Stay In The Game To Raise Great Kids

Not Staying In The Game Is Baffling

There is nothing that amazes me, no, baffles me more than a parent who doesn’t stay in the game. Ever seen a parent give direction to their child then turn away assuming the child is going to follow those directions?

Ha ha ha!!

When I tell my toddler to not hit the cat, do I really expect her to mind me? First, does she even understand what I said? Plus, it is in the nature of the child to not mind! Until they are TRAINED. And who is their trainer? The parent. Continue reading

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Ever Had a Crisis of Faith?

Ever had a crisis of faith? Had your emotions get the best of you? I am currently in the midst of one. When I was in my twenties we did a funny thing through John’s employer. It was a handwriting analysis. Interesting stuff. One of the comments made was, “Karen is mortified by public displays of emotion – by her.” They still happen – sometimes – and still create great inner angst. 

Flashback to the blog “And then there were 7” where I shared the struggles my kids have had getting pregnant, staying pregnant, and having babies. I was going to think differently this go-around. I was going to trust the God, who had proven time and again that He is in control. As news was fed to us by my daughter Tara as younger daughter Molly  was being induced and starting the laboring process, I kept praying, “Let this be a redefining of these times in our lives, Lord.” When one thing wouldn’t work, I would ask that the next would.

There was progress, but then stalemate. When the call came to tell us that Molly was heading for a C-section, you would think I would have been thankful. NO! This was not a “redefining” of anything! This was a repeat of other difficulties faced. How was this an answer? I felt such anger at God and it quite honestly mortified me! I said to my husband, “Why pray? What’s the point? God is going to do what God is going to do!”

Baby Micah was delivered and Molly is well. But I have allowed myself to be thrown into a faith crisis that has me feeling isolated and alone.

I feel separated from the only thing that gives me strength: God. Normally, I talk to Him regularly. Since Micah’s arrival, I can’t. All I can muster is, I’m sorry for being angry. I know I am being irrational. But I can’t seem to ask Him for anything. 

What it has revealed is something that is deep within that needs addressing. Yet, I am not sure what it is. Pride? Self centeredness? Desire to be in control? Trust?

Childish Give me what I want or I’ll take my bat and ball and go home! thinking???

What I have determined is my Heavenly Father is okay with my anger and struggles with my faith.  1 Samuel 6:8, “David was angry because the Lord’s wrath had broken out against Uzzah.” If David, a man after God’s own heart can be angry with God, I guess God is alright with mine. I have to keep seeking Him. I can’t live life with this relationship being broken. I  must keep looking at it as a time for growth and introspection. I must root out my human struggle and address it.

When stymied like this, the best response is to praise Him. Recently at church the lyrics of a song helped me do that. 

“Overcome” by Jeremy Camp.

                                                 Savior, worthy of honor and glory

                                                Worthy of all our praise, You overcame

                                                     Jesus, awesome in power forever

                                                 Awesome and great is Your name, You


Do I believe God is in control, hears our prayers, desires the best for us, is holy, righteous, and just? Yes. Do I believe that He is to be feared? Yes. In my desire for life to be how I want it, “easier” I am hitting a wall against His sovereignty. This is where the crisis lies. 

Mark 9:23-24 “Jesus said, ‘Everything is possible for one who believes.’ Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

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Sit Down and Shut Up!

Negative committeeBeen dealing with the Negative Self-Talk Committee for the past couple weeks. At times, it’s gotten the best of me.

I suppose it’s rather normal to hit a wall at about the one month point in recovery from knee replacement. The steps forward are smaller. Every morning I wake up, I don’t start from where I left off yesterday, but a few degrees behind that, a bit stiffer than when I went to bed. The recovery is tedious at this point. Fighting against the normal reaction of my body, building scar tissue. If you don’t push past the pain, you will end up with a disappointing outcome. I didn’t do this to be disappointed.

Yes, it starts to mess with your mind. There is no other time in my life where I have sat in a chair this much, for this long. It has become a mind-game. As I do my exercises and feel the pain, I start to think I haven’t done enough! I haven’t taken it seriously. I did something wrong. And, of course, none is true.

Oh, my dear hubby, John, has dealt with my tears and fears patiently!

Controlling the negative thinking, the destructive self-talk that we can all engage in at any moment in our lives is paramount to our success. Where does it lead us if we don’t? Down the slippery slope of victim thinking for one.

When we go there, we can get discouraged, depressed, feel hopeless, out of control—you name it! Are we moving forward at that point? Moving towards success? No! We are getting mired down in negativity and often we get stuck.

I had my one-month appointment today with the surgeon. He asked me to straighten my leg and then asked me to bend it. Guess what he said?!

“Great! You are doing well!”

“But, doc, what about the stiffness and pain that continues?”

“Work through it! Keep pushing past it” he said. 

It was good for me to hear it’s normal. Helpful to hear that I hadn’t done something wrong. Now, it’s up to me to continue to do the work. To do that and be successful, I MUST control my thinking, digging deep into my gut and push through the pain.

Once again I am reminded that God led me to the right word to focus on for the year:


I appreciate what my daughter gave me for Mother’s Day to help me remember this—a beautiful necklace with the word front and center.IMG_6018 2

In order to persevere, I must keep that mind-controlling Negative Committee under control. I have to speak positively to myself. Build myself up. Draw on the strength God has given me to push past the pain to get to where I want to go. And that is not stuck in the mud of negativity. 

Do you struggle with negative self-talk? Where in your life right now are YOU your own worse enemy?


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And then there were 7!


Or there will be 7 very soon! Having babies came easy for John and me. We started young, married at 19 and 22, with our first arriving when we were 22 and 24. Four kids before I turned 30. We did have a one miscarriage in between #3 and 4. Deliveries were uneventful as far as we knew; certainly no major complications.

Fast forward a couple decades. Time for those kids to have kids! Didn’t go as smooth. Infertility. Physical issues that required surgeries to clear the path for healthy pregnancies. Discovery of gene issues that require minor medicinal treatments, but critical nonetheless for full-term babies. The moments that couples these days take great time, effort, and creativity in figuring out the perfect way to announce the pregnancy became not-so-exciting for us. “Great! Get back to us in 3-4-5 months and we’ll get excited!” Seems insensitive I know. But real. Each of my girls has had 1 miscarriage; a couple of them had more. So we’d not only deal with our pain, but theirs as well.

Jump ahead 5 more years … Continue reading

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It wasn’t suppose to take long. Surely no one would see me. Everyone runs out to get their paper in their pajamas or those sweats they wouldn’t want anyone to know they owned, right? Thing is, I wasn’t just running to grab something off the driveway. I was dashing out to feed my horses.

In my plaid

Back in December we invited an abandoned little horse named Pearl to live with us. The owners of the facility where Pearl was housed did their best to take care of her after Pearl’s owner just stopped coming around. So, she needed a home.

Much to my husband’s dismay, I like to rescue things. In this case, an eating and manuring thing! John sighed and let me take her in. Continue reading

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Were the years wasted???


I have a tendency to state things rather dramatically, especially when emotions are running high.

Today, I need to say these words, even though I know they’re illogical, not true, and completely for “theatrical effect”:

“I have wasted 14 years of my life!”

An adoptive parent once said to us … Continue reading

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A parent was sharing frustration over her 3-year-old’s constant temper tantrums that occurred when they went shopping. On one particular trip …

“Everyone was looking at us. I still had so much shopping I needed to do. I had to make her stop, so I bought her a toy. But now she demands a toy every time I take her shopping! She throws a tantrum until I give in. I know I shouldn’t … but …. what should I do?”

Continue reading

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Parenting: Time to Do the Tough Stuff

Prom: Deserved or Not?

It’s prom season.

All Seniors and many Juniors go to prom. But is that a must? Is it a “for sure”?

What if your Junior’s grades have tanked? What if your Senior, suffering from “senioritis,” is all full of themselves and has been disrespectful toward teachers or you?

In moments like these, are you, the parent, going to succumb to the societal notion that this event is a deserved, once in a life time moment and you could never take it away from them? Continue reading

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Exclamation Points

Simply put, I have lost my !’s. It happened sometime in the last 3 months. I stopped feeling it, and next thing I knew it was lost. The ! was lost.

My father in law had a gift of using !’s. There were times when we would count up to 20 in a note. He saw life from the glass half full perspective. Very positive. Even when there wasn’t much to be positive about.

I use to be that positive. There are moments and days when I feel it yet. But right now, no !’s. I’m looking at life more as a glass tipped upside down, spilled all over the floor perspective.

My son Michael recently informed me that when I don’t use an ! in my texts it changes the whole tone of the message. Funny Mike. I understand that. Right now, when I say “I’m coming to see you in Madison.” that is how I’m feeling it. There isn’t an ! behind the words. Yes, Mike I know it’s blah sounding. But more so, it’s really sad.

I think the downward spiral started when I realized I was 50. Now that was a few months past my 50th bday. Overnight, everything started going south. I mean gravity set in. Aches and pains are not going away. My brain is mush. I’m doing crossword puzzles for goodness sakes just to keep my synapses connected.

Then stuff just happens. Parenting young kids stuff, our marriage stuff – that sort of thing. I was fighting for my !’s at that point. Keeping my spirits up. But nothing improved. The last straw that caused the cessation of !’s in my sentence structure was having my kids move away. The four big ones. And the special little grandson, Josh.

God never said we weren’t suppose to feel our pain. By feeling it though, you can so a bit, lose your enthusiasm for life. In my case, my loss of !’s is indicative of that. As I deal with this season of life, I have cried out to my Father in heaven, “What am I to do with this grief? I’m good with you using my kids. They are yours after all. But what do I do with the pain caused by their absence?” Audibly I heard, “Feel it.” Ooooh, but to feel it, I have to feel it. And that hurts. Isn’t it easier to deny it? Shove it aside, get busy doing other things? There is merit in doing that, and it is essential at times. Stuffing just isn’t a good thing to do. It can eek out at the worst of times.

My Father in heaven is so patient with me. After I throw a bit of a hissy fit, for months at a time, I hear Him say -yeah I’m one of those who think God speaks to her directly- “Ok…time to move on. I’ve let you kick and cry long enough. Take my hand and let’s see what lies ahead.” Like a really good Dad, he urges me forward. If I don’t go with him, I will get stuck and who knows for how long. Being stuck just isn’t living life the way it God intended.

As I find my new normal in life, walking along with my Father, I just might find those !’s again. Yeah…I know I will. For now ~.

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Broken Heart

When I was a 19yo, I married and moved away from my family. Far away. Farther than any of my siblings. I left a family where we would enjoy getting together for family dinners. My sibs who all lived within 80 miles of my parents home would come with their kids. Aunt Karen loved to have them around. See there was 7 years between myself and the next oldest sib. The original four are pretty close in age. Then there was me. Those dinners were all the more meaningful to me because of that.

There was no email telling me so, but when God called us away and kept us away, I felt he might keep my own family, my kids and theirs near me. Say an 80 mile radius? It is not meant to be.

How about a 950 some mile radius instead? With that sort of drive, no one is going to be popping over for dinner every week. Not every month. Maybe once a year. I haven’t spent any time asking why. To me that’s just unnecessary. God sends, you go. But can I have a bit of a pity party?

This really stinks. I have grown to love certain things about Denver, but I’m not in love with Denver. Obviously my kids aren’t either. They are all back in the midwest where they started! Of course as my son once pointed out “Mom we came to Denver so we could adopt the girls.” Our three youngest. For those of you who know me, this hasn’t been a great selling point; but when God says step out in faith, you step out in faith.

We were on track to be young grandparents. Then infertility hit my daughter and it took a few more years than planned. Ok. Now we are blessed with little Joshua and what? Move them away? They lived in a 15 mile radius! Even better! Now they will be the farthest in Madison,WI.

It just doesn’t seem fair. There is no lesson to be learned in this blog. No moral of the story. Just hurt. I’ll deal. Have to.

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