Happy New Year!

Happy New year to you and yours this day!

Enjoy your new year with your family, friends, and those you choose to spend time with in the new year!

 

Remember that while you enjoy the fruits of a new year, I will be hard at work bringing you content you want to read!

Love,

Melendy

new year

A new year and a new promise to my readers

new year new blog

Hello readers!

It has been quite a year 2015. Many changes took place for me personally and with my blog. I changed names, became more dedicated than ever to write things that mattered to you, and to be honest with who I am.

My promise to you for 2016 is to write once a week. Every Monday will find you with a new focus for the week. I want to know what you want to read about.

So, leave a comment, share with friends, and let’s see what you want to hear about in 2016.

I know I am changing more about myself over the coming year. I have been working out almost religiously, I have been eating healthier as well. I have a job I love, and I am in school full time. My boys are growing every day. They enjoy track and piano, and we are learning the ropes of being parents to a “Teenager”. I will focus on fitness and parenting. I will focus on life and how crazy it is to manage. I will be going on vacation again. (Sorry) and I will be willing to listen to your wants and needs as a reader.

So, what do you want out of “Mama” for 2016?

Leave a comment and let me know!

 

bloglovin!

Follow me as I grow my blog in 2016!

blog lovin

I look forward to sharing my journey and my writing with all of you! Please share the love and follow me on Bloglovin!

 

Blog it Forward

cropped-mamaisonlyhuman-blog-label-1.jpgI logged into facebook tonight and was greeted by a beautiful challenge from a friend. It was not directed at me, but when Chelley posts something that touches my heart, I try to respond.

Well today’s message was striking as it was about giving back.

We try to give back often, and visibly for the boys. At Christmas time it can be hard to keep the giving spirit for them when everyone is asking them what they want. My boys always do something for their teachers every year. A gift card, a hand made present, a picture they drew.  This year we did something completely different.

The boys were asking about the children we sponsor, and how to help them. They were asking on the day we received the catalog for Christmas giving. They looked through it more vigourosly than the Toy ads. They decided on three rabbits, money for education in the US, money for education outside of the US, seeds for one family to plant a harvest, and four soccer balls. These gifts will go to children who live in places where poverty is flourishing. These gifts will be the first of many.

The boys wrote notes to their teachers letting them know the donations that were made in their honor.   To my surprise, the teachers responded happily, and with notes of true gratitude. My boys came home with  such joy that their presents made their teachers happy. They couldn’t wait to give again.

They obviously do not have such a giving spirit every day. I hope this small teaching moment, repeated often, will allow them to see the good they can do for others.

It is not just money though. reminding them to hold doors, use their manners, and be respectful are just as important. I pray that if they see someone struggling with a bag, finding change, or even with a dead battery on the side of the road, that they will use available resources to help that person.

How can you give back? Pay it forward? What will you do?

 

I am challenging Lisa who has three boys like me. We have known each other for almost 10 years, and truly live parallel lives. We even share a birthday! We both love to give to others, and I know she will be willing to blog it forward!

 

I am also challenging Paula who is someone new to me. She follows my blog, comments, and seems to be working hard to overcome her fears and struggles with working out. I am sure she will take the challenge to pay it forward!

Feel free to join me and many other bloggers in “blogging it forward”

Head Here to see how you can help!

 

Happy holiday season!

Love,

Melendy

 

The Graduation Situation

graduation ornamentYou may have noticed that there are very often several days or weeks between my posts recently.

I am sorry for that , but I have to be honest with you.

I have been having an affair on my blog.

With my studies. (insert horrible fake laughter here)

All kidding aside, this semester was the hardest semester for me yet. I am at the local community (or Junior) college completing my associates in Special Education and a certificate in Early Childhood. This means that next year I will move on to big kid school and work towards obtaining my bachelors in Early Childhood Education.

This semester found me taking three very difficult courses that truly should be taken at separate times. There was a lot of writing, editing, planning, demonstrating, and reading that went into this semester. I believe that this is the first time that I have actually read whole text books for classes.

curriculum classEarly Childhood Curriculum – aka a crash course in what your classroom/daycare center should look like and be doing. This course gave me so much insight on how to make my classroom a better place for my students and how to teach to them in a way that was engaging.

literacy class

Emergent Literacy – aka how children learn to speak and read and how you can teach them. This class was one I was intimidated by. The other students had so much more knowledge than me. I had to really focus and work hard to succeed in this class.

parent relations classParent & Child Relations – aka a class about how parents and children interact – aka how you are messing up your children in one long book.  This class was hard. The professor was very into allowing us to learn our own way, but I am a “Give me a rubric so I know what you want from me!” type of student. There was a learning curve.

 

I managed to obtain an A in all three classes. All of this while being a mom, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend, and a coach. I also am in four musical groups, and teaching preschool. It is full around here. Our boys are doing well in school. We have even had meetings with all the teachers about our boys various difficulties. We have spent time with each other. My students have fun and educational things to do every week. Track has been successful (thanks to many other coaches- we have a great team). I mostly had all of my music learned for our Christmas performances in early December. I made time to help my friend move out of state (don’t worry, I live in Rhode Island, out of state is 20 minutes away!). I have even maintained a level of fitness that is changing my whole lifestyle. But I have missed my blog. I have missed pouring my soul out into this writing thing I do for you.

More importantly, I do not do this alone.

I find it hard sometimes to balance the school work for me, the school work for my students, the school work for my children, and the day to day tasks that need to be accomplished. I am grateful to have a husband who has stepped up to the plate. He does homework with the boys, the grocery shopping, the meal planning even, so that I can work, and study. He never once complains, and even goes as far as to being sure I am happy and have everything I need to do my work.  He is at his computer until late in the night being sure his work duties are accomplished, and has had to put time with friends on the back burner because my night classes interfere with his time to be with them. He has dedicated the last few years to being super dad while I am being a student.

I often remind him that he was lucky, he did college right out of high school, and moved right into a career. Not everyone finds their passion that early. My passion for educating children came later, and here I am trying to make everything work for  the good of our family. That reminder is a reminder to me. I need to work hard for this because I cannot afford to miss this opportunity this time.

graduation is almost hereI am doing this for me, but also for them. On May 20, 2016 I will graduate from Community college, a graduation that has been in the making since I started college the first time in 1998, and I will finally complete. Let’s hope the next degree does not take as long!

 

What are you doing for you? What did you start and never finish that you wish you could? What are you waiting for?

being a grown up

relax finish1

Sometimes when I am feeling stressed, I need to unwind.

Today I woke up feeling overwhelmed with the day ahead, so I grabbed the coloring books my bestie gave me for Christmas and started coloring. It gave me a feeling of calm, and allowed me to focus only on the task at hand.

 

How are you taking the time to relax during these crazy holiday hours?

 

when the moment to pause arrives

peace in the momentI stopped in to Target last Thursday to grab nylons for a dinner on Friday.

I of course grabbed a few other things, and I headed to the line to check out. There was a shorter line with a man as a cashier, and a longer line with a woman. I stopped and waited in the longer line. There were two women in front of me with overflowing carriages, and me with 6 items. As I stepped up, the woman in front of me was unloading her carriage, but offered to let me step in front of her.

It was sweet.

I declined.

Strange as it is, I enjoy waiting. It teaches me patience and gives me a moment to just be.

She almost insisted, and I again declined. We had a brief conversation about life (as you do in line at Target) and I expected her to turn away and put her things on the belt.

She did,for a moment. Then, like we were long lost college roommates, we kept talking. Other people came to the line. Calls for more cashiers rang out.  A few offered to help me. I declined, and asked the person behind me to go ahead.

People think I am strange when I do this.

My comment was, ” Thank you, but she and I have a relationship now.  I can’t abandon her!” Laughter from the cashier now too.

She was in our tribe now.

The conversation continued

Life

Husbands

children

work

saying “Yes” to too many things this time of year

How next year we will RSVP “NO” to everything we are invited to.

How I always forget to use Cartwheel

How she is worried about getting everything in with a sleeping family at home

How she has 1% left on her phone

We cheered as the cashier completed the order before her phone died so she could get her Cartwheel points, and then, she packed up.

I said happy Holidays

And she was gone

Two lives

Never before met

Never to meet again

But for a moment

Two moms at Target had a moment to laugh, and relate, and realize we all do this. not a one of us stands alone in this motherhood game. working, stay at home, separated, divorced. we all are moms, and we all will be at the store at 10:45 to get whatever is needed because well, that is what moms do. Our lives were parallel. In that moment we realized: We are not alone.

It was 10:45 at night, and truthfully, I felt bad she was going home to a house of sleeping family. Lugging the carriage full of gifts and necessities into the house alone. I wished I could help, but that was not the plan.

I am most grateful for this moment of laughter with a stranger in the checkout line because it reminded me to pause, be still, and listen!

Too often in life we are in a hurry. We want the fastest check out. The least distraction from our day. The easiest path. But how often do we miss the moments to laugh with the PERSON in front of us in line because we both are buying control top pantyhose or push up bras? How often do we miss the chance to lament our children’s wants, that they list as needs? How often do we make the cashier feel rushed to finish our shopping, forgetting that that same cashier will do their shopping from what is left over because it is so hard to shop when you work retail?

In this season of hustle and bustle it is all too easy to rush. To make haste. To be aggravated with humanity instead of enthralled with the season of wonder and love.

merry christmas to me

What moments have you had this holiday season that have reminded you to pause?

Loved

A few weekends ago I attended a Women of Faith conference. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I did not want a “mountain top” weekend that I could never live up to. I did not want a lecture about all the things I do wrong with my faith. I did not need to feel like a spotlight was on me.

loved stage and program

This being an event where Women were the speakers (with a few exceptions) and the voices of reason, this became a weekend of encouragement that I am not the only one who feels the way I feel.

I hate sermons

I hate listening to them

I hate when they are finger wagging

I hate when they take a small part of a scripture and twist it to their message (especially for stewardship)

I just sit in the Choir loft and usually read the whole chapter or book that the sermon is based on.

This weekend I listened to over 10 sermons. That is what they were. God’s message, spoken through the faithful, related to my life, and powerfully true.

the women who sharedNot once did I hate it.

Not once did I say, “ugh, here we go again!”

Not once did I say, “they just don’t get it.”

Not once did I see a finger wag

Not once was I on the mountain

I was in the valley with others in the valley looking for the best way to work this life to please God.

I was not on the mountain.

Several women spoke.

Some of my favorite lines are listed here:

“We aren’t going to be done with the hard stuff until we see the sweet feet of Jesus”

~ Patsy Clairmont

“God is a lovesick parent too…

We didn’t earn Gods love so we can’t loose it…

Loved kids with a lovesick father…

To your kids you are a Shade tree in a stormed world…”

~Jen Hatmaker

“God has a ram in the bush. Trust and he will make our paths straight”

~ Thelma Wells

“Emotions do not always give you the truth

They are reliable, but they do not tell the truth…

We have to be connected that is how God created us”

~ Marilyn Meberg (I believe!)

“Lord I want to help others!” – Lucy Swindoll

“This is it” – God

This is how I was made and I don’t think any of it was a mistake.

meeting glennon

“Crisis is a sifter letting all fall away that doesn’t matter, leaving behind treasure…

The mountain top is thin air, and you have to be still, but in the valley that is where the power is, because that is where the river runs. That is where the work is done…

Be still in the valley and let Jesus fight for you.

We are valley girls” (paraphrased as I listened in awe and tried to type)

~ Glennon Doyal Melton

These women shared life, failures, resilience, love, and hope with each of us.

I am glad I went, I am glad I stood in line, and I am glad I got to see Sandi Patti sing, with her husband and family, because her music is what I grew up singing, and loving, and helped me relate music to my faith, long before Christian radio and the popularity of “faith” in the music world.

I left feeling like I need to own my faith, love God, and trust him. Not be shamed of me or my faith or my beliefs because someone else may argue. They may be Satan trying to tempt me in my deserts of life. Or, they may be lost, and may need to see God through me to believe.

Either way… I have to be me.

That is, I have to let Him use me to do His works in this world.

and so, I did this: I had three more children.

 

the children I adopted…

As I sat in this audience, we were shown a video of a woman who adopted a child through world vision she spent numerous years writing, sending gifts, and being a part of this girls life. She even was phoned when the girl was asked for her hand in marriage, because she needed both of her moms permission. I cried ugly tears. (it was okay, the room was dark!)

our children

Steve had just settled into accepting an offer with his work for a promotion. a good one, and I was feeling the urge to give back. In this light, I adopted three beautiful children this day.

I may never meet them.

I may never get a phone call about a wedding.

I may never know how their health is, or what they feel about school or their lives.

What I will have is a sense that I do not have three children here in my home, and three children out in the world.

I will worry about them, love them, and wonder about them.

They live in Mauritania, India, and Indonesia. All three are about the same age as my boys. I was wanting a way to give to the world for all I have been given, and these three were the ones who spoke to me. Their ages being the similar to my boys makes it an opportunity  for them to see the world through someone else’ eyes. Pen-pals, siblings, friends…they can be a part of each others lives.

I was able to sponsor them through worldvision.

It is a monthly gift  of $39 per child. and I felt like I needed each of my boys to have a friend who has so much less than they do.

These boys of mine will know that they are blessed, and they will have a heart for helping those who have different blessings. The will give to others, they will support the poor, they will act out their faith, instead of preaching it, because that is the example we are trying to set for them. I hope we are doing a good job, but what I do know, is we have made the world a little easier for three young ones.

gifts to give

We will be giving gifts to children in need as presents to their teachers because well, a teacher can only use so many mugs, but giving a child and their family a gift of chickens or rabbits to start a family business or even eat is worth so much more.

Please consider helping a child who needs your love and support.

A word of scripture to remind me and you that we are forgiven the greatest thing to be grateful for:

You will again have compassion on us;

you will tread our sins underfoot

and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea. Micah 7:19

 

I know this blog post is unlike any other, but it is my heart, on screen, for you to judge.