Think: "You think you can, You think you can, You think you can" & one day say: "You thought you could, You said you could, You knew you could" & thus, at least: you thought you did.

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Dichotomy of Days

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Joy then Grief
Excitement then Dread
Laughter then Tears
Celebration then Mourning
Lights then Candles
Feast then Fast
Forced forgetfulness then Flood of memories
Laughter then Tears
Elation then Depression
Embracing Christmas spirit then Remembering spirit passed
Focused on a birth then Focused on a death

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Context:  “…Christmas time is already bittersweet.  Daddy died at 4 am on  December 26, 2010.  With each passing year, I’ve worked very hard to separate, in my mind, Christmas from the day after Christmas.  Christmas is a time to celebrate, to recognize God’s greatest gift to us.  I pour everything I have into making it spectacular for my children.  Seeing them excited and happy fills me with so much joy.  The day after Christmas is a time of mourning.  I spend time with my family, listening to daddy’s songs and reading his comics.  I laugh and cry.  I remember.  I love.  I grieve what was lost.  I try not to think of what might have been.” – Written 12/2015

 

The Road to El Dorado

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I remember falling asleep as daddy described the house we’d live in one day.  The one he’d build for us when we got rich. He cheekily called our little, run-down trailer “Camelot.”

I grew up financially poor, but rich in spirit.  We lived in the woods in a trailer on my grandfather’s land.  It was a beautiful place to grow up, down a dirt road with a meadow out front, plenty of trees to climb and a pond to fish in, and old tobacco barns and “pack houses” to play in.  [  Some pictures show the beautiful solitude yet vacancy of care for the land. ]

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(Camelot)

My family inherited a portion of the land I grew up on last year, after having waited over 10 years.  We’ve long since moved away and made a life elsewhere.  It would be unfeasible for us to return to Camelot to live, so we had to sell it.  It was bittersweet for me because I have such fond memories of the past, yet such high hopes for the future.  By selling, we could finally afford a home with more space than we had  (since the twins’ arrival, we had been bursting at the rims).  We knew these little ones weren’t getting any little-er.

Living in the city was so convenient.  However, I want my kids to grow up knowing what it’s like to breathe fresh air, plant gardens, and play outside until dusk, catching fireflies without fear of pedophiles or snoops of nosy neighbors who get upset if the grass grows a little too high or feel our fun-filled yard is an eyesore.

After over a year of searching, we’ve finally found our own little “Promised Land,” a nice bit of land with a house that fits us. It has a modest, two-story house with an upstairs suite just for grandma and an adequate downstairs living area that’s just big enough for our crew.  I cheekily called our humble abode “El Dorado” (Spanish for “The Golden One” or a fictitious City of Gold).

Since the twins were born, I’ve felt, I’ve believed, I’ve known, that I can’t look back.  Not anymore.  I have to let go of the things of the past in order to focus these precious moments and our future.  So daddy never bought us a mansion (nor did he buy me that Jaguar he promised me if I graduated college), but, with significant help from my mother, my heavenly father has provided what we needed right here on earth and I have no doubt that there is a huge mansion waiting for us all up in heaven; daddy’s waiting to meet us there at the top.

(El Dorado)

(Written October 2016 – Twins 2 years old, Mica 8, Hope 7)

Double Talk Quotes:

“Can I have a slip of yours drink?” – Bella

“Thank you” – Me, “I welcome” – Brooks

Bible Verse:   “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children…” Proverbs 13:22

Term that has Lost its meaning:  Overly Sentimental

Relatable Lyrics:  “Your Song” by Elton John

“It’s a little bit funny this feeling inside
I’m not one of those who can easily hide
I don’t have much money but boy if I did
I’d buy a big house where we (all) could live”

Where the Healing Begins

Forgiveness

By Starla Ward Karnes

I am so thankful that whenever God looks at me he doesn’t see me & label me for my past sins.

Jesus said if anyone looks after a woman with lust, he has committed adultery with her in his heart. The bible also says if you have hate for your brother, you are a murderer at heart. I know I am guilty of lust & hatred, but because of God’s great mercy he has lavished on me, I am covered & forgiven. When he looks at me, he does not see me for my past sins. He sees me as his holy princess, pure and spotless. Now that is amazing and that is love.

He commands us to forgive. God himself “forgets” our sins..he remembers them no more. That means he doesn’t continue to bring them up, think about them, condemn me for them, or label me for the sins I have done. When he looks at me, he doesn’t even see them because they can’t even compare to the brightness of Jesus’ glory that I am covered with.

We are followers of God, we are to be imitators of God. That means what he does, I do. What he says, I say. That is exactly what Yeshua said he did.

Satan is the accuser of the brethren. We have to be aware that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and the rulers of this dark world. Instead of shaming one another for our past sins, we should be prophesying words of life & edification over one another; speaking all the potential we know God sees in them and sings over them. We have authority to speak those things into existence!!

The bible says in 1 Peter 4:8 that “And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves (love one another deeply): for charity (love) shall cover the multitude of sins.”

Our greatest commandment is to love God and to love one another. If we are in Yeshua, we are actually one with each other & should not be divided. Satan is trying to steal, kill, destroy, and divide our family. He always has and always will try. The real question is will we let him. Will we let him conform our thoughts about one another? Or will we choose by faith to believe the best about one another and look at others through the eyes of Love (God)?

I love how Yeshua chose to eat with sinners and tax collectors instead of isolating himself from them because of their wretchedness. I love how he chose to stay by my side while I was rejecting him and spitting in his face. He knew what he saw in me. He believed the very best in me and kept pursuing my heart. He never wrote me off or gave up on me. He died just to have a chance of me choosing him.

I love how Yeshua didn’t stone that woman. He didn’t condemn her. Her life was radically changed by his love.

I believe we can change other people’s lives by our radical, unconditional, unrelenting love.

I believe when we start praying for people we have problems with and speaking prophetically over them, God starts changing our hearts towards them.

I proclaim and declare that our family will be united. That perfect love will cast out all division, strife, unforgiveness, and hatred. I shatter every evil stronghold the devil has gripped us with, in our minds about one another. No weapon formed against us will prosper in Jesus mighty name.

Amen.

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Double Talk Quote:  I love all of you with all my heart ❤  I am believing the best in you.

Word that has lost its meaning:  unforgiveness

Bible Verse:  Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.  Proverbs 10:12

Relateable Lyrics:  Healing Begins by Tenth Avenue North

“So you thought you had to keep this up, All the work that you do

So we think that you’re good, And you can’t believe it’s not enough…

Sparks will fly as grace collides, With the dark inside of us

So please don’t fight, This coming light, Let this blood come cover us….

This is where the healing begins, oh

This is where the healing starts

When you come to where you’re broken within

The light meets the dark”

Moving Mountains

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“Are you excited?”  Tia asked  “Excited!”  That’s the emotion I’m supposed to be feeling!  “Yes,” I grinned trying my best to fake it.  Hopefully, she won’t detect the fear and dread.  Hopefully, no one will.

This day has been creeping up on me for a while now, and I’ve felt helpless to do much about it.  It’s like staring up at a huge mountain in front of me.  There’s no way around it, I’ve just got to climb.

It’s moving day today.  We’re moving all of our essentials into a new house on the far outskirts of town, out in the country.  The property is beautiful with a lovely (bigger) house; a perfect place to raise our family.

So why fear?  Because I don’t embrace change easily.  Having Bipolar disorder, even good change can throw me off kilter.  Big life events have affected my stability before and I don’t want that to happen in the midst of a move!

And why dread?  Because I have to pack years worth of things and get rid of what we really don’t need.  This should be easy but I can be overly nostalgic at times.  Plus, there’s a lot of my deceased and beloved father in this old house that I’ll be leaving behind.  Memories of yesteryear and things of his still in the attic…  at least I’ll have another week after this one come back and go through that stuff (we’re just moving the main things and ourselves today – we have another week or so to get the rest out).  Then there’s the part about moving with two two-year olds.  Enough said.

It’s going to be a hectic day.  It’s almost 6 am the kids will be up soon and no, I haven’t packed all my essentials yet, but I’ll have some help from my husband, Amor and Sister and brother-in-law.  With a little luck and a lot of prayer, I’ll climb this mountain today and at least get to the top!  (I’ll worry about unpacking, moving the rest and climbing down later.)

Dear God,

Please take this mountain before me and move it.  Cast it into the sea.  Give me the strength to make this move with ease and not feel like I’m climbing or falling.  Help me to remain stable through it all.  I trust in You to keep me in perfect peace during this move.  In Jesus name, I pray, Amen.

(Sat. Sept 17, 2016)

Double Talk Quote:  “Daddy’s Joe-ing Moe’s yard”   (Daddy’s mowing Joe’s yard) – Mica, laughing at herself, “You should use that as one of your quotes, mommy.”

Bible Verse: “…if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”  Matthew 17:20

Word that has lost its meaning: excitement (I’m sure I will be once we get settled!)

Relatable Lyrics:  “Where the Green Grass Grows” – Tim McGraw

“I’m gonna live where the green grass grows
Watch my corn pop up in rows
Every night be tucked in close, to you
Raise our kids where the good Lord’s blessed
Point our rockin’ chairs towards the west
And plant our dreams where the peaceful river flows
Where the green grass grows”

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KISS – Keep It Simple & Silly

Twins on wheels

I am a twin mom, a mom of multiples, a mom of many.  I also have bipolar disorder and Anxiety issues.  There are moments, that I know other moms share, when I want to scream and pull my hair out.  But instead, I KISS myself.

When life is coming at me too hard, too fast, and too strong, and I feel that stress building I (try to) remind myself “Keep It Simple & Silly” (Adapted from the slogan “Keep It Simple, Stupid” I won’t speak stupidity over myself or my kids, regardless of the not-so-smart things we sometimes do). And instead of calling myself “Silly” I try to keep the situation from becoming too serious, because, let’s face it, in the scope of eternity, it probably is silly.

Here are a few easy mom things that can simplify your life and make things a little less hectic (I plan to write a future article with even more helpful tricks, but these relate to keeping things simple during potentially stressful moments.):

1. Invest some time in getting organized.  Get in the habit of putting things back exactly where they belong or you’ll lose your head (along with your keys, cell phone, remote control, diaper bag, etc).

2. For moms with young kids, keep your main diaper bag in the car and only carry around a basics bag when you go places. (Mine has 2 diapers for each baby, a few wipes, 1 juice box per child, and maybe 1 small toy per babe that only comes out with that bag).  Try to keep your basics bag small enough to fit in a bigger purse or small backpack so you only have to carry around one bag for everyone!

3. Have dinner figured out by 10 a.m.  This will help you remember to thaw out anything that needs it and you’ll avoid any evening scrounge sessions.

4.  When you feel like yelling, take a deep breath and whisper instead.  It may take a few tries for your kids to catch on that when you whisper you mean business, but it’s a technique worth trying.  You’d be surprised, even my husband knows I’m serious when I whisper.

5.  Pick your battles.  For example, little one wants to wear her butterfly wings to the store and refuses to put on her socks and shoes.  Make a deal – let her keep the wings but insist on shoes.  Some things just aren’t worth the fit.

6. Finally, KISS your precious little ones – Keep It Simple & Silly – enjoy the ride and don’t get too stressed. Focus on what’s right, not what’s going wrong.  Sometimes that hard to do in the heat of the moment. But ask yourself this:  ten years from now, will this really matter?  The answer is probably “no.”  What will matter is the relationship you have with your children and how they remember you growing up.  You want their childhood experience as well as your parenting experience to be positive ones.

Micaela and Grace

(Twins 2, Mica 8, Hope 7)

Double Talk Story:  I was explaining how to play football when my phone fell.  Mica laughs hysterically, “You dropped your cell phone while charging!” (play on words – I was literally charging)

Bible Verse: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” Proverbs 18:21

Term that had Lost its meaning: date night

Relatable Lyrics:  “Sing” by The Carpenters

Prescribing Joy: Pouring Light

I had the honor to guest blog for the delightful Deborah from “The Monster in your Closet…is quite friendly actually” in her “Prescribing Joy” series. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to write on your blog, Deborah!

“Twins are So Much Easier Than a Singleton…”

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Excuse me?  Huh?  What?  Are you serious?  Do my ears deceive me?  How do you figure? Did you really just say that?  The questions raced through my brain.  Unfortunately, our conversation was abruptly interrupted (betcha can’t guess how) and I didn’t get a chance to ask the veteran mom-of-twins any of these questions before we had to leave.

Right after my babes were born, I asked a fellow mom-of-twins, whose boys were nine years old, if she had any wisdom or advice for me.  She bluntly told me that she didn’t remember anything from the first two years due to the stress, lack of sleep, and chaos that having two babies at one time brings.  She was the first of many mom-of-twins to tell me that the first two years are a blur.

I wondered if the veteran mom who made the title comment had contracted the ever-so-prevalent fugue state illness, known as “Mommy Brain.”  Earlier in our conversation, she mentioned that her twins were in kindergarten.  I’ve heard that by this age twins “entertain themselves,” (although moms have to be more vigilant of competitiveness and more attentive to conflict intervention / resolution).  Maybe over the past three years she, too had forgotten the first few years.  Or maybe she just had easy babies.   Or Maybe she’s just a better mom than me.  Or maybe she finds it easier because she doesn’t have Bipolar disorder.  So many maybes…

I’ve been a mom to a “singleton.”  It wasn’t easy.  It wasn’t that she was disobedient or misbehaved, or out of hand.  Being a mom is a lot of work. (You’ve read the Mommy Resume!)  As I’ve written before, “here’s my equation:  Double that (2 year old twins) + 8-year-old daughter + marital challenges + financial difficulties + changing environment (baby Asher leaving, 7-year old Hope becoming like a 4th child to me) + Bipolar disorder & anxiety issues = “’God I need your help’”

So the veteran mom is a SuperMom for sure, as are many of my other friends and acquaintances who have multiples or multiple children.  Just because I’m not as confident or centered doesn’t mean I’m not a SuperMommy too!  And here’s why:

Because God helps me get through day by day, minute by minute.  Regardless of whether they are taking turns napping, throwing food across the table at one another, having meltdowns, or pulling their diapers off and running away from me.  I have the patience to deal with whatever comes my way, simply because God works through me daily and I feel privileged to have the above equation.  

God gave me a lot of responsibilities because he wanted to show himself through me.  He wants to be glorified in me.  If I had had a singleton instead of twins, then maybe I wouldn’t have felt the need to lean on Him so much.  And with this great responsibility comes great joy.

And if anyone ever tells you that “Twins are So Much Easier Than a Singleton,” you have my permission to tell them that it has been scientifically proven that that simply is not true!  (You have the archives of my blog as evidence to back it up.)

Double Talk Quote:  Me to Bella, who was throwing a fit “What’s the big problem here?”  “Dada!”  (I still don’t know the details but he did something to make her raging mad!)

Bible Verse: “…From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Luke 12:48

Word that had Lost its meaning (there for a minute): confidence

Relatable Lyrics:  My own personal lyrics to DJ Khaled’s “All I Do Is Win”

All I Do is Twin!

All I do is twin twin twin no matter what
Got laundry on my mind I can never get it done
And every time I step up in the buildin’
Everybody hands go up
And they stay there
And they say yeah
And they stay there
Up down, up down, up down
‘Cause all I do is twin twin twin
And if you goin’ in put your hands in the air
Make ’em stay there

I never go no where
But they saying Mommy’s back…
My hands go up and down like babies’ booty’s go…
Y’all better count me in
Got empty bank accounts, accountants count me zip…
Cause all I do, all I, all I, all I
All I do is…Twin!

Money Shot - My Earthquakers - Micaela and twins1

Letters of Support

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For the past few months, I’ve been vigorously working on my husband’s immigration case. It involved a lot of writing, office type work, obtaining and making copies of records, and gathering information.  None of it was easy.  But the hardest thing for me was asking for what’s known as “Letters of Support,” which basically vouch that Amor is a good, decent person and upstanding member of society.  I have social anxiety (along with Bipolar Disorder) and for so long, Amor and I have kept his immigration status hush-hush.   Now, however, we had to come out of the shadows (so to speak) and admit the truth to friends and family that (gasp & shame, shame!) my husband entered this country illegally.  He was 16 years old when his brothers first brought him here and he has built his entire adult life in the US.

It was stressful and nerve-wracking for me to announce this and ask for help. But it had to be done, as part of the petition process.  So, I wrote down a list of 25 names of friends, family, and acquaintances.  It was scary to me to think of contacting these people without knowing their political stance or possible prejudices regarding this touchy issue.  But I took several deep breaths, and said a few prayers and started contacting.

The response I received was shocking.  Our community of friends and family were more than willing to help us file by writing for us.  In all, I collected 20 notarized letters!  I saw how kind and generous these people were to take time out of their own hectic lives to invest in ours.  They had to actually sit down and think about me, Amor and our kids, construct the letter, then go get it notarized.  A few of these people, I know had physical health issues.  One had a newborn baby.  Another person is a dear friend whom we haven’t physically seen in over a decade, but we’ve kept in touch via social media.  Yet another had problems getting the statement notarized because her identification was expired but she made it happen!  Each person went out of their way to help us.

I read each letter as they trickled in.  Each one with optimistic affirmations about us and our family.  After gathering them all, I sat down and re-read them.  It wasn’t just the quantity that astounded me, but the quality as well.  These people wrote from their hearts. I know we are in their prayers. Tears of gratitude trickled down my face.

Our case has since been put on hold, for now, anyway.  But we have our paperwork ready at a moment’s notice.  Now, whenever our attorney says to submit, we will be ready and able to move forward.  Thank you, so much for those of you who helped us.  We love and appreciate you all.

(July 2016, Twins 2, Mica 8, Hope 7)

Double Talk Quote:  Amor – “I’m too smart for that show” (Ruff Ruff, Tweet and Dave).  Me – “That’s why I watch Curious George.”
Bible Verse:  “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4
Term that has Earned its meaning:  true friendship
Relatable Lyrics:  Lean On Me by Bill Withers

“If there is a load you have to bear, that you can’t carry, I’m right up the road, I’ll share your load if you just call me, if you need a friend…We all need somebody to lean on.”

Believing for the Best in You

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Dear Husband,  

When you’re struggling, when you need a friend, when you are at an impasse and don’t know what to do;

When we can’t seem to come to an agreement, when I don’t understand your point of view, and you can’t see mine;

I don’t stop caring.  I’m believing in something.  I’m believing for the best in you.

 

Dear Children,

When you make mistakes, when you behave inappropriately or do the wrong thing, even when I discipline you, even when you think I’m disappointed in you;

Believe me, I’m seeing something.  I’m seeing growth.  I’m believing for the best in you.

 

Dear Mother,

When you feel alone, when you feel run down, when you’re hesitant to change, yet ready to move forward; I’ll be your cheerleader.  I’ll be your backup.  I’m believing for the best in you.  

 

Dear Sisters,

When we’re far apart, When we feel like we can’t relate, I have faith in our relationships; I’ll never doubt us.  I’m believing for the best in you.

 

Dear Brothers,

When we’re disconnected, when we have failures to communicate or forgive or see eye-to-eye, it’s okay, we’ll make it through; I’ll never stop having hope for reconciliation.   If you get weary, I’ll keep the faith for you.  I’m believing for the best in you.

 

Dear Friend,

When your life seems to be falling apart around you; When you feel like you have let me down; When I try to help but I’m not sure my efforts do any good; I won’t stop trying.  I’m believing for the best in you.

 

Dear Stranger,

When you need a helping hand; when a handout is not what you need, but a hand up, I won’t look down on you.  I won’t judge you for your past.  I won’t make assumptions about your situation.  I’m believing for the best in you.

 

Dear Self,

When I start dwelling over failures, when I judge myself by my past mistakes, I will stop.  I will forgive.  I will do better.  I will look at you the way God does.  He’s believing for the best in you.  

 

Double Talk Quote: two days before summer camp, Me to Mica: “So…Are you excited?”  Mica (enthusiastically):  “Um-hum!” (pause) “About what?”  (I guess she’s just excited in general!)


Bible Verse:  “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17


Word that has Lost its meaning: disbelief


Relatable Lyrics:  Believing For The Best In You by Stormie Omartian

“After all I’ve said to try and change your mind,

Are you still gonna doubt my words?

You can tell me your failures and point out your flaws – I don’t hear you…

…I’m believing for the best in you.”

What Can You Say?

What can you say?  hum?  What can you say?  What can you say when you love someone so much that words can’t even begin to express it.  When there aren’t words in existence in any known language in any part of this universe that could possibly explain this intense feeling, these complex yet simple emotions?  What can you say when the word “love” can’t even begin to convey what you’re feeling?  You can just cuddle me and say…

ummmm ummmm

ummmm ummmm

ummmm ummmm

…and I’ll know.

(Happy Birthday, my two twos, ummmm ummmm)

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