LIFE: Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop

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It’s always a little exciting when someone you know writes a book AND gets it published. A longtime friend of mine, Steve Lange, is that person. I was given the amazing privilege of getting to read his novel, Breathing Room, even before it was released. Ultimately, when the Breathing Room Three-Part E-book Series was released on Amazon Kindle last year, all three became #1 bestsellers!

Breathing Room follows Jack and Patricia Christopher and their six sons over the course of two decades. It is the tale of a family searching for a haven that will provide relief from the seemingly unending struggles that oppress them. Intermixed with the tragedies, their story is woven together with moments of humor and tenderness. This novel is loosely based on the author’s own experiences growing up in the ‘60s and ‘70s.

By the second chapter I was hooked and found myself in a perpetual state of wondering what would happen next. This book is real and raw and the experience of reading it leaves you feeling sympathetic toward each and every character. Whereas most stories tend to have a clear distinction between those who are “good” and those who are “evil,” Breathing Room portrays a family of flawed, yet utterly human individuals that the reader easily identifies with. I came to care for the Christopher family as I joined them in their quest for a place to breathe, an end to the tragedies that seemed to wash over them with the predictability of the ocean tides.

There are certain books that, as you read them, you can envision the film version. Breathing Room is one of those books, not an action packed blockbuster, but a slow moving, family drama that draws you in and leaves you with a sense of loss when it is over.

At times while I was reading Breathing Room I gasped as I remembered my own eleven year ordeal searching for a place to breathe, waiting for the feeling of imminent disaster to pass. I recall experiencing something akin to a feeling of relief when disaster did occur because the stress of wondering when it would come was finally over. For anyone who has experienced that longing for a place of shelter from the storms raging around them, or who has ever hoped for something more than limping cautiously through every day, Breathing Room is for you.

Breathing Room reminds us even in our darkest moments, that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that  Hope is not dead.

Hope is never dead.

Breathing Room is releasing today (June 20, 2015) in print. I hope you will take a moment to explore whether Breathing Room is a book you might enjoy. Here are all the Breathing Room links you will ever need.

Links to Breathing Room the Book/Ebook

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Email: Stevenlangebooks@gmail.com

Mailing Address: PO Box 3254 Harvey Cedars NJ, 08008

I was in no way, shape or form compensated for this review. All opinions are most assuredly my own. 🙂

This post was originally posted in April 2014. I have updated it with the news of the release of the print book.

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Not Awesome

Everything is not always awesome. If you’ve been a mother for any amount of time you’ve probably experienced your child being hurt. Not physically hurt, although that happens often enough, but hurt emotionally. Recently my teenage daughter texted me and asked to be picked up early from a school event. Once home she asked me for a hug and cried in my arms for a while.

Feelings were hurt. Kids were mean. My heart breaks.

On those less than awesome days I’ve found that the best thing is to just hug, be there for her, and not try to fix. Can I be real honest here? My flesh urges me to tell her to go upstairs, get a bowl of ice cream and relax in front of the TV, as if that would make it all better. But that is the response of my flesh and the ice cream will provide no real comfort. In these moments, a bowl of ice cream teaches my daughter to find her comfort in something other than the True Comforter.

So while we hug, I pray.

God knows, He saw, His heart breaks too.

I was recently reading the passage in Luke 18 where Jesus told His disciples to let the little children come to Him. How many times have I read that, seen it, heard it? Yet on this particular day I understood something new about our Heavenly Father. Honestly, who among us doesn’t melt at the sight of a newborn or enjoy making a nine month old laugh? Whose heart doesn’t fill with joy while watching the freedom a four year old feels to pirouette through a parking lot or at a ten year old’s excitement and anticipation over the one line she gets to say in the school play?

Our hearts swell with love, often for no other reason than because these precious creatures are children. I forget that God looks at our children and that He also experiences that same warmness and joy that we feel in their presence – but He experiences it in perfection – even better. Then, even so, when our hearts break with our children, it is only natural that we turn to the One whose heart is breaking with us. He is the True Comforter, not just for me in my sorrow, but my child’s Comforter in her own sorrow.

Her sadness is not too insignificant for Him to care.

I must constantly remind myself that my children’s faith journeys are their own to traverse and I am here to guide. The God who comforts the downcast is as much their Father as He is mine. And as I have personally experienced His comfort time and time again, the greatest response I can give to my daughter in her own moment of sorrow is to lead her to The Source of all comfort and The Healer of all wounds, so that when the day comes that I am no longer with her, she can find her way to Him.

Then after a little while, when the tears subside, she and I can share another hug, and maybe a bowl of ice cream.

not awesome

Copyright © Rebecca Onkar, Moms of Faith®, All Rights Reserved

This post was originally written for Moms of Faith®

Hold this.

Standing in a crowded room trying to have a conversation with the woman in front of me about Room Moms and what must be done, I feel a little someone bump into my arm.

“Mom, can you hold this?” She says, holding up an enormous stuffed dog she bought at IKEA.

“No. You brought it, you hold it. I don’t hold your stuff.”gdog

Two minutes later I glance down at my hands and see that not only am I holding a large stuffed dog, but also a water bottle, coloring book and pencil.

Hold on a minute… how did this happen? How does this always happen?

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This post was inspired by Five Minute Friday: Hold. Link up here. 🙂

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I Blame the Mummies

My 11 yr old child: “I don’t know what I’m going to be.”

Me: “Good, I’m glad you brought this up. Healthcare. Healthcare is the field to go into. There will be more healthcare jobs needed in the coming years than any other profession- doctors, nurses, all kinds of practitioners. Right now is the time you need to start thinking about these kinds of careers. OR you can be a Coach. Not a sports Coach, a Coach who coaches CEOs of large companies and helps them achieve more in their professional and personal lives. This field is exploding right…”

My  bewildered child: “Huh? What? I’m talking about Halloween.”

Me: “oh.”

It’s recently become clear to me that I had no clue about the real world as a young person. I had direction, but no guidance. I blame no one. It’s not anyone’s fault but my own. You see, I didn’t ask for guidance. It never occurred to me to seek out council. At 9 years old on a class trip to UPENN Art & Archaeology Museum I decided to be an Archaeologist. It was the mummies. The mummies got to me.

I take it back. I blame the mummies.

Mummy-UpperClassEgyptianMale-SaitePeriod_RosicrucianMuseum

Twelve years and 90-some thousand dollars later I held a Classical & Near Eastern Archaeology Degree in my hot little hand but had now decided not to pursue my doctorate (like I ever was gonna). I had a new direction for my life. I was going to become a foreign missionary.

I’m not talking about regret today, I’m talking about zipping happily through this life without a clue and not stopping to ask for one.

I suppose now, at 40, my eyes are finally opening to how things work. I’m passionate about guiding my children in ways I never was – whether they ask for it or not.

Now that I think of it, dressing as a mummy for Halloween isn’t such a bad idea…

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A Smooth Sea Never Made a…

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A sailor. A woman. A human being.

The truth is – I like quiet seas. But a smooth sea will only make me a mediocre sailor in this journey of life. The storms and rough patches of my past have taught me much and I cannot regret them.

“A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.”

Find the complete article here: Stormy Seas

 

Find me writing twice a week over at Moms of Faith.

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Her Little Hands Far Away from Mine

Hands

Today my little P left for school in the morning with her sisters for the first time.

Until now she’s attended afternoon pre-K so she and I spent every morning together. Her little hands raised in the air as I pull on her shirt. Her hand on mine as I lift her up to sit on the toilet. Her tiny hand hidden in mine as we cross the street.

Right now her little hand is holding her friend’s or maybe someone else’s mom’s hand as she climbs into a big yellow bus for the first time. Her little hands are exploring the wonders of the children’s museum as she walks around on her first ever class trip. Her little hands are opening her brown paper bag to grab her chips and eat her lunch.

Her little hands, far away from mine.

Today my big P left for school in the morning with her sisters for the first time.

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I link up with Lisa-Jo Baker every Friday and we write intensely for 5 minutes. Find us/Join us here: Five Minute Friday.

Guess what today’s word prompt was… 😉

 

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Part of My Job

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I am the mother of four girls ages 13, 11, 7 & 5. Drama is nothing new in this household, but sometimes the pain of friendships that are damaged or broken is deeper than usual. My prayer is that every experience with my children will be teachable. I thank God for reminding me that part of my job as parent is to disciple my children.

I write every Wednesday & Saturday for Moms of Faith. Find this entire article herePraying for Our Children’s Spiritual Journey

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I May Be Addicted

I may be addicted.

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I had a mini-“help”er.

I’ve spent eight+ hours over the past two days, basically this whole weekend, painting a bedroom. At 6:30 tonight I changed my paint-laden pants into a semi-clean skirt and took my daughter out to buy a bathing suit for tomorrow because the one she bought after church today, during the “entire family buys bathing suits after church extravaganza”, didn’t look right (to her). Of course, as soon as I reached the shopping center I realized it was Sunday and the shops would be closed by 6PM. It was 7:08PM. I promised the girl we would stop at the store on the way to the pool tomorrow and get her a suit, I sent her into the local ice cream parlor for a vanilla milkshake for dinner, swore her to secrecy since the sisters weren’t getting ice cream and came home.

Dishes need to be done, my house is trashed and all I really want to do is lay down and sleep. Or watch Signed, Sealed and Delivered, whichever comes first.

I think not.

I think not.

Before any of that could happen I was hugging my tearful seven year old whose heart was breaking because she didn’t get ice cream (somebody spilled the beans) and I smelled smoke on her hair. When I asked why she smelled like smoke she told me it was because there was smoke upstairs. Uh oh.

“Why does it smell like smoke upstairs?” I yelled up the steps.

My thirteen year old said it was the potatoes on the stove.

 

The boiling potatoes for the potato salad for tomorrow that I put on the stove. And forgot about.

This confirms that I really shouldn’t be allowed near kitchens or basically attempt to work at all for the rest of the night.

Yet here I am. 7:39PM on a Sunday night and I feel compelled to blog.

I wonder what disasters I’ll find when I read this post tomorrow…

Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day!

 

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Turn the “Light” On

Turn-the-Light-On-When-Fear-Comes-Calling

I admit, I felt a bit afraid during my recent getaway alone. I think I might try a Bed and Breakfast next time – just for the company at night!

Thoughts of fear translated themselves into an article titled, Turn “the Light” on When Fear Comes Calling. I write bi-weekly for Moms of Faith.

“Often, as I lay in bed waiting to sleep, I wonder if I remembered to lock the front door, and I ponder the responsibility that I have to protect my four children if anything were to happen while we slept.” – Me. 

Find this entire article here.

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