How to take baby steps when you must eat an elephant

I was trying to do a good thing this morning; I woke up at 4:30 a.m., without an alarm. I decided to use this unexpected wake time to read my Bible and write a bit, it’s been too long since I’ve allowed myself these self care luxuries. Even mentioning self care right now makes me cringe; it feels like just another thing that I can berate myself for not doing or not doing well enough.

Gut level honesty….My physical reflection results in more self loathing. Yes, I know that I “should” celebrate my health and the mere fact that I can walk. That ability, I will never take for granted again. I want to puke as I admonish myself for being overweight, walking ungraceful lso that I sound like a herd of elephants or dropping and hitting everything with “lefty”. I recoil when I consider how far I’ve gotten away from my God and our closeness. My thinking is stinking….PEE-YOU! Yes, I have complete and utter awareness of what I “should” be doing and thinking. My head and heart are dual forces fighting against each other. Pretty ironic since I chose serendipity and synchronicity as my words for the year.

I’m aware that this is a problem. My brain knows that if I don’t care for myself first the rest will suffer. My body and spirit support this theory by expressing their various random aches and emptiness. I think back to two days ago when I took a first baby step by going for a 20 minute walk. Although my legs and mind were in motion; my spirit was quiet and my tears were flowing. I cry often. I cry out of oppressed rage; underlying guilt; heavy shame and unexpressed fear. As of late, tears of uninhibited joy; belly laughter; overflowing gratitude; scary vulnerability; and loaded sadness are amiss. I have hidden those deep inside me as I stay in survival mode.

I sobbed uncontrollably in front of someone I care for deeply just a short time ago. I cried for yesterday’s gone and for memories remembered. I cried for unspoken hurts and persistent grief. I knew this person was terribly uncomfortable with my tumultuous emotions; yet the harder I tried to make myself stop crying, the harder I cried. The event ended in an ugly, heated argument between the two of us. I did stop crying but my unshed tears converted to a slow simmering of emotions inside that eventually boiled over and now here I am. There is an abundance of fierce intensity churning inside of me; I am at a loss at how to ‘deal’ with it. Baby steps.

There was a walk…now there’s writing. These are good beginnings, trying to climb out of my poop filled rut.

Returning to “trying to do a good thing”….I woke up this morning and knew it was time to do the writing I have been putting off for so long. This heart sharing is a part of my healing; it’s an integral portion of my self-care. The house is quiet except for the load of laundry that is working hard to get clean. There are two sweet, snoring puppies on the bed to keep me warm with soothing piano music playing in the background. My bedside lamp is the only light on. In preparation mode, I snuggle in my soft sheets, propped up on pillows with my laptop in tow. I read Ruth from the Bible and today’s devotional from Jesus Calling. I indulge in a few sips of crème brulee coffee with the perfect amount of creamer, it is just right. I am ready.

My coffee spills. My coffee spills all over the floor (knocked over by my non-jerky hand), it runs under my bed and into my school bag. (Breathe again, say goodbye to my beautiful cup of coffee, clean said coffee up with newly bleached white towel.) Crawl back under covers, resituate myself…ready. I don’t really know where I want to go with this post; I’m trying (“there is not try grasshopper, only do or do not.”) to trust God in this process and let it flow.

I have been in a relationship for the last few months; my first since the divorce. I am learning some incredibly great things about myself through this; and a few harsh realities. Here’s what I’ve got…

1) I don’t know how to play the games and when I try to play the games, I lose. I lose because I don’t like the games, nor do I care for rules that get made up as I go along; nor do I care for uncertainty. (I’ve always known that last one, just feeling it big as of late).

2) I know how to be a wife. I am not familiar with knowing how to be a girlfriend or even how to date.

3) My initial goal after the divorce of learning to love myself is still very much in play. Honestly, I just don’t know how to get there. I thought maybe I was still grieving my sweet daddy’s death and the divorce from my precious mate. Im realizing I’m only just allowing myself to grieve.

4) I need great therapist. So do you. We ALL need a great therapist. No one (self included) has the right to put you on a feelings timeline.

5) I am a danger to myself as I am still exceptionally able and willing to contort myself into any shape for someone else’s happiness. I forget easily that I am at great risk of drowning in someone else’s emotions.

6) Dating is not therapy. I am not a therapist. I am not my dating partner’s therapist nor am I their savior. Amen. The End!

7) Being desired as a woman feels like a luscious longing is being fulfilled. Desiring a man is grand. Reciprocity is extraordinarily wonderful. None of this fills a spiritual or inside void.

8) It is not okay for someone to berate you, control you, gaslight or mess with your head and heart, no matter how hurt they’ve been. Never, ever, never. Take note, sometimes it feels okay, even good. If their stinking words and actions match my stinking thinking this almost feels comfortable and affirming…I was right.

9) After 45 years of living and 23 years of living that life loving one partner; sometimes you think you are upset at the person you are dating and really you are upset at a memory, a loss of a dream, a projected fear, etc. There is wisdom in reflecting on where our emotions are coming from. (which is a much better option than shoving the emotions down or numbing them with oreos…ask me how I know).

10)Listen to your gut, follow your heart, don’t forget your brain. Working on these. Like my friend Jenny always says, it’s just practice.

I think that’s it for now. Breathing in lavender from my bedside diffuser and wishing I could go back to sleep for a couple of hours. Thanks for letting me do this writing thing. It’s good for my heart and my prayer is that someone reading this needs it too.

I’ll leave you with this simple profundity. How do we eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Baby bites if we must.

Namaste, peace, beauty and love to you,

S.

This Day is a Gift

I was in the laundry aisle of Target tonight when the loud screaming of a young child became audible. It was a pitiful sound that made my Momma heart ache; and I immediately began to search out where the noise was originating. It didn’t take but a moment to locate this maybe two year old because of the scene her own Mom was making in the store.

I’m going to attempt to paint the scene of what happened, in an earnest attempt to get across the deep helplessness I felt. This mom was repeatedly squeezing her child’s legs, hard. She would tower over the child (who was buckled into the cart) and yell, “You don’t EVER tell Mommy no, EVER, when I get home I am going to spank you again and again and again!” This child was literally shrinking back and down as far as she could into the cart as tears and snot ran down her face. Granted, I do realize we all parent different yet I am in the practice of respecting and accepting the cultures, belief systems and lifestyles of all people. However, this woman was bordering on abuse. My heart hurt for that little baby as she shrunk back. Everyone around this woman would look at her, then we’d look at each other. There were shrugs, head shakes, even conversations about what to do, but no one (myself included) knew the answer. It was the epitome of social discomfort.

I kept following the woman, at a safe distance. She continued to scream at her child as she walked up and down aisles, she took time every few minutes to text someone. It felt like she was trying to draw attention to herself. She was very well dressed, extremely loud and seemed to put nothing in her cart. The final straw was when I made a moment of eye contact with the little girl which was broken when her mom said, “You know better than to behave like this, you ought be ashamed!” That whole shame phrase cuts me deep. There was an older woman next to me and we made eye contact. She said, “what can you do, I don’t know what to do?” I replied that I didn’t know either.

I knew that I had to do something, I had no idea what. I felt a little afraid that whatever I did, it wouldn’t fare well for this baby girl. I didn’t want this woman to feel judged but I did want her to stop and think. I was praying super hard. I approached the woman and child from behind…”Mam, Mam” No response so I got a little braver and tapped her gently on the arm with a firm, “excuse me, mam” That got her attention.

Me: “I notice you seem a little bit stressed, I wondered if there is anything I can do to help.”

Her: “No, thank you. She (points at child) knows better than to act like this”.

Me: “Gosh, she sure is beautiful with those big brown eyes. How old is she?”

Her: “She just turned two and she knows better than to cry like this.”

Me: “Ah, two is such a tough age, she’s doing just what is developmentally appropriate, but it’s sure hard. What’s her name?”

Her: “Her name is Lilliana (not her real name).

Me: “I love her name!” (I’m talking to child trying to speak soothingly and hoping mom sees that this gets good results bc screaming has turned into hiccup cries} “Thanks so much for stopping and letting me talk, I can’t ever pass up the opportunity to talk to little ones, I miss that age so much.”

Her: Gets a call and waves at me as she exits the store and Lilliana resumes crying.

I wonder what happened as they left that store. I wonder why it didn’t occur to that Momma to pick up her distraught child and love on her. I wonder who didn’t teach her to do that. I am not judging, please know that. I have had (still have) endless hard days with my kiddos where I have reacted rather than responded and I have behaved ugly on more occasions than I care to mention. Something about this just bothered me, deep into my soul.

I don’t know if it’s because a precious family that I love lost their child to cancer today or if it’s because my own precious children are fighting huge battles of their own right now, this just hurt.

I hadn’t planned on leaving a little piece of my heart at Target, but leave a little piece of my heart I did. I’m praying for that baby girl and her Momma tonight that they can connect and that nurturing, peace and love will override all else. I wish I could share this little image of this day being a gift with them.

Out of shame and into Grace

A few weeks ago, I was blessed with a surprise that goes beyond anything my wildest dreams have dreamt.   I have wanted to share my gratitude and joy with the whole wide universe, yet I have stopped myself from doing this multiple times.  Tonight, as I sat folding laundry, I felt such a tug on my heart to stop arguing with myself immediately about what this blogpost would look like, and instead, just write.  Thus, this post is going to be unfiltered, possibly a wee bit scattered and certainly vulnerable.  It’s likely to seem a little raw, because raw is simply where I am these days.

In January, 2013, I began a brand new job as a Resource Coordinator for families who had  kiddos with special needs.  The day I was driving to get my drug test, a man just barely older than me took his own life by jumping off of a bridge.  He landed right on the windshield of the truck in front of me.(I think I wrote about this in an older blog).  Reflecting back, not only was this heartbreaking; it was seemingly a mirror to what my life would be like for the next few years.  My whole world would be turned upside down in ways I never could’ve fathomed.  In those years, there might have even been a time that I thought it would perhaps be easier to not be alive than to bear what was.  This was a fleeting thought, I don’t believe I was ever tempted to take my own life, and every time I was feeling destitute, I would think back to that man and how he must have been so desperately hopeless.  I didn’t realize in the midst of my pain, he actually further lit the fire in me to reach out to the hurting and to do all I could to ensure no aching soul would ever walk alone.  Lofty ideals…they are strong in me.

I’ve no desire to trudge up past pains, yet it’s beneficial to give a background for those who aren’t aware.  The rest of 2013 included the deepening of my Daddy’s war with Alzheimer’s; infidelity in what I thought were the happiest years of my 15 year marriage; a never-ending battle with contractors whose work had devastating consequences on our  home and finances; and a spiral into the depths of Hell as clinical depression took hold of my then spouse.  Simultaneously, my anxiety had me constantly spinning in the eye of my own tornado

2014- 2015 were in many ways years of restoration.  My ex and I found a beautiful souled, wise counselor.  We worked our asses off to get to a better place.  We had a plethora of healing take place between us, individually and in our family.  Daddy continued to decline and was moved into a memory care community.  Even so, Momma, myself, my siblings and extended family drew closer together.  I applied for grad school and did not get accepted.  I see now that this was the very best thing, for I didn’t know how hard life was going to get.  At the time, it was another rejection and I felt more defeated than ever.  I had quit my wonderful job and worked several little part-time jobs so that I could help with my Dad and work on healing my family.  Though I have no regrets, because I will never have that time of healing again, it was financially stressful.  I baked for extra cash, picked up every odds and ends job I could and tried to maintain my sanity at this time.  My ex and I rarely saw each other with our crazy schedules, kids activities and my Daddy.  If we were given a life stressors assessment at the time, we would’ve been able to check many of the major stressors, we were in constant survival mode.

2016-2017  sadly brought another separation, and finally, a divorce after nearly 18 years of marriage and 23 years of knowing.  It also brought the death of my precious Daddy; a move for my extraordinary Momma; school changes for the kids; returning to work full-time for me; and getting accepted into grad school (YES)!  A roller coaster ride full of high’s and lows, with minimal in between’s.

In 2013, when I first found out about the affair, I went searching for  a bible verse that I could hold on to.  I didn’t want anything too pretty sounding; for life wasn’t pretty and I often was certain that it would only get worse.  Besides, I was building up walls between God and I and I only wanted to be slightly comforted.

“So I will restore the years the locust has eaten.  You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied.  And praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you.  And my people shall never be put to shame.”  -Joel 2:25 – 26

Truthfully, I have no recollection of how I landed on this verse, I only know that I have held it in my heart for always.  Every time I recite it to myself, I remind me that I will have to surrender my picture of what restoration looks like to God and trust him in the process.  If you know me at all, you know this is nearly impossible for me at times.  My favorite game is “Here God, here’s (what, who, struggle), I surrender it to you. ” (5 seconds pass)  “Actually God, I’ve got it, thanks for being willing to help.”  And so it goes…

Like the rest of the world, I have had struggles.  When that big blessing came to me a few weeks ago, it was quite public…I was on two news stations as a matter of fact.  I have received numerous accolades, encouragements and hugs; everyone is happy for me.  In that happiness, I keep hearing how much “I deserve this”.  I am truly humbled and honored that anyone would even believe I deserve such treasures; I have a hard time believing I ‘deserve’ anything.’  We all are deserving.  Even more, it is a challenge for me to ask for much less accept help.  I am getting LOTS of help here, help that was just bestowed on me without my asking.  Help because someone (s) see my heart and my struggles and they followed a prompting to nominate me.  I am touched deeply and no fancy words could ever express that.  I am just going to have to express it in hugs and cookies, we already agreed on that!

In short, my dear friend, Mike G. is the person who had me on his heart and started this ball rolling.  He connected with my precious friend, Trena T. and the ball started rolling. The kids and I were one of three families chosen to win a new heat and air unit from the fabulous Air Assurance.  (WHAT?  SO THANKFUL!)  Many more people were involved, including Mike’s lovely wife Melissa and a handful of professionals who are going to (are you ready?  Drum Roll!) make my dreams come true.  Our beloved home is receiving renovations and remedies.  These people who I don’t even know are going to contribute to the lives of my dear children and I simply because they are choosing to.  I am eternally grateful, humbled, giddy, shocked, amazed, and in disbelief.  I’ve posted the link to the news station interview above.

As people began to step forward and tell me what they would be doing for us, in our home, as a gift, my verse kept speaking to me.  HE WILL RESTORE THE YEARS THE LOCUSTS HAVE EATEN.  He has been restoring, he is restoring.  It does not look like I would’ve defined it, but God is a good, good Father and his restoration is nothing short of supernatural.

Tonight, I hear the part of my verse that says THERE IS NO SHAME IN HIS PEOPLE.  Maybe it is okay for me to accept the ‘deserving’.  I’m working on that.

My prayer for 2018…the year Sarah learns to step out of her shame and into His grace.

Merry Christmas 

I baked a plethora of Christmas cookies last night for sharing at today’s family gathering. I am pooped. 

I thought about how many times I have stood in this exact kitchen and baked Christmas cookies. It’s a relaxing activity for me and something that brings back fond memories Of my grandma. It makes me happy that people look forward to eating my cookies every year because it’s one of the few things I feel I can tangibly do and share to make people feel good.

After I finished the cookies, I began to gather the ingredients to bake a little pumpkin gingerbread for everyone. I realized I was almost out of the oil and that I would have to go to the store but at this point it was nearly midnight. I was making a plan for running to the store, making the batter and not baking until morning. The more I considered it, I realized this meant I would be baking all of tomorrow.

I made a very different decision than what I would usually make and decided that I would not be baking pumpkin gingerbread loaves this Christmas. More than anything, I want to rest, reflect on the gifts my Savior has given me and be present with the people that I love.

.In this season, it’s easy to run myself ragged and I don’t want to do that. I’m certain God will provide me with other opportunities to bless those around me….. and in case you are one of the people that usually find a treat for me on your doorstep, please know that I love you dearly… With or without the gingerbread.
Merry eve of Christmas Eve!🎄🚵🏽‍♀️

Certain uncertainty

“Sometimes I am the mess.  Sometimes I’m the broom.  On the hardest days, I have to be both.” -Ruby Francisco

“PEACE.  It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work.  It means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart.” -unknown

It’s been a terribly ‘off’ day.  Nothing in my world feels centered and each time I try to choose peace, chaos charges in.  Since early morning,  I have been a colorful storm of emotions; tonight, I desperately seek the rainbow.

I woke myself up from a deep sleep by loudly sobbing into my pillow.  It took me a moment to wake up and piece my dream together.  I felt such a heaviness in my spirit; I was yearning for a quick fix to clear my head and heart.  I transcribed my dream with as many details as I could recall into my notes and headed out in the brisk morning air to walk.  The walk was short, I longed for peace and God connection.  I went to my favorite spot behind the shed and sat in the sun.  I was intentional in picking my prayer spot, I like to remind myself that I’m literally, ‘walking in the son’.  I spent a good amount of time there considering my dream and I actually read it out loud to God.

In reading my dream aloud, it was obvious that I had blended several issues that are bothering me during wakeful hours into one crazy, scary, heavy dream.  The subconscious can be it’s own monster I guess.  Details of my dream aren’t what bothered me most; the feelings I had upon waking threw me into a tizzy.  I’ve discussed them a million times, I’m open with my struggles.  I wish that made them go away.  I was feeling overwhelmingly unworthy, ashamed, resentful, mistrustful and sad.

We must travel through our feelings to get to a better place, right?  I really didn’t want to travel through…I’ve been here more times than I can count.  Nonetheless, here I was.  I am aware that my M.O. when I’m feeling these things is to grip the reigns tighter; get ‘control’ where I can in my life; withdraw or pick arguments and maybe throw in a few oreos for good measure.  It’s not like we plan to do these self destructive behaviors, but they are comfortably convenient and familiar, so why not?

I’ll tell you why not…because I am worthy of the best life for me.  My kiddos are going to get to see their momma continue to not just survive, but thrive.  How awesome in theory this sounds, yet living it is another story.  Here is where the first rainbow of the day came in.  My dearest friend called and processed through this with me.  I sought wisdom from my precious Momma.  I have a new very special friend who was extremely patient and kind with my verbal vomit; and is still my special friend this evening.  Best of all was my overwhelming guilt for reaching out to God only while I’m in a valley and forgetting him on the mountaintops (I believe this was ‘ironically’ part of the message at church last week.)

I had the opportunity after this mini journey through hell to settle in and work on a school project.  Instead, I made myself a brilliant to do list where the biggest task was to, “Save the World!”  This should be a big joke, yet I get so caught up in taking care of everyfreakingone that it’s really not.  I sat down to start typing and began to feel extremely nauseous.  It’s just a little antibiotic side effect, and although little, it was awfully distracting.  I decided to go do a load of laundry and take the sheets off my bed.  Oh yes…I needed to add a few things to my said to do list.  I have a washer to do laundry, a comfy cozy bed with warm blankets to sleep on, hands to write a to do list with….more rainbows!

My son’s girlfriend came over.  I was visiting with the two of them for a bit, before I resumed my project.  There was a knock at the door.  I was surprised to find that rather than a friend; it was a very angry man who believed my dog attacked his son.  Long story short, I was terrified as were the kids.  I called the police and it seemed like they took forever to arrive.  In the meantime, my brother in law and dear neighbors came.  I am still feeling horrible tonight for involving them, I didn’t know if this man was dangerous, I only knew he was out of control yelling, cursing and pounding on my doors and windows.  The situation was resolved, my kids were horrified as was I.  However, definite rainbows here.  First, my 16 year old son totally stepped up and directed his girlfriend and I to stay put in the bathroom so he could make sure the police were really here.  He is brave, he is a protector and he really does love me!  Sometimes 16 makes that hard to remember.  I am incredibly blessed to have friends and family that will rush to aid us and thank God for the police officers.  On a deeper level, this is the first time I have not felt safe since Nathan left our home and it has just left me feeling the teeniest bit emptier than I like.  My brother is here with us tonight….yet another rainbow for which I am grateful.

I stubbed my toe when running into the bathroom this afternoon and half of my entire toenail on my big toe came off a little bit ago.  There was blood…my blood.  I am not a fan of my blood and my sweet 12 year old daughter doctored me up.  She is sunshine, rainbow, goodness and love.

I am a bundle of uncertainty right now.  That’s okay.  I remind myself that I have to be certain of nothing but uncertainty.   I am blogging; I have accomplished not one iota of my project or my bills. (Our Christmas tree is now decorated and the nativity set is up….priorities!)   Tomorrow is a new day.  It’s on my to do list to find my sanity….I might be looking for a while.

Blessings all.

Now

I got home from school around 10:20 tonight. (BTW, I am loving school!) Anyway…I came home wound up as all get out so I used that energy to do a quick clean. Laundry is in, kitchen sink scrubbed, all floors vacuumed, and the smell of bleach is permeating the air while the whites wash. All of this makes me happy…and suddenly, my abundance of energy has vanished.

My heart is slightly heavy tonight as I process letting go. I talked to a very wise soul today…(you know who you are). I was tearfully sharing my fears that there will not be another side to my journey, as well as the other terrors that haunt me. I shared that after Pathways, I had the BEST two years of my marriage that I never could’ve imagined and then, whoosh!, it was gone. I let her know I have a wee bit of mistrust and anger with God for not making this better and lots of mistrust and disappointment in myself for losing my magic wand.

She asked me something I truthfully have never considered and am pondering carefully tonight. “What if God gave me those two years to give me a glimpse of what a future love could look like? She asked me some other things, and the permeating thought I have left over as my summary is the one that begs an answer to the question…”how I am going to spend my now? Am I waiting to arrive at the other side before I settle in?”

I likely am waiting in ways, I tend to freeze a little when I am afraid. I have had to say too many goodbyes lately, as I discussed in my previous post…no way around it, they suck.  There have been goodbyes through a death, goodbyes through divorce, goodbyes and a goodbye to a dear, dear friend by choice.  None of them is better than the other.

My heart is telling me there are other goodbyes to say…another bit of  letting go that is weighing me down.  It’s time to say goodbye to things that aren’t working in my life as I learn to replace them with what is better, healthier, wiser.  It’s time to say goodbye to control (or my illusion of it), yet again…which means, hello surrender my friend.

 

It’s time.  It’s time.  It is time.

Grief

I recently read that the best cure for grief was to grieve.  Duh, sounds simple enough.  No big deal until one just feels weary of grieving.  The grief “process”; it’s flabbergasting.  It’s an exhausting, painful, crushing, hard to breathe process and every time your get your head above the waves to catch a breath, the wave crashes over you once more, and you are drowning.  Again.

It’s a lump in the throat that says, “don’t speak” or the torrent of tears will come, but what choice is there?  Swallow the bitter bile down into your seemingly empty soul?  It’s the endlessly sour tummy that won’t go away no matter how many Tums are downed or how cautious the diet is.  It’s the tightness across the back that burns and is only alleviated by deep pressure; because the pressure reminds us that we are alive.  It’s the clenched jaw accompanied by tense neck muscles that are holding the world in place and the twitching eyelid that is imagined to be the worst kind of tumor in the anxious, exhausted mind.

It’s joyful laughter when a certain scent, song, memory…anything comes to surface…but then it is followed by an unsolicited, salty rain…running down soft cheeks without warning.  It is the penetrating sense of emptiness that ravishes the soul and the nightmare that haunts in the daytime.  Grief is the reminder of loss….over, and over and over again.  It is said that time heals all wounds.  I find this to be an intricately woven unreality that was designed to protect hearts from further pain.

Grief is obviously front and center in my world today and the effect is snowballing.   I am hurting for people that I love dearly because they lost a man precious to them.  He was a father, a son, a once in a lifetime dream love, a friend, a brother, an Uncle, not- simply…an honorable man who lived to make others smile.  I hurt for my niece and nephew who have never experienced this kind of loss before.  The first time with grief is unlike anything , the last and the middle griefs are no better.

Heartache.  Loss.  Tears.  Unutterable prayers. Pain.  In all of it, the healing has begun, I think.  Maybe the healing begins the minute we even connect and the pain of loss reminds us just how important love and each moment are.  It doesn’t matter right now though, right now is not celebration…right now just hurts.

I cry for their losses.  I cry for my losses.  I cringe at the thoughts running through my mind.  I wish I had a grief formula to follow.  Do blah blah blah and then do yada yada yada and in a couple of weeks, maybe a couple of months, everything will be okay.  Getting to the point of celebrating what was before the loss will come but your life has been forever changed.  My life has been forever changed.  This is truth and for now, I’m kinda tired of grief and all that accompanies it.

Shadow Dance

My internal world has been filled with an abundance of “AHEM” moments today.  AHEM moments don’t feel like the progress I like to feel after I’ve done the hard work of processing; they have yet to lead me to any “AHA” moments; and honestly, those are usually my goal.  AHEM moments are more like scathing, scary, scolding, self scuffling conversations that go on constantly between my head and my heart.  These moments are anxiety provoking…the kind of anxiety where although I continue to be productive and sufficiently distracted with work, there is the constant gnawing in my belly, the lump in my throat and the uptight breathing that accompanies the tense certainty that everything cannot be as okay as it seems.  I went through my day, doing the business of living and forgetting to find my place of surrender, my calm center, my joy…I just go and go and go as fast as I can.  No matter how much I do or how amazingly efficient I am, the chatter in the background will.not.stop!  That’s my day today.

Writing, praying, reflecting and sharing are healing for me, and I know there is something deep inside of me in need of healing as I write this or my heart wouldn’t be so overflowing with trepidation in this moment.  Selfishly, I’m ‘getting it out’ in hopes of being rewarded with peace.  Altruistically speaking, I hope the reader gleams some sort of self awareness from reading.

  • I made a decision a couple of weeks ago to do something totally out of character for me…I think.  As I ponder my actions more, I consider the possibility that this was absolutely something within my character but something I’ve never felt the freedom to do.
  • I had a hard and precious conversation with my ex husband today (I still feel as if I am speaking of someone else when I say those words…I’m working on owning them).  We are at a place of peace and we are able to ask questions of one another, this is beautiful but does not make the answers easier to bear.
  • I have had to distance myself from someone precious in my life in order to guard my own heart.  Boundary setting sucks.
  • It is less than a month away from the 9th anniversary of the stroke and just a few days away from what would be our 19th wedding anniversary.  My soul reverberates the echoes of what my mind wants nothing to do with.
  • I’ve been playing Words with Friends when I need a little break.  One of the men I have been playing with invited me to download an app on my phone today so we could ‘talk naughty’ to each other.  (I don’t know him, he is a ‘random’ stranger from the game).  I don’t really believe in random and after I found out his story, my belief that there are no accidents has been confirmed.  He is married and wanted to be honest with me, but felt that ‘talking dirty’ wasn’t a big deal.  He asked if I thought it was and I let him know that I guess that depended on where your personal boundaries were and that mine would not permit me to engage in these conversations with a married man.  We talked further, I shared with him my heart on the matter and my own story.  I encouraged him to find out what was missing within himself or his marriage and not go down this road, no matter how innocent the intentions were.  I don’t know what he will do, but I pray that our ‘meeting’ was of value to his heart.
  • We celebrated my beautiful sister Beth’s 60th birthday this weekend.  I have no words sufficient to describe the fullness in my heart that the love within my family provides to me.  No words.  No matter how many years go by, when I am naming my siblings, I always feel like I leave one out.  It’s my big brother Brent and he definitely left an empty space.  I celebrate his life in partiality by always ‘counting him in’.  My Daddy would’ve loved the party thrown for Beth, and he would’ve been immensely proud of all of us.  I miss him so.
  • I have haunting background thoughts that tell me I will never be the object of a worthy man’s love, that having extra pounds makes me less than valuable,  that I will get Alzheimers and not have enough money to have good care, that I won’t fulfill my purpose before I die….all of these crappy lies that won’t go away.  I don’t actually know if they are truth or lies, I do know that I am living my purpose right here and now, that I will have everything I need when I need it and that God’s plan is much better than my own.  I KNOW these things deep down but when the shouting between my head and heart gets louder than my knowing, I forget my truth.

So here I am….dancing with my shadows but the shadows mean that there is light, so I know I am okay.  That’s an AHA moment and the only one I really need right now.

 

Be blessed,

Sarah

 

 

 

I AM WOMAN

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace;

What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth?

I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.

He hath made every thing beautiful in his time…

Ecclesiastes 3


I mentioned recently that I am a late bloomer.  This persona goes with this whole “old soul'”, “wise for my age”,  “good girl” theme that I was dropped smack in the middle of on September 5, 1972 (this would be the day of my birth).  This has always been a belief about myself that I bought into…until recently.

Sometimes, one’s world is turned upside down by the uncontrollable circumstances of life.  Personally, things that have rocked my world in the past few years include, but are not limited to:

  • Walking through Alzheimer’s disease with my precious Father and losing him after he bravely battled it for 12 years.  Every day in Alzheimer’s land is a day that you say goodbye in some way to your loved one and hello to a new change in them.
  • Infidelity, followed by three years of intense therapy with my ex husband
  • A divorce from my best friend after 23 years together
  • A big move for my beautiful Momma out of our family home and into her new home (which is lovely by the way)
  • Helping children cope.  Children teaching me to be a grown up.  Welcome to teen world.  Enough said.
  • A couple of career changes
  • Financial stress, financial stress, financial stress
  • Weight loss, weight gain and now onto loss again

Goodness knows, there is much more.  This is an excellent starter list though.  Surprisingly, I’m still here to tell my story and for that, my gratitude is overwhelming.

There are “firsts” happening too:

  • There have been a couple of dates for me.  Shocking, but dating at 19 is a completely different game than dating at 45.
  • My kiddos are experiencing tons of “firsts”…growing up; junior high; high school, dates (kind of); and all the challenges that accompany their experiences
  • I have begun graduate school, tonight as a matter of fact
  • I have a new career that I treasure!
  • New friends.  I feel like I am in college all over again with the new friends I am making.  I was just discussing with one of them (my new friends) how cool the process is; we agreed that there is a feeling that some of the friendships we are forming now, in our 40’s, are forged for a lifetime.
  • I am making grown up decisions for myself without regard (or less regard) to the judgement’s of others.  This is a drastic change for me.
  • I’m working on replacing words like shame, guilt and should’s with surrender, forgiveness and healing.
  • I am letting my mistakes be what they are…a growing experience that does not indicate I cannot accept myself with imperfections.

So….back to the late bloomer.  I have come to the conclusion that I’m not ‘late’ afterall.  I have certainly not arrived.  I am simply journeying along, just like we all are.  I wrote out Ecclesiastes 3 because it’s always been a favorite of mine, yet it’s only now that it seems to apply to my own life.  (I know…forgive my recent egocentricity.)  I am viewing myself in a different light.  There is a path ahead of me that is full of beauty and delight, I get to decide (generally speaking) which directions I will go.

During a party I recently attended, I watched in awe as several beautiful women danced to the song, “I am Woman” by Helen Reddy.  The lyrics fit where I am right now beautifully…..

“I am woman, hear me roar in numbers too big to ignore, and I know too much to go back or pretend cause I’ve heard it all before and I’ve been down on the floor No one’s ever gonna keep me down again.  Oh yes, I am wise, but it’s wisdom born of pain, yes I’ve paid the price, but look how much I’ve gained.  If I have to, I can do anything.  I AM STRONG.  I AM INVINCIBLE.  I AM WOMAN.  You can bend but never break me cause’ it only serves to make me more determined to achieve my final goal and I come back even stronger not a novice any longer cause you’ve deepened the conviction in my soul.  (chorus)  I am woman watch me grow see me standing toe to toe as I spread my lovin’ arms across the land.  But I’m still an embryo with a long long way to go, until I make my brother understand.  (chorus)  

Yep…this is right where I am and right where I am is EXACTLY where I am supposed to be.

Midnight Java….the Aftermath

My dear friend Traci let me know this morning that she is not concerned about my becoming an alcoholic.  She is, however, worried about my frequent late night coffee consumption.  I’m wondering if her unease about my exuberant consumption is something I ought to investigate further.

Though I have always found the aroma of a fresh brew intoxicating, I was never a consumer of this ‘nectar of the gods’ until I was a Preschool Director and momma of two babies.  My energy was low and the needs of those I cared for were high.  Simultaneously, they put a Starbuck’s in less than a mile from my home.  I took it as a sign, God was smiling down at me and it was a love at first sip!

Since then, I have kept my intake of this delicious cup of energy minimal to moderate.  One cup on a good day, two cups on a rushed day and 3 -4 cups when I was trying to keep the poo from hitting the fan.  I guess by now the poo has hit the fan and been splattered about, so it only makes sense that I have begun the sweet little ritual of late night coffee drinking.  I do this only occasionally, I can stop anytime I want…really.  I limit myself to this practice when the kids aren’t at home and I’m quite productive (sometimes) when I begin to drink coffee at midnight.

What’s the problem then?  I might be a wee bit sensitive to the caffeine but it’s a nice, harmless little buzz. It helps me stay awake so I can create, clean, or stare of into space contemplating my world.   There is nothing like coffee and candlelight!  Countless benefits, right?

It’s been a rough week in this life.  Last night was a cup at midnight…a cup at 1…and maybe a 1/2 cup at 1:30.  (Sorry Traci, I couldn’t bring myself to tell you the whole truth). I fell into a not quite sound sleep at 3:30’ish and was awake, ordering groceries at 5:30’ish.  I was on my way to work at 8’ish.  I’m feeling the consequences of two hours of sleep in a serious way.   No worries…nothing a little cinnamon dolce latte with extra espresso can’t fix!  It’s a cycle for sure…I just haven’t decided if it’s vicious or victorious!

Last night’s bender wound up in a great phone conversation with a beloved friend, a couple of loads of completed laundry, clean dishes, a bit of reading and A LOT of staring at my candle flicker while I chatted with God and weighed on all that is heavy on my heart.  I felt, and still feel, conflicted and afflicted.  As I mentioned, it’s been a rough week in this life.

I am incredibly proud of my ex husband and I.  We fought the good fight for our relationship and although the outcome wasn’t what either of us had hoped, we are still here.  Now we fight the good fight as parents who love their children dearly.  Still, the divorce is new and I find myself deep in thought as I adjust once again to a new normal.

I found myself in the middle of a devastating situation this week, I am thankful that I was present yet this is a situation that hurts every fiber of my being.  The ex and I have had to walk through some really difficult stuff with our kids this week and who knows if we are doing it right?  I am in a state of mind that leaves me aching to ‘fix’ and nothing is in my power to fix.

I think about the tragedies around us.  In my opinion, teens and social media combined have the ability to create a horrific impact and I am seeing this directly in action.  Our elders and our children are not cared for well in our society.  There are endless gaps in this world and too many people are oblivious to the societal impact until they are personally affected.  How do we radically meet those around us right where they are without pushing our own agenda onto them.  What are the long term repercussions for those who are harmed and for those who cause harm?

These thoughts are the aftermath of my midnight java.  Good thoughts….great thoughts…heavy heart and void of solutions for the most part.  Still, I march forward ready to embrace life as it comes and holding onto a mustard seed of faith that there is hope for my future…for our future as a whole.

Most of us are familiar with the quote,

“You must be the change you want to see in the world.” -Mahatma Gandhi

I’m pretty sure the original quote was, “You must be the change you want to see in the world, and it all begins with a late night cup of coffee, a candle, and a little chat with God.”

The aftermath of late night java….it’s a beautiful thing.