Friday, March 18, 2011


So my life is full of kids, you all know that if you know me. As I am watching some of these kids recently, and have propped a few up and been here to catch them if they fall, I am reminded of many trials over the years. It is hard to get close to teenagers and kids. A lot of times they hold themselves apart and most of them think adults look down on them. I am an oddity, this I know about myself. I would rather hang out talking the night away with a bunch of teenagers then go to a bar full of adults pretending to be something they aren't. Most people put on airs and try to make themselves be more then they are, trying to catch the spotlight for themselves, this is funny to me. Why try to hide what you are and who you are? You are the best you there is! The ONLY you there is. Teenagers pick up on others trying to act and get attention like you wouldn't believe. They see it in each other all the time, so it is only natural for them to see it come to light in others, including adults. I sat last night and watched the dynamics in a room FULL of teens, and listened to college students comment on the antics. Some of it made me laugh because they were so right and some of it made me just sad. How come it takes so much outside attention for some people to feel secure and worthy in life? Why is it that someone can say, I hate the limelight I don't like being the center of attention, yet do everything in their power with their actions that makes that statement false? College kids seem to be at a point where they have moved out of the little dramas of High School and they see things clearly, including in adults, they will tell you when they feel an adult is searching for the spotlight and is in their words "fake". As I was listening to them, I started to wonder, when do we lose that? We go from High Schoolers who need or crave attention and others approval to feel worthy, to college kids who laugh at it and are content and feel it ridiculous to watch, and then adult hood where some of the population reverts and the whole high school stuff and drama starts all over again. Then I realized something during the discussion, maybe its just those who feel inadequate in life that need to be the center so others will boost them up by telling them how wonderful they are and how they couldn't do it or survive without them. So it got me thinking how do you help these young teens become confident so that they can outgrow it, and be content with who they are and take pride in being the best of themselves? 
I am not positive of the answer yet, I wish I was, but a couple ideas came to me over this subject last night. Teenagers typically are really looked down on or talked badly about in society. Mention having a "teenager" and you get a lot of eye rolling and sighs of commiseration. I have on occasion felt that way too, I am guilty of this. Teenagers are hormonal and many times out of control, forgetting to use the brain God gave them because life is all about the number one, uno THEM. Isn't that kind of justified though? We have waited on them supplying their every need since they were born. If we haven't taught them that will stop and to lean on themselves and start making decisions and doing things for themselves how are they supposed to flip that switch and life isn't about them? I am as guilty as anyone in this area, Paul tells me daily I do too much for the boys. I do their laundry, I fold it, and I put it away for them fifty percent of the time. I cook for them keep their schedule's straight and even most of the time the girl friends schedule's straight so that when asked of conflicts while planning activities or dates I know of them before they do. My boys all know how to do laundry and cook, but they will all agree and tell you if Mom does it its easier and why wouldn't they take advantage of that. So isn't that a bit of my own fault? I think so! I do not believe ANYONE wouldn't take advantage of that though if given a chance, adult or child or teen. So maybe the difference is appreciation, there is a definite lack of vocally voicing appreciation in teens but isn't that also prevalent in a lot of adults too? So we expect teens to do as we say not as we do... 
That all is interesting don't you think? I do but then I identify and do not think of them as kids, I think of them as younger friends that at times need guidance or for someone to be straight with them. Holding them accountable, teaching with my own actions that majority of the time gets overlooked and saying what most parents never would. Calling names isn't something I do, or labeling isn't right with me. Everyone can be anything they want to be, We are a world of diverse for a reason. Learning to tolerate and embrace those diversities is not easy.  People can drive each other nuts! Most of us just never take the time to see and look for the person inside either. Ninety percent of the time what you are seeing is only the outer shell used to cover the inside and protect it from being hurt. This is true in teens and adults. I am called Momma Lee by many in a few different States and many different Cities. I think this is funny but I do not mind; this is not something I never called myself or suggested anyone call me in the beginning. I am perfectly okay being called Colleen or Mrs. Colleen, don't really care for Mrs. Lee just because I don't feel its my right my Mother-in-law is Mrs Lee. A few years ago I went on a overnight field trip as a chaperon and these kids dubbed me Momma Lee, after that it kind of stuck. I am not these kids Mom and have no ambitions to take anyones mothers place just so you all know, and I'm perfectly okay with anyone who doesn't feel comfortable calling me Momma Lee but I'm okay if they want to too, it really just doesn't matter to me. When they first started calling me Momma Lee, I used to laugh because personally it draws images of a big black woman of the South in the 1900 to me. I am getting off topic lol. Anyway, many of those that call me Momma Lee, some of our conversations I would never have dreamed to have with my Mom, but then my discussions with my own sons, whom are my best friends, I would never have had with my parents and still don't. I feel this in the depth of my soul ~ friendships can span any generation, age is not a qualifier for friendship or a deciding factor. 20 years is nothing when your in your thirties and fifties. I have friends, one of my dearest who is in her sixties, only a few years younger then my Mom, but I love her and hope I have been as much a guide and confidant to her as she has to me. We have been through much and have known each other for close to 12 years now. I also have friends my age, having attended High school with the closet one to me, raising kids together and figuring out how to get old and deal with the many wonderful ' joys' of getting older.  Finally I have a wonderful very close friend who is 17, I am amazed daily how much I am learning from them and how I love spending time with them even through our age difference, the great thing is, which kind of shocks me, they aren't afraid to call me their friend and remind me I am a 'friend' and they are thankful for our friendship as I am.

So here is my statement for today, LIFE IS ALL ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS and they are HARD, no matter how in love you feel or how much you care- they take work, they take time, and they take communication. You are practicing these skills because you will need them for the rest of your lives because MARRIAGE is even harder!! You are testing the waters, finding out what you like in some and what you don't like so that you will know later on in life, when it comes to committing to someone else for the rest of your life. Flirting and physical contact with each other. Hugs and crazy laughter with silly behavior, Guys showing how much of a man or stud they can be and Girls smiling and giggling showing how cute and sweet they can be. Everyone putting on their best show as to attract one another. 
What happens when it all comes down to reality though? No one is funny or sweet or looks handsome/cute all the time. Besides looks fade, personal life changes peoples humor, and we ALL have moody bad days! So really what and how do we have real relationships, discover whats important and strive for connections that will last?
In 21 years I have found a couple very key points to relationships, and this does not only apply in my case to guys/girls this applies to friendships too. These points are this....

FORGIVENESS- this is the most important thing to any relationship, because we are all human and we are all idiots at any given point in time, along with the majority of us can be VERY bull headed if we feel we are right, and there is hurt mixed in. If we can not forgive, we only end up hurting ourselves with bitterness, and if we can't forgive who is going to forgive us?
Along with forgiveness would be also a sense of humor, learn to laugh at yourself. Taking life and yourself too personally only leads to hurt feelings, which leads to bitterness. To go with that though we must also be accountable to not talk trash or say hurtful things about one another. Be-careful to only say the truth and be aware of your motives behind what you say. Are you saying it out of jealously or envy or to get back at someone because they said something about you? If it is all in fun and sarcastic wit make sure the person you are talking about can take the joke with you, do they know your teasing because if they don't hurt feelings could happen, and most of the time you have no idea what you did and they won't tell you so a road block develops in your relationship. 

COMMUNICATION- if we never tell anyone how we are feeling how are they supposed to know? I don't know about you but I do not live in a household of mind readers, I live in a household of ALL GUYS, and listen gals guys can at times just be dense. I am not dissing guys because girls can be just as dense when it comes to figuring out whats important to a guy and believe me whats important is NOT the same things. Girls need to know a guy is there for them, need to know he will listen. Girls need to VENT. Guys need to know they can take away the hurt, they need to feel needed, and they need to feel like the knight on the white horse. Guys want to treat you like a princess, and you want to be treated like one- but sometimes they just don't know how. They see your beauty and sometimes you blow their minds~ sometimes they blow our minds doing something so thoughtful it leaves us speechless, but they always want to know if what they did was right or wrong. Because neither of us know at times, if we did something right or if we messed it up, there are feelings of insecurity on BOTH sides. Guys need to know that their arms around you can make EVERYTHING better, even if it solves nothing. They want above all else, time. Time with you is the greatest gift you can give them, even if you are doing nothing. Girls want time but we get so caught up in the have to do this, I'm involved in this, and I have to talk to so and so, and help out so and so cause shes having it rough right now....we forget, they need just a few minutes of our UNDIVIDED attention everyday to feel connected.  I live with a house full of guys like this, so I am only going on what I personally know, I do not claim to be an expert on the male brain because I am still learning everyday! Day to day stuff weighs us all down, school, homework, extra curricular's, families, jobs, diapers, bills, cars, house, laundry, meals, and the list can and will go on and on for the rest of all of our lives. Not all of you are believers but for those of you who are you know God and daily communication and time with him is vitally important for the growth of your relationship and walk with him, why then would our human relationships be any different? God has said we are made in his image, right? If he requires this for growth with us, then why would it be any less important to have growth with others?
I realize this is not a possibility with everyone in our lives, we move we change we grow and sometimes those closest to us become friendship's of old friends, and that is okay, it doesn't make them less of anything it just means we've moved slightly away from one another because something has changed, become more important, it does not mean we care less either just that in our growth we've discovered a new path that may not merge with the old, and sometimes we can forgive and we can communicate but it doesn't mean we will ever forget and it is healthier to distance ourselves from relationships that turn unhealthy. The using of a friendship and the non reciprocating of the relationship: sometimes to communicate and forgive but move on is the best most healthy thing for us to do, being aware that in the future something may shift or change and if it is good the relationship could be mended. This applies mostly to friendships but another example maybe a cheating spouse or boyfriend.

There are other things I have learned but those are the two things that are vital for a relationship to have a chance to grow, if one of them isn't present, both of you will hurt. Even now reminding myself of these things is sometimes and hourly thing.... Married people argue :) and it is really hard to be together and not forget to ENGAGE in a personal daily conversation, life gets in the way. It's hard to not talk about kids and bills and who didn't take out the garbage, it's hard to talk about how we are feeling at any given point in time, but its important. Sometimes its very hard to not let hurt and disappointment drive a wedge between you that you let fester and take on a life of its own, but if you want to have a chance at making things work we have to remove the wedge, decide to look beyond the hurt- and in this is the only way to grow and figure out who we want in our lives. Is it healthy? Do I feel good about our relationship? Does it work most of them time? Can we talk things through? Do I know we don't hurt each other on purpose?  Important questions to ask yourself in a new and growing relationship.
Finally, you need to love yourself to love someone else, because biblical or not (and you all know my belief but I respect they are not everyone's) to treat others as you would like to be treated is how to guide yourself. Gossiping and back stabbing ,spreading rumors or intentionally hurting or using someone else to get back at someone for hurting you, is not what most of us would like done to us... I know personally, I would want someone to stand up for me when I am down and can't do it myself. To stand beside me through all the ups and downs of life (because there are downs in EVERYONE'S life) To love me know matter my faults, but to be kind when pointing them out, but also firm, doing so with love not self importance and to help me try and change them to be a better person, or to clarify my understanding. To remind me daily, I am important and worth the time, important enough to spare a couple of minutes to remind me, no matter how hectic the day gets. To get to know me, to know and want to know my thoughts, no matter how scary or weird or off the wall they may be.
This is what I would like in life, so this is the way I try and treat others ( and I do NOT always succeed). LOL and many people that is not what they want, someone asking them hard questions and saying what do feel about that? So some of you I have spooked :) lol  and some of you have been amazed when you figure out I am actually interested, I do want to know, I am not just saying that. But good or bad it's how I live my life and what I think and how I care.

So there are all my crazy thoughts and maybe if you read this, and you take anything away from it that has blessed you or touched you let me know, or if you think I am a totally nutty cat lady you can let me know that too :)

** I have very Biblical thoughts on relationships too but here and what I am trying to say was not the time to share them for a few reasons, that will remain with me**

Monday, March 7, 2011

It's a Boy!

Yesterday my youngest son turned eleven! This alone makes me feel ancient but to add in that he weighs more then I and he is almost as tall, only five inches shorter then I, makes me feel very old.
This little boy named Isaiah Mark Lee, is what everyone would call a miracle. If you know me, you know the miraculous beginnings of all my sons and the fact they are all miracles given from heaven; and Isaiah's story isn't as phenomenal as say Caleb's or Aaron's but all the same he is a miraculous child. Slowly I will tell the story of all of my sons and how they came to be but as Isaiah turns eleven it is time to tell his.
This little red headed boy with his Daddies gray eyes and a smattering of freckles across his nose is very hard to dislike. He is such a solitary child, he loves playing alone and to pretend. His favorite toys are those animals and knights from Schleich Company. He will have them all out all over his floor and make castles or boats for them out of Lincoln Logs or Lego's, you must always watch your step when entering Isaiah's room because you may very well step in a moat or onto of a castle not to mention those things are sharp and can do damage to bare feet! Isaiah is shy, he really doesn't like to go many places and is a homebody, but if you can get past his little rough exterior and he smiles at you just once you will be hooked. It is hard to look away from a smile that encompasses ones whole face and eyes, not to mention it is always a bit devious and full of mischief. There is something very compelling about Isaiah and his quiet ways, but just wait until something makes him angry there is something to that too! He has a red headed fire of a temper, it doesn't show often with anyone else but his brothers but they can set him off with just a look most of the time, they don't have to even speak. Around here we call it "brotherly love" because he can say he hates them and tell us he wants to shoot them and in the next minute he can be crying because he misses one or the other when they are not here. We have yet to get Isaiah to calm his temper and watch what he says, he just says exactly what he is thinking and sees nothing wrong with that, but some people maybe taken aback at the vehemency in his tone or the fact he often tells us he'd like to shoot this brother or that. You have to realize it concerned us and still does as we try to temper our youngest son but then we look at things from his point of view and realize being the bottom of four boys is not an easy place to be. The testosterone runs rampant in our house and everything is a competition. They all love each other with a devotion that warms a mothers heart but in the next instant they can haul off and slug one another with a punch that rattles my teeth and I am not the one that got hit. It never lasts long and the best of friends comes back after one or another has asserted their dominance once again. I must tell you in the beginning I happened upon a nature show about wolves and this gave me incredible insight to my pack of sons, but this is another story for another time. Raising sons especially ALL sons has its own particulate set of rules, but life is never dull!
Isaiah Mark Lee was born March 6, 2000. He was born a red head but was the most relaxed and even tempered baby I had. He could sleep through anything and often did, including his brothers playing football  over the top of him. Isaiah is not supposed to be, the doctors swore to me I would never have another child, my hormones were to messed up and to carry another child after the 3 c-sections and the toil it had taken on my body was not something that was supposed to be possible. Paul and I had taken precautions as we had heard this all before we had Aaron.  Now just so you know, we know how to use birth control even use double precaution, BOTH of us using a form of birth control but I am here to tell you when a child is supposed to be and God has a plan there in no birth control on this earth that will work. It was July and we lived in Huron, SD at the time. We had just held a huge garage sale, moving Aaron into a big boy bed and getting rid of ALL the baby stuff, Cribs, Walker, Stroller, changing Table, I mean EVERYTHING had sold. I had a friend, Amy, her and I were close because she had a daughter the same age as Caleb and we spent many afternoons letting the kids play while we hung out being both stay at home Mom's. Amy had just found out she was pregnant with her second child and being a boy she helped me with the garage sale for the chance to go through everything first and take what she wanted. The sale was over and her and I had just finished cleaning everything up, I was exhausted for some reason and had been feeling queasy all day but assumed I just hadn't taken the time to eat decently and take care of myself. This queasy feeling went on for about a week and Amy started laughing at me daily, one day she asked me "hey, your not prego are you" I laughed this off as a huge joke saying, no that was impossible. She asked me to humor her, she had a left over test from her box it had come with two and she said its just going to waste just humor her and take it for a joke. I said sure why not I would prove it to her. She ran home 4 blocks and got the test bringing it back to the house, it was the middle of the day not the ideal time to take a pregnancy test but I knew the results so took it anyway. Came out and laid it on the table on a paper towel laughing the whole time over this silly idea. I got a cup of tea and we sat down, we had been talking for a couple minutes and she glanced down at the test both of us had even kind of forgotten about it since we knew what it was going to say, all the sudden she stopped in mid sentence and stared at the test. I was surprised so looked at the test too. There in the middle of my dinning room table with kids running through the room, was one HUGE bright blue positive sign. I was shocked and Amy, well Amy started laughing at me hysterically and got her daughter saying she had to leave before Paul got home from work as she wanted no part of the conversation about to take place. For the next 40 minutes until my husband walked in the door I stared at that stupid piece of plastic laying of all places on my dinning room table! It was supposed to be this big joke and here instead I was the one not laughing. I got up and went to start supper when I heard Paul pull into the garage from work.
Now Paul always arrived home the same way, he kissed me hello, takes his boots off and then chased the boys around the living room until I called them for supper. As the boys got older this tradition changed to setting the table with them and asking questions about their day, sometimes throwing a ball around the back yard, but for many years its mostly the same. On this day when he asked me how I was I told him to go look on the dinning room table. This quiet reserved man did as I had asked and came back carrying a piece of plastic, he laughed at me and said, " very funny, Amy brought this over you two are playing a joke on me" at this point I had to laugh because this is exactly what it had started out to be, not a joke on him but I had thought of this as one big joke. Slowly I shook my head and said no... this is no joke Paul, she dared me because I had been feeling so crappy to take her left over test so I did. The results are mine and this isn't so funny any more. My quiet husband looked at me and calmly turned around with a very white face, walked out of the kitchen setting the piece of plastic back on the dinning room table and walked past the boys playing and out the door. That night I fed the boys and bathed them and put them to bed, alone. Now you all must understand my sweet husband had a reason for doing this, during two of the three pregnancies he almost lost his wife, I was legally flat lined on the table and in the third he almost lost his child. This man had been through so much considering he was told by more then one doctor he would never have children because of a bout of measles when he was a child. I do not hold a grudge or even wonder what my husband did that night, I know he and God walked and talked for hours. When he came back he was ready to accept whatever was in store for us.
That just happened to be a pregnancy including bed rest and the loss of Isaiah's twin, then a trip to MN for my c-section and a stay for the two weeks after Isaiah's birth with my parents. This pregnancy was not an easy one but it was easier then all but one of my other ones. The delivery of Isaiah went smoothly and he was born and I was released in three days. Having my doctors from the other boys was a plus they knew I hated hospitals and released us as soon as Isaiah could leave knowing Paul would take care of me and I would recover just fine under his care. Another plus is they didn't not use a morphine drip like most c-sections they let me control my own pain meds and I never took one hit off that stupid morphine IV pump, as soon as the epidural (also different they did an epidural instead of a spinal, since I had had a very bad reaction to the spinal the two times I had one, almost losing me on the table both times) from the surgery wore off I was up walking and ready to go. I got to meet Isaiah within an hour of the surgery and hold and nurse my son. Isaiah was by far my favorite birth just because of that.
Isaiah Mark Lee was born a little man, he looked so old and wise from the day of his birth. He looks more child like now at eleven then he ever did at birth or for the first five years. Isaiah was a wonderful baby he rarely cried and slept through the night at four months old. He was a good eater and he loved his brothers. He has always been and Momma and Daddies boy though, and still is. Isaiah shocked us all with his arrival but now eleven years later, we wouldn't have a clue what to do without him. I am so blessed that God chose to entrust this little boy to us for his time here.

Friday, March 4, 2011


The last three years of my life have been interesting, moving to Colorado is not something I whole heartedly embraced for many reasons but I followed my husband because not supporting him and following where ever he may lead is just not something that would ever enter my mind. We have moved 20 times in 22 years now. We have lived in States all over the Mid to Western United States, and most of the time the move has been job related although sometimes we have just moved houses for the betterment of our family while working in a town.
Colorado was the move that I can say honestly and whole heartedly has been the hardest move of all.
It has never been difficult for me to move or adjust. Getting involved or making friends in any town we have ever lived in has always come easy for me and our sons, until Colorado. In the beginning with little ones I would always find the MOPS group in a town and join or go to the public library and get involved in a children's story hour, meeting many wonderful women and some amazing men. I am still friends with most of the people I have met that way in my earlier days of raising kids, and when the kids got older I got involved with public schools and volunteering, teaching or coaching around whatever work or school schedule's I had. Through every move and every town I have met some amazing people. These people have taught me or befriended or just supported me in so many ways over the years. Many times I refer to them when I am talking about one or another in the past " My Angels" because I honestly can look back and be so blown away at the impact they have left on my life.

Colorado is a culture shock. In more ways then I can even tell you, but not all Colorado is that way, I feel perfectly at home in Denver or Grand Junction or even Silver-Thorn. People are friendly in all those area's smile and will greet you. I have gone to games and concerts and been surprised that the people from the competing teams will talk to us more and be more friendly then the people we see every week in our own town. This little area in the far North Western corner of Colorado is a foreign land. (and having lived in Germany after high school I can say it didn't even feel as foreign as here) It isn't only the language, because yes, they speak a language I don't always follow out here, and I used to own and ride a horse for goodness sake but their ranch talk is something to behold and I don't always understand, even the country girl I am being raised on a farm.  It isn't the form of dress, although I will never understand cowboy boots and huge belt buckles, but they look good on some of the folks around here and they wear them with such pride its hard not to smile. It isn't the food even, I am adjusting to Elk and Antelope burger, it's not my favorite and the venison is nothing like the white tail I grew up on but it is edible and some is actually good. It isn't even the huge Greek or Mormon presence here, they are sweet people for the most part even when I don't agree with some of their ideas. It's not even the Buddhist although they make me wonder how they can doubt the presence of God in such a beautiful place.
I have thought and tried to put my finger on what it actually is, because I have yet to figure out or pin point the one thing that makes this area so foreign, and I still have not been able to put my finger on it.
It could be the way everyone is so cautious, friendship is not something they give easily. To be fair though most of the people around here are related to one another in some way and they have such a vast support network of family they really have no need for new friends. Maybe its the way the mud or snow comes and everyone hunkers in and waits it out, or the vast miles and miles of road between towns that stretch endlessly with no cell service or sign of another human being. It isn't like other farm communities I've lived where every 10 to 20 miles at the farthest you have a farm stead, here the wilderness can stretch for 40 to 70 miles between places. The stark wild beauty could be a factor because I know I have never been as awestruck or as blown away by the view as I am here.

Well, whatever it is I will finally be able to say after the last year is fading into the past and I have met a couple people that feel as foreign here as I do, that I am glad I moved to Colorado and had this experience. I can not promise that I will always be here because if my husband came home tomorrow and asked me to move somewhere else I would pick up and go without but a couple tears. Those that I would miss will always be with me though and there is a few that I would keep in contact with just like a have from the other States we have left behind. Do I see our journey ending here in Colorado and settling down to live out my days here? No, of this I am certain. Do we have another couple years here? Yes, of this I am also certain. We will stay and let Caleb graduate high school, Jonathan finish college with a Colorado permanent address per his scholarship rules, but as for the other two... they are anxious for that part to move quickly so we can move on and be off on another adventure. I keep reminding them we go where God provides a job for Daddy and a move up, and they remind me that our adventure isn't over and God has and will always provide for us no matter where we live. They would like to move tomorrow and miss having and making friendships like they were used to. I too miss this, but am extremely grateful for people from the Midwest transplanted to Colorado just like me. Even if she is struggling I am thankful to no end she is here and I am here to make the struggle less then what I experienced and to befriend her.
What a great reminder. Friendship is precious and we all need friends of all different ages and sizes and likes and dislikes, because without people like that in our lives we would miss out on such fun and exciting new experiences!  If I could ever say Colorado has taught me something it would be this, I will never be afraid to reach out and befriend anyone who needs a friend in life. I will never watch someone be so alone and not walk out of my way to make sure I smile and tell them to have a good day. I will never watch someone be alone without making an effort to make sure they know they aren't.
Thank you for that lesson learned Colorado!