LET HOPE TAKE FLIGHT

I hate needles. So much so, that I opted out of epidurals and had natural deliveries with both of my children. Needles mean that a person with medical expertise is going to take over my body. Needles mean I am helpless. Needles mean I am powerless. Needles have meant that my body has betrayed me and I am going to get poked and prodded. Needles have symbolized a lack of control and fear in my past. This is all due to my medical history starting at birth. Although I am 48 years young and quiet understanding that all the pokies in my past have been to help rather than harm me; I still HATE needles.

It’s easy to imagine my sweet momma’s expression when I told her I wanted a tattoo for my birthday this year. She laughed in surprised response and reminded me that I hated needles and probably wouldn’t enjoy a tattoo. I thought this was all the more reason to get one. I wasn’t trying to prove anything to anyone. This tattoo was something I felt a need to do for myself. After all, life begins out of our comfort zones, right?

I had a plethora of ideas and feedback about what I should do. I was all over the board with my options. Then, as most things do, it came to me very clearly. Rather than spend all of this blog explaining what I did not do, I would love to share my experience as well as what I did do and why.

I chose to get a hummingbird with the words, “I’m a love a you.” I chose to have it on the inside of my wrist so that I can look at it often and remember. Here’s the backstory…

My brother Brent passed away in 1987. Every single year, starting then, a hummingbird has appeared to my mom or a member of our family on the week of the anniversary of his death. We have always felt like it was a sign that Brent was okay. It has always happened at the craziest of times and seems to be an isolated event. Even this year, in the home I had been in for only 4 months…I was sitting on my deck in the morning drinking coffee and thinking about how many years Brent had been gone. Right then, a little hummingbird hovered around my head and then to my plants. That is the only time I have seen a hummingbird here…until tonight…but that’s another story.

I looked up hummingbird symbolism and meaning. I found that in Native American cultures, hummingbirds are seen as healers, bringers of love, good luck and joy. In central America, they bring love to the person who spots them. In various cultures, hummingbirds are considered to be messengers from heaven, gently nudging us to move on and release the burden of people or things that can no longer be part of our lives. Lastly, and my favorite was the folklore indicating that a hummingbird is a sign that a loved one who has passed away has successfully made it to the other side and is doing just fine. (LOVE).

Hummingbirds generally symbolize joy, playfulness and adaptability; tireless in their effort to find sweetness and as a reminder to pursue our dreams and not allow obstacles to stop us…regardless of distance. They are whimsical. They are magical. They flit from place to place. They fly so freely. I have been set free from so very much. The hummingbird and I seem synchronous in nature. Everything fits.

Then….”I’m a love a you.” This is something my Daddy and Momma said to each other. My daughter and I were talking in the car. I had decided on a hummingbird yet I felt something was missing. She reminded me of this phrase. That was it. A perfect honor to my parents; they are all about the love. I smile every time my heart hears them say, “I’m a love a you.” If I can love others (starting with my children) as much as they loved each other and their cherished ones, I will have lived my life well.

I had the most fabulous tattoo artist and human being help me through this process. I survived and we had the best conversation the whole time I was getting inked. That is not what I imagined would happen. Masked in the covid area and getting a tattoo can’t keep meaningful human connection away!

I keep trying to decide what it felt like. Not painful really. Maybe uncomfortable and aggravating describe the sensation best for me. It was a phenomenal experience. I am incredibly proud of myself for doing this. Earlier today, when I was chatting with my daughter, she made me pinky promise to her demand that I ‘not chicken out’.

I will look at this tattoo daily and cherish it’s story. Whether only I know it or share it with others; it represents the love that has always embraced me, who I am, and who I have the freedom to be. “I’m a love a you” also is a tangible reminder that not only am I surrounded by love, I love myself.

I can do hard things.

p.s. Tonight, I was standing outside by the moonflowers with my kiddos. Guess who came to visit us but a dancing little hummingbird?

Hope has taken flight.

Lovely Me

I did a thing today… I’m going to write about it before I lose my nerve.

I went to the pool in a black two piece swimsuit. I love two pieces for so many reasons, they are the next best thing to being naked in the water (because that’s illegal in the community pool).

However, I hate my stomach with a vengeance and would never intentionally show it off. Sometimes though, full coverage suits make it look even worse than it is by trying to squish me up in places that need not be squished. Still, I try to find the best full coverage swimsuit I can to hide my body.

I’m so sick of hiding. I’m sick of hiding my thoughts. I’m weary of hiding my opinions. I am tired of shrinking down to appease things that don’t even deserve my appeasement.. I

I fear judgment that people look at me and think I have no business in a two-piece suit. When I stop and think about it, it’s pretty egocentric to think everybody at the pool is going to be looking at me and concerned about what I’m wearing.. If that is their biggest concern, kudos to them and I suggest they get a life.

I enjoyed the pool today more than I have all season long. I wasn’t tugging at my swimsuit trying to get it perfect nor was I trying to hide myself… There is nothing to hide.

I want my daughter and her friends to see me modeling a healthy self image. I fear that I have not always been in this place. I want them to see me being authentic in every way and that includes in the journey to love my own body as the strong, healthy, perfectly imperfect storage for my soul that it is.

I also think Stella is going to be pretty proud of me for not wearing my usual “grandma“ swimsuits. (I think that’s pretty harsh. LOL!)

I’ve been on a journey to get healthier the past few years and I have made huge strides. I am still a work in progress… we all are.

Whether I have been working on myself or not though, I deserve to enjoy my body free from shame, guilt, and disgust. My body is a miraculous and beautiful creation.

It’s been lovely today to focus on what I am rather than what I am not. I’m learning.💕

I’m not in need of accolades. My prayer is that this pings somebody else who also struggles with body image. I hope they are encouraged to look in the mirror and see that they too are a beautiful and miraculous creation.

Another Inside Job

One of my favorites. You could really substitute any word for “love”. Try happiness, peace, grace, mercy….even friendship. You get the idea.

Whatever the word, it is our own task to find the barriers within ourselves that keep us from experiencing it. It’s never another persons role nor is it our job to decide for others what they need to do.

Currently, my personal word is acceptance. “My task is not to seek acceptance, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within myself that I have built against it.“

If I do not feel accepted by somebody else, I don’t feel safe inside myself or with them. I have tended in the past to become the perfect chameleon in order to appease another persons need for comfort or my endless need for acceptance. After all, if somebody else does not accept me or some thing I have done, how can I accept myself? I must have been wrong.

I’m learning that that acceptance only needs to come from me and not from somebody else. It’s an inside job. I would have said, “self acceptance” but that doesn’t apply solely because I have to except that I don’t need acceptance from people outside of myself.

For me, it boils down to this… Trying to seek God in everything. Trying to remember that He loves and accepts me right where I am. Trying to remember that this is all I need. Trying to remember that I am enough in Him.

What’s the word that would fit here for you?

Bruised

Goodness, life is hard sometimes isn’t it?
 
Last night I went to bed with a heart feeling as bruised as my black and blue booty.
 
Covid times just add an extra layer of what if’s to my ever wondering mind. Add that to a little unexpected chaos, uncomfortable growing pains, restless sleep, deeply hurting friends and hard conversations..I hit my pillow last night with a sense of grief and loss, wondering where my hope and faith are. How can I stand in the gap for others when I am not doing so for myself? I can’t.
 
Then…I got to wake up this morning. I went outside to see the bright sun peeking out and feel the warm air on my skin. I remembered…this waking to a new day is a privilege not to be taken for granted.
 
I took a hot shower while singing loudly and off key. The lyrics rolled out of my heart and off my tongue. I was surprised at the loudness of my own voice; yearning to be heard. Thank God no one is home and only God and the animals (poor animals) could hear my shower symphony.
 
I’m thankful AND I’m hurting. I’m learning AND I’m imperfect. I’m open AND I have healthy boundaries. I’m feeling stuck AND I’m capable of getting unstuck. I’m making choices AND not everyone is going to approve. I must honor my heart AND it sucks that this means displeasing people I love.
 
There are endless dichotomies. Ultimately, I know my heart, motives and intent better than any other human; I have the choices.
 
Today I will choose to honor my moments, make the best of them, treasure those closest to me and hold on to the little bit of hope and mustard seed of faith I still have. Today, this is what my brave looks like.
 
Reminder to self…bruises heal.

A Tribute to Friendship, Sex, & Milkshakes

Thankful tears flowed from my eyes this morning as I thanked a friend for being the blessing he is in my life.

He is my imperfect friend who has no pressure to live up to anything but being him, because his perfectly imperfect genuine self is a rarity.

Take a big, beautiful heart and add in compassion; understanding; trustworthy; humor; integrity; wisdom;hysterical; God loving; creative man who is well dressed and super fun ..there is my dear friend.  See?  Rare.

He accepts me as is.  He loves me as is.  He might sometimes be disappointed for my choices and how they will affect me; at the same time, he is not disappointed in me.  Big difference.

He encourages me to be the best version of me I can be while never loving me any less as I travel my journey and sometimes behave like a dumbass. (true story) We speak truth to one another; even when truth is ugly feeling.  The thing is…when truth is spoken in love and safety is present…it’s a sacred treasure.  He challenges me when it’s uncomfortable and would be much easier to not.

He knows my everything.  My everything is safe with him.  He has never played judge and jury to me.  That is magical.  We’ve all been in a place that we believed we were truly safe with someone…until a dreaded, unexpected moment illuminates a reality that safety has been an illusion.  There was not acceptance and love of who you are; perhaps there was acceptance and love for who they want you to be.  That is not magical, it sucks.

Laughter, tears, and everything in between are welcome. He is proud of my accomplishments, generous with his encouragements, okay with my sunshine as well as my melancholy and super fun to go to the grocery store with.  He loves sex (not with me), milkshakes, animals, learning and laughter.  The countless endless conversations we have will never have sufficient words to let him know that he is cooler and more than he will ever grasp.

I hope and pray I provide the same for him.  There are perhaps 10 people in my world outside of my family that I have this type of friendship with.  I intend to ensure they always know how deeply I love them.

As I expressed my gratitude to my precious friend this morning, my heart was pinged.  Is this not how our God designed us to be in relation with one another?   We are made in His image, right?  I know God loves me.  He made me.  He knows my heart, he knows the numbers of hairs on my head for goodness sake.  He knows my journey.  God weeps with me, rejoices with me, and loves me in the messy middle (which is where my humanness seems to have me living the majority of the time).

Beloved human connections (could, should, can) mirror our relationship with God.  We are God’s heart, walking outside of His body but still in Him.  Our loves are the same…pieces of our heart walking outside of our body but always in us.

True Friendship…it’s a beautiful form of intimacy.  In our individuality, we are still all reflections of each other.  In our separateness, we are still made to be unified.  How cool is my God?  Not only does he offer me unconditional love and friendship through Him…he gives me that in real live humans.

The reciprocity of real friendship is the ultimate legacy to leave with another.  This type of friendship has impacted my life profoundly for the better.

I am grateful to have even one friend of this caliber in my life; sex and milkshakes too.

Philippians 1:3  “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.”

 

In the meantime

In the meantime….

My downstairs toilet made a gurgling noise two nights ago.  There was nothing in the toilet so I flushed it to see if the noise would stop.  Instead of flushing down, water rose to the top.  Despite my professional plunger efforts, the water would not go down.

I shut the water valve to the toilet off before running to home depot (literally across the street)  to purchase Green Goblin to destroy the issue…I thought.  I always used this in our old home and had great success.  Anywho…never had to use the Green Goblin as I returned home and saw that the toilet had drained.  Whew.  Bullet dodged.

I made a quick trip to Walmart (a block away) to grab a few groceries…maybe gone 20 minutes.  I came back to such a surprise!  Poop water (aka sewage…aka Class 3 according to the restoration man) had flooded every crevice from the downstairs bathroom, down the hall, down the stairs into my split level living room and into the living room.

An.explosion.of.poop.  Everybody’s poop.  Thank God my adrenaline was pumping so hard that I didn’t have time to stop and reflect on the new floor covering.  I knew my friend was on his way over so we could watch a movie and have dinner.  Honestly, my first thoughts were that he was going to gross out and leave me here to deal with this.  I would need to call my brother or my ex husband.

I had begun laying towels everywhere when friend (we will call him D) walked in.  I yelled for him to be careful.  Without explanation; he knew what was on the floor.  Instead of leaving, he grabbed towels and started helping me with the mess.  Together we cleaned, using every single towel, sheet and blanket that we could find.  I know…gross.

We had almost everything cleaned.  I began my second round of sanitizing laundry and we decided to go to Home Depot for a big mop.  We made another expedient trip there, grabbed a mop and $5 mop  bucket (Did you know some mop buckets cost $70 or more?)

We came home, ready to mop and sanitize; shower and order dinner…in that order!  Can you imagine the expletives that sounded when we walked in to find that sudsy water had now flooded the entire living room floor? As a matter of fact, that water was still shooting out of the sink in the bar area as well as from underneath the sink where the pipes are.

We did our best to keep up but it would not stop (yes, D shut the water valve under the sink off).  He mopped, and I (with gloved hands) squeezed the mop….since I didn’t buy the $70 bucket with the squeezee apparatus.  We were our own Saturday Night Live episode…from back in the good ole days…when SNL was super funny!

D told me to shut the washing machine off when he surmised that is where the water was coming from.  He was correct.  The pouring of water stopped.  Finally.  The floor was soaked, we were drenched in water and poo water and all the yuck; still we were laughing.  So thankful for D’s presence and willingness to help….sometimes we need a friend to help us not become blithering balls of tears curled up in the fetal position, right?  Sometimes those friends are the same ones laying curled up with us…but that’s for another post.

I felt that the floor needed just one more round with the mop.  D told me we had done all we could for the night; the floor was slippery and I needed to stay off of it so I didn’t fall.  I know I have balance issues, true.  I didn’t realize the floor was quite as slippery as it was.

Being a tiny bit of a stubborn soul, I decided yes to one more round with the mop.  I headed down the steps into the living room.  My bare feet gave way to the wet floor.  There I was…on my bottom, sliding down the hard, sharp edged stairs.  One, two, three, I hit each of them with my booty, tailbone and right hip.  Ouch.

This was reminiscent of being a little kid who loved sliding down the carpeted stairs on her booty.  Reminiscent because I slid down so easily; yet entirely a different experience.  D helped me up.  Kind of.  As much as I would allow. Falling tends to make me feel fearful…too much passing out as a kid.  Yuck.

Anyway….I had attempted to call my property management company emergency number several times, as well as their office, when this was happening.  I never got a call back.  I finally reached out the the owner of my condo and told him.  He was sending a plumber in the morning.  I felt it needed to be right then, but I am not the decider of all things.

In the morning, the property management company called.  By now, I was fuming that they had not called me and been a part of any of this.  Long story short, the office person tends to be extremely rude, makes me feel like a criminal any time I report something and now was asking numerous questions that supported her past behavior.  I felt she was trying to make this my fault.

I sent an email of complaint and asked for her supervisors number.  I did not get that yet.  I have gotten a sudden amount of kindness when she speaks to me.  I still want to speak with the supervisor.

The restoration company is now ripping out the entire living room floor bc of the class 3 damage.  When the owner was speaking with the property management company, she asked him to step away from me to talk.  This was obvious and confirmed when I asked him about it later. My mistrust in her affirmed in that moment.

Thank God the plumber found NOTHING in the system that was not supposed to be there.  I was well aware that if the clog were due to feminine products, we would be responsible.  (We grew up with a very touchy septic system and our Daddy drilled it into our heads that only toilet paper went down the toilet.  If there was a clog, we girls knew the first question from Dad would be; “Did you flush anything that shouldn’t be flushed?”) My daughter and I are both extremely cautious about this as are our guests (at least we make them aware…I never have actually accompanied anyone on their potty break).  Still…lots of teenage girls so that was a thought on my side too.

I am sure the property company management (PMP} lady dislikes me.  Or she likes to pretend she dislikes me for fun?  At this point, the owner might dislike me too and I hate that possibility.

PMP lady has told me the owner is frustrated with all of ‘my issues’.  I reminded PMP lady that with exception to one issue and this, everything I have turned in has been existent since before we moved in on March 24 of this year.  It takes me several times to get a response and then several weeks for them to provide the cheapest solution possible.  I’m sure the owner is paying them and I wonder if this is just how the system always works.

Enough of that!  Last night, the precious people from the restoration company were working hard well past 8 pm.  I came downstairs to get a drink and didn’t realize that it was wet at the bottom of the stairs.

I was made aware of the wetness as my bottom again made contact with the ground, magically, I bounced off the same areas this go round too!  The people working were super kind and tried to help me up.  I assured them I was fine and just needed a moment.

Truly not their fault, I just didn’t anticipate the wet floor.  I am moving around like a little ole lady this morning!  Lol but not really lol.

Here it is…no matter who is pleased with me or not (and lately it seems like a lot more not than this lady is comfortable with)…I’m okay.

God has my back and He is Good.  All of the time.  Even as I walk through literal s*h&t, he provides a tangible friend here for me and always His mighty love.  The question remains as always…will I accept it?

Still, my bum hurts.

A tribute to my brother

Thirty three years ago today, my brother Brent passed away.   He was killed in a motorcycle accident at the young age of 27.

I was in Tennessee with Mom, Dad and our dachsund Schatze when it happened.

Looking back….the trip was ‘off’ from the get go.  My Grandma had been very upset with me for choosing to go with my parents rather than stay with her.  Our little Schatze hurt her back on the way to Tennessee.  The air just felt unusually tense.  It was too hot.  Something in the motor home broke.  We came home from the Grand Ole Opry and there was a message to visit the office.  My Dad got the call.  The news was devastating.

Today is not for recounting all the ugly details. I’ve done that before and truly, there is no use going to that painful place today. The interesting thing is that I journaled about every moment during the trip.  Even without looking back, the memories are as vivid in my mind as if they had happened yesterday.

Today is for acknowledging my brother.  A beautiful, artistic soul who has been said to have been born ahead of his time.  A creative, warm spirit that I was just beginning to really get to know. A man who served his country and loved living overseas.

I miss him terribly.  I often wonder what he would be like today and wish I’d gotten to know him as an adult; and that my children could’ve known their cool uncle. I am incredibly thankful for his presence in my life for any amount of time.  Time.  Treasure it.

Suffice it to say, there is a space in many hearts that will always be only for Brent Eugene Suppes.  He is extraordinarily missed.

As his wife always says, “Forever Young”.  True story.

God bless you everyone.  Breathe in the moments, for the moments are all we have.

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.