Faith

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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.”

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.”

Moments

Photograph by Nickelback

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I watch my kids whirl around me as if I’m in the center of a tornado, standing still. I watch them growing and circling me in an upward spiral going faster and faster and I simply cannot keep up.

I spend so much time not missing events: packing football pads, muddy cleats, backpacks that I can barely lift, now basketballs, building animal cells out of Styrofoam, “trying” to help with common core math, who needs new shoes, new math binders, conferences; there is so much “stuff” that kids need, use, and want but when it comes right down to it – the best thing I can give them is my love, my heart, teach them to be kind, polite, and well-mannered young men.  Beyond that, simply being with them in all their moments. My hope is that by loving them, it teaches them how to reciprocate love to others.

I realize now and can see clearly what was happening in my idea of a beautiful childhood.  I was loved and cared for in such a way, I was sheltered from the monsters under the bed. I couldn’t have asked for or been blessed with better parents, I love my siblings and I know whatever the status of our relationship is, in any day – everyone in my family would show up and I have NO doubt about that.  This gives me an incredible amount of courage and strength.

I am able to see life in a different way now.  A beautifully complicated mess of opportunities.  Living in the moments we have, today, tomorrow, and what happens in the next two hours or this evening.  We have choices to make and in those choices we choose to live in those moments or sit complacent and think about what they could’ve been like.   In my strongest and weakest moments, I strive to master perfection in these choices.  But this is where I have begun to see life and myself differently.  We all have these moments that can have an impact on our lives, that we will remember forever or maybe just an ember that blows from the campfire and disappears into the night. But I write to keep my moments, insignificant or not, alive.  I feel alive everyday through my moments and how I choose to use them!!

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When the twins were born, I can remember Cole’s entire hand holding the tip of my pinkie and being too afraid to even touch Austin.  Their chests concave, literally skin and bones, and the ventilators helping them to breathe. I was terrified, so terrified if they would live of die in those moments.

In nearly a month my twins will be 13 and damn, I am so proud and have been blessed by God that these two miracles are in my life. And seriously, where the hell have the years gone??

This morning, the house was in shambles, Christmas lights reflecting in windows, I was doing laundry, writing checks for the next sport (basketball), lacing new shoes, feeding the dog, loading the dishwasher, and like every morning trying to get Cole out of the shower (he never fails to take every ounce of hot water) and my heart was full.  Yes, this happens mostly every morning sometimes the tasks change but the basic idea is always the same.

Life can change from day to day. What you choose to do with your day is up to you but somewhere remember there are people out there who in their current state cannot control what is happening. Everyone needs time to digest, make a plan, and decide what is best for them and their families.

Go after what you want, remember where you came from and who helped you get there, don’t look back because we cannot change the past, if you want something different – something you feel compelled to do or change from your history – change it now, if you need a kick in ass to get you moving, I am sure you know someone who is ready and willing! And maybe if something or someone catches you off guard in a moment and you let yourself be with whatever it is; you may learn more than you ever thought you could. It could possibly change your entire perspective on life.

Children!?!?!

My son was sick this weekend.  He didn’t have the flu but he had stabbing pains in his stomach and I couldn’t do anything about it.  Even though my instincts told me told me that we just needed to wait it out, I couldn’t bare to watch him double over in pain.  Austin wouldn’t eat, drink, and was lethargic. If you know my son, this is not him.  He goes 100 miles an hour and that brain of his is always thinking of the next project, the next thing he can take a part and in his mind he always two steps ahead of where he currently stands.

I watched him like a hawk, a mother bear, or whatever you choose to relate this feeling too.  Call me a mom who hovers but everything in me wanted to switch places with him.  I sat next to him on the floor for hours, rubbed his head, and although he was laying on the couch fast asleep and I was on the floor and I feel asleep sitting up…our heads touching on the same pillow.

There is something about being a mother that bonds us to certain other mothers, puts us in this world or category that no one else can relate too accept other mothers.  There is also something instinctive in our children that when they need something they go to their mother’s first. (Now, I am not saying children don’t go to their fathers because I still go to mine but there is something to mothers and their children and there is also something special between fathers and their children too.) I will put it out there and say that generally speaking: homework, discipline, food, clean clothes, hugs, whining, comfort, and getting my children to and from activities, and having sleepovers-are all activities I take part in actively in my home.

As my boys have gotten older and although I still do all the things above, they have shifted a lot of their focus to Dad.  We live on a farm with endless amounts of new things to try.  Both boys love this.  Although they may not realize it now but as they get older they will realize that they were so blessed to grow up here.  There isn’t any place they can’t go for miles around us, they know every trail, every nook in the trees, where the water is, and on four-wheelers everything is just better.

I watch my children discover new things in front of me.  I see that twinkle in their eyes…and each new discovery somehow thrusts them into their next idea. Children are amazing little beings that if you nurture them, they will turn into brilliant adults!

For me, being a mother is the most important job in my life, there are things in my life I struggle with but those are easier to ignore when it comes to building up and nurturing my children.

Have you ever loved something so much it hurts??

 

Footnote: (Austin is healthy again and he decided it was gas and he needed to go #2)

 

Grandpa’s Orchard

For as long as I can remember I believed myself to be a writer.  It was, has been, and is what I am most passionate about.  I believe the power of one’s voice and think that everyone is capable of writing something great.  Everyone has a unique story to share with the world or simply a story to share with one other person.  However, there are very few people who would sit down and spill their guts out on to a piece of paper and feel like it is worth something.  I feel that everyone’s story holds merit and value even if its just for them; to hold on to.

When I was younger and people used to ask me what I wanted to be I would always answer a writer or an author.  I can’t think of a time that I ever answered anything else. Today, I can say I am a published author but I could also say that years ago when I published a poem about my Grandfather and in the last 12 years a magazine article about “my husband and being a dad”.  There were times since high school that I grew a part from my pen and notebook but I have always found my way back to what I am most passionate about.

I left my job of seven years last November and while focusing all my energy on my children and their education, I did start to get a few moments to myself and I found my pen and paper again.  I found my voice.  I also found my first Apple computer which I love dearly.  It holds all of my words, my secrets, my contradictions, my dreams.

I started writing everyday for hours at a time.  I changed my surroundings often and frequently changed perspectives in nature to gain a different focal point. There was a lot of journaling and free writing in the beginning, hours of sitting in my nook with the tiny fireplace I got for Christmas. It created a wonderful ambiance in my nook.  Everything that was and is me is inside this small space.

I would say that I frequently suffer from insomnia which if I get up and walk around, drink a glass of milk, or write a bit; I can generally get myself back to sleep within an hour or two.  However, this does not work all the time.

Since, I had started writing regularly my insomnia grew more frequent and I could not get back to sleep so waking up at midnight meant I would be up until morning and it was getting very annoying. This became a new standard in my life which I didn’t like because if you know me, you would know I need my sleep.

On a Monday night in January, I woke up and remembered my dream I had just had about my family on the farm.  I laid in bed for an hour tossing and turning and I ran through my dream over and over in my mind.  After about an hour, I got up turned the lights on low, I tore some sheets of paper out of a journal I kept and started writing.  I couldn’t get the words out fast enough.  I wrote sentence after sentence and could not slow down.  It was as if the words were spraying out the end of my pen like spray paint.  I can say it wasn’t my best writing or the neatest but it was the story of Grandpa’s Orchard. Yes, I did some editing and typed it all into a my computer the next day but it was my dream in its entirety. After four hours of writing, my hand ached and I became very tired, I feel asleep on the couch and when I woke in a few hours, I knew this was the story I was going to publish! Grandpa’s Orchard all started in a dream.

 

What Does Joy Look Like?

Years fly by!  Lucas Graham – 7 Years

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Joy is something amazing.  I see it every day, it could be between strangers or siblings or children or even in my spouse, its something that warms my soul– to see.  I can be an outsider looking in and I see it from far away or close up and know…..now, that is JOY!

The definition of Joy: is a feeling of great pleasure and/or happiness.

Synonyms: delight, great pleasure, joyfulness, triumph, glee elation, bliss, rejoicing, etc.

Lately, I have felt very lucky and an extreme amount of joy after going after my dream of getting published and now working on the sequel (where I might say, I have total writer’s block). I need to find some joy and inspiration to get myself going on this sequel. Or it is going to end up in the trash can…..but I have faith it will come to me!

My sister-in-law, Tara took this photo in the last week, I think and I just can’t get enough of it.  This photo is what JOY is to me…..It isn’t more or less joy to my adorable nephew or my brother who has a big tough exterior.  His son has turned him into mush in this photo. They are both full of Joy-so much that I cannot put into words. It is all over their faces!

We all have good days and bad, we all have different days where we struggle to find “our joy” but most of the time– we can.  For people who struggle with finding Joy- reach out and find someone who can help you….let it out and find someone who you can talk too….this is a big step toward finding your joy!

So, this Sunday evening I caught myself looking at this photo for hundredth time and a smile washes across my face and know that this photo is Joy!  Pure, raw, unforced joy! I hope that in my new nephew’s life he sees Joy in this same way.

And Congrats to my brother, Tara, Allie and Max for showing the rest of the world your JOY!

 

 

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