Monday, January 30, 2012

Beauty and the Beast

To those that have followed me a while, you know by now I have three daughters.  Right now they are 10,6, and 2 years of age.  And tonight my 6 yr old middle girl, we'll call her "Superstar", is on my heart tremendously.

A few weeks back, Superstar wanted to cut all her long hair off.  This caused quite a stir.  I, personally, loved her long hair.  She just wasn't going to be Superstar without it.  But, it was her hair, and her call.

My eldest cut all her hair off in 1st grade.  And so did my niece.  Maybe it's the age.  Maybe it's when they want to assert some kind of control over their lives.  Or maybe they are starting the journey to finding who they are.  Maybe it's about showing independence.  Maybe it's all of it..  I would think ESPECIALLY all of if you are the middle girl of 3.  Besides, it's just hair.  It will grow back.  Pick our battles, right?

You should have seen her the day it was cut.  She GLOWED!  She was so happy and vibrant.  And her eyes still sparkled the same and her smile shone just as bright, if not brighter.  So I guess I was wrong, she was still Superstar.  =)

But Superstar has been talking to me lately, here and there.  And I'm concerned. 

"Mommy, I may talk funny because I have this gap in my front teeth."
"Mommy, my front tooth is coming in crooked."
"Mommy, when is my dentist appointment again?"
"Mommy, my smile is ugly now.  When can I get braces?"

*que my breaking heart*

She is 6.  And to me, I see the sparkle in her eyes.  The vibrant way she lives.  I see the shine in her smile.  But she looks in the mirror and sees ugly.  I don't think she is any more awkward than anyone else her age.  She even hates how small she is.  (one of the smallest in all the 1st grade).

She is also a lover.  She loves to color me pictures, EVERY DAY.  And write me notes.  She loves to snuggle more than anyone I have ever met.  And if she's going to hug you, well...  Hold on tight.  Because it's going to be a good one.  And it's not going to be quick.  She hangs on.

And she's smart.  She is in advanced math, spelling and reading.

I see beauty in her both inside and out.  Why can't she see that?  I tell her she's beautiful all the time.  =/

Then there is her older sister, my 10 yr old.  I'll call her...Smartypants.  Smartypants has always had a natural beauty to her.  People have always told me how beautiful she is.  And they are right.  She is beautiful.  She has long thick hair, no crooked teeth, she's a good build for her age.  She too has eyes the sparkle.  She is quick witted and smart.  She has great skin!  lol  And Superstar has always looked up to Smartypants.  When they stand in the bathroom in the morning, getting ready for school, and the images are not so matching, does she notice?  Is that the problem?  Because I try telling her that she is special.  And she is beautiful.  And that is not Smartypants but Superstar instead.  And that is awesome.

Then today, someone told me how beautiful my eldest was again.  And then then mentioned a few other girls around.  They did not mention Superstar.  My heart broke.  How can anyone miss the beauty that is Superstar?  How many times have people commented on how beautiful one child is, and not the other?  No wonder she is getting a complex.

And why the concern over her teeth?  I tell her the dentist will tell us when it's time to fix them.  But she wants it done NOW.  No wait, more like yesterday.  She wants it done yesterday.  Is anyone at school making her self-conscious?

Have you seen 6 year olds?  They are small.  Gangly even.  They are missing teeth.  And what teeth they do have don't match.  Half are adult teeth, half baby teeth.  It's just how they are.  Why is she feeling so different?  And why am I letting others compliment one daughter and not the other?  What in world is wrong with me!?  I sit here tonight feeling like I have failed Superstar.

There are times when someone will tell me how pretty Smartypants is, or even Bean (my 2 yr old).  But I always say I think all my children are beautiful.

I think when her dentist appointment comes around next week, we will be speaking about fixing things sooner rather than later.  If it helps her feel better, I'm all for asking what we can do.  It can't hurt to ask.

I'm just at a loss tonight.  She is so precious and beautiful to me.

What is the beast here?  Is it jealousy over her sister?  Is it trying to conform to what the world says is beautiful?  Is it just trying to obtain beauty at all?  Is it me?  Is it society?  I think arguments can be made in favor of any of these.

And what is beauty?  To me it's more than someone who is pleasant to gaze upon.  It's strength.  It's grace.  It's confidence.  It's the sparkle in the eye and face that lights up with laughter.  Is a personality that shines, just like Superstar has.  It's kindness.  It's thoughtfulness.  True beauty comes from within and radiates outward.  At least to me.  I need to get her to see that.  If she could, she would see just how incredibly beautiful she is.

Superstar with her daddy.
She really does light up a room with that smile.

I hate that she hurts.  It makes me cry.  All my children are beautiful to me.  I feel as if I have failed her.

Keep Singing

Another rainy day

I can't recall having sunshine on my face

All I feel is pain

All I wanna do is walk out of this place

But when I am stuck and I can't move

When I don't know what I should do

When I wonder if I'll ever make it through

I gotta keep singing

I gotta keep praising Your name

You're the one who's keeping my heart beating

I gotta keep singing

I gotta keep praising Your name

That's the only way that I'll find healing

Can I climb up in Your lap?

I don't wanna leave

Jesus, sing over me

I gotta keep singing

Can I climb up in Your lap?

I don't wanna leave

Jesus, sing over me

I gotta keep singing

Oh, You're everything I need

And I gotta keep singing

I wish I could take credit for that written above. But they are lyrics to song by Mercy Me titled "Keep Singing". I'll add the link after this post. You should hear it.

Maybe you have never hard to face any real adversity in your life. Maybe you will never know what it feels like to be stripped of strength and to sing these words/pray them in tears and frustration and defeat. But one day you will. That's life.

This song has been played, sung, and cried while praying it so many times. So many times I have cried on the floor a mess of tears to this song. No longer able to sing by the end. Just mouthing words as the tears flow. So many times I have felt... cleansed? better? at peace maybe? After crying and praying with this song. It's like my way to let it out sometimes. And I feel Him holding me. Telling me, whispering...."it's okay. you're not alone. I'm here."

As a child, when I was upset, my dad would hold me and rock. And sometimes, as crazy as it sounds, I feel the Lord holding me. Not in a physical way, but a spiritual one. It's good to know I'm not alone. It's good to feel that comfort and to know someone one is there saying "It's going to be okay. One way or the other. I'm here for you."

It's usually pretty bad for me when I have this song on. It's my way of letting out all my emotions I have kept bottled up. It's my way of reaching out to God when I'm lost in pain. It's a good reminder to me.

Have you ever climbed up in your parent's lap, in tears and pain? To have them hold you and bring you that comfort? I can still have that when I "climb up in His lap" by praising Him, even when I hurt and don't understand. Like with my Granddad's illness. Life is cruel sometimes. That's just life. The bible actually promises us we'll have trials and tribulations. It's not God's fault. He doesn't do it to us. This is what happened when Adam and Eve ate that damned apple. It's just life. And although He promises us hard times, He also promises that we don't have to walk through it alone. He is there with us. Gathering every tear we shed.

Thank you, Father, for always being there for me. For loving me, even when I'm lost. Your love never fails. And I am forever grateful. Thank you for the reminders to turn toward to You, and not away, when life is a struggle. I surely don't want to do this alone. Thank You for Your grace. Thank You for your strength. Because even at my weakest, it's because of Your help I'm able to go on. I can't do this on my own.

IJN, Amen.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones, But Words Could Kill Me.

I wrote a previous post about my daughter liking a song about standing up against bullying.  The song talks of things such as cutting, and suicide.  (before you judge, go to the post title "HERO" and listen to it).  It has brought up a lot in my past that I'm dealing with tonight.  So I thought I would try and be brave, and blog publicly about.  I have to tell you, I'm terrified right now to do this. 

My junior year of high school, things started getting rough for me.  I had this guy, a senior, who lived in my neighborhood, just a few houses up from me.  He had feelings that I didn't reciprocate.  This turned ugly.  He started spreading lies about me at school.  He was harassing me both at school, and at home.  He left me notes threatening to rape me or run me off the road.  He terrified me.  And soon, even my closest friends started drifting away.  No one wanted to deal with this guy.  Some even found him entertaining.

He spit on me in the halls, called me names, left those menacing notes, destroyed a text book of mine, drove  by my house at night blarring music for hours!!  (Our neighborhood consisted of two roads.  The first one circle around and connected back to where you entered at, and the second one cut straight through the circle.  So he literally just circled).  Sometimes he sped.  But mostly he'd slow down and creep by house.  He stole our cat, and my car.

One night, my mom and sisters were out.  I can't remember if I chose to stay home, or I had come home from work.  But I know I was cleaning.  I saw my mom's headlights shinning in the back yard as she pulled up.  But wait....  Something wasn't right.  The lights were fixed onto something.  They weren't moving, or turning into the garage.  What was going on?

I went outside to make sure everything was okay.  Nope.  It wasn't.  This guy was behind my house.  There was a fence at the back of the property that backed up to the woods.  My mom saw the glow of his cigarette.  He had been watching me.  God only knows for how long.  He had a stash of cigarettes back there, a rock to sit on.  He had made a nice little nitch for himself. 

This guy went from being a friend, to scaring the crap out of me.  He even physically accosted me at on point.  And he managed to drive people who I thought were friends, away.  I felt so low.  So alone.  I remember crying night after night because of him, and his friends.  I started sneaking my mom's Vodka to try and numb the pain.  YUCK!  At the time, I hated it. 

So I tried to slit my wrist.  The ONE time I got anywhere it hurt like... well, it hurt!  I was able to hide it somewhat for a while, until it got infected.  I told my mom, and a friend who asked about it, and the dr. who treated it; that I had it accidentally slammed in the locker when I was reaching for a book, and some shoving went on in the hall.  Everyone seemed to buy it.  SHEW!

I tried taking pills.  But the only pills I took were Tylenol.  And I couldn't figure out how many to take to end it.  Frustrating.

After court, he finally graduated and moved away.  But damage was done.  My senior year in high school was not good.  I lost friends.  I stopped caring about my grades.  I graduated high school with a D average. 

After high school I was in a different relationship that seemed okay.  At least on the surface.  But soon, I was being told no one would ever put up with me or want me but this guy.  Then my hanging out with my friends was soon phased out.  He hated it.  And I "loved" him.  And I didn't want to fight with him.  Pretty soon, the only person I really saw was him.  And if I did see my friends, I got the 3rd degree of questions when I got back.

So now I'm alone and unlovable.  Great.  Just like the guy in high school made me feel.  I guess it had to be true.  Our arguments escalated.  If I tried to walk away, he'd grab me.  If I tried to free myself he we hold on tighter.  He left bruises.  He told me they were my fault.  I shouldn't be trying to leave.

One day when he grabbed me, he pushed me backwards, and my back caught the corner of the counter top.  That was it.  I was done.  I can't remember if I slapped him or kicked him in the "family jewels".  But I got away.  I ran upstairs (rookie mistake).  He ran after me.  I just kept thinking if he caught me, it was going to be really bad.  There was a music box on the steps I stopped to threw at his head.  I missed.  By A LOT!!  That made it worse.  I ran to my room, locked the door and cried.    Then he started trying to kick the door in.  I ran sat up against it.  It was the only thing I could think to do.  Pretty soon my family came home and he left.  They saw the door all messed up and heard me crying.  They knew something happened.  They just didn't know what.

At this point in my life, after the end of that relationship, I started drinking.  I drank when ever I could.  It was only way I could live with myself.  It made me not care.  This got me into trouble.  But that's another story.

It took meeting my husband before I believed I had any worth as a person again, about five years after my first bully started his crap.  And to be honest, there are still times when I am on the defensive and I shouldn't be.  It's caused issues here and there.  But we've worked through them, and still have too sometimes.

Eleven months after were married, we had a horrible fight.  One of many that we'd been having lately.  He was at work, and we argued on the phone.  I can't tell you what we argued about.  I just remember thinking I was done.  I was done crying.  I was done not being important to anyone.  I was done just trying to survive.  I felt alone for the last time.  I wasn't going to feel alone anymore.  I wasn't going to hurt anymore.  I wasn't going shed one more tear.

I went to the store and bought a bottle of wine and some wine coolers (I was young folks).  I got home and tried once again to slit my wrists.  God it hurt!!  So I tried to dull the pain with the wine.  Okay, now I was getting a bit deeper.  But it still hurt.  I hate pain.  I had enough emotional pain.  I didn't want physical pain too.  So I reached for my muscle relaxers.  Took them with a few wine coolers, on top of that bottle of wine I had drank. I was getting sleepy.

I called my mom and told her I loved her.  I called my husband and did the same.  I sat up against the wall of the bedroom and tried once more to slit my wrist.  There was a little blood and then....  MY MOM!! 

My mom showed up!  Her and her friend.  My husband was right behind them.  They got the feeling something was wrong, and rushed over.  My husband tried to make me vomit.  Folks, when you take muscle relaxers in force, you have no gag reflex.  Sorry.  That wasn't going to work.  It didn't work.

They rushed me to the hospital.  And because of them, I'm here today.

It started in high school with one bully, and then continued after high school with another.  Being told how ugly you are, how no one wants you or would ever want you, to be treated in all these ways above leaves it mark people.  I'm going to be 35 years old this year.  And I'm just now,  JUST NOW, learning to get past some of this.  I'm trying to learn to be okay with myself.  I'm finally at a point where I'm okay if I'm not liked.  But I still struggle with wanting to prove them all wrong and be liked.  There are still days I look in the mirror and hear them laugh, and hear them say no one could ever love me.  And I have to fight this, if not for me, for my three daughters.

When people are "young and dumb" they just don't give a damn about what they do or say, or just how much it can effect others.  But that's no excuse.  None.  We need to teach our children how much words can hurt.  And they are leaving scars that may take DECADES to heal.  Do you know what it's like to live a life like this.  Every time you screw up or make a mistake, their haunting words come back to you, ripping you apart.  Every time you're in a disagreement, you automatically start off on the defensive, even when you shouldn't.  Do you know what kind of damage this can do to relationships?  Their words never totally and fully get erased.  You'll always wonder if there was any truth to them.  Even when deep down, you kinda know better.  Kinda.

Sticks and stone may break my bones, but words could kill me.  That should be how the saying goes.  Because often in today's world, people try to the escape the pain with drugs or alcohol, or cutting.  And when it doesn't work they do more, try something different.  This proves to be deadly in many cases.  And then there are those who are just so tired of the pain and of feeling alone and rejected and like no one cares, that they purposely try to end it.   I wish people could see, could know the damage that is done and just how long the effects can last.

I am happily married today and have 3 beautiful girls.  But even now, I wonder from time to time.  Even now there are moments when the past still haunts me.  Suicide is NEVER the way.  And I'm so very thankful that the right people were there at the right time, and saved my life.  I could never do that again.  Ever.  I know the pain that caused my family and loved ones.  A side effect maybe of the bullying?  See, it effects more people than you'd think.  Their actions drive your actions.  Your actions have consequences that effect others.  It's a domino effect.

Like I said, I'm happy today.  And you know what I like.  I like it when those voices come back and I'm strong enough to tell them I AM loved.  I have proved them wrong.  Sometimes it's hard to remember that, even now, but....  I do try.  I'll always try.  For two reasons: 

1.  My girls
2.  Because bullies should never win.  Ever.

I am determined to be stronger because of all this in the end.  And I think I'm doing an pretty good job.  Still have some work to do, but that's okay.  It's worth it.  I'm worth it.  My husband and children and family are worth it.  They bullies are NEVER worth it.


Sometimes my 10 year old can grate my last nerve. And sometimes she can amaze me and be my hero.
She and I had some "issues" today. We made up, but I was pretty disappointed in some of her decision making. Sometimes, you just have to let go, let God, and let them learn their own lessons. *sigh*

Well, before bed tonight she came to me and asked me to find the song "HERO" by Superchick on Youtube. She wanted me to hear it, see it, and if I approved of it, she asked that I add it to my iPod for her to listen too.

So of course, I stopped what I was doing and obliged her. I was blown away! Although, honestly, I'm not sure why... Here, take a listen. The lyrics are on the screen as the song plays. It's about making the right choices. Standing up to bullying, and such.

I don't know why I was so surprised. Maybe because I have never heard the song before. Maybe it was that my 10 year old girl was making a choice to remind her to take a stand. But if that's the case, why m I so surprised? Earlier this past school year she did just this.

There is a kid in her class who is a bit....special. He is kind to others. But he is also very emotional and socially awkward. He is weak, physically, compared to many of the boys in their class. And because he is so kind and so different, he was being picked on and bullied. My daughter came home from school just sick about it one day. We talked about bullying.

The next day she came home and said she had stood up to the bullies. They were teasing him and making fun of him again, and she just had enough. She took to defending the one student against a few of the bullies and calling them out on their bullying. I was so very proud of her!

Of course, this made her the next target for the bullies. They teased and taunted her. They even messed with her school work. She again stood her ground, but to what seemed like to no avail. So what did she do? She told the teacher. And she didn't just rat them out for bullying her, she ratted them out for bully the other kid too. Now there is no more bullying going on.

I was so proud of her taking a stand against what everyone else was doing. It was the RIGHT thing to do. And she did it. Nothing makes a parent more proud than seeing your child do the right thing and make smart choices.

I wish more children would hear this song. I wish more children would be brave enough to stand up to those who make fun and bully others. Words can leave scars deeper than any knife. They wound the heart, spirit, and soul of a person. And people carry those kinds of wounds around for years.

I tried to explain it like this to my children once (as it was explained to me):

Words can either build a person up or tear them down.
I told them to lift me up onto the table. They couldn't do it. Not without help. It was a very difficult task.

Then I got on the table and told them to pull me down. That was a whole lot easier.

Words work the same way. It's so much easier to to tear someone down than it is to build them up. And it usually takes more than one person to EVENTUALLY lift a person up.

I asked my daughter where she heard this song. She heard it from her older cousin (whom she is also friends with). My heart leaped for joy!

I'm so fortunate that my daughter has a peer like that to look up too. And I am also just as fortunate that my younger two daughters have my eldest to look up too.

I am so proud her. I pray her good decisions continue. I pray she can help make difference.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A prayer of thanks....

Tonight, our family watched the movie "Courageous". 

Today was  hard day for my husband and I.  We argued.  We tend to do this when we don't connect well during the week.  This past week has been hard with all of us being sick.  Connecting on ANY level was hard.  And today, we've argued a lot.  Some due to his actions, some due to mine.

But after this movie, I can say (WITHOUT DOUBT), that I am thankful for husband and for the father he is.  He is NOT perfect.  But that's okay.  He may work long hours and not be here as much as he, or the rest of us, would like, but he does try to make the most of his time here.

Our kids KNOW he loves them.  He doesn't just discipline them.  He plays with them.  He talks with them.  He spends time getting to know who each of them is, in his own way.  And I am so thankful for that.  Too many children have fathers who are missing.  Too many children have daddies who are physically there, but take no interest in them.  Too many children are abused by their fathers. 

My children know a father who LOVES them.  Who takes interest in THEM, what their interests are, and what they like, and who they are becoming as young women.  And it's because they know this, and they know their father loves them; that are so quick to forgive him if he ever makes a mistake.

Being a parent is hard.  It's not easy.  And sometimes we make mistakes.  We second guess ourselves.  But if we know we love our kids, and they know we love them, then we must doing something right.  Right? 

Thank you, Lord, for my husband.  Thank you for the father he is.  He may not be all he wishes to be.  He may not be here as much as we want him to be, but he loves us all.  He tries.  He makes the most of his time with us.  Thank you for that.  Thank you for such a good man.  Thank you for a man who wants the best for his children, who works hard for them, and who has REAL conversations with them.  Who leads them and teaches them, who loves them and cherishes them.  Thank you.  He is amazing. 

In Jesus' name, Amen.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Bitterness (an embarassing confession)

Ah, bitterness.....

What a dangerous thing it is.  It never really announces it's arrival, does it?  No.  No, instead it slowly creeps in.  And if you aren't vigilant, it can a take a foot hold in your heart.  And that, is destructive.  I can't think of one person whom I have ever known as bitter, to have either happiness or joy.  Nor do they spread those attributes around to others.  What they do accomplish, however, is spreading around their misery, and destroying who they once were.  Ah, Bitterness.  I wondered when you'd show up. 

This has not been an easy past week for me.  I had 3 sick kids, and was sick myself.  I had received more disturbing news about my Grandfather's condition (if you follow this blog, you probably can surmise that by my last entry).  And yes, even my husband was under-the-weather.

If you're a mother, you know how difficult it can be to have a sick child sometimes.  The clinginess, the whining, the crankiness, the mood swings, and their constant needs are quite the thing to try to manage.  But we do it.   Now multiply that by 3.  Three sick kiddos, and maybe you can start to understand my week.

If you're a mother, you know how taxing it can also be to take care of everyone when you, yourself, are sick. And want nothing more than the aches to stop, fever to break, and to stay in bed, and can't.  You know how difficult that also can be. 

This past week I had both.  It was hell.

Over the past several weeks, several friends had sick children.  They post about it online.  And of course, we all feel bad and send them well wishes.  That's what friends do, right?  Lift one another up. 

Well, when the same support did not come flying in like so many others I had supported, I also started dealing with hurt feelings.  My heart ached as I started to deal with what I saw as rejection.  And yes, this is most embarrassing to admit.

How come no one cared for me like I cared for them?  I let the hurt fester through out the week (big mistake).  Did I do something to hurt them?  Did I do something wrong?  Maybe they aren't really friends after all.  And if that's the case, why in the world should I even bother anymore?  Why should I put for the effort to be supportive and be a friend, when they can't?  What's the point?  Ah....Hello Bitterness!

The truth is, a few people did offer support.  And they have NO idea how much I love them for it.  I NEEDED it!  Who knows why others did not.  Maybe they were busy.  Maybe they really didn't care.  I don't know.  I'll never know.  And you know what?  I'm okay with that. 

I really am.  Why?  Because, it doesn't matter.  Their actions do not define me and who I am.  I AM a friend.  I do care about those I call friends.   But am I really going to let what they did, or did not do, change who I am at my core?  Someone who does care about and for others?  That would be giving them a whole lot of control of me now, wouldn't it?

Bitterness will do that to you.  It will creep in, and make you vengeful.  It will make you forget who you are if you aren't careful.  I really thought about those questions I asked above this week, and this is what I have come up with:

Did I do something to hurt them?  Maybe.  But if they don't tell me, I can't fix it.  I have to let this go.
Did I do something wrong?  Again, maybe.  But if they don't tell me, I can't fix it.  I have to let this go.
Maybe they aren't really friends after all.  And if that's the case, why in the world should I even bother anymore? Am I really going to jump the worse case conclusion here?  Haven't we all made mistakes before?  Maybe they were just busy.  Maybe they are just sick of reading about sick people.  Maybe....anything!  Why in the world would I just jump to that kind of conclusion?  Maybe it was lack of sleep.  Maybe it was medicine.  Maybe, maybe, maybe....   Who cares.  But I don't want to be "that" person.  And if they aren't really friends, time will tell.  But I refuse to jump to "worst case scenario"  immediately. 
Why should I put for the effort to be supportive and be a friend, when they can't?  What's the point? Because that is how I was raised.  To be kinda to everyone.  To treat everyone as I would want to be treated.  It doesn't mean they are going to treat me the same way I treat them.  And that's ok (although, it would be nice.).  I wrote a whole blog post about accepting others as they are.  I can't let their actions (or lack their of) change who I am.  And that's what bitterness does.  It changes you.  And never for the better.

I was childish this week.  And maybe it really was the stress, and illness, and lack of sleep, and medicine.  Or maybe I just needed to grow up a bit.  Honestly?  I think maybe perhaps it was a bit of both.  But I did realize that bitterness was starting to take root.  And it did want me to lash out at others.  I don't want to be that kind of person.  I really don't.

So Bitterness, you can take a hike.  There is no room for you here.  I CHOOSE to care.  Even if I am never cared about, it's still who I want to be.  Who I was raised to be.  I would rather suffer a thousand broken hearts, than live my life in bitterness.  I would be rather be the "fool" who cared too much, than hallow shell of person bitterness leaves behind.  I choose to love.  I choose to support.  I choose to be friend, even when I'm hurt.  Because that's what friends do.  And we move forward, together.

What about you?  Are you harboring bitterness in your heart?  Toward a friend, a family member, colleague, or spouse?  If so, how's that working out for you?  How far is that going to take you?  What good is going to come of it?

Would you care, even if they didn't?   What kind of person do you want to be?

I pray that I can raise my children to people who care.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Strong Enough

The following song is one that I have listened to more times than I can count. But today, for some "odd" reason when it came one the radio, I listened to it differently. I didn't listen to it from my own perspective. I listened to it from my Grandfather's perspective. It's called "Strong Enough" by Matthew West.

I can't help but wonder if this may also be the cry of his heart as well......

When I come at it from my perspective, the lyrics : "Lord right now I'm asking you to be Strong enough, Strong enough, For the both of us" mean strong enough both me and God. But when I listen to it thinking of my Granddad, it would sound more like for both him and my Grandmother.

Perspective is a funny thing.

This has been a favorite song of mine for a while (I have a few). But coming at from another perspective, changes it.

Lord, I'm asking you, help us all be "Strong Enough" right now.... for him, for her, for all of us. Hands of Mercy cover us. Cover him. Cover her.
In Jesus' name, Amen.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


A man once tall and proud
sits in his chair, his eye look around

Not always knowing who he sees
Not always recognizing me

It's come to take him away from us
It's come and raised an awful fuss
He sees things that are not there
His own home, he's unaware

I am angry and mad and furious
This damn disease makes me curse
A sentence of death so cruel and hard
To forget you're loved, with no regard

To be trapped inside your own mind
Knowing, yet not.  It's so unkind.
To believe things that are not true
To eventually forget even you

To be on a path in which you know
You're sometimes here and sometimes slow
To know time is ticking away for you
More fast than slow, reality's skewed

How can it take this man so proud so strong
and just string him right a long
Ever so slowly he loses his mind
It's a death of the cruelest kind

It rips our hearts apart, and his
To see him waste away like this
Stupid disease I curse you still
A cure for you they someday will

Find, but I'm afraid it's too late
To change this loved man's fate
Instead we all smile at him
and try to be strong for him

Instead a part of us is dying too
It's not just him, and that's the truth
I just want to fix it all
To make him better, not watch him fall

But I can't.  No one can
So now we kneel , and not just stand
and pray that mercy isn't far
For a man that's been a star

In our family for long
How we want to be strong
For him and her, but there are nights
when emotions we just cannot fight

Nights like this when we wonder why
like, this anyone should have to die
Please Lord, Please my God
Let the cancer take him, and end this facade

Or better yet, heal him still
Please oh please let it be your will
Help us get through these times so tough
We know the future is looking rough

We need you now more than words convey
See the tears we shed each day
Help us all through this unease
of such an awful disease

Be with him, and her too
Give them strength, comfort, and You.
And on these nights so dark and cold
We ask that you take hold

of each of us and hold us tight
and get us through just one more night.

Monday, January 16, 2012


Today is MLK day.  And I saw a friend's post on Facebook saying something along the lines of :  "I thought working on my own dream would be a great way to spend this day, in honor of the man who declared his dream...I love to see a person with a dream going for it."

This person's status haunted me.  I thought, "I don't have a dream!!  What's wrong with me?"  Because everyone has a dream, right?  At least one.  Some of have more.

Some dream of making a difference.  Some dream of becoming something. Some dream of the perfect career.  Some dream of owning something.  Everyone has at least one dream.  So, what's mine?


I had dreams.  I did.  I dreamed of growing up and getting married.  *check*
I dreamed of having a wonderful husband and kids *check*
I dreamed of staying home to raise them *check*
I dreamed of owning the perfect house for us *check*
I have dreamed of taking the family to Disney *check*
I have even dreamed of a honeymoon in Atlantis and SURPISE!  We got it, out of the blue!  So, *check*


All my major dreams have come true.  So, what's next?

Stuff?  New den furniture?  A big girl bedroom for my girl on her 7th birthday?  Owning a grill and patio furniture so we can entertain?  How about having the house painted?  These are all well and fine, but I wouldn't really call them dreams.  You know?  It's just stuff. 

I am person without a dream.  No vision.  Nothing.  I just want to raise my kids.  Live a happy life with my family.  That's it.

I don't really have any talents to concentrate on.  I can't sing (oh how I wish I could!).  I can't play any instruments.  I like to write, but I'm not good at it either.  I can't see me writing a whole book or anything.  I am no chef.  I can't sew.  I'm lucky to get a button back on.  And I am terrible at sports!!  Maybe it's easier to have dreams when you have talent.  *shrugs*

I am going to be 35 this year.  And as of right now, I have but one "dream".  And that is to raise my kids to be good, caring, loving people.  Happy people.  People who help others.  People who are not judgmental.  People with confidence, but are yet humble.  And to do this, with my husband.  This is my dream.  It is not major.  It won't change the world.  It's not easy.  And it certainly isn't glamorous.  

Maybe it's okay for dreams to be as different as the people who have them.  It's good to have people out there who have big dreams to reach for.  But maybe it's okay to have smaller ones too.  And maybe, just maybe, it's okay to have just one dream at time.  Or maybe a bunch of smaller ones that are more obtainable.
Who's to say what kind of dream is or is not important.  Isn't that up to the dreamer?

What are my dreams?  


Yes, I'd like to get the big girl room, paint and such.  I'd love for my family to go on a vacation this year.  We haven't been on one since Sept. 2008.  It's time.  And yes, those are my dreams.  Those are my goals.  To have enough money to pay the bills, and do things like go on vacation.  They aren't big.  They aren't flashy.  But they're mine.  Maybe one day I'll sit down and write that book.  Maybe.....  But until then, I am just going to keep going one day at time.  I'm going to keep making small goals, and reaching those the best we can.  

I dreamed of a better life for my family.  And so far, it looks like we have it.  I'm happy.  And isn't that everyone's main goal in life, their main dream?  To be happy?   I'm happy.  

So, cheers to those of you with big dreams, who will move mountains and make a difference in this world.  And to those with smaller dreams, personal ones.  I think it takes all kinds to make the world go round.  And, yeah, I'm gonna think it's okay to dream whatever kind of dreams a person has, big or small, one or more.  I even think it's okay to be on the search for a dream.  Those journeys can lead to so much!  

I may not have have clear dream I'm heading for.  At least not by many's point of view.  But my dream of happy family is enough for me.  

What's your dream?

Friday, January 13, 2012

A post I wasn't sure would ever get written

I had a surprise visitor this week.  It was someone I care about.  I haven't spoken to them or seen them in a few weeks.  Life just got crazy for us both.  Although we did exchange a few emails. 

Imagine my surprise when they showed up at my place on their way to work!

The person couldn't stay long (because of work) but came by to say:

"It's time to clean out the closet.  I'm human.  I make mistakes.  And I'm sure I have done things to hurt you in the past.  And for that, I just want to say I'm sorry."

I was completely FLOORED!!  This person has done VERY little to hurt me in life.  I can probably count on one hand the times they had hurt me, and still have fingers left over.  lol  (if I could recall the times at all!  lol)  I was stunned.  But they truly meant what they came to say.  And they just needed to hear that I forgave them.  For any and all of it.  And of course I did!!  I love this person! 

I don't know if it was a "It's a new year, and lets start with a clean slate" kinda thing, or if it was a "This is something that is bothering me and weighing on my heart and I just need to make sure it's right" kinda thing.  Maybe neither.  Maybe both.  The truth is, it doesn't matter what this person's reasons were.  They cared about me.  They cared about my relationship with them.  And they just wanted everything to be okay.  And it was. 

I found this very odd, because out of all the people in my life, this was the last person I expected anything like this from (because they very rarely hurt anyone).  In fact, there are others in my life that, I care very much for, that don't seem to be on the best of terms with each other right now.  I suppose the parties involved are hurting.  But how I wish they would just allow their love for each other to overcome their dispute, or misunderstanding, or whatever it is. I wish they would allow their love for each other to cover over their transgressions and allow their relationships to heal. 

Relationships are tricky.  We often hold on to an idea (or even ideal image) of what our relationships should be like.  Our marriages, our friendships, our relationships with our parents and siblings.  Even our relationships with the people we work with or got to church with.  And when reality doesn't measure up to what we imagined or hoped it would be like, we get hurt.  And often we hold the other people responsible.  I know.  Because this was a major problem in my marriage for years.

For years I had an image of what marriage should be like.  And it did not include a husband who worked over 60 hours a week and weekends.  No.   My image was one of a husband who was home at dinner time, off on the weekends, and such.  And when his job only got I worse, I blamed my husband for not making our marriage what I always imagined it should be, what I thought I had always wanted it to be.  This only did more damage to our relationship.

It took hitting bottom for me to wake up.  What was more important to me?  My picture of what an ideal marriage was?  Or my actual marriage and making it work?  The answer was clear, my actual marriage. 

I had to come to terms with the fact our lives were not going to be how I always imagined and wanted them to be.  I had to let that die.  But in doing that (and it's not easy), I also had opened myself up to new opportunities.  Our marriage didn't have to make anyone else on earth happy but us.  And if we're happy, our kids will be happy, and our family and friends will be happy for us.  That's how it works.  Who cares if he isn't the 9-5 daddy/husband.  All that matters is that we deal with what the reality is, and make it work for us. 

I have learned to be more supportive of his job, the hours he works, and try to make more quality of the time he is home.  (we still work on all of this to this day)   And it's made a vast amount of improvement in my marriage.  It's allowed me to appreciate my husband in ways I never have before. 

My marriage is not the only relationship I have to come to terms with. 

For years after I was first married, I was upset with my relationship with my own mother.  It wasn't a bad one.  Not by a long shot!  I loved her, and I knew she loved me.  But, we didn't ever really go out and do mother-daughter stuff.   Shopping?  Nope.  Not her bag of tea.  And we never did mother-daughter lunches or dinners either.  Work I suppose got in the way a lot of the time.  And then I had our first child, and things change.  At one point, I was upset because I felt like if I didn't make the effort to see her, I'd never see her. 

Now I'm not sure how true that last statement really is.  I was young.  And it was just how I felt.  I'm not saying it was the truth of it.  The way we feel things are and the way things are in reality are usually (but not always) two different things.  (something else I'm learning with age).

Whatever I perceived the problem to be in my relationship with my mother, was it worth possibly losing her over?  I did love her after all.  And I knew she loved me.  I knew over the years, we both made mistakes.  But I loved her.  And so I dealt with the reality of the situation.  My mom is who she is.  She is not the kind of mother who enjoys hours of shopping and girl talk.  That's just not her.  She is more of the mother who enjoys a meal around the family table, and a movie or a show, or better yet, a ball game.  And that's okay with me.  I enjoy those things too.  And I lover her, more than any words could possibly convey. 

And I have found out that loving someone, means loving them for who they are, and not who you'd hope they'd be.  I have found that out in my marriage relationship and my relationship with my own mom.  And my life has been all the more joyful and richer because of it.  THAT is love. 

As Sean Connery say as Arthur, in First Knight:  " Oh, hey, I take the good with the bad, together.  I can't love people in slices."

And you know what?  God is good.  He gave me a mother-in-law that likes to do the things that my mother is not necessarily the most found of.  So I still get to do those things.  My needs/wants are still met.  I get to have quality time with my mother and my mother-in-law.  Sometimes my mom will go out with me.  Sometimes my MIL will stay in with me.  But as a whole, I know who take shopping, and who to have a night in with.  And I'm okay with that.  I just have to remember that each relationship in my life is different.  And I have to love each person in my life as they come.  And not try to change them or wish it to be differently.  Because the truth is, I'm not perfect.  The truth is, there are enough faults of my own that my friends and loved ones wish they could change about me (I'm sure blogging is one of them lol)  But I am who I am.  Just as they are who they are.  They love me in spite of myself.  And at times, I must learn to be the same way, and allow the relationships I have with them to be more important than anything else.    That is what love is.  It's forgiveness.  It's acceptance.  It's making the best of things even when they aren't ideal, because we love them and value a relationship with them.  It's allowing love to cover over transgressions when needed.  It's valuing a relationship above how we think things should be.

These are just some things I have learned the past several years.  Things I have wanted to share but never seemed to be the right time or that I even had the right words. So much has happened in my life this past week or 2.  And I have tried to blog several times since then alone, but never found the right words.  I'm not sure I have this time either.  But it's something that has been on my heart.  Something I have been wanting to share for some time now.

Do you really love the people in your life?  Or do you love the ideal version of them you have in you mind?  Do you really want a relationship with them?  Or do you only want the picture perfect relationship you have in your head? 

Life is messy.  It is rarely picture perfect.  And we all screw things up at some point or another, if not several times over a life span.  I am thankful for those in my life who love me for me.  Who let their love for me cover over my transgressions.  Who have stuck by me long enough for me to learn some of the tough lessons I have written about here.  God bless them!  They all deserve medals!

Friday, January 6, 2012


Today I talked with several people about all different kinds of relationships.  I have been apart of conversations about marriage, friendship, and even family dynamic relationships.  Tonight I sit here contemplating.

My eyes have been open to so much today.  I'm so thankful for the people in my life. 

My husband and I have come through A LOT.  And I knew that.  But today, it really started sinking in some more.  And I am very grateful for him.  No words every written, spoken, or sung; could ever come close to describing just how grateful I am for him or how much he means to me.

Now this isn't to say he hasn't hurt me in the past, or I him.  Or that we won't do it again some time in the future.  We love each other.  But we are human and make mistakes.  Even the closest relationships go through rough spots.  But does that change how I feel about him or what he means to me?  No.  I love him.  Period.  He loves me.  And it's that love that allows us to forgive.  It's that love that allows us to cover over the transgressions sometimes,  and move on, together.

But so often in life, we don't allow this same kind of thing to happen with others we love.  We hold grudges.  And relationships that once were so precious, start fading.  And before you know it, you don't have a relationship anymore.  What is it that causes us to pick and chose for whom we will love enough to have grace for?

I find myself hurting tonight.   Drama has crept into the new year already.  I am really sick of drama.  I don't have any room in my life for it anymore.   I have started cutting people out of my life that have too much of it, create it, or maybe just even feed off it.  I don't have the energy for it.  I don't want it in my life.  But what do you do when it creeps into your life by someone you really care for?  A friend?  A family member?  A spouse?  A mentor?  Whoever it is, what do you do?  Do you love them enough to cover the transgressions and wrongs you feel have been done because you love them?  Or do you hold the grudge?  What if they are the one holding the grudge?  What now?

I guess in life we all have those choices to make.  Some are easier than others.  I have done all I can do.  I know I need to move past this.  My hurt doesn't want me too. 

I wrote about choices not long ago.  Tonight I am making the choice to be a better person.  I am making the choice to move past this, even in my hurt.  I'm not sure how to do this though.  So....

Lord, please help me to move past my hurt.  Please help me to forgive.  Help me to not be mean or cruel because I'm hurting.  Heal my hurt, my wounds.  Please.  Restore the relationship in my life that has taken a hit, please.  If it isn't meant to be restored, help me to get through that.  Please give me strength.  Please put your hand over my mouth and guard my words.  For now they are weapons, sharp, and ready for strike.  And that is not what I want.  And I know that.  I don't want to give my hurt a foothold into anger.  Only harm can come from that.  And bitterness.   Help me deal with this please.
In Jesus name I pray, Amen.