Personal Interview

Karen Van Den Heuvel has a webpage you would enjoy. Check it out! Heath tips, exercise, recipes, and interviews.  All that good stuff we need in our life.

http://www.karenvandenheuvel.com

Her blog is called Thyme for Writers. She asked to interview me and I wanted to share it with you.  Also for the next few weeks, I will be sharing some topics from my book that I hope will inspire and encourage you in your journey.  Until next time,

I would like to welcome Linda R. McCutcheon as my guest today on Thyme for Writers. Her path to writing came about as she faced a new challenge in life — that of of single mother. Here is her story… . 

SINGLE MOM SURVIVAL by Linda R. McCutcheon

Suddenly, I became a single mom with two young children. I was faced with going back into the workforce, healing my broken heart, and learning who ‘Linda’ really was. Many times, I was working two jobs, taking night school courses, and keeping the home together. Exhausted? You bet! Overwhelmed? You bet! Empowered? Absolutely. I didn’t think I would be single for twelve years and I had many discussions with God about that, but He knew best. Who would have thought I could take the battery out of the lawnmower, use a saw, or balance my little paycheck? I learned much from taking night school courses, but the most I learned was from the School of Hard Knocks knowing I could trust God to protect my little family. Keeping endless schedules, working full-time, and spending weekends alone were challenging. God kept saying ‘just hold on’. Because of that, the girls and I became a team. We still smile and talk about our family traditions. God did bring a wonderful man into my life because I trusted in Him to ‘hold on’. It was so surreal when my daughter and I were dating at the same time. Many days weren’t easy but hard work paid off.

Writer, Pen, Paper, journey, writer's journey, tips, write, author

As a single mom, I began to put my thoughts on paper and little-by-little doors opened for me to publish articles for on-line magazines. I always have a piece of paper and pen handy because you never know when an inspiring thought might come! There was nothing more satisfying then to know I was encouraging and helping others as I told my story. I certainly didn’t know I had a gift for writing or how much I loved to express my heart through the written word. It was an amazing time for me to continue to heal and understand this new Linda. Because of my life experience, I help mentor women on-line, have a blog for single moms, and published a book to inspire those who are on the same journey. My greatest joy is knowing that God is using me to reach others all over the world reassuring single parents that YOU CAN DO THIS! and claim Isaiah 43:18-19.

Single parent, survival, writing, tools, tips, journey
SINGLE MOM SURVIVAL SUCCESS: Tools and Tips For The Journey

I have walked in the shoes of single parents whose path is tough, challenging, and many times downright frightening. These pages are written to encourage single moms (and dad’s) in their journey. For me it was the most challenging but most blessed as I choose not to be defeated. I share issues such as loneliness, grieving, contentment, making memories with the kids, forgiveness, and re-entering the dating scene. There are questions my daughters asked which will hopefully help in discussions with your children. You will find questionnaires to inspire and help as you move one step in front of the other. Hopefully this backpack of helpful tips can help you believe that YOU CAN DO THIS; not only survive but succeed!

Buy Links (e-book will be out in October)

1.Essence Publishing
http://essencebookstore.com/index.php?main_page=advanced_search_result&search_in_description=0&keyword=single+mom
2. Amazon.com/ca
https://www.amazon.com/Single-Mom-Survival-Success-Journey/dp/1460007956/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1504818239&sr=1-1&keywords=Single+Mom+Survival+Success

Social Media Links

Bi-monthly Blog: www.singlemomsurvivalsuccess.com
Facebook: Linda R McCutcheon https://www.facebook.com/lindar.mccutcheon.1

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Sleeping Bags and Flashlights!

Wow! The summer holidays are now a memory and the routine of getting the kiddos settled into school and the endless schedules are upon us.

May I share one more summer fun memory? It was camping with family.  As the summer came to a close, the nights got cooler and the sun set much earlier.  It was so much easier to put the kids to bed when it was dark!

The girls had little battery operated lanterns to shine some light if they got scared. (pictured hanging from the camper roof) The warm sleeping bags and flannel PJ’s kept them warm as the night temperatures dropped.

 

It reminds me of God’s help when I was scared of the seemingly ‘dark’ future and the chill from the reality of walking the single motherhood journey alone.

  1. God gave me His light to lead me one step at a time.

Your word is a lamp that gives light wherever I walk. Psalm 119:105

I can’t count the number of times I was afraid to move forward with life decisions especially being responsible for the children’s well-being.  Do I move? Will this job provide? A guy asked me out so should I go?  For those of you who are a single mom, you understand.

The words of Scripture gave me the direction I needed. For example: I had been thinking about moving away from the town where my life had turned upside down.  I wanted a new start and a new beginning. The kids had already adjusted to a move across town to save on rent, settling into away weekend visits with their dad, and mommy working outside the home. What to do, what to do!

The answer came one morning as I was reading God’s Word, Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.  He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle.  Psalm 107:6-7   In just a few months, the girls and I had settled into a new town and into a great rental place, and I had a new job.

  1. God was there to wrap His love around me just like a fluffy sleeping bag. The truth was that life was lonely with no companion. God promised the words in Scripture, He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. Psalm 91:4   (rampart means a protective wall. I had to look it up.)

During these days as you journey as a single mom, remember that life is like camping.  You have a light to guide you when you feel it is dark all around. You have the warmth of God’s love like a fluffy sleeping bag to comfort you when you feel life is cold and dreary.

Camping may be over until next year, but you can remember God has your back.  He will guide you with His light and protect and keep you warm 365 days of the year.

OPEN YOUR TOOL BOX: I see a flashlight and a sleeping bag!

  • During this busy school season remember that God will guide and protect all of you
  • Take time in God’s word to encourage you in this journey called Single Mother Hood
  • Remember the lessons of a flashlight and a sleeping bag

YOU CAN DO THIS!

All Saints Movie

With so little good Television for the family, here is a great movie to take your family too.

A church in Smyrna, Tennessee has the For Sale sign on their yard.  The doors are closing because the mortgage payments are huge and the congregation small.  Pastor Michael Spurlock’s (John Corbett) commission has been to close the beloved doors. What happens over the next few months sets the scene for a very interesting challenge in the lives surrounding this town and its church members.

Karen Refugees have arrived with no job and food is scare. They enter All Saints church seeking help and despite language barriers and an end expiry date, what happens to the lives in that little church will stir you. What makes is so inspiring is that it is based on a true story. They may be small in number but they are mighty in action.

I was privileged to have this sneak preview for the Upcoming movie out March 25th thanks to Graf Communication and Affirm Films.  Grab your family and enjoy this must- see movie!

Marshmallows and Sticky Fingers

I am not a fan of marshmallows but there is something fun about roasting them, even if just to give them away to someone eagerly waiting for it.  Throw it between two graham crackers and a slab of chocolate and you will always want s ’more!

I found time sitting around a crackling fire pit, fighting off bugs, and watching the stars twinkle, gave time to chat, laugh, and even sing those silly songs.

It brought the family together and ended the day on a good note. Often times joining us were grandparents, cousins, aunties and uncles to join in the fun.  For a busy single mom, it gave me time to sit and relax. I found this picture of million years ago with a dear Aunt of mine, who has since gone to be with Jesus, doing just that.  (I’m in the back ground in a dark sweater.  Check out those vehicles and my grandfather’s sporting dark socks and good shoes at the beach. Good times!)

Too often our lives become one big catch up, so we need the time to chill, get our fingers sticky with marshmallows and sing Kumbaya.

King David knew all too well that our soul needs rest and hope. He knew that trusting in God would help us all through un-rest in our life.

He said, Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Psalm 62:5

Life moves so fast. Memories sitting by the campfire with my children holding sticks full of marshmallows over hot flames will always be cherished.  I was a single mom with many burdens, but those times of pauses sitting by a crackling fire pit and watching them lick their fingers helped lighten my heart.  Over twenty years have passed, and I still sit with my girls by a fire pit licking sticky fingers.

Summer is already coming to a close, but make your own special memories with your kiddos that you can keep tucked in your heart when the burdens are heavy.

It might not be marshmallows, but try and do something relaxing and fun with your kids while the days of summer are still upon us.  When the cool winter months are here, those memories will warm your heart.

OPEN YOUR TOOL BOX

  • I see a roasting stick and a bag of sticky marshmallows
  • Plan an adventure with your kids
  • Take some much needed time to relax even if just for a few hours
  • You will be glad you made a good memory when the winter months are upon us
  • Find TRUE rest, like King David, in God.

Next time: Sleeping Bags and Flashlights

YOU CAN DO THIS!

BEACH TOWELS AND WATERLOGGED!

I have always found time spent by the water calms my soul and refreshes the weary spirit. For a number of summers, I found myself dragging blow-up whales, sand pails, and beach balls to the water front.  When we packed up, our skin was wrinkly and we felt waterlogged.  But oh what fun!

We need some moments for summer fun! Because,

  1. We need refreshment. The Psalmist knew a place to be refreshed when he said, He leads me beside the still waters. The day spent at the beach with children can be far from still waters, but with safety rules in place and the time to splash in the water, the time to laugh and scream with the children will have the same effect. Have you carved out some time to spend beside the water?

Moments sitting on the shore line, a canoe ride, visiting the city splash pad, or walking by water could be the refreshment you all need.

  1. We need our thirst quenched by God.

In my heart, I am thirsty for you, the living God. When will I see your face?  Psalm 42:2

So many time pressures and responsibilities can suck us emotionally, physically, and spiritually dry. The time spent in God’s word will never be wasted.  In fact, this can encourage your soul as we read the promises of God.

Here is a link of some of God’s Promises from Bible Study Tools.com.  Reading these can put a spring in our step, and a renewed vision to trust God.  We all need this in our life of pressures and questions.

http://www.biblestudytools.com/topical-verses/gods-promises-verses-in-the-bible/

Maybe write out some of these verses on recipe cards and keep them in your Bible, or in your jammed- packed purse.  We all have to stand in line at the grocery store, at a medical appointment, or in a traffic jam.  Why not take a book of the Bible and read it? Keep a journal book beside it and write out comments and questions to study further or ask a friend about it.  This link above can help you find some answers and studies as well.

Summer flies by so quickly. Seasons come and go, so take this summer to have some fun with your kids.  Get waterlogged with your kids and get drenched in your thirst for God.  You will find doing these two things can help in your journey. It certainly did for me!

GRAB YOUR SAND PAIL:

  • Find a body of water near you. A city splash pad, a creek in the park, or a beach near you.
  • Plan a special trip with a picnic basket, sand pails, some safety rules and have fun!
  • Take some time for refreshing your soul by reading the Scriptures.
  • Memories some verses, so when you are standing in line, you can be encouraged.
  • Getting waterlogged can be a good thing!

NEXT:  Marshmallows and Sticky Fingers!

YOU CAN DO THIS!

WISDOM FROM THE WISE: The Grand Finale!

Wisdom…I certainly need a daily dose each and every day with each and every situation. King Solomon knew we all need it. Start the fireworks…this is the Grand Finale in my little series.

There is so much more to learn from this book.  I hope you will do a study yourself and underline the words, “wisdom, wise, common sense, and good sense” and see what you come up with.

Wisdom isn’t just for someone with a master’s degree or a doctorate.  It is for each and every one of us.  God is wanting to give each of us this gift while journeying through life.  Single Moms, your journey is tough and you may find yourself constantly seeking wisdom as you raise your children, balance your bank account, and deal with those challenging people in your life.

True wisdom is obtainable by asking God.

Let’s recap the words of Proverbs from over the last few weeks.

  • I am Wisdom—Common Sense is my closest friend; I possess knowledge and sound judgement. Proverbs 8:12
  • Wise people have enough sense to find their way, but stupid fools get lost. Proverbs 14:8.
  • I am Wisdom. If you follow me, you will live a long time. Proverbs 9:11
  • You will say the wrong thing if you talk too much—so be sensible and watch what you say. Proverbs 10:19
  • It makes youlook good when you avoid a fight— only fools love to Proverbs 20:3
  • Children with good sense accept correction from their parents, but stubborn children ignore it completely”. Proverbs 13:1
  • Use wisdom and understanding to establish your home: let good sense fill the rooms with priceless treasures. Proverbs 24: 3-4

I think it is pretty awesome that the God of the Universe loves to fill our hearts and our minds with wisdom, if we are willing to trust in Him and ask for His help.  Pouring our life into partnering with God, trusting in His Son, Jesus Christ, and asking the Holy Spirit to dwell in us, will help us put one foot in front of the other through life.

God never said life would be easy, but He did say He would carry us and lead us as each morning breaks.

In my own life experience, God has done just that. I am thankful that Jesus sacrificed His death on the cross so I could have a spiritual relationship with Him.  His wisdom brought me through 12 years as a single mom. It can happen for you too.

Within the walls and structure of your home continue to claim,  Proverbs 24.  “Use wisdom and understanding to establish your home: let good sense fill the rooms with priceless treasures”.

At the end of the day, Wise Solomon put it all in a nutshell,

“Everything you were taught can be put into a few words:

Respect And Obey God! This is what life is all about.” Ecclesiastes 12:13

Open your TREASURE CHEST OF WISDOM

  • Why not challenge yourself and memorize the above verses.
  • Partner with God and use His wisdom to help you each and every day.
  • Do a study in Proverbs about wisdom.
  • Establish your home with wisdom and understanding.

YOU CAN DO THIS!

WISDOM FROM THE WISE: Start The Car!!

Nothing makes me feel more exhausted when there is drama or angst in my life. Do you feel the same?  People spread rumours, people get jealous, and basically people are people in a sin-saturated world.

Solomon said that fools love to quarrel. People who carry hurt and distress in their personal life are usually out to prove something.  We don’t have to play their game.

It makes you look good when you avoid a fight— only fools love to quarrel. Proverbs 20:3

How to avoid a fight? Here are some thoughts.

 

  1. Spend as little time as possible with those people who want nothing other than to fight, argue and get you upset.
  • Unfortunately they may be family members, so you need God’s grace when you have to be with them and take care of what comes squeaking past those ruby lips.
  • Unfortunately, they may be an ex or his family. Communicating through text and email is an option to keep things factual and to the point unless you use all kinds of emoji and other symbols!!! Oops! Separation and divorce bring out more emotions than thought possible because they are matters of the heart.  Some say, “Bring it on” and love to fight.  No one wins with fighting except the legal profession. Being fair is the best game despite the unfair break-up. Being mean and fighting will only make it worse. Solomon was right, it will make you look good and you will feel you did your best without continual arguing and fighting.
  1. Walk away when those who love to quarrel start on their rampage. It’s like the humorous Staples© television commercial when the women yells at her husband who is sitting in their car to…”Start the car, start the car!” Excuse yourself and walk the opposite way. If they continue to badger you,
  2. Ask God for His wisdom in what you say and how you react. Comments such as, “I’ll have to think on that”, or “that is interesting”, or “I would appreciate not talking about that now” can defuse an argument. One person told me to say “just a minute, I want to write that down to think about it”. They may get mad, but you can excuse yourself saying ‘another time’.  It could allow you time to process what they said and how to deal with it. Bottom line, it is God’s wisdom that will help you know when to say something or keep your mouth closed. If you know you will be with people who are like that, bathe that time in prayer.

People will see your reaction when you don’t start a fight or avoid one. It will go a long way in how people view your character. That doesn’t mean anyone has to be a dishrag, but it does mean that quarreling and saying stuff only to regret later will be at a minimum.

At the end of the day, you will be glad that you avoid fights as much as possible and use strategies that will lessen the need for others to find you so they can quarrel.

Hey, Solomon said it….if we want to look good and not look like a fool…don’t quarrel for the sake of quarreling.  Easier said than done, but it can be accomplished.  Wisdom is your friend and will help as each situation comes your way.

OPEN YOUR TREASURE CHEST OF WISDOM

  • Begin your day asking for God’s wisdom in your journey
  • When someone starts to quarrel, try and defuse it right away
  • Bathe your time in prayer before you are with argumentative people
  • Live for God’s Truth…YOU WILL LOOK GOOD!

YOU CAN DO THIS!