Come Visit Me at My New Blog!

 The last entry from this blog was November, 2015.  Ending it was a difficult decision.  It meant no longer writing (something I am passionate about) and losing a lot of followers, should I choose to blog again.  But I had to be obedient to God.  There was a lot of work to be done in my life and heart.  That’s what the past few months have been about and what has led to my new blog, Stephanie Romero:  A Lost Soul Making Her Way Home.

My hope is that you will come join me on this new adventure.  It would be my honor and delight if you would take a peek, choose to follow my blog and share with others.

Every End Has a New Beginning

download (4)I thought my last post was going to be the end of my writing.  But since that time, God has been stirring up something new.  Although it won’t officially start until January 1, 2016…I would like to invite each of my subscribers to sign up for “Broken Can Be Beautiful.”  All you have to do is click on the link and once you’re on the page, click the “Follow” button.

Meanwhile, you can still join me on my new Facebook page, “Beautifully Broken.”  And if you would like a description of what “Broken Can Be Beautiful” is all about, check out my first post here.

Whether or not you decide to join me on this journey, my hope is that every single one of you comes to see the beauty in brokenness…how God can break a hardened heart and heal a broken one.

The End…

 I recently received a reminder from WordPress that my domain name, treasuringmoments.wordpress.com was about to expire.  I needed to pay up if I wanted to keep it.  Somehow it seemed like confirmation on a decision I’ve been contemplating for the past few months.  And so it’s with mixed feelings I announce that after more than 6 years of writing this blog, it has officially come to an end.

 

For whatever reason, 2015 has been my year for change in numerous areas of my life.  It seems nothing is off limits.  Since there has been so many variances, it’s become easier each time to just accept it.  Of course, when God gives you peace about it, well, it’s a huge factor in coming to grips with your new reality.

 

I’m not entirely sure what’s ahead, as far as my writing, but one thing I’ve always wanted to do is turn these blogs into a book.  I trust that God will point me in the right direction, should this be part of his plan for my life.

 

I cannot leave without first thanking every reader/subscriber.  Whether you’ve been a silent fan, “liked” my posts, commented or sent me private emails…I have greatly appreciated your feedback, support and encouragement.

 

THANK YOU!  THANK YOU!  THANK YOU!

When Faced With a Difficult Decision

 In our 24 years of marriage, my husband and I have had to make a lot of difficult decisions.  The weight of those decisions have always been much greater when they affect our children.  A recent one easily qualifies as a Top Five for us.  But it wasn’t one made without a lot of thought and prayer.

 

We made the decision to leave our church and attend another one.  I’ll be honest.  Even typing those words brings an ache to my heart.  The best way I can describe it is that it feels like an artery to the heart has been severed.  It’s a connection we’ve had for more than 20 years now.  You don’t walk away from a church you’ve attended that long without experiencing some sadness.

 

It’s the place that saved my soul, my marriage and my family.  It’s a place of familiarity for my children…where they met their first best friends…where they grew spiritually and were received with grace when their relationship with the Lord was rocky.  It’s a place I envisioned being at for the rest of my life, with the hope that my children and their children would also attend (not that I am discounting that possibility).

 

Our reasons for leaving are personal.  But I definitely don’t want to leave the impression there is something wrong with the church.  Our children understand that if they were to decide on their own to continue attending, we’d be more than happy about it.  We’re not looking to pull them away.  It’s just that for my husband and me, it’s the right decision.

 

Still…it affects them.  I’ve heard the protests, questions and even slight anger over this decision.  But when it comes down to it, we have to do what’s right for us as a couple.  As much as I love my children, I’m closer to the time where it will be just my husband and I…which means I can’t allow their disappointment to cloud what’s best for us.

 

One of the reasons I know this was the right decision is that it wasn’t made hastily.  It was with a great deal of contemplation and prayer.  I can only hope that my children truly believe this.

 

Sometimes parents have to make difficult decisions.  If we’re not 100% confident it’s the right one, this can result in guilt and fear.  Guilt that we’ve got it all wrong and fear that our decision will cause negative consequences.  But when our trust is in God—rather than our decision—there is no need to feel guilt or fear.  We can know that it’s all under control.  HIS control.

 

When facing a huge decision…such as how to educate a child, whether or not to move or choosing between working outside the home versus staying at home…seek God.  Keeping seeking until you feel at peace with His answer.  When faced with any decisions, big or small, know that you can find assurance in the outcome if God is part of the process.

 

© 2015, Stephanie Romero

 

Are You a Distracted Parent?

It’s something I observe more and more…parents who are too caught up in their phone (whether it’s a conversation with someone else, checking Facebook or sending a text message) to notice their child.  It may be a child crying out for attention, asking a question or making a statement—regardless, the parent is distracted by technology.

 

This affects the newborn, toddlers, school-aged, teens and even young adults.  Their parent’s attention is on the television, computer or some other type of device.  And lest you think I’m pointing the finger at others, I must also point it at myself.  For I am not immune to this trap.  In fact, there have been times I was writing a blog for “Treasuring MOMents” and a child needed me but I was so distracted by my writing, I didn’t give my full attention.

 

So let me ask you…are you a distracted parent?  Is getting the perfect picture for Instagram more important than the fact your child is hungry or needs a nap?  Do you spend more time on Facebook than reading to your children?  Does the television replace quality time with your kids?  Is that phone call more important than listening to your child?

 

It’s not just devices and technology that distract us as parents.  Here’s where I struggle the most.  I get distracted by life’s issues.  Stress at work, financial concerns, problems with relationships, too much to do and not enough time to do it…and the list goes on.

 

Too often I allow life’s issues to distract me to the point I miss meaningful moments.  Simple pleasures, like hanging out in the living room with my family and sharing some laughs.  Or going to our favorite yogurt shop for a treat.

 

Distractions can also keep us from recognizing bigger moments…an important conversation that would have taken place, a needed hug or the opportunity to speak life into a child’s desperate situation.  I often wonder what moments I have missed out on because I was distracted by life’s issues.

 

So let me ask you…are you a distracted parent?  Is the tension in your marriage causing you to snap at your children?  Do you take work home—not literally but in the sense you have nothing left to give to your children?  Are your worries about paying bills becoming a burden for your children to bear as well?

 

Let’s face it…distractions abound.  But it’s up to us to keep them at bay.  That starts by recognizing their existence.  Then we acknowledge how they’re a problem.  Finally, we take the necessary steps to get rid of them.  That will be different for everyone.  Here’s one way I’m going to start.  When I’m on my smartphone and one of my children speaks to me, I’m going to set it down.  What about you?  What are some things you will do to get away from distracted parenting?

 

© 2015, Stephanie Romero

When Life Brings Changes

 This has been a year of change for my family.  It started off with the loss of my dad, the birth of my granddaughter and then continued to include a new health diagnosis, job scare, marital struggles, the loss of two pets and now I’m facing the day my daughter (who recently became engaged) and granddaughter leaves our home.

 

Some of these changes have been devastating.  Others have been good but nonetheless, required a great deal of adjustment and at times, hope in the unseen.  Most have turned out well—there’s improvement with my health condition, my marriage has turned a corner and I have a new job that I absolutely love.  There are still some issues I’m working through, mainly the grieving process.  But all in all, I’m managing and I take absolutely no credit for that.  Only God.

 

Still…there is a lot of emotion in knowing your only daughter has become engaged.  And that she will be taking the next step and leaving the nest.  It’s a good thing.  But it doesn’t make it any easier to digest.  Having one already leave the nest, I know the pain and emptiness you feel in the beginning.  It does get easier.  So I hold onto that.  At the same time, I’m hit with a double whammy in that I will also see my granddaughter leave.  However, I know this will be good for her and she’ll finally have some stability.

 

Recently I was watching some old home videos, when my children were very young.  If anyone would have told me back then what this journey of motherhood would be like, I don’t know that I would have signed up.  I say that jokingly—sort of.  I guess what I’ve come to discover is that nothing can ever really prepare you for the sometimes oh-so-difficult trek.

 

The difficulties that stem from struggles and trials.  Even the difficulties that stem from good things but require adjustment or change.  The emotional ups and downs.  The mental exhaustion.  The physical depletion.  The worrying…the sleepless nights…the regrets…the victories…the blessings…the love.

 

Motherhood is a very complex life experience.  You never know what’s waiting for you around the corner.  Just one doctor visit can change a family’s dynamics.  One decision made by a child can alter the future.  One word can break a heart. One choice can devastate a relationship.

 

But there is a flipside to this.  One doctor visit can draw a family closer together.  One decision can see a miraculous outcome.  One word can mend a hurt.  One choice can restore a relationship.

 

I believe the good outweighs the bad of parenting.  I believe that hope outweighs doubt.  I know that God can move in any situation…even when it looks impossible.  Change will come.  Most of the time we can’t do anything about it.  But what we can do is learn more and more how to put our faith not in our abilities as a parent…but in the One who gives us everything we need to parent.

 

© 2015, Stephanie Romero

Are You Parenting Out of Fear?

 There is sometimes a fine line between protective parenting and fear-based parenting.  The goal is generally the same…to keep our children safe.  But not all experiences—yes, even the negative ones—must be avoided.  There is a time for hard lessons to be learned, feelings to be hurt, lies to be exposed and dangers to be felt.

 

Why is this important?  Because too often in our attempt to parent based on fear, we keep our children from experiencing difficulties that may one day come at them anyway or to a greater degree than anticipated.  They do grow up.  They turn into teenagers with their own opinions and beliefs.  And then they turn into independent adults.

 

If we make every single decision for them, how will they ever learn to problem solve? 

 

If we choose all their friends for them, how will they ever learn to recognize a true one?

 

If we make sure they never lack, how will they ever learn to want?

 

If we control all of their surroundings, how will they learn to adapt? 

 

Parenting that’s based on protection has their best interests at heart…yet knows it will include some bumps in the road.  Parenting that’s based on fear has their best interests at heart…yet fights, manipulates, and controls to avoid those bumps in the road.  But bumps make up our journey in life.  They will always be there and try as we might to avoid them, eventually we’ll hit one.  Will our children know what to do?

 

Having two adult children and one just a couple years from that, I can look back and see how some of my parenting was based on protection and some on fear.  The truth is that in their earlier years, it was mostly based on fear.  I wanted to control every aspect of their lives.  In some cases that did more harm than good.  Some of those things we can laugh about today.  But for other situations, it resulted in unnecessary struggles.

 

When I shifted to protective parenting, it didn’t mean there weren’t challenges.  Yet every single one has turned around and resulted in something beautiful.  Whether it was an awakening in a child’s spirit, wisdom gained or growth as a person…each bump they were able to get over and keep on moving forward.

 

There is no right or wrong way to parent.  There is no magical formula or method.  There is no book or “expert” who can provide the answers.  The only thing I am sure of is that there’s more damage done in parenting out of fear.  It’s not easy to see our children struggle…to make mistakes…to choose the wrong path…to do things the hard way.  But these bumps don’t determine their final destination.  So put your trust in God and allow Him to lead their way.

 

© 2015, Stephanie Romero