Surprise…It’s Family Day


©Crystal S. Kauffman

©Crystal S. Kauffman

Today, I got to hang out with my youngest niece and nephew for several hours yesterday. I had a wonderful time with them, as we played and spent quality time together. We were missing a few kids and adults, but we made the most of the time we had together. I couldn’t believe how much everyone has grown up and changed over time. We have to get together more as a family.

I love the many smiles!

XOXOXO

Aunt-Crystal 🙂

My Family’s Homemade Christmas


Homemade christmas
Papa and I were heading home from the auto parts store, as I stared out the window of the car. The radio spoke of a blizzard up north, which had crippled an entire community. This seemed unusual to me, since I lived in Florida where it never snowed. The houses we passed seemed to have something that we didn’t. However, my grandfather didn’t seem to notice. Instead, he thought of it as another day, where one must work to earn a dollar or two just to survive.

I felt confused by the lack of Christmas spirit in my home. Nevertheless, I knew that my family didn’t make a big fuss over the holidays, since I was a young girl. Yet, it began bothering me that no one spent time setting up a Christmas tree or adding decorations to it. So, as we pulled in the driveway, the house seemed cold and dreary. However, I noticed a nativity in the neighbor’s yard, which seemed comforting in a strange sort of way.

I smiled at grandma, as we passed through the kitchen and headed towards the backdoor. In the backyard, I found my two brothers playing on grandpa’s rusty old yellow lawn mower. It had been broken down for years, yet they were pretending to race. I always knew that my grandfather was a man of a few words, except when he was mad. However, he gave his heart to anyone that needed help and I liked that about him.

After, making it to the garage, we began working on the old red race car. I noticed that our neighbors were greeting their family members as they arrived. Suddenly, I began hoping my own family would start celebrating the holidays, since I was 13. Additionally, I wondered why my grandma didn’t invite the rest of the family to visit over Christmas. Finally, I decided to ask my granddad, but I was a little nervous to ask at first.

“Why don’t we Celebrate Christmas?” I asked nervously.

He answered, “It’s just another day Christy! You’ll figure that out when you get older. I couldn’t afford the decorations and presents.”

“Would you celebrate…if you could?”

“I am not sure, because I never have celebrated the holidays. My parents weren’t unable to afford decorations and presents. ”

I could see the sadness rising in his eyes, which made me feel bad for bringing up the subject. Nevertheless, I got quiet and began thinking of what other families had that we were lacking. Suddenly, I felt even worse that he had never experienced Christmas, not even as a young boy. For years, he was forced to watch others celebrate the holidays, as he worked hard to help his family survive.

On Christmas Eve, I began wondering what life would be like if my family did celebrate the holidays. My brothers watched, ”

Santa Clause is Coming to Town”, while I searched through my Bible for the story about baby Jesus. I knew it would be an inspiring story to read to my grandpa, because baby Jesus’ was poor too. However, I couldn’t find it and I fell asleep sitting in grandma’s recliner.

Early the next morning, I woke before anyone else and began making a small Christmas tree from an old one I found. After hanging the different ornaments on the tree, I taped a banner and notes on the wall behind the tree. In addition, I placed my dolls next to the tree and taped the different colored ornaments to the wall also. Suddenly, I saw grandma’s camera and I snapped a picture of my Christmas surprise.

I made my way to the kitchen, where I found some candy canes, chocolate bars, and mixed nuts to fill the decorated socks I borrowed to make a stockings. Immediately, I began feeling excited, so I ran to my room and began looking for presents that I could wrap for everyone. Soon, I heard my grandfather stirring in his bed, so I found items to wrap. I found many different things lying around my room and I wrapped them in old newspaper.

For my little brother I found a little a red and white kazoo. I also found a toy sword that I gave to my little brother. In addition, I wrapped a toy roller coaster and Kermit the Frog dressed in a Santa’s suit, for twin brother. I kept digging through my room, until I found more presents to wrap and give to the rest of my family. However, there was one thing that I forgot, so I tip-toed to the kitchen and called my uncle to join us for our first Christmas dinner together.

Thankfully, my uncle agreed to visit and bring his family, in order to help me surprise the family. I decided to finish decorating the house with my homemade decorations and written pages. However, I decided to stop and look for the story about baby Jesus one again.

In about an hour, I could hear everyone waking up with excitement and instantly I became nervous. As grandfather stood staring at what I had done to the living room. I saw a smile consumed his face, so I handed him two presents. He began opening the gifts I gave him with a sense of excitement and surprise. This made me feel, like I was able to give my grandpa something, which he had never experienced before.

“Merry Christmas, Papa!” I said with excitement.

“You shouldn’t have done this.”He replied.

“I wanted too!”

“Thank you!”

Later on that morning, my uncle surprised my family with a gingerbread house and some eggnog to share. After dinner, my grandmother told me where to find the story of baby Jesus in the bible. I read it aloud to my family, just before bed. As, I headed to bed, I noticed my grandparents were kissing under the mistletoe that my aunt brought with her. As I laid down that night, I realized that this homemade Christmas was more special to me, than any I could have ever dreamed of.

Parents Stop Breaking Your Teenager’s Spirit


teen dep. quoteParents stop berating and yelling at your teenager, because you are destroying your child’s self-esteem more harm. Don’t curse at your teenager, instead give the teenager respect and you will find that they will begin to respect you as well. Be clear in your communication when saying yes and no, this way you are not sending mixed signals to your teen. Sometimes, you have to step back as parent, while encouraging your teenager to practice working on their talents and gifts that God gave them.

Let them know that you love them just the way they are and that they do not have change anything. Stop having power struggles with your teenager and you will see a difference in the way that they will respond to you. Don’t call them degrading names or compare them to their father or their mother in a negative way, since this can make the teenager feel worthless. Never say negative things about their mother or father, whether absent or not.

This behavior by parents can cause the teenager to turn to drugs or alcohol abuse. Teenagers with low self-esteem will act out and self-medicate to escape the mental pain that they feel.  Unfortunately, one mistake can cause a landslide of issues like: teen pregnancy, drug use, trouble with the law, and other bad behavior. Don’t expect to see a change in your teenager’s behavior, until you begin to change the way that you respond to them.

Pray for your children and with your teenagers, while speaking blessings and positive things over them. Be sure to take them to a Bible believing church, which will help build the teenager’s character as they grow into an adult. However, to see a change in your teenager, you must first change yourself and realize that you were once a teenager yourself. Was life hard for you as a teenager and did you have power struggles with your parents as well?

Teenagers can become anyone that they want to become, yet they must work hard to achieve the goals that they have set for themselves. As a parent, you should be a cheerleader and the disciplinarian at the same time. Teenagers need boundaries that they can follow and they need immediate consequences whenever they step out of line. Therefore, take this time to change the way that you respond to your teenager’s achievements and misbehaviors.

 

 

Good Parenting Can Lead Teenagers to Make Positive Choices


My teenagers!

My teenagers!

 As a mother of two teenagers, I have learned that you should never berate or speak down to your children or teenagers. Instead, I encouraged both of my teenagers to strive for anything they wanted to do. My daughter and my son lived with their father and step-mom for various reasons, one being that they lived in a district with a better school system. My daughter wanted to join the Chorus and Color Guard, once she entered high school.

So, every weekend I proudly watched her practice spinning her flag, until she got her dance and spinning routine perfect. Additionally, I was blessed to her angelic voice as she sang her heart out to songs that she liked on the radio or computer. I reminded her every day how proud I was of her for chasing her dreams and making them a reality. However, her dreams came at a cost for me, because I didn’t get to see her as much throughout the school year.

We talked on the phone a lot, because I knew she was busy with school and trying to balance her new lifestyle out. My daughter just turned eighteen and has made good choices throughout her entire life. Now, she has a new job and a new apartment, which she shares with a wonderful roommate. My daughter and her boyfriend of a year have made the decision to wait for marriage to have sex, which made me so proud.

Recently, my teenage son just turned fifteen and he moved out of state with his father and step-mother. We stay in touch through texting, Skype, Facebook, and calling each other every night. We have special sign language, which we use on Skype to say that we love each other. Tonight, he surprised me by telling me that he was applying for a job, after he comes to visit me and other family members for Christmas and the New Year.

I encouraged him to apply for the job and to do the best job he can, yet I know I won’t be able to talk to him as much. He will be juggling family, school, homework, and his new job….If he is hired. I understand this, so I have chosen to make the most of every moment that I get to spend with him. My son is very respectful to me and he has always made good choices throughout his life as well.

My children were raised in church with their father and with me, which helped us guide them spiritually. Neither child has spoken a harsh word against me or their father, during their lifetime. Furthermore, they have never disrespected their step-parents, plus they love and adore both of their step-parents. Therefore, I feel each parent has made good choices, which has allowed our teenagers to make good choices for their own futures.

Time Changes Yet Things Remain The Same


My son and I spending the day together.

Randa and Zack My son and I spending the day together.

Recently, my life has been changing in many ways that have made me assess my own life. A few of my best friends have moved to other states, which made me a little sad at first. However, we have technology like Facebook and cell-phones to keep in touch. Then, my daughter graduated from high school and has an apartment in a nearby city. She lives with one of her best friends, whom I love like my own daughter.

She has landed her first job and is now looking into getting her own transportation, which makes me so proud of her. She has been dating her boyfriend for over a year now. He is a Christian and I love him, as his is my own son. They have both made a vow to wait until they are married before having sex. I am so proud of them both!

Next, another change came knocking, my son moved to North Dakota with his father and his step-mother to start a whole new adventure in his life at almost 15 years-old. Well, at first, I took these changes pretty hard!

Now, I am embracing them in a positive way, instead of being negative. I am spending time every week with my daughter and her roommate. Additionally, I am dog-sitting their sweet puppies, until they can come up with their pet deposit they need and falling in love at the same time.

I talk to my son multiple times a day, texting, and picture messaging each other. So, I have learned that even though we live in different states or cities, we can still keep our relationships alive and growing stronger.

Changes are a part of life as a friend or a parent, but thanks to technology we can stay close to those we love and share our lives. Honestly, I am excited to see what this new chapter of my life will hold! Maybe now, I can finish my book and get published or land a job in the business communications field.

Only God knows what doors will open for me and what friends will walk beside me next. He also knows my relationships will grow in the future and how my life will change further. Currently, I am happy that my husband and I have more quality time together, since things have changed..

 

My Son is Moving!!!


DJ

DJ

My son DJ has been a constant jewel in my life, but he is about to set off on an adventure with his father and step-mother. I am sad but happy that he leaving to a whole new town. He will be far away from me and I will miss him so much, yet I know that his father and step-mother will love and care for him.  Thankfully, he will be able to meet new people and enjoy going to a new school where he can make friends.

DJ will also be able to find new adventures to enjoy, as he grows into a little man. I will get to see him at designated times, but it will be time well spent making new memories. We will use Skype, cell phone, and Facebook to stay in touch with each other. I pray that his father, step-mother, and DJ will make it to their destination safely. I love him and I hope he explores all possibilities that God sets in front of him.

PS: A special thank you goes out to him step-mom for loving and caring for him, as I would. Thank you for being there for both my children and thank you for being such a wonder second mother. You are the best!

Our Vacation Last Month


Our Vacation Last Month

My husband and I after swimming in Lake Lindsey Grace in Screven, Ga. We had a wonderful time together and hanging out with my special friends from church. We spent time swimming together and my husband helped our friend fix stuff at her house. Additionally, we went out to eat and enjoyed the company of my husband, as well as spending time with my friends.

Unfortunately, we had no city luxuries like internet, television, or cell-phone signal. I missed being connected with my friends through Facebook and Twitter, but I loved the peace and quiet I discovered during our vacation. We both felt so relaxed when we arrived home, so we are planning another vacation to this area.

I am so thankful that my friend took us on the trip with her, because my husband a I have never really had a vacation together or with friends. I am hoping to go in a few weeks, so I can spend more quality time with my husband and my children. Have a wonderful night my friends. I hope you enjoy my vacation picture.