How To Not Be Like Your Parents

“You look just like your mother!”

“The two of you are just a couple of bookends.”

“You and your mom even sound so much alike.”

Every corner I have turned, I have stumbled upon someone who is shocked at the uncanny resemblance I have to my mom. We look the same, although I am much taller. My eyes are blue, and hers green. But we have similar mannerisms, and often say the same phrases at the exact same moment. My brother said once during high school that being in our house is like living with two of the exact same people, who speak in stereo.

Then there is this guy.

Zak ebrahaim

When his uncle uttered the words, “Like father, like son,” an entirely different curse was spoken into existence. But he took a stand, and decided to NOT be like his father. It will take ten whole minutes of your life, but take a watch:

Zak Ebrahim is the author of the book The Terrorist’s Son. He grew up in Pittsburgh with a school teacher mom and an Islamic extremist father who was on of the men responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. A National Youth Convention, Busch Gardens and Jon Stewart challenged Zak to change his worldview. Although he grew up in a house of hatred, Zak has committed to living and spreading the message of peace. Zak has professed that he is not his father.

Even though we may look, sound and sometimes even act like our parents, we have the power to say no to carrying on any destructive habits they may have inadvertently passed on to us. Parents aren’t out to pass on their junk. In fact, most of them spend their entire lives trying to protect us from the very things that negatively affected them. But here is a TRUTH: Curses are a part of our history, whether we like it or not. VICTORY: We can choose what we do with that.

This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. now choose life, so that you adn your children may life and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Deut 30:19-20

No matter how fantastic your mom is or how horrible our father is, make a choice to let go of anything that chains your heart, digs up the hurt from your childhood, or allows you to soak in unforgiveness. Like Zak who was doomed for a life of violence and instead chose peace, you have permission to not be like your parent. You can be a curse breaker. Choose life, choose blessing…there is freedom awaiting for you, and that freedom will allow you to love… and my friend, love is what it is all about!

Who do you look more like, your mom or your dad? Comment and share with me your story of breaking curses!

LG | LP

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That One Time We Sold EVERYTHING

“I think we should just get rid of it all.”

He looked at me and said, “I was thinking the same thing but was afraid to tell you.”

We were moving back to Texas, and had a house full of “stuff”. A 2800 square foot house full of “stuff”. Toys, clothes, shoes, things to dust. Boxes and boxes of stuff.

And we hauled it all into our front yard, posted the signs and sold it. Well actually, we gave most of it away…and the rest, we might as well have.

It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Not just because it was me, but because I had to stand along side my kids while they learned the difficult lesson of materialism.

We loved our stuff. We attached ourselves to our stuff. Those are “my” dishes I bought in Mexico. Those are “my” legos. That’s “my” bag. Mine. Mine. Mine.

We kept a few things. I had a few pieces of furniture that have been in the family. I kept our memories, and school stuff from the kids. Those are still piled in my best friend’s garage in Florida. ( and I can’t wait to go back and dig through my boxes and get rid of more).

We came to Texas, all five of us, with just some clothes and shoes(and deodorant).

We call it “being in transition” but really we were technically homeless. So we shacked up with my bro and his fam for a few months until we could figure things out. Michael was waiting for his job transfer to come through from Florida to Texas, and I was figuring out how to organize the four of us in a few rooms, while feeling guilty for kicking my nephews out of their rooms.

We finally moved into our own space with still nothing but our clothes. We didn’t have a huge hunk of cash, so we financed mattresses, a fridge and a couch and dining room table (which we are still paying on a year later…smack me in the face).

My room has a bed. Yes just a mattress on metal slates. I have a broken tower fan in the corner by my side of the bed, just for the noise–it doesn’t stand on it’s own, it just leans in the corner.

We have the minimal of everything. And have now for a year.

And it’s absolutely freeing and amazing, and I love it!

Well, sometimes….

Sometimes I get caught up in the materialism of the city I live in, because believe it or not San Antonio, Texas is a town that likes stuff, likes to buy stuff, and wear new stuff, and spend a lot of money on stuff.

But most of the time I stay pretty grounded, because none of the “stuff” matters.

That one time we sold all of our stuff changed me forever. Not just on what I should own, or what I buy for my kids. No just about living minimally (Because ladies if you have to clean all the time, you need to get rid of it!) But about so many other things in the world.

I find myself sometimes sickened by the materialism in America. Not just because other countries are in poverty or need. Not because I’m on some high-horse, filled with pride about being able to simplify.

The reason I get sickened is this — people don’t even see what materialism, and wanting stuff, and taking things for granted is doing to them. People don’t see how it completely blocks a flow of the Holy Spirit into their lives. People fight for the wrong things, and work for stuff that doesn’t matter. People ROB THEMSELVES of joy and peace and love because of their Americanized perspectives.

I know, I know. Not you.

It’s just me.

This has been my soapbox lately. This idea of wastefulness and taking things for granted. This soapbox standings is probably why I got in a few heated discussions over the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS awareness and fundraising.

Maybe it will pass, this feeling of being disgusted by our world’s selfishness and willingness to just accept things as they are.

But I hope it doesn’t.

Father’s Day For The Fatherless

I flipped through my grandma’s Avon catalog. She was a big believer in Avon, therefore, so was I. I came across all the Father’s Day goods. Cheap cologne, and pens in the shape of baseball bats or golf putters. A golf putter it was. My grandmother placed the order and I waited with great anticipation for it to come in. I wrapped it up, and couldn’t wait to give my prize. Father’s Day came and proudly I walked over and gave the coolest gift ever…to my mom.

She deserved that pen, after all she was my mom and my dad. Although through the years I had a step dad and a fantastic grandfather, I grew up without a dad. In fact, my biological father’s parental rights were terminated when I was eight, and I was never adopted by anyone else. So 29 years ago, I officially became fatherless. Like legit fatherless.

My life has been a struggle of wondering and wandering. Searching for acceptance, fighting rejection, asking myself why I wasn’t worthy enough. Even now I struggle. Especially watching my own kids with their fathers. I hear them call them dad, and I have no ability to even begin to wrap my mind around what that feels like to call someone dad.

As an adult I’ve reached out to my father and he still has no desire to be part of my life or my brothers. I can’t answer for him, or find any reason. He’s not a drug addict or homeless. I see photos of him on Facebook playing with my cousins kids and celebrating Christmas. But still he has no longing to be a part of our lives.

Periodically I’ve had to answer questions from my kids, who have grown up without a grandfather:

Why doesn’t your dad love you?

Why doesn’t your dad want to be our grandpa?

Where is he?

What does he look like?

I show them one of the only photos I have of me and my dad, tell them he lives somewhere in California or Colorado and then answer the same questions I’ve asked myself throughout my life with an emphatic: I really do not know.

As I’ve searched for my earthly dad, my heavenly father has gently drawn me near to Him. The teenage years of crying in my room, God was there, listening. The years of self-destruction as I longed to be loved, God’s grace covered me. The moments I sacrificed my dignity to be accepted, God’s mercy rained–in fact, it poured. When I found the man to spend the rest of my life with, God gave me tremendous love…a love that is patient with my pain, and understanding of my lifelong grief. A husband who is a loving, caring and wise father to all five of our kids.

So to those who are like me and are fatherless on this father’s day, hold tight to hope. You indeed, my friend, are not truly fatherless. God has sent his love to you in some fashion–whether it’s your mother, your husband, your children. And even if not…even if you feel as if you are all alone and unwanted, God has never left you, abandoned you or rejected you.

The pain you feel for yourself is the pain God feels for you, with you. He never wanted this for you… He never wanted this for us.

I cannot answer why, or tell you when the pain will end…but I assure you, the depth of his love for you is immeasurable. He does what every father should do….

He listens.

He quickly forgives.He comes to your rescue.

He is proud of you.

He is patient.

He willingly gave His life for you.

Because He loves you.

So happy father’s day….to all the dads who have loved …to all the dads and grandpa’s who have passed….and to the husbands who love their kids more than life. Happy Father’s day to my Father in heaven.

Happy father’s day to MY husband who has taught me the love of Christ…and gives my kids a better life than mine, a love that I have never had for myself.

Jesus said:

….You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33

 

Donald Sterling Can Teach You Something

Our family is pretty big basketball fans.  Even my girlie, cheerleader daughter has her opinions on players and loves watching–most of the time.  I am more of a college basketball fan, loving every minute of the Final Four.  But now that the NBA playoffs are on, so is our television, non-stop, game after game.  All  I can say about that is: Go Spurs Go! (but we all know it’s rigged, anyway.)

spurs

The entire nations basketball fun of hoping their team has been picked by the gamblers to win this year was temporarily ruined by the Donald Sterling Scandal.  In case you don’t know, or care about the NBA, I will bring you up to speed.  Donald Sterling is the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers.  His net worth is $1.9 BILLION—yes Billion.  Not only does he own the team, he has convinced himself he owns the players.  He made horrible racist statements that, in my opinion, were leaked by his mistress to most likely get back at him for not divorcing his wife so that she could have his BILLIONS.  Yes, Billions.

Donald Sterling

As a result, the NBA has banned him for life from any NBA activity ever, he has to pay $2.5 million (a drop in the bucket) and he is forced to sell his team.  His nasty remarks offended people who most likely once called him “friend”. The very people who play basketball for him were insulted. The night those comments came out to the public, his team lost big. And here is why:

WORDS MATTER.

No matter how much money you make, or don’t.  No matter what your background, your nationality, your race, your gender…words matter. 

As a counselor I’ve worked with so many victims of abuse who have been bruised and battered.  Those wounds have healed, but what lingers are the words, the hurtful, hateful words that the enemy uses to taunt and torture.  Words have tremendous power:

The tongue can bring death or life;  those who love to talk will reap the consequences. Proverbs 18:21

Sterling’s words brought death, to himself and to other’s.  But something that is even scarier is that the words we say are a reflection of what is within is. 

 

But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart… Matthew 15:18

Is your heart full of hate like Billionaire Donald Sterling?

Is your heart full of unforgiveness, making you sarcastic and cynical?

Is your heart full of gratitude, allowing you to give of your time and treasure to those who need it?

Is your heart full of love, showing comopassion and love to those around you?

Not sure?! Spend some time reflecting on what you said to your family today, or your co-workers or friends yesterday.  Once your words have been spoken, the power of life and death or unleashed.  Donald Sterling may have been banned and fined, but what’s worse is living knowing that his heart is filled with hate and entitlement.  His consequence is minimal compared to the irreversable damage already done. 

Live with no regrets, speak life.

Thoughts?  Let me know!

LG|LP Tiff <3

A Pug-napping From a Dog Hater

On Friday I was driving home and received a call from my husband.  The conversation went something like this:

Him: “Umm, Precious is Gone.”

Me:  “What? You’re kidding right?”

Him: “No, someone stole her and her kennel right out of the garage.”

Me: “NOOOO!” (the hysterics began)

Him: “Yah, Cody had given her a bath and put her in her kennel in the garage. He left the garage open, of course.  Someone must have come by and taken her.”

Me: “No, No NO!” (Alyssa, in the passenger seat begins her hysterics.”

Him: “Yah me and the boys are gonna try and figure this out but Precious is gone.”

I hang up and weep as uncontrollably as possible when driving down 1604. My daughter begins asking all the right questions through her tears, “Why would someone do that? … Do you think they will hurt her?….Where is she?….Is she scared?”

She would cry loud, then I would ball.  Then I would weep, and she would wail.

Precioius the Pug

Right as we are exiting, my phone rings.

Him: “We found her, she was at the neighbors. She’s fine.”

Me: “What the hell?” (Immediate calmness)

Him: “Some teenagers rode by on their bike and thought we were abusing her and she was wet with sweat.  They pulled out the kennel.  Our neighbors saw and took Precious from them.”

Me: “Ok, I’m glad she’s okay.” (trying to sound like I hadn’t been howling and bawling over my dog.)

What the hell?  is the question I really asked myself.  Has I just became totally out of control hysterical over a missing pug?  If you’ve really known me for any length of time you know that I have spent most of my life as an animal hater.  I don’t hate them like in wanting something bad to happen to them.  I have just never had any compassion, tolerance or patience for animals.  I have never loved them….until now….until Precious.  I mean who can blame me?

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I see people at the gym, friends who are losing weight, and even me, I’m trying to shed a few winter storage–I asked myself,”Where do all the pounds actually Go?” The changing of a body is pretty miraculous.  But the changing of a person is, well, divine.

I thought of all the other ways in my life that I’m not anymore…

-The Liar

-The Thief

-The Yelling Mom

-The Compassion-less

-The Cynical

-The Fearful

Instead, God has redeemed me–Freed me…and I’m now…

-The Seeker of Truth

-The Giver

-The Patient Mom

-The Understanding

-The Forgiving

-The Faithful

There is not one self-help book or show of Oprah that changed me.  I didn’t try harder, or just simply grow older…No it’s so much more.  I have been transformed –changed into something new.  Over the last 15 years of my life, I’ve gone through a conversion.  And like our bodies, when our pounds simply disappear, my old ways–and the desire for my old ways–have completely vanished.  And they’ve been replaced with something new, and hopeful and filled with life.  I once was…but now I am….  Praise God!

How about you?  Comment and tell me …. I once was ___________ but now I am___________.  Praise God!

LG|LP Tiff <3

 

NOTICE: No Pug was harmed in the making of this blog post, nor during the kidnapping.  Precious is alive and well, currently in the middle of her six hour daily nap at my feet.