Thursday, September 9, 2010

Hope in My Pocket

Last summer, I started blogging to help relieve some stress from being a stay-at-home mom to three very independent and active children. My first blog was The Parent Trapped, and I enjoyed writing it very much. After starting it I found my brain again, and slowly my mind started disentangling itself from Dora and Diego and engaging in more serious thought processes.

I found myself thinking a lot about what I would post next, ideas would come to me out of nowhere, and I always had multiple topics to bore my readers with.

When we lived in Houston we had a very nice house in a nice neighborhood with great neighbors and friends. The kids went to great schools, I had a great gym, stores, and activities all really close by. But for some reason I was less happy there than I have been anywhere else.

The main reason for my dissatisfaction was because I always felt trapped, literally. The kids were young and so needed constant supervision while outside, our street was the busiest cul-de-sac on the planet, and come to find out we moms were right to keep our kids close after discovering a pedophile lived, and murdered a four year old girl four houses down from us. We were trapped inside.

I love being outside. If an activity can be done outside I'd rather be there than cooped up in a house. I love for my kids to be outside, getting sun, having fun, and stretching their muscles and brains.

That's why our move to Del Rio is so awesome for us. The weather is a billion times better than in Houston where it was too hot in the summer, too cold in the winter, and WAY to mosquito-ey during the Spring and Fall. So we were basically trapped inside all the time or else at the pool or covered from head to toe with bug spray.

Not my idea of happiness.

For the six weeks we were in Del Rio this summer, life was much better for us, despite living in really tight quarters. The kids could go out and play any time they wanted, I could go running, riding bikes, whatever, at almost every part of the day. The desert is dry and humidity sucks, did you know?

Sadly, last week we had to leave Del Rio. We are now in San Antonio where we will be living until January while Jerry does some training for his new job back at Laughlin.

We're back in the Suburbs.

We are living in a three bedroom apartment with a tandem two-car garage and plenty of space, especially compared to the RV we had been living in before we came. The area is beautiful with every modern convenience within a stones throw.

But that's the problem. We live in an apartment complex where the kids can't ride their bikes or even go play without supervision. There are no parks close enough to walk to, just the apartment pool. Luckily the pool is quite awesome.

I did enroll Paige at school for 1st grade and Josh is now going to Pre-K at the same school, so at least I don't have the homeschooling burden anymore. I found a great gym where Phoebe loves to go and they even have drop off babysitting available there so I can get a few hours of alone time once in a while.

But I'm inside almost all day. Inside a dark apartment that has only one small patio that is blocked by bug infested bushes. Not my idea of an outdoor oasis.

Now that the newness of the move is wearing off, I'm starting to feel Trapped again. I'm no longer chronicling the desert but once again The Parent Trapped.

The kids have not been doing very well either. They may seem fine, but they are driving us completely insane. When I get Paige hope from school and all three of the kids are together, it's like a crazy cloud enters the house making the kids act like wild animals. For the past three night the kids have gone to bed an hour early because Jerry and I have both hit our limits for craziness.

Apparently they're feeling trapped, too.

Before going to sleep last night, I picked up my Bible like I have so many times when I'm stressed and depressed. I flipped it open to some random page and started reading. I'm sorry that I didn't write down the verses I read because they were right on target.

It was about not losing hope, even when your days seem to run one into another with no breaks, just stress and despair and hopelessness. But if you remember that God loves and supports you and always will, you can take comfort knowing that if you just have trust in God He will in turn give you hope again. Even if you abandon God, he will never abandon you. All you have to do is turn to Him with your worries and He will give you what you need.

After reading this, I decided I had turned away from God some, depending on my own self to fulfill all of my emotional and physical needs. But I'm not strong enough for the emotional stress of parenting three wild, cooped up kids. So I talked to God saying how thankful I am for such a wonderful family, a great life, how I'm sorry for being selfish and so self-reliant, sorry for ignoring Him. I acknowledged that He is always there, has always been there for me, and is still there for me, waiting for me to remember Him. I acknowledged that I should stop worrying about my minor issues, knowing if I can just chill out that He will give me what I need to succeed in this life.

I went to bed feeling hopeful for the future; hopeful that this too shall pass.

So far, today has been a great day. I can feel a difference in my attitude and my stress level feels lower already. I'm trying really hard to just chill, be easy, and not cloud my mind with negativity. I'm trying to let God in.

I think it's working.

On my way to pick up Josh from pre-K, Phoebe and I were walking on a sidewalk toward the school. In my peripheral vision I noticed a rock. Now, there are a lot of rocks in the mud around here and I have walked this same sidewalk a few dozens times. But for some reason this brown rock in the brown mud caught my eye.

When I stopped to look at it, I noticed there was some strange shapes on the rock. After bending down to pick it up, I realized it was a polished stone with the word Hope engraved on one side.

If that's not a clear message from God, I don't know what is.

I wiped the mud off of the stone and plunked it in my pocket.

I can't help but have Hope now. I'll be carrying it around in my pocket.