I'm a redeemed child of God and the momma to four vivacious daughters. I'm passionate about finding hidden blessings in the trials of life, living it out in an honest and open way, while encouraging those around me to believe in better.


all the single mommies {now put your hands up!}

{thankful for new neighbors that bring hydrangeas and cake!}

Warning:  I’m about to get real …

This single mommy business is incredibly hard work and most days I’m not sure I’m strong enough to do it alone.  When I finally put my aching bones {yes, literally painfully aching} into bed, I allow the weary tears to flow as I ask my Savior to hold me tight. And when I wake to a morning that has come too quickly … and put that first foot on the floor, I’m suddenly all too aware of the aching bones I put to bed the night before.

The day is never ending.  The requests are never ending.  The demands are never ending.  I’m in the process of not only meeting their physical needs, but also nurturing some very delicate emotional needs.  I feel like I’m working double-time to surround them in normalcy … to make their world right once again.  To guard their little hearts and minds …

Alas … it seems my early morning devotion and alone time go too quickly, while the day and demands are an eternity.  When the girls are at last asleep, it’s all I can do to drag myself to bed.

Ladies, I encourage you to not take your husbands for granted.  Appreciate everything they do for you and offer to do.  Don’t be a martyr saying you can take care of it yourself, that you don’t need their help.  God created union for a reason.  He created mommy and daddy for a reason.

For me, one day in particular was over the top {but I can laugh about it now!}:

~ starts with innocently cleaning out two guinea pig cages, one that included a pregnant guinea … so for some reason has an incredible amount of urine in her cage.  we finally get it cleaned with the messy bedding securely in the trash.
~ only to come inside and find that piper’s toilet is overflowing.  fortunately, i had just washed the onehundreth load of beach towels, so they were nearby.  we finally got that mess cleaned up.
~ only to realize the water was so significant that it was coming out of a ceiling fixture in the kitchen and spraying all over the kitchen.  we put buckets in place and towels to catch the water because we were late for taylor’s riding lesson and needed to get to the car.
~ only to get in the suv and find out it won’t start.  dead.
~ fortunately, i have another smaller sports car, so we climbed into it and headed to taylor’s riding lesson.
~ only to come home and find that guinea pig pee had leaked out of the trash can and all over the garage floor.  and as i took the trash bag out of the can … i, too, was covered in guinea pig urine.
~ when we finally made our way inside the house, we discovered the kitchen ceiling had all but ripped open from the weight of the water.  it was cracked and buckling and would require some major drywall and painting repair.
~ oh … and now it was time to wash my onehundrethandone load of towels!

Ever have one of them days where all you want to cry is “DO OVER!!”?

When we got home from the lake, we found Grace {the pg guinea} had her babies … but they were not alive.  There were three.  And then four days later when Piper came to me and said, “you know how mommies sometimes die when they born babies?”  Yeah.  Grace died.  And as I was taking her out of her cage and boxing her up so we could bury her, I couldn’t help but think “I’m not equipped to do this!”

But alas … apparently God thinks I am.

But God, really? could you spare me the chasing-birds-out-of-my-car-and-then-cleaning-their-do-do?  Grant me that small request please?  ;)

At times I feel so weary.  So weak.  I’m physically and emotionally drained.  Depleted.  Spent.

I feel that my life is at times surreal.  Only it seems in the past it was surreal in an incredibly good way.  I couldn’t believe the experiences I was blessed to have.  And these days it seems my life is surreal in a completely different way.  Many times I feel I’m dreaming and I’ll wake from this nightmare.  Things have moved at such lightening speed and I’m still dizzy.

In the midst of all of this … I know! without a doubt how very blessed I am.  There are single mommies out there who are struggling to make ends meet, who have sick children, who are fighting with exes, or even worried for a husband in the military.  I get that and I don’t take the blessings I have for granted.

In the midst of all of this … I am thankful.  I’m thankful I have a loving God.  I’m thankful I have a relationship with Him.  I’m thankful that, because of Him … I’m really not alone.

But what I’m wondering is … God, next time could you come help me clean up the guinea pig pee?  ;)

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.
{Psalm 62:5, NIV-UK}

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
{Isaiah 41:10, NLT}

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Posted in family thoughts, parenting

24 Responses to “all the single mommies {now put your hands up!}”

  1. cat moore says:

    Girl, I’m praying for you and can so relate to this post. It really spoke to me and I’m so glad you shared this this morning. You’re not alone…..He is there holding you in the palm of His hand through all of this and He’s got this. :) Love you!

  2. momof3boyz says:

    A song we sing in church that I always think of in times like this..
    “Be not afraid, I go before you always. Come follow me, and I will give you rest.”
    Believe me, single Mom or not, I have had days like that where you think to yourself “Really? there’s more where that came from?”.
    Thank God the sun rises again.
    You have to dig a hole to plant a beautiful tree, and you have to wait and wait and wait for it to bloom.
    Your’s will bloom again, I am certain of it.

  3. heather says:

    Oh days like this can just send you right over the edge eh? Been there! And you have reinforced for me why we do not have pets…yikes! :-)

    Hang in there!
    heather recently posted..Tracking Our Summer

  4. Amy says:

    You are an amazing woman Tracie, praying for you.
    Amy recently posted..The Fine Art of Insincerity

  5. Fiona says:

    The Jonas Brothers were my “guinea pig pee” moment. (Sidenote: Fairly certain that sentence has never been written before. Like, ever.) I had tickets to a concert in Milwaukee for the kiddos and awoke to find our long driveway covered in snow- as in ‘up to the car headlights’ snow. The kid who usually helped out was out of town, every company I called was busy and I couldn’t start the snowblower because I was having a day where my body was waving a white flag. The whole right side was like a limp noodle. I thought about all my sweet children had been going through, how excited they were for the concert, how my gentle Moya had been writing a crayon letter to the band all day in the hopes that she could hand it to them… and here I was, on the verge of letting them down. They so did not deserve any more let-downs. I gave myself a major pep talk, grabbed a shovel and started digging. Five hours later, I was only 2/3 of the way done and had less than an hour before we had to leave. I was ready to drop. I remember literally collapsing on a snowbank and crying like crazy. I just couldn’t take any more. I told God that he could keep testing and teaching me, fine. But just lay off anything that hurt the kids already, they’d had enough! They had been through more disappointments and betrayals than just about any of their friends (we had *just* found out from a third party that their dad had gotten someone pregnant and hid it from them- she was due in eight weeks. All of their friends knew but we had been kept in the dark. They had been walking school hallways for months alongside children who knew more about their most intimate secrets than they, themselves, did. That really messes with your sense of the world being a safe place. Sigh. How do you explain to a child why the person meant to protect them would hurt them that way? And that was just the {latest} wave of “Whose Life is This Anyway?.” Hello, when did my life make a Jerry Springer show look tame? It seems like just yesterday it was… normal. Truly, happily normal. I had no experience to prepare me for that chaos.) This concert was supposed to be their escape from a very painful reality. Yet there I was, with 30 feet of four-foot high snow separating me from being able to just get the heck out. It seemed so… unfair. And I felt like such a failure. Not for the driveway. But for the life that I wanted for them when I had them. It. Was. Not. Supposed. To. Be. Like. This. Why couldn’t I have a “normal” divorce, I cried. There are rulebooks for how to get through that. Why did they have to go through a series of betrayals for which I could not find any course of action to latch onto? Why did it have to be so off-the-charts in events that their world would forever be a challenge of learning how to trust people- and have healthy relationships- given a person meant to put them first had made choices that would compromise their ability to feel like the ground was solid beneath their feet? And how could I get them through it when I couldn’t blame a ‘villain’ for the end of the fairytale- I had to try to salvage a relationship with and explain the behavior of “Daddy,” someone they loved and needed to continue to love. Argh. My mind would twist itself in knots every night from 2-4 am while I stared at the ceiling struggling to find a path to a better place. My life was surreal. The numbness that descended in the daylight helped keep me off my knees but was also weighing down my progress to finding answers. Everything was about getting through one-hour increments without letting the full brunt of my reality hit me, until at last I collapsed from exhaustion. I was existing but “living?”… not so much. I was terrified. And I was the only one to guide my babies back to good. Sitting in the snow, I was overwhelmed by thoughts that, when coupled with a body that was breaking down, I wasn’t going to be able to pull off the emotional renovation of our lives. Then I had a moment of pure, divine clarity. I was overcome with the realization that I was holding on too tightly to what I *thought* I should be doing- namely, making their lives appear as normal as possible during the chaos. I was trying so hard for all the things that were happening to not affect them, to let their lives continue as their were with as little disruption as before. But that’s not life. Growth comes from change, not denial. I was killing myself distracting them from the bad stuff instead of showing them how to get through it as a human being- not as Supermom. As a human. I was hurt. I was scared. I was confused. All of these things are things they were also feeling and will face one day as adults, too. How would I advise THEM if they were the mom? I realized it was quite different than the expectations I was putting on myself. So I decided I needed to start truly serving as an example NOT of how to get through our situation in a way that looked good from the outside but in a way that was healthy from the inside. That brought about a lot of changes in the way I spoke to them about things, the pressure I put on (and took off) myself, and the importance I placed on respecting the need for them to be able to see and feel and process pain in themselves (and the need for them to see me doing the same in myself) over simply “making it all feel better right away.” I could go on for ages about what’s worked really well in getting us through the Big Bad Stuff and the Difficult Conversations but you’d probably have to pay more blog server storage just to publish it, lol. I’ll leave it be by saying if you ever want to know more or are stuck on an approach to try, you know where to find me ; ). It’s been a heck of a journey these past few years but I’ve finally learned how to tackle a lot of the issues that I once had no answers for. And as for that concert? We missed the opening band but made it before the Jo Bros went on stage. True, I looked like a Walk of Shame from Life’s Fraternity House by the time we got there- no time for a shower, crazy hair, crumpled clothes and, in a truly classy moment, was followed by the waft of Island Breezes thanks to the can of Febreeze I doused myself with as we sped up I94. But Moya got her letter onto the stage. It was, as most of our life is now, a totally imperfect perfect experience, part of a crazy, awful, beautiful, tragic, magic world. You have a very different life ahead, yes. But with a little more time and peace, you may find it’s what you never knew you always wanted. Hard to believe now, but just wait. Good times ahead.

  6. Granny/Mom says:

    Kia Kaha (forever strong) is what you are my beautiful daughter. You are Kia Kaha when it comes to being a wife, a mom, a friend, a daughter, and mostly a child of God!!! Words cannot express how proud I am of you!

  7. Kelli says:

    Oh Tracie! You are NOT alone! My husband travels for work which leaves me at home.. alone.. with four ( 6,5 and two 2 year olds). There are days where I have to laugh because if I don’t… I will cry! And believe me..I have cried! And those days alone.. With four children.. Become crazy! Unless you are a drill sergeant or emotionless .. They will get to you! But at the end of the day after the kiddos are in bed and I am staring at the huge pile of laundry on the ground or all the dishes in the kitchen.. The pile of cans that the twin pulled out of the cupboard to make their towers with.. Toys on the ground..the dog staring me in the face because I forgot to feed her..this is the moment during the day when at the very least I am able to take a deep breath and actually exhale ( believe me.. I feel like I’m holding my breath all day sometimes) . And when I do I look at the craziness that has been left over from the day and I know that my life is “real” .. This is how it should be.. Right? The list of mishaps you listed may have seemed completely outrageous at the time but they created memories that you will never forget! Just between the ceiling and the guinea pigs! You are never alone.. You are actually more the norm:) I know it still doesn’t make it easy. I hope this helps:) It does for me

  8. Leslie says:

    Motherhood, in general, seems to stretch women farther than humanly possible . . . and I’m sure we all have stories that border on absurd. (Mine involves a late-night sewer backup, a no-show plumber, and a raccoon in the attic. LOL.) But Tracie, you’re absolutely doing something phenomenal. I know nothing about your path is easy at the moment, but the fact that you’re living with intention — giving your sweet girls exactly what they need to flourish in a difficult situation — is a beautiful thing. Make sure to find bits of rest on non-guinea-pig-pee days, sweetie. There are things that can always wait until tomorrow to finish . . . but taking care of yourself has got to be a priority! Love you so much!!

  9. I am sure you’ve heard it, but it’s a great reminder and was one of my favorite songs during the 4 years Paul was in the military and away from home more often than not: http://youtu.be/KwsvqVmFV6Y

    I have been reading through 1 Kings and I think it was in chapter 8 where it talks about the dedication of the temple to the Lord. It talks about the enormous volume of sacrifices made and then it says that the priests had to stop working because the glory of the God was overwhelmingly present – it’s been a beautiful and convicting thought on my mind lately.

    These priests, who had the most noble and “spiritual” of work, actually *stopped* their good work because of God’s presence. We, too, should not be so busy that we don’t stop and just rest in Him.

    I hope you find rest and encouragement in our Savior.
    Jessica Lynette recently posted..Favorite Books Pt 2 &amp My April Reads

  10. Dawn says:

    may i just whisper…
    …i love you

    these girls have the most beautiful mama, inside, outside and upside down.
    Dawn recently posted..backwards

  11. I love— “God thinks you can.” He sure does… he knows you inside and out and ABSOLUTELY believes in YOU! His heart hearts when your heart hearts… BUT he sees your wonderful, mind-bloggling beautiful future too. I’m thinking you are due one hug-big-fat-fun celebration in heaven (and here too)!!!! xoxoxoxoxo
    katherinemarie recently posted..Mini Kindness Kits

  12. Terry says:

    First I read your blog…and then thought really??? what else…can you endure? and then I remembered who you are and how strong you are and thought…just another bump in the road…and you certainly have had your share and I know you will continue to but as long as you have your faith…your family and friends…you will get through that and whatever else lies ahead…but seriously…really??? luvu…sending lots of hugs and prayers and love!

  13. Trish says:

    I wish I would have had a chance to post a message yesterday, but God’s timing is perfect, as always! I loved this post and it made me laugh when I was having such an u-g-l-y feeling kind of day. You truly touch the hearts of those who read your blog and you are planting seeds of hope and courage where there may not be any or just a few. Take heart dear sister, Jesus has overcome the world and you are His!

  14. Stephanie says:

    Tracy, you are an overcomer. I pray for strength for you in the midst of all that you’re enduring, Peace in your mind and health in your body. You are making great deposits in your family, training up your children and being a loving wife, no matter how hard things are; God’s got you! He’s holding your world and He’s got it all together. Life is like one big “Adjustment Bureau.” God is molding and shaping you and the things in your life into a Holy Beautiful Creation fit for His use. He uses you everyday to minister to and encourage me and countless others. Hang in there!

  15. Karri says:

    I truly do not know how you made it through that day. It shows just how strong of a person you are. Because me? I would have been sobbing, curled up in a corner, growling like a dog at all who came near. I need to take a lesson from you in Grace. That’s certain.
    Karri recently posted..Image Is it everything

  16. Beth says:

    Where’s Jim, LOL, glad to hear you made it thru :) I know when he was gone, it was hard to keep up with the everyday chores. Glad to see the pictures of the smiles on the girls, moving is hard. I asked Jim what he thought of NC, always wanted to move there. Take care

  17. gloria says:

    This was just what I needed today after spending the morning “beating my head against a wall”. Fiona, I am so moved by your perspective. I have spent a year trying to protect my children and trying to convince their father to “do right by his children”. I too, have wished for a normal divorce. Maybe I have been protecting my older child too much? Tracie, I know you are up to your eyeballs…I’d love it if you could give Fiona my email address. It sounds as if we have similar situations with our ex’s…and it sounds as if she’s found a way to handle it much better than I have.
    Glo…The lady with the big dent in her forehead!! :))))

  18. Jess says:

    Whoa! And I thought I had a tragedy when my two year old spilled her blackberry smoothie all over the carpet – leaving the biggest, purple stain I have ever seen!
    I always admire your perspective and attitude! Our love for Christ is what carries us through and you are another living example of that. Your girls are so blessed to have you!
    Jess recently posted..Mornings With My Girls

  19. Marmalade says:

    Oh Tracie, I *get* it. Thank you for the reminder. We (me and the DH) had a tumultuous year in 2010 and I came so very close to being done with our almost 18 year marriage. A dear friend of mine was going through a break up of her 20 year marriage and I saw her struggles and I refused to be part of that and I swallowed some of my own ego and thankfully, so did DH and we decided to not take each other for granted.

    ANYWAY…I’m sorry that you are dealing with the struggles of single momhood. I can’t imagine how difficult it must feel at times but I know that you are an incredible lady who loves her children so very much and I know that as long as you are seeing that, things will work out ok. Much love.

  20. Jennifer says:

    Just wanted to let you know that I am praying for you and your family. I appreciate your honest posts and please know that even though we have never met, I feel like I know you and your family, and feel you are a friend. Your faith in God is is very inspirational to me, and I truely admire it.

  21. oooopss my message above was supposed to read– HIS heart HURTS when your heart HURTS!!! AND— I’m so sorry you are dealing with an ugly troll!!!! AS IF you aren’t dealing with enough REAL life UGLY stuff you have do deal with someone like that too???? You’ve got so many people that are sending you love and smiles… I hope those folks can make the TROLL vanish!!! xoxoxoxoxoxo!

  22. i’ve been grumbling a lot lately in regards to the husband situation at our place, and the fact that mine is never able to be home to BE a husband and a daddy since he’s always over the road hauling crushers & machines from one site to another. makes me sad to miss him and to know he’s missing out on us as well… especially important games and tournaments and life events with our daughter. i grumbled aloud to him on the phone tonight as a matter of fact…. and now i feel awful for unloading my concerns & frustrations & selfishness on him. i know what you mean about how much of a struggle single-mommydom is. and i only had my one for almost 5 years before my husband came along. it just boggles my mind at the idea that i didn’t get married in order to live alone. so i keep praying that something will change for the better…. albeit a better career opportunity for him that brings him home on a regular schedule…. or perhaps just my heart, where i find more patience with our scenario. i’m grateful he HAS a job. as for the “more-than-i-can-handle” days, those are daily around here. more sporadic are the “i-can-conquer-anything” days. :) but those sprinkled every so often help keep my hope for the better going, and my faith in the Lord knowing me & knowing i need a respite every once in a while. tracie, i love you. i pray that Heavenly Father continues to sustain you in your efforts to raise his daughters righteously, and to help facilitate healing & forgiveness in their lives. He is so very honored by your selflessness, and your devotion to following His will and allowing your faith to grow as you increase your trust in Him. He knows you personally, He knows your needs, He knows your strengths, and He knows your capacity to withstand. He knows you will not only survive all of this, you will thrive! ::mega-hugs::
    (p.s. there’s a great book that came to my mind while i was reading this post. it’s called “Just Hold Me: Embraced by the Savior’s Love” by Don H. Staheli. i ADORE it, especially when i feel most alone. through it, i’m reminded and more aware of our Savior’s arms extended around me, bracing me when things feel the worst. here’s a link if you’re interested: http://www.amazon.com/Just-Hold-Me-Embraced-Saviors/dp/1590383575)

  23. Abbie says:

    I am thinking about you and your family constantly. Hang in there!!
    Abbie recently posted..Dodging Bullets

  24. […] light of my recent single mommy post, I wanted to share some further thoughts […]

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