Grieving During the Holidays

I posted these reminders in 2017, after our daughter died of a fetal maternal hemorrhage at 18 weeks gestation. Now, in 2020, there are so many grieving across our nation. They are grieving the loss of their livelihoods, their jobs, a family member, a loved one, the loss of so many experiences over the last 9 months, and many who will not be able to be with their families this Holiday season.

So, for all of those in our lives who may be grieving this Holiday season, a few kind reminders:

1. Lower your expectations.Your grieving family member might not be able to do things they “normally” do at the holidays. (Baking, cooking, gathering around the kitchen just to visit, or showing up etc.) Whatever they are able to do, should be okay. Let that be okay.

2. Be willing to change or alter traditions.In our family we usually take turns around the dinner table saying what we are thankful for. For someone who is grieving a loss, this can be especially difficult. We altered this tradition to have each family member have a spokesperson to “highlight” things the family was thankful for. This should also be mentioned in advance, so people are not caught off guard and can prepare.

3. Try to listen without offering a solution.It’s hard to see our loved ones sad. But, sometimes it can’t be helped and it is part of the grieving process. It’s better to just be there and say “I love you” and “I hurt for you” than to say the wrong thing.

Psalm 118 says “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;for his steadfast love endures forever!” I wrote and recorded this little tune of Thanksgiving, based on Psalm 118, a few years ago. Still giving thanks!

Working full time with kids…it’s a whole new summer

What a difference!

We are 5+ weeks in with a few weeks to go and this summer has been very different from the last 10 “summers with kids.”
10 years ago, we were “in the throws” with a newborn baby boy- our Bakri. A very sweet time, really. Rocking chairs, cradles, cuddles, nursing and sleep deprived.
As we were blessed with more babies, a lot of things became a lot easier.
For example, with more children I had less time to focus on one child.
For me, that meant I was a lot less neurotic with the addition of more children. (Sorry, Bakri!)
But, that has just been my personal experience.

I am sure there are parents of single children that have it all figured out. I, however, believe that I’ve improved with each child. 🙂 Thankfully, for them.  I’m pretty chill with them.
So, El summers have been pretty low-key. And, we have been blessed to travel a little: to California, Florida, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Illinois and also places within Texas.
I began working part time before Maddux, our second son was born.
As the kids got old enough, we would fill our summers with VBS at various churches where we either visited or knew people well and lots of YMCA time. I even had a couple of ‘theme week’ summers which the kids really loved. For an example of a theme week, click here http://elmomma.blogspot.com/2013/08/su-mmerweek-5-theme-week-performance.html?m=1 I loved theme weeks too. I especially loved it when we had guest camp leaders and extra campers. That always made it extra fun for all.
Now that I am working full time, albeit with a very flexible family-friendly schedule, I worked hard to plan out our summer a couple of months before it began. I looked at all the fliers that were sent home from school, considered the VBS camps we had done in the past and asked other parents what they were doing with their children. We also did swim team for the first time. More about that later, but I’ll just say we loved swim team! So far, our summer rhythm feels really good. The ELs seem really happy too. Some things they are doing together and some things are based on their own interests. 
How do you and your kids spend your summer?
Hope it’s a happy summer, friends! Enjoy your loved ones.
Xoxo,
El Momma 

Ninjago camp 

Swim team finals 

Disney Musical Theater Camp

Waiting for the other ELs at swim practice

More or Less "Broken"

Sometimes I wonder about the “people online.”
You know the ones.
The ones that are often referred to as “trolls” because they troll websites looking to cause a fight.
They aren’t “us,” right?
I wouldn’t be friends with someone like that, would I? Or, would I?
I don’t spend a lot of time reading comments on articles or youtube videos.
Just as a small example, the below is a screenshot of a YouTube of my second oldest son talking at 11 months. I’ve deleted the comments that call him the “r-word” or generally make a derogatory comment about a baby. But, I leave most. I often wonder who took the time to give a video of a baby (my baby) a thumbs down? But, I digress…

 

But, I have seen enough to feel as though there are a lot of mean “people online.”
Does this mean there are a lot of mean people out there?
Or, are we creating online caricatures of ourselves that can say and be our worst selves?
If we really aren’t that mean and these are just caricatures we are hiding behind, then it seems to be more of a sign of our brokenness than anything else.
We are so broken that we want to break others.
We want to see that they are more broken than we are.
Break them down.
Put them in a box.
Label them.
Blame them.
I read both sides.
I’m sure you do too.
I know people who blame our current president for every problem. I know others who blame our most recent past president for every problem or the president before him. And so on.
It’s often “us” vs. “them.”
It’s rarely a “we.”
We don’t see ourselves as the bad guys.
Because, frankly we are just not as bad as the other guy.
At least we don’t believe we are.
We certainly don’t have the power of our elected officials to make change, so when they don’t or they do, they are definitely worse than us.
We don’t physically hurt people.
We aren’t murderers.
We don’t leave guns out in our homes for our young children or their friends to stumble upon.
We’re not racist.
We’re not sexist.
We’re not that religion or that one or that one.
We’re not like “them.”
We’re better.
Or, are we?
Just a thought.
But, it seems to me that if we are all broken, then we are all broken. Broken more? Or, broken less? Does it even matter? Broken is broken. And, by His grace we are forgiven.

Today’s “think on this” comes from Romans 3:21.  But now <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-27997AD" data-link="(AD)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>the righteousness of God <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-27997AE" data-link="(AE)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>has been manifested apart from the law, although <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-27997AF" data-link="(AF)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-27998AG" data-link="(AG)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-27998AH" data-link="(AH)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>For there is no distinction:  for <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-27999AI" data-link="(AI)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,  <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-28000AJ" data-link="(AJ)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>and are justified <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-28000AK" data-link="(AK)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>by his grace as a gift, <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-28000AL" data-link="(AL)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,  whom God <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-28001AM" data-link="(AM)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>put forward as <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-28001AN" data-link="(AN)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>a propitiation <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-28001AO" data-link="(AO)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-28001AP" data-link="(AP)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>his divine forbearance he had passed over <span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-ESV-28001AQ" data-link="(AQ)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>former sins.  It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”


Back in the swing

We’re two weeks in and I’m tired. Any other mommas and dads with me?
Summers and vacations are times when I find my rhythm. Who doesn’t love relaxing and taking a break from the norm to refresh. But, even so, I love structure. I love knowing what’s next, scheduling myself silly until I just fall over at the end of each day. It’s part of the reason we plan weekly themes in the summers. It helps me to make a plan. A plan that still allows all of us to sleep in on summer days.

And, that is the reason I’m so tired. Every school day I wake up by 6am. I am NOT an early riser. I’m a sleeper and a dreamer. I’m also a Momma, so I convince myself if I just get up now, I can take a nap once all of the Els are at school/work. That’s just me lying to myself. I’ll never stop to take a nap. But, the thought is nice.

So, we’re off. In the rhythm of school and work and practices and lessons and choirs and teaching and rehearsals and total chaos. We’re in our rhythm. We’re happy and good, but tired. How are you doing with the kids back in school? 

About El Momma: Rebekah Maddux El-Hakam is a worship leader and songwriter from Houston, Texas. Her debut album, Radiant You received 4.5 stars from NewReleaseTuesday and was produced by Marshall Altman. A 6 song sampler is available for free on Noisetrade Free Noisetrade Download and the entire album is available for purchase on iTunes

Delinquent Blogger…..again

Just when I think I am on a roll. Possibly posting everyday or maybe even three to four times a week, I let a month go by with nothing. Oops. I do have a million great excuses. Here are a few:

1. I have 3 children age 4 and under
2. I am NEVER alone
3. My computer and I have an on again- off again relationship
4. Because of #3, I’m unable to download pictures currently and I love to put pictures up on the blog
5. I have a job other than mommy, wife, homemaker, etc.
6. There are not enough hours in the day
7. I am learning to sew
8. My day starts early and by the time it ends, I can barely make it to the pillow before passing out!

So, there you have it. Just 8 of the million I could list. This is an attempt to get back on track with the blog. I know I don’t have many “followers”- there are six of you presently, however, I’ve always looked at this as a way for me to keep up with friends and also “remember when” from our lives. If I don’t write it, blog it, text it, facebook it, twitter it, etc. I’ll forget it! 

See you soon,

El Momma

I Promise to Not Give You Advice!

At the request of a few friends, I’ve decided to add to my blog. I typically just post things I have pictures of. Which, I am still going to do. But, I am also going to post about other things: potty training, dinner with the family, reading, how I go out with 3 kids, etc.
I promise, I am not giving parenting advice or advice on raising kids or being a wife. I am simply going to put my own experiences down in words. It will also help me remember when one child reaches a stage that I’ve already been through with an older child and I forget what worked OR what didn’t work before.
So, here goes. Hope I don’t bore you too much!