When all you can see is yourself in the middle of the storm, look up and know that there is something above the storm.

“Job 14:7-9-
“For there is hope for a tree if it be cut down that it will sprout again, and that its shoots will not cease.  Though its root grows old in the earth and its stump die in the soil yet at the scent of water it will bud and put out branches like a young plant.”

I don’t know what I’m about to write for y’all tonight.  I don’t have eloquent words to share, but what I do have is straight from my heart.  I’m tired, but as I sit here preparing for sleep, a little voice inside says, “write something.”

Tonight let’s try something different…

I sat down with the laptop, and not a single notion of what to write about.  Usually I have an idea stewing in my head for days, and then when I finally find time to put it into words, it flows freely.  These days though, I don’t have time to think about anything extra.  There are too many thoughts crammed inside my head, so I will try and clear my mind for a minute, and share with you the first thing that pops in there.  Here Goes!

God ALWAYS provides a way out for his people.  There are many times in the bible, one(or more) of his servants were “stuck” in a tricky situation.  He sent Moses to save the people of Egypt.  He went into the fiery furnace and saved Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  He told Noah to build an ark, for crying out loud.  Ultimately He sent his son to save anyone who would believe.  Why is it that in hard times, he is the last place we run?  I’m so guilty of this.  The only answer I can give is that I spend too much time focusing on solving the problem myself, instead of just trusting.  Once a situation has passed, I can typically see where God’s hand was guiding me.

I guess I’ve just been having a tough time in a few different areas lately.  In the past I’ve written a lot about anxiety, divorce, hard times and all the things that I’ve felt so deeply.  I think, I’ve been avoiding blogging because I’m tired of writing about those things.  Frankly I’m sick of feeling them.  I’ve learned that not everything is meant to be shared.  Not everyone cares where you’ve come from, and things don’t always turn out the way we expect them to.  Sometimes though, sharing can help someone else feel a little bit less alone in the world.  People will walk away, that’s a fact of life, but occasionally someone comes running towards you and takes you completely by surprise.   Someone said to me this past week, “You’re never going to be able to control the actions of another person.  You basically just have to decide whether to trust them, or walk away.”  As far as things not turning out the way we expect them to, well, that’s not always a bad thing.  What if things just happen to turn out better than we expect?  Isn’t that what we are taught in church?  God is much, much larger than our expectations.(Ephesians 3:20)

If we believe this, I mean really believe it, then why do we spend so much time worrying about how things will turn out?  I’m trying to stop… really I am.  The problem I’m facing at the moment is that when I get sad,(remember I said I’m tired of being sad) I refuse to cry so I get mad instead.  I tend to shut down, and have a little bit of trouble focusing on whatever task is at hand.  At times all I can see is the metaphorical storm, even though I know I am much better off when I pause, take time to pray about it, and keep my head up.  Too many times, we let people’s opinion of us cause our heads to drop in shame.

Psalm 3:3

“But you, LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.”

I’ve finally reached a point where I’m not constantly apologizing for being who I am.  I know my heart, I know the areas that need improving, and I’m trying.  I’ve got a whole lot of trying in me.  If I lack, it’s certainly not in persistency.  I just keep on trying, even when I feel like I’m failing miserably.

Today was not really a good day, it’s just been a couple of long days in a row.  I spent a big part of my evening fighting back tears.  As we sit here on the couch, I looked over and said, “How much do you love me?”

He replied, as expected, with an all familiar, “too!”  As in, “I love you too.”  I found myself smiling, because I know there’s not just one, but three of them that love me “too”.  They don’t always act like it, but we’re learning.  Saturday will be the anniversary of our first year together.  In a way it’s bittersweet, because I tend to worry about what if.  He has said it a thousand times, “just let it be okay and develop stronger over time.”  I’m always the first to arrive, or think I’ve arrived at the place I’m supposed to be.  If it takes us a while to get there together, I’ll work on my patience along the way.  I get frustrated, and worn out, but I won’t walk away.  I am trustworthy, and always loyal.  I put a whole lot of effort in everything I do, well, except for maybe laundry.  Honestly, I don’t care about fancy things or diamond rings.  I just want to know without a doubt, that I’m loved and appreciated.  Being able to crawl up beside you on the couch when I need someone to just hold on for a few minutes, goes a whole lot farther in my book than a dozen roses.  Ask Camden, he’ll tell you I like tulips better than roses anyway.

tulip

Maybe I’m silly, for not wanting the things that money can buy.  Y’all, I might get dumped when he reads that I want so much more than his money.  I don’t think what I’m asking for is too much.  It’s really not complicated at all.  Just come home to me. and only me, each night.  Be kind, even when it’s not your first instinct.  Smile, you know the one… the smile that’s just for me, where your eyes crinkle around the edges and I get weak in the knees.  Recognize that I spend most of my time putting everyone else’s needs before my own, and every once in a while take some time to make me feel special.  I try so hard to let you know you are priceless, handsome, and amazing.  Never stop talking to me, communication is the key.  I want to know everything about you, but not in a creepy stalker sort of way.(I mean unless you’re into that, then creeper status it is.)

A friend and I were talking the other day and she said, “sometimes marriages/relationships get stale.”  I’m sure I read way more into it than she expected, but I can’t stop thinking about that comment.  If a relationship is going to last, then when the stale comes, you find a way to refresh.  You talk to each other, and move as one unit.  There will be many season throughout life, some anticipated and some not.  Maybe I’m old school, but I truly believe that commitment means that you stick.  You fight for the things you want in the relationship, but you don’t run away when times get tough.  Believe it or not, there are people out there that can and will remain faithful for a lifetime.  I’ve said it too many times to count, Love is so much more than a feeling.  It’s being there for someone else even when you are tired, sick, and broken yourself.  Love is choosing me, even when I’m quite hard to love.  As I said at the beginning I’m tired, and I’ve been writing way past my bedtime.  I’ll leave you with a little piece of my heart, and an excerpt from my book:

“Job 14:7-9-

“For there is hope for a tree if it be cut down that it will sprout again, and that its shoots will not cease.  Though its root grows old in the earth and its stump die in the soil yet at the scent of water it will bud and put out branches like a young plant.”

 

I just read the entire book of Job and do not remember reading this scripture.  I have to admit, I googled the tree growing new sprouts.  This really does happen!  This scripture is speaking hope to my soul as I’m writing.  It says to me, even though it may seem my marriage is like a tree being cut down with seemingly nothing left, there is still hope.  For if a tree can sprout new growth with just a little water after being cut down, how much more can we grow together with Jesus Christ, the living water in us.  My God must be working on some new “sprouts” that will never cease!”

 

It’s funny to me now, that I was so confident that the marriage would survive.  I saw it as the tree cut down, and in a sense it was.  Even more so, I was the tree and those new sprouts came up, just not in the way I expected.  Today I sit here, thankful for the process.  Thankful for the lumberjack, and forever grateful for all the new sprouts.

tree

 

 

 

Change is inevitable, but sometimes everything changes all at once. Let it go! Stop looking for happiness in the same place you lost it.

It’s that time of year again, oh how I hate the word RESOLUTIONS!

res·o·lu·tion: a firm decision to do or not to do something.

About this time everyone reflects on the past year and what they want to change in the new year.  Whether it be to lose weight, quit smoking, or spend more time looking at your family instead of your phone, I hope you succeed!  I know that personally, I am usually gung ho for about 10 minutes, and then I’m eating M&M’s while binge watching One Tree Hill on Netflix.

So, lo and behold, I went low-carb shopping today with great intentions of success.  I can just picture myself in a tiny orange bikini this summer!  One thing is different this year from all the others, I now have a partner in crime.  Hopefully we can hold each other accountable for longer than the usual 10 minutes. (As I’m finishing up this blog post, day one of our diet started with me prepping low carb meals for the week and ended with Sugarfire BBQ and pie.)

There are a few other things I want to work towards this year, but first let’s reflect together.  2016 carried the worst heartache I’ve ever experienced.  I had already spent at least half of the prior year broken, lonely, scared, you name it… I was feeling it.  Our little home town, has suffered some major losses in 2016.  Suicide checked in and took way too many lives.  Sadly, I can understand the thought process that leads some of us to that precipice.  I stood at the edge of that cliff and stared into it’s abyss.  I often wonder, why me?  Why did I recover and not choose that, when so many others did.  Honestly, I have no idea.  I wish I could have prevented every single one of them from experiencing whatever it was that led them to that place.  I wish I could have stopped them, and reminded them of their worth.  All that we can do now, is change the way we treat each other, and constantly lift each other up in hopes that we will be a difference maker in the life of someone suffering.  I had quite a few difference makers!

At some point, I stopped looking at 2016 as the worst year of my life, and started seeing it as one of the best.  It truly was a year of transformation.  There were so many unexpected changes.  If you had asked me 2 years ago where I would be sitting today, I would never have been able to imagine this place I’m in.  Once the smoke cleared, I started to see that the relationship I deemed so “perfect” was awfully one sided.  If you’ve heard the saying love is blind, I would say that could have been applied to my situation.  Anyway, enough about that…  although it is truly amazing, the whole different direction life has taken me.  I’m thankful for the place that 2017 is starting from.  I went from housewife in a bubble, to starting a career, being part of an amazing family, and a whole new group of friends.  I’m terribly sad about the friends with whom I’ve lost touch.  I know it’s not for lack of trying, but it still sometimes makes me cry.  Chances are if you are one of those friends reading this, you know I’m talking about you.  Call me please… I never wanted to lose you on top of everything else.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

 

Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone?

I know things change, and when you come out the other side a different person than before, people don’t get it.  When you figure out who you are, and stand tall no matter what comes, people get confused.  They sometimes get angry, when you demand more from them.  I have decided this year I won’t call them resolutions, they will be promises.  Here’s a little bit of my list of promises:

  1. I promise to focus more on the good things than on the bad.  I have a really hard time with not feeling worthy enough for someone to love.  I will remind myself that I would do anything for those I love and that in itself is a rare quality.  I’m begging y’all if you have a significant other, best friend, anyone who means the world to you…  Tell them they are amazing, beautiful, kind, funny, smart, etc.  A compliment goes a long way, in this cold hard world.
  2. I promise to be who I am, whether I am loved or hated.  If someone isn’t treating me with respect, I will stand up for myself.  If I am someone you love, then what’s important to me will be important to you.  If I want to call and talk about nothing, you’ll listen to the silence and hear what my heart is trying to say.  If I want to go dancing, we will dance until our feet hurt.  Well, I think you get my point…
  3. This should have been number one, but I promise myself to spend more time in the word of God.  Drawing near to Him keeps me centered and my mind healthy.  With all that has gone on, I struggle daily with anxiety.  I’m learning how to let that go and just be ok.
  4. I promise myself, my love, and my little loves(the kids) to spend less time being busy looking at my phone, that I miss out on time with them.  I don’t want to be one of those people who get angry when someone interrupts me, because you are distracting me from my phone.  They are growing up so fast, I see it in just the year I’ve been with them.  I don’t want to miss a single minute.
  5. Another promise I feel like needs to be made, is to little Hailey.  She is only 9, but put on her Christmas list this year that she wants a happy family.  I questioned her gently as to what this means.  Of course, I immediately thought that didn’t include me.  I know those of you who are contributors to her happy family scenario, will all read this.  I know at times it’s awkward(at least it is for me), but I feel like we have a chance to teach her and her brother how to rise above hurt feelings, and bitterness.    I know what divorce did to me, so I can’t imagine being a kid and experiencing it.  I am in no way trying to make anyone feel bad, please don’t think that.  Yet, I feel we as a unit have to do this for them.  They aren’t mine, but for some reason God decided to sit my heart down right beside theirs.  It was like He said, “Ok Crystal, this is your place and these are some little people for you to love.”  I don’t know what that happy family will look like in the end, and I’m sure I’ll get flack for writing this.  I have come to realize that I don’t just have myself to consider anymore.  I also recognized really quickly that I would do whatever it takes to ensure these kids are safe and happy.

There is so much more I could promise or resolve, but there’s not enough time in any of our days for all the things I want to improve on.  As always my heart is to be kind first, even when the situation doesn’t call for kindness.  I’ve been struggling really hard with some things these past few weeks.  I’ve made some decisions, that I won’t talk about on here, but I’m trusting God to lead the way.  I’m afraid that some of the things I want out of this life, the one I love may never want… but I’m trusting God to lead the way.  I tend to try to carry things, or solve problems that don’t need me to solve them. So I’m trying to let it go, not worry, and trust God to lead the way.  He certainly hasn’t failed me yet.  There was a song on a random CD that a friend mailed to me in the middle of 2016.  This song served as a reminder on many nights that I would not be left in the middle of the pain.

 

Grander earth has quaked before
Moved by the sound of His voice
Seas that are shaken and stirred
Can be calmed and broken for my regard

And through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
And through it all, through it all
It is well

Far be it from me to not believe
Even when my eyes can’t see

And this mountain that’s in front of me
Will be thrown into the midst of the sea

Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
Through it all, through it all
It is well
It is well

So let go my soul and trust in Him
The waves and wind still know His name 

I’ll leave y’all with part of a conversation I recently had with one of my dearest friends.  I won’t go into detail about what we were talking about but here is a little snippet, ” My best advice is to be so built up on the things of God that when the hurt, bitterness, or resentments try to creep back in, you see it for what it truly is, a hindrance.  Oh, my dear trust me, it will come creeping back time and time again.  I can promise you that for sure.  A person may find themselves wondering, “Will I ever feel normal again?”  Life can get real lonely and hard, without warning.  One of my favorite scriptures, and one I’m standing on for a lot of things I worry about in my current situation is Isaiah 60:22 “When the time is right, I, The Lord, will make it happen!”  There are some things I’ve been praying for that to the naked eye it looks like not a thing is changing in those areas.  It’s at times like these that I hear the little lady who taught the Tuesday morning bible study saying, “Our God works the night shift!”  I don’t have to task myself with figuring it all out, and losing sleep.  While I’m sleeping, hopefully peacefully, God is restocking my metaphorical shelves.  He’s putting just what I need for each day right where I will find it.”

Do any of you find it strange that we can use up all we have for today, and wake up tomorrow renewed to do it all again?  Sometimes we overlook this fact, because we have woken up so many times already.  We tend to forget, that one day we will not.  I will never, myself be able to wake up to a new day and Not believe that God is real.  That is miracle enough for me, everything else that happens in my day is like an extra special bonus!

“Does it still hurt?”

“I do sometimes wonder if the place remembers it’s person. There’s no doubt, that space belonged to me. I spent so much time kneeling and praying in my bedroom, that I know God’s presence must linger in that space. Drawing the ones I prayed so hard for to Himself. I can just imagine him whispering to them as they sleep, tugging their hearts towards Him.”

That tiny little phrase kind of threw me for a loop.  Honestly, I don’t think it’s a simple yes or no answer.  The question was posed by a friend.  Someone who I look up to as one of the most Godly women I know.  The conversation started off with talk of my new relationship, and how happy I am.  She looked across the room at “him” with his Santa Claus Pajamas, and Shrek house slippers and shook her head. We kind of giggled, and she said, “He healed your heart.”   I smiled a little to myself, “and thought yes, yes he did!”

heal

Let me stop right there and say that, I really do believe my heart is healed.  I think that sometimes, well actually all the time, God knows just what we need to get through the hurt.  On occasion he gives us a little, and other times he gives us a lot.  When times are lean, we need to stand firm on the promise that everything happens for a reason.  If we allow it to, the question of “why me?” will drive us mad, and hinder our healing to the point of self-destruction.

 

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

   For everything that happens in life—there is a season,

    a right time for everything under heaven

     A time to be born, a time to die;
        a time to plant, a time to collect the harvest;
     A time to kill, a time to heal;
        a time to tear down, a time to build up;
     A time to cry, a time to laugh;
        a time to mourn, a time to dance;
     A time to scatter stones, a time to pile them up;
        a time for a warm embrace, a time for keeping your distance;
     A time to search, a time to give up as lost;
        a time to keep, a time to throw out;
     A time to tear apart, a time to bind together;
        a time to be quiet, a time to speak up;
     A time to love, a time to hate;
        a time to go to war, a time to make peace.

I’ve read the previous scripture a thousand times, but now tonight thinking back on the conversation from yesterday, it takes on a whole new meaning.  About a week ago, I had someone tell me it was time to start writing again.  So, as my friend unknowingly titled this blog, yesterday I knew I would be writing for Y’all today.  We were laughing and talking about our lives, when she turned serious for a moment.  The great care in her voice spoke volumes to my soul as she asked, “Does it still hurt?”

I think I kind of floundered for what to say.  I muttered something and the conversation turned without delay.  I mean, do I tell her that sometimes I wake up in the night and I so desperately want someone to hold me close.  When this happens, I try my best to shake it off and remind myself that God is holding me.

Isaiah 41:10

“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

Should I have mentioned that sometimes I have a really hard time, because I wonder if suddenly and unexpectedly I will diminish in value to the one I love.  When I start to feel this way, I force myself to remember that I know the value I hold, and if someone(anyone) fails to recognize that, “BYE FELICIA.”

love

So to answer the question, No it really doesn’t hurt anymore.  It hurts to think of the friends I’ve lost touch with since moving out of that little town.  I try, really I do.  I call, but a person can only call so many times before they feel like they are being pushed aside.   What would I say to those friends if they were standing right in front of me?  I would start with something like, “I understand” or “I know life can be super busy and hard.”  It would end with some much-needed “friend” time.  Sadly, life and relationships don’t always go like we picture.  People walk away, or stop trying.  There’s a time to search, and a time to give up.  I just hate giving up.

When I lived in that tiny town, at least once a week Emilee and/or Hanna would come bake something with me.  We would make mass quantities of homemade pizza and distribute them to all the neighbors.  Just this week I was invited over to make cookies with a friend, it’s just a little thing.  I might be the only one in the world to over think a cookie baking session.(Oh, how I need some time with friends in front of an oven.)  I won’t lie though I feel a little like I’m cheating on Emilee and Hanna.  I know they couldn’t care less and would laugh with me about how I always bossed them around my kitchen.  Sometimes, though I remember those days and smile.  Even though some of the best times of my life were in that kitchen, I don’t want to go back to that life where I never felt good enough.  I want to stay in the place where I know I am enough.(I do sometimes wonder if the place remembers it’s person.  There’s no doubt, that space belonged to me.  I spent so much time kneeling and praying in my bedroom, that I know God’s presence must linger in that space.  Drawing the ones I prayed so hard for to Himself.  I can just imagine him whispering to them as they sleep, tugging their hearts towards Him.)

The place where “I am enough”.  What does that look like?  That place may be different for me, than it is for some of you.  For me it’s surrounded by people who choose to spend time with me.  It’s where God is the center of my life, and all that I do is led by my faith in him.  I have a very hard time staying in that place, and find that over time I have to continuously draw myself back to Him.

grace

James 4:8

” Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

As this blog post nears to an end, I’ll leave you with a question of my own:

What becomes of hurt, when it no longer hurts?

It could transform you in so many ways.  Will you let pain caused by betrayal turn into bitterness and anger?  Trust me, I can see how easily one could allow that to happen.  I have days where I remember what has been done to me, and I struggle not to hate.  I’m learning to see it, not as what has been done “to” me but what has been done “for” me.  I was brought out of a life of melancholy and boredom.  My heart longed for adventure and travel, but I would never have ventured outside of that little town.  I wanted to reach out to people, random people, just to let them know they were(are) loved.  That was very difficult to do without leaving a 10 mile radius.  I mean there are only so many random people who you meet on your sofa!  On Saturday, I’ll be wrapping presents with a little girl who has stolen a big chunk of my heart, for children who may have no other gifts than the ones we give.  worthy

Not once would I wish the feeling of rejection on another, but let’s face it… at some point it’s coming.  Fear and pain go hand in hand with living life.  That shouldn’t stop us from living life.  As far as I’m concerned, the fear and hurt can have each other.  I’m holding the hand of someone new, and it’s feels pretty darn great!

When life gives you lemons… Make lemon meringue pie, clean your countertops, lighten your hair, put them on the lip of your glass of sweet tea and sip it in the sunshine with a dear friend. The point is when life seems sour, turn it around. Use what could have been bad for good. Oh yeah, and eat pie!!!

 

Driving home from work today; I started thinking about the would be anniversary that will be here on Wednesday. It’s my first one as a divorcee.  I really took a minute to stop and see if I felt sad or missed that part of my life.  You know what I miss?  His family.  The rest of it… nah!  Someone said to me a few weeks ago, “This is not how I pictured my life going.”  I thought, “well me neither.”  Then I wondered, “Does anyone’s life ever go exactly like they picture it?”

birm

As I drove along I was bombarded with thoughts of, “you weren’t good enough for him, that’s why he left you.”  I almost took a trip back down that road, but something inside me clicked.  I thought, “No!  He wasn’t good enough for me!”
Before someone as usual, misunderstands, let me clarify… I’m no better than him. I have made some pretty crappy choices in life, just like most people do from time to time. One thing I know is that you don’t walk away from someone you love, not willingly at least. Love is not just a feeling when things are going great and you are happy.  It’s a choice when you are mad.  Love is doing what’s best for someone else, even when it’s not easy. Love is listening, even when you’ve heard the story they are telling a hundred times over. Love doesn’t leave… Period!

walk

You know what though?  Some people just don’t get it.  They toss the word around like a weapon, used to get the things they want.  It’s like they think it gives them power over the one they say it to.  A funny thing I’ve learned is that love is most powerful when given without expectation, or ulterior motive.  That’s when it has the power to transform.

ego

There has been such heartache and suffering in the little town that I’m from here lately.  So many people out there are hurting.  I’m no stranger to pain.  I know what it feels like to think there is no way out of what you’re feeling.  The past year has given a whole new meaning to the phrase, “this too shall pass.”  It’s hard to believe that last Christmas I was sitting alone in my house, wondering why I was still breathing.  It truly felt like I was never going to get through the hard stuff.  I’m sad to say that more than once I begged God for death, thought about disappearing, and almost did.  I wouldn’t wish what I’ve been through on even my worst enemy.  Well, if I had a worst enemy….

At the same time I wouldn’t go back even if I could.  I’m so thankful that God didn’t answer those prayers.  I’m still here.  I made it this far.  Even though I worry that things could fall apart in this new life I’ve been given, I wouldn’t trade one second for a thousand years in my old life.  There are two kids and their daddy here, who love ME!

I’m grateful every day that I get to be apart of their lives.  Even on the days when the three year old strips off his clothes and laughs while peeing on the couch three times in a row, or when his sister disagrees with everything I say.  When a glass of soda gets spilled all over homework, or someone is puking all over the back seat of my car…  I understand that all of these things are perfectly normal.  They are just kids!   We are learning how to do this thing together.  I’ve been so worried about stepping on toes, that I let every little thing get to me.  Can I call them my family?  I’ve prayed so hard about the answer to that.  They have a mom and a dad that love them very much.  Why would they need me?  Why would they want me?  It’s a very tricky situation, that generally fills my little heart with anxiety.  A few weeks back I woke from a dead sleep and felt God strongly directing me to “pray for them like they are your family.”  Ever since then, I have.

now
I know that I’m not out to replace anyone, or be the star of the show.  Years ago God placed in me a servants heart.  I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about where I’ve come from, and I’ve made a decision.  I’ll do whatever it takes to enhance the life of this family.  I want to teach these babies about giving love with no expectations, being kind even when you don’t feel like it, and JESUS!  I sooo want to teach them about Jesus!

lovethem
Oh I’m sure tomorrow I’ll think about the day someone made a promise to me that was supposed to be for life.  I’ll then remember the day that promise was irrevocably broken.  At the end of the day I’ll leave work and get to spend the evening snuggling and watching cartoons with these little ones(and their dad) that have somehow pretty much became my world.  Sounds like it’s shaping up to be the best un-aversary I’ve ever had.
I know that miracles happen, every single day. I just happen to believe that when a heart is ripped to shreds God sometimes sends little pieces of it back to you through people.

dandy

A friend said to me just the other day, “Thank you for being a strong woman.”  At first I laughed to myself and started to say, “I’m not strong, I’m so screwed up.”  I caught myself before saying that.  I realized that somewhere along the line the brokenness in me became strength.  The hurt transformed into lessons learned.  Where what if? would step in, I find why not? standing in it’s place.  So maybe, just maybe, I am strong.

P.S. If you look at me and see that strength just know that it’s not my own.

notme

 

 

Baby Monitors, stretch marks, and judgemental people…

When I started this article I didn’t expect it to go from baby monitors to being judgmental. My mind has it’s way of working through things and somedays I’m just along for the ride.

She came waddling(I say this in the most loving way) into the restaurant all out of breath.  She sat down and immediately started talking about a $300 baby monitor.  We had lunch then spent the afternoon by the pool just chatting and having a little relaxation.

You know those friends, the ones that you can go long periods of time without seeing, but when you are together it’s like no time has passed.  Yeah well, I’m lucky enough to have one of them.  She just “gets” me!  I don’t have to explain myself, and she doesn’t question the way I do things.  She will for sure tell me if I’m being dense, but she will also let you know when you’re doing something right.

iron

As we sat there talking, I found myself thinking of how far we’d come in life.  When we were kids, I remember our moms receiving state aid in the form of food-stamps.  A lot of people would be too embarrassed to admit their family received help via food stamps.  Not us!  We would call each other up and eat like little pigs.(maybe that’s why we have big butts to this day)  Seriously it was like Christmas!  My mom would buy graham crackers and a tub of cream cheese frosting, just for us to eat!  What was she thinking?  Thanks mom…  now I know why my thighs rub together when I walk.

fat

When we were teenagers, she lived with my family.  We worked at the local grocery store together, and somehow made it through high-school.  There are times when I wonder how we didn’t die.  We would get so excited for Friday nights when we could drink and have a good time with friends.  Now do you know what we get excited about?  Time without expectations.  Nowhere to be for a few hours, when we can just sit and talk.  Oh yeah, and CHOCOLATE!  We get really excited about chocolate.

choc

Our twenties, we worked on building the lives we chose.  She went to college, I got married.  She started a career, I was a homemaker.  She found herself, I lost myself in someone else.  She never one time pointed out the fact, although I’m sure she could see at times that I wasn’t living up to my potential.

lose

Then came the year of 32.  My whole world fell apart.  She was there, although a lot of the time I chose not to turn to her.  I was embarrassed(and at times I still am) because my marriage was failing.  I learned so much that year about who I am.  Sometimes we are forced out of a situation that is comfortable.  A situation that we think we need to survive.  I know God didn’t cause those events to take place, but he definitely is using them to teach me who I am again.

me

The point is, we went from being so excited at age 7 or 8 when one of our moms got their food stamps and we had “good food” in the house, to being able to pay $300 for a dang baby monitor!(well one of us did… not me)  I’m so happy that we’ve both reached a point in life where we have decent jobs, people we love, and the flexibility to do the things we want.  I have to say it looks great on us, especially you, best friend!

She said to me yesterday, “I used to drive by your old house and I would be so mad at him(my ex-husband) for what he did to you!  I would hope for him to be outside just so I could flip him the bird and honk as I drove by.  Yesterday I drove by, and I wanted to stop and thank him!  You are so much happier now, and he was not nice to you.”

The funny thing about this is, I’ve felt like thanking him recently also.  Like I said, She just gets me!  The past year was a rough one, but I’m in a better place than I’ve ever been thus far.  I have someone who, on most days(Hey, no one is perfect),  loves me the way I need to be loved.  I have a chance, that I never thought I’d have, at a career.  There are two amazing kids that I get to(I say get to, because it’s a privilege) watch grow into adulthood.

I won’t lie, I still have bad days.  I still get angry because someone who vowed to love and protect me, nearly destroyed me.  Just this morning I contemplated sending him a bag of gummy man-parts anonymously.  I know, I know, not very Christian of me.  If you are perfect and never say or do the wrong thing, more power to you.  As for me, I never claim to make all the right choices.  Does that mean I love God any less?  maybe in your eyes…

Here’s the thing about my walk with God, it’s mine, not yours.  If you are meant to be affected by it, you will.  I don’t make assumptions about the state of your heart, so please stop judging mine.  When did it become our job as Christians, to determine whether someone else is going to hell or not?  I’m pretty sure I’ve read that we are supposed to let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

stone

If that’s you, then I’ll gladly stand still while you start throwing.  All that being said, I believe there is a time and place to offer guidance to our fellow Christians.  There is also a right way to go about offering “said” guidance, and there is definitely a WRONG way.  I’m just going to throw this out there, but a good way to start off is NOT to tell me why you think I’m going to hell.  Teach me something out of a place of love and I will listen.  Too many so-called Christians try to disguise judgement as love, condemnation as Christian duty, and their own faults as perfection.  Heck, there are days where I feel like I’m made entirely of faults.  On those days, where all I can see is everything that is wrong with me, I choose to shine anyway.  I’m kind in spite of unkind gestures I receive.  I love because I know what it feels like to be unloved.  I try to lift others up since I know what it feels like to be torn down by people who are supposed to love you.

woman

I’ve come to realize that not everyone is going to love me, but those that do, will be so worth every single thing I had to go through to get to them.

So… Thank you my friend.(and anyone else who is a part of my weird little tribe)  Thank you for being there as a constant no matter what.  I’m so proud of the woman you’ve become!  I want to be like you when I grow up!  Yesterday you jokingly asked me, “Do you like my stretch marks?”  Today, my answer is 100% YES friend!  I think you should wear those stretch marks like a crown!  They are part of you, and they came because of some of your greatest blessings.  You earned them!  So gather up your pregnancy hormones, dry your eyes, and get out there and love somebody today!  Stop worrying about your pregnant belly!  It’s beautiful!  Enjoy your life and use this day to lift somebody up!

 

 

You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, and know when to run…

I had a good friend ask me the other day, “How do you let someone you truly love go?”  I really don’t feel qualified to answer that question, but since I’m a glutton for punishment, I’ll give it a shot anyway.  I’m not sure why she thought, that I, of all people could help.  For whatever reason, she asked me my take on this. Hope this blog doesn’t let you down my friend!

As usual, I’ll start with a little of what I’m dealing with at the moment… 

I went to sleep the other night thinking about a friend who has, for whatever reason, decided to let our friendship slide to the back burner.  Every single time I think of this person, I cry because our friendship is very important to me. Am I being overdramatic and imagining things? I really hope so…


The problem is, I’m the type of person who always goes out of my way to make others happy.  More often than not, the courtesy is not returned.  Before y’all get upset with me, I’m not saying that no one ever does anything for me, because there are plenty of friends and family who do. I’m just saying, I’m starting to see more clearly when people don’t have time for me in their lives.  After fighting for a marriage and pretty much begging like a fool, for my ex-husband to simply try to find a reason that I was worth it, I learned that even I have a limit. 


Whether it be family, friends, or significant other, I will never beg someone to love me again.  It’s no fun, letting go of someone who means(or meant) so much to me, but I can’t dwell on hurtful situations, and neither should you.  I will always do my best to forgive hurtful words and then when there is no other choice, move on.  If this person is meant to stay, then they will stay.

stay

As you can see I went to bed that night with a whole lot on my mind, and quite a bit of hurt in my heart.   

This morning I dreamt of flowers.  I stepped out the front door of my granny Eckhoff’s house and there were gorgeous blue flowers everywhere. I heard my mother say, “they are beautiful lilies!” 

In the dream I responded adamantly, “No they aren’t lilies, they are irises!”  Upon closer inspection I realized it was a mixture of both kinds of flower.  I was walking around the yard thinking how wonderful they were, when I woke up from the dream. I literally couldn’t get that dream out of my head, until I finally googled what the symbolic meaning of those flowers were.  I don’t put a whole lot of stock in these things, but here’s what I learned from my search.  

IRIS:

The word iridescence is derived from Iris.  The definition of iridescence is basically a rainbow.  Iris represents transformation.  The Iris has 3 true petals called standards.  The petals were often times referred to as a trinity. 

A divine bridge between heaven and earth, represents spiritual intuition, messenger of the divine, trinity in connection…

Dreaming of irises could be referring to your role as a peacemaker, or the need for you to make peace with someone.

LILIES:

Dreams of lilies can mean you are about to experience a return of innocence, specifically in the instance of a waking life ordeal in which you feel like your innocence has been broken.

The lily can mean, the dreamer has faced a trial and has been vindicated with the soul remaining whole and intact.

I normally wouldn’t even mention my google results, but they seemed kind of fitting for the past year and all that I have endured.  I don’t expect apologies, or vindication EVER.  I had to move on and leave a lot of things behind that I thought I couldn’t live without. It sucked, but I’m still here.

The thing about walking away from someone you love is this, it will be the hardest thing ever. If you’re feeling like it’s something you need to do, I suggest examining your reasons. Why do you feel the way you are feeling? Are there legitimate issues?  Is this something that you are both willing to work together to make right?  Could it change?  Is it just a matter of sitting down and talking to the other person?  Are they willing to grow and change along side you?

If you are married, my advice is do whatever it takes to save it, if it’s even a remote possibility. If you are adult enough to be in a relationship with another person, then BE an adult. It’s ok to be scared, but the number one thing is communication. Talk about things that bother you, make you happy, and what you want for your future.  If those things are totally different, either come to a compromise(happy medium really is a thing) or move on.

I don’t believe love is something you should have to seek out.  I think the ones we are meant to love will come into our lives at just the right time.  Some of them will be temporary, but others will be for life.  Honestly we have no way of knowing what tomorrow will bring, and who will choose us.  Before just throwing in the towel, try being honest and talking to the one’s you love.  Relationships are like investments.  You can choose to play it safe and keep your heart guarded and whole, OR…  you can lay yourself bare, I’m talking wide open and love like tomorrow isn’t coming.  Say what you mean, spread kindness, be honest, and loyal.  Give more love than you receive, even when it hurts.  Understand that not everyone is “for you” who you think loves you may change more than once in your life.  Then one day someone will come along, and you’ll just know.  You won’t have to question if they are your person.  They will breeze into your life and steal your breath away with a smile.

luov

Maybe it comes with age, but sooner or later, you will learn to trust your intuition.  When you feel your heart leading you, listen.  If it’s telling you to let it go, pray about it, and let it go.  Once before I had a similar situation with a friend who, “just didn’t have time for me.”  It was hard, but I let it fall.  It had been a few years, and through everything that’s gone on in my life, this friend reached out.  All of a sudden, she was apologizing to me, and saying how she missed our friendship.  So, you see, occasionally  love makes a circle and people come back.  Other times love is more like a messed up maze that you have to find your way in.  Sometimes people were never meant to stay, or be a permanent fixture in our lives.  You can’t go backwards in a maze!  There are many dead ends.  There are places where you see clearly which way you need to go, but other times you just have to trust yourself to find the path.  Push through and keep moving forward.

maze

My sweet friend, earlier I said I wasn’t sure, but I know why you asked me the question from the beginning of the blog.  You saw how much I fought to save a marriage.  You saw how when not many people had hope, I somehow found a reason to see possibility.  You saw the marriage fail despite my fight, and hopefully you see that I am still standing.  The marriage failed for many reasons, one of which was there was only one person interested in putting in the work to save it.  It’s supposed to be promises made by two people.  Promises are meant to be kept, but not everyone is a promise keeper.  Dealing with the aftermath of a broken promise is not easy, or fun.  They say, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.  I’m living proof of that.  You see that I’m living a life that I never would have thought for myself.  Many don’t agree with my choices, but my life is not for them to live.  I’m trying my best to be a light, but the problem is… people think I have to be perfect to shine.  If I wait until perfection comes, then all my years will be wasted.

Matthew 6:34

“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”

 

I suppose what I’m trying to say is, don’t save life for tomorrow.  Don’t be afraid to fight for what you feel is your true love.  Just remember, if they aren’t fighting beside you for the same things, they might be fighting against you.  Trust that you will know when the time comes to truly let go.  Remember, you can’t control other peoples actions, but you can control your own.  Be who you say you are.  Know that there are people out there who are for you, no matter what.  Find those people and hold tight!

Fairy Tales are for little girls and old fools…

“I would look at him and wait to catch his eye so I could share a smile, but he never looked up. I spent a long time just waiting for him(anyone really) to see me. I kept thinking, one day, yes one day he’s gonna look into my eyes and notice me. It didn’t happen.”

It’s been mentioned a time or two that I think too much.  I wasn’t always like this.  If it’s any consolation on top of thinking too much, I also feel too deeply.  When I find someone I love, I will do everything in my power to make them smile repeatedly.  It’s funny how one little sentence, spoken to me in the middle of a heated discussion, can inhibit such ponderings.  The thing is, I write about my experiences.  I share what I’ve been through(or am going through), in hopes that it will help someone, anyone really to pick themselves up and have a little hope.  Believe it or not, there are days when my hope wears thin.  I don’t always find someone to share their hope with me when I need it.  Lucky for me, I know where to find a filling station of sorts.  You might ask, “Where is that?”  That would be on my knees, in prayer.

hope

Someone said to me the other day, “You’re looking for a fairytale.”  I actually felt a little speechless at this comment and it took me a while to be able to process.

Let’s start off with a little vocabulary lesson.  The definition of fairytale is as follows…

fairy tale
noun
noun: fairy tale; plural noun: fairy tales; noun: fairytale; plural noun: fairytales; noun: fairy story; plural noun: fairy stories
a fabricated story, especially one intended to deceive.
Synonyms: lie, white lie, untruth, fib, half-truth, falsehood, tall tale story, fabrication, invention, fiction.
By that definition of the word, I’d be willing to say I’ve already lived in a fairy tale.  There were no disagreements, no fighting, just simple submission to another’s will for my life.  There was also no passion for living life.  It ended in lies, falsehood, and wondering if there had ever been love received for the love I had given.
So the quick answer to your assumption about whether I am looking for a fairy kind of love is: NO!
kiss
Since this a blog and people want more to read than just a few sentences, I’ll tell you why…
Another word for fairy tale is lies, or half-truth.  No woman in her right mind would want that.  I would rather have a pure raw I don’t love you any day, over someone just simply telling me what I want to hear.  I have learned a lot in the past year, maybe more than in the rest of my life thus far combined.  All I can say is pain changes people.  I’m having to fight on a daily basis to be better than bitterness and hatred.  The hurt and pain sometimes makes me want to shut down, and not care if I’m ever loved or give love again.  Then I think, that would be letting the wrong side win here.  So I wake up every single day and I fight!  I fight to get back to happy.  I fight for love. I fight for respect.
Do I fight for a fairy tale? Nah. Those are for little girls, and I’m not a little girl anymore.  In case you didn’t notice, I am a woman now.  Somewhere along the way, I transitioned from the scared little girl who just wanted someone to love her, into a woman.  Not just a woman, but a woman who won’t settle.  Someone who knows without  a doubt who I am, and the importance of loyalty, trust, and respect.  That’s right, if you offer me a fairy tale, I’m going to laugh in your face.  I don’t want lies and half truths.  I want real, messy life.  I want to know without a doubt that when life is hard and you want to leave, you will know my worth and choose to stay.  As a woman, sometimes I’m scared. Scared of failing and losing the ones I love.  As a girl I would have let that fear hold me  back.  Since declaring my womanhood, I feel the same fears, but now I move forward anyway.  I still want someone to love me, but I will give love whether I receive it or not.   I deserve to have the effort and love I put into friendships returned.  One of the lessons of growing up, is people won’t always give back what you invest in them.  Sometimes they take what you have to give, all of it, and in turn they give pain and grief.  It’s in this exact moment that I realized the tattoo that I chose(gasp… yes I marked my body) could not have been a more perfect reminder of who I want to be.
IMG_2244
All I ask, is that if you are in my life, know that it’s because I choose you.  Never will I choose friends, or a mate because of things they own, or what they can do for me.  Give the same loyalty you receive.  I have never read the 5 languages of love. I do know this: Everyone gives and receives love in different ways.  Personally, I feel most loved when someone will hold my hand without me having to reach first for theirs.  I want someone who will randomly put their arms around me and just let me know they love and want me in their life. Sorry, but I’m not in the market for temporary.  Life is short and hard.  A great new friend of mine once told me, you can let the hard times tear you apart, or the two of you(yep if you’re reading this that would be you dude) can grow and change for the benefit of each other.  You work through the hard stuff, and become closer in spite of it.
water
Every part of a REAL relationship is new to me.  I’m unsure of myself every step of the way.  I’m learning that arguments, laughter, kisses, tears, happiness, and frustration are all a part of the real.  If ever there were a fairytale, well I’ve lived through that.  It almost destroyed me.  The lies, cheating, manipulation, and hurt are the definition of a fairy tale.  So I will reiterate, NO, I’m not at all in to fairy tales.  You know what I am in to though?  Trust, loyalty, and someone who will stand up for me.  Just like the little girl I once was, I want someone to love me.  The difference in she and I, is this: She thought she “needed” love to get through her life.  I know that in order to get through my life I need to “give” love.  It would be such a better life if I also was on the receiving end of said love.
soulmate
I do a lot of my writing in the notes on my phone.  It’s not my preferred method, but it’s always handy when I have a thought.  As some of you know I’m writing a book.  I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing.  I just know that writing, it’s one of my callings in life.  I feel everything so strongly, whether it be happiness, sadness, love, or fear.  I write a lot about love.  I write a lot about pain.  The words I write aren’t fabricated, they are the way my thoughts appear.  Just because I my thoughts come across in pretty words, and well coined phrases, does not mean I am oblivious to hard, dirty life.  It doesn’t mean I romanticize everything.  I say what I feel, that’s all.  I’m probably one of the most open and honest people you’ll ever meet.
honest
So if you love me, friends or mate, tell me!  Make sure that I’m reminded constantly.  Show me!  Put in the effort that I put in for you.  I’m tired of wondering where I stand in any relationship.  I’m tired of feeling unwanted and used up.  For way too long, all I wanted was to be seen.  Here’s a quote from my notes for my book, “I would look at him and wait to catch his eye so I could share a smile, but he never looked up.  I spent a long time just waiting for him(anyone really) to see me.  I kept thinking, one day, yes one day he’s gonna look into my eyes and notice me.  It didn’t happen.”
At the end of the day all anyone really wants is to matter to someone.  There are so many of you who matter to me, and one in particular that has taken me by surprise and matters so much already that it scares me.  The bottom line is that if someone wants you in their life, you will now by the way they reach for you.  In the quiet moments at the end of their day, do they chose to hold your hand, or do they jerk away when you reach for them?  Do you catch them looking at you when there are a thousand other things to look at?  Have you ever had someone just want to be next to you because they love you?  If you love someone today, consider how you treat them.  If you think you are doing a good job, strive to do better.  Go out out of your way to show them.  Speak up for yourself when no one else does.  KNOW your own worth.  Let love lead, and don’t let past hurts stop you from taking a leap of faith.  By definition, I hate the word fairy tale.  I prefer to be right in the middle of the biggest, messiest, love filled life available.  Unless you’re a little girl, it’s time to grow up and stop searching for the fake.  Embrace the real.  When you find “the one”, you will know.  Trust me!  They will make you want to risk it all for chance at a life spent loving them.  It will be scary, that’s for sure.  There will be days you will want to walk away or punch them square in the jugular.  Just when you feel like you’re ready to break, they will reach for your hand, and you’ll learn how to bend instead!