Shaking it off…

Some mornings just don’t flow as smoothly as others… Those days, I want to step back in time and adjust my words. Even though there was nothing wrong with what I said, it wasn’t accepted in the most pleasant manner, which meant words were exchanged that should never have been said.

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With God, I have no fear…

fear no evil The photo is borrowed from a source that provides photos for facebook, and if you click on the photo it will take you to the link (I think – I tried to put that link in the folder).

Today, feeling like I’ve stepped on millions of toes recently, I stepped back to look over some of the incidents that seem to have taken my attitude the wrong way recently. I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed by life, and that’s not a normal feeling for me. I prefer to feel a bit more in control of my life. So, it was definitely time to step out of the purgatory of victimhood and look around at what’s happening to make me feel like a victim in my own life.

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Grandma, Why?

My Nana said she and Mommy were best friends and they can be best friends again if Mommy will just call her and tell her she’s sorry. Mommy why won’t you call Nana?

My granddaughter had just climbed into her car seat and wasn’t buckled in yet. I could hear the breath, I knew her thoughts as if she were speaking them out loud, my daughter let the breath out slowly, fastening the car seat. She carefully fastened her in the car seat, closed the door and got into the front seat. Belted in and settled for the ride home, she took another long slow deep breath.

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Emotional Abuse is a Social Disgrace

I write this through tears of sorrow. There are people in this world who have no grasp of the pain they cause others through their own anxiety and personal disgrace.

Several years ago, I experienced quite possibly the cruelest treatment of my life by a woman and her son during what should have been the finest hour for all those involved. I followed my heart during that time and held on for dear life to my faith and God’s unending love and patience. I remained close by, but away from what happened.

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Mauling Mama Grizzly – Protecting Her Young

I’m a die hard fan of the mama tiger syndrome. No matter how often I hear about the repeat offense of a mama “animal” attacking someone who threatens her young, even if the attack is unintentional or possibly unknown in many cases, I have to say Mama is right to protect.Jan Verhoeff

But that isn’t a popular stance to take.

In light of a recent attack by a Grizzly in Alaska, students were injured. The bear cub most likely was not in danger, the students were crossing a river, single file, attempting to learn safe camping options for the Alaskan Wilderness. And yet, the Mama Grizzly perceived danger.

I’m Jan Verhoeff and I want to share with you that there is ALWAYS help for anyone in an abusive situation. Don’t give up, and don’t stop protecting your young.

In much the same way that a Mama Grizzly protects her cubs, a Mom watches over her babies and reaches out to protect them from the beastly bad influences of those who endanger them elsewhere. Life offers up its own share of dangers, one of the many are abusive parents.

Abusive former spouses who behave as neglectful parents rarely show up later with the best interests of the child in mind. Their efforts are more likely to include  emotionally abusive behaviors, toward the primary care parent and the child, escalating into physical abuse. The neglectful parent who spends his visits with the child attempting to impress the primary care parent in the early days doesn’t change his behaviors later. He simply goes at his ill structured strategies with a different tact, abuse by threatening the child, or threatening to take away the child.

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Wounded Hearts

When your grandchild asks if she can sit on your knee… do you say yes? After being sick for several days, I was attempting to make up some time while my daughter was off work taking care of the kids this morning. When she left for her late day job, shortly after noon, the kids had both crashed, sleeping off fevers and winter colds. Elizabeth woke up first and came to stand by my chair.

She waited a little, before she asked, “Gramma, can I sit on your knee.”

“Sure, sis, let me finish this message and I’ll lift you up.” I finished quickly, hit the send button and pulled her up on my knee while I waited for a return email from the client on the other end. She had a low grade fever and leaned her head into my shoulder. I massaged her back and touched cool hands to her face.

“Gramma, my old daddy hit my mommy,” my heart stopped. “But he’s gone now.”

I rocked her slowly, still massaging her back.

“Mommy is going to find us a new daddy that won’t hit her any more,” her voice trailed off and I thought maybe she was dozing for a bit. Breathing deeply she said, “My old daddy hit mommy on the purple couch. But we don’t have it anymore and we don’t have him anymore because he hit my mommy and that hurts her.”

I know that fever often brings to life memories that had faded into lost crevices of the mind, illuminating them and highlighting them, as if they’re right there in front of you. I prayed for my granddaughter and for her mother those years ago when they lived with an abusive, drug inhibited man. The sadness of those hours had weighed heavily upon that little girls heart all these years and she remembered to share the account vividly enough that I could recognize the place and time.

The couch, a brown velvet love seat, so dilapidated that you literally fell through the cushions had been a favorite of the old daddy who hit her mommy. The fabric so worn and aged that purple was a highlight color that a little girl would remember. Chills swept through me as I held her close and remembered the many times I’d suspected that man had beaten my little girl, but I had no way of proving. She loved him so much she was willing to take the beatings and defend him, trying to make a home for her child.

Yet now, the child shared the memories of pain. Another wounded heart, so terrorized by the memory that in her fever she could describe the scene without prompting, without coercion and without any assistance from anyone, lived in a child too young to testify against the man in court, should lawyers choose to give him custody, or even unsupervised visitation. My heart bled for the child I held safe in my arms, praying that she never face the brutal beatings of a heartless man who cared nothing for himself, his family or his child.

Wounded hearts exist. There are so many who have witnessed abuse, experience abuse, or been victims of abuse in their own homes. The abuse is more than just a beating, or someone who hits a spouse, it often comes from those who find little or no significance in family values, in life with a family and refuse to take responsibility for their loved ones. WE must keep our children secure and protect them from the abuse.


Sisters: The Gift of Love

Sisters - The Gift of LoveThere are days when I wonder if my kids even like each other, but those days are seldom and few…

As a parent, you always see your children in the worst light, no matter how wonderful they are. You see their mistakes, the things they do wrong and the imperfections, because you want them to be perfect and any flaw is giant in the eyes of a mother… But then, those same flaws disappear from view when your child does one small thing right. Perfection may be flawed, but it belongs to you, and no matter how flawed, your child is always perfect.

I know, the philosophy of this post is a bit out of whack, but you know there’s more coming…


When my daughters told me early last summer that they were both pregnant, expecting shortly after the first of the year, I knew 2010 would be a year to remember. It’s proving to be more…

As the days rushed on, my older daughter grew more and more restless, before her son was born on January 5. But her little sister was there, every step of the way encouraging and loving, sharing and supporting. Even when she felt the stress of her own pregnancy, Tatia encouraged Brenna with a smile, a glance or a touch… or even just a dinner of chicken and rice prepared and ready when Brenna got home from work.

A single parent, expecting her second child, Brenna struggled to maintain her income and provide for her family. Tatia and her husband choosing to move in and share the apartment lightened the financial load, but stressed the confines of apartment living slightly beyond comfortable. With little or no furniture, Tatia’s move in wasn’t a major difficulty, other than where to sleep.

Kevin had an air mattress that lasted for most of those first months, but Tatia wasn’t comfortable sleeping on it after a few months. The couch became her bed. During our visits, I found a comfy chair and ottoman and the boys brought along futons. For Christmas a family member promised Kevin and Tatia a new bed, but when Kevin joined the Army and would be leaving, they felt the new bed would be superfluous, and a burden to move.

With her growing little bundle, Tatia became increasingly uncomfortable on the couch, until her sister said, that’s enough… You need a bed. Pinching pennies and saving every dollar she could, Brenna found a sale on beds and, even knowing there was no steady income, she bought her little sister a bed for those  uncomfortable last weeks of pregnancy.

We’ve always managed before, and we will manage again, but for nursing a baby… You need a bed, not a couch.

It’s exciting, watching sister love in action. Our world is exactly as it should be, filled to the brim with love and family. We may not have a lot of money, but it just don’t get better than this!

In case you can’t tell, I love my kids.

Moving Mountains & Loving Children

The discussion had started when my granddaughter decided bed wasn’t in her vocabulary for the night. She wanted to watch Mickey Mouse Club House instead. I calmly talked her toward bedtime. She screamed her demands. Life got precarious for a few moments, wills clashed and the rules went out the window as I attempted to maintain a calm I didn’t feel.

I wanted to cry too.

As a Grandma, my job is to love, not discipline. Or is it?

As a Mother, I have to teach love, discipline and maintain the composure of a loving Mother at all times. Even when I’m too tired to love or care, that’s my job.

In the early days, I learned that I can’t love too much. Sometimes, I learned that I can’t love enough… and then there were days when loving meant having a sharp hand and a strong sense of direction, as not all loving means a gentle voice.

When young parents watch my actions, they learn what is appropriate and what is acceptable when leading children. They begin to understand that punishment isn’t always the best way to discipline, and punishment never comes from anger. Young parents need guidance and love, discipline and  understanding in order to lead their own children.

Where can that come from, if not grandparents who lovingly guide them?

In the act of moving a mountain, you don’t start with the whole mountain, you simply move one rock at a time, until the entire mountain has been moved.

When loving children, or training up a child, you begin with one small step at a time. Just simply loving the child, maintaining your own level of calm reassurance will bring positive results to the child. Spanking is never the first option and rarely the solution.

A calm voice, a loving tone, and tender, gentle hands will bring obedience faster.

Collision Course with Futility

Looking back, I know there could have been a different outcome, but finality comes with the shadow of death. There’s no turning back, only looking back, and trying from this point forward to hear the sound of grace as human kindness take hold and bring about the changes of progress for the future. I’m sorry, probably doesn’t cut it, when the right thing can’t be done because it’s too late.

But, the wrong thing… nobody knew.

We can’t see the future. If we could, there would be many actions taken that would make a difference. That difference would sing, raising choruses to heaven, but we’re not designed for forward vision. We can only see what is now, and what is past.

Today’s lesson in living is to take that chance, on the outside opportunity that the relationship you may save will be your own, and tell the other side (that person who has appeared to be in conflict with you) that you’d like to know them better. The worst that can happen, if you reach out and make the attempt, is that you’ll get burned a bit by the temper of a person who isn’t willing to let you get to know them better. But, alternatively, the best that can happen is that you make a new friend.

Without intending to do so… I judged someone unfairly. I accepted a version of the truth and without intending to make judgment, allowed it to happen, accepting ‘defeat’ before I made the effort to make a friend. The cost is greater than any cost I’ve known before in my life, and  yet, I understand that God allows these lessons in life for a reason. I know the best of God’s love is yet to come, and I understand that He gives more knowledge to those He believes are ready.

Wisdom often comes from bad choices.

I pray I’m worthy of the wisdom I’ve received today…

I just thank God for bringing me a new friend and a different perspective. Life isn’t always the way we see it, sometimes there’s a different view. I must remember that and speak out when I question a seeming reality.

Each time I learn a lesson I realize I’ve been on a collision course with futility. The reality of God’s love is a tender wisdom that comes from the lessons we learn, a knowing that brings understanding to the hills we die upon. If we’d never known a failure, or lost a battle, we’d never know the value of success, the power to win, or the consequences of not listening to the still small voice of God. The perspective we view often gives us a vision that is less than perfect, only through listening to God’s still small voice can we hear the sound of grace or know the life of loving that brings with it the grateful glory of a God who sees all things and is all knowing.

As futile as this may be in this moment of time, I look back and know — I’ve heard God’s voice, and often ignored it. I pray in earnest, Lord… Speak louder next time. Amen

A Still Small Voice says “I love you, so much”

There’s the sweet aroma of apples and cinnamon in the air and we’re dancing around the opportunity to grow a family on the autumn memories that traditionally bring us all closer to the heart of home. As summer passes away and we begin to look at the future, there’s an option of saving grace on the crisp cool winds. Family…

When a still small voice whispers back, “I love you, so much.” Life becomes more worthy, your efforts more gratifying and the joy you feel suddenly takes on a new meaning. My granddaughter was two years old in June and her voice often peels out with laughter and the screams of joy only a two year old can express. But there’s more… When she drops her screams of joy to a whisper and says, “I want to go to Grandma’s house.” You know without a doubt that she’s content to just be a loving child, filled to the brim with the existence she’s living.

She understands the value of love.

No matter how many toys and gifts she receives, no matter how much she’s given, she’s got a firm grasp on the reality of love and she knows where to go when she needs to feel that love. Her Mommy’s arms are always open, ready and waiting. She understands that home means Mommy’s love. And she knows that Gramma’s house means Mommy (and her) feel safe.

As autumn threatens to overtake the greens of summer and life becomes peaceful and serene on the home fronts once again, the joy of family takes center screen. We know our loved ones need us every day, every hour, but in the winter when the cold winds blow, there’s a comforting source of existence that brings us more – the power to live each day in the comfort of loving arms, committed to making each day better than the day before, simply because we’re able to love more.

Lizzie, I love you so much! (Thanks for the reminder.)