Nothing I can do, a total eclipse of the heart…

In lieu of events taking place today (well, almost today it’s 11:44 PM), I thought, “what better title for a blog could there be.”  I actually have another blog mostly finished and ready to go, but here I am typing out a whole new one, as if I have nothing but free time.  Let me start by saying, I’m not all that excited about this eclipse.  I know there are so many of you that absolutely cannot wait to see this, I just feel kind of “ehhh” about it.  If you are excited for this, I hope it turns out to be amazing.  Me, I’m more excited about the possibilities for lunch.

Here I was sitting on our old worn out couch, thinking about the eclipse tomorrow.  There were at least a few too many minutes spent wondering if I needed to leave 2 hours early for work to get there on time.  All of a sudden, I was singing an old familiar tune…   “Turn around bright eyes.”  I started thinking about how this eclipse is going to cast darkness on the earth for a maximum length of approximately 2 minutes and 40 seconds, depending on your location.  You may be wondering, just where is this crazy woman going with all of this?  How does one compare a Solar eclipse with an eclipse of the heart?  Laugh at me if you must, but that’s just how my mind works.

Have you ever found yourself in a situation that cast what felt like heavy darkness on your heart?

brokenhearted

There are at least a hundred opportunities a day to fail, or get sad, discouraged, let down, depressed, or broken hearted.   Ultimately, YOU, have the power to decide what you are going to give control to in your life.  There are some instances, or at least recently in my case, that you never see the hurt coming.  I don’t know when I became strong enough to realize that I could feel the burn, so to speak, but not let it destroy me.  When sadness knocks at the door, it can be surrounded by joy if I choose.

Proverbs 17:22

“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

 Option one goes like this:

You can trust my authority on this option, because I’ve traveled down this path many times.  I could wallow and think, “oh poor me, I can’t believe someone would do this to me”.  In my mind that is giving power, where no power is due.  Honestly, I used to be more of the wallowing type.  I would let the situation get me down, and keep me there.  That eclipse would’ve lasted a good three weeks at least.  Can I get an amen from some of my fellow pity party attendees?

 James 1:2-4

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

Somewhere along the way, a switch flipped and a little lightbulb came on inside of me.  I don’t always recognize when someone doesn’t have my best interests at heart, because I try to see the best in people.  If I’ve learned one thing it’s how to forgive someone but still have the ability to walk away.  Dwelling in that place of, “do you know what he/she did to me” or constantly analyzing the situation to figure out the “why”, really get’s a person(aka ME) nowhere.

analyze.jpg

This brings us to option number two:

Forgive and forget.  LET IT GO.  What exactly does forgiveness entail?  Do I have to continue the friendship with someone who terribly hurt me?  Honestly, I could give you thoughts and scriptures to take this to the extreme in either direction.  When God forgives us, the bible says he wipes our sins as far as the east is from the west.  Then he forgets them, just like that, they are GONE!  How many times do we ask for that forgiveness, and then continue to punish or judge our own selves for the sin that God has promised to wipe away and forget.  He loves us no differently.

Isaiah 43:25

“I, yes, I alone am he who blots away your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again.”

Many times in my life, I’ve forgiven, and continued the friendship or relationship as if nothing had ever happened.  At this point in life, I believe that there are instances where maybe someone was put in your life for just a season.  There are those who are meant to teach us some hard learned lessons.  Once the lesson is learned, we can’t go back to what we once were.  I lost a very good friend recently, right in the middle of a “lesson”.  No matter how much I want to go back, I know better.  That season in my life has passed.

Psalm 104:9

“He made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knows its time for setting.”

If you watch closely,(with the proper eyewear of course) the moon will blot out the light and cause darkness for just a little while, but in the end the light will remain.

ring

It’s the same with these situations that we face in our everyday life.  The amount of time the darkness, or a pity party, can dim our light…   well, that kind of depends on where we are.  I don’t mean your location on a map.  I’m talking, when was the last time you read your bible y’all?  When was the last time you talked to God?  When was the last time you stepped foot in a church?  Maybe you go to church every Sunday, because it’s what you’re supposed to do.  I had a friend one time ask me, “why do I need to go to church?”  I think she had asked this question of others from time to time.   The answer I gave her, was NOT what she was expecting.  She was shocked when I didn’t tell her I go to church because the bible says to, or to make myself feel better, or what ever reason people go.  My answer was simple…  I go to church because I love God more than I love all the reason that would keep me home.  At the same time, I don’t believe “Church” has to be held in a building with a congregation.  Sometimes it’s in the car on my way to work, when I just want to sing praise.

bible

I’ve felt God’s presence while sitting in a barn listening to old gospel music, with someone I’ve come to love very dearly.(although he won’t admit he’s pretty fond of me too)  I’ve felt it in a conversation with a friend, that came at just the right time.  Honestly, I don’t believe church is a place at all.  Church is a group of people.  Church is a way of life, that delivers kindness at every turn.

reminder.png

If you were to google “churches near me” it wouldn’t be very hard to find 20 or so.  How many do you think you would find if you looked for the church as I see it?  So many times we let the bad things in life distract us from lifting up those around us.  We are so focused on the eclipse in our own life, that we don’t notice the people hurting and broken all around us.  I’m oh so guilty of this!  I’m begging you friends, please instead of staring at the darkness and becoming cranky and unkind, focus on the aspects of love and be the light during someone else’s eclipse moment.

corinthians

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Easy Like Sunday Morning…

Easy is a word that doesn’t show up a lot in our day to day lives. Often times, we make things WAY harder than they have to be. I’ve heard the saying hundreds of times, “Let go and let God.” It’s sounds way easier than it actually is. Most of the time I can’t let it go until I’m dragging a thousand pound problem behind me. One of my hobbies is making mountains out of molehills. Eventually I find myself standing at the top of the molehill, it just takes a little perseverance.

I’ve had this one line from a song running through my head for days.  I found myself thinking, “I could use an easy Sunday morning, or maybe three.”  I’ve felt the pull to write for about a month now, but every time I sit down with my laptop focusing becomes a huge problem.  Most of the time I’m just too tired to think straight.  I’ve had so much on my mind y’all.  Last week was just plain Hard with a capital H!  I know I’ve felt more than once in even just the last few days that we just can win.  It seems like something is always breaking, someone is sick, or there’s an issue somewhere.  I’d like to say I just smile and handle the situation to the best of my ability.  Clearly that’s not always the case here.  I spent most of last Monday evening in tears.  Tuesday I was angry all day because of something I couldn’t control.  The week just got better from there friends.  Honestly, I let a situation have power over me and ruin a whole week.

I did learn a few things about myself in the middle of a difficult week.  Even when pressed down, I will eventually rise above.  In the middle of feeling defeated, I can turn still turn to my faith and be filled with peace.  One night in particular, I awoke at 3 A.M. and my mind was in overdrive.  I’m not kidding you when I say, I said, “God you promised that we could give our burdens to you.  Show me the truth in this situation, and please help me to rest.”  I had one of the best nights of sleep that I’ve had in a long time.

easy

The funny thing is, I thought to myself, “I better look up the lyrics to that song, before I write about an easy Sunday morning.”  What a surprise to see that it’s not just about an easy life.  As a matter of fact it seems to be the complete opposite.  The man singing the song has just had a really horrible time, or so it seems.  Finally though, he’s going to stand up for himself and do what is best for him.  WOW, how perfectly could I place myself in that song, from many past and some present situations.  In the past week I’ve spent a lot of time soul-searching.  Someone I loved dearly served me a reminder that I am supposed to guard my heart.

Proverbs 4:23

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

 

It was my own fault.  I opened it up wide.  I really don’t know how to love in halves.  I shared what I was feeling with said person, and now I want to forget about the whole thing and run the opposite direction.  I may end up doing just that, who knows.  I truly believe you can forgive someone, but not let them have the same place in your heart that they once did. I have absolutely no idea what will happen in that situation.  I’m trusting that it will turn out exactly the way it’s supposed to.   Sadly sometimes you just have to keep your head down and press on.  That’s the funny thing about life, it just keeps moving, with or without us.  I absolutely refuse to stand still and be beaten down by circumstance.  In the last few months, so many things have happened that could hold me back.  I’ve been more than discouraged, but I’m not sure I know the word for it.  I actually opened a new browser to google “more than discouraged”, but a bible verse ran through my mind…  my faith led me to search, MORE THAN CONQUERORS.

Romans 8:31-39

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 

 As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
    we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

 

What is a conqueror exactly?  I guess it means: (insert shoulder shrug), someone who doesn’t give up no matter what obstacles stand in their way.  Generally, when it comes to important matters, I’m very slow to speak.  I understand that once the word is said, sometimes the only thing to swallow is the foot in your own mouth.  When I read Roman’s 8:31, through my two little eyes, I heard, “none of those things that have happened to me have the power to defeat me.  That is… unless I let them.”

In the middle of all the chaos, I’ve taken some time to search my own heart.  It seems I’ve let some things in there that don’t belong.  Those things are starting to change me, and quite frankly I don’t like it.  When my first inclination is not kindness, that’s a red flag.  When I let someone else’s actions start to shape my attitude, red flag number two.

change

 

As I sit here writing, I’ve made myself a promise.  I’ll put in the work to be the best version of me.  I’m no longer going to let circumstances steal my peace, because circumstances change.  Life changes.  Sometimes people do things to us that are very wrong.  Things have happened in my life in the past few months that I am disgusted by.  I’d rather not elaborate.  I haven’t decided what to do about them yet, but it’s had me down.  It’s had me confused, hurt, and angry.  I just kept thinking, “LET IT GO, LET IT GO.”  As it turns out, my name isn’t Elsa.  It probably would have been easier for her.  Well, wait…  didn’t she run away and build herself a fortress out of ice?  The ice castle, maybe that was the place that she found her peace.  My place is the beach.  The problem is, I’m right smack dab in the middle of a whole bunch of land.  I can’t run off to the Ocean every time I need a break.(someday I will live there)  I’m learning to draw peace from my faith.  When something is bothering me, as soon as I can get a moment alone, I give it to God.  That’s not saying I never pick it back up.  On a good day I only have to lay my burdens down 50 or 60 times.  Eventually I leave them.  What can I say, sometimes these things just take a little time.

carry-it-with-me

I really do think I’ve finally decided to lay this down, and leave it though.  I’m tired of trying to figure out why anyone would do such things.  I’m tired of trying to figure out what to do.  I’m asking any of you who read this to pray with or for me.  I’m not sure exactly where God is leading.  Just when I think I have it figured out…   there comes a curveball, and things don’t turn out the way I thought they would.

abby

Often I find myself wishing I knew the next step, or even the next three.  Ultimately,  I know exactly why I can’t see the plan for my life laid out like a map.  God wants us to trust him to provide the light for the next step.  If we knew exactly how things were going to turn out, we wouldn’t have to trust Him.  We wouldn’t have to seek his hand on our lives.  When chaos surrounds my life, I choose to look to Him who made me.  He is my easy Sunday morning.  He is my rest.  He will fight for me when I don’t have the words to stand up for myself.

Exodus 14:14

“The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”

(English Standard Version)

 

 

 

Chopping Tomatoes and Pondering Life

It’s funny how such innate objects, can sometimes bring back a flood of memories.  Just this morning, I was boiling water so I could blanche some tomatoes for a batch of homemade pizza sauce.  As I lifted them out of the boiling water and dropped them into the waiting bowl of ice water in our kitchen sink, I thought of George.  I could just picture him standing at my old kitchen stove, stirring the giant pan of salsa that we’d spent hours making.  It was the first time ever that I’d put zucchini in my salsa.  I didn’t have the heart to tell him, I didn’t think I was going to like it in there.  We spent the day laughing, chopping, and canning.

As I reached my hands down in the ice cold water, I gently squeezed the tomatoes, removing the parts that I didn’t want in my sauce.  For a minute I saw his hands, shaky with old age, performing the same task that I was now doing.

hands

He struggled to hold the knife steady, but still he pressed on to complete the process.  You see George could see the end result, to what we were doing.  He knew it was going to be wonderful.  I’m certain he could picture the look on our loved ones faces, when we presented them with a jar of our homemade, homegrown salsa.  As I sit here writing, in a completely different house than George and I were in, I find myself thinking of how quickly things can change.  That day, almost two years ago, we were in my kitchen of 15 years.  Sometimes looking back, I am amazed at just how much has transformed in my life.  I believe at certain times we are like the tomato, and God will let us get into a little “hot water” so to speak, to peel away the impurities that are present in us.  Once we have cooled down, and they have been smoothed away, He uses what’s left to make something wonderful.

Although I don’t understand a lot of the situations I have previously faced, I can certainly look back and see how they made me just who I am.  I’m not there yet, but I am constantly becoming.  Becoming wiser, becoming braver, becoming kinder, just becoming… well a little more of who I’m made to be each day.

ocean

So…  let’s take the story back to George.  The first memory I have of the man is probably when I was in about the 7th grade, he would volunteer at his daughter’s sports events.  Honestly a lot of years passed without a thought of old George, then one day God saw fit to place us back in each others lives through my connection with his daughter.  Honestly,  anytime I saw the man, his face would light up.  I don’t know why, but he loved me.  It’s one of the very few relationships that I’ve never had to question, does this person like me?  Nothing was required to be his friend, except for being his friend.

I’m told the man that I knew wasn’t always the same.  He went through many stages in his life, as most of us do.  I remember his daughter telling me about the day she came home and found him on his knees dedicating his life to Christ.  From that day on, he began transforming into the man I knew and loved.  Sometimes in life, it takes a good strong “Shake” to wake us up and turn us towards what’s important.  I don’t know the life story of my sweet old friend, but I know he was loved.  I know even at the end of his life, he pointed his family towards God.  At the end of the day he was just as human as the rest of us.  He had something that some of us seek, some of us have found, and some of us will refuse to acknowledge.  He had peace, the kind of peace that can only come from one place.  He was able to laugh even when he knew the end was near.

 

Life tends to take us down some unfamiliar roads.  Some of those roads are terribly hard and sad.  The thing is, sad can’t last forever.  You have to keep moving, and keep your eyes fixed on the things that truly matter.  I talk a lot about being a light for others, but what about yourself.  What if you find yourself in a dark hole with no one willing to be a light for you?  What then, my friends?  In my life, I have found that the very act of reaching out and lifting someone else while in the middle of the dark yourself, makes a little spark of light inside of your own heart.

peace

One of my coworkers, said to me last week, “We are possibly a third of the way through our lives.”  I don’t really feel like I’m that old.  I don’t want to be a third of the way to through.  I’ve got so much I want to accomplish.  Write a book, travel, raise a family, change the world….  I know, I’m not asking for much.  There are many things I long for in my own personal life that may never come to pass.  As my friend and office mate pointed out though, “we better start living!”

More often than not, we let opportunity pass us by because we are tired, busy, or just flat out lazy.  I have heard stories of George being a butcher, a dad, a husband, and there was even a rumor I think I overheard about him being in the circus.  Seems to me like he really knew how to live.  I’ve made so many mistakes in my life.  Fear held me back more times than I would like to admit.  One thing that the old man and I had in common, was that we know how to love.  He loved his family fiercely!  He loved his friends like they were family… and oh boy did he love to fish!

fishing

People today, change who and what they love as swiftly as the wind blows.  Loyalty and Honesty have taken a backseat to cheating and lies.  I’ve had the words, “I just don’t love you anymore” burned into my heart.  I could’ve let it harden me, but instead I let it mold me.  Every day, I choose love.  When I’m helping to raise two children, who aren’t mine by blood, I don’t stop and think “these aren’t my children.”   For what ever reason my heart got linked to theirs, and I will love them just as fiercely as if they were my blood.  I’ll teach them things, like how to make salsa, how to treat others, and hopefully how to love God.  They don’t NEED me in their lives, but I find that now I have come to need them in mine.  I’m proud so proud of their daddy for the changes I’ve seen him making in himself in the past weeks.  Letting go of past hurts, and just moving forward in kindness is not always easy.  The fact that George’s daughter could recall the story of when she started seeing a change in him for the better, reminds me that I’m not the only one watching.  We have two little sets of eyes that see and remember most everything.

Yesterday was the one year mark since George’s last breath.  I KNOW he is greatly missed.  I’ll admit I cried, the ugly kind of cry, while writing this…  but I know that if he were here, he would have placed a hand on my shoulder and said, “what’s the matter sis?”  I’m almost positive he would’ve reminded me that everything would be alright.  Then he would have said something silly to make me smile.

joke  I asked one of George’s daughters to send me her favorite picture of him.  She of course sent this one and her comment was perfect.  “The one with the girls, He was telling them a joke.  He always wanted to make them laugh.”

 

Honestly, I just wanted to make some pizza sauce today.  I had no plans of writing this blog.  In fact I had planned to give up writing all together.  Someone just said to me last night, find the thing that you’re good at and do that.  I’m so thankful that, just like George, I’m good at loving people.  The pizza has been made, and eaten.  I even made a few extra for some people that I love.  I’m ending the day, and a pretty good day might I add, sending a little love to all of you.  I’ll leave y’all with my favorite poem and one I saw enacted in the life of my dear friend and his entire family.

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered;
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway

 

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.

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In the middle of the mess… chose joy, peace, love, kindness, patience, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Humility speaks volumes in a world full of pride.

Going through my Facebook time hop today and came across this little gem.  It started out with “this maybe should have been a blog post”.  Well, lucky for y’all it is becoming a blog as we speak.  It was one year ago today that I wrote the following words.  Of course I’m going to read through and edit/revise, but for the most part it will stay unchanged.  It really spoke to my heart today.  It’s kind of funny that my own words happened to be just what I needed to hear this morning.  They were kind of like a pick me up from, well… myself.

 

1 year ago:

“This maybe should have been a blog post, but not many of you see my blog.  Whether you agree or disagree with my opinion, please be kind.  Remember that often I go out of my way to make y’all feel loved.  It has been on my heart to address this issue for a while now.  Going through a difficult situation really brings out the true colors of people around us.  Sometimes people are just trying to help or make you feel better, and say the wrong thing.  Those times should be simply overlooked.  The question I find myself asking is, what about those times when a friend or family member says something biting that seems directed for our hurt?  I say (get ready for this)simply let it go!  In the future use discernment in who you trust for advice, but forgive people for their hurtful comments even when they are not sorry.  You are already dealing with enough, don’t carry those hurt feelings with you.

Surround yourself with people who build you up!  You don’t need any help tearing yourself down, if you’re anything like me you do a good enough job of that on your own.  Well, stop it!  If there are things you don’t like about yourself, change them!  People will talk no matter what you do.  Seek God’s plan in all the messes of your life.  He is the only one  who will always want the best for you.  His plans for us are good, and his timing is always perfect. (No matter how hard it is to wait). In the middle of the most difficult situation I’ve faced thus far, I’m learning how God will use our strenuous circumstances to mold and change us, if we will let him.  Whether my situation turns out the way I’m praying or not, my Faith WILL stand.”

Today:

MY FAITH WILL STAND.  So many times as I prayed, and confidently spoke about how I just knew God was going to answer my prayers.  God did NOT answer my prayers the way I thought he would.  Does that mean he didn’t answer?  Things didn’t turn out the way I prayed, until I started praying for God to change me instead of the situation.  When I became willing to move forward without having things go my way, God moved in my situation.  I asked him to make it better… instead he made me better.  I asked him to save the marriage… instead he brought me out of a situation where I was not respected or loved the way I deserved to be.

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Divorce came and went.  I learned that I am way stronger than I ever thought.  Not because of anything I’ve done, but by the faith and hope that has been instilled in me through studying the bible.  I still struggle with a lot of issues, self-doubt and intense fear are just a few.  I always think something is wrong with me.  I am terrified of being walked away from.(On a daily basis I think how I just want someone to stay.  Someone to choose me, over the other woman.  Someone, who can’t wait to tell me about their day, every single day.)

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I can honestly say, I’m so thankful that God didn’t leave me in that marriage.  As I sit here typing, Frankie is snoring on the other end of the couch.  The two little munchkins are laying on a pallet watching a movie and arguing over blankets.  Sometimes I find it hard to believe that this is my life.  So much has changed.  Even when it didn’t feel like they were good changes, God was working.

1 year ago:

“I have been told how stupid I am, been laughed at, and made to feel inadequate, all by people who say they love me.  When a situation takes longer than people think it should for us to get through, they become frustrated with us for “still” being upset.  That’s okay.  They really just don’t get it, if they have never been through it.  Even if they have been through something similar, the bottom line is nobody knows your pain except you, and God.  Trust him!  Lean on him!  I get it, there are times you really need someone to talk to.  Just be prepared, because EVERY SINGLE PERSON will have an opinion.  Let them give it if it makes them feel better, then go ahead and do what you feel God leading you to do.  They may get upset when you don’t take all the wonderful advice they offer.  Let them be upset!  Do what you feel is right for you, not what someone else says they would do in your place.  You don’t have to apologize for knowing your own mind and heart, even if no one else understands.  Don’t get me wrong, there are many people in my life who continuously raise my spirits.  I guess what I’m trying to say is weigh your words before you spit them out.  You can never truly know what another person is going through.  So before you say “here’s what I would do”, stop!  Offer encouragement instead of advice!  Give love instead of judgement!  Add kindness to their chaos.  As for me, I will continue to look to the one who made me for guidance.  If you don’t believe like I do, fine. You may never understand the reasoning behind the choices I make.  That’s OK, sometimes I don’t get you either!”

Today:

A friend asked me last week one day, “How do you keep your head up/keep going when you feel like you suck?  This world is a crazy place.  People are mean.  I’m starting to believe there really isn’t good in everyone.”  She was right “people ARE mean”.  Some people are horrible.  They do things I couldn’t even imagine to each other.  I’ve come to know that I can’t control the actions of others.  I can be kind anyway.  Sometimes I get so tired of being, “such a good person”.  It feels like I’m at the bottom of everyone’s list.  I feel like I suck on a daily basis.  I keep trying.  I know my sweet friend thinks, I’m just so happy.  I am very happy, but not every minute of every day is peachy.  Real life is real hard.  On most days, I wake up counting down the hours until bedtime.  I work my butt off, and feel insufficient.  I’m so hard on myself.  There’s not enough time in my day, not enough money in my wallet, and not nearly as much time spent with family and friends as I would like.  The house is a mess, the laundry needs folded, and I always have an overwhelming feeling that I’ve forgotten to do something important.  I am a bundle of emotions.  I’m fighting to get back to me.  I use the word fight, because I’m not going to give up.

 

scared

I don’t know where I’ll be in 10 years, but I know I won’t look back and say I gave up.  I threw in the towel because it was hard.  Sometimes life is REALLY hard, and oh so messy.  Like right in the middle of all the happy, it’s still hard.  The best strategy I’ve found for “keeping my head up” is to bend my knee and bow my head.  Sometimes I talk to God, but here lately I just listen because I’m at a loss for words.  It’s not always an instant fix, but it directs me back to my center.  It puts my focus back where it should be.

 

1 year ago:

“If you know me at all, then you know I would never intentionally hurt anyone’s feelings.  More times than not I put others first and do whatever is asked of me.  Recently I have learned the value of saying no when I am overwhelmed.  No matter what comes I will be okay, it’s just that occasionally I need someone to remind me.  As my friend Connie always says, “it either will or it won’t”.  I’m leaving it all up to God.  It won’t always be easy, but when this storm blows over I will still be standing, not by my strength but by the power of God within me.”

Ephesians 6:13 

“So use every piece of God’s armor to resist the enemy whenever he attacks, and when it is all over, you will still be standing”

Today:

I went to church last night.  I found myself thinking about how I’ve written an entire book called “Faith on Fire”, and I don’t feel like my faith is on fire at all.  I struggle with even knowing how to pray, or if I’m praying for the right things.  All I know is that the bible says to talk to God about everything, so I do.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18:

“Celebrate always,  pray constantly, and  give thanks to God no matter what circumstances you find yourself in.”

Life is messy, imperfect, and hard.  Right in the middle of the hard we often find respite in the smile of a stranger walking by, our children giggling, a good book.  You have to take the good right along with the bad.  You do the best you have with what you have, and trust God to get you where you need to be at just the right time.

isaiah

There’s a quote that has stuck in my mind for years.  “Everything will be ok in the end.  If it’s not ok, then it’s not the end.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love can build a bridge. 

Everyone out there at some point or another just wants to know that someone loves them enough to try to understand them.  Someone to listen and be there when they need their “person.”   Even if they never “get” you, them making it known that they are trying makes all the difference.  What do you do when one by one your tribe is stripped away?  You cope the best way you know how, I guess.  I’m still figuring this one out, so I’ll have to get back to y’all. 

The thing is, I’m the type of person who will set aside the things that are important to me, to be what others need. I’m having a real hard time with some things I’d rather not write about, but honestly it seems that I’m the odd man(woman) out these days. I’ve picked up the phone a thousand times to call a friend, but I know that said friend has her own stuff to deal with and I put the phone back down. 

The one person who I thought would “get” the feelings of rejection that I feel too often, just doesn’t want to bother with the discussion. Ya know, after so many times of saying “this is what I need” one has a tendency to hang their head and throw in the towel.  I’m not one to give up easily, but for most of my life rather than ask for what I need in a friendship/relationship, I just let me matter less until I’ve forgotten who I am. I’m trying so hard to build the relationships that are important to me. I want those I love to know they are important, so I go out of my way to make them see.  It just seems at times that I’m standing in the middle of the road, waving my arms wildly while everyone I know just looks away and drives on by.

People say, “we’re just so busy”, or whatever reason, but the truth is, you make time for what’s important.  It doesn’t matter if it’s 3 am and you haven’t slept well for days, if someone you love… Like really love, needs you, there’s no hesitation.  If I need you to hold my hand, give me a hug, or listen please don’t brush me off.  I wouldn’t do that to you. I know not everyone will choose me… But I think it’s time that I learn to choose myself. 


I write a lot about hurting, but I also write quite a bit about love.  Honestly, I’m tired of writing about the sad stuff.  I’m tired of feeling the sad stuff.  For the most part, my life is pretty darn great. I still struggle. Who doesn’t?  For me loving someone means lifting them up…  Lift them up with kind words. Lift them up with a hand to hold. Lift them up with a smile or listening ear. Lift them up in prayer. The key word is lift.


 Maybe stop and think before you utter those words of frustration at someone you love. They could be telling you what they’re feeling because they feel like you are one of the most important people in their life. Before you get angry an snap at them, try to understand. When you’re too tired to even listen, remember you may be the only one they have. 

I’ve heard the saying, “all we have is today”. I don’t think I ever really got it until just now. Someone today will speak their last words.  Someone will be too ______(busy,tired, frustrated, etc) to be there for the ones they love for the last time. They will miss the chance to make their wife/girlfriend/best friend know how much they mean to them. Hopefully all of you reading this(myself included) will have many more today’s.  We really have no way of knowing though, do we?  So tonight I’m going to lift all of you up in prayer and leave you with a question or two.  If someone you love, reaches out and says, “hey lets work on this relationship” whether it be friendship, or some other kind of relationship, do you send them away hurting?  If today were your last day, would you leave here with people wondering what they mean to you?  Or would they think, “man, I really meant the world to him/her?”  

Tales of a Thursday afternoon disaster

The day was going pretty good, we had decided to work on the bedtime schedule and get the kids in their own beds and asleep by 9 pm.  Along came 9:05 and BOOM, it was like a magical unicorn blessed me with some kind of super power!  Both kids(SAY WHAT?) Yes both kids asleep by 9:05.  I crept out of the room and made a beeline for my bed.  I was laying there about 20 minutes or so when the crying started in the other room.  If I would stand in the doorway he’d close his eyes and sleep, but the moment I turned to walk away it was like a tiny banshee was living in our house.  Then finally, silence….

12:05 am- Here comes the cries from the other room again.  I jump up and go to the doorway.  I’m not kidding when I say I almost had a heart attack.  He was covered in red, which I immediately thought was blood.  About 5 seconds later when I heard the inhuman sounds coming from him, I realized he was just vomiting like the exorcist, no big deal.  I grabbed him and ran for the bathroom.  After a midnight bath, clean clothes, and a load of laundry we both made it to the couch.  Well I also had to shower after I got him settled, because I was covered in the vomit of Emily Rose.

So I’m pretty sure I slept maybe 30 minutes all night last night, but got up in time to get big sister to school, wash another load of bed clothes, and stop for sprite/pepto.  As I was leaving Walmart, I realized that my gallon of milk had busted in my cart.  Of course I’d already paid for it.  I returned the milk and headed for the car.  I thought ahh finally.  Now I’m in the car and I look in the mirror, I look more than  a little cray cray.  My hair is standing up because I ran out the door in a rush.  I didn’t even have time to change out of what I slept in.  I was contemplating how I literally had a 5 minute shower at 1 am and slept very little.  That’s when it hit me… I totally forgot to put on underwear with my shorts!

undies

I shook it off and headed home, so Frankie could go to the doctor. Meanwhile Cam miraculously recovered and was running around the house like a chimpanzee that had escaped from the zoo.  Afterwards, I headed to target to pick up his medicine.  It was going to be awhile, so of course I took a trip through the clearance.  About 5 minutes later and on the other side of the store, I look down at my cart.  I hadn’t put a single thing in it yet, but somehow it looked like a family of five had been shopping for school clothes and I was paying.  I’m still not sure how I managed to get my cart swapped with someone elses.

Somehow, miracle of miracles, I sold some insurance today!  Although when I went to get the leftover pizza out for lunch, I looked everywhere too…  Frankie just smiled because he had eaten it all and put the empty bowl back in the fridge.  I almost punched him square in the throat, but he was already feeling bad so I gave him a pass for today.   5:00 pm, after working and trying to recover from the trauma of last night, I headed out to pick up the kids!  I got big sister first, she informed me that she forgot to put on deodorant today because she has, and I quote, a runny nose.  I don’t even understand what one has to do with the other but I who am I to argue with her logic?  I pushed a strangers cart around target while wearing no underwear today.(I did buy the cashier at target a cake pop though!)  I threw in the towel and we had, in the words of the three year old, “HO cones for dinner!”  We really did have dinner too, just had dessert first.  Homework is done with no tears.  Now off to bed!!! Wish me luck….

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