grateful, inspiration, parenting, prayers

Admiration for Single Parents

042012_Disney_Channel_Premieres_Animated_Series_GoofTroop_TDIDTo all those single or almost single parents out there; I admire you. I wish I could give you the break you so rightfully deserve.

There have been days, like today, where from the time the kids get up to the time they go to bed it is all on me. They have to be in different places and I have to get them there. I also think they know Daddy isn’t going to be around because man are they acting up.
I keep my cool through most of it but by the time dinner is over (I let them pick the dinner to try to make it special) I am at my wit’s end and barely hanging on. I tell myself just a little longer. I can do this.

It is only one day. By the time they wake up daddy will be back and can help me out again. I am lucky it is only one day. I can’t imagine surviving more than one. Yet, there are moms and dads out there that have to. They have to go day in and day out without the support of their spouse or the other parent. My prayers go out to you all.

So the next time you are on the verge of losing it, wanting to give up or feeling alone, know that prayers are being sent your way. You are not alone. Step back, take 5 deep breaths, say a prayer or go stick your face in a pillow and scream. Whatever will help you get through this moment. You can get through it. Heck, post on here and if I see it or others see it we can cheer you on.

copyright 2015 Sheila M Scarpulla. All rights reserved. No reproduction without written consent

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inspiration, parenting

Simple Living Without The Stuff

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I once heard a story about a lady who only had one box of all her belongings.  I definitely need a lot more than just one box for all my belongings.  What if something ever happened to me?  How hard would it be on my loved ones to clear out all my stuff?  How painful would that be?  Do I truly need or even use all the stuff I own?

I have always known that less stuff leads to less clutter which can lead to less stress. However, in this day in age it is so hard not to get wrapped up with the idea of ‘keeping up with the Jones’.  I sometimes feel like I am being a bad mom if I don’t let my kids have birthday parties with lots of guests and presents or having the coolest, most popular toys.

Is that what life is truly about?  Is it about having the best of the best or the most?  I want my kids to value relationships and time spent with those people.  I want them to have happy memories of their childhood.  That won’t happen with a mom screaming at them all the time to pick up their stuff.  How can I set an example if I have stuff all over the place?  How many casserole dishes does one person need?  I don’t even make casseroles.

So I am slowly making changes.

I am also trying to teach my children how much I do love them and that no object on earth can show them that.  What I can show them is me working on yelling less and spending more time with them.  Having less materialistic stuff and more family time together shows them the love I want them to know.  They will remember the movies we watch together or the games we play instead of stuff all over the place.

How much of what you have do you truly need or love?  Why are you holding on to it? How freeing would it be to let go of one thing at a time?  Let’s share thoughts and ideas with each other.

copyright 2015 Sheila M Scarpulla . All rights reserved. No reproduction without written consent

 

parenting, religion

An Update on Going to Mass

It has been a few weeks since I posted about my struggle with my children at mass so I thought I would write an update.

We have been a few times since.  One of those times my older son was an altar server which made it a little easier with the other two in the pew.

God heard my cries.  My middle child has improved a ton.  He sang out loud in church at one mass.  Another mass I heard him saying to himself, ‘”please be good, please be good.”

He has said how he loves mass.  My little one has been good for the most part too.
I have made sure to have my bag of tricks with me which I wanted to share with all of you.  I have a few books I bring that are religious based that they are allowed to read or look at during mass.  The books are; My Own Mass Booklet, Let’s Go to Mass by Aileen Urguhart and Living the 10 Commandments for Children by Rosemarie Gortler and Donna Piscitelli.

The only thing to keep in mind about ‘Let’s Go to Mass’ is that it was made before the changes to the mass.  That is why I like to bring along ‘My Own Mass Booklet’ which is up to date.  ‘Let’s Go to Mass’ is a color and wipe off book which can keep them busy esp my little one.  Never give up.  Always keep trying 🙂

 

copyright 2015 Sheila M Scarpulla.  All rights reserved.  No reproduction without written consent.

parenting, religion

My Struggle Going to Church

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Sunday at church I struggled.  I had to fight back my tears and when I finally got home I sat in my room crying.  Church should lift you up.  If you are brought to tears I would hope they would be the tears of joy, not sadness.  Yet, mine were the later.

My husband currently does not go to church with us.  If I want my children to go to church I bring them.  Unfortunately, we are not usually able to get to the children’s mass.  Therefore, the mass we attend usually has only a handful of children at it.

I usually bring things like a children’s mass book or a coloring book to keep the youngest occupied, but on this day I was rushed and had nothing on me.  The older two I simply explain to them that God gave us everything we have so we can at least give him an hour out of our week.  I ask them to be on their best behavior.  It’s hard though.  I understand that.  That is why I enjoyed attending a Protestant church in the past because they seemed to make going to church fun.  You wanted to be there.

As I have learned more about my religion I have come to love the beauty of the mass and love being there.  Plus at our current church they have some great music that the kids and I love.  Yet, my children are just that, children and I don’t expect them to always be perfect but close would be nice.  I never know going into church if it will be a good day or bad day.  Will the children behave and sit still or not?

This time it is was a bad day.  My children were bothering each other all through mass and my middle child (R) was acting out for attention so bad.  How do parents do it?  How do those of you who have children with ADD or ADHD make it through mass?

I have been told my son does not have either ADD or ADHD by his teachers and counselors but on this day I wondered if they were wrong.  If they weren’t wrong why was he not listening?  The worst part of it all is my anxiety got the best of me.  I felt like everyone was staring at us and snickering and I told him he was humiliating me.  Who does that?  How dare I say that to him, but I did.  I did and felt horrible.

Here we were in God’s house and I just felt negative all around me and in me.  God gave me three beautiful children and here I was in his house unable to get them to behave.  I was saying not nice things and making empty threats.  No wonder my husband doesn’t come to church with us.  He doesn’t have time to deal with all this and on this day I don’t blame him.

How do I make it better?  How do I move forward and look forward to next Sunday?  I may not know the answer but I do know that I won’t stop trying.  I will do what I know best; pray.  I will pray for all of us and everyone at church.  I will pray and pray and pray.  I will also keep trying.  I know I can find patience within me somehow some way.

If anyone has ever felt close to what I was feeling I would love to hear from you.  If you have any tips that have worked for you that would be wonderful to hear too.
Thank you for listening.

copyright 2015 Sheila M Scarpulla.  All rights reserved.  No reproduction without written consent.

parenting, religion

Why Are Fewer Catholics Attending Church?

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I can’t answer this for everyone but I can give my insight as a 39-year-old mother of three young children.  My husband does not come to church.  So if my children are going to go to church I have to bring them.  After the third child was born (my kids ages were newborn, 2 and 4) I decided it was too much to bring them all.  I left them at home and became a Eucharistic minister.  I LOVED it!  I got the same feeling that I did when each of my children were born.  It was an amazing feeling.

Then my first son received his first communion.  Now it was my job to make sure he got to church.  So when I had to serve as a Eucharistic minister I found myself going to church twice.  Then he became an altar server so he could come with me when I served and we could serve God together.

Shortly after that my second son was finishing up first grade and getting ready to start first communion preparation.  I decided I had to put them first.  I was the parent and it was my job to make sure they went.  I stopped serving and just concentrated on bringing them.

Bringing three young kids to church is NOT easy but it is even harder when you are doing it as a single parent.  I am on edge the WHOLE time and feel like I am being watched and judged.  The churches offer a children’s mass but it is an earlier mass that we cannot get to.  I use to bring plenty of stuff to keep them occupied but now I try to just have mass related stuff for the older two.  Sitting still for an hour is HARD.

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It is easier to just not go.  I hate to say it but it’s true.  Especially now a days, there are many sports offered to kids on Sundays.  It is not easy.  However, I try to teach my children that God gave us our lives and everything we have.  We can at least give him an hour on Sunday.  We have also found a few wonderful churches that have made it more enjoyable for kids to be there.

I do think that we as Catholics need to stop judging each other and offer support.   My husband brought all three kids plus our nephew to a mass that was honoring a group I was in.  During mass someone had a comment on how the kids weren’t behaving!  Well guess what?  That doesn’t make my husband want to be there or ever come back.

So please if you see families who ARE at church but the kids might be restless try not to give dirty looks or stare but say a prayer for them.  Try and put yourself in their shoes. Maybe if we can find a way to bring young families back to church all the children in church will sound like music and not annoyance.

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If you are Catholic and do not attend I would love to hear why and if you are willing to try to go more often. Thanks!

 

 

copyright 2015 Sheila M Scarpulla.  All rights reserved.  No reproduction without written consent

parenting

Three Ideas to Help Survive the Summer with Your Kids

summer

School has ended and I decided that I didn’t want to spend the summer fighting with my kids (ages 9, 7, and 5) about spending all day on the computer.

So to survive summer we have implemented the following ideas;

1.  I did some research on ideas and found one I liked, it’s from; organizingmadefun.blogspot.com.  I have tweaked it a little since my kids have been home. They must do the following things before they get any computer time; make bed, clean up everything on the floor in their room, read for 15 minutes, clear their place at meal time and either help unload the dishwasher or load the dishwasher. On top of that they have to pick 2 chores from a pile of 10 extra chores.  They have to put those in a separate spot so that way they don’t do the same chores twice.  I changed the chores a bit to meet our family’s needs.  This gives them a choice and teaches them responsibility.

2. Once their chores are all done they can have computer time.  They are given 2 hours for a day in 15 minute increments.  They can earn extra 15 minutes for doing extra chores or extra reading.  If they don’t use the time on a certain day it does not carry over to the next day unless it is one of the extra tickets they earned.  You can get the tickets I used by visiting the site I found them at;
organizingmadefun.blogspot.com

3. We are also working on rules.  Each week we have three rules they need to work on.  I let them have a say in them.  I choose one they really need help with and the other two they do pretty well.  I will give three warnings and then after that they will have a time out.  Time out is based on their age.  However old they are is how many minutes they have to be in their room for.  Once they have gotten those three rules down I will switch to three new ones.

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So far it is going well.  The kids are grateful for the time they earn and they are enjoying helping me around the house.  Having them earn tickets allows them the control over turning them in and to be responsible which they also enjoy.

 

copyright 2015 Sheila M Scarpulla.  All rights reserved.  No reproduction without written consent

famous people, mental health, parenting

Bruce Jenner aka Caitlyn Jenner

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Let me first start off by saying this entry is not to judge anyone but to give a different perspective on things.

It seems like I have heard of transgender for as long as I can remember.  I remember learning about Chasity Bono wanting to become Chaz Bono.  My view had always been it’s your business, who am I to judge.  I never really thought about it.

Then recently I saw a post on Facebook about the family Lemay.  They have a five-year old daughter who they are raising as a transgender.  The question on Facebook was what we thought about it.  My heart felt for the parents.  My first reaction was how much they must love their child to do whatever was needed to see their child happy.  The other comments that were posted shocked me.  They shocked me to the point that I removed myself from the conversation.  People called them abusive and horrible parents for doing such a thing.

Watching Bruce Jenner on the Kardashian show has always fascinated me.  He seemed like such a loving man but you could see something was going on with him emotionally.  I recorded his interview with Diane Sawyer  and my heart broke for him.  You could see the pain in his eyes.  My initial thought was that I applauded him for what he was doing and the courage to do it.  Yet now that he has transitioned to her my tune is changing a little.

First, when Caitlyn finally revealed herself why did she have to do it in lingerie?  I don’t care how classy you think it was done.  Why couldn’t she have the cover be in one of the beautiful dresses she wore for the shoot?  I was saddened by that.  I felt that it was no longer about the transformation of this person but more about their physical changes.  I don’t think whether or not he/she had breast surgery done or sexual reassignment surgery is what it should have been about but the support of him simply becoming a her.

Second, the image of a boy or girl and the stereotypes of being a boy or girl have been created by society.  We are at fault.  As early as the hospital, each baby is labeled.  God created each of us.  He gave us a sexual gender as we know it (boy or girl).  Yet, some people relate better to the opposite sex or feel as though they should have been different.

I took a course in college called Psychology of Women.  In that class we talked about teaching our kids to be gender neutral and not pushing girls to play with ‘girl’ stuff or dress like a typical ‘girl’.  I thought it was a great idea and that we all should be doing that.  Yet, when I had kids things changed.  Even before the child is born we ‘pick a color’ to paint the room and register for gifts.  It is so hard to stay neutral.  Yes, I know some who have managed to at least start off gender neutral but it doesn’t seem to last.  We have been programmed to define ourselves as a lady or a gentleman and if you are not you get picked on or judge.

gender-neutral

I grew up with 5 brothers and I loved doing what the boys did and playing with the toys they played with.  Hey, my mom did a great job now that I think about it.  I wore a lot of my brother’s stuff.  Did you know that boy and girl jeans button differently?  I didn’t learn that until high school when I bought my first pair of ‘girl’ jeans.  I couldn’t believe it.  I would have been considered on tomboy and I was proud of it.  Granted I didn’t feel like I was a boy living in a girl’s body but did I sure envy the boys.  I thought they had it so easy compared to everything girls had to go through.

My point is that I wish people didn’t feel like they had to go to such drastic measures to change who they are.  Yes, Bruce Jenner had the money to forge ahead with surgeries but many don’t.

I truly am not sure how I feel about this subject anymore.  I don’t know if I can say I agree with the family that decided to change their daughter’s name and whole image.  I do know that I will try my hardest not to judge and I will teach my children not to judge another person.  If there is a girl who has the image of a ‘tomboy’ or a boy who may have long hair, we have to love them and accept them.  It isn’t about what we see but who they are.  We have to learn to see past the outside.  If we can learn to not judge based on outward appearances maybe those who feel trapped in their own bodies will be able to find a little more peace.

I hope that as parents we teach our kids acceptance.  To accept each other for WHO they are not what they look like.  If my son wants to have long hair or wear nail polish I hope he won’t be judged.  If my daughter wants to have buzzed hair or not wear dresses I will love her for her.  Maybe it isn’t about going to such drastic measures to change ourselves but embrace who we are and learn to love ourselves the way we are.

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No matter what I hope for anyone who feels they are a transgender we can accept you for whatever you chose.  We can learn to not judge but understand and to love, not hate one another.

 

 

copyright 2014 Sheila M Scarpulla. All rights reserved. No reproduction without written consent

famous people, mental health, parenting

Drugs and Our Children

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This week we received some heartbreaking news, the loss of a young male relative to an overdose of Heroin.  He had been struggling as many do but was unable to win the battle.  My heart immediately broke for him, his parents and his siblings.  I know so many who have fought the battle against drugs or alcohol and many have won.  Yet, when the battle is lost there are no words.

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I recently spoke with some family members who have teenagers about how their behavior is so different when they become teens.  They don’t want to listen, talk or do what is asked.  I think this is true for the majority of preteens and teens.  I know I was one of them (sorry Mom and Dad).  So my husband and I decided that maybe talking to our kids now when they are listening is the way to go.

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So when my boys (8 and 9) got home from school I told them we needed to talk.  I had my sunglasses still on from being outside and my older son thought it was to hide my tears. It went something like this;  I told them that a distant family member died from drugs. The young man was about the same age as their uncle.  This made it more relatable. “When you get older you may or may not meet people or have so-called ‘friends’ who want you to ‘try’ something.  It may be drugs, alcohol or cigarettes.  It will be made to look cool.  You may be made to feel uncool if you don’t try it.  However, by trying it your body may act like it likes it until it no longer has it.  Then the cycle begins.  Your body then thinks it NEEDS it.  If you don’t have it you get really sick.  So you try to get it.”

addiction-cycle

I explained that it may start with kids who take their mommy or daddy’s medicine when they aren’t supposed to.  “When you have surgery (like mommy did when she had them) the doctor gives you medicine for the pain.  You are only supposed to take the medicine when you are in pain.  When the pain stops you are not supposed to take more.  If you take the medication when the doctor hasn’t told you to your body reacts differently.  Your body may want more and what happens when there is no more?  That is when the kids learn about Heroin because it can be easier to get and can cost less money.  BUT it can also kill you.JesusHeroin3-300x297

When I was a kid we were not faced with these temptations.  Heroin and Crack seemed to be only for rich people or famous people but times have changed.  I want you to know how much we (and God) love you and how much drugs can ruin your life.  You lie, cheat, steal and can go to jail for the drugs.  Once you have been in jail that can affect you the rest of your life.  You may not see the effect now but when you meet the girl you want to marry and start a family with you may not be able to get the right job to support your new family.

I won’t be there with you when you are tempted but I hope you remember now.  My tears are those of love and fear.  We love you with all our heart and life wouldn’t be the same without you in it.  Never forget that.”

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God, please be with this family who lost their loved one so young.  Help them through this unimaginable time.  Help all those who are facing addictions of any kind.  Be by the side of those who are about to be tempted for the first time.  Help them to realize it isn’t worth it.  Watch over all those who are struggling and all those who love them.

resources:

The Center for Alcohol and Drug Resources

National Institute on Drug Abuse

Drug Free Kids

copyright 2015 Sheila M Scarpulla . All rights reserved. No reproduction without written consent

parenting

My Views of Abortion Through the Years

Here is a letter I wrote to President Bush when I was only 15;

letter-to-the-president-218x300When I was a senior in high school I wrote an article for the local newspaper on the debate of abortion;

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When I was pregnant with my 3rd child I went in to the doctor for a routine visit. However, this time I had to have blood drawn to find out if my child may or may not have Down syndrome. The doctor said that after the results come in I can then decide if I want an amniocentesis.  I asked what the point was.  What if my child does have Down syndrome then what?  I would still love the baby.  She said then it would be up to me but I asked again… What?  I could have an abortion this far along even though I would never?  She said in NJ you can have abortion through your 24th week.  I was in SHOCK.

I have always been pro-life but now that I am pregnant it touches me even more.  Why is it that a murderer is put to death or put in jail for life but women are given the OK to kill a full baby just because it may or may not have a disorder??  I am so bothered I spent all night crying.  At 24 weeks I will be feeling my baby move and you are able to know the sex.  If anyone knows who I can write to or how I can help stop this crisis please let me know.

here is a picture of a 24 week old baby;

24weekold

So my view on the topic has not changed but my feelings towards those who have an abortion have changed. I truly believe that those who have had an abortion are ‘punished’. I have heard women speak about having an abortion and how it affects you through the years and never truly goes away.

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My heart breaks for them.  Anyone who has committed any type of sin and is truly sorry for the sin should be and is forgiven.  You have to forgive yourself too.

I hope that anyone who has regrets finds some kind of peace and finds a way to forgive themselves.

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With that being said I believe it has become too easy to get an abortion and that needs to change.  There are so many resources out there for women who find themselves unexpectedly pregnant but they may not know about them. Here are two;

Birthright

Adoption

I want my children to know that abstinence is the only true birth control that is full proof.   Saving yourself for the person you plan to spend the rest of your life with is truly a one of a kind gift.  We don’t need to accept what society says the norm is.  We can change what the norm is.  You can stop the rash decision of ending the life of your baby. We can love one another and be there to support each other and help each other on unexpected journeys.

If you find yourself unexpectedly pregnant even after using protection there is a reason God chose you.  If you pray on it and listen for God’s guidance you can find the right path.

copyright 2015 Sheila M Scarpulla. All rights reserved. No reproduction without written consent

parenting

Choose Modesty and Dignity

modestySo I was just reading a blog; somebodylovesmeblog.  The writer said how our bodies are a temple to the Holy Spirit.  I hate to admit this but I am not sure I ever thought about it that way.  I have come to understand modesty better through the years.  Our bodies were created by God for ourselves, our spouse and God’s eyes only.  Growing up my mom tried to teach me in her way about modesty but I guess I did not listen or get it then.  I was a girl who loved going to clubs to dance.  I dressed provocatively not to get the attention of boys but because I would get really hot dancing.  I did not think anything about it.

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Now that I have my own children and one is a little girl I see things very differently.  I see so many little girls in bikinis during the summer months and think ‘oh no not my daughter’.  How about the new style of wearing skin-tight leggings and not have something on top that goes past our butts?  It is not just little girls doing this; it seems to be all ages.  I spoke to someone recently about it and she simply stated that it is just the style.  Why does that have to be the current style?  I have no problem with leggings.  I actually love them BUT my daughter and I wear them under dresses or with a long shirt on over them.  If our butts are showing then we find a different top to wear.

I want my daughter to know that just because everyone else might be dressing a certain way does not mean the rest of us have to.  I want her to love herself and to know that even with a beautiful body she does not need the whole world seeing it.  You can dress sexy but modestly at the same time.  I want her to be classy and to respect her body.  As the woman said in the other article “our bodies are a temple for the Holy Spirit”.

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Hopefully if I start now (my daughter is 5) by the time she is a teenager she will understand where I am coming from.  She will be the one setting the trend with modesty and not seductive dressing.

copyright 2015 Sheila M Scarpulla. All rights reserved. No reproduction without written consent