Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Girl Talk

I stumbled upon a great website.  It is Girl Talk.  It is a mentoring program where high school girls mentor middle school girls.  I think this is just the greatest program.  It is meant to express to young girls that they are not alone and the high school girls guide them through issues that make being a young girl difficult.

I have three teenagers and although no one is free from drama in school years, I, or I guess I should say they, have been fortunate not to be on either end of any kind of bullying.  You can't get through school without a few problems, but my kids haven't had to deal with the torture and abuse some kids have had to. 

Kids don't realize that what they see as fun and just being a kid through mistreating classmates has a lasting effect.  I guess they don't have the experience and maturity to look ahead and understand the damage they do to another human being by being mean. 

I love this program because of bullying issues, but it is great for younger girls to have someone to look up to that has recently dealt with the same things they are going through.  In most homes, both parents work and so many times kids have a hard time communicating with their parents what they are going through.  This program is a great way to reach out and keep young girls going in a positive direction.  This website doesn't need my advertisement.  They have reached so many young girls, I am just really impressed with what they are doing and want to share with others who may see a need in their school, church, community for this kind of program.

We are in an advanced technological world.  Fortunately and unfortunately, we can share our thoughts with many, many people in just a few seconds.  Through social media, we can speak out and say what we want but I don't think it is always a good thing.  There are positive occasions when you need a prayer chain or you want to share good news, keep up with family and friends far away, but too many times the positive can quickly turn negative.  You don't have to be face to face or on the phone anymore to have a debate about current events and topics.  Because of social media and technology, I think there are a lot of miscommunications and it can be easy to misinterpret what someone has said.

I am not always the most strict parent, but I have one rule in my house that my kids know I take very seriously.  I am not perfect by any means at all.  I have made my share of mistakes.  I am the oldest of me, my sister, and brother and I was the only one who went away to college.  I had never been "away" before, I was only 45 minutes from home, but I had no supervision.  Well, after two years of enjoying my freedom at their expense, my parents came to the University of Georgia, packed my rear up, and took me home to commute to the school I started at to finally graduate.  I will say I had a hell of a good time, but I acted like a fool. I have made many mistakes in my 42 years, but one thing I can honestly say about myself is I have never been mean to anyone for no reason.  That is my one rule that I have always had for myself, followed, and passed onto my children.  My children are not perfect, but they have followed my rule because they don't understand how and why someone would just mistreat someone else for no reason.  Don't get me wrong, if someone mistreats me or my family for no reason then I will speak up and defend myself.  I have always told my kids to do the same.  I believe in taking up for yourself wholeheartedly.

I think if everyone followed this one rule life would be so much easier and pleasant!

The only thing I really want to say about the Paula Deen issue is it is just such a sad situation. I grew up in a different time than she did.  I was born and raised in Georgia, but I am 42 years old. She is known for her southern roots and that is what has made her brand and why people love her.  Of course, I don't know her personally, but before this came about I would never have thought of her as a mean person and I still don't think she is mean. I remember reading Huckleberry Finn my junior year of high school and before we started my teacher explained to us that the "n" word was in the book and why.  She explained that it was a different time and that we would not be using the word although it was in the book.  I always remembered her explanation and always felt that she very appropriately and eloquently confronted the issue.  She was very respectful and considerate of the students in class that would understandably be offended by reading this book with such a word.  The book is still a very controversial subject as explained in this CBS article.

A person would have to be completely insensitive, and frankly stupid, to not understand why some would find this word offensive.  It is totally understandable. The only thing I don't understand is with it being so offensive why it should be used at all.  By anybody.   My kids have asked me several times why the people who are offended and hurt by it use it.  I don't have an answer for them.  I don't think it is fair to rip this woman and her family business apart if we aren't going to be fair all the way around.  Kids are watching this issue whether we realize it or not.  With social media, internet, and cell phones with access to internet, kids don't miss a thing.  We are sending them a message and we need to be careful what we teach them.

With social media, everyone is writing, tweeting, and expressing their personal opinion on the Paula Deen issue.  I am sure it has started many arguments between friends and people who care about and respect one another. What is most confusing to me about this issue is that tolerance has been something our society has strived for for a long time.  I am worried that while our young generation are watching, we are reacting to and responding to this issue with intolerance and hate.  Rather than using this as an open minded chance to educate and discuss, we are teaching non forgiveness and judgment.  Our world is so different today than it was 50 or more years ago.  I don't think there has ever been such a generational gap in history as today.  We discuss differences in generation and way of life all the time because it has changed so much so fast.

As Christians, we have to show forgiveness.  I know there are many who are understandably offended and hurt and that can't and shouldn't be ignored, but from what I have seen and heard I am just worried that we are showing our youth to treat intolerance with intolerance and responding to "hate" with "hate."

Friday, June 21, 2013

Pope's Good Deed (huh?)

     I guess it is just a small indication of what our world has come to when it makes headline news that the Pope gave up his seat for a young boy with Down Syndrome.  This is a man who is the epitome of goodness.  We would expect him to do the right thing but it is being posted everywhere like it is an unexpected gesture.  I guess it is giving him more of a personal image that he gave up his seat and embraced the boy.
     I am showing my ignorance here, but the thing the Pope was riding on that is supposed to be almost royal looks like part of a pontoon boat.  It even looks like the seat swivels around. 


     It was a really sweet thing, I guess I am just confused why it is such "news" that the Pope did a good thing.  The articles said the boy's shirt might have caught the Pope's eye.  It was given to the boy as a gift from his parish priest. 
     Oh, lord, I hope the late night talk show hosts lets this rest as a good deed and don't take off on jokes.  That will jolt us back into the real world!

Summer With The Kids

Here's to the summer with the kids.
When they drive us to this point,
it's because they started it!

Not my sweet kids of course, but maybe some of you can relate. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Nigella Lawson

Everyone is talking about the photograph of chef Nigella Lawson and her husband Charles Saatchi.  The picture was taken at a London restaurant and in what seemed to be an argument her husband has his hand around her throat. Of course, there are many assumptions and although we don't know the whole/true story, I can't imagine any situation in which a man would have his hand around a woman's throat. So many people are saying it is a public display of abuse and you can only imagine what happens in private. Getting out of a situation like that isn't always as easy as everyone suggests by saying "leave now." 
     It is an almost no brainer for everyone with the opinion she should file for divorce based on this picture. However, it is a very serious issue and it unfortunately comes with a lot of considerations. If it is indeed a kind of relationship that is implied in the photograph it is very unhealthy. I will tell you from my own experience, court systems can be anything but fair. Victims of domestic violence who aren't the one financially in charge fear divorcing someone with obvious control issues. I have known many strong women who wanted out of their situation but had not worked in years, if they ever finished college or began a career to begin with, and felt they could not financially be independent enough to start over.  Not only is it very scary if the victims don't have any kind of property or assets in their name or any kind of credit history of their own, but they worry it can be used against them.
     This kind of situation is never an amicable split. The victim completely pisses off the abuser by standing up to them and they don't ever just try to get along. Victims worry the abuser, out of anger, will try to punish them. The kids are a whole other issue. Many people say that victims of domestic abuse are not being responsible by staying with someone who makes for an unhealthy environment. Well, these abusers have rights in the eyes of the courts. It is equally disappointing as disgusting that their rights are protected. These people are good at getting other people to believe their side and almost make others feel sorry for them. Sometimes these strong victims stay because as long as they are in the home with the abuser and children they have some tiny bit of feeling in control.  If they aren't with them on visitation days/weekends, they can't protect their kids.  It isn't a safe decision for the victims or the kids to stay, but custody/visitation agreements can make it scary for the victims to know they are handing their children over to a violent person. 
     There are ways to prepare and plan to protect yourself as well as your children. This link has very helpful tips.  It can still be hard to keep kids safe because with the issue of  "parent alienation" dads' rights are being protected at times more so than the kids' rights in the attempt to prevent keeping children from a parent.  Victims have to educate themselves and find help they can trust. 
     I have watched Nigella Lawson's cooking show many times and she always presents herself with class and grace. She is also a seemingly intelligent woman. At least I don't believe her children are with her current husband, but a former one. If everyone is right about this assumption, then at least she has more control where her children are concerned.  Some women are fortunate enough to have their own business and or income and if visitation isn't an issue because the spouse isn't the biological father then leaving is a bit more easy.
     Then, you get into the complicated parts of the relationship. These people don't believe they are wrong or have any kind of problem. It makes them feel better to believe it isn't their fault.  They convince themselves the other person pushes their anger to a violent point.  What is even worse is they usually succeed in making the victim believe it also.  This isn't at all true, and telling and making the victim believe it is just another form of abuse.
     There is never a time that domestic violence is acceptable.  There are many forms of abuse and a man doesn't necessarily have to lay a finger on a woman to cause her emotional, mental, and physical abuse.  It can be scary to stay but it can also be scary to leave.  One of the most sad things about this problem is women feel they are weak and that is certainly not the truth. There are many things that make leaving scary especially if a woman doesn't have a strong support system.  There are laws, organizations, and groups in place to help women, but all of those things don't erase the fear of being responsible for yourself and your children. We have to erase the fears and all the reasons women feel they have to stay.  There should only be one choice a victim should have in this situation and we have to make sure it is given to each and every one so there is no hesitation.
     It is such a good thing that domestic abuse is much more talked about today than it used to be.  It isn't such a taboo subject and women and children are being more educated in their options.  As long as there are women hiding behind closed doors, we have more to do.  There will be a lot of talk about Nigella Lawson as fans wait to see what she decides to do.  I just hope it brings about even more talk and awareness.  She will have to watch her situation played out publicly, but a lot of women are going to be watching and looking to her as an example. I hope it is a positive one.

Just As Long As You Call Me

    Kids sure can give people funny names. It doesn't really matter what a grandparent wants to be called. Often, the child decides and it sticks. My mom wanted to be called grandmother. My first two kids worked through the pronunciation, but my third child decided to call her "gaga." He is 14 so he did this before anyone knew of a Lady Gaga. My mom decided to just go with it and all of the rest of the 8 grandchildren have followed my youngest and they call her gaga until they can pronounce Grandmother. My dad is easy, he is Pop. It is what he called his grandfather.

      Grandparents aren't the only victims to nicknames. When my daughter was little she couldn't say my sister's name, Amanda, and so she became "duh" for quite a while. I teased her about that a lot not realizing one day I would get my turn! My older son couldn't say my sister in law's name, Bethany, so she was called FiFi. Of course we call her that every once in a while for fun.

     I think my name is pretty easy, April. Well, my sister's fifth child just turned two 3 months ago and he can say many recognizable names. He gives me the best hugs and kisses but the little stinker won't say my name. Of course it drives me crazy so I keep trying to get him to say it. He is a really smart little thing. I guess he got tired of me bugging him so he decided to shut me up. I, or anyone, now asks who I am and his response is (I tell myself he is trying to say April but it is too clear to anyone listening).... A Butt. If it didn't have such a distinct "t" sound at the end I could tell myself it is his way of saying my name. If it isn't enough that he says it very fast and very clear he has this little grin every time he says it. So, I think it is his way of telling me that's what I have been pestering him all this time to say my name.  I think I am going to be stuck with it for a little while.  It seems to be really funny to everybody else so until they find something else more funny and quit asking him to say it, that will be what he calls me.

       Bad thing is.............. I'll take it!  He can call me whatever he wants to as long as I know he is talking to me! I think he knows that and knows he can get away with about anything where I am concerned!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Real Men Day

I am seeing all the posts on Facebook for Father's Day and I see so many good men and thankful families.  I am one of those thanking God today for all the men in my life and, more importantly, in my kids' lives.

     As I read posts, there are wishes for a great day for so many men with so many titles.  I love my dad so much.  He has always been there for me and taken care of me and I have the security in knowing I can count on him no matter what.  To me, the best thing a dad can give his kids is security.  Security in knowing you will be provided for growing up, security in knowing no matter what you do you are perfect in his eyes, and security in knowing someone has your back and will be there for you in every way.

     Today is Father's Day, but as I see all the titles of men being wished a great day I think we need another day for men called "Real Men Day".  That love and security I am talking about comes from dads, but you don't have to be someone's biological father to give and express that love.  My kids have no relationship with their biological dad but they are hardly lacking a father.  They have my dad, my grandfather, my brother, my brother in law, my uncles, and many other men in the form of friends, coaches, teachers, etc. that have a positive influence and impact on my kids.

     Anybody can be a biological father, but a real man takes his role no matter how big or small in a child's life seriously.  These real men choose to be present in a child's life.  It isn't out of obligation, but a sincere desire to make a difference in a life.  So many times men and women without children are told "you would understand if you had children of your own".  I think that statement is a little unfair.  I think men and women who don't have children bring a fresh, untainted perspective to their relationship with a child.

     I am proud of my children for many, many things, but probably the thing I am most proud of is their relationship with God and their trust in Him. They could be bitter about their situation, but in a way they have been given a gift along with their disappointment.  They truly appreciate the real men in their lives that choose to be there for them in so many ways.  They never take for granted time or acts by these real men because they know there is no obligation but that these men sincerely  care about them. They know God has carefully chosen and put these real men around them and they certainly aren't lacking the security in knowing they are loved and taken care of in so many different ways.

     I really do think we need a Real Men Day to recognize these men who unselfishly put themselves in the lives of kids and make such a positive impact on the people these kids grow up to be.  I can guarantee you, these men don't go unnoticed especially by single moms who very much appreciate their time and participation.  What do you think?

Friday, June 14, 2013

Boy Crazy

     My brother is the youngest of me, my sister and him.  He is seven years younger than me.  I think boys that have older sisters have a special appreciation of women.  I know many guys who don't have sisters that are great guys and very respectful of women, but I just think that guys get a special kind of education watching their sisters and seeing them date.  I know with my own boys I always use their sister in examples like, "how would feel if a guy said that to Sydney?" They see things a little differently when they look at that point of view.

     My brother has a 3 year old little girl that totally has him and her older twin brothers wrapped around her little finger.  I thought this was really funny, but one day last week my younger son had 3 boys over visiting.  They walked over to my mom's to get an ice cream and I came in behind them dropping off something to my dad.  When I came up the driveway, I saw my three year old niece Ella standing at the fence that divides her yard from my mom's. She is such a pretty little thing and has these dimples you can see a mile away.  She also has this expression that when I see it I have to ask her what she is thinking.

     I walked over to the fence and I asked her if she saw Stratton and his friends.  She just grinned and said, "Yeah." I asked her if she thought they were cute and without hesitation she answered "yes." Then, I asked her which was the cutest and and she said, "the one in the green hat." Well, they all three had on green baseball hats.  I pointed that out and then she said "the one with green shorts." That knocked out one, but two had on green shorts.  I knew she knew what she was doing because besides being extremely smart she still had her up to something expression on her sweet little face.  Before I could say anything else, she giggled and said, "the one with the grey shirt." We have a winner!

     I work with my dad and brother and the next day I was telling my brother about this.  He didn't say a lot, but we were a little busy.  I didn't think much about but he evidently did.  He said something later joking with my kids about me encouraging her to be boy crazy.  I didn't have the heart to tell him she didn't need my encouragement.  She was taking it all in before I said a word!

     Being just like any other little brother, Ty loves to tease and aggravate me.  We have gotten older, but that is one thing that hasn't changed.  I love it though. He is quick witted and always funny.  My youngest is like him in that way and I love it!  He really likes to mess with me while working.  I think I am going to buy this for Ella and hold on to it until she turns 13 and give it to her for her birthday.  Just to mess with Ty!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Did She Take It?

     I say it all the time, but I love my family.  I am so blessed and don't feel like I can say it enough.  I love being a mom more than anything in the world, but I love being an aunt too.  I have 3 nieces and 5 nephews.  We all live on the same street so I get to see them a lot.  I work very hard at my relationship with each of them.  They are all so different and I honestly couldn't possibly love them more if they were my kids.

     They are so funny.  They don't miss a thing and even when you think they aren't paying attention, they are. My kids' and my situation is really confusing for all of them.  I am the oldest of me, my sister, and brother, and my kids are the three oldest grandchildren.  My nieces and nephews range from 2 to 11 years old.  I have been divorced for 5 years and my ex hasn't seen his kids all this time so even the oldest doesn't really remember him being around.  They randomly ask me who my husband is or who my kids' dad is.  It is always really sweet when they ask because I can see in their eyes they can't understand why my kids don't have a dad.  They occasionally ask me if I will ever get married again.  Like I said, it is so sweet when they ask and I know it has to be really hard for them to even begin to understand why there isn't a dad in my house.  I love that they worry about me and my kids.

     My older son will be home from football camp today and I am so glad to have all my kids under one roof tonight.  I said to my dad today that I don't know what I will do when they are grown and out of the house.  Well, I don't have to worry because my nephew, Timothy, spoke up and said "you can live with us, we have an extra bedroom in the basement."  It was so sweet. 

     We went on a little vacation with my sister, her husband, and kids for Spring Break.  We have fun with them without even leaving our street, but trips are also an adventure!  We went to Gatlinburg and Dollywood.  It was a lot of fun.  We were at dinner one night and the waitress was obviously not happy to see 8 kids.  She asked for our drink order and we had been walking all day and I ordered a beer.  I changed my last name on my license and I had the temporary one with me that I had been using the whole trip.  I showed it any time I used my debit card, checking in the hotel, and everywhere else at home.  It had not been a problem anywhere, but this lady wouldn't take it.  It was pretty clear she didn't want to wait on us anyway so my sister said why don't we go somewhere else.  We walked out and all agreed it might have been a blessing. It was the only place with nobody in there and no wait and there was a bit of a smell, but anyway we went across the street. 

     My little 6 year old nephew, Macalister, had been asking me earlier that day about my situation.  We sat together a few times and talked while walking and I could tell he was curious but I think he felt sorry for me at the same time.  He has a really good personality and sense of humor.  He says things all the time that crack me up.  I have a funny story about him and cheesecake.  Anyway, he was sitting by me at the first restaurant and when we went across the street he sat next to me again.  The waitress comes over and again I order a beer. Of course she asked me for my I.D. and I showed it to her. As she hands it back to me and before she can say anything, he looks up with his sweet blue eyes and definitely loud enough for her to hear says, "Did she take it?"  My sister was sitting across from me and I thought she was going to die!  It may have been a "you had to be there" story, but it is one we are still laughing at! 

     I could just see his little mind thinking, she has had a hard time, just give her a beer!  I just love each and every one of them for worrying about me, loving me, and just being the funny, sweet little people they are!  We are going to have a lot of fun raising all these little characters.  Oh, and my sweet niece Skylar that is named after me looks after me too.  She keeps wanting to put me on "The Bachelorette" but that is a whole other post!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

A Woman's Work Is Never Done

  I think that to truly appreciate motherhood in general you have to look at the different generations of moms and how the role has evolved.  Years ago, women weren't encouraged to go to school, have careers, or do anything but become a wife and mom.  Keeping the house up and taking care of the children completely fell on the woman.  Chores weren't shared and men were almost seen as less manly if they did help or contribute to any womanly duties.

     Skipping ahead, most moms work today.  Stay at home moms are almost criticized and seen as non ambitious because they didn't want to further themselves.  I was a stay at home mom for years and I wouldn't trade a second of that time for any kind of accomplishment in the workplace.  You can educate yourself in many ways without being a full time college student.  Fortunately today you can get a degree on the computer without ever leaving home. The only advice I will give stay at home moms is that it is worth your time learning a trade, getting some kind of a degree to have to fall back on in case of many situations that may leave you being financially responsible for you and your children.

     The women in my family became moms at very young ages. I feel blessed to have grown up this way because I benefitted from having older generations of women around me growing up.  I lost my great-grandmother, MeMe, 3 years ago.  I still have one great-grandmother living very close by in a nursing home.  I think I appreciate the generational differences in mothering because I grew up with many examples and tons of advice.

     I remember one year at Thanksgiving, I think my kids were 1, 3, and 5, and my MeMe said something I still remember today.  She said that if you expect to keep a husband you need to keep yourself up and look a certain way when they get home.  I knew she didn't mean it as harsh as it sounded, but her generation was the vacuuming in pearls, hair always done, make up on housewives.  I remember saying back to that that it is unfair for a woman to keep a house all day and tend to kids and have to make sure she looked "presentable" when her man came home.  I said if a man doesn't appreciate the fact that you have dinner on the table and you have taken care of his children all day at the sacrifice of a shower, which would have been considered a treat, then forget him.  (***Remember I am now a single mom.  She was widowed so I think she knew what she was talking about!***)  It is simply a generational thing.

     Things are so different today.  Not only are both parents forced to work, but the chores have to be shared. With that being said, chores are not assigned to gender either.  A woman is expected to do man's work as a man is expected to change diapers, cook, clean, and everything else that was once considered woman's work.

     I think moms today are blessed to have many choices.  I am sure there were a lot of women years ago who wanted a career, but it wasn't accepted.  Today, a woman has many choices and if anything stay at home moms are criticized for doing what was socially accepted for many, many years.  What do you think?  What are generational differences you appreciate or disagree with?

This is my MeMe and my great Aunt Kay.  My cousin, Laura, (Aunt Kay's daughter), is a year older than me.  Aunt Kay has been a single mom since Laura was really little.  I grew up watching her make sacrifices and putting Laura first.  I paid attention to everything she did, but sadly, I don't think I truly appreciated how she has lived her life as a single mom until I became one myself.  I admire and love her very much and she did a great job.  My cousin Laura is one of the most confident, smart, independent women I know and she is raising two great boys!  She is blessed to have a great husband and she has an amazing relationship with her mom because of what her mom put into that relationship.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Plus One For Technology

     Summer just isn't the same as an adult as it was when you were a kid.  Obviously, being a kid is much easier than being a responsible adult, but even kids today don't have it like when those of us over 40 were kids.

     We didn't worry about leaving on a bicycle and our parents not knowing where we were.  There was no texting or cell phones to check in. It got dark, you heard your name being called, or you got hungry, then you went home.We lived in creeks and didn't think twice about snakes or deep areas.  Well, all those snakes that shot out from banks and under rocks probably explains my fear of them today.  You could sleep out in the backyard, or even in a treehouse.  Today, we don't even think about sleeping in the house without a burglar alarm.


     Today, kids can't have as much freedom because of safety reasons, and they don't even seem to have much of a summer with year round sports and summer reading.  I am sorry, but whoever came up with summer reading should be shot.  I loved school, but you have to have a "mental break".  It is kind of like when I leave my TV on too long.  Eventually, it is going to reboot and take a break.  If kids can't retain what they have learned all year over what is a very short vacation then they just didn't get it in the first place. Maybe I am being selfish here, but I have to keep my kids academically on track for ten months out of the year.  I need the mental break!

     When I was a kid, we didn't have fast food restaurants everywhere.  I know not every kid grew up loving fresh vegetables, I am just weird like that, but that was part of summer.  After bike riding, swimming, dodging poisonous snakes all day, sometimes a tomato sandwich with a side of cantaloupe really hit the spot.  And, if you weren't crazy about veggies, that's okay.  If you grew up in the south like me you had biscuits and cornbread as a main food group.  I don't know who invented breakfast for dinner but we should have had them over the summer reading idea too!

     We also never had any idea of being Vitamin D deficient.  We never blocked it out by sunscreen.  You got your first good burn of the summer then you were pretty good the rest of season.  I also think friendships were different.  Sometimes it is hard to determine a tone or meaning in a text.  It is totally different when you are speaking to someone face to face and have eye contact.  Also, gestures like a pat on the back or just a sympathizing smile or look can't be done by text or email. 

     Technology has made a lot of things more convenient, but I really think things were easier and more simple before we had so many devices.

     This is just one example, but me and the kids rented a movie the other night.  Okay, it was a big convenience having On Demand where in just a few clicks we had our movie.  It knocked out having to drive to the video store, finding a movie (especially if it was new and everybody else in the county had rented all of the copies) and then putting it in the machine ourselves.  Plus one for technology.  Although, those trips to the store could almost serve as entertainment.  We didn't have texting, snap chat, twitter, etc.  so it was fun running into friends at the store you might not had seen since the last day of school.

     We started our movie and all was good.         For the first ten or fifteen minutes.          Then, I hear my daughter's cell phone that she has a text.  I guess they were all three beginning technology withdrawal because I look around and find one texting and two on iPads.  Maybe I am just not good at multitasking, but how can you WATCH a movie and iPad at the same time?!

Well, I feel like I wasted $5 on a movie, but at least we didn't spend any gas money going to get it!


Sunday, June 2, 2013

Same 'Ol, Same "Ol...........well, not quite!

It has been almost a year since I have posted anything.  In a way, it only seems like yesterday, but so much has happened in the meantime.  A year in the life of a mom is full of many events, situations, and memories.  When you are a single mom, those things can be a little more complicated.  There are many dynamics.  Sometimes a mom is parenting alone because God called her partner home early, sometimes two people can parent better if they aren't married, sometimes other adults are thrown in the picture, and sometimes the other parent is here, physically on this earth, but no where in the lives of his/her children.  You get the idea, when you take on the title of single parent there is nothing easy or simple about the title or situation.

     My situation hasn't changed in the last year in the way that I am still my kids' only parent, but a few other things have changed.  My daughter just finished her first year of college, my son's football team won the state championship against the odds (a sad, sweet, inspiring story), and my youngest is headed to high school.  It has only been a year, but with two in high school in the fall and a college sophomore I feel like I aged more than a year!

     The biggest and best change is that this time last year they still had their dad's name.  However, they finished their school year with my maiden name.  That is a whole other post, but let's just say Shakespeare (I feel so inadequate correcting him!) had it wrong.  A name can sometimes mean everything.  I can understand judges being cautious with changing names of very young children, but when you have 12 year old children and older (my youngest is 14) that can explain why they want to do it and what it would mean to them, then I feel like the choice should be theirs.

By the way~   Shakespeare was wrong about this too!


This one I will go along with!


And this!


     One thing that hasn't changed is my addiction to TV.  If I could only get paid to critique TV shows.  Well, good thing I can't I watch too much as it is!  The other things that are the same are my family living on the street having a blast with all of these kids and my love for God.  I honestly don't know how anyone makes it in this world without Him!