Saturday, May 23, 2009

Lord, You're Holy

Yesturday Rachel and I went to Winterthur Gardens with my friend Debbie and her family. It was the home and grounds of the Duponts who bought it from William Penn. There is a huge mansion surrounded by beautiful natural gardens. I have to say, i have been on this planet for 38 years, and i have never seen so much beauty in one place. It was actually overwhelming for me to see God's creativity and the beauty of His handiwork. It was a great day. I took some pictures below, but the pictures do not even do it justice. Please press play to hear this beautiful song while you look at the pictures to see what just may be the closest thing i have ever seen to what Heaven may look like. Try to listen to the words of the song all the way to the end. It makes me think of how it will sound in Heaven when we will all bow to worship our Lord. Rejoice in the Lord!

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord. Let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation! Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song.

For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. In His hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him.
The sea is his, for He made it, and His hands formed the dry land.

Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for He is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care

Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as you did.....

Sing to the Lord, all the earth.

For Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise

Give to the Lord the glory due his name

Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness, tremble before Him, all the earth.......Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad, let the sea resound and all that it is in it;

Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy; they will sing before the Lord, for he comes.....Psalm 96 and 97

It fills my heart with love for my Creator and makes me so excited to go to see Him in Heaven when my time on earth is over. I am definately going back there(to Winterthur, not Heaven ;)) with my i-pod full of Christian music and a good book to just rest in the Lord. Thank you Father for this glimpse of who You are and what I have to look foward to.

I hope this song, these pictures and bible verses also give you a glimpse of your Creator as it did for me.

Today, I am thankful for:

1. My Creator

2. His Creation

3. The peace of God that passes all understanding!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Writing about my Week While Watching American Idol

Well, there have been alot of things that i wanted to blog about, but one of the wires that belong to the gadget that keeps my computer from overheating is broken, so my computer keeps overheating and i have stayed away from it. I'm sitting here watching the finale of American Idol, so i thought i would give my computer another try. My dad said that i probably need to dust out and clean out my computer, but i have no idea how to do that, so i am hoping it will not overheat as i write this.
Last Wednesday, the 17th, I went to the Tau Upsilon Alpha (TUA), which is the human services honor society, meeting. Well, actually it was a picnic and a meeting. I gathered up the kids, got a couple buckets of Kentucky Fried Chicken, and went to the picnic. It was a nice little get-together, but not many members showed up because the semester is over and many are away. At the meeting they were voting-in officers, and to make a long story short, I was voted in as President!! So, i am now the president of the honor society. I didn't really know if i should do it, because i do not want to overwhelm myself with too many obligations......but.....president! So, i told the advisors that i would do it for one semester and if it was overwhelming, than i would step down. I am actually excited about this opportunity and have hopes that i will do well.
Thursday was my Dad's birthday. I wish I was there in Florida with him and my mom. I wish I could have made him a home-made german chocolate cake for his birthday. My dad is awesome and one day i may devote a whole post to him and my mom. But, until then, let me just say that I am extremely blessed and proud to have this man as my dad, and i hope to spend alot of his future birthdays with him once I move to Florida.
Thursday night, i went to my bi-monthly Bible study at my church. We are going through the book Lies Woman Believe. It is a great book and i would encourage any woman reading this to go read that book. There are many lies pointed out in this book that i did not even know i was falling for, but i am. The book not only points these lies out, but gives a Truth to replace them with. It is a very good study, and i look foward to going every 2 weeks and spending time with some of the ladies from my church.
Monday was my mother's birthday. Again, i WISH i could be there with her on her birthday(and every day for that matter). Mom had a big surprise birthday party at my sister's house last weekend. I heard that she had a great time and my sister did a great job putting this together for her (may i add that my sister, whom i also miss dreadfully, put together this party during the SAME weekend that she put together a wedding for her son. My sister is superwoman!!) My mother is my soul mate and the one person who knows me best. I can not imagine who i would be without her and thank the Lord all the time that He gave her to me.

We interrupt this blog to bring you this special announcement: CHRIS ALLEN WAS JUST CROWNED AMERICAN IDOL!!!. I have to say that i think America got it all wrong this year. Now, back to our blog

Sunday, we went to church, and then i was sooooo tired i took a 2 hour nap. Nice. Monday, i went to my friend Debbie's house and got to spend a nice time with her when we went out to lunch and had a nice, long talk. We were supposed to go to a flower garden park called Winterhur, but it was closed, so we will try again on Friday. It was a great day with my friend anyway, so that's what counts.
Today, Rachel and I went down to my school so I could apply for some scholarships next year. I have a few more years of school left and already owe alot of money, so a scholarship would be great. I needed an instructor's recomendation, so my human services instructor, and TUA advisor, wrote me a glowing recommendation. It was really nice to see all the nice things he said about me. I hope i get some kind of scholarship. We will see. Then, Rachel and i went to lunch with my friend Courtney and we had a nice afternoon together.
So, that was my week in a nut-shell. Rachel will be done with school June 5th, Matt June 8th and Erin June 10th. Then we are off to Floriday for a few weeks. I CAN NOT WAIT.
There is more to write about, but the computer is getting hot and it's getting late. I am trying to figure out how to scan some pictures to post and share and have a bunch of projects in my head that i need to implement. Right now, however, i need to go comfort erin, who is devastated that Adam did not win American Idol ;)
Today, i am thankful for:

1. Time spent this morning talking to God and reading His word. What a way to start a day!! I would encourage anybody to start their day in this way!

2. Friends

3. Rachel has been outside playing with her old friends and mending some broken relationships with the neighborhood kids she has had trouble with. She really thrives on friendships and it makes my heart sing to see her playing outside again with all the other kids instead of longlingly watching out the window. Thank you, thank you Lord. We really needed to see this answer to prayer. I would ask for prayer that she will be able to keep her fighting spirit from separating her from her friends again. She really flourishes when she has friends to play with.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Tagged by Debbie

A long time ago, my friend Debbie from tagged me, and i was supposed to answer the questions using the first letter of my name only, and then tag someone else. So, here goes

1. What is your name?: Michele
2. A 4 letter word: Mine
3. A boy's name: Matthew
4. A girl's name (not your own):Melissa
5. An occupation: Medical Assistant
6. A color: Magenta
7. Something you wear: Mask?
8. A Food: Meatballs
9. Something found in the bathroom: mat
10. A place: Mississippi
11. A reason for being late: makeup application ;)
12. Something you shout: Make your bed's!!!
13. A movie title: Matilda
14. Something you drink: Milk
15. An animal: monkey
16. A song title: Make a Memory (Bon Jovi)
17. A verb: make
Sorry it took so long deb. I am not gonna tag anybody back, but if you want to do it, it's something fun to do when you don't know what to post.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Of Me, My daughter, Music and Moshing

I forgot to post about the concert that i took Erin to two weeks ago. Oh my gosh, what a day!! First let me say that even though i do not like some of the music that Erin listens to, I do appreciate her love of music of all kinds. Her MP3 player is filled with all kinds of music in all genres, from dance to rock to Christian. Many times i feel like i should be more disapproving of some of the music she listens to. I tell her that i don't want to hear it, but i don't keep her from listening to it. When i was her age, my parents kept me from listening to the music i loved and kept me from putting up posters of the singers and music groups that i loved and i still listen to those music groups(sorry mom). Now i know that Erin is not me, but her love of music is very similar to mine and it is something i definately relate to.
So, one of the things that i have done for Erin is buy concert tickets for her and attend those concerts with her in order to share in her love of music with her. A year and a half ago, i took her and her friend to a concert that a few of her favorite rock bands were giving together. We had floor admision and were back about 7 rows. It was loud, but not too bad. Unfortunately, her friend got panicky and we had to leave before the main band, Erin's favorite, got to sing more than one song. Erin dealt with her disapointment so well that i promised her that the next time that band came to our area, we would go. Well, we found out they were coming to an outdoor festival in PA in the beginning of May, so we bought tickets and decided that just her and i would go. So, Friday May first, I let Erin stay home from school and we drove to PA.
Now, the tickets said that the whole concert was general admission, standing room only, so we decided that, even though the festival did not open its doors until 5:30, we would get there around 1:30 so that we could get front-row spots. I figured it would be a fun experience and i would be making a memory with my daughter. That i did. We got there around 1 and i couldn't figure out where to park. I was so nervous because i hate city driving. Well, we finally saw a loooooong line of people, so we figure that was where we needed to be. After paying TWENTY dollars to park, we followed the line to the end and parked our keisters in line. There actually were not too many people in front of us. Maybe 70. That isn't too bad and we were confident that we would get a good position in the front of the stage. We met some nice people and the people behind us were a father and his 13 year old daughter. I had been a bit nervous that the front rows would get crazy during the concert--ever heard of moshing?-- but once i saw this BIG father with his 13 year old daughter, and many other young teen-aged girls ( although,with NO parental figures present), my nervousness subsided. I felt it was safe enough to leave the line a couple times to go to the bathroom or buy food and once to get our umbrellas when it started POORING!!!! It was an experience waiting in that line for over 4 hours, half the time it was raining. Erin had a great attitude and we were making friends and talking and laughing with those around us. One bad thing was my legs and back were killing me. But, all in all, it was a fun experience that I would not mind repeating.

Then it was time to go in.

It did not take long for my fear to creep in. People were cutting in line like crazy and we wound up with like 150-200 people in front of us. Once we got through the first set of gates, we all got packed together in a smaller space to wait for the second gate to open, and everybody wanted to be in front. We were packed like sardines waiting for the second gate to open. Erin, me, the father and daughter, and two other girls all linked our arms together so we would not get separated. But, i told Erin that if we did get pulled apart to just keep walking and i would find her. We did not know what it looked like inside, so we could not make up a meeting place. We both had cell phones so i told her i would call her if we got separated. Well, the gates finally opened and all those people who were spread behind and next to us started pushing forward so they could get front row. There are no seats. It is all standing room. Well, i probably don't have to tell you that Erin and i almost immediately got pulled apart. I yelled for her to keep going. People were rushing to get to the stage and i saw two girls fall down and no one helped them. By the time i got through the gate, the front stage area was already JAM PACKED with people. I started to try to push my way through to get to Erin, but the music had started and it was so loud and the people were like a wall of concrete. I looked around for a security guard who might help me get to my daughter, but i couldn't find any. I went all the way to the right of the stage, right up in front, but all the way over to the right. I stood up on the little gate that separated to crowd from the stage to see if I could find Erin before i totally panicked. Well, i could see the head of the father and i assumed that Erin was with him. I did see Erin's hand holding her camera up, so at least i knew she was safe. Even though it was VERY loud, i called Erin to tell her where i was and to come to me so that she could be in the front AND be safe. I had lost my charger to my phone, so i had to use Rachel's phone, which does not have texting. Man, if i just had texting, the night would have been much better. But. i didn't. She answered the phone and could not hear me well, so she yelled into the phone that she was fine and was with her friends and would like to stay where she was. I figured that this was her special night and if she did not want to give up her spot--she was third row center--i would not force the issue. I told her where i was and that i would stay there if she needed me or that we would meet by the first aid station if she couldn't find me. So, the concert started. There were about 4 bands playing before the main attraction. I watched as about 7 security guards stood in front of the stage between the stage and the crowd. There was a tall wooden barrier between the crowd and the stage and the security guys stood in front of that. I started getting concerned when i saw the guards put gloves on and brace themselves in front of the crowd. Every song the crowd kept getting bigger and bigger and even i started getting pushed and shoved by young girls who wanted my spot in front. I held my ground and braced myself by holding onto the metal barrier that was in front of me. I called Erin again and she said she was fine but she couldn't answer the phone anymore because she wasn't able to reach it. What? I kept looking over to where i knew she was and i kept seeing her arm in the air holding her camera. The crowd was like one. jam packed together. After a while, I noticed that the guards were starting to pull people from the crowd in the front rows into the area between the crowd and the stage. Many of the girls were crying, but some were laughing. I assumed that they were being pulled out because they were doing something wrong. I heard rumors of people crowd surfing. If you don't know what that is, it is when people get ON TOP of the crowd, and the crowd basically passes the person to the front of the line. Then the guards would PULLLLLL and the person would pop out and walk to the side of the stage. I started to get a VERY bad feeling when i saw the father-daughter that we had met come up next to me. I thought Erin was with them, being protected by a big dad! I said "WHERE IS ERIN" They both said that they had been separated in the beginning and had not seen her. Oh dear. Now i panicked. I called Erin. No answer. So, i prayed. over and over and over. I did not know if God would hear my prayers over all the racket of the rock music ;) or if he would be mad at me for even taking Erin to this kind of concert. But i kept on praying. I did not even pay attention to the music anymore or what was going on around me. I just prayed for her safety. For about 20 minutes. Each time a guard pulled someone out of the crowd, i just knew it would be Erin. Finally, i was right. She came out and over to me and started crying. She was shook up and a little bruised. I took her to first aid station and got her ankle checked out. She was physically fine, but a little dehydrated and very shook up.
It turned out that the reason i kept seeing her arm in the air was because it was so packed with people, she could not even put her arm down!! People were shoving to get to the front while the crowd moved as one. The whole crowd would sway back and forth to the music and you had to go with the flow or get squooshed. Erin said that at first it was ok. She was not scared. She just held her ground. But, after a while, as the crowd got bigger and more packed together, she started getting claustrophobic and anxious. Once she heard that it would only get WORSE when Fall Out Boy, the main band she had come to see, hit the stage, that was it for her. What i thought was crowd surfing actually was people trying to get themselves out of the stifling crowd. They were crying because they were scared that they were gonna get hurt. Finally, Erin told those around her that she needed to get out. The only way out was to have the crowd physically pick you up and hand you overhead to the guards, who would then pull you out with a POP and put you on the ground. The whole thing was just so crazy. I had no idea that young girls could be dangerous like that. But, then i realized that they were mostly without parental authority and it was going to their heads. It was totally crazy and i will never, ever do general admission again.
Once Erin calmed down, we had been there for about 2.5 hours and her band had not yet taken the stage. We walked around the perimiter of the crowd, got a drink, bought a shirt and shorts with the band's name on it and just took a breath. Erin was devastated because she thought we would have to leave again before she could see her favorite band. I said as long as she stayed with me and she felt ok that we could stay. We tried to find a relatively open space to stand, but we were very far from the stage. Probably about 25 rows back. But, it was safe. I tried to hold her up so she could see better, and we were able to watch the rest of the show. It was actually pretty nice by then. The rain had stopped, the evening was cool and the crowd was thinning a bit because it was getting late and some were there to see only the other bands. Erin was able to enjoy the rest of the show in the safety of my arms. Seeing the joy in her face and how she just lit up with excitement when her favorite band hit the stage made the whole thing totally worth it. When it was over and we sat in the car, exhausted and sore, she thanked me up and down and told me how much she appreciated all that i do for her. That made it worth it too.
But, i won't do it again;)
So, that is my long concert story. I wish that Erin was in love with a Christian group, but she isn't. She is almost 17 and almost an adult. I have to keep remembering that every time i want to rescue her and tell her how to live. She has a good heart and a trust in God that is stronger than it used to be. She has a long way to go, but so do i, and for that matter, everyone else. Even though i spent much of the evening in panic and prayer, I made a memory with my daughter that she will have forever.
So, today i am thankful for:
1. God's protection over Erin
2. My daughter's heart and willingness to listen and learn from her mom.
3. Being able to make memories with my oldest

Friday, May 8, 2009

Hearts and Hurts

Well, it has been a while since i posted. again. My classes are done and i got an A in each one. Yay!! My cumulative GPA is now 3.75. It would be higher, but i need to remember that i did fail ENG Comp 101 the first time and i did get a B in math TWICE. So, a 3.75 is still good. I am going to a picnic for the human services honor society next week where i will find out if i will be nominated secretary for next year. For now, i am looking foward to my summer and i may volunteer somwhere so that i won't get too bored.

The reason i have not posted in so long is because i have had alot on my mind and my heart and i did not really know what to say about it. And sometimes, seeking the silver lining is not all that easy for me. My first reaction to things that don't go well is to brood for a while. It does not come natural for me to seek the silver lining, nor to seek the will of God. But, i usually come around--which is where i am today.

Motherhood is such a blessing to me. My love for my children has been one of the reasons i have become the woman i am today. God has blessed me with three wonderful children and I thank Him all the time. However, for me, the powerful love that i have for my children can sometimes cause me some pain also. I guess love in general can cause pain. Whenever we give our hearts to someone and love them, we also open ourselves up to pain. We can't really have one without the other.
I hate pain. I hate physical pain. I hate emtional pain. And when my children are in pain, i feel their pain as if it were my own. Their tears bring about my tears. Their heartbreak is my heartbreak. I probably don't have to tell you that one of my biggest fears is that my children will hurt and there will be nothing i can do about it. That kind of love is too close, some will say. But, it is my way, and i don't even know if i could change it, even if i wanted to. The fact that i am aware that it may be too close a relationship is about as good as i can do right now. Maybe it is normal. Maybe all mother's feel their children's pain in their own hearts. Maybe not. But i do.

So, when one of my children hurts, my first response is--what can i do to make that hurt stop. Yes, i do know that sometimes, many times, we need to hurt in order to grow. Therein lies the problem. It goes against everything i am to let my children hurt. But, i also know that sometimes they will actually NEED to hurt in order to grow.

I worry alot lately about whether or not i am doing the right thing for my kids. Especially Rachel. I saw that public school was hurting her and so i pulled her out. I thought i was doing the right thing, but now i am not sure. Was it just MY fears that made me take her out? Was it really what she needed, or should she have learned to deal with it? I don't know, but i just have the feeling that i may have done the wrong thing. I am not the same mother i was when i schooled Erin and Matt. I am not strong in the rule department anymore. In fact, i am a bonafide woos. I am not as sure of myself and my teaching as i was. It seems like Rachel and i fight WAY more than me and the others did. I just don't know if i am helping her or actually harming her. I don't have as much time to devote to her schooling as i did with the others. It is not a life-style for me like it used to be. And Rach doesn't have the same desire to learn that Erin did. It seems like pulling teeth because she doesn't like it. I see her getting lonely and i wonder if the couple friends she had in school was better than none. She doesn't get along with the neighborhood kids and it breaks my heart to see her watching her old playmates playing outside, but she can't join them because they just gang up on her. I don't know if i have what she needs. And that hurts me.

A few days ago, she told me that she wanted to leave home and go live with Tiffany, who is like an older sister to her. On the one hand, i knew that she wanted to live with Tiff because Tiff doesn't make her follow any rules and buys her, brings her, lets her do whatever she wants. It's like a vacation over there. Of course she wants to live there! On the other hand, it was like a slap in the face. Because it was like she was telling me that my best was not good enough for her. That we, as her family, weren't good enough for her. That i wasn't good enough for her. She was, like, totally serious. She had called Tiff and asked her to come get her. They went out for ice cream to talk. They came home and took me aside and told me that Rachel didn't want to live with me at home anymore, but wanted to go to Tiffs. I asked her why and she said she didn't know, she just needed a break. A break? from what? Her whole life is a break! That's when i started thinking that maybe i have been doing the wrong thing. I had turned my life upside-down for her, and she still was miserable. I had Steve talk to her, because i was too hurt and confused. I did not want to say the wrong thing and drive her away even more. Well, they talked and i told Tiff that Rachel would not be spending so much time with her for a while and the she (Tiff) needed to stop spoiling her and she needs to be a better influence on Rach. Rachel and i have since had a long talk. We both cried. I did tell her that i wasn't sure if we should continue home schooling next year. I have to think about it. And pray about it. It was a good talk, but i still feel bad. And i'm pretty sure she does too:( I thought that this was what God wanted me to do and maybe it is. But now i am doubting. And hurting. And i know that she may be hurting too. I just don't know how to make it better.

So, that is what has been in my heart. Thanks for listening. It always makes me feel a bit better to write things down. Even if it hurts. For me, its kind of like draining the bad stuff out of a wound. So, if you pray, please pray for me and my Rachel. If you don't.......well, you should ;). Feel free to comment any thoughts or advice.

The silver lining? My children are healthy. AND they have the OPTION to school at home. Many would love to school at home and just can not do it. Many mothers whose children are sick would love to have to worry about the things i am worrying about now. So....Thank you Lord for the health of my children and for allowing me to stay home with them to be here when they need me.

today i am thankful for:
1. Healthy Kids
2. Stable Finances
3. My husband's heart
Thank You Lord!!!