Tag Archive | children

Single Mom Gives Hard Times The Boot (and the Shoe and A Lot of Jewelry)

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It all started with a pair of shoes.

     Newly divorced, Renee Winot decided she wasn’t going to put her kids through any more grief. With her divorce money, she bought a user friendly computer and a digital camera and began a business that allows her to make ends meet while being available for her children.

     “I put these shoes on ebay and they sold. And I had a couple (pairs) of them and I sold them.” But, Renee didn’t stop there. “I had just been looking around and I’d found these big lots of jewelry and I had this money in my account from these shoes and I turned around and used it and bought these lots of jewelry.” In fast motion, Renee found herself an ebay entrepreneur with her own account and an ebay store.

     The days of securing a job just because you have experience and a good track record are gone. Too many lookers, too few jobs.  But opportunities are available, even in hard times. Sometimes you just have to think out of the shoe box. 

     Those close to Renee wouldn’t think this overnight entrepreneurialism such a strange thing. Her independent spirit winds through her work history. “Well I’ve never been a conventional person as far as jobs go. I don’t think that I ever had a job that I would really consider typical.” Renee worked for an insurance company soliciting business. She liked it because she got to set her own hours. “I was getting paid for what I sold.’” But her favorite job was selling cars. “I was actually pretty good at it. I got to make the money I was worth because I worked on commission.”  Selling cars was also how she met her ex-husband.

     Loss of a husband can be a scary thing for women, especially those who have stayed out of the job market to raise a family. All of a sudden you’re back in the hunt, competing against people half your age with more recent experience.

     Instead of giving in, Renee said a prayer which for her resulted in clarity and direction. “And so I just kept saying ‘ok God, you’re just going to have to show me what to do. And you’re going to have to make it really clear because I’m a hard case God. I’m one of those kind of people you have to throw a brick at. So God slammed all the other doors shut and opened the door wide that (He wanted) me to go through.’”

     Renee says her safety net was and is her faith. “I have a real trust in God because I am also a recovering alcoholic and addict and I’ve been sober– this Sunday, it will be for 15 years. And that is all by God’s grace because I never could have done that on my own. To me if God can take me out of that, then God can do anything.”

     Renee also thinks it important for single women to look ahead and not live in yesterday. “Yesterday? So what. Tomorrow isn’t even here yet. All I know is I’m sitting here right now talking to you and that’s it. I’m missing out on all that if I’m worried about all those other things.”

     Even if Renee were prone to worrying, she wouldn’t have time for it with tracking down merchandise and shipping items for her ebay store. Her kids have even gotten into the act. “The girls go in there and cut the labels out and Luke runs everything into Cardsmart.  He’s figured out the customs forms. He   knows what they are and goes in and pays the lady at the desk and they know him.”

     Renee not only goes to work in her pajamas, but she’s teaching her kids at the same time. “And so here my children have been home with me and they’re helping and they’re learning that they can do this too. They just think they’re being a part of the family. They’re so excited about my job. And it all   came from a simple prayer and a belief that God was not going to drop us on our butt.”

     Renee’s advice to women who suddenly find themselves single is to make time for your self. “And that’s what lifeguards are taught too. If you go in to save a drowning person and the person tries to drag you under, you’re not going to be good for that person. So you’re supposed to step out and wait until they’re totally under.  So you’ve go to make sure you take care of yourself or you can’t take care of anybody else.”

     And so Renee takes care of herself and her children by thinking differently and keeping a hopeful attitude. “If I look at something long enough I can find something bad about everything . You can find the perfect flower and if you look long enough you will find something bad about it. And if you look long enough you can find something positive in everything single thing. So which way do you choose to look at it? I have a choice when I wake up in the morning. Do I want to look at life as good or do I want to look at it bad?”

Alicea Jones

www.aliceajoneswriter.com

Photo: Thinkstock

Blog Post #2 in a Series: Dr. Kevin Leman Interview

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This excerpt is from the article

“The Child Is Father of the Man”: Dr. Kevin Leman on Childhood Memories

by Alicea Jones from an interview with Christian psychologist, author and humorist, Dr. Kevin Leman on how our pasts affect how we parent.

Q – How do you explain why some people who grew up in challenging home environments defeat the odds by making good of their lives?

A – How did I deal with a dad who was an alcoholic and drank too many brewskies most of his life? I never drank a beer. You see in families that lots of times an alcoholic father produces the alcoholic son; the alcoholic daughter. So you either fight them or join them. Part of that is the resiliency that’s in their personality. It becomes their thing to do things well, to pursue excellence, to be different from whatever [they] had to grow up with. Some people will turn their back on that [dysfunction] and live a life that is exemplary. Others won’t. I don’t have a magic answer to that. Some fall by the wayside. Some suck it up and go a different direction.

I, like many, was one of those who sucked it up and went a different direction. Propelled by a mother who hung in there even though she had to raise six children on her own, I wanted to make her proud of me.  I was also influenced by an aunt who told me stories about achieving impossible dreams. Those stories, a desire to live differently and wanting to bring happiness to my mother were my driving forces. But I wonder about those who don’t make it–those who fall by the wayside. Maybe the big difference is having positive role models. Perhaps if I hadn’t, I would have gone the wrong way. What do you think? What factors make the difference in influencing a young person’s life?

Photo: Thinkstock

Children’s Sense of Worth

In what ways can we challenge our children to think about the gifts and talents God has planted within them?

My wise friend Veta recently said that, “As parents, we need to teach our children to search for their own sense of worth through the eyes of Jesus. The more they know who Jesus is, the more they will understand their value.”

You mean my child’s sense of self-worth isn’t totally my responsibility?

We want our kids to feel secure so we provide the normal things such as love, comfort and as much as we can, a sense of normalcy. We even applaud them for their accomplishments. But what else can we do to empower them to find their real sense of worth in  God?

So here’s the challenge: The next time your child asks if they are special, how will you steer them to learn their value in Christ?

 

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. . . Psalm 139:13-14

Photo courtesy Microsoft Free Images

Showers of Blessings

“I will bless them and the places surrounding my hill. I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing.” (Ezekiel 34:26)

Have you noticed the stillness before the rain—when all the oaks and daffodils wait expectantly for the promised shower? When the clouds release their blessing, every green thing lifts up their hands in thankfulness, receiving the blessing they knew would come.

Are you waiting in stillness for God’s blessing? Or are you running around in angst, doing rain dances, trying to pull the blessings down? Maybe you’re not accustomed to trusting promises. Maybe you’ve been disappointed one time too many.

Trusting in God and his promises is much different from trusting in the promises of man. People make promises to us and we to them. And despite our best intentions, promises do get broken because they are made by imperfect people. But when God says “trust me”, He is making a promise to you that will be delivered. He is perfect, truthful and faithful. So when you read scriptures such as; “All your sons will be taught by the Lord, and great will be your children’s peace. . .This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the Lord. (Isaiah 54:13,17); know that God is a Promise Keeper and you can wait for his blessings in quiet and confident stillness.

Photo courtesy Microsoft Images

Smart Work

Do you feel you have to do everything yourself?  I used to feel that way until I found myself in an exhausted heap.  That’s about the time I discovered that some of history’s most accomplished people learned the secret of smart work.

Do you remember the story about Moses appointing judges (Exodus 18)? Moses had led thousands of Israelites out of Egypt. He served as their only judge, hearing and resolving all of their disputes. (Mediating our children’s disputes is a tiring job. Can you imagine breaking up spats between thousands?)

Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law saw that Moses was going to wear himself out and wind up in a loony bin (my description).  When Jethro asked Moses why he was doing all the work by himself, Moses said, “Because the people come to me to seek God’s will.”  (Exodus 18:14-15)

I can relate to Moses’ response—doing things because they need doing. But sometimes I need to stop and ask myself about the “why” and “how” of my work.  Jethro told Moses that there were other well-qualified men standing around doing nothing and that Moses needed to delegate.  (Sounds like Moses was working hard but not smart.)

Some of us need a Jethro—someone to shake us out of the belief that we have to do everything ourselves. Can I be that person for you today? YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO IT ALL YOURSELF. Hire a babysitter periodically or swap babysitting with a friend. If you are able, get someone to help you with housework. They may not do it exactly as you would. But, so what? When our kids were toddlers, my friend and I joined forces and cleaned our houses together while our kids played. We finished a lot quicker than when we cleaned our houses separately.  When either of us did shopping at the big warehouse store, we’d pick up things for one another. Figure out your own way to delegate and share duties. You’ll be happier and so will your family.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Photo courtesy Microsoft free images

It’s Understandable

If you are an adult child of an alcoholic, addict or a dysfunctional parent, it is understandable if parenting scares you to death. Growing up in a chaotic and unpredictable environment would make most of us feel unsure and frightened. And these feelings don’t go away just because we grow up. Becoming a mother can even magnify those fears. You may wonder, “I don’t know what normal looks like. How do I show my love for my children? How can I raise a child when I don’t know the answers?”

Few mothers delve into parenting knowing exactly what to do. Much of our mothering, especially in the early years, comes from instinct. Don’t underestimate it. The rest comes by way of learning from others and old-fashioned trial and error. But most important is our reliance upon God who promises to give us wisdom and guidance.

Despite your unsure or fearful feelings, you can do this job well–not perfectly, because that’s impossible–but well.

Take advantage of the help that is available through organizations such as MOPS International and Moms In Prayer (formerly Moms In Touch).

God’s promises:

Isaiah 54:13

James 1:5

Photo courtesy Google Free Images

Living Backwards

If you could live your life backwards, you wouldn’t worry because you’d already know what was going to happen. You’d know that throughout your entire life, God worked out everything that you worried about regarding you and your children. So rest assured my dear one. Your life really is in his hands.

Scripture: He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. Psalm 112:7

Prayer: Lord, I know that when I keep my mind on you and remember your promise to care for me and my children, my heart is at rest. Please help me today to keep my mind stayed on you.

Power In A Jar

Have you ever been in that place–wanting to help your children but not knowing how? I’ve definitely been there more than a few times. It’s a hard thing watching your child struggle and feeling powerless to help.

I was reading 2 Corinthians 4:7 this morning and  it reminded me that  in my  limited abilities, I can do nothing. But with God’s power, I (and my children) can do all things.

The answer is the same for all followers of Christ. Through our dependence upon His power we are victorious.

2 Corinthians 4:7
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

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