Monthly Archives: March 2012

Shades of Gray

Pam’s Journey: Day 173

Miles walked: 428

Miles remaining: 572

Days remaining:193

Trying to raise a morally responsible child in this age of moralessness is sometimes a huge challenge. My ideas of right and wrong are very different than a lot of other parents so obviously their kids are being raised with a different set of moral laws than what I’m trying to instill in my daughter. It’s even difficult to co-parent with the same values and more often than not, the parent with the more strict rules is the one that is rebelled against. Luckily, my daughter has the gift of common sense so she understands what I’m trying to do by having rules, laws, and moral codes to follow. I said she understands, but that’s not to say that she still doesn’t rebel against them sometimes!

Example: My daughter comes in smelling horribly of cigarette smoke and we have already addressed the reasons why smoking is wrong. We have fought that battle and I think she finally agrees that it doesn’t make you cool to smoke and it is a serious habit.

I ask her why she smells like smoke and get the common, <insert friend’s name here>’s parents smoke and we were all in the car and”… ok, stop. I’m trying to picture where it is ok for a parent to think it would be ok to smoke in a car with my daughter… Obviously, this is one of those “gray areas” where I have a problem with what other people think is right and wrong.

My problem with this: I have a ridiculously sensitive sense of smell so when something smells bad, it smells really bad to me. I know that the commercials are right, it does kill, maybe not today or tomorrow but it will eventually kill you or make breathing a painful process for the rest of your life.. so I would rather that my precious and only daughter not be subjected to someone’s selfish habit and increase her risks associated with second-hand smoke. And unfortunately, the kids of these smoking parents are picking up their bad habit and they too are now smoking.

Example #2: a friend is at our house and on the phone with a parent. I can hear screaming and profanity coming out of the phone from across the room. I’ve heard the “friend’s” side of the conversation leading up to this and can think of nothing that was said to deserve the verbal lashing that they’re suddenly getting. No disrespect, no attitude, no sarcasm, nothing.

My problem with this: I don’t allow profanity in our house, not from me, my daughter, or her friends. It’s not necessary. When you use profanity in everyday communication, it leads to more profanity when there is an argument and that’s when things are said that hurt. Once it’s said, it’s out there.. you can’t take it back. So, to hear a parent say these things to their child when it is completely unprovoked tells me that most likely they use that same language when my child is hanging out at their house. Lovely… all the hard work that I’m putting into an upright moral environment for my child has just been blasted to the curb in 10 minutes at a friend’s house.

I’m starting to think this should have just been a Parenting 101 Part 2 blog! This is just what’s happening in my life so you are the lucky ones that I get to share it with. 🙂

There are so many gray areas in our common world that have come to be accepted as “ok”. Bear with me, I’m obviously a little old fashioned and still have some country girl ethics that rule my opinion center.

  • Men and women living together, unmarried – why not get married? Don’t make this an acceptable value for your children. Just cowboy up, bite the bullet and get married.. I mean, you most likely are already considered common law anyway. Obviously you want to be together or you wouldn’t be living together, right?
  • Drugs – It’s just weed? It’s a drug, an illegal drug, so why would adults think it’s ok to use drugs and not expect their kids to follow their example. Painkillers? There was a recent “bust” at my daughter’s school when over a dozen kids were suspended for using narcotic painkillers at school that were sold to them by a student who got them from their parent.
  • I think we’ve covered smoking and profanity but I have to mention how widely spread and acceptable it has become in the TV and movies that we watch and music that we listen to. Not to mention, sex, drugs, violence.. the list goes on and on.
  • Manners – those things that our parents used to make us say when we wanted something or when we were given something. Please, thank you, you’re welcome. It’s crazy but if you use them, chances are your kids will too! Just sayin’.

Through the years, I’ve had some people criticize my moral opinions. Apparently my right or wrong policy doesn’t give them the “wiggle room” that they want to justify why they’re doing something that (in my opinion) is wrong. I mean, things are either right or wrong, right? For me, it’s yes or no, black or white, to be or not to be. There’s not a lot of maybes swimming around in my mind and I personally like it that way. I don’t have to explain why it’s ok for one person to do one thing but not another if my opinion of wrong is wrong every single time. That’s why I have no shades of gray.

When in doubt, I always take it up in prayer or search the bible. It’s pretty black and white too, right or wrong, cut and dry.

Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. ~ Proverbs 22:6

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Shhhh… hear that?

Pam’s Journey ~ Day: 166

Miles Walked: 412

Miles Remaining: 588

Days Remaining: 200

I can admit that I’m odd.. a little weird. I like to think of myself as eclectically quirky. A mishmash of oddness that works together beautifully. I hope to have passed this trait down to my daughter and am pretty sure that I have. If you know me or have followed our blog for awhile, you know that I’m a single mom.. it’s just me and my chickie. It’s been this way most of her life and I honestly have to say that I love it. I’ve been able to have a relationship with my daughter that I don’t think I would have had if we weren’t a victim of the divorce epidemic.

So, due to my quirkiness and my beautifully crazy relationship with my daughter, we have talking pets. Yes, you read me right.. talking pets. When Taelor was probably 4ish, she asked me why SlickyBoo never talked. All of the animals and even vegetables talk in kid movies, so this seemed like a reasonable question to me. Of course, that inspired me to give Slick a voice – and so it starts. She has a sort of sassy, queen of the house attitude, with a high pitched, irritating, nasally, always right about everything voice. She’s not a photogenic type of kitty so we have almost no pics of her. Slick is to be admired.. she’s a BIG kitty and she works it! She and Tasha have a love/hate relationship and she’s jealous of Kristen’s place beside me on the couch.. but that’s just how Slick rolls. 🙂

Our newest addition to the family, Beau (aka, BoBo), just happens to have a voice of his own.. go figure! Beau is a yellow lab who found us a couple months ago and has been a nice addition, but a lot more work than we’re used to for a pet. He’s the first boy Boo in our house, and of course he has a boy voice.. well, sort of. He sounds a lot like Goofy and he is pretty goofy. His conversation revolves around food, trying to lick Slick, and his most favorite thing in the world.. his duck – or more correctly, playing fetch with his duck. Beau will play fetch with anything. He would play with air if he could see you throw it!

Taelor and I have the same voice. We are literally two peas in a pod – thinking and saying the same things all the time. Friends and family usually can’t tell us apart on the phone and that can be a lot of fun sometimes! We get a kick out of saying the same thing at the same time and sounding exactly like each other, like our voice is in stereo.

You’re probably starting to wonder why this eclectically quirky person is describing all of the voices in her house. At least I said my house, and not my head. Well, you’re lucky that I left out the pets that are no longer with us!  Anyway.. there is another voice in our house that I long to hear. It’s not a high pitched sassy cat or a goofy dog. It’s the voice of God. I’ll admit to being slightly jealous of people who say that God speaks to them regularly. I want to be that person.. the one that needs help or advice and God tells them what to do! That would sort of be like having my own personal EASY button for my life struggles.

Have you noticed that the people who talk about “God speaking to them”, are the people that work at having a close relationship with Him? They walk the walk, talk the talk, and live the life… the Blessed Life. They have relationships with God, and I’m not talking about a 1-sided relationship where God is doing all of the work. This made me look at my life to see if I’m doing what I should be doing to hear the God whispers that I long to hear.

I’m sure God has spoken to me more than I know but that’s the point. I want to KNOW that God is speaking to me.. I can be a tad spoiled sometimes, huh? I want to know that those more odd than usual thoughts that sometimes pop into my head, or the mental nudges to do something that I’m unsure of, is really God’s voice, leading me.  I know God speaks to us.. I just need Him to speak a little louder!

This hits my prayer time frequently. A louder voice, harder nudges, I’d even take some head smacks if He would do it.. just to make sure that I don’t miss what He’s telling me. More often than not, when I think I’m hearing Him, it’s so subtle that I might miss if it I weren’t listening so intently. I have to shush my brain and that’s not an easy thing to do! I’ve only learned to do this in the last year or so, and even more so since starting this walk.

This walk is about building a closer relationship with God. It’s private time that we spend with Him, walking with Him, communicating with Him. Wait… Communicating? as in talking and having conversations? I have longed for God to talk to me for years but have only recently began feeling His presence and His nudges. Well, only recently have I been having deliberate communication with Him on a daily, hourly, and step-by-step basis. *Head Smack* Do you see where I’m going here? The more I talk to Him… the more He talks to me.The more consistent I am with Him, the more consistent I feel Him with me. The more I read His word, follow His lead, and live the life, the more He blesses me in return. Oh, how I wish that I had this relationship with Him 10 years ago!

For years I was waiting for God to talk to me when I wasn’t exactly talking to Him? Told you I can be spoiled. Since figuring out this snazzy little 2-way communication technique, I feel that I do hear the voice that I’ve longed to hear for so many years. I wouldn’t say that He’s a big talker, but I like knowing that He’s joined my conversation.. my 2-way conversation. It’s not a 1-sided relationship and I’m not expecting anything without giving Him my everything… and He gives His everything right back.

“I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself. ~ Jeremiah 31:3 NLT

Thank you…

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Warning… Reduce speed ahead

Pam’s Journey ~ Day: 159

Miles Walked: 396

Miles Remaining: 604

Days Remaining: 207

Most would probably agree with me when I say that life goes by too fast. Everything we do is given a time value. Fast food, fast cars, speed reading, speed dating, express checkout or even self checkout when express is too slow.. Everything is better if it’s faster, right? Not everything.. I don’t know any parent that won’t deny that their kids grow up too fast. Life is short and we try to squeeze so much in that we don’t have time to enjoy the things that matter.

I visited my parents last weekend and on my walk I noticed that I was trying to rush. It was a longer walk than my normal and I knew my dad was waiting on me to show me how to change the oil in my lawnmower, then he was going to do the oil in my car, we were going to try and get some time in at the pond, I had hoped to take another ride around the farm on the four-wheeler, and we always play a couple card games together when we’re there. Oh, and I needed to install some things on my mom’s computer, and check her virus software to make sure it’s up to date, and we are getting her set up on Skype, and there is just so much to do in such a short time!

Back to me rushing my walk… I was on the way back of what turned out to be a 4 1/2 mile walk. I was going north with a little wind in my face, heading up a hill when I felt beat. I started pushing myself harder and it seemed like I was crawling up that stinking hill. I stopped. Took a couple breaths, stood up a little taller, and started at it again. And again, that hill was kickin my butt.

Anyone that knows me can tell you that I’m quite stubborn and determined. (I know this about me and I’m a work in progress so it’s all good!) I stopped on that hill again and realized that I was trying to do it all on my own. Here I was supposed to be walking with Jesus and let me tell you that we had some great conversation on that walk. It would have to be one of my favorite walks to date! I appreciated God’s beauty around me, the amazing silence of the country, and I counted out more blessings than I will ever deserve. But here I was trying to climb that hill all by myself. It was like going up a down bound escalator! But He was right there with me.. so why was I trying to do all the work?

I realized I couldn’t climb that hill by myself.. no matter how stubborn I am. I stood there in the shadows of the tree lined road and asked God to help me up that hill.. and all of the hills that I’m climbing in my life. I asked for God’s help with my parenting hills, my job hills, house and yard work hills, friend and family hills, and all of those other things that take our time but we still keep squeezing them in. It’s a good thing there’s not much traffic on that country road because I stood there for awhile until I felt God telling me to slow down. Just slow down. <Deep Breath>

I took a little longer finishing my walk than I had planned, but nothing catastrophic happened due to my lack of rushing! My dad was still waiting to teach me how to change my lawn mower oil. I still got my mom’s computer checked out and Skype set up, we still played a few games of cards, had a wonderful lunch, played a lot of fetch with Beau, and I even took a nap. So, why was I rushing and trying to do it all on my own? Apparently, so I would realize that I needed to ask for help… and that is something that I’m not very good at. The best part is that He helped. I asked, and God helped.

 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” ~ Matthew 7:7-8

So you would think that this little lesson would have me slowing down a bit… well, it did for about 5 hours. Then on the way home from my parents, I was already making my mental to-do list for the next day. Church first, then I had to get the yard mowed before the monster patch of weeds took over everything, and I wanted to squeeze my neighbor’s yard in too, just because.. then I needed to put some weed-n-feed down to get those monster weeds knocked out, after that I had some flowers that I got last week and never got around to planting, that would require cleaning out the leaves and dead stuff from my flower beds, then I had plans to tackle my desk clutter and my magazine clutter because it’s starting to get out of control again, and I also wanted to straighten up the patio because Beau keeps rearranging it, then pick up the kitchen, living room and bathroom and…. 

Needless to say, I did NOT get my mental to-do list finished. As I was recovering from my first yearly mowing, weed fighting, flower bed cleaning and planting, and the unusual use of manual labor, I fell asleep. Yes, asleep. I have tried for years to take naps on the weekends when I feel like I need to wind down and relax and it just doesn’t happen. So, two naps in two days is unheard of… and exactly what I needed. It’s exactly what He told me to do. “Slow Down.”

Slow down?.. is it really so hard? When I’m feeling beat, I have to consciously ask God to take every step with me. It’s then that I don’t have to work nearly as hard to accomplish my to-do’s. Slow down?.. are all of the little things that we think are so important really all that important? Will something horrible happen if you don’t get your dead leaves picked up or your floor vacuumed for the fourth time this week? Or will it still be there waiting on you? Trust me… it will still be there and the world won’t end because you didn’t squeeze it into your already too packed day. 

My lessons: Ask, and He will answer. Everything is so much easier when you’ve got the Creator of all giving you a hand with your projects and chores. Invite Him to join you in everything you do.. everything. Slow down, it will all still be waiting on you when you get there. To-do’s… I need a shorter to-do list, or maybe no to-do list at all.

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My Beautiful Mess

Pam’s Journey ~ Day: 152

Miles Walked: 382

Miles Remaining: 618

Days Remaining: 214

I have a place where I like to go when I need to get away from everything. Let me rephrase that.. In the spring, summer, and fall, I have a place where I like to go when I need to get away from everything. My backyard. It’s my haven, my sanctuary, my quiet place. I’m not a super gardener but I love to admire the things that I’ve worked hard at getting to grow in my flower beds. I love green grass. I love to sit in my lawn chair, in the sun, eyes closed, and just listen.

On a calm day, I hear the birds and love to imagine their conversations. Whatever it is that they’re talking about, there is a LOT of cackling and laughing going on.. except for the blue jays, it sounds like they’re full of joy. When it’s a little windy out, I close my eyes and the sound of the wind blowing the leaves on my big oak tree actually sounds like waves coming in from the ocean. I LOVE this sound.. if I sit quietly long enough to relax and let go of the tension in my neck and shoulders, I start to feel like I’m sitting on the beach. Listening to the waves. Soaking up some vitamin D. Increasing my risk of skin cancer… I can sit out there for hours.

We have had such a mild winter and it’s really starting to warm up. I find myself getting more and more anxious for my haven (heaven) on earth! I’m going to put down some weed-n-feed this weekend to get rid of the nuisances that are showing themselves around the yard. I picked up some tulips and daffodils to add to my front flower beds and I’m going to add a vertical herb garden to my back fence (possibly an unfinished project just waitin’ to happen!) . I’m really a novice gardener but I love working in the beds, planting and weeding. It’s so gratifying to look at what used to be a flat mess of nothing and see my fractal design shaping and changing every year.

I call it a fractal design because I love how the garden was described in the book, The Shack. It looks like a randomness of plants, shrubs, flowers, and vines but it all works together to make my beautiful mess. Much like the garden in the book, it reminds me of myself and my life.

I have some tough little dianthus and snapdragons that come back bigger and better each year, if I take care of them. I have some prickly rose bushes that tear me up if I don’t watch myself around them. The gladiola are spread throughout the garden because I didn’t think it through how they would get beat up terribly by our Oklahoma wind when I planted them, so I’ve filled in around them with some other things to help support them when the blooms get tall. There are some nice leafy hostas that fill in some of the bare areas and help support those tall gladiola. Then there are my mums that bloom in the spring and the fall, and they get so heavy with blooms that they want to fall apart if I let them get to big for their own good.

So, how am I like my garden? Dianthus – I’m a bright little flower that gets bigger and better, if I take care of myself. Roses – I have been through some prickly times and more often that not, there has been a sweet-smelling reward at the end of those times. Gladiola/Mums – If I let myself get to “big” and have no support, I’ll end up flat on my blossoms.. but with my Jesus and my Godly Gal Pals, I get the support I need to bloom. Hostas – I’m good at filling in and supporting others when needed… I add a little somethin’ somethin’ to those around me. Even the pesky weeds in my gardens have a place in my life. Usually they get yanked up out of the ground but sometimes I have to take the time and dig them out, making sure I get to the root of the problem.

‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: On the day I cleanse you from all your sins, I will resettle your towns, and the ruins will be rebuilt. The desolate land will be cultivated instead of lying desolate in the sight of all who pass through it. They will say, “This land that was laid waste has become like the garden of Eden; the cities that were lying in ruins, desolate and destroyed, are now fortified and inhabited.” ~ Ezekiel 36:33-35

I can’t do this life on my own. None of us can. We need to be nurtured and tended to. We need pruning and weeding.. and we need support from our God and Jesus to carry us through the hard times. Some days we need to sit in the sun, just soaking Him in. We all need some good godly friends to have our back when we are getting blown over by life. I don’t think you can have too many supportive friends… they help you to keep blooming ;).

Cover of "The Shack"

Cover of The Shack

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