriculum that will follow them in their next stages of life. Harmony Science Academy gives students the ability to prepare for the specific field they desire. More importantly, your child will love school once again when focusing on the subjects they enjoy most.

At Harmony Science Academy, students leave prepared for college. Education is individualized to ensure success. Custom Day Personalized Learning Environments gives students a daily two-hour block of time for independent learning where they use this time to work on an individual project, on advanced work, or may receive additional tutoring. Students are encouraged to take ownership of their classwork and schedule. Teachers and students collaborate to create an individualized education plan to work on during the independent learning time.

There are many misconceptions regarding charter schools in Texas. At Harmony Science Academy, everyone can attend, and no one pays tuition because it’s a tuition-free public charter school. Students can rid themselves of the social anxieties that plague their lives and set them apart in a more extensive educational environment. All differences are placed to the side when every child wears a uniform. When social norms are out of the picture, students can give their energy to the education they deserve and need. Harmony Science Academy offers students the ability to think critically while using hands-on learning strategies to solve real-life situations. In addition to a rigorous curriculum, Harmony Science Academy also places a heavy emphasis on character education.  In fact, the campus’ Sowing Seeds of Kindness in Harmony program was just awarded the 2020 Promising Practice by Character.org for being an example of fostering character development among students. 

Can’t find a place for your child in your current school system? Harmony Science Academy has a place for them in one or more of their many available programs, including Spanish, Gifted and Talented Education (GATE), robotics, coding, and engineering, to name a quick few. Additional learning opportunities are available, like after school tutoring and Saturday tutorials, to ensure that your child has every chance of success. Maybe a face-to-face classroom does not meet the needs of the family at the moment; Harmony Science Academy offers an at-home learning program.

 

In 2016, one single growing bed designed in the Garden and Aquaponics Greenhouse gave life to a new project on the school’s campus. It has advanced into a full garden and greenhouse where students grow organic vegetables and learn how to recognize plants while learning and working with aquaponic agriculture and fish. Ownership is manifested in each student’s life when they can make salads from vegetables grown in their garden.

 

 

Entrepreneurship is encouraged in the garden as students are encouraged to sell their produce at local farmer’s markets.

Children who have been through the Harmony Science Academy leave with the knowledge and skills of private school education but with a public-school price. The entire student is taught, including their intellectual, cognitive, emotional, and social wellbeing. When students get connected with organizations like Girls Who Code or Intercultural Turkish, Harmony Science students leave with a global understanding of others and empowerment that may get lost among the large class sizes of a different campus. Lost arts like sewing and horticulture come alive in a school like this. Parents want to see their children flourish, and that is sharpened on a campus where children leave with not just knowledge but also skills and relationships to better their future.

Harmony Science Academy is not just a school for those who love science. It is a campus where education is harvested and cared for to create students who are emotionally and cognitively skilled in the future.  

Are you interested in learning more? Contact Harmony Science Academy Lubbock at (806) 747-1000 or visit their website here. You can also engage with HSA Lubbock on Facebook and Instagram. Check out this printable flyer for more information as well.

For the 2020-2021 school year, Harmony Public Schools will allow each family to choose whether to send their student for in-person learning on campus, continue learning from home, or switch back-and-forth as conditions change. To see the full press release, click here.

Not the Super Powers You Are Expecting

I have a lot of internal dialogue. So much that when I see someone that I maybe had a thoughtful discussion with, I feel like they know and are evaluating a conversation that they were never part of.

My dialogue also gives me the innate ability to talk myself through a distance plan with people. I can distance myself so far away that I will never speak to them again. I ain’t mad. I am just done. However, with that ability, I also tend not to tell them. I do it.

Someone asked me recently if I missed them. I was gone on a vacay or something. My reply, “No.” I don’t mean to be mean, but I do not know how to “miss” anything or anyone. I think I could at some point in my life, but so much has happened in the in-between.

I also gained the awkward ability not to be able to accept a compliment. I would say that 90 percent of the compliments given I say to myself, “Okay, whatever.” and change the subject. Why is this? I do offer a half-assed, “Thank You,” but that is about all I can muster.

Now don’t get me wrong; this is not about how I get compliments all the time. This is about the once in a while chance, one slips out, and I am trying to run away as it splashes in my ears.

As the years roll on by, I spend a lot of time alone. It is a choice, I guess. I can’t say I sat down one day and said, “Self, it is time to be alone.” It just started to evolve.

I was VERY social growing up and through at least my early 30’s. I met a lot of people. I hung out at a lot of places. Nowadays, I can barely remember some of the faces, and the sites have been replaced with other venues.

I still have grand ideas of being around people and envision all the laughs, but if the day ever arrives, I don’t want to go. It sounded good at the time, but nah, I am good. Here. Alone.

If an extrovert can become an introvert, I have mastered it.

Have I mentioned that I am medicated? HA! It just takes the edge off so I can stand myself. Knowing me is at your own risk. 🙂

Raising Kids with Secured Identity

Identity: Who am I? Blog Banner

When you hear the word identity, there’s so much that can come to mind. With my experience as a psychology major, a counselor by nature, and working with countless individuals as a Pastor, I have concluded that everyone is searching to answer the question, “Who am I?”

That’s a vast question to take on and not something that we want to take lightly. We desire to be different, we desire to have a purpose, we desire to matter, we desire to be liked by others, but I believe our biggest desire is to be fully known and LOVED for who we are. For that to happen, we have to be able to answer, “Who am I….really?”

I have discovered in my own life that the degree to which I am myself is the degree to which I can experience love and acceptance. If I show up pretending to be who you want me to be and you LOVE IT, the harsh reality is I won’t feel that love because I know in the back of my head your loving, not the REAL me, but the me that you want me to be. That’s conditional.

I do want to present that it’s possible to fully and confidently answer that question, and we can begin helping our kids do the same.

I only hope and pray that they get it long before I got it.

We must teach our kids who they are so they can feel loved and accepted.

So how do we raise kids with Identity? How do we help break the cycles of the insecurities that we still deal with? How do we take on raising confident kids that don’t waiver in who they have been called to be and how that plays out in their life?

I’m sure there are many ways, but there are four basic things that have helped me steward who my children are:

1. Identity comes from God

When you walk into an art museum and see all of these beautifully crafted portraits, the only way to know it’s true worth is to ask the one who made it. I could look at it and give you my opinion, but in that case – my opinion doesn’t matter. I may think it’s worth $50, but the illustrator may say it’s $1,000. The only way to know the real worth and Identity of any individual is the same. It’s to ask God, “God, how do you see them?” This can be a challenge question because then it puts us in place to decide if we are going to follow suit or keep our lofty ideas of who we think they are.

Side note ** This is not just for your kids but also for you. I have found it to be true that you can’t give away what you don’t have. So the more difficult thing to hear right now is that it begins in you. Thought patterns, beliefs, ways of life for you are what become the norm for your children. Maybe you’ve never asked God to show you how He sees you – well, there’s no shame in that! Today is your day. I can promise you – He has nothing but good things to say. If it’s condemning, shameful, or hard on the ears – you’re hearing the wrong voice or having the wrong thought. His thoughts towards you are kind, forgiving, loving, and comforting.

Before both of my kids were born, my husband and I bought journals, and we asked God to show us who they were. For my daughter, He told us she would be a worshipper. She would be full of joy. She would be creative and love to dance and draw. She would be a voice of reason and kindness.

It’s crazy because as she is about to turn three next week, this is precisely who she is. What’s even cooler is us knowing who she was ahead of time allowed us to foster that in her life. It allowed us to hone in on her giftings, callings, Identity as not just our daughter, but His daughter. We bought her paint, little pianos, a microphone, and anything else that we thought would help her live out who God made her to be and not who we wanted her to be. Not who we thought she should be. Not what we hoped she would be, but actually who she was.

We did the same thing with our son. His word was a different word, as it should be.

Everyone is unique in their way, and not one person is the same.

Not only were we able to start helping them discover who they were, but we were always able to remind them of such things, which brings me to the next point.

2. Calling out the Gold

As parents, we are called to be the gold diggers. When you think of finding gold, you know that you can dig through piles and piles and piles and piles of dirt before you may find the smallest little nugget. This concept of gold-digging is portraying our responsibility to find the nugget and bring attention to that. It doesn’t take a genius to see all the dirt in someone’s life, behavior, attitudes, or actions. It takes a genius to call out the good in a person despite the dirt they are covered in.

We live in a society where our Identity is so tied up in what we do, how we perform, the things we possess, and our false ideas of success that we have fallen into the trap of believing the lie that “we are what we do” when the reality is “we become what we believe about ourselves.” Our actions in our life our a bi-product of the beliefs in our hearts.

A couple of examples of what this looks like in our family would be this:

My daughter is playing with a toy, and my son tries to come to take it from her. She pushes him and hits him.

Instead of me saying, “Maebri, you’re mean – Don’t hit your brother!” 

I say, “Maebri, you’re a kind girl, and hitting is not kind.”

Those statements are very contrary but still get the same message across.

You ask, “What’s the difference?”

The first statement is attaching Identity to her behavior and not who she is called to be. The second statement calls out the gold in her (that she is kind) and states that the action is not kind. Instead of saying she’s not kind – I tell her the action is not kind.

Simple language, but a big difference.

3. Put off and Put on

The whole idea of “put off and put on” comes from the belief that you can’t just remove the bad without replacing it with the good. Again, because we are a performance-driven culture, we LOVE more than anything to stop the bad behavior and put an end to everything less than desirable. That’s great – but I always try to challenge myself one step further and ask if that’s bad, what’s the redeemed version?

This became real for me when my daughter had just turned 18 months old when both of my kids started to hit. I wasn’t sure where she got this hitting idea from, but I needed some way to lead her in another direction.

My initial reaction was to swat her little hand and tell her, “We don’t hit!” But as soon as I did that, the thought crossed my head, “I am doing the very thing I am trying to get her to quit doing. This isn’t going to work.”

I then just asked God, “What do I do?”

Immediately the thought came to me, don’t focus on what NOT to do focus on what TO DO.

So I then began to tell my daughter, “Our hands are not made for hitting. They are made to clap, pray, and praise the Lord.”

Every time she would hit. I would repeat it over and over and over again.

It quickly got to the point where I would ask her, “Maebri, what are your hands for?” She would then proceed with the three actions.

It worked like magic! I wish I could say it was my idea, but it was God’s.

This was a massive lesson for me, though. I am also very quick to tell people what NOT to do, but not as significant with suggesting something to do that lines up with who they are. I think that if we only focus on who our kids are NOT, we will never speak into or show them who they are, which to me, is more important. If we are continually telling them who they aren’t, they aren’t aware of who they are.

4. Being Aware of What You’re Communicating

This one is so huge to me, and I think it’s because it has affected me so much. I have also done an immense amount of identity restoration and inner healing stuff with all kinds of people. The one thing that I encounter with every person I walk through identity healing with is it all began with one action, statement, a situation that occurred when a little kid.

They could be 60 years old and plagued with a lie that they aren’t good enough, and it could all be rooted in a moment when they were four years old trying to learn to play soccer, and they felt shame because of what their coach told them. TRUST ME. It sounds crazy, but that’s the influence we can carry in someone’s life, especially our children.

That doesn’t mean we have to take on the burden of perfection, but it should open our radars to be more aware of what we are communicating to our children both in words and in action.

You could probably look back on your life and see that some of the things that were spoken over you or some “labels” that people put on you have either come to pass or you struggle with feeling that way. Whether that be a burden, not good enough, fear of failing, etc…. I know I can.

I have mentioned this before, but our actions our a product of our beliefs. What happens when we believe a lie, is that our actions live that lie out to prove it to be true over and over again.

It is also essential to know that everyone’s truth is built upon perception. Let me explain. I could do the dishes to serve you and make you feel loved, but you could perceive my actions to mean that I didn’t think you were capable enough to do the dishes well. People don’t believe lies on purpose. Lies sneak in through our words/actions or other’s words/actions, and when we entertain them, they are allowed and invited to stay.

The easiest way that I have been able to be aware of what I am speaking is this little exercise that I invite you to do with me.

Close your eyes and imagine if everything you spoke was created in physical form. Imagine if everything you spoke came to pass.

I’ve heard it said before, “Our words create worlds.”

Our words carry so much power, and the truth is that what we speak does bring the ability to create.

So when you tell you’re a child that they are annoying (even though they may be), you are speaking those things over your children and planting those seeds.

However, when you remind them who they are in the midst of their “dirt” moments – you’re speaking into existence what’s positive and genuine.

This is a hard task, and in my own life, it also means a lot of “I’m Sorry” conversations with my kid because it’s essential to handle it correctly even when you don’t think it was that big of a deal to them. We give ourselves grace, do our best, make-up when we miss it and do things that are “not us”, and move on.

It’s also tricky because we have reduced the truth to be what’s currently happening, versus what God says, and equated Identity to behavior.

Identity is our DNA – who someone was created to be whether they are living it out or not.

It’s WHO THEY REALLY ARE according to the One that made them.

My biggest goal as a mother is to steward that in my children. To raise children who know who they are because they were always reminded and always brought back to that place.

Our behavior was never meant to reduce our Identity. It was made to be pushed and encouraged to match our Identity.

Distant Loving

Facebook is flooded with funny memes about the coronavirus right now, and I’m enjoying 95% of them. During this worrisome time, a little humor is needed. Some make me giggle, and others make me flat out snort laughing! I do get annoyed with the pokes at our President, though. He IS our president, and it seems like every one of them before him has had some disaster to deal with. I think he’s doing his best, but of course, you have judges. People forget that not everything on the internet is true ?.

Now, us parents are the teachers for distant learning. The virus isn’t giving up, so the school closings have been extended. My job, a hairstylist, has been deemed nonessential, so the salon is closed as well. I am home with the kids, and believe it or not, homeschool is actually going well. KaiDyn (6th grade, Middle School) finished her entire week by Wednesday morning. She would have finished Tuesday evening, but she worked for two hours on an art project that was extra credit. Riot’s has been a little confusing, but all-in-all it hasn’t been bad. We had one break down on Monday, but it’s been smooth ever since.

For the other 5% of the memes, I don’t care for, the ones about kids being home because of this stupid virus. Here’s my dilemma, what I wouldn’t give to have my son home with me. Oh, to have my 16-year-old, now would be 19, being lazy, eating all the chips I just bought that I didn’t even get to touch. To have him ask if his friends could come over, meaning all 12 while I cook chicken spaghetti (granted if I could get fresh chicken ?). Unfortunately, I would have to tell him no because of the social distancing. To have to wash his dirty, stinky socks. To have him ask if he could go get a Coke from Sonic. To ask if he could buy something on his phone for $5 for his game, and of course, I always said sure. To have him sneak up and play ‘7 Years’ on the piano and me turn around and throw something at him! By the way, I finally decided to bring the piano home. It took me two years and eight months to fight with my emotions. So far, it’s been fine, and I love seeing it ❤️.

I imagine if things had been different and Zane was still here, we would still be Mom and Dad to KaiDyn and Riot. That destiny wouldn’t have changed. Zane predicted it before he left us, I just haven’t told very many people. Homeschool here we come. Zane would have been a BLESSING. I am so worried about KaiDyn’s math!!! Zane would have zoomed her through it. Granted, he would be doing online courses through Tech or whatever college he was at, but I know he would have helped. He told me he wanted to stay close to home.

With his anxiety, this coronavirus situation would have sent him into overdrive. As a family, we would have helped him through it. This is why I worry about anyone with depression or anxiety at this time and have to be quarantined, especially if they are alone, second-guessing themselves.

Every time I see one of the memes, yeah I might giggle a little, please don’t get me wrong. But all I can think about is the missing link. If this had happened when he was still 16, homeschooling would have been easy for him. Zane was an introvert. He loved his friends, though, so that part would have been difficult.

I KNOW no one is being insensitive. I’m not taking it that way. Everyone needs a little humor in this mayhem we are experiencing. Unfortunately, as Zane’s mom, there are so many little reminders or things that spark a memory. Even a silly meme. I pray we wake up from this nightmare sooner rather than later.

 

Please, if you are in any way having suicidal thoughts, call someone or the AFSP hotline.
1-800-273-8255 or
Text TALK to 741741
zanesmomforever.blog

 

 

Teaching a Healthy Lifestyle

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Today I realized that fitness is something that is taught.

A while back, I started a small challenge I saw in a magazine article about doing 100 squats a day. I started a couple of years ago, and it is something I try to do daily. After having my last baby, I finally decided it was time to start again. I have found that it is easier to break it up instead of doing them all at once, so while making eggs one morning, I started doing my squats. I heard my three and one-year-old laughing hysterically behind me, and when I turned around, I saw that they were mimicking me and doing “squats” with me! It was honestly one of the cutest things I have ever seen! With Jagger helping me count and Hinley giving me a kiss with every squat, I finished my first set of the day.

When it came time for the second set of the day, the kids lined up with me to do our squats again. It was just squats, but I loved getting to do them with my kiddos. I loved showing them just a glimpse of a healthy lifestyle and how fun it could be.

I didn’t grow up living a super healthy lifestyle or even worrying about my diet or exercise. I was in cheer and dance in high school and college, so I did workouts daily but only enough for practice. When I stopped doing that, my workouts pretty much stopped too. I then started having babies and definitely didn’t work out after that!

It is only now, as an adult, that I have had to make the decision to live and be healthy, so much easier said than done. It is now something that I have to teach myself and my family and habits that I have to change. Living that lifestyle isn’t just something that happens; it is something that is taught and has to be seen and practiced.

So here is my commitment, here is me holding myself accountable, and here is my start to teaching a healthy life.

Pursuing the One Who Drives Me Crazy

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I am learning the art of pursuing my husband. Continually winning over the heart of the man I’ve been married to for nearly fifteen years. Falling in love with him again, every day. For the new person, he is becoming as we grow old together. I say I am learning because it is definitely still a work in progress. It’s much easier for me to get frustrated that his trash is sitting right next to the trash can, and the toilet paper roll is sitting on the window sill above the empty holder, and the 20 million pairs of dirty socks leaving a trail through the house like breadcrumbs of all the places he no longer felt the need for them to be on his feet. In my book, all legit reasons to be frustrated. All legit reasons to take pictures of these said offenses and send to him while he’s at work when he asks me, “what I’m doing?” Picking up your crap, that’s what, my dear, sweet hunny bumpkins. 

But, still. In the middle of it all. I know. I know these are the things I know about him that make us who we are. A couple. Us. The things you only learn about someone after living with them for 15 years. Yet, truly it’s so much more than that. It’s choosing, choosing the grateful side. So that I can love him in all his weirdness and shortcomings and things he does that drive me crazy.

Because those are the things that make him who he is, the one I fell in love with. And me knowing about them are the things that make him mine, are the things that are ours to keep and to hold. The things that make us who we are, together. And I am so very grateful for that. That I get to call him mine. And I want him to know that. To know how much I appreciate how hard he works for us, and how he would do anything to make his girls happy, and how his favorite place to be is home. I love to listen to his laugh that’s like his granddad’s, his corny dad jokes, and when he’s stumbling over his words trying to compliment me because the way I look still takes his breath away. He may not always get the words out, but I can see it in his eyes. In the way, he looks at me, and I want him to know who he is, is enough.

Society is so big on playing up how our husbands drive us crazy and how they are clueless to all the things and how they lack in all these ways, but we tolerate them because they kill the spiders. And it’s hilarious, and so much of it can be true, and worthy of screen shooting and sending to our significant others. But we can’t forget that our big, tough guys DO have feelings down in there and need a little TLC every now and then, too. I’m not talking about the colds that knock them out for two weeks, where we have to pray for patience. I’m talking about lifting them up in a completely different way. Pursuing them like we did when we first laid eyes on them back in college and thought they still looked cool even with that crazy attempt of a mustache and muscle tank. Sending them “thank you” texts instead of “you should have” texts. Cooking their favorite meal after a long day (or picking up from their favorite restaurant). Bringing cookies up to work and bringing way better coffee up to work. Or simply just showing them you are happy to see them when they walk in the door. Pausing everything you are in the middle of to actually look at him in those baby blues and greet him with a, “I’m so glad that you are home.” And, not because I’m so ready to run out the door and leave these kids with you but because we aren’t completely who we are, without you here with us. 

I’m not saying these things are easy. I’m actually saying it takes me a great effort to be able to do these things that I have to keep this mindset at the forefront of my mind, over and over again. Some days more than others. I have even posted notes throughout my house to remind me of all the ways I’m thankful for him, what he does for me, and what he does for our girls. Even if sometimes I think he does it all wrong. Even if he riles up the kids AND the dogs before bedtime, and I can never find the same bowl he puts in different places, every single time he unloads the dishwasher. He tries. He has his own way about things. But it’s all full of love and effort and the playfulness of his that we all thrive on. And I think it’s important for him to know that. I think it’s important for him to know he brings the fun. For him to know how much we love having him around. How much he holds our family together. 

So I pursue him, bring him flowers and beef jerky, send him ridiculous married selfies, pick up his stinky socks, and tell him how he carries my heart in the middle of all this chaos. In the middle of the good days and bad and every bit of crazy, in the middle of being so tired and just sitting on the couch next to each other after the girls go to bed because there is no one else I would rather have sitting next to me than him, even with me spying those dirty socks of his over in the corner.

A Dose of Honesty

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I am failing. I am a failure! I am not smart enough, disciplined enough, or anything else. I’m barely able to do this while other women are out there crushing it, and I don’t even like the humans I created right now. I am going to mess my kids up. I should just quit; they would be better off without me. These are the negative thoughts that begin to creep in, and if I am not careful, I will find the evidence to support them. I call it Lawyering up against myself, and I am good at that. 

I love our family, and nothing makes my heart more full than watching them all get along while hanging out together. At the same time, I also look forward to when it is time for them to go back to school. In fact, I usually leave the first day again, after an extended time home, open so I can sit in silence, go to lunch, whatever I want to with or without someone else. Time apart from each other seems to make our reunion better, even if its merely a day at school. 

So in the unplanned second week of Spring Break, things began to start falling apart around Wednesday. By Friday, I was annoyed by everything, snapping at everyone, including my husband.  

The negative thoughts were abundant, and I reacted to everyone and everything to get to the next thing I believed had to be done. I am not the kind of parent, wife, or person I want to be when the negative thoughts are running me. I justify and rationalize ridiculous parenting decisions. I let kids stay up late so they would sleep longer in the morning, and I told myself it would be easier to see clients without worrying the kids would need something. I was also staying awake late with kids so I could be involved in what they were doing and make sure they went to bed. I began cooking more meals a day and started cleaning up after, justifying that it was easier than listening to the kids complain or argue. Oh, and since we are all home, it made perfect sense to also work on those projects I didn’t usually have time to complete. Let’s also add watching the news more than I have in years, telling myself I need as much information as possible to know what was coming next. 

It was official. I was in survival mode, and my anxiety was at its peak! The issue with survival mode is that it is exhausting, anxiety-inducing, and relationship damaging. We were not designed to live that way forever.

There is a time for survivor mode; no doubt, however, it is not a place for us to live in full time over a long period. We can talk about that dynamic at a later time. I once read a sentence used in giving an example of surviving.  The meatloaf survived tonight’s dinner, to be eaten tomorrow. LEFTOVERS???? I was not ok with that. I don’t want to get through it. Trying to get through today to get to the next day is exhausting because we have to do it all over again tomorrow. So when I am exhausted, annoyed, impatient, anxious, and fighting with those I love, I know I have moved my boundaries and am operating outside my integrity, my wholeness.    

If you were watching me, you would see me trying to do everything ‘perfect’ the way it is ‘supposed’ to be done, and typically I start taking over everything that needs to get done. I am also incredibly short with my words, yell more than I want to, and when it’s awful, I make these comments about how I do everything. Though these things are far better than they had previously been in my life, they are not at all who I want to be. I am grateful that these days I recognize this about myself and have permitted a handful of people to call me out when they see these behaviors. Sometimes I take longer to accept it like last week. It was when I couldn’t stand to be around myself anymore that I knew I had to STOP. 

The first boundary I needed to address with myself was my thoughts. Where did my ideas come from? Are they true? If they are from someone, is that someone I trust and believe in doing life in a way I admire? 

The truth is . . . 

I am doing my best.

I am not the only person struggling.

I have never been in a national crisis like this before, so there are no suppose to.

We always figure out how to make it work.  

If what we try now doesn’t work, we can change it, and that doesn’t make me a failure.

The truth is we only have 100% to give overall. 

Now I have to get honest with myself and let go of things that do not belong to me and make sure I am taking care of what does. So I go through my list of things I am responsible for, like my attitude, choices, behavior, desires, feelings, thoughts, and love. The hardest part is getting honest with myself and others about what I can do and asking others for help.  

Life is hard! Parenting is hard! Being in a relationship is hard! We are not designed to do it alone; in fact, science and scripture tell us people are hardwired for connection. 

We can not give what we do not have. If I am not patient, I can not expect my children to be. If I do not love myself enough to put boundaries in place, I can not teach my children to have limits. If I am not humble or courageous enough to ask for help, I can not expect my children. If I am not honest when I fail, mess up, make a wrong decision, I can not expect my children to be. If I allow circumstances to dictate my attitude, behavior, choices, feelings, desires, love, etc., I can expect to watch my children do the same. 

If you are struggling, ask for help, until you get it from someone who lives in a way you admire, maybe even desire. If you know someone who is struggling and won’t ask for help, tell them a story about how you have asked for help in the past. If someone asks you for help, don’t pass judgment, don’t slap a scripture of positive quote on their back and pull them up. Instead, validate what you can for them, encourage them, and hold them accountable in a thoughtful way. 

Moms, women, let’s start believing the best in ourselves and each other. I think the majority of people are waking up every day doing the best they know how to do, and like Maya Angelou said, “When we learn better, we do better.”

 

 

 

 

Dear Baby, We’ve Been Touched by Foster Care

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mom and foster baby

“This was my first Mother’s Day as your mom. You’ve lived with me for four months. You cry for me each morning. I snuggle you. I change you. I dress you. I feed you. I read to you. I hold you. I rock you. I take you on walks. I hold your hand. I dance with you. I sing with you. I talk to you. I put you down for naps. I take you to the doctor’s. I meet your every need. I treat you just like you were born of my womb. But you were not.

You are too young to know why you aren’t at home. You don’t know who I am. But you will. You will grow up. You will someday know. And that’s ok. You may live with me. You may not. You may call me mom. You may not.
You will mourn. You will hurt. You will wonder why. You will feel rejection. You will feel abandoned. And you may not.

You will feel fortunate. You will feel like one of the lucky ones. You will feel rescued. And you may not.

I have been your mother, if only for a while. You cry for me each morning. I snuggle you. I change you. I dress you. I feed you. I read to you. I hold you. I rock you. I take you on walks. I hold your hand. I dance with you. I sing with you. I talk to you. I put you down for naps. I take you to the doctor’s. I meet your every need. I love you just like you were born of my womb. But you were not.”

Foster mom with kids

I wrote this as a reflection/lament on my first Mother’s Day as a foster mom. We are still unsure about our place in the future of this little one who is still under our roof. No matter what happens in this little guy’s future, we are thankful God chose us as his family, even if it was only for a short while. Foster care has touched us.

Has foster care touched your life? Some of you know for sure that it has. You are playing a role. You are answering a call. Others, you aren’t so sure.

The truth is, it probably has, and you don’t realize it. At the end of March 2020, there were 16309 children in foster care in Texas.

You may go to church with children in foster care. You may work with someone who was once in foster care. You may have family who are foster parents. You may have relatives whose children were in foster care. Your children may go to school with kiddos in foster care.

The sad truth is that foster care is a necessary part of our society. And it’s not necessarily evil, but it’s also not necessarily good. The goal for the kiddos in care is permanency. And while the ideal situation is for children to return to their biological families, sometimes that doesn’t happen. Sometimes it’s not in their best interest.

Whether kiddos are in foster care for a long time or a short time—whether they achieve permanency with bio families or not—what I do know is that we as a culture can’t stand on the sidelines and watch. We can’t do anything. We can’t pretend that foster care hasn’t touched our lives or won’t affect our lives in the future. Please do not ignore “the least of these.”

Matthew 25:40 states,
“…Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

Fostering in love for their today. Trusting in God for their tomorrow.

I beg you to stand in the gap. Step up and help in whatever way you can. Pray about it. Meditate about it. Think about it. Listen to your heart. I know we all have a place to serve in this ministry. And it is a ministry. Helping children in foster care is stepping up to meet spiritual, emotional, educational, developmental, and physical needs–ministering to them.
Locally, in Lubbock County, some agencies license foster homes. Those agencies need support. They have financial needs. They need to stock clothing closets and food pantries. They need foster families. They need families willing to be respite care providers.

As Texas reopens, agencies expect an influx of more children coming in to care (source: https://www.kcbd.com/2020/05/19/local-foster-care-agency-prepares-influx-referrals-texas-reopens/). Texas is touched by foster care.

Please, chose to be touched by foster care. Give of your time, money, resources, and maybe even your home and your love. You won’t regret it.

I'm not telling you it is going to be easy. I'm telling you it is going to be worth it.

Here are some agencies in our area (Note: This list is not exhaustive. Please feel free to add additional agencies in the comments section.)

Texas Family Initiative 
The Children’s Home of Lubbock 
Buckner 
DePelchin 
The Bair Foundation 
Texas Boys’ Ranch 

Also, Caleb’s Closet is a local non-profit organization that provides clothing for children in foster care. They rely on donations of clothing and donations of time to sort donations, run shopping events, etc.

Ten Ways You Are a Great Mother

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How to be a perfect mother.

What? Don’t you know either? I was hoping that maybe YOU could enlighten me because I SURE don’t know the equation to be the perfect mother.

The thing is, there is not a known method for how to be THE perfect mother. She doesn’t exist.

So, why are we so hard on ourselves to be THAT mama? You know, The Pinterest Perfect one who never yells or swears in front of the kids. The one who feeds them a hearty breakfast consisting of all five food groups seven days a week. The one who would NEVER resort to, dare I say it, some free time on the iPad where their little minds are corrupted by kids dressed in shark costumes singing about their family. See, I didn’t even give the title of the song, and now you will be singing it all day. “Doo doo doo doo doo.” But, ask me how many doo doo doos’s I’ll let them watch so that I can doo doo doo a load of laundry? Seven. The answer is seven because I’m not that perfect mother.

I know that I’ve written about not being the perfect mother before (Check it out here). However, I feel like in this day and age where everyone is comparing themselves to others (thanks to social media) that maybe we could build ourselves up instead! Instead of thinking of all the ways that we fall short on this motherhood gig, let’s pat ourselves on the back for all the things that we are doing right. Or maybe even splurge for a massage so someone else can pat us on the back! Hell, we deserve it!

After all, there is no one way to be a perfect mother, but there are millions of ways to be a great one! 

So, let’s hear it for, US, the great ones! The ones who are keeping tiny humans alive. The ones who are getting by on very little sleep. The ones whose diet consists of coffee and rogue pieces of leftover grilled cheese sandwiches that didn’t get eaten at lunch. We are great mothers! And, it’s time we recognized it!

To make myself feel even better, I’ve compiled a list of some of the things that we as mamas do that land us in the excellent mama category. These are probably things that you don’t give yourself credit for, but you should. It’s time to start!

1. Listening

Just being there to make those little munchkins feel like what they have to say is important, because it is even if it’s the same story about why they like blue sippy cups better than red ones. Even if we’ve heard it 89 times that day, even if we hear our phone buzzing, our dryer going off, and the clock ticking before we need to start getting dinner ready, just listen. 

If you listen, you are a great mother.

2. Playing

Sure, the house looks like a bomb went off. Sure, you have a deadline to meet, and some time on your laptop sounds pretty inviting. Sure, you’ve got lunches to make for school for the next day. Those things can wait. The kids won’t always want to play. There will come a time that their own social life and activities will overtake all of their free time. All those My Little Ponies that are scattered all over the living room floor? Soon enough, they will be stored away in a box collecting dust and maybe never looked at again. Play. Play on the floor. Play dress up. Play like you are farm animals. Play with legos, hot wheels, dare I say it, slime. Just play. 

If you play, you are a great mother.

 

3. Exploring

One of the most daunting tasks is getting three kids dressed, fed, and out the door. It’d be so much easier to be hermits and just stay in jammies all day and cuddle up on the couch. Some of the best times I have with my three are getting out of the house and exploring our great town! Whether it be checking out books at our local library, a new yummy dish at a new restaurant, or even the best deals of the day with my Target Red Card, I consider getting out of the house as exploring because there’s always something for their little minds to learn. 

If you “explore,” you are a great mother.

4. Providing a safe place

I KNOW you do this one mama, so go ahead and pat yourself on the back. You are killing it as a mom! The world is a scary place. And, it just keeps getting scarier and scarier. However, the fact you are providing them with a sense of security, a roof over their heads, a safe place, you are a great mother.

5. Providing nourishment

You got this one in the bag! Even if sometimes that bag comes in the form of a Sonic Wacky Pack. You got it, mama! You are providing food for those little, growing bodies. You are keeping them alive! You are nursing. You are bottle feeding. You are helping the hubs make hamburgers, or you are whipping up a batch of hamburger helper. You are making sure they eat. 

You are a great mother.

6. Wiping butts

You might not be the sole butt wiper, but chances are you are the one that does a majority of the butt wiping in your household. It’s a job that stinks. It’s a job that some consider a load of crap. 😉 But it’s a job that has to be done! If you have the craptastic job of making sure those little hineys are shiny. 

You are a great mother!

7. Showing up

So many littles equals so many activities. The older they get, the more events they have. Tee-ball games, dance recitals, tumbling observations, school programs, school lunches, classroom parties, and the list just keeps going. You may not be able to show up for everything. But, the fact that you show up when you can and that you are present in their lives does wonders for them! You showed up at “minis and moms in muumuu’s eating moist muffins,” even though you hate the word moist! 

You are a great mother!

8. You say yes

Sometimes it’s ok to say yes to a cookie before dinner. Sometimes it’s ok to say yes, “you can sprinkle glitter on the kitchen floor.” Sometimes it’s ok to say, “Yes! For the love of God, we can go to Chuck E. Cheese!” Giving them what they want now and then just to see their little faces light up with excitement doesn’t make you a bad mom. It makes you a mom who experiences joy through their eyes! It can be one of the most exhilarating feelings in the world, and who wants to miss out on that?

If you say yes, you are a great mother.

9. You say no

And, as exhilarating as it is to say yes and do all the fun things and not have a care in the world, you have to draw the line somewhere. So, you tell them no to that cookie before dinner, no to sprinkling glitter on the kitchen floor, and no to a trip to Chuck E. Cheese. You know that spoiling them rotten is not preparing them for the real world, and so you tell them no. And, as they get older, the no’s, they get harder, but you stand your ground because you love them. 

If you say no, you are a great mother.

10. You love with everything you have

You not only provide your babes with a house, food, and a clean butt. You also provide them with love. Lots of love. You love them with every inch of your being. You love them so much it keeps you up at night. You love them so much it hurts. You love them when they are right. You love them when they are wrong. You love them clean, dirty, happy, sad. You love. You love. You love. You love them so much that you can feel your heart exploding when you watch them sleep. You love them so much that you cry when they are hurting, and you feel exuberant joy when they are happy. 

If you love, and I know you do, you aren’t a great mother. 

You are the best mother.

I could list a million more reasons that we are great mothers! What are some of the things that you would add to the list?

 
 
 

Enjoy the Dream

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Stress has overwhelmed me for far too long—specifically, stress about spending more time with my children. Anxiety has me trapped because, in reality, I am spending time with my kids. Fear has plagued me. And in that fear, I’ve lost the time I so desperately desire. Paradox?

My mom came to visit me for a weekend. It was that weekend that I had a genuine adult “learning moment.” At the end of our time together, my mom made a clear statement to me. She said, “I love how you cook with the kids. Don’t stop doing that. I never did that with you, and I wish I had. Always cook with the kids.”

At this moment, with my mom, I realized maybe I am enough. Maybe I am accomplishing my motherhood goal. Maybe instead of worrying about giving my kids quality and quantity of time, I AM giving my children time. Could it be that I am doing what I want to do all along?

I am investing in my kids. I’m doing this in every aspect of my life, every minute of my day. When we start the morning with breakfast, Kyle Mack pulls up a stool and follows suit. Madelyn goes to the refrigerator to get milk for her cereal of choice. What I’m doing, they’re doing. We do it all together.

I am investing in my kids when I’m reading a book for leisure while they’re creatively playing ninjas or “coach.” They see momma reading, and guess what? They want to read. Kyle Mack and Madelyn pick up books multiple times a day and ask to read to me or for me to read to them. Then, the only problem that occurs is the problem of a storytelling 3-year-old, but that’s another blog.

I am investing in my kids when I’m working from home. My children are with me and model my behavior. When I work, they work. They want “homework,” and in that homework time, they are gleaning the fine motor skills that are so incredibly necessary. They are learning to keep the pen on the paper or that we only work at our desk (not the wall).

My children are in every moment of my life. What I do, they do, and we do it all together.

I’ve decided to give myself a break. I will no longer analyze the quality of my motherhood. I am active in my children’s lives from having “a cup of tea” with them (my Madelyn’s new favorite play phrase) to time outs, and they are just as active in mine.

I AM a good mom. Anyone who knows how a “mom only” bath time goes better KNOW that they are a good mom.

Maybe we should stop stressing over creating the perfect world we dreamt up in our minds and simply enjoy the truth of what is taking place in front of us each day. The dream is reality, and I’m going to start enjoying the dream.

 

Have you had a similar experience?  Tell me about it, and comment below. 

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