Life or Something Like It

Let’s Talk About Loneliness

Let’s Talk About Loneliness

Let's Talk About Loneliness

Let’s Talk About Loneliness. According to Webster’s dictionary being lonely means without company OR cut off from others. I have been reading a book by Sheila Walsh called “Holding on When You Want to Let Go.” It is a very good read. I have have the pleasure of hearing her speak, in person, at the Women of Faith conferences that I have attended many times. She is an excellent speaker, writer, songbird, and more. Sheila Walsh is very relatable in a lot of areas. She is not immune to the hardships of life, but she holds onto her faith.

Being Alone and Feeling Alone

These two things are not the same. In her book, Sheila Walsh states that “being alone can be a beautiful thing, a time of rest, of reflection, of quiet. Feeling alone is a strange thing. You can be in a crowd and feel alone. you can be loved and feel alone. Feeling alone is like a silent ache, a feeling that you don’t belong, you don’t fit in, you’re not like everyone else. Feeling alone doesn’t need to make sense; it just is. It’s a gnawing ache inside. It’s like a piece is missing from your soul.”

That passage created a feeling in me and my brain began swirling and twirling. A few years ago, my sister, mom, and me went to meet my other sister for a day visit. We had been talking about it for a while and it was time to set a date and make it happen. My sister lives about 7 hours away and we don’t see each other as much as we would all like. It was such a good day.

That Ache of a Feeling

Once we got to our destination and we all loved on each other, we headed for food!¬† It is so nice to sit at a restaurant, enjoy each other’s company and laughter, and to be near family. For me, however, that moment was like an out of body experience. I was watching my sisters and Oak laugh, cry, eat, and just fellowship yet I felt so alone. This intrusive thought of “I don’t belong” permeated my brain. Did my family do that? Heck no. It was just that…an intrusive thought.

I was surrounded by people that love me and I love them yet my core felt empty, sad, and alone. That is something I never shared with them. Honestly, if they read this blog (which I don’t think they do LOL), that statement will make them wonder what is wrong with me.

Tolerating

Another passage from this book exemplifies how I felt during this interaction. ‘{I} felt like I didn’t measure up. I felt like I was not enough. {I} felt like I was tolerated rather than welcomed. I felt deep down there was something wrong with me. {I} looked at other who seemed happy and together, and i knew I’d never be like that.’

Honestly, I have felt like that at family dinner’s, in my own home, church, etc. These thoughts, I know, are from satan and I had to capture them. We had such a great visit once I extricated those thoughts. It had the potential to really cause harm, in my mind and spirit but I was able to recognize them immediately.

Depression Related?

This may or may not be related to depression, I really don’t know. I just know that it sucked to feel so lonely around so many people who love me. Do they always agree with me? Nope. There are times I don’t agree with them. Do we always like each other? I guess that is relative LOL. We love each other, completely, that I know.

Depression has been something that has been woven in and out of my tapestry for many years. I believe my doctor diagnosed me with clinical depression when I was like 19 years old. So much has changed, that that isn’t even in the DSM-5-TR anymore. Now it is labeled Major Depressive Disorder…mild, moderate, or severe. My depression comes in waves. There are periods of time that things are good and then there are times when I am deep in a hole. It is not fun but I know that I am not alone. I have a village.

Suicide Hotline

If you ever feel alone, please call 988 and talk to the person on the other end. You are not alone and they answer the phone 24/7. If you have intrusive thoughts, please get in to see a counselor, call 988, 911, talk to a friend or a pastor because intrusive thoughts are hard and they are scary but they are not real! You are valued, loved, wanted, and you make this world a better place by being in it.

To my sisters and my Oak…thank you for loving me well.

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Deion Sanders Quote on What Other People Think

Deion Sanders Quote on What Other People Think

Deion Sanders Quote on What Other People Think

Deion Sanders Quote on What Other People Think is something I ran across a few days ago. I have watched it on and off for those few days and each time I see it, I want to holler “can you say that louder for the people in the back?!” Then, I realize that that is not how I think. Honestly, I try not to let other people’s opinions matter but they do get to me and then I question all the things. It is exhausting.

Deion Sanders Opinion of Me

“I don’t care about anyone’s opinion of me. What about me makes you think I care about what your opinion is about me? Your opinion of me is not the opinion I have about myself. You didn’t make me, so you can’t break me. You didn’t build me, so you can’t kill me. God established me so there is ain’t nothing you can do to me…..I don’t care and I wish the world thought like that. Youngster’s do not give a darn about what opinions others have of you as long as that opinion is not consistent with yourself. You be you.”

Drop the Mic

WOW! I have heard my husband talk about him, but I am not a sports person, so therefore I will have to google who he has played for and such. With that being said, that statement, alone, makes me stand up and listen. I will say again, I have parents that love me and I was raised with morals, ethics, family support, and all the things. Yes, there were bumps in the road and things that were not pleasant but that is typical of any family.

I really don’t know why I think the way I do and have such self-doubt. It just always has been. That isn’t for lack of encouragement and my family believing in me because they did. Have they agreed with everything? I doubt it but they still love me and cheer me on. If I am honest, I don’t always agree with them, but I still love them and cheer for them as well. That’s called be a part of a family.

As I was Sitting Outside

I took a pause to call my Oak and take my dog out, my neighbor was outside. We live in a subdivision (gag) but the positive thing is that we live in a cul-de-sac where no cars come except for us, the mailman, and my 1 neighbor. When we moved in, we introduced ourselves and I took them dinner one night.

Then, his opinion of me changed and now every time we are all outside, together, it feels as if he looks at me with disgust and judgement. My knee jerk reaction is A) to confront him and use my non-adult words B) to move again. Neither of those are options so I just watch them and their stares and head shaking. They are disgusted, I am sure, of the things they think have been said/done.

So, mister man…reread the quote by Deion Sanders. I am holding my head high, waving as you walk or drive by, keeping my dog out of your yard (I have apologized for that), and I am not going to think mean thoughts about you. Your feet are not under my table, you are not my family, I do not owe you any explanation in the history of ever so your opinion of me (and my family) does not matter to me.

That really does feel better. Now, I have to use that thought process through the rest of my interactions until Jesus calls me home.

 

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Dare to Step Out of Your Box and Live

Dare to Step Out of Your Box and Live

Dare to Step Out of Your Box and Live by Luke Mind Power. I don’t know if he has a blog or anything online other than Tiktok, so you can just google his name and see what comes up. There are several things of his that resonates with me on some level. It is a lot about self-love, empowerment, believing in yourself, and positive thinking. Frankly, I need that in spades right now.

This has been a very difficult season for me, personally. I am at the point where I am exhausted. As I have posted about, recently, I have withdrawn into myself to try and preserve what little sanity I have left. Everyone’s breaking point is different. I several people I work with that have stories that break my heart and I wonder how they are still smiling. What I have been through is traumatic for me but for other’s might be a walk in the park and vice versa. People handle situations differently.

Perspective

I don’t share much about what is going on because then I get a lot of advice and “I would” statements. That is great for you. In my mind, I’m thinking well, let’s hope you aren’t in this situation but if you are, then I’m sure you “would” do this and this. For me, this is what we are choosing to do and that seems right, at this moment. We are literally living moment to moment. If the choices we make as a family doesn’t set well with someone else, then that is a you problem, not a me problem. We very well may have made the wrong choices but we are doing our best.

It is exhausting trying to live life, make decisions, confide in others, get advice, try to follow the advice, and it still be a sucky situation. Honestly, it causes me to doubt every decision I have made because I think well “what if” I had listened to this person or that person…would it be different? Should I have? Would I ever? Can I go back and? That cycle has to stop.

In my heart, I know we are loved and prayed over. I know that everyone means well and wants to help or fix the situation. No one likes to see another person or family in pain. They just don’t. I get that and I respect that but give advice when you are asked. As a therapist, that statement is an oxymoron (is that the right word?).

Dare

This is the overall theme of this tiktok I was talking about and what I want to try and do, to the best of my ability.

“Dedicate the next 6 months exclusively to my goals. No announcements, just fall back, and do the work. It’s me versus me this time. Stay in my lane. There is no traffic and no competition. I can do this. Right your goals down, create a vision of where I want to be and take actions. Shut my mouth, don’t say sht, just let my success be my noise. My mind is a powerful thing. start using it to my advantage. When you fill it with positivity, my life will start to change. My time is now, no more bullsht. I can’t keep getting mad at people for sucking the life out of me if I keep giving them the straw. It’s time for me to grow.”

Drop the Mic

Don’t you LOVE that?! That statement of “I can’t keep getting mad at people for sucking the life out of me if I keep giving them the straw” is what needs to be tattooed on my forearm so I can see it! Seriously, I might have one of my daughter’s write that on a canvas and hang it up in both of my offices.

I hope my girls are reading this! If so, I need one of those for the house and one for each of my offices. My clients need to hear that as well! Now, I need to process and think. Maybe a blog series, eventually? I dunno. If I do that, it will be after I shut my mouth for 6 months ūüôā

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Breathing in Hope as I Navigate Rough Waters

Breathing in Hope as I Navigate Rough Waters

Breathing in Hope as I Navigate Rough Waters. There has been so much that has gone on in the last few (several) years that it is hard to even begin to encapsulate. I was talking with my therapist and she, frequently, says “what would you tell your client?” For me, that is easy.

Beauty is always in the ashes.

You are worthy.

This too shall pass (like a kidney stone).

You are enough.

The trauma that you have stored in your TNT box needs to be talked about/processed in order for you to heal. Then, it will just be a crappy memory that doesn’t evoke strong emotions (depression/anxiety).

She then will ask why I don’t listen to myself.

Trauma

Trauma is a word that I do not use lightly. In the therapeutic world there is little ‘t’ trauma and big “T” trauma. However, it all sucks. If you don’t have the tools to process that information, you are left dealing with depression (can’t control what happened in the past) or anxiety (can’t control the future) and you can’t live in the present.

My supervisor today told me to think about a triangle. You THOUGHTS dictate your EMOTIONS which affects your BEHAVIOR.

Breathing in Hope as I Navigate Rough Waters

What I view, that I have been through, is not trauma. I hear trauma all day long and it breaks my heart. There are so many days, I just want to rock a client and bake them cookies. I want them to know that they are heard, seen, validated, and loved. My therapist laughed in my face when I told her I didn’t feel like that was part of my story. These are just things that have happened. Do I deal with them well? No.

This Last Round of Gross

Man, it has tipped me to the edge of my sanity. I have had many seasons of severe depression, moderate depression, anxiety, or a combo of them both. This season, however, it has been mainly depression. It has been one hit after another. Some have been significant, some minor, and some that are the tiniest but are the straw that broke the camel’s back.

In this season, I have been quiet. I have deleted all my social media, taken numbers out of my phone, screened calls, and withdrew into myself. When I think back, it is not my intention to isolate but I am so depressed that I don’t want to infect anyone else.

Life Keeps Moving

I still do all the things. Work life, cooking, cleaning, grandparenthood, home, etc. it all gets done. My sister called and left a message on my phone. She expressed that she has been asking my mom about me and giving me space but enough is enough. In her love, she told me that I was to call/text/answer the phone at least twice a week and I’m not to talk about the hurt at all with her (unless I want to) but we are just to touch base.

In my sadness, I didn’t even realize people noticed. My Oak had made some statements about me staying silent but I honestly didn’t understand what she was saying because I rarely go a day without talking to her. In church, a friend came up and apologized to me for not reaching out. I told her that I was fine (lie) and she said “I know how you get when you get quiet.”

Those Statements Made Me Realize

That though I feel alone, there are people that love me and would listen if I called to cry/whine. I just don’t want to impose or make people think they can fix what is going on in my world. They can’t fix it. What is screwed up, no one can fix. However, they gave me hope. Hope that, one day, it will be okay. There is hope that I am loved and not alone. Hope that there is a tomorrow. The hope that I have people willing to hold my arms up and carry me when I can’t walk.

Hope is powerful. Today, I am hopeful. Yesterday I was not and tomorrow is a mystery that will unfold in time. Mentally and emotionally, I am still not okay. There is a lot on my heart and mind. Decisions have to be made, conversations have to be had, and those things that are troubling me are still there.

Here I am, still breathing and holding onto hope. Understanding that trauma is different for everyone but it does not dictate my life. It is a crimson thread that is woven throughout my tapestry. We all have trauma in our lives but if it is processed correctly, then it can just be a blip on the radar and not a Tsunami of epic proportions.

988

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30 Things that Make Me Happy

30 Things that Make Me Happy

30 Things that Make Me Happy

Getting back in to writing, as I have taken quite a bit of time off. The reasons for taking time off are many, but that is not what I want to focus on today. So, here are 30 Things that Make Me Happy.

  • My grandchildren
  • When all my kids are together
  • Cheese, coke, pasta
  • Doing what I love
  • Cats (and my 1 dog, Sissy Baby)
  • Talking to my mom
  • Tattoos
  • Getting my hair done
  • A clean house
  • Swimming
  • Going for car rides, alone
  • Movies
  • Organizing
  • Physically feeling better
  • Hair growing back in, somewhat (explanation at a later date)
  • Baby giggles
  • Good sleep
  • The smell of Patchouli, cinnamon, and siberian fir diffusing
  • Steak Fajita bowl with extra queso
  • Pebbled leather or soft leather purses
  • Feelings of peace
  • Flowers
  • Helping others
  • Combining like objects so I can throw the extra packaging away (this is a real thing)
  • Finally understanding a concept
  • Reading good books
  • Feeling loved
  • Listening to 50s & 60s music
  • People I can trust
  • Hot showers

Thoughts on This

Honestly, this was harder than I thought it would be. I mean the first few are no-brainers but the rest, I am literally sitting here thinking “what does make me happy?* Happiness is circumstantial and can come and go like the tides of the ocean. Lately, I have not been happy very much due to the circumstances that I have dealt with on a daily basis.

Joy, however, comes from the Lord. In short, you can have been in the middle of the darkest time of your life and still have joy. Joy does not swirl around your circumstances. It is a state of being. Do I have a lot of joy? Uhm, no. Do I have a mustard seed? Yep, but just the tiniest seed.

Not gonna lie, it has been hard around here for a long time. There have been moments of brightness but for the most part, lots of valleys. I am thankful for my family that continues to lift us up, in their prayers. Their support has been amazing, however, there is so much I haven’t shared with anyone. They know that and call me out, occasionally, to “use my words” and come out of my hole.

Slowly, I am emerging…into the Light.

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The Ability to Laugh Again

The Ability to Laugh Again

The Ability to Laugh Again

The ability to laugh again brings me joy. I tell you all what. I was having a moment tonight because of sheer confusion over the difference between an abstract and an introduction paragraph. So, I had Bart come upstairs to share my confusion and angst. He sweetly sat and rubbed my feet, repeating, “No, we are not getting another cat. We aren’t going to name it Suzanne or Kathy. No, I won’t write this for you because I don’t know how. Honestly, I do not see a flea in your hand.”¬†

At least he rubbed my feet. 

As we talked, we giggled about some of our parenting moments. When I say giggling, we were laughing so hard he had to take an Excedrin, and I might have peed a little. One of our children, to say they were guilt free of oversight, shared that they know the “brand” of poop everyone has in the house. This child went further to pick up and sniff a turd in the floor to determine that it was not animal feces but another human in our home. Let me be obvious, it was Lola’s poop (she was our dog). There was no human pooping on my floor.¬†

Another child convinced a sibling to “stand real still” in the yard. As I was coming downstairs, I questioned why said child was standing in the yard. This child never stands still and is never quiet. My other child informed me that this child had been convinced that a bird would eat off their head if it stood real still.¬†

The Pee Saga

One time, we had two boxwood bushes in front of our house. They were located right at the front door and were huge. Over a few months, I noticed they were dying from the top down. It was the weirdest thing. Then, I saw an odor that I couldn’t place. Around that time, we visited a local church. This church, at the time, was one that the pastor would come by to say hi to those that visited. He did…surprising us all. When he came up to the door, and I opened it, shocked to see him, he said, “it smells like pee out here.” We explained it was a tomcat that had sprayed, and we apologized. In the back of my mind, I reasoned that that was what it was because there was no other explanation, yet it didn’t smell like cat pee.

After the pastor left, two children said it was not cat pee. It was their pee. When they let the dogs out, they stood on the porch and peed on top of the bushes. I asked what happened when the cars went by. They said, “we smile and wave as you taught us.” Yes, they did that while peeing on my bushes. I tried to be strong and told them they could not pee in the front yard, and my husband was not happy with them because we had smelled that for months, and those bushes were huge. It was going to take an act of congress to cut them down. Bart made me leave the room because I was doubled over laughing so hard that I cried.¬†

Mystery Voice from the Woods

One child was outside singing by the tree one night. The rest of us (all of us) were in the house playing cards around the table. This child comes flying in, asking who was outside hiding. We stated that we were all inside and didn’t know what was happening and why this child was so disturbed. This child was singing, and someone in the dark screamed, “Shut up! Shut up! Shut up now!” This child thought if it wasn’t one of us or that, it could have been God telling this child to stop singing. We still have no idea who was screaming in the dark for this child to stop.¬†

Pool Noodle Mystery

We discovered that poop peels off the wallpaper. Boogers will dry and, when scraped, goes down to the drywall. A child ate all our pool noodles in one year. Ate them. The same child ate the wallpaper off the walls. One child swung on the bar because they wanted to be Tarzan…only to realize that their butt would go through the wall into another child’s room.¬†

Large Family Life

I mean, I could go on and on and on. We laughed and laughed. It has not been easy raising a large family with the needs some family members have and currently have. There has been tremendous trauma throughout the years, but it peaked around the time co-vid hit. We miss them all here. I miss having all my children under one roof for family meals, birthdays, and holidays. Yet, I have not allowed myself to dwell on it. We have forgotten how to laugh, and we let the bad moments overshadow the funny things that have happened over the years. 

Yet, We are healing. We are safe. I know we are good parents who are human and make mistakes. We have learned that not all “friends” are friends. Also, we have leaned on each other and gotten stronger. We were not (are not) perfect parents. However, we completely love Jesus, each other, our children, and our grandchildren. We love all of them. Each one of my children is entirely different. There is no one way to parent. Parenting must be tailored to each child. They had a roof over their heads, food in their bellies, and Jesus.¬†

Thankful to Laugh

I am thankful for those years of having everyone here. I am grateful for where I am today. No longer will I dwell in the shadow of the pain that happened. My joy will not be stolen. Friends…eventually, the rain stops, and the rainbow emerges. As Jesus says…there may be a pain in the night, but JOY comes in the morning.¬†

Joy is coming back to this household. I can pray for reunification all day long; that is what I want for my family. However, I will not let it steal my joy of living. Today, I challenge you to find your happiness! For now, I will find out how to write this abstract, so I can turn this stupid paper into my professor! 

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Perspective on the Last Few Months

Perspective on the Last Few Months

Perspective on the Last Few Months

Perspective. That is a loaded word for me. Honestly, it will be my next tattoo once I pick a design. According to Webster’s Dictionary,¬†Perspective means “a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.” So much has happened this year that it is hard to think about sometimes. Granted, some have been good. I have a new grandson to add to my brood of kids and my sweet C girl. Yet there has been a lot of loss, pain, and uncertainty. He never promised that the cross would not be heavy and that the hill would not be hard to climb! The cross has been heavy, and this hill…good grief is all I have to say!¬†

The Start of the Year

The year started with the loss of a dear friend. Hot on the heels of my parents’ devastation rocked us all to our core. My daughter gave birth early, and we almost lost her and her son. Co-Vid. The loss of my other mom on Mother’s Day. Some family stuff that sucked pondwater (as my M.O.M. would say). Uncertainty. OMS flare. Medical things for me. You know…just some gross stuff that was not fun.¬†¬†

Positive Aspects

I do not want to focus on the negative, so let us get into a better mindset. My grandson is here, chubby and the happiest thing ever. My granddaughter is a small but mighty force to be reckoned with. We have added a daughter-in-law to the family. My oldest is amazing. She is a phenomenal mommy and truly gifted in her profession. She loves big and is so talented. My second child is soaking up mommy hood and it is just beyond my expectation. She is so gifted and focused and is just beyond incredible. My third child is okay, I guess…I hope and pray for reunification.

My oldest son is finishing college, writing brilliantly, and enjoying a new marriage. He is leading well and loving well. My next son is working hard at school. His teacher called me just to tell me how talented and natural he was at what his trade was at school. He is a light in a very dark place. My other son is getting all As and Bs in school, playing basketball all the time (on JV and Varsity), and his smile is infectious. My little one is everything a typical 8 yr old boy is…busy, loud, inventive, talkative, and doing the best he can in school. I am so proud of my kids. The Lord has truly blessed me, and I know that we will all be together again one day. Forgiveness, mercy, strength, and grace will abound on that day. I believe it now and forever.¬†¬†

Big Daddy, Birthday, and School

My husband…I cannot even. He does not complete me. He enhances me, and I enhance him. We are one in our minds, goals, and beliefs. He believes in me, encourages me, and loves me so completely. He is everything to me and then some. With his encouragement, I have embarked back into the world of school. Lord help me, LOL. I turned 50 this year and went back to school. What was I thinking? In a quick moment, I applied for a therapist position and got hired. Upon trying to finish my complete licensure application, I realized that I was about 12 hours shy of meeting my state’s requirements. I have my master’s, and that was not enough. So, here I am… back…writing papers. I have some great cheerleaders in my corner, even when I doubt myself. Here I am almost done (again) and will soon apply for my licensure again and begin work in January (I hope).¬†

Mindless Things and Revelations

I have read a lot, watched Friends, cleaned more than the average human, freezer-cooked a lot, and learned a lot about myself this year. Honestly, I have learned that the glass is only 1/2 empty when it is a glass of coke…otherwise, it is half full. People are not all bad and out to just be horrible humans. There are nice people out there, but I sure have learned how to distinguish between sheep and wolves in sheep’s clothing. I have eliminated a lot of negativities in my life. Some people mean harm to my family and me…to those people…I have read the last page of the book. God wins. He has my back, and He will continue to protect us. You cannot harm us anymore.¬†

Loving Music

One thing that has changed is that music is now permeating my home again. For years, we could not listen to anything due to some issues within our family. My grandchildren love music! I am pleased to say that Bocelli, Beethoven, Pavarotti, 50s & 60s rock, Elvis, praise music, hymns…we are listening to it all! I had forgotten how fun it is and how it evokes such emotion. Bart and I were listening to songs we listened to in our early years…we were giggly, dancing, and just enjoying it all.

We ran our kids out of the room, LOL. My parents came over, and Unchained Melodies was playing. Immediately, they started dancing in my kitchen. My parents are 76 & 78 years old and have been married for 60 years. My children have had a front-row seat to their marriage, and they had the pleasure of just sitting back and watching this unfold before their eyes. It was beautiful. I love dancing with my grandchildren. Love, love, love it! 

Reconnecting with a Friend and Reading

Over the past few months, I have been reading Bible with a friend. We message daily, holding each other accountable. It all started with a bad night on my part. She asked how often I had been in the Word. I told her not at all. She challenged me, and here we are, loving each other, praying for each other, and reading the Word together. We have castrated animals but never have we done this. It has been so good to be back in the Word and to see it through her eyes. 

Family and Faith

We are laughing again, playing cards, swimming as a family, and loving each other well. There will always be valleys. Always. That is just what it is. I do not want to be in the valley, but it is a part of life. God is in the valley and on the top of the hill. It is all about perspective. Valleys are opportunities for Him to shine even brighter. That is what I need to teach my pessimistic self. He can be in both places; even when I do not feel Him, He is there. I pray that 2023 brings many joys, more peace, reunification, and healing for my family.

Yet there will be valleys, and they will be low and painful. I pray that I can keep the perspective of giving thanks on the hills and those valleys. I want to remember that He is with me throughout it all. There is no fear or condemnation for me. I want to have more vulnerability with those I love and know to love me, a new job possibility, spiritual growth in my family, incredible celebrations, and joy. Happiness is circumstantial, but joy, well, friends, joy comes from the Lord. You can have joy on the mountaintops and the valleys. 

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My Oak My Mama

My Oak My Mama

My Oak My Mama

When I think of an Oak Tree, I think of being little and standing next to the giant oak tree in our yard. It was so big that I could not wrap my arms around it.

I remember looking up at it and seeing it touch the clouds. The giant limbs stand firm in the wind while the little limbs sway back and forth.

I can still see the beautiful leaves that protect me from the sun. I also vividly remember the life living on and around it. The ants and critters crawled up the massive trunk of this tree.

Then, when I look down, I am standing on the roots. These roots are so big that they are bulging out of the ground. I can follow the roots from the tree’s base for as far as they reach.

Many days, I stood in awe of the beauty of this massive living thing that God created.

This mighty tree may bend, but it never breaks.

Our oak tree provides shade in the summer. It loses its leaves in the fall, and the old things pass away. The leaves dying allows the sun to shine through the branches and provide heat on a cold day. In the spring, new life forms, and it begins again.

The circle of life in this tree.

My favorite tree is a tree of strength, honor, and consistency. An oak tree to lean on in hard times. This oak tree brings me joy at the sight or the rustle of the leaves.

I would like to introduce to you my Oak, my Mama.

Thank you, Mama, for loving me without abandon and giving me solid roots.

Thank you for being that big, sturdy branch while I flopped in the wind.

You led me to Christ through your faithfulness in your walk.

Also, for guiding me back to Christ when I wandered off and got lost.

You have always loved my husband and my children.

Thankful that you have never judged but were consistent with your faithfulness.

For showing me love when I was unlovable.

You have taught me values and stood up for me.

Mama, you rescued me, rocked me, and baked with me.

More importantly, mashed potatoes, macaroni & cheese, green beans & potatoes, and lima beans for your fried chicken.

You, my Marth, have been a living, breathing example of a Proverbs 31 woman.

You, my sweet Martha, are Oak Tree.

 

Faith Journey

Just Be Held

Just Be Held

Just Be Held. I am having a come apart right now. It has been a week, month, and year, just a lot. Here are the lyrics to this song.

Just Be Held

Hold it all together

Everybody needs you strong

But life hits you out of nowhere

And barely leaves you holding on

And when you’re tired of fighting

Chained by your control

There’s freedom in surrender

Lay it down and let it go

Thoughts

As a mom, we all know this. We are the Superman to all the issues of life. We put things back together with superglue and a tampon. My son has told me that if I cry, that is like Superman with a broken arm. Honestly, moms do not cry. I have chosen my life, or maybe I am living the life God chose for me; hmmm, I need to ponder that.

My life is one giant complication. Marriage is not easy. Parenting at any stage is not easy. Throw in control issues, have special needs kids that were out of your control, a medically fragile child, aging parents, death, poor choices, and you have a mess.

But God

So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away

You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held

Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place

I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held

Just be held, just be held

If your eyes are on the storm

You’ll wonder if I love you still

But if your eyes are on the cross

You’ll know I always have and I always will

Thoughts

Right here. These words. They pierce my soul. I do see things falling apart. In 8 weeks, I’ve had two sons bullied by students and administration. The suspension has happened twice for one son. We’ve had a flare-up with another son. One son is spreading his wings. Daughters who are dealing with the hardships of lost relationships, a new marriage, jobs, and school. Just so much.

Yet, He is not upon the throne biting his nails or eating popcorn, wondering what will happen next. He has already created the perfect provisions for all these issues. Then there is control. Me. Free-will. If I would take my eyes off the storm and gaze them upward. Frankly, how would my perspective change?

No Tears Wasted

And not a tear is wasted

In time, you’ll understand

I’m painting¬†beauty with the ashes

Your life is in My hands

Thoughts

Honestly, I love those verses in the Word so much that I have Isaiah 61:3 tattooed on my body. Frankly, the other verse may also need to go on my person. For instance, He has captured EVERY tear of mine (and yours) and placed it in a bottle. This is how much He cares for you. Furthermore, it is like you are the only person on Earth whose sole job is to love and comfort you.

Chorus

So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away

You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held

Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place

I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held

Just be held, just be held

 

In the Midst

Lift your hands, lift your eyes

In the storm is where you’ll find Me

And where you are, I’ll hold your heart

I’ll hold your heart

Come to Me, find your rest

In the arms of the God who won’t let go

So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away

You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held

Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place

I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held

Thoughts

Amid the storm, however, lift your hands. Furthermore, gaze your eyes above the waves. God is there, holding your heart in His hands. In Him, He has already fixed the problem. I pray that I will never forget that truth.

 

Adoption, Life or Something Like It

An Apology Without Change is Manipulation

An Apology Without Change is Manipulation

An Apology Without Change is Manipulation

Gracious, this is such a reminder of what I live with daily. It is so hard when you have such consistent, horrible things said to you and then a fake apology. That is exactly what it is. Fake. I probably have done that, but I learned to be sincere with my apologies. When I do something wrong or hurt someone unintentionally, it hurts me so badly. An Apology Without Change is Manipulation. Simple as that.

It Was Not Her Fault

There was an issue with an acquaintance, and though that was the straw that broke the camel’s back, it was not her doing anything wrong. I was just emotional. Yet, this is one isolated instance. I was not manipulating her, and I was sincere in my apology.

Now for my family member, this is a different ball of wax. This member has many types of diagnoses. Part of me thinks that this individual cannot help it. They do something wrong, have a hollow apology, and then do the same thing 10 minutes later.

It is almost to the point where I don’t want an apology. I want this person to leave me the heck alone. Can we say BOUNDARIES? I do not have boundaries, but they certainly need to be established.

Kids with Reactive Attachment Disorder

They do this quite often. In this quote, kids with RAD are good at manipulation, Confabulation, and triangulation. According to Webster’s Dictionary, to manipulate means to control or play upon by¬†artful, unfair, or¬†insidious¬†means, especially to one’s advantage.

Confabulation means filling in gaps in memory by fabrication. To “normal” people, this means to lie. Then triangulation means allying. In this situation, it is a child with one parent against another parent.

It is all exhausting and makes my brain work on overload. My boundaries had to be firmly placed, though they broke my heart into a million pieces. I had to take into consideration other family members and myself.

The stress was hurting all of us.

Life is Hard

The Lord did not promise us a walk in a rose garden. If we had that or all the answers, we would not need Him. He completes and sustains us even when we are physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted from creating those hard boundaries.

He gives us the wisdom we need when we seek it, to “speak” to us. For me, this is done through intuition, Scripture, other people, and dreams. I have learned to accept that my family member does not understand what it means not to manipulate and to be sincere in the apology.

It is hard. Completely and totally. Maybe one day, the Lord will heal her mind, body, and spirit to where she can function well in the world around her.