Life or Something Like It

What is and is Not in My Control

What is and is Not in My Control

What is and is Not in My Control

What is and is Not in My Control.  I am a work in progress.  Without hesitation, I can tell you that trying to control all the things is 99.9% of my problem.  Well, that and lack of trusting anyone…maybe that goes hand in hand, I don’t know.  It’s a problem.  I know that, get it, and respect it.  There is a problem and I am it.

What is IN My Control

  • my self-care
    • I get my hair done
    • Massages
    • Tattoos
    • Alone time at night
    • Reading
  • asking for help
    • Reaching out to family
    • Communicating with Bart and being vulnerable
    • Therapy
  • my decision
  • the friends I have
    • I don’t do this one well
  • my actions
    • I have apologized to those I need to
    • Forgiven most people I need to
    • The Lord has made me HYPER aware
  • my boundaries
    • Hahahahaha
  • my thoughts
    • Oohhh….
  • my attitude
    • Well….
  • my words
    • Uhmmm….
  • what I say
    • Learning how to use them
    • Learning how to RESTRAIN from using them
    • Work in progress

What is OUT of My Control

  • who likes me
  • past mistakes
  • other’s feelings
  • what others think
  • other’s apologizing to me
  • other’s actions
  • what other people believe
  • weather
  • who loves me
  • other people’s time
  • someone else’s distraction

What is on Your List?

My struggle in the “out of my control” list is who likes me (why does this bother me so badly), past mistakes (I can’t forget), what other’s think of me, other’s actions, what other people believe, and who loves me.  Those are my achille’s heel problems.  What is on your list?

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Silence with a Side of Stirring

Silence with a Side of Stirring

Silence with a Side of Stirring

Silence with a Side of Stirring is the only phrase that I can use to make sense of what is going on in my mind.  There is SO much I want to say.  In saying that, I stay silent for fear of judgment, isolation, retaliation, and so much more.  What people need to realize is that if someone is silent…don’t mistake that silence for ignorance, apathy, or stupidity.  I have not been silent for any of those reasons.

In this season, or new year, I have been reading a lot of books.  I read books on the Holocaust because the resilience of the Jewish people and the Gypsies inspire me.  In the face of such pain, trauma, starvation, and so much more they rise.  I have also been reading a lot on trauma, making peace with your past, working through unforgiveness, and so much more.  In March, I only read a couple of books and started a couple more.  I intend on finishing those I started and working through my library.

My goal is to work through some of the things, in my mind, through questions, comments, and statements made by the authors of the books I’ve been reading.  There are still some things I am processing through and I have to stop and mull some statements over.

Quote

I read something on Instagram (of all places) that says “A history of trauma will have you mistaking peace for boredom.”  That is where I have found myself.  I have gone from many children, in my home, to few and it is strange.  It is a strange feeling to hear myself think or listen to myself breathe.  Everything that surrounds me and everyone is loud.  I have a lot of people in my life and I love the noise of the laughter, discussions, and busyness.

Now, it isn’t so busy.  I have married children, children in college, and then those at home.  It’s quiet.  Painfully so.  In that quietness has come peace.  A peace I never thought I would experience in my lifetime.  I thought my days would have a shorter number because of the constant state of stress that I lived under.

Don’t get me wrong, there is still stress, still stressors, still medical issues, still some busyness, but not near what I was experiencing.  For instance, today, we are down a vehicle, on spring break, one kid is having surgery, another has obligations, a mom that needs to see my face due to some severe health issues, and phone calls to be made.

I feel like I need to go back to work or volunteer or do something.  My days are spent resting (quiet literally), reading, somedays I binge watch television, I clean, organize, cook.  After school lets out, it gets hectic with homework and running kids from here to there and yonder.  Also, I keep my sweetness on 2 days a week, so she completely occupies my time.

Peace vs Boredom

According to Webster’s Dictionary, PEACE means “a state of tranquility or quiet, freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions, harmony in personal relations .”  On the other hand, BOREDOM is defined as “the state of being weary and restless through lack of interest.”

Basically, what I thought of as being “bored” is actually the definition of “peace.”  That is so weird to say and it is even weirder to feel.  I am not weary, restless, or lack interest in things.  I just feel weird with the silence and no fires to put out.  For so long, that’s what I did.  I would get up in the morning, fill up my water pistol, and walk downstairs into hell and put the fires out at my feet.  Fight, flight, freeze, fawn mode is the state(s) that I lived in for years.

I don’t have that anymore.  It’s like, “now what?”  What do I do with myself?  It is quiet.  I only do one load of laundry a day.  There are not 5 dogs barking in the house, no 30 cats waiting to come in and eat, no chickens to feed/collect from, no drama, no fighting, no hospital stays, nothing.

I find myself, randomly, breaking into a fit of tears over nothing and everything all at the same time.  It’s like my body is releasing all the tension that has been collected for the last 16 years.  I don’t think I go a day without crying, randomly.  All things are triggers.  I am beginning to allow myself to feel for the first time in a long long time.

Revelations and Realizations

This past weekend, I was able to visit with all of my children, at one point and way or another.  It was a bittersweet feeling knowing they were all so close yet not all under my roof.  I wasn’t sure how I would handle one visit.  My son and I had great conversation and I revel in the fact of how our relationship has changed.  It is so good and it forces a communication that we have both longed for but didn’t know how to achieve.  We are slowly achieving it and I’m so thankful and proud of the young man he is becoming.

Another son came and we had some deep conversation.  Conversation that we typically have via the phone but this time, I got to see his face and he see my face.  Sometimes that is so needed.  I look at him, in awe, of where he is in life and that he is growing up and making some good (and bad) adult decisions but is trying to do his best.  That’s all I could ever ask for.  We had fun running around town.

My girls (2 of them) were able to come over and we enjoyed our grandbaby and soon to be grandbaby.  We laughed, ate, messed, and gobbed for such a long time.  It was so nice.  My adult children are coming into their own in what they like and what they don’t like.  They are such good wives and moms.  I love it.  I also love that I have their significant others to help do some things around my house…cook…and just let me be me and love me regardless.  It must be hard coming into a family like mine.  Bless them.

Bart and I met up with our third daughter.  We hadn’t seen her in a while and she was able to come down.  We met and gave her some of her treasures that we finally found upon FINALLY unpacking ALL the boxes from our move.  That has been a thing…so hard and emotional to go through them all (and there were so many).  I was able to find most of what she had been looking for and we got her some groceries and snack foods for her trip back to where she stays.  I said the things that were on my heart and I was able to hug her.

Relearning How to Do Life

Bart told me, not to long ago, that I had to trim down my cooking.  I’m used to cooking for 10 or more people.  I don’t think I have ever cooked small.  I can make a casserole out of leftovers.  Shelf-cooking is a daily happening.  I don’t need much to feed a ton of people.  Yet, I can’t figure out how to cook for just a few.

The other night, I made a ham, turkey, bacon, potato type of concoction (needing to use a lot of 1/2 packages in my fridge and pantry).  I thought I was doing good.  Then, I realized, I had enough to fill up 3 13×9 dishes :/  I kid you not.  There was a 1/2 package of turkey, 1/2 a pound of bacon, 1/2 of a thing of Ky Legend Ham, about 6 potatoes, some leftover spinach, you get the point.  So, we ate on that for a week.  I froze the last whole one (we are having that tonight).  Honestly, I can’t cook for a few.

Can anyone relate to this?  I mean, I can leave the house for 1 hour to run to the store and it is okay.  We are thinking about downsizing our vehicle because one kid is close to being able to afford a car, the other is getting ready for his permit, and then our youngest…well, we have to cart him around.

So strange.

What I Can/Cannot Control

I am learning that I can’t control other peoples words, actions, or thoughts.  What I can control is my reactions.  If something seems “off”, I have the ability to make phone calls and find out the truths that help soothe my soul.  I can’t control if someone is being honest, but let me tell you, it is easier to remember the truth than to remember what lie you told what person.  That has to be hard to come up with.  I’m at peace, regardless.

It is truly sad what some people say and how others are so easily manipulated.  People I have known for a lifetime believe all the bad things without stopping to think “is what is being said indicative of the last XXX I have known this person?”  If it doesn’t match up, use your words with that person and not by gossiping or assuming.  It really is that simple.

So much to say, but my boy baby is on his way home from a procedure and he needs my attention.  Peace.  I am at peace.  I am not bored and do not need to fill up my life with unnecessary crap.  This is a season for healing…once I’m healed, the Lord will guide me to my next project.

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Blogmas is DONE

Blogmas is DONE

Blogmas is DONE

I did it!  I did it!  I did it!  Blogmas is DONE.  Geez.  I am so glad this is over.  Some people go through the end of the month but not me.  I set out a goal to make it to Christmas and I made it.  See.  I can accomplish something!

We had a great Christmas.  It was Charleigh’s first and she just makes everything better.  To think that next year, I will have 2 grandchildren is just too much for my brain to handle.  Charleigh will be almost 2 and Apollo will be 7 months.  My Christmas tree will never be the same!

I am totally all for that!

Food and Fun

My kids seemed to enjoy what they got and they all pitched in to help clean up the mess.  It’s been a while since we have had a stressfree Christmas, so this was nice.  It would have been all better had all my kids been able to be home, but I will take what I can get.  I had 6 here and 1.5 grandchildren.  That makes for a happy Lolli!  We ate good food, made giant messes, assembled many things.

Change of Plans

We had a bit of an alteration of plans.  Normally, we go to my mother-in-laws on Christmas Eve and frost cookies.  Then, on Christmas Day, we go over for lunch.  Due to Co-vid, we were not able to go right now.  So, we had to improvise.

I still made cookies on Christmas Eve.  We did chili that night and I prepped some stuff for brunch on Christmas Day.  Then, my bigs started filtering in and we ate brunch on and off.  It was warm outside, so cornhole was played and Hunter played in the sand and everywhere else.  That night, we did a pork shoulder and went to see the lights at the park.

New Year

I am looking forward to a new year.  On January 6, 2022 we will celebrate Ethiopian Christmas.  January also brings one surgery, lots of basketball, and the beginning of birthday season.  I have lots of thoughts and hopes for the new year, but as always, we will take it as it comes.

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Hard Week Leading Up to Christmas

Hard Week Leading Up to Christmas

Today is only Tuesday night and this week has already completely caused a mental, physical, and emotional breakdown.  A dear friend passed away and in my grief for his family, I went through the motions of the day.  I hauled kids back and forth to work and school.  The house was clean, appointments made, dinners planned, and then I was alone.

I found myself at Hobby Lobby and that is not a good place to be when you are having a moment.  There are moments where you are listening to Christmas music and then there are the old time hymns that my friend loved.  I kept my mask on because my tears were flowing and I was trying to hide the ugly cry.

As I was pondering the things that kept appearing in my cart, I called to talk to one of my son-in-laws.  I needed some advice on something and he found out I was, indeed, at Hobby Lobby.  The excitement in his voice was palpable.  I was in the throes of hysteria and he was thrilled I was in the store.

That boy.

I told him that there was something in there that I was going to get for Apollo but I wasn’t sure about it.  He assured me that Apollo needed whatever it was that I had picked out.  Everything in Hobby Lobby is good and safe to purchase, including the shopping cart.

As we are discussing what I have and what I actually needed him for, this object caught my eye and I lost it.  I stated that I had just found a hot pink flamingo with a crown and that I didn’t need it but I wanted it.  That everyone needs a crown every now and then.  It was only $12 but it wasn’t on sale.

He was THRILLED and said that I, of course, needed it.  That it would be awesome to have and it was okay that I buy it because it is from Hobby Lobby. I put it in my cart and cried when I handed it to the cashier.  I told her I didn’t need it and she thought I made a great purchase.

Running into Old Acquaitance

As I was leaving, I ran into an old acquaintance who I grew up with.  Our families were good friends and we were always together when we were young.  I knew her dad had had Alzheimer’s and was not well.  Also, her mom, amazingly, was his sole caregiver.

I was shocked to see her after 30 years and asked if she moved back to town.  That is when she told me that she was only in because…her dad just died…I was speechless.  After the loss of my friend that morning and now the loss of someone that I truly loved and respected as a child was gone.  It was a good thing, he is with Jesus and singing his sweet heart out but still.  It is hard for those left behind.

We chatted and caught up a bit and then we parted again.  I called my Oak and cried all the way home.  I walked in the door and just laid on Bart sobbing.  He is a good man.  He knew my one friend but didn’t know or meet my other friend, Buddy.  He just let me cry.

I got out my purchases to show Bart.  I told him that we were officially done with Christmas.  Then, I got to the bag with my flamingo.  Through my sobs, I told him I could take it back because I didn’t need it and didn’t want to waste his money on something so frivolous.  He told me that he loved it and I could keep it.  It isn’t that big of a deal and it made me happy.  I told him that Arkie encouraged me to buy it because it was from Hobby Lobby (his love of this store warms my heart.)

So, meet my pink friend…

Hard Week Leading Up to Christmas

Isn’t she glorious???!!!

There have been other things that are really really tough that have happened.  Prayers are truly appreciated for the families that lost loved ones this week, for those affected by the tornadoes, for those who are lost, and for my daughter whom we miss and is not with us this year.

God is good.  I will love Him through this storm.  I just have to keep my eyes above the waves.  This week, I have sort of felt like I was drowning.  This too shall pass…like a kidney stone.

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Meatal Stenosis and Tornadoes

Meatal Stenosis and Tornadoes

Today (the 15th) we headed back to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital for another visit to the doctor.  This time, we had to go on the last day of school before Christmas break.  It was a bummer for Hunter to miss his Christmas party but you gotta do what you gotta do.  Meatal Stenosis is a complication from a circumcision (normally).

Heading Back

Vanderbilt is about 2 1/2 hours from where we live.  Actually, closer to 3 hours because of traffic and road construction.  It is boring but usually, Hunter can get in a movie once we get “on the big road” and that occupies him.

I, on the other hand, work on not dissociating and keeping my eyes on the road.  Driving to Nashville used to be fun and exciting. Now, I associate it is with trauma.  I have to keep my windows rolled down or the air blowing on my face or I will completely zone out.  That is not a good thing.

Constructive Things to Do

I have begun listening to audiobooks and podcasts as well.  That helps.  Sometimes, I will put my earbuds in and put on a movie that I have watched 100 times.  I don’t look at the screen because I can quote the movie and play the scenes in my head.  Oddly, that keeps me focused.

This time, however, my eyes were drawn to the tornado damage along the way.  It blew through this area and left devastation in its path.  I have never seen anything like it.  My kids, who live in a neighboring town, came because it had passed here and was headed their way.  Power, water, and electricity were out, so they stayed the weekend.

Mayfield, KY where my husband and son-in-law work was destroyed.  I am so thankful my boys were not at work.  My son-in-law works on the top floor, the ceiling is in his office.  I cannot believe this building, as old as it is, is still standing.

Meatal Stenosis

However, this is across the street.

Meatal Stenosis and Tornadoes

This is the courthouse…..I can’t even.  So many lives lost.  So many homes gone.  Sigh.

Moving Along

We drove a total of 7 hours for an 8 minute doctor’s visit.  That is always my idea of fun.  The doctor was so nice but Hunter was not.  He did not want to be there and has struggled, behaviorally, all day long.

We had to stop all the things and have a chat about why we were there.  That it was okay to be scared but not okay to be mean.  Dr. Adams was there to help him, not to hurt him.  We moved onto the “good touch bad touch” talk.  How he was safe because I was in there and would not let them do anything that would hurt him.

He calmed down…briefly.

Luckily, the diagnosis was quick.  I understood why it happened and what the procedure was and we both explained it to Hunter.  In and out.  Back to other movie he brought and food.  He will have a simple surgery in a few weeks.  We are hoping that this will be the end of pain and other things that he has dealt with.

Another day.  Another doctor.  Another diagnosis.

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Happy Birthday Paige

Happy Birthday Paige

Happy Birthday Paige

My sweet girl.  Happy Birthday Paige.  Oh, how I miss you and your fire.  This picture warms my heart so completely.  That is a the smile of a sober young lady with so much life ahead of her.  Holding 2 of her 3 children.  Jackson was a year old and Hunter was freshly born.  This is the epitome of her life before addiction took back over.

Addiction is a horrible thing.  If you want to read more about how it has affected the lives of all, you can head over to my sister’s blog, Mom by Proxy and God’s Grace.  She eloquently states what it is like raising her grandchildren while her children are in the swirl of addiction and incarceration.

My Girl

She is feisty, loud, and bigger than life.  She has always been my little doll baby, yet her choices still make me scratch my head.  She certainly has my heart.  We have been through a lot.  I’ve had to do a lot of things in order to protect others.  I had to do so while looking into her beautiful brown eyes.

Her voice… “Aunt B, look at me and tell me I’m a bad mom.  Aunt B.  Look at me.”  I just wanted to wrap my arms around her because she is NOT a bad mom.  When she is sober, she is little miss Suzy homemaker.  She cooks, cleans, plays with, loves, and drove a mini van.  She did all of this while working tirelessly.

Addiction

Sadly, addication took over her life.  She was a shell of who she used to be and we were afraid that she would die.  Hard decisions had to be made.  Her strength, though, throughout it all was amazing.

She allowed us to raise her son.  She allowed us to adopt him.  She has thanked us for adopting him.  It is so impossibly hard yet I know this is the path that the Lord had for us and for him.  She gave him life, through birth.  Then, she laid her heart on the line and made the horrible decision to terminate her rights and allow us to raise him.  In essence, she gave him life twice.

Fierce Protector

Even now, she has protected him.  She protected him in court and is ready to rumble anytime I say I had a hard time with the school or a doctor.  Honestly, with his medical issues, she has been the one that said I will give or donate any and everything I have in order to help him.

A mother’s love personified.

Life Afterwards

I don’t know what life will look like when she comes home.  Our family dynamics are so weird.  We giggle and say that the kids will pit us against each other.  “Well, Mama Paige said I could do XYZ.”  Paige laughed and she was like little do they know, we have worked out every scenario and we are always on the same page.

My prayer is that she can remain sober and a huge part of her kids’ lives.  They need her and she needs them.  There are so many hurdles but all I can do is trust that the Lord has the best in mind for everyone.

For now, I simply love her completely, thank her for her sacrifice, pray for her safety, and prepare for her future.

Happy birthday sweet girl.  I love you.

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Fingers Foods and Decorating

Fingers Foods and Decorating

Fingers Foods and Decorating

I have NO idea why my picture is so tiny.  I can’t figure out how to make it bigger BUT it does have all of my kids and grandkids in it 🙂  (Minus my daughter….wish she was here to have fun with us).

It was such a wild and busy day.  Jude had basketball for half of the day.  I handled that and Bart did all the running with the other 2 boys.  There was Co-vid testing to be done, playdates, work, cleaning house, and some outside work.

Yet, today was the day that we were going to decorate the tree and eat!  Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  I love that we all just come together to eat.  Feeding people is one of my favorite things.  Another favorite is having people over who may not have a place to go.  Loving on others, making new friends, Charleigh’s first Thanksgiving, warms my heart.

Now, onto Christmas.

Benjamin (the one with the glasses) has a serious love for Christmas.  The boy has plans for my house and next year, he will probably be in charge of decorating.  I’m feeling like my house will end up like the one in National Lampoon’s, but hey…it makes him happy, it makes me happy.

Once I got home from basketball, I started cooking.  The kids decided that they wanted finger foods.  Actually, Alyssa decided and because she is pregnant with Apollo, that is what we are having.

Bart did his sausage balls, we had chips and I made cheese dip, a crudite’ plate, cheese ball, a pot of potato soup, cinnamon roll sopapilla, apple pie type sopapilla, weiner winks, and crack dip.  They messed and gobbed throughout the evening.

Normally

Now, normally, we would be playing a Christmas movie but someone I know (Benjamin) wanted to watch football.  #notChristmasyatall  It’s all good.  I realized though that I am going to need a ladder in order to get pictures because my kids are huge.  The room is a bit smaller than my other living room (at our former house) so it was a bit more cramped.

However, it was full of joy, laughter, calmness, fun, and then there was Charleigh.  That baby.  That.  Baby.  She is freakingn glorious and BRILLIANT.  She can crawl, wave bye bye, and is just the funniest thing ever.  She is almost 9 mths old.  I cannot believe that she just entered this world 9 months ago.

Her first Christmas.

She is enthralled with the tree.  Grabbing at it, looking at the lights, letting it tickle her hands…I could eat her.  The kids didn’t leave until late and I love that.  I love that my kids love to be home.  I love that they feel safe, comfortable, loved, and at ease here.  Warms my heart.

The only thing that could have made it better was if ALL my kids could be here.  We sure did miss our daughter.  Her stocking will be hung by the fireplace with love.  One day, we will all be reunited and it will be a healing and glorious time.

Next year, we will have Apollo and Charleigh.  My cup overfloweth!

Merry Christmas!

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Tested by Fire

In today’s world, a couple who has been married for 27 years is a rarity. My wife, Brandi,  and I have been married for that long.  One thing I know is you don’t stay married for that length of time without going through fire. We have had our fair share of fire, for sure.

In the beginning of our marriage I was not a believer. That put a huge strain on us. The first 7 years of our marriage was pretty rough.  I was not following the Lord and leading like I’m supposed to.  On several occasions, we were on the verge of divorce.  But in 2001, I did surrender to Christ and things got better, not because of us but because of Him.
However, things weren’t all rainbows and unicorns after I was saved.  I had an addiction to pornography that started when I was in middle school.  Obviously, my wife was unaware but with any sin, light was shown upon the darkness.  Sadly, my addiction still continued after she found out and again our marriage suffered to the point of divorce.  But God saved me from my addiction and I have been delivered from it since.  He worked a miracle in me and saved our marriage.
But as always, life gets in the way of happiness.  Job, children, finances etc. were all distractions to our marriage.  Many hurts happened and we had grown apart.  It felt like we were spiraling towards separation again but again God intervened.  It was like he hit me over the head with a frying pan.  He showed me that I was too focused on self.  I fell on my face and gave it all to the Lord.  I decided that I would love, honor, serve and cherish my wife.  God made me realize I was not fulfilling my role as her husband.
Since that night, I have done my very best to live up to that decision.  And I would have to say, our marriage is on the mend.
Are we perfect people? No.
Will we always do or say the right thing? No.
Do we/I have the power to choose to love, honor and obey God and each other? Yes.
What I’m trying to get at here is that through it all, we have persevered.  Has it all been bad? Absolutely not.  We have more good years than bad.  We just dwell on the bad more, which is not the way it should be.
But truth be told, God put me and Brandi together for a purpose.  He did not make a mistake because He doesn’t make mistakes.  I have loved her from the beginning.  I have never stopped.  She will forever and always be the one I choose and the one chosen for me.  I love her more every single day and will love her for the rest of my life.  Love you, babe!

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Quote by Mary Katherine Backstrom

Quote by Mary Katherine Backstrom

“I love when somebody says about a woman, ‘Oh, she’s too much.  She’s too much for me.”  Too much of what?  Too much of an opinion?  She laughs too loudly?  Stands too tall?  Takes up too much space?  What would be the right amount and not too much?  She’d have to be less.  That’s what you are saying.  You’re saying BE LESS, if she’s too much.  You know what I think?  I think she should not give a f*ck about what you think about her.”  ~ Quote by Mary Katherine Backstrom

All the Feels

Oh….does this give me all the feels inside.  I have been told a lot of things over my life.  That I am too loud, too opinionated, can’t Biblically submit to my husband because I’m too “Type A.” I have been told that no one will ever take me seriously because I ask questions or because my hair is pink (currently purple).

Over the course of the last 2 years, I have been told that because of those above traits that I am not a good mom and that I shouldn’t raise my children.  I should quiet down, conform, be SMALL, be LESS THAN, fit in, don’t make waves, SHUT UP.

Shrinking

So, that is what I have done.  I’ve stayed home.  I have shrunk back, slept alot, eaten alot, cried alot, hid, allowed people to walk all over me, speak to me in ways I would never let them before, and so many other things.

I think when it truly hit me was when I was getting ready to go on a little day trip to see some family.  For the first time, in forever, I did my hair and put on makeup.  I wore something that covered 95% of my tattoos and I looked the part.  It was very much something that a woman, my age, would wear and it didn’t call attention to me at all.  I even wore real shoes.  Then, we arrived, and I sat in a corner and smiled as I should.  I spoke when I was spoken too and just quietly filled the smallest space known to man.

The fact that I wore shoes didn’t faze anyone in that room but 3 people.  They commented on it because they were fully expecting to me to wear something that was…well…me.  I said that I didn’t want to do that because I wanted to not embarrass anyone.  I just wanted to blend.

Words of Love and Wisdom

My sister…her face…she loves me.  She said why would you want to blend in.  We wanted you here because of who you are and not because of any other reason.  She loves me for me.  All of me.  The sparkly, glittery, tattoo-y, purple-haired human that I am.

See, I didn’t want to stand tall.  When I draw attention to myself, I tend to get the judgemental looks and words of others.  Words that cut me down and not lift me up.  Actions that forever change the course of my life and not in a good way.  I wanted to shrink and be so small yet be there because I love these people and I wanted to show my support.

Her words have been bouncing around in my head ever since.  Then, I heard this quote, and it all begins to fall into place.  I am NOT too much.  I am ALLOWED to take up space.  I am BEAUTIFULLY AND WONDERFULLY created.  These ADULT BULLIES will not stop me from being who I am.  I have allowed them to take up TOO MUCH of my brain space and enough is enough.

I Am

I am going to have purple hair.

I am going to get more tattoos.

I am going to occasionally swear.

I am fluffy.

I am amazing.

I am good.

I am a DAMN GOOD mom.

I am an AMAZING wife.

I am beautiful.

I am creative.

I am feminine.

I am worthy.

I am a child of the King

Love Yourself

For those that are reading this, you are those things as well!  Be chunky and wear a crop top, if you want.  Wear glittery things.  Color your hair.  Be loud, have opinions, love those that have differing opinions because that is what we are called to do.  I have a couple of good friends that are my polar opposites.

Guess what?

I love that we are!  I learn from them, respect them, love them.  Whether you are big, little, old, young, middle-aged, athiest, your sexual orientation, your family dynamics…I love them all.  I have no desire to judge any of you because I have been judged for far too long.

My tribe may be the size of the “period” at the end of the sentence, but they are faithful and they are true.  We can have great discussions and not agree yet we can still love each other.  That is because we are allowing each other to stand tall, be seen, take up space, and be themselves.

Ooooh…..

ALL.  THE.  FEELS.

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Experiences with WONDERFUL Social Workers

Experiences with WONDERFUL Social Workers

Experiences with WONDERFUL Social Workers

Yesterday, I documented my story on one of the worst social workers I have ever met.  There have been some real winners but she took the cake.  I do not want to leave that conversation with a bad tastet in anyone’s mouth.  So, now I will share my Experiences with WONDERFUL Social Workers.

Our Worker

I simply cannot rave enough about Carla.  She was so gentle, thorough, and kind from the beginning to the very end when we closed our home.  Even afterwards, I have been known to call her about things and she is still just as amazing.

This woman has a gift.  I’m so thankful to her for all of her help, wisdom, and love getting us through that horrible experience.  Then, she was so gentle when we moved into our next (and last) placement.

Amazing.

Placement #2 Social Worker

We accepted another placement in March of the following year.  Honestly, we were apprehensive and very guarded.  I feel, at times, I did my kids a disjustice because I lived in fear of them leaving at any moment.

Their social worker was phenomenal to work with.  When she called us about this placement, she laid it all (mostly…well, what she knew) on the table.  She made no demands of us, no “contact me daily with updates or else” type of things.  Everytime there was a court date, I knew about it and attended.  Rarely did I ever have to testify but when I did, she thoroughly prepared me.

We walked in as a united front against their perpertrator.  We cried with birthmom as she lost custody.  She listened to me cry when I had had enough of behaviours and didn’t know what to do.  She simply listened and encouraged.

Again, I’m in awe of her amazingness.  Now her supervisor was a piece of work, but you can’t control the stupidity of others.

Classes

Our mandatory classes were taught by a professor of social work from Murray State.  She was precious.  I’m not gonna lie, it was like watching paint dry taking these classes BUT she always brought candy.

I think the only time I struggled was not with her but the content of the class.  We took our regular PS-Mapp classes, then Care Plus classes, and then Sexual Abuse classes.  The first set was boring, the second set was eye opening, the third set…she just brought me chocolate and told me to eat my feelings.  It was tough.  For everyone, us, other couples, and Gail.  Just a tough subject.

She was so accommodating to my husband’s work schedule.  She went above and beyond to help us even though he could not be “in” the classroom.  Gail worked with him one on one and that sacrifice is one that I appreciate.

Friends

I have so many friends in this field.  Some work in schools, some in offices, some in counseling but all of the people I know are phenomenal at their jobs.  It is easy to hyperfocus on the failing system and the workers who just don’t care.  Yet, there are ones that do care and work so hard.

This is a very flawed system from the beginning to the end process.  It is easy to come in, do a job (poorly or selfishly), and go home.  The people I personally know tell me it is NOT easy, they work hard and their hard work is affected by their supervisors, judges, or the court, and they don’t leave their job at work.  They always bring it home and sit with it.

Do you know how hard it is to “sit with” such trauma, abuse, and neglect?  I would say I can’t imagine but I know how hard it is.  It is hard whether they work with children, adults, or the elderly.

Investigative Workers

Now, that is a crap job.  I know of one investigative worker who is like the person I documented about yesterday.  She needs to be fired because she is not in this for the good of the children or their parents or the foster parents.  She saw the bullshit, didn’t pay attention to it because she was all about numbers and removal, and ran with it.  Destroying lives as she went.

However, I personally know 3 and 1 investigative officer.  The officer, I adore.  Him and his family are why kids begin to feel safe and loved.  Another one is one that was so gentle and kind when her services were needed.  So thorough.  I’m so sad that she moved on to another position.

Then there are 2 that I wanted to dislike.  Yet, I didn’t.  See, they are the good investigative reporters who can see through the smoke of false reporting.  They do their job, they are thorough, but they see through the bullshit.

They made it easy to talk to, to be honest with, to ask questions of, to help with resources.  They know when they walk into a place that these are good people in extraordinary circumstances.  Again, the see the false reporting and after the first report…guess what?  The reporter is documented!  They SEE the lies and they will not stand to see a good family drug through the mud.

Mixture

We have had more good than bad experiences being involved in the system for 15 years.  I’m so thankful for the good ones.  Kids, adults, and the elderly deserve to have a voice that speaks clearly for them.  Those accused deserve to be heard as well.  Honestly, those investigators also need to sort through the false claims and the real claims in order to perserve the family unit.  I mean, in court, it is pounded in your head that reunification (if a child is removed) is always number 1.  The courts want the nuclear family to remain intact.  They want to see the birth family succeed, get help, ask for help, heal, and so forth.  That is when the case is substantiated.

Then there are the cases that are bullshit and a good worker sees that.  They do their jobs gently and with class.  Yet, they see the truth.  There are “revenge” calls where a person is seeking revenge on a family.  There are the “well meaning” calls where they think something is going on but don’t know for sure.  Then there are the down right lying ones.  Lastly, there are the calls that are true and someone needs to step in and intervene.  Good investigative social workers can distinguish between them all.

Thank a social worker today, a counselor, an investigator…pray for them, their safety, and wisdom.  Pray that the system begins to work and children who need help are helped.  Those who falsely accuse answer for their choices as well.

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