Seeing Love

This post I dedicate to my Bear, my youngest son, as he was my inspiration for it. I shared this with my Facebook friends but now I share it with all of you.

My bear walked up to me and kissed me in my left eye and then my right, I instinctively closed them as I didn’t want spit in my eyes. When I asked him what he was doing this was his response, “This way mom when you open your eyes you will see love, from me.”

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Seeing love. So simple, so true. Do we see love?

So many times in our lives we see pain, injustice, hurt, anger, and destruction but we cannot let these be our defining moments. A defining moment in one’s life is a moment of clarity, one that directs us and shows us a path to take and gives us a sense of direction and urgency, showing us something we must do. I almost let a moment of anger become my defining moment. My son changed that with his love. I needed that reminder. Anger and frustration are inevitable. Life is not perfect, people are not perfect, and we will get angry but do not let that anger be the cause of your actions. When we are motivated by anger, frustration, or even hate we may end up making wrong decisions that could have dire consequences not just for us but for our loved ones as well. Be motivated by love, by kindness, by unselfishness, not animosity or ill will.

I will close this post as I wanted it short and sweet because we know this already but much like me, sometimes we just need a slight reminder.

A kiss, if you will, to remind us to see love.

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Copyright © 2014 Enjoying The Chaos.

Scared But Sure

Back in late July I found a lump in my left breast.

I am 34 years old.
I have two boys, 11 and 13.
One of my boys is special needs.
My husband is an over the road truck driver.
My boys rely on me so much because they are with me constantly and only see their dad a few days a month.
They need me to homeschool them.
I have to be imagining this.
It’s not a lump.
It’s my imagination.
It has to be.
If it is really there it could be something else, maybe it is not a real lump, maybe it’s just my time of the month.

Any justification I could come up with I did. Two weeks later I checked again, it was still there and my heart sunk.

It was real now, it wasn’t going away. I called my doctor and he saw me that day. He couldn’t find the lump, he made me feel like I was imagining it when I knew I wasn’t. “Come back in six months and we will check again”, he said. Six months? Really? NO. I am not waiting. I am not imagining this, I am not making it up. I know it’s there, I felt it.

I called another doctor, surely enough she found it. An ultrasound and a compression mammogram.

My radiology reports came in.

I was sent that same day to see a surgeon.

“That is not a good sign”, was all I could hear over and over in my mind.

I returned home, not ready to deal with any of this. The only arms I wanted were my mother’s, she was there, to tell me I will get through this, whatever it is she will be right there with me. I needed that. As if the stress of knowing it was there wasn’t enough the waiting between appointments and results I felt as if I would lose my mind, I came pretty close. I held in the tears as much as I could until someone told me it was okay to cry, to be scared, to be angry.

Surgery day came and went.

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I spent the next two weeks sore and tired. Panic attacks, oversleeping, headaches, and just struggling. Thankful for my family, they were there for me and my kids, I had no doubt that whatever came my way I had them to help me. My mother fought breast cancer twice and is still going strong. At this point in my life that isn’t a struggle I have to face, my results, no cancer. I was so grateful, I felt alive, happy, I can’t describe the feeling other than one of the best feelings in the world. Sadly, this is not the case for every woman.

A woman’s best chance for survival in the fight against breast cancer is early detection. Check yourself regularly. Get your annual mammogram. I wanted to ignore it I was so terrified by what it could have been but I knew that wasn’t going to help the situation. Cancer isn’t a word any woman wants to hear but women are born warriors. Whatever may come your way you can face it you can fight it, but please, just don’t wait.

It is okay to be scared, but be sure.

Copyright © 2014 Enjoying The Chaos.

Let Love Prevail Over Hate #Love>Hate

It shouldn’t have happened, but it did. An act of love turned into an act of hate. The ALS ice bucket challenge went viral and why not it was for a good cause. Everyone was doing it, showing support, adults, kids, celebrities, and it even motivated a young man with autism to participate in the challenge.

This act of kindness and love was turned into a nightmare of hate and humiliation for this young man and his family. My children are my life. I think most parents feel the same way, we would give our lives for our children and when their hearts feel pain so do ours. My heart broke, not because of what one of my children had to endure but for the pain another child felt, a child over a thousand miles away that I had never even met.

The ALS ice bucket challenge gone wrong, horribly, terribly wrong. In Bay Village, Ohio a young man with autism, only 14 years old was traumatized by a malicious act created by a group of kids who said they would help this young man. Videotaped, but not for the reason he thought. These cruel, heartless beings did not want to help, they wanted to humiliate. The bucket was not filled with ice water but with human excrement. It was mortifying to see. People knew it happened, they were sickened by it. It is not enough to know, it is not enough to feel appalled. Stand up. Take action. Let this young man and his family know they are not alone. As the mother of a special needs child, a child who is so trusting, growing into a young man but still so young at heart and in mind this hits very close to home for me.

When I was given the opportunity to help Give Forward spread the word I was honored to be a part of this. No amount of money will undo the humiliation this innocent young man has had to endure, nor will it stop the pain he feels over what was done to him. If this was your child, your family, you would not simply be outraged but you would take action. Not everyone can make a donation, which is understandable, however you can still take a stand, take action, and show your support for him and his family by leaving a comment on the Give Forward page for them. Show him how proud you are of him for coming forward because standing up and taking action takes strength of heart.

As for me and my family, we choose love. What will you choose?

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Please, share with your friends and family so that together, we can all let love prevail and show that love is greater than hate.

I chose to share this post and my own personal feelings regarding this horrific crime, yes crime with you not because I am being compensated but because it’s important to not just take a stand but take action!

Copyright © 2014 Enjoying The Chaos.

Why Homeschool?

Why does any parent choose to homeschool?

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They are so many reasons parents decide to take the plunge into homeschooling and yes it feels like a plunge, not a jump, a plunge. Some people are organized and ready to go at it without a problem, not this mama. It was overwhelming, stressful, exhausting, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. Why do something so stressful? Let’s consider some of the reasons parents do it.

Physical health, from kids getting sick with viruses that are making our children violently and dangerously ill, sometimes requiring hospitalization and leaving parents praying their children recover which are rampant nowadays to bullying gone the extremes of school shootings and attacks on fellow students.

Bullying.

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That word makes me sick to my stomach, maybe because it is one of the reasons I pulled my boys from public school. It has gone to a new extreme. Bullying used to be physical attacks causing children to come home with scraped knees, torn clothes, a black eye, or terrifyingly even a broken bone. A broken bone, horrible, nothing any parent ever wants their child to have to deal with. Then, it got worse.

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Cyberbullying and verbal bullying have gone from teasing to torment, playing with emotions, groups disguised as, “cliques” verbally attacking kids, pretending to be their friends only to make them more vulnerable to attacks. Bullying is now emotionally tormenting our kids to the point that they are too embarrassed to come forward for help, becoming depressed to the point they are suicidal, or so hurt they decide to take action themselves and lives are lost. Some kids are sadly easy targets for bullies. Children with mental health conditions such as Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), just to name a couple of many conditions, may make children or teens more susceptible to becoming targets of bullying even though life has showed us bullies don’t discriminate, they will attack anyone they feel they can.

Mental and physical health conditions, along with learning disabilities can make learning hard for our kids. The ever rising, continuous pushing of our kids to learn more, increase the testing standards, make them work harder, learn faster not only stresses students without learning disabilities but for those of our children who do need additional help it can be even harder, more stressful, and even bring them to tears.

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For any parent who has been through the process of trying to get a 504 plan, IEP, or any other services for their child they know how strenuous it can be and in general it never feels like enough is being done. So many children in school are on medication. I am not saying that someone is a bad parent for choosing it but it is hard when a child is put on medication simply because they have to keep up with the pace of 20 other students and an ever increasing curriculum. There is so much to cover to make sure each student is ready for that all so important test that pushes so many so close to their breaking points that some very important skills could be missed just because they aren’t chosen as a skill necessary enough to make the cut to be a part of the state exam.

Each of us has our own set of morals and values that we instill in our children. Unfortunately, they are all different. It was a bit of a shock to sit down to lunch with my 1st and 2nd grade children in the school cafeteria and very clearly hear vulgarity and curse words within the laughter of other students. There are new concerns in the schools, a new trend has emerged. The words and subjects we don’t want our children to hear from other students are now coming from books, books that can be found in their own school library.

So why homeschool? I can tell you why I chose to. My son came home in tears every day but refused to tell me why. I visited the school, I volunteered at the school, and I talked to the counselor only to be told, “They are just adjusting.” The teacher’s response, “He is doing just fine.” The following year, the first day of school my son started shaking as we drove into the school parking lot and confessed that he was being threatened every day by other students. I cried and felt horrible. My other son curled up in my lap in tears and said he couldn’t do it, it was too hard, he had no friends, and said, “Please mom, don’t make me go.” More tears, more pain.

I put the car in reverse and brought my boys home. Our journey began. No more tears, no more sadness.

That is why I homeschool.

 

Copyright © 2014 Enjoying The Chaos.

The Disney Kid In You

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I think most of us have something that brings out the Disney kid in all of us. I am 34 years old and only within the last six months did I experience Disneyland for the first time in my life. It was amazing. I can’t find the words to explain how awesome, how breathtaking, how beautiful and wondrous it truly was. I can’t tell you how many tears of joy I shed from the moment the car pulled up to the Disneyland Resort. I cried when I got to the room, I cried when I saw the Disney flags, I cried when I watched the fireworks, I cried when I watched the Princess Parade. Disneyland brought all those childhood dreams to life.

My love of Disney princesses started like it does for most little girls but mine continues just a little bit different. PicMonkey Collage princessesI grew up on Disney movies, Snow White, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, my favorite is Sleeping Beauty, but mom’s is Cinderella. Even though Aurora was my favorite princess, Cinderella holds a special place in my heart, that is the memory where I will always be safe, in my mom’s arms.

At the age of 16 I started suffering from anxiety attacks, they became debilitating. For those of you who don’t know what an anxiety attack is or feels like I will do my best to explain. Once an anxiety attack is brought on it is difficult to bring yourself to a calm state and realize that the irrational worries are just that, irrational. During a panic attack your chest tightens up, you start feeling dizzy, nauseous, crippling stomach pain, uncontrollable shaking, and hyperventilating nearly blacking out. You get the point, it is horrible.

Confused as to what all this has to do with Disney? For years when I started getting panic attacks my mother would hold my hands, sit with me, and play a movie, yes Cinderella. Cinderella is more than just a nice memory. Disney gave me a place in my mind and heart, a pleasant place, calm and peaceful. That will always stay with me.

Disney is not just a company, it is not just a collection of movies or a theme park. Disney inspires us. Walt Disney taught us that nothing is impossible. A dream is a wish your heart makes and being at Disneyland was absolutely a dream come true.

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Disneyland is a land of imagination for all ages. Take time with your children, give them Disney memories that will last their whole lives through. For all that life throws at me, I will always have my memories of Disney and I will forever be a Disney Kid, will you?

Copyright © 2014 Enjoying The Chaos.

My Inspiration

We all have downs in our lives, moments that drive us to wonder how much worse things can get and how much more we can take. Those moments pass, we keep going, and move on. What keeps me going? My motivation, my inspiration comes from the people I love. This is my inspiration, my family: my parents, my siblings, my children, and my husband.

My Father
PicMonkey Collage dadThose days the bills stack up so high that I feel like I am drowning I think of my dad. He never gave up. He worked, up to four jobs at one time, to support a family of nine, without food stamps, Medicaid, or government assistance. He always told us that wasn’t a way of life, you work for what you need in life. This is not meant to degrade or belittle those who need the help, he just didn’t want his children to see it as a means of living. Even my father, now advanced in years needs help to pay for his medical care and daily prescriptions that he requires for his aging, ailing body. There are days that I watch my father struggling to get around, needing help to get out of chairs, giving in to the pain, and I find myself holding back the tears welling up in my eyes. My sadness comes for so many reasons but the one that bothers me most is the one I never realized would come, a realization that the superhero I always saw my father as when I was a little girl, is not invincible. He will always be my hero, my inspiration to succeed, as a person, as a parent, and as a superhero to my children.

My Mother

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Why is she my inspiration? I can tell you in these simple words. She is the strongest woman I have ever met. She has been faced with, fought, and beat breast cancer, not once but twice. She was always there for me, through every tear and every time I called, “Mama”, she was there. Her hugs taught me what loves feels like, she continues to teach me today. My mother shows me every day the strength that motherhood gives us. When she was first diagnosed with breast cancer she told me, “I am not going anywhere I have babies to watch grow up.” She was there years later at my graduation, then my wedding. Eighteen years later she was diagnosed again. I remember seeing the tears and anger in her eyes, but again she said, “I am not going anywhere I have grandbabies to watch grow up.” She is still here, every day, with me, showing me how to be strong, how to live, and how to love. Every day, as I wonder what the future holds, she gives me hope.

My Siblings

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With six sisters it has been a crazy ride but I wouldn’t change it for the world. Some have taught me to be strong, some have taught me to be tough, some have taught me to fight, and some have taught me to keep looking for the good in it all; all of this has made me who I am today. In a family of seven daughters we covered most of the personalities. I have a sister who is the tough one, one who is the overly happy one, one that is so positive you want to hug them like a teddy bear until the eyes pop off, one that is so strong that she seems pushy, one that is pushy, one that is well black and white and impolite in between (every family has one, I wasn’t going to pretend I didn’t), and the black sheep (that would be me). I love all my sisters, they are all a part of me. I love them all but I am a bit rough around the edges and it makes a difference. There is one that in the last few years I have connected with more as an adult, she has been there to guide and support me through the trials my life as a woman and mother have brought to me. She has been a rock to me, always there, and to be perfectly honest, one of the people I would feel broken without in my life. When our lives and sanity are tested, when it seems the storm will never end she doesn’t come with an umbrella of positivity trying to make me see the sun but she understands that I can’t always see the sun and so she stands in the rain with me. About 15 years ago I got something I thought I never would, when one of my sisters married I didn’t just get a brother in law I got a big brother.  There really is no better way to describe it than I got that big brother I know I can turn to when I need a shoulder to cry on. A lesson learned from each of them, all different but all necessary. These incredible people are not just my siblings, they are my friends, some of the very best.

My Children
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Oh my! Kids, we love them but they drive us up the wall as they get older. Who doesn’t love a baby? They are adorable but the true test comes years later, the older they get the more they seem to test us. I have been a child and there is nothing my parents wouldn’t have done for me, they continue to prove that every day. I am a parent now and there is nothing I wouldn’t do for my children. They are the reason I wake in the morning and even on the hardest of days give me the motivation to get up, to rise and not just live but make every effort to improve our lives because isn’t the mission of every parent to give them everything we can? I want to give them everything I can, not just material possessions but the ideals and values to make them wonderful, kind-hearted adults who can love their children the way we love them.

When you feel frustrated and tired, step back and think of your inspirations.  May they help you realize that there is no limit to what can be achieved.

Copyright © 2014 Enjoying The Chaos.

A Woman’s Four Letter Word

LUMP. It could be nothing, or it could be cancer. No, breast cancer isn’t a death sentence but it is still the first truly terrifying thought that came to my mind. I was imagining it, so I waited. Three weeks later I could still feel it in the exact same spot, I wasn’t just imagining it. One doctor who said there was nothing there, the second doctor found not only the lump I had found but possibly a second one as well. Another mammogram, an ultrasound too, and more waiting. Back to the doctor for results, “suspicious abnormality, biopsy should be considered” is exactly what the results said. More tears, more fear, more waiting.

Copyright © 2014 Enjoying The Chaos.

Thankful For The Storms

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I love storms, the gray skies, the dark clouds, and the downpour that follows. Okay, so I may be odd man out on this one. Yes, sunny days are beautiful and great for appreciating the outdoors. Even the softest glow of shimmering sunlight cannot on its own sustain the beauty of the world we live in.

The earth needs the rain to saturate the ground, to keep it soft within, so that the trees, flowers, and grass we take pleasure in everyday continue to grow. So the saying goes, “Into each life a little rain must fall.” Just like the earth we live on, the lives we live in also need a little bit of rain every now and then.

The “rain”, or storms we experience in our lives are the problems we face, sometimes more often than we prefer, but these storms keep us humble, they keep us grateful for the positive things in life no matter how big or small. Celebrate your family’s accomplishments and cherish the time you spend with them. Life isn’t perfect but we should always strive to make the best of this beautiful mess we are in. Two brothers just over a year apart in age, of course they fight, like cats and dogs they fight, however, when one is hurt, sick, or afraid the other is right there to be the best brother they can be. “Good days”, or days when nobody fights or gets hurt are awesome, as a parent those are the days we wish occurred more often. T and Bear are a prime example of two siblings that can’t live with each other and can’t live without each other; Bear was playing on the Kinect the other day, but when he jumped he landed wrong and hurt his ankle. T came running to me, held his brother’s hand until we got him settled, calmed, and then tended to him all day. What a wonderful sight! It is moments like this, the little rainstorms that soften our hearts to see and treasure the precious love and good in our lives.

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I am thankful for all the rain in my life, so that I can watch my life and my family bloom and grow.

I am thankful for the storms.

Are you?

Copyright © 2014 Enjoying The Chaos.

Date Night

Dates aren’t just for boyfriends and girlfriends anymore. Husbands and wives take time out for themselves because as much as we love our kids moms and dads are people too. It is nice to have a little one on one time, which is hard to do. It is not easy to have a romantic evening with kids running around screaming or jumping in your lap for the random hug or kiss from your child which I don’t think any mom or dad will ever say no to.

There is a new trend to “dating”. Dates aren’t just for romance anymore. I have seen more than a few YouTube videos and Facebook posts about “daddy-daughter” dates, so when my Bear wanted to go to a movie and T did not, well, I took the opportunity! Yep, I asked my Bear if he would like to go on a date with me. Since we had not yet gone to our new movie bistro in town this was the perfect opportunity for dinner and a movie. We knew exactly what we wanted to see. Since the day he found out this movie was being made he told me over and over, “Mom I want to see this the day it comes out!” Well June 13th came and went, things came up and it didn’t happen. “Mom, I know we need other stuff first. Save your money for the trip for T’s doctor appointment”, Bear told me. I am so proud that he is so mature and understanding of his brother’s needs even though I repeatedly tell him “That is a mom and dad thing to take care of, not for you to worry about.”

This was my time to make it up to him. T still did not want to go with us so I arranged for someone to stay with T (thanks mom & dad), checked movie times, and we were off! No, we didn’t do all the dressing up or anything, it was just great to enjoy time just the two of us. We headed to the movie bistro, and since neither of us had ever been in one before we were both really impressed at how nice it was. I handed him the debit card, asked him to purchase our tickets and as he looked up at me with a huge smile he very politely said to the woman at the counter, “Two for How to Train Your Dragon 2 please.” He was so excited to finally see the movie he had been waiting so long for. He chose our reserved seating for the movie and picked up a menu for the food. We walked over to the concession stand, ordered his food, grabbed our drink, and headed to our seats. Wow, both of us were floored. We had never been to a theater with big leather seats and a small tray table attached. His food arrived and we sat and chatted until the movie started. He was all smiles.

I couldn’t count how many times he smiled that whole time, those beautiful, genuine, couldn’t be happier smiles. It was a great movie and we had an amazing time! My little boy is growing into a fine young man. I could not be happier to have been his first date, yet another memory I will cherish forever and I hope he will too. Best date night ever!

Copyright © 2014 Enjoying The Chaos.