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.

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!

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

 

Special Announcement (New Look and New Blog!)

TempIn my last blog, “Faith Testers,” I mentioned having uncertainty with the direction of my writing.  I’ve been slow to make a move because I wanted to be absolutely certain about what God would have me do.  

After much thought and prayer, I’ve decided to keep this blog going.  In fact, Treasuring Moments now has a new look.  There are so many topics I have yet to share—keeping with my original goal to inspire other moms and dads (yes, I even have a few dads who also follow this blog!) to treasure every moment with their children. 

But in light of some recent events that occurred in our family, I’ve decided to start a brand new blog called Keeping It Real Mama.  Although I haven’t posted anything yet, I do encourage you to check out my “Something About This Real Mama” to learn more about what you can expect from this blog.  You can even subscribe right away.  My first post will debut on Monday, September 1st and here’s a little teaser…it’s called “The Two Words That Changed Everything.”  One of the conditions I had about creating this new blog and getting more into the story of what happened to our family, was receiving permission from my daughter.  Even though most of you don’t know her and will probably never meet her, it was important that I have it.  Of course, there are some who do and I just have to trust they will walk in God’s grace.

And if you can’t get enough of me when I post every Monday from Keeping It Real Mama (remember, starting September 1st) and every Wednesday from Treasuring Moments, you might also enjoy The Real Writer (providing real inspiration for both aspiring and professional writers), which comes out every Friday.  As always, please feel free to share this blog (and my others) with anyone you feel would enjoy it.

 

 

 

Christian Parents Need to Get Their Head Out of the Sand

head-in-the-sandOne of the most disturbing cases of child crime has struck close to home.  In fact, right where I live.  It’s made national news, the tragic story of two 12-year-old girls who nearly stabbed to death their friend.

In case you don’t know about the story, they planned it for months.  They lured their friend into the woods and while one of the girls held her down, the other stabbed her 19 times—in the arms, legs and torso.  Amazingly, she managed to crawl out of the woods where a bicyclist found her.  She will live—but can you imagine the horror of living with what her “friends” did to her?

I don’t normally address newsy items on my blog.  But as a mother, it deeply affects me and in some ways is personal.

From the accounts I have read, most people who knew the girls never could have imagined such a horror.  They had good families, good upbringings. There’s some talk about one of the girls possibly suffering from a mental disorder.  But that seems to be the default when something unthinkable such as this happens. Is it possible?  Of course.  Something is clearly wrong with someone who acts out in such a way. But one of the things that can’t be ignored is how those girls spent their time.

I took it upon myself to visit the website that apparently sparked the idea of murder.  It’s called “Creepy Pasta.”  I don’t suggest anyone going to the site unless it’s for research purposes, which is what I did.  And believe me, I spent not more than a couple of minutes before I reached the conclusion it’s filled with nothing but evil and darkness.  They claim it’s a literary site.  While that might be true, it’s filled with paranormal and horror stories.

One of the fictional characters that these girls were trying to “please” when they attempted to murder their friend was a fictional character called Slenderman.  That immediately caused a reaction in me.  I had heard the name before…out of the mouth of my daughter.  Back when she was in middle school.  I remember at the time asking her who that was and she simply laughed it off.

If only I had taken the time back then to research it.  But we had taken all the necessary precautions to block websites and have reports sent to my husband’s email on sites visited.  Never once did I think about the possibility that at someone else’s house my daughter was looking at things she shouldn’t.

Without divulging too much information—but feeling it’s important to share the truth—she began to step foot into the dark world (not Slenderman but other avenues).  I should also point out that it was with a friend she had grown up with in the church.  I didn’t know this was going on but the signs were there.  I guess I’d convinced myself that it was “just a phase.”  At the same time, she had become the victim of bullying.  Again, something I wasn’t aware of—and so with the combination of both, my daughter began to change.

Today she is no longer bullied.  She is now terrified to even step a toe into the waters of evil and darkness.  But it doesn’t mean she hasn’t dealt with the repercussions.  We’re still dealing with some of the effects today.

I guess the point I want to make is that we can’t assume all is well in our children’s lives simply because we don’t see the bad.  Too many parents (especially Christian parents) have their heads stuck in the sand.  They believe that because they have put protective measures in place, it’s foolproof.  That just because their children are raised in the church, they don’t have to worry.  Or that since they see their children acting one way, it’s not possible they have another side to them when they’re not around.  We’re fooling ourselves.  And the devil is laughing.

It’s getting harder and harder to protect our children.  But we have to do what we can to get into their world—to know what’s influencing it and to accept the very real possibility that it may not be what we think.  We all want to believe the best.  We want to trust that our prayers, our commitment to live a Christian lifestyle is all it takes.  But the harsh reality is that sometimes it’s not enough.  I’ve seen it in my home and in others.

I wish I had a solution to all of this.  I wish I could say that if you follow this 10 step plan, you’re guaranteed holy children.  That if you live right, your children will do the same.  But all I can offer is my heartfelt plea to take your head out of the sand.  Ask questions. Investigate.  Don’t believe everything your children tell you.  Check up on them.  Look through their belongings.  Look up their friends online.  Go see if they’re really where they say they are.  And if they complain that you don’t trust them, tell them they’re right.

© 2014, Stephanie Romero

 

What Your Child Needs

17.mothers-day-vectorsAt times it’s hard to know what our child needs.  It could be a baby who has been fed, burped, changed and rocked.  But still she cries.  It might be a child who has a room filled with toys and a backyard to explore.  But still he complains there’s nothing to do.  It might be a teenager surrounded by good friends and supportive parents.  But still she draws inward.

Sometimes out of frustration I’ll throw my hands up in the air and say, “Well then I guess I can’t help you.”  And even though it appears that I’m angry at my child, I’m really angry at myself.  Because the truth is that my inability to meet a need causes me to feel like a failure.

But is it really necessary to meet our child’s every need?  Isn’t a little discomfort okay?  Isn’t disappointment a part of life?  And what’s so wrong with not having all the answers?

What is it that our child really needs?   While I can’t meet every one of them, some are more important to strive for than others.

A child needs…

  •  Hope…in a world filled with uncertainty and despair
  • Patience…in a touchy world that’s so on edge
  • Kindness…in a world where people so easily hurt one another
  • Peace…in a world marked by division and strife
  • Relationship…in a world that is so disconnected from one another
  • Compassion…in a world that judges and condemns

I’m learning that some needs I will never be able to meet.  In fact, those are probably supposed to be filled by God anyway—so it’s best I move aside.  But there are other needs that I most certainly can meet.  Those are the ones I will strive for today and every day.

© 2014, Stephanie Romero

 

 

Running on Empty: The Best Place to Be

fuel_gauge_analogI’ve never run out of gas but I’ve come awfully close.  So I can only imagine the helpless feeling it can cause, especially if you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere.  Running on empty isn’t a place we like to be, even as a mom.  But is it possible that it’s really the best place to be?

Here’s the thing I’ve noticed in my life.  When I’m trucking along and the journey is smooth sailing, I tend to depend less on God.  I’ve got the wheel (and have no intentions of belting out, “Jesus take the wheel”).  Because you see, I’m managing just fine.

What if God were to leave us like that?  What if there were no bumps in the road?  Or no crashes?  What if we never ran out of gas?  As much as that sounds like a great thing, it’s not reality.  And it’s not the best place to be.

Whenever I look back on some of the more difficult moments in my life, I notice a pattern.  It’s not until I’m running on fumes or completely out of gas that I truly recognize my need for Him.

One year in particular stands out.  It was several years ago when over a nine month period my life went completely topsy-turvy.  I put my 5th grader into public school, after he had been homeschooled up until then.  A week later I put my other two into the same school.  All I can say was that it was an extremely difficult transition (not for them but for me).

Our house was broken into, we decided to move from said house, we bought a new house that we moved into a week before Christmas (may I remind you that I live in the wintry state of Wisconsin) and for almost a year owned two homes.  Needless to say we were financially struggling and had to keep up two homes (which included shoveling).

In the midst of this, my husband (who was a store manager) was moved to another store in the neighboring state of Illinois, so he was suddenly commuting and not home as much as our family would have liked.  And he was putting miles on an older vehicle that was constantly needing repairs.

The icing on the cake was my daughter’s first negative experience in public school (she was in 2nd grade).  She caught lice from another student.  And she had it bad.  I spent hours and hours combing them out of her long, brown hair.  During which I cried and cried.  I was a complete basket case and close to having a nervous breakdown.  Oh, but if that wasn’t enough—I got lice!  Let me just take a moment here to say that you know you have a good friend when she’s willing to comb the lice out of your hair.  Well, there’s just simply no more I can say about all of this.  I nearly pulled my children out of school.

But there was one more stressful event that occurred during this nine month period.  My youngest son (who was in kindergarten) had a very bad asthma attack that scared me to death.  It took several treatments and medication to get him breathing normal again.

I don’t think it’s any surprise that I was running on empty—in every way possible.  Physically, spiritually and emotionally depleted.  And I’m not even mentioning the strain it put on my marriage.  So if anyone would have told me I was in the best place, I would have punched them in the nose.

Yet when I look back, it’s the truth.  I really was in the best place.  Space and time doesn’t allow me to share the many, many lessons God taught me.  Not only about Him but about myself as a child of God, a wife and a mother.

I don’t know what you’re going through right now.  I don’t know if you are running on empty.  Or if that will be your situation sometime in the future.  But I can tell you this, it’s in that place we come to the end of who we are and realize who He is.  Never does His faithfulness become more evident than when we have nothing within.  Never do we feel more full of Him than when we are completely empty of self.  It really is the best place to be.

© 2014, Stephanie Romero