Entries tagged with “thanksgiving”.


Day 26: 30 Days in the StepMom Trenches

Today, my four children returned from their time with their dad and our family of eight traveled to my parents’ home to celebrate Thanksgiving. My brother, his wife and their three children were there. It was wonderful to all be together. We didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving on the day the calendar tells us to but rather on a day when we could all get together.  The blessing of family and friends is the true celebration of Thanksgiving.   

It was such a blessing to see everyone and hear the kids laughing and talking about Christmas and making plans to see each other in the next few weeks. The weather was wonderful so the kids played hide and go seek and basketball and we just had a very relaxing and peace filled day.

At dinner, my brother read a Thanksgiving prayer. The words spoken really touched my heart and I wanted to share it with all of you:

A Thanksgiving Prayer

Oh, God, when I have food,

help me to remember the hungry;

When I have work, help me

to remember the jobless;

When I have a warm home,

help me to remember the homeless;

When I am without pain,

help me to remember those who suffer;

And remembering, help me

to destroy my complacency

and bestir my compassion.

Make me concerned enough

to help, by word and deed,

those who cry out

for what we take for granted.

~ Samuel F. Pugh

 

Lesson from the StepMom Trenches: Often it can feel like the weight of the world is on our shoulders and many times it may be. It is important to be thankful in all we do during both the good and challenging times. Choosing to focus on the positive doesn’t mean you aren’t going through a hard time. It means that you are choosing to focus on the good things in your life. By focusing on the blessings, our burdens seem more bearable.

Challenge: Find a poem, quote, or other inspirational piece that really speaks to your heart. Read the piece daily during times of blessings and times of challenge. Very often an inspirational piece that speaks to your heart can help turn negative thoughts into positive ones and in turn help you maintain a grateful heart and positive mood.

Day 24: 30 Days in the StepMom Trenches

Happy Thanksgiving friends. Today, I am reminded of the many things I am truly thankful for in my life.

I am thankful for……   

  • God who gives me love, mercy, compassion, grace, wisdom and forgiveness each day and gives me His word to extend those gifts to others.
  • my wonderful husband who covers me in unconditional love.
  • my children who have shown me that I am so much stronger than I ever thought I was or could be.
  • my stepchildren who have expanded my heart and my capacity to love and be patient.
  • to all of my family and friends who love me for me.
  • to the wonderful stepmom community who has been a blessing beyond any words I can ever express.

and so much more…..

I strive to live with a grateful heart each and every day. Thanksgiving is a wonderful day to reflect on the blessings in our life. It is my intention to carry the love and spirit of Thanksgiving in my heart each and every day.

Who is with me?

Day 17:   30 Days of Life in the StepMom Trenches

Thanksgiving is one week away. This year my four kids will celebrate with their dad. I put up a brave front for the kids but inside my heart sheds some tears. I will miss them terribly. I didn’t marry their dad thinking we would have kids, divorce and co-parent! 

But that is where we are now. Sure, I could focus on the fact that the divorce wasn’t my doing or that I shouldn’t have to share my kids because of that but that would be putting the focus on me and not my kids and that is not where my focus is.  Furthermore, I don’t think that way and I’ve forgiven and that is a powerful tool in co-parenting. The reality is that I am happy and content with my life. I was able to forgive and move ahead with my life and because of that I found a love I never knew could exist and am now happily remarried.

I choose to focus on the blessings and joy my kids will have while they are with their dad and his family this Thanksgiving. That doesn’t mean I won’t be a little sad on Thanksgiving. I will. That doesn’t mean that I won’t miss them. I will. The four empty seats at the table will be a visible reminder that they aren’t with us.

But I am very happy for my kids that they have two parents who work together for their benefit and who recognize that the kids don’t make adult decisions and they shouldn’t have to “pay” for the decisions made by the adults in their life. Yes, my ex and I are no longer together as a couple but we are a co-parenting team who puts the kids needs first.

That is something to be truly thankful for!

Lessons from the StepMom Trenches: It’s not easy not having the kids on Thanksgiving. If you don’t have your kids and/or your stepkids mourn the fact that you wont’ be together but focus on the fact that they are receiving the blessing of their other parent’s family. And remember that Thanksgiving is a date on the calendar. You can have a Thanksgiving dinner any day of the year.

Challenge: As hard as it can be at times, focus your thoughts on the kids and the joys they are experiencing during the time spent with their other parent.

Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Day 13: 30 Days of Life in the StepMom Trenches

The fever is still with me. My husband is still taking care of me and all six of our kids are pitching in to help. As I laid my head down on the pillow again this morning and covered myself in a mountain of blankets, I felt so thankful that I could take this time to heal myself from this fever that had enveloped me. I love my bed and the feeling of being all warm and toasty in the down feather comforter and blankets that weighed down on me. I wasn’t feeling any guilt about the fact that I was taking another “day off.”  

But then the thought hit me “what about all those mothers and stepmothers who need to take a break when they aren’t feeling well and would love to take it easy but can’t?” The reality is that while my biggest issue with taking a break is whether or not I feel guilty about it another big reality in our society and the greater world is the fact that there are so many women who simply can’t take it easy given their economic and/or relational circumstances.

I remember back to the days after my first husband left and my kids were so small. I remember how I couldn’t take a break when I had the flu. I remember sitting in the bathroom as sick as a dog and my 13 month old in her exersaucer outside the bathroom door giggling and beeping the attached horn. I couldn’t’ leave her unattended yet I had to attend to my sick stomach.

I never want to take for granted the luxuries I have in life. The fact that I can take a break when I am sick and know that my husband, our kids and our home won’t fall apart is a luxury and one that many women don’t have.

There are always others who are less fortunate than we are. At the holidays, I am reminded of how very important it is to give back. I do donate my time and my resources to a number of local and international charities. And I think this year, I’m going to focus on some local people that I can bless with my time and talents. Cook a meal for a family  where there is no income coming in, donate clothes, babysit for a single mom who could use a break, etc…

I will continue to give myself permission to take care of me and not feel guilty about it but I also never want to loose site that I am very blessed to have that privilege.

Lessons from the StepMom Trenches: It is so important to take care of ourselves and we should do so without feeling guilty. I think it’s also important to remember all the women who cannot take a break when they are sick or just need to recharge their batteries. When the stresses of life get to us, remember the blessings that you do have. I know that it helps me to get through some rough spots by reminding myself of the many blessings that I have. The fact that I could take a break and focus on getting rid of my fever and feeling better is a privilege of having a caring husband, children and the economic means to do so. I never want to become so complacent that I take that for granted.

Challenge: This holiday season and beyond think about people in your community that you might be able to lend a hand. Maybe its someone you know. Maybe its a family your school and/or your church can put you in touch with. Serving others blesses those we help and it also blesses us.

 Share ideas on donating your time and resources to help others.

Hy heart is to serve others. While my goal is, and will continue to be, to inform, encourage, support and connect Smoms, I am so grateful for the blessings I have received on my journey. In my attempt to pay it forward this month, I want to introduce to you another wonderful woman I have met. Amy is a wife, mother, stepmother, stepdaughter and above all a beautiful and warm person. She is an encouragement and a testimony to pressing on in the role of Smom. It is with a grateful heart and great pleasure that I share Amy’s story with you….

Thank you to Heather for allowing me to share my story with her fans and followers. I am honored and humbled that I have been given this opportunity to speak to you. I have learned that life experience is the best way to reach out to others. Sometimes it can be as simple as sharing your story. Although as difficult as times may be, I am thankful that my experience may offer some comfort to others. As a person in a blended family, it’s incredibly life-giving to receive support from others, and to have the opportunity to give support to others.

It is easy to look at all the things that go wrong with blended families. It is easy to dwell on the lack of control we may feel at times, or the negative behavior of others. When we make a choice to focus on the things we can control and the things that we can change, we then gain back control and peace. It is when we realize that we can only control our environments and actions that we can have a heart of gratitude.

It is our attitude that determines whether our kids will be angry, insecure, frightened or emotionally hurt. As adults, we must make a choice to take the burden off our children and allow them to be kids and freely love everyone.

In the spirit of a month of Thankfulness, I would like to share with you what I am grateful for.

My husband and I have a very busy life. We are a family of 7. I have 2 children and my husband has 3. I come from a blended family. I have had a stepmom since I was 5, my kids have a stepmom and I am a stepmom. I have experienced, first hand, all angles of blended families. As Heather often says, there are many, many branches in the blended family tree. Although the ideal situation is to never have to deal with these large trees, I am thankful for all of the family I have. I have two sisters and a brother that I may have never had otherwise. I am so thankful that my stepmom and I are great friends and can spend time together. I remember, as a kid, times were not always smooth and easy, but she kept a steady course and cared to fight the fight. She is now a good friend that I thoroughly enjoy spending time with and thankful to have her in my life.

I am thankful for my kids’ stepmom as well as the relationship I am able to have with her. I won’t say that I don’t experience times of jealousy or frustration, but I know she has a good heart and my kids’ best interest at heart. I am thankful for her involvement in their lives as well as their father’s involvement. I am thankful that my ex-husband and I have been able to look past our differences and hurts and work together for the greater good of the kids. There are times of disagreement and conflict, but stepping back and looking at the big picture has worked for us.

I thought becoming a stepmom would just be an extension of being a mom; after all I’ve been a mom for a long time.  I’ve got this mom thing down. Little did I know there is a BIG difference in being a mom and a stepmom. As a stepmom, my every move is under a microscope, my every move is being critiqued. I found myself basing my decisions on what others would think of me. I am thankful that I have been able to settle into a role that I am becoming more and more comfortable with as a stepmom. My role is to provide a loving and warm environment when the kids are with us. There is so much I can’t control, but there is also a great deal I can. May my home be a place of stability, comfort and fun. May they feel like they can be themselves and freely express themselves. May they see my faith in God and wilingness to hang through the tough times. May they see my love for my kids, my husband and them. May we make our own memories over the years. May they see my wonderful support system.

There are many tough days ahead, but there are many, many more great days ahead. I am already thankful for the great days ahead of us. I am also thankful for the challenging days. I am certain that God has called me to this role to be a support system for my husband and his children. I am thankful that God has and will use the difficult times for His good and use me too as a support system for others. I am thankful that God has brought people such as Heather into my life for encouragement and support.

May you too be thankful in this season for the good and the bad. For from bad, God can turn to good.

~

What positives in your life can you focus on?

Keeping our eyes and our hearts on the blessings in our lives is a shield that negativity cannot penetrate.

~

Eric and Amy have been married for 4 years, together 5. They have 5 kids. Amy has a 19 daughter that is a sophomore in college majoring in Marriage and Family Counseling. Amy also has a 15 year old son that is a sophomore in high school, he is active in band and wants to go to culinary school. Eric has a 12 year old son that is very active in sports, an 8 year old daughter and a 6 year old daughter. Both girls are active in dance and twirling. Eric is a practicing attorney and Amy works at www.LifeChurch.tv. You can connect with Amy on Twitter: http://twitter.com/amyurbach and Facebook: www.facebook.com/amylurbach

It’s November. A time for giving thanks. A time to reflect on the blessings in our lives. This month I want to pay it forward to all of my readers. I will be sharing some wonderful Smoms I have met on my journey and their stories. Personally, I’ll be focusing on the blessings of being a Smom and of having an attitude of gratitude. Putting our focus on the positives in our lives and the things we can change is essential.

So without further ado, please welcome a person I think of when I count my blessings, Deesha Philyaw, and her witty take on extending a special Thanksgiving invitation. Enjoy!

If You Invite His Ex To Thanksgiving Dinner…

If you invite his ex-wife to Thanksgiving dinner,                                                                                                   she’s going to ask you if you’ve lost your mind.

When you reassure her that you haven’t lost your mind,                                                                                       she’ll want to know if you’re planning to give her a pox-infected blanket.

When you promise her that there will be no blankets, just turkey,                                                                     she’ll tell you she’ll think about it.

Then she’ll call all her girlfriends                                                                                                                               to get them to weigh in on your invitation.

Her girlfriends will remind her of the stuff you wrote about her on your smom blog,                               and she’ll wonder why she’s even considering your invitation.

But one girlfriend will have a different take on the situation;                                                                               She’ll say, “Maybe this is her way of offering you an olive branch.                                                                   Besides…you’ve blogged some snarky stuff about her too.”

All her girlfriends will have strong opinions.

So she’ll chew on it for a while                                                                                                                                     and realize that there’s no single “right” response.

She’ll imagine what it would be like for the children                                                                                             to have their parents and step-parents seated around the table together.

When she’s done imagining,                                                                                                                                         she’ll give you a call.

When she hangs up the phone,                                                                                                                                     you’ll either be relieved, nervous, frustrated, excited, angry or some                                                                 combination of these.                                                                                                                                                       You’ll need to take deep breaths.

You’ll sit down at your computer,                                                                                                                                 and log in.

And chances are,                                                                                                                                                               if you go to her blog,

You’ll find a post that reads, “If His New Wife Invites You to Thanksgiving Dinner…..”

~

Stepmoms, would you (or have you) ever extended such an invitation?

Have you ever received such an invitation? What would you do if you did?

~

Deesha Philyaw is a freelance writer; an adjunct writing professor; a wife; a stepmom with two bonus daughters; and the mom of two daughters who have a stepmom.  While the above piece, inspired by If You Give a Pig a Party by Laura Numeroff, is a work of fiction, Deesha does spend Christmas with her children, their father, and their stepmom.  She is the co-founder (along with her ex-husband) of CoParenting101.org; the co-host of the “Co-Parenting Matters” online talk show; and the co-parenting columnist for The Faster Times.



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