We got a dog!

There were so many nights he would come home from a shift and he didn’t have words to express what he had seen or been through. He just wanted a dog to come and lie across his lap and be there…something to pet and hold and not have to say a word.

…and Thunder is his name! Who could have known what a blessing a little miniature poodle could be! I am totally a big dog person, or at lease I was until this guy came into our lives. Growing up with dogs I knew the work it takes and I was NOT looking forward to having dog hair on everything. The constant sweeping and sniffling from my dog allergy did not make having a dog one of my top priorities, but my husband wanted something to help him through those tough days. There were so many nights he would come home from a shift and he didn’t have words to express what he had seen or been through. He just wanted a dog to come and lie across his lap and be there…something to pet and hold and not have to say a word. At first I wasn’t on board but the more I saw those nights and the stress the LEO life was having on our family I gave in and the search began.

I still wanted a big dog. I knew there would be hair (everywhere) but as we did our research we started looking for a dog that did not shed and offered the least problems for my allergies. I went to the local shelter and we searched rescues all over the U.S. trying to find the right dog. I had friends looking and family wondering what we were thinking! Then the text came. One of my good friends had a dog she thought would be perfect for our needs and she found him in the one location I hadn’t looked…Craig’s List!!! I called the lady that had Thunder and got the low-down on him. He was almost 2 and was living in a home with two young kids with #3 on the way. The owner didn’t want a dog anymore so she asked this friend to take him. The friend already had two dogs of her own so as much as she liked him she just didn’t want three dogs. She sent a picture of a fluffy-headed little pup so we decided to meet.

We met at a local Petco so we all felt safe and when we walked in I saw a lady with a scrawny, shaved, black, over-sized-rat looking thing that somewhat resembled the dog in the picture. I introduced myself and she explained that after the picture was taken the kids had gotten gum in his hair and he had to be shaved to get it out. Wow…this was NOT the dog I wanted and I actually told my husband I didn’t want him, but the boys and my husband were already hooked! The smell of cigarette smoke and lack of hair was all I saw, but they obviously saw something more in this little guy and that night in November 2016, Thunder became part of our family. We took the trembling pup into our arms, bought him a new harness (I was not keeping the one that smelled like cigarette smoke!), a bed, some food and a few toys and headed home with the newest member of our family.

Police Pup
Right at home!

We had been considering names since our search began but somehow, despite the size and look of this little tyke, Thunder fit, both as his name and into the hole we didn’t know had been missing in our hearts. Today I can’t imagine our lives without him. Thunder sleeps at our feet, usually with my younger son, but sometimes with me. He knows there are four of us in the house and he is never settled for the night until he knows everyone is home. He actually paces and sits as lookout (as shown in today’s heading picture) waiting until every one of us is home safely. Only then does he rest peacefully. He waits outside the bathroom doors for us and when one of us is gone he knows and will sit by that bedroom door wondering “where are they??” It is amazing how much he takes care of us. He knows when someone isn’t felling well or something is bothering one of us. He stays at the foot of the bed (actually ON my feet) when I’m not feeling well and today is hanging with my older son, who has been sick for several weeks. He has been following me for the past 15 minutes as I did tasks around the house and he finally stopped to eat only after I was seated back at the computer. He is our protector and even if he is only 10 lbs., he has the fight of a lion and will do whatever it takes to keep us safe. My husband is out bowhunting right now, so after doing his rounds to check on the other three of us, Thunder has resumed his post on the arm of his blue recliner, faithfully watching out the window for my husband to return and that is where he will sit until he hears the garage doors open and knows that his family of four is all safely home.

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What an amazing visual reminder Thunder is of the way our Heavenly Father is always aware of our needs and where we are. It is so easy to forget in the craziness of life, that just like Thunder, God knows our every need. He is there with us in good times and bad and even when we don’t have the words to express what we are feeling, He is there, like Thunder on my husband’s lap, to just BE THERE for us with no expectations! No words are needed. All we have to do is lean on Him and he already knows what we need.

I know God’s almighty love for us is much greater than what Thunder can provide but I don’t mind the cuddly little reminder every now and then, lying across my feet and just being there for me. What a warm feeling I get both from Thunder’s love and from the love provided on a much larger scale by my Father in Heaven who is also always watching over me, and my family. He’s there for you, too! All you have to do is ask.

Joshua 1:9 ~ Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

 

A Diamond in the works…

I am not dealing with seeking the approval of one specific individual. I am struggling with finding the approval of MYSELF.

I’ve had a revelation. For years I’ve been told to “not care what other people think.” “It’s what’s on the inside that counts.” “It only matters what the people you love think.” Well, this morning I’ve decided that all of those people, for all of those years are wrong. It DOES matter what other people think, but not in the way that most of us think about.

If I love a certain blue shirt and want to wear it, but my friend says she hates it…it DOES matter what she thinks. What she thinks helps define what I think and how I am going to choose to think about myself and value myself in my own eyes. If I let her opinion change my mind and I don’t wear my favorite shirt just because she doesn’t like it, it has changed how I allow other’s opinions to affect me. On the other hand, if I choose to disregard her disapproval and go with what makes me happy I am telling myself that I matter! I am choosing to value my own opinion and stand my ground and this will eventually influence how I allow what others think mold me into the person I am meant to be. I have dealt with self-worth for years. I have always cared what other people think of me. It has had both good and bad influences on my life and I’ve had to learn to evaluate the source of opinions and decide whether I valued the person that was giving the advice.

I grew up in a home with a father who provided the primary income and a mother who, along with taking care of the three of us kids, worked side jobs to bring more money in. She never worked full-time out of the house and was always there for us when we needed her. My husband also grew up in this type of home. His father had the income and his mother raised the four kids. She has done seasonal and other jobs but was always available for the kids fulltime. We grew up in a town of about 900 people and I am happy to say we had about the best childhoods kids could ask for. There were bumps along the way, as in any family, but we had it good.

But, I am a mom of a different generation. Women’s liberation movements tell women they can do it all. The changes I have seen in the past 20 years and advances even before that show the strides our country has made in giving women almost every opportunity a man has. We can vote, we can have almost any job out there, we can have babies and a job or we can choose to be a career woman and live the single life. It is all up to us. The problem this brings for someone like me is I’m stuck in the middle of a giant revolution for women and I just don’t know quite where I am supposed to fit.

I want to be a mom but I want to work. Family values and the way I was raised tell me I should put a career on hold and raise my family first. Society tells me that I can have it all and I should do what I want and the family can just follow. This is where my beginning statement plays a vital role in my life today…IT DOES MATTER WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK. I am not dealing with seeking the approval of one specific individual. I am struggling with finding the approval of MYSELF.

I want to be the best mom I can. I want to be there for my boys and I want to give them everything they need, the traditionalist shines through and tells me to put off working and be there for my family…but then the feelings of wanting to be successful and important lurk in. There is nothing wrong, in my opinion, with a woman working. I WANT TO WORK! But I also want to be a full-time mom! I’m stuck between that proverbial “rock and a hard place” and I’m feeling the squeeze.

I see many women who work outside of the home and raise their families very successfully. But I also see the difference it makes in the kids. I have many friends who stay at home full time and many that home school. I also have many friends that work and balance the rigors of daycare, family and a career. Each woman I know is strong in her own way and I respect each of them for the way they are handling their situation but I find myself stuck in the middle wanting it both ways.

I am not here to judge anyone. I am not here to tell anyone at home that they are missing out by not working and I am definitely not here to condemn those who are working. I “get” both sides. I have been working on my college degrees online as I raise my children. I have spent many nights, up until 2 am writing papers only to get up at 6 to get the kids moving. I have homeschooled in the past and right now I have both boys in public school. I have lived both ways and I love them both. What I need is to find that peace that tells me it’s ok. Right at this very moment I am taking 7 graduate credits, working part time, doing in-school student observations for a class, being a wife, being a mom and trying to do it all. Some days I honestly don’t know how I’m going to get it all done, so that is when I stop. I stop to think about those people who do matter to me and how I feel about what they think about me right now. Do I want them to see me and say, “Oh, look at her doing it all! She’s so successful.” “She’s such a blessing.” “We can always count on her.” Actually, yes, that is what I want but at what expense. My stress level lately has been sky high. When I just stop and take a breath I realize I have to dig deep inside and find how I feel about myself right now. If I don’t like how I’m feeling, there’s probably something wrong with the big picture. Life shouldn’t be about working to please others or appear important so they’ll find value in you. It’s about being the best “YOU” you can be. For me right now I think it’s time to just stop and take a good look at what’s “on my plate” and if I can “carry it.” If I have too much on my plate all it’s going to do is wear me out or ultimately break the plate and that’s a lot harder to fix than it is to just take something off the plate and maybe come back for it later.

Ladies, and especially girls, don’t let what you think others want from you become so important that you forget to decide what you really want out of life. Dig deep and find what makes you happy and chase after that with all of your might. I will never regret the years I’ve had at home with my boys and that number is getting smaller and smaller. My older son is a freshman which means I’ve only got a few years left before he’s out on his own. I am proud of myself for completing my Bachelor’s degree (at 33 years old). I have taught my boys that it’s never too late to learn and that hard work pays off. I’ve also shown them that I can balance between pursuing my dreams and being their mom. That’s where I am finding my true self-worth. Sometimes I need to just take a break like this and get things typed out to really see what’s going on in my heart. Emotions pour out and when I see what I’ve written it reflects who I am and what I find important.

I’m going to keep working on finishing my Master’s degree. I’m going to keep showing my boys that hard work pays off, but I’m not going to let the things that I think others are looking for in me determine my happiness. My happiness is found within these four walls, with my husband and my sons and with what works for US. I’m going to push through this semester, somehow, and do it because I want to and not because society tells me I need to. I’m going to keep on keeping on and do it for the right reasons. I do care what other’s think of me but I’m going to let that be a matter of helping determine who my friends are and not who decides what I do with my life. And most of all I can rest peacefully, even among the high levels of stress, because I know I was created by a loving God who doesn’t care what degree I have or what type of house I live in…He cares about what’s in my heart…

Psalm 139:14

14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Marvelous are your works;
my soul knows it very well.

Time to continue on with my day and get it all done, but now with a more joyful heart, because I’m not doing it for the praises of anyone else. I’m doing it for me and my family.

Sometimes beautiful things come from the results of time under great stress…just look at a diamond!

diamonds-loose-certified-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picture of diamonds from:

Follow your Heart photo from:

Career and family photo from:

IT’S WHO WE ARE, IT’S WHAT WE DO

Helping people is part of my inner being, it’s who I am, it’s what I do. But sometimes it all catches up with me and I just need to sit down and let my mind stop spinning.

 

IT’S WHO WE ARE, IT’S WHAT WE DO… Sometimes life just gets crazy. I am a people pleaser. I like to make other people’s lives easier and I tend to put my own health and sanity on the back burner to make sure I do all I can to help others. I love serving. Helping people is part of my inner being, it’s who I am, it’s what I do. But sometimes it all catches up with me and I just need to sit down and let my mind stop spinning.

Balance street signs

 

I just started a new part-time job last week. Being the new office manager of a small credit union is a new adventure I’m eager to embark on. Three hours a day, three days a week still leaves time for me to be there for my family. I have a few days off to do homework and balance my other jobs being a wife and mother. I substitute teach when I want to and I am also finishing my master’s degree. I am also the Preschool director at our local church. When I do think of each role I am in individually I am fine, but when something big happens in each of these roles all in the same day it gets to be a bit overwhelming. Today when I got home from another day of training and learning to do the important monthly paperwork at the credit union I had a phone call for a second interview as a substitute teacher at a local school district. Getting this extra part-time job would mean I would no longer need to drive half an hour or more to substitute teach. I never expected to get this callback so after placing all of my roles in front of me in an imaginary puzzle I started to realize just how many coals I have in the fire and I got a bit flustered. I am excited for each role I play but there I sat evaluating the importance and my desire to be in each role and I found myself having so many emotions I almost wanted to just sit there and cry. I wasn’t sad at all, but all of the stress of trying to please everyone in each of these roles was too much to take all at once. Looking at my calendar for the week makes me wonder how I can do it all and it was only 1:30 on Monday afternoon! Wife, mother, student, director, office manager, teacher, and so much more…how was I going to do it all?

That’s where my LEO comes in. He is the one that helps me find balance. Being a law enforcement officer, my husband has to juggle many things all at one time. Talking to someone in person as he has voices talking to him through his ear piece, writing reports and responding to calls, keeping tabs on where his partners are and often times driving while always being aware of his surrounds and what is going on around him…it is what he does, it is who he is.  He has trained. He has studied. He has practiced. He is amazing at what he does. He is continuously taking in as much as he can to learn to do his job to the best of his ability. He learns from his and other people’s mistakes and always strives to do what he can to serve his family, his church, his partners and his city. He also has many irons in the fire.

He is part of my inspiration and one of the reasons I am able to continue when I come home on my Monday and wonder just how I’m going to get it all done. He is my support. He listens when I need an ear. He gives advice when I need it. He is my advisor, my psychologist, my shoulder to lean on, my wall to bounce ideas off of, but most of all he is my partner in life…the one person I can count on NO MATTER WHAT. He is the father to my children, my partner in life, my protector, my husband and most of all, my example of how to live out the life God has called us to with honor and integrity. He is by no means perfect, but I don’t need perfect, I just need someone who is always there for me whether I’m having one of my “Mondays” or a day of calm relaxation.

…I let these words sit on the screen this week and now that it is Friday and the craziness is almost over I look back and wonder how I got through it all. The number one thing that I can think of is I wasn’t afraid to let someone know how I was feeling. My someone was my husband this time. Some days I call and talk to one of my sisters-in-law. Actually, Monday afternoon I Facetimed with my brother’s wife and got to see the adorable face of my 9-month-old niece. Just taking that break to let someone know I was “going crazy” and having them listen helped in more ways than they will ever know. It helped me take a break, sit back, take a deep breath and trudge on through the hectic week. Letting someone in on what we are feeling can be hard but I have learned over the years that when I keep it all bottled up nothing good ever comes from it. It is the days that I do let someone know I’m struggling and just let it out that I’m able to pick myself back up and continue through the stresses of life.

not going to be easy coin

 

I am a servant. I also have to remember that I am a willing servant. I am choosing to do all of these things, even when it can get overwhelming. I love my life, as crazy as it can get and I don’t want to give up any of the coals I have in the fire. I am choosing to keep them all burning but I am also learning that sometimes I can let some of them sit because they’ll still be there when I get back from tending to the business at hand. I have partners in life that can help me know when I need to just let them all simmer for a bit and take time for myself, but it is because of those people in my life that I am able to let it all out and then continue this journey we call life. My husband, my sisters-in-law, my children…we all get ourselves into these tough days but we aren’t alone and we help each other through. As my husband told me…IT’S WHO WE ARE, IT’S WHAT WE DO. But it sure is good to know I don’t have to do it alone!

 

Images found at:
http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/agree-terms.php?id=10088174
http://theimagineproject.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Screen-Shot-2014-03-25-at-8.59.12-PM.png

 

 

 

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