Thursday, October 17, 2013

An Epic Book

I have been avoiding this place. I think about writing many times each day but can never will my fingers to the page. I fear many things these days. It seems the power of the fear penetrates past my faith & trust that it will be alright. Sigh. And then the guilt of the fear again disables any motivation I have remaining. Fear is a vicious cycle. It convinces you, you are not good enough, you believe it then reminds you that you are pathetic because you believed it. The topics on my heart...the ones I should be writing about, hurt. I don't want to feel the feelings that it takes to convey my hearts sad song. Instead I avoid the thoughts, avoid writing, avoid reading, avoid music. But the beautiful thing about fear is that it can be penetrated from the outside; sometimes from the most unlikely places.

Secrets Kept: The Hidden Dagger by J.L. Mbewe

This book amazed me. I have been avoiding reading, (I get too emotionally connected to the characters & did not want to run across any similar situations that may open up my current wounds.) Yet, I know the author of this book & in an attempt to support her 10 year journey of writing this trilogy I decided to read it. Oh My GOODNESS! and I thought I was the one doing a favor. UM WRONG! This book blew my mind. It is set in a world so very foreign to any I have read or imagined yet its similarities filled my subconscious. Many times as I was reading I thought...why does this feel so real. Brilliant writing! But the plot & storyline goes way beyond the setting; the characters struggles, successes and internal thoughts are laid bare on the page and leave the reader not only quickly turning each page (as the try to connect the dots) but also feeling connections to characters that go beyond the average. I have read many many many books (yes, I am "that" kind of nerd.) but I have never been so delightfully confused by the adventure, suspense, fantasy and romance (my favorite) that this book offers. But somehow in its fantasy it conveys the reality of our hearts. The characters are dealing with real, living, terrifying emotions & J.L. Mbewe does the most amazing job honestly describing each.

Can I just add....WOW!

Read this book! I read it in 2 days! I may have also burnt dinner because I got distracted reading. But it was epically worth it! I will be impatiently waiting for the 2nd & 3rd books to be released but in the meantime I will be reading the 3 prequels & re-reading Secrets Kept: The Hidden Dagger  by J.L. Mbewe!

You should too!

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Monday, June 3, 2013

Twisty & Unfeeling Terrain

4 years old. Happy Birthday my son.

How can something seem so far away & yet like yesterday. I was in church Sunday thinking about the details of that day. So much that I can much that has been forgotten. I think memory is one of the most twisty gifts from God. Not bad...just complicated. Loss of memory can bring us peace & rest from turmoil or it can cause regret & sorrow. The recollection of memories can do the exact same thing. That is twisty.

This year has been a big one. I remember struggling with the concept of moving to Texas (last June) because I felt like I was leaving Joshua behind. I talked with Matt about it a few times. I knew that we had to move but I still felt like I was turning my back on him & the memories of him. Or more I was worried that I would...if we moved. Needless to say that did not happen; in fact it seems like I think about him more. I am no longer distracted by work and people & busi-ness.
So we moved & have learned so much. But with learning comes new realizations. We have a little party for Joshua each year. (and will for as long as I am alive-insert stubbornness here) In Oregon we had people who knew us and had met Joshua who came to the party. Just family, but still people who knew. Now we are in a place where people know our story...but not because they were there or even because we are the ones who told it. They know because of my in-laws living the loss around them. I don't know how to invite people to celebrate a life they never knew. How awkward & odd. I almost asked a couple of good friends we met here but at the last minute I lost the confidence. "So, hey, you busy Monday night? We are having a birthday party for our son who is in Heaven...wanna come?" ya, this is new territory for sure. What the hell am I suppose to do with that. ugh.

It is so difficult because I want people to remember my son. I want them remember his life. It was short but that does not mean it was not a life. That it was not of value. The thought of people not remembering scares me...because it really is one of the only days were I feel like I have a right to make people uncomfortable by talking about him. Does that even make sense? Who likes talking about dead people? psh... how often we ignore the lives that have impacted ours the most because it hurts. I think a part of me also feels alone in my "missing" Joshua. Not that I want pity... I am just a proud momma.

I feel like there is this unusual catch-22 on this time of year. Society would press upon us to forget the past & let it go. When you don't feel, you know that you are healing. When you forget you know that you are growing. Why hold onto something (a memory) that hurts? This is you trying to get attention. ... So many unspoken pressure on this time from the outside world & also from myself.
I was worrying the other day that I was not feeling enough. Am I forgetting? Am I letting Joshua go because I have moved on with Sam? What if I feel sad...what if I don't feel sad?
Good gracious, slot-machine mind.

The fact is, I am sad. Sad that I don't have a 4-year old at his birthday party today. I am sad that I don't know what being a mother of a 4-year old feels like. I miss what could be, what would be...
But not what should be. There are a lot of reasons that this day & time makes me rejoice, even in my sadness. Though he is not here...Joshua is in my heart. Though he is not physically near I know that he is safe & sound. I dreamt about him the other night. It was amazing. He was looking at me with his blue-green eyes and smiling. I was watching him play among the clouds while laughing. Then I remember Matt waking me up...I had been crying in my sleep. For all the joy that I feel there is a little hint of sorrow because I have a son who I don't really know. I know his heart but his personality is lost to me. I can only assume. Until I meet him again, I will not know.

Yet Joshua has been promoted from this life into one that has no pain or fear or sorrow. Each person has his time...Joshua's came at a time we did not expect but we can not help but rejoice for all that he will never struggle though. I guess, until I get to Heaven, I will not understand the real gift that God gave my first born...and gave his mother.

In my lack of understanding the only solid rock I have is the knowledge that God is good. The fact is not logical, it can not be measured conventionally and often times feels inaccurate. But circumstance & feelings always change while God does not. Only what does not change can offer a reality like: goodness.

A very twisty day & week...and month....and life. But God is good...all the rest will come out in the wash.

Monday, May 13, 2013

4 years old...almost

Mid-May seems to frequently catch me off guard. I am going about my business without thought of time, getting excited for summer. Then Mother's Day happens.
I am so abundantly blessed with Samuel. There are moments that he makes me laugh like I haven't laughed before. He drives me crazy with his independent spirit while simultaneously making me so outrageously proud. Then there are moments where I look at him and all I feel is love. A love that overwhelms my human understanding & capabilities. I think, I think those moments are God-love moments, selfless & captivating.
I wonder at my life sometimes. The plan that God has placed on it is so different then what I could have ever imagined. I was 22 when we lost Joshua; 21 when I became a mother. I look in the mirror at this me and I still see that girl. Hair a bit darker, not so paste-y skin (thanks Texas!) and I am sure a few more wrinkles, though I can't really see them. 4 years and so much has changed yet so much stays the same.
How can you miss someone you only knew for a few days. I guess that is not fair. I knew Joshua since his first kick then 24 weeks along and the ultra-sound lady tells me, "It's a Boy!" It's hard to explain how a baby in-utero can have a personality...but they do. Joshua had character. He made me laugh with his wild kicks and annoyed me with his late night workouts. He knew my heartbeat and I knew his.

I have a friend who I met shortly after Joshua went to heaven. She had a son who was born a week and a half before mine. She is amazing. I have had the unique privilege to be around her & her first born son for most of his life. It is not unusual for me to see this little man and imagine mine doing similar things. Strange as it may seem I have only received encouragement when looking at her little guy. His passion for life, vigor & endless personality makes me laugh & wonder who Joshua would have been like at this age. I think... I know that one (of the many) reasons that I was gifted with this friend is because God is good to me. He knows my heart & knows that I needed this little spirit to visualize my little monkey. I do not think of Joshua without thinking of Malakai. Malakai means "my messenger" or "my angel."

My current sorrow is not because I wish things were different. It is because love is as strong as it is real. Life can be given & taken away but love lasts when all else fails. My love is imperfect & often selfish but it is still love. Love in its depth of feeling & truth holds you tight to another person forever. I am proud of my Joshua. I am thankful that God trusted me with him. I am amazed at what he has taught me. And I am sad because I know it may be a while until I get to see my monkey again.

Observation: My sorrow in missing Joshua always ends at the same place. It always ends with me being more happy then sad that he is in Heaven. He is free from everything in this world that can hurt. It does not matter how selfish I am, if that's the best (which it is) then that is what I want for him. I can not help but be thankful that God sought to bring him home sooner then expected. We have all been away from home. It can be fun at first but after a short while it is the only thing that will satisfy.

Darling 4 year old Joshua,
Happy Birthday big boy! I love you sweetie! Hope your day is celebrated with the most fun ever! We will sure be celebrating you down here! Double party :-) Keep watch for our love notes. We are all so very proud of the little man you are. We miss you. We will see you soon.
I love you monkey, with all my heart forever.
<3 mommy="" p="">

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Sammy Stories

I would just like to say, "My son is Awesome!"

Today he pushed opened a thing of toilet paper by pushing his hands into the tubes. He walked around this the 4-pack of TP on his hands giggling for 5 minutes. What on earth? Hilarious! I had to help him remove his hands and he shook his hands around once they were free.

Whenever he gets an "ouch" he will run over and ask mom to, "ksss it". Once kissed he goes about his business. This is normal with most kids but I can not help but love it! What girl doesn't want her kisses to miraculously heal boo-boos? :-)

Sammy has just started to become afraid of cars/tractors coming towards him. When we are on a walk it does not bother him but when we are playing in the driveway and someone pulls up he will start crying and run over. I can only assume that it is a phase but his response intrigues me. If I was on the ground when a huge semi pulled up in front of me my response would probably be the same...head for higher ground!

Sammy experienced his first pinata on cinco de mayo. He was the third child to go & was given a huge stick then shown to hit it. For some reason, as he hit the pinata he yelled. "Ahhhh! Ahhhh!" We were all about on the floor with laughing. What a silly man! No one else was yelling while they hit. Then after a dozen hits he dropped the stick and took off to do his own thing.

We have seen a few horses since we have been here. These creatures are not a favorite of Sams at all! I think that size plays a role in this fear. Every time we see a horse he demands to be picked up and is not interested in touching them.

I have noticed that family couch time is huge with Sam. When daddy is home and we are all on the couch visiting is when Sam becomes a huge goof-ball! Giggling and bouncing around. "Throwing" pillows at everyone waiting til they come and tickle him. Such amazing joy from our little man! His joy is contagious because it does not take long for his laugh to become ours too.

Today we were getting home from our walk just in time to see the garbage truck go by. Talk about an awesome experience for Sam. He had so much fun watching the truck grab & empty the trash can and the guy jump out and grab any extras. He waved like crazy when they pulled away, they waved back! I have a new appreciation for those men. It was only 11am but it was a warm walk. Their truck is doorless and they have some hard working to do. Thanks to all those hard-working garbage men/woman!

There are SO many bugs here. Yuck! Sam almost picked up a huge spider the other day. I about lost my mind. I am not sure how to handle that issue. I understand that he is a boy and will be interested in bugs but I don't want to look over and see a huge bite on his hand because he picked them up. No to mention all the fire ants that live here. Ugh, I can't let Sammy walk anywhere alone for fear that he will lean down to watch/touch the ants as the scurry by. These ants are not nice and their bites last a long time. Yuck!

Cars, trains, trucks and now dinosaurs. Sammy is enjoying his toys. He knows that we rock babies to sleep and sing them songs. We make sure to put them down gentle and never throw them (like his big uncles do)! Cars belong in a line or row, always facing the same way; as do the dinosaurs.

All food belongs in a huge pile, mixed up and mashed up together. I can not tell you how frustrating this is to my mind. But I just keep telling myself that there is nothing wrong with how he eats, as long as he eats. He knows he will get a timeout if he throws his plate or his drink will be taken if he dumps it out. All the rest can be in his control. Nothing gets hurt if he crunches his chips in his applesauce and eats them with a spoon. It make make me uncomfortable but that is not the point. :-)

Slot Machine Brain

This last few months has been filled with seemingly endless adjustments. The biggest one was going from working away from home to working only at home. It has been a pretty large challenge for me as I have explained before. The transition from talking to many other people to just myself has been a hard one. There are many complications when you are left to reason within yourself. I was thinking about this as I was on a walk with Sammy today. I was pushing him on his bike. My mind was twirling like a slot machine; turning many ideas over quickly in my head then landing on one for deeper thought. I looked down at Sam and he was quietly looking around. I wondered if he was thinking about anything. What would it be? How would his mind see it? I know that I am thinking in words; do he think in pictures? Or is he like every guy I know and enjoying the luxury of thinking about nothing. I honestly can not comprehend that. If I am not on purposely thinking of something I am unconsciously doing so. And I know that I am no alone in this, hello ladies, you know!
Thinking of course is not bad, usually. For me it is the amount of time that I am left to myself that causes my struggle. When I worked in retail I was bound to get some negative customers in the day. Some were quite awful. After they left I would often express my frustration to my co-workers and they would settle me down. The length of time I would be bothered was short. When I was constructively critisied (not my favorite thing) it hurt & I focused my energy on changing what was needed but I could still come home and Matt would help me see the truth and level my thinking. Yet now that I am at home the only real critic I have is myself. You know how hard it is to give yourself grace? To find purpose in the things you do (or don't do) during the day? Chores around the house get done; Sammy is taken care of & played with. Both of these things can be done while I my brain is slot machine-ing its way through a hundred topics that range from sadness to joy & EVERYTHING in between. I can recall a great memory and the next thought can be how sad I feel. What on earth?! You see the problem? Everyone knows that the odds of winning a slot machine is low. I am gambling with my sanity, or so it seems.
Before after working I would then come home, play with Sam, make dinner, bath & put Sam to bed, then "rest" while doing laundry or dishes. My days were jam-packed with To-Do's and people to please. I guess I never had any time to just be. I never learned how to organize my time because I had so little of it that it cam pre-organized. Now I am seeing value in the things that I thought were little.  Its a big change in perspective. I always knew that stay-at-home mommas did more work then me. Their struggles were always bigger then mine, I could feel it. Now that I am one of them I can see the struggles don't just land on taking care of the children.
I suppose that does not make a world of since, or any. I guess my point is more how hard it is to adjust into this new role. I expected it to be hard but not because I would have endless time to think. I have to struggle through how to manage Sammy's time: how to teach, when to play, where to go then hold it all up and see why it is I am doing what I am doing. I was young when my mother was at home with me and was definitely not paying attention to how she managed us and the time. There was a standard that I could meet when I worked at an away from home joy. There is no standard at home. The expectations are those that Matt & I agree to cultivate. It was easier when they were laid out for me.
Think. Think. Think... I am such a To-Do-er that I don't really know how to turn that off and just live.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Talk about Trust

Is anyone else having a SUPER hard time trusting lately?

Even if it is just me... this is rough. If you ask my husband he will tell you that I like to know why people do, feel & say the things they do. What is the cause? & I guess at it constantly. I am usually not self-aware enough to know when I am going through something let alone question why it is I am feeling/doing certain things. But this "trust issue" is an exception.

Trust: an action that leads you into a place of peace, hope & security that is real, true & lasting. It is not based on gimmick or mirage but upon a sturdy foundation that is reliable in it's integrity & ability to provide for all your needs. (That is my definition, so take that Webster).

I would first like to blame it on Time. Oh you heard me right. Gosh darn Time has been hanging out with me these past few weeks at an alarming rate. There is no escaping it! Constantly giving me opportunity to think, think, think, think. What a jerk! I suppose though that Time is not the only culprit; Control has played its part quite well. Except Control has done the opposite of Time and made it's self scarce. Not cool Control. For those who don't know me well; Control & I  have been going steady for quite a while. Since I became a big sister at the appropriate age of 1 year & 2 weeks, in fact. It was my way or the "boss-your-ear-off-til-I-get-my-way" highway. My mother has home video tapes to prove it! (I would like to point out that I am ashamed of that outrageously bossy girl in the tapes). None the less, the fact that I have been abandoned by Control is very inconvenient given I am in a new place & would very much like to feel secure. Control almost always brings his friend Illusion with him. Illusion is pretty awesome at making you "feel" many things, like security. But as we all know "feelings" are always real but not always accurate; they often lead us to the wrong conclusions.

Add in Life and you have yourself a triple threat of Olympic proportions!
(I know better then to have to explain Life to you. You probably wish, like me, to have a little less of Life's generous gifts of bills, worries, car trouble, sickness, stress, and the not-so-occasional bump or bruise.)

The trouble with all of the above is that you never have to seek them out. They find you like a bloodhound finds a, a... a whatever a bloodhound finds. Or maybe like a angry girl finds chocolate. Or a hurt baby finds his momma. You get the idea. Time, Control & Life never miss an opportunity to give you a good ol' slap in the face. So kind.

But Trust is another story. Imagine a little baby kitten, with its little kitten paws, crazy kitten fur & little "mew" first meeting you. Skittish is probably an adjective you would use. Little baby kitten needs a bit of coaxing, maybe a lot of coaxing. In fact little "mew" crazy fur kitten may need you to go pick it up, maybe even chase it first before it gets all cozy with you. (I don't care who you can't help loving a little baby kitten when it is cuddling up next to your cheek purring little purrs.)
Trust is like a little skittish baby kitten. You have to do some Work to get it to stick around you.
Gosh darn it...I didn't mean to. I promise I didn't. Work slipped into this accidental party we are having. There is literally no excuse for Work. You do it or don't but wow can you see the results either way.

What kind of Work is involved getting Trust to hang around you? Well let me tell you...

1. Daily perspective has to be a priority. Perspective is the art of outlook. Looking at a situation while taking in all the different aspects individually and as a whole. Basically what it does is allow you to stop focusing on one thing and forces you to view the whole. Most of the time, that is all you really need to get back in the good with Trust. Those little details on their own are not as important when combined with the the whole as when you are looking at them under a microscope.
2. Stay away from self-reliance. The moment that you think you can do it on your own, ooh baby you better watch yourself cause you are in for it! We are made to need each other. Lift each others burdens and keep each other away from focusing on only one detail. Being with people allows for a natural perspective change. When was the last time you were going though it rough when you heard of a friend of a friend who had it way worse? What happened? I know what I did, I snapped right out of my funk thinking, "my stuff is not that bad."
3. Be careful to avoid comparison. An easy trap to fall into when you are wanting to feel better about your life but trust me, bittersweet is all you will meet. Followed close by resentment, the inability to be satisfied and finally anger. We have all seen those angry old man who permanently have their anger etched into their forhead. You know, that guy. Don't be that guy/girl. You loose more then just the cute face in the mirror. You loose your close friends, hope & peace.

Number 4 is the most important one for me. I don't know you but my bet would be that number 4 could be your most important to...that is if you really are seeking trust.

4. You have to surrender your worries, fears, hurts & control. You have to let down your guard and seek out someone that is really in control. You see the truth is... Trust is impossible. Who was the last person that you "trusted"? How did it go? Ya, um, imagine a gorgeous priceless vase shattering on the ground in a million pieces because it accidentally fell out of the hands of the person you gave it to. Now imagine that person did not drop it but threw it, on purpose. Ya, that is what people do with our trust. On accident or purpose no person will ever be blameless. So placing our trust in people will endlessly fail. BUT there is hope. Oh so much wonderful hope. It comes in the way of a divinity that no one will ever fully understand but offers the only reliable foundation able to bring me peace, hope & security that is real, true & lasting. (Cliff hanger!!)
I find my trust in the only one who has the ability to keep me safe. God. He never fails. He is good always. He loves always. And he promises good things for me. It sounds cheesy but I really don't care. Just writing those things about him brought me joy & hope. I just had to pause writing to talk to my husband about our severe lack of money and what we will do. But I still have hope that it will be ok. Not for any other reason then God is good & he loves me. Life is a jerk. It is hard and cruel. But God is always near. He hears me fuss about mistakes that I choose to make & their consequences; he still comforts me, even in my guilt. He is bigger then the bills I owe, the sorrows that I feel, and the person I am. He is greater then my proudest moment, my love for my husband & sons and biggest success. He is the creator of stars, galaxies, fish, ducks, grass and people. And for some crazy reason that I will never understand he wants me. He cares about the $5.00 in my wallet and the sorrow that fills my soul. He cares so much that he wants more for me then who I am now but loves me right where I am. Ya, I think anyone who is willing to do that is worthy of any & all of my trust.

Pshhh, worries don't stand a chance when I throw my untrusting heart at his feet. This last few weeks has been hard. I honestly don't expect it to get any easier, at least the things around me will not change. But what I do expect is to grow in trust. I will do good for an hour then spend the rest of the day internally battling if it will be ok. I will have epic moments of confidence that will buckle when I get another bill in the mail. But as long as I surrender...if I can just surrender. I will surrender all. Because the reward so outweighs the sacrifice. Time is but a concept created. Control has nothing on Peace. And Life bends under the pressure of The One who created it.

A man with leprosy came & knelt in front of Jesus, begging to be healed. "If you want to, you can make me well again," he said.
Moved with compassion, Jesus touched him. "I want to," he said. "Be healed." Instantly the man was healed. (Mark 1:40-42)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

If you want to, you can...

I am distracted tonight. I should have set aside time yesterday to write but there were other distractions that I gave my time too. Which means that this post will be a bit half-bottomed. At least in my personal opinion. goes!

Compassion is the deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relive it. Often it can be interchanged with the words: pity, mercy & sympathy.

When I think of compassion the first thing that crosses my mind are those T.V. commercials with the little children or dogs. The sad, depressing music & celebrities cries for me to give 10 cents a day. And I change the channel. I absolutely hate watching that. I understand why they work; for who can resist the pathetic guilty stupor that overpowers us as we are lounging on the couch with our favorite show on and laptop out? I can, by changing the channel. 

That is my view of compassion and I am not alone. When confronted with the concept many are frustrated. Why must I be compassionate? Many couple it with weakness in the character of the person who is showing it. Very commonly the biggest issue of extending compassion is who is receiving it. What kind of person is it that deserves compassion? The Homeless, poor, broken, dirty? WHY are these people in the state they are in? Whatever the reason for their "issue" I am sure that it is justified in some way. WHAT does their life have to do with mine? I am a lower middle-ish class person who works hard for money, lives on a budget, has a family to support. I have no time to give. 
I am sure I am not the only one who feels this way either!

I was sitting in Starbucks with my hot chocolate in hand and laptop out. Mentally I was trying to figure out how I was going to get away from the sorrow that had settled in my soul. I had been in Texas for a week(ish) & was feeling alone. Really alone. Which is odd because there were plenty of family around. But change was taking its toll on my heart. "Are you from Oregon?" A girl asked. She was sitting across me in one of the chairs. I was a little surprised. "Yes." "Oh wow, me too! I am...." Me & this lady chatted for about 10 minutes about Oregon, Texas, and the whys and hows of our moving. At the end of our conversation she said, "It was really nice to meet you. I know you probably feel lonely but you can do this. Have a great night." She left me wondering at how & why. The how was easy; I was wearing an Oregon sweatshirt. The why took me a bit longer to understand.

Compassion is seeing another person & engaging them. Once you are engaged you can start to comprehend who they are & even what they really need. If you choose to meet their need, you are being compassionate. Your best friend could be needing your compassion. Your co-worker, spouse, the cashier ringing up your groceries. If your really bold, it could even be the stranger on her laptop at Starbucks, who is not smiling. She could really use a moment of uncomfortable compassion.
Compassion is not only giving to the stranger on the corner or donating to the T.V. program because you feel guilty for what you have. In fact, compassion really does not ask you to even give a dime.  

"A man with leprosy came & knelt in front of Jesus, begging to be healed. "If you want to, you can make me well again," he said. 
Moved with compassion, Jesus touched him. "I want to," He said. "Be healed!" Instantly the leprosy disappeared- the man was healed." (Mark 1:40-42)

If you want to, you can....

Look at another person instead of down at your phone. Say "hi" to a stranger instead of looking around or through them. Warning! This will be super uncomfortable. Our society, my generation has been programed to avoid verbal contact with other humans. Seriously, I do not lie. We don't talk on the phone anymore, we text. We play games online & watch T.V. & movies together. 
A couple of days ago I saw a kid listening to music while playing games on his phone & his friend (who had come over to visit) doing the same thing. Wha?! You can not tell me that this is a good thing. Last night I was sitting in the living room (Sammy was in bed) and EVERY person in that room was on either a laptop or cell phone & the T.V. was on. Do we even know how to talk to each other any more? I am needy! I need people. I need to be engaged. But it is so much easier to look down at my phone or text someone then face a room of people I don't know. It is like I have forgotten how to hold a conversation that is not riddled with LOL's.

We, as people, have the ability to being joy, hope, peace, love, growth into the lives of other people. If we want to, we can... How can we meet the needs of others when we are so damn distracted? The answer is simple. We can't & won't. (Minus the occasional moment of compassionate brilliance that is passed through a text message.)

Moved with compassion, Jesus touched him. (and he was healed!!)

Well that is a topic we will have to save for another night! 

My goal: See people, engage them & act with compassion.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


I have unconsciously been living under the assumption that being an "adult" would be...better, easier.  I can only hope that I am not alone in this. When I was child I was excited to grow up so that I could eat whatever I wanted & stay up late. When I was a teenager the reasons blended more along the lines of so I can do what I want and when I was 20 it was so I could be married & not alone. Now here I am, an adult, and I am not happy about it!  Why did I not pay attention to the adults around me more when I was young. Surely I could have seen the stress & strain on their faces. Perhaps I could have even perceived the internal struggle for meaning that we all seem to face at one time or another. Maybe I would have enjoyed being a child a bit more. But alas, I was not quite as observant as I now wish. Yet I suppose that it would have not changed a darn thing. *deep sigh* because here I sit struggling with all of the weight of being an adult.

(Talk about a depressing introduction! It gets better...I think) *wink*

Moving away from all that I have ever known to a place completely foreign has caused my confidence to be shaken. Please wait a second before you judge, I will explain I promise.
I was married to a man (though infuriating at times) whom I loved with all my heart. I was the mother of a wonderful son and I had the best job ever. We had enough money to pay the bills & play a little. Yet we were not quite who we were suppose to be. Which is a very vague way of saying that we were no longer growing, no longer excelling in life. We were comfortable. Sooo, we made the decision to move. I knew the moment that Matt's parents moved to Texas that we would eventually follow and follow we have. So we left our comfortable home, jobs & security and drove our way into a world filled with endless change. There lies my frustration. Adult life was suppose to be easy. It was suppose to, suppose to... well I don't know. It was suppose to be less work.

But it seems that ALL I have been doing lately is work. Mostly working on figuring out what on earth is wrong with me. Jokingly & seriously. What the heck is wrong with me? Moving was something that I completely believed in. I knew that it would be good. I knew that getting away from the things holding us back in Eugene would be a good thing. So why, why, why am I so sad & frustrated?

(Proving that you never EVER stop learning, growing & being told what to do)

Here are my reasons for my sad frustration:

I have just made a few of the biggest changes you can make in your life, at once. I moved across country, I quit my job & became a stay-at-home mom. So number 1, 2 & 3 this is natural. I am struggling through finding myself in a place I have never been; while staying at home & seeking gratification from working not with a hundred people but 1, 20 month year old little boy (who can not talk).  #4. Other then the natural fact that being at home is difficult I have added to it a personality that has forever thrived on verbal affirmation from others. One of the reasons that I loved & excelled in my former job was because I was working with people who knew me. My boss knew my personality. For those who have never had the privilege of working with leader who paid attention to what made you tick then used that knowledge to help you grow into a better employee & person... Well I sure hope you have the opportunity. What that means is I was in an environment that was not perfect but still allowed me to be fulfilled as a person. I saw that I was appreciated, I heard that I was appreciated & I received gratification every time I helped meet a customers needs. All that to say...those needs are not being met any longer. At least not in a way that I can easily derive hope, encouragement & joy from. I constantly feel like I am failing as a mother. Oh surprise there right? (Ever mother in the world just inwardly nodded). Though these feelings are not unusual for me they used to be balanced by the success that I had is my business life. Since that balance has shifted I am left drowning in the struggles of being a mother without tangible results that bring confidence.

I am not a fool, so please don't assume that I don't get joy from being at home, I do. I love being at home with Sammy. It just requires me to change, grow & work. Really work. Work at who, why, & how I will get Sammy from a toddler to a strong, wise, confident young man who has a great & positive impact upon the world. Ya, that is kind of a big deal. Can you see how my struggle could cause a bit of confusion or frustration?
Not to mention how I am used to adult interactions and now am confined to the adorable ramblings of a little mister. Oh the power of conversation. You don't realize how much you miss it until you are in the living room replying to your toddler's "maw ta baw bot me da ta ja ma da da" with "oh ya, I totally agree with you Sam. That is very interesting. What else do you think about that car?" (That was a real conversation we had today. And it was only one of the 100 we had)

#5. Life does not stop just because you need it to. Or perhaps a better way to say that is... bills don't stop because you need them to. I only want a month off. Just one month. Come on, not too much to ask. Oh right, adulthood. :-) I like to have money. As if that is a confusing thought. And not having money is...different. I have $5.00 in my wallet at the moment. I have had that same $5.00 for two weeks. (Record time if you ask me) And I have almost spent it, oh lets say, one hundred times in the past week. Give or take 10 or 15 times of course. I have had a paying job for the last 10 years. So to now give up the ability to make/have money is a BIG change. We all know that money holds tightly to our self worth. Our ability to run to the store and by a candy bar or go to the mall and get a shirt is a privilege that we hold as a right. And when we can not do that for whatever reason we feel trapped. Frustrated by the lack of control we feel many of us go shopping with money we don't have or should not be spending. The feeling of control...we have to have it. Even if it is only an illusion that is paid for by a credit card. An illusion of control is the second best thing to having control.
So no money, for me, is a struggle. It means I have to re-evaluate what brings me joy. If it is money then I am disappointed with myself. And if I am unable to find joy in walks with my son then gosh I am glad that my wallet had only $5.00 because clearly I have some priorities that need to be adjusted & pride that needs to be burned away.

Sigh. Whoever said, "You live & learn"was surely not kidding. This is only the very surface of the learning that living is forcing upon me.
But in reality I really am pleased that I am struggling my way through these tough subjects. I want to be a better person. I want to be a better mother. I want strength that does not rely upon where I am, who I am speaking to or what money is in my wallet. I want to be the kind of person that smiles because that is what is inside. I have been needing hard lessons that force me to face myself. How often do we truely look at who we are & what makes us tick. How often do we judge ourselves and then DO something that causes us to change. Being an adult is WAY more work then I anticipated but it has some amazing perks. And being a stay-at-home mother is a huge struggle but with effort & perseverance (plus lots of reading, learning, growing and the not-so-occational call/text to a friend) it is not only possible but an absolute certainty that I will be a 65 year old woman who is so outrageously proud of the man my son is.

Ya, why don't we just forget this whole post... I will struggle through anything that is needed if that last sentence comes true.

Silly me! Talk about a loss of focus.

Ahh... it is all about perspective.

How is your perspective doing? :-)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Texas: A New Home

Here we we stay. 
Each day brings new, in every way. 
New people, things & places too.
A dry flat land with dusty hue
Welcoming as these people are
We can not help but feel quite far
From those we love & those we miss
But a each new adventure requires this.

Descriptions of our new home.

    Tyler, Texas is really quite beautiful. Reminds me much of Eugene. Just replace the hippies with cowboys and the start up business people with "old money" dignitaries. I exaggerate a bit (surprise). This place is filled with similar kinds of people as anywhere else I suppose. The landscape is much more dusty but still we are surrounded by nature & greenery. This is not a big dust bowl. Excepting the furious winds the weather is lovely; two sunny days for every overcast day. Because we are not surrounded by huge mountains the poor weather passes quickly through. A stormy morning drizzle has usually been replaced by sunshine by the afternoon. The 65-70 degree days are warm on my skin when  sheltered from the wind.  Right now the wind is coming from the north where wild blizzards are chilling the state(s) above us.

   The people are kind, mostly. If you meet someone in the store, gas station (pump it yourself here) or Starbucks they smile at you & most older folks say "howdy". That all changes of course when you are in the car. I have seen 2 different scenarios involving people engaged in road rage hop out of their cars to cuss out the vehicle behind them. There is no such thing as "right of way" to anyone here. Matthew & I were backing out of a parking spot when a car swooped in beside us. Matt stopped cause of the danger then resumed only to have me yell "stop" because the lady who got out of the car had decided she was invincible and was proving her point by walking behind our moving vehicle. Rescue vehicles (i.e. ambulances/fire trucks) are left to fend for themselves as the weave through traffic & blare their sirens; cars & trucks drive along like usual.

That is a little glimpse of this new place that we live.