From the Author

31May16

eliciahyder

If you wish to read more from the author behind Impacting Journey, please visit these websites (as this blog is no longer active):

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Elicia Hyder is a bestselling novelist and avid blogger.

 


barackobama

So, the big news this week is Obama’s address to school children.  Should or should he not be allowed to do this without parental consent?  

I got a phone call from my kid’s school yesterday letting me know that they will be listening to the Presidential address.  While I appreciate them letting me know, I found it kind of odd.  I don’t remember a note going home or a phone call being made to my parents when Ronald Reagan had something to say.  I clearly remember watching Reagan a LOT.  “Just say no, kids!”

nancy_reagan

From what I’ve been told, Obama’s student address has nothing to do with politics.  He’s encouraging kids to stay in school and achieve their dreams.  While I don’t agree with a lot of what Obama has to say, I’m not sure anyone can argue with this particular message. 

Hearing the President speak is a memorable moment and it is one that I’m glad my daughter will have. 

Despite all of the many challenges our nation is facing, being an American is still something to be proud of.  I, for one, hope that pride is passed on to my kids.  And while you might not like Obama or support him, as the President of the United States of America – the country YOUR CHILDREN ARE GROWING UP IN, you’d better hope and pray that he succeeds. 

I still Pledge Allegiance to the Flag… ONE Nation.  Under God.  With Liberty and Justice for ALL.


We are well into my daughter’s third week of elementary school and I would like to report that we have not been late one time!  So, all of you suckers who were betting against me, cough it up – YOU LOSE.

I will admit that thanks to her grandparents, my kindergartner does have her own alarm clock.  By the time I roll my butt out of bed and stumble blindly to the coffee pot, she is dressed, her teeth are brushed and she has made her own breakfast.  However, that is not the point here.

The point is that I have “arrived” at adulthood.  The days of existing as a screw-up kid cleverly disguised as a 28 year old responsible mother of 2 are over.  I am finally a bonafide grown up.

I joined the PTO. 

For the cool kids out there that have no idea what the PTO is, let me bring you up to speed.  PTO stands for Parent/Teacher Organization. In a nutshell, I – the mom who taught her preschoolers the art of headbanging – will be hosting bake sales, chaperoning field trips, and cutting out Christmas snowflake decorations this school year. 

And if you make fun of me, I promise to punch you in the mouth, knit you a doily, and sop up your blood with it.

Coming to a bumper near you…
bumper


meg3“Friends are the family you make for yourself.” – Unknown

If Megan had been born a man, my boyfriend would be in big trouble.  In fact, if we were lesbians, I’d have it made.  She has helped me be my best, been a victim of my worst and still calls me her best friend.

Everyone should have a Megan. 

While moving some boxes around, Megan discovered a stash of notes we’d passed back and forth in high school.  We sat up giggling until 3AM Saturday morning reading how ridiculous we were.  We laughed, we cried, we cringed and we laughed some more.  Our trip down memory lane proved that a few things are certain: I did NOT have life figured out like I thought I did.  My parents really were smarter than me.  I am glad I am no longer 14.  Megan and I really are best friends FOREVER.

Like most girls, during my school days I had numerous BFF’s.  It wasn’t until I became an adult that I really understood what true friendship was.  Real best friends do not come and go with semester changes and they often stick around even when you don’t want them to.  They will help clean up your love life as well as your vomit.  Best friends have not only seen you naked, but have possibly seen you push another human being out of your hoo-ha.  The title should not be handed out lightly. 

meg2

Yesterday, my mom lost her “Megan.”  Her name was Joyce and she was my mother’s very best friend.  A car accident suddenly claimed her life and the person my mom has exchanged her life story with was gone.  It has been a blow to our whole family. 

As I lay in bed with my sweet Mama last night, I thought about how fortunate we are to be able to reach beyond the boundaries of family and truly be loved by others we encounter.  This life is too short.  Best friends are few and far between.  Mom said to me, “Best friends don’t come along often.  We’re lucky to get one.”

I’m lucky enough to get two.  Brenda, the other woman in this world subjected to my madness gave me a picture for Christmas that says, “A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future and loves you just as you are today.”

bffs

I am reminded to not take these precious souls for granted.  We may not share the same bloodline, but are sisters none the less.

Go rest high on that mountain, Joyce.  You will be missed.


churchAlert the media – I went to church yesterday.  Scratch that, just alert my mother because she’s the only one who really cares.  For the past few months I’ve been in church burn-out mode.  Rather than Sunday mornings being a time of worship and refreshing, church has sort of felt like maddening water torture.  I guess we all go through that from time to time and I don’t feel too bad about.  God made me a complicated and emotional creature so I’m sure He’s not surprised… and judging by some church services I’ve been to in my day, it is quite obvious that He too stays home on occasion.

A year ago, I began visiting my sister’s church.  It’s a protestant non-denominational congregation that meets in an old retired convent.  Apparently, this pastor skipped class the day that his seminary covered the rulebook for organized Southern religion.  It is unlike any other church I have ever been a part of.  There is no elaborate production to their worship.  No one stands on a stage to perform.  Instead of expensive stained glass artwork there is a simple cross made of drift wood that hangs on the wall.  Each prayer request is called out loud and new visitors receive a handwritten card in the mail.  This, to me, is church done well.

tvc

Yesterday, I noticed for the first time that they do not collect an offering.  There is a non-descriptive box by the door for collecting donations.  I’ve worked in the church world for ten years, so I know how important the offering is.  If the congregation doesn’t give, the lights get turned off, VBS doesn’t happen, and the staff members don’t get paid.  Some churches overdo the offertory and people quickly become jaded by church leaders “beating the sheep” to receive donations, as the pastor said yesterday.  Their philosophy is based off of 2 Corinthians 2:7, “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.”

I believe that everyone should donate to something, whether it is church work, world relief or a children’s hospital.  Donating encourages a healthy perspective on money and allows us to feel like we’re a part of something bigger than ourselves.  In 2008, despite the economic crisis, Americans gave more than $307 billion dollars to charities.  Based on that fact alone, I don’t think our great nation is going to fall apart just yet.  We still have a lot of heart left – and heart will carry you a long way.

For where your treasure is… there your heart will be also.
Where is YOUR heart?

Want to get involved but don’t know how?  Here’s a ministry I proudly support and highly recommend.

compassion


Today my daughter took her kindergarten assessment test.  Forgive me while I switch into Proud-Mama-Mode and brag for a moment.  The average score for this test is 90.  My daughter scored 112.  I am well on my way to having a “My kid is smarter than your kid” bumper sticker on my car. 

My mind drifts back to when I started kindergarten.  I remember that day very well.  I wore blue shorts and a blue and white striped shirt with new white Keds.  I had a brand new Barbie backpack.  My hair was in the same cut that my daughter’s is in.  I was determined to ride the school bus so Mom met me at the school and I bought cafeteria food for lunch.  To say that I was excited was a drastic understatement.  One would’ve thought that my elementary school was actually located inside Cinderella’s Castle at Disneyworld and not across from a cow pasture in Nowhereville, NC.  Life was just beginning and I was eager to jump on the education train and take off!

Enter Kindergarten teacher FROM HELL.

I won’t call names here, even though I REALLY want to, but my kindergarten teacher was 3 shades of evil.  Rather than studying at a university, I’m convinced that this woman received her degree from an Al-Queda torture center.  She hated me.  I do not exaggerate.  From the first day of school she HATED me.  Granted, I was a colorful child.  I liked to talk, giggle and oddly enough, I even quacked like a duck for the first three months of school… but that is no reason to receive the treatment I did that year. 

Every day I was in trouble for something, whether I was guilty or not.  I never received special treats like the other kids and frequently sat in time-out during recess.  I always had to sleep in the dreaded spot by her desk at naptime and I NEVER got to be the Wake-Up Fairy.  She would scream at me until her face turned red and I started to cry.  My mother, who worked at the school, was continually in my classroom defending me from the horrid teacher.  My whole family remembers that year.

I believe that things that happen to us as children directly mold and shape the adults that we become.  While I do not blame any of the bad choices I made on anyone, I can’t help but wonder how my life might have been altered had I not had her as a teacher.  If I hadn’t been mislabeled as such a “bad kid” at such a formative age, would I have had more respect for myself and made better decisions when I got older?  Maybe.  We’ll never know. 

Two weeks ago, while at out with friends in my hometown, we saw this woman.  After telling the details over dinner, they all agreed that she even looked evil.  Of course, the teacher didn’t regard my presence and wouldn’t remember me if her life depended on it.  All the while, my blood boiled over at the simple sight of her.  She still teaches kindergarten.

Canaan’s first day of school is next week.  She is wearing blue shorts and a blue and white striped shirt.  She picked out a brand new Barbie backpack.  The similarities are coincidental and CREEPY.  I won’t allow her kindergarten resemblance to go any further than that – I will be driving her to school and packing her lunch.  Also… do you know a good bouncer for hire?

 

Photo courtesy of Vickie Riley Photography

Photo courtesy of Vickie Riley Photography


will3Nothing in this world is more frightening than the possibility that there is something wrong with your child.  Fortunately, other than ear infections that would level grown men, my kids have always been perfectly healthy.  Next week my son has an appointment at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital to see a specialist about his eyes.  For the first time I am faced with the possibility of our perfect health track record being tarnished. 

For the past few months Will’s left eye has been wandering and turning inward.  The doctors assure me there is nothing to worry about, that it will most likely be corrected by patching one eye to strengthen the other.  However, a mama can’t help but freak out just a little.

Say a prayer for my kid if you think of it.

In the meantime, Will has medical worries of his own.  Lately, he has become overly obsessed with his penis, clutching it like a security blanket at home, at the grocery store, at church…

Like all boys, Will is particularly fond of his manhood.  I remember well the day he first discovered it.  He marched down the hallway into the living room wearing nothing but a pair of green frog rain boots and his Davy Crocket coon-skin hat.  He thrust his pelvis forward, pointing downward and announced, “Hey Mom!  Check out my pee-pee!”  It was a proud moment.

Since that day, he has developed some type of pee-pee paranoia.  As a result, I am developing a case of pee-pee humiliation.

Last week, Canaan was “helping” me prepare supper and Will was marching in the kitchen.  As usual, his hand was firmly clasped over his crotch. 

“Will, do you need to go potty?” I asked looking up from the casserole before me.

He froze with his free hand out in front of him, glancing suspiciously around the room like some sort of spy.  “No,” he answered is raspy whisper.

“Then stop holding your pee-pee,” I said.

“I have to protect it,” he said still in spy-stance.  “There’s a bee in the house.”