Let them spread their wings

As a parent we all have many difficult roads that we must navigate throughout our children’s lives. Each new year that passes brings different challenges and stages that we must handle and learn from to help not only our children grow, but us as well. I remember when my girls were little that I would sit back and say I can’t wait until they get older. Why on earth would I say this? At the time, I was exhausted! Four little girls is no easy task, and also at the time I was attempting to run my very own business. The late night feedings, the diaper changes, the baths, cooking, cleaning, working, the drying of four heads of thick blonde hair was all I could handle. I thought if they were older and able to do more for themself that it would be easier for me. I thought I would have more time to work, more sleep, less to do, and maybe even have a little help with the chores. Boy, was I wrong on that one. My kids are older now 21, 18, 14, and 11. Are things easier? Absolutely not!! The things that exhausted me then, has only turned into a new set of things that are exhausting me now. Instead of staying up all night doing feedings, I stay up all night worrying if they make it home after being out. Instead of worrying about just feeding them, I now feed them, a bunch of friends, and even boyfriends. The laundry has quadrupled and the expenses have gone up!! Clothes, shoes, bags, and makeup. Y’all the makeup, let me tell you the makeup is crazy! How many eyeshadow palletes do you need?

As you see, things do not get easier. Each stage our children enter brings a whole new set of challenges that we must cope with and learn from. I do believe that with these challenges, both ourselves and are children will be able to grow as we gain insight into the different stages we are experiencing. As a mother of four I can speak to the fact that I have grown tremendously from that young mother who was exhausted just trying to keep my little ones alive. Now, that my kids are older I can see I have gained so much wisdom, strength, and clarity in the different moments in my children’s lives.

I hit one of those milestone stages this past weekend. We moved my second daughter, Emma Grace, to her college dorm. Yes, the dreaded moving them out of your home. Although she’s not too far (just a few hours away) it still feels like a huge part of my heart is ripped right out of my chest. I know I will be able to still see her often, but it is the fact that I know that this is it. More than likely, she will never officially live back in our home permanently. She now is beginning her independence . Although I’m excited for her I’m also very sad. My time with my chubby curly haired baby quickly flew by. How did she become this beautiful independepent woman in a blink of an eye?

Saturday was a hard day. Letting go is hard, especially as a parent. We want to just be able to hold on to that hand just a little bit longer. However, as I have grown as a parent I have learned the importance of letting go even if it is one finger at a time. With each new stage our kids go through we have to learn a little bit about how to let go. When they take their first steps we have to trust they can do even if we have to let them fall some. When they learn to ride a bike, we have to let go so they can learn to pedal and balance on their own. When they learn to drive, we have to turn over those car keys and pray they will be ok. Now, when they go to college we must learn to say our goodbyes and trust they will make good choices. All the stages are hard and each one of them consists of letting them fail in some way. Yes, failure is a part of life and something we have to teach our children. The awesome part is after they fall, you get to see them fly. They spread their wings. They gain confidence in their own abilities and they learn to grow with the freedom of being able to fly on their own.

Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6.

So as parents hanging on to dear life to our children, we must place our children in God’s hands and let them soar. Every stage, every new moment, every breathe we need to let them be the people they are meant to be and learn to grow as individuals from the falls and victories in their life. Our children need to spread their wings and fly. So in that I say to my beautiful girl, Emma Grace, fly high little butterfly and I am so very proud of you.

I pray that all those out there letting go today are covered with peace, strength, love, and many blessings.

Love and Hugs,

Jennifer

Live in Love

Do everything in love. Corinthians 16:14

Recently my family and I took our two oldest daughter’s jeeps and spent the day exploring a jeep trail called Shepherd Trail here in Kentucky. Our youngest daughter, Abby, was at a friend’s house that day so we were missing her, but we had such a wonderful day together on our jeep adventure. My family has always loved to look for new adventures to take and fun things to do together . I am proud to say that we do make an effort to do things often as a family. I believe one of the greatest gifts you can give to your children is your time. I feel so very blessed also, that they want to spend time with my husband and myself.

The trail is a 38 mile narrow road that winds through the mountain and has several overlooks where you can stand and enjoy the scenery. With the fresh air of the jeeps the trail was just incredible. It felt like we were riding through an enchanted forest. The wind in our hair and the music playing in the background as we made our way down the narrow trail was something we all needed, just to feel free.

I loved looking back and seeing my girls, and our fur-babies, taking in the view with huge smiles on their faces. To me, that is a beautiful sight. There is nothing better than seeing your kids smile. I also found myself thinking how lucky I was to live in such a beautiful place. Y’all, if you have never been to Kentucky, you must come for a visit soon. I believe we live in one of the prettiest places on earth. I am proud to be from the mountains here. I am so very grateful to say it is my home.

The views from the overlook areas were beyond breathtaking. It really felt like you were looking at a picture. As I looked out at the view, I again, was so grateful that God has blessed me to live in such a beautiful place with picture perfect scenery painted all around me by his hand. As I was enjoying the wind in my hair, the freedom of riding, and the gorgeous scenery I can say that I did not have a worry in the world. The anxiety from all the stressors going on in the world right now had left me for those moments. I was free to watch the joy in my children’s faces, to be thankful, and feel blessed. I cherished every moment I was free to just live in a moment of peace, blessings, and love. It truly was a wonderful time.

On our way home and for the days that have followed our little jeep adventure I did some thinking. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could live everyday like I did that day. What if we could just live everyday with joy and love. To feel free and blessed and take in the air, the scenery, and truly just be thankful for what is all around you. To feel the wind in your hair that makes you forget about your worries. What a world that would be.

Our world lately has been one that I no longer recognize. It has become a world that I am scared for my kids to grow up and live in. A world that I will pray that will rise above all that is going on and become a world of love, peace, and kindness. I hope one day soon each and every person will be able to feel that wind and feel free of the terrible things that are happening now. I want everyone to not only to have that freedom, but to live a life that is filled with love.

Elle, Emma, and Taylor(missing Abby that day)

Between Covid-19 and now the unrest in the country it is hard to think that we will ever be able to live a life full of peace and love. The divide in our world, and our country is a strong one. There is a lot of fear, bitterness, loneliness, and unkindness that is looming in today’s society. It doesn’t feel like the same world I grew up in. It is hard for me to understand how people can hurt others so much. I have always taught my kids to be kind to everyone and that all people are equal and we all have the same father, our God. I have tried to teach them the importance of being a good daughter, sister, friend, and neighbor. I am proud of them to because they all seem to have servant hearts as well. They are always looking for ways to help others. The most important thing I have tried to teach them is that LOVE never fails, never. If we choose to live a life of love and loving on others, we will not fail. Will there still be problems? Of course, that is part of life. However, choosing love and kindness is always the best option. We must treat others the way we would want to be treated. So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12.

Peace and love may not be in the minds of most people these days. I also know there are many leaders and others out there that are struggling to find a way just to make things some what normal again (If it can be). One thing I know is that the one person that can make each person and this world whole, that is our great God. I believe with him we can all be healed, and with him this world can be healed. God is perfect love. It is his love that will make people feel the way I did that day in the jeep. His love will make you feel like your hair is blowing in the wind and feeling a rush of fresh air. His love will make you feel joy and thankfulness. His love will show you the way to treat others. His love will fill your life with peace and contentment. And all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:14. Our God can bring unity, peace, and love to everyone. I encourage each of you to put your hope and trust in him. To live a life like God intended for us. To live a life in love.

And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13.

I pray that I can be a reflection of love to each of you. I pray you are safe and healthy and covered in many blessings today.

Love and hugs,

Jennifer

Know Your Worth

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm139: 13-14.

Recently my oldest daughter, Taylor, opened up in her blog about being in a very bad toxic relationship. I was so proud of her for her bravery in coming out with her story and taking on this important topic. Abusive relationships are not discussed enough in our country, and when it is a certain stigma seems to come along with it. I invite you to read her blog and get an idea of what she had to endure, and also want to share a little on what it is like for a parent to watch your child live in such an environment.

Since Taylor was a child she has always been very shy and insecure. As a parent I question myself all the time in why she is. Is it something I did wrong as a parent? Could I have done anything different? I have suffered from anxiety and shyness all my life as well, so I question if this is something that can be passed on to your kids as well? No matter what the answer is Taylor has had to navigate through life trying to overcome these issues. My heart would always hurt watching her as she was growing trying her best to make friends, feel included, and just be part of the crowd and feel good about herself. I often had to push pretty hard just to make her go to birthday parties or take part in a physical activity. It was a struggle to say the least. The insecurities within herself often would appear in ways that no one can even imagine. Taylor, starting as early as her 5th grade year in school, developed an eating disorder that we still struggle with to this day. (I will discuss that in more detail in another blog). There were so many struggles for her from the very beginning.

Then the age came when it was time for boyfriends. As each new boyfriend came into our lives, so did a new set of problems. Due to Taylor’s insecurities she was never the best judge of character. This in turn made for some pretty unhealthy choices in the relationship department. The relationship she got out of recently turned out to be worst of them all. It was very mentally and we later learned a very physically abusive relationship. It was one of the most agonizing things as a parent to watch your child suffer and there really is nothing you can do about it. Yes, we were her parents and did try various ways to try to get Taylor out of the relationship she was in. However, like most teenagers the more we pushed one way, she would push the other. So we had to just sit back and watch and spent many days praying that in some way the relationship would end. Thank God our prayers were answered . He ended the relationship.

I watched my child suffer so much. I watched her become someone that I did not even know. Yes, she has always been insecure and shy, but I witnessed what seemed like the life dripping out of her slowly. Therapy was a must, and many prayers were lifted up. It was a very dark time, but after the relationship ended we were finally able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I immediately had a sense of relief come over and saw the softening occurring in Taylor as well. It was almost instant that the chains were broken from her and life came back into her. It was such a blessing as a mother to see that all hope was not lost.

Since my girls were little, I have always tried to teach them about self worth and loving themself. I would always tell them that they were made by God, so that means they are beautiful. I always tried to make sure they knew it doesn’t matter what others think of them, that are beautiful to me and in the eyes of God. You will see, through our experience with Taylor, that sometimes no matter what you do it will not keep them safe from harm. There are many days I blame myself. I would always tell my girls to know their worth, when a lot of times I was blind to my own. As a woman, living in the environment we do, it is hard not to be critical of yourself. We are all expected to look a certain way, and the expectations are almost to much to bare sometimes. So, like others I was guilty of being hard on myself as well. I am not saying it caused Taylor’s problems, but I do not think it helped it much.

I just want to make sure that everyone knows from our stories the importance of knowing your worth. Do not let this visual world make you feel less than you really are. Take control of your life. Don’t let others tell you what you are and where your riches lie. Know your worth. Know that you are a child of God, and he makes all things beautiful. If you find yourself criticizing yourself, go to him in prayer and read your bible and renew your mind with the power of his words. If you find yourself in a bad relationship, get out. Do not let someone else affect your mental health. Be strong and know your worth. But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength . They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31.

I am so happy that Taylor is in a much better place now. She has a strong faith and that has also helped her through everything that she has been through. She is in a new relationship now that is loving and healthy. We are so grateful for that. I am also grateful that she has learned so much from her experiences and she has learned to rely on God to help guide her path. I love watching her become a strong powerful woman, who knows her worth.

I pray each of you are covered in many blessings today!!

Love and hugs,

Jennifer