How I Get Through The Hard Times

How I Get Through The Hard Times

Since sharing about our daughter leaving home I have been overwhelmed with phone calls, emails and messages of love and support.  Thank you.  Believe it or not, I did not expect that response at all.  God has spoken to me through each of you and I am indescribably grateful.

And there are so, so many other mothers who are going through, or have been through, the same thing.  My heart breaks for all of you.  I made a list of your names and I am praying for each name in the morning before I run.  You’re my new tribe.

Through this difficult time it is more important than ever that I take good care of myself.

health01

As much as I don’t feel like eating, when I do eat I am sure to make it healthy foods and not junk.  I am staying away from sugar and carbs and eating plenty of veggies.  And I am still taking my walk every morning and spending that time listening to praise music and letting God lift me up.  Part of me wants to not care about anything, but the prayer pulls me back to the truth…..that I am still responsible to take care of myself for not only me, but my husband, kids and the friends that God has so mercifully given me.

I am also using my essential oils like they are liquid gold.  They have been an invaluable help with getting through the shock and pain.  I wanted to share with you what I am using, in case any of you need it someday (but I sure hope not!).

I have a great YouTube video talking about all of this as well, so if you want more thoughts head over and watch!

1. Peace & Calming – When it first happened…like the first hour….I was crying so hard I couldn’t breathe.  I was gasping for air when my husband found me and said, “You’re having a panic attack….you need an oil!”  I couldn’t think of what I needed, so he ran into the bathroom where I keep them out on a shelf and he grabbed the Peace & Calming (in my diluted roll-on bottle).  He handed it to me and I just started rubbing it all over my face and trying to breathe.  Within seconds my breathing settled down, I stopped crying as hard and I could think a little more clearly.

2. Valor, Tranquil, Joy and White Angelica – Once the panic attack stopped I still couldn’t think of what oils to use, so I texted my good friend and asked her advice.  She recommended these four.  James got them for me and I started putting them on….didn’t matter where….my wrists, neck, chest.  I don’t really remember.  I just had to get them on my body.  It helped a LOT.  After a minute of using them I stopped crying and was able to think.  I could feel my mind settling down and starting to cope.  After that I was able to go to talk with my other children and spend time with them.  I put both Peace & Calming and Valor in the diffuser and ran it all day to help the whole family.

3. Valor, Joy, Forgiveness – These are the three that I have used most over the past two weeks.  Valor helps me gather strength to move forward and deal with the emotional roller coaster, Joy helps me remember that there is always something to be thankful for and lifts my spirits, Forgiveness is known to help release hurtful memories and move beyond emotional barriers.  Boy do I need that one!

Sometimes, out of the blue, my heart will just start hurting (like physical pain so bad I once thought I might be having a heart attack).  When that happens I grab the Valor and rub it right where the pain is.  It’s been a balm for me.

valor01

4. Lavender and Peace & Calming -  At bedtime I use these both on myself and in the diffuser.  It’s helping me sleep and not let the thoughts take over in the middle of the night.  I have also been putting it on the kids when they seem unsettled.

To sum up, I have used a LOT of Peace & Calming.  But there are many other oils that are great for anxiety and pressure.  When I am ready, I am going to try some of those.  But for now, while we are still dealing with the initial shock I am sticking to these.

When you sign up with Young Living and order the Premium Standard Kit  you will get Valor, Peace & Calming, Lavender and Joy.  I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t had these on hand.  Having my oils right by my side, diffusing in the house and ready to use on my kids when they are feeling stressed and upset has been a blessing for us all!

Lastly, I spend a TON of time praying and reading the Bible.  There is so much comfort and wisdom there that I feel like I can’t get enough of it.

Thanks for stopping by!  Don’t forget there’s more info about this on YouTube.

I am not a doctor, these opinions are from my own experiences.  If you feel you need emotional support please see a physician and make wise health decisions.

The Hardest Post I Ever Wrote

The Hardest Post I Ever Wrote

cry02

So, this is gonna be hard.  I don’t want to write it and I wish I could just hide instead of sharing.  I am sure the post will end up being too long and really difficult to read.  I am sorry for that.  If you don’t want to see inside my very wounded heart then I recommend that you go ahead now and click through to somewhere else.

I am too raw and hurting to be delicate.

In telling you about what is going on here, I want to try to share my own life with you without exposing others.  Their story is their own to tell.  I can only tell you mine.

OK….so here goes.  {deep breath::::feel like throwing up}

On Wednesday, September 24th my life was changed forever.  My 18 year old daughter left home.  She gave us no warning, no signs that it was coming.  She didn’t try to talk to us about it or work with us.  She, with the help of my parents, just left.  And with her she took pieces of my heart that had been torn to shreds.  I cried harder that day than I ever knew was possible.  So hard that it scared my little boys and I had to go in my closet and put a pillow over my face to muffle the sobs.

We have spent the past 11 days trying to make head or tails out of what happened.  Why did she leave?  How can we help her?  What will happen next?

We got no real answers.  Only more confusion as some of the circumstances unfolded.  We discovered that my parents had been planning this with her without telling us (as you can imagine, an additional part of my grief is not only the loss of my daughter but the total end of the relationship with my parents).  We also learned that she has been telling exaggerated stories about what is going on inside our home to a godless woman who has been giving her foolish counsel and encouraging her to deceive us and get out.

These decisions our daughter has made are unimaginable to me and completely out of character from the girl I know.

Believe me, James and I are all too aware that we are not innocent in this.  We played a part in this problem.  We made mistakes and we have apologized to her, genuinely repented and are asking the Holy Spirit to guide us through this.  It feels impossible to think rationally so we have sought counsel from men who give us Scripture to build us up.  We are taking each step carefully and trying to hold on to the One who knows us better than we know ourselves.  I don’t want to paint myself as perfect here.  I am as imperfect as I can imagine anyone being.

We did have a meeting with our daughter about a week after she left and it became obvious when we agreed to give her everything she was asking for that she did not intend to come home.  She had sent us a list of things she wanted to change at home, but because we agreed to all of the changes and she still won’t come home….it seems there must be something deeper there that she isn’t telling us.

I ask myself, “How can I help her if she won’t tell me the truth?” 

And I beg,  “Lord, please help me forgive the betrayal and react with your righteousness and love.”

Yesterday she came and got all of her things.  That tore out more of my heart and if I am being completely honest, threw me into a tailspin that it feels like I will never recover from.  I can’t stop crying and I can’t turn off the thoughts of pain and desperation.  Sleep will not come; I don’t eat; I can’t focus.

But I know the truth.  That I can recover and become stronger with God’s help.

I know that He loves us all so much more than I love my daughter.  I know He is guiding all of our paths and even though I don’t see it now, He did prepare me for this.  I know that His promises are sure and He will never leave me or forsake me.

Not for one second has my faith wavered or my trust in God been lost. 

Not that I feel sure that she will be fine or that she will ever come back or that I will ever see my parents again.  I know that none of that may happen.

I also grieve the selfish loss of wanting my life to be a certain way.  A happy family, loving one another, all of my children that care for each other and respect their parents.  That is gone for me.  I may never have that and you know what?  It’s OK.

May He be glorified through my suffering and loss. 

My morning walks have meant more to me than ever as I pour the broken pieces of my heart out at the feet of God.  He picks them up and gently puts them back in place.  Then they fall apart again….over and over and over.  I know with certainty that one day those pieces will be all put together and they will stay right where they belong…..glued with the grace of a Father that loved me enough to sacrifice his own child for me.  Oh, that I am now experiencing one thousandth of that same pain.

So this tragedy is now a part of the story of my life.

I pray that the glory of God shines through all that I do even in the midst of trials.

His Word has been a healing balm to my soul and given me strength to get through each moment.  It pushes out the despair and washes it away with love and peace and wisdom that I can trust with every fiber of my being.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18  “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

I would so appreciate your prayers for not only my heartbreak, but my other children as they cry and constantly ask me why this happened and endure their own betrayal and pain.  Watching them suffer through this has been even more painful than my own struggle.  Their precious lives will never be the same either.  And please pray for my husband as he finds the strength and wisdom to lead a sobbing wife, grieving children and a lost daughter through this horrific event in our lives.

Thank you for reading and praying.  I would appreciate your sensitivity if you choose to leave a comment since we are grieving.   Please refrain from offering your thoughts on 18 year olds and their rights or what you think of our parenting choices.  Believe me, we do not want to keep anyone in our home that doesn’t want to be here.  This is not about whether she should be here or not.   It is about treating the people you love with honesty, honor, respect and dignity.   Any comments condemning our beliefs or criticizing our daughter will be deleted. 
Moms Need a Night Off!

Moms Need a Night Off!

This week’s YouTube video is about a subject near and dear to my heart….taking a break!

I have shared this with many groups when I speak and I always get a food of emails afterward asking me questions about how it works.  I go into some of it in the video and in this older post, but I want to answer a few more questions.

 

Q: How do you get your husband to agree?
A: You shouldn’t try to manipulate him, but simply lay out the idea.  The more you can make it easy for him the better it will work.  We don’t want to overwhelm the poor guy.  Have the house cleaned up and the kids in a good mood.  Don’t try to control what happens while you’re gone…this is their time.  When you get home, don’t complain if it’s messy or he did something “wrong”.

Q: But I don’t trust anyone else to take care of my kids.
A: Mom, your kids will be fine for a few hours without you.  In fact….it is GOOD for them and for Dad to spend time together without you.  Ask God to help you let go of trying to control everything.  It’s not healthy!  To quote the most annoying song of 2014, “Let it go!  Let it go!….”

Q: What if I have a nursing baby?
A: Sometimes I would take the baby with me, sometimes I would nurse then leave for a couple of hours, sometimes I would stay home and lock myself in my bedroom.  You can still get a break when you’re nursing.  In fact, I remember several times I used my night off to SLEEP!

Q: My kids won’t leave me alone in my room!
A: You can teach your kids not to bother you when you need a break.  The trick is not to answer them when they call or give in to their manipulation.  Your husband (or whoever is helping) is perfectly capable of taking care of that they need.  You could even practice it for 10 minutes during the day for a week or so to make sure they get the concept.

Q: What kinds of things do you do?
A: Honestly, my favorite thing is to go in my bathroom and have time for personal care.  I scrub my face, straighten the bathroom and bedroom, clip my fingernails, condition my hair, etc.  That is how my bathroom stays clean and I get my grooming time in.  I listen to praise music or podcasts and get my soul taken care of at the same time.

 

All moms need a break and this is a great post with tons of encouragement and ideas!

If you have other questions leave them in the comments and I’ll try to help!

Are You Feeling Overwhelmed?

Are You Feeling Overwhelmed?

Some practical, godly tips for women who are struggling with depression, hopelessness and feeling overwhelmed.  #parenting #forwomen #christian

Feeling overwhelmed is something everyone experiences….some of us more than others.

I get hundreds of emails and messages from women who are overwhelmed, struggling with depression and feeling hopeless.  I wish I could have each of you over for an iced tea with Sonic ice and some real fellowship.

I’m here to share some hope with you.  This week’s YouTube video has 3 tips for what to do when you’re feeling overwhelmed and depressed.  I can’t take away your problems, but I can tell you what works for me when I feel that ugly old hopelessness creeping in.

Before you go…..I want to leave you with even more encouragement from the One who CAN take away your problems….

Matthew 19:26 “But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

2 Timothy 1:7 “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

John 13:1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.”

Psalm 28:7 “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.”

Psalm 142:3 “When I am overwhelmed, you alone know the way I should turn.”

Psalm 61:2 ” From the end of the earth I will cry to You, When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”

I am praying for you…even if I don’t know you, God does.

Do You Have a Dream?

Do You Have a Dream?

I have been about to BUST to tell you my big news.  But I waited, because patience is a virtue.  Also because I am a person who holds in information in case it doesn’t actually happen.  A little insight into my sad, sad personality.

If you’ve been around here for any length of time you know that I have dreamed of writing a book.  In fact, I did write a short one last year and planned to turn it into an ebook.  It was in the works when God, in His beautiful way, flipped that plan upside down and used that ebook to get the attention of a literary agent and then a publisher.

And now that all Ts and Is have been crossed and dotted I can tell you…..I am writing a real book.  One you can hold in your hand and buy in a store.  Even as I type it out I have to pinch myself.

I thought about waiting a while longer to tell y’all.  It was a favor to you really.  So you don’t have to keep yourself from asking me constantly, “Are you REALLY writing a book? Because I haven’t seen it anywhere!”  It turns out that the process takes much longer than I ever thought….in my case about a year….before it will actually be on a shelf.  But you all are amazing and kind so I overcame my hesitation.

My book will come out next fall, in 2015.

However, I have discovered that it is next to impossible to keep up with 3-4 blog posts a week AND write a whole book.  I simply can’t do it without ignoring my kids and all efforts to eat healthy.  So until my December first deadline I will be posting just once or twice a week and occasionally re-posting some content that you might not have seen before.  I am also considering letting my girls write for The Pennington Point once in a while.

I didn’t ever dream this would be a reality….honestly I am blown away by God’s grace.  He has been my guide and comfort all along the way.

If you get anything from my big announcement let it be this: Whatever He planted in your heart long ago, He will lead you to that.  It will probably not happen the way you expect or even look the way you thought it should, but don’t ever stop going for that goal.  I have dreamed of this since I was a child and here I am….about to turn 50 (another thing I can’t believe when I type it out) and it is just now happening. Never give up!!!!

news-pin

My book doesn’t have an official title yet, but it is all about joy and gratitude and giving thanks in all things.  I promise you will love it.  As soon as I finish writing it.  And we design a cover.  And all of the other details that I can’t even think about or I start to hyperventilate.

It will be based on my most popular post called,20 Ways to Reset When the Kids Are Having a Hard Day.”  It’s a beautiful, freeing concept that I have a lot more to say about plus tons of very funny stories to share with you!

Our whole family is blessed by what God is doing through this.  Despite my pitiful fear of shouting it from the rooftops.

What’s your dream?! 

 

If You Don’t Mind…..

If You Don’t Mind…..

I may have a problem.  Like I need counseling and possibly shock therapy.  I love books.  I have shelves full of them in every room and when someone offers to send me one to review I simply can’t resist.  #bookaddiction

But I realize I have not told you much about all of the writing that’s happening right under our very roof. #mykids

Besides writing a book myself, my daughter Grace has written 4 books and the first three are available on Amazon.  #true

1. Firmament: Radialloy is about a young woman who lives on a starship.  If your teen or young adult likes sci-fi this is a fun adventure!
2. Firmament: In His Image is the second in this series (with the third coming out very soon!) and follows the same main character.
3. Never is a clean, wholesome, family friendly western with slightly more mature conflicts.

She also has a blog where she reviews books and it’s always nice to find clean books for our kids to read.

Grace

My daughter Patience also has a blog that is for budding photographers.  She’s really good at encouraging you to love your family and follow your passion.  Your photo-driven kids would love this.  #itisprecious

Pep

And, if you don’t mind me telling you, my oldest son is making an album of songs that he has written.  He has a website that tells about his vision and he is also wrapping up a fundraiser to help get it made.  #hemakesmyheartmelt

Jacob

Not to be left out, my daughter Hope is writing a graphic novel (kind of like a faith-based comic book) and my other daughter Faith is starting her own jewelry line.  Those are still works in progress. #iamconstantlyamazed

I really don’t mention all of their accomplishments much because I don’t want to be braggy.  But just this once….I had to say it.

Thanks for letting me.  #proudmom

Be sure to follow me on Facebook!

The Humbler Games

The Humbler Games

It’s Friday and around here that means just one thing…..another YouTube video!

This week’s video is called, “The Humbler Games.”

Y’all will love this one.  We did something different and made a little movie.  It’s so much fun for us because we all worked together to make it (lots of us behind the scenes even though you don’t see us on camera!).   This picture only shows who worked on the day of shooting, but the other kids helped too.

A fun youtube video full of encouragement for the discouraged mom!

This is meant to encourage those of you who are tired or discouraged.  There is always hope!  God is ready for you to call on Him when you feel like you can’t take it anymore.  It’s The Humbler Games…..

A fun youtube video full of encouragement for the tired, discouraged mom! #parenting #youtube

Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel!

The Next YouTube Sensation?!

The Next YouTube Sensation?!

Guess what!  I have started a YouTube channel and I am so excited about it.

Well, as excited as you can be about something you don’t understand how to do without Googling every-single-step while you create it.

I have been feeling badly about not being able to answer all of the parenting questions I get, so this is my solution.  It’s SO much easier to talk for a few minutes and I think y’all will like these short tips.  Short is the operative word.  I won’t take much of your time.  (now I feel like a Ginsu knife salesman….but I promise I won’t ask for $19.99).

I will be adding a new video every Friday and sometimes they will be, uh, how shall I put this?  Silly.  Fun.  OK, weird.  Your kids will like the weird ones.  But normally they will be simple and mostly for Mom.  That’s what the two that are already there are…simple mom stuff.

You'll love this YouTube channel with parenting tips and faith-based teaching!

So there you go.  I hope you’ll go subscribe and tell your friends to subscribe.  I’d like to feel like I’m talking to more than 7 people.  But truthfully, if no one ever sees them but my children while they are trying to raise their own kids (which they haven’t had yet but I have high hopes for the future) that’s really fine by me.

Thanks!

Don’t miss it!

Let Me ‘Splain.  No, There is too Much.  Let Me Sum Up.

Let Me ‘Splain. No, There is too Much. Let Me Sum Up.

I am not going to make any attempt to tell you all about the past week of my life.  It’s frankly too much activity for one person and I am now considering applying to be on The Amazing Race, having proved to myself that I can get lost in several cities and survive.

In San Francisco last weekend I had the taxi driver from ‘H-E-double-hockey-sticks’, weaving in and out of oncoming traffic as I cried out in terror, and I lived to tell about it.  Having looked into the face of death and won, I am feeling much less intimidated by the 9 children and 450 emails that await my attention this morning.

Not to mention last Sunday being followed around Seattle at 5:30AM by a homeless man who decided I needed to hear all about how much he hates it when people stare at him.  That, for this country girl, was a bit too much.  I did think he was generally harmless, but it unnerved me enough that I got turned around and couldn’t find my way back to my hotel.  I had to kind of just keep jogging instead of trying to stop and figure it out.  Nothing says “come attack me” like standing alone in a deserted downtown staring at a tourist map.  I did eventually find it, thankfully!

Yesterday on a drive home from Houston I started feeling my body settle into travel weariness and I had to munch on Sonic ice to keep from falling asleep.  When we pulled into the driveway I asked my daughter who was with me if she minded propping me on her back and dragging me into the house.  I wasn’t sure if I could make the last 100 ft.

I am glad to report I have a couple of weeks off from traveling and plan to spend every second with my kids that didn’t get to go with me and just stare at them.  This morning I sat at the table to talk with my boys and I told Elijah, “Bring your chair over here and sit right next to me.”  He did and I kept patting his back and rubbing his shoulder when finally I just proclaimed that even though he is 11 years old, I would need him to sit in my lap for a few minutes because I missed him too much to be satisfied with just being next to him.  He begrudgingly did it.  I hugged it out then released him to go be his own person who will undoubtedly need therapy someday.

Speaking of needing therapy, my daughter Hope will likely have a lot to say to her future counselor after having seen me in my underwear yesterday.  In the middle of the mall.  We were shopping and as I reached toward a rack of clothes it happened….my skirt fell right to the floor.  It was all so quick!  I heard her gasp, felt a chill on my backside and something plopped at my feet all in the same second.  I looked down and tried to process what the gray pile of fabric was around my ankles.  Could that be my skirt?!  Yep.  I scooped it up as fast as I could then turned to my daughter to see her laughing so hard she had to walk away.  I tried to just nonchalantly move onward through the mall like nothing happened, but it kept flashing through our minds and we’d start to giggle uncontrollably.  Nothing like a little mother-daughter bonding to end the weekend.

Have a good one!

Just Keepin’ On!

Just Keepin’ On!

In the 6 years since I started blogging this is the first time I have gone a whole week without posting.  Not even when I had dental surgery the day after my grandmother passed away.  That should tell you how crazy it’s been here.

Just a few days after I got home from Salt Lake City I flew to Chicago to go to the 2:1 Conference where I was also a speaker.  That meant I needed to figure out what I was going to talk about in my session plus fill a load of Shop24 orders before I left.  So I had one of my kids make my Power Point and another one finish filling the etsy orders.  You say sweatshop; I say survival.

Somehow I made it to Chicago in mostly one piece and the conference was great.  Those are my people.  Homeschool, Christian bloggers (not to mention my peeps from Hip Homeschool Moms!).  The sessions covered everything from building your blog as a business to understanding when to get off line and live your life.  Hallelujah for a conference with a conscience!

Conference buddies

My sweet friends Heidi St. John, Connie Hughes and Jen Schmidt!

If you are following me on Instagram then you know that I spent Monday attempting to see all of Chicago in one day.  I was alone, which made it easier to just run from one place to the next without worrying about another person.  Normally I would have missed having someone to talk to, but since I had spent the past 2 weekends surrounded by hundreds of friends, I kind of enjoyed the quiet.  I saw so many places that I am seriously considering writing a pamphlet showing how I did it.

A quick trip to see Chicago!

The Chicago Theater

My first tip: Lose weight and start exercising.  ‘Cuz no way I could have done that a year ago.  I would have worn out too quickly and had to stop.  I am not exaggerating when I say I think I climbed at least 1,000 steps.  That alone would have put me into some kind of medical crisis before I started getting healthy.  I did get tired, but not as much as you would think.

A quick trip to see Chicago!

The Bean! (aka Cloud Gate)

Once I got home I had to pull out the Energizer Bunny suit and keep on going because it was one of the boys’ birthday and that couldn’t be missed.  I headed to the city with him and a couple of the other kids (they get to invite 2 siblings to join them on their b-day outing).  Unfortunately he wanted to see Captain America, which is my third time to watch that movie.  Once to preview it for the kids, again when my husband wanted to go together and now this.  I don’t even care for super hero movies, so I mostly ran in and out bringing drinks and snacks to the three kids.  I will do pretty much anything to avoid seeing people fighting.  And car chases….they make me so upset that I get sick to my stomach.  I sit there worrying about the people whose cars get crashed in the chase and if they have insurance or small children in the car.

James tries to explain to me that they aren’t real people’s cars and it’s all pretend.  But I say that if I am supposed to believe those guys are flying through the air fighting to save the world then why am I not supposed to believe someone needs that car they just smashed to pieces?  Clearly I should stick with chick flicks and cartoons.

I am gonna spend the next few days unpacking and snuggling anyone who walks past.  I missed these people.  I also have big plans to clean up the house the way only a mamma can do.  They kept it pretty neat while I was gone, but I have a need to scrub some walls and vacuum under furniture.

Then, just maybe, I will rest.  But I can’t make any promises.

Be sure to check out my Instagram!