Fear Faith Freedom

Freedom.  (What’s it going to cost?)

Circulating thoughts. (Merry go round mind.)

A voice that counts. (That’s me talking).

Change is inevitable. (How?)

Learning new. (Listen.)

Unlearning old. (Critical necessity.)

It’s tough. (Super f’ing tough.)

It’s necessary. (Now.  Right now.)

Breaking out this preservation prison. (Damaging, self defeating preservation.)

The turtle inches out of it’s shell. (Intentional, purposeful.)

Seeking. (Earnestly.)

Searching. (Within.  Deeply.)

Wondering. (Endlessly.)

Praying. (Without ceasing.)

Grieving. (The plan.)

Scared. (Tremendously.)

Stepping forward in the dark. (Being a light.)

Still scared. (Horrifically.)

Faith and fear. (Coexist.)

Fear and faith. (Together.)

Creating a new story. (Mine.)

Somethings gotta give. (Surrender.)

Fear and faith and freedom. (Alive and well, the three f’s hug.)

Acceptance. (Peace.)

Life…you only get one. (Yes.)

Just thinking

Goodness gracious gosh.

It’s nothing new for ‘me to be open about my own life and thoughts to a point; it is different for me to engage in controversial topics that I’ve brought up.

The thing is…these things are no longer up for controversy in my mind. It is high time we have hard, honest and open discussions to better understand and love each other.

White privilege, white fragility, police brutality, broken systems…so much change to be implemented!

I never anticipate changing anyone’s mind through social media. It’s not my job to do that anyway. I greatly cherish when we can consider another perspective and perhaps open our world wider to see more than the life we live.

I have a billion questions running through my mind. I am deeply searching my own heart, my beliefs and my actions. I do not feel guilty being white skinned anymore than anyone else should feel bad for their own skin color. I do feel a call to action and away from apathy. No person should be treated differently based on race, socioeconomic status, gender, sexuality, etc.

I am one infallible human who very much wants to know better, do better and be better. I am prayerful that we are all looking inside ourselves right now and seeing how we can make improvements that translate to loving others well.

Let’s have open hearts, critical thinking and respect for one another. Ask yourself, “Is what I choose to share designed to further my personal political agenda, be disrespectful to others and carried out without thought to how my words are affecting others?”  Maybe reflect on these before sharing.  Then, by all means…share!

What’s with asking others to unfriend or unfollow on social media if  different beliefs are at play?  If a person’s words are too much, how about quietly doing what you need to do without announcing it to the world?

Value one another more than that…diversity is where it’s at!

Happy Thursday. xo

A learning curve

It feels very freeing to say that I do not have respect for President Trump’s character, evidenced by his behavior and actions. I am regretful that I have danced around those words for so long.

Am I still a law abiding, respectful, compassionate and loving citizen. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

I am frustrated every single time I mention Trump, I am met with how I ‘don’t see the good’. I never said he has not done some beneficial things. His character representation makes me sick to my stomach and afraid for what our children are seeing as a demonstration of leadership. I guess it would be more than fair for me to ask why the Trump defenders can’t see the damage.

Do I believe God can even work all things for good in the current state of the world? I 100% believe that, though it is beyond my scope of understanding.

I would love to invite my world to think on these….

Can we be less about ‘you are right and I am wrong’?

What would happen if we moved away from the ‘yes,but’s’ and toward ‘let me truly hear and consider your experiences and heart”?

When disdain for someone’s actions is stated, would it be possible to consider the other lens for a moment before the original statement is personalized and personal attacks or defenses are made? The pause is a powerful thing.

Instead of ‘those Republicans’, ‘the Dems’, ‘the Liberals’ or a certain flavor of religion, sexuality, etc; could we see each other as human beings who all have the same basic needs? Humanity, safety, love and compassion.

Disliking someone’s actions and behaviors doesn’t make me less of a person. It means I have a brain for logic, a heart for feeling and a voice for using.

Instead of saying, ‘I don’t see color’, and softening my voice so I am not seen as a contrarian or fearful that I’m not knowledgeable enough to use my voice, I am working on a change.

I do see color because we ALL see color. What I do with that is the important thing. Let’s have tough conversations, we can do hard things.

Softening my voice for the sake of another’s comfort when it comes to matters that matter is a disservice to myself and to others. Change the world, one heart at a time, right? Starting with my own.

Silent because I don’t know enough? BS. I’m well educated, intelligent and yearning to learn and see so that I can do better.

I believe strongly that diversity is a beautiful gift. I also intensely believe that unity can be found among diversity; just as peace can be found among chaos.

Help me do better

I love learning. Expanding my worldview; considering perspectives different than my own and a willingness to be open to things I haven’t considered are all part of that process for me.

Sadly, and truthfully, it was not until recent years that I considered ‘white privilege’ a ‘thing’ to be thoughtful of. My view was one of self-chosen naivete. Combine that with my natural inclination to idealize (Alice in Wonderland thinking…it can’t really be that bad…humans can’t be that cruel…why can’t we all just get along), has likely unwittingly kept me in a state of denial.

I think the opening of my eyes began in my first job out of college, where I worked for a child abuse prevention and treatment agency. It was the first place I witnessed first hand that abuse was way too common among all cultures, socioeconomic statuses, races and levels of education.

Working in social services for 25 years; I have come to realize we all have so much more in common than we are different; and our differences should be celebrated and respected. I don’t care about status, color, culture, in that none of us are exempt from struggle.

Truly though, it was not until my recent adventure through grad school that my eyes were opened in a completely different way. I am blessed to say that I spent two years of my life bonding closely with a small group of precious men and women who just happened to have different skin colors.

Bonds were developed among us and safety was created. Together, we had HARD discussions about racism, white privilege, sexuality, culture, gender bias, etc. For the first time in my life, I truly heard the collective hearts of people I love, trust and treasure and my own worldview was broadened. My perspective before had been ignorant, unintentionally blase, harmful and apathetic. A paradigm shift began, and I am forever grateful.

I don’t want to be ignorant, blase, harmful and apathetic. I know better and I want to do better. I have kept quiet often when it comes to politics, racism and other hard topics, unless I’m in a one on one conversation. I haven’t felt ‘equipped’ to make a difference.

However, I am here. I still don’t feel equipped…for alot of things. That said, I firmly believe that Sarah can do all things through Christ who strengthens her. I desire to acknowledge the truth of what is, rather than intellectualize my way into unseeing.

My best learning has happened from hearing directly from the hearts that have experienced challenges with racism, white privilege, sexuality, culture, gender bias, etc. If you have a story to share here or by message, I’d be honored to hear it. Help me do and be better.

XO

Ouch

We had agreed to be honest with each other.  We had both been hurt by infidelity in our previous marriages and agreed to promote trust and safety with each other as best we could. We hadn’t been dating long; it was actually only our third date.  Our second ‘real’ time together.  The first date, I had come down with a stomach bug.  He was super sweet, bringing me flowers and sprite and hanging out for a visit.  I still am not sure if he brought those flowers to make sure I was being honest about being sick or out of genuine kindness.  Either way, I was impressed.

We seemed to click fairly well, yet we definitely were still in the stage of figuring out if we enjoyed each other.  I had noticed a rapid change in his behavior. Within a week, he had gone from “good morning beautiful”, “your mind is brilliant”, “you are amazing”; to a more formal style of communication minus the flirting.  I obviously noticed this, right?  It’s that gut check that says something is off.

Fast forward to the  third (and final) date.  We were in the middle of a rather intimate moment and involved in a deep conversation.  I had mentioned the change that I noticed.  He was quiet for a moment, I encouraged him to just share what was on his mind.

He hesitated for a brief moment before he said, “you are just bigger than the girls I date”.  His words jolted my heart.  In that moment, it was no longer he and I in the room.  Instead, it was rejection.  It was every single person who had ever said anything ugly about my body.  It was wound upon wound about the very thing I am most sensitive about.

I cried.  He apologized.  I was trying to decipher whether he meant he wasn’t physically attracted to me, or if he was being intentionally unkind or something else.  He assured me, he only wanted to be ‘honest’.  I don’t want to pick and choose honesty, it just seemed like such an intensely vulnerable moment to choose this brand of honesty.  To my own regret, I did not stop the evening there.  We continued down a path I wish we would’ve not traveled down.  The journey was less than remarkable.  Of course it was.

He left in the morning.  I spent two days looking at myself in the mirror; seeing not a beautiful woman but a little head with a huge, outrageously large body.  I didn’t eat much that weekend, because ‘bigger girls’ don’t deserve to eat. I punished myself with disdain and a refusal to acknowledge any of the progress I have made in the past few years.  I spoke of this only to a very small group of friends that know my heart more than I know it myself sometimes.  I was devastated, disgusted and ashamed of me.  I took myself to a place I haven’t traveled in an extraordinarily long time.  His apologies were texted through out the weekend.  I remained the nice girl and said I understood.  In the moment, I did understand because I myself, agreed with him.  I was more than I should be and less than enough.

The more I thought about it and received ‘medicine’ from the people who love me, the more I came to a different conclusion.  Today, nearly a week later, I am acknowledging that it’s okay to think he was incredibly shallow and wrong in that moment. I am going inside of myself and asking why I skimmed right over the pain when it happened and continued with a path I didn’t really want to go down. I am horribly sad that my size determined my value to him.  I am even more sad that I have spent any time of this precious life aching to be who he wished I was.

As I mentioned, we are each entitled and encouraged to have preferences and know what we are attracted to. What I cannot fathom is why someone would in essence, attack someone in a most vulnerable situation.  What is the ‘reward’ of that kind of honesty?

He withdrew, going from several conversations  a day to perhaps a goodnight or “how are you?” text.  I had no idea what was going on in his head.  Was he feeling so bad he didn’t know how to recover this?  Was he trying to ghost me?  I don’t know.  I finally just told him that his behavior was extremely confusing to me.  I received a quick response, “I am sorry, we are still friends, right?”

I explained that I was happy to explore a friendship but didn’t need a pen pal.  I sent him a video with my very real perspective.  He’s missing out.  His opinion does not determine my value…though it took me a while to get there and I’m still working on it.  I am the unique kind of beautiful that I love.  My heart is pure, my mind is inquisitive, my spirit is genuine and real, I am compassionate, funny, smart and though I am not Ms. Universe, I am the kind of beautiful only I can be.  He doesn’t see and that’s okay…he is not for me.  My last text to him was to let him know that I had his really cool wine tumblers if he wanted them back.

Truly, I don’t think this is a bad guy. I think he has parts of him that are super cool. He is intelligent, attractive on the outside and a great conversationalist. I do believe he is sorry for hurting me. I am sorry he hurt me too, yet I’m thankful that I was forced through this ugliness to face some feelings I’ve been burying for too long.

Since my ex- husband left our home, it was my prayer and my desire to learn to love and accept myself.  Fully.  Always.  I will continue to strive to be the best version of me, and I am lovely right where I am…not just when I arrive.

The pursuit of health and healthy living is of the upmost importance. I have worked my ass off the past two years to get to a healthy place…inside and out. I’m still a work in progress and hope to God I always will be.

I wonder about our world. I wonder what it would be like if the pursuit of kindness, character development, compassion, humor and gentleness were more important than the pursuit of a hot body. Maybe they are; I just haven’t found that person in my dating life.

If someone had to choose to love my mind and heart or my appearance, I would choose my heart and mind; no contest.  I know that while I have my physical preferences, heart, mind, compassion and character are my ultimate deciders.  I hope and pray that there is someone who loves ALL of me, not in spite of my uniqueness, but because of it.

Also…I am keeping the wine tumblers.

 

 

 

I’m Here.

So much time to think and think and think some more….
 
Today’s insight….
 
I graduated in December, 2020, with my Masters in Counseling Psychology. Until July, 2019, we had a couple of years to take the test required for LPC licensure.
 
In July, 2019, the regulations changed. That test had to be taken BEFORE a Masters person could go become a supervised candidate for LPC licensure. Bummer. Oh well.
 
My plan was to take the test at the end of February. Instead, we sold our home on February 14. (A significant date of beginnings and endings in my life, it seems).
 
I remained flexible, reminded myself that I was in competition with no one regarding when I took my test, and refocused on my own race. I decided that I would get moved asap and take the test in April.
 
Then…we all know what happened in March and April. Covid-19 became a part of our daily vocabulary and changed everything. I struggled with all of what everyone else struggled with. For a minute, I got a bit frustrated and frozen about the timing of all of this. Don’t judge…sometimes my inner 4 year old speaks louder than grown up me.
 
I still can’t take my test. It’s not being offered at this time and I don’t really know when it will be. I need to study more anyway because I’m way off track there. Still, I’ve been reminded that all things don’t occur according to my plan. Thank God for that.
 
Circling back to this moment. I am still working as a Case Manager for seniors in our community. I have continually said that it will be horribly hard for me to leave my true work family and clients. However, according to my own plans, this would’ve occurred already as I hopefully would’ve passed my test and moved on (to an LPC candidacy position).
 
In my version, I would’ve begun a new job and who knows with all of this hullabaloo if I’d even still have it. Instead, I am right where I belong. I am absolutely honored to be there for my clients, some of who I’ve worked with for 3 years. They are afraid and not always trusting. It is a gift to have a pre-existing relationship with them and be able to assist and serve them, even if it looks different. I have the safety, comfort and familiarity of my team at work, whom I love and adore. I am deeply grateful for all of this.
 
Since 2011, I have hung on to God’s promise in Joel 2:25. I don’t know much; yet I know this verse has felt so real to me. HE WILL RESTORE THE YEARS THE LOCUSTS HAVE EATEN. I don’t know all of His promises. I’m unsure how to interpret what I do know. Still, whatever He has promised me feels like it should be covered under this verse. God knows what the locusts have eaten away at in my spirit, and He knows what it means to bring restoration. Restoration according to His plan, not mine. There is tremendous comforting personal truth in these words for me.
 
I wish I could say that these words ended my doubts, resolved my trust issues and increased my belief 200%. I can say that I am so thankful to see God in this moment. I am glad I see His work in hindsight and that I am aware enough to realize that I’d like to trust Him with my future just as deeply.
 
I ask God questions such as; “Why did you have me go to school later in life if everyone is just going to get Covid anyways?” I go crazy with my what if’s and the tone in my head is a little edgy. And a little more edgy until internally, I’m a little over the edge, lol! (But not really lol)
 
I’m here. Praying, wondering, believing, doubting, feeling all the feels and shutting every feeling off.
 
Where are you?

My heart’s response…what’s yours?

My version in response to this…

“I am praying for you.”

Translation: You matter and I am concerned. Practicing the art of surrender and trust is so hard for me whether it’s to, “trust the process”, “trust the universe”, “trust the pole”, or anything else. This includes surrendering you and your outcome. I personally choose to pray to God because my past experiences, my faith, and my heart make me believe this is the most loving and viable option.

“If you don’t get COVID-19, we will claim God shielded.”

Translation: I won’t. I will struggle with why some people did and some people didn’t. I might wonder why a person ignores every request to social distance. I might wonder why they still got it even if they seemed to do everything right. I likely will never understand. Whether I believe in God or not, I will resolve that no human ever has all the answers….so we create our own. This gives us an illusion of control where we truly have none. But humanly, we believe an answer will make us feel better. In the meantime, I will continue to wrestle w God and human reasoning, just as I always do. The answers will be my own, for this is my journey.

“If you do get it and recover, we’ll claim God healed.”

Translation: if you get it and recover, I will be eternally grateful. I will again struggle with why some people got it and recovered while some didn’t. I will choose to believe that, “Jesus wept“ while we wept. I will remember that life and breath are precious and none of us know when our first or last days will be… This matters if a big semi hits us, if we take our own lives, if there is cancer or heart disease, if there is just no reason…Not one human makes it out alive. We can choose gratitude or we can choose constant struggle. Personally, I usually choose a little of both. I don’t know how to do different than that, I myself am human.

“If you die, we’ll explain that God had a reason..”

Translation: this is the biggest copout religious people ever use. I don’t believe God controls us like checker pieces, but I used to. I believed that we were like goldfish swimming around in his tank. Now I believe the saying that I’ve heard so many times. “We are not humans having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings, having a human experience.” This life is not permanent, no matter your belief system.

It is possible that the same results are possible by praying to a telephone pole. Again, my life has led me to this place and I believe the deep joy I experience in the midst of shit is the result.

I recently read that we don’t pray to change God, we pray to change ourselves.

If the same happens by praying to a telephone pole, you change….then good for you or whomever.

I’ve tried endless options as far as beliefs and religion go.

I don’t like religion and I don’t like rules around it. I do like relationship and relationship with God has gotten me through so very much in my life.

Some people can call that a crutch and others say “God is good”.

I believe the latter and I believe that I serve a God who loves us more than I could ever imagine.

None of that changes the fact that I am human and I am infallible. Whether I’m a believer or not, I never get all the answers.

I wonder if life is less about the outcome and more about the journey.

That said, I respect the journey..your’s, mine, and everyone else’s.  I’m only walking in my shoes.

 

This kinda sucks…we can do it but it sucks

What breaks my heart about right this moment is the separation we are needing to experience to hopefully make things better.

I miss my Momma. So much. I miss hugging her more than anything. I miss my son and baby daddy as well. I miss all of the people and all of the hugs.

I am so thankful to get to see them on facetime and otherwise.

Now…one of my precious friends from my days at Autumn Leaves is getting weaker every day. She is one amazing lady. Time with her family is certainly limited and that hurts me for everyone. Facetime isn’t going to help her as much as it does me. Yuck.

Then, for the babies just born (my baby Henry) and for the ones getting ready to be born…it hurts not to be a part of their days and worlds. Just not fun. For the Momma’s and Daddies either.

Losing precious real time with the ones I love sucks. It may be refocusing me back to what matters and put my attention on deeper things and on God for sure, but it sucks.

Lastly, I’m making calls to check on my clients. I just got off the phone with a lovely, endearing 87 year old woman. She could barely hear me, her closed captioning wasn’t working. She could read my name and number though and is going to try to call me later. She was very confused (dementia ugh) and thought I was her son. She wanted me to ‘come up for coffee’. She told me she loved me and couldn’t wait to see me. I told her I loved her to, and couldn’t wait to see her either. I can’t. I will but I hate it.

Trying to be grateful, grateful, grateful and see all of the blessings and growth in this season…and I do. I’m human though, and I hate unknowns and all of this scary stuff.

Stick together as best you can, love well, STAY HOME!  We can do this.

Loving you all and hoping you feel as loved as I do, even in this muck.

Tribute to a bad date

A dear friend asked if I would share a bad date story.  Most of my dates have been fun but there have been a handful that made me say hmmmm.  As I recounted this evening, I giggled so hard and thought the whole world could use a giggle.  So; here it is

He was seriously a sweet guy….I feel a bit guilty sharing this.  Honestly.

He had the absolute sexiest voice on the phone. Voices are a big deal to me. Told me he was 6/1 and somehow he looked all buff and tall in his pictures. (I’m trying not to be a height elitist, but I have my druthers and I like truth). When he came in, he was at best 5’8. Fine.

So he was talking a billion miles a minute and I was trying to decipher if he had taken something. He sat across from me at Starbuck’s after I encouraged him many times to sit with me. (He met me there). He would not make eye contact…at all. He seemed to have a close bond with the floor, where his eyes were focused. I tried not to slip into therapist mode bc anytime I see a date as a ‘case study’, it’s not a good thing. I couldn’t help it though. After 20 minutes of talking to the top of his head, I asked if he was okay. He told me he was just nervous. Acceptable, yes? I asked if there was anything I could to do put him at ease and he told me he just wanted me to like him. Again…super sweet but I already know at this point I don’t feel that sort of connection. (guilt bc I had an idea what was coming)

Also, his voice was NOTHING like the guy on the phone. It was nervous, high and fast so I think on the phone he used like this hot voice he had to have practiced many times. So, I ask if he is ready to go to dinner(dinner and a movie were the plan and I didn’t see a reason to be rude…it’s always good to make a friend is/was my view).

He looks up and before I know it, he is so close to my face we are practically touching noses and he reaches up and puts my hair behind my ear and then caresses my face. I literally jumped back because I so didn’t expect that. I think I asked if I had something on my face. He said he remembered from our conversations that I liked having my hair brushed away from my face.

I think that conversation never happened btw. I do recall talking about the movie, “The Notebook” and how sweet it was when Noah brushed Allie’s hair away from her eyes both as a young couple and as an elderly couple. It reminded me of the sweetness of my parent’s love during my dad’s Alzheimers, it wasn’t something appropriate for him to do in that moment. I am sure I just laughed it off.

So…we get in his car which was an old jaguar, very very cool but hard to get into in my skirt.. I think he was very gentlemanly and opened my door. Then I spent the next 15 minutes as we rode to the restaurant praying that God would please let me live past this date. He proceeded to tell me about his horrible night vision because of a detached retina and that he wasn’t supposed to be driving at night. (He had driven two hours for our date, again, he was trying so hard and for that I was grateful). The stops and starts were jerky and I literally had a seatbelt burn on my neck the next day from being held back as he drove.

We ate at a Mexican restaurant where he told me not to order anything with onions so our first kiss would be sweeter.

He told me his life story. I appreciated his vulnerability but at this point was in full therapist mode and also thinking how I would politely decline any advances.

Next was the movie. Why on earth did I go to a movie on the first date? It was awkward and I can’t even remember the movie. I just know there was a bit of sexual humor and he would throw his hands over my eyes and tell me not to look and to save my eyes only for him. I could feel myself shrinking into a ball in my chair.

Movie ended, we got in the car to go back to my car. I leaned over to give him the best side hug I could muster in the car and I literally bolted out the door. (The drive to my car had me praying just as hard for my life to be spared as well as to help me get out without a kiss!) I had thanked him profusely and told him to please text to let me know he was safely home.

When he did text, he said he could tell by my body language that I just wasn’t ready for what he had to give. Follow up…he called two days later *it was Mother’s Day to wish me a Happy mothers day. He began the conversation with, “I don’t want to start any trouble, I just want to tell you happy mother’s day”

I thanked him and assured him it was no trouble and though it didn’t work out, I would love to be his friend.

He never did call again.

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Don’t be fancy. Just be.

Don’t be fancy, just be!

I am seeing endless posts from sweet parents who are trying to do everything they can to keep their young children stimulated. Pinterest is full of ideas but also full of ways to make a parent feel like they just are not enough.

Let me tell you, you are more than enough for your babies. You don’t need to look up a bazillion ideas that involve tons of work.

Make Playdoh, make a bakery out of mud pies and get the earth squished between your fingers and toes, have a water fight or a pillow fight or a tickle fight, read a book and snuggle, cook together, fill the sink with soapy suds and spray dishes with Catsup so your kids can clean them off,, Go for a scavenger hunt or just go for a walk, blow bubbles,, paint with shaving cream….so much to do!

Breathe and enjoy them. Pretty soon they will be 15 and 18 and you are going to be tickled every time they choose to engage!

You are sufficient, you are more than enough. Find your inner child and play. The messier, the better!