Family


by Julie Branstetter, Th.B. Welcome to my family blog. I have been a 'stay at home mom' from the time I gave birth to my first daughter in 2002. I started homeschooling in 2013. I am a Christian mom and often find much of my encouragement through my faith. My writing is inspired by Scripture. Then there are the things that we ladies learn from experience. Once you've been married with children for a number of years you pick up a few nuggets of wisdom. I am so thankful for the help I have gained from other parents and couples over the years. I hope these articles will also enlighten and encourage you in the same way. Guest posting is always welcomed.

A great post by Lauren Casper

December 10, 2014

To the Trader Joe’s Employee Who Noticed My Family in the Parking Lot...

I was tired, hurried, frustrated and ready to just go home. My husband, John, was pushing our son, Mareto, in the cart as fast as he could to leave the store before the meltdown got worse. We were frantically trying to open up a cereal bar to stem the tears. Our daughter, Arsema, was strapped to my chest in the ergo carrier watching it all through wide eyes. Sweat beads were forming on my forehead, caused in part by my embarrassment but mostly from the heat and amount of energy I was exerting by running through Trader Joe’s with my 18 pound baby strapped to my chest and my toddler screaming behind me.

I sure didn’t feel like I was going to be in the running for any mom of the year awards. I felt like a hot mess. In fact, I was sincerely hoping no one was looking at us too closely… that somehow we were invisible to the people bustling around us. It was chaotic, exhausting and an unfortunately all-too-common experience for us.

Our family doesn’t exactly blend in with the wallpaper. Not only are we two white parents with a brown son and daughter (something that causes enough stares and questions all by itself), but our son has noticeable developmental delays and different behaviors because of autism, and our daughter has missing and webbed digits. In other words, when we all go out together, we stand out. Usually I don’t mind, and often I love it. My children are beautiful, and so is our story.

Sometimes though, on the days when we’re far from having it together, I do mind. Those days I just want to blend in with the crowd and hide far away from the curious stares. Some days I get tired of it all and just want to be a family — not the adoptive family, not the family with special needs children, not the unique family — just a family. This was one of those days.

I was close to tears as John took Mareto to put the cart away. I rushed through the doors with Arsema on my chest to get to the car as quickly as possible when a voice behind me slowed my steps.

“Ma’am!” she called out. I slowed, hoping and praying she wasn’t talking to me.

“Ma’am!” I stopped and turned to find a young woman rushing toward me. A bright smile covered her face, and I immediately noticed her beautiful black curls, just like the black curls snuggled on my chest, tickling my chin. Recognizing her shirt, I realized she worked there and assumed I must have dropped something. I looked at her, holding back my tears, waiting.

“I just wanted you to have this bouquet…” and I looked down to see the flowers in her hands. She quickly continued to explain…

“I was adopted as a baby, and it has been a wonderful thing. We need more families like yours.” I stared at her, stunned. Hadn’t she seen what a disaster we were in the store? Didn’t she see that we were barely able to keep it together? Didn’t she see what I felt were all my failures as a mom?

As she handed me the flowers I managed to choke out a thank you and tried to express that this meant the world to me. She patted my shoulder, told me my family was beautiful and walked back into the store.

My steps were much slower as I finally headed to the car with my arms full of flowers and tears that had spilled over onto my cheeks. On a day when I felt like we were the worst example of family… a day when I hoped no one noticed us… she did. But she didn’t see what I assumed everyone was seeing. She didn’t think what I assumed everyone was thinking. She saw beauty and love and hope and family. She thought we were wonderful and it made her smile.

I wish I had thought to get her name. I wish I could go back and tell her, two years later, what her gift continues to mean to me today. To the beautiful young woman in the parking lot of Trader Joe’s … thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are a treasure.

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This post originally appeared on LaurenCasper.com.

 

The Last Time

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A Tea Part Night

September 3, 2014

The girls went for a bike ride with my husband, Mike, this evening.  They do this just about everyday.  We use to go as a family everyday but I haven't been able to go due to my pregnancy and now we are waiting for Jakob to be old enough to ride in the buggy.  I look forward to riding as a family again.  I am missing our long bike rides.  When they came back the girls had a handful of sunflowers they picked for me.  There are several tobacco fields around here with those lovely weeds g...

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Childhood Behavior - Dealing

September 3, 2014

This is what I have learned in the last few weeks.  It's something I knew once before but what we do not practice we lose.  Whether you are a parent, grandparent, teacher, mentor, Sunday school teacher, etc...  this is the truth for the way to deal with children and their behavior at home, in the classroom, etc.

 

I believe in offering rewards for good behavior to children.  I believe they should be small rewards with short term goals in mind.  For example for a week of good behavio...


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Love Is All You Need

September 3, 2014

We placed this on the wall in our bedroom after we were married.  It is a daily reminder of the  vows we took for one another.  The wreath is white which symbolizes purity.  The shape of the wreath symbolizes unending love and commitment.  The thorny branches symbolize the trials that come with life but the white vine that binds them all together symbolizes God in our lives.  Though troubles will come, God is in control and He makes all things work together for our good.  The plaque i...


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The Sound of Abortion

September 3, 2014
This is not graphic. Don't be afraid to watch it, it is NOT the sound of a real abortion. I would not post something like that. It is an audible way to realize the volume (in numbers) of abortion deaths compared the number of deaths we have had in America's many wars.


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A Wise Woman Builds

September 3, 2014

The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.
~ Proverbs 14:1

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These Are The Days

September 3, 2014

THESE ARE THE DAYS

There is one thing I am learning now that my children have started staying home with me and are being home schooled.  After having been indoors for weeks because of on again and off again snow storms I have seen comments by other parents that are all too familiar to the woman I once was and it only caught my attention because I realize I no longer feel this way.  I no longer look forward to the day that my kids will get out from under my skin and go back to school....


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100 Summer Family Things To Do

September 2, 2014

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COOKING CAN GIVE KIDS CONFIDENCE!

July 16, 2012
 

We've reached another milestone and I love this one!  My daughter, Zoe, has turned 10 years old and she is learning to cook.  She started out making a chocolate cream pie from a kit in a box from the grocery store.  It was very very delicious.  It was too delicious; like adding weigh to my hips delicious.  so after I devoured the second pie I realized I needed to show her something else.  She has since learned to responsibly use the oven and the stove.  She makes Ramen noodles, and boiled e...
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MY CHILDREN ARE SPECIAL AND YOURS ARE TOO!

June 14, 2012
My children are special and I hope you believe that yours are too.  I recently read an article about why a person believed their children were not special and even went so far as to say their readers' children were also not special either.  The attack was on the word 'special'.  The political correctness monster has now found a new word to taboo and apparently it is the telling of one's children that they are 'special'.  Somehow, from the slant of the article, telling children they are specia...

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AWARDS DAY AND HOMESCHOOLING

June 13, 2012
I am so proud of my girls.  I know, aren't we all?  I attended their awards day ceremony last week before school released for the summer and I was reminded of an earlier post I made about "My Stutter Bug" and how I had come to terms with the fact that Willow does have a stuttering problem but that I was determined to help her overcome that obstacle and make high achievements despite the problem.  I am happy to say that she received 5 awards on awards day; one for music, reading, math, the lit...

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TEACHING GIRLS TO BE GRACIOUS

June 13, 2012
When my husband finally built up the nerve to ask for our first date, I embarrassed myself.  I didn't know it right away, but I embarrassed myself.  He stammered several times when asking me if I would like to go out on a date with him.  Although this was 12 years ago and I was much less mature then, I actually didn't notice that he stammered.  I was only playing with him when I asked him what he said which forced him to ask me again.  I knew what he had said, I was just flirting.  So he stam...

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MARRIAGE; IT'S 100/0.

May 22, 2012
One of the things I love about marriage is having my best friend always by my side.  Even during those times when we aggravate one another we still wouldn't ever have it any other way.  Maybe we are an odd couple but we find it difficult to be away from each other for even a few hours and we've been together in that fashion for going on 13 years.  From the time we first started dating we just knew we wanted to always be together.  There are very infrequent times when my husband will have to w...

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MY STUTTER BUG

May 2, 2012
As much as I had hoped my youngest daughter, Willow, would grow out of some of her speech issues, I now realize that she has a speech disorder and in order to help her I have to be able to admit it.  Some days are better than others and some times she will regress and have difficulty completing her sentences.  Just recently I noticed her changing which words she chooses to use when speaking.  Last week, out of frustration, she just stopped mid-sentence and said, " never mind." My heart sank, ...

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THE MOST PRECIOUS MOMENTS

April 16, 2012
I took the girls hiking and we stopped for a rest along the way.  I grabbed this shot of them when they weren't looking.  I love moments like this.  I love having a photo that will one day remind me of the tiny span of their shoulders, of a time when their feet barely touched the ground.  Any amount of time that passes while they are growing up is too fast for me.  I just can't hold on to it enough.  But thank goodness for grabbing shots like these.  These are my greatest accomplishments taki...

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MY CHILD, THE MONKEY!

April 2, 2012
So Saturday afternoon, Willow decides she is no longer a human being, but wants to be a little monkey.  I am laying down in the bedroom trying to rest off an impending headache and Mike is playing on his drum set.  All of a sudden we hear Zoe screaming!!!  That kind of scream that tells you something IS WRONG!  So we both run into the living room and Mike takes Willow tot he bathroom because she is bleeding like crazy from her face. :(  I start finding out exactly what happened from Zoe...

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HOW TO TEACH A CHILD TO LIE

March 26, 2012
The quickest way to teach a child to lie is to overreact when they tell the truth!  Who in their right mind wants to walk into a hurricane?  Not I, Not you, not our children either.  They learn very young how to avoid uncomfortable situations and it includes lying.  It's true no matter what they're age.  Everyone makes mistakes and everyone needs to know they have a safe place to go and admit their wrongs without being overly punished.  How would you handle a friend who confesses they've acci...

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