Faith

candlelight

There are nights I lay tossing and turning, I’m hot, I’m cold…drowning my body in blankets and trying to turn off my brain.  I wish I had a magic pill for this but instead I chose to write, paint, take a walk in the freezing cold and the darkness of night, getting out of bed wandering the house at midnight, reading, laundry…. anything to distract my mind from my worry from what happens tomorrow to next week. I find calm in being outside, walking my dog, sitting by the fire place and my writing.

This type of anxiety or fear is not good for me or you. I push through it; I don’t believe it to be a flaw but somehow I have not let it consume me.  Working out has been new to me –  at least in a Cross Fit gym.  I forget it all everything seems trivial and I show myself that I have great power inside me and that I can push my body harder and harder and I can still stand. (Literally.) This has become a crazy addiction for me. It strips away my fear, anxiety, gives me a clear mind and when I leave I know I can conquer any of my anxiety and fear drifts out the window.

There are many people in my family that are fighting for theirs right now.  Fighting for their lives and I look for answers but they aren’t there. So, the phrase, “let go and let God” gives me comfort as of late.  The circle of life will continue unfortunately these family members are living in fear, worry, stress with prayer and faith.  Having faith and believing that God has a plan for each and every one of us.

I am worried about these families and their families.  I hurt because I know they are. I want to help but don’t know how…so I have fallen to my knees a lot lately in prayer to give them strength, to lift them up, to bless them, to show them guidance when everything around them might seem dark. I no longer ask “why,” but pray in faith, “that God will provide them with strength.”

Come as You Are

Come As You Are by Crowder

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Life catches you off guard.  In the last year there have been significant moments where I have had to make choices and chose a new path.  Along these journeys, it has given me a new vision, my faith has become stronger, and I have surprised myself at how strong I am even at my weakest. I see the world more clearly; I know that I would rather have fewer amazing people in my life than know the masses of the people around me.   A tight knit “extended “family that knows my heart – just as I know theirs.  This extended family shows up when the darkest of clouds are over head and when the sky’s are blue and the sun beats down on us we play in joy and laughter at the purest of moments where we find nothing better to do than just be in each other’s company for however long it lasts.

I have had days where life spins me in circles, feelings of being ripped off the ground and I struggle to find my footing. I forget sometimes to breath, pay attention to what’s going on around me and pay attention to self care.  I wish I saw more givers and less takers in the world.  I want to believe the best in people and forget about the opposite. But this is unrealistic.

People in general spend so much time hiding who they really are and acting in a way that seems natural but just isn’t – depression, disease, abuse, people who don’t have family, some who can’t see their family or children or the millions of people who don’t have a place to sleep or food to eat.   I have been looking deep inside to find something that will fill this space or void I have carried around, this feeling of “I am not doing enough”.   I said, I want to believe the best in people. I figure, if I am the best version of myself, I believe I can impact change.

This past year, I committed to start working out more frequently so I joined Cross-fit.  It is unlike anything I have ever done physically in my life.  I have pushed myself to the place where I say, “I can’t” and then others start to cheer you on and through the exertion, sweat, tears, and injuries I push myself to places and complete exercises I never thought my body could do.  Yes, I fall but I get up and I have proven to myself that “I can”!  I am strong, I get exhausted and I know when I hit that point of breaking, I am capable of pushing forward and not giving up!  This “thing” I have become a part of, what I used to say was “insane” purely out of judgment.  I participate in reguarlary and it has changed my life. I have power that I didn’t know I had. The gut-wrenching strength I have because I have proved it to myself. In this comes self-care, purpose, and not the idea of; but the self-truth that I will never give up.  Cross-fit strips my mind and my body down to nothing and all I can do is to keep pushing forward.  This may seem simple but it has empowered me to find great strength inside of myself.

I desire to share my writing about life and what it means to me through self discovery, instead of talking about how I want to help people, I think it is a shit or get off the pot scenario for me (this is a terrible analogy) …. quit talking about it. I need to do and not say.  I need to take care of who I am because it has proven to give me great strength and empowerment. I need to get outside the bubble and pop it.  All the while, keeping in mind, I need to stay focused on self care and self discipline. Take risks, give back, pray and continue to have faith in life that I am where I am supposed to be!

I have now jumped into a few things.  I am a bit nervous and excited but only because of the unknown. I will finish my CASA training soon and I have just started the training process for the American Red Cross Disaster Response team.  I have realized over and over…life is so short, too short. I have real life experience (so does everyone else) but for me it is the most obvious in my home with my children.  Life changes so quickly. Do what drives you inside, allow yourself to discover new adventures if you have the means, even if you may go it alone for awhile, and may be outside of your comfort zone. Don’t second guess yourself. You may find a new calling something you are drawn too, carry your faith with you and push forward. Keep moving.

I have taken so many leaps this past year – I am not going to drone on about them but if you know me, you may know of my “leaps”.  Instead of being complacent I have had to hit the reset button on me.  I so value being raw with my people – cut the bullshit and just lay it out there. I don’t want to believe or live in a fantasy world that life is all rainbows and butterflies.  Life is also about struggles and never giving up. Take this one life you have and live it!

You can find this in your soul (something pushing you to look for, a person, a place; something simply unexpected and it’s your choice to step off the cliff whether you dive or jump you will instinctively come up for air.  Take that leap of faith and in time you just might find a better understanding of yourself and a new purpose.  You can find yourself shifting paths, the future is uncertain but what you might find ahead in your new surroundings is a place you find a new hope, a sense of purpose, and a new comfortable fit for exactly who you are now, perhaps a new calling – today keep moving forward with your faith, knowledge and strength.

There is so much life out there, so many moments, so many adventures…so use this opportunity to get up and get moving.  The world needs more of these people rather than the whiners and waiters.

Always.

 

For Cole

“Love you babe, Love you, Mom”

For Cole:

You are 13 today! The unconditional love you have for others is amazing, take that with you as you get older.  Your kindness will change everyone who comes to know you.

When I wake you each morning, I slowly creak the door open and literally you fly up from laying flat in bed with a gasp.  You are always quick to wake as if the house is on fire.  I am sorry because I have said this to you and like lighting you start flying around trying to figure out what you need to take but when you look up at me I just can’t contain my laughter. You always walk to me for a hug, I stay in the doorway just to get that hug from you. I love the way you hug and I love the way you hug everyone in the family, (really everyone) – at holidays, that is a lot of hugging.  Don’t ever stop doing that. Each any everyone you hug notices, by this you show them your heart.  You take the time for each and everyone of them, showing them they are special to you. You always vocalize your love. And it matters!

Babe, you need to start eating!  There are so many flavors…just try! As a baby you were always very picky but if I have to smell pedisure one more time in my life I will throw up.  Yes, you stopped drinking that a long time ago.  But you can’t live on carbs, pizza, grilled cheese, lasagna, nachos and or any other of the processing foods you love.  There are so many amazing foods, tastes, crazy or not, but food can give you a feeling, it can create a memory.  (Just as your pedisure did for me.) Try something I BEG you, you are hating me at every meal right now because I make you try one thing new every meal. We have figured out that canned green beans, mashed potatoes and steak make you gag.  As you grow you WILL need more food and all different kinds of food to fuel your body, to keep you growing, healthy, and active! Just give it a try!

You are 5 ft. tall, you may be the smallest in our family but son, you are mighty!  Don’t ever let anyone tell you, you can’t do anything, YOU CAN do anything you want! Never feel defeated, QUIT the self doubt: believe you are amazing!  You may learn in your own unique way, you may get the correct answer to a math problem that was not the way you were taught and you may encounter teacher’s who don’t take the time to understand the way you learn. Fight for yourself, speak up, if you need to stay after school or come to school early make that happen even if you’d rather sleep in.  It shows great character and strength.

You have had and will continue to have teachers notice you.  If you do the work, you will be noticed and teachers will notice your efforts. I believe I am a good teacher and I am confident I am, just as I am a writer. Far-away Grandpa was an exceptional teacher.  You have people all around you that can help and what is so amazing about you is that you are becoming your best advocate. I have been your advocate since your birth, I will continue to be. In the last two years, teachers continuously tell me you know how to ask the tough questions, you advocate for yourself, you are patient, and you don’t give up. I know you get frustrated, Bud. And I do too, trying to figure out how to solve two-step equations (fractions and mixed numbers) with the homework you bring home, seems impossible to me.  Then, once you work it through you are required to show your work backwards to prove it and write it out in sentences and don’t forget to write “yes” next to the problem and the “I can” statement (oh, and each answer stands for a letter which then solves a word puzzle at the bottom of the page).  Seriously honey, I’m baffled by this. I will learn to help you (although hopefully it will not take an hour like this most recent math assignment). I am in fact, learning with you and from you. I am just as excited as you are when we get to that last problem. In all honesty, I understand why teachers are teaching in this “new” way, I understand they are required by the state but there is always an acceptation to everything. If they are great teachers they will take the time to pay attention to how you learn the best and provide to you what you need to be successful and feel success even if testing says something else. There aren’t two pupils alike in a classroom.  Not everyone, can be taught inside the confines of a cookie cutter.  You have the tools to succeed in school. If you need to pave your way, you have those “dedicated” teachers around you – teach them as they teach you!

You have a wonderful sense of humor, your quick-witted, and bright.  You often say things that make us all laugh in any situation because of your wit and humor.  This is a great trait. You have already figured out how to lift the spirit of an entire room of people with your sense of humor and infectious smile and laughter.  You have great character. I am told by many people in your life that you lift their spirits everyday. I don’t think you even know it but this will take you far in life. You are grateful, happy, you draw other people to you, you do not judge, you love deeply and are empathetic.

Your empathy is something beautiful and you share it.  You would give away your lunch (which you have done), you take snacks/lunch for kids you tell me that aren’t eating), the clothes on your back, you make me tea when I am sick, you cover up your brother when he is sleeping, when I have a rough day you always surprise me with something that makes me gasp inside. If I take shower and have been sick you often take the time to lay out an entire “comfy” pile of clothes along with soft socks, a pillow, blanket and ice water. You sit with me when I am sick which is something I will never forget. I have never told you but I hate to be alone when I am sick. These things you do make me speechless.

There is ONLY one unique you and you need to open up at bit more and because you have so many life skills that other kids your age are completely unaware of.  Show this off! Be confident!

Cole, I know when you are down, you come to me and sometimes in tears, you like hugs and you fight through those tears and you have so much to say.  I wish I could take away your fears, your self doubt but when you are down and you don’t know why, please come to me and keep talking don’t hide how you feel with me. You are brilliant and at times in your life you will struggle and pushing on may feel like the hardest thing in your life at that time but you can and will survive and what will be on the other side will be beautiful moments and experiences. The world is a never ending place of beauty, explore it!

BE BRAVE!! Stop worrying about the numbers and letters you see on your report cards not a single thing on those papers show people anything about you…you will see them more as you get older because unfortunately, they are a part of going to school but let them go, do the best you can for those letters and numbers DO NOT define you.

Challenge yourself!  You do not need to live within the confines of your immediate surroundings. You have great ambition and you are passionate. I love that you don’t take things to seriously however, as you grow; there is a time and place to step it up! Don’t question yourself in these moments, get up, say what you need to, stay standing even if you feel alone (you will never be alone). Be Bold!  Be Inspired and inspire others. Keep surprising people!

Always love your family and continue to show it, I don’t know why I even write these words because at 13- you already do this!! This quality in you is priceless! Your brother has your back but the day will come when he will need you no matter what it requires of you…just be there! He may be five inches taller but don’t cave every time he comes at you with words or in play, it is in your nature to do this but when you do stand up to him (believe me, it will happen) be strong, out wit him, show him he can’t always win. This will empower you, life requires you to kick it’s butt sometimes even if it’s your little brother’s, still love him no matter what you go through together. I know you can do any you want in this huge world. Never get complacent and show people how you view the world and always lead with your heart.

Happy 13th birthday, my love!

“Love you babe, Love you, Mom”

For Austin

“I love you, I love you more, not possible, yes possible.”

For Austin:

You will officially become a teenager (13) tomorrow.  I love the young man you are becoming.

Every morning when I come to wake you, I slowly open your door and you are curled up in a ball under one blanket.  You don’t care for a top sheet or quilt and if I make your bed by morning, its balled up on the floor next to the bed.  You politely tell me, “I just need this blanket”.  Of course, you would have expensive taste – a handmade $70 blanket. You wake slowly most mornings. Weekdays I use my long hair to tickle your ears and face and you roll over ignoring me.  When you fall asleep you still rock back and forth – just as you did as an infant.  This is so funny to me – your friends will come over and are baffled as to what and why you do this.

You always have a smile and your laughter…. that genuine laughter that fills a room after practical jokes makes my heart full.  Sometimes you make yourself laugh so hard.

As you grow, I want you to learn to speak up for yourself and for what you want, it is okay to get off the road and explore what is around you, before you choose a road. At school, rather than flying through the homework and everyday tasks because they were put in front of you – I want you to begin to think deeply, if you don’t understand, ask, if you want to know why you are being taught something, ask (respectfully), and if you can fly through your schooling years as fast as you are now and each homework assignment you get (I dare you to slow down, later in life you will learn why education was/is so important to me and to your grandparents, we have all been in the trenches with classrooms of kids.  I had a few exceptional teachers and in those few they changed my life in their own way. My dad was one of these teachers (retired now), he taught music for 40 years and still every time we visit what does he do…just like kicking off his shoes at the end of the day…within moments the piano, guitar, and his voice fills the room. Do what you dream of!

Now at my age, just as I was inspired by a precious few educators, you can be too!!  As they inspire (you might not realize it but they can be inspired by you,) pay attention to why you might be learning what you are, it is not always about being the best or the first in everything. Observing and even being knocked down can teach you so much. And both will happen to you!

Small random acts of kindness might not seem important but they are and they show others who you truly are…you sharing a part of your kindness with someone can make a difference! There is always someone you know who needs help getting up, give them a boost. Pay attention and be authentic.  You only have a certain amount of moments in your life.

Open doors, pull out chairs, try as hard as possible to NOT have a sharp tongue, do not judge others because you don’t know what they might be struggling with, continue to say please and thank you, pray, if someone is upset, hand them a tissue and take the time to notice them, to listen if requested. Be gentle with others hearts, always love your family hard and deeply. The day will come where you stand in front of “your” mountain, don’t quit, it is going to be tough and maybe the toughest at whatever age it will happen…do not concede! Go up, over, through or around, ask for help but never stop.

I want you to challenge your mind as you have with the same determination you have now. These things will make a difference in others, just smiling can make a difference for someone else and FOR YOU! As you move into your teen years know that I love you.  Even if you hate me at times.  You have a strong heart, pay attention to what is going on around you and to what you feel, and don’t ever be afraid to speak up!

Austin, you work hard at everything you do, so hard. You often would rather be in the shop working or trying to fix something you found in a field, garage sale, or someone’s garbage – a weed wacker, old cell phones, an engine, swamp coolers, computers…as I clean the house I often find a trail of parts and pieces from one room to the next.  Anything from tools, screws, bolts, parts to cell phones, circuit boards, wires, electrical tape. It’s crazy! I am often frustrated with the mess and then I remind myself what better way for you to discovery, learn, and inspire. (You are not organized but your mind is unreal, you draw from others ideas and create your own in a matter of hours). You create and recycle old parts to make something new that is actually useful.  We joked for your birthday; a box full of broken stuff from Goodwill and it would be the perfect gift for you! You don’t need the gifts. The box of junk would make you thrilled and so happy because- it isn’t junk to you – it’s a treasure and sparks new ideas in you!

You are competitive in sports; you push yourself to be better.  Last night in the snow you decide you better go outside and shovel 8 inches of snow below the basketball hoop because practice starts in a few days and you need to…well, practice. It was icy, snowing, dark, and I watched you shoveling as you slipped all over the place and just when I thought you were getting no where, I heard the bouncing of your basketball!

You are officially 5”5, my height. You don’t seem to ever be sad or down but you do get quiet and when you do you always come to me without words and lean on my shoulder and in those moments I don’t need words, I ask you and you shrug, we sit together for awhile; then off you go and your chatter begins again.

You are a work in progress and believe me when I say, you can always change your perspective. Try and see the world through other’s eyes. Always be open to others no matter how you unique they are.  You will figure out why it was so important to me that people never used the word different when it came to you and your brother.  I realized “unique” was the perfect word…everyone is unique to only themselves!! You and Cole are unique!

Stay close to that brother of yours, both of you are something, amazing together, you will need each other more than you know as you get older and always, always protect each other.

Happy Birthday!! World, look out my son, Austin is 13!!

 

Always remember… “I love you, I love you more, not possible, yes possible.”

Looking for a Laugh…

After some time away for the holidays and now back home again, I felt like I had my feet under me enough that I could tackle the returns and my long list of errands. Today I made it my personal mission to get all the errands done in one day.  I often power through as much as I can when it comes to errands, instead of a slow dilly-dally day checking things off my list whenever. I typically take on the attitude, “let’s get this shit done as fast as possible,” I want to race to get all the monotony out of the way to hopefully, end the day with a sense of accomplishment and a calmness that will carry me into a relaxing evening. All of it has to get done and well, I am the only one who is going to do it. So, I packed the car and took off on this 17-degree day.

I value my time, how I want to spend it, and with whom I want to spend it with and no matter how hard I try there isn’t enough time in a day to get everything done. People might think because I don’t have a typical office job that I don’t work and have all the free time in the world but the fact of the matter is, I am busier than I ever was when I had an office job.  I have a schedule and I book up my days and move things around to fit people and tasks into my days.  The idea that I sit around eating bon-bons, taking naps, braiding my hair, waiting to hear from you/anyone or anything’s beck and call…is just bullshit! It sounds unreal but for me it is very true! (A tiny rant, oops!)

As I closed in on my second to last errand on the list, I took a deep breath. I walked into the brightly lit, shiny black floor with pink hues all over store.  It was packed literally, shoulder to shoulder of mostly women and very few men, fighting to get to the underwear and bra bins as if it was Black Friday.  I had only walked a few feet into Victoria’s Secret (VS) and I giggled out loud. I knew my smile brightened, I felt sincere joy and a little crazy for a few moments.  I was elated when observing the craziness of people swarming for underwear and bras, arms full, and the bras and underwear were all over the floors and hanging out of the bins.  I have never seen anything like It.

A  frenzy like Black Friday – which I have avoided for years because (in my opinion) it is completely insane and I have no idea why anyone would stand in line for hours at 4am to get a free snow globe the size of a small child’s fist, while being shoved from behind and knocked down to the ground to get a cheap token for arriving so early (lucky you)…..the cussing, violence, and crazies who come out in drones even before Friday starts; midnight the night before….furthermore, in five more years will people be standing in line the Wednesday before….and get this….stores don’t even give out the free snow globes anymore. (But hey, to each their own and I am not passing judgment on anyone.)  So, in my mind whether or not it’s tradition why in the hell, would anyone want to be a part of something like this.  It seems to me that it would be similar to the airport on Christmas eve.  (Please take no offense to my personal opinions about Pre-Black Friday sales, actual Black Friday sales, and Cyber Monday, I think there may have been something about Tuesday this year but regardless, you get what I am saying).

I am standing there giggling trying to decide if I am going to enter in the crazy zone, while a woman walks by and welcomes me with the words, “hey, kitty cat” and asks if I know my bra size.  I shook my head up and down signally yes and biting my tongue because of what she just called me; I knew that if I opened my mouth “WTF” would blurt out without a doubt!

I narrowed my sight and said to myself, “let’s get this shit down”.  I entered and decided just get what you need and get out, I was looking for a specific bra.  Anyway, as I continued through the labyrinth of hot pink bins, the lines to the register were the same as Black Friday lines.  I thought to myself, “WTF again”, and was in sheer shock at the amount of people waiting to pay. Did everyone in the store run out of bras, underwear, and all things VS on the same day??

(FYI – VS was having a “semi-annual sale”, this place has been added to my list of places to NEVER go during certain times of the year. Imagine:  Black Friday sales but in a multi-perfumed shoebox size store that only carries what you wear under your clothes or honestly, gets ripped off your body in a matter of minutes! I have never experienced this type of shopper except on the original Black Friday.)

There were three lines and all must have been running by new employees because I stood there for nearly twenty-five minutes to buy two bras. The woman in front of me and another next to me were both fidgeting, looking at the ground and scanning the store, both already had bags in their hands and seemed as if they may rob the place.  In my head, I assumed they were making returns and I didn’t really want to think about the idea that these items could have been used. Both of their behaviors were so strange, I couldn’t figure out why they looked so uncomfortable…but the tags were no longer attached to the return items. (Hey, I have worked in retail a lot and someone once tried to return shoes to me because their dog peed in them. True story!) (Rant, sorry).

Both women got to the counter at the same time and handed their bags to the employees to empty the garments and both women patted them down on the counter as if it was a secret or they were trying to returning edible underwear, it was something that made me laugh to myself because if you enter this store it is very specific to what you will be buying. We all know what we were doing in there…except I personally skipped over the underwear bins.

I happily went to the counter, spoke to the employee, she shared with me what her favorite bra was, and I know I had a smile and probably seemed a bit crazy because I think I actually giggled out loud…again.  Simply, I was humored and in ahhh! The maybe 40 minutes I was in the store; it was one humorous scenario after another.  I paid, said goodbye to the “kitty-cat” woman and headed to the car. I was wholeheartedly smiling joyously and giggling.

In the car and on my way to the bank …I was finally free to laugh out loud and uncontrollably.

So, if any of you are feeling tired, down, weary, or sad head on over to your local VS and people watch for a bit! Guaranteed to make you smile.

In Another Time, Another Place

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You would open up to me,

Share with me

what’s on the inside of you

 

you would take me

to those places that

you hold on too

the places where you dream

 

You would share more

give more than hour or two

even lose track of time

tell me who you are

show me without words

 

you would be silent with me

and just be there

in each other’s silences

quiet and safe

 

you would reach for me

to play and to just be

you would need me

in a way that didn’t require words