Friday, October 28, 2016

When God Uses Humilty and Humilation



For the past several months I have lived in the nightmare of a custody battle with my boys. It did not start out that way.  It started out in a way that should have never landed in family court. But it did. My boys and I have faced some of the most devastating times. To be that strong mama in the face of extreme weakness has had me going to GOD at every single turn. Begging for strength, to keep being that mom in my boys lives, when I was needing to be held up. Begging to God to help me direct three boys in this massive life altering circumstance.  What did God do?  How could God love me in this hard time?  Why would God even allow this?  If God loves children so much then why my kids?  How do I trust in God? All questions I have asked. Then, all questions aside. Sleepless nights turned into God pouring into me wisdom of what to do next. Long car rides produced each of the boys going around the car and saying what we are thankful for. Sometimes long quiet moments because in the midst of this storm it was not always easy to daily find that one thing to be thankful for. Even a band-aid falling from the sky showing us HIS love and care.  As days turned into weeks God showing each of us how HE is working things out. We may not know one day ahead of what would be next, but in the midst of each day, God blessing us through people, through prayer, through provisions.


I thought that I had to walk this season alone. It's a private matter. Oh but isn't that what the enemy of truth and love tries to do. Drag you into a dark alley and beat the crap out of your heart and soul. I was in that alley for while. I was embarrassed. I have been fiscally responsible for most of my entire adult life. Even a millionaire a few times over. I was that person who could secretly write a check to help others in need. I could open my home and allow people to sit and outward process all the hurts, and pray and support and encourage and provide a meal, and love these people.That person who did all these things for others was now living in someone else's home. That person was now the one in need. But felt fear in expressing those needs. Could I have my kids taken from me because I did not have my own address? How do I keep being the mom, friend and colleague if my own house is out of order? How do I maintain order with this confusion? Confusion was on the tip of every thought and decision I made.  That is what happens when the enemy attacks in a dark alley where you are alone. And then LIGHT stepped in. Light stepped in when I chose to remember that God will give me boundless confidence in HIM. And in that boundless confidence I asked for help.


Courage, boldness and most important Truth & Love.  To understand more of this story please take a moment to read my daughter's post on Facebook.
You see I went for help. I went to a local Youth center to get help for Ethan. To get him into counseling. They directed me to the local authorities that took a recorded statement. The authorities directed me to the courts. They took matters out of my hands and in a courtroom. A hearing where "he" gave these facts.  A judge who removed custody as Emily stated and this man was put on supervised visitation.  I had no legal council, nor did I realize that these events would  and could turn into a battle to destroy my integrity as a mother and as functioning person in society. A battle that put me in a place to go to trial, which is still pending a date.

Our family, the boys and I, have been poured on with blessing after blessing. We have been surrounded and uplifted by a lifetime of family and friends. There is not one day I look back on and question evidence of God's hand. I took this case into the light. I got out of that dark alley and asked for help. Yes there are many things that happened in this case, which would never have happened had I had an attorney. Not only do I not have the means for an attorney I had no ideas on how to quickly retain one. Legal Aid takes 3-6 wks. to qualify and the opposing attorney came at me fast with motions after motion before any aid was even obtainable. Then a long time friend's son Tyler Cone stepped up and asked if he could set up a GoFundMe campaign. I told him no. I told him that it would be embarrassing to ask for money from friends. I thought for two hours over this decision. I am going to fight for my boys at what cost?  At the cost of humility and humiliation? And God pressed on my heart. My heart of hope, of peace, of truth, and honesty. Going before my peers, my colleagues, and being that girl that needed help. Yes, God and yes Tyler you can do this for me.


I found an attorney. I found one who agreed to accept half of his fee up front to get started. I called him after two days of the GoFundMe campaign and said we had raised almost half and by our first meeting I could bring half. But then something happened in my heart. I went to God and asked for affirmation of this attorney. That he was the right choice, that this was a good idea. I asked God to show me and provide the full retainer before our meeting. That I could go to this attorney with this full retainer. This was so heavy on my heart that on Oct. 14th I read Proverbs 14. (Go and read this passage here.) I was begging God to affirm that the full retainer was what I needed and begging God for clarity. The weight of this was heavy on my heart. I scribbled in my journal the verses in Proverbs 14 that affirmed over and over what I was begging for. And then I asked God for the full retainer by the day of my scheduled meeting.

"Dear God,  you have affirmed me through your Word, through wise people and one more thing, please provide the full retainer before this meeting. Please God."

That night at dinner. Sitting with my family, the Cone family. (Tyler one of their son's who set up this GoFundMe). As we all chatted about our day, their youngest son Jacob began to speak. Jacob is soft spoken. He gets my attention and says, "Elizabeth I want to help you. I want to loan you the full retainer for your meeting."

A 15 year old boy was willing to give up his savings, on loan, to get the custody issue handled in full force. God using the heart of a young man, a boy, friends with my boys. Everyone started crying. Jacob nor this family knew my prayers to God that morning. Yet here we all were crying over the generosity of Jacob. A loan. My heart may not have known this day, but God sure did. God has known every single one of these days. He is teaching my boys and I what complete faith looks like. Faith in HIM. Hope in HIM. Joy in HIM. Thankfulness in HIM. The God of the universe showing Himself daily through people.

One day I will write a book marking every single day God showed up.


Yesterday I got a text from my sweet daughter-in-love to go and read Ethan's Instagram post. (Ethan is my 14 year old who has struggled the most through these life events.) I opened my app and read his post. Tears started streaming. Tears turned into bawling my eyes out. Sitting at my desk and knowing that not one tear was lost. God has been working on behalf of our family. My fourteen year old struggling and now honoring me in the most public way possible.  Here is his post:

My boys are currently living with their dad. On a technicality, yes a technicality. All of the past few months would have never happened had I had the means to retain an attorney.  I am driving to see them every Monday and Tuesday. (They are about 90 miles away.) and have them every other weekend until the custody trial.

I am coming before strangers, friends and family. Submitting my heart and the need for help. I am thankful and grateful for how YOU have helped where the need is. I was wrong. Need does not interpret losing my kids.  Need does not interpret my inability to care for my kids. Need does not discount my call to see that others can see and know the God of the universe. All the things the enemy tried to speak into me in that dark alley. Come into the light and allow God's holiness to bless you through the hearts of those whom he has designated.  I always thought that my purpose in life was to mother my own children to the heart of Jesus by living in the example of Biblical truth.  I always thought my call was to use the gifts God has given me to bless others, and lead others to knowing Jesus. That call has not be taken from me. Today, if you are hurting and your heart needs encouraged then guess what. God is waiting to hear from you. The God I know has me awake every single morning around 5am. NEVER in my life have I been an early riser. Yet God calling me into time with Him, in his Word and my pen ready to write what he is teaching me,  and how he is guiding me through the hardest event of my life. Waking up without an alarm and going about my day sharp and ready with HIS full Armour on.


I am here for every person who reads this and needs prayer. I am here to tell you that God already knows your heart. He knows the answers to every unanswered prayer and in His time he will make all of this a beautiful testament to His glory and honor.

Please if you feel inclined to help you can pray specifically for each of my sons. Call them out to God by name, Ethan, Eric and Emerson. Pray for their hearts, souls, and minds that God will protect them from the lies of the enemy. Pray for strength for my heart. To be able to continue to show up in all the hard places. Pray for clarity of my mind. The focus away from my work and being able to provide for my family has been compromised greatly and God is rebuilding, this I know. Pray for funding that all the funding will be met.

Thank you!  Blessing and Love Elizabeth

Here is Eric my 12 year old with Tyler Cone.


The GoFundMe link:  https://www.gofundme.com/legal-representation-for-the-traubs-2ts2cs4

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Pine-Cone & Bottle-Cap Parenting

Let's face it, parenting is hard. It's not always easy to be creative with how we discipline our children. Working daily to pour enriching life lessons and wisdom.  No matter how society would like to think kids should be raised, the reality is YOU get to make the decisions that are going to grow your kids into caring, kind, responsible, and loving adults.

#ParentingIsHard #ParentingIsEasy #ParentingIsShowingUp

I am on my 3rd teenager. I managed to grow the first two up into their, now, late twenties.  We are great friends and today those kids laugh, chuckle and tell stories of "mom" and how I handled their teenage moments.  There is a mutual respect and love for my older two as grown up humans. The badge of honor as a mother is when others know your grown children, and then come to you and tell you what great kids you have. Thank you Elliot and Emily for honoring me as your mother by being caring, loving, and responsible grown ups.

Now onto to teenager number three. He is no different than the first two. His opinions are now strong and he owns them.  We were on a car ride yesterday with a young man I have watched grow up from the age of four to twenty-six.  Conversations between all four boys in the car.  Ethan has an opinion, I have an opinion that differs from his. The challenge of trying to get the other person to share your opinion begins with every teenager known to mankind. It's a very good thing, but as a parent requires direction, and this young 26 year old man says, "Ethan, your mother has an opinion that is different than yours. Do you think arguing with her is going to change her opinion?  Or if she were to argue with you, would that change YOUR opinion?"  That was some amazing wisdom and questions from a twenty-six year old who happens to be the middle of child of his big family. Ethan pondered and the course of what could have been an argument turned into dialogue over our differing opinions.

Teenagers have opinions, and we as parents can embrace them.  Allow that opinion, ask more questions as opinions are formed and still maintain our own.  There are no offenses with being an individual who experiences the world differently. Emily, when she was fourteen years old worked hard on trying to get me to agree that the sky was gray not blue.  I finally said, "You are correct, through the lenses of your eyeballs tis the color you see."

Now the real meat of this post. Distractions from the energy of a fourteen your old who is board. He was board and wanted something to do. Somehow I convinced him it would be worth his time to go on a scavenger hunt.  A game I use to play when all the kids were little. Hide things all over the house, and then for forty-five minutes they would go hunting. And for forty-five minutes I could sit and sip my coffee.  Yesterday I re-introduced the scavenger hunting idea. Boys were at the store, homework was finished and now what?  I could not remember my password to Netflix.  Which all the kids have great memories from over 25 years of being in my store getting to watch a movie if homework was done.  Today I had to dig into my basket of creative distractions.

I simply said, go outside and find a bottle cap, a stick shaped like a "Y" and four pine-cones. It was just as random as that with no thought. The fourteen year old dashed out of the building. Off he went. And later returned with these...exactly as the picture is. It was fun, it was silly, and it brought back happy times of being a young boy. Parents, sometimes it's those memories from the past, that remind our kids how much we truly do love and care for them.  I am still chuckling that he did this and loved it. Now he did want to be paid for his findings, but that is another subject for another post. Happy pine-cone and bottle cap parenting.


Saturday, August 13, 2016

What if we just jumped right into the middle of the hardest events?

Why do we wait?  Months? Years? Sometimes a decade to share the pain of our journey.  After all the learning?  After the trial and error?  What if we just jumped right into the middle of the hardest events of our lives and said, "Okay God it's just you and me, and those who read.  It's my story of complete opened handed trust.  And no matter how hard, God you are going to be honored."  End of Story, no really in the middle of my story.

Please understand that details are not always important to the hardest moments of your life.  It's how you are working it out. I am working out some very hard stuff.  The most hardest event in my life. (child custody)  Today, sitting before God with my Bible and journal in the middle of hard stuff. ......Today's journal entree.
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Aug. 13, 2016

Dear Father,
In my physical hunger I submit to you. I ask that the evil-deceit and confusion thrown my way is thwarted.

Romans 12:12
" The night is almost gone and the day is near.  Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of the darkness and put on the armor of God."

Father, fill me with you light. Cover me with holiness. Give me Holy peace, wisdom, and justice. I submit, I surrender, and I stand firm on your promises. Give me strength, wisdom, and a light in my path. My feet are planted Father. All of this is for YOUR glory. For YOU are to be honored.  I give all of this to you. (Believe me readers, God knows my "this" and your "this"). Thank you that you love me. Forgive me Father for all the specifics in my life. Reveal to me more of who I am to be in You.

Ephesians 4: 31-32
"Let ALL bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with malice. Be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ has also forgiven you."

Really God? Yes, Really!! Help me to be kind to those who have harmed my heart deeply. Please cover my heart and protect me from bitterness, wrath, and anger.  As my dear friend Marie has said over and over, "do not get sucked into the emotions of spoken words of deceit over your character." ( Thank you Marie for those words of encouragement.)


Ephesians 6:13-20
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand firm.  
 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

I grew up in Sunday school learning that last passage. We even sang silly songs and decorated ourselves in costume.  Like a child, Lord Jesus. Give me the faith of that little girl who danced, sang and praised you for equipping me with a foil breastplate, and scarves for belts, and a helmet made out of milk cartons and a cardboard sword covered in foil.  You had me covered then and you have me covered now. Amen!!! 

Lord Jesus, Holy Father, in the name of YOUR Spirit protect the minds of my boys. Father you know their hearts, their names, and they are YOUR children.  Give ear to my words oh Lord. Consider my meditations.....Full Armor!!!"
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In addition to my journal entry I will say this......

We ALL have various degrees of hard. My hard is not more or less than yours.  We must equip ourselves with the WORD of God.  Today, fasting and praying and hungry.  And thinking what good can starving myself do.  Only to sit in quiet and ask God to show me who I am suppose to be in this trial and turbulence.  And then scripture pours into me. Pours instructions, and blessings, and I sit here praying that my words, my personal journal entry will reach into the heart of one person struggling as I am. Humble yourself before God.  He is there waiting.  

I think fasting also makes you incredibly weak.  So weak you are sitting home on a Saturday and realizing your energy is sucked, and then that beautiful moment when God steps in and says, "Okay Elizabeth here is my WORD. The direction you asked for."

Be blessed knowing that truly God is in the middle of it all. It may not make sense, it will hurt. Believe me when I say I keep thinking I have cried out all my tears, but there are always more. Cling to your Maker and give him honor and glory. I am in the middle of the hardest events of my life. I may not shower for days, or even put on make-up.  Again, Marie asking me, "Did you shower today?"  I walked with this dear friend in her hardest and darkest moments. Walk with me, these next few weeks and see how God shows up.

Love and Blessing, Elizabeth



Sunday, July 31, 2016

Never Apologize For Where You Were

Never, as in never ever apologize for where you were. Never apologize for how you feel.  Never apologize for what you felt in that moment, or in many moments while you were there. Never forget what you learned, laughed over, cried over and felt like you could die over. For that time it was all very good. At times a struggle and hard and you were there for that time because you were suppose to be.

Have you ever stood at the river's edge?  Looking across to the other side you see something you want to get a closer look at?  You hop in a canoe and start paddling. If you have ever tried to navigate a canoe in a river, you know it's is no easy task. I think back to my Young Life days at Malibu located in the Gervais Inlet in Canada.  Those could be some very rough canoe times. You have moments of arm muscle burning, and you work  hard. You also are smiling because really there is a bit of an adrenaline rush while working so hard to get to the other side. Then you get to a calm spot and you sit and take in all that beauty, fresh air, breathtaking, heart stopping feelings of that moment or season.

Start paddling again and you are there. Standing on the opposite side of where you once were. And now looking back to where you were. It all looks so different. Very different than what you thought. You turn your head a bit, squinting from the sun because what you thought was not really how you see it now.

Life is exactly like this. Standing on the other side of where you were. And because we do learn, and grow we do see things differently. Have you ever questioned yourself? Wondering about this decision or that one. Is this the right one? Or is that the right one?  When you get to the other side and look back, there is this deep sinking feeling of things should have been different. Maybe you feel a little embarrassed. Perhaps when the topic comes up you start apologizing.

Yes, many can say that they wished they had made a different decision or taken a different path.  But here you are. And today you are who you are for every good and bad decision you have ever made. And you are exactly who you are suppose to be.

Never, as in never ever apologize for where you were. Never apologize for how you feel.  Never apologize for what you felt in that moment, or in many moments while you were there. Never forget what you learned, laughed over, cried over and felt like you could die over. For that time it was all very good. At times a struggle and hard and you were there for that time because you were suppose to be.


Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Fine Art of NOT Reacting to your Teenagers.

The fine art of NOT reacting to your teenagers. Is there really an art to this?  I think I should thank every difficult customer I ever served in my early twenties with my retail store.  Thank them for teaching me through mouthy rages of insistence how to respond.  The customer was not always right. Neither are our teenagers.

The customer could bring in an item that was not purchased in my store and scream in face that they wanted a refund/money for that item. Or a customer would get all red in the face and angry because the item that was available last week was no longer available, and I was demanded to get it to them now. Or a  customer who wanted their furniture NOW as in right now, as in stop what you are doing and serve me now. With no understanding that their furniture was secured in a warehouse and that our trucks were out delivering to scheduled appointments. Yet even with that knowledge would get so worked up that I would not physically close my store, run to the warehouse and pull large pieces of furniture that required manly strength and deliver myself.  Customers who left messes in my store and walked out. Food, dirty diapers tucked in a corner, finished beverage containers.  My favorite was a customer who insisted we were having a half off sale on ALL our furniture.  Threw such a fit that she would never shop in our store again. And came back next week to again tell us how awful of a store we are but still wanted to buy the furniture and did. (Kind of like our teenagers who are nice when they want money or a ride somewhere.) 

Here is what I learned in my twenties that truly helped me with my teenagers. No matter what comes out of their mouth, do not react. I learned that most people have about 2-4 minutes of angry energy and steam.  If I was quiet and practiced active listening skills with concern for my customers it was almost always the 2 minute mark that they ran out of steam. If I tried to inject and react to what they were saying it was like locked and loaded and 2-4 more minutes added to the fuse.  The fact is simply this. Customer's truly believed they were right, even in obvious and factual wrongs. Teenagers are the same way. They will say and do things that are so factual wrong, but they believe they are right. Do not take offense to what comes out of their mouth. Do not react to what is coming out of their mouth.  Listen. Actively listen and try not to inject. Let them get out what they need to get out. I trained my entire sales staff to respond this way.

I made the mistake many times with customers in my earlier months of opening my store to try and point out that they were in fact either lying or their facts were not accurate. Like the women who insisted that our entire store was 50% off. She showed me an ad, which was from another store and then insisted I match their 50% off sale. I listened, let her blow all the steam and energy around what she thought should be her right. I asked if I could ad her to our mailing list, so when we did have sales she would get them.

Teenagers just want to be heard and understood. Really that is mostly what it is. In the same way I trained my sales staff to never take to heart what the customer was saying, in the same way never take to heart the hurtful words that come out of our teenagers mouths. Breath deeply as they are blowing off steam. Actively listen. This does not mean  you are agreeing or allowing the offenses. It means that they are able to outward process, unedited, and after it's all out you will be amazed at how ready they are to come to the table for a more controlled conversation.

I can not tell you how many angry customer's were diffused by just listening. Like the customer who bought a lamp for her 8 year old. Came into my store yelling and screaming at my sale person because her one year old touched the lamp and burned his fingers. Somehow that was my store's responsibility. She yelled and screamed. I stepped in and excused my young 18 year old sales person who sold her the lamp. I listened. I breathed and I allowed this customer to have a voice. When she was done, I asked her if she needed some water?  I told her that I had kids and burns are scary.  I asked her where the lamp was. She did not bring it back. She just thought we should educate parents on the dangers of lamps. She came back over and over and continued to buy products from my store. But believe me when I say she came in red faced and angry that day and left happy and heard.

Our teenagers get red faced at angry at us.  It's going to happen and that is when we get to make a choice. Join the screaming and fuming match or wait it out. Then ask if you can get them a drink of water. Let them know you are so glad they felt that they could come and talk about it with you.

Now on my 3rd teenager and I can say that I may not get it in the moment at all times, but I have the resources in my back pocket with the experience of years with customers and my first two teenagers. My first two have grown up and into good friends. Now on my way with my 3rd teenager and still two more after that. Whoa baby it's sure is a ride.  So remember, try not to make a face or interrupt the outward processing of our teenagers.  Actively listen without trying to inject your own opinions and ideas. And if this is hard, then take some very slow deep breaths while they are unloading. Not always but easy, but we all have it in us to give it the ol' colllege try.  Happy teenager raising.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Oh To Be A Mom...

What does it take to be a mom?  I use to stress myself before I ever had kids, of thinking what it must be like to be a mom. As a teenager I watched how mom's mothered.  And decided that I could never be a mom. I have a confession.  I made it through all the diapers, late night feedings, broken bones, and sidelines at the games, baking for the events, and homework and reading, and wearing the same t-shirt with spit up, and showing up to a meeting with a beautiful expensive jacket also with spit up. I have five of my closest friends around me for a life time. Two are out of the nest, three will be venturing out in the next 4-10 years and guess what, there is a secret to be being a mother. It may not be your secret, and it may not be what works for you, but God, in his beautiful direction took my crazy childhood of abuse and abandonment and taught me the greatest gift of all. To love my children unconditionally. To smile often, to let the little things go, and to just show up in their lives and love them right where they are at.

To establish from the minute they utter their first words that they matter. To listen to their babbles turn into words, which then turned into opinions and passions different than mine. To show them daily evidence that God is real was easy.  From the minute they could blow on a wish flower, to standing on a chair cutting apples and baking cookies. Talking about the glorious ways God has designed them.   I think parents who believe children should be seen and not heard are wrong. I think parents who believe that their children should respect them, and then in turn show their children no respect are wrong. You have to guide your children and teach them right from wrong. teaching them by your daily examples.  Teach them to respect other people's space and opinions. Teach them through example what kindness and serving others looks like. Let them see your process.  Let them see you struggle, and hurt and come out smiling.  If they never see the way cookies are made, they will take longer in appreciating what others have done for them.

This is a ramble.I realize there is no rhyme or reason to this blog post accept that I have five amazing kids. My boys, all four of them, are not on drugs to alter their God given personalities.  They are boys. They were designed with energy. They have a different learning style. They enjoy school, eat well around our dinner table and are void of all the freedom with technology. They play outside all the time. They are loving and enjoying life. Even as each one passes into being a teenager, the rules, with struggle are established. It's hard and I have cried a thousand times because no matter how much they push you away they show up for dinner, and bring their friends. Because deep down they remember you playing pat-a-cake, and they remember you snuggling them when they are sick, and they remember you giving up your seat they could see better. They remember you did not walk away when it was hard. They remember that you were there listening to strong opinions and ideas.

And they remember that I did not miss out some important grown up moments with them.   I thank God every single day that I could orchestrate my work life to be present as a stay home mom. My kids think this is true, but they also see me working, and traveling for work and they share in my work load when they are old enough to travel on a plane and be left in a hotel room while I run to a breakfast meeting. They have sat with presidents of companies I have worked with because they added value to my work. Value in that the friendships we have grown into and the ideas and opinions that were valuable at two or three or thirteen are move so as they have grown up around the stories of my work.

Oh to be a mom.  To let go of how of the bad ways you were parented and adopt all that is good produces kids who love life, love school. love being in our family and bringing other in.  When the last one leaves home I will have had kids living in my space for.....are you ready.....38 years....and then it will be time for grandkids. Thanks God that your biggest blessing and joy is mine, too. Our children.

Monday, January 25, 2016

A House Divided-Single Mom-Preface

Today as I was driving with my three younger boys I thought of a book title for a book I might write. Or I just may blog it here. The title would be "A House Divided-Single Mom"

I am not someone who has ever really studied or read one single piece on what it means to be an author.  What I do know is this is what the first page would say. This would be the "Preface" and I do know this much, because I just opened a book sitting on my desk to get the exact name of what you call that page, Preface. The cover would be a house broken in half and kids looking between those cracks.  For now I will just start with the preface here:

"Earlier today I was driving in a car with three boys on their day off. Giving them a wonderful day. I have piles of laundry, work for clients, and I really could use a shower.  Instead of those things taking priority, today I am doing my best to show up and be super mom.  Because for kids it's not what we do, or what we say, it's showing up that makes us super. 

I am sad, and sometimes angry over the idea of writing this kind of book.  It means, my house is divided.  My kids time is divided and for that alone I am sad to be writing this.  Two broken marriages, and five kids.  All who have had to grow up in homes that were divided by two parents. 

Then today, hiking, and laughing with three boys.  Pouring into them any nuggets of wisdom when asked the hard questions. Like, "Mom would you stare at the sun for 5 minutes if you could win a million dollars?"  Or,  "Why is it some people seem to know all the answers, and the exact right way to go."  I smiled thinking I was in fact super mom that they would  think this of me.  Instead they referenced John, a man I have been dating for over a year now.  Because he does in fact find answers quickly, and we always get where we are going, and he does not stop and ask questions.

As I am writing, I have had to go and ask one boy to unlock the handcuffs off the younger brother. Screams from the family room, that although are happy and playful, with one bump can turn into a trip to the ER.  I want to write. I want to encourage single parents to building better relationships  with their children. I have already grown up two children now approaching their late twenties.  They tell me, it was "showing up, mom." That is what meant the world to them.  They are two of my best friends.  The younger boys are also my best friends.  Yet all five kids will speak up and boldly say they know the line between friends and mom.

I want to share in each blog post, this next  year, some nuggets of wisdom that go beyond looking at the sun for five minutes in exchange for a million dollars.  I see the desperation, the struggles, and hardships that single parents face in the houses that are divided. Maybe, just maybe you might find something here that will change the way you parent, the way you interact with your children and learn creative ways to show up in your kid's world.  I want this to be a dialogue between you and me and readers who land here. One thing I have learned from blogging and writing for almost ten years is that there are hard things that you would never want to comment on, but you can always contact me via my email.

Another thing you should know is I am not a writer. I am someone who talks, face to face with people. Thus, you WILL see typo's and edits that should have happened before pushing the publish button.  Together with families breaking apart, perhaps we can begin putting them back together by raising kids who are willing to fight for their own families someday."

I just looked in on the book on my desk. It has 10 chapters.  Looking back over the past years I am going to now come up with an outline for future blogs. Or to present to my publisher. I don't have one, but then it does make me feel for about five seconds like a writer.