Navy Nautical {Style Perspectives}

It’s our last week of Style Perspectives! How can it already have been 15 weeks? The Blended Blog will continue with fashion posts on Wednesdays beginning next week as we go through Create28. More on that at the end of this post. But first…last week’s graduation looks:

graduation look

This week it’s Nicole‘s turn hosting on the Blended Blog. Stop by to see what she styled for this prompt she chose. I had an embarrassingly amount of nautical/navy/striped options I could have chosen but I decided to style this Merci tee. I purchased this last month at Ross for a great price! It’s flowy and loose and I love it.

Navy and white striped shirt

I have already paired it with white jeans, with skinny jeans, and with jean shorts but today I styled it with longer Bermuda shorts. I kept the accessories simple: an Alex and Ani bracelet my son gave me (it has a compass rose on it), a silver statement watch and little hoop earrings.

Merci with hatAs I get older, I find that the sun bothers me if I’m in it for a long time. So I’ve taken to wearing a hat if I’m going to be out for a long time, say at an art festival.

Merci wearing hat I especially like this straw one because it has strings with a toggle (which is behind my back so you can’t see it in this picture). This keeps it on my head and not flying off if a gust of wind should hit!

Next month, beginning on June 1st, different Blended Bloggers will be hosting a prompt on their blogs and we’ll all link up on Wednesdays on the Blended Blog. If you want to play along, here are the first week’s prompts. It’s nice to not to have to think too much about what to wear! Create28-Week 1I hope you’ll join us!

Link up this week’s look below!

Then comes baby! {Tuesdays with Tina, Part 22}

Tuesdays with Tina is where I chronicle my Italian mother’s story, from being born in a bomb shelter in World War 2, to meeting and marrying my US Navy father. It is an unlikely love story that has lasted almost 50 years. If you missed any part of the story, you can catch up here.Tuesdays with TinaMe: [to Hugh] What was your work? What was your job at that time?

Hugh: Before we got married I started training for flying to become air crew. It was six months and I qualified but I always had to fly on my days off from my regular work. We worked at a place called NALCOE [Naval Air Logistics Coordinator Europe] and what we did was every day all the bases in Europe would send us an all hand report of all the mail, cargo and people they had on hand to be moved. And then NALCOE would direct VR-24 to send a flight, NAS Sigonella to send a flight to pick up cargo or people and move it around. That’s all we did. One week we’d work 7:00 to 3:00, another week we’d work 3:00 to 11:00 and one week we’d work 11:00 to 7:00. Every three weeks you’re back on days. When I was on days I couldn’t fly because I was working 7:00 to 3:00. Our flights would usually take off at 7:00 and we’d get back around 2:00 or 3:00 in the afternoon. When I’d work the afternoon shift, I could fly out to the boat and then come back and work.

Me: So you’d fly in the morning, then come back and work in the evening til 11:00 at night. So basically you’d work two shifts. Then you’d go to sleep. Then back to work. And you did that why?

Hugh: Because I wanted to fly!

Me: So you had to have a certain number of hours before you could do that as your job?

Hugh: No, you had to be trained.

Me: So you had to get trained on your own time?

Hugh: You got trained on your own time and you flew on your own time. They had it good with me because they had a guy who would train on his own time fly on his own time.

Me: So it’s not like you got extra pay…

Hugh: Oh I DID get extra pay! I got flight pay. I think it was a hundred and something dollars a month extra.

Tina: Besides all the other stuff you did! [Enter a long discussion of some other activity here. Ahem.]

Tina: Everyone tried to stretch their pay.

Me: So then when I was born, I know it wasn’t customary for you to be in the room, were you at the hospital? Were you working?

Tina: He brought me to the hospital and I remember that you were born at 10:07 pm and I had been in labor since 2:00. They gave me this shot, but I didn’t know what it was. I was laboring and then I didn’t feel any pain. I was totally in the dark. I didn’t understand what was happening.

Me: There was no one there who could translate?

Tina: No. No and they didn’t even try. They gave me this shot without asking. In fact later I asked your father if they had asked him and he said no. So they gave me the epidural, I didn’t feel any pain and they were telling me to push. Remember this is my first child and I was also very naive. So they tell me to “Push! Push!” and then they said, “She’s born!” They had bet that I was going to have a boy from the heartbeat they thought they could tell. So when they said “She’s born” I wanted to see because I was expecting to have a boy! I didn’t believe them. I was sure I was having a boy I was afraid they were going to swap babies! Afterwards, they brought me to my room and that night they made me get up to go to the bathroom so I could get cleaned up and I passed out. I had to stay in the hospital for a week because I was in pain, my head and my shoulders, and I couldn’t lift my head from the pillow. In fact, I couldn’t even have a pillow. I had to lie flat on the bed. I couldn’t nurse you because I couldn’t sit up. Your father would go visit you in the nursery but they wouldn’t let my mother in. They were very severe. After a week I was able to go home but I still wasn’t great. Since I suffered so much with these pains, when it was time for David to be born, I told them no, I didn’t want the shot because I didn’t want the same problems.  When I was in the hospital, a girl would come in (we were in a double room), she would give birth and leave. Another girl would arrive, give birth, and leave. I was there for a week! I wasn’t well. So I decided I wanted to give birth naturally like so many millions of women have done, and then at the last minute, “Ack! Help!” My waters hadn’t broken; they had to break my waters because I was having so much pain. I remember it was on a Sunday at 11:30 at night. “It’s a little boy!” and I was sure I was having another girl because all they symptoms were exactly the same.

Hugh: She told me it was going to be another girl because it was just like the other one!

Tina: Exactly the same! Saliva, I liked coffee…everything the same! The same movements. When they said, “It’s a boy! It’s a boy!” I didn’t believe them! “I want to see! I want to see!” It took three days to decide on a name because we hadn’t picked out boys names! It was supposed to be Sharon Christy. Oh boy! So we agreed on David because it was easy enough for the Italian family and the American family.

Hugh: You had to pick a name that they could pronounce.

Tina: Yes, like ‘Jonathan’ or ‘Jacqueline’. Those were too hard.

Hugh: ‘David’ is ‘Davide’.

Tina: Even ‘Sheila’ has always been easy. So your father said, “You pick David and I pick the middle name.” And he picked Jack. 

Hugh: And she chose ‘Sheila’ and I chose ‘Kaye’.

Me: I never knew that!

Tina: Yes, this was the origin of the names!

 

 

Young Life’s Frontier Ranch {MMoG#15}

On Friday, rather than attend my son’s graduation ceremony with Providence Extension Program, my husband and I woke up at a crazy-early-hour to take our son to the airport so he could catch his American Airlines flight to Charlotte and then connect to his flight to Denver. Then he rendezvoused with a group of young people to take a ride to Frontier Ranch outside of Buena Vista, CO. Although he had not been involved with Young Life until just a few months ago, he has heard stories about Young Life camps and how awesome they are from his father and me. We met through Young Life in college. It was a great ministry for us then and it’s still going strong! So when he said he he wanted to get involved with YL while in college, we were very pleased. His cousin, Cole, attended FR last summer and this summer Cole’s sister is going the same session as Timothy! So the cousins will get to work together! How fun will that be?

Dinner at Chipotle's

The last supper together at Chipotle’s!

Jax Int'l Airport

Oh my it’s early! At the airport getting our last hugs!

Through TSA

There he goes!

He will be on work crew, serving as a server. He didn’t really have a lot of details of what his job will entail ahead of time but I served on workcrew at Southwind in 1989 or 1990(?) as a server and we basically waited tables. Three meals a day. Set up, served food and drinks, cleaned up. Repeat.

He is such a people person and a servant and I know he will have a blast getting to know kids and other leaders. I am SOOO excited for him! He will get to see real mountains! He loves the outdoors and hiking and rock climbing and to be surrounded by all that nature will be so wonderful for him!

On his Instagram, he wrote the following:

I’m going to camp from May 20th to June 19th! I won’t have my phone or any other electronics so WRITE ME LETTERS “Frontier Ranch
Timothy DelCharco-WC
P.O.Box 2025 Buena Vista, CO 81211″

Put that on the front of your envelope and even if I hardly know you I’d love if you wrote me a letter! I will answer each and every one that I receive! You’ll also receive my eternal thanks and gratitude for spending the time to write me a letter!
Don’t know what to write about? •ask me about my life
•tell me about your life
•ask me about books I like
•ask me about my faith
•don’t ask me about college I’m tired of that junk
•tell me about your passions or experiences
•ask me about how much I like math
This is not a conclusive list please feel free to write to me about things not on this list but do write to me!

So if you care to, even if you don’t know him, would you drop Timothy a postcard from where you live? I think it would be so fun for him to receive postcards from all over the country, nay, the WORLD while he is at camp. Jot a thing or two about yourself and where you live. And if you are a believer, maybe say a prayer or two for him and the others at FR? How great would it be for him to receive mail every day (I mean besides from his mother)?

I am grateful for this opportunity in which he gets to participate.

I am grateful for this child (who is a man now but will forever be MY child!)

I am grateful for my friends who love me by loving my children.

I am grateful for this online community.

I’m just gushing with gratitude over here.

Linking up with Simply Shaunacey.

Monday Moments of Gratitude

 

Simple Graduation Party Ideas

I promised you Monday that I would share the simple things I did to decorate for our home-grown graduation ceremony and party.

I had created a Graduation board on Pinterest several years ago when my first son graduated. I added a few more pins when I was searching for easy and not very expensive ways to decorate for THIS party. You can follow that board here.

Graduation Themed Treats

First up was some easy graduation themed treats. I loved some of the mortar board treats I found on the web but a few of them were too complicated. These were just right. Here’s my version.  mortar board candies

All it took was mini peanut butter cups, chocolate covered graham crackers, and fruit-by-the-foot. I unwrapped all the pb cups, smeared a tiny smear of peanut butter and attached the cookie on top. Then I snipped the fruit leather into strips and snipped the ends to form a tassel. That was attached with pb too. Easy and so cute!

Next up was this pin of diploma cookies.

diploma cookies

I bought two tins of Pirouette cookies and tied them with some red cording. Easy peasy yet everyone knew exactly what they were!

Simple Graduation Decorations

I have these two apothecary jars that needed something graduation-y. Annie and I went to three different stores looking for plastic mortar boards to fill them but could not find a thing! So I decided to make them out of cardstock and yellow floss. The little one on the table is a cake topper made of plastic that I had kept from Tommy’s graduation. That’s what I used as my model. I should have made more to fill them all the way but it had gotten late and I was tired. paper mortar boardsI had wanted to make a slideshow but in the end we printed up about 60 pictures of Timothy through the years and spread them out all over the place. My daughter was getting rid of this chickenwire picture hanger she had made from a Goodwill frame, so we hung it up and clipped pictures to it, stuck more in the mirror next to it, and scattered them around on end tables and the TV cabinet. It was fun to look through those and see Timothy through the years.picturesI think his high school friends who didn’t know Timothy as a little kid had fun looking at them too! all the treats

Easy Outdoor Graduation Decorations

congrats sign

This pin inspired this CONGRATS sign. I created it on Canva. If you want the file, let me know in the comments with an email address and I will send it to you. I printed them up on cardstock and glued the letters onto paint sticks from Lowe’s. (So sad that the sprinklers ruined these the following morning! Oh well! I can easily recreate them!) I purchased a dozen blue, grey (silver) and white balloons (UNF’s colors) and put them in the front and back yards.

tables and streamers

Since we had just finished constructing this shelter/lean-to/gazebo (we don’t know what to call it), we wanted to dress it up. (And it was perfect on this sunny day!) I found this pin for how to make streamers out of dollar store plastic tablecloths. Since I couldn’t find grey tablecloths we just did blue and white. Annie and I folded them vertically and then she cut them with a ruler and rotary cutter, then tied knots at the top. Then the whole thing was stapled to the wooden structure. It fluttered in the breeze and made the space festive!

flowers

I created these mason jar flower center pieces with a 2016 pick which I also created on Canva. I printed them on cardstock and double sided taped them over a wooden skewer.

flower centerpiecesI liked how they looked on the tables. diploma napkins

And finally, I bought a few things, like these paper plates, from Target. My mom wrapped up the plasticware in white paper napkins to look like more diplomas, like this pin.

And that’s it! It made the day feel special but it wasn’t crazy over-the-top with the decorations. I hope these simple ideas for decorating will inspire you as you celebrate a graduation in the future!Simple, Easy Graduation Decorations graphic

To read about our special Homeschool Graduation Ceremony, go here.

What to Wear to Graduation! {Style Perspectives}

Today is my day to share on The Blended Blog! I’m talking about what to wear to a graduation since we are in the season of graduations, whether from kindergarten, high school or college!IMG_7523

You probably already saw what I wore if you read my graduation post from Monday. I share what some of my other outfit contenders were on the Blended Blog so go see all the dresses I tried on in search of the perfect one!

Then come back tomorrow to get some simple decoration ideas for your next graduation party!

style perspectives graphic

 

First Comes Love; Then Comes Marriage; Then Comes… {Tuesdays with Tina, Part 21}

Tuesdays with Tina is where I chronicle my Italian mother’s story, from being born in a bomb shelter in World War 2, to meeting and marrying my US Navy father. It is an unlikely love story that has lasted almost 50 years. If you missed any part of the story, you can catch up here.Tuesdays with TinaMe: What happened when you got back from your honeymoon? Did you go live in the house near Zia Anna? Was that your first house?

Tina: Yes, that was our first house. We already had it ready for us.

Me: So no one was living there before? Daddy was already living there?

Tina: Yes, just a few days, a week before. We had the furniture all set up.

Me: Did you continue working?

Tina: No. I quit working before I got married. We got married in December and in January we discovered that I was expecting YOU!

Me: Was it an easy pregnancy? Did you have morning sickness?

Tina: Just for three months I had a little bit of nausea. It was kind of strange. Every time I opened the refrigerator, to me it had a very bad smell. There was nothing there but that’s how it was to me. And it was the same way with the second pregnancy. So I was sure that I was expecting another girl. Oh, and I had a lot of saliva! So much that I had to spit it out. So weird! I couldn’t swallow it all the time. It wasn’t all the time. But every so often, I would have so much saliva in my mouth that I just had to spit it out. If I did swallow it, it felt heavy in my stomach. I liked coffee! I would even eat some coffee beans. I’ve always liked to eat coffee beans but with the pregnancy, I liked it even more. I remember that we were at our house in Poggioreale when I started having some pains. It was in the afternoon and I had made pasta with potatoes. I called Anna, my sister-in-law, and told her that I wasn’t feeling well, that I was having some pain. I think my water had broken too. Your father took me to the American hospital at Agnano. I didn’t understand much English, it was my first pregnancy. I really didn’t know what was going on!

Tina Pregnant

My grandmother, my uncle (my mother’s sister’s husband) and my pregnant mom.

Me: Your first year of marriage, how did you communicate?

Tina: I did go to school for four months when I was pregnant with you. We understood some… I don’t really have a lot of memories from this time. Just a few times when we would do things with my parents, or my brother and his wife. Anna and I were always together because the men would go to work.

Me: How far was nonna from you all?

Tina: You had to cross the whole city. She was in the center and we were in the suburbs, near the cemetery. It was very close to Daddy’s work.

Hugh: You could see the gate from where we lived.

Me: We are talking about Capodicchino not Agnano, right?

Tina: Right. Your father worked at Capodicchino [the airport]. Agnano is where the hospital, the commissary and other shops were.

Hugh: It was farther to go to the commissary than it was to go to Tina’s mom’s house.

Tina: My mother’s house was in the center of the city, so it wasn’t that far. But Agnano was on the other side.

Me: And there was no Tangenziale [beltway] back then, right?

Tina: No, no. You had to cross the whole city. But you have to also realize that there were fewer cars then too. There was much less traffic. People used trams and other public transportation.

Hugh: It was easy to get around in a car.

Tina: In the 70s they started building the Tangenziale. I remember it was 500 lire and everyone complained about paying that kind of money.

Hugh: There were a few years where nobody used it. It was too expensive.

Tina: As traffic increased then people started using it out of necessity. But the fact that it was so expensive kept people away. One thousand lire a day, round trip, was good money back then! People didn’t make that kind of money.

Hugh: With time, not only did the traffic increase but people started making a little more money too so the convenience drove people to use it.

Me: When did they drop it? Because it’s free now, right?

Hugh and Tina: No, no! It’s not free!

Tina: In fact, Naples is the only Tangenziale in all of Italy where you still pay. It was supposed to have a toll up until they recouped their money but not only did they recoup their money, this Tangenziale was purchased by Benetton. It’s no longer 500 lire; now it’s one euro. So it’s gone up! But a lot of people use it because the traffic is so intense, so congested.

Homeschool Graduation Ceremony! {MMoG#14}

We were not originally planning on having an at-home graduation ceremony. Yes, we homeschool, but through high school we’ve participated in Providence Extension Program taking math, science and elective classes, so we were all set on participating in their graduation ceremony. You see where this is going, don’t you?

About a month ago, Timothy announced to us that he wanted to apply to work at Young Life’s Frontier Ranch in Colorado for the first session which meant he had to BE in Colorado on the 20th, which just happened to be the date for PEP’s graduation. We agreed to let him apply but I proceeded as if he were still graduating with PEP in case he didn’t get in. So we bought the cap and gown and picked out the pictures for the slide show.

And then he got in.

Change of plans!

We decided to host a graduation ceremony/party at our house. It would be a small, personal affair and he would still wear his cap and gown. For me. Because I’m his mama and I said so. Harumph.congrats!We sent out a few invitations and emailed and texted a few more. I looked on Pinterest and got some decorating ideas. In the end it was perfect. So personal. So very special. Emily lunchWe started with lunch. The menu was 3 types of pulled pork: BBQ, Mojo and Simple Spices; broccoli salad and coleslaw; chips and salsa (Denise’s famous homemade salsa).Christina and Jacob lunchFor dessert we had mortar board candies, diploma cookies and an ice cream cake from Baskin-Robbins.DessertsAfter lunch, Timothy donned his cap and gown (over shorts, because this is Florida and we were outside) and he walked out to Pomp and Circumstance playing.Pomp and CircumstanceTimothy cap and gownMichael and I choked out a few words. SpeechesWe shared why we started homeschooling and our goals and mission statement for our school. Timothy has achieved them so we declared him graduated and he turned his tassel. Then Timothy made us cry with his little speech where he thanked us parents and those others who helped raise him.Timothy's speech Then we opened the floor. Tommy and TimothyTommy and TimothyHis older brother, Tommy, started us off with laughter.
David and ChristinaMy brother, David, and his wife, Christina, shared a letter from their kids. She had her kids come up with 18 things they love about Timothy, and then David read a nice letter from the both of them. So sweet.DeniseDenise, who has been like a second mother to Timothy, shared about having him in her Sunday School class. Our families are close and we took many vacations together. Her daughter, Peyton, couldn’t be there but sent 10 tips for college which were funny and spot on! Uncle EddieUncle Eddie told stories about how Timothy liked to climb things as a little kid and how he’d figure he’d grow out of it. (Timothy enjoys rock climbing to this day. He never grew out of it!) His son, Joey, has been not only Timothy’s cousin, but his best friend through high school. His message was touching, describing Timothy as the brother he never had (he has two older sisters.) Uncle John and Aunt Tammy, who live in NC and couldn’t be with us, sent a wonderful note. Two of their kids sent notes as well. Precious!

Prudence, Lori, Mary, Jackie

Mary shared sweet memories about when we first moved to town. Prudence, our children’s minister, shared about how Timothy would squirm and wiggle in children’s church but how he was actually listening and learning. Lori, our neighbor (below), shared how she would watch out the kitchen window at Timothy picking through the pile of stuff the renters would leave out at the road. He loved to bring home old electronics and take them apart.

the Mengers

Jackie shared a very poignant story about having lunch with Timothy two years ago where she recorded three prayer requests he had made on a napkin and she still prays for him and has that napkin! She has promised to continue praying for him while he’s in college!

JackieLifelong friends and godparents, Ian and Caroline Stake, came as well (thank you Caroline for taking pictures with my camera!). Ian shared some great advice and scripture with Timothy. Ian StakeMy mom shared how grateful she’s been to have been a part of Timothy’s life. Having friends who do not live near their grandkids, she doesn’t take that fact for granted!NonnaHis small group leader and mentor shared about getting to know Timothy over the last four years. This precious family has an open-door policy and my kids often took advantage of it! John was an answer to our prayers as we prayed for a mentor for Timothy.John Adams and Abbie

For the friends and family who could not attend, I asked them to write a note to Timothy. It could be a memory, or advice and then I read them aloud at the ceremony between other people’s testimonies. We were grateful for our pastor Bill Driscoll’s words.We were so blessed to be surrounded by neighbors, church friends, Timothy’s godparents, his mentor, his friends, our friends and of course, family.CFC crowd

CFC girls

dad and Timothy

friends more friends familyboth grandmothersIt was such a special time. The weather was perfect. The day was perfect. We are blessed. blessed

As you can imagine, I’m super grateful for this day. Linking up with Simply Shaunacey.

Oh, and come back on Thursday when I’ll be sharing my simple decorations from our Homeschool Graduation Ceremony!

How to Wear a Blazer with Sneakers {Style Perspectives}

Styling a Blazer with Sneakers

For this week’s prompt, Carrie is featuring a blazer + sneakers look on the Blended Blog. Be sure you check out her look!

Two years ago, I had no blazers at all. Then one of the GYPO Style Challenge had a blazer on the shopping list so I bought a black one. That went over so well I soon bought a blue blazer and a white blazer. I love the way a blazer adds an outer layer that dresses up just about anything! You can wear it with heels and a blouse and it’s dressy enough for a date night or you can wear it with sneakers and a tee shirt for a more casual look like I did for this prompt.

Blazer with sneakers

I picked a navy striped tee to go with my boyfriend jeans. I like the contrast in blues this way. Then I layered on my navy blazer (from Target) and rolled up the sleeves to show the mattress ticking stripes. I added the statement necklace for a bit of color and femininity. This nautical-inspired formula of blazer with sneakers is comfy enough for running errands or attending a graduation meeting yet it looks pulled together enough to be more than a super casual jeans-tee-sneaks look.

Nautical look Blazer

If the day warms up and I need to remove the blazer, the necklace keeps the outfit looking put-together.

Do YOU have a favorite way to wear a blazer? I’d love to see it! Tell me below and then share it on social media with our hashtag!

Last week I shared my leggings look under a dress and told you how comfortable it was to wear on the plane ride. It was out of my comfort zone but very comfortable so I’ll wear this look again! Thank you Katie for the prompt! Look at all the other great looks from last week!

Style Perspectives: Leggings + Scarf

 Next week is me with A Graduation Look! Since I have teens, this is the season of graduation and you might need some ideas for what to wear to graduation! I have a few to share with you so be sure to come back next week!
style perspect
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Honeymoon in Germany, continued {Tuesdays with Tina, Part 20}

Tuesdays with Tina is where I chronicle my Italian mother’s story, from being born in a bomb shelter in World War 2, to meeting and marrying my US Navy father. It is an unlikely love story that has lasted almost 50 years. If you missed any part of the story, you can catch up here.

Tuesdays with Tina

Me: So you had a week?

Tina: Yes, we had a week. We visited all the bases in Germany…[laughter]…

Hugh: We went to Berchtesgaden which is the area where the Army and the Air Force have R & R places. We stayed down there one night.

Tina: Then we went to a salt mine.

Hugh: You ride this little train down, down, down…

Tina: I went but I wasn’t very comfortable. I didn’t really like it. At this point I didn’t have a strong feeling of claustrophobia yet. I was at the beginning. I went but I wasn’t really having fun.

Hugh: They show you everything and then you get on the train and it goes back up. Then after that we went to Austria. Then we went over the Alps. Back then they didn’t have a tunnel to go through. On our way north, when we were at the border, in Bolzano, we stopped and got gas…

Tina: It was night…

Hugh: Tina asked him for something to drink in Italian and he didn’t understand…

Tina: Some water…but he didn’t understand me…

Hugh: Then she did this [thumb pointing into her mouth – the sign for “drink”] and then he understood.

Me: You were still in Italy?!

Hugh: Yeah, we were still in Italy! I thought we had it whooped. “She speaks Italian, I speak English – we’ve got it made!” But we got to Germany…nothing!

 

 

Parenting: the Hardest Job {MMoG #13}

In case you thought otherwise, let me tell you right now: parenting is hard.

parenting hardest job

Colic. Diaper rash. Teething. Croup. Chronic ear infections. Temper tantrums. Potty training.

Many people beginning the parenting race come out of the gate already feeling behind. They survive those early years just to be faced with new dilemmas.

Learning disabilities. Bullies. Disobedience. Diagnoses of various issues such as autism, food allergies, processing disorders, dyslexia. Even if families are spared the struggle of these major traumas, they certainly can relate to the little annoying things such sibling rivalry, messy rooms, procrastination. Additional nagging thoughts include how do you decide on how much screen time to allow, will they will they be allowed to participate in sleepovers and when is the right age to let them stay home alone?

Invariably, parents analyze the situation at hand and can’t help playing the What if game. I don’t know anyone who can avoid it.

What if we had a different teacher?

What if we lived in a different school district? In a different state? In a different country?

What if we homeschool?

What if we do gluten-free? 

Or if not the What if game, then the Why did I game?

Why did I allow those vaccinations?

Why did I let him sleep in our bed?

Why didn’t I say something? Do something?

Why…?

Most parents want what is best for their kids (I started to type “all parents” but having friends in the foster care system, I know that not all parents want that.) However, what is good for one person does not necessarily mean it is good for another. So, really, we are all just scientists performing experiments, trying to find the right outcome for each child. Sometimes we get it right. But many times we don’t.

The sleepless nights.

The worry.

The anxiety.

The tears.

The wondering.

It can wear a body out. It can cause despair, if we let it.

When we start out on this parenting journey, we have ideals, we have dreams, we have goals. But then life happens and those standards sink lower and lower. I will never forget a Baby Blues cartoon from about 20 years ago that illustrated this point so succinctly. In the first frame [Before Children] a couple is out strolling in a park and a child dressed in mix matched clothes runs by. The woman remarks to the man, “How can people let their kids go out dressed like that?” In the next frame [After Children], the same couple is walking in the park with their child wearing mix matched clothing and the mother remarks to the man, “Well, at least she’s covered.” Parents understand this too-close-to-home humor.

In order to survive, we have to learn to fight the battles that really count. Unfortunately, sometimes we simply don’t know how to fight them, even the ones that really count. We have no ammunition for that kind of battle. And it’s at that point that the only answer is Jesus.

I know that to some this solution may sound trite, but until you have walked that way, you cannot possibly understand. The view is different from that place, from that valley.

My friend, Shaunacey, has written an article about eliminating Mom Guilt. My take-away from it: let us cut each other some slack. [Another great article that pertains to this topic deals with agreeing to disagree appeared on Grumbling Grace’s Mombies Unite series.]

So can I encourage us to hold back on judging another person’s decisions and, instead, pray for that mom or dad in that difficult situation? Can we do that? Rather than think about, or even worse, point out the mistakes that person may have made in her child rearing, join her in asking for deliverance for that wayward child. I am fairly certain that she is doing just that: praying, hoping, wishing for that season, that trait, that period to pass.

I know this sounds bleak.  I don’t mean to be such a Debbie Downer, but this is not a Pollyanna post. However, the Lord tells us to give thanks in all circumstances {1 Thessalonians 5:18}. So how DO you (how do I) find gratitude in all this?

Jesus promised us that where two or three are gathered in his name, he is with us. {Matthew 18:20} Even if the situation does not improve instantly after we pray, companionship with each other, and with Jesus, can help sustain a mother and a father through another day, another crisis, another season.

I am blessed to be a part of a small prayer group of moms who pray for each others’ children. We celebrate each small victory, and we cry with each other during particularly difficult moments.

Recently, I had an open conversation with family members and they, too, are praying. I am grateful to be surrounded by so many prayer warriors. I don’t know what I would do without my support system.

If you are local and are struggling with a similar situation, if any of this rings true in your life and you would like information about my prayer group, let me know! You can email me at makingthemostblog@yahoo.com.

Until that day comes when my child is changed, I will continue to Ask, Seek and Knock {Matthew 7:7} and I will continue to give thanks, even in the hard eucaristeo.

(Seriously, if you want information about our prayer group, ask. Don’t be alone.)

Linking up with Simply Shaunacey’s Monday Moments of Gratitude.