cancer · celebrations · family · God's plans · God's will

Happy Birthday, Cub 4!!

This was the plan:  four children, four years apart.  Cub 1 was born in 2000.  Cub 2 was born in 2004.  Cub 3 was born in 2008.  Cub 4 was born in 2010.  Huh?…..SURPRISE!!!

I’m a planner, and Cub 4’s early arrival rocked my entire world.  I cried for about two weeks and couldn’t wrap my head around how we would manage two babies who were going to be 18 months apart!  We discovered that we needed a bigger table in the kitchen, we needed to figure out new sleeping arrangements for the cubs, we even had to buy a bigger vehicle to accommodate two car seats and a booster.  

I didn’t really get it yet, that God was in control and not me.  So, to ensure that we didn’t have anymore surprises, I convinced Poppa Bear (PB) to go “take care of himself” because if we did decide later on that we wanted more children, his procedure was reversible.  Little did we know that this procedure would lead to the discovery of prostate cancer.  Prostate cancer screenings are recommended beginning at the age of 40.  PB was 35.  Look at God!  

God knew I would still try to be in control.  

God knew what was ahead for PB.

God knew that having PB go through that procedure would reveal a bigger issue.

God knew that PB wouldn’t make it to his 40th birthday if the prostate cancer hadn’t been discovered earlier.

God gave Cub 4’s life a purpose before she was even introduced to us.

God knew that I needed a lesson on trusting in Him, and he orchestrated it in such a way that I felt convicted, forgiven, and extremely thankful.

Convicted for thinking that I was in control of my life.  Forgiven for how much I complained and the shame I felt for thinking that I needed to “help God out” like He didn’t know what He was doing.  Thankful that He has blessed PB to live six cancer-free years, and thankful for Cub 4. 

Cub 4’s entrance into our lives has been pure joy and happiness.  

She is our little dancing machine.  

She is always smiling and friendly to everyone.  She is creative and active.

She is loved by all who know her, especially our Party of Six!  Most importantly, she is a daughter of the King!

Happy 7th Birthday to our baby cub!!

Mama Bear

Challenges · family · God's plans · God's will

It Was Meant To Be Shared

The flashbacks to February 2004 were so vivid, I just couldn’t help myself!  I found a scrap piece of paper in my pocket and scribbled down my name and email and a web site address, and I took it over to this young mom who was trying to keep up with her little ones.  It was a Saturday morning full of Upward basketball games.  During the halftime break for Upward games, someone from the staff of the church was responsible for sharing a lesson and inviting people to begin a relationship with Christ. On this particular Saturday, it was the new youth pastor’s turn to share a sermonette.  He introduced himself as the new youth pastor who moved his family just one month earlier from sunny Florida to Maryland where we had just experienced a blizzard.  That’s when my flashback began.

Oh how well I remember moving from North Carolina to northern Virginia right after a snowstorm with Poppa Bear (PB), Cub 1 about to turn four years old, and Cub 2 preparing to make his entrance into this world.  I remember feeling so alone because I didn’t know anyone.  I remember being so frustrated with PB because he dove headfirst into pastoring this new church leaving me to try to unpack boxes and boxes of stuff that I didn’t need to be lifting or moving from room to room.  I remember feeling trapped in our old, dusty, creaky, dog hair-infested rental home because it was too icy and slippery for me to take a chance on going out alone.  I remember loathing all of PB’s stories about where he had been taken for nice seafood lunches while Cub 1 and I had Oodles O’Noodles or macaroni and cheese.  I was MISERABLE during the first year (and more) of being back in Virginia.  I missed our house. I missed my friends.  I missed my classroom of first graders.  I missed our church family.  I couldn’t think of one positive thing about our move except being a little closer to our families.  I totally felt alone and on my own.

You see, that’s the enemy’s most successful mind game. When we think we’re the only person in the world going through whatever it is that we’re going through – he wins and we lose. Sometimes we just need to know that someone else has been through what we’re currently going through, you know? That’s why sharing our testimonies are so important! You know that the storms that we face have a purpose, right? We may not understand it all as we’re going through the storm, but when God delivers us from it, then it’s our responsibility to help someone else by sharing what we’ve learned.

By the time this new youth pastor at the Upward game had finished his sermonette, I knew that I had to share with his wife what I have been blessed to find through a ministry for pastor’s wives and women in ministry called Leading and Loving It.  I don’t know if she was miserable or not, but I remembered what that transition was like for me, and I couldn’t ignore the tug at my heart to reach out to this young youth pastor’s wife.  I never saw her at any other Upward games during the season.  My assumption is that she came that one week to support her husband as he gave his sermonette for all of the Upward games that day.  Having little girls that were four years old and younger, I imagine, required lots of work to get up and out of the door just to hang out in a gymnasium all day watching game after game.  That wouldn’t be my ideal Saturday if I didn’t have any kids playing either.  I don’t even know if that little piece of paper with my name and email and web site address made it to her pocket or purse that day, but I couldn’t leave without letting her know that she was not alone.

Who needs to hear your story?  Someone going through a divorce needs to hear about your divorce.  Someone struggling to get their finances in order needs to hear about your journey to getting your finances in order.  Someone facing a serious illness needs to hear about your battle with an illness.

Encourage the new single mother because you were once a new single mother.

Give advice to those new parents because you were once new parents.

Put some money in the hand of a college student because you remember being a college student.

We don’t have to pretend that we’ve always had it together and life has just been overflowing with beautiful rainbows and sunny spring days.  The truth is, we’ve experienced some lightning and dark clouds and downpours that we could barely see through. However, God brought us through those storms for a purpose – His purpose.

Momma Bear

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Happy Last Day of 2015!

One of the things that I like about blogging with WordPress is that they always send out a report at the end of each year about your blog page.  It’s really a bunch of stats about how many people visited the page, who commented the most, and even what part of the world readers are viewing from.  My favorite part is seeing the top five most viewed blog posts of the year.  I like going back to read about what was happening in our family that triggered a new blog post.  I thought I’d share them again since so many of us are going to spend today reflecting on this past year.  So, here’s the top five most viewed posts from 2015.  Just click on the title to read it again, or trust that my short summary tells it all! 🙂

#5 – Walking Miracles – This was written shortly after our first real allergy scare with Cub 4.  It’s a reminder that we are wonderfully made by our Creator.

#4 – It’s The Little Things – This was part of my Bear in Mind: Cubisms series.  I shared about the little things we do that we may think go unnoticed may not be the case at all.

#3 – Forgiveness: Difficult, but Necessary – Last January we had a little surprise snow fall that caught everyone off guard including our school system officials.  I talked about the importance of apologizing, yet the question of whether or not an apology is necessary in order to forgive someone still needs some research.

#2 – Who’s The Boss? – This post was all about our dear Cub 3 and discipline.  As parents, we have to stick with it!  If you take yourself seriously, they will comply.

#1 – Great Might Be Greater – This post was centered around Cub 2’s audition and interview day last January.  He wanted to go to the Performing and Visual Arts magnet school program at the time and was very nervous about the outcome.

Thank you all SO much for always stopping by and reading about what’s going on in our Party of Six.  I am excited about the possibilities to come in 2016!!  God’s plans are always the best plans!

Momma Bear