Life or Something Like It

We are Not What We Seem

We are Not What We SeemWe are Not What We Seem

Do you ever stop and realize that jealousy has overcome your thoughts and emotions?  Well, We are Not What We Seem, this is where I am being convicted.  Honestly, I don’t even like the word jealousy, so I use the word covet LOL… how is that any different?  LOL

I’m so extra!

There are times when I look at people, situations, homes, social media, etc. and I struggle.  They look like the happiest, most in-love couple.  Their houses are Hallmark worthy.  The kids are well dressed with awesome haircuts and their dogs don’t shed.

I mean, let’s be real.

Big Daddy and I have disagreements.  Now, we certainly don’t “fight” but we’ve had our issues over the years.  One issue, in particular, has taken me a lot of time to forgive and come to peace with.  My house has all sorts of different flooring, there are vomit stains on our carpet, pee stains that have warped my laminate, and it smells a bit like green onions and feet at all times.  The children wear the same clothes day in and day out.  I mean, seriously, these clothes can walk themselves to the laundry room.  However, I have learned how to cut hair, so if you want to be bald, buzzed, or go for the Amish look…I’m your girl!

My animals.

Well, I have Karl who is very much a lover of people but is quite the exhibitionist, so we gotta cover him up quite often.  Karen likes to lick your face and get in your personal space while you pee.  Chip is a bit crazy and likes to bite toes.  Inez, well, she isn’t my cat.  I have named her and I feed her, but she isn’t mine.

Francis is a senior dog and she has bad hips and a bad back.  We think she is going blind and she doesn’t hear as well as she used to.  Her anal glands are a bit potent.  Ted has short man syndrome.  His mouth doesn’t shut all the way so the tip of his tongue sticks out all the time.  Lola.  She fell off the couch and swallowed 4 teeth.  Honestly, she falls going up and downstairs.  She falls walking across the floor or getting in or out of her bed.  Also, she walks with her right leg up, at all times.  She thinks she is a princess.  When you pick her up, she is a nervous licker so you get the full effect of her breath which smells like sewage.

Nothing I own is nice.

Parts have flown off my van while I have driven down the road.  I have buttholes (literal) in my walls.  There was a child that was thrown through a wall and lest we forget the head that was plowed into the wall.  The leaves and frogs in my pool.  Our chicken nooses still hanging on the mancave.

This is our reality.

So when I see the images, my brain perceives one thing when the reality is so different.  I feel those fleshly feelings of wondering why my life cannot look or be like another.  That person has the perfect marriage.  This couple never has to worry about money.  Their kids are so respectful, see where I’m going?

YET the Lord has shown me that what I “think” I see is not reality.

There are so many instances of Him showing me this.  Honestly, I can distinctly remember when I was chatting with a friend that I perceived as having it all.  I mean, a Hallmark worthy home, great kids, great jobs, a great marriage, always in church, etc.  It seems like nothing is out of their reach.

As I was speaking to her, I made a statement about something I had dealt with in my past and I looked over and tears were streaming down her face.  It caught me off-guard.  I sat there, in silence, with my arm around her.  At that moment, I knew that words did not need to be spoken, just love and silent prayers.  She shared, briefly, what was going on inside her Hallmark home and her heart was broken.

Which humbled me and broke my heart.  People, you just never know.  Unless your feet are under their table or you are able to jump into a person’s skin and walk around a mile or so in it…never assume.

The guilt I felt after the realization of the truth was profound.

There are no perfect people.  Also, no perfect families.  My job is to love one another.  Share my story and use my story for His glory.  Do my best for my family and live a life honoring to God.  I need to stop coveting (being jealous) of others and be thankful for what the Lord has blessed me with.

Big Daddy, I adore.  My kids are precious.  The animals bring us joy, most of the time.  We have a home, vehicles, and the ability to pay our bills.  God is good, all the time and all the time God is good.

I need to get over myself.  Simple as that.

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Mini Goal for my Sanity

Mini Goal for my SanityMini Goal for my Sanity

In an effort to feel like an adult, I have made a Mini Goal for my Sanity.  Since the kids started school, I have not done much.  I mean, I have but then again, I haven’t.  Does that even make sense?

Day to Day

Normally, once my feet hit the floor it is, quite literally, balls to the walls all day long.  I am a pirate when I cook supper fighting off a foe.  Then, I become a racecar driving like in Nascar.  Somedays, I’m a physician while grading papers.  I’m a teacher while I play with play-doh and field the 4562 questions that come every moment from other kids.

I dole out medications.  Then, I fill diffusers.  I haul kids from here to there to yonder.  My head is subject to many braids and ponytails.  We play cards, I go to the grocery, running errands is commonplace.

New Normal

Now, I wake up to the dogs barking and wanting attention.  I have one child who is still here and she is quite demanding.  So, I still have the feeling of always being on my toes.  Lately, I have held her to a higher standard.  She knows what she needs to do/eat/etc and I’m no longer micromanaging her.

She is over 18 and there are many things she needs to figure out on her own.  That may sound harsh, but unless you have raised a child from trauma, keep your opinions to yourself.  I simply do not want to hear your crap.

Oh, that was harsh.

Sadly, judgy people are commonplace in my life.  I have a lot of well-meaning people saying a lot of well-meaning things.  Yes, I know my child is overweight.  I realize that, thank you.  How is your weight?  Why yes, we exercise and eat good food.  Thank you for asking.  Oh, you are diabetic?  I’m so sorry…why are there donuts, bread, pasta, and such in your buggy?  Oh, that is none of my business, right?  Right, of course, that is NONE OF MY BUSINESS.

I Have Gone off on a Tangent

So, in my “down” time, I’m going to start reading books again!  Like big girl books.  Books with no pictures!  I’m sort of excited.  I tend to read fast so I hope I can meet my goal.  We shall see.  My goal is to read 30 books before the end of the year.

Book #1

“My Name is Mahtob” is by Mahtob Mahmoody.  That is the first book I chose and finished in a day.  This book is close to my heart for many personal reasons.  There is a movie based on her story called “Not Without My Daughter.”  This movie came out during a very pivotal time in our family’s lives.  I choose not to delve into that to protect my family.

About the Book

I highly encourage this book.  It is an autobiography from a little girl’s perspective.  She was 4 when she and her mom were taken to Iran by her father.  He was of Iranian descent and they were going on “vacation.”  That vacation turned into 18-month captivity for this mom and Mahtob.  It is the story of their escape.

When interviewed and asked how they got out of Iran, Mahtob states “simply by God’s grace.”  She gives God all the glory, as does her mom, Betty Mahmoody.  I will begin “Not Without My Daughter” (the book) which is by her mom Betty Mahmoody tomorrow.

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Boss, Professional, and Judgy People

Boss, Professional, and Judgy PeopleBoss, Professional, and Judgy People

Once upon a time, there was a Boss, Professional, and Judgy People.  Well, there were a couple of more people in that group, but I shall refrain from speaking on that.  This past week has been riddled with my frustration with the human race.  I have zero tolerance right now and I really don’t know why.

Normally, I can look past things.  I can chalk it up to immaturity, triggers that are mine that was activated by an action of another.  Normally, I can regroup and then be done and okay.  I try hard not to let it affect me, emotionally.

As my Lady said, “your emotions are yours.  No one can control them but you.  Pull yourself up by the bootstraps and move on!”  That statement would make me cry every time but now, it is my mantra.

Kindness Goes a Long Way

When you follow the rules, talk to the person in charge, clear the issue and then the second in charge scares your child.  Uhm…not okay.  That has been one little issue that we have had.  It is not okay to scare a child or to use your authority to force an issue.  Especially when that issue was resolved by the said person’s boss.

Luckily, I have a friend on the inside that was able to run as a buffer for this little moment.  Once she knew of the problem, she had it resolved immediately.  However, I did make sure that my voice was heard as well.  I opted to show kindness but to be firm in that what happened was not okay.  Hopefully, this is resolved.

Mistake of One Leads to Misfortune for the Other

At a time when money is tight (as in always), this is not the time to go without a paycheck.  Yet, I have for the last 3 weeks.  When I was told that I would not be paid until a certain thing was done, I had a hard time using my words.  My son was in the car.  I was not going to let the actions of another trigger the intense emotion of anger that I was feeling.  There were so many words that I wanted to use.  Yet, I refrained.

In saying that, my tone was quite evident by my son and the person I was speaking to.  He quickly got off the phone with me.  My son never said a word.  Smart on both parts.  My fingers, however, did a lot of speaking when I translated the news to my husband.  All I have gotten was a haphazard “sorry.”

Judginess of Others

Oh.  My.  Goodness.  The rate people judge others is TREMENDOUS!  Disgusting actually.  I have to be really careful with how I phrase things.  We have been unable to do some things with one of our children.  It isn’t for lack of wanting to go and do.  The fact of the matter is, we have been limited because of Hunter’s illness.

Unless you live in my house 24/7, you have absolutely NO idea what has gone on and happened here.  I don’t feel like I have to send notice to people or go to a place and make a statement in regards to why I can’t be there.  It isn’t necessary.

Ability Changes

Recently, we have had more chance to be able to go and see my child do the thing that he enjoys.  I love being there supporting him.  What I don’t love is the looks I get.  Completely and totally ignored by most.  The comments I do get are “haven’t seen you in a long time someone else usually does this activity.”  “Doesn’t (insert name) usually do this?  Thought you fell off the planet.”

Then there are the sweet people who know the situation and ask how my son is doing.  How I am fairing?  How is Hunter?  Just kindness.  Those little moments, though are few and far between, touch my heart.  Yet there are still the other group of people who are isolated, by the judgy people, as well.  These people do not fall into the “click” of others.  They found me and they were sincere in questions.  That was a sweet moment too.

In the End

I have to just move on.  That phrase from my Lady needs to permeate more through my body and mind.  I need to quit looking to others for understanding, kindness, and maturity.  It is what it is.

I need not the approval of man but to remember who I am in Christ.  Trying to figure out if someone likes me, doesn’t like me, is mad at me, why they are mad at me…I’m just over it.  There have been a few moments of questioning who I am as a person because of the actions/words of another.  I am over it.

What a pointless way to spend my time.

If you ever wondered WHO you are in CHRIST, then look no further!  Head on over to The Alliance and print out this PDF.  It is who we are, in Christ and Scripture to back up that fantastic knowledge.

Live your life in order to bring joy and honor to our King.  If You (me) continue to look to others for approval, we will constantly be in a state of depression and despair.  As I tell my kids, look for the kid that no one wants to sit by or talk to.  The one that is different from the others.  Go say “hi” and get to know that person.  Don’t point out differences.  Be mindful of judging others.  Most importantly, BE KIND!

As my Oak says, “In the end, if you do not see it, taste, touch it, or hear it, do not speak on an issue.  Keep your mouth shut.”

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Life or Something Like It

The Little Squares of Life

The Little Squares of Life

The Little Squares of Life

In The Little Squares of Life, what do you see?  I see skinny people with flawless makeup (the women anyway).  Also, I see homemade meals and clean, organized houses.  Pets that can speak 3 languages and never need walking because they can use the toilet.  Little humans wearing matching clothes and never shed a tear or throw a royal fit.  They are always smiling with their perfectly cut hair.

What I See

I see manicured yards, perfectly educated children.  These children speak the same languages as their pets plus one more for fun.  They are involved in 25 sports each and excel at each sport.  People who *love* Jesus and are the holy ones of the world.  Most certainly, they are blessed with new cars, new houses, and healthy.  Everyone seems to be healthy.  Happy…all photos are of happy people.

What a delusion!

Behind The Little Squares of Life is the reality.  Marriages falling apart behind the smiles.  Kids with dirt under their fingernails and enough earwax to make a candle.  Sickness behind the smiles…whether that is life-altering illnesses or mental illnesses and anything in between.  It could be a chronic thing or a thing they are too embarrassed to even see a doctor for.  In that scenario, they are too ashamed to go and ask because they are afraid of what they will find.  Taking that further, they are afraid nothing is wrong and they have embarrassed themselves in front of their doctor and now have a bill to pay.

Reality

Burnt dinners, mailboxes with something green growing on them.  Weeds are hidden amongst the hostas.  Addictions, hatefulness, spikes in anger run rampant.  People who are broken and tired because of a wayward child.  Adult children now turning into the parents for their parents who are sick.

Green for a Reason

Yes, a beautiful green yard can be seen from across the way.  Lush green grass that looks like it is taunting you to come across the street and walk barefoot through it.  What you don’t realize is that as you take your shoes off and tiptoe in the neighbor’s yard…you suddenly feel the truth.  That lush green grass is lush for a reason.  They have a septic issue and you are walking through feces water.

Good times.

When are we going to start living in the reality of life?  Why do we (I) continue to compare myself to others when I *know* the story behind the picture.  I get so tired of this little game that may just be in my head.

Take a Moment

Behind every picture is pain a lot of times.  The one who loves her pets more than the typical person may be the one who struggles with infertility.  There is the one that smiles through daily death or near-death experiences due to a calling of her life.  One who is always all smiles, with her children, yet divorce is on the horizon due to addiction.

Every picture is different.

Also, every person is different.  Do not ever assume something based on a snapshot.  Please, for the love, do not judge those who think he/she should “know” better.  Someone who “should not have” adopted children.  Thoughts on if a person is too overweight or underweight.

People hide their pain behind humor and smiles.

They want you to think about all the good things about them because they are hurting so deeply.  If you get too close, you will smell fear on them or pain.  Then the questions come that they may or may not know the answer to.

You Can Help

Ask someone (a friend, family, acquaintance, or a stranger) how their day is BUT mean it.  Maybe they will be honest with you.  From that point on, pra for them.  Now, don’t just say you will pray for them.  Honestly, most people say that and they never do it.  You can be different.  Lay your hands on them and pray for them.  Send them off with a smile.

Ask how you can help.  Do they need children’s care?   A meal or a ride?  Is there some spot that you can be the hands and feet of Jesus for that person?  Send them Scripture through text or FB messaging.  Take the sin out of social media and interject Jesus all over it!

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Thoughts Swirling Through My Head

Thoughts Swirling Through My Head

Thoughts Swirling Through My Head

These are the Thoughts Swirling Through My Head.  If you want to go Back to the Beginning, you can click there.  I have been traveling many hours in vans, cars, planes, and buses.  There have been 7 hospitals, in 3 states, that I have slept in…oh…and one nursing home.  I have stood in more funeral homes than I would like to.  Also, I have cared for and prepared the bodies of too many people I love.  I have cried many tears.

It should be said that I have learned so much.  Possibly that I have found the meaning of life through births and deaths.  Sadly, I haven’t.  I would be remiss if I didn’t say something about growing closer to Christ.  Maybe that I have found the secret to peace in the midst of chaos.  Yep, haven’t felt or done those things either.

All The Things

This year, I vowed that I would not spend ANY time in hospitals, nursing homes, doctors’ offices, or funeral homes.  Guess what…that vow flew out the window as soon as it could.  Panic ensued when my mom said that daddy might need a “procedure.”  After he had a stroke and then quadruple bypass the following year…he needs no one to touch him because he is fine.

Then, Hunter got worse and we traveled for answers.  We got our answers.  Now, I travel monthly just so he can receive the medications he needs.  Another person, whom I love deeply, is facing the battle of her life.  All I can do is to cook and send cards or call.  Another dear person to my heart had tongue cancer.  Oh, then there are 2 people that were in my “tribe” growing up and they both have Alzheimer’s.

Hits Just Keep On Coming

I mean, seriously, it goes on and on and on.  In the face of it all…all the travels…all the tears, I have seen the face of Jesus.  We have argued, a lot (by we, I mean me).  I have cried so many tears but then I am reminded of this verse:

When I read that, I realize that He has not left me or forsaken me.  He has the perfect provisions in mind for every single moment that something comes up.  I have learned how to trust Him, most times.  Also, I have learned how strong my family is and how protective they are of their tribe.  Lastly, I have learned to let go…for the most part.

So, with all that being said

Why does it take a life-altering condition, a life-threatening disease, an accident, or a death to fully tell the ones that you love how you feel about them?

Take a moment and call, text, write a letter to someone.  Tell them that you love them.  Tell them what they mean to you. Don’t let another moment pass.  If you need to forgive someone, forgive them.  If you need to hug someone, hug them.

Life is too short.

Treat those around you with love and respect. Quit the judgment, quit the lecturing, quit the hate. Speak with kindness.  Who cares if that person is gay, straight, black, white, male, female, family, friend, someone you do not like, or acquaintance.  The Lord places every single human you see, in your visual sight, for a reason.

Have you ever thought about that?  It is all purposeful to Him.  How are you using that knowledge?  I set out to do better, but then satan whispers in my ear.  My goal has been to retrain my thoughts and words.

Stop focusing on the negative and giving Satan more power than what he needs.  I’ve been rewording things in a positive manner.

Life is but a vapor.

Today, I got a call from a friend.  We have been friends for about 10 years or so.  I was incredibly close to her daughter.  Her daughter chose to end her life a few months back.  I had the privilege of preparing my friend’s body for her mom and children to see.

That was one of the most difficult things I have ever done.  I still struggle…but those pains will stay within me for only Jesus to see and deal with.

However, today, she called to tell me she loved me.  She thanked me for all the years that I have been there for her and her family.  I heard how special I was, in her eyes.  What a precious thing to hear.

A Long Time Ago

I found out a friend of mine…her mom…had cancer and was dying.  Now, we all went to church together growing up.  Parents, kids, we were all friends.  One of her daughters was at my wedding.  The other daughter came, as well.  I love her family.

When I found out, though I had not talked to her in 10 years, I called.  First, I spoke with her husband.  It had been a long time, so I used my maiden name.  Of course, he remembered me.  I explained why I was calling.  I got the privilege to speak to Frieda and fully tell her how much I loved and appreciated her when I was growing up.

Months later, she died.  I thought no one knew of that phone call and that her husband was so grief-stricken…it didn’t really matter at that point.  I went to the visitation.  When I saw Buck, her husband, he looked at me and cried.  He hugged me and then told me how much he thought of me.  He said that that phone made Frieda’s day.  That he could never thank me enough for my words to her during that time.

What took 10 minutes out of my day meant the world to her and her husband.  That’s what it is all about.  Step out of self and reach out to someone from church, from your childhood, an estranged family member or friend.

Challenge

Reach out to 3 people a day.  Write a letter, send a text, call, send an email to someone that you love. Tell them 3 things you love or admire about them.  God will bless you and you will be blessed.

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To Conform or Not to Conform

To Conform or Not to ConformTo Conform or Not to Conform.  I have struggled my entire life with self-esteem issues.  Honestly, I really do not know why because I had parents that loved me. Also, I had people that were vested in my life.  Looking back, I had my parents, my other parents, my granny, Becky Kelly, Edith Wallace, and so many more.  Now I see how loved I have been, but hindsight is 20/20.  Back then, I did not see that.  I just saw myself as the girl in the “stupid kid class” who struggled with adding, multiplication, telling time, or what a freaking adverb is.  Sadly, I was stared at and made fun of, daily, by my peers.  It was such a difficult time.

How Many Legs Does a Dog Have?

Clearly, I remember in Kindergarten, the teachers wanting to hold me back.  The reason was on a test, I was asked how many legs a dog had.  I said 3.  Again, I clearly remember my mother flying in my classroom.  She said something to the effect of “she is not stupid, she has just never seen a 4 legged dog.”  Seriously people.  I.  Had.  Never.  Seen.  A.  4.  Legged.  Dog.  Let that soak in for a moment.  I was 6.  Wow.

6th Grade Drama

In sixth grade, where there were hot guys, pegged jeans and jean jackets.  It really didn’t matter what I did or said, I was never one to have friends, even back then.  When I entered into sixth grade, I remember being put in the “stupid” class.  I remember walking in line and having my peers stare at me and laugh.  My mother ensured that I did not stay in there long, not sure what she said, but I was put back in the mainstream classes.

Always Different

I just always felt different.  Never really did I fit in with anyone or anywhere.  There were points when I tried to do my hair like the other girls.  Oh, and my makeup (Tera, remember the school picture you dolled me up for and the mounds of blue eyeshadow…good grief!).  I tried to dress the way other people dressed and have the “in style” clothes. Stupidly, I would say things that I thought would make me fit in.  When in reality, I just looked like an idiot and I was further isolated from my peers.

Wearing my Mask

I would put on the face to suit whoever I was in contact with.  If I was in school, I would put on the “I don’t care that I have no friends and cannot understand my homework” face. If I were at church, I would put on my “sanctified holier than thou face.”  If I were at home, I put on the “sullen no one understands me” face.  I had several faces that I would take on and off, depending on my situation.

Reed in a Hurricane Syndrome

That “reed in the hurricane” mentality set me up for not so good things to happen in my life.  There was abuse, anorexia, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and depression.  My deep need to fit in led me down a scary path that, though I am sad because of the things that did happen, I praise my Father for protecting me from any further harm.

Coming to Peace

Over the years, I have transformed into a person that I think I can finally be at peace with.  The exhaustion of being more than one person depending on the setting became too much for me.  I no longer cared what anyone thought or felt about me.  What is important is that I know who I am and WHOSE I am.

What Has Been Said About Me

I have been told that I cannot be a submission, honoring wife because I am too bold and outspoken.  Also, I have been told that I control my husband and will not let him make any decisions in our family. There have been people who have said that I love my husband when he does things for me. Oh, wait, and I have been told that homeschooling is detrimental to my children because I am not smart enough to teach them.  They will lag behind.

I have been told that I am perceived as an adulterous person because I chose to pray with a man over his marriage.  Then there was the time I will never be taken seriously, I am not perceived as intelligent.  Blah Blah Blah.  My feelings have been hurt more than once because all these statements make me question who I really am.  Then, I stop and I remember WHOSE I am.  I am a child of the King.

He Knows Me

Psalm 139:13-16  “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.  Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

Truths About Me

For those of you who might want to know who I am or what I stand for….I love my Lord with all my heart and all my soul.  Caring for the needy or destitute is what I do.  I want to help the ones that no one wants to be near. Please know that I love my husband and my children.  My Lord comes first and my husband comes second and children come third.  Everyone after that will have to take a number.

I have hot pink hair most of the time.  To a detriment, I am honest.  I hold those I love very close to my heart.  Trust does not come easy for me.  I can read people very well.  My jam is to sit and watch.  I love to feed people.  There are also moments when I love to share my past hurts in order to help someone else.  I use humor to hide my hurts.  Friendships do not come easy for me.  I have a brain.  Forgiving is hard for me to do, but I do it.  I can say I am wrong and apologize.  Lying is not tolerated.

Be Kind

If you don’t like me or assume something about me…that is fine.  If you want to know something, ask.  For the love of all that is good…never look at a person and make a snap judgment call.  Get to know them.  Put your feet under their table and see how they operate.  Learn their story.  Be mindful of your speech.

Different Does Not Mean Bad

I am different.  Remember, I will NEVER walk the walk you are walking.  Also, I will never talk about the talk you are talking about.  I will not be the person who matches (though I like to think I try).  Honestly, I will never be the one who is super smart.  I will never be the one who will fudge the truth in order to make someone happy.  Furthermore, I will always tell you how I feel.  If you make me mad or hurt my feelings, I will let you know.  I hate to cry.  My job is not to please people.  My command is to love God and love my neighbor.  That is what I do.

Salt and Light

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.  Matthew 5:13-16

I will not hide my light.  Also, I will stand out and I will be noticed.  I will be myself and I will encourage, feed and love you.  Regardless if you like it or not.  Salt and Light, people….salt and light.  My hot pink light will shine up on that hill until the return of Christ.  Enjoy it, embrace it, or walk away….your choice.