Created: March 5, 2012
Life moves on...
Sometimes I just wish I could press "Pause" on my life. Each day brings new information,
new challenges, new changes...
This last week brought me 2 specific times I wanted to press pause on my life. Both
involving my kids, both involving my heart. Those two always seem to go together.
The first came on Wednesday morning when I turned on the TV and discovered school
had been canceled because of weather. As I lay there in the quiet of my room, I
closed my eyes and imagined the kids running into the room and jumping on my bed
with excitement knowing they did not have to get up and go to school today. Then
we all would snuggle in and go back to sleep. Oh those were the days. Some of my
favorite memories of all. Then my second pause came just last night when my son
came bouncing into the restaurant to steal his girlfriend from me (it was preplanned,
I was the distraction) to whisk her off to ask her to spend the rest of their lives
together. As they gave hugs and bounced off together I also realized I was loosing
my baby. Yes, I was also gaining a wonderful and beautiful daughter in law but
in that simple moment, his heart now belongs to her.
I know life has to change. I know we all move on. I even prayed for these days
to come. This is what we all work so hard for. To raise our children to become
strong, healthy, independent people so they can find someone to share their lives
with and make new memories with them. But why does it have to hurt so much? Through
it all though, I am reminded of these things...Change is good. God understands and
will comfort. God has everything under control. And joy comes in the morning!!!
Welcome to our family Amy Jo Olson.
I love you!!!
Created: November 6, 2011
It wasn't too long ago when the chaos in our house was so loud you couldn't escape it. Now today….it is so quiet you can't find it. Our last child, my step son, just left for college at Colorado Christian. All of a sudden the house is empty. Our oldest, my daughter, just celebrated her 2nd year of marriage. Our son, my youngest, graduated this spring from Northwestern College with a degree in Psychology and started his Grad Program at Bethel University. Our middle daughter, my step daughter, is in her 3rd year at Grove City College in Pennsylvania. A time like this brings reflection.
As I look back I can't help but wonder what I would have done differently. I have to be careful because if I choose to, and sometimes I do, I can feel a lot of regret. Not regret for how they have turned out, as they have all turned out to be great young adults. But regrets for missed opportunities, being too busy, and for making them one of the 60% who had to grow up in a broken home. Could I have been a better mom? Step mom? Sure, you bet! Ask each one of them and they would be the first to tell you areas where I failed them. But in the silence of the walls they remind me that I did the best that I knew, at the time. Hindsight is always 20/20. But honestly, if we all could live in hindsight would we really learn anything? Isn't it through our choices, our trials that we learn to depend on God? If we knew all the answers before we make decisions, would we find ourselves on our knees seeking God to show us His way? Probably not.
So the next time I find myself stuck in the "should haves", I need to extend myself a little grace and accept the good with the bad and enjoy the blessings of today. Sounds simpler than it is. God grant me the ability to keep my eyes fixed on you who knows my heart and loves me so much.
Created: June 14, 2011
Seven Years? Myth or Truth?
Blended families are hard. As Jon and I are reflecting on our 12 year anniversary, we recall many hard times but so grateful for all the good times. Those first 7 years were the most challenging. I have read many books that talked about the magical 7th year and I never believed it. But for us, for some reason, things started falling into a natural order right around the 7th year.
It took 7 years to bring two mini families together as one. It took seven years to smooth the battle lines. Seven years to build trust. Seven years of fighting over loyalties. Seven years to learn our roles. Seven years to calm the defenses. Finally, seven years later, our family had found it’s groove.
Yet even after those magical seven years we still find ourselves repeating some of those same old patterns once in awhile. Why is that? Jesus tells us in 2nd Corinthians 5:17 that “those who belong to Christ become a new person. The old is gone; and new life has begun.” But in our human nature it is so easy to pick up our old defenses and fall back into our old habits. We need to be reminded what Romans 13:12 says; “So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living.”
The good news is that each time we are learning to catch ourselves falling into our past roles sooner and find that we are able to work through the issues much calmer and much quicker. Blending does come with time. But when you are right in the middle of it, time is the last thing you want to give. Let me encourage you that if you are in your first seven years, know that it does get better. Or if you have made it past those ever challenging years and still experience a bump or two, hang in there, the ride does get smoother. Keep your eyes on the goal and trust in Jesus and hang on for the ride. You will not regret it.
Created: Jan. 23th, 2011
Life the way it was suppose to be….
Christmas is a great time of year. I have not always loved Christmas but I am beginning to appreciate it more and more through the years. I use to love the thought of Christmas. The family around the Christmas tree all smiling and laughing enjoying time together. And although those times did happen, they never lasted more than a few hours and then it was time for goodbyes as they left to go to their “other” families to celebrate the same spirit that we so enjoyed. I always tried to cram as much in to our time together as possible. Never feeling like it was quite enough. As I look back on it now, I wish I would have just kept it as simple as possible and just enjoyed every minute I had. I often wonder how Christmas was for them. I can only imagine the daily feelings of being pulled in two different directions were just magnified during Christmas time. And made even worse with my personal demands to fit everything in. I only hope as they look back at it now they remember some of the joys and specialness of the season.
What would I do different? I would like to think a lot of things. But when I really look into my heart I still see the same longings. Longings to have as much time as possible, longings to make memories, but mostly, longings to pretend, if only for one day, that life was like it was suppose to be. But the truth still remains. Life isn’t as it was suppose to be. They should not have to travel between homes to celebrate with two separate families. This is their “normal” and I am so sad that I could not give them more. I only pray that someday they will be able to share Christmas together with their family, all in the same home and live the way life is suppose to be, the way God designed it to be.
Created: Sept. 2010
It is hard to believe fall is here. As I write this now the weather is cooler and fall is in the air. As I look back upon the summer there were many giant leaps. No wonder the summer passed by so quickly.
The Big D – is now officially published. This was a much larger project than expected. But as of August 1st the new version was re-edited and released for print. After many proofs I finally settled on the new cover design and am very excited about it. Please check out the new design on the website.
Sonset Point Website – is “almost” completed. This project seems never ending. For the most part it is up and running. I hope you like the new look. I will be continuing to update things periodically. Be sure to check out the new Articles, Activities and Blog entries monthly. This will surely keep me on my toes.
AMFM – was a great success. I was even on the radio!! My comfort zone continues to be stretched and I keep learning new things. Robyn, my friend and fellow Big D leader in Eugene OR, and I did a great workshop. And the interest at the booth was non stop. I was blessed being able to have my hubby with me this year. It definitely kept us both hopping.
The Slippery Slope – will soon be Trademarked and available in bookstores. I have received UPC labels for each game and have been putting together a marketing plan. If anyone has connections with their local bookstores and would like to help me make the games available that would be great. Please email me.
Amazon.com – I am now a registered author on Amazon. Totally amazing!! Talk about an “out of body” experience. I still can’t believe it. Who would have thought???
Church Initiative – is the leading divorce recovery ministry. They produce DivorceCare and DC4K (Divorce Care for Kids). The Big D has finally been accepted to be included in their on line store. This is a great opportunity to minister to teens nationwide.
On the personal front I was blessed by having 2 of our college kids come back for the summer. It was great having “most” of the family back home together again. The only one missing was my oldest married daughter, Brittany, who just celebrated their one year anniversary so I guess I still need to adjust my definition of “family”. Brittany and Stefan celebrated Stefan’s college graduation. Britt has a full load this fall and is hoping to graduate in December. Tyler made his mother very happy by coming home this summer. He had a place in the cities where he could have stayed but chose to give me one last summer. I am very grateful for that. He will graduate from college this next May and is looking for a Graduate School for Psychology after that. Ella made her way back home from college in Pennsylvania. It was a joy to have her back. It was very hard to see her pack up for another year but it helps when we are so confident that she is exactly where God wants her. Isaac reveled with having siblings back to enjoy his summer with. He is now heartbroken seeing them all leave for college again, one by one. It is his senior year this year. It will go by before we know it and then we will be the ones heartbroken with no one left at home. Where does all the time go?
Jon & I continue to be busy in the family business and doing ministry at our local church. He is on his 3rd year as Chairman of the Board of Overseers and each year has had it’s challenges. God continues to teach us to depend on Him, we cannot rely on our strength alone.
Thank you for sharing in this ride with me. God continues to pave the way and I just try to keep up. He is an Awesome God.
Always remember, YOU are my greatest asset. If there is ever anything I can do for you please contact me. If you are wondering about how to convert the old version to the newer version, I have a replacement plan for you. Please contact me and we will work out the details.
Blessings to all,
Created: Feb. 19th, 2010
I am so excited to announce my new web page! I now have links to both of my resources – The Big D and The Slippery Slope. Please check out the link to both sites. Isn’t it great!!
The Big D has had a fantastic year this year. Because of printing demands, I have made a huge commitment and decided to sign with a Publisher. I have had to make some changes, but I hope this is a positive step for everyone. It was important for me to keep things as much the same as they have been. I am in the process of selecting a new cover design and re-editing the books to a different format. So be looking in the next couple of months for some changes to come. Pretty soon you may even be able to find me on Amazon!
The Slippery Slope just debuted its own webpage at www.theslipperyslopegame.com. Check it out!! And I have recently sent out it’s first massive mailing. Hopefully we will see these games take off as they are a wonderful tool to encourage sharing and healing in groups of all ages. If you haven’t seen one yet – you gotta see what you are missing!!
Things at the Smith home are still buzzing. Our Care Ministry is having a great year. We are hosting 5 different groups – DivorceCare, DC4K, The Big D, GriefShare and 12 Steps to Freedom (a chemical addiction group). Jon & I just finished up leading our Blended Family group through a 13 week course using the Love & Respect books.
Our kids continue to leave the nest one by one. Believe it or not, we have 3 in college now and one “lone ranger” for another year. They are all doing great with the greatest event of the year being our oldest daughter getting married in August. Make sure you check out our photo album to see pictures. These last 4 years have been nothing but a blur as I have done all I could to hang on to every last moment I could get my hands on. I miss not having the kids at home so much. I keep waiting for the joy in “empty nesting” to come. Until then, I’ll just keep begging them to come home!
I have great plans for this new webpage. I will have a new Featured Article every month that will pertain to Single Parent Families or Blended Families in some way, shape or form. I will also be updating this Blog periodically. So I hope you make it a habit to stop by every once in awhile and see what is new.
Until then – enjoy the new sights.
Sonset Point Ministries