Category Archives: Crumpets & Tea~Encouragement for Single Parents

Embracing my life

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“A deep sadness settles over me.”

Has God ever asked you to sacrifice something that meant a lot to you, but you knew it wasn’t pleasing to Him?  For instance, a relationship? But you resisted, knowing it’d hurt. I can relate. When God asked that of me, it felt like He was asking me to cut off a finger just because it might get infected.

For three weeks, I heard God’s warning alarm sounding in my spirit. “Caution: Danger ahead,” He kept telling me. When I finally heeded Him, life was no better. How baffling. I thought God would reward my obedience by making me feel better. I was a little perturbed, even wondering if I’d made a terrible mistake.

Then I came across this article today, and oh boy, I needed it. If you’ve experience loss recently, I hope it edifies you as it did for me.

~DVC~

http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/embrace-the-life-you-have

 

How to enable (not empower) your adult children

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I had to share this, having learned this lesson long before my sons reached adulthood. I like to think I empowered my sons for adulthood (they’re all in their 20s now) but even now, it’s easy to jump in and try to “fix” things each time they encounter a difficulty.

Single moms, I’d love to know – would you consider yourself an empowering mom, or an enabling one? Or maybe a combination of both?

http://www.reachoutrecovery.com/the-recovery-daily/trending-now/letting-go-of-an-ungrateful-son

Meet fictional solo mama Carla

Christian author Julie Arduini debuts her latest novel, Entangled, and is here to tell us all about it!

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“You need to leave me alone. It’s the least you can do.”

Single mom Carla Rowling has been given her dream of attending cosmetology school. The gift is so generous she feels unworthy because of choices she made as a teen. The pressure mounts as Carla juggles school, helps her best friend Jenna plan her wedding, spends time with boyfriend Will Marshall, and deals with the fact that her son’s father is back in their lives.

Will Marshall is the one Speculator Falls resident everyone can count on. His truck deliveries are reliable. He’s the first to help friends like Ben Regan with boat work or be a card partner with Bart Davis. Will’s ready to settle down with Carla – loving her is natural. He’s bonded with her son, Noah. But when Carla starts cosmetology school, she puts emotional distance between her and Will.

Can Carla release her past and create a future full of highlights, or will she burn her options worse than a bad perm?

Purchase Link:

Amazon (Kindle and Print):  http://www.amazon.com/Entangled-Surrendering-Past-Time/dp/0692713476/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1464881433&sr=1-1&keywords=julie+arduini

Entangled is book #2. Although it can stand alone, if you’d like to read Entrusted: Surrendering the Present first, click here: http://www.amazon.com/Entrusted-Surrendering-Present-Time/dp/0692709177?ie=UTF8&qid=&ref_=tmm_pap_swatch_0&sr=

Curious to learn more about Julie? Here’s her bio.

Julie Arduini loves to encourage readers to surrender the good, the bad, and —maybe one day—the chocolate. She’s the author of the re-release, ENTRUSTED: Surrendering the Present, as well as the sequel, ENTANGLED: Surrendering the Past. She also shared her story in the infertility devotional, A WALK IN THE VALLEY. She blogs every other Wednesday for Christians Read. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children. Learn more by visiting her at http://juliearduini.com, where she invites readers to subscribe to her monthly newsletter full of resources and giveaway opportunities at JULIE ARDUINI: SURRENDER ISSUES AND CHOCOLATE and the weekly e mail. SUNDAY’S SURRENDER AND CHOCOLATE.

Facebook: http://facebook.com/JulieArduini

Twitter: http://twitter.com/JulieArduini

G+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+JulieArduini/posts

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/JulieArduini

Instagram: http://instagram.com/JulieArduini

Snapchat: @juliearduini

Goodreads: http://goodreads.com/JulieArduini

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Julie-Arduini/e/B00PBKDRSQ/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1427852247&sr=8-1

Monthly Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/dCFG

Weekly Sunday’s Surrender and Chocolate: http://eepurl.com/bJ5yHP

Surrendered Scribe Media Promotions: (Book release info sent as needed) http://eepurl.com/bXAW0L

 

 

Q&A with former Solo Mama, Angela

Today I visited with Angela, who solo-parented for two years during her children’s formative years. I loved her insights…so many things she said resonated with me. Let’s sit down, sip some English Breakfast tea, and hear what she has to share with us.

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DVC: The verse Lamentations 2:19 was especially meaningful to me while raising my children alone. It says, “Pour out your heart like water before the face of the Lord; lift up your hands toward Him for the life of your children.” Was there a particular verse or passage that really encouraged or uplifted you during your single-parent years?

A: Oh yes! My favorite passages during that time came from the Psalms. I learned in Psalm 34 that the Lord would be my protector, provider, and He would answer me in my time of trouble. He would rescue me from my fears! Psalm 34:6 said I didn’t need to be ashamed. When I felt ashamed at the failure of my marriage, at the shortcomings of being a single mom, I could turn there and find hope.

DVC: Tell us how long you single-parented, and how old your kids were at the time.

A: I solo-parented for two years. My children were elementary through junior high at the time. But as many women experience, the weight of parenting fell on me throughout their earlier years as well.

DVC: During my single years, my parents and my ex’s parents really stepped in and helped with things like transportation and meals. Did you have a strong support network?

A: No, I didn’t really have a support network. Coming out of the abusive situation, I hadn’t been allowed friends and my family had been systematically alienated. It took a lot of prayer, work, and time to build a new support network. But I had a family friend who held my mortgage. She helped me by providing relief for a year of my $300/month mortgage. (That sounds low, but it was an inexpensive mobile home.) I paid off a ton of debt and then started paying on the mortgage again.

DVC: I know there were a few things I wish I’d done differently. Do you have any regrets from those years?

A: Absolutely. I’d do so many things differently. But then, I wouldn’t have the wisdom I do now to help others with what I learned. I think I made a ton of mistakes, flailing around trying to find my way. The dating thing, wow, so embarrassing. But loneliness, even from a bad marriage, is a difficult situation.  If I had it to do over again, I suppose the one thing I’d do is be single longer and not date for a lot longer. I don’t think I gave myself enough time to grow and heal.

DVC: But there were also things I did that turned out to be the best decision for them. I enrolled them in Christian school, taught them the gospel, enforced consequences, rewarded them for positive behavior. Looking back, what are some things you know you did right?

A: I love this question because we beat ourselves up for our mistakes too much. I think I did a good job connecting my children into healthy activities and church activities. I made sure my sons were around healthy men/coaches and my daughter had an outlet around healthy coaches, both men and women. I had to fight for those activities because my ex-spouse tried to force me to stop putting my children in any extra-curricular activities through the courts. He didn’t want to pay for them or take the kids to anything. He won in court, not having to pay, but he couldn’t win forcing me to stop enrolling and allowing my children those activities. So I paid. I worked extra to do it at night while they slept. But I do not regret it. My children explored their talents and callings because they could go to those activities. But they also had healthy adults pouring love and wisdom into them. I see them now, as adults, so much healthier for that decision. I knew I couldn’t be everything for them. I had to find others to help me provide healthy input and grow their talents.

DVC: Can you think of anything you’d like to tell other single moms to encourage them?

A: Don’t get so caught up in the financial support from the ex. That can too easily get construed as the battle when you’re really fighting for your children to have a healthy, happy life. My lawyer(s) couldn’t see the battle wasn’t money. Money was a symptom of the problem. In court, that’s where they wanted to start. By doing that, they lumped me into the exact place that didn’t fit. I felt painted into a character that had nothing to do with me. Instead of the funding issue, get creative with education and employment. I worked in sales and on weekend did craft fairs with my children. By working on weekends in craft fairs, my children did the activities with me (unless they were at a camp or kid event) and we spent time doing it together. That built relationship and a sense of working toward a goal together.

I have to say that my children are all very good with many aspects of business. Doing these craft fairs together built their skills in sales, creativity, and relationships. But I also helped them do fundraisers for their dreams. If one wanted a certain camp, I helped them find a way to make and sell Christmas cards or chocolates or yard work. This way I didn’t have to say no, my child learned to work for what they wanted, and I did it with them to help them learn how and to stay safe in the process. I’d do that all over again! Because of these creative ways to earn money for activities and experience my children have ended up traveling around the country and world. They never felt like they couldn’t do something because we’d find a way to focus on the dream and work toward it.

Yes, there were many meals I ate what was left over after my children finished. Yes, I had to get creative and communicate a lot with bill collectors after the divorce. But one year after, I had gained a confidence that I wouldn’t have otherwise. Now, if someone says it can’t be done, I say, “Hmm, I bet there’s a way. I’ll give it a try.” I don’t take someone else’s negative opinion as my fact. Very rarely has that other opinion proved true. But most often, creativity has proven triumphant.

 

Unrealistic expectations and societal judgment

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A gorilla is dead, but a child is alive. And a mom is getting hated on for supposedly not keeping a close enough eye on her son. 

I’ve seen the video, and boy, if it had been my son, I would’ve been terrified. Not only at the danger to my son, but from other folks’ judgmental glares and the backlash on social media. That poor mom probably hasn’t left her house since. She’s the one I feel for.

I can’t stand the way society imposes unrealistic expectations on mothers. Especially single mothers. Not so for fathers. All that’s expected of them is the contents of their wallets. Sure, mothers are revered, but if we make the slightest slip, scorn is flung our way. That’s just not fair.

I’d love for you to share any memories of a scary moment with your kids. Did you ever lose sight of them for a moment, only to find they’d gotten themselves into a terrifying predicament? Or have you ever been the object of judgment for your parenting by observers who thought they knew better than you? Please share in the comments below.

Finally, someone has offered kindness and grace to this boy’s mom – an open letter to the gorilla-loving boy’s mom. Here’s the link:

An open letter to the mom of the boy who fell in the gorilla enclosure

Happy Mothers’ Day, Solo Mama!

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In honor of Mothers’ Day — I saw this Facebook post earlier this week, and it just about ripped my heart out. Yes, there really are mothers like this one, who put their love lives ahead of their kids’ welfare. We need to keep speaking out against these Mommy Dearests, and do our best to erase the damage they do to these kids. Kudos to teachers like Lauren who are willing to get below the surface and reach out to these hurting kids.

(Reposted with permission.)

I get asked all the time why I teach. I never know how to answer it quite right, so I usually say something sarcastic like, “Because I’m really a huge fan of hearing myself repeat the same thing sixteen times in three minutes,” or “Because summers, obviously.”

There was boy in my morning class, I’ll call him Danny. At least three times a week, he showed up over an hour late to my class. He was always behind, never quite knew what was going on, and his late work caused extra grading for me. Frankly, he annoyed me. Every time he showed up late, I assumed he didn’t care. He wasn’t responsible. He didn’t respect me. Finally, I asked him. “Danny, why are you always late?” He shrugged. I said nothing, and waited for a response. He sighed, “My mom got this new boyfriend, and whenever she stays the night at his place, no one is home to make sure my little brother gets on the bus. I make sure he’s awake and get him on his bus, but that means I miss my bus and have to walk.” How far is your house from school? “A little over a mile.”

Whoa.

Danny IS responsible. Danny DOES care. Danny DOES value his education. See, whenever Danny was late, he would miss the school’s free breakfast and go hungry until lunch. He’s frustrated with his mom, behind in his classes, and is hungry. Of course this 13 year old boy is acting out! Now, when Danny shows up late, instead of greeting him with a detention slip and an eye roll, I get to greet him with a genuine smile and a granola bar.

Danny humbled me. To be completely honest, I get humbled by my students daily. They make me realize that I can be impatient, judgmental, and imperfect. But the thing is, there’s no eleventh commandment that says, “Thou shalt be perfect.” Jesus just showed up, met people exactly where they were, and loved them. Then he taught, but only after their immediate needs were met.

I teach because I get to ask kids “why” every day. Why are you late? Why aren’t your clothes clean? Why aren’t you doing your work? Why do you want to sleep in my class? Why are you so afraid to take a risk? Why don’t you trust adults? Why are you acting out? Why are you arguing with me? (Sometimes the questions are ridiculous: why are you hiding in my closet? Why did you think it was a good idea to throw your shoe out the window? Why did you just lick your neighbor’s ear?)

The “whys” teachers ask aren’t to be punitive and shame kids. Teachers ask kids “why” because we get to treat students like human beings worthy of love and respect. Those “whys” show kids that we care, that they’re worthy, that they matter, and that they’re safe. We ask why, and then we listen… Really listen to these kids.

Hearts of Spring – the perfect movie for Solo Mamas

HeartsOfSpring_FinalKeyArtFrom one Solo Mama to another: Fellow blogger Alexis has whetted my appetite for a Hallmark movie coming up this Saturday night, April 9, called Hearts of Spring. She’s written an eloquent review on her blog, God is Love. 

Click here to read the review. 

Who wants to join me in watching it this weekend?

 

Fatherless America

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What will our nation look like without fathers? Click on the link below for one writer’s grim take. It’s not pretty.

http://spectator.org/articles/65568/world-without-fathers

Christmas Joy to One and All

Isaiah 9:6: For to us a child is born, to us a son is given. And the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Thank you, wonderful people, for helping me increase my readership. As a token of my appreciation, here’s a link to my Kindle book which is absolutely free until 12/26. Enjoy!

 

 

 

Finally…an e-zine for single parents.

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In my first year of single parenting, the internet was a mere infant. Most family and parenting magazines were targeted to intact families. Women who kicked their abusive husbands to the curb were still looked upon unfavorably in most evangelical circles, especially among the older generation. [Someday I plan to blog about that tough first year.] When I did find reading material targeted at me, it made me shudder. The statistics were dire: children of single moms were more likely to drop out of high school. Daughters were more likely to get pregnant as a teen, and sons were more likely to engage in delinquent behavior. Both were more likely to use drugs.

I couldn’t win for losing.

But I also knew my sons didn’t HAVE to take the path to loserdom. Check back again for more on how, with the help of God and a support system, my sons overcame all those negative forces threatening to take them under.

How much easier if I’d had this:

http://singleparentfamiliesmagazine.com/

The founder is herself a single mother. If you are too, I encourage you to save this link and refer to it frequently.

Blessings to all,

~DVC~