Are You a Mom or a Club Sandwich?

Motherhood can cause either dread or anticipation and sometimes both at once. It is all-consuming, for sure. Your brain knows this truth but I’ll say it anyway, being a mom doesn’t end when your children turn eighteen.

 

My children are between the ages of 21 and 36 as I write this and I am still the one flying to see them, helping with college expenses, and sometimes feeding them when the paycheck doesn’t stretch far enough.  My grandchildren are between the ages of 1 and 14 now but live in another state and my own parents are still alive but not able to travel so I’m still flying and checking in there also.

Sandwich Generation

I am now part of the “Sandwich Generation” and more specifically, a Club Sandwich. But even if we’ve felt the pinch of living between the slices and are just bone weary, it is warming, in a way, to know you are dedicated to your family in all it’s forms.


What’s the Sandwich Generation?
The Sandwich Generation is people (usually in their 30s or 40s) who care for their aging parents while supporting their own children.
Traditional: those sandwiched between aging parents who need care and/or help and their own children.
Club Sandwich: those in their 50s or 60s sandwiched between aging parents, adult children and grandchildren, or those in their 30s and 40s, with young children, aging parents and grandparents.
Open Faced: anyone else involved in elder care.
–Wikipedia.com

We are all parents, at some stage of life, who teeter-totter through life. We want to be patient but also can’t wait to see our children grow up to become amazing adult contributors to society. We wistfully dream of where we want to go and what we want to do when we are not as necessary to everyone’s world so we can concentrate on our own.

So, as we barely have enough time to catch our breath between babies and the day our parents become the focus of our worry, we reach out.  We take care of our families willingly and lovingly because we care so much but we become tired, discouraged and sometimes depressed. But we feel you! You are welcome here!!! We can all come here for support. Other moms; sisters of substance and full of experiences.

Whether you are a young mom or are part of the Sandwich Generation I hope you will find many ways to engage, find friends, learn new things that apply to all moms, and generally feel at home in your corner of the world. Thank you for spending time here!

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Who Else Wants to Be Known?

It is one of the most joyful and lonely feelings I’ve ever had. I was one person in the sea of hundreds and though we were all focused on Jesus we were strangers lost in our own thoughts and personal salvation. The music begins, and all the voices raise, along with the hands. At once you are transported to the first rock concert you attended and your heart swells with the sound.

When I first attended North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Georgia I was overwhelmed. If you have not attended a megachurch you may have never felt that sense of awe that seizes you the moment all of the lights, voices, and music blend into a cacophony of stimulation. I loved being present in this exciting mass of attendance, but my remote feeling didn’t go away until we joined a small group.

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Our small group became more like our church than the church itself.  That is not a criticism but is exactly what our Pastor, Andy Stanley, encourages us to focus on; circles rather than rows. We met once a week and when I was too tired to go my husband was always ready and vice-versa. This helped with the needling that came from a discouraged spirit or spiritual warfare, whichever was more prevalent on that night.

A few months later our world shifted in a series of blows; one of my daughters had a breakdown that put her in the hospital, my younger sister died, our business took a financial hit and then it became more apparent that our son was not able to fight the addiction he had been battling for almost 5 years.

When our son lay in the hospital, our pastor’s duties of running thousands precluded a personal visit to the hospital. The leader of our group and his wife, however, sat for hours with us. Group members brought us food and visited the waiting room holding our hands and praying with us. When he passed away a few days later they were the ones who stood closest to us those next few months, let us talk about what happened until we were sure there was nothing more we could have done.

Our small group stayed together for a little over 3 years.  In that period a few couples left and a few joined and still, it was wonderful giving and learning from each of them. We would never forget that first experience with a small group, but now we could welcome in others who felt isolated by the awe-inspiring size of the church. We could do our part to build the bridge between mass devotion and personal worship, help others feel less unnoticed.20161205_010920801_iOS

The last time our group got together was right before 2017 ended. Many said they would be busy, moving to another group, or not sure of their plans so we ended the group with promises of getting together for one last meeting, but it never happened. The holidays came, someone had surgery, someone else had family emergencies and in general, life happened.

My husband was the one who had surgery.  In March, after seeing him look bored because going out was not a real option, I reached out to the group by email. It was an open invitation for game night, no plans, no real agenda, just a night together. We invited fourteen but planned for three or four because we knew everyone was so busy now.  Twelve showed up and every one of those was from the small group that split up before the holidays!

IMG_1715We had a wonderful hyggelig evening and learned something. We had mistakenly thought that everyone decided to go separate ways because the group had reached its logical end.  What we found that evening was that we missed being together. We missed the spiritual part of the group true, but more than that we missed the solidarity; the harmony of being with others we had walked through the fire and swam the oceans with. We missed being truly known.

Many say that attendance in a church is not necessary for personal salvation. I agree with this. However, being with others, being a part of something together, is a good recipe for having deeper relationships with others and I know this is something I want.  Church is not a place and it never was intended to be. Church was envisioned as a community of souls who lean together into the moment, celebrate the small wins, comfort each other in the big losses and reach out to welcome in others lost from the comfort of being known. Being known and being loved because you are known (rather than despite it), is what God had in mind for all of us. It’s the way He loves us.

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Romans 12:9-16 Love must be sincere. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another.

Lonliness; a Prescription for Dementia

I feel so strongly about this subject that I wanted to share this TEDx Talk with you. Here is Shasta Nelson, Founder, and CEO of GirlFriendCircles.com:

Published on Dec 15, 2017

Our world is getting “better” at connecting us and yet we’re reporting feeling more disconnected than ever. The issue: loneliness. The solution: understanding the 3 actions that lead to belonging.
Shasta Nelson is passionate about all things friendship. As founder and CEO of GirlFriendCircles.com— the female-friendship learning community—she speaks and writes regularly on this important topic. She is the author of two books: Friendships Don’t Just Happen! The Guide to Creating a Meaningful Circle of Girl- Friends and Frientimacy: How to Deepen Friendships for Lifelong Health and Happiness. Her spirited and soulful voice can also be read at Shasta’s Friendship Blog and in her relationship health column in The Huffington Post. She’s been interviewed on the Today show, Katie Couric’s show Katie, The Early Show, and on Fox Extra. She’s been consulted on friendship matters by writers and reporters from such magazines as Cosmopolitan, More, Real Simple, Redbook, and Good Housekeeping, and from such newspapers as The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and the San Francisco Chronicle.
This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx

Do You Need Patient Endurance?

Verse: Hebrews 10:36

“Patient endurance is what you need now so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.” (NLT‬‬)
http://bible.com/116/heb.10.36.nlt

Love God: We rarely consider being patient with God but maybe we should. After all, He’s in charge. I’ve seen a 5-year-old wait for her mom to finish a conversation on the phone and I know the value of (and the struggle for) patient endurance!

Love Others: Do we extend that patience to others? We can only be blessed with what we also give.

Prayer: Dear God, thank you for your promises to me and help me to stay patient and learn from the trials I have been blessed with. As a child waits for a parent, so I wait for you to guide me. Please grant me patient endurance in the wait.

The Verse After the Most Recited

I’ve memorized John 3:16. Almost everyone has. I think I memorized it when I went to bible camp, at age fourteen, to keep from doing dishes. Not the most saintly reason but a very teen reason for sure.

But for some reason, I also memorized the next verse and ironically it is not the most well-known. So, I thought I’d share it today to discuss in our very simple format.

Verse: John 3:17 For God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through him might be saved.

Love God: How often do you feel like the whole point of Jesus is to make you feel guilty about the way you live your life? Are you aware that this was not the original plan?

Love People: God seems to have had a specific goal in mind for mankind, and that takes time and thought. Do you condemn others before you think?

Prayer: Father, you are so patient with me, with all my flaws. Help me to remember that your love is here to teach me, not to judge me, for what I cannot do. Help me to do the same for others.

 

 

The Thing About Simplicity

I love quotes. They simply sum up life in a few sentences.  They also remind us of how cognizant we should be but are not.

Simplicity is a goal that either takes great concentration and effort or becomes a necessity. Mine has become the latter. Right after my last post about my goals for 2018 my husband went in for hernia surgery and due to some complications we spent the entire month of January in the hospital. It was not a great way to begin the year, let alone my goals.

I quickly became aware that I was not going to get my closets cleaned out, the garage put in order or even clean out my desk. I was not going to plan meals, send out birthday cards on time or make my grandchildren anything by hand this year. All I was going to accomplish, at that point, was making sure I had an extra change of underwear with me at the hospital.

But God is good. He understands my desire for simplicity, even if it did become a necessity more than a desire. He helped me to see that when life boils down to just surviving and helping someone recover you find the time to do the things that really matter and you just ignore the rest.  No, I don’t want to say ignore; that’s not really what you do. It’s more like you sigh heavily, feel the pang of guilt, but allow yourself to move on because you have no choice.

I want to write but I feel overwhelmed. Still, I want to share my heart in words. I can’t tell you why. I only know it is an inherent gene that God planted long ago. I simply want to write. So today, I’m going to write…simply.  Jesus taught us that all of the laws and the prophets hang on just two simple commandments; love God and love others. Jesus was the master of simplicity. I can only hope to be as good at that as He is.

Verse: John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Love God: Do you love God as much as he loves you? Could you give up everything important to you, for him?

Love People: If God loves “the world” that much he probably loves the guy in the next room with the obnoxious voice, your ex-spouse, and that annoying girl you still hate from high school. Should you consider how you feel about the people God loves?

Prayer: Father, thank you for your gift of everlasting life despite the way I treat others sometimes. Please help me to see the way you see so that I can love the way you love.

 

 

Simplify for 2018

It’s interesting when you apply one word to everything. How should I clean my house? Simplify. How do I start on my schedule? Simplify. Easy right? Takes the guesswork out of everything. You begin to apply it to things you often do. Last night, for me, it was bible-study.

I have a regular course of study I follow, but I often flip through my bible and just read randomly.  I often feel God nudging me with His words, and I try to apply what I’m learning to my own life. Since my brain is on wondering how to simplifying everything I read these words:

Don’t you realize that you are mine and I’m a part of you? Do you actually think it’s more important to be focusing on what you have, while what I have given you remains a mess? Think about this! Put some thought into what you’re doing! 

You spend a lot of time spinning your wheels.

You wonder why you are overweight?

You wonder why you don’t feel right?

You shop for things you don’t need, that have no purpose.

And you don’t save or invest in worthwhile projects, and squander money!

Get up off your booty, work hard, and go get it done so I can take pleasure in how well you maintain what I have blessed you with and so you will be a testimony of a godly life! Did you really think you wouldn’t have to put any effort into this? I gave you this life and all you have and why would I take it away? Because you are so busy with all the other things you think are so important while you yourself are in ruins!

Okay, so that’s not how it was written, but that’s what I heard. Point taken. At least now I know where to start this year.


The real scriptures I read (ESV):

1 Corinthians 3:16 – Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?  (Don’t you realize that you are mine and I’m a part of you?)

Haggai 1:4 – Is it time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house [God’s temple] remains a ruin? Do you actually think it’s more important to be focusing on what you have, while what I have given you remains a mess?

Haggai 1:5-6 – Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: Give careful thought to your ways. Think about this! Put some thought into what you’re doing! 

You have planted much, but have harvested little. You spend a lot of time spinning your wheels.  You eat but never have enough. You wonder why you are overweight? You drink but never have your fill. You wonder why you don’t feel right? You put on clothes but are not warm. You shop for things you don’t need, that have no purpose. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it. And you don’t save or invest in worthwhile projects, and squander money!

Haggai 1:7-9 – Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build the house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored, says the Lord. Get up off your booty, work hard, and go get it done so I can take pleasure in how well you maintain what I have blessed you with and so you will be a testimony of a godly life!

You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why? Did you really think you wouldn’t have to put any effort into this? I gave you this life and all you have and why would I take it away?

Declares the Lord Almighty, “Because of my House, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with his own house.” Because you are so busy with all the other things you think are so important while you yourself are in ruins!

 

Photo by Lauren York on Unsplash

I’ll Pray For You

 

My mother says this to me often. She and I are not of the same religion. Still I am grateful when I think of my name on their altar, where she and her group of friends, some who don’t even know me, bow their heads and plead for my cause.

My friend’s daughter, a Wiccan, says she hopes the Gods smile down on me and that she will send me good energy. I have only one God but I know He loves her enough to hear her plea for energy in my behalf.

My Catholic friend says she will light a candle for me. My son-in-law says, “Insha’Allah, If God wills it,” and then gets on his knees for me at his mosque. My Pentecostal friend says she will pray over me. My aunt says she will ask the elders of her church to lay their hands on me. I am touched by their concern despite the fact that I don’t practice my faith in the same way. My neighbor, who is agnostic simply says, “I’ll be thinking of you.” I’ll take that too.

Whether these people believe in the same God I do, or not, is beside the point. My God believes in them. It doesn’t matter if He is exactly who they think He is because the God I love cares for the compassionate requests of all of His children. And when they raise their voices to Him, in whatever religious place, ceremony, ritual or language they use, I know that His translation skills are universal. His is the ear of a patient father, who feels the worth of our reaching and hears the language of our hearts.

All prayer, all concentrated love and concern for others, counts in heaven.

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:26‬ ‭ESV‬‬
http://bible.com/59/rom.8.26.esv

More from the Bible about Praying for Each Other

“I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling;”
‭‭1 Timothy‬ ‭2:8‬ ‭ESV‬‬
http://bible.com/59/1ti.2.8.esv

“Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭18:19‬ ‭ESV‬‬
http://bible.com/59/mat.18.19.esv

“Therefore…pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”
‭James‬ ‭5:16‬ ‭ESV‬‬
http://bible.com/59/jas.5.16.esv

Fall Back

psalm 107Time changes are funny things. You know they’re coming, you don’t believe it will make any difference at all, and then suddenly you realize how exhausted you are; a lot like trials in general.

I whisper to myself, “I should write this down.” How many times have I said that this year? How many times have I forgotten or gotten side-tracked? Does that make me a bad person or just really forgetful?

“Write this down,” He speaks to me again. God and I have become quiet friends over this past year. I’m learning things I thought I already knew. I thought I believed in Him but I only had faith. I’ve found this is not the same thing. (I should write that down.) I thought He expected so much from me but realized that I am the expectant one. (I should’ve written that down too.) I thought I knew His heart; I had no idea why. (I didn’t record that somewhere?) He does answers prayers. He will protect me. I am heard. (Where are my notes?)

I didn’t spring forward, I fell back. Lucky me, He loves me anyway. He didn’t expect me to do a thing. I’m tired, but I’ve learned so much.

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