Reminder to be grateful

I had no scheduled meetings and no court dates on my calendar today. This was my first clue that it was going to be a crazy day! Certainly crazy and I am certainly pooped.
There’s just too much hurting going on. Two things that I see too often as a culprit of elder abuse are drugs (not marijuana), and a sense of entitlement combine with a greedy heart. Elder abuse and domestic violence are everywhere. If you believe these things aren’t in your neighborhood or nearby…I’d encourage you to wise up. We must, if we want to bring change.
One person in particular is on my heart and in my prayers tonight. I got to spend the better part of my day with them in the emergency room. When you are elderly, transgender, schizophrenic and homeless…the world is a particularly rough place. Please keep your opinions on sexual orientation and alternative lifestyles kindly to yourself, because that is not this post.
This person matters to me and they ought matter to you. They are a soulful being just like the rest of us….traveling their journey in the best way they know how. Love, love, love your neighbor. They are our neighbor.
“Mental illness is a walk in the park”, said no one ever. I’m imagining that being homeless pretty much stinks. I know statistically speaking and from personal observations, the elderly and the transgender population are at higher risk of harm and particularly vulnerable on the streets and in shelters…so it’s tough to decide where the best ‘placement’ would be. Additionally, all the local shelters are at maximum capacity…so there’s that.
So…all of that said. Let’s pray for my new friend as they struggle through this cold night. Pray for their protection and safety, wellness, wisdom and for a glimmer of hope to enter their tired heart. Pray for them and for the countless others among us.
If you have a roof over your head, warmth in your environment, clothing and dinner tonight, remember yourself privileged and blessed. We are so blessed, don’t ever forget that.
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Random blitherings

This isn’t my normal writing…it’s just my heart poured out along with the ramblings of my mind.  It’s a heavy kind of night…one of those nights that one thing that is bothersome leads to another thing and before long, my insides are all helter skelter willy nilly.

There is an underlying edge of melancholy trying to set in as I attempt to avoid ruminating over ickies.  At times,  I feel sad about the countless changes in my little family and I miss my Daddy so much it hurts.  Christmas and Thanksgiving are looking super different this year and if I’m honest, I’d have to say I’m struggling a bit more than slightly.

As I write tonight, these tears just keep pouring out of me.  I tell myself that it’s okay that things have changed.  It is okay, I know this is true.  It doesn’t change that it hurts.  I think of my dear friends who lost their momma this year.  I think of my sisters who lost their momma a few years ago.  Loss, loss, loss.  Everywhere there is loss.  That is the story my mind is telling me right now.  Ugh.

I hate that I was unable to give my children the traditional family that I longed to give them since before they were ever brought into existence.  I don’t care to share them over the holidays.  I will, because they are deeply loved by both their Father and I and they deserve our genuinely compassionate, loving, tender cooperation.  There are a few moments though, that I am pouting about it all.  There are also moments that I am overcome with gratitude because I know that the divorce set me free from some things I needed to be set free from.  This gratitude for myself is always connected with guilt that my babies didn’t get what I wanted them to have.  I wanted.  I wanted.  Trying to appreciate once more that God has a panoramic view and I only have a snapshot.

As the 9th anniversary of the big ole’ stroke nears, I am reminded of a wee bit of loss and far more of extraordinary gain.  That stroke was the turning point for God and I.  (probably more of my turning point, He was there all along).  This thought reminds me of how thankful I am for the very breath He gives me.  I made a short, silly video recently talking about how very grateful I am for the undeserved miracles I have had in my life.  It is good for my soul to think on those things.  In my changed relationship with God, I realized that I can share anything with God…whether I’m angry, sad, jealous, resentful or joyful, grateful, blessed, kind, etc.  Whatever I am feeling I can tell him.  So tonight, I am thanking Him for life and also telling him that my heart is aching.

I have visited with three dear friends this week….all men who have been considering suicide.  I pray that they know they are loved and cared for.  I pray they choose life because even in the midst of this loss, chaos and pain; life is beautiful and life is worth living well.

In the scheme of it all, we are each so very small.  I adore sunsets, sunrises, and the sky in general.  I could lie for hours and stare at the stars.  It all just reminds me, in a comforting way, we are miracles in the midst of it all.  Life is beautiful.  Isn’t it ironic?  Sometimes the most beauty arises from incredibly significant pain.  No matter what…seek the beauty and live life well.

God Bless and Sweet Dreams.

Memories

My (our) dear big brother, Brent, is celebrating another birthday in heaven today! Truthfully, there probably are no birthdays in heaven and beautiful celebrations are always. Today I will do something special just to celebrate the impact Brent had on my life for the 15.5 years he was here, and still now. I miss him so.❤️🙏

Next, I tried to not mention this. Then, I tried to talk to less than five people about this. I accomplished that…for yesterday. Today is the day after what would’ve been my 20th wedding anniversary. The feelings that this brings up are incredibly different than they once were. I’m ok. He is ok. The kids are getting ok. Yet, somehow that date still has the power to get my thoughts spinning, my anxieties flourishing and my “what if” button activated. Blech.😳😥🤢

There are times when I want to wish a memory away. I say to myself, “Silly Sarah, memories are a beautiful gift and there is power in how you frame them.” 👓

I’m certainly not suggesting that it’s wise to look back through only rise colored glasses. I am suggesting that we look back and see the beauty of all the pieces that make us, “us”. 🌟

Look back with gratitude, for there is something in each part of our journey that has brought us a soulful lesson we might’ve otherwise missed. Look back, momentarily, and trust that we are exactly where we need to be in this moment.🌻.

I know with certainty that daddy would’ve loved if his memories had never been stolen. I think of the few blurred memories around the time of the stroke. These are powerful reminders for me. I won’t wish memories away. Rather, I’ll welcome them and wonder what they want me to know.🤗

Speaking of…November 9 will be 9 years away from the stroke and for this I am an incredible, indescribable, deep kind of grateful. I can walk, talk, dance, think, smell flowers, laugh, splash in the puddles, cry, pray, worship, sing, wear lipstick, write, tame wild bears, watch the sun rise and set, hug, serve, love…I can do nearly anything because my God is so good and my God is bigger than anything else. 🏃‍♀️🗣,💃🏻,🤔, 🌹🌷, 😂, ☔️, 😥, 🙏, ✝️, 🎤🎧, 💄, 👩‍💻, 🐻🦊, 🌅🌄, 🤗, ✌️, ❤️❤️❤️,

Today is a new day, thank God. I’m grateful for the few who got to hear my heart yesterday and generously covered me in love and prayers.🌹❤️🙏😇

In the midst of huge blessings and delightful new beginnings, there is a bit of stress and doubt. Currently, my fists are clenched pretty tight in areas that I’m pretty sure it would be best to loosen my grip and let God work. So, I earnestly ask you to continue to cover me and my family in your prayers and positive light. Really, those prayers and thoughts matter in the most significant, impactful ways.❤️🙏❤️🙏❤️🙏

Have a glorious, love filled Wednesday!

❤️💜🧡💚💙💛💜💗❤️

Good morning!!! As most of you know, I rarely eat sugar and/or processed foods. I started that on April 9, and although my weight loss is a slow 23 pounds gone, I’m thankful for the loss. I’m also thankful for steady energy and better health because of those choices. Then there was yesterday. I ate probably 5 good handfuls of candy corn, and two bite size musketeers throughout my day. I had a really bad tummy ache last night and was asleep super early. I woke in the middle of the night and went into the kitchen for water…and way more Reese’s peanut butter cups than would ever be ok. That’s the most logical solution to an already angry feeling tummy, right? There’s my confession. Blame it on PMS, stress or just a lapse in self-control but I’m pretty irritated with myself and even a bit shameful. I’m sharing because I just messed up and keeping it my dirty little secret just increases my guilt. Done. Over. Forgiven. It’s a new day!!! I’ve had my candy corn fix for the year and my Halloween candy too. I’m sweet enough without that crap in my body.😇😂😂😂🤷‍♀️ Anyway….have a beautiful day! And a little something unrelated to ponder… “Make sure all of your opinions aren’t blocking people from seeing Jesus in you.” -Bob Goff Love ya!

Morning prayer

Guys, yesterday was an emotionally heavy day. Not personally, but for what my clients are living. I sat in court all day and watched a woman have to relive several years of trauma as the defense attorney ruthlessly grilled her about all things irrelevant to her abuse.

Honestly, I felt physically ill listening so I can only imagine how she felt. So much swirling through my heart and head. Injustices everywhere. I had to dig deep to find empathy for all.

I wonder if the defense attorney isn’t just as guilty as the abuser. I know she’s only doing her job but her words to a victim were hateful toned, mean and accusatory. When did it become acceptable to persecute the victim?

In case my post is perceived as being tied in w recent politics, I assure you it’s not. The assaults in this case have been well documented and confirmed.

Today, if you will, say a prayer for the victims, the abusers, the bystanders and our justice system. It’s simply too much wrongness.

Be the Love

photo credit: my beautiful daughter.

I just dropped a client off at a homeless shelter; leaving him with a prayer and a hug. I’m actually very thankful that a spot was available for him. I enjoy my clients for the most part and feel honored to connect with them. Each one of them has a story and they matter. That said, some have an extra special space in my heart and this gentleman was one of them.

No identifying information but the gist of the story…someone who has lost their family (likely to unmanaged mental illness), is in the eldest of elderly category, hasn’t eaten in days, is thankful that he will get to sleep on a cot and not lay his head on metal or cement, is in need of a shower and at least basic medical attention…that’s a good starting point.

I listened to this sweet man talking. He has been homeless for a few years and he sleeps wherever he feels safest that night. He prays to the good Lord every night and looks forward to looking up at the stars as night goes and morning comes. He was raised up in church and feels that the good Lord told him to come our office so we could help him. He feels that he is constantly being chased by someone who wants to kill him and that’s why he stays on the move. (His words) Although he is obviously weary, his eyes still have a quiet sparkle behind the sadness. I cannot imagine how exhausted and scared he is from constantly being on high alert.

My throat hurts today and I’ve had my fill of ugliness, agendas and politics on media from both sides. I have been carefully restraining my own thoughts but today I’m feeling feisty. No more. Fight on if that’s where your priorities lie.

We have to open our eyes. While we bicker, argue, right fight and fuss, there are a plethora of hurting, desperate, and lonely people. There are starving elders, disabled and mentally unwell people, children and everyone in between right in front of us. Countless needs beyond our own and every little help matters.

This man. This beautiful, precious, kind, grateful, homeless man just found a forever home in my heart. I pray will all have a little angel today to help us grow in love and understanding.

“Be not forgetful to entertain strangers; for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” Hebrew 13:2

Oh Alice

Recently, there must’ve been seemingly cryptic posts on my social media; truly, that wasn’t the intention.  As a result, I received two separate phone calls from two dear friends, neither of who knows the other.  One of them referred to the “I, I, I”  context of my posts and my reaction was immediate defense.  I know this friend’s beautiful heart is intent on doing the will of God and I was throwing up my walls against a lecture that perceived me in a way I wasn’t meaning. Being intently aware of this defense, I reminded myself that this friend was safe and that I could keep my heart open and listen.  I’m super thankful that I did, for as I spilled my heart out about the goings on in my life, he had great experience of his own to share and much wisdom to offer.

The second call was a precious friend who had some heartfelt observations to share with me.  First, he thought that I must be in a deeply introspective mood (true and positive), and that many of my introspections were self-deprecating.  (true and ouch).  He told me that he had never once heard me speak of the good things I was doing.  (i.e., I speak of my wonderful children, I do not speak of the wonderful mom that I am to them or the sacrifices I make to be that great mom).  I am still reflecting on this.  I like to be humble.  Even voicing that I like to be humble makes me feel like I may as well say, “Look at me!  I am soooo humble!”  That just defeats the whole purpose.  I did share with a few people recently that my grad school grades were really awesome.  I didn’t share what it took on my behalf for that to happen.

I’m still not sure about all of this.  Growing up with a constant verbalized message of, “children should be seen and not heard”, I think I have internalized that to “Sarah should be seen and not heard” in many significant ways.

Look at this!  Two friends that I trust see me ponderings through totally different lenses.  One is the “I” of me and the other is kind of the invisible “I”.  This is likely one of my favorite internal conflicts.  Shrink or stand tall?  Oh Alice.

Mosaic Masterpiece

This post doesn’t want to happen.  This post is resisting moving from head to heart in every way.  This post knows it contains some deep potential for growth.  Hands on the keyboard, my fingers tap out whatever is inside of me, initially unedited.  I am assured that this is a post that must be written.  It is difficult to know where to begin when one is spinning in a multitude of directions.  Gut, heart and brain are in the midst of great conflict and soul keeps saying, “keep going, keep going, keep going”.  The internal struggle isn’t new. What’s new, is is being able to grasp that not being exactly where I want to be is okay, I just am where I am.  Honestly, sometimes that pisses me off, but that’s all part of being where I’m supposed to be too.

A memory that I had written one year ago today popped up on my Facebook timeline.  No accidents, God’s timing deserves a mic drop, again.

“There is an adventurous 19 year old girl inside of me that really just wants to come out and play.  There is also a 45 year old wounded but wise grown up in me who speaks a tiny bit louder that that frivolous 19 year old girl.  There is always that “good girl” mentality deep in my heart, even when I am trying to drown her out.  Honestly, she’s a little ‘over-concerned’ with image.  The thing is, they’ve all been struggling and arguing and have finally decided that they can meet in the middle and explore life.  I wonder what this is going to look like?”

A year later…what does it look like? Here’s what I’ve come to learn in the past year about Sarah, the woman.  She delights in being playful, yet she craves deep connection and reverent solitude too.  She still has wounds, old and new.  The martini glass looking patch over the hole in her heart is something that makes her acutely familiar with the healing process.  She knows that sealing some old wounds with healthy protection is the best way to heal.  She sometimes forgets that this is a very rare situation, because generally, the best path to healing is to stay open, yielding and aware rather than placing a seal over a wound.  Besides, although she can’t see that martini glass patch without special examination, she still knows it is there.   She is strong, and she is fragile.

She has pieces of every experience of every age inside of her…from birth to right now, a 46 year old woman.  She is a mosaic.  She spends a good amount of time trying to figure out how all of those pieces fit together to create the masterpiece God made her to be. (This would suggest she still has trouble believing that she already is God’s masterpiece).  She still goes to that good girl mentality in an instant, especially when she is afraid she has hurt another.  She finds herself slowly transitioning more to who she was made to be and in the midst of that, she fights to separate from living as some other human created her to be.  This is one of the most difficult things she has ever done, for in separating, she could be a wound inflictor.  In her heart, she struggles to believe that she can’t hurt the dead.  She only enjoys joyful magic these days, not black magic thinking…which is exactly what that is.  When she deals with this, an image of a five year old blond girl, feeling ashamed of what she did to offend (but not sure what that was) pops into her heart.  It’s such a helpless feeling that overcomes her.  So, she is likely to try and please even those who are not worthy of her heart.  Danger zone.

She is emotionally aware of others, sometimes too much so.  She still idealizes, sometimes seeing what she wants to see rather than what is reality.  Then, when she is disappointed, it’s because she trusts she will never be good enough to have the deepest desires of her heart.  She is learning that life really does begin out of her comfort zone and that she firmly resists anyone who tries to put her in a box.  That’s a funny thing to figure out when she still wants to please.  Anais Nin once said, “I take pleasure in my transformations.  I look quiet and consistent, but few know how many women there are in me.”  Heart affirmation.

She is building her prayer life and learning to trust God fully with her heart.  This is a process in every way.  She often asks herself how she will trust the right man with her heart if she won’t trust God with her heart.  She doesn’t know the answer; she does recognize the significance of this question.  Her prayers are very different, her tears flow freely and her laughter is genuine and without apology.  Seeking God’s heart and strengthening her faith are constant forgings; and part of this is searching deeply for her own grown-up understanding of God and the Bible.  She has come a long way from believing that God was a big guy in the sky waiting to strike her down for any minor offense, with a long way to go still.  She is learning to seek Him as Father and friend.  She has many people who have come into her lives with polar opposite thoughts on God.  She listens, she prays, and she seeks intimacy with Him above anyone’s opinion.  The conversations grow her, and hopefully grows them but in the end, she knows she wants to honor what is between she and God above all else.

She is raising her kiddos and absorbing hard truths.  As caller number two pointed out, those kiddos are pretty much raised and she can’t go back and change what she may have broken.  She can only do better with what she knows.  She loves them fiercely and wants to be enough, and she often feels insufficient to do this job without their father in the house.  This is tough.  She enjoys (usually) dating and is wary of how any man would impact the lives of her children.  She also knows that coming from a beautifully blended family that the good possibilities are beyond her imagination, she reminds herself that her fairytale dream is not going to happen, ever.  She wonders how she can reframe her fairytale.  Speaking of dating, she investigates her gravitations in this area with fierce curiosity.  She notices that if there were a scale with a man on each end and one in the middle, she drifts toward the middle.

Man on the left talks about men who are Godly leaders are but doesn’t live that way, the only place he is giving is in bed, is manipulative, super smart in a ‘take note of everything so I can use it against her’ way, selfish, temperamental, impulsive, bad boy imaged, gas lights, lashes out, lies, is not faithful, treats her less than and is still yummy smelling and gives great kisses and hugs.  She knows he is not good for her in any way, but this tells herself this must be how love really is.  After all, it is volatile just like her grandparents were.  There’s no inbetween, its either on or off but she holds all the power to heal him, to heal them.  This makes her feel validated and important.  She has someone or something to save.  She is someone else with this man.  She is wild and passionate in the beginning and then she is broken.

The  man in the middle….he smells fabulous, usually hot, gives great kisses and hugs, sweet, gentle, kind of smart but not really a deep conversationalist, wants to be pursued, drops bread crumbs but just not ready or not wanting to be with her…does want her as a back up just in case.  Whew!  She wants him badly, he is likely not going to happen but she spends way too much time fawning over him and feeling a false sense of relief every time he calls or texts.  She knows he is unavailable, either emotionally, spiritually or in some manner and she chooses to believe that he is ‘good enough’ because she never will be fully worthy of man on the right.  This man gets her very best, she pulls out all the stops to keep him engaged.  She works harder for his attention than he ever will for hers.

Man on the right is strikingly handsome to her, good, kind, tender, wise, compassionate, loving, funny, Godly. smells delicious, gives great hugs and kisses and wants her best; even above his own.  He is intelligent, witty, and has big hands that are gentle.  He is trustworthy, holds her heart in his hands with care and has eyes only for her.   Their souls know each other, he is beyond what she has dreamed.  He might even be special enough to meet her family, friends and fur babies.  She considers him fondly and worries that he is too good to be real. All at once, she is afraid and she is intrigued.  She is cautious and inquisitive about the extraordinary pull she feels toward him.  She does not know how to recieve or whether to trust his kindness, so with every fiber of her being she focuses on the present moment and not on the what if’s.  A new kind of hard.

In each of these scenarios, she is torn.  She doesn’t know who to trust and ultimately, it’s herself that she doesn’t trust.  She knows.  She is working hard to trust.  She is trying hard to own her story while believing that she is worthy of the best God could bring.  She likes to refer to the hard things in life being much like a bear hunt, “can’t go over it, can’t go under it…guess you gotta go through it.”    She has a beautiful imagination and in her relationships can use this to create unreal scenarios or to destroy something before it happens.  She has a protective reason for this.  Control prevents chaos and for someone who grew up with emotional chaos, creating safety in this manner is the logical, albeit not always healthy, thing to do.

She is definitely  work in progress, in every area.  This is okay.  She shares openly many of her thoughts, but there are still many secrets inside of her.  They aren’t intentional secrets, but precious things that she doesn’t want to give away to the world for their dissection and judgement.  Some things are meant to be precious gifts from God in her own heart. She doesn’t want to risk those things being torn apart because they are part of what pieces her together.

There she is…one year later.  Lots of life to live, tons of growing to do and more contentment than she remembers feeling in forever.

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.  Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.  This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles.” – Psalm 34:4-6

I didn’t mean it like that…

I made a Facebook post today, and yesterday. A few misconstrued itbto be in regard to current situations with law officials or as a political agenda. Truly, it was neither.

My post was about our rape culture as a society. We have to do something drastic, different and immediate. Here’s what I wrote:

Listen up….I removed my post about rape culture yesterday. I removed it for one reason only….I could not have it be seen as a political move on my part, for it certainly was not. I did not want my feelings about rape culture to become an opportunity for personal political agendas or to encourage divisiveness among any party. I didn’t even notice that those quoted were Republicans, I didn’t care who they were. If you know my heart, you know that unless it’s in a field I am truly educated about, I steer clear of politics. I cared about what they said and understanding if it was in context. I care about the impact this culture has on myself, my clients, my children, my children’s children and so on.

.”Rape culture is a sociological concept for a setting in which rape is pervasive and normalized due to societal attitudes about gender and sexuality.[1][2] Behaviors commonly associated with rape culture include victim blaming, slut-shaming, sexual objectification, trivializing rape, denial of widespread rape, refusing to acknowledge the harm caused by some forms of sexual violence, or some combination of these.[3][4] .”…Wikipedia

That said, do your research, please, please, please. I am a person who tends to sprinkle magic (aka idealization, denial, etc) in my thought processes. I want to believe the best of people and I use my magic to make people and our world the person or place that is a better version. This can be delightful and it can be a danger. In this case, the facts are ugly.

In working with victims of abuse and with sexual assault victims, I promise you the rape culture is real and pervasive. When we have 14 year old girls who are the victim of a violent rape being shamed on the stand by attorneys and even judges, this is rape culture. When we have a teen boy who is molested by a youth minister and we have the youth minister sent to another state and the situation swept under the rug to protect the church reputation, this is rape culture. When a highschooler is cornered in a stairwell at school by a star basketball player, and has her breasts and genitals groped (although she clearly says no) as video evidenced, and nothing happens to him but a few days in detention bc he would miss a game…this is rape culture. When a transgender person is at high risk for abuse/rape and it is said that they are a freak and what did they expect…this is rape culture.

Do I believe that we should base an entire person’s reputation on one thing said that we don’t even know if it’s in context? No. I am saying research and understand rather than turn a blind eye. Do I believe we should forgive when we can? YES, forgiveness is a gift to our heart and the person we forgive may never even want our forgiveness. Forgiveness doesn’t obliterate consequence. I’m just saying love your neighbor, open your eyes and see reality. Please. I want a different world for my own babies and for yours too.

A little upside down day

Last night, I cooked a cheese pizza with the cheese side down. Not cool. Then, as I shook my cream for my morning coffee, I discovered the lid was not on. Creamer went everywhere…the dogs were grateful. I heard a strange noise in the bathroom and it was Maple literally eating the straps from my favorite bra. Ugh! My sleep last night was short (although worth the conversation I was having) and I put a multitude of outfits on before finding acceptable work attire today. I was pleased that Riverside was all the way open so I actually arrived at work early.
 
As I walked through the security scanner in the courthouse , I considered the fact that I have such a purpose going in there. I am going to advocate for a client and hold their hand (figuratively) through the process. It feels good to go in and know that I am going to hopefully shine a little perspective, hope and light where there is fear, anxiety and sadness. The problem is, I felt a bit melancholy myself this morning and just tired/achy. This means it was a little bit of a fake it until I make it game because this is my job, and my clients need me to do my job and do it well.
 
I was supposed to meet with three different people who all had the same court time. It turned out that only one of them showed up and I was secretly thankful, she needed the one on one attention desperately. She was freaked out, and I would’ve been freaked out too. The anxiety I had been feeling, and even called Traci Howell on my way to work to tell of, disappeared quickly in the midst of my client’s tears.
 
In deep thought, tired and slightly discouraged after court, I went back to my ho-hum feelings. My sweet Sharon Denise Harris was overwhelmed with lots of little babies in the nursery. She loves them dearly, but we all know what happens when one baby cries…it’s a crying orchestra! I went in and this is where I have spent a good portion of my day. My shirt is soaked in baby slobber and formula and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Babies are the best, best, best medicine for my heart.
 
This afternoon, I’ll be enjoying a massage that the kids got me for Mother’s Day. I’m apologizing profusely to the masseuse, as I forgot this appointment this morning and did not shave my legs. It’s just stubble, but whatever, lol! I’m so looking forward to this pampering, as I said, I just feel achy and tired. I have a good amount of homework and grown up things to do, yet there is this 4 year old inside of me screaming, “I don’t wanna!”  I’m just a little upside down today.
 
So…feel free to pray and send me your positive juju. XO and Happy Tuesday!