The TSA and a Dragonfly

Hi,

This particular blog does not have anything to do with stepfamilies per se, but I did glean a few life lessons to use in stepliving. Recently my husband and I flew out of state to visit his adult daughter. In a small quaint town near Seattle, there is a fabulous flea market/thrift sale extravaganza held every Memorial and Labor Day weekend. Trash and treasures galore!

Last year I found a woman who made bird feeders out of glass jars and antique dishes. The bears in our backyard decided to just pull the beautiful creation apart, cracking and breaking the glass parts, in order to get the black sunflower seeds, causing me to throw my original treasure away. I was so hoping I could find her again. Success!

At the end of our day as I walked back to the car tired and hot and quickly browsing the various tents and tables, I spotted the gleaming dishes and artwork basking in the sunlight! But this year, she added magnificent yard art to her collection. I spotted the metal dragonfly perched atop a piece of curved black metal that had two little pointed stakes at the bottom to plunge into my backyard. I knew exactly where I was going to put it! I shared my story of the previous year and we laughed and enjoyed each other as I walked off proudly touting my find.

I told my husband I would have to carry the piece on as I was not going to even try to smush it into his larger suitcase and I certainly wasn’t going to let the airlines throw it around in the hold. We arrived in plenty of time at the airport, it was late, and we rounded the various ins and outs of the belt lines that took us to the TSA safety agents. The man that was in charge of making sure everyone had their i.d. and boarding pass asked to see my dragonfly art. He began to shake his head and say it looked like a dangerous piece.

At that point, my husband looked like a deer in headlights, turned and gave his info to the TSA agent checking him into the secure area and off he went! (I thought…thanks a lot, you big chicken!) I maintained my composure and kept assuring the man that it was yard art, I would be extremely careful (he said I could accidentally poke someone!), and that to go back to the airline desk to check it would jeopardize my ability to make the flight with my husband.

“HEY! YOU!!” The badged TSA woman at the podium shouted, and pointed at the uniformed man that was still holding my dragonfly. “STOP HOLDING UP MY LINE, LET HER THROUGH!!” the man began to stammer about safety and she said, “GO OVER THERE AND TALK ABOUT IT, NO ONE HOLDS UP MY LINE!!” Everyone froze as this exchange took place as I calmly retrieved my dragonfly from his hands and moved toward the woman TSA agent.

She smiled at me and said “That is really beautiful…you aren’t going to hurt anyone with this, are you?” I smiled and shook my head and murmured, “Noooo.” “I thought so.” she said. She then proceeded to close down her lane and took me to the moving scanner belt, carefully laid it down, covered the spikey ends with a plastic container and yelled, “METAL BUTTERFLY COMING THROUGH!!” I smiled and did not attempt to correct her in any way. I touched her shoulder and graciously said “Thank you, I sincerely appreciated your help.” She smiled back. Off I went without a hitch and joined my husband.

The lesson? Stepliving has all of the above similar components. Someone trying to be overly careful, something new coming in, someone needing to keep things together and moving along, and with all this, behaviors, actions, temperaments. A TSA agent has the power to do anything they want to. I was completely at the mercy of this woman. I have no rhyme nor reason why it played out as it did….I only give all thanks and glory to God. I feel He was right there with me orchestrating my ability to be able to take my “butterfly” home to look at and enjoy. I chose to stay calm, to trust that everything would work out….and even if I had to go back to the airline, I would eventually get home even if I missed the flight my husband was on, or if I had to hand it over to be packed in the hold, it might get bent, but so what….I knew no one was going to die over this situation, so my spirit was soothed in that. Actually, that is how I prioritize a lot of things in my life these days. If no one is going to die over “whatever”, let it go, leave it alone, oh well. This is so true in stepfamily life. Various issues come up, things are out of our control, we have choices to make regarding our reactions and behaviors.

God loves us, He loves marriage and husbands and wives and children. He created a stepfamily for His Son, Jesus, to live in. We are precious. We are not losers nor failures. We just have to work extra hard, be more diligent, flexible, forgiving, compassionate. It’s all worth it. Gifting your spouse’s children with an extra measure of love and devotion might make a huge difference in their lives, we just don’t know because we cannot predict the future. Keep reminding yourself none of this here on earth is permanent! Our real home is eternity with Almighty God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit and all the saints and angels, as well as those we love who have gone before us and those who will join us there. God bless each of us!

Enjoy the photo! dori:)

p.s. There is a shepherd hook standing up taller behind my dragonfly (not to be confused as part of my precious new yard art).  🙂Image

Loneliness – What is it and how do we deal with it…

Yesterday on am680 WOGO here in Eau Claire, Mark Halvorsen and I discussed the subject of loneliness. Yes, this is from the Divorce Care class that I facilitate each year, but we all experience loneliness in our lives, whether we are single, married, or remarried and in a stepfamily. I also spoke to the fact of loneliness being an integral part of most stepfamilies. The stepparent experiences isolation, feelings of being left out and alone, even abandoned at times. This program is an hour in length, including commercials, but well worth the time. Here is the link: 
http://podcast.wwib.com/category/wogo/home-page/

With God, with His Word, we know we are never alone because He never leaves nor forsakes us, as Scripture says:

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”  Deuteronomy 31:6

God bless everyone! dori:)

A Mother’s Heart

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A Mother's HeartAs I was scrolling through Facebook postings early this morning, I came across this picture. Immediately, my heart swelled and tears rolled down my cheeks. This was right after I had posted a picture of myself with my two sons taken several years ago, as well as a shared picture and comment from my friend Jeanne. I used to beat myself up regularly with guilt and shame over what I considered to be and also knew to be mistakes I had made as a mom. Oh, if we could just “go back”. And even when I say that, I know God would never let that happen because I am who I am because of the many roads I have travelled and the many lessons I have learned.

I did have to come to that day when I understood that trying to live and “drive” forward while looking in the rear view mirror was taking up precious time I needed to focus on doing God’s will for my life. I had been transformed that same year in 1997 when the picture was taken. I was living with renewed devotion to Him and my family. I am a much different person than I was in that picture and a much much different person than when my sons were little boys. Just a few months prior, I had completely surrendered my life to Christ, freeing myself from the bondage of believing men were my answer to happiness and fulfillment. I turned instead and chose my Main Man Jesus. Previously, I had been trying to live as I thought was best, bouncing around and taking my sons with me as we rode some turbulent roller coasters of experience….twice married and twice divorced by the year 1997. For this, I have many regrets….I’ve just learned where to place them in my life at this point.

We are all sinners. We fail, we struggle, we pick ourselves up and we continue on. However, beating ourselves up does no one any good. I believe women in general, but especially mothers have a tendency to do this. When we repent, when we approach those that we’ve hurt and apologized and sought their forgiveness, all with sincerity and the same grace that God extends to us….well, then….it’s time to focus on our daily living and leave the past behind us. I do not want to die with regrets…and living in constant guilt and shame would be a big regret. 🙂

So, my heart and the Holy Spirit is speaking to me and to all mothers, moms, mommies, stepmoms, 2nd moms, whoever you are!!…..enjoy today, reach out, and love those that consider you a mom in any way, shape, or form. As I said on Facebook, I have loved my sons with every breath I’ve taken from the time they were conceived. I love you Travis and I love you Derek with all my heart. God bless you both, I am truly proud to be your mom.

mom:) xoxoxoxo

Me n the boys

Calling all moms

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Soon in just a couple of days, we will be honoring all moms. We come in many sorts, including shapes and sizes, colors, age, cultures, faith….and definition. Perhaps you are a bona fide stepmom, juggling the work involved in your home, being a wife, having a job, schedules, kids. There are wives who are stepmoms, but either chose not to have their own children, cannot have their own children, or aren’t pregnant yet, you just go right ahead and bask in the beautiful aura of your presence in a child’s life as a “mom”! For those women that are a “mother figure” to an elderly person, a foster child, an adopted child, a friend…..if you are a caretaker or advocate…join in and celebrate this day as well because you too, provide love, care, attention, and protection.

We seek Christ and model the love He gives us, both on the cross and every day. I listened to a brief video snapshot of an upcoming marriage retreat on “Focus on the Family’s” website. The person said, “We are someone’s ancestor!” This struck me in a soulful way. Long after I am gone from this earth, my children, my grandchildren, and down the line, will have me as part of their family history. Who was I and how was I…will they speak of me kindly and acknowledge that I had a great love of God? Will I have used all of my gifts that God graciously bestowed upon me to love and serve others? Did I impact anyone’s life and lead them toward Jesus? Was I a woman who modeled a beautiful mother/grandmother figure? Did I love enough and love well?

God bless ALL mothers and women in mothering positions. We are treasures. God created woman and her womb to hold and grow His future generations.