Category Archives: Learning Experiences

Help

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Okay, I need help. I have instructed Nicholas not to leave half full beverage containers in his trash can a THOUSAND times. In fact I just spoke to him about this AGAIN yesterday! And this morning when I went down to his room, lo and behold, another half full can in the bin! Is he crazy?! When I was told to do something by an adult, I did it.  He needs to be punished, but I want the punishment fit the crime. Or am I being melodramatic?! Any suggestions welcome!!!

*Image via Google

Tied Up

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So I’m trying to learn how to tie a tie. I’d like to be able to teach this skill to my son. Not to mention the fact that I want to learn for the sake of knowing how to do it.

Three of my coworkers (vice principal, school police officer, and the media specialist) were gracious enough to humor me with vp supplying an extra tie and his neck.  I wanted to learn the full windsor because I like the way it looks.

After the lessons I received on my lunch break (pictures above), I practiced at home on myself and voila!

I Think I Get It Now

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Remember awhile back when I wrote about a date I went on and I really liked the guy? Well, I still do.  We’ve been on many outings since then.  In fact, I haven’t gone out with anyone else.

Nicholas and I have met his three children as well as his extended family.  Unfortumately, his ex is still holding on to the past.

Having been around the blended family block, my focus has changed.  I don’t want to place my attention anywhere that it doesn’t need to be.

I think I get something now that I didn’t get then–I don’t have to worry myself about their mother considering we have no direct relationship. 

Hindsight certainly is 20/20!

Love Is Patient

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For Christmas Morocco gifted Husband and I a pre-order gift certificate of the Christian movie Fireproof.  The movie came out on DVD at the end of January.  With so much going on we had not gotten around to watch the movie until now.

So Sunday evening Husband and I settled down with two other couples to watch the movie.  The acting was not all that great but the message was positive.  The plot is about a married couple on the verge of divorce.  The husband sought the advice of his father.  Upon doing so the father gave a journal called The Love Dare to his son.  The journal is a 40 day challenge for the husband to show unconditional love towards his wife.

Therefore the husband starts the challenge.  The wife could have cared less about the changes in her husband.  The husband called his father often saying he wanted to give up.  The father persuaded the husband to keep fighting and continue the challenge.

I purchased The Love Dare and study guide for Husband and I to take the 40 day challenge.  We are not having issues like the charachters in the movie but marriage is hard work!  In my everyday battle for self improvement I/we need to work just as hard for our marriage.

                                                    Day 1 Love Is Patient

Be completely humble and gentle: Be patient bearing with one another in love.  Ephesians 4:2 NIV

                                                           Today’s Dare

In a number of ways our words often reflect the condition of our heart.  For the next day, resolve to demonstrate patience and to say nothing negative to your spouse at all.  If the temptation arises, choose not to say anything.  It’s better to hold your tongue than to say something you’ll regret.

Even though The Love Dare focuses on married couples there are activities that can be applied to everyday life.  I’m sure I’ll post more of the dares as I go through the 40 day challenge.  I’m on day 3 now and I must say that I am so glad I decieded to take the challenge.

Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.  James 1:19

Will You Be My Stepwife?

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Gaylord Focker, will you be my son-in-law? 

I’m pretty sure that most of you have seen the movie “Meet the Parents” starring Robert Deniro.  Of course it takes him the majority of the movie to accept that his daughter loves Gaylord Focker.

Such is usually the case with step and biomoms.  Sometimes it takes moms a while to acknowledge the fact that stepmoms actually love their children and mean them no harm.

And that ‘s okay.  Give the moms space to accept reality in their own timing.

Stepmoms, for what it’s worth, you should make every effort to interact civilly with your stepchild(ren)’s mother.  If possible as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.

Don’t get me wrong, I KNOW that some people are utterly unreasonable, don’t want to get along, and are mentally unstable to boot.  But that has nothing to do with you and who you are!  You are a stepmom with values and principles and a good heart.  Use every opportunity you can to be the bigger person.  In the end, the small things just don’t matter.  If it is not a life or death situation you will be better off letting it go.  Working together works–trite but true. 

Take it from one who knows, it feels so good to do the right thing even when you feel that the other person doesn’t deserve it.  I struggled a lot with this thought when it came to dealing with Eliza.  I was most successful when I remembered that we didn’t deserve to have Jesus die for us, yet he did without hesitation.  Therefore take what a person “deserves” out of the equation. 

I had “proposed” to Eliza in the early stages of our  burgeoning correspondence.  I even shared articles with her from the CoMama’s  so she wouldn’t think I was crazy for even dreaming of such a partnership.  I wanted to let her know that I was not trying to take her place.  I also wanted her to know that I wished to work with her for the sake of our boys.  I can’t say that she accepted because I feel that if she had, the boys would be with me now.

Even though I was rejected, I have no regrets for wanting what I felt was best for the boys.  It’s a small consolation in the face of all that has happened, yet it’s one less burden that I currently have to bear.

Channeling Hannah

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I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a long time and here goes it.  Today I would like to spend some time examining the growing phenomenon of the so-called “bitter” stepmom.  I’ve been seeing this term on many blogs lately.

My general opinion is that we all have the right to blog about our feelings and perspectives.  I don’t recall WordPress excluding certain emotions.  Furthermore, I find it odd and hypocritical when other stepmom bloggers write about “bitter” stepmoms who judge the exwife in their life.  They state that it is not right/healthy for them to do so.  But isn’t that a form of judging in itself? 

I am thankful that God gave us such a wide range of emotions.  It is okay to be bitter just as it is okay to be joyful, fearful or envious.  Personally speaking, I am bitter about my stepmom situation from time to time.  And to quote Kela, so what?  Does that make me a “bad” stepmom?  I embrace all of my feelings–the good, the bad, and the ugly.  I learn from them all.

If all stepmom blogs were alike–would we grow or glean any wisdom from reading them?  It takes all kind. Bitter or not, we are all stepmoms.  Some “bitter” stepmoms might be annoyed by the “Pollymamas.”  Everything isn’t always good and that’s keeping it real.

 On this long, strange trip with Eliza, I have grown from blogging.  I am able to learn from many of the blogs that  I follow.   I reflect on the comments.  Blogging helps me see things from more than one angle.   Even if it is a “bitter” blog, I try to take something away from it or I simply stop reading it.  I don’t feel that I have the right to dictate feelings or thoughts. 

Also, it is easy to label other stepmoms as bitter when you have a good/civil/friendly relationship with the exwife.  Trust me, I know.  If you read through my earlier posts I was much more forgiving/tolerant/peaceful about Eliza.  Now that the tide has turned, I have to work extra hard not to be bitter/cynical/petty/judgemental/whiny/mean/spiteful–pick one.  This is my challenge and I love it!

I am able to celebrate the stepmoms who have a working/great relationship with the exwife just as I am able to commiserate with the stepmoms who don’t have this luxury.

Rhonda and I always joke about how we would handle a negative comment.  But because we feel that everyone is entitled to their opinion, we would post the remark and simply say “thank you for comment,” and leave it at that.  We decided if the commenter refuses to let the issue go; we would kindly delete those comments.

I however, I have chosen not to leave negative/judgemental comments to  put any blogger in their “place.”  My opinion is no more valid than any one else’s.  If I can’t say something supportive or provocative in a considerate way, then I say nothing at all.  I blog primarily for my own self—not to “check”  or chastise others.  I don’t have the time or desire for that.  I like to think we are all in this together.

Besides, we are all in unique predicaments.  I don’t know any of my online friends intimately–other than what I read.  It seems that we judge each other far more harsher than the exwives themselves!

I blog for peace, growth, healing, fun, relaxation, pleasure, and yes, venting.  Remember, if you don’t like the contents of any particular blog, you do not have to read/continue reading it.  It’s just that simple.  Full Moon welcomes stepmoms of all kind–bitter, happy, angry, frustrated, jealous, evil (hehe)–do you catch my drift?  You may come as you are.

This leads me to the title of my post, Channeling Hannah, in reference to Nobody’s Perfect.  That includes me and you, dear reader.  Just know…

My intentions are good
Sometimes just misunderstood
Nobody’s Perfect!
I gotta work it!
Again and again ’til I get it right
Nobody’s Perfect!
You live and you learn it!
And if I mess it up sometimes…
Nobody’s perfect

And this blog is me working it!

Silver Linings Sunday

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After seven years of teaching, I must say that this is the worst year thus far.  Don’t get me wrong, the school in which I teach has always had serious educational issues, but now it’s just utterly ridiculous!  I am teaching 6 periods out of 7.  I don’t take lunch at work because I just don’t have the time to do so during my allotted period.   I often feel like a hamster in a wheel.  Sometimes I feel like I can’t win my rage against the machine.  Sometimes I think Pink Floyd  had the right idea.

Just two weeks ago I received a whole new schedule, kids included.  We (the faculty) never know what is going on.  Everyday it is something new.  Usually we find out about things as they are occurring. The kids actually know things before we do! 

At best my job is chaotic, very poorly organized, wildly inconsistent, and really a mockery of education if you ask me.  My husband calls it Eastside High, alluding to the school in the movie Lean on Me  if that will help you visualize what I deal with on a daily.  Most days I am simply overwhelmed at how awful things are.  It is extradinarily disheartening.

One day I gripped to a coworker about the inequitable practices and everything else that didn’t sit well with me. I confided in him that I thought it was time for me to find another position elsewhere.  I was ready to pack up and cut my losses.

He preached about how much the kids need me.  He also said something that has stuck with me.  He reminded me that when God was ready for me to go elsewhere, he would create an out for me.  He pointed out if it was my time to leave, I would have been one of the teachers placed at another school.  However, I was one of the chosen few to remain.

I keep that in mind every day and just hope that I am making a difference for somebody.

Despite the myraid of problems I face I am thankful that I have a job.  Although I am totally drained at the end of the day, I have something that many people don’t–a job.  Our economy is so unstable right now and the job market is not much better.  I am blessed (thank you Father!)

Therefore my challenge at work is turning negatives into positives.  This is difficult to do.  I try anyways because I want my kids to feel like they are valued.  I never want them to think that they shouldn’t have access to excellent teachers.  The morale in the building is already abysmally low among both students and staff.  I want them to receive a quality English education.  They are worth me putting my best foot forward.  Afterall, you only get what you put out.

Monaco v. Morocco

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I have a confession to make; I, too have a dark side.  I am not always nice, considerate, polite, and sweet.  I’ll refer to that other side as Monaco.

Sometimes I am petulant.

I can be impatient.

Rude

Mean

Judgemental

Spoiled even

Monaco tends to rear her ugly head when I am feeling tired, annoyed, stressed, insecure, threatened, jealous, or unappreciated.  So you see, it doesn’t take a lot to make her presence known.

In my Monaco moments, I want to put the smackdown on Eliza.  I don’t want to be peaceful–I want all out vengeance.  I want to knock her in the head and scratch her eyes out!  When I am feeling Monaco…watch out world!

I don’t like Monaco but she sure seems to like me.  Luckily I have more control over her than she has over me!  But I have to admit, she gives me one hell of a workout!

If the Crown Fits…

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Remember a couple weeks ago I posted about Kierra’s Visitor? Well I almost severed a 17 year friendship because of the conversation I had with my friend reguarding The Visitor. Here’s why…

I was talking to my friend when everything was happening and I told her I would call her back. Later in the evening when I finally got around to, I filled her in on what was going on. My friend made a comment that I didn’t quite like and I quickly ended our conversation.

My friend, who is a BM, told me that she would be pissed too if her daughter was with her stepmom when she started her cycle. I was so offended by this comment. And let me just say that in the 12 years I have been a stepmom to Kierra, this was not the first comment made by her that didn’t sit well with me.

My friend has made many comments about things that she wouldn’t like her daughter’s stepmom doing. I took offense because I was doing most of those things her stepmom was doing and more for Kierra, and my friend’s daughter as well. What’s more confusing is the fact that I am her daughter’s Godmother and I do the exact things for her as I do for Kierra. And she does not have a problem what-so-ever with my involvement.

This is really upsetting to me. Stepmom vs. Godmother vs. BM. If Godmothers are allowed to be mom to these children with no problem, why not stepmoms?

I stewed over her last remark for a couple of days and even talked to Morocco about this situation. I was so upset. After I thought about it I decided to talk to my friend because it would be a shame to let 17 years of friendship go down the drain just because I didn’t tell her how I felt.

She ended up calling me first and asked how Kierra was doing. Perfect, this gave me an opening. I told my friend how upset I was that she made this comment and it hurt my feelings. I asked her if she viewed me as her daughter’s stepmom because of the comments she makes. I thought “WOW, she reminds me of Christine and must be wearing her (Christine) crown!”

My friend asked me why I didn’t tell her how I felt. I said that I didn’t know how to approach the subject. Even though she has hurt my feelings over and over again, I didn’t want to do that to her. She apologized and I accepted. Soon after we ended the call.

The next morning my friend called me crying saying that the night before she thought about all the things she has said to me over the years and she apologized again. She told me she could not relate to me because she is not a stepmom. But that she understands how I may feel when Christine does and says mean and hurtful things. I started crying as well. We ended our call on a good note this time and I am thankful that we were able to salvage our friendship.

Sister Act

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Several days ago I was told by a couple of family members that my 21-year-old sister got married last week.  I felt so distressed hearing that! I assumed that my sister was playing a joke; but was shocked to find that she wasn’t.  I am bothered that she didn’t bother to call me.  Plain and simple my feelings are hurt!

I must begin by telling you all that I am the oldest of five siblings.  I have two sisters and three brothers.  Chloe, my youngest sister was born when I was nine. 

She was a gorgeous baby.  When I first saw the chubby bundle of cafe au lait that mother held in her arms, I was in love.  Her face was even shaped like a heart!  Chloe had dark, thick wurly (a mixture of waves and curls) hair with big doe-like brown eyes and a tiny button nose.  Her skin was soft and smooth.  She stared into my eyes as she sucked daintily on her petite thumb (a habit that she has not abandoned).  In a word she was the most beautiful thing I had ever laid eyes on.  Even to this day, there are not many babies that I would place on par with her.

Chloe was a good, quiet yet spoiled child.  My stepfather doted on her.  “Baby Girl,” as she was called by him, was the princess of the house.  She could do no wrong.

Shortly before she turned nine, I headed off to college. Therefore our time living under the same roof was brief.   I was also very involved in school activities, ballet class, and I worked part-time.  Plus, I spent a lot of time at my grandmother’s house so I really wasn’t home much. 

But I still made it a priority to spend time and do things for her as she was growing up.  To highlight her 13th birthday, I gave her a slumber party at my house.  I wanted her to know that she was valued as my little sister.  I took her on many outings and even involved her in my volunteer efforts as a “sisterfriend” to pregnant teenagers at The Birthing Project

As the years progressed we grew distance.  I am not sure how or why because I certainly loved Chloe. However, the older she got, the less she would interact with me.  As a teenager she developed a wild streak.  I didn’t like a few of her boyfriends which didn’t go over well with her. 

For a while she was a student at the high school where I taught.  I let my colleagues know and asked them to get me abreast of her progress.  Chloe, however, seemed embarassed that her big sister was a teacher at her school.  She would barely speak to me in the halls and would try avoid being in the same vicinity as me.  I guess she didn’t want me keeping such a close eye on her (considering that she liked to cut).

I tried to keep her on the right track, but I think this only served to increase the distance between she and I.  Thankfully her wild days were fleeting.

Over the years I talked to my mother often about how four of my five siblings seemed to view me.  She summed it up by saying that they just didn’t understand my good intentions. My mother knew that I had pure motives.  She also reminded me that they did not like being admonished by anyone, including her or their dad.  While this was certainly understandable I was still at a loss.  What else was I to do?  I always thought that they were too lenient with them.  She was a lot stricter on me growing up.  So I took it upon myself to get the job done.

As the first born I always felt obligated to set examples for them.  I viewed it as my  sisterly duty to correct them when they were headed in what I felt was the wrong way.

It always rested heavy on my heart that it was “me” and “them.”  Not only were we seperated by time, we were also divided by blood.  My mother’s first husband was their dad.  I often wondered if this was  part of the reason I was so hard for them to swallow. I felt like the wicked, half-blood sister. 

I know this concerned my mother as well.  A year or so before she died I promised her that I would always look after them and would not let their attitudes about me get in the way.  I know it troubled her to see us so fractured.  

When she died I thought we would all magically grow closer.  Of course, this has not been the case.  Don’t get me wrong, when we see each other we are social and civil.  In fact, a few months ago my husband and I had lunch at the restaurant where Chloe works as a hostess.  She seemed genuinely happy to see me.  She ran and gave me a big hug and chatted with us for a spell.  But I didn’t hear from her after that.  I called her once or twice but she never returned my messages.

Sometimes I get the impression that Chloe (and probably my other siblings as well) thinks I will have “something to say,” about what, I don’t know.  Since they are now adults I don’t try to fix them anymore.  I haven’t “said” anything about how they chose to conduct their affairs in many moons.  Now when hear about something that I don’t necessarily agree with, I immediatedly send a prayer up for them.  I now know that God is much better suited to correct them than I am.

I have spent the week pouting about her selfishness.  But today I sucked it up and headed to the store to buy a gift for the newlyweds.  I am going to invite my sister and my brother-in-law (one of the boyfriends from her youth that I did not like) over for dinner as well. 

Afterall, I will always be their big sister and I have to continue acting as one.  I won’t give up on them!