Okay, so you guys know, if you know ME or if you’ve read here much at all, that I am a “retired” homeschool mom of two twenty-something sons. Yeah, I’ve been “retired” for quite some time!
Homeschooling was the greatest, most best decision we ever made. Yes, even though I had plenty of days when I was quite certain it was the WORST decision we ever made. I think as a mom OR dad, wanting to do the very best for your children, we all have those doubts when trying to determine what’s best for our kids. Even though we were happy having the boys at home and I loved being a stay-at-home mom teaching my boys, there were still days that it seemed like a really baaaad choice! There are probably those moments in anything we pursue that is ultimately good.
I would never say I was a “great” homeschool mother. I wouldn’t even say I was “good” at it most days. But I tried my best to meet the needs of my children. I know families with 8+ children who have a whole posse of little virtuoso in a variety of areas. Music, mathematics, communication, entrepreneurship… you name it. Many of those kids are now doing extremely well in their adult lives. My boys are no exception to that. I feel like, at least for me, this is the litmus test as to whether homeschooling was a success.
While my youngest son chose not to finish high school, he is still doing well. He never attended any other type of school than at home. My boys have quite different personalities and while our eldest enjoyed learning at home, our youngest had a different bent. He wanted nothing to do with anything that came hard to him. If it wasn’t easy or something he was extremely interested in, he just didn’t want to do it at all. And he was several times more stubborn than his mother, so this made continuing his education at home very difficult.
I don’t want to rehash old problems or bring up too much from a really hard time in our family, but our baby became very rebellious, very hateful toward me specifically. I’m not sure if that was just because I was the “authority” figure for the large part of his life at that time (since I was also his ‘teacher’) or if it was more personally directed at me, but it was very obvious and it broke my heart.
By the time he was 14 or 15, he began to just refuse to do his lessons. He had a car by this time, one he had bought himself and was working on to have ready by the time he got his license, so of course, he spent a ton of time doing that. When he’d refuse to read anything else, no matter how hard I’d tried to find literature that would interest him, he would devour anything about his car without hesitation. And yes, I did try to allow as much as I could for the how-to car reading to count toward his school, but that wouldn’t fill all the requirements. But no matter what we threatened or how hard we explained why he needed to do the other work, he would just refuse. He wasn’t super-in-your-face with his refusal, but he’d sit for hours NOT doing the work you gave him.
Needless to say, I was frustrated beyond words and it became harder and harder to deal with. It didn’t make it any easier that the boys’ father wasn’t really a disciplinarian in that area. I’m trying NOT to sound disrespectful or like I am bashing Tommy, but he just wasn’t involved with schooling very much. He felt that was my job, my territory, and when I would come to him with concerns or problems, he just wasn’t very helpful in addressing them. I think he felt like he and Casey were more alike and Corey and I were alike so he usually seemed to “side” with Casey. I say “sided” because that’s how it felt. In hindsight, I think Tommy just didn’t know what to do, he wasn’t fully aware of how bad things had become and that’s what informed his actions. The way most things go in parenting, we always just do the best we know how at the time and I think that’s what happened here.
All these years later, we discovered that there were things happening in Casey’s life that we had absolutely no clue about. He shut himself off from us and seeing how he rebelled even more if we tried to approach him, we just gave him space. We had no clue he needed us to break through his walls, to be praying for him in specific ways, to help him navigate some horrible things. When I was made aware of this stuff, just a few years ago, it broke my heart all over again. What kind of mother am I to not know?? To not see how much my child needed his parents to intervene?? Even if he was pushing me away with all his might, how could I not know how much he was hurting? Those thoughts bring the tears, even now. Nothing is more heartbreaking as a mother than to realize you failed your child in such a huge way.
All of that to say, even with all this failure and heartbreak, I don’t regret homeschooling my boys. And to see them today, both successful in their jobs, both contributing, functional adults in spite of their “lack of socialization” (pshh!) is a balm to my mama-soul!
You may not know, but Corey, our eldest, recently moved with his wife to the Cincinnati area for a new job. The company found his profile on LinkedIn and sent a request for his application! Out of the blue. Realizing this, as a homeschool mom, was a real boost for me personally. I mean, after all the naysayers either aloud or privately saying my children would suffer from our choosing to teach them at home? I thank God for this affirmation that we did what we should have at the time.
Casey and Corey have always worked together in their grandpa’s business (my dad), which is a combination of various plumbing-related things. They’ve sort of grown up in the trade, working summers from the time they were barely teenagers to the year Corey put off his graduation in order to help my dad when his only other employee at the time (my father-in-law) had suffered a heart attack and dad sorely needed the help. Corey was not quite 17 when he made that decision and because we homeschooled, it was totally possible to do this.
When Corey left to take this job, it left Casey with a role he hadn’t ever filled before. And let me say, this was a job too good for Corey to pass. It was higher pay with commissions and bonuses, less stress of being responsible for both office work and keeping track of and working on jobs and less being resented because to others, it seemed Corey was doing less because of his time doing office work. There’s also benefits like retirement and 401k plans that aren’t available with my dad’s business and room to advance. There’s also a respect that Corey didn’t get here at home. No one who knows the situation could possibly fault him for taking the job. As much as it pained me to see him move, I can’t deny that in so many other areas, he’s a lot better off than he was here.
It really took him leaving for my dad and Casey to realize how much Corey was actually doing. So as far as the resentment shown when Corey informed them he was leaving, there’s now a respect that had never been shown before. It always hurt me so much to know that the boys, both of them, were dealing with so much stress and tension from my dad, who seemed to not understand or be willing to admit that doing things the same old way weren’t working. Any new idea the boys came up with was met with scorn and most times, ridicule so they had to continue doing things a more difficult way while bearing the weight of their grandfather’s disapproval.
I love my dad, don’t get me wrong. But he can be impossibly bullheaded sometimes. Like most of us, I guess, only… well, more so! I think now that these changes have been made, he’s beginning to see that there need to be new ways of doing things than he’s done all his adult life with his various businesses. I just hope Casey can continue to urge him to make the changes. Casey is much better at communicating or at least confronting my dad than Corey was. Casey will get in his face and tell him when he’s being irrational or stubborn where Corey would just bite his tongue and let Pap carry on his own path. Overall, I think Corey’s leaving has been a positive thing all around. I had been very worried that it would be only negative here at home, with the business. but it seems to have ushered in some new realizations so I’m hopeful things will be better here as well.
Casey is now having to step us as more of the salesman for the company, the “people-person”, which had been Corey’s role most of the time. And granted, I think both the boys would agree that Corey has an easier time with that than Casey most of the time. Although Casey is learning and he does very well most of the time anyway, it doesn’t come as naturally to him as it does Corey. It’s been good to see Casey maturing in the way he sees the business now that he doesn’t have his brother to leave all that to. Maybe I’m a little biased since I am the eldest in my family, but I think it’s just easy for the younger to leave things up to the elder. It’s like a natural role so when there’s never an opportunity for the younger to take the lead, they will continue to let the older sibling tend to those things. It’s not that Casey is unable, it’s just that he’d never really had to before, so in all, it’s a good thing, I believe.
In case you’re wondering about that title, it was intended to refer to how things just fell into place with Corey moving and getting this job. He has all this time he never had before and he’s figuring out what to do with himself. That’s a good problem to have. Granted, some of that no-time-for-himself thing was because he was also serving as youth pastor at his church here. Not only was he dealing with all the stuff from the business, he had kids calling on him at all hours with various issues plus all the activities that were most of the time scheduled by someone else without consulting Corey first. It was just a lot on his plate.
But the whole thing with this new job just sort of happened all at once. They contacted him, he sent a resume, then went up for an interview, the next week he went for another interview and then the offer letter came. All that happened in less than a month beginning around the first week of November and then they wanted him to start in January! They had to settle their house, pack it up and get rid of what they weren’t keeping, deal with settling Corey’s part of the business, find an apartment and figure out how to get moved up there all at once! It was crazy times, let me tell ya!
And this poor mom had like ZERO time to adjust to all this. I mean, like I’ve said, I never dreamed either of my boys would move out of town, let alone out of state! And even if I thought one of them might move, I always figured that would be Casey, not Corey. It was like total shock!
Thankfully, I got to spend time with them after Tommy and I helped the kids find an apartment, so we had first-hand knowledge of where they were and what kind of place they had, what type of area they lived in and all that. I think they really appreciated our help. It all went so smoothly, with only 4 of them (Melissa’s uncle and cousin came to help) unloading the UHaul and getting done right ahead of the snowy rain? That was just God, y’all. He was just working through the entire thing.
They went from a 1400 square foot home with a full finished basement to a 1000 square foot apartment with a small storage room about the size of a closet! Needless to say, they got rid of a ton of stuff. Their apartment is nice, cozy but roomy enough for them. It’s also roomy enough to house a few guests for a few days (or a week.. I stayed with them almost a week at the end of January). Ha. Their dog, Timber the Australian Shepherd, has adjusted extremely well. Even with the company changing start dates on Corey and having him start a couple days before he even had his work van organized, he’s done really well and has been noticed by the management and owners.
Casey seems to have adjusted to the new role he has and although he’s working a lot, he’s doing well, too. I would honestly be tickled if he would move up there and take a job with this company too. They recruited Corey because of his experience in plumbing and the fact that he has his Master Plumber license and they have just started expanding their business into plumbing and need licensed plumbers! But Casey doesn’t seem interested and that may have more to do with his wife, I don’t know. Shoot, if Tommy wasn’t less than five years from retirement, I would be pushing him to move up there and apply with this company. It’s been voted one of the top businesses in Cincinnati several years in a row and anyone who knows about it says it is an awesome company. They really have a stellar reputation and they do business in such a no-nonsense way that seeks to accommodate customers while also taking great care of their employees. They have an open-door policy among management, which in this company means there are NO doors in their offices! How cool is that? You won’t find many companies that think this way!
Anyway, I guess all this is just to give God ALL the credit for working things out so well. For helping me deal with my anxiety over the sudden move, for making things smooth out here at home as well as for Corey in his new home and job. Now, if the boys would just allow God to move and work in repairing their relationship, I’d be super-thrilled! Over the last few years, the boys have seemed to get this growing tension in their relationship. I think it’s been partially due to dealing with dad and the stress of working with him and each other and the changes that came with their marriages and adding new family members. Casey and Mel were almost like brother and sister when Corey first got married. It was good to see him be so at ease with her and watch them have fun being around each other.
I think after Casey moved into the basement of my parents’ old house (where Corey and Mel lived–the three of them bought the house together for some reason I’ll never understand–my dad arranged the whole thing) things seemed to change and I don’t know why. Maybe it was the dynamics or maybe the proximity? I just don’t know.
Things just change over time, and I know that. I just never dreamed they would drift so far apart or that one would push the other away. Growing up, they were each other’s best friend. As they began to get a little older, into double digits I guess, they spent more time with other people, had the chance to make other friends. Corey, like I said, is just generally more outgoing and quick to extend himself to make a friend. Not that he tried to leave Casey behind. It wasn’t like that at all. Most of the time, Casey was included in whatever Corey did, whoever Corey hung out with. I guess maybe as time went on, Casey began to feel like he was in Corey’s shadow? I don’t know why. At least, I never saw Corey treat Casey with anything other than patience. Maybe I didn’t see everything. I don’t know.
I mean, obviously with the things that Casey got into when he hit the teens without me even having a clue, how would I know what was really happening? Did I miss things between them, right under my nose too? I tried so hard to do everything I could to help them learn and have fun and do the things they wanted. How did I mess it up so bad?
How could I fail so bad? So big? Our one son barely acknowledges us most of the time and has many times brought his brother to tears the way he’s shut him out, shoved him away in the past 3-4 years. Why did I not know he was struggling with something dark and evil? He was a teenager. He was surly and aloof. We thought he needed his space. We gave him his space and apparently the space for this evil to get an even tighter grip. He grew more and more hateful toward me. He seemed to just despise me and I didn’t know why. I thought it had to do with school, but apparently the evil had given him more fuel to just add to his resentment toward me. I have been so hurt, so heartbroken over the way he’s treated me.
My response to hurt, after it goes on for awhile, is to just shut down. To just shut myself off from the hurt by avoiding it, the person causing it, to steel myself to it. So I just tried to keep from losing it. After trying to reach out to him, trying to show him how much I cared and having him push me away, I just quit trying. I avoided him or shut my emotions off when it came to talking to him. Maybe he saw that as proof that whatever horrible thing he thought of me was true? I don’t know. It was just the only way I knew to deal with it. So yeah, I guess I just allowed my heart to harden, to turn to stone a little bit.
If you read about The Dark Secret, the really depressing, maddening thing that was going on in our marriage for almost 20 years at the time all this was happening, you might realize, I was hardly hanging on to reality sometimes. It was all I could do to keep from losing it most days. Add to that the awful state our finance tend to stay in.. more so now than when the kids were at home. I guess it’s because the both of us have so many stupid medical bills, take so much medicine now, but for some reason, we seem to never have enough money. We really don’t splurge on anything, but still we always have to juggle the bills trying to keep from going under.
All of that is a lot for my brain. I have a really hard time not being dismally depressed. I have to constantly tell myself I am blessed. I have a lot to be thankful for. Then I get a notice that the bank balance is dismal, or a reminder that my youngest son doesn’t like me or a bad blood sugar or I run out of a medicine knowing I have to wait for the next paycheck to get my refill… that’s all it takes for me to just slide down into the pit a little further.
Soooo…after explaining my title and now sorta obliterating it with my random bout of ‘the dumps’, let me say that I still cling to the fact that God loves me. He has my best interests at heart in everything He leads me to and leads me through. I don’t know why I tend so heavily toward depression. I don’t know why my relationship with my youngest son is such a mess or why we didn’t know he needed us to rescue him from himself when he was a kid. I don’t know why we have to constantly struggle to make ends meet. Why we can’t ever rest because we can’t seem to keep our bills paid. I don’t know why we had to endure all those years, those decades with our marriage in shambles. I don’t know why He kept us together through all that other than to receive the healing we did. To show us that it’s never too late.
So as I sit here, in tears, hurting and wishing I understood, wishing things weren’t the way they are but having no clue how to change it. Worrying how we’ll pay for things, if I’ll ever not hurt when I’m with my baby son, if I’ll ever be able to have all my kids together, daughters-in-law included, and not have to worry that they’re trading barbs or if what they’re saying carries a double meaning, worrying that we will have spent our entire marriage scrapping, struggling to have enough money to pay bills and buy medicine. Feeling SO tired of worrying. So guilty that I worry when I am supposed to trust God. Feeling like such a failure in so many, many ways…. just know that later, maybe not tomorrow, but later, soon… I will be better. I’ll realize things aren’t as dismal as they seem, that God’s still got me.
God always has me. This I know. <3
So, it’s been one of those weeks…well, about a week and a half now, actually!
My eldest son has been SO sick! He woke up sick Sunday, the 10th with a stomach ache and diarrhea. He figured it was just a virus, so he skipped church and laid low for the day. Thought he was feeling a little better and made it through work on Monday okay. Then Tuesday was a little harder, but he worked that day too and then, since it was his and his wifey’s 8th anniversary (I know! How did I get old enough to have a kid who’s been married EIGHT years?!) he came home and they went to Lexington for dinner. There, he had a steak and baked potato with a locally brewed beer (something he rarely does) and afterward, they attempted to walk around town a bit, but he was just hurting so bad.
On the ride home (about 80+ miles) he got worse. He felt bloated and nauseated. They stopped for some extra-strength gas medicine and got back on the interstate.
About 5 that next morning, his wife texted me saying he’d been rolling around in pain all night and she was really worried. He was refusing to go to the hospital. I told her to tell him to get his butt dressed, I would be there shortly and we’d take him to the ER.
I don’t know if it was my threats or his pain that changed his mind, but he was ready soon. His dad and I both went with the kids to the hospital. I was just sure it was probably his appendix and they’d probably do surgery, which is why his dad decided to take off work and go up there with us. Along with the fact that my CGM monitor had been going off all night and neither of us had gotten much sleep either.
So, long story shorter, we were up there for several hours, they gave him an IV, took blood and urine, gave him Morphine & Bentyl for pain and finally did a CT scan with IV contrast. The final report was that his appendix was fine, he had slightly elevated white blood count, and mesenteric adenitis along with an ileus, and what looked like a partial obstruction of fluid and air.
They said since the lymph nodes were enlarged, he had probably had a slight infection, that the adenitis would clear up on its own, to go to a light diet with bland foods and he should be fine in a day or two.
They sent him home with nothing but some nausea meds after giving him 3 doses of Morphine for pain. I thought THAT was weird…I mean, if you’re in enough pain to need morphine, wouldn’t it make sense to give a prescription for pain meds? Then I realized that pain meds could cause constipation which would be bad in the case of intestinal problems, so… whatever. They could have explained that, in my opinion.
Anyhow, so we took him home, gave him mostly saltines, Gatorade, popcicles and water and waited for him to feel better.
But he didn’t. The pain never decreased at all. Since it was now Wednesday, we decided not to wait any longer and have to go into the weekend with him possibly not feeling any better. Thankfully, we got him in with his general physician the next day. He was pretty baffled saying the main problem was that Corey was so healthy. Ha ha…meaning, there really wasn’t anything to explain him having this pain. All his labs were good other than the white blood cell elevation which could be explained by an infection, but that should be getting better already. He decided to order an oral contrast CT scan since they hadn’t done one at the hospital and to test him for celiac and do a couple stool tests in case he’d picked up a bacteria or toxin from work. In case you didn’t know, he is a plumber and their company does pipeline inspections with cameras and they also inspect and maintenance grease pits and such. He’s exposed to a bazillion different kinds of germs! He also ordered him to switch to a clear-liquids-only diet.
So we got those tests done and waited some more. All the while, he’s not feeling any better. To top it off, the poor guy was starving too. I felt so bad for my poor baby boy!!
In the meantime, his doctor’s office got him in with a local gastro-intestinal doctor for Monday, so we muddled through the weekend, praying that he’d start to show signs of improvement.
And he did, a little. But the pain never went away completely. And he was still starving for some real food! It had been a week now since he’d had an actual meal.
I went with them to the GI doctor who had to send for all the test results. He mashed around on his belly while Corey told him that while he had improved, he still wasn’t feeling good. The doc then informed us that he was positive for celiac disease! He asked about his heritage, which we didn’t know for certain then about his family history of diabetes.
He motioned toward me and said, “Well, my mom is a type 1 diabetic…” He asked if I’d been tested for celiac and I told him, “I’ve been told in the past that I’m ‘gluten-sensitive’,” to which he replied, “WHO told you THAT? You are only positive or negative for celiac. No in between! You need to be tested again! But let’s take care of you first..” and turned his attention back to Corey.
Well then! Hmm. It happened to be a holistic chiropractor who told me that about 5 years ago. I had tried going gluten-free then, but didn’t notice much of a difference at all, and since I felt I had enough on my dietary plate (ha!) I soon abandoned that part of the diet. I honestly didn’t notice any difference and so I began to question whether an actual celiac test had been run or if I just had certain symptoms?
Anyway, Corey goes tomorrow for an EGD and a biopsy to see how much damage there is from the celiac. I don’t expect it to be a whole lot. I really think this was one of those ‘perfect-storms’ situations where because of the infection he’d had (which actually WAS cleared up and had nothing to do with the lingering pain) along with (maybe) him having that random beer which was extra rye- and barley-laden probably kicked the celiac into overdrive.
Ultimately it’s been a good thing. I mean, at least he didn’t suffer for years being misdiagnosed before the celiac was found. He can modify his diet now and more than likely start feeling better than he has in a long time.
Honestly, in the big picture, this is good news. I would much MUCH rather my boy have to deal with this than something else that requires medication or worse. My younger RN daughter-in-law has arranged for her hubby and me to have a celiac lab test ordered, since he actually has had tons more stomach issues than his brother does and us type 1’s actually have a tendency to develop celiac. If my boys can begin to feel better and be healthier just with a dietary change, I am thrilled. I don’t know about other moms who are type 1, but it’s always in the back of my mind that one of them might develop diabetes. I realize that having celiac doesn’t mean they’ll never get diabetes, but having celiac DOES mean they will be forced to adopt a much healthier diet to feel good and in doing so, will be more likely to avoid diabetes. I’ll continue to be hopeful that their lives are never touched by this wicked diabeast.
And now, (hopefully!) back to my regularly unscheduled, but boring and spastic life…
Tomorrow night, my baby kids are off on their third trip to Haiti since they got married in 2014! I thought I’d die the first time they went for a week.
The second time, they weren’t planning to go but they were needed there so badly (Tay for her RN and Case for his carpentry/plumbing/electrical skills) that the church raised enough money to send them. Those were one-week trips.
This time, it’s two weeks! ACK! And, poor little Taylor got the dates mixed up so instead of leaving Friday at midnight, they are supposed to leave TOMORROW night! EGADS!! So we’re cancelling our discipleship group so we can help them get ready.
We mainly need to get their clothes soaked to keep the Zika virus away. We are keeping their golden retriever while they’re gone too. Ol’ Biscuit is gonna be in heaven with Samson and Max to play with.
So if you happen to think of it the next couple of weeks, please pray for the team, my babies and the work they’re doing down there.
Thank you so much!
So you probably get it by now that I am in favor of marriage. Marriage is important. It’s vitally important to defend and fight for your marriage. No matter what’s going on, aside from outright abuse, your marriage is worth a fight. It’s worth laying aside all your pride, rolling up your sleeves and getting in the mud and muck and fighting like all of hell is after you. Because it is.
Satan hates a strong, godly marriage where the family puts God first and rejects the world’s image of disposable marriages, discounted vows, discouraged couples and disaffected children, dismantled stability, discarded families. You’d better believe he’s after your marriage.
As you’ve seen, if you have read here much at all, our marriage was very atypical in many ways. We didn’t have that crazy first year with tons of sex and exploring our intimate life together, figuring out what we liked best, what each other wanted most, etc. Our first year was confusing…bewildering even. We didn’t understand why sex was so hard for us…for me. We were still hanging on to hope that time would take care of the issues, that it was just a matter of “trying more” or getting used to it…or SOMEthing!!
By the time we finally decided we needed medical help, we had been dealing with it for ten years, had two kids and for all intents and purposes, we looked like every other young couple. Nobody knew how we were struggling. We didn’t talk to anyone about it, not even each other except to yell when the frustration became too much.
I want to get Tommy to sit down with me and do a video. I’m not sure what he’ll think about that ha ha but I think it would be good for him to at least say a little bit about his side of things. We are both healing together. Even though the physical side of the problem was mine as far as the pain went, and perhaps I bore more of the depression and stuff like that, but he carried a lot of emotional pain as well.
We’ve never talked a whole lot about that. I mean, I have shared a little, just me and him, about how I felt and then of course, he’s heard me relate it to my therapist and read what I’ve written here about it, but we’ve never really discussed his side so much.
He might not want to. Maybe he never knew how to voice it or maybe it hurt too much to speak out loud. I have been in that place too, where I didn’t know how to put into words the way I felt.
I know there are a few men who read here, or at least they have at one time. heh I would like to hear from ALL of you, what you would ask Tommy? Are there parts of this story that you’d like his take on? Are there things that you would like to know from his side?
Please put those in the comments for us? I would really love for us to have a conversation about where he was, emotionally, and where he is now as we are in the healing process. What would he have done differently? What would he keep the same, if anything? What made him choose to stay? Did he really still have hope that our sex life would ever be remotely normal? Those are the questions I want to ask. I’m not sure I’ll like the answers, but I think it’s important for us to flesh this out and I feel like maybe others could benefit from hearing his viewpoint.
DON’T FORGET! Leave your questions in the comments! (or you can email them to me at: geannie [at] lifeindogyears [dot] com)
It’s that time of year again. Mother’s Day is coming up this Sunday. I can’t imagine what my friends go through who have lost their mothers or perhaps don’t have the most loving moms. I am so thankful for my mom, even though she can drive me up a wall at times. She is the most giving person I know and she’ll kill herself trying to do for you, almost to the point of being ridiculous. I have a hard time keeping up with her or getting her to “behave”. She isn’t able anymore to work circles around everyone like she used to so I try to get her to take it easy. She’s getting a little better at it, but let one of us girls (me or my sis) get sick and need help and she goes crazy.
I have always been the opposite of her. Sometimes on purpose and sometimes not! She’s always superbly coifed and dressed to perfection while I am only comfy in jeans and tennis shoes. She is always worried about how everyone else perceives her (and us) while I usually couldn’t care less. She tends to be a nagger while I am more apt to take a less confrontational approach. She’s one of the only people on the earth who I love fiercely and want to strangle at the time time. Ha ha!
Thank you, Mom, for teaching me about manners and etiquette, for taking care of me all the millions of times I’ve needed you, for not killing me when I deserved it. For supporting me in your own way as I became a mom and did things completely different from you. Thanks for the kind words you have said or written about me to others that you probably don’t realize I know about. Even when I have been heartbroken over problems between us, I have always been thankful for you.
I pray you have an amazing Mother’s Day and EVERY day. I pray for you improved health and a closer walk with Jesus as we plod on into the future together as a family. I pray blessings on you each and every day! I love you, Mom.
I just wanted to let you guys know about this. They are running an awesome deal on Cricut! I thought this was a terrific deal and I have ALWAYS WANTED A CRICUT! Maybe one of these days, I’ll have one! Ha ha…
For those of you who are closer to “the dream” of owning one than I am, this one’s for you!
If your house is anything like mine, your husband and kids wouldn’t mind some help figuring out what you’d like for Mother’s Day! Tell them not to worry about it. You have it all taken care of… “and thank you!” 🙂
I worked for a family-owned natural food store when my eldest was about two years old. I was there a little over a year working mostly part time, but I ended up doing a lot of work from home after I became manager.
They were an Adventist family who homeschooled their four children. I had never really Read More »
First of all, let me say that I am not condemning any of my Christian friends who are posting pictures of their kids dressed up in costumes and preparing to help at their church’s “Fall-Festival/Carnival/Whatever” alternatives for Halloween.
This is just MY opinion and the reasons behind and the way we got to skipping Halloween.
My two sons are grown and married now, so this is ancient history. But the subject of Halloween and whether to do or not to do it came up with a good friend who has small children and is facing the same questions I did at this stage, so in light of the season, I thought I’d share with you also.
First, some a-little-more-than-ancient history (we’re talkin’ stone age here) my birthday is the day after Halloween. As you probably already know if you’ve visited here before, I’m also a type 1 diabetic for the past forty-some years. Me and Halloween had issues, okay? We celebrated it when I was a kid growing up in a Christian home. Most often, it was combined with my birthday. I both loved and hated it. Loved the dressing up (I often made up my own costumes, so that’s always fun) but hated collecting a bunch of goodies I couldn’t eat. I was often the very sickest each year because of stinkin’ Halloween/birthday because I could always figure out where the stash was hidden or would overdo it on birthday treats. What can I say? Such was the life of a child with diabetes in the seventies. It was a lot harder to figure how to dose to cover candy and other treats. But I (hugely) digress…
My boys are four years apart. When the youngest was still a toddler, we always dressed them up in very non-scary costumes. I had the crayon, lion, Mickey Mouse and scarecrow costumes from my eldest that my baby son just had to wear, of course. We didn’t think much about the consequences of participating in the traditions. Not only were our babies babies, but my husband and I were babies ourselves, both spiritually and emotionally…and physically for that matter. We just hadn’t put any thought into how we’d handle it when they were older nor what the holiday even meant or represented.
I have seen heated and ugly debates online between Christians about whether or not it was appropriate or whatever to celebrate this holiday and I DO NOT want to do or start that here. PLEASE understand me when I tell you I am not looking for any division to come from this. I just want to offer you, perhaps, another perspective and give you some things to think about.
To begin, let me share the testimony my friend had found on Facebook that started the discussion between us.
“I see images of Christians being slaughtered for their faith—- blood everywhere, children- young adults -grown men/women- willing to die rather then deny Christ—— it takes my breath away.
What I don’t understand is when Christians celebrate Halloween, decorate with gory bloody images, put up skeletons and images of death and darkness, without a second thought! And they will argue and debate trying to make it okay and refuse to give up celebrating that nite!
I am an ex witch, saved by the blood of Jesus Christ, when I was practicing witchcraft, Halloween was the biggest night of the year for those practicing the occult. People try to say it’s about the candy and fun, it goes way deeper then that!
The roots of this highly pagan holiday remain the same, it’s a night of death -darkness- gore—- and no matter how much you dress it up to make it pretty, no matter how many excuses you make, it’s a night to celebrate Samhein——– the god of the dead!
I don’t recall those who practice paganism coming on Christmas morning to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ the Lord of life.
Yet Christians will celebrate the pagan ritual of Halloween —–the god of death and darkness. …..
I don’t care to debate….
You can do whatever you choose —-but it won’t change the truth or the facts!!!!”
I think we all know that the origins of Halloween are not particularly good. As we often do, though, we’ve ‘tamed it down’, we’ve turned what can be dangerous into something cute and fun. We’ve said “It’s just for fun. We’re not playing with a Ouija board or anything, for crying out loud!” I have read many different articles and books about what Halloween means, what it represents and how it is diametrically opposed to all that God represents. As Christians, we serve a RISEN FROM THE DEAD Savior who’s all about LIFE. Halloween is all about death. No matter how much fun dressing up is, how innocent that is on its own, when I do it to participate with Halloween, MY belief is that it ceases to be innocent.
So our experience…once the boys were a little older and we were in the beginning of our homeschooling adventure, we started to discuss what Halloween was and talk about what we, as a Christian family, should do or think about it. We came up with this idea of dressing up as Biblical characters. At the time, I thought, “Sure. That’s a great trade-off. They can “witness” while they trick-or-treat.”
I went to great lengths to create this Goliath suit for my eldest and a shepherd costume for the youngest. The shepherd was easy. We even got a patch of leather and some leather “string” and made an old fashioned sling! For Goliath, I spray painted an old pair of his tennis shoes with silver metallic paint. Made him a breast plate, shield, arm and leg guards out of poster board and painted those too. I then used some of the leather strap to tie them on and drew in the details with a black sharpie. It was pretty awesome looking if I do say so myself! (of course, I can’t locate a photo of it to show you!)
The day finally arrived. Hubby and I headed out with the boys, armed with a couple weeks’ worth of studying the story so they could tell people about who they were and many discussions about why we were approaching Trick-or-Treating this way. They were so anxious for someone to recognize who they were, but no one had a clue. Most of them would ask, as people usually do, but when the boys told them, almost every single person just got a blank look on their faces. No one even knew who David and Goliath were and the one time our eldest tried to explain, the person wasn’t interested. Once he said, “They are people from the Bible who…” the person just sort of cut him off and proceeded to do something else. The youngest didn’t really perceive what had happened, but our big boy? He was certainly disappointed and my heart hurt for him.
Besides this awful experience, there was everyone else’s costumes. Most all of the other ones we saw were gory, monster-y type of costumes. Some of them were really hideous with lots of bloody guts and such. I could tell the boys were a little shocked, if not scared at the sight of them. I felt like it was something we shouldn’t be exposing them to.
I was rethinking my idea of “trade-offs” with Halloween. Later, it came to me that wiccans don’t show up at church for the Christmas play with their Book of Wiccan in hand, ya know? Why were we, as Christians, trying to share Jesus with people on a holiday that has NOTHING to do with our faith? Even if not all of them were celebrating “the true meaning” of Halloween, why were we trying to shine a light in the middle of a holiday with its roots firmly planted in very dark, and yes, fully evil, ideals and origins?
I’m not saying, of course, that we shouldn’t try to shine God’s light when we are in dark situations or places, but should we step into a very dark holiday, to shine it there while we sorta-kinda participate in it? While we play with the fringes of it?
That’s something I contemplated and chewed on for many years, even before this Halloween that I just described to you. After that experience, we just decided as a family that Halloween would be an extra special family-fun night at home. My kids never suffered any ill effects from not going door to door to beg candy while dressed in a costume. *smile*
For a couple of years, we took part in Halloween alternatives at different churches. I don’t think if I had young children now that we’d do this. The first time we did it, it was actually fairly well-done, and by that I mean that it really didn’t have a lot to do with Halloween at all. However, many people that showed up didn’t really seem to “get” that this was something to do instead of traditional Halloween activities. I DO understand the idea behind churches having these events at all…that it’s an attempt to give church kids and families a way to do fun stuff on a night when most everyone else is taking part in more dark-themed parties and such. But it’s not presented this way for the most part. Now I have also had friends or seen other churches do a “Reformation Day” event, and I’ll admit that I don’t fully understand what that is other than a celebration of Martin Luther’s nailing of his 95 Theses to the door of “The Church”. [I’ve linked some words so that you can research more if you want] This is linked primarily to the Catholic and Presbyterian churches. Because I was raised in a different denomination, this event wasn’t emphasized or really taught to me. However, when I have seen photos of one of these events, they were also dressed up, but as historical figures from that era, not as random characters or superheros or monsters. Now, that may not be the usual practice for Reformation Day at churches. This was a congregation made up of mostly homeschool families, so that might have just been unique to them, ya know? ALLLL that to say this:
I think IF a church is going to do something like this, it should be markedly different from a Halloween event. And that’s just my opinion because the last time we did this at another church, it was very disappointing to me and confusing to my kids. Don’t host a Halloween alternative event at your church and then have it look exactly like what the world’s doing, right? I mean, that’s how I see it.
Our family’s journey to really rejecting Halloween was sort of meandering and wandering more than anything. It wasn’t some decision we made all of a sudden. And it’s still kind of a fuzzy area, even now that our kids are grown and married. I mean, we still have friends who don’t feel the way we do or maybe haven’t arrived at the place we did after our own journey, ya know? But I believe it is definitely worthy of discussion and civil, loving debate. It’s something that families should talk about and decide where they stand on the topic. What is your opinion and how does it line up with what scripture says? I believe it’s something we should settle within ourselves, within our families if you have young children. The topic is going to confront you…Romans 14:5 – “…Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.”